Star Trek: Evening the Odds


(credit: memory alpha)

For over 20 years Star Trek fans could count on a consistent trend holding true: Even numbered Star Trek movies would be high quality, and odd numbered Star Trek movies would suck.

In 2002 this trend was broken when an even numbered movie sucked; namely, Star Trek: Nemesis.

Star Trek: Nemesis’s poor quality caused much confusion amongst believers of the odd numbered curse. Further confusion was created in 2009 with the release of Star Trek, an odd numbered movie that is considered by many to be good.

Why the once dependable odd numbered curse suddenly failed as a predictor is a great mystery. Today we will examine popular theories as to why the odd curse failed in 2002. Further, we will see each theory’s prediction about the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness movie, the 12th Star Trek feature film.

MULTIPLE OF 5s THEORY: This theory states that Star Trek V stinks so bad that the taint from it will forevermore ruin all movies that are a multiple of 5. This explains why Star Trek 10 was so bad. This is good news for those of you hoping for good things with Star Trek 12. However, Star Trek 15 might be the death of the franchise as it will have to contend with both the Star Trek 5 taint, and the odd number curse. Into Darkness prediction: Favorable

THE OUTLIER THEORY: As pointed out when listing the Top Star Trek Movies, 2009’s Star Trek is only marginally good, while Star Trek: Nemesis is clearly bad. Trekkies with background in statistical analysis point out that one outlier does not refute the entire measure of central tendency. Therefore, Nemesis could be an outlier abomination and nothing more.

Basically, for purposes of predicting future movie quality, we simply throw out the 10th movie as an exception to the rule. This indicates that 11, is in fact, a bad movie, and that the 12th movie will be good. Into Darkness prediction: Very Favorable

THE SECRET MOVIE THEORY: This conspiracy theory states that there are secret Star Trek movies in existence. For example, a secret project similar to Phase II could have created quality movies that the public at large is unaware of. Therefore, the odd/even phenomenon could hold true, but the general public doesn’t know how many Star Trek movies there are, much less when each was released. Consequently we are unable to determine which official movies are even or odd numbered. [See also: Of Gods and MenInto Darkness prediction: Inconclusive

WHO GIVES A SHIT THEORY: Proponents of this theory state that Star Trek Into Darkness will either be a good movie, or it won’t. Therefore, who gives a shit about some even/odd movie curse, phenomenon, trend, or theory.

This theory is lacking in evidence.

Advocates of this theory seem to have malware problems before they can finish making their case, with their cyber presence coming to a mysterious and abrupt halt. Until more is known, I recommend leaving nerds to enjoy their fun. Into Darkness prediction: Inconclusive

THE ORIGINAL SERIES ONLY THEORY: This theory states that the odd numbered curse only applies to movies featuring the 23rd century’s original characters. According to this theory, 2009’s Star Trek would be considered the 7th movie featuring the original characters. This should give Star Trek fans great hope, because this would indicate the the 7th movie is actually considered bad, which would in turn mean that the 8th movie with original characters will be incredible! Into Darkness prediction: Very Favorable

Balance of Terror

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE ROMULAN INVERSION THEORY: This theory states that in movies where Romulans are the primary antagonists, the even/odd phenomenon is reversed. There is logic in this theory because, as every good Star Trek fan knows, Romulans are the antithesis to the beloved Vulcans in many ways, and would have the power to invert trends such as this.

This theory actually explains much, including why even numbered Nemisis sucked so bad, and odd numbered Star Trek wasn’t terrible.

Assuming the rumors are true, and that the villain in the upcoming film is genetically engineered human Khan Noonien Singh, then the 12th Star Trek movie should be good. Into Darkness prediction: Favorable

THE DOUBLE DIGITS THEORY: This theory claims that the even/odd trend is still valid, but the formula isn’t quite as simple as we once believed. The disconnect only became noticeable once Star Trek movies reached double digits. This theory states that the individual digits should be added together instead of read themselves. Therefore Star Trek 10 would equal to 1+0=1 . Star Trek 11 would equal 1+1=2 . Obviously, with single digit films the sum of the digits is equal to the number itself.

This theory explains why Star Trek 10 sucked and Star Trek 11 was good. Star Trek 12 will be 1+2=3, therefore the odd numbered curse will apply. Into Darkness prediction: Not Good

Cover of "Galaxy Quest (Deluxe Edition)"

Cover of Galaxy Quest (Deluxe Edition)

GALAXY QUEST THEORY: Galaxy Quest is a thinly veiled Star Trek parody movie released in 1999. This theory believes that Galaxy Quest counts as the 10th Star Trek film. Unlike much modern humor, Galaxy Quest does not feel mean spirited as it makes fun of Star Trek and its fans. Instead, it has the spirit of Star Trek fans making fun of themselves in a good natured way. The movie is beloved by Star Trek fans in the cultish way they are known for. So much so that Star Trek director J.J. Abrams called Galaxy Quest, “one of the best Star Trek movies ever made.

As illustrated below, with Galaxy Quest inserted as the 10th movie, the even/odd streak remains in tact.

  • EVENS:
  • 2) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Good
  • 4) Star Trek IV: The Journey Home – Good
  • 6) Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – Good
  • 8) Star Trek: First Contact – Good
  • 10*) Galaxy Quest – Good
  • 12) Star Trek – Good
  • ODDS
  • 1) Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Bad
  • 3) Star Trek III: The Search for Spock – Bad
  • 5) Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – Bad
  • 7) Star Trek: Generations – Bad
  • 9) Star Trek: Insurrection – Bad
  • 11) Star Trek: Nemesis – Bad
  • 13) Star Trek Into Darkness – TBD

This theory explains why Nemesis was so bad, and Star Trek good. Unfortunately this makes Into Darkness the 13th movie, which is not a good sign. Into Darkness prediction: Bad

So there you have it: a summary of the modern schools of thought around the important subject of Star Trek’s odd numbered curse. To which theory do you subscribe? What are your predictions with Star Trek Into Darkness?

6 thoughts on “Star Trek: Evening the Odds

  1. Pingback: Star Trek: Odds on Even | Smooth ReEntry

  2. Reblogged this on Smart Girls love SciFi and commented:
    Over at Smooth ReEntry the topic is generally about the return-to-dating experience, but right now something else is trumping that lively theme…Star Trek and its return to the big screen with the May release of Star Trek Into Darkness. Let’s all give Smooth ReEntry a little love for his entertaining run down of the theories predicting whether ITD will be good or bad. I’m definitely going with the Secret Movie Theory. How about you? (reblogged with permission)

  3. 1st Contact was my all time fav Star Trek movie. Looking forward to day when a new Star Trek series will start on the TV as its been around a decade since last one ended.

  4. Pingback: Staying on Target: Why I Blog | Smooth ReEntry

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