Halo TV premiere broke Paramount+ viewer record

Cortana in the Halo TV series
(Image credit: Paramount)

The Halo TV series debuted on Paramount+ on March 24, and apparently the first episode attracted even more viewers than the premiere of 1883, the prequel spin-off of current viral darling Yellowstone. Of course, like every streaming service Paramount+ doesn't like to give out viewer numbers, but it's bigger than you might expect. As of Viacom's February 15 earnings report, it's got 32.8 million subscribers

That's mainly thanks to exclusive Star Trek shows like Discovery, as well as iCarly and a lot of kid's programming that makes it appealing to parents who appreciate the calming effect of a Peppa Pig marathon.

Paramount+ is also currently included as part of Game Pass Ultimate in a deal to promote the Halo TV show, and that's a canny way of bringing in the viewers. Whether those subscribers hang around after the end of their 30-day trial remains to be seen. 

The first episode has been divisive—especially thanks to its decision to show Master Chief's face, and to establish a timeline separate from that of the games. Our own Nat Clayton watched the first episode and wasn't sure who this show and its new canon were for, observing that the Halo TV series has absolutely no vibes

As Nat wrote, "in moving to television, Halo has to reckon with its gaminess in a way The Witcher or even Castlevania never had to. It has to be about Master Chief (he's the guy, after all), but Master Chief is a videogame superhero who says little and punches hard. He doesn't get in the way of the FPS spectacle, but that also means his personality begins and ends with a suit of armour."

Halo stars Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief, Natascha McElhone as Dr. Halsey, and Jen Taylor as Cortana. New episodes will be shown on Paramount+ every week.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.