Season 1 (Premiere)
Aired On: Paramount+
Release Date: 03/23/22
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"Aliens threaten human existence in an epic 26th-century showdown. TV series based on the video game 'Halo'."
Halo is one of my favorite video game series of all time! I've spent thousands of hours (not joking) playing them; whether it be for the story or the multiplayer. So I was both excited and skeptical at the idea of a show based on the universe of Halo that wasn’t directly based on the story of the games. I think it's a good idea to not lock yourself down to the same story we already experienced, but would it feel like Halo if it was doing too much of its own thing? Well...I was both right and wrong for being abrasive based on Halo’s premiere.
Halo's premiere introduces us to both fan-favorite characters from the games (like Master Chief & Dr. Halsey) and brand new characters. It does a competent job balancing both while also setting up the premise for what I'm sure the rest of the first season will focus on. Let me get the negatives out of the way first because I need to talk about them…
So far, I don't really care about the writing. A lot of the dialogue has been very basic and predictable and there's a lot in this premiere (especially after the initial fifteen minutes). Of course, a show like this can't just be action but it's just too predictable and uninteresting with the choices made so far and what they do with our Halo’s mascot Master Chief immediately makes him less interesting than he is in the games. My only other negative are the special effects which, for the most part, look good but there are times where they do come off cartoony (mainly the ships and some of the covenant aliens). Some of which would be more acceptable if the atmosphere and tone weren't so grim; they just don't fit considering that. There's also a moment towards the end of this first episode involving Master Chief that I wish they saved for later in the show, but that's just a personal gripe.
With that out of the way, I really enjoyed this lead in for this upcoming series and it does give me a little bit more hope into how a Halo series can be both faithful to the games and also diverge and do its own thing successfully. Pablo Schreiber's portrayal of Master Chief is easily my favorite thing featured in the episode. While I'm not a huge fan of what they're doing with his character writing-wise so far, I think Schreiber plays it perfectly with a gruff voice and an intimidating stature that Steve Downes and Bungie/343 Industries would be proud of. Though there is a lot of talking, the first 15 minutes starts off with a really well-done action scene that shows off the power of Master Chief as well as the other Spartan Soldiers. That's where the show is at its most interesting and where the special effects are at their best. The rest of the actors do a respectable job portraying their characters but I liked Yerin Ha who plays new character Quan Ah the most. I was a little worried that this episode would focus too much on her character over the others but the episode is able to balance her and Chief's story.
The premiere of Paramount+‘s Halo promises big things for the rest of the season and I hope they don't fail to deliver, because I thoroughly enjoyed my time here. It has its writing problems as well as some iffy pacing but Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief is excellent casting; accompanied by top tier action and a majority of the special effects making this a heightened television experience. Surprisingly, I’m much more excited for the future of this show than I thought I would ever be.