So you have a long running TV or movie series, and the villains have been gradually building up their threats and scale over that time. Going from stealing gold to using orbital lasers to desalinify the world's ocean's and cause a weather upheaval. Then a new villain comes along who "resets" the scale back to more basic goals and methods.
- In the Daniel Craig James Bond films, the bad guys are quite a bit less Super Villain-y than in previous flicks. In Casino Royale the villain wants to win a poker game to pay back African revolutionaries he's scammed. In the second the bad guys want to get legal ownership of a huge aquifer in South America to later control a basic natural resource and gain massive funds/power in the region.
- Mission: Impossible 4 has the bad guy want to start a nuclear war not to become leader of the survivors, get rich or famous brokering a "peace" agreement, but to follow his warped fascination with societies rebuilding stronger after catastrophes.