The Tatooine Talk blog posted an essay called The Importance Of The Phantom Menace, which dispels the idea that TPM was unnecessary:
Some think the film is irrelevant, and that by skipping over it the viewer misses nothing. Thanks to the assumed authority of certain “reviews” and the incessant diatribe of the dreggs (typo intentional) of society, it is an idea which has pervaded the internet movie discussion scene to a near-toxic degree.
It is also an idea with which I strongly disagree. Aside from it being the episode from which I receive the most pure, kiddish glee, The Phantom Menace adds an enormous depth to the story, characters, moral questions and mythology which continue on through the subsequent episodes. In this post I’ll be giving four (plus a few more) reasons why I think those who skip The Phantom Menace are missing out.