Pretty much what has happened is Maul is being use as a new big bad. One difference between Maul and villains like Dooku and Grievous is, Maul is pretty much an OC now and an unknown. Dooku and Grievous are just as held back as Anakin because we know the end. I think the writers feel they have more freedom that way. Then they reused and developed Maul as a threat unlike the various Dooku henchmen we saw who were here one episode and gone the next. TCW handles OCs particularly well and what Maul proves is what wonders a good OC and that tiny bit of unknown drama can do to liven up the show. In all honestly Maul should have been an entirely original character. But again here we are. I don't know about playing it safe. Dooku is mysterious in AOTC but definately has the bad guy stamp on his forehead. Grievous just seems like the idiot henchman. I agree with you the show needs some bad-centric episodes that focus on Dooku and Grievous if the Separatists are the bad guys. The entire CIS needs exploration. Its apparent from all the debates I see on here there is a whole wealth of characters waiting to be explored to flesh out these so called bad guys beyond just burning peoples villages and starving them. Through their exploration perhaps we could find some good new OCs to oppose the Jedi.