Grades

Well… what about the grading system?

Ah, you might have been asking about this. (OK, you might have been thinking about it… OK, maybe not.) Well, being a prospective teacher, I have to practice a grading system somewhere.

After much contemplation, I decided to break it up into two different grading systems – one for Steven Universe, the other for… the rest.

Steven Universe

Yeah, this show is too good to use the typical score system. Instead, I decided to do a five-“medal” score. In effect, it’s a 5-to-1 score. It’s skewed, albeit not to the level that the 1-10 score would be.

  • Platinum:
    • These are given to genuinely iconic episodes – those that prove that Steven Universe is a damn good contender for the most well-written show on TV right now. There are high standards for an episode to get a platinum, but really, the big threshold is that it has to be an episode that genuinely moved me. If an episode gets this, it is a mark of high honor – these won’t be given out like candy.
  • Gold:
    • While not as iconic, these episodes are still a “must-watch” for Steventhusiasts. Great character development, great plotting, etc. Most of the episodes will likely either fall here or…
  • Silver:
    • By the high standards I have set for Steven Universe, these are merely “good” episodes, by which I mean, they are really good… they’re just not outstanding in the realm of the show.
  • Bronze:
    • Slightly subpar compared to the high standards of Steven Universe, yet not really bad. At worst, flawed but watchable.
  • Fire Salt:
    • And this is quite subpar. By Steven Universe standards, these are sorta bad episodes – where even positives can’t outweigh the negatives. But, hey, if every porkchop were perfect, we wouldn’t have hot dogs, right? Expect not to see too many of these.

Other Shows

Basically, the grading system is your typical 1-10 score. More specifically, 97% of the episodes will get something between a 1 and a 9.9. Expect higher numbers (7-9) to be used more, mainly because I tend to review shows I really, really like. I also happen to be a little generous when it comes to shows. I do adjust scores sometimes, mainly by half-a-grade.

Also, note that the “pass” threshold is a 5. It’s more theoretical than anything, though.

  • 10: Among The Very Best.
    • This score is only given to my favorite episodes of a good TV show – doesn’t necessarily have to be the best on an objective level, although it almost always is. Must watch, nothing: these episodes should be preserved for generations to come. These are given to episodes that have primo character development, a fantastic plot, and, if applicable, brilliant comedy from top to bottom. Even if you aren’t a fan of the show in question, watch it. Effectively, the equivalent of getting both a 100% on the test and nailing every bonus question. It’s said that nothing is perfect, but these put that cliche into question.
  • 9: Cream of the Crop!
    • These episodes are generally pretty damned amazing. One minor ding might keep it from the coveted 10 score, but otherwise, these episodes are a must-watch for any fan of a particular series.
  • 8: Great.
    • Generally, these episodes produce somewhat more glaring flaws or don’t have as much humor/as strong a plot/development than an episode with a 9 score. However, these episodes are still pretty great – borderline A material. Any flaws that are here are quite forgivable.
  • 7: Good.
    • This is where the episodes start to get a bit weak. Don’t get me wrong; we’re still dealing with good TV. However, the zest seen in the 8, 9, and 10 episodes is missing. Maybe there’s a really glaring flaw blocking this episode, or maybe it was just weak on the comedy/drama. I should emphasize, though, that a 7 doesn’t mean I disliked the episode – it’s just not outstanding.
  • 6: It’s alright… but…
    • This is where the glaring flaws become really problematic, the episode becomes pretty boring, or the drama isn’t engaging. Again, the TV here is still decent, but it’s not an episode that I would be too quick to go back to. The equivalent of a low C/high D.
  • 5: Eh, I’ll pass it… barely.
    • This episode has a saving grace that keeps it in the aforementioned “pass” zone. These are where the real problems show up: characters act unusually, the plot is too low, or there’s another flaw that puts this episode on the thin line. It passes, but these episodes are rather unlikely to get frequent hits on my Netflix/iTunes account.
  • 4: Failed to Meet My Standards.
    • This episode might have some good elements, but the flaws here are so glaring (whether character-wise or logic wise) or so numerous that it would be an affront to “pass” this episode. With one or two exceptions, these episodes are quite unlikely to be re-watched after a first viewing.
  • 3: Oy vey! What happened?
    • Now we’re watching undoubtedly bad TV here. The effective comedy is few and far between, the drama is stupid the characterization is problematic, and the plot is pretty poor. Any good aspects are lost in a sea of idiocy.
  • 2: Are you kidding me?
    • There might be, what, one decent joke or two? Other than that, it’s a pretty bad episode. Characterization is a pain, the plot is insane, and the comedy is either not appropriate for the script, or non-existent.
  • 1: Why? Why does this exist?
    • There is just about nothing redeeming in this episode. At all. It’s a painful or very boring episode, and forget good character, comedy, and/or drama. How this episode got past the script editors is beyond me. Watch only to mock, and even then, prepare to be disappointed.
  • 0: You have shamed your franchise.
    • This episode is unique. Unlike the 1 episodes, which are just bad, these episodes are legendary in their badness… and not in a good way. It’s an episode that does the most disservice to a franchise by its mere existence. It offends me as a fan to be associated with these episodes. The master copies of these episodes should be locked up… and never released ever again. In short, broken on every single level.
  • No Score: What… was this?
    • Unlike the 0 score, this is given to episodes that don’t really belong in any other category. These episodes are likely technically inept, but I just can’t seem to hate them. In fact, most of the time, I actually love them.
There are also occasional “awards” given, possibly in lieu of a score:
  • The Ed Wood Award.
    • This award is given to TV episodes that are sublime because of the insane amount of stupidity and badness in them. Given in conjunction with the “no” score.
      • “Winners” so far: “Say Uncle” (on account of its insanity rather than badness.)
  • The Twin Dilemma Award
    • This award is given to a TV episode that is so bad, it actually seems to deal a terminal blow to the franchise. Consider this an assistant to the 0-score. Named after “The Twin Dilemma”, a Doctor Who serial that, due to both poor writing and a domino effect, dealt the first and the most serious blow to Doctor Who before production was suspended in 1989.
      • “Winners” so far, “Pete”
…and that’s all the awards I have right now.
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