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Star Wars: The Next Generation “Star Wars on TV”

Star Wars: The Next Generation
Star Wars on TV

For those of my generation (what JimmyMac often calls, “The Star Wars Generation”), between the Star Wars films and after the original trilogy had finished, virtually the only way a fan could get his fix was to watch one of the specials or cartoon series on television.  In a world decades away from the Information Age, children learned to schedule their time around these somewhat rare opportunities to revisit that galaxy far, far away.  While their parents were sometimes confused by the intricacies of the developing technology of video cassette recorders, their children became adept at setting the timers on the family VCRs and programming them to record these shows so they could be watched over and over.

And watch them, we did.  Repeatedly.  I wore out my copies of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back as well as E.T. and Friends, the CBS special from 1982.  Those that survived, however, offered me an opportunity to introduce these classic elements of Star Wars to my own children many years later.

Both of my children were born a couple weeks after the initial releases of the first prequel movies.  By the time they could comprehend what was happening on the television screen, we already owned The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones on DVD, so the dearth of Star Wars content I had known as a child never affected them.  But I had some of these treasures from my childhood available for them to watch whenever I wanted to introduce another aspect of Star Wars to them.

DroidsAs they became enamored with the brief Clone Wars clips which aired on Cartoon Network before the release of Revenge of the Sith, I introduced them to the Droids and Ewoks cartoons that were released on DVD in 2004.  They loved watching them.  Their interest prompted me to pull out Dad’s old Betamax player and digitize some of the other episodes of the Nelvana cartoons so they could watch them, as well.  As the excitement surrounding Star Wars: The Clone Wars grew, I made a DVD for them with more episodes of both shows.  They became acquainted with Thall Joben, Jord Dusat, and Kea Moll.  They laughed at the antics of the Ewoks.  They were ready for more cartoon adventures in the Star Wars universe when August rolled out the theatrical release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the subsequent start to the five-season series on Cartoon Network.

Just like the days of my own childhood, my children would plan their activities around watching The Clone Wars on Friday nights.  They loved meeting new characters and wondering how they would fit into the larger story of Star Warsiu-8Every season premier was a big event in our home, giving us reason to drink Ahsoka Cola and Yoda Soda while munching on Clone Cookies in front of the television for thirty minutes as a family.  We travelled to Dallas to meet the voice actors behind their favorite characters.  We collected toys, books, games, and artwork.  While the movies were the foundation of my Star Wars fanaticism, this new animated series quickly became the bedrock of theirs.

Our conversations on car rides often revolve around unfinished stories and themes from these television shows.  The tones of my daughter singing “The Fate of Ahsoka” (her favorite Star Wars character by far) by High Adventure can be heard throughout the house as she spontaneously erupts in song any given afternoon.  My son continues to reenact battles between heroes and villains from this series alone or with his friends.

Don’t underestimate the power of television to instill fandom in the next generation.

The Clone Wars Season 4 Episode 19 Review

Hello and welcome back to another review of the latest installment in The Clone Wars! This week Asajj Ventress returns home to the Nightsisters, and Grievous leads an attack to destroy the Dathomiri tribe, in the strangest and possibly darkest Clone Wars yet, “Massacre”. This is season four, episode nineteen, which means we only have three episodes left until the end of the season, and these last few episodes look fantastic judging from the new trailer we saw last week. Really though, if you have not seen that trailer, watch it now! Okay, enough about future episodes (I’m sure I’ll bring them up again at the end of my review.), time to talk the latest episode!

This episode revolves entirely around the Nightsisters, over a year later from when we saw them last. This episode starts with Asajj returning to Dathomir after an unknown amount of time wandering the galaxy since her betrayal in the last season. It has me wondering why this episode (and the next episode) will be focused on Asajj so much, since “Massacre” continued right where the conflicted character of Asajj left off, I wonder if this will be the end of Asajj’s character, one way or another. She’s a character we’ve been seeing less and less in the series since season one, and honestly, I just don’t see her going back to the Sith, or making anymore mayhem for the Jedi in the war.

So how will they take this character out of the series? The more I watch it, the more I feel like they’re going to go the comics route and allow her to escape and flee into hiding, which would be pretty awesome. I think an ending like that would capitalize the tragedy that her role has turned into, first being betrayed by her master, then by Savage, and then being the last of the Nightsisters. I’m also wondering if she will even be around long enough to face Obi-Wan again, or maybe even Savage. One thing I hope doesn’t happen is leaving her character at a cliffhanger again, letting us guess where she is and what she’s doing for another year.

Massacre was, I would say, the most out-of-universe episode to date. Some parts just didn’t feel like Star Wars, which I guess was bound to happen when you’re creating an episode about a group of witches. But there were lots of things that kind of made me wish for a little familiarity in this episode (besides battle droids). Instead of using the Force, the Nightsisters replaced it with their magic, summoning Nightsister zombies to their aid in battle, (those were really weird, and well-designed I might add). There was one part that even reminded me of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, with the voodoo doll, to torture Dooku, even at one point allowing Talzin to emerge from his torso to warn him. There were no Jedi, no clones, and no good guys in this episode. This was a brawl of the baddies, and combining that with the bizarreness of the Nightsister’s magic, and you’ve got one strange episode, not knowing who to root for, if anyone.

One thing I’d like to touch on briefly before I wrap up my review is the return of some season one technology. The “Defenders of Peace” Defoliator tank is back; it’s always great to see stuff from past seasons show up in current episodes, even though it is strange it’s taken this long for it to show up again. Hopefully we’ll be seeing it in some large scale battles soon.

Is this the end of her story?

All in all, “Massacre” was a very unique episode, the red colors of the world of Dathomir fit the dark and evil mood perfectly. Like I said before, it did not feel as much like a part of the Star Wars universe as I would have liked, but the story was decent, exciting, and the ending left me with a great sense of uncertainty for Asajj, and pity for her character. And that wraps up my review this week! What did you think of the episode? Love it? Hate it? Let us know by leaving a comment below! Thanks for reading, and I cannot wait for next week’s episode with the return of some classic characters! May the Force be with you… always!

-Ryan