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 SmashToBlack will immediately follow a shocking moment such as a CliffHanger, a CommercialBreakCliffhanger, or a ColdOpening, but can also follow a OneLiner or a moment of [[DeadpanSnarker Deadpan Snark]]. Expect this to be called "Older Than The DVD" thirty years down the road.

Named for the SmashCut, of which this is a subtrope.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime ]]

* 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 CrowningMomentOfAwesome . 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]]?"
--> '''[[SmashToBlack Screen cuts to black]]'''
-->"[[PleaseWakeUp Come on, wake up]]. [[spoiler: Kimishima]]..."

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* The movie ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' ends the same way.
* Creator/PaulThomasAnderson is fond of ending movies this way--''BoogieNights'', ''{{Magnolia}}'', ''Film/ThereWillBeBlood''.
* 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.

[[/folder]]

[[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}}).
* ''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).
* ''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).
* [[ItWasHisSled Infamously]], ''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 TelevisionWithoutPity:
-->"METAL TEETH CHOMP!"
** 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".

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''Music/TheBeatles: 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 above. 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.
* 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 SmashToBlack coinciding with the final note in the ending music.
* The 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.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' does this at the end of each episode.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' uses this in many act breaks.
* ''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.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' shorts end in this manner on a regular basis.
** "The Krabby Patty secret formula ió"

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* This is how UsefulNotes/{{NASA}}'s Ranger probes ended their transmissions, [[CrashIntoHello culminating]] their [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-s5lSHWaug observations]].