Monday, April 15, 2024

I hope that Halo gets renewed on Paramount + for a third season.

I never played the HALO games that were kind of ubiquitous with Microsoft's XBox ever since it was launched a few decades ago (boy that makes me feel a bit old). I remember saving up money for my original XBox and being excited that "Microsoft was going to make a console." Anyway, having not played HALO but being a little familiar with the intellectual property, because I had friends who played, made me very interested in watching the show on Paramount +. 

I thought that the first season was really good science fiction, unraveling a mystery about an object that was genetically connected to two human-like individuals. It also introduced us to a race of brutal space-faring monsters called "The Covenant" who are nothing less than spectacular in their efficiency and strength. It is difficult to find any sympathy at all with the Covenant due to this fact, which I think is the point since the human characters are the ones the story definitely wants you (as a viewer) to feel sympathetic toward. The human characters consistently show empathy, camaraderie, and are thrust into high-stakes situations which look impressive, keep you on the edge of your seat, and pretty much demand that you root for the underdog (the humans). By contrast, the Covenant members we've seen so far just hit really hard and are extremely difficult to kill. They are fast, lethal, and there hasn't been one yet that has shown even a shred of decency and empathy. I think their very name is supposed to conjure fear (and it does do this), because you know that beating them is almost impossible.

Amidst all of this are the Spartans, who are genetically enhanced superhumans wearing armor that takes them from an "already mythical" status and raises them to the level of a demigod among normal humans. They are Nietzsche's √úbermensch, who by merely existing to make war on the Covenant, give all humanity a profound meaning for their existence in a fight against a common foe. Watching the Spartans engage the Covenant on screen is as incredible as it was watching Jedi's fight with lightsabers when I was a little kid, or like watching superheroes punch each other in any kind of Zach Snyder fight scene. They just come across as so strong. But the writers of the material know that they can't have too many of these Spartans around or then the Covenant doesn't seem nearly as threatening. So they know to keep the numbers low on these specialized forces so that only a few of them can exist at a time, and thus humanity is consistently on the defensive against the creatures that the Covenant uses against them.

I definitely understand the appeal. I guess that in the game version of HALO, you never get to see Chief's face. This is what we call a "character sleeve" in fiction. It allows the player to insert themselves into the story. It does a neat little trick by allowing the player to envision themselves as having all the power of this superhuman at their fingertips. And all the killing that's done on screen doesn't matter because the Covenant "had it coming" due to their no mercy tactics and lack of any version of human empathy or pity for the weak.

I actually love that they decided to remove the helmet for this adaptation of HALO (which hasn't been popular with the video gamers who are watching the show) mostly because I wanted to relate to the character of the Master Chief, and I wanted to see just how human he is. Those are the kinds of characters I can sink my brain into, and in this aspect, the Master Chief is an excellent protagonist. Yeah he's as strong as ten silverback gorillas put together. But he also is really astute, has empathy, good judgment, and good character. In many situations, he might be considered a Mary Sue. However, he falls short of this in that the writers do have him get beat up and smacked around a lot to remind us that he isn't invulnerable and that he isn't a deus ex machina.

The second season is much stronger than the first. I was entertained in every single episode, and I looked forward to the next, and I hope that it gets renewed for a season 3. Supposedly, it is getting a lot of views on Paramount +, so the chances are good that it will be renewed (but streaming is also rather weird when it comes to what gets canceled and what gets renewed). Have any of you bothered to check it out on Paramount +? If so, what did you think?


  1. I don't have Paramount+ right now but maybe once Discovery is done I'll do a month to watch that and Halo and maybe the rest of Lawmen that I saw the first couple of episodes on CBS and was pretty decent.

  2. It just seemed like a fighting show to me, and I'm not that into fighting shows. I'm glad you enjoyed it.