Andor is Alright with Me
I can appreciate what this show is doing while also realizing it is not my favorite Star Wars.
Andor was released in late September with three episodes right out of the gate. I was excited to finally get a continuation into the part of Star Wars Rogue One, established: the day-to-day of the average galactic citizen during the Reign of the Empire.
However, by the time episode 5 aired, I started to notice something odd about myself. I was not rushing to watch Andor as close to the 2 am release time (in the morning before work or during lunch), but waiting until evening, the next day, or in the case of episode eight, four days later.
At first, I thought the impossible had happened, that Star Wars fatigue was real, and it had taken hold of me. But then Tales of the Jedi came out, and I binged that straight away and have rewatched it multiple times since.
Ok, so it was Andor.
Andor appears to be the show that adult Star Wars fans have always wanted, and I am truly happy for them. As I commented on my last post, the amount of “It’s Star Wars for grown-ups” I see about this show could fill many batca tanks.
And I would love to have this much enthusiasm for the series as a fan of Rogue One (well, the third act). But something is just not pulling me into this series like the others. I can acknowledge that Andor is a better written, acted, and directed show than any of the other live-action series we have gotten but none of that changes that I sometimes have to force myself to watch an episode when it releases.
What’s wrong with me? I even wrote a piece about how Star Wars should focus more on the “war” and less on the “fantasy.” I realize I might like the fantasy element more than I thought. Or perhaps, diving deep into the fascism of the Empire is a little too real right now.
Although, if you read the books, particularly Rebel Rising, which follows Jyn Erso before the events of Rogue One, the day-to-day brutality of the Empire is not surprising, and the types of scenes people see unfolding in Andor are all over the novels.
Either way, the pace of most of the episodes combined with the amount is wearing on me and highlights that release strategy is a thing that needs to evolve in this streaming age. We have seen enough episodes now where I can say there are a few too many repetitive scenes, particularly when it comes to Mon Mothma, who seems like she is trapped in her apartment for most of the show. It is a beautiful set; the production design surpasses parts of the films (Coruscant never looked better!).
And, even though I did like Rogue One, Andor, the character, was never a favorite and seemed to have the least compelling arc of the main crew. As season one finishes, I am still not interested in the title character and find myself more invested in other storylines like Cinta, Vel, Bix, Syril, and Dedra.
But I think it is fantastic that Andor is bringing in new Star Wars fans and that Disney has committed to multiple seasons of the show. And I hope that it does get some Emmy consideration, including Best Drama Series (people tend to forget that The Mandalorian was nominated in that category for its first season). People also tend to forget that, for all the talk of “Star Wars is dead” nonsense, most of their series has done quite well either critically or viewership-wise. Andor has critical acclaim and is climbing in viewership every week. I suspect that competing against She-Hulk (which I admit I would watch before Andor), House of the Dragon, and Power of the Rings might have been too much, and Andor has been slower to find its audience.
More importantly, just because I am not connecting with Andor does not mean it sucks or is horrible. It just means that I am not connecting with it. And that’s ok.
It also doesn’t mean I do not want a “sophisticated Star Wars” as other Star Wars fans like to toss at those who are not watching Andor. That’s just another form of gatekeeping.
Star Wars has survived for almost 50 years with varying degrees of quality. Someone (or many someones) in the world would list Attack of the Clones as their favorite Star Wars film. So there is something for everyone.