Each week, Chris from @officialtalkintvpodcast will be recapping Halo, now streaming on Paramount+.
HALO EPISODE 1: CONTACT
A Halo series had been a wish of mine for so long. But now that is it finally here, I fear I may learn the cold hard truth of the classic “be careful what you wish for” adage.
Halo has been a part of my life for much of the time I have been consuming entertainment. Growing up an avid gamer I will never forget the day my grandma picked me up from school early and drove me to my local GameStop to pick up my pre-ordered copy of my personal favorite game of the series, “Halo 2”. Everything about that game was PERFECT. A sentiment I will strongly and confidently echo throughout the course of Bungie’s tenure at the helm of the Halo franchise. The gameplay, graphics, sound design, and cinematic cut seasons, all perfect. Bungie had truly created a series that rivaled that of the most thrilling Hollywood action franchises. It was a franchise that was, and still is primed for Hollywood to adapt and bring to life in a way unlike we have ever seen before.
However, episode 1 of Paramount Plus’s Halo series is simply not what I have been hoping for.
I am being too harsh; I will be the first to recognize that. But Halo means so much to me, and I do not believe giving it a pass will do anyone any good. Especially since, as we know, it has already been renewed for a second season before the first season has even aired. This leads me to believe that more so than usual, the reviews will matter, and so I plan to use my platform to be as vocal and honest as possible.
Now, to get into specifics. Nothing about this debut episode was horrible. However, it is the fact that it was not great that is killing me. You see, they played it very safe to the source material. I commend them for not spending too much time with the exposition, and for taking a much more refined, “show don’t tell” approach in conveying the world and political landscape of which we are just getting acquainted. And the budget clearly is expensive as nothing about this pilot episode appears to be cheap or even slightly undercooked. The sound design rivals that of the games, the score functions as it should (although it does not yet appear to hold a candle to the iconography of the games), and the casting is not horrible.
One thing I remember fondly from my film school days is learning repeatedly that nothing can substitute for poor writing. Let this pilot episode of Halo be taught in universities across the world as a tool to help articulate this lesson. No matter how expensive a show looks, or how perfectly they nail the aesthetic of the source material, the writing needs to be good. Unfortunately, this pilot episode was just one big, predictable outing of generic action series trope after another.
However, I am keeping positive. I hope the show will improve. I do see much potential here. Sadly, in its debut outing Halo has left me with nothing but disappointment.
Christian Evanko is a journalist, musician, and host of the Talkin’ TV Podcast. Christian brings his many years of experience in the entertainment industry to the stories he covers to pull back the curtain and paint a true picture of the importance of covering the arts.
Photo from IGN