Poor, poor Tamers. Poor over-achieving, under-appreciated Tamers. Beloved by a small, aggressive, uber-nerdy few and ignored by the masses entirely. You truly are the Deep Space 9 of the Digimon franchise. And I will love you ‘till the day I die.
Seriously, Digimon Tamers is EMBARRASSINGLY good for a merchandise-driven children’s cartoon. This show hits classic Doctor Who levels of trying harder than a kid’s show actually needed to try. Heck, Tamers is probably a better Grown Up Digimon Show than the ACTUAL Digimon for grownups we got years later! On an intellectual level, I can understand all the various reasons why this series never caught on the way Adventure did, but I still think it’s the crowning jewel of the entire Digimon franchise.
…although the first third of Xros Wars is right up there, too!(Don’t forget to go read all the other Conventional Wisdom comics, and maybe even donate on Patreon if you like what you see!)
I think the reason nobody outside the Digimon fandom sees Tamers as the season people associate Digimon with and instead see it as Adventure is because they still think Digimon is just a "Pokemon rip-off". I mean, I love Pokemon just as much as so many others do, but I was actually introduced to Digimon first, and Tamers is the Digimon season I am most familiar with as it was the Digimon season I grew up with. Of course, Tamers is rather notorious among certain circles of the internet due to a certain anthropomorphic fox Digimon, but that's another story.
Honestly, I feel Tamers is when Digimon as a whole was at it's peak, and I feel like the franchise will never reach the same level again. I do personally think Savers/Data Squad almost reached the level Tamers did (and I mean almost), but just didn't gain enough traction among fans to do so. Perhaps one day there will be another Digimon season that could reach that level, possibly even surpass Tamers, but only time will tell.