Movies & TV / Columns

The Top 10 TV Shows That Need Video Games: Doctor Who, Supernatural, More

April 4, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

How’s everyone doing? Hopefully well enough that you can take a little break and play a little fantasy booking with TV shows and video games. Fun little fact, I wrote this 10 years ago and thought it would be funny to dust if off, tweak a few things and see how it plays out. I still stand by these picks!

As you might be able to tell, most of these are pure fun and I know some gems will be listed in the comments below so let’s jump right into it. 

No strict rules. Just pick and show and have fun. Even if the show has had a video game. 

10. The Golden Girls
Think: Leisure Suit Larry meets Silent Hill.

Admit it. You’ve thought about a game with four older women are sharing a fashionable house in Miami, Florida. Blanche Devereaux, Rose Nylund, Dorothy Zbornak, and Sophia Petrillo is a game ready to be made. The goal: Save the retirement home, Shady Pines, from burning down!


And now, the REAL Top 10…

10. Extreme Makeover
Think: Sims meets something in the Tycoon series

Let’s ease into this list. Let’s start with a game for the very casual gamer. Something you might give to mom or the cousin who may be hiding a secret. In case you don’t know, the series has a purpose. Ty Pennington and his crack team of expert designers provide HOME RENOVATIONS for deserving families. Each episode features a family that has faced some sort of hardship, like a natural disaster or a family member facing a life-threatening illness. While the family goes on a all-paid vacation, Ty and the team go into action, giving the family’s home a total makeover. That includes interior, exterior and landscaping, which is performed in seven days.

“Steve, how in the world would this be a good game?”

Easy. You keep the purpose of the show and do it in the game. The family needs a new house. You get a profile of the family, a breakdown of the house, and 10 goals you need to do in a certain amount of game time. 5 of them you will get from the family, like, “Grandma Ethel needs to be on the ground floor.” The other 5 you won’t know. You have to pay attention to things in the family profile and use a little creativity. You have freedom to whatever you want, but keep in mind…the clock is ticking. Paint the walls, add fixtures, put in the furniture. The “family” will let you know how happy they are by how many goals you were able to accomplish. Have thousands of designs so the replay factor is high and a nation of wannabe designers will be lining up to buy this one.

Think: Grand Theft Auto and True Crime but not as serious. And plenty of trailer parks.

“COPS is filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

While you can make an argument that this game exists, I think you can still get a niche in that area. You have your choice of police office, constable, or sheriff’s deputy out on patrol…with a camera crew. Not only are you catching bad guys but you have to protect the people filming you. Too much damage from a woman with curlers in her hair and you’re done for. You can set up prostitution stings, pull over suspicious cars (NO PROFILING YA’LL!), and stop at a local gas station to keep the people doing drugs on the curbs in check. Just make sure you look good for the camera.

8. Flight of the Conchords
Think: Guitar Hero with a pinch of PaRappa the Rapper.

Yes, I know they had an 8-bit game out there. I know. I know. I’m talking BIG folks. The show follows the adventures of the Flight of the Conchords, a two-man band from New Zealand, as its members seek fame and success in New York City. In the game you get to play all their songs but with a plot! The song part of the game is easy to imagine. A Kiss is Not a Contract, Inner City Pressure, Dreams…You have a lengthy list of tunes to pick from. Add in a funky little little story where their band manager, Murray Hewitt accidentally gives away their big contract with a major studio to Mel (their biggest fan) and they have to search the city for her, playing songs along the way to unlock clues to her destination. Add in weird videos, talking/rapping animals, and maybe some cool cameo appearances and you have yourself a game worthy of flight. And yes, I know the show didn’t have talking/rapping animals. The game can build and enhance the mythos of the show.

7. MTV Reality Shows
Think: Smash TV meets Doom.

I know this is cheating but I think you’ll like the results. Put the game in and you have a screen with a plethora of MTV reality shows to choose. Then you get to hunt down the realty personality of your choice in a myriad of locales. Think about it. Jersey Shore. Real World. The Hills. Andy Milanakis. Teen Mom (?!?) You name the show…it’s there. Except My Super Sweet 16. It wouldn’t look good with the age thing. But I would have it be more cartoonish violence; with a silly assembly of weapons to choose from. A giant chop-shop, a box filled with flying man-eating turtles, a huge set of cymbals that you can crush your target with. You get where I’m going. It wouldn’t be brain surgery but I can just imagine the thrill of hunting down Spencer Pratt while driving a steamroller…I get chills!

6. The Tudors
Think: Stronghold, Godfather, and Assassin’s Creed.

The series is based on the reign of English monarch Henry VIII, and is named after the Tudor dynasty. It’s got all sorts of twists and plenty of layered characterization. For the game I’d have two levels of play. You would play one of Henry’s trusted assistants. Tread wisely. You can rise the ranks or just be another peasant groveling for scraps. You serve Henry in a couple of ways. The first is his immediate surroundings; with his woman and those around him that would seek to overthrow him. The second would focus on expansion and defending the land that he already has. The choices you make set your path I could see this being like a “choose your own adventure” type game. The focus would be strategy. But don’t lose your head while playing, because by making the wrong decision, Henry will make sure your character loses his.

5. Dollhouse
Think: Alias, Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds, and Metal Gear Solid.

The little show that could…then couldn’t. I’m sure many of you don’t even remember or know about this one. Maybe we can get a decent game out of it. Dollhouse revolved around a corporation running numerous underground establishments (known as…you guessed it…Dollhouses) across the globe which program individuals referred to as Actives (or Dolls) with temporary personalities and skills. Wealthy clients hire Actives from Dollhouses at great expense for various purposes. The series primarily followed the Active known as Echo (Eliza Dushku) on her journey towards self-awareness.

Man, this game writes itself. You play as one of the Dolls who is starting to get self-awareness. Working to find out the truth about what’s going on and fulfill missions to advance. You go on various assignments where you use hand-to-hand combat to steal information, modern weaponry to take out enemy compounds, and your wits to stay alive! Be careful who you trust or you might have everything erased and start all over from the beginning.

4. Carnivàle
Think: This is a tough one. I know what I want and it doesn’t fall in with anything. How about Silent Hill and Gun? Toss in some for the “choose with side” aspect. But with religious overtones throughout.

Is anyone else upset we never got closure for this show? Anyone? It was supposed to run for 6 seasons but high costs brought this one down. Hard to explain what it’s about. Set in the United States during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. It follows the lives of two disparate groups of people. A traveling carnival and a religious group. But not all is what it seems and therein lies the brilliance of Carnivàle. It would be hard to translate the character structure into a game, but I would love to see someone try. It has story arches that depict the battle between good and evil and the struggle between free will and destiny; the storyline mixes Christian theology with gnosticism, and Masonic lore, particularly that of the Knights Templar.

For the game you can choose between the two groups. Do you follow Ben Hawkins and the rogue misfits or the charismatic and evil Brother Justin Crowe? Now a game about a circus and church group doesn’t exactly scream excitement so we’d have to flesh it out a bit. To give it some action, you can choose to be a protector of the traveling folks, battling hostile “possessed” town folks, legions who follow Brother Crowe, and various “otherworldly” baddies. Or become a disciple of Brother Justin. Destroying, scheming, and wrecking havoc. The goal: To find others to join your cause in time for the final battle between good and evil. Now we’re talking!

3. Fringe
Think: Wow. X-Files stirred in with Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. But not quite.

Fringe deserved better. It followed a Federal Bureau of Investigation “Fringe Division” team under the supervision of Homeland Security. Not exactly the best, but it works. The team uses unorthodox “fringe” science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate “the Pattern”, a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences that are happening all over the world. Think of it as a hybrid of The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, and Dark Angel.

In the game, as a member of the “Fringe Division” you have to set a lot of wrongs right. Using small amounts of time travel, ghost fighting, and strange (but true) conspiracy theories, you have to save the day and gain clues to learn about “the Pattern”. Watch your back. In this game, things change and not everything is as it seems.

2. Supernatural
Think: Oh boy. Where to begin? Mix Wolfenstein, F.E.A.R., System Shock, BioShock, Left for Dead, and some Resident Evil And a little Ghost and Goblins for kicks.

This one is too easy. Brothers who hunt demons and other figures of the paranormal. You know how much that covers? You know how many games you can make on the premise? The first company that puts some money into this franchise is going to sit back and watch their investment boom! You can take the game in so many different directions, include so many cool bad guys and things to fight. Outside my number one, this game is a no-brainer.

1. Dr. Who
Think: Chrono Trigger, Prince of Persia, and Final Fantasy. TIMES 10,000!

Yes, I know the doctor has had games out. For a franchise as large as this one, I’m shocked and perplexed why a major game hasn’t been done for the good doctor that does the franchise justice. 

Dr. Who has been experiencing something of a resurgence over the years. At least in terms of “mainstream” attention. Now is the time to get things rolling. To get you caught up; the series depicts the adventures of the mysterious, “Doctor” who travels through time and space in his spacecraft, the TARDIS, which normally appears from the exterior to be a blue 1950s police box. With his companions, he explores time and space, faces a variety of foes and rights wrongs. Why mess with that? And this is one property that you can launch several games from. You can do straight action, strategy, multi-player…anything really. How about a petition for the good doctor?

What about you? What television show should have a video game?