Before we begin, let me establish something right off the bat. I love Star Wars, but I hate the prequels. There are some who would defend them but historically, I have never been one of those people. They are badly made, badly written, and have aged like fruit left out in the sun. They are nigh unwatchable. Or at least I thought that they were until I watched The Clone Wars TV series.

Somehow this show managed to do the unthinkable. They improved the prequels. They made them seem less like utter failures and more like parts of a bigger story. And I don’t mean the whole Star Wars franchise as the bigger story. No, I mean the prequel story. The story of the fall of the galaxy into imperial tyranny. The story of Anakin Skywalker, the lowly slave who rose in the ranks of the Jedi and then fell to become an unrepentantly evil scourge upon the universe. That is the story I had hoped for with the prequels that the prequels did not deliver on their own. The Clone Wars, on the other hand, deliver that story and then some.

Set between Attack of the Clones and The Revenge of the Sith, The Clone Wars cover the stories of the war that begin at the end of Clones and end during Sith. The show is incredibly manages to somehow fix a lot of the faults with the prequels through its longer run time and, simply stated, better writing.

A big point of focus in The Clone Wars is Anakin and Obi-Wan, characters who we are constantly told are best friends in the prequels but who act as though they are co-workers who have just met. In the TV show, they are brothers. We see their relationship throughout and it is the strong bond forged in war. Anakin worships the ground Obi-Wan walks on and Obi-Wan tolerates Anakin’s impetuousness like a doting parent. As you watch more and more of the show a sadness begins to creep in as you realise these friends will eventually try and kill each other. The movies, through ineptitude and perhaps a lack of time, are not able to sell this relationship to us without simply having characters say lines like ‘You’re like a father to me’ out loud. The Clone Wars shows us this relationship as it strengthens and also cracks when mistrust creeps in.

The show also has a big focus on the Jedi and their role in the galaxy. By the time Sith finishes, Palpatine is able to convince the galaxy that the Jedi are villains who need to be wiped out. The Clone Wars seeds this idea by showing how unpopular the Clone War is and how much people begin to see the Jedi as aggressors rather than peacekeepers. For a show aimed at children there are some deep ideas about shifting public opinion, conscientious objection, freedom fighting, and terrorism.

The Clone Wars is also the introduction of some amazing new characters like Duchess Satine (Obi-Wan’s unrequited love), Savage Opress (Darth Maul’s brother voiced by Clancy Brown), a squadron of clone troopers whose multi-season story arc is a masterpiece, and, especially, Ahsoka Tano.

Ahsoka is first introduced as Anakin’s padawan in The Clone Wars movie and instantly she seems like she is going to be some cutesy Lucas-y attempt at a comic sidekick. However, the character grows from strength to strength until she is the best thing about the show. The fifth season is mostly Ahsoka stories and they culminate in some of the best TV I’ve ever seen. She is a fantastic character who shows genuine growth as the show continues and if any character deserved to make the jump from TV to the movies it would be her.

The Clone Wars is available on Netflix and StarWars.Com has a chronological watch order to follow as the episodes sometimes jump around in time from week to week. If you are a fan of the prequels, then you’ll be happy and if you’re not, then give this show a chance. Watching The Clone Wars managed to make me excited to sit down and watch the prequels again. They’re not made suddenly perfect but The Clone Wars adds some extra layers that improve them. At the least, you can just pretend they’re not very good episodes of the show and watch the Geonosis arc again.

Featured Image: Warner Bros. Pictures