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Halo: Master Chief or Master Cheeks?

Halo, the Paramount+ TV series based on the massively popular titular franchise has finally ended its season one run. Despite featuring great performances and establishing world-building lore, the series fails to deliver a well-paced story.

Halo, the TV series is nothing like the franchise that fans have grown to love over the last 20 years. The main character of the series, John-117 also known as Master Chief is one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable characters in the gaming industry. 

The show shines in the visual department, especially when it comes to the battle sequences. Watching Master Chief and the Silver Team take on a bunch of Jackals and Grunts from the Covenant was visually delightful. In addition, the quick camera shots which showed the battle from the eyes of Master Chief were a well-done throwback to the game that defined the First Person Shooter genre as we know it today. 

Pablo Schreiber who portrays the iconic Master Chief was a good choice as he has the gravitas of a natural leader. However, the creative decision to see Master Chief without his helmet and armour for a majority of the series was completely unnecessary. 

Natascha McElhone who plays Dr Halsey was quite similar to her counterpart in the games. The series slowly and subtly transforms Halsey from a caring mother figure to John to a mad scientist willing to go to any lengths for the greater good. 

Kwan Ha played by Yerin Ha was an interesting character during her initial interactions with the Chief. However, letting her off on her own storyline that barely connects with the main events of the show was a letdown. The show spent a significant portion of time building her character arc but the payoff felt rushed and disappointing.

Kate Kennedy as Spartan soldier Kai-125 is one of the more admirable parts of the series and steals the show from Master Chief. Cortana, voiced by Jen Taylor (the voice of Cortana in the games) is probably the only thing that reminded fans that this was a Halo show and not just another sci-fi series. 

Image: Paramount Pictures

While the creators mentioned that the Halo TV series will be different from Bungie’s and 343 Industures’ Halo, it’s fair to say that no one expected changes to such a degree. 

The show is filled with moments where characters make baffling choices that allow for plenty of eye-rolling moments. Not to mention that the series changed up the lore of Halo drastically. Changing the source material with almost every passing episode (and not in a good way!) was a mistake that fans haven’t taken lightly. 

The Halo TV series has so far been moving at a snail’s pace and by the end of the first season, we still haven’t seen the actual Halo ring yet. Not to mention the series hasn’t explored the Fall of Reach either. 

halo tv series
Image: Paramount Pictures

Then there is also the infamous episode where fans of Master Chief get to see his Master Cheeks. And let’s not dwell on the events of episode 8 as they were excruciatingly uncomfortable to watch and unnecessary addition to the series.   

Despite its flaws and criticisms from long time Halo fans, we will be getting a second season of the show. The series was greenlighted for a second season even before the first episode aired – which was influenced by the massive popularity of the franchise. As absurd as it sounds, the Halo has become the biggest series on Paramount+ in terms of viewership. 

The Halo TV series is far from a perfect adaptation of the franchise, but it still has a few elements which if used correctly, can steer the story in the right direction in season 2.