What do you think of the "three episode rule"?

Not terribly useful if you're parsing shows in terms of execution as opposed to overt plot events. The logic behind it is pretty much just "intro episodes likely won't get you to a show's big plot hook," and it's fine as far as that goes, but that's all it really covers. Most shows don't switch writers/directors after an episode or two, so the first episode is generally a pretty good gauge of what you're getting on those fronts.
That said, first episodes actually /can/ be pretty deceptive in the /other/ direction. First episodes generally employ a production's best team working with plenty of time, but as a production goes on, scheduling can get tighter, and episodes get either delegated to different sub-directors or outsourced altogether. The three episode rule won't necessarily help you catch this issue (it'd likely be better to look at the staff and studio involved), but it's good to keep in mind that first episodes depict a production with all of its stamina and possibly more besides.

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