Archive for March, 2009

Thoughts on CW Season One

March 29, 2009

Impressive, most impressive.

I have seen every animated SW show: the Boba Fett short from the Star Wars Holiday Special, Ewoks, Droids, the CW microseries, and the current CW series. I don’t think they really “got it” with bringing SW to animation until the microseries and CW is in my mind, the greatest effort to date. Visually, it’s a masterpiece. Much of it looks like the movies themselves. The animation is unique for television and it got better and better as the series went along. The Ryloth arc for instance looks like it was made five years after the CW theatrical release.

I’m impressed overall with the writing. The dialogue is reliably Star Wars-y. But the surprise is in the sophistication of the stories, which is far beyond what’s generally written for half-hour animated drama. A broad range of topics and character arcs are touched upon, taking on every tone from romance to serious drama to comedy.

I also think that the canon characters translated well from the films to the show. The only significant change has been in the way Anakin has been portrayed. The show is not focused on Anakin’s descent into darkness, therefore it is free to show him in a more positive light. His recklessness and rebellious nature are still in place, but tempered somewhat by his responsibilities to Ahsoka. In fact, his position as Ahsoka’s master has brought out a new aspect to his character. This is what Anakin could have been as a master and a father had things turned out differently. Still, Anakin is arguably not a perfect master. Some of what he teaches Ahsoka, if only through example, occasionally gets her into trouble. He is also unable to help her cope with loss, since he cannot cope with loss himself. Ventress isn’t a movie canon character but she is put to good use on the show. I also enjoyed the opportunity to expand on other background characters like Aayla Secura, Luminara Unduli, or Commander Cody.

Where CW has truly shined is in its array of new characters: Yularen, Rex, villains like Cad Bane, the pirates, and of course the wonderful Ahsoka. When they first announced the character, I thought, “God, I hope she’s not a Mary Sue.” Thankfully, Ahsoka, like all of the new characters, fit into the story without usurping all of the good qualities of the movie characters. As I’ve said, she adds a new dimension to Anakin and she has her own struggles. She can tussle with the big dogs but it’s clear she is not at the same proficiency of other experienced Jedi. She’s a bit too snarky and hot-tempered for her own good, which is why I guess they stuck her with Anakin, heh heh. But she shows she is capable of growth. She’s kind of like Lisa Simpson with a lightsaber.

Is there room for improvement? Sure. My quibble about Anakin on the show is that while it’s refreshing not to see him constantly angry and one hair-trigger away from turning to the Dark Side, that potential for darkness is part of who he is. There’s a little flash of it in the two-parter about the virus, but in the “Trespass” episode, I was wondering if Obi-Wan was slipping sedatives into Anakin’s orange juice. He would have gone ballistic if he learned his men and Republic resources were being used in a petty land grab.

And please, for the love of God, can we have an episode where Padmé appears and she DOESN’T get captured or incapacitated? There was a run on episodes where the Republic defeats the Separatists and Grievous escapes, too, but they seemed to have stopped that.

All in all, a great first season. The team behind CW loves SW and you can tell they really care. With everything established in the first season and the kinks worked out, Season Two looks very promising. Today’s t.v. is full of complicated, convoluted plots. CW is a breath of fresh air, whether or not you’re a SW fan.

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Ten Years of TPM: The Media Onslaught Begins

March 29, 2009

By this point, there had already been a bit of a media feeding frenzy when Trailer A debuted in November 1998. But that was nothing compared to the fever pitch that began developing during the spring of 1999. With two months to go before the film’s release, Entertainment Weekly released an issue about the film featuring a new shot of Obi-Wan on the cover on March 26, 1999. According to Anticipation, it became EW’s highest-selling issue for that time.

That Sunday, March 28, 1999, George Lucas sat down for a long interview with Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes about the film (which featured previously-unseen footage) and about his personal life. Personally, I felt a little sorry for Lucas being forced to yap about why he hadn’t remarried ;).

SW Inspired Dance

March 29, 2009

A couple of years ago, Joey Fatone did a SW-themed dance on Dancing With The Stars. It looks like on a similar show in some other foreign land (can’t identify the language, sorry), someone had the same idea. The lady’s costume is obviously inspired by Leia’s slave girl bikini but the man’s outfit is definitely inspired by Anakin’s Jedi duds:

Clone Wars no longer on TNT?

March 29, 2009

TNT was supposed to air CW in HD Wednesday nights at 10, but it has been off the schedule for a few weeks now. TFN contacted the network and according to a rep from TNT, the show was only on as a “limited run.” As TFN points out, that wasn’t the case mentioned in previous press releases. It looks like fans are getting plenty of helpings from Cartoon Network and online, so broadcasts on TNT are probably cancelled for now.

Clone Wars Season Finale Rocks The Ratings

March 28, 2009

3.3 million viewers tuned into CW’s season finale last week, the highest numbers since the show’s October premiere (and that doesn’t count iTunes, Hulu, or DVR/TiVo viewers). By way of comparison with other cable shows, the Battlestar Galactica series finale scored 2.4 million viewers. Read more at McPaper’s website.

He was always good at fixing things…

March 28, 2009

Wouldn’t it be cool if a mechanical ace like Anakin could fix your car?

Future Auto Centre in Australia has the next best thing…a mechanic who looks eerily like Anakin circa-AOTC. So much so, he’s been featured in ads posing with a tool, holding it as though it’s a lightsaber:

More about the Aussie Ani here.

“Elegant Amidala” Giclee

March 27, 2009

If there’s anything I’m a sucker for, it’s awesome original artwork (posters and t-shirts are also weaknesses). The latest one to cause a dent in my bank account is this new exclusive from Japanese fan fave artist Tsuneo Sanda, “Elegant Amidala”:

An accompanying piece, “Lovely Leia,” will be available at a future date. But the Amidala giclee can be pre-ordered now for the low, low price of $184.99 at ShopStarWars.com. I know I sure did!

Filoni on The Force Cast, Kane and Mayhew to appear at convention

March 26, 2009

It’s too late now to listen live but you can probably hear a recording of this week’s Force Cast at TFN, featuring an interview with CW’s Dave Filoni.

Tom “Yoda” Kane (CW) and Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew are set to appear at Planet Comicon in Overland Park, KS this weekend.

CW “A Galaxy Divided” DVD set out

March 25, 2009

The first set of CW Season One episodes is out now on DVD. “A Galaxy Divided” consists of four of the earlier episodes shown this season: “Ambush” and the “Malevolence” three-part arc.

A second set of DVDs will be out this summer and a complete set of Season One discs will be out in November.

Update: TFN reports there are a number of exclusive premiums and variations with the sets, depending on where you buy them. Target has sets with a slipcase (and some without). Wal-Mart kicks in a fifth episode with the set, “Downfall of a Droid.” Best Buy includes a free patch. Toys R Us includes a poster.

Lightsabre’s interview with Greg Proops

March 23, 2009

Lightsabre.co.uk has an interview with comedian Greg Proops, who voiced one of the two heads of Fode and Beed in TPM and a new character in CW. Go check it out (language warning).

Update: The most recent Force Cast show from TFN features Proops as a guest.