When Samurai Jack premiered way back in 2001, Genndy Tartakovsky, the show’s creator and director, wanted a series that was “cinematic in scope and that incorporates action, humor, and intricate artistry.” 
Tartakovsky got exactly what he wanted. More than 15 years later, the series retains a cult following and contains some of the most memorable action sequences ever in any medium. The Premiere Movie, which was later split up to form episodes one to three of the first season, is still one of my favourite action movies of all time, animated or non-animated.
I can’t quite find the original article now, but back then I remember reading a Tartakovsky interview where he said that his main focus for Samurai Jack was action first, and nothing else. He didn’t want “story” to get in the way, believing that action alone could keep the audience interested.
Unfortunately, when I reached seasons three and four I began to stop watching the series for this exact reason: There was no story, there was no progression, there was no narrative glue to keep me attached to Jack. Every episode was just a “monster of the week”, where Jack has to defeat a new enemy or solve a new problem. Sometimes, an occasional episode would introduce a clever, action twist that hasn’t been done before (eg. the Spartan episode; or the episode where Jack learns to “jump good”; or yes, the famous episode from season one where Jack tries to reach a magic wishing well). But there was still no connective thread tying each episode and each season.
Finally in 2017 after a long hiatus, season five has returned and Tartakovsky has learned an important lesson: Story can help make an action show so much better. I’m not asking for a complicated plot like Game of Thrones, or an epic tale like Lord of the Rings. All I’m asking for is some character development for Jack, and for some continuity and progression between each episode. And so far, episodes one and two of the new season have delivered on this aspect.
I’m very excited to see how season five will finish. Tartakovsky has stated that there will be a definitive ending this time. All stories must eventually come to an close, even if you want to claim that there is no “story”.