16/08/2020

Watching Clone Wars Seasons 2 & 3

More than two years ago now (yikes), I mentioned watching Clone Wars season one on DVD. I actually ended up buying season two a few months later and did watch a few episodes of that as well, but then I just kind of... stopped. I think popping discs into a DVD drive every couple of episodes is just too much effort nowadays...

Earlier this year I subscribed to Disney Plus when it finally launched in the UK, and of course all seasons of Clone Wars are one of the things that's available on there as well. Sadly I've been pretty terrible at making use of that subscription - I can't explain it; I can put dumb YouTube videos on my second monitor all day long but when it comes to watching any sort of "proper" content I'm always hesitant and put it off until later. I really don't know why that is.

Anyway, I did end up finding a good opportunity to get more use out of that subscription recently, because we purchased an exercise bike the other week and watching some Clone Wars (or whatever) while pedalling the miles away is a nice distraction. Thanks to this new setup, I've now made it through seasons two and three (oh, and I watched the Clone Wars animated film as well).

I don't really have much to say about the film, other than that baby hutts are silly but I guess it served as an explanation for how Anakin ended up with a padawan to begin with. I did want to write down a few comments about seasons two and three though before proceeding to watching the next one.

First off, I had read somewhere that there was a recommended watch order, which was different from the actual release order, but that seemed a bit overkill for a kids show to me. I could soon see that the idea wasn't without merit though, when - while simply watching the episodes in the order in which they popped up on D+ - I watched clone troopers graduate that had already been killed in season one, and saw a senator get murdered just to have him pop up again alive and well a few episodes later. It's not too bad I guess, just slightly disorienting in the moment.

While there are still a few lighthearted and simple episodes (the two-parter with pseudo-Gozilla for example, or the one where the droids go shopping /sigh), there was a very noticeable increase in mature subject matter. There's a lot of fairly adult talk in regards to politics for example, and I was going to comment how it was very prescient of the writers to paint the banking clan as the ultimate bad guys, but I just looked it up and these seasons came out just after the 2008 financial crisis so I guess that was just meant to be low-key educational.

There's also quite a shocking amount of death for a kids' show - and I don't just mean anonymous troopers and droids getting shot in big space battles, but people getting stabbed, sliced to pieces, gunned down point-blank etc. While there's never any blood and the camera pans away if the method of death is sufficiently graphic that there really ought to be, it's still quite a lot. We're not just talking about generic mooks dying here either, but named characters with personalities.

Interestingly, there's also been an increase in mysticism - I've sometimes seen people comment that SWTOR content that treats the Force more like magic (such as anything to do with the Dread Masters) doesn't quite fit into Star Wars, but Clone Wars is one piece of canon material that clearly also embraced this style whenever it suited the writers. For example there was this three-parter where Anakin, Ahsoka and Obi-Wan get trapped in a weird place with three powerful Force users, and that explores the prophecy about Anakin bringing balance to light and dark in a more literal way than I had ever considered. (The episode has some pretty cool visuals too.) Or the arc where Asajj Ventress returns to the Nightsisters? Definitely some weird shit going on there.

Finally, I think I could see the seeds of where Ahsoka's popularity comes from. In season one she didn't really do that much yet, but in seasons two and three she gets more episodes that focus on her and manages to pull off a couple of heroic feats of her own, not the least of which happens in the two-parter that finishes season three. It did leave me curious where her character will go next.

5 comments :

  1. "I can put dumb YouTube videos on my second monitor all day long but when it comes to watching any sort of "proper" content I'm always hesitant and put it off until later. "

    I suffered from this problem for more than a decade and a half after I started playing MMOs. Something about the committment to spending a specific, closed period of time passively watching one thing bacame entirely alien to me, even though I'd been doing just that for thirty years or more before I discovered EQ.

    I think it was only when the grip of the genre finally began to falter, when the stream of compelling, new MMORPGs dried to a trickle and I found I didn't need to keep playing every hour of the day to keep up, that I began to recover my ability to settle down and just watch something, without feeling frustrated I couldn't join in.

    Even now, I struggle with full-length movies purely because of the length of time I'd have to commit (I have never watched films in anything but a single sitting. To break the flow is an insult to the form). I'm up to hour-long tv shows with no problem, now, though, and I can watch several back to back, so pretty soon I should be back to the status quo ante MMO. Until someone releases another good one, that is...

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    1. Maybe there is hope for me one day... I don't think I'm anywhere near that point though; I still find MMOs way too compelling right now.

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  2. Hey... Yeah, the watch order REALLY does help (I think I've never managed to truly watch outside order because, as you say, it is confusing). Thankfully, after S3, it isn't as confusing. I can't understand, for the life of me, WHY they didn't simply re-ordered/tagged the episodes in proper order when putting it on Disney+; it might be ~slightly~ confusing for returning people but the merits would outweight the benefits by far.

    And - I love CloneWars, I really do. It's some great writing, and nice storylines, and makes Anakin & Obi-wan friendship deeper (in a way that seems to make bridge between Obi-wan's pissiness in AotC and their BFF-ness in RotS), Anakin's slide to DS smoother and Anakin/Padmé a worse ship than you'd imagine. Who'd have thought?

    I still haven't watched the new season, though.

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    1. Anakin/Padmé a worse ship than you'd imagine

      Lol, oh dear! What I've seen so far seemed okay, though they've only interacted romantically a couple of times. At least it gave their relationship a bit of depth. Now I wonder what else is coming up though...

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  3. I personally never liked Ahsoka. Nor ever understood her popularity.

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