The Halo TV Show Has A Boss Problem – But It Has Nothing To Do With John-117

“Who is this TV show or movie for?” – it’s a question that studio executives, writers, directors and producers should ask themselves before embarking on a new project. This is also a crucial question to answer. Understanding your target audience is essential not only for the creative process, but also for the potential success of a movie or show.

This is especially true for live-action adaptations of beloved video game franchises. Please only long-time fans, and your fan service project will not please the general public. Create something with a wider range of viewers in mind, however, and you risk alienating established fans, just like the Uncharted movie starring Tom Holland did.

the halo tv series does not fit into either category, but he commits a far greater sin as a result: he does not know WHO its target audience is. Paramount Morelive adaptation of XboxThe iconic video game series from has spent the last seven years in development hell. Meanwhile, you’d expect her head creative team to figure out who she created the TV series for.

Unfortunately, it is not the case. The TV adaptation of Halo falls into the trap of flattering both sides, meaning hardcore fans and everyday audiences. Going forward, it’s a lopsided, lackluster sci-fi adventure – based on its first two episodes, at least – that will struggle to please either party.

Wake up John

Master Chief leads Silver Team on a mission in the Halo TV series

Master Chief and Silver Team take center stage in the TV adaptation of Halo. (Image credit: Paramount Plus)

Set in the year 2552, the Halo TV series follows John-117/Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber), a Spartan-II soldier who leads humanity’s fight against an alien threat known as the Covenant.

After Master Chief and Silver Team – the Spartan team he leads – defeat an Elite Covenant reconnaissance group on the planet Madrigal, the group discovers a mysterious object that may hold the key to ending the Human-Covenant War. . As each army battles for control of the intriguing object, however, a shocking revelation leaves Master Chief questioning not only his assigned mission, but himself as well.

This opening narrative salvo is the show’s most glaring problem and is the source of its identity crisis. For starters, viewers unfamiliar with the Halo universe won’t know who Master Chief is. Or what is United Nations Space Command (UNSC). Or that the Covenant includes several alien species, hence their different physical appearances.

Of course, filling the first episode with tons of plot and character exposition would be a bad move on the part of the show’s head creative team. The narrative would move at a chilling pace, the character introductions would feel forced, and the action sequences might take a back seat to any “here’s what you need to know about the Halo universe” explanations.

There’s no denying, however, that some viewers will be confused about several aspects of the TV series’ plot, as well as the story of the wider franchise. What is the Spartan Super Soldier Program? Why is humanity at war with itself before the arrival of the Covenant forces them to join forces? How come Master Chief is so revered among the UNSC military and despised by elite warriors who call him “demon”?

These questions will certainly be answered, for those new to the Halo universe, as the season progresses. But, for a show that needs to grab viewers’ attention – and keep it, especially when there’s so much competition from netflix and the immeasurable amount of content from other streamers – Halo isn’t exactly coming up with key information early on.

The Covenant teams up with a human called Makee in the Halo TV series

Some fans will be harmed by the deviations from the source material of the Halo TV show. (Image credit: Paramount Plus)

Longtime Halo fans may also feel let down by the series’ story. It’s not a beat-for-beat retread of the games overall narrative. Instead, the Halo TV series exists on the silver timeline – an alternate reality that borrows heavily from the main games, with Halo’s plot told from a new but not necessarily improved perspective.

However, making plot changes to the Halo game series doesn’t mean the TV adaptation is free from criticism. Master Chief, for example, does not emerge from cryogenic sleep to fight invading Covenant forces on the Pillar of Autumn as he does in 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved. post based on Madrigal, which is hopelessly overtaken by the Elite reconnaissance group. It’s a crowd-pleasing introduction but, for a series that focuses on John-117’s journey, delaying his arrival until the second quarter of the premiere is an odd decision to make. We discover original characters, such as Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha), before Master Chief and other eminent personalities, including Doctor Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). Halo fanatics may find this hard to digest, though Kwan is a welcome addition to the proceedings.

Faithful recreations of Halo’s weapons and vehicles are sure to put a smile on your face.

Other deviations from the source material further infuriated Halo’s fanbase before its release. The redesign of Master Chief’s AI companion, Cortana (Jen Taylor), as well as Charlie Murphy’s Makee – a human who works alongside the Covenant – are two creative changes that have drawn the ire of hardcore fans. The revelation that Master Chief removes his helmet to show his face also caused an outcry from fans, despite main star Pablo Schreiber’s defense of such a move. Even the planet Reach, which is decimated by the Covenant prior to the events of Combat Evolved in the games, is intact at the start of Paramount’s Halo series.

Taking creative liberties with film and television adaptations is part of the development process. What works in a video game doesn’t necessarily translate well to the big or small screen, so changing parts of Halo’s lore had to happen. However, remodeling these key elements of the game series will be sacrilege for many Halo fans.

“I need a gun”

Master Chief lands on Madrigal in Halo TV show on Paramount Plus

Superhero landing, he’s doing a superhero landing! (Image credit: Paramount Plus)

These drastic changes are also a shame, considering how much love, care, and attention has gone into other aspects of the TV series. Don’t get me wrong, the production value is very impressive. Paramount’s live-action adaptation would have cost between $90 million and $200 million to do – and whichever number is closest to the truth, it shows.

If the series’ narrative shifts make (or will make) established fans cringe, the faithful recreations of Halo’s weapons and vehicles are sure to bring a smile. From assault rifles and jeep-like warthogs to battle rifles, and Covenant ghost ships to chainguns and the armor every Spartan wears, those behind Halo’s TV series have lovingly reproduced the games’ core elements. main. The designs for each Covenant race, such as the Prophets and Elites, have also been authentically copied from the games – although the Elites look a bit rougher than in the first-person shooter series.

The amount of Halo game references and Easter eggs present in the TV adaptation is also very satisfying. Audio files, such as the Elites’ “wut wut” call and the exhausted Spartan shield warning sound, have been taken from the games and used correctly here. Characters occasionally wield dual-wield weapons like players might in Halo 2, while other artillery items, including the Elites’ cloaking device, also make appearances. Cortana’s voice by Taylor – the iconic role she’s reprising from the games – and the legendary Halo theme have their place in the TV show. There are even references to the Halo Expanded Universe in the novels, such as the asteroid belt-related location known as The Rubble.

Cortana watches Master Chief after the pair's introduction on the Halo TV show

Jen Taylor reprises her role as Cortana from the game series on the Halo TV show. (Image credit: Paramount Plus)

All of these, and more, make it even more infuriating that Paramount, 343 Industries, and Amblin Television haven’t given more thought to the fan-centric angle of producing the Halo TV series. Major Halo fans would appreciate it a lot more if that were the case, even if it meant the show sidelined the mainstream in favor of Halo’s mainstream fan base. I certainly would have enjoyed it, and I appreciated that a live-action adaptation of one of my favorite game series did justice to its extensive source material.

Rarely do film or television adaptations strike a satisfying balance between different audiences. Netflix Arcana is an example of how to do it right; a show that simultaneously honors what came before while making its story accessible to newcomers.

The Halo TV series, however, was not successful either. Its significant deviations from the source material mean that longtime fans will complain about its unnecessary changes, while general viewers may not be able to fully engage with its scattershot approach to storytelling.

The Halo TV show isn’t exactly coming up with key information early on.

There are parts of the Halo TV show that are good. Its production value is second to none, Schreiber’s Master Chief is a wonderful take on a character made famous by Steve Downes in the games, and its action is thrilling and tense at times. He also doesn’t shy away from Halo’s penchant for gratuitous violence.

Still, this Paramount Plus exclusive series feels like a missed opportunity. Weighted down by fan expectations that grew exponentially over its long development cycle, it could have been so much better than the sum of its parts. Of course, a second season has already been greenlit, so these teething issues may be ironed out in future episodes. If so, the Halo TV adaptation could be salvageable. It remains to be seen, however, if the TV show’s Master Chief, much like his video game counterpart, will have more time after Season 2 airs to finish the fight.

The Halo TV series will launch exclusively on Paramount Plus on Thursday, March 24.

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