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Series that "get good after X", where you think X is actually good?

chrisPjelly

Avenger
Oct 29, 2017
6,947
"It starts to pick up after X arc!"

"The First couple of seasons are meh, but everything afterwards is great!"

"The beginning is rocky, but the show really finds its footing after X!"


We've all heard these comments and other variations of them whenever people recommend TV shows, anime, comics, etc. Obviously people do this to help build the fanbase, garner the attention of people who are curious, and keep those who are bordering on jumping out intrigued. In spite of those comments, what are some prominent series where you actually enjoy the material "before it actually gets good"?


One example that comes to mind for me is One Piece. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say "just wait until Water 7 where the series REALLY picks up", I'd be filthy rich. I've also heard the same comments about Alabasta to a lesser extent, and it seems people really single out the East Blue arc as being a weakpoint of the series or not holding up as well against the other arcs. One Piece after that point is obviously a whole different beast from anything we've seen in the Shonen space, but I still REALLY like what the anime had to offer at that point. I'm rewatching it right now, and it was already fun, whimsical, adventurous, well paced, and just pretty comforting to watch. I know people have problems with the early art, but I personally loved how lanky and bubbly everything looked back then. I honestly don't understand why people would have a problem with that and not the somewhat awkward mix of extreme caricatures, muscle men, and horny art that One Piece currently is.


I get why it didn't boom in popularity like some other shonen shows; DBZ ended, and people were looking for a successor in terms of action and a lot of teenagers/young adults were ready for some edgier themes. Early One Piece isn't particularly good in the action department and 4kids butchered a lot of the more mature content. Still, it's entertaining in a different way, and I still think there's a lot to appreciate where the series started from. Just like early Dragon Ball it's just so cozy and amusing to watch.


Anyways, I'd be happy to hear some opinions/examples of other shows!
 

Nappuccino

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
5,066
Not a show, but the biggest example of this for me is Water Hazard in HL2. Most people say the game gets great at Ravenholm, but I honestly love the airboat sections.
 

Necromanti

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,924
The first arc of JoJo's Bizzare Adventure, Phantom Blood. I saw people even recommending skipping it entirely. I actually liked it better than some of the later arcs.

One Piece is probably the reverse for me, where it's good up to a point rather than after a point.
 

KOfLegend

Member
Jun 17, 2019
153
The general consensus is that the first season of The Leftovers is nothing special, and seasons 2 & 3 are some of the best TV out there. I think all three seasons of The Leftovers are some of the best TV out there.
 
OP
OP
chrisPjelly

chrisPjelly

Avenger
Oct 29, 2017
6,947
The first arc of JoJo's Bizzare Adventure, Phantom Blood. I saw people even recommending skipping it entirely. I actually liked it better than some of the later arcs.
OOoo, that's an interesting one. I know people who really like FotNS that really enjoy Phantom Blood over a lot of the other arcs because of similar it is to FotNS lol
 

B.K.

Member
Oct 31, 2017
4,179
Breaking Bad. Most peopjle say it doesn't get good until season two, but season one is my favorite.

The first arc of JoJo's Bizzare Adventure, Phantom Blood. I saw people even recommending skipping it entirely. I actually liked it better than some of the later arcs.
Phantom Blood is my favorite arc in JoJo.
 

TheMango55

Member
Nov 1, 2017
4,006
Arrow, Season 1.

I didn't really care that he killed people so I liked season 1 at least as much as season 2.

Then it turned to shit in season 4 and I stopped watching it.
 

Lotus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
48,956
The first arc of JoJo's Bizzare Adventure, Phantom Blood. I saw people even recommending skipping it entirely. I actually liked it better than some of the later arcs.
It's better than part 5, that's for sure

One example that comes to mind for me is One Piece. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say "just wait until Water 7 where the series REALLY picks up"
Huh, the common consensus is that Arlong Park is where you get hooked, with Alabasta being a "last resort" of sorts. I mean yes, Enies Lobby is the best arc, but anyone that takes that long to be truly invested in the series is definitely in the minority lol
 
OP
OP
chrisPjelly

chrisPjelly

Avenger
Oct 29, 2017
6,947
It's better than part 5, that's for sure



Huh, the common consensus is that Arlong Park is where you get hooked, with Alabasta being a "last resort" of sorts. I mean yes, Enies Lobby is the best arc, but anyone that takes that long to be truly invested in the series is definitely in the minority lol
Maybe "until it gets good" is a bit much, and maybe my memory is a bit hazy but I'm pretty sure a loooot of people back in the day used Water 7 as a selling point for the series, at least for other people who wanted something more action oriented. Alabasta is definitely the litmus test as far as the current arc/saga format goes
 

TAJ

Member
Oct 28, 2017
5,670
None of these types of recommendations have ever worked out for me.
At this point if something isn't working for me I won't give it a chance, end of story.

That said, I can't think of any TV or movies where the OP's scenario applies.
With games I love the first Assassin's Creed and actually thought AC2 was a massive downgrade, though. Unpopular opinion, to say the least.
 

kadotsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,500
Yorknew and Greed Island have the problem of being merely excelent while being compared against Chimera Ant.
 

RochHoch

Member
May 22, 2018
5,055
I have personally insisted that people not drop Dr Stone because it gets so much better once the village is introduced, but it's still enjoyable enough up to that point.

Also Gintama. The early episodes aren't terrible, the series just doesn't REALLY start to find its groove until 20-ish episodes in.
 

Kaji AF16

Member
Nov 6, 2017
866
Argentina
Saint Seiya, the original series. I´m currently rewatching it, as just yesterday it became available in Netflix. Timeless classic, that ultimately manages to retcon some of its relatively humble beginnings and IMHO is the greatest anime of all time.

It starts relatively strong, but it reaches new highs during the Shiryu vs. Black Dragon fight. Then you get the great Ikki fight, then some filler, and some time later the GOAT saga begins: the Twelve Houses of Sanctuary.
 

Rodney McKay

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,835
Parks and Recreation seasons 1+2.
Most people say it only gets "good" after Ben and Chris join.

Season 1 definitely has the characters finding themselves, and some characters like Donna were barely in it, but it's also a super short season.

And Season 2 is great, the main cast is fleshed out and there's plenty of great episodes.

Yes the show gets even better once Ben and Chris join and Brandanawitz leaves, but 1 was still good and 2 was still great.
Arrow, Season 1.

I didn't really care that he killed people so I liked season 1 at least as much as season 2.

Then it turned to shit in season 4 and I stopped watching it.
I loved season 1, even with the heavy soap opera drama, I actually loved that it was basically Batman but with a bow and he actually kills people. So refreshing to have a hero that doesn't have a "code" that makes their life 10x harder and arbitrarily puts more people in jeopardy.

Then Season 2 and on he goes (mostly) no-kill. :(
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,244
Star Trek the Next Generation. Sure season 1 isn't as good as what the show becomes but it's still worth seeing the characters get established. Lots of interesting moments that hint at the show's potential.
 

SamAlbro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,874
Legends of Tomorrow - Season 2
In season 1, the show really didn't know what it wanted to be, other than a repository for popular recurring characters from Arrow and the Flash. It was melodramatic and focused on the most unlikable versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The season 2 premiere acted as sort of a soft reboot. Taking off the training wheels and focusing on the fact that the Legends were chosen because history would not miss them, the show flipped it's tone to become the Arrowverse series that embraced the wild concepts and goofy tone of Silver Age comics, making it the most fun superhero series on TV. They became a the team that screws things up for the better.

Agents of SHIELD - Season 1, episode 17 (Turn, Turn, Turn)
The first attempt to bring the MCU to TV started off rocky. Bound to the plot of the MCU, but unable to play with it's more interesting toys, SHIELD was a decent but shallow adventure procedural. This all changed with the release of "Captain America: Winter Soldier." The reveal that SHIELD had been co-opted by Hydra, and the series's corresponding reveal that one of the main cast had been a mole all along injected the series with a fresh dose of direction, stakes, and energy that, with the exception of a dip in quality in Season 3 due to a focus on shipping, would only escalate as the series progressed.

EDIT: Missed the main point of this thread. But I will say with SHIELD - a lot of seeds were laid in the slow times that would bear fruit when the series got going.
 
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Soap

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,298
I have my issues with Enterprise season 1 and 2, but looking back on it they had some fairly decent episodes sprinkled in.
 

Dommo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
744
Australia
Not quite the same, but those who say "The Wire S1 is one of the weaker seasons, and it really opens up subsequently. That's when it becomes more than just a cop show. It becomes a show about a whole city." Naw bro, The Wire S1 is probably the best season (although 2-4 are no slouches) because while it is absolutely about the city as a whole (and social systems and institutions as a whole mind you), it's also the most laser focused, taking complex and nuanced ideas and instead of dumbing them down, carefully contains them into a cat and mouse crime epic. The following seasons are brilliant and amazing and all that, but they meander and feel disjointed in a way S1 never does.

It all circles around this one central storyline where this fantastic web of characters, opinions, motivations, desires, needs and machinations can gestate and bubble away with pinpoint precision.
 

Anth0ny

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,337
I hear it all the time with One Piece and Arlong Park... but yeah I was hooked after Luffy's backstory.
 

Kapryov

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,022
Australia
Person of Interest

Some people say it only gets good when the story becomes more serialized, like around season 3 I think?... but tbh I preferred the more "procedural" episode structure. It lost some of what made the series interesting when that changed.
It's all still good, I just liked the first couple of seasons a lot.
 

KarmaCow

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,797
I like the first season of Babylon 5 before they replaced Sinclair with Sheridan. It's more episodic but I liked it as a way to establish the characters and plant the seeds for future developments.
 

FairyEmpire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,687
I'd say that The Shield is pretty amazing from start to finish, but it's also almost constantly improving season after season. Season 5 to 7 is edge of the seat, perfectly executed endgame of a brilliantly constructed show. What comes before is good but I definitely saw people criticize how the storyline went, but ultimately everything made sense in the last 3 seasons which are some of the best TV ever.
 

Catvoca

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,236
The general consensus is that the first season of The Leftovers is nothing special, and seasons 2 & 3 are some of the best TV out there. I think all three seasons of The Leftovers are some of the best TV out there.
Yeah, completely agree. It’s incredible from the start, the episodes focusing on Nora and Matt are some of the greatest in the show.
 

Blade30

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,119
Person of Interest Season 1 and bit into Season 2. I love the show but for newcomers the impressions might be the usual procedural case of the week instead it's actual spreading bread crumbs that leads to a big story that's akin to serialized shows. The shows picks up in season 2.

Damn might have misread the OP a bit but I do like the first season as well.
 
Oct 25, 2017
12,476
Person of Interest, even though it exploded later on a "procedural" episode from early S1 was still one of my favorites by the end.
 

bwahhhhh

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
914
Came to say "Person of Interest", glad it came up.

So much of the subtle character building, personality quirks, depth, etc, were established during the procedural episodes. I watched and liked S1 because I liked the characters, which laid a strong foundation and made me care even more about them when the serialization got heavy.

I'll also add The X-Files.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,867
Jojo Bizzare Adventure :Phantom Blood
Its retrospectively the weakest arc compared to everything after but its still a great watch in its own right.
The first arc of JoJo's Bizzare Adventure, Phantom Blood. I saw people even recommending skipping it entirely. I actually liked it better than some of the later arcs.

One Piece is probably the reverse for me, where it's good up to a point rather than after a point.
Idek why someone would suggest skipping it. DIO and Jonathan's struggle servses as the basis for the rest of the series.It explains Hamon and its only 9 eps long so super short and doesnt overstay its welcome.

Also id add Steven universe season 1. Some people suggest it only gets good after episode 25 but i always felt it was good before then
 
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Aurongel

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,071
Bojack Horseman Season 1 is barely watchable and an absolute chore to get through compared to relatively excellent subsequent seasons. I would just read a Wikipedia summary of the first season to learn the plot beats and bypass watching it altogether.
 

Vio-lence

Banned
Oct 15, 2019
38
Not a show, but the biggest example of this for me is Water Hazard in HL2. Most people say the game gets great at Ravenholm, but I honestly love the airboat sections.
I'd say as early as route kanal, people are STILL copying level elements from that section. The part where you come out of the sewer tunnel into the square retention pond surrounded by fencing has been recreated in at least a dozen games after it (FEAR3 is the only one I can think of off the top of my head though)
 

Shining Star

Member
May 14, 2019
860
I think almost every Symphogear fan will tell you that it gets good after Season 1 but that season is by far my favorite.
 

Chasing

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
3,360
Agents of SHIELD after the winter soldier twist, and more so after the introduction of inhumans, even though the first part was a pretty fun romp with some cool marvel references.
 

Leo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,893
The first seasons of Seinfeld were very hit and miss, and although we already had many gems and classic moments in them, they were hindered by bad pacing. It wasn't until season 5 or so that it started to be 100% excellent the whole time.
 

Buckle

Member
Oct 27, 2017
19,098
Not a show but the base game content of FFXIV: ARR.

A lot of people insist it doesn't get good until Heavensward but I always enjoyed the journey there.
 

Fulminator

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,479
Phantom Blood isn't bad, but it is definitely skippable. It's easily my least favorite part, but I don't think it's bad.

It's entirely unimportant to the rest of the series, even part 3. You don't need to see part 1 to understand DIO.

I don't blame people for skipping it, esp. when later parts are so much better.
 

ryseing

Bought courtside tickets just to read a book.
Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,843
North Carolina
Not a show but the base game content of FFXIV: ARR.

A lot of people insist it doesn't get good until Heavensward but I always enjoyed the journey there.
The class quests in base ARR are damn good. XP just needs to be rebalanced so you can go MSQ/class quests to next MSQ/class quest. I spent way too much time in PotD.
 

RedHoodedOwl

Member
Nov 3, 2017
8,831
Tiger and Bunny

The heroes confronting Jake Martinez and the hints to the Ouroboros faction. It's a shame the series had to abandon the Ouroboros storyline.