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Andor

Totenkindly

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Okay, here we go.

There are numerous franchise shows that were released in the last year or two, a few I was interested in but seem to be mediocre (She-Hulk) or really not great (Rings of Power), and even a few I was negging on before release and never asked to be made.

Two of the latter ended up being the best offerings I've seen from the franchises recently -- surprisingly decent.

One is "House of the Dragon" (which still annoys me that it's good, because I really feel like GoT went down the gutter and HBO didn't deserve another chance).

The other is this show, Andor. I am still hesitant to give it a gold star, because I've only watched the opener and will probably watch the other two episodes this weekend. But it's actually very different than much of the Disney crap. Again, I feel resentful to have to say Disney made something good because they don't really deserve it (and they apparently dragged their heels on this one before giving it to Gilroy!), but... it is what it is.

I think in part it's because they actually hired a decent showrunner and writer, writer/director Tony Gilroy. And I looked at the scripting for the rest of Season 1 (brother Dan Gilroy, Stephen Schiff, and Beau Willimon -- yes the guy responsible for any GOOD parts of House of Cards on Netflix). Just looking at the writer credentials lets you know this is a very different show in terms of approach, these are not fantasy/SW focused writers but people who make decent real-life dramas with action/thriller components. It's actually falling into line more with the storylines from SWTOR game that were not jedi/sith related (like the spy storyline).

Here's a decent interview with Gilroy about his approach to the series:

He ensured that people didn't approach this necessarily as "STAR WARS" because he noticed when they did that they were changing their style, and this isn't why he brought them on board; he wanted something grounded. The pilot episode definitely shows it. It gets the good elements of Rogue One (which he worked on as well), the characters feel real, they're doing sensible things, and have their own motivations. It's not about the stylistic elements of Star Wars, it's actually trying to tell a story and/or establishing/following character arcs. And so far it's about regular people.

It becomes really obvious just after the first two scenes -- Cassian dealing with the two establishment guys, plus the frustrated establishment guy with aspirations whose bored supervisor is essentially telling him to handle it differently before he leaves for a bit. That scene is so great, the boss is played by the same guy who played Royce (from the Vale) in GoT, and it's just so deftly written and acted. I was grinning by the end of it.

Basically, this is Star Wars aimed for an adult pallet, not dumbed down, painted up, or treated illogically for the sake of kids. Like, they actually are trying to make a real show.

Hence, even though the first episode was more about establishing characters and what the arcs might be, I am pleased so far and willing to keep watching even though I never wanted an Andor show and it's kind of "eh" on some level because I already know the end of Cassian's story.
 

yeghor

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What a coincidence, I also made a post about it earlier today in another thread.

The first 3 episodes are out and the cinematography and acting seem alright so far. Somethings I didn't like:



It doesn't feel cringe so far though.
 

Totenkindly

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Considering all the crap they've shoveled out lately, it definitely feels like an outlier in a good way despite any particular dubious elements. Like, actually using established creators on it instead of the farm teams.
 

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I am on board with Andor so far. I love that there are so many real sets rather than CGI virtual sets. They writers don't feel the need to explain everything. The actors are good. So much better than Obi-Wan or Book of Boba, or the Marvel stuff.
 

Totenkindly

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I saw some rotten article this morning about how terrible a show Andor was because it broke Lucas' rule about making sure Star Wars was always kid-inclusive, as its main criticism. I can't find it now, it was a facebook feed article from some internet rag. They couldn't even use proper grammar, so I'm not even sure how legitimate it was. I just laughed and stopped reading.
 

Totenkindly

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The point is, these "police" are corporate rent-a-cop wannabe stormtroopers who act like tough shit but are ultimately weak and pathetic. So all of these "tactical" mistakes make perfect sense.
Just watched Episode #2... yup. I was alternating between laughing and groaning at the zealous sub who brought in the squad and the lackluster "leader" who forced this escapade for the sake of "order" when his boss specifically told him not to. They're all gonna get demoted, if not outright killed.

The squad itself seemed to show different levels of enthusiasm. The one guy really doesn't seem happy to be there.

Basically it was written as a variation of camp, just not with much slapstick.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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1st episode is a little slow and seemed like not much happened, but the 2nd episode is pretty good. Taken as a whole so far it's the kind of thing I want from these shows. I want things set in this world. That doesn't mean I constantly need people and things from the films constantly flitting in to give me member berries.
 

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I watched the 4th episode tonight. I enjoyed it. The characters all seemed to be real and carry their back stories without the need to over explain things.

The show is so much better than Obi-Wan or Boba. The writing is good. It is a show set in the Star Wars universe more than a Star Wars show.
 

Totenkindly

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Caught up with episodes 3 & 4 this morning. Still really enjoying it. It actually is put together well (well-written, acted, and envisioned).

I like how they tie in Cassian's origin story as a kid with his origin of joining the broader cause here (those are two other influential crux points in his life besides the ending AKA Rogue One), and how they all rather mirror each other. I can see how this person might have ended up making the decisions he did. I like how it ties into his mother figure as well, and friends. I actually felt moved when they were overlapping those sequences, partly because it was tying into what Cassian helped achieve in Rogue One and yet here we see there were other people who contributed in Cassian being positioned to play the role he did -- that victory was the culmination of the work and aspirations of many other people who also gave so much. It is making Rogue One seeming bigger to me.

I love the contrast between the well-oiled but harsh/strict machinery of the Empire vs the "Rent-a-Cop" group and the fallout from that little escapade. Their behavior was always meant to be an overzealous expression of incompetence (not a serious police action), and you can totally see it on Karn's face as his expectations of victory spiral into an expression of personal ruin -- he knows he way overextended himself, botched the mission, and now is finished. The squad there wasn't TERRIBLE, but they were outsmarted by two better thinkers and that's it for them. But as soon as we go to the Empire sequences, that organization is kind of terrifying in their severity. I like how Major Partagaz cuts Meero down to size bluntly while also complimenting her for a few different reasons. These characters feel nuanced and complex. Everyone is more competent and also self-interested and ruthless mainly because that is the workplace culture.

Karlo might have been the worst-written character in the show so far, and he was average -- he seemed rather dumb. Could have been the acting, I wasn't quite clear. Everyone else seems smarter. God rest his soul.

Some more GoT vets in Episode 4 -- The Waif and Qyburn both are now supporting characters. Oh, and Alex Lawther (The End of the F***ing World, The Last Duel, Black Mirror, The Imitation Game, etc) as well.

This is also why you hire a veteran actor like Stellan Skarsgard for a large role in your cast. He's so damn good.

Anyway, I'm never bored watching this show so far. It's interesting and the episodes never feel padded.
 
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Totenkindly

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Episode 6 -- "The Eye" --

Yup, that's what I'm talkin' about! An actual heist film that relies on tension for much of the episode, and manages to cut back and forth in a way that just heightens the anxiety. Eventually there will be a firefight, but the episode doesn't rely on it as the main action. There's so much tension building, skillfully done -- who thought just watch tie fighters getting loaded up on their cables would be so agonizing?

The plotting is also so beautiful, nothing big necessarily goes wrong, just enough little things to eventually ignite the conflict. Not everything goes perfectly. Sometimes death comes through more mundane (and deserved) causes. And even getting to the episode ending and the fate of the individual teammates -- nothing necessarily feels predictable. in fact, there's a gasper near the end -- not just an unexpected pitch (although i supposed I should have expected it) but another character's reaction to it.

The meteor/ray shower in question is gorgeous. Maybe the show palette is is fairly grey, but that only makes the event more spectacular to witness.

The dialogue is also the level of dialogue we should have been getting from the heavy-hitters of Lucas-Disney (like Obi-Wan, which feels just thin and trite in comparison). Again, this is a show made by experienced professionals, doing a decent regular level of work. And it's all pulling it off without doing anything super-immense or crazy. It's small espionage acts of rebellion with huge ramifications.

Thank god there's a few franchise shows out there still doing the work and hitting doubles and triples to drive in the runs, rather than flashy whiffs at bat. Not all ball games are won by bases-filled homers. Andor is showing consistent craftsmanship and driving home the runs.
 

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I watched ep. 6 a second time tonight with a second child that didn't watch it with me and another child last night.

There is so much well done in the show and it feels more "lived in" and "real", especially compared to Obi-Wan. Andor is not designed for 10 year olds.

One of my son's noted that each member of the team felt like a real person with a real back story.
We also loved how much was practical and not CGI. The Eye was very beautiful and a good use of CGI in a very brief section.

We love that this is just halfway for season 1, a fourth of the planned series. I hope it gets season 3.
 

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New episode was good. Back to slower pace, but really interesting. I am glad they trust the audience instead of making it for 12 year olds.
 

Totenkindly

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Just finished the finale.

It was pretty excellent and is providing a real pathway to showing how Cassian ended up where he did in Rogue One.

Gilroy and team make it all look so effortless.

So much of this feels audacious (in terms of the plotting that happens) but it all makes sense and feels believable, and the worlds feel new. Gilroy also manages to tie things into Rogue One and Star Wars without feeling cheesy about it. (for example, the post-credit scene they snuck onto the finale). We've seen some patterns show up in the regular Star Wars films but this still feels like its own story, not just a homage or rehash.

Really interesting takes on Mon Mothma as well. EDIT: It's kind of a great way to handle prequels / new things using known but unexplored characters. We know little about her from the films, but this series expands on her character so we get an idea of who she is, how she ended up where she did, and the sacrifices she made for the rebellion. They might be very different from the kinds of sacrifices others were making (less about physical violence, more relational and diplomatic and political), but not any less significant. She lost a great deal.
 
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I went and rewatched the series. Might be the show of the year, even better than HotD, maybe. Still amazed that Disney did this. Gilroy did a masterful job.
 

The Cat

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Andor. And Or. Never gonna be able to not see that now...ffs the names in Star Wars are really bad. T_T
 

Totenkindly

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I went and rewatched the series. Might be the show of the year, even better than HotD, maybe. Still amazed that Disney did this. Gilroy did a masterful job.
even if Disney did edit Maarva's final speech to strip out the F word, lol...

It does feel odd for Disney/SW, but it's pretty much a typical Gilroy project if you've seen some of his other work. Glad they actually gave him funding for this.
 

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even if Disney did edit Maarva's final speech to strip out the F word, lol...

It does feel odd for Disney/SW, but it's pretty much a typical Gilroy project if you've seen some of his other work. Glad they actually gave him funding for this.
Right. He has all those political and spy and corporate dramas. It fit in with Michael Clayton and House of Cards and the  Bourne movies.

I rewatched Michael Clayton a few months ago and just appreciated the craftsmanship. The actors were superb, the pacing was tight and tense, and the drama and character struggles felt real. Tilda Swinton and her corporate masters were as evil as the Empire.
 

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Just finished episode 8 of this.

I love that there are focusing on the early days of the rebellion and Mon Mothma's role in the Senate. It more than makes up for that stuff being cut from Episode III. I think it's interesting seeing the sort of people involved, and all the different points of view people have.

Give Tony Gilroy more Star Wars stuff to do, please.
 

Totenkindly

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Just finished episode 8 of this.

I love that there are focusing on the early days of the rebellion and Mon Mothma's role in the Senate. It more than makes up for that stuff being cut from Episode III. I think it's interesting seeing the sort of people involved, and all the different points of view people have.

Give Tony Gilroy more Star Wars stuff to do, please.
I know Lucas tried to do "trade and political intrigue" so I don't want to be cruel to him, but he has no skills for writing it.

I forget which episodes Beau Willimon (house of cards) wrote, but basically it's folks like him and Gilroy you get to write this stuff if you want it to actually be good. I really like the Mon Mothma stuff, I feel more sympathy for her character and it fills in her backstory some, so that gets carried over when I watch her in the older movies now.
 
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