RELEASED: October 3rd 2008 – March 20th 2009
DISTRIBUTED BY: Cartoon Network
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: George Lucas, Catherine Winder & Dave Filoni
WRITTEN BY: Steve Melching, George Krstic, Kevin Campbell, Henry Gilroy, Kevin Rubio, Paul Dini, Julie Siege, Katie Lucas, Bill Canterbury, Drew Z. Greenberg, Craig Titley, Brian Larsen, Scott Murphy, Randy Stradley & Eoghan Mahony
DIRECTED BY: Dave Bullock, Dave Filoni, Brian Kalin O’Connell, Justin Ridge, Rob Coleman, Jesse Yeh, Atsushi Takeuchi, Steward Lee & Giancarlo Volpe
MUSIC BY: Kevin Kiner
STARRING: Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Ashley Eckstein, Dee Bradley Baker, Tom Kane, Matthew Wood, Ian Abercrombie, B.J. Hughes, Ahmed Best, Corey Burton, Terrence C. Carson, Jim Cummings, Olivia d’Abo, Anthony Daniels, Robin Atkin Downes, Nika Futterman, Brian George, Jennifer Hale, Tom Kenny, Jaime King, Phil LaMarr, James C. Mathis III, Catherine Taber & George Takei
REVIEW: After the disappointment that was The Clone Wars movie, luckily, unless the series ended up being truly terrible, there was only really one way for the quality of this show to go: up.
In fact, it’s actually better than I remember it being. Not perfect, by any means. But I distinctly recall having a hard time getting through the show until around season three, and yet a lot of the more memorable Clone Wars stories happen straight out of the gate.
They’re not all winners, and a lot of the episodes are just fine at best. They’re entertaining little stories that give you a bit more insight into the Clone Wars, but overall, there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking going on here.
However, perhaps the greatest strength of this series becomes evident in the episodes that keep appearances from the main characters to a minimum, and allow us to better understand some of the background characters from the Star Wars galaxy such as Plo Koon, Kit Fisto, Luminara Unduli, Aayla Secura and surprisingly, the clones themselves. Choosing to bypass your Anakins and Obi-Wans essentially gives a lot of these episodes a chance to work with a blank canvas, building up whatever characters and stories they want, with the only rule being the Star Wars setting.
There are even some mildly poignant musings on the nature of war and whether or not neutrality is truly a viable option. Although that comes across better in some episodes (‘Trespass’) than others (‘Defenders of the Peace’).
It’s not quite reached the amazing highs of later seasons though, as although she is slowly improving, our central character, Ahsoka Tano, is still more irritating than she is engrossing, and the way stories are set up around her don’t always make sense.
(why, if she’s Anakin’s padawan, is she just hanging around with other Jedi Masters on the other side of the galaxy? Don’t they have their own padawans to be training, or more important things to do than shepherding our main character for seemingly no reason other than the fact she’s the main character? But I digress).
Other annoying characters, like Ziro the Hutt and Jar Jar Binks also make their return, with inconsistent voice acting added to his repertoire of grievances (this jarring chance can take him from not so bad to somehow even more annoying). There’s also a weird point mid-series where the continuation of one story doesn’t match what happened in the prior episode whatsoever.
Continuity blunders, wavering animation quality, irritating characters and the weird chronological order aside (that’s a fairly big ask when you write it down like that), Clone Wars – Season One is a perfectly serviceable jaunt into the Star Wars universe, and one that, while it may not be the strongest examples of storytelling, sets the stage for a heap of world-building and character development that just isn’t as readily available on the film side of things.
There’s definitely more good than there is bad, so all-in-all, I give season one: