The Daily Stream: Star Wars Rebels Is Some Of The Best Star Wars Ever. Period.

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Show: "Star Wars Rebels"

Where You Can Stream It: Disney+

The Pitch: Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012. It was, and still remains, one of the biggest shakeups the modern entertainment industry has experienced. "Star Wars" was about to get a huge boost under the roof of the Mouse House. While that would kick off in a big way with "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in 2015, things got going a bit more modestly on the small screen with "Star Wars Rebels." This was a brand new animated series from the mind of Dave Filoni, the man behind "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." That was certainly exciting for a portion of the die-hard fandom at the time, even though it couldn't possibly compete with the promise of our first new live-action "Star Wars" movie in nearly a decade.

The idea was simple: showcase the earliest days of the Rebellion using a rag-tag group of brand new characters to do so. Though its beginnings were relatively humble, what resulted was some of the finest modern "Star Wars" storytelling of any kind, be it through books, movies, TV, or any other medium this franchise extends to. And it would ultimately serve as a springboard for even more greatness to come.

Why It's Essential Viewing

It is no secret that the Disney era of "Star Wars" has been a mixed bag for many fans. Both "The Last Jedi" and "The Rise of Skywalker" were intensely divisive. The conversation surrounding this franchise got ugly. It has become not fun at times. But "Star Wars Rebels" remains a (relatively speaking) hidden gem in Disney's contributions to the franchise that is fun. Yes, the show has a huge fanbase but only a fraction of those who like the movies have watched it, I would argue. It's easy for a percentage of people to write it off as a kid's show. That is not the case and it may actually be what quite a few fans are looking for.

"Star Wars Rebels" takes place a handful of years after the events of "Revenge of the Sith" and before "A New Hope." It focuses on the crew of the Ghost, Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, Zeb, and Chopper. The first episodes of the show have the crew crossing paths with the young Ezra Bridger, an outcast on his homeworld of Lothal, which is under the oppression of the Empire. It turns out the young con artist fits in quite well with the group and he joins their crew. More than that, Ezra is Force sensitive and, as it just so happens, Kanan was, in another life, training to become a Jedi. They then have four seasons worth of adventures, crossing paths with iconic villains, important heroes, and play an integral part in forming the Rebellion that would ultimately topple the Empire.

The first season, in hindsight, isn't quite as good as what would come later, but that's often the case with most shows. Even so, I had no issue getting into "Rebels" from the jump. It's fun. It's breezy. It's heartfelt. It's action-packed. But most importantly, it truly feels like "Star Wars," while also daring to explore new corners of the vast galaxy. Pretty bold corners, in some cases. See the episode "A World Between Worlds" for a perfect example. That is something that has been lacking in some of the output from the Disney regime. Even "Rogue One," a great movie, was heavily tied to events fans are very familiar with. "Rebels," even when using familiar faces such as Darth Vader, adds new dimensions to them to expand our understanding. It's rich in that way. Darth Maul, in particular, gets a lot of time to shine in this show.

No disrespect but it took me a long time to get through the first few seasons of "The Clone Wars." As much as I love "Star Wars," they truly felt like a chore, save for a standout episode here or there. Not to say "Rebels" doesn't have the occasional misfire, but I never had that feeling through its four seasons. Most of the time, I was totally engrossed in the characters and the larger story that was unfolding. Kanan is now one of my favorite characters in all of "Star Wars," for example.

This is no doubt, in large part, thanks to Dave Filoni. He was trained by George Lucas. This man has proved that he understands "Star Wars" in a way that few people ever will. Fans of "The Mandalorian" have discovered the brilliance of Filoni as well, as he works right alongside Jon Favreau to make that show what it is. And as fans of "Rebels" know, much of what happens in this show informed what has happened in "The Mandalorian." It is also likely to inform future spin-offs in that universe, such as the upcoming "Ahsoka" series.

I would also like to point out the work of composer Kevin Kiner. Music is an important part of the DNA that makes up "Star Wars." And I would wager that Kiner's work is second only to that of John Williams in this department. That man knows how to make "Star Wars" feel like "Star Wars." Kiner's work on "Rebels" is top-notch.

"Star Wars Rebels" offers so much. Lovable new characters. Deep exploration of beloved characters. Hell, it brought Grand Admiral Thrawn back into canon. He is one of the most cherished villains in the history of the franchise and had never been brought to life in film or TV before this show. Through four seasons, what this show manages to provide fans with is nothing short of remarkable. I love what can only be described as that "Star Wars" feeling and, as time goes on, few things give me that feeling quite like "Rebels" does. If that's a feeling you also cherish, this is must-see TV. May the Force be with you, dear reader. Always.