6 Thoughts on the First Season of Andor (Review)
We are living in a weird Star Wars age. There hasn’t been a new Star Wars movie in years, with no sign of anything coming to the big screen anytime soon. But there has been an endless run of TV shows, both live action and animated, and they run the gamut of crummy to exceptional. And possibly the best of them all, Andor, came to an end just last week after a truly unexpected and emotional first season.
TV Show Rating: 10/10 – Fantastic
I loved Andor. I would be the first to tell you that Cassian Andor was a weird choice for TV show. I liked Rogue One just fine, but Andor? Now I’ll be the first to admit when I’m wrong. The geniuses behind this show, like Tony Gilroy, have delivered some of the best Star Wars content in the history of the franchise. They found their own little corner of the galaxy far, far away and delivered a powerful story about the nature of fascism and the need to fight it in all its forms.
Join me after the jump for my full thoughts and review of the first season of Andor. Expect FULL SPOILERS for the season. And feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments below.
Andor was a phenomenal show from top to bottom. From characters to themes to dialogue to just the way they constructed the season. A lot of shows these days make the mistake of being one long, ongoing storyline for 12 or so episodes. But Andor split things up nicely, with smaller, individual storylines that built the larger ongoing one. Brilliant stuff. I loved looking at both sides of the conflict, from the Empire to the early rebels. I loved the banality of evil in the Empire’s bureaucracy. You had the really bad guys, like Dedra Meero and Syril Karn, and then you had the working stiffs who sometimes slacked off on the job. And then you had guys like Major Partagaz, who were still evil, but also really entertaining to watch.
The early rebels were also just plain cool. Andor, obviously, is a fascinating character, and his journey from mercenary to rebel is a damn good one. Then you’ve got Luthen Rael delivering a powerhouse introduction, with the likes of Mon Mothma and Saw Gerrera doing good works, and smaller newcomers like Vel and Cinta bringing some new blood to the whole endeavor. This was a great cast of new and old Star Wars characters, and I really had a blast watching everyone from the highest heroes to the lowest villains.
Andor was one hell of a great show, with coolness in every corner and baked into every complex layer. Less CGI Luke Skywalker face, more Cassian Andor, please!
5. Exactly what I wanted
I didn’t know what to expect with Andor at first, but those great trailers laid out a very definitive approach to Star Wars. Those trailers revealed something I didn’t know I wanted, and then I couldn’t wait for the final product. A serious, Jedi-free Star Wars story that explores the hard decision that come with being freedom fighters? A gritty, street-level look at rebellion throughout the galaxy? Apparently just hook that to my veins! Those trailers set up the show perfectly, and then the show itself delivered in spades!
4. The writing was superb
I think my favorite scene in the entire season was the party where Mon Mothma recruits her old friend, Tay Kolma, into her money schemes. The writing, the acting, the subterfuge; it was so tense and so perfect. This is what happens in the fight against the Empire. These are the people involved. This is what they find themselves doing, what they find themselves saying. The back and forth of their dialogue is just so damn good!
And that’s just that one scene. The writing is so sharp, so clever, so powerful throughout the show. Maarva’s speech at her funeral is so plainly written, and yet so full of imagery and emotion. It’s no surprise how the people of Ferrix were driven to rebel, and how even Luthen Rael seemed moved. The way Kino Loy confirms he’s on board with revolting with that line about the guards, both calling back to the earlier conversation with Andor and just being a perfect episode ender. It was one great moment after another on Andor, all of it perfectly crafted by true professionals.
As a would-be writer myself, the writing on Andor is what I can only aspire to be doing someday.
3. I felt like something was missing
All this praise aside, I also can’t shake the feeling that something was missing from this season. I can’t really put it into words what was missing. I think I’ve just been conditioned to think a certain way about Star Wars stuff. From cameos to Jedi to season-long story arcs, I think I just expected something bigger and more unified about Andor. Like, Mon Mothma had all of these great scenes, but what did they even build to in the end? Nothing big. Nothing flashy. Just a silent, horrible scene where Mon Mothma clearly sacrifices her daughter in the name of rebellion. And I think, ultimately, that’s what her story arc was leading towards. Hers was a story about the price one must pay for this type of activity, and we learned how far she’s willing to go. And that’s a great story arc for her character on the show, and it works perfectly. It’s just not…flashy? I guess? And that’s fine! I think I’ve just been conditioned to expect flashy.
2. Oh man, that marching band
My second favorite scene was probably the marching band on Ferrix in the final episode. Everything about that marching band was perfect. How just the sounds of them warming up built tension for the scene. How both strange and familiar it felt to see a marching band in Star Wars. And then the tempo shift once the two bands came together…chef’s kiss. The music in Star Wars has always been widely popular, but can anything really compete with that tempo shift at Maarva Andor’s funeral? That is a song of rebellion!
1. It’s a shame there will only be two seasons
A second season of Andor is already guaranteed, and they’re going to start filming fairly soon. We won’t get the second season until probably 2024 at the earliest, and that’s fine. I’m used to waiting for new seasons these days. Especially since K-2SO is all but guaranteed for the second season1 It’s just a shame we’re only going to get two seasons. The showrunners have come out and said that the two season limit wasn’t always the plan, but then they realized they didn’t want to spend the next decade of their lives making this one show. That’s reasonable. I’m sure a lot of work goes into Andor.
But in this day and age, with the way some people are in America these days, don’t you think it would be a pretty good use of your life over the next decade to showrun a popular Star Wars show about fighting fascism? I think that’s a pretty important lesson to be teaching people. Seems like a worthy cause.