Fans of the video game series Halo are most certainly looking forward to seeing how the upcoming Paramount+ adaptation honors the sci-fi franchise. Ahead of its March 24 premiere, the first two episodes debuted at SXSW Film Festival, and the reviews are in to shed some light on the series that will feature an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant.
Pablo Schreiber stars as Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, a genetically-engineered supersoldier, and Jen Taylor reprises her role from the video game as Cortana, an AI construct entrusted to the care of Master Chief. The series is not considered part of the game’s canon, as executive producer Kiki Wolfkill said on Twitter that a separate universe allows the story to evolve individually on each medium. Let’s check out what the critics are saying about Paramount+’s Halo, including how familiar viewers need to be with the game franchise in order to enjoy the series.
Daniel Fienberg of THR says being a fan of the game will likely enhance the viewer’s experience, but non-gamers can watch without being confused. However, without the pre-existing investment in the game, Halo comes off as “a less entertaining version of The Mandalorian”:
William Hughes of AV Club grades the series a C+ based on its first two episodes, and admits there are some pleasant aspects to Halo, including Master Chief’s hero-sidekick relationship with Yerin Ha’s Kwan Ha Boo, but the plot goes off the rails pretty quickly:
Ben Travers of IndieWire also gave Halo a C+, saying after two episodes it’s hard to know if the series will evolve past the comparisons it elicits to other shows:
Caroline Framke of Variety, however, says Halo does an admirable job of creating a universe that’s intriguing, even to people unfamiliar with the video game basics.
Jesse Schedeen of IGN rates the premiere episode a “Good” 7 out of 10, saying that while the series struggles to capture the action of the games, it builds a compelling narrative to develop:
It sounds like viewers don’t have to be fans of the popular video game franchise to enjoy (or at least understand) Halo, but many critics felt the first couple of episodes were comparable to other series already out there in pop culture, so it remains to be seen how the rest of the first season sets it apart. If you’d like to check this series out, Halo premieres March 24 and can be streamed with a Paramount+ subscription. Take a look at some of the other best shows on Paramount+, and also check out our 2022 TV Schedule to find more shows premiering soon.
Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.
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