Monday, July 31, 2017

Clone Wars... again

My family has gone out of town and left me alone again for a few days.  One of the things that I haven't done since the last time this happened (back in April) was watch some TV, and by TV, I mean, stuff on Netflix.  And by stuff on Netflix, I mean my long-deferred and delayed re-watching of the entire Clone Wars run.  So far, I've finally watched the last three episodes of Season 2, where I'd left off, and the first 9 episodes of Season 3 (it's nice that each episode really is only 22-23 minutes long.  And at least a minute or so of that is the credits, which I tend to skip through.)  With roughly twenty minute episodes, it takes five or six of them to be equivalent to one movie, so watching twelve episodes isn't as big a deal as it sounds; it's like basically saying that I watched two movies over the weekend.

And I have to say that the relatively high esteem that I hold this show diminishes somewhat the more I watch it.  Sure, there are a lot of great moments in it, no doubt—but overall, it isn't as good as I remember it.  I mostly remember the really great episodes and the really great moments, and forget that for every one of those, there's probably two that are not.  Mostly, these are just mediocre rather than actively and offensively bad—it manages to avoid that most of the time at least—but the more you watch of the show, the more those start to pop up.  And the UN-ish utopianism of some characters and situations that continue to reappear and reappear over and over again starts to get really tedious.  I'm already rolling my eyes at military objectives constantly being over-ruled in the name of "humanitarianism" of some sort or another.  Sometimes, it's just to make a not-so clever in-joke or self-referential quote, like being on some kind of "mercy mission" or whatever, but it's tired, and old.  Especially when it continues to be the same old "for some reason, without trade routes, everybody on every planet is starving, no matter how biologically rich and resource plentiful their planet actually is."  And the fact that this is supposed to be a military adventure show about soldiers and their generals, the Jedi, it's all too often... not.  It's as if the writers, collectively, know absolutely nothing about the military, or military life, or military campaigns, or anything at all that should be a basic requirement for writing military science fiction.

And sure; I'm not demanding that military science fiction authors be veterans—but it would be nice if they at least spent some time educating themselves on a few basics of some military campaigns of the past, so they could  refer to them indirectly, without looking like they have no idea what they're talking about.  But like I said, this is a tiring problem, but it tends to drag the show only down into mediocrity, not actual badness.  So at least there's that.  Or maybe it's just me that thinks military science fiction is more interesting than Peace Corps. in space science fiction.  Which I actually have no interest in.  At all.

So, yeah—my memories of the Clone Wars are colored by the highlights of the show, and I tend to forget about the reversion to the mean that happens all too often, to say nothing of the lowlights (which almost always feature Jar Jar Binks, the droids, Padme Amidala, or kids in space.)

I've got some highlights still coming for Season 3, which I'm looking forward to.  The Nightsisters and Savage Opress's debut are only two episodes away from where I am, I think.  I don't remember thinking that the Mortis episodes were all that wonderful, although they do have some great visual design, but then I've got the Citadel break-in and the Trandoshans hunting Ahsoka and the younger jedi, including the series debut of Chewbacca. Of thirteen upcoming episodes still to watch, I'm excited about at least eight of them.  That's not a bad ratio.  Season 4 has some great episodes too.

But in the future, it's unlikely that I'll ever attempt to watch the entire run again.  This is the third time (or maybe the fourth) that I've done so, and the first time in at least a couple of years, but for whatever reason, the lowlights are showing more than I'm used to.  I think I'll just stick to watching the episodes that I already know are really good from this point on.

No comments: