Pablo Schreiber, the man behind the helmet in the Halo TV show, is having a good time being Master Chief. Now two episodes in, the long-awaited Halo show has been immediately popular out of the gate, bolstered in part by free Paramount+ trials for Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. According to an Instagram post by Schreiber published on Saturday, Halo was "the second most steamed piece of entertainment in the US" last week.
It's a big debut for a show based on a videogame, even more so considering the reception to the Halo series hasn't been stellar. Our episode one review calls it a "poor adaptation, through and through." Variety is a bit more hopeful for the series, saying it does an "admirable job" setting up the world. The show's Rotten Tomato score currently rests at 70% while user reviews are just 59%. In a celebratory Instagram update thanking fans, Schreiber also addressed the Halo haters.
"For all the 'fans' rooting against the home team, who hated the show before they saw it and disagree with what we are doing, I respect your opinion and I love you too," Schreiber said. "And I will keep working my ass off each and every day to make this show the best version of itself, to bring attention and respect to this Halo universe we love."
As Schreiber suggests, the show's biggest skeptics are the longtime Halo game fans who entered the series with expectations of what a Halo TV show should be like. While the first episode's opening sequence goes out of its way to draw in fans with a Spartan vs Covenant shootout complete with Halo 1's shield sound effects, the show quickly starts doing its own thing with the Halo world and Chief himself. By the end of the first episode, Schreiber has already taken off Chief's helmet, a decision that 343 Industries felt the need to justify with a short essay.
When it comes to a 20-year-old game series that an entire generation of gamers grew up with (plus a reasonably popular book series), passions clearly run high. "I grew up playing these games and this disrespects everything that made Halo great," one Rotten Tomatoes user review reads.
"Anyone who has ever played the game will inevitably hate it. It barely even resembles Halo except in name and the fact that the characters have the same names," reads another.
As a Halo liker, I get the frustration. I doubt I'd enjoy a Halo show that adheres to the games' nonsense plots from start to finish, but what they've gone with instead is pretty boring so far, and I am unreasonably annoyed by Chief's whole vibe in the show. In the games, he's a stoic, no-nonsense operator type guided by inhuman levels of focus and skill. TV Master Chief is a more talkative and emotive soldier guy who happens to be wearing Chief's helmet (or if episode 2 is any indication, not wearing Chief's helmet).