TV Reviews: The New Yoda Chronicles

Mama Fisi
Mama Fisi's picture

When I was a kid, my brother and I played with our Star Wars action figures, making up weird, wild, and funny stories.  In high school, I drew a comic strip based on those "adventures," where Leia's band of Rebels were well-meaning but hapless goofs you wouldn't trust with a loaded blaster,and had been exiled to Yavin under her command in order to appease her wealthy patron father, the King of Alderaan.  Well, Disney must have gotten my notes, because "The New Yoda Chronicles" have all the silly sight gags and in-jokes I would have loved to have come up with myself.

That's Yodaspeak for, "Damn this is funny!  I wish I'd thought of it!"

Set between the events of "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back," the little Lego characters are vying with Darth Vader and the Emperor for possession of a trove of glowing blue Holochrons that Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi juggled out of the Jedi temple many years earlier, and buried in the sands of Tattooine.  These things are vitally important for Luke's training, because they contain the collected wisdom of generations of Jedi.

That's enough for the serious part.  The rest contains the sort of irreverent lunacy that only a bunch of forty-something people who used to be Star Wars-obsessed kids playing with their action figures could dream up, like star destroyers that beep when they go in reverse, a Darth Vader who seems to have no luck whatsoever (he gets his cape sucked into the intake of a landspeeder, and then winds up dangling from the cape as his triumphant Imperial March peters away to limping nothingness), Yoda and the ghost of Obi-Wan trading stories while roasting marshmallows over a fire on Dagobah, an Emperor who launches all his TIE fighters without their pilots...oh, it's just rich in delightful gags, trust me.

Princess Leia has very little to do, and her voice actress doesn't quite get the Carrie Fisher impression correct, but the guys doing Yoda, Vader, Luke, and Han are fairly on target.  And since Anthony Daniels is doing his career-making Threepio voice--seriously, has he ever done anything else?--they've made Threepio a lot more snarky and funny.

The production team clearly loves the subject matter, but it's a cockeyed, galloping sort of love; they're not trashing the story, they're just having a blast with it, the sort of loopy adventure that you'd think a bunch of grown-up geeks would come up with.  They skewer the prequels, they have the Imperials dancing conga lines, they have Vader screwing up almost at every turn.  The Rebels could stand a little more character development--so far they've all been just background noise--but watching them stick it to the Empire is satisfying enough.

If this is any hint of what the Disney-made live action sequels will be like...I may have to start looking forward to them!

May the Farce be with us all!

The New Yoda Chrinicles are currently playing on Disney XD, and clips are available on YouTube.