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-> ''"You look around these days...it's all different. It's all changed. SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker's ''killing'' people, for God's sake! Did I miss something? Was I away when they changed the rules?"''
-->-- '''ComicBook/TheRiddler''', "[[Creator/NeilGaiman When Is A Door]]"

A ToneShift that seeks to make a work of fiction "more adult". Usually, this is interpreted as "add more {{sex|IsCool}}, [[ClusterFBomb profanity]], [[FamilyUnfriendlyViolence violence]], and controversial content" at its most extreme.

A show will attempt to shift towards [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism cynicism]], [[SlidingScaleOfShinyVersusGritty grit]], and [[SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness seriousness]] (unless it's a BlackComedy). In theory, archetypes which we are usually accustomed to acting in a more noble setting will have to act in one where they must think and act grimly in order to make progress, [[{{Deconstruction}} thus forcing re-examination of the tropes involved]] or the ability to use new tropes and expand the setting making for different sorts of characters. In practice however, writers often are too lazy to make use of what most of those words mean, and ending up randomly "spicing up" a work with gratuitous gore, cursing, and sex - often overdoing it in the process.

When a show uses this trope as a tagline, you can expect a mixture of: [[ColdBloodedTorture awful things]] [[BreakTheCutie happening to the characters]], [[DarkAndTroubledPast twisted backstories]] [[DeusAngstMachina giving them a reason to angst]], and the [[WorldHalfEmpty setting becoming]] [[CrapsackWorld much bleaker]].

As one could predict, this is fairly easy to screw up and poor use of these tropes may just result in DarknessInducedAudienceApathy if the setting gets too depressing or {{Narm}} if the edginess becomes just silly. [[TropesAreTools This doesn't make it a bad trope though]]-- when this is used subtly such as in the HarryPotter series it can create the effect of a series growing up with its audience.

In fact this is often the purpose of a Darker And Edgier turn. Just as a LighterAndSofter tone is typically part of an attempt to bring a fictional world to children or to younger children, a "darker" tone is often intended to make a childrens' setting appeal to older children or adults. But unlike its opposite, a Darker And Edgier shift is often intended not to reach a new audience, but rather to keep an existing audience as it grows up. It can also be a result of child fans growing up, RunningTheAsylum as {{PromotedFanboy}}s, and continuing to think of the setting as something aimed at themselves and their peers instead of the original target age group.

This trope became extremely popular in ComicBooks as a rebellion against the SilverAge but also led to more than a decade of clumsy attempts to show that comics are "[[MaturityIsSeriousBusiness not kid stuff anymore]]." See UsefulNotes/{{the Bronze Age|OfComicBooks}}, UsefulNotes/{{the Dark Age|OfComicBooks}}, and NinetiesAntiHero for more details about how this worked.

The poorly used, excessive version is often mocked as "Grimdark" (one word), derived from the tagline of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''. ("In the grim darkness of the far future, there is ''only war.''") Sometimes justified with the phrase "SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids". Usually shows up in DarkFic. If a pre-existing show undergoes a {{Retool}} under the guise of making things Darker And Edgier, expect JumpingTheShark, especially if there was ExecutiveMeddling involved.

As with [[LighterAndSofter Lighter and Softer]] this practice tends to go better if the change was planned in advance to keep the tone from shifting too abruptly.

Note that this is not the same as a {{Deconstruction}}. A Deconstruction plays out the genre's conventions to their logical conclusions in order to criticize the initial genre conventions. This does not have to be dark (see for instance DeconstructiveParody) and it doesn't prevent things from turning out well. Darker And Edgier just adds "dark" elements to try and get the same effect. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but often a Deconstruction can cause a work to ''seem'' darker because it's calling attention to dark aspects already implied but previously glossed over; see also AscendedFridgeHorror.

Opposite of LighterAndSofter, YoungerAndHipper, DenserAndWackier and RevisitingTheRoots. Often found alongside BloodierAndGorier, HotterAndSexier, ObligatorySwearing and RealIsBrown. Often a by-product of the franchise growing [[SequelEscalation bigger and more epic]].

Compare {{Grimmification}} and FracturedFairyTale for when this is done with fairy tales and AmericanKirbyIsHardcore for when this is done with boxart. See also SugarApocalypse, and CerebusSyndrome.

* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Advertising}}
* DarkerAndEdgier/AnimatedFilms
* DarkerAndEdgier/AnimeAndManga
* DarkerAndEdgier/ComicBooks
* DarkerAndEdgier/FanWorks
* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Film}}
* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Literature}}
* DarkerAndEdgier/LiveActionTV
* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Music}}
* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Mythology}}
* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Pinball}}
* DarkerAndEdgier/ProfessionalWrestling
* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Radio}}
* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Roleplay}}
* DarkerAndEdgier/TabletopGames
* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Toys}}
* DarkerAndEdgier/VideoGames
* DarkerAndEdgier/WebAnimation
* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Webcomics}}
* DarkerAndEdgier/WebOriginal
* DarkerAndEdgier/WesternAnimation
* DarkerAndEdgier/{{Fandom}}