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Josh Reviews The Bad Batch Season One

September 7th, 2021
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I’m a big fan of the animated Star Wars series The Clone Wars and Rebels.  There’s a lot of terrific Star Wars storytelling in those series.  It’s a huge section of the Star Wars story that remains under the radar for many Star Wars fans.  (Though that’s starting to change, with many characters and story-elements from those animated series being incorporated into the second season of The Mandalorian…)  When Dave Filoni and his team were able to return to The Clone Wars and present a proper final season of that show (which had been cancelled back in 2013 when Lucasfilm was sold to Disney) onto Disney+, the first story-line introduced the Bad Batch: a group of unusual clones whose mutations made them different than the regular Clone troopers.  (This story had been written for The Clone Wars before it was cancelled; I’d actually watched those four episodes in rough animated form back in 2015, when they found their way onto the internet.)  Now, The Bad Batch, the new animated series for Disney+, focuses on this group of Clones, and explores what happened to them in the days after the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire.

I liked but didn’t love the Bad Batch characters when they were introduced on The Clone Wars.  They were fun characters, but I wasn’t exactly clamoring for them to be the center of a spin-off show.  However, I was overjoyed when The Bad Batch show was announced.  I was excited to see Dave Filoni and his team continue to tell more great Star Wars animated stories, and I think this time period is a fertile ground for stories.

I quite enjoyed the first sixteen-episode season of The Bad Batch, though it didn’t match the highs of the fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels or the brilliant final episodes of The Clone Wars.  This first season felt more like the early seasons of those shows rather than the greatness to which they both eventually reached.  On the one hand, that makes sense.  It takes time for a show to develop.  On the other hand, I must admit to being a little disappointed that The Bad Batch opted for a more episodic formula and one whose storytelling seemed aimed more towards a younger demographic.  I enjoyed watching every episode of this first season, but it didn’t reach the emotional intensity I’d been hoping for.

The animation is spectacular; easily besting any previous Star Wars animation.  The lighting, in particular, has taken a huge leap forward from the previous animated shows.  There are sequences in this series that were gorgeous and memorable in a way that had me … [continued]