Red Vs. Blue: Season 11 (2013)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 12/14/13

The folks at Rooster Teeth continue to surprise me, and after wrapping up the Project Freelancer story arc in Season 10, they decided to hand the series over to a new writer and director. With action animator Monty Oum working on RWBY, the series goes back to its machinima roots and recalls the crazy hijinks of the original Blood Gulch series. Following the events at the end of Season 10, the Reds and Blues find themselves stranded on a remote planet after their transport ship crashes. With food and supplies running short, Washington desperately tries to set up a distress signal while the other guys engage in traditional RvB idiocy. Miraculously, Donut and Doc answer the call for help, but end up stranded as well. Meanwhile, Caboose finds a Mantis gun robot which threatens to kill everyone in sight, a sentiment that is shared by Sarge's latest robotic creation, Lopez Dos-Point-0. But all of the shenanigans finally come to an end when the entire group is attacked by Federation forces and a group of underground freedom fighters come to the rescue. With Sarge, Doc, Donut, and Washington in enemy hands, Simmons, Grif, Tucker, and Caboose prepare to go to war. For real, this time.

The first thing you notice about Season 11 is that it looks absolutely fantastic. I haven't kept up with the "Halo" releases, but I'm guessing it's using "Halo 4" as its setting. The next thing you notice is that this is a breakout season for Tucker, who has been on the sidelines since the very beginning of the series. It's impressive to see how they've developed him, and it will be interesting to see how far they take it. The series had really pushed its machinima roots to the limit a few seasons ago, and this season is a refreshing return to a simpler form, as it's mostly just character interaction and engine driven action. The writing is very true to the characters, with just some slight tweaks. The dialogue is sharp and clever, and throws in some excellent in-jokes and self-referential barbs. The music is refreshingly subdued, which is a welcome change of pace from the abusive and abrasive music that was beginning to dominate the last couple of seasons. The season wraps up on yet another cliffhanger, and I'm very intrigued by what direction the series is going to take. If you're a fan of the original "Blood Gulch Chronicles", then this is what you've been waiting for. Fans of the more sci-fi/action oriented Freelancer episodes may be disappointed, but there are just enough hooks to keep you interested in what's going on.