TAG24's Take: The Halo series kicks off in a very lowkey way
The epic shooter franchise Halo finally got a live-action big-budget show, but fans and newcomers might be wondering, where's all the action?
Paramount+ and Halo: Infinite developer 343 Industries kicked off the Halo show with a new timeline in the Halo lore, but so far, this is a sci-fi drama that will leave fans wishing for more spice.
The story of Halo is set in the 26th century, where humanity is on the brink of destruction in a war with an alien alliance, The Covenant, but most of the time you don't see much of that conflict.
The introduction does deliver in the action department, with a blistering sequence in an outpost of rebels on the planet Madrigal.
The action pops off with a brutal first contact with the alien alliance, The Covenant, which is on the planet Madrigal to find some ancient sci-fi mumbo-jumbo relic.
The enemy warriors, Elites, slaughter most of the outpost's defenders without taking a scratch.
But then the cavalry arrives, and we get a perfect example of the weird see-saw of visceral and cartoonish action scenes.
Four Spartan supersoldiers drop into the outpost, and proceed to mostly resort to gut punches and pipes for no apparent reason.
Just to be clear, these soldiers are supposedly excellent tactical geniuses, but holster or literally throw away their guns in favor of spin-kicks, smack attacks, and running around in the open with no cover.
But the 10 minutes of action are all that you get in the first episode of a show based on the franchise that is all about guns, explosions, sci-fi space battles, and a desperate fight for survival against overwhelming odds.
Even though the show runners claimed not to have watched, read, or played the source material, some of the actors do enough heavy lifting to keep the show promising.
Natascha McElhone plays the scientist who created the Spartans, Dr. Catherine Halsey, and is the epitome of the character's motto: the ends justify the means.
Pablo Shreiber shines as the Master Chief with gruff mannerisms, dry humor, and tons of military jargon.
Unfortunately, the other characters aren't interesting to watch or listen to, except for some great moments from the Master Chief's walking reminder of humanity, Quan Ah, played by Yerin Ha.
But despite the acting wins and whiffs, the show's first episode really boils down to the oh-so-important political power plays plaguing humanity's armed forces. Military leaders square off with scientists, while the Master Chief starts his personal quest to figure out his troubled past, and whether he has any morals.
Despite the lack of sizzle between most characters, there is some potential here, because the Master Chief and likely some of his fellow Spartans will grapple with questions of humanity, morality, and what price they unwillingly paid to become supersoldiers.
The show's creators seem to think so, too, because 343 Industries already confirmed a second season.
Instead of an epic sci-fi space opera, the Halo show is more of a political drama in space. That isn't necessarily bad, unless watching space boardroom meetings and arguments about protocol aren't your thing.
Cover photo: 343 Industries