I first tried watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars several years ago when my son was a baby. I’d watch on my phone while holding him. At the time I was feeling more completionist, so I watched them in order starting with the movie and then the first two seasons or so before I kinda lost interest.
The last few years of new Disney+ Star Wars content, starting with The Mandalorian but especially the animated The Bad Batch, resparked my interest in filling in some canon details; however I didn’t have as much time that I wanted to dedicate to catching up on all the seasons. I heard in The Incomparable member
Slack Discord about Jane Ritt’s and Alessandra Morgan’s watchlist and followed that accelerated path, starting over with some Season 1.
Their list doesn’t include the more recent “final season” and jumps around to key episodes with some restored in-universe chronological order. It also skips some of the more kid-oriented episodes featuring Jar-Jar or younglings or similar which I think are part of what made the show generally less interesting to me the first time I tried.
Now that my kid is old enough, and my wife is enjoying Ahsoka, we wanted a quick catch up for them this summer, before the school year started. I removed some of the big storylines I didn’t enjoy as much; I also wanted to skip a few episodes that I knew would be too intense or scary (at least knowing my kid). I reduced their list to my favorite story arcs with a few that are more optional; I also added in a reordered Season 7. This yields 54 episodes total, or 31 on my even shorter favorites list.
I think the one big weakness of my list is that cutting for efficiency and connection to other properties means some supporting villains show up later in the list with little-to-no introduction. Perhaps even worse, Padmé barely is present at all despite being a major character of the prequel trilogy. There may be a few arcs that could be added back to fix that.
The descriptions in the table may be ever so slightly spoilery if you want to go in cold.
|Episode Numbers||Description||Super Favorite?|
|1×02-03||Intro to the war, mostly set in space||No|
|1×05||Intro to clones who are important later||No|
|1×13-14||Jedi Prime Directive kinda story; protecting a village||No|
|1×15||Intro to important character in Bad Batch; ice monsters||Yes|
|1×19-21||War battle; some background for a Rebels character||No|
|2×17||Basically a Kurosawa where Jedi defend village||Yes|
|3×01||Important clones training flashback||No|
|2×10||Important Rex episode||Yes|
|3×04||Ahsoka and Chuchi adventure||No|
|3×15-17||Weird force stuff with Anakin destiny; optional||No|
|5×02-05||Really good asymmetric warfare with Ahsoka; setup for Rebels||Yes|
|6×01-04||Clone trooper story; set up for Bad Batch; tragedy of Order 66||Yes|
|6×10||Filling in some mysteries from Episode II||No|
|5×14-16||More Mandalore; awesome lightsaber duel; Darth Maul/Savage Oppress story might not make sense with earlier skipped episodes||Yes|
|5×17-20||Really good detective story with Ahsoka; key for her in later shows||Yes|
|7×05-08||Ahsoka story; introduces some Bad Batch guest characters||No|
|7×01-04||Intro to Bad Batch; Kinda need to know that Echo was presumed dead in an earlier episode not on my list||Yes|
|7×09-12||The epic ending on Mandalore; contemporaneous with Episode III||Yes|