My feelings on Mando season 2 have actually soured over the past few months. Part of that is maybe bitterness at how much Disney seems to be capitalising on its success, and that possibly taking away from a future for animated shows, but in general I’ve come to see the plot of season 2 as too contrived. It’s playing join the dots with its special character appearances, there are too many coincidences, the sidequest structure is a little formulaic, and when Grogu gets kidnapped it’s not actually as emotionally compelling as it should be. Season 2 has some of my favourite episodes - The Marshal, The Heiress and The Believer, and I still find those outstanding - but now I might prefer season 1.
I’m not necessarily disagreeing, but I do feel that a loot of these are problems that come with all types of storytelling after a certain amount of time. Plus, since modern series are less episodic and more like very long movies cut up into smaller pieces, I feel this way about most streaming series. Ironically The Mandalorian gets criticized by some for being too episodic, and compared to something like GOT it’s much more retro in this regard, though it does still have that single overarching narrative. I personally wouldn’t have minded if it was even more episodic, but I suppose that would have alienated a lot of the modern audience.
Also, as for the use of EU characters, as I’ve said previously in this tread, the real irony about it all is that it’s only SW geeks like us that actually know that they are EU characters in the first place, so it’s only us who can get thrilled or annoyed about their inclusion. Both my mother and uncle watch the show (both are in their sixties), and like most casual fans of their age they only remember the basic gist of the OT movies (and maybe a little of the PT), and they were both quite surprised when I mentioned that season 2 had several “guest-characters” from other SW shows.
Could season 2 have been just as good or better without these characters, sure. But to me personally it didn’t sour my enjoyment of the show, and I though they managed to integrate them all into Din’s character arc really well. I think both Bo Katan and Boba Fett were characters that made sense in Din’s journey to learn what it really means to be a mandalorian. Ahsoka was a bit more random, but it too had that episodic side-quest feel to it, and even acted as a bit of a mini-backdoor pilot of sorts.
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Original Trilogy Documentaries/Making-Ofs (YouTube, Vimeo, etc. finds)
Beyond the OT Documentaries/Making-Ofs (YouTube, Vimeo, etc. finds)
Amazon link to my novel; Dawn of the Karabu.