We know, we know, Halo fans: the idea of a Halo movie has had plenty of false, fraught starts, with Peter Jackson, Neill Blomkamp, et al., failing to deliver. But after watching the second installment now of the new Halo 4 web series, it's hard not to hanker for more of this universe—whether that's a feature-length film or a full-fledged series.

The third installment of the Halo 4 web series comes out tomorrow (on Machinima's YouTube channel and Halo Waypoint)—and for what's basically an extended commercial for a video game, this series is surprisingly... competent. And even better: it's good. Especially the second episode.

This is the most money that Microsoft has ever spent on live action and it shows, with BSG-level production values and vibe, and a small-bore story from some workmen TV writers (a duo that worked on Smallville and Spartacus, after climbing the ladder on shows like Entourage and Carnivàle).

We're crossing our fingers it doesn't descend into weird Master Chief hagiography (John-117 will apparently make an appearance), but so far so good. Worth checking out, SF fans—or sci-fi, or SyFy, or whatever the hell it's called now. (Wow, first Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and now this. Is web-only video getting better before our eyes?)

The Stranger Testing Department is Rob Lightner and Paul Hughes.