Why Andor was good
Tom Scocca and Max Read are two of my favorite writers, whose beats roughly translate to “what the hell is happening??” as the internet terraforms every aspect of our culture.
And as someone who was just as surprised as they were that Disney made a Star Wars prequel-spinoff-of-a-spinoff-prequel, I knew their discussion of the merits of Andor would be great.
And that, I think, was what made Andor so great and so relentless. Gilroy seemed interested, above all, in the question of what it would actually be like to live under, or within, a Galactic Empire, day after day: the material and moral experience—the bureaucracy and logistics (even the erotics)—that would go with an interplanetary system of domination.
There’s incisive corporate media decoding! Excellent Hollywood history! Parenting advice! Even some politics!
UPDATE: There’s also this excellent piece from Jamelle Bouie’s must-read newsletter.
while “Andor” is billed as a show about the Rebellion, it is just as much, if not more, a show about the Empire. It is most interested, I think, in how the Empire works — in the bureaucracy of domination. Key moments take place within the Imperial intelligence agency, in scenes reminiscent of a John le Carré novel or adaptation (it helps that many of the actors are British, with the Received Pronunciation that we expect from Imperial officers in Star Wars). We see how paperwork in an office translates to brutality for ordinary people on the ground; how Imperial control is administered, and how dissent is repressed. We see why someone would join the Empire, find fulfillment in the Empire, seek to advance Imperial goals. It is a show that uses the idea of the “banality of evil” in exactly the way it was meant.