Why the World Doesn’t Need Steven Spielberg’s “Halo” TV Show

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Microsoft)

Steven Spielberg is making a TV show based on the popular “Halo” video games.

Well, sort of. While Spielberg has long been connected to this project, it should be noted that he’s very busy, so probably won’t be personally hugely involved with the show.

It’s also worth noting that this was announced as early as 2013, and nothing has happened yet. It’s entirely possible that we’ll never actually see this television series.

In spite of the lengthy delays, Showtime president Gary Levine still insists that the show is forthcoming. Speaking recently on the matter, he said:

“It’s still live action, and it will definitely satisfy the fans of Halo and I think also satisfy the drama audiences of Showtime.”

Good luck with that, Gary.

It’s hard to imagine a “Halo” television series really working all that well. The video game series is filled with a lot of big, beautiful setpiece battles that will be hard to recreate in any live action scenario, let alone on television, where small budgets can often hamper this kind of thing.

Imagine scenes like those present in the most recent season of “Game of Thrones”, but with space aliens, giant mechs, and big, expensive armor suits. Nobody can get away with wearing an Ikea rug in this show!

The alternative is that the show focuses on a small, quiet area of the “Halo” universe, in a way that keeps the characters away from anything that’ll be too difficult or expensive to create in live action. If this is the case, what’s the point of making the show?

But all of it’ll be worth it for that sweet, rich “Halo” lore, right?

Master Chief
Source: Microsoft

Except, of course, that the “Halo” franchise is actually pretty bereft of a detailed story. Ardent fans will probably disagree, but this isn’t exactly “Mass Effect”; most “Halo” games boil down to a quick, easy reason for a character in a suit of armor to shoot holes in aliens.

There’s not a lot of meat to hang a series on, and even if Spielberg’s team actually manage to come up with a compelling excuse for the show, it’s hard to imagine that watching a TV budget sci-fi series will be more fun than just playing “Halo”.

This feels eerily similar to “Quantum Break”, a game for the Xbox One and PC that alternates between sections of big budget video game adventure, and low-budget TV drama. The TV sections of the experience are live-action, and are also lackluster and dull.

Quantum Break
Source: Microsoft

While we have yet to see a solid movie adaptation of a video game, the answer to this conundrum probably isn’t to make a TV show out of one of the most visually ambitious science fiction gaming worlds.

“Hitman” would work as a television series. So would “Tomb Raider”, at a pinch, or maybe “Life is Strange”. Heck, “Sonic the Hedgehog” works arguably better as a cartoon series rather than as a video game most of the time.

“Halo” isn’t really cut out for television, and it’s likely that someone involved in this show’s creation is well aware of this uncomfortable truth.

There’s a reason why this project hasn’t already been fast-tracked onto television, and it’s probably because everyone involved is aware of how much the finished project would suck.

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