Paramount+ has been looking for a fresh hit, and now it can claim one with HALO. The series based on the mega-popular Xbox video game franchise debuted to record-breaking numbers and continues the trend with its second episode.
With the two HALO episodes aired so far, the numbers have been really good for Paramount+. However, some fans are not too happy with the alterations, including having Master Chief take off his familiar headgear. Regardless, Paramount+ has decided to release the full first episode for free online.
HALO Paramount+ hits record numbers
Produced by Steven Spielberg, the HALO series had a long development and production history. A television series based on the popular Xbox action shooter was in the works since 2013. That it took nearly 10 years for it to come to fruition is a testament to the challenges it had to work with. Having it birthed on the Paramount+ streaming service instead of a network is one of the major changes the series experienced over the years.
As for Paramount+ itself, the service had been struggling to compete in the growing streaming wars. The biggest players such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and more have their own exclusive IPs. Although Paramount has the Star Trek franchise, it has not leveraged that IP into a big project so far. Since its inception, the streaming service’s most successful shows have been iCarly and the Yellowstone spin-off 1883.
‘Halo’ Sets Premiere Viewership Record For Paramount+ https://t.co/YtoxOmLxHm
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) March 25, 2022
The overwhelming opinion among the Halo faithful at Lexington Comicon is the Halo TV show is a hit! Count me among the believers. Can’t wait for the next episode! @schreiber_pablo @halo @HaloTheSeries @jentaylortown @k_wolfkill @paramountplus #HaloTheSeries #masterchief #cortana pic.twitter.com/thE2Vpkg8c
— Steve Downes (@SteveDownes117) March 29, 2022
That was, until HALO premiered to overwhelming viewer results. It has even surpassed the earlier viewership numbers set by 1883's own premiere episode. Being attached to a video game property with a dedicated and large fanbase may have helped with the marketing, particularly with the franchise experiencing a sort of renaissance thanks to HALO Infinite.
Keep your helmet on
In a statement by Tanya Giles, Paramount’s Chief Programming Officer, the executive expressed gratitude and hinted at the future plans for HALO the series:
Bringing Halo to life as a streaming series has been one of the most rewarding efforts for Paramount+ to date and we could not be more thrilled at the massive fan response to the series' debut. Along with our phenomenal partners at Showtime, 343 Industries and Amblin Television, we cannot wait for fans to experience more of this incredible universe.
Although specific viewer numbers were not revealed, Paramount+ is obviously quite happy with the turnout for HALO’s debut and retaining the high numbers for its second episode.
This is despite some fan backlash that the show has taken liberties with the canon, particularly having the series protagonist Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) uncharacteristically and regularly remove his helmet. The second episode even had the helmet off for most of its running time.
Me when I found out that in the new Halo series, they had Master Chief remove his helmet and face reveal in the first episode with no build up or anything pic.twitter.com/yiNOd6Iext
— Plathanos 🐝🇩🇴 #HIVESZN (@SavinTheBees) March 31, 2022
— Alt-Right Barclay (@BigDickBarclay) April 2, 2022
Master chief could have been anyone under that helmet.
Any face, any race if you wanna go there.
It was up to your imagination.
Now, it’s forever this guy, what a joke. pic.twitter.com/xO00r3pEc4
— YellowFlash (@YellowFlashGuy) March 25, 2022
Although expanded material like novels do have the iconic Spartan John-117 take off his helmet, what he looked like underneath had always been a mystery. Even the video games never clearly showed his face without the helmet.
HALO Episode 1 free on YouTube
To celebrate the success of the HALO series, Paramount Plus has released the first episode for free on its official YouTube channel:
The episode is available in its entirety and in high definition, however, just not for viewers outside the United States. There is no official word on whether this status will change, in order to allow international audiences to see the episode on YouTube.
HALO the series stars Pablo Schreiber as Spartan John-117/Master Chief, Natascha McElhone as Dr. Halsey, Jen Taylor as the A.I. Cortana, Bokeem Woodbine as Soren-066, Shabana Azmi as Admiral Margaret Parangosky, Danny Sapani as Captain Jacob Keyes, Olive Gray as Miranda Keyes, Yerin Ha as Kwan Ha Boo, Bentley Kalu as Vannak-134, Kate Kennedy as Kai-125, Natasha Culzac as Riz-028, and Charlie Murphy as Makee.
HALO the series on Paramount+ airs a new episode every Thursday. Season 1 of the series will run for 9 episodes through May 19, 2022. The second season has already been greenlit and is in the early production stages.