Star Trek First Seasons- Ranking them All!


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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So a brief response to the very excellent comments in this thread.

1. Regarding the placement of TNG over DS9. ....Okay, I admit it. I was wrong. I went back and forth on this before posting, and you can probably see it in my description. TNG was ... dire for the first seasons. It was really bad at times. So ... while I wasn't a fan of DS9's first season, I think I was overthinking this.

2. Regarding the great opening of Voyager. Yeah, the first two episodes (Gatekeeper?) were excellent! Which made the remainder of Voyager's first season that much worse. I think I accurately rated it.

3. Regarding the strange affection for Enterprise. Not seeing it. I watched it when it aired. The first season was ... not ... good. It wasn't memorable (quick- think of anything other than temporal cold war or Vulcans, they're rude). It's even worse in retrospect with how they attempted to "Seven" T'Pol ... but with more showers, and had so very many characters you don't remember. The only character on that show I ever cared about was Phlox, and he barely was present. Worst first season ever (IMO).

4. Regarding the split between the serialized and episodic series- a lot of good comments, and that was the point. IMO, the episodic "TNG" series had really bad first seasons. I think that Picard and Discovery, despite their faults, had their acting and plots down the first season in ways that surpass the TNG-era shows. Now, I think it's an interesting philosophical question about how to rate those series vis-a-vis the serialized series, but while I didn't love everything about Picard and Discovery the first season ... they were perfectly cromulent.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
When it comes to Discovery, I think its first season was an excellent sci-fi show. And Terrible Star Trek. The show was very well done - engaging, dramatic, etc. It just had something that I don't like in Star Trek. Namely: The Characters All Hated Each Other. With the singular exception of Tilly, everyone (including Michael) were jerks.

That was "saved" in later seasons by two things: 1) Establishing that Lorca was Mirror-Verse, which probably somewhat infected the attitude of the ship; and 2) Having everyone get over it and learn to get along.

As they went along, they doubled, then tripled the LOVE, until they've almost gone too far. Everyone cries and hugs every episode now! /hyperbole.

All this to say: I agree with where you place Disco. It was a good show, even if I didn't entirely like it in Season 1 (I like it now, though).

But I'm glad you came around on DS9s1. It wasn't great, but it was better than TNG.
 

Hex08

Adventurer
When it comes to Discovery, I think its first season was an excellent sci-fi show. And Terrible Star Trek.
This has long been close to my opinion of Discovery; an entertaining enough sci-fi show, lousy Trek. They tried to turn things around in the second season but even by the end of the third season, when I stopped watching, it hadn't become good Star Trek. Season one gives us a needless redesign of the Klingons that makes no sense in continuity (two penises?), a Sarek who acted completely out of character, tech not seen in any era of the show previously and a story that I remember little of other than Burnham starting a war (and did making her Spock's sister add anything to the show?). Plus, we got a hideous ship that was a rejected design from decades ago.

Michael Burnham is one of the shows biggest problems. She was front and center of almost every story regardless of her qualifications and it always seemed like the solution to every problem originated with her, with most of the rest of the cast usually being window dressing. There wasn't really an attempt to even give us crew members who could really be considered her equals or peers like a Kirk/Spock/McCoy or Picard/Riker/Data dynamic (maybe Saru and Georgiou?). She is quickly introduced as a mutineer and is constantly insubordinate but somehow becomes Captain without changing her behavior?? People talk about Kirk being a maverick but that really didn't become a thing until the movies and by that point I'm sure his reputation would forgive a lot but Burnham's much more unhinged behavior was there from the start and should have resulted in her being in the brig most of the time if not drummed out of the service all together.

Tilly was kind of fun but wasn't she promoted by Saru at one point even though she had shown no leadership qualities?

And don't get me started on The Burn and the collapse of the Federation being caused by a child screaming. So, so bad...
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
This has long been close to my opinion of Discovery; an entertaining enough sci-fi show, lousy Trek. They tried to turn things around in the second season but even by the end of the third season, when I stopped watching, it hadn't become good Star Trek. Season one gives us a needless redesign of the Klingons that makes no sense in continuity (two penises?), a Sarek who acted completely out of character, tech not seen in any era of the show previously and a story that I remember little of other than Burnham starting a war (and did making her Spock's sister add anything to the show?). Plus, we got a hideous ship that was a rejected design from decades ago.

Michael Burnham is one of the shows biggest problems. She was front and center of almost every story regardless of her qualifications and it always seemed like the solution to every problem originated with her, with most of the rest of the cast usually being window dressing. There wasn't really an attempt to even give us crew members who could really be considered her equals or peers like a Kirk/Spock/McCoy or Picard/Riker/Data dynamic (maybe Saru and Georgiou?). She is quickly introduced as a mutineer and is constantly insubordinate but somehow becomes Captain without changing her behavior?? People talk about Kirk being a maverick but that really didn't become a thing until the movies and by that point I'm sure his reputation would forgive a lot but Burnham's much more unhinged behavior was there from the start and should have resulted in her being in the brig most of the time if not drummed out of the service all together.

Tilly was kind of fun but wasn't she promoted by Saru at one point even though she had shown no leadership qualities?

And don't get me started on The Burn and the collapse of the Federation being caused by a child screaming. So, so bad...
Your criticisms are both valid and reasonable. Still, I've grown to like it, mostly due to the cast working really really hard to grow their characters into something likeable in spite of where they started. The progression makes very little sense, but they're quite likeable now (especially Saru, IMO, who is loveable). And it takes place in the far future (too far, IMO, but whatever) so the tech anachronisms no longer matter either. Strange New Worlds is massively better, though.
 

Vael

Hero
Guess I'll come in hot:
The Good:
1. Strange New Worlds. SNW's first season didn't have a single miss, an insane average. Every other Trek show has a few stinkers in their first season, and for this reason, I'm giving SNW the win here.
2. TOS. That said, we wouldn't be here without TOS, and that first season is still a high water mark for Trek shows. And there is a big gap between these top two and the rest ...

The Mediocre:
3. Picard. It's weird, this had some fun ideas, but badly mismanages the season finale. I rank it highly because it did a lot of neat things and intoduced a strong cast, but ... fails to land.
4. Deep Space Nine. I'll be honest, I think DS9 gets here on the strength of Emissary and Duet. I think Emissary is one of Trek's better pilots and Duet is an all time great episode.
5. Discovery. Discovery's first season was messy, trying a few things and not to the best success. But I still find it rewatchable and interesting. I like their depiction of the Mirror Universe, having Michelle Yeoh as both Emperor and the gone too soon Captain Georgiou, Jason Isaacs brought a unique energy and the whole show was anchored by Sonequa Martin-Green's fantastic Michael Burnham and Doug Jones as Saru. One of the challenges of Picard and Discovery is that since both are trying to do a season-long story, and both punt the ending, it becomes hard to evaluate the whole season.
6. Lower Decks. I hated the first half of the season, really liked the second half. It's weird, split the season in half and the first half goes to the bottom, but the second half goes up to 3rd, so I'll average it out to here.

The Rough:
7. Voyager. Meh. I dunno, it's a short season, and just not that interesting.
8. Enterprise. Yeah ... I hate this show, but I'll give it that the average quality here isn't bad, it just never rises above aggressively mediocre.
9. The Next Generation. Oof. Let's just not talk about how bad this is. Some of Trek's worst episodes are found here. It's honestly a minor miracle it survived to improve.

Not Ranked: TAS and Prodigy, 'cause I haven't watched them.
 

MGibster

Legend
I haven't seen all of the newer Trek series having given up during the first episode of Enterprise. I'm going to rank the original series' first season as the best overall. The only episode I'd classify as just flat out bad was "The Alternative Factor." At a convention, I heard Leonard Nimoy describe "The Devil in the Dark" as that episode where Spock mindmelds with a giant pimple. That's just worth the price of admission right there.
 

MGibster

Legend
Running into people who don't rank the original series season 1 as the best is weird. Like running into someone who thinks George Lazenby was the best James Bond, that Salma Hayek isn't the most beautiful woman in the world, or that they have enough dice. Seriously, you guys aren't getting enough Spock in your life.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Running into people who don't rank the original series season 1 as the best is weird. Like running into someone who thinks George Lazenby was the best James Bond, that Salma Hayek isn't the most beautiful woman in the world, or that they have enough dice. Seriously, you guys aren't getting enough Spock in your life.
Part of it is the "imprint" factor, the first is always the best. If your starting on TOS, then yeah its absolutely the best. But if your a later trekkie that cut your teeth on TNG lets say, that can skew your opinion.

Its one of the reasons I like SNW better than TOS, even though I think they are both close....I'm more of the TNG crew.
 

Ryujin

Legend
Running into people who don't rank the original series season 1 as the best is weird. Like running into someone who thinks George Lazenby was the best James Bond, that Salma Hayek isn't the most beautiful woman in the world, or that they have enough dice. Seriously, you guys aren't getting enough Spock in your life.
I'll agree with the first and the last, but am at odds with the middle two. (Craig was the better Bond, as he was closer to the 'thug in a nice suit' from the original novels, and I can think of two women I think are more beautiful than Salma, though you've likely never heard of either of them)
 

MGibster

Legend
Part of it is the "imprint" factor, the first is always the best. If your starting on TOS, then yeah its absolutely the best. But if your a later trekkie that cut your teeth on TNG lets say, that can skew your opinion.
What are you doing on my lawn? And why does my back hurt?

Edit: In all seriousness, you make a good point. When I first started watching Star Trek, it was only 13 years after it had been cancelled and I was just a little kid. So the acting style and production values weren't all that out of date for me. But if the first time you saw the original Star Trek was in 2019, well, that's a different ball of worms.
 
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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
My votes for those keeping stats...

S: 5, RO
A: 4, 6, 3
B: 7, Solo
C: 1,2
D: 8, 9, Clone Wars Series*

* I'm sure it's awesome but every time I try to watch it I see Lumpy the Hutt and bouce right off. My need for completion and the garbage that is the first couple episodes means I can never give it a proper watch.

I don't have Disney+ so can't rate most everything else.
 

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