RogerBW's Blog

The Mandalorian season 1 05 January 2020

2019 science fantasy, 8 episodes, Star Wars tie-in. After the fall of the Empire, there's still work for bounty hunters.

Disclaimer: naturally I haven't seen this series, because since I'm not an American subscriber to Disney+ there's no way for me to do so.

The first impression is that there's an awful lot of front-loading of things to remind the viewer that this is Star Wars™ not some other sci-fi show: here's a landspeeder, here's the eyeball on a stick, here are people frozen in carbonite, here's that antenna looking thing with the three vertical bars round it, here's a floating interrogation droid, here's a "high ground" reference, here's the round girder with roughened bits that was in the trash compactor, Jawas, Tusken Raiders, Tattooine, all the rest of it. Almost every time there's a choice about what to show us, it's something we've seen before. It makes the universe feel perversely small.

And at the same time it feels like pandering. Never mind the plot or the acting, here's more stuff with Star Wars printed on the label. You like stuff with Star Wars printed on the label. Slip me your wallet and I'll give you more stuff like that.

And that's probably necessary because, apart from the silly names, it pretty much is just some other sci-fi show. I mean, why would I watch this rather than Killjoys or The Expanse? The acting's OK-ish, the plots are recycled from Westerns and other media that borrowed from Westerns (and, of course, Lone Wolf and Cub), and really "because it's Star Wars" is about the only thing that's true of this show and not of any of the others.

All right, mostly they don't do Force stuff, though it is the universal get-out-of-plot-free card when the writers can't think of an honest way to solve the problem.

Basically it's all nonsense. All the ideas fall apart as soon as you look at them. The only way to watch this is to turn off your brain and go "ooh, I recognise that" every few seconds. It's fine while it's going on, even enjoyable, but the moment it's over it slides out of your mind leaving no trace apart from a vague fuzzy feeling, like mould.

Naturally, the audiences love it. Why wouldn't they? There's nothing here with enough substance to object to; it's the same principle that made American Budweiser popular. Zap zap emote zap boom. Yes, of course there's going to be a second season.

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  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 11:15am on 05 January 2020

    Go on, don't hold back, tell us how you really feel. :-)

    PS: I'm looking forward to seeing it for the reasons you won't. Happy New Year my friend.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 06:50pm on 05 January 2020

    I hope you enjoy it. I hope the things that ruined it for me don't ruin it for you. I believe I can enjoy an old story told well again – I mean, for goodness' sake, I read mysteries and romances – but once I felt I'd seen behind the curtain I couldn't get the sense of mechanised construction out of my head, the impression that everything here had been carefully measured and focus-grouped by the cold dead hand of Disney to provide maximum short-term appeal and no lasting impression at all.

    Happy new year, Ashley, and I hope 2020 has less crap for you in it than 2019 had.

  3. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 09:24pm on 05 January 2020

    Thank you Roger, and back at ya.

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