Lucasfilm Ltd. (Disney+)
Few other long-running franchises loom as large in today’s contemporary pop cultural imagination than Star Wars. With its many trilogies, spin-offs and TV series, George Lucas’s original creation can feel like a ubiquitous force as all-encompassing as its fictional and much-reviled Empire. Yet amid stories of destiny-driven heroes and doomed superpowered villains, Tony Gilroy’s Andor tackles that familiar galaxy with an eye not (just) for spectacle but for a keen-eyed commitment to do what sci-fi and fantasy can do best: mirror our own mundane trials and tribulations back with enough remove that their lessons become unavoidable. Andor follows known scavenger Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) as he unwittingly becomes radicalized in the wake of a police state intent on crushing any and all signs of the Rebel Alliance. And in the process, it introduces us to a network of galvanized figures who wish to better the state of the galaxy, painting a portrait of how revolutions are built on their own recurring failure, of how hope can and needs to spring eternal in the face of authoritarianism run amok. For conjuring up a terrifying world uncannily like our very own (despite taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far far away), one that stresses the need for grassroots organizing lest a fascistic state wholly subsume any spark of rebellion—and for imagining how IP-driven storytelling can flourish in today’s corporate-driven television landscape—Andor receives a Peabody.