I should, of course, open this review of the premiere episode of the new series BAD BATCH by providing the following caveat: I just haven’t been interested in any “Star Wars” stuff for at least two decades.
No, this isn’t a rant against the 3rd trilogy, nor a definitive statement as to the quality of Lucasfilm/Disney’s output. I haven’t even been interested in the core mythos of the original Star Wars stuff from my childhood…I was just done. There was “no need,” as it were, to continue along that fandom. It ran its course with me.
Now, I did try to watch SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY a few years back, mainly because I thought the casting of HAIL, CAESAR!’s Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han was intriguing. Could only get through 20 minutes of that movie, couldn’t even make it to the Donald Glover stuff (which friends still tell me I should go back to at least see).
I also caught the first episode of THE MANDALORIAN when it came out, and though I enjoyed it…I had no desire to see any more. Not because it was “bad,” not because I didn’t like “baby Yoda”…
…but largely because I didn’t like “baby Yoda.” I didn’t hate this adorable creature (I’m not an inhuman monster). It’s just every time I saw the character, all I could think about was, “Disney bought Lucasfilm.” Honestly. It just seemed like product.
So why was I able to tolerate BAD BATCH enough to be willing to see a 2nd episode?
A large part of the answer, I realize, has to do with the fact that aesthetically, it seems more in its own unique “universe.” I was not too familiar with the CLONE WARS animated series before watching BAD BATCH, but was immediately drawn to the latter’s sort of…”clunky” (maybe not the right word) CGI. No aspirations to cross the Uncanny Valley with this show!
In fact, what the animation in BAD BATCH (and CLONE WARS) reminds me of is…old Gerry Anderson shows.
The Anderson stuff were clunky puppets, this is clunky rather angular/boxy CGI. And it just provides a completely different “space” (if you will pretend the pun never happened) to appreciate the proceedings. Essentially, it all makes me forget I’m watching a “Star Wars” spinoff on Disney+, which is *chef’s kiss*.
As for the plot (yeah, that)…you’ve got a small squad of those clones from the 2nd trilogy who turn out to be “defective”—in that they can think for themselves and aren’t fascist zombies. Certainly, the metaphor for our current society’s dilemma couldn’t be more on the nose, but the various “clone brothers” have interesting characterizations & the action goes on at a fast clip. (If anything, the 4 “core” members of the “Batch” kind of have an “ATeam” thing going on).
Once the “Batch” is found out to be “defective” (read: are independent thinkers with some type of “soul”), the Empire of course has to liquidate them. And so on and so on, the set-up for many adventures to come. Add the child sidekick Omega (who is a female clone? they had female clones?), and that’s BAD BATCH.
I’d probably have more to say about the series after seeing more episodes, but that’s what I got right now.