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New Escapist Column! On What Disney Should Learn from Andor

I published a new piece at The Escapist over the weekend. With Andor winding down its first season, it seemed like as good an opportunity to take a look at what Disney could and should learn from the best of their franchise streaming show.

While there is some suggestion that Andor might be less popular on initial release than other Star Wars streaming shows like The Mandalorian or The Book of Boba Fett, there is some sense that Disney recognises that they have created something very special and unique. So what is it that makes Andor so compelling? More than that, what can Disney do to capitalise on that success and replicate it?

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! “Andor is the Best Star Wars in a Long Time”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie and television reviews on The Escapist. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a five-minute review of the first season of Andor, which can now be streamed on Disney+.

New Escapist Column! On “Andor” as the Most Consistent “Star Wars”…

I am doing weekly reviews of Andor at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Wednesday evening while the show is on, looking at the Rogue One prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

Rix Road brings the first season of Andor to an end, closing the cricle by bringing the primary cast back to where it all began. It’s a fascinating and compelling way to close out the season, underscoring how much these characters have changed by bringing them back to their starting position. Rix Road is a breathtaking and impressive season finale to what has been the most consistent run of Star Wars ever produced.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On the Direction of “Andor”…

I am doing weekly reviews of Andor at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Wednesday evening while the show is on, looking at the Rogue One prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

With Daughter of Ferrix, Andor gears up for its season finale. So it seems as good an opportunity to talk about one of the more underrated aspects of the show. Andor has garnered a lot of attention for its writing and plotting, but the show is also one of the best directed shows on television, with its visual language as important to communicating its themes as the dialogue and exposition.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Andor” as an Embrace of 1970s Retrofuturism…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist last week. With Andor continuring to be very good, it seemed as good an opportunity as any to talk about the show’s unique aesthetic, and how that relates to the original Star Wars.

Andor manages to thread a very fine line. It takes the audience to places that were largely unseen in the original trilogy, from prison planets to remote highlands to sprawling urban centres. However, it does this in a way that manages to feel faithful to the aesthetic of the original films. It does this by embracing the culture and aesthetics of the era around those movies, embracing a version of the science-fiction world that feels very much in step with seventies cinema. The result is something that manages to feel both part of the larger Star Wars universe and also something new to it, while remaining very contemporary.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On the Variety of Prison in “Andor”…

I am doing weekly reviews of Andor at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Wednesday evening while the show is on, looking at the Rogue One prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

Nobody’s Listening! continues the third arc of this first season, largely built around Cassian Andor’s trip to the penal facility on Narkina 5. However, the episode also builds out from that idea, suggesting that Andor isn’t the only character on his show to be trapped. In their own ways, the various other leads have also been imprisoned by the Empire, locked in depressing and suffocating situations with no tangible possibility of release. Andor argues that all of its characters live in cages, some are just nicer than others.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Andor” and the Ideology of Late Capitalist Empire…

I am doing weekly reviews of Andor at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Wednesday evening while the show is on, looking at the Rogue One prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

Following on from the bridge episode Announcement, Narkina 5 kicks off what looks to be another three-episode arc for the show. Written by Beau Willimon, the episodes digs deep into one of the recurring fascinations of Andor. The show is fascinated by the ideology of the Empire, but that extends beyond its imperialism and fascism. Indeed, like a lot of the work of showrunner Tony Gilroy, Andor suggests that the evils of this organization are a manifestation of late capitalism, and the way in which that ideology is designed to drive competition rather than collaboration.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Andor”, Revolution and Reaction…

I am doing weekly reviews of Andor at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Wednesday evening while the show is on, looking at the Rogue One prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

The first six episodes of Andor comprised two three-episode arcs, which seemed like a logic structure for the show going forward. However, the seventh episode of the season is a mostly standalone episode, one that seems largely dedicated to the fallout from the previous adventure. However, it’s also a showcase of what Andor does well, particular when compared to so much modern franchise media. It is a cleverly written and thoughtful episode that advances the show’s characters and themes in interesting and compelling ways.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! On “Andor” as a Show About Loving “Star Wars”…

We’re thrilled to be launching a fortnightly video companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch every second Monday, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel. And the video will typically be separate from the written content. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, we took a look at Andor, the new Star Wars streaming show. There are a lot of interesting things about Andor, including how good it is. However, the show also feels like a meditation on Star Wars as a cultural phenomenon. Showrunner Tony Gilroy has talked candidly about how he was never a particular fan of Star Wars, and ended up working on the franchise almost by accident. As such, Andor feels like it is, in some small way, about learning to love Star Wars and to understand what Star Wars is capable of.

New Podcast! The Recap – “We Finally Got Some Real Action and Answers in The Rings of Power…”

We’re thrilled to be launching a weekly multimedia podcast at The Escapist, called The Recap. I’m hoping to be a regular fixture of it, stremaing live every Tuesday evening. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, we took a look at the splurge of recent news from Marvel Studios, including new trailers, new writer announcements, the first big reveals about Deadpool 3, directorial departures, and streaming shows that are becoming movies. We also caught up with our opinions on Rings of Power, House of the Dragon and Andor. It’s a fun discussion. Check it out.