Fans have been waiting 17 years to see the Master Chief come to life, but will the “Halo” TV series from Paramount+ be worth the wait?
The “Halo” TV series has finally been given to life by Paramount+, but it falls short of its potential. The original Xbox console was introduced in 2001, and it was accompanied by the release of “Halo”: Combat Evolved. Bungie’s first-person shooter is widely regarded as the finest in its genre, having established a new benchmark for similar games, many of which became known as ““Halo“ Clones.” It was the Xbox’s best-selling game in its first year of release, selling five million units. It didn’t take long for speculation of turning “Halo”: Combat Evolved into a TV show to start.
In the aftermath of “Halo” 2’s phenomenal box office success, Microsoft engaged Alex Garland to develop a feature picture script in 2005. In 2006, 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios agreed to collaborate on the film alongside Microsoft, however the contract fell through swiftly. By 2013, Microsoft had changed its mind and decided to make a TV show, with Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer. Further issues arose as a result of a reorganisation at Microsoft, and the program will finally air in 2022, 17 years after the idea of bringing the Master Chief to life in a live-action style was initially discussed. Darryl Frank, the film’s producer, affirmed Spielberg’s involvement, saying, “We handled it as though it was a legacy project of Steven’s.” “In terms of reviewing every screenplay and assisting in the selection of showrunners, writers, director, actors, production design, and visual effects, he was the godfather.”
This puts a lot of pressure on Paramount+’s “Halo” series; after all, this is a program that fans have been waiting 17 years to see. The Master Chief is one of the most well-known characters of all time, and the “Halo” series is adored by many. Is the wait worthwhile?
More Than Just the Games are Adapted by “Halo”
Then things take a sharp turn in a path that will catch many viewers off guard. Showrunner Steven Kane sparked outrage when he said that the “Halo” writers didn’t look at the game, which is clearly untrue; rather, he appears to have meant that they didn’t solely utilize the games for world-building. Rather, they’ve obviously interacted with the larger universe of “Halo” tie-ins that have been produced throughout time. The relationship between Dr. Halsey, Captain Jacob Keyes, and Commander Miranda Keyes will very certainly surprise many, but it’s directly from canon. People who have only played the games, especially if they did so a long time ago, are likely to be surprised by these drastic changes. As a result, for many, the “Halo” universe, which should seem extremely familiar, will feel odd and unfamiliar.
The first episode of “Halo” begins with a lengthy battle scenario that seems promising; here is the game brought to life. Spartans like the Master Chief and his Elite foes are astonishingly true to their original looks, and even the fighting methods used by the various factions are accurate to the games. Even the sound effects are accurate to the games, and fans will be happy to hear the Master Chief’s personal shield recharging sound. Later, when Dr. Halsey examines a mission log, it appears like she is observing the planet via a first-person shooter. Surprisingly, the nostalgia makes the changes stand out even more; the Master Chief is played by Pablo Schreiber, whose voice isn’t quite as gruff as the figure in the games, and his quick unmasking will undoubtedly be contentious.
“Halo”: The Master Chief Collection Doesn’t Live Up To Its Expectations
The “Halo” tie-ins have brought a great deal of complexity to the brand, but incorporating them into the Paramount+ TV series makes it seem quite different from the games. The Humans vs the Covenant is the simple good-versus-evil dynamic in “Halo”: Combat Evolved, with the Spartans serving as humanity’s heroes. While the Covenant and its Prophets remain the villains of “Halo”, the UNSC does not appear to be very noble, especially when the Master Chief disobeys orders to kill a weeping adolescent in the first episode. The audience is obviously expected to cheer for the Master Chief, yet he appears to be alone and isolated, a third party caught in the middle of two evils. Dr. Halsey’s purpose is unclear; she orders Silver Team to defend the Master Chief, knowing that a battle may result in her being jailed for treason, therefore it’s unclear what her endgame would have been if a Forerunner artifact hadn’t conveniently emitted an electromagnetic pulse.
Unfortunately, most of “Halo”‘s plot feels like typical sci-fi. Because “Halo”: Combat Evolved had such a significant effect on the development of science fiction, many of the tropes used in the series are now standard. But it’s also because, unfortunately, not all of the tie-ins cited as inspiration were innovative and original in and of themselves. Some of the novels were fantastic and must-reads, bringing a great deal of depth to the Master Chief’s universe. Others, on the other hand, aren’t as inventive, and their impact can be seen in “Halo”. It all adds up to “Halo” seeming like a regular sci-fi action TV show as the dust settles from the first skirmish. Given the franchise’s overall legendary nature, it’s difficult not to feel dissatisfied.
Nonetheless, “Halo”season 1 has the potential to serve as a solid foundation upon which future seasons might be developed. “Halo” has already been extended for a second season by Paramount, and perhaps the creative team will be able to improve on the first season’s mistakes. Season 1 appears to represent the journey to finding “Halo”, probably culminating in the iconic Fall of Reach, implying that “Halo” season 2 will be when the program reaches its stride. It’ll be interesting to watch what occurs next, as well as how Paramount+ adapts the original “Halo” game.