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Star Trek Movie Curse

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"Sure as day follows night, sure as eggs is eggs, sure as every odd-numbered Star Trek movie is shit."

As a series or franchise goes on and the number of sequels and side works/Spinoffs/etc. increases, it's all but certain that the audience will not find them to all be of uniform quality. However, there are a number of works that show this in one particular way: audiences will generally find that the quality bounces back and forth in a numerically ordered fashion. Typically, this will show up as either the even- or odd-numbered sequels being better than the opposite, although other variants exist.

The Trope Codifier is the Star Trek movies, which have had a long-standing reputation of "the even-numbered movies are a lot better than the odd-numbered ones".

See also: Sophomore Slump, for when the first in a series is good, the second is trash, but the third is good again.

Not to be confused with The Production Curse, where the problems go much, much, deeper.


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    Star Trek (Trope Namer) 
Star Trek is the Trope Namer, although ironically it's more Common Knowledge than an actual example.
  • Of the original cast films, everybody agrees that the even-numbered films (The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home, The Undiscovered Country) are excellent as both science fiction films and Star Trek films. However, the odd-numbered ones are a mixed bag: the first one (The Motion Picture) is generally considered to not be too bad, with its worst offenses being its leaden pace (a much shorter Director's Cut from 2001 was very warmly received) and excessive padding with special effects, while the third film (The Search for Spock) is a cheap-looking, continuity-dense affair that is at worst So Okay, It's Average and at best an underrated gem. It also crucially connects with the second and fourth movie to be a sort of trilogy. Only the fifth film (The Final Frontier) is universally derided as awful on almost every conceivable level (though some consider it So Bad, It's Good). The "Star Trek curse" received a boost in popularity when Siskel & Ebert listed Final Frontier among the ten worst movies of 1989. The odd movie curse started with fandom after The Search For Spock and was confirmed by The Voyage Home, but Final Frontier sealed it. The Motion Picture and The Search for Spock obviously made enough money to keep the franchise going.
  • By the 1990s, the curse had taken root in the public's mind, and the three Next Generation films released in that decade certainly didn't shake the perception. The seventh (Generations) and ninth (Insurrection—which the crew dubbed "Nine of Ten" in a futile effort to shake off the curse) films are both considered forgettable and lackluster, and Generations has a fairly sizeable hatedom for Trope-Naming "Dropped a Bridge on Him". Only the eighth (First Contact) is well-loved by fans, since it's an Actionized Sequel that pits Captain Picard against an established enemy he has a personal grudge with.
  • In the 21st century, however, the curse was completely inverted. The tenth film overall and last Next Generation film, Nemesis, flopped so hard that Star Trek as a feature film franchise was effectively dead after twenty-three years. With the quiet death of TV series Enterprise shortly afterwards, the Star Trek franchise began to fade into obscurity... And then, enter J. J. Abrams, accompanied by lens flare. Contrary to its position in the franchise, his eleventh film (simply called Star Trek) was a Younger and Hipper and Hotter and Sexier blockbuster reboot that returned Star Trek to cultural relevance, and a box office juggernaut to boot. Aside from the obvious reason for its success — it's a slick, fun film from an experienced filmmaker — many tongue-in-cheek theories have been put forth as to how it's "broken the curse;" a common one being is to promote Affectionate Parody Galaxy Quest as the "actual" Star Trek 10, bumping Nemesis to odd and the reboot as even.
  • Given that Star Trek Into Darkness was received comparatively poorly (it has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score of any film set in Abrams' Alternate Timeline, at a truly unacceptable 84%) and Star Trek Beyond was hailed by both critics and fans as a Surprisingly Improved Sequel and return to form, what cannot be denied is that the curse continues to affect the franchise. Indeed, the curse appears to have mutated into a new form, with the next film after Beyond trapped in a Negative Space Wedgie of Development Hell until 2023 at the earliest. The 7-year gap is a tie for longest Sequel Gap in franchise history.
  • When Paramount promoted the 2009 reboot with Blu-ray box sets of older Star Trek movies, they also provided the option to buy each even-numbered Blu-ray (save Nemesis) by itself, but kept the odd-numbered BDs and Nemesis exclusive to the sets. The promotional campaign for Star Trek Into Darkness brought forth individual releases for the odd-numbered discs and Nemesis, but their front covers didn't boast any blurbs of critical praise.
  • There is also a separate curse revolving Star Trek video games, that is most of them faling to The Problem with Licensed Games.

    Anime & Manga 


  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Horror Story. Murder House and Asylum are generally agreed to be good seasons, but after that began a notable trend in which odd-numbered seasons tend to be better well-received than even-numbered seasons, with Coven being well received, while the fourth season, Freak Show was considered to be one of the series' worst seasons. Hotel, the fifth season, before it even premiered, became "the season without Jessica Lange." Notably, it was the first season with lower premiere ratings than its predecessor, but it still managed to be successful in its own right. Roanoke, the sixth season, due to its unusual nature, became one of the most controversial seasons to date, while its successor, Cult, while divisive, is much better received due to its satire, and the eighth season, Apocalypse, while agreed to be well-received for its Continuity Porn, is agreed to be lacking in terms of its own story. The ninth season, 1984, is agreed to be one of the show's best seasons, due to its twists on the slasher horror genre and having a story that stands out even with Continuity Nods. The tenth season, Double Feature (which includes both Red Tide and Death Valley), stands out as one of the worst seasons, narrowly beating out Freak Show due to their incredibly underwhelming stories and gratuitously bleak endings. The eleventh season, NYC, is well-received for being one of the most grounded horror stories and its unique portrayal of the AIDS epidemic.
  • Although Supernatural has had its bases regularly broken as early as the third season, the even-numbered seasons tend to fare better than the odd ones. Season 1 is regarded as a good 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 marked a notable increase in the show's ratings. Averted by Season 5, which further develops the story arc from S4, is also well-liked, and introduced Crowley. Also averted by Season 6; although it introduces some fresh new ideas and has several fan-favorite episodes, it's also seen to suffer from the main story having already been wrapped up at that point, with the show spinning its wheels in some places trying to find a new direction. The trope comes back into play with Season 7, which only accentuated the problems of S6 rather than fix them, and abruptly dropped the exciting storyline teased by the S6 finale. Season 8 attempted to undo the damage, and after a rough start managed to introduce a well-received plotline of the brothers trying to close the gates of Hell. But then Season 9 came and fell back into the same issues as before of the show struggling to find a cohesive tale to tell, which wound up turning as many people back off, with Sam and Dean's constant fighting doing little to help as it began to come off more as Wangst to many longtime viewers. Although 10 at least cut down on their bickering and let them get along again, it's also an aversion as it still suffers from the aimlessness that plagued 9. General consensus on Seasons 11, 12, and 13 seems to be that they're an improvement from Seasons 6 through 10, though not as good as the first five seasons.
  • 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 Islamic 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:
  • Justified, while still being a very well received show, suffers this to some extent: Seasons 2, 4 and 6 are considered all-time great seasons of television. Season 1 has all the signs of a series in the process of finding its voice, season 3, although widely beloved, was seen as a step down from the superlative second, and season 5 is almost universally considered the worst the show ever had.
  • With Kamen Rider, the "curse" seems to be attached to shows with a mystic/supernatural theme. Kamen Rider Amazon, whose hero got his powers from a Mayincatec armband rather than Applied Phlebotinum, was so gory (albeit by 1970s standards) that the backlash from angry parents (actually a very disastrous Channel Hop) almost killed the franchise. Decades later, the Oni-themed Kamen Rider Hibiki was popular with fans, but had low merch sales and a large production cost, resulting in a Retool that messed it up so badly that it's become one of Tokusatsu's most infamous cases of Executive Meddling. The next three supernatural shows, Kamen Rider Kiva, Kamen Rider Wizard, and Kamen Rider Ghost are generally held in low regard by the fandom, with Ghost in particular being viewed as one of the weakest seasons ever made and Wizard not too far behindnote . The second Reiwa-era series, Kamen Rider Saber, has the double whammy of being magic-themed and having the same head writer as Ghost, and while it's agreed to be a step up from Ghost, it had the absolute misfortune of being produced and airing during the COVID-19 Pandemic, with logistical issues resulting in inconsistent pacing and sales suffering as a result. Kamen Rider Revice, as a demon-themed season, while having an initially positively-received first half, became more divisive in the second half of the series, though being an anniversary season as well allowed it to be more profitable compared to Saber.
  • Fargo is a weird example, given how all three of its seasons were well-acclaimed. However, the odd-numbered seasons had significant criticisms: Season 1 sometimes had too many Call Backs to the original movie, and even felt like a retread to some viewers. Season 3 had a Slow-Paced Beginning that made the season drag, and an Ambiguous Ending that upset some for a lack of closure. Both are in contrast to Season 2, which had near-universal acclaim for its more original plot and complex character arcs. Averted with Season 4 which is generally seen as the worst.
  • Season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars is generally considered to be one of the best seasons the show ever produced, All Stars or otherwise, following the universally reviled Season 1. Season 3 was then widely hated for its lackluster challenges and infamous final episode, with Season 4 being seen by many as a return to form. Like clockwork, Season 5 was again a disappointment for many, then Season 6, while not without its faults, was generally praised thanks to its talented cast, fun episodes, and strong finale.
  • Buffyverse:

  • Though not applicable to his entire output, the operas of Gioachino Rossini between L'italiana in Algeri (his eleventh) and Otello (nineteenth) fall into this territory, with the odd numbered operas (L'italiana, Il turco in Italia [13], Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra [15], The Barber of Seville [17] and Otello) being better respected than the evens (Aureliano in Palmira [12], Sigismondo [14], Torvaldo e Dorliska [16] and La gazzetta [18]).
  • The pop-reggae musician Shaggy fell into this pattern with the first six albums of his career. His odd-numbered records (Pure Pleasure, Boombastic, and Hot Shot) sold millions worldwide and produced his most popular singles. Conversely, his even-numbered releases (Original Doberman, Midnite Lover, and Lucky Day) were commercial failures that produced few to no hits.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The best remembered seasons of the original version of WWE NXT are the odd-numbered seasons. The first was universally considered the best, back when the NXT concept was being taken seriously. It directly led to The Nexus, one of the most iconic angles in WWE history, and also launched the short-lived but hugely memorable WWE career of Daniel Bryan. The third season is remembered for being the only all-female season and for its So Bad, It's Good nature, to the point that the season got a TV Tropes page all to itself. The fifth was the year-long season with a noticeable retool that, for better or worse, gave the product a different image. The second and fourth seasons, however? They were forgotten almost instantly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons' even-numbered editions, regardless of individual quality, seem to coincide with downturns for the brand:
    • Second edition happened during Lorraine Williams' controversial tenure as head of TSR, and was known for attempting to avoid the controversy of the Satanic Panic by removing all references to demons and devils. This edition saw D&D lose its position of top-selling RPG for the first time, to Vampire: The Masquerade, and TSR going bankrupt and being bought out by Wizards of the Coast.
    • After a revival of the brand with 3rd edition and 3.5, 4th edition made a controversial overhaul to gameplay and stands as probably the least popular edition, losing the title of best-selling RPG once again, this time to the 3.5-based Pathfinder.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Odd-numbered installments of the Self-Parody un-sets are better received than the even-numbered ones if we ignore Unsanctioned (which had an unusual release model and consisted mostly of reprints). The first one, Unglued was well received. The follow-up Unhinged went over worse thanks to mechanics that were seen as clunky and unfun, leaving the series dormant for 13 years. It finally made a comeback with the popular Unstable, only for Unfinity to have a mixed reception due to the unpopular decision to retire the silver border in favor of making some un-cards legal — which in particular included the divisive-at-best sticker mechanic.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed has seemingly fallen into this with the even numbered games being better received than the odd numbered ones. Even after they Stopped Numbering Sequels with Unity and Syndicate it held the pattern.
  • Dead or Alive seem to have a pattern of the odd numbered games being better received than the even numbered ones. The first game is well regarded, while DOA2 is hampered by the Obvious Beta nature of the original release. DOA3 is well received and became a Killer App for the Xbox, while DOA4 is a Contested Sequel for competitive players. DOA5 has been well received due to its character redesigns and numerous Guest Fighters, while DOA6 is one of the most contested entries to date due to its Tamer and Chaster redesign of costumes and lack of the series' trademarked fanservice.
  • Deus Ex has this issue with odd-numbered games being considered amazing and even-numbered games being Contested Sequels. The original Deus Ex is considered one of the greatest video games of all time, the direct sequel Deus Ex: Invisible War is significantly less popular due to the oversimplification of game mechanics, the prequel Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a return to form for the series, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided received flak for It's Short, So It Sucks!.
  • In the Devil May Cry series, the odd-numbered games are better received than the even numbered ones. The original is a well-liked hack and slash. The second game is widely seen as the worst to the point that even Capcom rarely acknowledges its existence. The third game is a Surprisingly Improved Sequel and possibly the best in the series. The fourth game is good but it's considered as a step down from its predecessor because of Nero replacing Dante and its excessive backtracking brought by a Troubled Production. The reboot broke the trend being by far the most contentious installment. The fifth game in the main series both plays this straight and inverts it, straight as in as far as main series goes, it has received universal praise while inverted in the fact that it is technically the sixth game in the series if you count the reboot.
  • The Fallout series has one, in which the fourth game by the current owner will be considered the worst from that company. Interplay's fourth game, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, flopped so badly that it led to Interplay going bankrupt and being forced to sell the rights. If you ignore third-party developer Obsidian Entertainment's Fallout: New Vegas, then the fourth Fallout game under Bethesda's banner (after Fallout 3, Fallout Shelter, and Fallout 4) was Fallout 76, which became the worst-reviewed game of the entire series. Even the series as a whole has this problem with the numbered installments; Fallout 4, while not as hated as Brotherhood of Steel nor as poorly made as 76, still isn't as adored by the community as Fallout, Fallout 2, or even Fallout 3.
  • Early Final Fantasy titles followed a pattern where odd numbered games were more gameplay focused than the even ones, which were more story driven. Final Fantasy VII broke this pattern, and all games afterwards tended to be very story heavy.
  • Mario Kart: The evenly-released installments (64, Double Dash!!, Wii, and 8) are generally agreed to be much better than the oddly-released installments, which have more contentious elements to them. Super Mario Kart is often said to lack polish compared to later entries, Super Circuit is considered a Bizarro Episode that has rather unintuitive controls, DS' meta became dominated by snaking, 7 has the most questionable character roster in the series, and Tour's microtransactions became a hot button amongst the fandom.
  • Metroid: The 2D lineage has the curse with the even installments. While still agreed upon to be good games, both Metroid II: Return of Samus and Metroid Fusion are nonetheless viewed as step downs from their respective predecessors (Metroid and Super Metroid) due to having more linear progression. This extends to the remakes as well, with Metroid: Zero Mission being beloved, while Metroid: Samus Returns received more scrutiny from the fanbase than it did from critics.
  • For the Samurai Shodown series, the even numbered entries (excluding updates, and counting Edge of Destiny as the 7th entry and 2019 as the 8th) are generally considered even better sequels compared to the odd numbered entries.
  • The Soulcalibur games (excluding Soul Blade/Soul Edge and spinoffs) seem to suffer an inverse curse from its sister series Tekken. The first game is decently received while SC2 is considered by many to be an Even Better Sequel. SC3 has mixed reception due to its bugs and lack of balance, while SC4 has more refined gameplay, at the cost of story content. SC5 is widely derided for its removal of fan favorite characters and lacklusture single-player content, while SC6 is regarded by many as a return to form in terms of both single-player and multiplayer modes.
  • Most Spider-Man games have the distinction where direct sequels to a game are thought of as weaker than their predecessors. This includes Enter Electro to the first Playstation title, Separation Anxiety to Maximum Carnage, Edge of Time to Shattered Dimensions, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to the first. The games based off the Sam Raimi trilogy zig-zag this: Spider-Man 2 is considered an Even Better Sequel to the first due to its Genre Shift, but Spider-Man 3 more directly follows up on the second by also adopting the sandbox gameplay style, and is similarly thought of as a disappointment.
  • The canonical Street Fighter games: The second and fourth games in the series are remembered as the games that respectively launched and reinvigorated the fighting game genres. The first game, which played very differently, has been largely forgotten in the shadow of its successors, the third is seen as great but not quite on the level of the second (except in competitive circles, but even then the game wasn't viewed very positively in the early days), and the fifth is highly divisive due to the limited features and it being seen as too unfriendly for casual gamers.
  • Super Smash Bros., while mostly well-loved by gamers, isn't without a rocky history. The first installment was seen as an upstart fighting game that had yet to find its voice. Melee is considered a substantial improvement and one of the best four-player party fighters of all time. Brawl was still tons of fun for most gamers, especially with the fan-favorite story mode Subspace Emissary and the arrival of plenty of beloved characters, but many people agreed the gameplay wasn't nearly as competitive-friendly as Melee was. Both halves of the fourth game were widely seen as a return to form, keeping some of Brawl's more liked changes while reverting the less popular ones back to how they were in Melee. Ultimate seems to have broken the curse, seen as a substantial improvement over the rest of the franchise, taking the elements that the base has come to love (the original's character crossover excitement, Melee's competitive-friendly gameplay, Brawl's story campaign, and Wii U/3DS's clean look) and combining them into one; it does have some shortcomings, such as a flawed online service, but the reception has definitely been highly positive overall.
  • Tekken: Also seems to have this curse with (Not counting the spin-offs or upgrades) 1, 3 and 5 being considered great while 2, 4 and 6 was decent at best. 7 seems to be getting very favorable reviews so far. For the Tag Tournament games, the first was seen as great and the second was OK.
  • Uncharted: While downplayed as all of the games in the series are considered good, the even-numbered games have gotten much more praise than the odd-numbered ones. The first game, Drake's Fortune, is seen as a good start but did still have some shaky moments. The second, Among Thieves, is considered where the series really came into its own. The third game Drake's Deception received much praise, but did have some problems with being a little too similar to the second. The fourth game, A Thief's End once again received near-universal acclaim for featuring more open areas, new gameplay elements, and a much more emotional story to serve as the series' big sendoff.
  • Valve Software has the Threes Curse, that being their inability to produce a game with a three in the title. Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, Defense of the Ancients, and Portal have all had their most recent entries at 2, with no news of anything further, but Half-Life is the most infamous: Half-Life 2 had two "Episode" installments to act as continuations rather than a third game, and the third Episode fell into Development Hell and has yet to be released for fourteen years and counting. This was finally bucked with the release of the third Half Life installment, Half-Life: Alyx, which was met with extreme acclaim.
  • Though all of World of Warcraft's expansions tend to be divisive, the even-numbered versions of the game are generally not remembered as fondly as the odd-numbered ones.
    • Even: The Burning Crusade gets bad flak for its lore developments, particularly cases of Character Derailment. Cataclysm originally held the title of the weakest expansion after Wrath of the Lich King proved to be a Tough Act to Follow. Warlords of Draenor dethroned Cataclysm for having too much gameplay tied into garrisons and its overall short length (being the first expansion to end with a .2 patch instead of .3 or .4, and having only three raids across two tiers) despite having a slightly higher price tag than previous expansions. Battle for Azeroth is loathed by much of the player base for various reasons, primarily having unsatisfying gameplay and a plot that feels like a repeat of Mists of Pandaria.
    • Odd: The "vanilla" version when the game launched in 2004 is generally treated kindly in spite of its flaws that would be ironed out over the next two decades. Wrath of the Lich King is considered by many to be the game's absolute peak in terms of both gameplay and story. Mists of Pandaria received some criticism for its setting and the addition of the pandaren race, but was eventually Vindicated by History for its good points. Legion is seen as a genuinely good expansion that fixed most of the problems that players had with Warlords on top of adding a popular new class and the widely-acclaimed class halls and campaigns.
    • Shadowlands, the eighth expansion and ninth version overall, seems to have bucked the trend. While it sold well, it's been heavily criticized for its overreliance on tacked-on gameplay systems that continues a trend started by Legion, a story that attempts to be "epic" but ends up feeling more like a Saturday Morning Cartoon, and simply not feeling like Warcraft anymore. The expansion's first major patch was similarly met with ridicule over being released a whopping eight months after the expansion's initial launch and its increasingly questionable writing and doubling down on the aforementioned systems, which, combined with the Obvious Beta release of Warcraft III: Reforged, the lukewarm reaction to the rerelease of the aforementioned Burning Crusade, and some other controversies surrounding Blizzard Entertainment at the time, turned both the company and their flagship game into a laughing stock.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Ace Attorney series has two different variants of this trope:
    • Firstly, the odd-numbered entries (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Trials and 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 (though definitely not without their moments- the final case in Justice for All is widely considered as one of the best cases, if not the best in the entire series). The curse was "broken" with Spirit of Justice, which many fans agree is better than Dual Destinies. 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. Usually, it goes like this: the first case is a short and simple tutorial to get you into the mechanics, the second case introduces the actual plot and the major players, such as the prosecutor, and the fourth case serves as the climax and conclusionnote . Meanwhile, the third case is there simply to establish a routine and escalate the complexity a little before the game hits you with the climax, and as such is typically unconnected to the wider narrative and more lighthearted and comedic, while also being longer than the second case. This leads to these cases often being fluffy but forgettable at best, and unfunny overlong fiascos at worst. The second, third, and fourth games are the most infamous for having weak third cases, with all three also suffering from gaping plotholes or annoying gameplay, and the third case of the second game is a common "worst in the series" candidate. Dual Destinies is the major exception, as most seem to regard the second case as the weakest, while the third case in the first game generally isn't seen as especially bad (with some even preferring it).
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has this formula with its cases. The first class trial is fairly well liked, although killing off Kaede is highly controversial. The next two cases are generally considered relatively weak, possibly in part due to the first being a Tough Act to Follow. The fourth case and the fifth case are generally seen as the high points of the game. The sixth case, however, is often regarded as one of the worst, without even going into the very controversial ending.

    Web Animation 
  • Sonic for Hire began experiencing this following Season 2, where odd-numbered seasons (Seasons 3, 5, and 7) are well-received while even-numbered seasons (Seasons 4, 6, and 8) are highly divisive.

  • Survivor: Fan Characters, especially later on, follows a trend opposite that of Star Trek: The odd-numbered seasons are quite popular while the even-numbered seasons get lukewarm receptions at best. The author himself has noticed, and hopes season 14 will break the pattern.

    Web Video 
  • The Nostalgia Critic summarizes the Trope Namer throughout a series of reviews on the odd-numbered installments with a recap saying "Last time, in the good Star Trek movie..."

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The show's seasons tend to alternate between base-breaking and generally well-received by the fandom:
      • While season 1 is by no means considered bad, it suffered from Early-Installment Weirdness and a much more restrictive Aesop format due to having to adhere to E/I guidelines.
      • Season 2 is generally considered to be where the show grew the beard (although it had far more controversial episodes than Season 1 did).
      • Season 3 suffered from being half the length of the previous two and having an extremely controversial finale where Twilight Sparkle becomes Princess of Friendship, seen by many at the time as Jumping the Shark (although it has since been the consensus that it did not actually signify a long-term decline in quality).
      • Then season 4 was mostly well-received (especially the finale).
      • Season 5 (seemingly) broke this trend by being generally well-received, although its finale was controversial for featuring Starlight Glimmer's Heel–Face Turn, which some saw as undeserved (or, at least, rushed and anticlimactic)
      • Season 6 promoted Starlight Glimmer into one of the main characters, which furthered the Broken Base of the Season 5 finale.
      • Season 7 was much more well-received than its predecessor.
      • Season 8 created another Broken Base due to its premise of making the main characters teachers at a new "School of Friendship", which is either a blatant gimmick or an interesting source for new episode plots and characters.
      • Season 9, the show's Grand Finale, was generally seen as a fitting send-off for the show, meaning the curse was inverted starting with the 5th season.
    • The spinoff Equestria Girls follows the standard evens-over-odds curse with its movies/longer specials. The second, fourth, and sixth are much better received than the first, third, and fifth.
  • Teen Titans: The even-numbered seasons tend to fare better than the odd ones. Season 2 had the Terra betrayal arc based on The Judas Contract while Season 4 had Raven facing her father Trigon over the fate of the world and both storylines are considered as the most iconic parts of the series. Season 1 was still struggling to find its voice, Season 3 was Lighter and Softer and had Cyborg facing the lackluster Brother Blood while Season 5 had some divisive change over its formula and infamously ended with an ambiguous and inconclusive episode.

    Real Life 
  • Microsoft Windows has had the curse since Windows 3.1, at least when it comes to their major public releases. Windows 95, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows XP, and Windows 7 were all popular and well-received, while Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows Vista, and Windows 8 made rather controversial changes, were unstable, or had other problems which made it difficult to recommend upgrading. (Even The Un-Favourite 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 to 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). Microsoft followed Windows 8 with Windows 10 (skipping Windows 9), which was better received than its predecessor by major reviewers and generally continuing the pattern, though with concerns over privacy with the new telemetry system, Microsoft's rather pushy efforts to get Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade, and the even pushier automatic update systems within Windows 10 itself (basically barring hacking, you can't set Windows 10 updates to manual control). It's not unheard of to hear people joke that Microsoft skipped "Windows 9" because that one would have been a good OS. With Windows 8 being widely derided, Window 10 having a highly mixed reception and a rough start, and early reception to Windows 11 looking to be much the same as Window 10's rocky start, some lean towards the interpretation that skipping Windows 9 has indeed broken the pattern, via ensuring that EVERY version of Windows is going to be problematic from here on out.
  • The San Francisco Giants and "Even Year Magic" (or "Even Year Bullshit" to the rest of the league). They won a World Series in 2010, finished 4 games back of a playoff spot in 2011, won a World Series in 2012, finished fourth in their division in 2013, and won a World Series in 2014. After a 3-1 loss to the Cubs in the 2016 National League Division Series, the Giants no longer benefit from this effect. Indeed, in 2021 they inverted it by placing first in the National League, the first time they had done so since '12, and exhibiting the best win-loss ratio of any team playing that season.
  • While the San Antonio Spurs were consistently good starting with their 1999 title, they only got to the finals, all of whom were championships, in equally odd-numbered years (2003, 2005, 2007)... until 2013, when the Miami Heat denied the Spurs a game 6 title clinch in the last seconds, won that game and the deciding game 7. And the Spurs won a Heroic Rematch the following year to further break the trend.
  • In Australian Rules Football, the Essendon Bombers seem to have an Audience-Alienating Era roughly every four decades: The decades in which they failed to win a premiership are the 1930s, 1970s and 2010s. The 1890s are an interesting case - while they did win the premiership in 1897, they did NOT win the Grand Final, as the finals that year were in a Round Robin format.