'Halo' Review: Paramount+ Crafts Strong Adaptation of Iconic Xbox Games

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Halo, one of 2021's most anticipated TV series will hit Paramount+ next week, and fans will not be disappointed. Halo is an original series based on the mega-popular Xbox franchise that launched in 2001, selling over 82 million copies. Like the video game, the Master Chief, Spartan-117 is the main character who takes on an alien race called the Covenant. While there are other characters on the show that are also featured in the game, the Paramount+ version is an original story that will keep fans intrigued. 

Pablo Schreiber (The Wire, Orange Is the New Black) plays Master Chief and unlike the video game, viewers get to see his face. That drew some controversy online, but with this being a TV series and not a first-person shooter game, it makes sense for Master Chief to be unmasked for the sake of the story. Dr. Halsey (Natasha McElhone) is also featured in the series and plays a vital role in the battle with the Covenant and humanity. There's also Cortana, who is voiced by Jen Taylor who also voiced Cortona in the video game series. Cortana isn't featured too much in the first two episodes, but that will change as the season rolls on. 

Schreiber's portrayal of Master Chief is stern, but he shows the right amount of emotion to make viewers root for him. McElhone understands what Dr. Halsey is and what she needs to be in order for Master Chief to be successful, which makes her very likable. Additionally, the overall style of the show is similar to what is seen in video games. With a $200 million budget, the producers of Halo made the world look and feel like a space adventure but not like Star Wars or Star Trek. From the layout of the world to the looks of the Covenants and supersoldiers, Halo is one of the more visually beautiful shows on TV right now.

But the one person that stands out is Kwan Ha Boo played by Yerin Ha. Kwan is an original character for the series and becomes close to Master Chief after being a lone survivor of a community that was attacked by the Covenant.  Ha holds her own as Kwan, as she is able to have more freedom with her character since she's not part of the video games. While Master Chief isn't one to have feelings for anyone, he shows compassion for Kwan and makes sure she stays safe from the Covenant and the United Nations Space Command. 

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(Photo: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+)

That's another interesting thing about the series. With Master Chief being self-aware after an encounter with a certain object, he has a battle with the UNSC who look over the Spartan-II Project. As Master Chief continues to take down the Covenant, he is also discovering where he came from since all he knows is being a supersoldier. 

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Halo has the right amount of action and storytelling to make it one of the top shows so far this year. The fact that the series has already been renewed for Season 2 shows that Paramount+ sees something in the series as well. There will be die-hard Halo fans who will not enjoy the series for various reasons. But this series is not your average video game adaptation, which is a good thing.