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When it was recently announced that one of the all-time great science fiction movies, The Matrix, is being considered for a too-soon reboot from Warner Bros., the public went nuts. Many decried the ridiculousness of continuing to nip on a movie that cannot be made better, while many others supported the idea as a way of forcing the two lackluster Matrix sequels from everyone's memories. I'm kind of in both camps, but I also think that there's a perfect way to make everyone happy: turn this Matrix reboot into a TV show instead of a movie.
It shouldn't take much to convince anyone that a Matrix TV show is clearly the best way to go with this whole scenario, but we still have the reasons anyway. Find the comfiest armchair you can, along with whatever colored pills you'd prefer, and slo-mo limbo your way through our argument, while writing letters to Netflix, Starz, HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC and more to get into the ideas.
The Movies Don't Focus On The Matrix Enough
Not to take anything away from everything that happened on the Nebuchadnezzar and inside the REAL world of The Matrix franchise, but it's widely accepted that much of what made the first film an instant classic is how well the faux Matrix universe fits in with the overall story, and how bafflingly odd it can get at times. Because we're humans who live in this kind of world, the illusion of that reality is inherently more interesting to most of us than the CGI harshness of the Machines and the primal aesthetic of Zion.
The first film in particular hinted at just how widespread the insanity could get within the Matrix world, so long as there were some unplugged rebels around to mess with everyone else's perceived reality. Assuming a Matrix reboot would retain some or most of the same physics and story foundations, there are so many different characters and situations that stories could revolve around within this eternal version of 1999. And there would be no reason to needlessly ramp up the technology factor here, because again, it's 1999. Hand-held phones a-plenty!
The Mythology Is Large Enough To Last Many Seasons
Sure, if you look at the three Matrix movies, they seem to be telling THE story that can be told within this universe, since it's all about Neo being "The One" sort of messiah character that can save the world and whatnot. But even though that's the story that the Wachowskis wanted to tell whenever they spent all those years and dollar bills on the trilogy, it's far from the only story that could be told, and this post-apocalyptic version of society offers many other narrative jumping-off points for either a fully serialized multi-season arc, or one-off arcs for an anthology sort of series. After all, everybody civilization has a messiah story, but few have ONLY a messiah story.
Even though someone could easily tell a story running concurrent to what happens from the first film through Matrix Revolutions, it would be much more interesting to see a wholly realized prequel tale that serves as Morpheus' entry point into discovering what was really happening, so that we could witness how he came to take control of the revolution, so to speak. Or if not Morpheus, than others. Or maybe tell a distant sequel, after the Machines have fallen and humanity has the impossible task of trying to stand itself back up in the aftermath. Either way, and in more ways, I'm still down.
TV Needs A Villain Like Agent Smith
With all of the scripted shows on the air right now, one might think that every kind of villain has already been conceived and performed a million times over. But that's not exactly the case, because there's only one bad guy like Agent Smith, and he's it. Even though there's technically like a billion of him/them. Unstoppable through transmutation like the T-1000 and endlessly combative like a slasher horror movie killer, Agent Smith does not spend time in dimly lit offices scheming plans with his drug buddies. He reacts and gets shit done in frightening and funny ways.
As much as I'm loving this idea and defending it, I admittedly would be conflicted by having to watch another actor step in to play Agent Smith, since Hugo Weaving was absolutely brilliant in every suit-wearing iteration of the character. It's been 18 years, and Weaving is now 56 years old, but he has not lost a step in his ability to be charmingly menacing, so he could easily return. In fact, I'd watch a whole season just about him/them bothering other people with different last names. "Mr. Henderson. Mrs. Nunderson. Mr. Ampersand."
Smaller Budgets Mean More Fights, Less Machines
Thinking about The Matrix should immediately bring to mind just how much the film's fighting style took over Hollywood and pop culture in the following years, with "bullet time" temporarily becoming as ubiquitous as the close-up. But when each of the follow-up films more than doubled the budget of the first film, everything got bigger and bloated, and a lot of the hand-to-hand combat was either lost or built up to vapid extremes. (The fight against a million Agent Smiths was beyond badass, though.)
But even at Netflix, a company that is capable of spending more on TV shows than any other entertainment entity in history, a Matrix TV series would still be treated far more frugally than when the Wachowskis were in charge. And if it were indeed a prequel or a sequel, there wouldn't be as much of a need for the heavy-CGI machines and all those pods. It could exist more in the Earthly realm, where the money could be properly spent on crafting amazing fights and action sequences, in the vein of Daredevil or Game of Thrones. Or even Ash vs. Evil Dead, because I could use more chainsaws in The Matrix. The bottom line is: the financial bottom line shouldn't be all about spending; it should be about making the costs worth it.