Now Streaming: STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH, Send In The Clones

Dee Bradley Baker stars in the animated show, featuring a grungy group of smart dudes and tough hombres, now streaming on Disney Plus.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
Now Streaming: STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH, Send In The Clones

Is it wise to jump on a fast-moving train that left the station years ago?

Star Wars: The Bad Batch
First episode now streaming on Disney+. Subsequent episodes will be available to stream on subsequent Fridays.

We all carry our own Star Wars baggage, and mine dates back to seeing the first live-action movie from the back row at a theater in Westwood, California, with my friend Steven. As avid science-fiction fans, we were thrilled.

In that film, a passing mention is made of "the clone wars," which intrigued me, though not strong enough to get too terribly excited when it was depicted on-screen in the lackluster Attack of the Clones (2002). Because of my lukewarm reaction to that film, I never sought out the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003-05), nor the film that followed, nor the new-fangled animated series that began in 2008 and concluded last year.

A spin-off from that series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch starts with a 72-minute first episode that blitzes through a confusing set-up -- "confusing" for a neophyte like me -- before settling down into a comfortable narrative groove that references, I'm guessing, all kinds of other Star Wars properties, but, more importantly, puts spotlight on a rag-tag group of clones who are rough-hewn and cleverly distinguished from one another. That's quite an accomplishment, especially considering that one person provides all the voices for the team.

Dee Bradley Baker is the talented actor who has specialized in creating a huge variety of voices over the years in a great variety of television shows and films. Thanks to his creative ability, and that of the animators and the director, of course, it's never difficult to follow who's speaking, which is also quite an impressive feat, since the series is primarily concerned with packing as much action as possible into the frame. All that movement could be dizzying or off-putting; instead, it's inviting.

It's like eye candy that keeps changing shape and taste. Occasionally, it slows down, allowing for an emotional beat or two before moving onward to the next narrative development. While the rush of backstory is overwhelming upon initial immersion into this particular corner of the animated universe, I found it quite inviting and welcoming. We'll see what further adventures await in subsequent episodes, which will reportedly run 30 minutes or less.

Now Streaming covers international and indie genre films and TV shows that are available on legal streaming services.

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