Yeah I never understood this attitude, not beyond the first season of Clone Wars anyway. I think, to be fair, the Clone Wars movie/pilot thing was so kiddie and so awful that it turned a lot of people off severely, and they didn’t bother to actually watch the rest of it. And it took a while for Clone Wars to “get up to speed”, and even when it did, it was prone to some bum episodes, because it was sort of veering slightly between being a kid’s cartoon and fairly straight Star Wars cartoon. But once it did, it was largely great.
And Rebels also took a season to really get up to speed, but was a lot better from the get go, and has very few bad episodes. I really liked S3/4, that’s some of the best Star Wars there is.
So it shouldn’t have surprised me that the Mandalorian took a similar time to get up to speed.
Talking of shows that take a while to pick up, Schitt’s Creek is one. Initially there’s way too much bog-standard cringe-reaction-based sitcom stuff, but then they get a lot more daring, and whilst is remains structurally fairly standard, the characters develop a lot, and they stop focusing so much on the frankly boring mayor and his boring passive-aggressive feud with the dad.
It never reaches it’s potential, imho, sadly. I’ve seen all of it, and it never quite escapes two issues:
The main family are pretty grounded and portrayed in a largely realistic manner, but this contrasts with some other characters who so ludicrous as to feel like they escaped from a really over the top 1990s crime-based comic book/graphic novel, or something like Preacher, even. And the writers have a problem with killing their darlings, which results in these characters not suffering the obvious consequences of their behaviour in a semi-realistic setting, or it only catches up with them long after it’s ceased to be plausible.
Likewise, the writers rather obviously go out of their way to throw obstacles into the path of the protagonists, having characters act outside their established characters, or bringing in new and ridiculous characters, in a way that feels very different to better-written shows, where this stuff evolves more naturally.
The clear inspiration is Breaking Bad, but it’s an unfortunate contrast, because BB manages to bring in some fairly wild characters and situations but make them feel like “Yeah, that’s the sort of thing that might happen”, whereas this feels a lot more like “Wow that came out of nowhere” or “This guy would have been fired years ago” or the like.
It really just comes down to writing, I guess. BB is superbly written, and even plausibility gaps can be plastered over with really well-written or engaging or likeable characters (something Better Call Saul even improves on - even with the antagonists you can often see where they’re coming from). Here, almost no-one is likeable, and the writing just isn’t sharp enough or clever enough.
I don’t want to be too mean - it’s not terrible or anything, and it’s attractively shot, and mostly the performances are good (with a couple of notable and unfortunate exceptions, both of them unfortunately also on more ludicrous characters), and it never cheap, and is generally fairly tense, it’s just one of those things that suffers by comparison and has some issues.