A plot twist I never saw coming was an appreciation of the PT in light of the ST. The rankings listed so far, albeit a small sample size, seem to reflect more respect for the PT than I could have anticipated. Encouraging.
I realize this isn't very concrete, but the ST is lacking a George Lucas "soul" to it. I can't come up with a better term, but there's something uniquely Lucas about his films that distinguish them from anything else. Is it because I know he wasn't central in their story or production? A fun thought experiment would be to try to watch the ST without knowing who was responsible for the story, screenplay, direction, production, etc. of those films and ask yourself how much Lucas had to do with their making.
This, for me, ultimately comes down to the question of "Was the ST necessary to fully realize the Skywalker Saga?" My answer to that is a definitive "no." However, I am glad they exist. There's entertainment value there, and there are some amazing musical moments. A good ST exists out there, somewhere. But it has to fully address Ben Solo's turn, corruption at the hands of Snoke, and ultimate fall. That the story began well after that severely limited its potential from the get-go. According to the Art of The Force Awakens, Rick Carter set out to ask his group "How strong is the Force?" That was the guiding question in the concept phase of that film. Which for me, begs the question - Why is a production designer/art director laying down the story path for this part of the saga? That's a writer's/director's job.
There is non-Lucas content like Rebels, Jedi Fallen Order, The Mandalorian and some (but not all) Marvel comics content that prove in my mind, others can incorporate that Lucas soul into the stories. I give all credit to Dave Filoni for that. If I sat in Bob Iger's chair for a day, I would redefine Kathy Kennedy's job title and restructure Lucasfilm so that Dave Filoni is the creative content director for the Star Wars brand. He sets the guardrails by which all other writers/directors must follow, across all mediums (comics, novels, features, TV, video games). If a Hollywood director doesn't like that, too fucking bad. He'll find someone else.
Star Wars is far from dead. The discourse surrounding TLJ and TROS show that people still care, deeply. A death knell for the franchise isn't hate or anger, it's indifference. I lived through the "dark years" of 1984-91, when Star Wars was fairly irrelevant. I'm thankful we aren't there yet, and I hope we never will be.