I watched the movie years ago when it came back, found it boring and forgettable, and never gave the series any chance. Recently, I started watching on a whim, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the first episode, "Ambush." The primary thing that stuck out to me was how it dealt with Yoda's characterization. There was always a disconnect for me between the wise, thoughtful, and decidedly quirky Yoda of The Empire Strikes Back and the...well, stern action hero Yoda of the prequels. This episode managed to strike a really nice balance, with the original trilogy Yoda shining through most of the time, but the warrior Yoda making appropriate appearances as well. There was a lot of gravitas to the character in the 22 minute span of the episode, even while the rest of the episode had the more lighthearted, whimsical and slapstick elements to appeal to kids. Part of the whimsy came from Yoda himself, but that was in-character given what was shown of Yoda in the original trilogy, and frankly it was nice to see the lighter side of Yoda amid challenge and conflict. The prequel trilogy never showed that side of Yoda. Yoda is a Jedi, so it makes sense that he would wield a lightsaber, but his stature and his teachings from The Empire Strikes Back always suggested that he wields the Force first and foremost, which is what this episode showed off. Sure, he used his lightsaber a fair bit, but much more important and notable were the scenes where he meditated, planned, and used the Force as his primary ally in battle. A good portion of his lightsaber use was in defense of his clone troops, which was very much in-character for a Jedi. The scene in the cave where he addressed the troops one-by-one was also a great character-defining scene, even if the writing for it was a bit simplistic and contrived. Bearing in mind that this is a show with kids in the target demographic, simplistic writing can be forgiven when it achieves its purpose effectively. All-in-all, after watching this episode I've had to re-evaluate my prejudices about the series that the lackluster movie unfortunately gave me. I may just be a fan, if there's more where this came from.
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