Video game adaptations are a notoriously tricky thing to pull off, and most of the time, fans are left angry and disgruntled at the outcome. Fortunately, not all of them are bad. There are some good adaptations out there that strike the perfect balance between adapting the source material and also carving a new path for themselves. This is exactly what Halo manages to do incredibly well.
Halo does a lot with its first episode. It quickly establishes the war between the Covenant and the UNSC in a great cold open. As expected, the Covenant are in brutal form as well. The introduction of Master Chief and Silver Team tells us that the Spartans are seen as almost mythic by the Colonies, especially the opening planet of Madrigal.
“Halo has some iconic elements that you can expect to see in any form of media.”
The show takes an interesting angle by outlining that neither side is completely good. Obviously, the Covenant will always be an antagonistic force, but the UNSC isn’t a shining beacon either. Willing to kill the human character, Kwan, and then Master Chief himself, the UNSC do have a certain ruthlessness to them that will definitely be explored further in the series.
Halo has some iconic elements that you can expect to see in any form of media. This includes the iconic Covenant enemy, the beautifully-designed weapons, and the classic Mjolnir Powered Assault Armour. Luckily, everything looks absolutely amazing in the first episode.
The CGI is usually a major talking point in any video game adaptation. While there were a few noticeable moments, most of the imagery looks fantastic. All of the fight scenes between the Spartans and the Covenant look great, and seeing the Energy Sword in action made me feel like a kid playing Combat Evolved for the very first time.
The casting is obviously one of the biggest issues many would have with the series. Steve Downes has lent his iconic voice to the video game series for over 20 years, and he doesn’t feature as Master Chief in the Halo TV series. Instead, Pablo Schreiber fills the incredibly large boots, and after the first episode, he seems pretty fit for the role. Although, there are some significant changes between Master Chief in the game verse the TV show.
In the games, Master Chief becomes more human-like after spending increasing time with Cortana. However, in the show, this already feels apparent before they even meet. The introduction of Kwan Ha, a 16-year-old who meets Master Chief on planet Madrigal, feels like the show’s equivalent to the Mandalorian/Baby Yoda relationship. Whether it decides to go down that route or not.
There is also the elephant in the room or in this case, helmet. Throughout the Halo series, one of the most recognisable aspects of Master Chief is his Mjolnir armour and, in particular, his helmet. It’s a well-established fact that we never see his face. However, in the first episode of the series, the iconic helmet is removed and we get to see the actor behind the character. This plays into the story by gaining Kwan’s trust, but it definitely caught me, and a lot of others, by surprise.
Most video game TV shows aren’t complete adaptations, and neither should they be. As much as fans wouldn’t want to admit it, they would be bored quickly if they knew exactly what was happening next. Luckily, the show has decided to set the story in an alternate timeline called the “Silver Timeline”. Therefore, the show might steal ideas from the games, but it won’t be the same.
The Silver Timeline already changes a lot of moments in just the first episode, making it hard to predict where the series will take the franchise. Reach appears in the series, so we could possibly see the Fall of Reach at some point during the show. But, the possibilities are endless.
The first episode of Halo: The Series provides a great introduction to the world for fans of the games. It has great CGI, iconic elements and strong lead performances. Fans of the games might be a little annoyed at some of the events that unfolded, but it's important to differentiate the show from the games.