Developed By: Kyle Killen & Steven Kane
Starring: Pablo Schreiber, Natascha McElhone, Yerin Ha, Kate Kennedy, Olive Gray, Shabana Azmi, Natasha Culzac, Bentley Kalu, Charlie Murphy, Danny Sapani, Jen Taylor, Bokeem Woodbine
Certificate: NR Running Time: 40-59 Minutes per Episode (approx), 9 Episodes
There are some films/shows that I follow the development of and eagerly await right from them getting greenlit all the way up to their release, especially examples of the sci-fi genre. Halo was not one of these. I ultra-know about the games, of course - I've even played one of them a little (the first one for the original Xbox, as detailed here) - but the show? I didn't even know there was one until it had already been out for a while, and when I did find out, I wasn't super excited since videogame adaptations generally suck donkey balls anyway, and any residual excitement I might have had for the show was quickly tempered by the almost-unanimously negative reactions it had earned online. These things happen often I suppose, especially to things with existing 'fandoms', but it still wasn't a good sign.
When I more recently looked into why it had prompted such fury, however, I found that most of it was down to deviations from the 'lore' of the game series (and some novels too, apparently). Since I know bugger all about the series and its lore other than it featuring a guy in cool armour called 'Master Chief' who shoots a lot of people and/or things, these deviations will mean nothing to me and will have no effect on my enjoyment of the show, or indeed possible lack thereof. So... I'll watch it!
|John and Kwan arrive at the Rubble...
The other Spartans are Kai-125 (Kennedy), Vannak-134 (Kalu) and Riz-028 (Culzac), and like all Spartans they were recruited as children, given extensive and invasive physical augmentations giving them increased strength and durability and all that Captain America stuff (probably), and have also been implanted with capsules that suppress their hormones and emotions as well as their memories of their lives before they were Spartans. They numbers are few but they are humanity's best hope.
|Cortana (left) and her creator, Dr Halsey...
This human, known as Makee (Murphy), was captured by Covenant forces when she was a child specifically for her special abilities and she has lived with them ever since as the 'Blessed One', to be utilised in the event their longtime search for either Keystone component is successful. Unfortunately, they soon learn that the Spartans found the Keystone thingy on Madrigal and resolve to recover it at any cost.
The Covenant monstrosities live inside a giant space mushroom called High Charity while us humans live in various colonies around the galaxy. I believe Earth exists in this universe but most of the time with our species is spent on a colony world called Reach (which is apparently located in the Epsilon Eridani system which, yes, that's right, is the same system in which the Babylon 5 station is located!).
|Can John trust the idiotic Makee?
They are all over six foot and look more than formidable in their very cool-looking armour which, to my inexperienced eyes, seems to be reasonably game-accurate. Speaking of the game, some of the action sequences involving the Spartans here include first-person views of the carnage, which was a nice touch. The action sequences are pretty good too, although some of the CGI isn't great, especially the Covenant oafs who look very CGI-ish. I mean, I know the show is based on games, but it's still a live-action 'original' show on a prime streaming service, and it had a non-tiny budget of $10 million per episode too!
|One of the ridiculous Covenant 'Hierarchs'...
For better or worse, though, I enjoyed Halo much more than I thought I would. There are episodes that are a bit boring, others that are exciting and left me unable to wait for the next. There are definitely aspects that could be improved - perhaps they will be for the forthcoming second season - but there's a decent enough mix of drama and action for my tastes, an intriguing story, and lots of potential for further stories and seasons, and I'd certainly recommend any sci-fi fans who are not hardcore Halo game/book fans to give it a go. If you are a hardcore Halo fan, perhaps you could consider this an exploration of an alternate timeline or something. Either that or continue crying about its inaccuracies on social media while I continue to enjoy it.
RKS Score: 7/10