Streaming services are now offering me new Star Trek on a Friday night an new Star Wars on Saturday! We live in a time of wonders…or at least time of pricey but accessible TV content.
Where Discovery is eminently reviewable, I find that The Mandalorian is not. That is not to say it isn’t entertaining and very nicely put together, it is. However, it’s as consistent as a MacDonald’s menu and while some episodes maybe more filet-o-fish than Big Mac, the premise (a spaghetti Western but Star Wars plus ain’t Baby Yoda cute) is stated clearly and implemented with aplomb.
This first episode in the new series doubles-down on the western theme so much that it almost feels like a parody of The Mandalorian’s aesthetic. Mando returns to Tatooine in search of another one of his kind…only to find Timothy Olyphant. I probably would have waited until the season was finished and done a review of the whole except, Discovery touched on the space western idea last week. It’s interesting how I found that attempt in Star Trek to be unsubtle but The Mandalorian commits to the idea more completely and that somehow works better. Borrowing from Firefly, even the fall of the Galactic Empire now fits in with the end of the Civil War.
Where this episode manages to pull in something a bit more interesting is with the monster plaguing the frontier town. With a sandworm harassing the spice miners of Arrakis, the locals must turn to the Fremen for help…I mean, sorry…with a sand ‘dragon’ harassing the crystal miners of Tatooine, the locals must turn to the Tuskan’s for help. Actually, this weird Beowulf like shift in the plot allows the show to do a far far better job of adding depth to the sand people than we’ve seen before in Star Wars. An additional nice touch is they had a deaf actor work on the sign language used by the Tuskan’s to speak to Mando.
It was good but not great and honestly I prefer the flawed ambitions of Discovery.
Cora has a better and more detailed review here: http://corabuhlert.com/2020/11/01/the-mandalorian-and-baby-yoda-are-back-and-meet-the-marshal/