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Star Trek Movie Curse
"Sure as day follows night, sure as eggs is eggs, sure as every odd-numbered Star Trek movie is shit."
Tim Bisley, played by Simon Pegg, who starred in the eleventh Star Trek movie, and noted the irony.

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 well at the box office (with the exception of Nemesis). Odd-numbered films, on the other hand, have either failed miserably (Star Trek V) or still succeeded, but had a few glaring flaws that kept them from that coveted "top spot" (Star Trek: The Motion Picture).

Of course, all this is subjective and vulnerable to nostalgia (I was a bigger hit than II at the time, for instance). Everybody gets a kick out of the Movie Curse itself, but there's much disagreement on which films constitute exceptions and how well the others fit. There are as many theories about the Curse as there are Star Trek fans.

This page covers all such curses in media where the good and bad entries are said to follow a pattern.


Examples:

  • Star Trek: In the 20th century, the page-naming Curse was fairly consistent (to the point where Insurrection's crew made a point of calling the film "Nine of Ten" on set to stave off the odd number's influence, not that it helped). But this century the Curse seems to have gone off the rails — 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis flopped while 2009's Star Trek was a hit, contrary to their positions in the series. It is unknown whether this anomaly means the Curse has actually been broken, or merely inverted.
    • Among those who do consider 10 bad and 11 good, there are several commonly proposed methods to realign the curse with "reality". One is 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 thus, like Star Trek V, was bad; in other words, the curse has a previously-undiscovered FizzBuzz property. 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. Some have also taken to referring the reboot film as "Star Trek 0," thus placing it in an arguably even spot.
    • Michael Demtschyna, along with Chuck Sonnenburg of 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).
    • Some argue that the curse didn't start until Siskel And Ebert listed Star Trek V among the ten worst movies of 1989. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was financially successful allowing for a sequel, and Star Trek III accomplished its two primary purposes, resurrect Spock, so they could make more movies, and to establish Leonard Nimoy's credentials as a competent film director.
  • 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.
  • The odd-numbered Beethoven symphonies are the classics (3, 5, 7, and 9. 1, not so much), whereas the evens (except for 6) don't get as much attention.
  • Many fans consider the A Nightmare on Elm Street series to follow the reverse of this, with the even number movies being inferior to the odds. Hilariously, it is still inverted to Star Trek with regard to reboot status, as the Nightmare reboot is considered poor by most fans, unlike the mostly acclaimed Star Trek 2009 reboot.
  • Fans of 24 have noted that odd-numbered seasons are generally the show's better ones, featuring a variety of different terrorist scenarios, while the even-numbered ones always revolve around nuclear terrorism and are generally greatly inferior (except for possibly season 2, which is considered to have a solid core storyline, but let down by the subplot involving Kim constantly being taken prisoner).
  • Power Rangers fans have an unique version with anniversary seasons Turbo (Season 5), Wild Force (Season 10) and Operation Overdrive (Season 15) considered among the worst or most divisive. Time tell will if Super Megaforce (Season 20, if it could be called that) continues the curse.
  • Microsoft Windows has had the curse since Windows 3.1, at least when it comes to their major public releases. Windows 98, Windows XP, and Windows 7 have all been popular, while Windows 95, Windows ME, Windows Vista, and Windows 8 all made rather controversial changes, were unstable, or had other problems which made it difficult to recommend upgrading. (Even the Un Favorite releases have their fans, of course.) Windows releases tend to follow a pattern of "revolutionary" - in which many changes are made at once - followed by "evolutionary", or mostly polishing what was in the last one. Thus, every other version has a lot of new bugs and new features, and takes some getting used to; by the time the next version comes out, these issues have mostly been resolved (by patches and service packs for the software, and by users getting used how it looks and works). Another way of looking at it is that Microsoft puts out a "public beta", followed a couple of years later by the final, mostly-working-as-advertised version, charging their customers for both (and for the privilege of testing their software for them).
  • The Ace Attorney series has two different variants of this trope:
    • Firstly, the odd-numbered entries (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Trials & Tribulations and Dual Destinies) are generally considered to be the stronger ones, while the even-numbered ones (Justice for All and Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney) are considered to be weaker. The two Ace Attorney Investigations games generally aren't counted towards this, as the second one has yet to be released outside Japan (and, in all likelihood, never will be). Though for those who do the first is usually considered to be on the "weaker" side and the second on the "stronger" side, which makes the order problematic.
    • Secondly, fans have noted that the third case in any given game usually tends to be the worst, mostly due to the overwhelmingly hated third cases in (ironically enough) the second and fourth games. Dual Destinies is the major exception, as most seem to regard the second case as the weakest; some fans also feel that the first game's first case is weaker than the third, for essentially being a glorified tutorial which doesn't even fully explain the game mechanics.
  • While fans of the Temeraire series of books don't necessarily find the even-numbered books to be bad, there is definitely a pattern of odd being "war and lots of cool dragon battles" and even being "travel and lots of talking". However, both the sixth and seventh books are travel and diplomacy, and the eighth is Napoleon's Russian campaign.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic seems to be following this so far. While season 1 is by no means considered bad, it suffered from Early Installment Weirdness and a much more restrictive Aesop format. Season 2 is generally considered to be where the show grew the beard, but was followed by season 3, which is the most controversial and poorly received so far (especially the finale). Then season 4 was mostly well-received (especially the finale).
  • Supernatural has been following the trope to a tee. Although the show has had its bases regularly broken as early as the third season, it seems to be agreed upon most fans that the odd seasons are better. Season 1 is regarded as a decent start but suffers from a large amount of Monster of the Week episodes as the show was still finding its footing, while season 2 is noted as the show's real moment of Growing the Beard. Season 3 wound up being hit by production troubles thanks to the '07 Writers Strike and also introduced two new characters that took time away from Sam and Dean and were Base Breakers at best. Season 4 wound up introducing fan favorite Castiel and heavily increasing the mythology marking a notable increase in the show's ratings, while Season 5 is a downplayed case as it is overall liked, but fans do have some problems with it, particularly the finale, which has come off as an Anti-Climax to some. Season 6 marks a rare aversion of Only The Creator Does It Right as after a controversial beginning wound up having several fan-favorite episodes produced back to back with some major HSQ thrown in by the end. Season 7 then immediately threw that potential out the window in favor of a heavily disliked Random Events Plot. Season 8 attempted to fix 7's faults, and after a rough start managed to introduce a well received plotline of the brothers trying to close Hell, but 9 came in and introduced yet another Random Events Plot that wound up turning as many people back off, with Sam and Dean's constant fighting doing little to help as it's started to come off more as Wangst to many longtime viewers. Time will tell if season 10 follows this standards and is seen as an improvement.

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