STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS – SEASON 2: RISE OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS | TV REVIEW

RELEASED: October 2nd 2009 – April 30th 2010
DISTRIBUTED BY: Cartoon Network
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: George Lucas, Catherine Winder & Dave Filoni
WRITTEN BY: Paul Dini, George Krstic, Henry Gilroy, Wendy Meracle, Melina Hsu, Brian Larsen, Eoghan Mahony, Andrew Kreisberg, Ben Edlund, Carl Ellsworth, Drew Z. Greenberg, Craig Titley, Steven Melching, Doug Petrie & Dave Filoni
DIRECTED BY: Justin Ridge, Rob Coleman, Brian Kalin O’Connell, Steward Kee, Giancarlo Volpe, Robert Dalva, Kyle Dunlevy & Dave Filoni
MUSIC BY: Kevin Kiner
STARRING: Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Ashley Eckstein, Dee Bradley Baker, Tom Kane, Matthew Wood, Ian Abercrombie, Corey Burton, Terrence C. Carson, Jim Cummings, Olivia d’Abo, Anthony Daniels, Jon Favreau, Nika Futterman, Brian George, Anna Graves, Jaime King, Phil LaMarr, Daniel Logan, Angelique Perrin, Meredith Salenger, Kath Soucie, Stephen Stanton & Catherine Taber

REVIEW: Straight off the bat, this season is a step above the last one. While there were some strong stories in season one, at times it still felt like it was finding it’s footing.

Season two meanwhile launches audiences into several, longer multi-episode arcs surrounding Cad Bane and an extended second battle on Geonosis, amongst other things. It’s got war stories, Jedi stories, bounty hunters, zombies, kaiju and perhaps most relevant at this point in time, the first proper dive into Mandalorian culture in the new canon (even though technically this predates the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm).

Stories like the Geonosis arc really reminded me why I loved watching The Clone Wars all those years ago. Despite being advertised for ages 6+, the show doesn’t pull any punches, depicting full-on wars, and depicting more mature topics such as the nature of conflict, the meaning of desertion and even depicts a character committing suicide in one episode. Of course, it does all this in a Star Wars-y way; with laser swords and laser guns, and no blood to be seen, which is probably how they get away with it all.

But it’s clear this time around that they’re not pandering to children to get their views as you could argue some episodes were last season (ie. the Jar Jar-starring Bombad Jedi) and is being made for Star Wars fans of all ages. Kids, teenagers and adults.

This season also seems even less focused on the characters of Anakin and Ahsoka than the last. They’re around a lot of the time, of course, but nearly just as much focus is given to other characters like Mace Windu, Luminara Unduli, Plo Koon and Cad Bane, all of whom have the potential to be fan favourites and get a chance to show off how cool and formidable they are.

The wide variety of stories is also welcome, with political focused episodes, zombie stories, a kaiju-two parter and other things really mixing it up and allowing the creators to just have fun exploring the Star Wars universe.

Ahsoka, our star, is also making great strides towards becoming a very enjoyable character. Her more irritating characteristics are starting to fade away as the writers start to get a handle on writing a teenaged girl more realistically than they did last season.

This season also puts the focus on some of the more criminal elements of the Star Wars universe, with Boba Fett making his return (in a series of episodes with an interesting hook, but ones that don’t quite yet cement Boba as the calm and collected bounty hunter we first met in Empire), accompanied by other familiar faces like Aurra Sing and Bossk. Seeing them actually get a chance to do things on-screen is fun, once again highlighting that Clone Wars greatest strength is its opportunity to give more screentime to lesser-known characters.

The criminal aspect in particular also leads to the introduction of a personal favourite of mine, Jedi Master Tera Sinube, whose debut episode Lightsaber Lost is a lot of fun.

Furthermore, others that are made for this show, like Hondo, get some more play, while those who didn’t land as well (like Ziro) seemingly fall by the wayside.

It’s not all perfect, of course, as some of the episodes are still a bit of a slog to get through and the habit of making characters by ripping stereotypes from different cultures and genres is still prevalent, but overall, The Clone Wars is getting stronger with nearly every story.

All-in-all, I give Season Two: Rise of the Bounty Hunters:

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