I didn't watch it until it became available on Netflix, after which I watched the entire series. I thought the series was a positive addition to both the Prequel Trilogy and the franchise as a whole. I think it did add a decent amount of character development to the characters from the movie, primarily Anakin and Padme. The series also added some new characters that were memorable, Ashoka, Fives, and Cad Bane come to mind. The animation was also quite impressive for an children's cartoon. I actually thought it was better animation than the Clone Wars movie(which in actuality was just the first few episodes).
A few years ago I made a post(on IMDb) listing my favorite and least favorites episodes. It is a bit lengthy, but it might be worth your time.
5) The Academy - Season 3, Episode 6
After being pulled from the front line, Ashoka Tano is sent to Mandelore to tutor a class of cadets at their academy. Well, sort of. This episode exemplifies a common problem with the series. Focusing too much on new characters rather than developing the main ones. This could have been an opportunity to develop Ahsoka's character by putting her into the role of a mentor and leader, but too much focus is given to the cadets and they spend too much time away from Tano. Therefore, her new role does lend much to developing her character.
The cadets themselves are also pretty bland, with none of them really having any distinct characteristics. Which would not be much of a problem if more time was spent on Ashoka giving them advice and leading them on a mission rather then them trying, on the own, to root out corruption.
In the end the episode is not terrible, but because it had so much unrealized potential that it is harder to forgive its shortcomings. It makes the list not because of what it is, but for what it could have been.
4) The Zillo Beast / The Zillo Beast Strikes Back - Season 2, Episodes 18-19
(I have a feeling I am going to get some flak for this one)
An obvious homage to the Godzilla film. Which itself is not a problem as much of Star Wars is paying homage to something or another. But here it is too obvious and too frequent. The references to the source material appear so often that it becomes distracting. The homages in the films and elsewhere were more subtle and therefore more effective.
The episode also negatively impacted the character of Palpatine/Sidious, who is supposed to be a cunning manipulator, but here, he is shown to be short sighted and foolhardy. He makes several reckless decisions and behaves in such an obviously shady manner that you wonder why no one is calling for his resignation. Even after the beast rampages through Coruscant no one hold him responsible or even looks at him suspiciously. You would think that someone with a "Grand Plan" like Sidious would be more cautious about revealing his true self, or at the very least avoid doing things that cast a negative light on him.
The Zillo Beast itself looks rather goofy. It is supposed to be an indestructible and unstoppable force, but its design does not give that impression, as it looks slender and flimsy. The third arm protruding out of his back is especially weird looking(and not in a good way) .
A Godzilla based episode certainly had potential. But because of the faults mentioned above it fell drastically short.
3) Mercy Mission - Season 4, Episode 5
"All style and no substance" is the best way to describe this episode. The story involves R2-D2 and C-3PO joining a company of clones troopers on a mission to give relief supplies to a disaster stricken planet. A planet also stricken with obnoxious inhabitants. The tiny Aleena(seen briefly in EP I) are loud, unintelligent, and useless. They do nothing but scurry about and make noise. They are without the doubt the biggest problem with the episode.
As mentioned earlier, the story really has no substance. It exists only to show the audience some interesting visuals and move on. One part involves the droids being threatened by a group of moving trees. They droids just move on and the tree people are never brought up again. That like much of the rest of the episode, it is just mindless fluff.
2) A Sunny Day In The Void - Season 4, Episode 11
This is the sequel to the rather decent episode Secret Weapons. Which serves as perfect example of a story that did NOT need to be continued. It was self contained with the characters going through a story arc and successfully completing a secret mission. Nothing epic, but enjoyable.
Unfortunately, the story is needlessly continued, in this bland and tedious episode, which has the characters crash landing on a desolate desert planet and going through many of the standard desert cliches, like water shortages and mirages, etc. And that is all that can really be said about it. Empty and boring from start to finish.
The subsequent two episodes in the series were better, somewhat mediocre but delivering some occasional excitement. They also contributed something to the story. Whereas you can skip most of A Sunny Day in the Void and not miss out on anything. It is just pointless, dry, filler.
1) Pursuit of Peace - Season 3, Episode 11
Sanctimonious. That is the word I would use to describe this episode. In it Padme leads a movement to oppose bills that would increase military spending and deregulate the banking clans. Gee, do you think this has any correlations to real life politics? But that itself is not the the problem with the episode, it is the way it is handled that is unbearable, as the senators who oppose the bill are the most cliched shady politicians imaginable. This episode could have been an intelligent look at political discourse and debate with legitimate arguments being raised on both sides. Such as:
Couldn't cutting military spending potentially leave them vulnerable to Separatist attack?
Would peace through strength be a better diplomatic strategy?
Why should we believe the Separatists are interested in peace when they are lead by a Sith?
Do you think any these obvious concerns are addressed. Of course not. No attempt is made to show any legitimate opposing arguments. Nor is any attempt is made to negotiate or compromise with the other side. Which is ironic, because Padme argues that they were in the process of negotiating with the Separatists, who again are led by a Sith. Total small minded, black and white, if you disagree you are evil mentality. Highlighted by Padme's speech at the end which is downright insufferable.
And before anyone accuses me otherwise, in real life, I strongly support cutting the military, big time. And although my opinion in bank regulations is a bit more nuanced, I do support regulating the banks. But I do not think that everyone who disagrees with me is corrupt.
This episode could have been an opportunity to show kids something in the form of honest political discourse. Instead, we got unfair characters and overly pious protagonists.
5) The Gathering - Season 5, Episode 6
Although Star Wars has a reputation of having sup par child characters, this episode has a group of well developed jedi children, each of them with distinct personalities and obstacles to overcome.
The titular Gathering refers to a ritual in which a group Jedi younglings embark a quest to find the crystal for their lightsaber. In addition to being a departure from the action oriented stories, this episode showed the audience part of the Jedi culture that had not been seen much in the saga. Young Jedi Initiates taking their very first steps to becoming a Jedi Knight.
What made the episode particularly notable was that their quests were about self discovery instead of combat skill. In order to find their crystals, each of the children had to confront and overcome a character flaw in order to discover which saber crystal is truly "theirs". It was also nice to see Ashoka is a more authoritarian position, giving both advice and admonishment to the children. Which further helped develop and mature her character.
The story of these children was continued in the three subsequent episodes and while good, they felt unneeded as the children had already went through a story arc. It did give some additional character development to Ashoka and delivered some action, but that wasn't enough to make the list.
4) Storm Over Ryloth - Season 1, Episode 19
This episode was good because it showed the rougher side of being a padawan as well as adding more of an edge to the relationship between Anakin and Ashoka.
The plot focuses on the Anakin and Obi-wan trying to liberate the planet of Ryloth. Here Anakin is attempting to break through a blockade with Ashoka leading a squad of bombers. Being her first time in command she is uncertain and nervous of her capabilities. The result ends up being a near catastrophic failure, due in part to Ashoka disobeying an order.
As stated before what makes to episode special is how it developed Anakin and Ashoka both as individuals and as a duo. Ashoka experiences a giant failure on her part not due to skill, but due to her inability and unwillingness to adapt to new situations and follow orders. The situation requires Anakin to both teach Ashoka the importance of following orders while at the same time being confident in her own abilities.
This led in a rather profound moment where the two get into an argument and Ashoka is told to go to her quarters to "cool off". It was interesting seeing Jedi in a heated argument since anger is something they avoid. Although, at the same time, it is understandable how these conflicts can happen in a master/apprentice relationship.
3) Senate Spy Season 2, Episode 4
This is most likely the sleeper of the list. On it's surface, it is a standard one shot episode of the heroes trying to expose a traitor in the Senate. But what makes this episode one of the best is how it developed the relationship of Anakin and Padme.The two being romantic is nothing new, but this was the first time they felt like a married couple. Showing their life in a more domestic environment as well as how Anakin's Jedi duties can cause tension between them. Which made their romance more relatable.
Something else that makes this episode unique is how the characters react intelligently to accomplish their mission. The quick thinking of both Anakin and Padme is legitimately clever and believable making it a refreshing departure from the "aggressive negotiation" seen is most other episodes. Also the light hearted humor shown throughout was fitting to the story while not sticking out.
It is one of those cases that shows that good characters can make the most rudimentary plot enjoyable.
2) Eminence, Shades of Reason - Season 4, Episodes 14-15
Although the return of Darth Maul has received a mixed reaction from fans, these two episodes make a great case in support of it. The plot involves Darth Maul and his brother Savage Opresse being found by Death Watch. Having common enemies, primarily Obi-Wan Kenobi, they decide to form an alliance to help Death Watch reclaim Mandalore and reestablish its warrior culture.
It is the intelligent way that the group enact their plan that is the story's defining feature. They do not execute a straightforward assault, they actually form a well organized and believable plan. Covering things like resources, manpower, funding, and public perception.
This is especially interesting in regards to Maul. While in The Phantom Menace he was Sidious's silent assassin, here he has developed into an skilled strategist and plotter. Very much like his old master.
Naturally, the alliance between the Mandalorians and the Sith would fall apart at its earliest convenience. This leads to one of the most exciting and brutal saber duels of the series. Not just because of the choreography, but because the tension between the duelists and what is ultimately at stake.
Now you may be wondering why the third in the series is not included. Although a good episode, it did not live up to the previous two largely because it ends abruptly and has many unresolved issues. It is still good, but it did not feel right to be included.
1) Umbara series (Darkness on Umbara/The General/Plan of Dissent/Carnage of Krell) - Season 4, Episodes 7-11
This is by far the most cinematic story arc throughout the entire series. This four part story involves Skywalker being temporarily replaced as the commander of the 501st. In his place is the ruthless and brutal General Krell, who sends the clones troopers on countless assaults that are near suicidal. The result is the most engaging and exciting story since Revenge of the Sith.
This is the kind of intense and in depth combat that the audience wanted to see ever since the Clone Wars were first mentioned in A New Hope. The action in the episode is among the best of the entire franchise has seen in any media. It displays the dark and brutal nature of the war with soldiers on all sides falling left and right. Most of all, it legitimately feels like a military operation, as both factions employ intelligent and effective strategies throughout the episodes.
But that is only one of numerous aspects of this story arc that make it great. Another important feature is the characters. The clones seen in this episode all have diverse and relatable personalities and opinions on their seemingly hopeless situation and express them in a believable manner. So much so that it occasionally feels like you are watching a live action episode. The same can also be said about General Krell, as despite his ruthless nature he leaves you unsure if he is evil, misguided, or just a realist who will accept high casualties.
The discussions the characters have about Krell's behavior is another highlight of the episode. It raised questions of loyalty, duty, and self worth as the clones question at which point is it justified to defy their orders while at the same time working to complete their mission without having their lives thrown away needlessly.
These episode succeed in delivering every positive aspect that is expected from Star Wars. Great action, great characters, great environments, and most of all a great story. All this makes that Umbara series the apex of the Clone Wars series.
i did. I wish it was on bluray already. it's about 2 hrs all edited together, like a real movie. general grevious was at his finest in this series. love that guys animation. samurai jack is also fun if anyone is thirsting for more star wars like fantasy/sci fi.