It gets really depressing sometimes the amount of Star Wars hate I run across on a weekly basis, especially from people who claim to "love" the series.
Nobody can say anything nice about Star Wars without it being a backhanded compliment. I have not seen any other "fandom" act quite like this. And the truth is, half these people obviously don't like Star Wars and are just clinging to nostalgia, and the other half would actually like the prequels if they gave them a chance instead of jumping on the hate bandwagon.
I want to compare this experience with something I recently went through. If you read my previous post, you'd know I just restarted my original Pokémon games, which I will always love. But my first real introduction to the franchise was through the anime.
I first saw it when it joined the KidsWB Saturday Morning lineup. Let me tell you, I ate it up. I got up extra early on weekdays to catch the morning reruns so I'd know how we got to where we were now. I harbored a not exactly healthy crush on Misty (I was 12, what do you want?). I loved everything about it.
It was the early '00s when I sort of gave up on Pokémon. The third gen games were coming out for a system I neither had nor wanted, and I didn't like the direction the show was going into. Then I started to hear the criticisms against the original season, so I thought: they're right! It ALWAYS sucked!
This is what Star Wars fans go through all the time due to the influence of Hateboys. The difference is that Pokémon still had a strong following that allowed me to get back into the games, and there are people who still love the show. In fact, the worst criticism I ever heard about the show now is that nobody sounds right since they changed localization companies (also that the former main characters drop in and out on a regular basis). Nobody drops the venom they once did, and certainly not to the degree of Star Wars. In fact, the original seasons are remembered fondly.
So, I took my own advice. Where I'd say to a Star Wars fan who has avoided the prequels "just give it a chance!", I decided ten years was long enough. I found some of the older episodes online and watched the first few of the series.
Okay, the truth is, I largely disliked it. I laughed at how bad most of it was. Especially the fact that I wanted to punch most of the main characters for being complete morons (even Misty!!!!). BUT it was certainly not without redeeming qualities:
1. The theme song will always be fist-pumpingly awesome and inspiring, even if its a little corny.
2. Whatever else you can say about the show, anything dealing with the titular creatures is consistently good. They're the best-animated and the best-acted characters in the show. Plus, the first few episodes throw in a lot of nods to the game and gameplay that it was a double nostalgia trip.
3. I never realized before how goofy they made Professer Oak in this adaptation, but he's one of the few characters where it really works. Like, when the others were inept, I laughed at how stupid the show seemed for making them act that way, but with Oak I found it genuinely funny.
4. While they are certainly not exempt from occasional bad writing, and it took them an episode or two to hit their stride, Team Rocket Makes This Show. They're like a trio of Wile E. Coyotes, and I always smile when they're onscreen. They almost make up for the other characters...almost. "To protect the world from devastation" indeed.
And, honestly, I would be fine with the show, goofiness and all, were Ash not just one of the most grating personalities ever (Misty and Brock were almost as bad, but I blame them having Ash as a hero). And I even recognize that this is subjective, and I will no longer tell anyone else that the show "sucks", even though I probably won't watch it again.
And this is what I wish people would do with Star Wars. Give the six films a rewatch with Lucas' intended order and context. If you end up liking it, then we're happy to have you. If you don't, accept that somewhere along the line you outgrew it and leave the rest of us to enjoy it in peace.