Spin-off worthy of the galaxy far, far-off

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor in “Andor”.

Streaming columnist NICK OVERALL enjoys “Andor” a enjoyable slice of sci-fi journey that captures the spirit of “Star Wars” by itself two ft.

DISNEY’S umpteenth “Star Wars” spin-off, “Andor”, is a contemporary instalment that’s lastly worthy of the galaxy far, far-off.

Nick General.

Eliminating Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and each different Tom, Dick and Yoda, this new 12-episode sequence creates its personal story that’s refreshingly distant from the closely milked sci-fi saga.

Since Disney pocketed “Star Wars” from creator George Lucas for $US4 billion a decade in the past, the 5 main movies and three tv exhibits they’ve since produced have all relied on some sort of connection to the unique movies with a view to prop up viewership.

It’s a failsafe transfer. Even when the spin-offs are awful, followers solely have to listen to in regards to the return of an iconic face akin to Han Solo or Princess Leia to remain subscribed to Disney Plus, the corporate’s streaming service the place the brand new exhibits premiere.

However right here’s the place “Andor” distinguishes itself. It’s a sequence that carves out its personal nook of the “Star Wars” universe and confidently does its personal factor with it, unconcerned in regards to the escapades of any Skywalker elsewhere within the galaxy.

For the primary time in years right here’s a narrative that doesn’t really feel like each single one among its plot factors is being signed off by some government keen to verify the present isn’t contradicting the handfuls extra spin-offs they’ve deliberate forward.

The result’s a gritty, absorbing journey that takes inspiration from sci-fi classics akin to “Blade Runner” and “The Fifth Ingredient” to inform a extra mature story that can nonetheless entertain a youthful viewers. 

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There’s a real-life swear phrase thrown in there that’s drawn some backlash from disapproving mother and father although. Apparently “S***” is canon in “Star Wars” now.

What’s all of it about?

The eponymous Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who first appeared as a side-character in 2016’s “Rogue One” spin-off movie, is the star of this sequence, which charts his journey from petty thief to insurgent spy.

All sounds fairly stock-standard on the floor, however “Andor” in the end tells a extra private and relatable story of a person simply attempting to make his approach by way of a world being torn aside by struggle.

For these desirous to know whereabouts within the relentlessly increasing “Star Wars” timeline the present takes place, assume a bit of earlier than “A New Hope” (the unique 1977 basic) however don’t fairly go way back to “Revenge of the Sith” (the conclusion to the broadly panned 2000’s prequel trilogy) and someplace roughly within the center are the occasions of “Andor”.

If my maths work out appropriately, that makes it a prequel to the sequel of the prequels.

Ultimately, it doesn’t truly matter an excessive amount of when the present takes place and that’s the wonderful thing about it. It’s a enjoyable slice of sci-fi journey that doesn’t must desperately cling on to its supply materials to succeed. “Andor” captures the spirit of “Star Wars” by itself two ft.

TOUCHING again down on earth, this month Netflix is boasting a drama that tells the true story of the concept made the CD close to out of date.

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“The Playlist” is the story of the intelligent individuals who dreamed up Spotify, the music app that not solely revolutionised the way in which individuals take heed to songs, however the streaming medium itself.

On the centre of the six-part mini sequence is Daniel Ek, the Swedish co-founder of the corporate that may sooner or later remodel him right into a billionaire. 

It’s been impressed by the work of Swedish investigative tech journos Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud who wrote “The Spotify Play: How CEO and Founder Daniel Ek Beat Apple, Google and Amazon within the Race for Audio Dominance.”

It’s an interesting story. With out veering an excessive amount of into spoiler territory, the concept of Spotify truly got here from an try and curb the rampant music piracy of the 2000s that was made attainable by a swathe of internet sites the place customers may obtain free music. It labored like a allure.

Whereas Netflix has disclosed that the present is a considerably “fictionalised” account, the broad brush strokes nonetheless seize the story of how a small group of individuals modified the way in which the world listened to music.

Suppose in the same vein to David Fincher’s tendentious 2010 flick “The Social Community” (additionally on Netflix), which documented the considerably true account of Mark Zuckerberg’s creation of Fb and which ushered in a brand new wave of recognition for the tech-start up drama.

Followers of “The Social Community” will discover a comparable, if barely much less nuanced product right here. “The Playlist” doesn’t fairly hit all the fitting beats, but it surely’s nonetheless a narrative price plugging into.