Warning: this post may contain spoilers
I just finished this show, having waited for it all to come out before getting into it -- other Disney+ Star Wars series taught me the lesson that they are much better binged than watched week to week and I was not wrong.
The endless references to a children's animated show that I have less than zero interest in viewing really drags it down, which is why my main take away as per the title is that it doesn't really work. Most of the premise of the show is finding Thrawn and Ezra -- two characters you have no way of knowing about unless you watched that cartoon. Yet these two characters are constantly referenced and for some reason important, but you're never really sure why.
It kind of works with Thrawn because there's a mysterious villain type of thing going on. But Ezra? Why do we miss him? Who is he? What did he do? Almost none of my questions are ever answered, even after we find him! Aside from simply being told by other characters that he is important, I am never told how or why. Nothing they say or do makes me care about him. They don't show me anything that makes me want to get emotionally invested in him. And no, I am not watching hundreds of hours of cartoons to understand the context. That is simply too much.
This show is in a very strange place between obviously trying to cater to a large audience (it is a Disney property after all, so $$$), but it simultaneously can only be fully understood by extremely hardcore Star Wars fans. I consider myself a fan. I have watched all live action movies and shows, even the laughably bad stuff like the Boba Fett and Kenobi shows. That they intentionally mix together animated and live action storylines though -- especially with any context lacking -- is a major misstep.
I like the Star Wars universe a lot. And while a lot of it is entertaining, it feels very bad to feel left out. It would be different if it was a small cameo or name drop once in a while. But the main storyline gets impacted by this, and it just kind of leaves a sour taste after finishing it.
I was decently entertained and it had some very good moments, particularly the Baylan and Shin duo was intriguing -- which is ironic as I understand that they are among the only original characters in this show. Regurgitating old canon is not the way.
7/10. Entertaining but unsatisfying.