I’m on a similar boat to you. Overall I have mixed feelings towards Season 1 at the moment but leaning towards positive.
I’d give S1 a 7,5/10 on average, but some episodes and moments are among my favorite animated SW moments of all time and they alone tempt me to give it a higher score. The general shortcomings of the season are too noticeable, though. It didn’t feel that character-driven like Rebels, but the premise didn’t allow for an anthology format the way TCW did it. I hoped for the former, but as of today the Bad Batch stands on a fairly awkward middle ground.
The fan service is a mixed bag. Episodes like the Cad Bane v. Fennec one that were great on first viewing now feel awkward in retrospective as their appearance didn’t have a significant payoff. I hope we see the bounty hunters again, particularly due to their connection to Boba Fett (who really should appear in the upcoming Season 2), but I’m not holding my breath. The feeling of not knowing which winks to the audience are going to be relevant in the future honestly is a bit frustrating, though I welcomed some of the guest appearances such as the Syndullas or Gregor. Even if I expected an uneven story progression, based on Filoni’s previous shows (Rebels is well-known by having crowning episodes interspersed with a sea of lower-stakes episodes depicting more frivolous events, the dreaded “filler” for some people out there) but at least some of the breather episodes of Rebels provided some much needed character development, which has not been really the case for TBB so far. Though each Batcher is unique and amusing in its own right, most of them have been painfully underserved exceptuating Hunter, Omega and maybe Crosshair. My best hopes lie on the prospect of having a more consistent storyline for S2 that showcases more of the Batchers’s individuality, maybe putting them in situations where they cannot rely on their typical skills, particularly for Wrecker, Echo and Tech.
I really liked the smaller scale of the finale, but wished it had been part of a longer episode, maybe as part of the same as “Return to Kamino” and to give more closure to the Batch themselves or at least an extended moment at the very end where they dwell on what happened, their thoughts on Crosshair or the fall of Kamino, or at least some hint of what they’re going to do next.
And yeah I almost shouted “Wayland!” to the screen with that ending scene. Pity we saw, like, every clone commando ever save for Delta Squad hahaha. Also I’m sure they’re going to connect it to the Mandalorian timeline and (hopefully) a canon equivalent of the Thrawn Trilogy campaign.
However I’m still hyped for S2 and how does it progress the plotlines. Will Crosshair have a Kallus-like arc, where he learns of how expendable he is for the Empire?