“Solidly fine” seems apt to me, at this point. “CW-level subcontracted folks” and “Syfy show from the 2010s with a much larger budget” might not be fair, and could mean a lot of things. I mean, it had a rough start and many of the secondary plots and characters are still pretty bad, I’ll agree, but IMO Schreiber, McElhone, Kennedy, and Murphy seem to be putting a lot of effort in, and though I think the writing could be better I’m still pretty interested in seeing where their stories go from here.
Speaking as someone who watches a lot of crap. My low bar hasn’t affected my judgement that much, I hope. Oh and I know almost nothing about Halo outside of this show.
I am pleasantly surprised by the show. I mean, its not The Expanse but its also not ST: Picard either. Its decent, especially for a game based work.
I don’t feel a need to qualify the series with “it’s no (insert sci fi classic here) but …” I think it’s a pretty interesting show, and I think they’ve done a good job threading the needle with established lore and telling their own story. It’s clear they’ve done their homework:
They got the Spartans right. They’re nearly unstoppable walking tanks, and putting them on the battlefield can pretty much turn the tide. They got the look and feel right, with the armor and weapons. They’re doing their own thing with the emotion-suppressing pellets, but it makes sense for the story they’re telling. Also, Kai is the coolest!
They got the Covenant right. Sure, we don’t know a lot about their society or their motivations beyond “I want the glowy thing” but we can gather that there are groups or castes with a religious leadership, we’ve seen glimpses of brutes and hunters (they even worked in the detail that hunters are basically a walking colony of worms, which the games mention but don’t really show).
They got Cortana right. She is fairly unchanged from her video game persona so far, except for the stated purpose of her creation. And I think it was a great call getting Jen Taylor to play her in the show. It’s a nice bit of casual continuity.
I’m not saying things are perfect. I don’t think anyone is wild about Kwan or her storyline, though I don’t dislike her as much as a lot of you and at least they stuck her with Soren, who is fun to watch. And it’s much as I like Covenant in detail I don’t really feel that they’ve done a great job oreeenting them as an existential threat to humanity - in the games, humanity is in the verge of being wiped out but you don’t get that feel from the show, it seems more like an evenly matched war. But I feel like the latest episode is clueing us in on where things are headed. I’ll say no more about that, though even if you’ve only played the first game you probably have an idea.
Anyway, I like watching it. I totally get that some folks don’t. No big deal.
They do show a colony being glassed. Given how much of the show has been set on Reach, I think it’s safe to say we’re just not at the point the games begin at.
Re: Kwan Ha - I don’t hate her and the actress is doing fine. I’m just really not sure what the point of her is. Like, in the first episode, she demonstrates that the UNSC are seen as tyrannical oppressors by many of the colonies and that the Spartans are the scariest tool in the UNSC’s toolbox. That’s cool and useful. The Elites cutting through their militia like butter, her getting rescued by Master Chief, the friction they have…that all serves a purpose. And then she’s not with Chief anymore and…why are we still following her? They haven’t given any good reason. And man, why the hell are we doing the vision quest thing in a fucking Halo show?
Yeah, this is before all that. My assumption is that your spoiler will be the climax of the season.
No, my spoiler has been onscreen.
Yes, I was talking about a different planet. I’m trying to keep it vague in case anyone cares.
I get that, but I said a good reason. There’s no need to bring any of that to the story. (And frankly, a whole lot of time was spent with her in ways that didn’t even contribute to that.)
So, uh, despite a number of flaws this turned out to be good, IMO. Too much REBEL TEEN, too little Video Game Blastaction (but what they did have was quite good), but much better than expected writing, performances, and sci-fi content. This turned out to be a fairly solid sci-fi show IMO. Pablo Schreiber was excellent, Kate Kennedy is a rising talent IMO, Natasha McElhone was deliciously villainous, and Charlie Murphy was quite solid in her role. The other two Spartan actors did a good job of conveying the mass, speed and kinetic impact of super-soldiers.
It wasn’t perfect by any means but I would give the season a slightly dented 8 on the true 1-10 scale, but with pretty high marks for the last two episodes.
Given that my expectations were low, a pleasant surprise.
I agree with every aspect of your review, up to and including your initial expectations.
this morning i watch star Trek new worlds and then this! Which is also a reflection of my favorite shows this year.
Well, I gotta be honest, I felt like the season ender was a bit of a letdown. Not sure what exactly I was expecting - well ok, yes I do, but I won’t go into that right now - but this felt like going out more with a whimper than a bang, big ol’ firefight notwithstanding. For one thing, I don’t really feel like much was resolved. Yeah, we lost a couple of ancillary characters, but all we’ve done is change ownership of the macguffins a couple of times. No real climactic discovery, not all that much has really changed. And no, I’m not counting that lame cliffhanger, if that’s even what it’s intended to be. Does anyone think Master Chief might even possibly be gone?
Still, as president of the Kai fan club, I always love when she gets a chance to shine. I still think the show overall is decent, and I certainly don’t regret watching this season. It’s way better than I expected. But I guess I felt like this was leading to something and I don’t really feel like it did. Here’s hoping next season is even better.
I don’t know the Halo storyline from Adam, but boy did I enjoy this. I could have done without the side story (that went nowhere?) of the woman that wanted to start a one-woman revolution, but I did enjoy that story towards the end as well. IGN gave the season a 7, but I’d go closer to an 8, or even an 8.5. What a great finale.
I’m a fairly casual Halo fan… I finished Halo 3, Reach, maybe ODST (can’t remember), and Infinite. Played them all because I used to work for MS, but those were the only ones to engage me enough to finish. Definitely wasn’t going to slog through the Flood.
As someone who’s familiar with the lore, but not overly invested in it, I found the show entertaining. The fan service combat scenes were amazing. The Covenant felt right, and so did the Spartans.
Agreed the Kwan stuff didn’t work. The actress was great, she just had shitty material to work with.
But otherwise? For a video game adaptation? Pretty freaking impressive.
On the second to last episode here. All the shooty bits are great if you’ve played the games but the actual halo plot seems kinda weak.
Was there any reason in the game why halos are rings in any case? They’re not Dyson-type rings right? Did they act as wormhole gates or something?
I think my favourite character is the silver team woman who is determined not to be an NPC. If 117 can remove his inhibitor doohickey, so can I!
Yeah, that’s Kai - she has a bunch of the best moments of the season, including one in the finale that I won’t ruin for you. Still think she’d make a better protagonist than Master Chief.
I have never played, nor have any interest in, the Halo games. (Mass Effect was more than enough space opera RPG shooter for me.) So when I saw this series on Paramount+, it wasn’t on the top of my list. But a friend recommended it, and I thought I might as well give it a try. And I was pleasantly surprised - it’s pretty good!
You have to be in the mood for space opera, of course - don’t mistake this for hard sci-fi, or expect gritty wartime realism. But within that constraint, the writers did a good job keeping things interesting on both the plot and character fronts, and the actors largely give solid performances. I can attest that there’s no need to know any of the game lore to keep up with what’s going on. It’s not perfect - the whole Kwan subplot was meh, and there could definitely have been more Kai - but it’s a solid effort.
After the 9 episodes of the season, I was still interested in seeing more, which is pretty high praise in this world of the streaming content firehose. If they decide to do more, I hope they keep the same creative team, because they did excellent work this time around.
That’s a pretty good take on it. They definitely dropped some easter eggs for the game fans but the series is easily followed without any in game knowledge. Its not a groundbreaking show for sure but its pretty good for a game adaptation. And yes Kai turned out to be the MVP of the show. More Kai and less Kwan would be a good thing.
Frankly we have had it pretty good on the space opera front lately. The Expanse was excellent, Halo was pretty good and Lost In Space on Netflix was far better than I expected it to be. Even Foundation was a decent show if you understood that it was not Isaac Asimov’s Foundation.