Thanks so much, guys, for all of the input. I'm going to keep plugging away, in order.
I may just "nerd out" halfway: and start to alternate TNG and DS9 when I get to season 6 in attempt to watch them in air date order, like the fans would have seen them live. My wife is in the TV biz, and having watched her work on five seasons of shows, I've learned a little about how things work season-to-season, and enough to know that there's more going on behind the scenes when a character suddenly dies, etc. So I think I'll appreciate watching them in the order they were released to the world.
I didn't mind the production values in S1 at all, even though things were clearly hokey at times. I work in the theater, and I feel like I've found an immediate feeling of warmth or familiarity with the characters, and the simple sets, etc. I love Patrick Stewart, being a Shakespeare fan, and so it's just candy to watch him in this show. I grew up on Reading Rainbow, and Lavar Burton just kind of tickles me. Growing up I had a cassette that had Brent Spiner reading a story on it, and I must have listened to it a hundred times. So these actors each have a sort of familiarity to me.
It's exciting; I'm two episodes into S2, and eager for more. Funny to see Whoopi Goldberg and Colm Meaney just pop up out of nowhere. That's how ignorant I am to Star Trek: I was not expecting them at all.
I'm loving it!
One of the instances when being a newb is actually a wonderful thing. Now that you mention it, having some familiarity with theater does indeed help with appreciating season 1 & 2. They settle in & really begin turning out wonderful tv in season 3, once all the kinks are worked out & then ride that wave a good long while
You've got all kinds of good stuff coming your way