The first season of Andor is done, and it’s become abundantly clear that the series has been incredibly well-received. In fact, it’s managed to receive critical acclaim unlike much of the franchise before it.
Polygon ranked the series as the best TV show of the year. Vulture did as well, placing it #1 on their list. Empire ranked it #1 also. Other outlets didn’t necessarily put it at the very top of the list, but nonetheless Andor had a very strong showing with them too. The Ringer ranked it #3. TV Guide put it #11. TV Line, meanwhile, had the show at #3. Rolling Stone placed it at #10. And Inverse ranked it at number 2.
Regardless of where exactly it’s ranked, the fact that a Star Wars show is appearing on year-end lists like this is pretty remarkable. Star Wars is among the most iconic, recognizable, and profitable brands in Hollywood history, but though a fan favorite it typically doesn’t get this kind of critical acclaim (nor do other fantasy-style products). But Andor isn’t the typical Star Wars series, and this kind of widespread response is proof of that. It’s a Star Wars series propelled by brilliant writing and acting, telling a compelling and nuanced story that sucks viewers in and makes them think. Yes, it’s exciting and the action and visuals are up to par for the franchise, but it goes deeper than we’re often used to.
Andor was the work of showrunner Tony Gilroy, who was brought in to oversee the extensive re-shoots on Rogue One in 2016, the movie that introduced Cassian Andor to audiences. This series is a prequel to that movie, and between the two seasons (production on the second and final season is currently underway) it will lead us right up to the start of the film. But it’s about far more than just getting us to Rogue One; it’s also the story of rebellion amidst the darkness of the Empire’s tyranny. The series stars Diego Luna (Cassian Andor), Stellan Skarsgard (Luthen Rael), Genevieve O’Reilly (Mon Mothma), Denise Gough (Dedra Meero), Adria Arjona (Bix Caleen), Fiona Shaw (Maarva Andor), Kyle Soller (Syril Karn), Andy Serkis (Kino Loy), Fay Marsey (Vel Sartha), and more. In addition to Gilroy, Sanne Wohlenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Diego Luna, Toby Haynes, and Michelle Rejwan are executive producers, while Kate Hazell and David Meanti are producers.