Before a commercial, television shows have traditionally done a FadeToBlack. Recently, though, television dramas skip the fading and cut the picture to a completely black screen. Typically, a Smash to Black will immediately follow a shocking moment such as a CliffHanger, a CommercialBreakCliffhanger, or a [[TheTeaser Cold Opening]], but can also follow a OneLiner or a moment of {{Deadpan Snark|er}}. Expect this to be called "Older Than The DVD" thirty years down the road.

Named for the SmashCut, of which this is a subtrope. May be accompanied by a ScareChord.



* One of these occurs after a BigLippedAlligatorMoment in ''Anime/{{REDLINE}}'' where a family drawn in [[ArtShift a completely different art style]] is seen watching TV for no reason. Cue smash cut to black for added audience disorientation.
* ''Anime/{{Scryed}}'' has one that's [[TearJerker phenomenally brutal]] in its simplicity. [[spoiler: Kimishima]] has been severely injured amidst his SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome. So Kazuma carries him back home. Somewhere along the way, [[spoiler: Kimishima]] stops talking, but Kazuma [[DistractedFromDeath doesn't realize what this means]]. When they get home, Kaname realizes what's happened, and starts to cry. But [[IdiotHero Kazuma]]...
--> "Hey, now you hold on or you're gonna fall! [[spoiler: Kimishima]] are you listenin'? Hey! [[spoiler: Kimishima]]? Heh heh, say something. [[spoiler: Kimishima]] I am not in the mood to fool around. This isn't funny. Hey, Kaname, what's wrong?...Hey, wait. [[spoiler: Kimishima]]?"\\
(''screen cuts to black'')\\
"[[PleaseWakeUp Come on, wake up]]. [[spoiler: Kimishima]]..."

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The movie ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' ends the same way.
* Creator/PaulThomasAnderson is fond of ending movies this way--''Film/BoogieNights'', ''Film/{{Magnolia}}'', ''Film/ThereWillBeBlood''. The one in ''Magnolia'' is perfectly timed to the big guitar lick in Music/AimeeMann song "Save Me".
* The first officially-released teaser for ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'' has two, one right after the first glimpse of Franchise/{{Godzilla}}, another right ''before'' the second glimpse.
* The ending to ''Film/{{Inception}}''.
* ''Film/TheRundown'' ends similarly.
* ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen'' is a strange example in that the smash to black comes after a long scene of dialogue in which Ed Tom Bell describes two unsettling dreams to his wife over breakfast. In a movie full of disturbing violence and suspense, the smash to black makes the final scene all the more ominous.
* Inverted in the case of the ending of ''Film/TotalRecall1990'' which does a Smash To White.
* ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'': As the New Avengers present themselves at the end, the music swells, Captain America steps up to them and says "[[AvengersAssemble Avengers... A--]]" Smash to credits. Seeing as the movie was directed by Creator/JossWhedon (see the entry under Live-Action TV below), this isn't surprising.
* ''Film/{{Resolution}}'', a film about stories, the resolution thereof, and the EldritchAbomination guiding the story, has the characters asking the narrator for a second chance. There's a roar and a cut to black and the film ends.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Joss Whedon apparently loves this trope, using it with all his shows:
** ''Series/{{Angel}}'',
** ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'',
** ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}''
** ''Series/{{Firefly}}'',
*** Joss mentions in the commentary for ''Firefly'' that in order to avoid the automatic cuing of the commercial, they changed the color of the blackout, so Smash to Black became Smash to Almost Black But Really Just Very Dark Brown.
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'' ended the fourth season like this (and on a major {{cliffhanger}}).
* ''Series/EverybodyHatesChris'' ended its series this way as well, mainly as a ShoutOut to ''Series/TheSopranos''.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' does this with just about every major or minor plot twist. In other words, ''a lot''.
* Season 5 of ''Series/MadMen'' ends this way, just after a woman propositions Don Draper. It's probably a tribute[=/=]ShoutOut to ''The Sopranos'' (on which ''Mad Men'' creator Matthew Weiner was a writer and producer).
* ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'' did this in nearly every episode, complete with a door-slamming sound effect.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' had one episode ("Michael Ellis", 1974) in which the actors were discussing how to end the show.
--> "Well, how about a sudden ending?" CUT
* ''Series/{{Skins}}'' smashes to black so often that the one time they did the [[FadeToBlack fade out]] (Katie's S4 episode) it stood out (and some people suspected the fade out to be a lengthening device to cover up time lost from cut scenes).
* {{I|tWasHisSled}}nfamously, ''Series/TheSopranos'' [[NoEnding ended the]] ''[[NoEnding series]]'' this way, with Music/{{Journey}}'s "Don't Stop Believin'" cutting off mid-''word''.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' does this frequently, as observed on Website/TelevisionWithoutPity:
** And lampshaded in "Monster Movie", featuring a MonsterOfTheWeek who's a GenreSavvy movie fan.
-->"End scene." (monster boots Dean in the face. [[CommercialBreakCliffhanger Smash Cut to commercials.]])
* Pops up now and then on ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', notably when the porcupine monster rampages through a TSA holding area in the teaser of "Nothing as It Seems".
* ''Series/TheLateLateShow'' did this with Craig Ferguson's GrandFinale, referencing ''Series/{{Newhart}}'', ''Series/TheDrewCareyShow'', ''Series/StElsewhere'', and getting cut off like ''The Sopranos'', music and all.
** The new James Corden version used this on a "Celebrity Noses" sketch (one where Corden can't get to Celebrity Noses because things keep going wrong) cut to black because the director told them they were out of time.
* This was actually common on many drama and action adventure series produced by Creator/UniversalStudios in the 70s and 80s.
* Used hilariously to conclude the penultimate Season 2 episode of ''Series/{{Galavant}}''
--> '''Jester:''' (''singing'') Or will we leave all our viewers with pain and anger,\\
Just like we left them last year?\\
Could we just stop once again, on a huge cliffhanger—\\
* Along with the Smash ''From'' Black, this is how the CBC and its French counterpart SRC presented its '''interlude''' title cards (the ''only'' text to be shown in the picture) in the 70s and 80s.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Music/TheBeatles: VideoGame/RockBand'' does this with "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," befitting [[NoEnding how the song itself ends]].
* ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' ends in a similar way to the ''Mass Effect'' example below. The actions in the final scene coincide with the soundtrack, cutting to black with the final piano note. And by actions, I mean [[spoiler:every version of Elizabeth (one of the two main characters) in the multiverse [[RetGone disappearing from existence]] before the camera, smashing into black with the last one--the one you've grown to know throughout the game. [[TearJerker Did I mention Elizabeth just drowned her father]] [[HeroicSacrifice at his own request?]]]] Bio Shock is just that kind of franchise.
* Done in ''VideoGame/TheStanleyParable'' as well, sometimes out of nowhere, usually to indicate something bad has happened, and always to great effect.
* Used prominently in Telltale Games' more recent projects.
** ''VideoGame/TheWolfAmongUs'' ends Episode 1 with [[spoiler: the reveal of Snow White's severed head on the front step of the Woodlands]], Episode 2 with [[spoiler: Crane smashing the magic mirror]], Episode 3 with [[spoiler: a severely injured Bigby lying bleeding in an alleyway]], Episode 4 with [[spoiler: whatever action the player took upon meeting The Crooked Man (especially effective if the player chose to smoke as the smash occurs when Bigby ignites his lighter]], and most shockingly, Episode 5 with [[spoiler: Bigby's reaction to the game's single largest WhamLine that leaves a major part of the story (is Faith really dead, and if so, when did she actually die? Is Nerissa who she says she is, or is she actually Faith in disguise?) up for discussion. The smash only occurs if the player chooses to go after Nerissa, and punctuates Bigby's last memory of Faith. "I'll see you around...Wolf."]]
** Season 1 of ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' ends Episode 1 on a weird gradual example as all the lights in the Travelier Motel go out one by one, and a moment after the last one shuts off, the smash occurs. Episode 2 ends with a smash to punctuate [[spoiler: Jolene's video tape of Clementine in the motel, and the line, "You'll be safe, I promise."]] Episode 4 ends with [[spoiler: Lee being stunned completely speechless by The Stranger on the walkie talkie as the game ignores whatever option the player chose by smashing to black]], and Episode 5 ends with the SequelHook of [[spoiler: Clementine alone in a field spotting two figures off in the distance]].
* An option in ''Videogame/{{Limbo}}'' can be switched on if you don't like the gory deaths that can occure. It smashs to black the instant the boy is about to be killed, but leaves the sound of his demise in.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' ends like this, with the Smash to Black coinciding with the final note in the ending music. However if the EMS is high enough and the player chose to destroy the reapers, there is a quick scene after [[spoiler: in which Shepard wakes up in the rubble.]]
* The Franchise/StarWars video game ''Republic Commando'' ends with this, with the door of the gunship that the protagonist squad is in slamming shut after Boss says "Delta Squad! Lock and load!"
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'', if all human characters in the party die, the screen makes a sudden cut to black accompanied by a screeching sound, which lasts several seconds before fading in to a scene of you crossing into the afterlife.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'' does the same, only without any sound effects to go with your final moments of life.
* In ''VideoGame/AlienIsolation'', whenever the Xenomorph catches you, the screen smashes to black the moment before the creature deals the finishing blow.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* "WebAnimation/NoEvil" has this in "Black Bart" as part of Wrip's perspective when [[spoiler: Charles/Black Bart takes Xochipilli's ear covers, absorbing the [[SealedEvilInACan Black Tezcatlipoca]]. He promptly uses the new power on everyone nearby, Wrip included, causing a Smash To Black.]] We're then given a shot of her waking up, surrounded by the rest of the cast.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The "Sex Survey Results" episode of ''WebVideo/LasagnaCat'' uses a Smash to ''Orange'' in its ending.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' does this at the end of each episode.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' ends nearly every episode with a hard cut to the credits. The one time they used an IrisOut, it was just a FakeOutFadeOut.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' uses this in many act breaks.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' was perhaps the first show to do this consistently. Most act breaks avoided fadeouts, in part because they usually end acts on a gag and it is thought a fadeout would detract from its impact.
** To combat the automatic commercial problem noted above, most Simpsons episodes have a fadeout artificially added when they air in syndication. This can be problematic since often there is plot or a joke happening up to the very last second of an act, so the fadeout often begins while the action is still occurring.
* Most of the episodes of seasons 1-6 of ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' ended like this, yet allowing the background music to end properly even after the end. Starting from somewhere around season 6, smashes to black are only seen on the DVD or iTunes versions of the episodes (note that the background music is ending within the episode, not after the smash to black), while on and international versions of Nickelodeon, there are no smashes.
** "The Krabby Patty secret formula i—"
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' uses this instead of its usual star shaped IrisOut for more serious episode endings.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' did this in "Lois Kills Stewie". Serves as bit of a TakeThat to the infamous ending of ''Series/TheSopranos'' mentioned above.
-->'''Stewie''': [[TemptingFate Well at least it didn't end like ''The Sopranos'' where it just cut to black in mid-sen-]] ''(Smash to Black)''
* Happens OnceAnEpisode on ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'', usually about one minute from the end of the episode.
* Although not a true smash to black, as there is still audio, the video smashes to black during one of the biggest [[WhamLine Wham Lines]] in season 3 of ''WesternAnimation/{{Bojack Horseman}}''
-->'''Bojack''':[[spoiler: Sarah Lynn? ''({{beat}})'' Sarah Lynn? ''(Smash To Black)''...[[PleaseWakeUp Sarah Lynn?]]]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This is how UsefulNotes/{{NASA}}'s Ranger probes ended their transmissions, {{c|rashIntoHello}}ulminating their [[ observations]].