|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
Various Star Trek series have collected various groups within Trek fandom: Some will love a particular series, some will gush about almost anything to do with Star Trek at all, and some will vocally express their rabid dislike of a particular movie or series, and present a laundry-list of reasons why it's the worst of the lot.
And then there's the Star Trek Movie Curse.
In a nutshell, the Trek feature films have followed a peculiar pattern: even-numbered Star Trek films have always done extremely well at the box office (with the exception of Nemesis). Odd-numbered films, on the other hand, have either failed miserably or still succeeded, but had a few glaring flaws that kept it from that coveted "top spot".
So far, the only films exempted from Curse are the tenth and eleventh, as 2002's Star Trek Nemesis sucked while 2009's Star Trek and its two sequels were critical hits. Though as of this writing, it's too soon to say whether the curse has actually been broken.
Two commonly proposed methods to realign the curse with "reality" are using the sum of the digits as an indicator, or alternatively including the Affectionate Parody Galaxy Quest as a Star Trek movie, inserting it between 9 (Insurrection) and 10 (Nemesis), as put by Sam Hughes. Another theory states that Nemesis wasn't good because it was a multiple of five, and like Star Trek V, was ~DarthWiki/So Bad It's Horrible~. This is followed by the excuse that Star Trek doesn't follow the pattern because of the interference of time-traveling Romulans -- besides, it wasn't made by the same crew as the rest. A third theory says that, because of Star Trek's departure from established canon and lack of any apparent message, it is "bad", and it (at least) follows the theory.
Michael Demtschyna, as noted above, along with SF Debris, have suggested the alternate theory that the movie is bad when any of the main characters sing. These are The Final Frontier, Generations, Insurrection, and Nemesis (with Chuck snarking that Star Trek: The Motion Picture doesn't contain singing only because it would distract from the boredom).
- Interestingly, the Indiana Jones franchise seems to be the opposite; odd-numbered movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) do well, while even-numbered movies (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) are nowhere near as good.
- All the shows in the Arrowverse are agreed to take a dip in quality; sometimes permanent, sometimes temporary; when their third season airs. And if not the third, then the fourth.
- Supergirl's third season suffered due to the head writer being let go suddenly due to sexual harassment allegations forcing them to quickly write something else (which the fans agreed granted the show a free pass) while its fourth was considered to be a step in the right direction. Legends of Tomorrow by contrast had a well-received third season and more critically viewed fourth one.
- In addition, the odd-numbered Beethoven symphonies are the classics (3, 5, 7, and 9. 1, not so much), whereas the evens don't get as much attention.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic followed this pattern for a time. Season 1, whilst not considered bad, is often thought to suffer from Early Installment Weirdness and a very restrictive Aesop format. Season 2 is often thought to be where the show grew the beard (however, it had many more controversial episodes than the first season did). Season 3, aside from its short running time is considered the most controversial of the nine, to say nothing of the divisive ending. Then Season 4 was mostly well-received (especially the finale). Season 5 broke this trend by having a mostly positive reception. On the other hand, Season 6 led to a Broken Base while Season 7 was very well received. Season 8 was then loathed while Season 9 was happily received. So they inverted the curse if nothing else.
- The spinoff Equestria Girls film series also followed the initial pattern for a while, with the second movie having a more positive reception than the third or first. Sadly the fourth film was nowhere near as well-received as the second.
- The Ben 10 franchise appears to have a "third season curse". The original series's third season is often considered the weakest out of the four. Some fans enjoy it for bringing back fan-favourite villain Ghostfreak as the Big Bad and introducing three horror-themed aliens who all became Ensemble Darkhorses, but amongst other fans its episodes and story arc were considered overall weaker than the previous ones and the three previously mentioned new aliens were only used once each and weren't reused until Omniverse (apart for Benmummy/Snare-Oh who had a brief cameo in "Ken 10"). Also, this season had the misfortune to introduce Kai Green, who the fans disliked back then and who later became even more reviled in Omniverse. Ben 10: Alien Force's third and final season is considered the weakest, because it started the trend of Ben progressively less intelligent and less sympathetic, brought back Ben's Arch-Enemy Vilgax only to have him suffer massive Villain Decay, and dropped the serious and fairly solid story arc of the first two seasons to instead focus mostly on Monster of The Week filler episodes with silly plots (infamously, one was about aliens pooping gold). Ben 10: Omniverse had a decently received third season, even if it was criticized for being quite Denser and Wackier, with the comical Incurseans as the main villains (whereas the preceding two story arcs depicted the fan-favourite Malware as the Big Bad), but from Season 4 onwards, Ben began going through more Flanderization into an unlikable and obnoxious Idiot Hero and the series had a massive Never Live It Down Retcon. Ben 10: Ultimate Alien is an exception, due to only having two seasons (although the second is often considered weaker than the first). And though Season 3 of the 2016 reboot wasn't hated, it was viewed as a step down after the Season 2 finale though, from all indications, Season 3 turned out to be little more than a Sophomore Slump.
- The Western Transformers shows seem in a similar position to Ben 10, their third seasons always proving more divisive, or suffering a greater quality drop, than the prior two. The Transformers killed off 90% of the main cast from the first two seasons and had the Decepticons, even after being infused with the cosmic powers of a dark god, suffer Villain Decay. The cast of Beast Wars underwent a good deal of Flanderization with Optimus Primal's Too Powerful to Live status limiting how much he could be used. Transformers Animated had a much Darker and Edgier third season which was great to those who'd been watching from day one but only translated to Continuity Lock Out to those who hadn't. Transformers Prime should have ended in its second season but Executive Meddling kept it going with a slashed budget and Writing by the Seat of Your Pants, causing Season 2's climax to be repeated. While its Sequel Series, Robots in Disguise, had a decent budget in its third season, Executive Meddling made it painfully Anvilicious (as in Hanna-Barbera levels) and the Stunticons' Adaptational Wimp status proved off-putting to pretty much the whole fanbase. Though after Transformers: Cyberverse, the curse might be broken.