It's no moon but The Mandalorian is one of the most hyped offerings available on new streaming service Disney Plus.

Following Disney's American launch yesterday, the first wave of reviews have swooped in on what Disney is hoping will be their "Netflix killer".

So, is it the show you're looking for?


The highly anticipated series was created by Jon Favreau (director of The Lion King remake) and is being used as a lure to attract the global legion of Star Wars fans to Disney's new service.

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There is even a New Zealand connection to the show, as homegrown hero Taika Waititi sat in the director's chair for a couple of episodes.


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Dubbed a "Space Western" The Mandalorian follows a lone, Boba Fett type gunslinger who roams the outer reaches of the galaxy bounty hunting, far from the authority of the New Republic. It is set after the events of Return of the Jedi and the fall of the Empire, but before the New Republic seizes control in The Force Awakens.

So, what are the critics saying?

Does the show offer a new hope or will it send you to the dark side in rage? Let's take a look.

The Mandalorian is the latest big Star Wars spinoff.
The Mandalorian is the latest big Star Wars spinoff.

"This is Star Wars heaven," reckoned the reviewer from the sci-fi fandom website io9.com.

However, over at the more serious-minded Slate.com that high praise was not shared.

"39 minutes of mediocre Star Wars... it feels uninspired from its very first scene."

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Conversely, CNN said, "the show's brisk, handsomely produced 39-minute premiere is a great deal of fun, giving fans reason to have a good feeling about this."

TV Guide's critic agreed, calling it, "a nostalgic blast that's thrilling, fun, and respectful of its roots, which we can't say about all things Star Wars these days. But it's the perfect fit of its western tone that makes it great."

Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian. Photo / Lucasfilm Ltd. NZH 14Nov19 - NZH 14Nov19 - Gina Carano as Cara Dune and Carl Weathers as Greef.
Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian. Photo / Lucasfilm Ltd. NZH 14Nov19 - NZH 14Nov19 - Gina Carano as Cara Dune and Carl Weathers as Greef.

However The Atlantic's critic was not as impressed, saying "The impressive production values, however, can't cover up a relatively skimpy plot. "Chapter 1" of The Mandalorian is a thin piece of set-up stretched over 38 minutes, barely introducing its hero and then dangling a tantalizing twist at the end. ... For a Star Wars nerd looking to fill in some arcane details, it's a cozy watch; but one episode in, The Mandalorian has yet to prove it can stand on its own."

For RogerEbert.com's reviewer the show may as well have been called The Meh-dalorian, writing, "Good enough to keep me watching, forgettable enough that I doubt I'll want to watch this specific episode again. ... There's a bit too much whiz-bang editing and overdone production value (they should pull back on the overheated score a bit) but it's clearly designed to keep young people watching."

The AV Club called the show's debut, "pretty thin," but still enthused that, "it's also got a lot of wide open spaces to expand into."

The Hollywood Reporter didn't shrink away from making a big call, saying "The premiere is still fun and packed with technical marvels that devoted Star Wars fans never could have even fathomed appearing on TV a decade ago. It's just small."

Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian. Photo / Lucasfilm Ltd
Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian. Photo / Lucasfilm Ltd

"Fun," was Rolling Stone's assessment, elaborating with, "At this early stage, it's Star Wars' Greatest Hits mashed up with the most popular clichés of film Westerns."

With such a mixed response from critics it was Variety's reviewer who brought balance to the force, summing up the situation best.

"Someone who doesn't care for "Star Wars" likely won't care for "The Mandalorian," but the setup is rooted in enough tropes that its story remains accessible enough to anyone who might be interested."

Kiwi fans won't have to wait long to catch The Mandalorian, as Disney+ launches here on Tuesday, November 19.


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