Streaming & TV
HALO | A Sci-Fi, Epic Adventure
Today the 22nd of June is certainly an important date for the UK as the highly-anticipated streaming service Paramount+ finally lands on our shores and with it comes the first three episodes of the newest sci-fi epic and incarnation of 343 Industries and Xbox Game Studios Halo. Heavily based on the first-person shooter video-game series, Paramount + creates an adaptation that takes place in the universe that first came to be in 2001, dramatising an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. Halo will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future.
Before this review, I was lucky enough to see the first three episodes thanks to the Paramount+ team.
War is brewing in the dusty landscape of the planet Madrigal In the year 2552. Halo trusts the audience into a rebellion as a bunch of resistance fighters are at loggerheads with the UNSC (United Nations Space Command) the militaristic branch of Earth’s government, It’s truly a nail-biting and suspenseful opening as the oppositions on Madrigal General Jin-Ha (Jeong-hwan Kong) and his daughter Kwan (Yerin Ha) are prepared to fight the UNSC’S band of marines or otherwise known as the Spartans, they’re manufactured super-soldiers created by Dr Halsey (Natascha McElhone). The UNSC are masters at shaping the public opinion with propaganda and Master Chief, John-177 is the face of it all. However, when the Covenant launches a deadly attack on the planet things get complicated and the Spartans and the people of Madrigal find themselves on the same side. This alien species storm the planet’s outpost and destroy their defences, its action-packed and bloody But when the Master Chief and his squad arrive to aid, they take no prisoners, the series’ first three episodes truly start off with a bang.
This series follows Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) and survivor Kwan Ha on the run after they try and deal with the Covenant threat, whilst at the same time learning more about the strange object that comes into their possession. As the episode progresses Schreiber’s stoic performance shines as the Paramount+ series truly reinvents the character of the Master Chief, he’s a seven-foot super-soldier, cladded in green MJOLNIR armour, and equipped with a trigger finger. Throughout the first three episodes, viewers will get to know John as John also gets to know and discover more about himself, the transition from game to screen required the character to have a much more deeper personality. Aspects of the character have of course already been established through the multiple games and novels but the writers have captured The Spartans in the same vein, they’re used as a symbol for courage, bravery, and for effectiveness, as they’re tactile under extreme circumstances. The Series does tend to deviate from the games in certain ways but makes room for easter eggs and nods to major in-game events, we even get to see some live-action moments that are accurate to the source material. The Halo series ticks both boxes for balancing references to the games and creating some high-quality storytelling.
The Halo franchise also introduces a bunch of original characters including Ha’s Kwan and we get to experience her journey from being caught up in the war between the UNSC. Her character is experiencing all that’s happening for the first time, she acts as the eyes of the audience to this lore-heavy universe. More of the characters including the other Spartans, Riz-028 (Natasha Culzac), Vannak-134 (Bentley Kalu), and Kai-125 (Kate Kennedy) deepen our understanding of Master Chief. It’s a fascinating relationship as John-117 discovers his humanity, which is an impactful theme throughout. Another favourite of the supporting cast is Dr Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone) who’s at the centre of the UNSC deviously working on Reach though what she’s got planned, we’ll just find out, as she begins a new project called Cortana, a new and advanced AI.
The TV series takes place in the so-called Silver Timeline which allows them to forge their own story and not collide with the canon. Paramount+’s Halo was developed by showrunners Kyle Killen and Steven Kane. Otto Bathurst, an Emmy winner for directing multiple episodes of Peaky Blinders, led the first two episodes. However, Kane wrote the entire series.
I absolutely loved the Science-Fiction aspects as Halo is truly packed with adventure, action, aliens and an overall intergalactic narrative.
‘1883’ Spinoff Series ‘Bass Reeves’ Adds Dennis Quaid to Cast
Dennis Quaid (Far from Heaven, The Day After Tomorrow) is the latest star to join the cast of Bass Reeves, a new drama series coming from Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone, Tulsa King) and Paramount+, according to Deadline. Bass Reeves was announced as a spinoff to the Yellowstone prequel, 1883 back in May 2022 with David Oyelowo (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time) attached to star as the legendary lawman.
Bass Reeves will follow Oyelowo as someone who is known to many as “the greatest frontier hero” in American history in his own series on Paramount+. The streamer already houses so many Sheridan-fronted programs, most recently, Mayor of Kingstown starring Jeremy Renner returned for its second season while CIA drama, Lioness added to its cast with Nicole Kidman and Morgan Freeman. Some believe that Reeves served inspiration to “The Lone Ranger” having worked as a peace officer for Indian territory capturing over 3,000 criminals on that land. Quaid will play Sherrill Lynn, a Deputy U.S. Marshall within the show.
Quaid most recently voiced the character Jaeger Clade in Disney’s animated feature Strange World which is currently available to stream on Disney+. He’ll also star in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming HBO Max series Full Circle alongside Zazie Beetz, Claire Danes and Emmy-winner Jharrel Jerome.
Anthony Hopkins to Lead Peacock Gladiator Drama ‘Those About to Die’
Peacock is one of the streamers that has yet to break through in terms of their original content getting recognized for awards contention. One such series that might change that fate for the streaming service is Those About to Die and it’s starting to build out its cast. According to Variety, 2-time Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, The Father) is the first to join the drama series which comes from Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). Saving Private Ryan screenwriter Robert Rodat will script the series.
Hopkins will play the character known as Emperor Vespasian in the series which is set in the world of gladiatorial battle. It will be an ensemble drama following many different Roman characters that will set forth for violent affairs in the arena among other complexities such as political power and corruption so expect a starry cast for this Peacock drama. Hopkins’ character is described as “despised by the Patricians jockeying for position in the Empire and looking to supplant his heirs to the throne the first chance they get. Vespasian became the Roman emperor after a ten-year civil war. We expect to get more casting news soon as the show will begin filming in Rome in March.
Anthony Hopkins is coming off a terrific performance in James Gray’s Armageddon Time in 2022 after winning his second Academy Award for his role in The Father the year prior. He’ll next voice a character in Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon for Netflix and also will star in British drama One Life alongside Helena Bonham Carter and Jonathan Pryce. Emmerich is coming off directing the sci-fi disaster film, Moonfall in 2022.
Meryl Streep Joins the Cast for Season 3 of Hulu’s ‘Only Murders in the Building
Many were surprised when the Season 2 finale of Hulu comedy, Only Murders in the Building revealed that Paul Rudd would be joining the series for its upcoming season, however, it seems his casting may have just been topped. According to a tweet from the show’s Twitter account, it appears that Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep (Out of Africa, August: Osage County) will join the cast led by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez for Season 3 of Only Murders in the Building.
One can believe that Streep stumbled into the series similar to how she did for Season 2 of HBO’s Big Little Lies. With the latter show, Streep was a fan of the mysterious female-led drama and was written into the sophomore season. You wouldn’t be hard pressed to believe that Streep was probably a fan of the beloved comedy series and might want to join in the hijinks along with friends, Steve Martin and Martin Short. Streep will also appear in the upcoming AppleTV+ anthology series, Extrapolations in March.
The original tweet revealed that the third season of Only Murders in the Building has just begun filming. The show has been nominated for tons of awards thus far and with growing popularity as well as the additions of Streep and Rudd to the cast, anything can happen in the murder mystery program. Season 2 released back in June so we can probably expect Season 3 to begin streaming in Summer 2023.
Jharrel Jerome and Jennifer Lopez to Headline ‘Unstoppable’ for Ben Affleck & Matt Damon’s Production Company
Hot off the great reviews for the upcoming Air Jordan flick, Air, it seems that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are...
Three Things Todd Phillips’ Joker Sequel Can Do To Surpass The First
By now, we all know that Todd Phillips is helming the sequel to the Oscar-winning comic-book adaptation Joker. It was...
Why ‘Return to Oz’ is one of my favorite films now
I have said it once and I’ll say it again. Nothing could match the sheer brilliance of the 1939 Judy...
The Flash | Official Trailer
Barry Allen uses his super speed to change the past, but his attempt to save his family creates a world...
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 | New Trailer
Still reeling from the loss of Gamora, Peter Quill rallies his team to defend the universe and one of their...
James Gunn Has Released His DCU Lineup Today
James Gunn’s DCU lineup has been revealed. Gunn says his new direction for the DCU will be an eight to...
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always | Official Trailer – Netflix
The Rangers come face-to-face with a familiar threat from the past. In the midst of a global crisis, they are...
Once Upon a Time in Ukraine | Official Trailer
What if Taras Shevchenko put down his pen and took a samurai sword into his hands?
WWE 2K23 Review | Acknowledge It
German suplexes and Superman punches and spears, oh my!