I don’t normally do this sort of thing. I’ll rank various scenes, moments, characters, etc, in all of Star Wars, but not individual productions. I haven’t done a personal ranking of the films, for instance. I love them all for different reasons, and so I pick things out of all of them. I haven’t ruled it out yet, though, lol.
I thought I’d rank the Disney+ live action shows, since they’re all so different. There’s only four so far, so it shouldn’t be hard, right? (I’ll do an animated show ranking at some point, too. Apples with apples, and oranges with oranges). Once Ahsoka, Skeleton Crew, and The Acolyte come out, it will obviously change. But so far, here’s what I’ve got, from least favorite to most favorite:
Book of Boba Fett. This show had some definite strengths, such as the expansion of the Tusken Raider culture, and Boba’s journey from almost-dead bounty hunter to respected member of that tribe. But it has many, many weaknesses: no clear reason why Boba wants to become a “respectable” Daimyo of Mos Espa (but still an overlord, when you get right down to it), and when he does achieve this, he almost immediately decides, well, maybe he doesn’t want it. Fennec Shand is a cool character, but she has almost no characterization in the show. The Vespas (or Mods, or whatever you want to call them) are kind of cool, but are so jarring to the tone of the show it seems they just don’t belong there. There are so many potentially interesting characters introduced–Garsa Fwipp, Krrsantan, the Mayor, the Pykes, even Cad Bane–but they get so little characterization they fall flat. The whole show just seems like a random jumble of characters and ideas with no real cohesion. Oh, and putting Mando in there for a few episodes was a mistake. While I loved seeing them on the one hand, he and Grogu stole the show on the other, weakening this show that’s supposed to be about Boba Fett. The rancor was a great metaphor for Boba, though.
Andor. I’m going to start by saying that Andor is a fantastic show. It’s well-written, well-acted, brilliant in so many ways. I love the very different tone and feel to it, a “serious,” more grown-up Star Wars. I loved seeing Mon Mothma explored (and wish we’d had more of her), and Luthen Rael is a wonderfully complex character who demonstrates the “darker” side of the Rebellion. I liked getting to know more about Cassian’s past and what motivates him. But it’s a definite slow burn, and I can see how it might put some viewers off. I think it’s worth the build up, but it’s only third on my list because it just didn’t have the same emotional impact as the top two. And that’s a must for me. I have to be moved in some way, my heart strings need to be pulled, it has to “get me in the feels,” as they say, to propel it to the top of my list (this is true for all shows I watch, but especially in Star Wars). It’s a brilliant exercise, and a great addition to the lore, and I’m looking forward to Season Two. But not my favorite.
Obi-Wan Kenobi. So I had to seriously think about which of the two remaining shows would come out on top, and it was so close. And it was the Kenobi show out of all of them that produced the most emotional impact, to be honest. Seeing Ewan McGregor play Obi-Wan again, and Hayden coming back as Darth Vader, and exploring the baggage between those two, just zooms me to the moon. Little Leia is delightful, and I’m so glad she got to know Obi-Wan on this adventure. Learning about The Path was great, and I hope maybe the creators will do more with that in the future. The Inquisitors were so cool to see in live-action, even if the execution was a bit clumsy. And that’s why this show is number two instead of one for me–the execution wasn’t always perfect. Just thinking about the scene where Obi-Wan is hiding Leia under his coat on the Fortress Inquisitorious is painful to me in its incredible dumbness, lol. But for the most part, it hit all the beats: Obi-Wan on his character arc, going from despair to hope; seeing Owen and Beru’s characters expanded; Vader is absolutely incredible here, hot with hate, impatient, vicious, far from the Dark Side Zen we see in the films, and so had his own character arc to go through (they each had to let the other one go); Obi-Wan finally seeing Qui Gon’s Force ghost. And the duel between Obi-Wan and Vader is without doubt the best part of the whole series, and for me, probably the best scene in ALL of Star Wars (and there are some great ones, as we know). Just *chef’s kiss*.
The Mandalorian. Of course it’s The Mandalorian at the top spot. Everything about it is almost perfect. There are some weaker episodes than others, but all in all, it’s probably the best Star Wars show produced. The Volume is ground-breaking and used to great effect here, while it was kind of a liability in the Kenobi show. It feels like Star Wars while telling a story we’ve never seen before, in a time period that we’ve all been curious about. And Din and Grogu’s story, their relationship, their journey, is so appealing. The thing I love about this show is that it’s so accessible: you don’t necessarily have to be a Star Wars fan to love it. All the trimmings are there, the things a fan would appreciate, but you don’t have to be familiar with them to understand the story. It’s the only Star Wars show my husband, a very casual Star Wars fan, will watch with me. He loves it. He doesn’t always understand the little details, and certainly doesn’t recognize any “easter eggs,” but it doesn’t matter. He gets it. This may change as the show goes on, but for now, anyone can love this Star Wars western. And I mean, Grogu, hello??? Plenty of feels, culminating when Din says goodbye to Grogu in the S2 finale. Oh, and some guy named Skywalker shows up. Woo-hoo! And the music. It’s so different from John Williams, which defines Star Wars, but Ludwig Goransson’s score measures up to the spirit of the show. Fabulous. I can’t wait for Season 3!
How would you rank the shows? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
4 thoughts on “Ranking the Star Wars Live Action Series”
While my ranking would be pretty different I completely understand your reasoning on all shows. TBOBF is so hard to rank as for me it has one of the best hours in all of Star Wars (the episode with Din, Grogu, Luke, Ahsoka, R2, Cobb and Cad), but the fact Boba had about 10 seconds screen time makes it hard to consider as part of that show and not The Mandalorian. As time goes on, I feel that TBOBF should almost become a subtitle under “The Mandalorian” brand
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Agreed. They’re all going to be part of the “Mandoverse,” is what I’m guessing. I ranked BoBF based on the Boba episodes, but yeah, the Mando episodes within it were great.
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I’d largely agree with this ranking. I might put Obi-Wan over Mandalorian, just because I find myself rewatching the various Kenobi-Vader confrontations a lot more often than I rewatch Mandalorian as a whole… but they’re clearly the top tier to me.
Andor was fine, for what it was, but beating the whole “banality of evil” thing to death just wasn’t as interesting as more conventional Star Wars to me. It has its very, very passionate fans, but it also had the lowest streaming numbers of all four series.
And Book of Boba Fett, if it hadn’t been for Mando’s appearance, would’ve been a largely total loss.
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Yup. Like I said, Obi-Wan and Mando were very close for the top spot. Maybe I’ll call it a tie, lol.