Created By: Piterpicher on May 17, 2017 Last Edited By: Piterpicher on May 24, 2017

Breaking Old Trends

Something happens a lot in a series, but then it suddenly changes.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
trope
Now that Broken Streak has been changed to Broken Win/Loss Streak, and the definition was changed with all misuse removed, I think we need a trope for times when series traditions suddenly change. Expect Rolling Updates.

Description: The series has went quite far... maybe too far. Fans are bored, and it attracted criticisms of It's the Same, so It Sucks. What can the creators do?

Why, change the series formula, by doing a change that is large, but the show is still the same thing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Please only post examples of third installments or seasons or further. In part two the formula isn't usually established.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Daily Life with Monster Girl: out of all the girls, Lala does the least fanservice, doesn't have a nickname for Kimihito, and doesn't try to pursue him because she's fine with the fact that she'll have him forever once he dies.
  • Most Time Bokan series share the same kind of situations, but the fifth series, Yattodetaman, changed around multiple things:
    • First, for the first time the main character actually transforms into the titular hero becoming stronger and braver than usual, rather than just donning different clothes and a mask like the other Time Bokan main characters did.
    • Also, it's the first time there is a single hero: while there's a female main character, she doesn't transform when fighting the bad guys.
    • Speaking about the bad guys, the two male members of the Terrible Trio look completely different than the usual: Julie haves a smaller nose, lacks a moustache and stands more upright compared to Boyakki and all its expies, while Alain, instead of being a short hunch with broad shoulders with a five o' clock shade like Tonzula and his derivates, it's a tall, fat guy with a prominent beard.
    • As a last difference, instead of a bunch of different Funny Animal mechas, Yattodetaman haves a single Humongous Mecha. This change was kept around in the subsequent Ippatsuman, only to come back with the old style in Itadakiman.

    Film 
  • In Captain America: Civil War, Zemo becomes the first main villain of a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie since Loki from the Thor movies to not be killed off at the end of the film.

    Let's Play 
  • Chorocojo used the male trainer during his Pokemon Black 2 LP, as opposed to the female trainer he was using in his previous LP's. However, by this point he was tired of doing female characters, viciously lampshading it the last two times beforehand, but during Pokestar Studios filming he used the female trainer.

    Series 
  • Britain's Got Talent: 2016 was the first year that David used his golden buzzer on an performance where none of the judges buzzed the act.
  • American Horror Story: Hotel:
    • This is the very first season without both Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy, the latter of which could not return due to a prior commitment.
    • This is the first season where Sarah Paulson's character is killed. She previously survived all four seasons. Though, this is also downplayed. Paulson plays two characters this season. One was killed before the series started, and one survives. So, she's still never been killed during the series.
    • Despite the casting of Lady Gaga, there's no musical number in this season.
  • Burn Notice spent six seasons with a familiar pattern; Michael and company face an overriding arc for the season which they make incremental progress on during each episode while most of the episode is spent dealing with a Villain of the Week criminal or whatever. The final season dumped this pattern, became much Darker and Edgier, and focused almost entirely on a single long arc of Michael working for the CIA. There were some occasional side issues to deal with, but they were generally quite brief and quickly resolved.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon changed the formula from the first six generations. Gym Battles were replaced with the Island Challenge Trials and Grand Trials. In addition, Hidden Machines have been replaced with the Ride Pager, and the villain team is actually a surprise.
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location, the player has to do tasks to progress with the nights, and not survive until 6 A.M. At least, not until Night 5's fake ending... In addition, Bonnie is only Funtime Freddy's handpuppet, Chica is nowhere to be found, and the animatronics are almost entirely brand new.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition has been a departure from many traditions established by the previous two and a half installments of the Dragon Age series, such as a Wide Open Sandbox replacing previous tightly-scripted levels, a complete removal of healing magic, and the artsy blood red-saturated covers being ditched for a green-dominated palette.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a lot more open world than the other Zelda games and features RPG Elements, such as equippable weapons and armor as well as cookable food.
  • Assassins Creed Unity The Assassins has the first player character in the main console series not to be an ancestor of Desmond Miles. He is also the first since Altair to have only one Hidden Blade, and isn't a Walking Armory.

    Visual Novels 
  • New Dangan Ronpa V3:
    • This is the first main series game to not have an Ultimate Lucky Student in the main cast.
    • This is also the first game where Megumi Ogata doesn't play a character. At least, not one introduced in this game, anyway.
    • Unlike Leon Kuwata and Teruteru Hanamura, the culprit of Chapter 1 is prepared to be executed. And unlike Mondo Owada and Peko Pekoyama, the culprit of Chapter 2 tries their hardest to escape execution.
    • In the main series, this game is the first one to allow you to play as a female protagonist.
    • This game is also the first game in the franchise's history where not only does the player character die, but they are also the culprit! However it turns out they were actually successfully framed by the mastermind. Which means that this is the first game of the franchise where a character successfully gets away with murder in a class trial.
    • This game is the only game to have more than three playable characters, even if it's temporary.

    Western Animation 
  • In Archer, the running gag of shouting "Phrasing" after a line of dialog that could be taken the wrong way was broken in Season Five, when after a long string of lines that would provoke the gag were said without anyone saying "Phrasing," it was lampshaded and the gag is now wondering out loud if their Phrasing gag was still a thing.
  • South Park would famously kill off Kenny Once an Episode for the first four seasons or so. Then Kenny got Killed Off for Real for one season before reviving him. Since then, Kenny has only been killed occasionally, usually with a huge lampshade hung on it.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Starting in Season 4, much of the series formula was changed drastically, such as the Mane Six giving up the Elements of Harmony, and of the Aesop changing from the "Dear Princess Celestia" format to a diary format, which was then abandoned by Season 5.

    Playing With 
  • Straight: Alice And Bob reaches part 5, and they do a very noticable change to the series formula.
  • Exeggarated: Alice And Bob reaches part 50, and they do a change that is so big it basically becomes a new show altogether.
  • Downplayed: Alice And Bob does a small change in part 3, but it's still affects the series noticably.
  • Justified: Alice And Bob has a trend change because the characters themselves are tired of the same thing.
  • Subverted: The executives say that there will be a big formula break in part 5, but it just doesn't happen.
  • Double Subverted: It actually happens in part 6.
  • Zigzagged: But then it changes back to normal in part 7.
  • Averted: The series keeps going with no changes at all.
  • Enforced: The executives change formulas, so the series stops being stale.
  • Lampshaded: "Wait, I thought this would happen again... why not?"
  • Discussed: "It's our fifth adventure! It's obvious things will be different!"
  • Defied: The creators say the series will never change.
  • Deconstructed: The change leads to They Changed It So It Sucks, and another sequel never comes out.
  • Reconstructed: 10 years later, it gets Vindicated by History, and the series continues.

Possible alternate names: Breaking Old Formulas, Breaking Old Traditions, Breaking Old Series Traditions
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • May 17, 2017
    hszmv1
    • In Western Animation/Archer, the running gag of shouting "Phrasing" after a line of dialog that could be taken the wrong way was broken in Season Five, when after a long string of lines that would provoke the gag were said without anyone saying "Phrasing," it was [[Lampshaded]] and the gag is now wondering out loud if their Phrasing gag was still a thing.
  • May 17, 2017
    Getta
    So this is an aversion of Status Quo Is God, right? Compare Nothing Is The Same Anymore, contrast Forgot Flanders Could Do That (when broken old trends occur again).

    • Mega Man X: The game takes it in 2 levels. Sigma is usually the Big Bad and the Final Boss, but in X6 he's merely the Final Boss as he (as a badly resurrected "zombie") acts only as the Big Bad Gate's trump card. Then in X8 it's revealed that Lumine has been using Sigma all along for the game's plot and becomes the Final Boss this time.
  • May 18, 2017
    NightShade96
    Corrected namespacing and folder tags, and added emphasis for work names.
  • May 18, 2017
    Koveras
    • Dragon Age Inquisition has been a departure from many traditions established by the previous two and a half installments of the Dragon Age series, such as a Wide Open Sandbox replacing previous tightly-scripted levels, a complete removal of healing magic, and the artsy blood red-saturated covers being ditched for a green-dominated palette.
  • May 18, 2017
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
      • Added [[foldercontrol]] .
  • May 18, 2017
    TonyG
    South Park would famously kill off Kenny Once An Episode for the first four seasons or so. Then Kenny got Killed Off For Real for one season before reviving him. Since then, Kenny has only been killed occasionally, usually with a huge lampshade hung on it.
  • May 18, 2017
    Getta
    Where's the Mega Man X example?
  • May 19, 2017
    Getta
  • May 20, 2017
    TheWanderer
    • Burn Notice spent six seasons with a familiar pattern; Michael and company face an overriding arc for the season which they make incremental progress on during each episode while most of the episode is spent dealing with a Villain Of The Week criminal or whatever. The final season dumped this pattern, became much Darker And Edgier, and focused almost entirely on a single long arc of Michael working for the CIA. There were some occasional side issues to deal with, but they were generally quite brief and quickly resolved.
  • May 21, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Starting in Season 4, much of the series formula was changed drastically, such as the Mane Six giving up the Elements of Harmony, and of the Aesop changing from the "Dear Princess Celestia" format to a diary format, which was then abandoned by Season 5.
  • May 21, 2017
    NightShade96
    Hope this counts:

    • The Gravity Falls episodes starting with "Dipper and Mabel vs the Future" begin directly building up to the Weirdmageddon, which involves an apocalypse caused by Bill Cipher breaking into the real world, and each episode directly follows up from the one before it, unlike the previous episodes. In addition, the tone and imagery of the episodes is generally much bleaker than in the previous episodes, which tended to have a mix of both light and dark moments.
      • This is even reflected in the show's intro: in the Weirdmageddon three-part episode, the usual intro for the show is replaced with a nightmarish version prominently featuring Bill Cipher.
  • May 21, 2017
    Piterpicher
    ^No, I don't think the Gravity Falls example counts.
  • May 21, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Okay then.
  • May 22, 2017
    PhantomDusclops92
    • Most Time Bokan series share the same kind of situations, but the fifth series, Yattodetaman, changed around multiple things:
      • First, for the first time the main character actually transforms into the titular hero becoming stronger and braver than usual, rather than just donning different clothes and a mask like the other Time Bokan main characters did.
      • Also, it's the first time there is a single hero: while there's a female main character, she doesn't transform when fighting the bad guys.
      • Speaking about the bad guys, the two male members of the Terrible Trio look completely different than the usual: Julie haves a smaller nose, lacks a moustache and stands more upright compared to Boyakki and all its expies, while Alain, instead of being a short hunch with broad shoulders with a five o' clock shade like Tonzula and his derivates, it's a tall, fat guy with a prominent beard.
      • As a last difference, instead of a bunch of different Funny Animal mechas, Yattodetaman haves a single Humongous Mecha. This change was kept around in the subsequent Ippatsuman, only to come back with the old style in Itadakiman.
  • May 22, 2017
    Getta
    Strictly Formula is related to this
  • May 24, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ A contrast.
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