Ex Astris Scientia
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About Episode Ratings

As stated on each episode review page, the grades I give out range from "0=worst" to "10=best". While this system works quite well for me, it has been subject to some confusion as I can tell from frequent negative visitor feedback. Especially in relation to my Enterprise reviews, many visitors have uttered complaints and have asked me how I could possibly call myself a Star Trek fan, if I give an episode only an average of 5 out of 10 points and go down as low as 1 or even 0 points in some cases.

To clarify this issue, my ratings are not comparable to any system that other individuals have come up with (be it five stars, ten points, A to F or anything else). One decisive difference is that many other reviewers, especially those working for print magazines or for sci-fi or TV websites, don't focus on Star Trek like I do. As a result, they would certainly end up with a scale in which they compare Star Trek to Stargate, Buffy or even Friends. This is not the case with my grades that are relative to the rest of Star Trek and nothing else. I wouldn't want to compare apples with oranges and, moreover, I'm just don't care so much for other TV shows that I would bother to review them. While I certainly watch TV besides Star Trek, I think I don't allow myself to be influenced too much by it.

In brief, you could say that a Trek episode with 0 points would still rank above any "Friends" episode in my view (as I dislike any kind of sitcoms). But to be more precise, I wouldn't even know how to compare them because it's not only the mere entertainment value that matters to me. Something that is important in my view is how an episode relates to what we already know from Star Trek, including but not restricted to originality and continuity. I think I don't have a short-time memory for Trek (although TPTB might want me to have one) and I keep all this in mind. In this respect, I can explain the ratings as follows:

10 points: among the best Trek episodes ever, simply awesome

5 points: average Trek episode, quite a fun to watch but with some flaws

0 points: among the worst Trek episodes ever, almost a waste of time but at least it's Trek

I go as low as one or zero points, because a rating system makes no sense if there is an accumulation in the upper half and the lowest ratings remain unused. I chose to include the zero so I can easily relate the figures to percentages, and because the average would be exactly at 5 points, and not between 5 and 6. If I calculate the average rating of all Trek episodes from all five series so far, it is slightly above 5, so the system works out also statistically.

It is true that my grades for the first three seasons of Enterprise were below all-time Trek average. But I reject the notion that I intentionally lowered the grades for Enterprise, just because I didn't like the series on the whole. What could I prove with that? I don't have a problem with not liking the series so much. I think everyone has a favorite, and shouldn't make such a big deal of it if someone else has a different opinion. After all, everyone is entitled to do their own episode reviews. But looking more closely, Enterprise doesn't even rank below the first two seasons of TNG or DS9 which both had a rather disappointing start not only for me, but for most fans. In this light, I wonder about all the fuss made about my alleged unfairness. Even though I initially disliked many aspects of it, at latest the fourth and final season proved that it could mature just like TNG and DS9 too.


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Last modified: 27.10.14