Season one actually has a great deal more variety and creativity to it than the later years of the series - but then, a lot more writers contributed to it than would be true later.
OTOH, anything that actually
spent twenty-two episodes "setting the scene" instead of putting the absolute best work they could right up front would be an automatic and pretty thorough FAIL. Even if your best at the time is halting or inconsistent - ie, TNG - you have to go for it. No "plan" justifies any less.