If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Suggested list: The Clone Wars main theme http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5chHfK6sCc
*In the style of a star wars opening scroll*
The Clone Wars
At first seems like a marketing device to attempt to kids with new characters,
who have no place within Canon and childish nicknames.
But as it's developed it's proven to be a better version of Episode 1 and 2
with Politcal elements mixed well in with action and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.
Ahsoka Tano showing what Anakin should have been in Episode 1,
the relationship of Obi-Wan and Anakin being given great depth that was missing and Episode 2,
Lightsaber fights featuring mutliple different jedis/sith and some times non force weilders
doing various light sabre styles.
Oh and on top of all that we see some back story to Obi-wan
(something never expanded upon in the movie) and making the gungans actually competent,
even with the accent("oh-ah yessa.") thing ,even with jar-jar.
Ahsoka Tano is a thing I'd like to focus first since the Clone Wars is majorly her story(as she's the eyes of the audience coming into this franchise and the first canon Jedi Heroine outside of books and video games) and how it could have worked as Anakin's in many way. We meet Ahsoka as THE youngest padawan we've ever seen in star wars(she starts as a padawan at I believe the age of 12) and the series is much through her eyes as those of Obi-Wan's and Anakin's. Her introduction on the pilot movie was slightly clunky, but as it goes along we find out she's already well versed in the Jedi ways but naive in the ways of the world, quick to resort to violence also a badass fighter and understands she won't be able to save everyone. Unlike young Anakin's who in episode 1, was kid who grew up in slavery who knows the ways of the world but somehow had this totally care free and optimistic outlook(which just makes the mood swing in Episode 2 and 3 then 4-6 just that much more noticeable). Ahsoka in many ways should have been the character we got when we met Anakin, a kid who knows their place in the force, who is somewhat naive and cocky, can back their trash talk with fighting skills and falls for someone, but lets go of their own free will. Her fate is predetermined by a few things but, as this character develops it's gonna be a harder goodbye then it was to Anakin in Episode 3 (when he "dies" and becomes darth vader) as she's almost Original Trilogy character INTERESTING.
The Bromance of Obi-Wan and Anakin, in Episode 2 we got very little of this, in Ep 3 it was suppose to be a very heart breaking thing as we see these two guys become bitter enemies, but we just didn't care at that point. Clone wars, has made sure you know that Obi-wan and Anakin are very much great friends and parallels have been drawn between them as you find out a lot about Obi-wan's past with Qui-Gon(Obi-wan had a fling with the Mandalorean senator but broke it off because of his commitment to the jedi). It has become so much of a great friendship that it has been seen in universe as a possible romantic thing(though no character has said it), so I'd qualify it as something of a Bromance. In the current on going arc, you see a lot of that bromance pay off as Obi-wan is supposedly killed(yeah we know he's truly alive but still it works for the means of this arc and for anyone who hasn't watched Episode 3-6, you know the 6 billion other people in the world) and you see Anakin literally go on a personal man hunt,against orders from the consul, for the supposed killer. This arc is more intresting as the result of this may be possibly the beginning of Anakin not trusting Obi-wan as much. During this series, you also have Obi-wan put into places where he has to put himself literally in the eyes of almost certain death situations(if we didn't know the outcome)where Anakin was his only hope. Unlike the prequels where it's just Anakin running off and Obi-Wan being forced to save him, it's Anakin and Obi-Wan both putting their lives in harms way trusting the other will come through.
The Battles, Clone wars has very personal battle with you learning not only about the clones, some of which that'd become apart of Vader's Fist(the 501st), but also personal motivations with bounty hunters, Jedi and some Sith in some of the fights. There's one arc from early in the 2011-2012 season that has a heart breaking scene of Clones who end up unknowingly fighting other clones. It's more heart breaking as both sides figure out what's going on some breaking down and crying and some who are dying knowing they just killed another clone or "Brother" as they call each other. Other examples of emotional fight scenes include Venturess(An original character from the 2D clone wars mini-series), who as we go along find that she was Dooku's number 1 gal that she trusted with basically all of her being. She attacks him after being abandoned after losing her ship during a fight, under the emperor's orders using dooku as the one to tell Venturess, that she's been let go. All of that happens just because the emperor thinks Dooku will rise against him using Venturess and her whole plan becomes a vicious cycle type thing as Venturess hurts relatively innocent people in order to take her revenge for being hurt by her ex-master, who never wanted to give her up. The Rise of the bounty hunters arc also stands pretty clear as ahead of a lot of prequel side-plots as you find out what Boba went through after his father's death, as he attempts to take revenge on Mace Windu with the help of Boosk(who is acting as Boba's Chewie in this series) as well as Boba interacting with other young clones, like himself, while undercover as a cadet
Political issues, something that the prequels struggled with majorly is making any of the actual political related stuff interesting, Clone wars while at times can't seem to always get away from the boring parts, they do have some political related plots that are decent and some times fun such as a few plots/arcs simply has it be "oh well without this person here we can't make sure the Mcguffin of this episode/arc that with help us with the war effort will be able to go through voiting" then has Obi-Wan and Anakin or maybe some other people(like Plo Koon, Kit fisto, Padame, group of clone troopers or Yoda even.) go in and fight or solve some mystery, sometimes both. Other times it deals with the political issues in the sense of explaining it in an interesting way, like when you find out Padame has a Separatist friend and we get to see how their ideologies and different view points. In general that plot line make things alot more gray politically as we see not every speratist is some evil sith or a money grubbing company figurehead, and emotionally as Ahsoka, who escorted Padame to her friend, takes a fancy to a separatist guy that's around her age(this was right after a redesign where she looks noticeably older).
Battles with Risk, unlike the prequels which usually focused on character battles between people who you know wouldn't die there, there are battles through out Clone Wars that you're not sure how it will end, this is just bulit upon by fact that some of the planets they fight on aren't mentioned in the original trilogy or in Expanded Universe from post original trilogy. Meaning that potentially that planet could be lost to the republic, destroyed or maybe be stuck in battle until order 66 is executed. The focus also being on original characters or characters from the prequels who we do not see in episode 3 also make that risk higher as a few prequel characters have died in Clone Wars. To top that off there have been a few Alamo/300 spartan moments with the republic forces that have ended with everyone dying just to get a message out to the rest of the republic.
Expanded Universe or EU both pre-existing and new, the directors and writers* of Clone Wars are fans of some of the EU material ,however in George still has a say and sometimes says to them certain EU stories did or didn't happen in the movie universe. The writers get around that by having references to EU material, such as Grievous' origins, be vague and suggest both the possibility of either what George says happened(Grievous was experimented on unknowingly) or the EU(he accepted cyborg enhancements after almost dying) with neither being confirmed to be canon in Clone wars or making background/1 line references to EU things,such as background cameos.How much of per-existing EU is truly in there i don't know because I'm not to heavy into the material and there's over 200 books worth of information if you look into everything from the "Old Republic" era to the "Legacy War" Era and more is still coming out.
To top that off, they create their own interesting EU stuff like one arc has Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka travel to an alternate plane of existence were they meet a family of 3 people who are somthing of the embodiment of the force and are force users themselves, The father is neutral, the son represent the dark side(and noticeably mashes up Sith quotes from original trilogy and EU with a bit of prequels) and the daughter represents the light side. It's basically dealing with a family who'd before the arrival anakin had been quite satisfied with their existence but with Anakin, the person they is apart of the prophecy of the force, they quickly begin in-fighting. The finale of that arc leaves many questions, such as if there's more force users like them, what happens to them now and if the abilities they showed can be done by another force user(They can physically shape shift and the Son actually can infect others with the darkside of the force even if they haven't fallen). Qui-Gon,voiced by Neeson himself, makes a guest appearance as a force ghost in that arc, he warns obi-wan of the possible threat that comes from Anakin (special note: That makes Qui-Gon the first prequel force ghost in Lucas' Canon, if Clone Wars is in Lucas canon)
*Note: none of the directors or writers are George, however George does check scripts to see if anything really big is in there that doesn't jive with his movies, Ahsoka being the only thing outstanding really about clone wars.
Making things you hated in the prequels likable, as I already pointed the relationship between Obi-wan and Anakin, as well as the political issues are much better handled, but that doesn't address what the fans HATED about the prequels so let me get to that.Stilled, Stupid and emotionless dialogue and acting, almost whole sale I'd have to say all the actors here should re-dub the movies with their voices as they show as significant amount more emotion in then 95%(remaining 5% goes to the emperor's over acting in Ep.3) of the prequels. Gungans(not including jar jar) are shown to be competent race of people with the example of one scene with 15+ Gungans with no jedi help taking on Grevious and winning(mind you before episode 3 he had only been beaten by mace windu and kit fisto) as they are able to disable him but, only after one Gungan basically allows himself to be killed so they could get their hits in. Jar Jar, this one's gonna be the one is gonna be one people will be divied on but to me they made him an actual decent(not good) sci-fi character as in his latest appearances he has dropped the accidental slap stick for a more serious and focused role, with one episode him having to pull off his slap stick on purpose in order to draw attention away from a secondary plot going on the background, and his latest appearance has him pull off a Prince and the Pauper as he has to pose as a political figure he looks identical to, which he does well(with some comedic undertones though).
I've said this before a few times around this site, and others and in conversations to people about the prequels in real life, The Clone wars as it stands should have been Episode 1 and 2 as it's just all around better enterainement which appeals to all audiences with a very well balanced mixture of some adult humor that'd fly over younger kids heads (woman in a bar watching a bounty hunter come in says"I'd like to check his midicholrian count" and one ep Jar Jar finds a Jedi robe on padame's personal ship and wonders how it got there) with comedic action moments for kids(Any squabble scene invovling R2). It's got some great bloodless gore, and is maturing with the younger audiences it's intended for as it goes along. The animation improves as things go along like Hair/tendrils/extreme hanging bits moves now (so if Obi-Wan get's hit his hair might get ruffled a little), people move a lot smoother and there's better facial expressions. This show has Ideas we'd wish fan got 20+ years ago like a R2 and 3P0 having adventures with just the two of them in the vain of the the tatoonie desert scene before they're picked up by the Jawas(Clone wars had a 2 parter where this happened and it was pretty fun stuff with 3P0 acting like the snobbish idiotic explorer who's constantly complaining and R2 being the well intending adventurer who figures out everything but let's 3P0 take credit.). I'm serious this show's good very good, however if you're picky about animation and want that star wars the way you remember it right off the bat this isn't for yo. it's a slow burn during the first few eps until you figure out the groove they're taking (skip any ep featuring Jar-jar in the first 2 seasons though).