Opinion: The ‘Halo’ TV Show Is Twenty Years Too Late

by Frank Martin

It’s a bit of a mixed bag finally getting a Halo show on Paramount+. On the one hand, the video game series is immensely popular and the fan base has been waiting for a blockbuster live action adaptation for years. On the other hand, my own personal relationship with the franchise has left me completely disinterested in the television show. Twenty years ago, I was probably the biggest Halo fanboy there was. I played the game constantly, read all of the tie-in novels, and other media — I even wrote Halo fan fiction! I followed closely with every single bit of news about a Hollywood Halo movie, but it ultimately flaked, and in the decades since I’ve become completely soured on the franchise.

It feels so strange to be so dedicated to a story and now not care about it all. There’s not one specific incident that made me this way. Instead, it was probably a series of managerial decisions and story developments that completely turned me off from all things Halo. To me, Halo was the perfect mixture of gameplay, story, and online community at a time when the concept of social media was barely talked about. I was so immersed into the universe that I was essentially an encyclopedia of lore. Sensing this gold mine of a franchise, Microsoft formed a company whose sole purpose was creating Halo content. It was probably a wise business decision, but in retrospect, it diluted things. 343 Industries was so focused on pumping out content that they forgot what made the franchise so great to begin with.

After the initial trilogy, they started to expand the universe out in different directions. I won’t go into specifics, but the lore drifted away from a lot of the foundations upon which it was built. Certain plot points were retconned, mysteries were left unanswered or ignored, and it seemed as if the games were being pushed out to serve the online community rather than further the mythology. I don’t blame them, though. In an era of Fortnite and Call of Duty, it is difficult to compete with a multiplayer-focused world. But I remember counting down the days until Halo 2 and Halo 3 were released, even going so far as to attending the midnight opening. Now, I’ll be lucky if I even pick up a new Halo game from a discount bin.

Fans haven’t been without Halo content outside of the games, of course. There are dozens of novels, comic books, animated shorts, and even a live-action web series. But a TV show — regardless of how well it’s done — is too little too late for me. They’ve already milked the Halo cow dry. I would have been ecstatic about this thing twenty years ago. Now, I don’t think I’ll be watching it at all.

Halo starts streaming on Paramount+ March 24th.

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