So you’re considering watching The Clone Wars. Or maybe you’re a parent deciding if it’s appropriate for your youngling(s). But you’ve heard so many things! Anakin has a padawan! Darth Maul got duct taped! What happened to the Mandalorians? Is this show really worth the time?
The answer is… Maybe!
At least, some of it is. The show’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. TCW has an episode for every demographic. This means that if you’re a long time fan you’re going to have to stomach nicknames like “Sky Guy” and if you’re a 4-year-old (congrats on being able to read by the way) the villainous Nightsisters might make you sleep with Mom and Dad for the next week. So what is a curious potential fan to do?
Don’t Panic! That’s where this guide comes in. I’m going to break this show down season by season, story arc by story arc, and give you the spoiler-free down low on the series. You can then make your way through the series, and avoid the episodes that might not be your cup of Jawa Juice.
I’ll compare the tone of each episode to that of one of the six live-action films. Note: comparison has nothing to do with story or acting quality, but more for tone and intended audience. So before you get out your tar and feathers because I put something on the same level as The Empire Strikes Back, just remember it’s about atmosphere.
TPM – A TPM episode is geared more for the younger fans. It’s lighthearted and “fun”. Lots of corny jokes, over used one-liners, and things that are “adorable”. High probability that Jar Jar is in it as well.
AotC – An AotC episode isn’t all fun and games. There’s a darker, more mysterious side to everything. It’s slower in pace for the most part, but there might be some explosions mixed in. Still, nothing terrifying in this one, except maybe some soap opera romance.
RotS – A RotS episode is not always the kid friendly episode. There’s lots of violence and death. Some scary stuff goes down. These are the episodes the big kids will love, and the parents might want to be wary of.
ANH – An ANH episode is lighthearted, but its tricks aren’t only for kids. Sure, it was light on the violence and there wasn’t a twist at the end, but this episode captures that iconic sense of adventure that defines the Star Wars universe.
ESB – An ESB episode is darker and more emotional. It slowly reveals mysteries or shows well-known concepts in a new light. There’s action, but that’s not the focal point. Instead we learn more about the nitty gritty aspects of the Star Wars Universe.
RotJ – A RotJ episode is harder to pin down. One minute you’re looking at a teddy bear, the next a man is being electrocuted. This episode has its ups and downs and is just a fun hodge-podge of adventure. Perhaps there’s even some drama to really pull you in.
As a ratings system trial run, I’ll break down The Clone Wars film for you. Before I do though, I think it’s only fair that you know where I am coming from as a fan of the show. Just to clear the air of what kind of bias you should expect. I love this series. I think it’s fun and I highly recommend it. That said there’s some of it that I absolutely can’t stand. And a few episodes I will (usually) refuse to watch. And I won’t lie. There are some pretty intensive breaches from establish continuity ahead. I do believe the show contributes far more to the franchise than it takes away. The animation improves exponentially season to season and while the writing is at times bland, the voice acting is always incredible. And the show-runners just know how to make Star Wars feel like Star Wars.
So here we go….