Perhaps you’ve heard folks talking about Andor in increasingly superlative terms. There is blanket praise about how it is among the best Star Wars stories out there, how it’s a strikingly angry show, a super grounded show that is light on fan service and big on politics and so on, and so forth. This can be a lot to take in, especially if you have been burned by Disney Plus’ recent run of Star Wars TV shows and aren’t so hot on the future of this galaxy far away. This is fair! There are some people (hello, I wrote a bunch of these articles) that have gone zero-to-sixty on the prequel to a prequel, demanding that everyone take it seriously. But Andor’s got more going on than just heady politics and rebellious self-sacrifice.
Allow me then to first reaffirm all that writing (I worked very hard on it) and say that Andor really will surprise you with how much serious consideration it’s worth. Secondly, I would also like to highlight something that might be lost in all this Big Talk: Andor is good at all the fun Star Wars shit too.
Consider this week’s episode “Daughter of Ferrix,” which takes some time in the aftermath of last week’s dramatic prison break to show Cassian Andor captured in a snot net of the aliens Dewi and Freedi Pamular. The Pamulars, like all good Star Wars aliens, are full of grumpy sass and a great breath of literal fresh air after the claustrophobic sterility of the Narkina 5 labor prison. They have fun web traps, a jovial camaraderie, and they’re as pissed at the Empire as we are. It’s a blast.
This isn’t an anomaly either — there are loads of goofy and thrilling moments throughout Andor, from the Keef Girgo alias Cassian adopts in his time in Space Florida (where the DJs kick ass), to sweet space battles, hilariously pushy moms, and B2EMO, the adorable Andor family droid and the first one in Star Wars to behave as if he is older than the ground beneath his treads.
Even the show’s approach to Easter eggs — something that has been diluted to be merely “references” in a lot of other franchise works — is refreshing. You have to pay close attention to find some of its deep cuts, and pausing to look over the wares in Luthen’s antiquities shop is a great bonus for those who live for that sort of thing.
What makes Andor refreshing is the casual way that it shows both Good Star Wars and Fun Star Wars can be the same thing. In being a show about decidedly normal people caught in the epic struggle of Star Wars, it lets those normal people go through all sorts of experiences — committing just as hard to the wrenching politics of revolution as it does to the detail on those snot nets.