I held off on subscribing to Disney+ until there was a bit of a critical mass of stuff to make it worth while, and all along The Mandalorian had been the thing I was most keen to see. I powered through all of season 1 and most of season 2 in just a couple of days and then had to wait for the weekly releases for the last couple of episodes. I don’t actually think the series is helped by the weekly releases, there’s not quite enough substance in each episode by itself to make it worth the wait.
The Mandalorian is presented as a fairly classic western – the quiet but deadly bounty hunter out at the edges of civilisation, preferring to not really have much to do with anyone and yet forced to engage with a range of characters just to complete his missions… and then getting dragged into a quest. Everything from the dusty landscapes to the music and the framing of shots play to the western theme. The good news/bad news is that The Mandalorian is a good western, which is bad news because I’m not a big western fan. I find them (and this) a little too slow and needlessly melodramatic, and I struggle to keep engaged. That’s a big problem for The Mandalorian when it’s episodes are often only 1/2 hour long, and if you’re waiting a week between each of them. I’d definitely suggest box setting to maintain some semblance of momentum.
The Mandalorian just about kept my attention, because while the pace is slow, the moments of activity are carefully distributed and really good. Whether that’s the action sequences, character development or the gloriously dry sense of humour. And of course you’ve got the adorable little… whatever he is. The relationship between The Mandalorian and The Child is beautifully done considering one half is an expressionless helmet, and the other an animatronic that doesn’t talk. It is cute, but it’s also dark and a bit sarcastic – which I for one love.
There are clearly a lot of connections to the rest of the Star Wars cannon, and I’m a long way from being a big enough Star Wars geek to get all of them, but even for me there were plenty of moments that made me sit up and give a little cheer. The Star Wars universe is so huge, with so many untold stories that there’s always going to be plenty of material and it’s nice to see new series being slotted into the gaps. I wouldn’t say I was blown away by the series, but I was impressed and I certainly enjoyed it enough to justify a month of subscription to Disney+ all by itself.