ANDOR: SEASON ONE
Starring: Diego Luna, Kyle Soller, Adria Arjona, Stellan Skarsgård, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, Genevieve O’Reilly, Faye Marsay, Varada Sethu, Elizabeth Dulau, and Andy Serkis
Creator: Tony Gilroy
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that every second of Andor is tense. Whether watching an action-packed heist or three people in a room conversing, your breath halts in anticipation for the next word, the next scene, the next step towards the rebellion. Creator Tony Gilroy crafted a riveting powder-keg of piercing dialogue that produces chill-inducing moments from actors acting their asses off. The cast has no weak links, the writing is top-notch, and the story made me forget about hokey religions, ancient weapons, and Obi-Wan, a Jedi show I genuinely thought was some of the best Star Wars this century. Man, was I wrong.
Even as a huge fan of Rogue One, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) isn’t the reason I love that film, so I had my concerns about him getting his own series, especially after the first few episodes proved to be boring. But, boy, did it pick up and get me hooked! I felt like I was part of the fight against the Empire with every tense and gritty moment. Creator Tony Gilroy gives a masterclass in storytelling, as he does an outstanding job bringing the uprising of the rebellion to life. This show ended up being, hands down, the most compelling Star Wars show thus far.
Just when I thought I was done with Star Wars, Andor pulled me back in. Its slow-moving nature isn’t going to be everybody's thing, but I can’t remember the last time this franchise had me so captivated. No lightsabers, no force, no Skywalkers…yet I was gripped from Episode One to the mesmerizing season finale. While Andy Serkis steals the show, Diego Luna is one hell of an engaging lead, and the dialogue and layered storylines are written perfectly. Star Wars or not, this is just riveting TV at its finest.
As a person who is dispassionate about Star Wars (there is more bad Star Wars than good Star Wars), I had minimal interest in a prequel about a one-off character from an average movie. As I struggled through the first three (slow) episodes, I felt my opinion being validated. However, Episode Four really turns it around, becoming an appealingly dark and gritty sci-fi series that aspires to be more than just another toy commercial by featuring excellent performances and a Skywalker-free story that is complex and layered (rarities for the franchise). It’s almost Blade Runner-esque, and maybe my favorite thing from the galaxy far, far away.