It seems like it was forever ago that the Halo live action TV series was announced. Come to think of it, it may as well be forever ago because it was first announced at the Xbox E3 Press Conference in 2013. The cherry on top of the announcement was that Steven Spielberg was going to be attached to the project, which gave the show some automatic credibility.
Halo as a TV show was actually something we had seen recently as a year prior the 5-part show Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn had come out. The show was used as a companion to Halo 4 and was met mixed reviews but did win some online awards.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” digital series will takes fans back to the terrifying beginning of the Human/Covenant war, when the Master Chief inspired a young cadet who would eventually become a leader aboard the UNSC’s greatest vessel: the UNSC Infinity.YouTube
For the most part we had been provided media based on video game in movie form with Resident Evil: Retribution and Silent Hill: Revelation also coming out in 2012, each with not the best reviews. So as gamers we were very cautious about what we put faith into.
When years had passed with no real talk about the Halo TV series moving forward, a lot of people counted it as a lost cause. Another piece of media that was announced, got some hype and then fell flat. It wouldn’t be until 2018 where some life was blown back into the project wit Showtime stating it was going to be giving it a 10-episode run. There were some hiccups with people joining and leaving, then the pandemic hit which threw a wrench into any planned movie/TV show that was planning on filming or even come out. With time passing and the subscription service gaining more traction, it was announced that Paramount+ would be distributing the Halo TV series on their platform, and the first episode would be available on March 24, 2022, almost a decade after it was originally announced. The announcement came with the release of a teaser trailer and a full length trailer a few months later.
Dramatizing an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant, Halo the series will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future. Nobody can save humanity alone-not even the Master Chief. Meet the heroes who will risk losing everything to come together and protect humankind from the universe’s greatest threat in this stunning new trailer for the Paramount+ Original Series, Halo.YouTube
First look trailer reactions were not good with the main complaint being the look, especially Cortana. I stood strong with trying not to read any reviews or hearing thoughts about the show from media who had seen the first 3 episodes. Then, the day arrived, and I was able to watch the first episode of the TV show that I had first heard about 9 years ago.
The first 10 minutes of the show was some light exposition, then it got into the big fight that we had seen from the trailer where Spartans were saving a small settlement of people. My mouth was agape until about the 18-minute mark when the title screen came up. Did I have my mouth open because the show was so amazing? No, it was open because I couldn’t believe that with all this time the show didn’t look better. There were people who, I think, were live action but looked as if they were CGI. This isn’t meant as a compliment, but a slam as the movements, vocal inflection and expressions seemed fake. Speaking of CGI, the Covenant looked so bad. It was like they took the models of Halo 2 and decided just copy and paste how they looked then and put them into the show. I don’t know if it was a budget or time factor but they tried to hide certain kills that needed CGI, such as the energy sword kills, with turning the persons back to the camera so you didn’t have to animate it going in or possibly have them act like they were being stabbed. They tried to do some first-person shots to recreate the game, but it looked too narrow and the HUD wasn’t even what we saw in the game. They tried this in Doom and even though the movie was garbage, you got to see a little more than a few seconds of the first-person view.
The four person Spartan team that was shown in the opening scene most likely was suppose to be the squad that was first introduced in Halo: Reach with one carrying a sniper rifle but never using it. Why did they choose to show someone doing close combat in first person, but leave out someone pulling up their scope, pulling the trigger and then saying “Headshot”? If they were going to do fan service, then that should have been included.
The rest of the show was introducing the characters, some back story and you finding out that the UNSC are complete monsters. After the first big action scene in the opening of the show, Master Chief finds a girl who survived the attack and whose father was the settlement leader. After taking her in and heading back to base he learns that he, or another Spartan, had killed this girl’s mother. You want to think it’s someone else but then you see that Master Chief is being given orders to kill the survivor. Master Chief now is in a predicament where he needs to follow orders, but his conscience is telling him to save her after he begins to have flashbacks of his childhood when touching an alien artifact that was found at the settlement. This is going to be the struggle in the show, but it still makes the UNSC out to be horrible and gives people a reason to fear the Spartans. I don’t know if this part of the lore was in a game and I happen to skip over it or if it was in an expanded universe book, but it threw me for a loop.
If you’ve seen any of my reviews for game, TV shows or movies you know I’m the most positive one out of Dre and myself. I just couldn’t find myself wanting to say anything positive about this show. The first episode of a show is supposed to get you hooked and make you come back for more. Is this why they felt the need to reveal Master Chief’s face and change his voice? There have been plenty of games where there was no need to remove his helmet to reveal to the player what he looked like, and 40 minutes into the show they completely disregard that. There was no need and I think that ruined a lot of mystery with this faceless character that we knew. I can usually sleep on a subject and come back to it with an open mind, but even days later I still feel just as disappointed as the first time saw it.
The big question now is if I’ll still watch it. Yes, I am still going to watch it. I’m hoping the story gets better, the action looks like a big budget show and not a fan made YouTube short and that the need for Master Chief to take off his helmet quietly goes away.