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The pilot episode of The Mandalorian landed earlier this week (thanks to the launch of Disney+), much to the joy and excitement of many Star Wars fans. Drawing heavily on the Western genre and “the man with no name” motif, the first live-action Star Wars series is off to an incredibly solid start, and there are surely many out there who are highly anticipating the second episode of the series, available for the first time today. Written, once again, by series creator Jon Favreau (The Lion King, Iron Man) and directed by Rick Famuyima (Confirmation, Dope), the second episode answers some questions while posing others, all while continuing to give us a dusty, mythic story of a stranger wandering the rugged galactic frontier with a mask and a blaster.

Buckle up, baby, because The Mandalorian has arrived, and the premiere of Disney+'s new streaming series is setting an impressively high bar for the competition to follow. Written by series creator Jon Favreau and directed by Dave Filoni (the creative force behind Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels), the first episode of The Mandalorian is stunning, awe-inspiring, and nearly everything a Star Wars fan could wish for when it comes to a live-action series.

I can’t get over how fantastically talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge is. Not only is she the writer, creator, and star of the Emmy-nominated Fleabag, she’s also the showrunner for the spy thriller, Killing Eve – a completely different show in both style and tone, but still excellent and fun to watch. Additionally, she’s the creator/star of a 2016 BBC show called Crashing and was the voice of L3-37 in Solo: A Star Wars Story last year, among many other things. Still, her crowning achievement, in my opinion, is Fleabag. It’s a very simple, very understated show, but it blew me away. Twice.

The second season of American Gods has come to a close with the episode, “Moon Shadow.”  

The latest episode of American Gods, “Treasure of the Sun,” tells the history of Mad Sweeney through a series of flashbacks, and it only seems fitting to depict story of such an unconventional leprechaun backwards.  Starting with a prophecy of his death, his journey traces back to the beginning of his descent.

The Second Golden Age of Television has brought us great serialized entertainment, but there will always be a special place for fantastic standalone episodes. This week's episode of American Gods, “Donar the Great,” demonstrates their importance.  Adapting American Gods into a TV show allows for the source material's mythology to expand and develop concepts that are only touched on in the book.  Thor's story is briefly mentioned in the book, but what was originally a few passing lines now takes on a whole new meaning.  I expect nothing less from an episode directed by Rachel Talalay.

As season 2 of American Gods continues, the show has diverged more and more from the book.  The creators have introduced more characters and made a point to focus on some of the darker atrocities in American culture.  I am not quite sure where they are going with the story this season.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do hope that we'll start to see how some of these tangential threads will be woven together.

The great thing about adapting American Gods into a show is that the medium allows the showrunners to spend time and further develop the story.  Episode 4, “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” had the freedom to explore the previously untold story of the Technical Boy's origin.

In the latest episode of American Gods, New Media has emerged from her digital chrysalis.  She shed her pop culture icon identity and now speaks in emojis.  Media and how we consume it has changed in the time since the book of American Gods was released, so it makes sense that the character would evolve to reflect the times.

I am a bit behind on my American Gods reviews, so I am going to combine my reviews of the first (“House on the Rock”) and second (“The Beguiling Man”) episodes of Season 2, as well as celebrate that the show has already been renewed for a third season!

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