What is the Halo TV series all about?

The Halo TV series has generated a lot of excitement among fans of the popular video game franchise. Developed by 343 Industries in collaboration with Showtime, the Halo TV series aims to bring the epic sci-fi universe to life on the small screen. With its rich lore, intense action, and captivating storytelling, Halo has garnered a massive following over the years. In this article, we will delve into what the Halo TV series is all about, its episodes, cast, and its success.

Understanding Halo TV Series

Halo follows “an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. Halo will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future.”

What is Halo on Netflix About?

The Halo TV series is going where no Halo game has gone before. From the premiere, it’s clear that this is not going to be your run-of-the-mill Master Chief vs. the Covenant story. Those evil aliens may appear midway through the opening scene, but they come off less villainous than the humans – specifically the classically heroic UNSC, the military branch of the United Earth Government that Master Chief works for.

The Paramount Plus series has delivered a Halo story that we’ve never seen in the games, and we’re only one episode in. The truth behind one of the most iconic video game characters of all time – his creation and subsequent subjugation – has been brought to light. And, as a result, the Halo TV series is telling a much more important story than any of the games have yet. 

If you’ve played the Halo games, you’re familiar with the UNSC. They are the good guys – or at least, so they seem. Start reading the franchise’s lore books, however, and you’ll discover that the intergalactic military force controls nearly 800 planets, many of which believe the United Earth Government (or UEG) are stripping them of their natural resources. Because of this, these planets want independence. Known as Insurrectionists, these humans are painted by UNSC propaganda as freeloaders who don’t want to contribute to the common cause.

The Halo TV series opens with Insurrectionists on the planet Madrigal, and we quickly learn just how little they think of the UNSC. Violence has clearly broken out between these rebels and the government before, as several people sitting at a card table discuss whether they’ve ever fought a Spartan. Yes, the Spartans – those iconic, armored heroes – were not created to fight the Covenant, but cooked up in a lab by a government-employed scientist to help quell rebellions with violence. For the Insurrectionists, the Spartans are not protectors, they are aggressors.

While this is canon in the Halo games, the series has never really asked us to reckon with the facts, instead painting Master Chief and other Spartans as the shields that defends humanity against alien attacks. But the Halo TV series lets you know from the jump that the Spartans are walking human rights violations. It’s a drastically different tone from the games, and one that has important implications in the wake of the summer of 2020, where protests against police brutality in America were met with increasingly militarized police. That the character we’re supposed to latch onto as an audience is an original creation, Kwan Ha, daughter of an Insurrectionist leader who the UNSC decides to assassinate because of the political threat she poses, says a lot about the tone of the series

Halo, the record-breaking TV series based on the iconic video game featuring Master Chief, is available now in selected countries. Want to see the Steven Spielberg-produced sci-fi epic for free? It’s exclusive to US, Australian and Canadian streaming service Paramount+ (7-day free trial). Travelling abroad? Make sure you know how to watch the Halo TV series on Paramount+ from anywhere in the world.
The Halo TV series takes place in the universe that first came to be in 2001, dramatising an epic 26th century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. The show weaves personal stories with action, adventure and a “richly-imagined” vision of the future for dramatic effect.

Master Chief is played by Pablo Schreiber, better known as Nick Sobotka in The Wire and George ‘Pornstache’ Mendez in Orange Is the New Black; Natascha McElhone plays Dr Catherine Halsey. Other elements from the game – including Thunderhawk and High Charity – also appear in the nine-part TV adaptation. Jen Taylor will continue to play the AI Cortana, as she has throughout the games too.

Reviews of the Halo TV series have been largely positive. Critics have praised it for being “braver than the game” and hailed its “fresh” thinking and character-based action.

How Many Episodes is Halo?

Altogether, there will be nine episodes in the first season of Halo. The series was originally given a 10 episode order, but when director Rupert Wyatt left the series in 2018, it was revealed that the episode count had changed.

The Halo Cast

The Halo TV series boasts an impressive cast of talented actors who will bring the iconic characters to life. One of the notable stars is Pablo Schreiber, who portrays the lead character, Master Chief. Schreiber is known for his roles in shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “American Gods.” Other cast members include Natascha McElhone, Jen Taylor, Bokeem Woodbine, and Shabana Azmi. The talented ensemble is poised to deliver a compelling and immersive portrayal of the beloved characters from the Halo universe.

Pablo Schreiber stars as our armored hero, Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, a genetically engineered super soldier known as a Spartan. Before Halo, Schreiber starred in American Gods and Orange Is the New Black. Acting alongside Master Chief will be his loyal AI buddy Cortana, played by Jen Taylor, who also portrayed the character in the games, and Yerin Ha’s (Reef Break) Kwan. An Insurrectionist teenager from the outer colony planet of Madrigal, Kwan becomes instrumental to Master Chief’s journey.

But Cortana and Officer John aren’t the only familiar faces. Natascha McElhone (The Truman Show) plays Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey, the UNSC scientist leading the Spartan-II project. Olive Gray (Half Moon Investigations) plays Dr. Halsey’s officer daughter Miranda Keyes. And what would a new adaptation be without new characters? Bokeem Woodbine (Fargo, Spider-Man: Homecoming) will play Officer John’s former friend Soren-066, a character that’s been mentioned often in Halo lore but who hasn’t been explored. Finally, rounding out the cast is Charlie Murphy’s (Love/Hate, Peaky Blinders) Makee, a human working for the Covenant Empire who hates her own race.

The Success of the Halo TV Series

The Halo TV show was a hit on Paramount+, becoming the streamer’s second-most-watched original series, despite video game fan backlash.

Despite backlash from fans of the video games, the Halo TV show proved to be a hit on Paramount+ with its viewership. Developed by Kyle Killen and Steven Kane, the series marked the first major adaptation of Bungie and 343 Industries’ video game franchise after Steven Spielberg’s Amblin tried and failed to bring it to life on the big screen. Halo centers on supersoldier Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 as he leads a war against the theocratic-military alliance known as the Covenant, who seek to wipe out the human race and are searching for the titular world.

Pablo Schreiber led the cast of Halo as Master Chief alongside Jen Taylor reprising her role as Cortana from the games, Shabana Azmi, Natasha Culzac, Olive Gray, Yerin Ha, Bentley Kalu, Kate Kennedy, Charlie Murphy, Danny Sapani, Bokeem Woodbine and Natascha McElhone. Having premiered on Paramount+ in March, the series scored generally mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, with positive reception directed towards its action sequences, cast and visual effects, while negative responses were aimed at its derivative writing and changes from the source material. Halo also drew a lot of ire from fans of the video games, though this apparently didn’t keep it from becoming a major success.

Halo TV show was a major hit for Paramount+. The series adaptation proved to be the second-most-watched original show for the streaming platform behind the Yellowstone prequel series 1883. The report also indicates that the Halo show led to an uptick in new subscriptions following its late March premiere on Paramount+.

Rating: 7/10

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Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.

Email Adam@MarkMeets.com

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