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'The Bad Batch' Season 2 Review: 'Star Wars' Action With an Accent
Dee Bradley Baker and Michelle Ang return to star in the animated Disney Plus series.
Now Streaming: Blimey! Why is Omega hanging off the ship?
The new season of The Bad Batch picks up soon after the events in the first season, which debuted nearly two years ago. My review of the first episode reflected my ignorance of that corner of the Star Wars universe:
"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."
In my review of the second episode, I noted:
"Created by Dave Filoni, who is certainly an expert in all things Star Wars, the series already suggests multiple, pleasing variations on what has come before. … It also benefits from its running time; at 28 minutes, this episode flew by, while still including a generous amount of action."
Over time, I ended up watching the remaining 14 episodes, and found the show to be tasty in small bites, one episode per week, though I occasionally caught up by binging. The experience left a pleasant aftertaste, featuring above-average animation, as I would expect from the Star Wars universe.
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Disney kindly provided 14 episodes in advance to watch for screening purposes, and while I've only watched four so far, they're good. The first episode is a nearly-perfect jumping-on point: great new planet, a swarm of new beasts, all the familiar heroes returning, and a breathless pace, leading to a great cliffhanger of an ending.
Dee Bradley Baker remains an all-star voice actor, bringing different lives to all the members of the titular group, while Michelle Ang lends her supple New Zealand vocal talents to young Ong, the baby of the bunch who is always trying to prove her value to the rough and generally unruly clones.
It's a fun show, it moves fast, the backgrounds are colorful, and it's designed to maximize the visual splendors of new worlds and the occasional vocal cameo. (Possible spoiler but probably not: Henry Winkler voices a character in the fourth episode.) It's the kind of show that you can pick up anywhere and at any time, and still maximize your enjoyment.
The show also embraces its somewhat off-kilter divergence, not only in Michella Ang's New Zealand accent, but also in how the characters play outside the lines of what we might expect from a show set so deep in the Star Wars universe that it feels singular. I'm sure that dedicated fans will be able to decipher all the references to the larger universe, especially The Clone Wars, with which I am entirely unfamiliar.
Even without that background, the show just flows, appealing to the child in all of us who loves to be distracted by pretty colors, lovely backgrounds, and cool characters. [Disney Plus]