I got from the library, and watched, the first four episodes of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex this past week. They were quite good. I hadn’t realised that I had already seen the first two. What piqued my interest in the series were a couple of episodes that I had seen on Cartoon Network. What I didn’t know was that the episodes I saw were the very first two. I think these episodes beat the movie hollow in just about every respect. There is much greater character development (no suprise given the greater time and scope), more action, and the plotting is more cerebral and (at the same time) less pretentious. Similar to Cowboy Bebop, the show runs a mere 26 episodes, which is disappointing on the one hand since it is so good, but it helps to keep the show from jumping the shark and becoming a sad parody of itself. It is true that the episodes do “stand alone”, there is also a thread that runs through them in terms of a villain that is not caught in a single episode. It’ll be interesting to see where that leads.
EDIT: Forgot a post title. Added subsequently.