We are the parents of a teenager, which means she would rather sit and watch incomprehensible YouTube compilations of TikTok videos instead of enjoying mass-market media with us. It’s not for lack of trying; there have been multiple series we thought she’d enjoy that she’s waved off in favor of screamy narrated speedruns of games she’s never played. So it was a surprise when we sat down as a family for the first time in forever to watch a TV series together: Willow, the follow-up series to the 1988 movie. The first couple of episodes were challenging to get through from a narrative perspective; the writers set up almost all of the main characters as assholes, treating each other poorly and generally being unlikeable. It wasn’t until the fourth episode or so where the character arcs all thunked into place and people began redeeming themselves. The rest of the series is solid: the production values are to-notch, the acting is great (in spite of the writing) and the action is generally OK. We’re looking forward to finishing this series out.
The second series Jen and I have been watching is Andor, which has been absolutely stellar from the opening scenes. It’s sad to say, but watching a Star Wars series written for adults is refreshing; having recently rewatched The Force Awakens for the first time in several years I was struck by the amount of fan service and yuks there were in lieu of real stakes. Andor’s main story is that of a lovable rogue for the first three episodes, pivoting to a study of bureaucratic fascism and a heist story for the next set. Personally, the Empire is scarier to me when it’s depicted as a faceless omniscient DMV with tall ceilings than it is as a bunch of Stormtroopers lined up waiting to get shot at. We’re only four episodes in but we’re riveted and can’t wait to see what happens next.