петък, 3 февруари 2012 г.

Shifting focus in "The Clone Wars"

Seeing how this week we are entering one of the last arcs this season, I wanted to point out exactly what is wrong with the show for me at this point in time.

You know what is the problem with the show these days the most and why, for instance, I am not  fan of it so much anymore!?

The main reason - the shift in the show's focus!

The first two seasons were very good in terms of balance between story, action and visuals. The first season did not have the eye-candy of Season Four but had the solid stories that made up for that fact. That was also evident in Season two with the animation getting a lot better.
And I think everything changed with the underwhelming Boba Fett arc that chaged this show forever.
Because it was one of the first to go into the OT lore and get a cameo for the marketing ploy of Lucasfilm animation. That is the first major change - relying on an foreign element to drive your show. They continued that all the way into Season four and now with the bland Return of Darth Maul who by this point in time has been overused in marketing and commercialism.

The other thing that I feel the Fett arc changed was the way the episodes and arcs were built. Well, at least, that is the first most obvious arc/episodes that made me feel a wind of change in the show.
The second thing - making the War take a backseat to main character exposition. That is what the show is killing me with!

In the first two seasons, the War came first and we got stories about it with the characters' personal stories part of it. Best example would be the Ryloth arc - to this day one of the best arcs.
The thing about the arc is that it focused on the Battle of Ryloth and featured personal stories in it like the one of Numa and the one of Chum Syndulla!
We got battles in each episode of the arc and personal struggles that arose from the battles. And it was fun and the way the episodes' stories were built, no character was too exposed or too annoying. Even Anakin in the overall finished arc was not so annoying as he did not "eat up" the time for other Jedi and because of that we had a nice exposition of Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

But from the end of Season two to the latest episode of Season four, the show has been going in the wrong direction. At least, that is how I feel about it.
From the start of Season three (with slight feels in the second half of Season two) the show changed it around and now focuses on the character's issues first and the War is used just as a backdrop that at times can be ignored entirely!
This is where the show kinda started to suck for me. The visuals were getting better but little by little I started to feel that the show had stopped telling stories about the war and how it effects everyone in a different way. Instead we got only how the main characters interact with each other over and over with a little hint that a war is going on. The best example of this would be the latest episode "A Friend in Need" and before that the stupid and overhyped trainwreck called Umbara.
The problem with these kind of episodes was that they missed the point of the show in showing the WAR FIRST, CHARACTERS REACTIONS SECOND!
Let's start with "Plan of Dissent" which was the most painful example of where the show has sidetracked at! The episode was basically 17 minutes of just talking and 3 minutes of flying, shooting and destroying the supply ship. The problem was that in this episode and the next one we all forgot there was a War waging on Umbara and there were many parties involved! The only thing we got was the clones blab and share feeeewiiiiings in the comfort of the taken base without having to do any fighting and that is the main problem. They just talked and never even mentioned the battle until the very last scene of the arc.
The same is with  "A Friend in Need" where the war was totally forgotten and was barely mentioned just because we needed interactions between our main characters. And the episode failed to deliver cause of that fact.

I know it might sound like I am sucker for only action but the thing is focusing first on characters would be so bad IF the characters were the least bit intersting. Focusing on Anakin, Rex and Ahsoka is the reason why the show sucks these days cause they are bland and uninteresting characters. The only one who got a little better as the seasons went on is Ahsoka and she still suffers from the Hero blandness syndrome!

The shift of focus is not more evident than ever with Filoni's people confirming that Darth Maul is going to be an integral part of the show. This means that we will have to forget about the War and deal with the awesome person that was actually dead for the last 13 years!

The last episode to show the War in a very good way was the brillaint episode called "Water War". It did not spent to much time on the characters that over exposed and got to what the show is supposed to be about - the War. The Second Battle of Dac in the new Clone Wars show was one of the best opening episodes of this series, a series that visually does not cease to amaze! The reason is that the episode was traditional TCW stuff - war, clones vs droids, explosions and in all that some interaction between the characters. That is why it was sooooo good and is my favorite episode of Season Four!

Maybe when the show remembers that it is supposed to tell the stories of the war, a war that is shown in the title itself, then maybe, just maybe we could get the epic feel of Season One's greatness once more. Until then we will get episodes that focus on characters we know ALL about and in the end will result in seasons wasted in learning/ watching something we already have.