The Series (5/5)
OK, I'll cut to the chase. I loved Star Wars: Rebels. I watched all 15, 23 minutes episodes in about 2 sittings, and now my cable-less butt is going through withdrawals waiting for more. Star Wars: Rebels came about because of the deal Lucasfilm inked with Disney. Basically, the animated show they had been doing Clone Wars (which was excellent, though I haven't fully caught up)could no longer be produced, because of complicated rights issues. Star Wars: The Clone Wars was considered a success both by viewership numbers, and by fans who swarmed around the show declaring it the beginning a resurgence of quality Star Wars material.
Star Wars: Rebels sees the creative team move to a different channel (Disney XD instead of Cartoon Network), and move the show into a different era in the Star Wars Universe. In Rebels, we see the beginning of the rebellion that would eventually take down the Empire. The series takes place about 20 years after the conclusion of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which is about a 5-10 years before the beginning of the original film (IV: A New Hope).
Star Wars: Rebels follows Ezra, a thief from the planet Lothal that has been occupied by the Empire. As the series begins he gets tangled up in a situation that causes him to join a group of Rebels aboard the spaceship Ghosts. They leave the planet, and end up in a variety of missions across the galaxy. The episodes are short, and there are only 15 on the first season (A larger episode count has been promised for season 2). That being said each episode is packed with solid action, and story.
The show also offers cameos to classic era appropriate Star Wars characters from C3PO and R2D2 to Grand Moff Tarkin himself (he even has a town named after him on Ezra's home planet). The series is perfect for kids, not being overly violent and dark, but dark enough to keep it interesting for viewers of all ages.
Star Wars: Rebels is presented in a fantastic 1:78:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer that preserves the OAR and overall look of the recent broadcast. The Blu-ray has excellent colors, fine detail, and crisp blacks. They've also added some digital grain to keep the look of the show in line with the original trilogy films (I assume that's the reason).
Star Wars: Rebels is presented with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track that certainly gets the job done. The dialogue comes through nicely, as does the shows score. I did not detect any issues with the track..
The Blu-ray set includes 14 behind the scenes featurette that offers a short glimpse into the shows production. We also get a series of animated shorts that continue the stories in the episodes. There is Rebels: The Ultimate Guide a narrated synopsis of the first season by voice actor Freddie Prinze Jr. A look ahead to season 2, and a 4 minute clip from a panel at Star Wars: Celebration.
Star Wars: Rebels is a fun and exciting trip into the Star Wars Universe. The Blu-ray for the most part looks and sounds fantastic. The disc isn't loaded with extras, but what is here will certainly please fans of the series. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.