Review: Halo TV Series (2022)

Right off the bat, the Halo adaptation for Paramount+ is about as good as the Uncharted film. Now, depending on your tastes, that is either a good or horrific thing, but, to be honest, what were really the expectations for this show when it was announced? Frankly, I am surprised it is even this good.

That seems like I am ragging or prematurely hating on the show, and while not entirely inaccurate, also not actually true. Video game adaptations have never had a true prime example of excellence. The closest to a successful adaptation has either been the original 1995 Mortal Kombat movie or the Resident Evil franchise, and those are the only plausible answers to that definition. Other attempts have either been too close to the source material without understanding that experience a story through play is very different compared to merely observation, or so far from the original work that it basically only has the name of the game and not much else.

The Halo series is, like Uncharted, somewhere right smack in the middle of both. Granted, only the first few episodes are available for the audience, but so far, it seems like a generic science fiction story with Halo characters. However, Halo the game is a generic science fiction story of a superhuman space marine that defeats an oppressive, powerful, invading alien force. And, yes the inclusion of the Flood and Forerunners is still pretty much standard sci-fi fare just with more specific names for the narrative universe. Thus, what could the story of the Halo adaptation be besides a generic science fiction story?

These look like high quality cosplays, and that is not an insult in this case.

Outside the story, the rest of the show, at least the first few episodes, is just fine. The acting is fine, definitely held back by not having elevated or standout material, but decent delivery and no single performance or actor is unskilled though there has not been a single performance that goes above or beyond the rest. Basic, fine acting. The action is above Power Rangers but below other streaming services offerings like HBOMax or DisneyPlus. I would say its mostly on par with the CW Arrowverse shows with a slightly higher budget. You can definitely tell when CGI is being used and there is a disconnect when seeing the Covenant on screen. Effects are about on the level of action. Music and sound works as there was never a drop in sound quality or music, but no original memorable musical sequences, thus far. All in all, it is a perfectly fine show. Not bad. Not great. Passable but hardly memorable. Again, so far.

Which is the unfortunate thing in the modern landscape of so much available programming and content. Baseline quality is no longer enough. There needs to be something that stands above just fine. Whether it is some well executed social or political message, dialogue, acting, star power, or interesting twist or hook in the narrative, there has to be something. And Halo really does not have much going for it outside of name recognition.

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