^The exception that proves the rule?
I know, right? To me a show's first season being generally the weakest is a *good* thing. It means it got better as it went along and didn't deteriorate with each subsequent season.
, sure. But that a show gets better can be reason to stick with it during a rocky first year that doesn't excuse the first year from being in many respects really terrible.
You want a show to get better, but you'd prefer it (ideally) to also not get really bad. TNG's been mentioned, and I love that show too, and that show had a pretty dreadful first year, and just because the series really put itself back together in its third year on TV doesn't mean it had to be as bad as it started out as.
Oh I agree, but it's a bit of an 'apples & oranges' comparison. First off: B5's first season wasn't *anywhere* near as dire as either of TNG's first two years. I mean those were legitimately horrible overall.
Secondly, the reason B5's first season was weak by comparison to the later ones wasn't a result of the same total lack of direction and oversight that plagued early TNG. It was mostly down to what I'd call an acceptable degree of growing pains coupled with a rather unfortunate BTS squabble.
Really, there are only two, perhaps three genuinely *bad* episodes in the entirety of B5's first season, a bunch of so-so and some downright excellent ones. With TNG I honestly can't name a single season one episode that I enjoyed. Indeed most were either pretty awful or utterly forgettable.
So, while yes, B5 made a few missteps very early on, the writing was by-and-large consistently good and I think, most importantly, the characters were consistently written. In TNG, characterisation was all over the map and it only got better when someone finally took a firm grasp of the reigns behind the scenes.