There’s always been a little part of me that, when finding something really really really good, I latch onto it with my sharp, angry teeth and don’t let go. It’s always been a part of who I am, from horses and ponies when I was little to The Phantom of the Opera and Quigley Down Under when I was a confused, horny teen. Whenever I find something that enthralls me, fills me with all the emotions and then spits me out a broken, weepy mess when it’s over, I get a serotonin kick that completely obliterates my brain and has me begging for more.
A lot of fandoms do this to me. Mad Max: Fury Road is the first one that comes to mind, being one of the more recent (if you can count 2015 as “recent”) movies I’ve seen that leaves me feeling like Imperator Furiosa herself every single time I watch it or listen to the soundtrack (which, btw, I’m doing right now as I write this). Another is the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which hits waaaaay too close to home on a lot of the mental health issues, engrossing crushes and random musical numbers (I, too, break into song whenever I have a tough decision to make or an uncomfortable feeling to confront). And the third, well. The third has become a beast all its own.
After Disney announced that they’d be doing a live-action TV show set in the Star Wars universe, I sighed and immediately wrote it off as another attempt to make all the money. I’m not a big Star Wars fan, and even in my youth, when I said I liked it, it was a lie to make me appear cooler than I actually was (go peer pressure!). The laughable action, boring dialogue and later half-assed CGI inserts turned me off quicker than a Wincest fic (Sam & Dean slash fiction…. Nooooo thank you). The Mandalorian was going to be exactly like every other movie and cartoon I had seen up to that point, and no one could convince me otherwise. I wasn’t buying into the craze over “Baby Yoda” (it’s the Child, you cretins), the cinematic quality or the mind-blowing action sequences. I had my opinions, and no matter how diverse or “good” the writing got, I still wasn’t going to get sucked into that fandom.
In fact, even after much goading and a whole lot of meme spam from a few friends, it would take literal months before I even considered touching on the first episode of The Mandalorian. And it would take a few months after that to continue the series.
But when I did, holy shitballs.
They weren’t lying when they said the action was mind-blowing and the writing good; my mind became so overwhelmed with the dedication to detail the first time I watched it that it took me another viewing to really get into the story. The writing, for how sparse the dialogue could be, was sharp and witty and altogether something reminiscent of the original trilogy but also something completely its own. Everything from the cast of characters to the landscape fit perfectly into the story. This was some good writing, and I kicked myself for judging the book by its lackluster, overdone cover.
I’m a sucker for redemption arcs. Many of my favorite stories and shows revolve around a character overcoming past mistakes and actions, usually changing from evil to good. The adventure in between their growth gives meat to the story, something you can really sink your teeth into and gorge yourself on until you’re satiated with the warm fuzzies. The Mandalorian does this very, very well.
Seriously. I made up a checklist and everything just so I could prove it:
- Is the main character trying to climb out of the shithole they dug themselves? Check.
- Are they doing it for something outside of themselves? Double check.
- Will they learn to forgive their past mistakes and accept the new path laid before them, even if it’s difficult and scary and completely against what they stood for at the beginning? Yes.
The Mandalorian is all of these things, and so much more. Whether you are a die-hard Star Wars-stan, a fandom newcomer, or just someone with a little too much time on their hands (*ahem*, moi), this show has all of the action, drama and cuteness you could desire.
Unless you’re in it for the romance. In that case, may I suggest something not Star Wars?