Short-Lived Big Impact YKTTW Discussion

Short-Lived Big Impact
A show, performer or franchise has a short career or run, but leaves a huge impact on the genre.
(permanent link) added: 2011-05-17 15:52:50 sponsor: DannyVElAcme edited by: lamoxlamae (last reply: 2011-11-08 22:55:23)

Add Tag:
Needs More Examples of different media: mostly only have music so far.

Alternate Title: Short Run Wide Influence, Short-Lived Big Impact

Sometimes a show, performer or franchise, for some reason or another, doesn't last too long. Perhaps Executive Meddling reared its ugly head, perhaps it was Too Good to Last, perhaps Author Existence Failure was involved, or maybe it was simply ahead of its time. However, a few years down the road, the genre that it belonged to explodes in popularity, and when you interview the creative minds behind the genre, they ALWAYS put that particular work front and center as their biggest influence. Quite simply, it was a Short-Lived Big Impact.

This trope is about something having left a noticeable impact on it's genre, even though the work/artist was cut short. Short works that were great but have not influenced their genre a lot yet (ex: Firefly, Arrested Development) go under Too Good to Last, not here.

In serial media(comic books, anime, cartoons, etc.), this trope can manifest as a work that was cut short or simply not meant to be a Long Runner, but the impact it left on the genre is still felt.

In music, it is important to mention this is not a One-Hit Wonder: a Short-Lived Big Impact musical act might actually have multiple hits before they left the scene, or even no hits at all. One-Hit Wonder usually refers to an artist or act that left no impact beyond the popularity of their one hit, a Short-Lived Big Impact's effect on their genre is still felt.

Do not confuse this with Too Good to Last, but it can play a part in the untimely demise. Tell who was influenced when you make your example or it goes under Too Good to Last.


Anime and Manga
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion was one of the most influential anime shows of the Giant Mecha Genre, but only lasted one season and 26 episodes.

  • James Dean. He only starred in three Hollywood films and died in a tragic car crash shortly after finishing the third one, but his performances in East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause (especially the latter) pretty much defined the "misunderstood bad-boy teen" image of the era.
  • Bruce Lee. Didn't star in very many films, and died at the age of 33, but he is widely credited with introducing martial-arts films to the United States, and popularizing asian culture. His fighting philosophy still lives on to this day, and he has inspired dozens upon dozens of Bruce Lee Clones.

  • The Canterbury Tales was never even finished. It is still considered one of the most influential books of the English Language despite the fact it was written in Middle English making this trope Older Than Steam.
  • John Keats, he was only 25 when he died, with only three books of his work published, but is considered one of the Great Romantic Poets.
  • Stieg Larson, author of the Millennium Trilogy( of which The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was the first book), died under mysterious circumstances before finishing what was supposed to be a five book series. The series became a phenomenon, and many a modern author is already showing influence from his books, especially amongst the Nordic countries.
  • The Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Ann were extremely successful and influential authors, but they only wrote a total of seven books between the three of them.

Live-Action Television
  • The Adam West Batman series pretty much defined the Caped Crusader in the public eye for decades (and seemingly permanently in Japan), but the TV show itself only ran for 2 years.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series originally lasted for just two seasons, being Un-Cancelled for a third season before dying completely. It's also a cultural icon, having an immense influence on science fiction, as well as western culture as a whole. Good luck finding someone who doesn't recognize Captain Kirk and Mister Spock, even if they were born long after the series was first aired.
  • Japanese Spider Man ran for one season (41 episodes) and made the Humongous Mecha genre.
  • Twin Peaks: With only two seasons and 30 episodes, it popularized the Quirky Town genre in American television, having descendants such Picket Fences and Northern Exposure that ran much longer than Twin Peaks itself. Also, the amount of surrealism, eccentric humor, and horror in it were highly exceptional for a mainstream American drama series of its era, but such elements became much more common in television in its wake in the 1990s and 2000s.

  • The infamous 27 Club, a group of singers who all died at 27, greatly limiting their output, but they all left profound impacts on music:
    • Robert Johnson -- basically made Blues what it was; was also a profound influence on many of the earliest rock singers
    • Brian Jones -- founded The Rolling Stones, who were the main influences of bands like ACDC, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, etc, who pioneered the Heavy Metal genre.
    • Jimi Hendrix -- one of the most influential guitarists of all time; the "burn the strings" guitar solo was invented by him, and just about every hard rocker since has imitated it.
    • Janis Joplin -- a key player in women coming onto the rock scene; everyone from Paramore to P!nk owes something to this gal.
    • Jim Morrison -- in addition to being the lead singer of The Doors, he is widely regarded has having perfected the modern "rock star" image.
    • Kurt Cobain -- the lead singer of Nirvana, he helped define the image of rock the late 80's and early 90's, and set the stage for the rock scene in the next decade.
    • Amy Winehouse -- a key influence in revitalizing the stagnated British music scene, and for popularizing soul music.
  • The Sex Pistols had a grand total of one studio album, yet they are considered the pioneers of Punk Rock.
  • Led Zeppelin had a career that spanned little more than a decade, cut short by drummer John Bonham's death. Their impact on the rock genre is undeniable, and their sound was one of the precursors to Heavy Metal.
  • Eazy-E had his life cut short by AIDS, but his career was one of the most influential in the Gangsta Rap genre.
  • English indie rockers The Stone Roses managed only two albums and yet were a big influence on many rock bands of the Nineties.
  • 2Pac and Notorious BIG both died at 25, leaving a profound influence on rap in their wake.
  • Joy Division. Only released two albums owing to the Author Existence Failure of their lead singer (who died at 23), but are the first thing everyone thinks of when they hear the term Post-Punk, in addition to helping lay the groundwork for what would become Goth Rock. If The Doors did not influence them, usually Joy Division did.

Western Animation
Replies: 49