By Michael Hlopko
The new Halo series streaming on Paramount Plus is a perfect representation of the many problems that TV or movie adaptations have when they’re sourced from games. While my stance on the show could be considered slanted due in part to growing up with video games, there are numerous reasons why I feel like the mistakes this show made are part of a long-running series of problems.
Upon the Halo show’s first episode airing March 24, the majority audience that were drawn to the show due to its namesake game series were mostly disappointed by what they were given. Without providing spoilers, the Halo TV series utilizes plenty from the source material for its story, but uses them in ways that are completely divorced from what anyone would expect from anything titled “Halo.” While this could easily be dismissed as someone not liking how the show has gone so far based on personal preference, the showrunner himself, Steven Kane, admits that the show was written while ignoring the games in their entirety.
“We didn’t look at the game. We didn’t talk about the game. We talked about the characters and the world. So I never felt limited by it being a game,” he said.
This, in itself, is where many of the problems that so many viewers had with the show. While they utilize characters and locations from the games, that’s ultimately as far as the loyalty to the source material goes. The characters from the games are designed well for the most part, but they behave in ways that are completely divorced from the source material. While viewing the show for the first time, I had to remind myself numerous times that this show was based on the video game series, because I felt such a massive disconnect from the show.
While the show has since been renewed for a second season, I struggle to understand exactly who this show is directed towards as a target audience. From what I saw, most fans of the game series will be put off by it, which to me seems like a strange approach to a show like this. Would it not have made more sense to create something that fans of the games would enjoy, given that the “Halo” title would draw in far more of them than those unfamiliar with it?
Overall, I have a suspicion that the Halo show, despite how ambitious and successful it could have been with fans, was not created with the fans in mind. With the overwhelming success of shows like The Mandalorian on Disney Plus, I feel like Paramount decided they needed a sci-fi oriented show to compete with, and the Halo show was the result. Despite the show’s utilization of characters, designs and other aspects from the games, the Halo tv series is only “Halo” in its name.