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Halo's First Episode Set A Record For Paramount+

Humanity's interstellar war with the Covenant just started on the Paramount+ series "Halo," finally bringing the massively popular video game series to life as an original streaming series. The arrival of a live-action "Halo" adaptation has been in the works since the early 2000s, according to Variety, and its first episode, "Contact," did not waste any time.

 The premiere of "Halo" introduces audiences to a space-faring future version of humanity in the 26th-century. The United Nations Space Command is simultaneously fighting human separatists on various planets across the galaxy, as well as the Covenant, an alliance of alien species conducting a genocidal war against humans. "Halo" starts on the planet Madrigal, showing a brutal Covenant attack on a separatist base before Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 (Pablo Schreider). A team of Spartan super-soldiers are dispatched to eliminate the threat. 

Only one person at the base on Madrigal survives — a teenager named Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha), who the Spartans take to UNSC headquarters on the planet Reach. From here, executive producer Kiki Wolfkill's warnings that the "Halo" series would differ from the original games play out near immediately: When Kwan Ha refuses to help, the Master Chief is ordered to execute her, but his encounter with a mysterious Forerunner object found on Madrigal starts to unlock repressed memories, prompting the Spartan to refuse the order, save Kwan Ha's life, and mount an escape from Reach.

Halo is Paramount+'s most-watched original series in its first 24 hours

According to Paramount+, "Halo" broke the streaming service's record for its most-watched original series premiere worldwide, turning the hype for the long-awaited video game adaptation's arrival into a definitive early success for the streamer. In press statements, Paramount+ chief programming officer Tanya Giles called the company's adaptation of the science fiction series "one of the most rewarding efforts for Paramount+ to date," and said they "could not be more thrilled at the massive fan response to the premiere episode, "Contact" (via Rotten Tomatoes).

While "Halo" now seems primed to lead Paramount+'s programming for the rest of its reported nine-episode Season 1 run — not to mention Season 2, which is further along than you think — it's worth noting that record-breaking numbers for streaming services are often not shared publicly. Unless Paramount+ decides to release its viewing metrics, it's unclear exactly how many people have streamed the first episode of "Halo," or how many more people watched the show's premiere compared to other original Paramount+ releases like "Mayor of Kingstown" and "1883." Regardless, Paramount+ has made major waves in the so-called "streaming wars" over the last year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount announced in February 2022 that its streaming service had hit 32.8 million subscribers. In contrast, Variety had previously reported that CBS All-Access, Paramount's previous branding, carried somewhere between eight and nine million subscribers before its relaunch as Paramount+ in early 2021.

"We cannot wait for fans to experience more of [Halo's] incredible universe," Giles said in Paramount+'s statement about the success of "Halo" (via RT).