[[quoteright:350:[[Series/{{Firefly}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/firefly-outgenrexp_3977.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Would you believe this is a SpaceWestern?]]

Writing drama is hard. Sticking to a popular formula is easy. That's why sometimes you can create a ''temporary'' GenreShift in a series to fill up time in your story. For example, many television shows are general drama, but...with a character who is a doctor. You [[PlotTailoredToTheParty know that soon enough]], there's going to be a [[ADayInTheLimelight central episode for that character]], complete with a [[MedicalDrama medical plot]].

This trope can be glaringly obvious or just a subtle genre that doesn't fit into the rest of the series. MedicalDrama is used as an example because it is difficult to hide.

A good test to see whether something fits this trope: If you turned on the television or opened the book at a particular point, would you be able to '''guess the main genre correctly'''?

This trope is often paired with MoodWhiplash. For a permanent genre change, see GenreShift; when the plot starts out as something unrelated leading up to the switch it's a HalfwayPlotSwitch; and when a work has a chronic case of this trope it's a GenreRoulette. See CourtroomEpisode, NoirEpisode, SuperheroEpisode, and the rest of the {{Episodes}} page for common subtropes. For the same principle applied to video game genres, see UnexpectedGameplayChange.
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''{{Berserk}}'', for the vast majority of the Golden Age arc, becomes a grim and gritty medieval story devoid of any demons, aside from the Zodd fight. After the Griffith rescue arc, shit starts hitting the fan and we return to the CrapsackWorld that is the world of Berserk.
* The ''Anime/ExcelSaga'' anime is, for the most part, the epitome of a GagSeries. So naturally one of the last episodes was played completely straight.
* In the eight episode of ''Anime/FullMetalAlchemist'', Edward becomes very determined to solve the mystery pertaining to a serial killer. Things get very Manga/DetectiveConan-y very fast. Especially funny because the villain in the episode (Barry the Chopper) is voiced by the same actor as Jimmy Kudo in the English dub.
* In ''HajimeNoIppo'', a ([[LongRunner long]]) series about the harsh world of boxing, the main characters take part in an light-hearted baseball match for a few chapters. [[MoodWhiplash Just after the bloodiest, dirtiest and least funny fight of the series]].
* Halfway through ''MayoiNekoOverrun'', the viewer gets an entire episode about {{mecha}} and later about a simple game that was made so [[SeriousBusiness dramatic]] it goes on par with [[Manga/{{Saki}} a certain mahjong anime]].
* Given what it's [[BoundAndGagged normally]] [[{{Ecchi}} like]], seeing ''NanaToKaoru'' briefly turn into a high school sports manga is unexpected. The heroine and her rival ''are'' on their separate school's track teams, though.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' is a [[GenreDeconstruction desconstructive]] DarkerAndEdgier HumongousMecha show. In episode 26 there is an alternate reality sequence where all the characters are in a SliceOfLife [[HighSchoolAU school comedy]]. Amazingly this scene became the basis for a SpinOff manga, ''Manga/NeonGenesisEvangelionAngelicDays''.
* It's arguable whether ''TenchiMuyo'' is a HaremComedy that randomly switches to a SpaceOpera or vice versa.
** In a more straight example, ''TenchiMuyo in Love 2: Haruka Naru Omoi'' (known better in the US as ''Tenchi Forever'') trades out the previous film's (and its direct predecessor, ''TenchiUniverse'''s) time-travel action story for a downbeat romance drama that intensely examines the relationships between Ayeka, Tenchi and Ryoko and sheds some light on Katsuhito's (rather sad) past [[spoiler: as Yosho]].
* Some of the filler episodes of {{Manga/Bleach}}, which turn the show into a GagSeries.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' was a DarkerAndEdgier and [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructive]] MagicalGirl series. The beginning of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion'' is a LighterAndSofter MagicalGirl series where the tropes are played almost painfully straight. It's eerily reminiscent of the ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' example.
* JustifiedTrope in ''{{Anime/Monster}}'': medical drama is the format of the first two episodes of a very long series, as the protagonist is a neurosurgeon who then turns amateur detective.
* One episode of ''SamuraiChamploo'' suddenly changes the series from an anachronistic hip hop-fueled Edo-era samurai series into a horror series. All the major hip hop and anachronistic references are removed, the soundtrack changes into a more moody, atmospheric one, the trio suddenly have to contend with zombies, and the whole thing ends on a bizarre GainaxEnding where [[spoiler: everyone seemingly dies when a meteorite crashes into the village they're in.]] Since the events of the episode are never mentioned again, it's hard to tell whether the whole thing was even canon.
** Likewise, "Pierrot Le Fou" in ''Cowboy Bebop'' is an out-of-place horror episode, but replaces zombies with a super-powered PsychopathicManchild killer.
* ''{{REDLINE}}'' plays out mostly as a [[WidgetSeries Widget Movie]] about an illegal street race, presented in a bizarre ''Anime/DeadLeaves''-esque tone. It's only during the third act that [[spoiler:[[EldritchAbomination a top secret bio-weapon]] known as Funky Boy]] is released from containment by LaResistance, and then all of a sudden, the latter third of the movie has [[spoiler:a Kaiju movie]] going on in the background.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Creator/GrantMorrison's run on ''ComicBook/NewXMen'' was a succession of these instead of the routine superhero stuff: high school drama, sci-fi, murder mystery...
** Interestingly, Morrison fled from this genre bending as far as he could after a certain point in his run, making the good guys and bad guys as unambiguously traditionally super-hero/super-villain in their morals and adventures, despite still keeping the more exotic outward trappings introduced earlier.
* ''SinCity'' is mostly a crime-noir comic series set in a somewhat realistic world (for a comicbook anyway). Despite this, we've had a few departures.
** Shlubb and Klump had their own short story which was a wacky little story featuring ThoseTwoBadGuys and an ending gag straight out of a WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes episode.
** The story ''Hell and Back'' features genetic tampering, espionage, a guild of assassins with high tech weapons, and a [[http://images.darkhorse.com/covers/300/s/schab9.jpg villainess]] who could easily be mistaken as a straight up supervillain due to her costume and gadgets. It seemed like a Creator/TomClancy novel, mixed with Franchise/MetalGear.
** The Yellow Bastard was operated on by genetic scientists and even [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment voodoo witchdoctors]] who turned him into what could be mistaken for a yellow ''Franchise/StarTrek'' alien.
** The Farm is often described as affecting the characters mentaly. Every time anyone goes there, they always feel something in the pit of their stomachs and think the exact same thing, "People have died here." It's also believed to be haunted, giving it a weird horror vibe even though we don't see anything.
** And ''Rats'' is a creepy psychological horror story about a Nazi concentration camp guard getting his overdue comeuppance.
* In the 1980s, a story arc in ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' dealt with Batman fighting a villain called Doctor Fang who was an ex-boxer who was trying to take over boxing in Gotham City. One issue (''Batman'' #372) turned into a full on boxing detail concerning a minor prizefighter getting a shot at the title and hardly had the Dark Knight in the issue at all.
* {{Fables}} did this for the first few storylines (corresponding to the trades). The first one is a murder mystery. The second is a political thriller. The third is a caper (even lampshaded as such). The fourth is a spy/war story.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/ForrestGump'': Mostly a general drama, but part of the plot is a war story.
* In ''Film/MasterAndCommander'', the crew rests for a few days on the Galapagos Islands. Dr. Maturin explores the island with the help of an eager midshipman and the film turns into a nature documentary for a little while. Almost seems like a PoorlyDisguisedPilot for ''Film/{{Creation}}'', in which Paul Bettany plays Charles Darwin.
* ''Film/ANightmareOnElmStreetPart2FreddysRevenge'' is often described as feeling more like a HauntedHouse / DemonicPossession story than a SlasherMovie.
* Some scenes from ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' can be mistaken for a war film.
* While all the Film/ResidentEvil films were arguably a GenreRoulette, the third one was entirely different from the other 3. It was less a zombie movie and more a DesertPunk film with zombies occasionally appearing.
* [[Creator/LuisBunuel Luis Buuel]] and Creator/SalvadorDali's [[{{Surrealism}} surrealist]] art film ''L'ge d'Or'' starts as a brief NatureDocumentary on scorpions before transitioning into. . . [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible whatever the hell the rest of the film is about]]
* Not only are none of the ''{{Film/Troll}}'' films connected, they can't seem to decide on a genre within the films themselves. The first film doesn't know whether it wants to be a horror film or a fantasy adventure, with ''{{Film/Troll 2}}'' and ''Troll 3'' (aka ''The Creepers'') it's hard to tell whether they were supposed to be straight horror films or horror comedies, and with the other ''Troll 3'' (aka ''Quest for the Mighty Sword'') it's hard to tell whether it's supposed to be a straight fantasy adventure or partly a comedy.
* In ''Film/CatchMeIfYouCan'', con man Frank Abagnale Jr works illegally as a doctor, among other things. This subplot looks almost as if it could be reused as a pilot for a television series. Which is entirely appropriate, since Frank is shown studying hospital dramas for lingo and basic protocol ("Do you concur?").
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/ToKillAMockingbird'': The genre of the novel is probably best described as "coming of age". In the middle of it is a courtroom drama. There are some other crime elements scattered throughout, but it would be misleading to describe it as a crime or law novel.
** [[TheFilmOfTheBook The film]] has a higher focus on the courtroom scene and won the award "Best Courtroom Drama" from the American Film Institute.
*** And from the American Bar Association...
* ''MobyDick'' includes chapters devoted to explaining various aspects of whaling life, as well as a cetology (study of whales) lesson that could fit into a biology textbook or encyclopedia. [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment There's also a chapter about chowder.]]
** It's often told that the reason why these sections exist is because Melville was told the novel needed to be longer - and he couldn't think of anything else to pad it out with.
* Similarly, ''Literature/LesMiserables'' has extensive sections detailing the Paris sewers, the Battle of Waterloo, thieves' argot, cloistered orders of nuns...
* Until the final chapters, ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'' is pretty much a RomanticComedy occasionally punctuated by fact-finding trips into Dumbledore's pensieve. This was only played up in [[Film/HarryPotter the movie]], which eliminated most of the pensieve adventures. Notably, the filmmakers added the attack on the Burrow because they thought some action was needed in the middle part of the story.
** Similarly, ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets Chamber of Secrets]]'' is kind of a horror story and ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix Order of the Phoenix]]'' is kind of a political drama/satire. Also, anything with [[HilariouslyAbusiveChildhood the Dursleys]] leans on something of a StepfordSuburbia BlackComedy.
** [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets Chamber of Secrets]] is also sort of a murder mystery (except people aren't being murdered. [[CerebusSyndrome Yet]]) and [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire Goblet of Fire]] is a TournamentArc.
* The ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' books are... [[GenreBusting sort of]] an urban fantasy mystery series about literature and the {{Metafiction}} thereof. Once per book, there's a chapter wherein Thursday teams up with Spike [[MeaningfulName Stoker]] to fight vampires, ghosts, demons or what have you, usually just so she can pay the rent. The narration shifts to a style that would not be out of place in ''{{Dracula}}'' or the more serious modern horror novel. And then things are back to normal next chapter.
** There's also a scene where Thursday has to cross the void between two books in the Bookworld, and the book depicts the wordless void by briefly turning into a comic.
* In ''Mists of Everness'', the second book Literature/WarOfTheDreaming, there is a chapter or two which features a switch from the present-day High Fantasy to Beatrix-Potteresque TalkingAnimal interlude. It's interesting and funny, and ties into the plot later on, but the unexpected change can be jarring.
* {{Goosebumps}} is normally a kid's horror series, but "How I Learned to Fly" stands out as the only book in the series that plays out more like a supernatural romantic comedy (Jack learns to fly so he can impress his crush, Mia) and a satire on being famous in America (when Jack and Wilson prove that they can fly, they soon become hounded by obsessed fans, are taken in by the U.S. Army for experiments, and become so popular that they have no private life, which [[AdultFear is actually scarier than any ghost, ghoul, monster, or freaky creature you can name]]).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{ThirtyRock}}'': There are two episodes of 30 Rock that parody {{Main/Reality TV}} (especially those on the Bravo! channel) with their {{Main/Show Within a Show}} "Queen of Jordan".
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': Lost's use of flashbacks and [[spoiler:flashforwards]] allows it to dabble in other genres frequently. Examples include:
** Jacks' episodes are mostly medical dramas.
** Ana Lucia's flashbacks become a cop/crime drama.
** Kate's flashbacks feature a fugitive drama.
** Nikki and Paulo became a one-time relationship comedy. Or rather, tragicomedy.
** Ben and Sayid had a ''Film/JamesBond''/''Franchise/DieHard'' episode.
** Sayid had flashbacks about his time as a torturer in the Iraqi army and his later attempts to lead a normal life after the war.
** Another Sayid flashback had him infiltrate a terrorist group that was planning a bombing in Australia.
** Desmond's episodes had him involved in a MentalTimeTravel back when other characters would dismiss the thought of that nonsense outright.
** And some consider the Sun/Jin flashbacks to be a full-fledged SoapOpera.
** The flash-sideways frequently switch genre. Flash-sideways Locke appears to be in some sort of dramedy about coping with his disability, Ben's are a drama set in a high school (yes, a ''canon'' HighSchoolAU), Sawyer and Miles are in a buddy cop movie...
* ''Series/{{House}}'', which is actually a medical drama, has an arc in which Dr. House hires a private investigator to spy on Wilson. Instant detective drama!
** Two seasons before that, it also [[CourtroomEpisode dipped into courtroom drama for part of an episode]] for the conclusion of the story arc featuring Detective Michael Tritter.
** And then the two-hour Season Six opener was a psychology/rehab drama.
** The Season Six episode "Lockdown" was a character-driven mystery drama.
** Ever since the [[spoiler: mass-firing/departure]] of House's fellows at the end of season 3, the show has done a fairly consistent job of mixing in genre-bender episodes that break with the standard format it had established. Since the end of season 5, in particular, this has become more and more common. These writers really know what they are doing in terms of keeping the show fresh.
** Thirteen's life outside the hospital is a crime drama replete with drugs and sex.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' is a sci-fi drama, but has a tendency to shift to different genres depending on who is being focused on. It can be a political drama when following Nathan Petrelli (in season one and late season three), it can be a high school/college drama when it follows Claire, or a cop show when following Matt.
** Volume 2 featured a JidaiGeki PeriodPiece following [[TimeMaster Hiro's]] trip to ancient Japan, and the TieInNovel ''Literature/SavingCharlie'' is a RomanceNovel.
* ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', a show in which aliens and the supernatural are commonplace, has the episode "Countrycide" [[spoiler:in which the killers turn out to be nothing more than humans. Cannibals, but humans nonetheless]].
** The main characters are just as surprised as the audience, as both [[spoiler:believed aliens were involved somehow until the last act of the episode.]]
* Similarly, ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' has the episodes "The Benders", "Family Remains", "Ghostfacers" and "Monster Movie". Season 5's "Changing Channels" shifts genres throughout the entire episode.
** They had a CowboyEpisode, too.
* For one episode of ''Series/ThePrisoner,'' "Living in Harmony," the series' plot is transplanted onto a Western setting.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' had a hilarious musical episode. There's also the episode "The Body" which is a "pure" drama with no supernatural elements until the last few minutes. Really, Buffy's eclectic combination of "Horror-Comedy-Romance-Action-Drama" meant that it felt a little unusual for any individual episode to lean hard on any one genre.
** The episode "Helpless" left Buffy without her super Slayer strength for an episode, preventing her from just beating down the villain as usual. This made the episode have much more of a "horror" feel than any other episode in the series.
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' also did a musical episode. Usually they're a medical dramedy.
* ''Series/{{Hercules|TheLegendaryJourneys}}'' and ''Series/{{Xena|WarriorPrincess}}'' did this rather frequently, with the latter being by far the worse offender. This tendency would eventually be lampshaded later in the latter series.
* "The Rescue Mission", a mid-season episode of ''Series/PowerRangersLostGalaxy'', features Terra Venture answering a distress signal left by an alien spaceship - as a result, there are no Zords, [[SuperSentai Sentai]] footage or regular villains, and most of the fight scenes are unmorphed.
* The flashbacks in ''TheSarahConnorChronicles'' episode "The last voyage of the Jimmy Carter" look more like scenes from a DarkerAndEdgier version of ''Series/SeaQuestDSV''.
* ''Series/{{Community}}'' does this for about quarter of their episodes. They've covered a lot of ground from mafia movies to TheWestern to ZombieApocalypse.
* As far as the individual episode plots, ''{{Sliders}}'' is almost GenreRoulette, except that it still manages to stay sci-fi most of the time.
* The finale of ''CrossingJordan'' has all the characters stranded after a plane crashed, and try to survive in the cold long enough for rescue to find them.
* ''The Haunting Hour: The Series'':
** "The Most Evil Sorcerer" plays out more like a medieval fantasy with supernatural elements.
** "Le Poof de Fromage" plays out like a parody of an alien invasion story.
*** Similarly, "Best Friends Forever," is a parody of zombie stories and the sitcom episode premise of "Kid keeps pet after his parents forbid it and tries to keep the pet under wraps."
** "Headshot" and "Terrible Love" are more like darkly funny satires mixed with supernatural elements. With "Headshot," this is more in line with the fact that the story is a modern-day retelling of Oscar Wilde's ''The Picture of Dorian Gray''. On top of that, "Terrible Love"'s humor and horror was a bit more well-mixed, but it still made a good point about its Aesops of "LoveMakesYouCrazy" and "Learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else."
* In the third-season finale of Series/ModernFamily, Cam and Mitchell are trying to adopt a newborn baby from his Latina mother, and suddenly find themselves embroiled in a {{Telenovela}} plot.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' has [[GenreRoulette a lot of range]] but even so has some stories that stick out a mile:
** "The Chase", a Dalek story which, uniquely for a Dalek story, is a straight-up comedy story with semi-sympathetic ComicTrio Daleks and almost no horror elements. It has outrageous comedy setpieces, {{Slapstick}}, a FakeAmerican laughing at the Daleks, a subverted JourneyToTheCentreOfTheMind in an amusement park, and a much rarer plot structure to usual as well (the characters go to a different location each episode, when almost every other Classic story kept them in the same location). The only other Dalek comedy was "Destiny of the Daleks", which is an otherwise fairly [[StrictlyFormula formulaic]] Dalek story with jokes added in by a [[WriterRevolt bored script editor]].
** "Mission to the Unknown", a one-parter (at a time when serials were the norm) BottleEpisode which is still unique in not having either the Doctor or any of the companions in it - it's a kind of extreme LowerDeckEpisode with just [[VictimOfTheWeek victims]] and Daleks. [[PoorlyDisguisedPilot This had a reason behind it]].
** "The Gunfighters" is the show's only MusicalEpisode, though [[MusicalWorldHypotheses most of the singing is not done by the characters]]. (There has been a stage musical and an audio drama musical in the ExpandedUniverse, though.)
** "The Highlanders" is the only "pure historical" the Second Doctor ever did before the format was abolished, making it into a bit of a hangover from the Hartnell era. Considering how much his Doctor unbalances the story, it's easy to understand why. On the opposite side of things, "The Tenth Planet" (Hartnell's last story) is a Hartnell story that feels strongly like proto-Troughton, being that it follows the "Base Under Siege" format associated with that Doctor and features the Cybermen, a villain used heavily in Troughton's tenure.
** "Enemy of the World", which is suddenly SpyFiction - the Doctor goes undercover like a [[Series/TheAvengers 60s super-spy]], and the villain is an evil human politician TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture with no monsters involved. It's also the only story in the whole season that isn't a [[TheSiege Base Under Siege]].
** "The Invasion" is a Troughton story that isn't a base-under-siege, features UNIT, a DiabolicalMastermind VillainWithGoodPublicity and Cybermen invading modern-day London, and feels like a test-run for the Pertwee era (because [[PoorlyDisguisedPilot it was]]).
** "The Deadly Assassin", the only truly companion-free serial (all other storylines in solo travel periods give the Doctor a temporary companion-figure), meaning the Doctor narrates a lot of the action. It's the only story where every single character, including all the people travelling in the TARDIS, is an alien from the planet where the story is set (Gallifrey), which gives it a weird feel as there are no cultural outsiders. It's also a NoirEpisode.
** The episode "Midnight" (though it does still involve the Doctor trying to outmanoeuvre aliens in a sci-fi setting,) has a ''very'' different tone from most Tenth Doctor episodes; pretty much the entire episode takes place [[BottleEpisode in a single vehicle a little bigger than a bus]], the [[NothingIsScarier alien is never identified or even seen]], the basic moral of the episode is HumansAreBastards when they get scared (shattering the Doctor's usual belief that HumansAreSpecial), the Doctor's usual manner and tactics backfire spectacularly at every turn, and [[spoiler: the Doctor comes as close as he's ever come to dying properly, and has to be saved by a HeroicBystander, who dies without anyone knowing her name]].
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'':
** The first few acts of "Sightings" play more like an episode of ''Series/TheXFiles''.
** The episode "Each of Us Angels" is about an old man telling stories about his experience on a hospital ship during the [[WorldWarII storming of Iwo Jima]].
* The ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' episode "Ariel," pictured above, has Mal and crew robbing a hospital in the Core while Simon and Jayne smuggle River into the hospital and to an imaging suite so that Simon can find out what the Alliance did to her. Simon, the Serenity's ship's doctor and formerly one of the best trauma surgeons in the Core, poses as a doctor (or rather, a doctor who isn't a wanted criminal) and at one point risks blowing his cover to save a patient's life, and then ''thoroughly'' chews out the guy who was inadequately treating him.
* The episode of ''Series/{{Jericho}}'' that dealt with [[spoiler:April's death]] played out as a medical drama.
* In ''StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', Vic Fontaine himself is a walking Out-of-Genre Experience. Introduced in the second-to-last season, Vic was an intelligent, self-aware hologram who played lounge music in a 1960's Vegas club holosuite program, and not in the "TakeOurWordForIt" way, oh no. More like in the "actually plays entire songs in the middle of an episode" kind of way. When he wasn't busy crooning to his fellow ''[=DS9=]'' regulars (and the audience at home), he was helping them find love by setting up relationships, including one ([[spoiler:Odo and Kira]]) that [[ForWantOfANail possibly saved the entire Alpha quadrant]]. One entire episode was committed to saving poor Vic in something that would fit right in with a 60's gangster movie; holodeck\suite episodes were nothing new to ''Star Trek'' by this point, but this is one of the few where there is no outside-the-box trick and everything happens irrespective of the fact that it's a simulation.
** CourtroomDrama in "Rules of Engagement."
** SubStory in "Starship Down" (intended to be ''Film/DasBoot'' RecycledInSpace).
* ''Series/MurdochMysteries'' does this quite a bit. Any episode featuring Terrence Meyers is SpyFiction (if he and Murdoch are working together) or a ConspiracyThriller (if they're not). "Mild Mild West" is a {{Western}}. "Friday the 13th 1901" is a SlasherMovie. "Kung Fu Crabtree" is {{Wuxia}}. And all set in turn of the century Toronto.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' dabbled in:
** Western ("Home on the Remains", "Different Destinations")
** CourtroomEpisode ("Dream A Little Dream")
** SlasherMovie ("Eat Me")
** Creator/TexAvery cartoon ("Revenging Angel")
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* ''Monsters'' from the Music/BlueOysterCult album ''Cultesourous Erectus'' starts off as a traditional AOR track, but then by the middle it quickly switches to a Jazz-lounge sort of feel.
* Music/TechN9ne's "Devil Boy" jumps from HipHop to ThrashMetal for a one-line CrowningMomentOfFunny:
-->Y'all act like I'm sayin'
-->[[MetalScream I LOVE]] [[{{Satan}} LUCIFER]] [[MetalScream I WILL KILL ALL OF YOU]]
* The first half of Laserdance's ''The Guardian of Forever'' was their usual synthdance, but the second half completely abandoned the style and switched to progressive trance. It was thought that this was going to be a permanent GenreShift, but they returned to form for their final album, ''Laserdance Strikes Back''.
* Anoraak normally does minimalistic synthpop, but "Long Distance Hearts" has a more trancy sound.
* Music/LimpBizkit's "Douche Bag" starts off in their usual NuMetal style, then becomes a {{Jazz}} song out of nowhere at the end.
* {{Queen}}'s ''BohemianRhapsody'' abruptly breaks into HeavyMetal for about a verse before returning to its faux-operatic style.
* Music/{{Nightwish}} is usually a symphonic metal band, but their "The Islander" is Celtic folk-rock, and their "Slow, Love, Slow" might be described as dark cabaret/jazz. "The Crow, The Owl, And The Dove" is mostly acoustic pop.
* A few NineInchNails songs do this. "March of the Pigs" starts off as metal, turns into techno, and then switches to clean vocals over a piano. Then it does it all over again. "Ruiner" is mostly a synth-heavy industrial track, but has a bluesy breakdown and guitar solo after the second verse. "The Becoming" has sections that almost sound like "Kumbaya," but then give way to pulsing guitars and screams of "Goddamn this noise inside my head!" The song "Everything" off of the ''Hesitation Marks'' album is a pop-punk song that is sandwiched between the usual dark/industrial NIN fare.
* Music/ShaniaTwain released three versions of her album ''Up!:'' red (rock/pop), green (country), and blue (world music.) The red and green are fairly similar, but the blue version is similar to popular Eastern music, unlike any previous releases.
* Pop-punk band GreenDay has done this a couple times, most notably on the album Nimrod. They play faux-country on "Dominated Love Slave", instrumental surf music on "Last Ride In" and swing on "King For A Day".
* Music/Alestorm's "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid", the SequelSong to "Leviathan", goes into Music/DimmuBorgir mode when the title beast awakens to do battle with the crew for the second and final time.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''{{Candorville}}'', a strip with just enough MagicalRealism to avoid fitting into SliceOfLife, made a temporary switch to dark UrbanFantasy in February of 2009. It seems the author liked the effect, because later he made another such switch. And another one. At no point has the strip [[GenreShift completely shifted over]], and only in late 2010 were the urban fantasy strips finally mixed in with the other strips rather than segregated into a few story arcs.
* ''MotherGooseAndGrimm'' can't make up its mind whether it's going to have continuity with its title characters, or be an absurd gag-per-day strip without recurring cast members la ''TheFarSide''.
* Jim Davis intentionally did this for a few ''{{Garfield}}'' strips in which Garfield is in the midst of an abandonment nightmare. Suddenly the strip is entirely creepy and not at all funny.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* MightAndMagic 7 is a full-on fantasy RPG for the majority of the story- until the final act, whereupon our heroes take on space aliens with space blasters.
** Somewhat downplayed in that the space aliens are supposed to look like devils, and that science-fiction elements were in the intro to the game (and that ''all'' the previous games in the series had major science-fiction elements towards the end of the game). Of course, wetsuit-wearing quarrelling visitors doesn't necessarily lead to wielding blaster rifles in [[spoiler: a raid on a submerged spaceship protected by robots]]...
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'' has an interesting experience with this trope. [[spoiler:While in prison, Naked Snake can fall asleep [[NoFourthWall if you save and quit]]. When you load it back, a hack-and-slash minigame starts. After a few minutes of slicing up [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot giant mutant prison guard monsters]], Snake wakes up from his nightmare, evoking a hilarious radio conversation from Para-Medic when called.]]
** There's also the sudden change to rail shooter near the end.
* ''JaggedAlliance 2'' is a squad-based strategy/RPG, set in a BananaRepublic, where you assist an uprising against an evil queen and... WHERE THE HELL DID THE HUGE MAN-EATING BUGS COME FROM!?
* A certain village in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' puts you right into a Spaghetti Western (or a light-gun FPS, depending how you play it).
* Also common in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZelda'' series is shifts to Stealth Action games.
** Happens as early as ''TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' where you infiltrate the Gerudo Fortress, having to avoid guards and stunning them with your bow/hookshot and freeing prisoners covertly. And a simplified preview of this genre shift earlier in the same game, when young Link has to sneak past Hyrule Castle guards to meet up with Princess Zelda.
** The same type of genre change happens with greater work put into it to change the tone and gameplay later on, with ''TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' having it as early as the first dungeon and removing your sword. The tone also feels completely different from the rest of the game, being dark and dank, and you'll find yourself moving slowly, crowching, sidling along walls and hiding inside barrels a la the box from ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid''. You also have to take out the searchlight operators in order to be able to move on.
** While ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' has elements of the stealth genre in the Silent Realm segments, the true example of this trope is the visit to the Eldin Volcano during the Song Of The Hero quest, where upon entry the volcano explodes, Link is captured and all his items are taken from him. He has to slowly sneak around the newly instated enemy camp and retrieve his items and has to use the ones he gets back to help him get the other ones as if they were gadgets like in a true stealth-action game.
* A DLC pack for VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption, "Undead Nightmare" turns the game into a ZombieApocalypse story in a new campaign mode. Oh, and it adds mythical creatures, too.
* The ''VideoGame/RyuGaGotoku'' series, known as ''Yakuza'' outside Japan, is a crime drama about life in the [[{{Yakuza}} Japanese underworld]]. A spin-off title, ''Dead Souls'', is set during a ZombieApocalypse. Oh, and Ryuji Goda has a [[GatlingGood Gatling gun]] [[ArmCannon arm]].
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' is pretty much a straight Bioware RPG SpaceOpera. Commander Shepard wanders around the galaxy performing quests and beating up bad guys. Then there are two quests worth of downloadable content which turn the game temporarily into a heist movie and a detective movie respectively, with the appropriate mood, camera work and tropes.
** Part of [[spoiler:Legion's]] loyalty mission bears a resemblance to a TowerDefense game, with Shepard remotely activating rocket turrets to help fight off waves of geth.
** VideoGame/MassEffect3 has The Citadel DLC, which is an intentional send-up of the series with numerous homages to other video games, movies, and books, a lot of snide commentary about the game and the multiplayer community, some good-natured shots at both the fans and the game, and a lot of series in-jokes. It completely clashes with the sharp {{Reconstruction}} of SpaceOpera which makes up the rest of the series.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded'' does this in several chapters, taking an action-RPG game and twisting it into a 2D platformer, a hall-running railshooter, and even a turn-based RPG at times.
* In ''VideoGame/FableIII'', once the King/Queen first sets foot on the streets of Aurora, there is a rather abrupt (and effective) switch from dark humor/fantasy to full-blown horror and it just gets scarier from there.
* Each of the ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' add-ons are this. ''Dead Money'' is a slice of SurvivalHorror in a Art Deco resort (not unlike ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}''), ''Honest Hearts'' swaps the struggles of the Mojave out for a religious conflict in Utah, ''Old World Blues'' is a zany romp with the MadScience and humor typical of the VideoGame/{{Fallout}} series magnified. Lonesome Road is a road through a true apocalyptic wasteland while on a journey to discover your past and a final confrontation with the man who's had some involvement with all the other add-ons as well as your own history.
* ''Fallout 3'' has a brief stint into the sci-fi realm in the Mothership Zeta DLC when your character is abducted by aliens, fights off the aliens, and at the end [[spoiler: actually engages another alien ship in a space battle above post-apocalyptic Earth.]]
* In the NES ice hockey game ''Blades of Steel'', the first intermission entertainment is a short, simplified game of the space-shooter ''{{Gradius}}'' on the arena scoreboard. Then the puck drops for the second period.
* At one point ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' turns into ''CSI: Dantooine''. Another sidequest is a CourtroomEpisode.
* ''MaxPayne'' loves delving into different genres during the course of the game.
** Acts 1 and 2 are your standard crime-noir, with some tease of a GenreShift into occult horror territory near the end of Act I before revealing that no, Lupino's not into dark magic, he's just tripping balls on Valkyr.
** The nightmare sequences throughout the game inject a tone of surreal horror into the game when they occur.
** Act 3 introduces elements of espionage/technothriller stuff early on, with Max battling heavily-armed mercenaries and infiltrating a military bunker in order to get to the bottom of Valkyr, along with a brief detour back to the usual crime-noir in Chapter 4, where [[spoiler:Max confronts B.B., the backstabbing bastard who actually murdered his partner and set him up to take the fall for it]]. Then after that, we go into espionage mode again, this time with what seems like some kind of AncientConspiracy [[spoiler:but which is actually, according to Max Payne 2, a very old criminal syndicate]] culminating in a final confrontation at the top of Aesir Plaza.
* The entire VideoGame/CallOfDuty franchise (since VideoGame/ModernWarfare at least) typically have zombie apocalypse-themed DLC packs. There are so many that they've now developed their own universe/continuity.
* The first mission of ''VideoGame/SaintsRowIV'' is a seriously-taken pastiche of ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare''-style modern military shooters, unlike the more comedic tone of the rest of the game, down to the breaching scene and using a knife for melee attacks rather than {{Groin Attack}}s or pro-wrestling moves.
* ''NoMoreHeroes2'' flirts with this in the fight with Matt Helms, who's basically one giant slasher villain homage, and who's backstory is one of the few times the game and its predecessor deals with supernatural elements (his stage is even reached through an Akashic Point, another one of the rare supernatural elements.)
* ''Train Simulator 2013'' has the infamous Trains vs. Zombies DLC... which is just the same game as before, except now there are zombies that the player has to try and not let on the train. And a witch. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayju_YvAhUY It must be seen to be believed.]]
* The VideoGame/NancyDrew series are mostly straightforward mysteries, as you would expect from the title character, but every third game or so, they decide to take a hard left turn and tell stories that are almost outright horror. Various haunted buildings (''Message in a Haunted Mansion,'' ''The Haunting of Castle Malloy''), ghosts (''Shadow at the Water's Edge,'' ''Ghosts of Thornton Hall''), a creepy cult-like family (''Curse of Blackmoor Manor'',) and just general creepiness abound. Most have ''Scooby-Doo''-esque rational explanations, but it's still surprising that a video games series based on Nancy Drew of all characters has gained a [[NightmareFuel/NancyDrew Nightmare Fuel]] page, and ''earned it.''
* BatmanArkhamAsylum features a fairly standard but well-told Batman plot, but a sudden case of MoodWhiplash and MindScrew hits whenever The Scarecrow's fear toxin causes Batman to have some rather disturbing hallucinations. For many players, these sudden horror sections were the high point of the game. The gameplay was unchanged, but the tone was completely different.
** ArkhamCity followed with an entire, darkly surreal section devoted to the Mad Hatter's insane fantasies, where Batman winds up in another hallucinatory world. Also like Arkham Asylum, the gameplay was unchanged.
** Another occurs with Ra's al Ghul's section of the game, where yet another unreal battle takes place in a theme park Middle Eastern fantasy world before jumping right back into post Dark Knight grim-and-gritty Gotham.[[/folder]]
%%Hmm, shouldn't these go under UnexpectedGameplayChange?
%%No, that refers to when GAMEPLAY, not PLOT, changes.


[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony''.
** Most episodes don't stray too far from the AnachronismStew fantasy setting of [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic the source material]]. However, the episode "Stay Tuned" transforms everything into a CopShow parody, with Pinkie Pie in the role of CowboyCop and her former {{Imaginary Friend}}s recast as DaChief.
** "Edgar Allen Poen" is an even more fundamental change: it turns the episode "Owl's Well That Ends Well" into a pastiche of "Literature/TheRaven", while actually staying faithful to the episode's original story and message. No AlternateCharacterInterpretation, no funny voices, no jabs at the fandom--a marked contrast to the parodic or satirical treatment that every episode before or since received.
** "The Pet Games" is arranged like an in-universe sports broadcast. Most of the dialogue comes from two off-screen commentators. Rainbow Dash and Twilight serve as judges for the event. Even the show's theme song is retooled as a bit of ProductPlacement.
** "For Glorious Mother Equestria" is set up as a political propaganda film, with a breathless narrator [[UnreliableVoiceover wildly misinterpreting events]] in order to push the party line.
** "Pinkie's Day In" briefly turns into a {{sitcom}}, complete with a LaughTrack and the ''Seinfeld'' theme as transitional music.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''{{Sinfest}}'' filler comics often are in different genres, such as [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=1974 Baby Sinfest]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' episode "Sentinel" marked a brief foray into SpaceOpera, when Goliath and Angela go to Easter Island and run into an alien warrior who mistakenly believes that the Gargoyles are aliens as well. Though we don't see its direct consequences, the episode makes it clear that Earth is an outpost in a massive intergalactic war.
** WordOfGod says that the aliens that the sentinel was guarding against actually ''would'' have invaded Earth two centuries after the events of the show, with the descendants of the main characters (and the members of the cast still alive at that point) forming a resistance against them. Honestly, the show was already such a FantasyKitchenSink that aliens weren't much of a stretch...but since the proposed spin-off about the alien invasion was never actually made, "Sentinel" still sticks out like a sore thumb.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' has a couple of episodes like this. "Zuko Alone" is a random Western, complete with a ShowdownAtHighNoon. "The Beach" is a random TeenDrama, complete with {{Fanservice}} and a WildTeenParty. "The Puppetmaster" is a horror, conveniently aired near Halloween.
** They even lampshaded their pre-finale summation episode; when the Gaang takes a break from training to go see a play based on their previous adventures, Sokka comments that this exactly the kind of random time-wasting activity he misses since the show shifted to more serious and plot-driven/driving episodes.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' the alien Roger once pooped out a turd made of solid gold; pretty standard fare for the show. But then a couple scenes in two different episodes were devoted to people finding the golden turd and engaging in ''FilmNoir'' style crime out of greed over it, without a joke to be heard. These scenes would even switch to a widescreen format back when the show was still aired in fullscreen just to make them look more cinematic.
** "Lost in Space" is a almost serious science-fiction story focused on Jeff.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'' episode "Schoolworld" adds Sci-fi to the comedy-drama.
* ''DanVs'', a show focused on wacky revenge schemes has "The Dentist" where Dan and Chris fight a dentist supervillain.
** Later we get Wild West Town, where the genre jump shouldn't be even remotely difficult to guess.
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'', a sci-fi gag comedy, has the episode "Cracked". It's very dialogue-heavy, Dexter's lab isn't even ''mentioned'', and feels more like a school slice-of-life story.
** "Filet of Soul" is a fairly straightfoward horror story about Dexter and Dee-dee being haunted by the ghost of their pet goldfish.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' has "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q.", which actually shows domestic abuse in a serious light and barely has any jokes in it (save for Peter mistaking Gwyneth Paltrow for a sick golden retriever and Peter confusing Portuguese for "porch of geese"), which is odd, given how much the show makes fun of women getting abused, insulted, and beaten.
** The BannedEpisode "Partial Terms of Endearment" was also a traditional VerySpecialEpisode (save for the end) that focused on abortion and the right to life vs. pro-choice argument (which actually was handled well, according to SethMacFarlane and many critics who managed to see the episode, despite that it went direct-to-DVD and, as of 2013, has not aired on television in full[[note]]Scenes of and discussion about this episode were included on a 200th episode retrospective, with SethMacFarlane explaining why FOX won't air the episode[[/note]][[note]]It has, however aired on the BBC at least[[/note]]).
** "And Then There Were Fewer", an hour-long homage/AffectionateParody of murder mysteries.
** "Da Boom", a BizarroEpisode where the Griffins deal with [[MillenniumBug [=Y2K=]]].
** "Petergeist", a WholePlotReference to ''{{Film/Poltergeist}}''.
** "Brian & Stewie" is also mostly a dead-serious episode with the two locked in a bank overnight and Brian confessing his lack of purpose in life and suicidal thoughts.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'' has "Space Race", the two-part finale of the third season, which stands out for being a full-on ScienceFiction story about a mutiny on a space station and [[spoiler: a plot to colonize Mars]] in a [[WorkCom workplace comedy]] about [[SpyFiction spies]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode ''[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E26TwilightsKingdomPart2 Twilight's Kingdom Part 2]]'', the fight between Twilight and Tirek looks like something out of a {{Shonen}} anime. This is especially noticeable with the climax of the episode, which is more in line with previous finales.
[[/folder]]
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