Pablo Schreiber, the man behind the helmet on the Halo TV show, is having fun as Master Chief. Now two episodes, the long-awaited Halo show was immediately popular from the get-go, bolstered in part by the free trials of Paramount+ for Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. according to one post on instagram by Schreiber published on Saturday, Halo was “the second hottest piece of entertainment in the US” last week.
It’s a big debut for a show based on a video game, even more so considering the reception for the Halo series hasn’t been stellar. Our review of the first episode calls this a “bad fit, completely.” Variety is a little more hopeful for the series, saying it does an “admirable job” setting up the world. Currently, the show’s Rotten Tomato score is 70%, while user reviews are only 59%. In a celebratory Instagram update thanking fans, Schreiber also addressed Halo’s enemies.
“To all the ‘fans’ rooting for the home team, who hated the show before they saw it and disagreed with what we’re doing, I respect your opinion and I love you too,” Schreiber said. “And I will continue to work hard every day to make this show the best version of itself, to bring attention and respect to this Halo universe that we love.”
As Schreiber suggests, the show’s biggest skeptics are longtime fans of the Halo game who came into the series with expectations of what a Halo TV show should look like. While the first episode’s opening sequence strives to entice fans with a Spartan vs Covenant gunfight complete with Halo 1’s shield sound effects, the show quickly starts doing its own thing with the Halo world and the Chief himself. By the end of the first episode, Schreiber had already taken off Chief’s helmet, a decision that 343 Industries felt the need to justify with a little test.
When it comes to a 20-year-old game series that an entire generation of gamers grew up with (as well as a reasonably popular book series), passions clearly run high. “I grew up playing these games and it disrespects everything that made Halo great,” reads a user review from Rotten Tomatoes.
“Anyone who’s ever played the game will inevitably hate it. It barely looks like Halo except for the name and the fact that the characters have the same names,” says another.
As a Halo fan, I understand the frustration. I doubt I’d like a Halo show that sticks to the games’ no-nonsense storylines from start to finish, but what they’ve used is pretty boring so far, and I’m irrationally annoyed by the whole Chief vibe on the show. In games, he’s a stoic, no-nonsense type of operator, driven by inhuman levels of focus and skill. TV Master Chief is a more talkative and emotional soldier who is wearing the Chief’s helmet (or if episode 2 is any indication, no wearing chief’s helmet).