Halo Season One Review

By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

This review is spoiler-free.

Based on one of the most popular video game franchises of all time, Halo draws you into an epic conflict that sees humanity take on the intergalactic alien threat of the Covenant in this sci-fi action-fest.

The series has received its fair share of criticism, mainly from purist fans of the video game series, but for me – who has played all the games and enjoyed them – I was left satisfied with how things played out across the series.

This is its own timeline, separate from the games, and while it does pull from the video game series to pad out the world and characters, it is very much its own canon. So, if things occur or don’t play out how you’d expect to see it in the video games, that is by design to allow the writers to tell a new story, something I think the show should be commended for rather than attacked for because of it. This series also feels very much like a prequel to what the main story is going to be going into Season Two, and I appreciate the character and story build-up, so that when we start to have these big payoffs in the future, they will feel earned and extra rewarding.

In terms of the bookend of the show, the opening and finale episodes have some of the best video game adaption moments I’ve seen to date! From sound FX ripped straight from the games to epic first person shooter moments, this series has a lot of fun with its action set pieces and they do feel epic in scale!

As for the cast, Pablo Schreiber (Master Chief/John-117) was a great casting pick for this iconic character as he just has the size and presence for what you’d want from Master Chief. Natascha McElhone (Dr. Halsey) is excellent throughout the show and is a great semi-antagonist. Jen Taylor (Cortana) has been a mainstay in the world of the Halo video games for a long time, and she reprises her iconic character over from the video game world into live action! I think there was no one else who could or should have been cast! There are also great performances from Yerin Ha (Kwan Ha) and Charlie Murphy (Makee). Finally, I want to give a special mention to Natasha Culzac (Riz-028) who was my favourite Spartan in Silver Team – she is one bad-ass Queen!

So, what about the negatives? I only really had one small issue and that involved a side-plot involving some characters that is a little out of place compared to the main narrative, and some of it is a bit of a slog to get through, and I found myself just counting down the minutes until we got back to the main story in at least one of these episodes. But overall, the show doesn’t suffer much. There are some things that need a bit more refinement, but just like most first seasons, the show is still trying to find its footing and there will be a few slips now and then – but nothing detrimental to the overall enjoyment.

Halo Is not afraid to venture away from its video game origins and makes some brave choices, that ultimately payoff! With some great action set pieces and plenty of tantalising story setup, with just a little bit more polish, this military sci-fi actioner shows a lot of potential!

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