Created By: justanidAugust 1, 2013 Last Edited By: justanidJuly 2, 2015

Chronological Reorder

Media reordered to follow the in-universe timeline.

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Trope
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Many works of media use Flashbacks And Chronology tropes; either as a tool of exposition to inform ignorant audiences of important information, as a means of obfuscation to increase suspense, or even just to make a work more artistic.

Viewers have reordered some works to make them easier to follow. From the simple act of organizing volumes on a shelf, to the complex remixing of an entire TV series with video editing software, it's time consuming and often Do-It-Yourself. Occasionally creators may give instructions on how to put their works in order if it was put Out Of Order by a publisher or editor. Networks have a tendency to air a show Out Of Order during its inaugural run, for whatever reasons (often when they feel some episodes may be better suited for sweeps weeks), and in a lot of cases, many fans will go by original broadcast order as the final say, even if episodes were never intended to be aired in that order.

In a lot of cases, when the shows go into reruns and/or syndication, one of two things will happen: depending on the market, the episodes will either be aired in their correct, chronological order (usually on cable channels), or in order according to production codes/numbers (usually in individual, local markets). And of course, field days are to be had when the shows are released on DVD and you're not sure what order the episodes are in, because it depends on the distributor and the information went with. Cable listings and guides can be confusing too, they appear to identify episodes of shows based on their original broadcast orders too; for example: the Seinfeld episode "Male Unbonding" is the second episode of the series, but was the fourth to air, and cable guides list it as S1E04.

Contrast with most of the tropes in Flashbacks And Chronology. Compare with The Abridged Series & Ret Con.


Examples

Anime & Manga
  • The original anime adaptation of Haruhi Suzumiya told the story in an Anachronic Order, mixing up the Myth Arc episodes with episodes from much later in the story. The second adaptation put all of them back into chronological order and added more episodes.
  • Several sites hosting Rental Magica put it into chronological order despite it's Anachronic Order.

Comic Books

Films

Literature
  • The Bible
    • There have been various publications such as this one which have sought to rearrange it (down to chapters and even verses) in chronological order—the original Bible is not chronological, but its books tend to be arranged more in groups, by general theme (law, chronicles of the Hebrew people, poetry, prophecy, etc.).
    • One such example is the version of the Old Testament many Christians are familiar with.
  • CS Lewis' The Chronicles Of Narnia were written completely Out Of Order, with the only book whose publication and chronological orders match being the finale The Last Battle. Most modern printings use the chronological order.
  • The Anne Of Green Gables novels weren't written in order. The main nine books in the series were written and published in the order 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 4, 6, 9. Reordering them to be in the proper 1-9 sequence to follow Anne's life without jumping around doesn't create too many hiccups (with a notable exception being the lack of Summerside characters either attending or being mentioned at Anne's wedding).
  • The 1934 edition of Tender Is The Night makes use of Anachronic Order, but a negative reception from critics prompted a revised edition in 1948 which uses a more conventional chronological structure. The 1934 edition is now generally held to be the superior of the two.

Live Action TV

Western Animation

Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • August 1, 2013
    justanid
    I recently watched a TED talk, Ursus Wehrli: Tidying up art, then ran into this article, which led to this.
  • August 1, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    Famously done by Star Wars. The films were originally released in an order that chronologically goes Episode Four, Episode Five, Episode Six, Episode One, Episode Two, and Episode Three, but were later given subtitles numbers that reflected their chronological order rather than their release dates. And no, before anyone says it, the chronological numbers were not there all along as Lucas claims.
  • August 1, 2013
    StarSword
    Literature:

    TV:
    • Firefly was aired completely out of order but the DVD set has the episode order fixed.

    EDIT: Addition to the Narnia example, after the guy below me. (I've only ever seen them numbered chronologically.)
  • August 1, 2013
    Kayube
    Some reprintings of The Chronicles Of Narnia rearrange the books to be in chronological order (making The Magician's Nephew book 1 of the series).

    Also, to expand on the Star Wars example: the first movie was originally released as just "Star Wars". Then when it proved successful enough for more movies to be made, it was shown in theaters again, but with "Episode IV: A New Hope" added to the opening. The remainder of the original trilogy kept the numbering going, but it was always marketed under only the titles, since the first three episodes weren't made. It wasn't until the prequels came out, filling in the gap, that it was safe to market the whole series using both the number and subtitle.
  • August 1, 2013
    CluLegacy
    The standard title for media is "Live Action TV" instead of "TV Series"
  • August 1, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The film Once Upon A Time In America was envisioned to be in Anachronic Order but was recut by the studio into chronologial order.
  • August 1, 2013
    Koveras
    • The original anime adaptation of Haruhi Suzumiya told the story in an Anachronic Order, mixing up the Myth Arc episodes with episodes from much later in the story. The second adaptation put all of them back into chronological order and added more episodes.
  • August 2, 2013
    arromdee
    Young Hercules also did this and you can find reordered episode lists online.
  • August 2, 2013
    arromdee
  • August 7, 2013
    justanid
    ^^ Thanks, arromdee; but that looks to me like Out Of Order, while this is about people putting a work into order. I've been tempted to try doing this with Heroes but have no idea how to handle the alt-futures.
  • August 8, 2013
    StarSword
    Western Animation:
  • August 8, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The Prisoner fandom takes reordering the series as Serious Business. According to the page on this very wiki, the broadcast order is the least likely chronologically.
  • August 10, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Literature

    • There have been various publications such as this one which have sought to rearrange The Bible (down to chapters and even verses) in chronological order--the original Bible is not chronological, but its books tend to be arranged more in groups, by general theme (law, chronicles of the Hebrew people, poetry, prophecy, etc.).
  • August 11, 2013
    StarSword
    Made a minor fix to the Clone Wars example.
  • August 11, 2013
    MorganWick
    ^^ One such example is the version of the Old Testament many Christians are familiar with.
  • August 12, 2013
    TonyG
    There have been at least two official reedits of The Godfather films that rearrange the events chronologically: a TV miniseries using parts one and two, and a Direct To Video version that includes the third.
  • August 14, 2013
    CaptainPeregrin
    What's up with the links to work pages in the description? I just found it confusing.
  • August 15, 2013
    justanid
    ^ Removed them, reworded it.
  • April 27, 2014
    justanid
    Noticed a few more of these and added them.
  • April 27, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    This could apply to almost every show that's ever been broadcasted in the history of television, as networks have a tendency to air a show Out Of Order during its inaugural run, for whatever reasons (usually because they feel some episodes may be better suited for Sweeps Weeks or something), and in a lot of cases, many fans and fandoms will go by original broadcast order as the final say, even though the episodes were never intended to be aired in that order... and in a lot of cases, when the shows go into reruns and/or syndication, one of two things will happen: depending on the market, the episodes will either be aired in their correct, chronological order (as is usually the case when they're shown on cable channels), or in order according to production codes/numbers (usually the case with more individual, local markets). And of course, field days are to be had when the shows are released on DVD, and you're not sure what order the episodes are in, because it depends on the distributor and the information they go by. Rockos Modern Life is a particular headache, as it was initially aired Out Of Order during its first run on Nickelodeon, but then it was reordered during reruns, and now, Nick has put all of the episodes on DVD in their original broadcast order. Cable listings and guides can be confusing too, they appear to identify episodes of shows based on their original broadcast orders too; for example: the Seinfeld episode, "Male Unbonding," is the second episode of the series, but was the fourth to air, and cable guides list it as S1E04.
  • April 27, 2014
    NateTheGreat
    The Anne Of Green Gables novels weren't written in order. The main nine books in the series were written and published in the order 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 4, 6, 9. Reordering them to be in the proper 1-9 sequence to follow Anne's life without jumping around doesn't create too many hiccups (with a notable exception being the lack of Summerside characters either attending or being mentioned at Anne's wedding).
  • April 27, 2014
    Folamh3
  • April 27, 2014
    justanid
    ^^^ Nice, mind if that is added to the description? Maybe the TV examples should exclude mixups that are only from the broadcast order, then again, there are a lot of shows that do broadcast in order... any ideas for where to draw the line?
  • April 27, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Yeah, you can if you want to, though I believe TV examples might be People Sit On Chairs... perhaps it could pertain to shows that were intended to be aired in a specific order from the get-go, due to episodic story arcs that span multiple episodes, or entire seasons.
  • April 27, 2014
    DAN004
    From looking at the examples, this is about attempts at chronological reordering both officially and unofficially?
  • April 27, 2014
    randomsurfer
    The Marvel Chronology Project attempts to put every issue of every comic Marvel Comics ever published in chronological order, sorted by character. "If there's a particular character that's struck your fancy, that you just can't live without owning their every appearance, this is the place to start."
  • April 28, 2014
    Arivne
  • April 28, 2014
    justanid
    @DAN004: It looks like it's going to be anything where an effort was made beyond someone making multiple lists of numbers.
  • April 28, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ I mean, I've seen more fan examples than official ones. That's bad omen.
  • April 28, 2014
    justanid
    ^ Why is that a bad omen?
  • April 28, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ more like something's gonna happen if we have more fan examples. Something big. IMO.
  • June 2, 2014
    justanid
    Having another go at this... any more suggestions on what it needs for another hat?
  • June 2, 2014
    bwburke94
    Any objections to using Star Wars DVD cases for the page image? 4/5/6 on the top row, 1/2/3 on the bottom row, with release years above the cases.
  • June 2, 2014
    justanid
    Feel free to add it to see how it looks.
  • June 3, 2014
    Karalora
    Not sure how to categorize this, but the website Chronological Scores/Soundtracks provides guide lists for rearranging film soundtracks in chronological order.
  • June 3, 2014
    justanid
    ^ Chronological order according to where they are in the film(s)? When the songs first came out? Or something else? Not seeing the context.
  • July 2, 2015
    justanid
    Found three more film examples.

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