The Mandalorian

3 out of 5

Created by: Jon Favreu

Covers season 1

In episode 1 of The Mandalorian, a Star Wars TV series – premiering on the (at the time of this writing) new Disney+ streaming service, and one of their biggest allures – Carl Weathers has a part as a guy who shuffles jobs around for the bounty hunters’ guild, and Werner Herzog plays a guy who sends our featured bounty hunter – The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal, under his never-lifted helm) – on a hunt for a mysterious bounty, offering a suspicious amount of payment, and whilst, curiously, surrounded by Stormtrooper bodyguards.

While on this mission, ‘Mando’ runs afoul of another being sent to the same task – droid IG-11 – which is voiced by Taika Waititi.  The sought after prize, in case you weren’t around to be inundated with the merchandising, is a cute lil’ baby from Yoda’s species, and now Mando is quite conflicted over what to do, because, y’know, cute baby and all.  And seeing as how he’s the lead in this series, and that it’s on Disney – i.e. family friendly – and because it is a series, you can guess that turning in the kid is probably not going to be the direction things will take…

That’s mostly the gist of The Mandolarian, which, episode by episode, has M dodging other bounty hunters, or other complications stemming from pissing off someone associated with The Empire (although this is set post-Empire, pre-New Order), and teaming up with / running into a slew of recognizable names and faces, all with better costumes and shot with better effects than I feel like we’ve seen in any of the movies to date.  The names and faces are, for better or worse, just as important as the story – it’s clear we’re all having a good time playing Star Wars – which certainly means the story itself doesn’t get elevated much beyond standard hero tropes.  That said, the show generally makes good on being massively entertaining and well shot, excepting its tendency to somehow have bottle episodes in a short, 8-episode season: episodes where we learn nothing of ‘The Child’ or any further story points, but just pause ’cause a ship breaks or somesuch.  But The Mandalorian isn’t looking to break any molds; it’s meant to sell a streaming service, and to have a wide base of appeal, and I’m not upset at paying a monthly fee for a show that makes for quality popcorn viewing weekly, with a better overall sense of satisfaction than comes from binging all of the movies.