->''Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine.''
-->-- '''''[[Literature/TheFourGospels John 2:10]]'''''

After a stellar first installment/season, a series has a second installment/season that either feels suspiciously like the last or just isn't as good. Tends to be more prevalent in dramas than comedies. A specific form of SeasonalRot, though perhaps not always ''bad'' so much as just [[ToughActToFollow underwhelming when compared to what came before]].

Sophomore Slump concerns shows that make it past an awful second season and into a decent or fantastic third season. If the show doesn't survive the second season, it's a SecondSeasonDownfall.

This happens in music with depressing regularity as well. Usually, it's because after the first album (which usually has a couple years of development under its belt and plenty of trial and error from live concerts to help the band determine what does or doesn't work), the record company wants a second album produced within a year. The second album is therefore very likely to consist mainly of the songs that were cut from the first album because they were considered inferior. Combine this with the fact that most bands popular enough to get a second album will also be constantly on tour and one can see why this happens.

This term as used in sports refers to players who become breakout stars during their rookie seasons, only to follow up with underwhelming second years, whether because of injury, changes within the team, heightened expectations and publicity leading to faltering on-field performance, etc. Some of them are able to figure out how to get back on track for their third years and beyond, while others end up skidding for a few years and then disappear, with varying levels of infamy based on how highly touted they were before or during their freshmen seasons.

A related term, used in computing, is the "second system effect." Freed from the tight schedule and budgetary demands of the first system, the programmers attempt to "correct" everything that "went wrong" the first time, usually with disastrous effects.

This may happen when your first season is widely considered a ToughActToFollow, but it's not a rule.

Compare OddballInTheSeries, {{Sequelitis}}, and SeasonalRot. Could cause a BrokenBase if another portion of the fandom disagree with the opinion that the work is going through a Sophomore Slump. If it's inverted, see GrowingTheBeard, SurprisinglyImprovedSequel, or EvenBetterSequel. If it's a longer-running series that's consistently good, then bad, then good again, then bad again, then repeat, see the StarTrekMovieCurse. If there really ''are'' [[RuleOfThree only three installments]], it's basically MiddleChildSyndrome for installments/series.

Has nothing to do with what comes after the [[WeightWoe freshman fifteen]].


* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', if one counts Kanto/Orange Islands as the first series and Johto as the second. The Johto arc was more or less a total rehash of the first, except with even more {{Filler}} and SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute Pokémon on Ash's team that just didn't live up in power, personality, or appeal to the ones he PutOnABus after the Orange Islands. Of course, the Orange Islands arc itself has its own problems as well.
* ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'' is infamous for its DistantFinale, and in part due to a KudzuPlot that left a lot of threads dangling. Also, having one of the most famous [[BigBad Big Bads]] in ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' history be defeated by [[spoiler:[[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath talking]]]] left a bad taste in many fan's mouths.
* The first half of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' R2 was a rehash of many elements of season 1, going so far as to have Lelouch reuse plots in suspiciously similar circumstances. It was purposely done this way [[ExecutiveMeddling to appeal to the new audiences in R2's new time slot]].
* ''Anime/SwordArtOnline'' had one so bad huge swaths of the fanbase packed up and left when the second arc JumpedTheShark. Mostly revolving around the complete derailing of Asuna's character from "strong-ish female character" to the second season, where she becomes a DamselInDistress and is sexually molested and NEARLY RAPED by the main villain in a literal cage.

[[folder:Film -- Animation]]
* ''Disney/CinderellaIIDreamsComeTrue'' received a rather harsh reaction, due partly to its poor animation and lack of a central plot. Its shortcomings seem even more heinous when considering that [[MiddleChildSyndrome it became sandwiched in-between]] [[Disney/{{Cinderella}} a movie that saved Disney from bankruptcy]], and [[Disney/CinderellaIIIATwistInTime one of Disney's best-reviewed direct-to-video sequels]].
* ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'', while often regarded as better than a lot of Disney's other direct-to-video sequels, is considered the worst of the Aladdin films, with [[Disney/{{Aladdin}} the original]] being a modern classic and ''Disney/AladdinAndTheKingOfThieves'' being one of the most well-regarded of the sequels.
* ''Disney/TheLionKingIISimbasPride'' tends to be regarded as the weakest entry in that series. Somewhat like ''The Return of Jafar'' it's actually considered to be decent in its own right, but has the bad luck of being sandwiched between [[Disney/TheLionKing the original]], one of Disney's all-time classics, and ''Disney/TheLionKingOneAndAHalf'', which is seen as one of the more memorable and unique Disney sequels.

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* Creator/KevinSmith's much-loved first film, ''{{Film/Clerks}}'', was followed up by the much-maligned ''{{Film/Mallrats}}'', considered one of the weakest entries in his View-Askewniverse series by many fans.
* Inverted for the film adaptations of ''{{Literature/Divergent}}''. The second film - ''Insurgent'' - got the highest critical reviews and is the highest grossing entry of the franchise.
* ''[[Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom The Temple of Doom]]'' was this in the original ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' trilogy, with some fans finding it less memorable than ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'', not having the fun or heart of ''[[Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade The Last Crusade]]'' and just being generally mean-spirited, squicky and not in style with the other films.
* While ''Film/IronMan2'' was successful with both audiences and critics, many felt it was not as exciting as the first film.
* ''Film/MissionImpossibleII'' is the most reviled one of the ''M:I'' film series while the [[Film/MissionImpossibleIII third]] was received better and the [[Film/MissionImpossibleGhostProtocol fourth]] and [[Film/MissionImpossibleRogueNation fifth]] are the best reviewed.
* ''Film/AShotInTheDark'' could easily be seen in this light -- it's actually a good movie, but aside from starring Creator/PeterSellers as Inspector Clouseau, being directed by Creator/BlakeEdwards and featuring music by Music/HenryMancini, it has very little in common with ''Film/ThePinkPanther1963''. However, people usually see it as where the series actually started GrowingTheBeard.
* ''Film/QuantumOfSolace'' for the Craig-era ''Film/JamesBond''. It suffered from the writers strike and didn't have the success of its predecessor, ''Film/CasinoRoyale2006'', mostly because [[DarknessInducedAudienceApathy of the grimmer tone]] and being [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks so different in style]] from other Bond films. The next installment, ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'', was much more critically acclaimed.
* Inverted with ''Film/TheHungerGames'' where the [[Film/TheHungerGamesCatchingFire second film]] is viewed as the best of the series. It has the highest ratings from fans and critics.
* Though ''Film/ScaryMovie 2'' isn't considered the worst film in that series, with nearly everyone agreeing the fifth film to be ''far'' worse, it's still generally seen as inferior to the first and third films, with even creators the Wayans Brothers being on record as disliking it due to the rushed writing and filming process.
* ''Film/ExorcistIITheHeretic'' is seen as the worst film in the ''Exorcist'' series. The first film is considered an all-time classic, and the third an underrated cult hit, but the second suffers from a GenreShift away from horror as well as a generally bizarre and unintentionally funny storyline. Opinions on the two attempts at a prequel film (''Exorcist: The Beginning'' and ''Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist'') tend to vary, but very few consider them to actually be worse than the second film.
* While neither ''Film/{{XXX}}'' nor ''Film/XXXReturnOfXanderCage'' exactly got glowing reviews, they were both considered to be a lot of dumb fun, with the former film being an outright box-office hit and the latter doing well internationally. The film in-between then, however, ''Film/XXXStateOfTheUnion'', was a critical and commercial bomb that didn't even star Creator/VinDiesel.
* ''Film/ANightmareOnElmStreetPart2FreddysRevenge'' is considered by some to be one of the worst films in the ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' franchise, and [[Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet3DreamWarriors the third film]] is almost universally considered an improvement, and one of the ''best'' films of the series, and [[Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet4TheDreamMaster the fourth]] has plenty of fans too. The [[Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet5TheDreamChild fifth]] and [[Film/FreddysDeadTheFinalNightmare sixth]] films are hated even worse than the second though.
* Related to ToughActToFollow, Rob Marshall directed the musical ''{{Film/Chicago}}'' - which received critical acclaim, a Best Picture Oscar and helped revive interest in modern musicals. His second - ''Theatre/NineMusical'' - was met with lukewarm reactions and failed to make an impression on the general public. His third ''Film/IntoTheWoods'' was much more successful.
* Phase Two of the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse is seen as the weakest part of the franchise - lacking the fun and novelty of the Phase One films and the emotional highs of the Phase Three films. Of the Phase Two films, only ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' and ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' were universally well-received. Phase Two was also when the MCU started to face criticisms of favoring {{White Male Lead}}s, bland villains and too many jokes - most of which were addressed in the Phase Three films.
* Within the MCU, ''{{Film/Thor}}'' was a well-received film that provided a BreakoutCharacter in Loki (which turned Tom Hiddlestone into just as big a star as Chris Hemsworth). ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'' was much more divisive - with criticisms hurled at it for having a GenericDoomsdayVillain, too much focus on the human characters and some MoodWhiplash involved in the joking around. ''Film/ThorRagnarok'' is the best rated of the movies critically and, while it has a divisive reaction among fans (particularly for the aforementioned jokes), it has made much more of an impression on the public consciousness than the second.
* Inverted for both ''Film/XMen'' trilogies - where the second films (''Film/X2XMenUnited'' and ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'' respectively) are seen as the best. In both cases it's the third films that have the lowest ratings critically.

* Also works with books. ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'' doesn't exactly have many new elements. Well, not many non-ChekhovsGun elements, at least. With the films too, it's regarded as the weakest of them (though Daniel Radcliffe claims it's his personal favourite). According to WordOfGod, she intended to include more {{Foreshadowing}} for later books, but her editor insisted she cut them (as she had yet to achieve her AuteurLicence). As a result, many fans have ItsTheSameNowItSucks reactions.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' was kind of this way with ''Literature/FoolMoon''. It wasn't bad per se, it wasn't as good as ''Literature/StormFront'', but the series certainly improves with ''Literature/GravePeril''. Opinions vary, though.
* Most of the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' fandom declares that ''[[Literature/WarriorCatsTheNewProphecy The New Prophecy]]'', the second arc, just isn't as good as the original series, though many admit that the writing quality, if not the story as well, improves at the third arc.
* While it was actually the third book by Creator/DrSeuss, ''The King's Stilts'' suffered from poor sales compared to ''The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins'', his first book to obtain success with both critics and readers.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DesperateHousewives'' had a decline in quality after season one. Some people say it returned to its premises in season three.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' revival:
** The second series wasn't bad, but it was one of the most uneven. It gave us a few wonderful episodes like "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E3SchoolReunion School Reunion]]", and "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E4TheGirlInTheFireplace The Girl in the Fireplace]]" but also had some of the show's bigger clunkers, like "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E10LoveAndMonsters Love & Monsters]]" and "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E11FearHer Fear Her]]". There was also a story arc that didn't give as great a reveal as other Series, and which many fans felt was there for Creator/RussellTDavies to set up his own show. Also despite many fans loving the Doctor/Rose romance, there is quite a group that felt it was becoming a RomanticPlotTumour, even those who liked Rose in the first Series felt she became unlikeable here.
** The sixth series is this, being the second season of Creator/StevenMoffat's tenure as show runner (with a new Doctor, new companion, and a lot of new people behind the scenes), after an outstanding first season. Again, some of the show's best ("[[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E4TheDoctorsWife The Doctor's Wife]]", "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E10TheGirlWhoWaited The Girl Who Waited]]"), were alongside some of the show's biggest misfires ("[[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E3TheCurseOfTheBlackSpot The Curse of the Black Spot]]", "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E8LetsKillHitler Let's Kill Hitler]]"). Additionally, many felt like Moffat was trying to do a little too much and the plot got tangled, and the characterization of River Song took a big hit. In a [[http://www.nerdist.com/2013/11/doctor-who-a-companions-companion-series-6/ season review]] from the Nerdist (one of ''Doctor Who'''s biggest cheerleaders), the writer even uses the term Sophomore Slump to describe it.
** The 12th Doctor seems to have avoided this, as his second season is generally regarded to be as good as his first, if not better.
* ''Series/{{Elementary}}'''s second season was as enjoyable as the first as far as episodic plots are involved, but was marred by ConflictBall-induced stupidity, Sherlock and Joan bickering rather than getting closer like fans wanted, and Mycroft's drawn out plotline, and a somewhat unbelievable romantic subplot with Joan. Season three, thanks to Kitty's terrific character arc, and a saner dynamic between Joan and Sherlock was a return to form.
* ''Series/FridayNightLights'' had a number of implausible developments in its second season (including a murder perpetrated by two of the main characters) that did not fit at all with the realistic, muted tone of the show. The move to cable in the third season helped it to return to its previous feel.
* The second season of ''Series/GameOfThrones'' was, while still good, generally more uneven than the first season, since while the first book was mostly linear (with basically three main plotlines- the Wall, the East and Kings' Landing/related subplots) with a strong focus character (Ned Stark) and DrivingQuestion (why was Jon Arryn murdered?), the second book ''A Clash of Kings'' suddenly had an explosion in the number of plotlines which were increasingly divorced from each other, and many which were not TV-friendly, which led to the TV writers making deviations that didn't quite work (Jon, Robb and Dany's plotlines were big offenders). These problems were mostly solved in the third and fourth seasons, as splitting the third book ''A Storm of Swords'' allowed the show to breathe, the writers became more confident with reducing the number of plotlines per episode, and the quality of TV original material improved massively.
* The second season of ''Series/{{Lost}}'' has its strengths, most notably introducing fan-favourite characters like Desmond, Ben, and Mr. Eko, but also suffers from many stalls in the plot with little to no questions being answered. The writers apparently picked up on this, as although the third season had a rough start, the remainder of it really started kicking up the plot twists and actually started answering some major plot threads. It still has its detractors, but is often agreed to at least be a step up from season 2.
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' has had numerous ups and downs over the years, but if one considers it in terms of eras rather than seasons, the "new cast" era of the sixth season definitely represents a softmore slump. Gone was the entire cast from the first five years, gone was show-runner Creator/LorneMichaels, gone was the house band, heck, even the writers were mostly different. New producer Jean Doumanian, who had previously been responsible for booking musical guests, didn't know comedy at all, and the new cast was uneven, some very talented and some not so much, but unable to gel into a cohesive comedy unit like the first cast. Instead of Creator/DanAykroyd or Creator/BillMurray naturally rising to the top, Charles Rocket was forced into the "star" role, and utterly failed to connect with audiences, while Creator/EddieMurphy was shoved into the background, not experiencing his break-out status until the following year.
* The second season of ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' is often considered its weakest due to a considerably slower pace and little plot development, with most of the episodes confined to Hershel's farm. Most people agree that Season 3 was a significant improvement.
* The second season of ''Series/OnceUponATime'' was considered a major step-down from the first, particularly in the second half, due to a sudden glut of new plotlines and characters reducing focus from the plotlines and characters the show already had.
* Many fans agree that season 2 of ''Series/{{Victorious}}'' saw a noticeable decline in quality, mainly due to the massive {{Flanderization}} of {{Ensemble Darkhorse}}s Cat (from a MoodSwinger CloudCuckooLander to TheDitz) and Jade (from a JerkWithAHeartOfGold NobleDemon to TheSociopath), the ShipSinking of Cat and Jade's popular OddFriendship, and the excessive CharacterFocus on Tori, when in season 1, each of the characters had their own [[ADayInTheLimelight Days In The Limelight]]. Season 3 [[BrokenBase broke the fanbase]] -- it's either funnier than ever, shows some nice development all around and doesn't just waste characters, or even worse to the point where the show has JumpedTheShark.
* ''Series/{{Homeland}}'''s second season tossed away the cat-and-mouse game between Carrie and Brody in the middle and made the latter as TheMole for the CIA at the former's urging along with some characters holding the IdiotBall. But at least, the season finale paid off with Abu Nazir's ThanatosGambit [[spoiler:by killing majority of the CIA personnel with a bomb and pinning the blame on Brody]].
* ''Series/OneTreeHill'' is a fine example of this trope. After a powerful first season, the second season gave us the undoing of Lucas and Nathan's close relationship, two [[TheScrappy Scrappies]] in the form of [[JerkAss Felix]] and [[{{Wangst}} Anna]], little to no progression with the Brucas or Leyton ships, Haley becoming a rock star for no reason and Keith (once again) allowing himself to be screwed over by his younger brother. If not for the introduction of [[UnpopularPopularCharacter Chris Keller]] and Brooke's CharacterDevelopment, most people would consider the season a complete write off.
* ''{{Series/Charmed}}'' opened with a strong enough first season, but its second is much more divisive. It chose to downplay the supernatural aspects of the sisters' lives -- featuring a RomanticPlotTumour involving Piper's love life and general bad quality of writing. It's regarded as the weakest of the Prue seasons. Seasons 3 and 4 are the most beloved of the show. Interestingly enough within the Paige seasons, Season 5 is the second of those and falls into this too -- with a LighterAndSofter tone and a reliance on standalone episodes, as well as making Phoebe TookALevelInJerkass.
* ''{{Series/Revenge}}'' was considered to have a stellar freshman season which was followed by a rather sub-par second season -- the biggest issue being the KudzuPlot that involved a GreaterScopeVillain, which not only took away the focus from Emily Thorne's quest for revenge on the Graysons but led to some rather blatant ArcFatigue that wore viewers down. It returned to form late in the season with a resurgence in quality, thanks to some well-timed CharacterDeath and finishing TheManBehindTheMan in time for Season 3. The third season revitalised interest with a new ongoing mystery in its opening episode and great character drama which helped make the Myth Stall less blatant, and concluded with some excellent plot resolutions and a last-episode twist that ended it on a high note -- it is considered the second-best season by most. Season 4 created a BrokenBase due to its questionable execution, but is generally regarded as superior to the sophomore season, which was the show's weakest point.
* ''Series/SleepyHollow'', after a popular first season, suffered from a rankings downturn during its second season that sidelined Ichabod and Abbie's relationship in favor of family drama and {{Base Breaking Character}}s. The series was still renewed for a third season, but the ending of ''that'' season [[spoiler:killing off Abbie]] caused many viewers to permanently abandon the show and it was canceled after the fourth season.
* ''Series/LastManStanding'' did well in the ratings in the first season, but the producers and writers decided to {{retool}} the show to help it stand out more against other sitcoms. They [[TheOtherDarrin recasted]] Kristin Baxter and amplified her GranolaGirl characteristics and [[SoapOperaRapidAgingSyndrome aged her son up]]. They also made her son's father Ryan a much more prominent character, changed him into a SoapboxSadie and went with an ''Series/AllInTheFamily'' political angle by contrasting the conservative Mike with Kristin and Ryan's ideals (the twist being that Mike's opinions generally tend to be more reasonable). The ratings managed to stay stable and warrant a third season but most of the changes were met with backlash by the show's fan base (aside from the introduction of EnsembleDarkhorse [[BlackBestFriend Chuck]] [[TheGadfly Larabee]]). The writers began fixing it in the third season by giving Kristin some much needed CharacterDevelopment to put her more in line with her season one characterization, reducing the number of appearances Ryan made, and toning down the political aspects so they became more of an undercurrent to the character relationships.
* Creator/{{NBC}}'s second musical of TheNewTens, 2014's ''[[Theatre/PeterPan Peter Pan Live!]]'', received lower ratings than 2013's ''[[Theatre/TheSoundOfMusic The Sound of Music Live!]]'' and 2015's ''[[Theatre/TheWiz The Wiz Live!]]'' did.[[note]]18.5 million viewers for ''[=TSoM=]'', 9.21M for ''Peter Pan'', and 11.5M for ''The Wiz''.[[/note]] ''Peter Pan'' also stands as the only production of the three to receive zero Emmy awards. With the critical panning of [[Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do The Time Warp Again!]], this may be becoming the StarTrekMovieCurse.

* Music/{{MGMT}} tried to avert this by following up the synth-heavy, well-received ''Music/OracularSpectacular'' with a [[NewSoundAlbum totally unexpected]] surf-rock inspired album, ''Congratulations''. However, this got slightly more mixed reception precisely because of this.
* ''Meat Is Murder'' by Music/TheSmiths is a famous example of this. It's [[FridgeBrilliance actually pretty good]] outside of the title track and contains a few of their best known songs, but it received very mixed reviews when it was first released and is frequently regarded as their weakest album.
* Music/{{Starflyer 59}}'s second album, ''Gold'', is an interesting case. Fans initially disliked it enough that they would tell Jason Martin to his face that his new album was terrible. Then the fans started warming up to the album. Nowadays, the old-time fans are the ones most likely to cite ''Gold'' as Starflyer's best album ever.
* ''Razorblade Suitcase'' by Bush. A highly commercial {{grunge}} band cashing in on the state of popular music at the time probably shouldn't have chosen Music/SteveAlbini as a producer (a man who, given his history with unconventional acts, probably shouldn't have chosen Bush as a client).
* ''Don't Look Back'' by Music/{{Boston}}. For proof, look at their ''Greatest Hits'' album, which essentially contains half their first album, plus a handful of other songs. Then again, it ''does'' happen to be the [[ToughActToFollow second highest-selling debut album of all time]].
* ''Music/VanHalen II'', while not a bad album and has its share of classic songs, is still essentially a retread of their first album, making it one of the band's more forgettable Diamond Dave-era releases.
* The concept of sophomore albums essentially being a slapdash retread of a debut album's concepts/styles gets lampshaded with the title of Music/TalkingHeads' sophomore album ''Music/MoreSongsAboutBuildingsAndFood.'' The album ''itself'' is a subversion; it's generally considered to be much better than their debut.
* Interestingly, the original liner notes to Music/TheBeatles' second album ''Music/WithTheBeatles'' have the band's PR guy Tony Barrow not only openly admit that the album is a blatant attempt to recreate the formula of ''Music/PleasePleaseMe,'' he uses it as a selling point. Then again, when the band in question is ''The Beatles''...
* Music/{{U2}}'s second album ''October''. In their defense, the band had to hastily re-record many of the songs because the original tapes were either lost or damaged.
* Music/FranzFerdinand's second album, ''You Could Have It So Much Better'', while still quite good, is considered to be considerably worse than both their debut SelfTitledAlbum and their third album ''Tonight: Franz Ferdinand''. Most critics attribute this to the fact that they sort of rushed it (releasing it about eighteen months after their debut) in order to prove that they weren't just a flash in the pan, while they could take their sweet time on their debut and the third album (which was released nearly four years later and was something of a NewSoundAlbum).
* Mogwai's second album, ''Come On Die Young'' received lukewarm reviews upon release in opposition to the universally acclaimed ''Mogwai Young Team.''
* Since ''Music/AppetiteForDestruction'' is the best-selling debut albums of all time, it's only natural Music/GunsNRoses would have a tough time following up. Their second release, bundling an old EP with some acoustic numbers, did not reach the popularity of their first album. Even the ''Music/UseYourIllusion'' albums were following a very tough act.
* Manic Street Preachers' second album ''Gold Against The Soul'' is largely regarded as an awkward album, as it is half commercial songs intended to appeal in America, and half ones with intentionally controversial lyrics and somewhat abrasive melodies.
* Music/TheClash's ''Give 'Em Enough Rope''. The album is not bad, it just fails to deliver. This is because it contains a cover version of a well known song ("English Civil War"), a song with the same riff as a previous single ("Guns On The Roof", the single in question being "Clash City Rockers"), and "Drug Stabbing Time", which may be the worst thing (lyrically) the band ever recorded. The "commercial" production touches of Sandy Pearlman (best known for his work with Music/BlueOysterCult) also pissed off a lot of punk purists. However, the album's variety did pave the way for ''Music/LondonCalling'', their most popular album.
* Music/PuddleOfMudd's ''Life on Display'', their second major label album was lambasted upon release. Part of the reason for this is that their previous album, the commercially successful ''Come Clean'', consisted of re-recorded versions of what they considered the strongest songs from their first two independent albums, so the material on that album was already what the band considered their best material.
* Gogol Bordello's second album ''Multi Contra Kulti Vs. Irony'' has always seemed like somewhat of a rush job. Before it came out they released a single "When The Trickster Starts A Poking/Occurance On The Border" which attracted some indie attention. Presumably this was intended as a stop gap but they included both songs on the album anyway. A few of the other tracks on the album like "Let's Get Radical", "Punk Rock Paranada", "Through The Roof And Underground" and "Baro Foro" are also loved by fans, but the rest of it has the air of filler and failed experiments. The band rarely play anything from the album these days except "Baro Foro".
* ''Fairweather Johnson'' by Music/HootieAndTheBlowfish sold decently, but it got [[SoOkayItsAverage rather average reviews]] and quickly fell into obscurity. Granted, their debut album, ''Cracked Rear View'' was a ToughActToFollow, what with it being ''the second best selling debut album of all time'' at the time.
* Music/NickLowe's above-quoted twin songs were inspired by how his previous band Brinsley Schwarz flamed out due to record label mismanagement. Amusingly enough, both the album with them (''Jesus of Cool'') and its successor (''Labour of Lust'') performed more or less equally: they both got acclaimed and spawned a hit single ("I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" for the former, but only in the UK, and "Cruel to Be Kind" for the latter, in the UK, USA and Canada).
* Music/{{Chumbawamba}} attempted to follow up their smash-hit major label debut "Tubthumping" with "WYSIWYG," whose lead-off single ("She's Got All The Friends") was quite obviously an attempt to mimic the shouty-pop of "Tubthumping." No one cared, and Chumbawamba returned to their previous preference of independent releases. (These days, the group would rather pretend that the "Tubthumper" era never occurred.)
* Music/MilliVanilli actually attempted a second album, believe it or not. After their twin 'debut' releases ('All or Nothing' outside of the USA, and the far more commercial 'Girl You Know It's True' in the USA) hit it big, they immediately recorded a follow-up album ('Keep On Running') using the same gimmick -- middle-aged guys on vocals, dreadlock guys on the cover. Shortly after the title track was released as a single, however, the controversy erupted. The new album was retitled 'The Moment of Truth' and credited to The Real Milli Vanilli, showing the actual singers on the cover. In the end, the retooled album was somewhat of a success in Europe, as the group still held popularity there. America, unfortunately, hated the group at this point, and the album never saw a US release. (At least, not in its original form -- the vocals were later re-recorded by other singers, and the album was released under the band name Try 'n' B. This version bombed completely.) They even made an album of the two stars ''themselves singing'' under the name Rob and Fab. It didn't do so well.
* Music/GreenDay's ''Music/{{Insomniac}}'' (though their ''mainstream'' sophomore, as it's their fourth) was not as well received as ''Music/{{Dookie}}'', particularly for being DarkerAndEdgier.
* Music/TheVines got huge press for their debut album, ''Highly Evolved,'' which went platinum in their native Australia and gold in the UK and America. Follow-up ''Winning Days'' had songs written around the time ''Highly Evolved'' was recorded, that didn't make that album. Critics noticed, and while the album went gold in Australia, it fizzled out everywhere else. Not helped by the fact that the frontman, Craig Nicholls, had struggles with UsefulNotes/AspergersSyndrome that caught up with him during the promotion of the album, resulting in an assault charge.
* After breaking out with ''Smash'', Music/TheOffspring failed to deliver the same commercial success with ''Ixnay on the Hombre'', even though it was praised critically, some [[EvenBetterSequel actually considering it superior]] to the album prior.
* According to an article in the LA Times, Music/{{Drake}} [[http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2011/11/drake-takes-cautious-approach-to-stardom-.html tried hard to avoid this]] with his second studio album, ''Take Care'' (hence the title). It was successful, as ''Take Care'' is his most commercially successful album.
* Referenced by Music/FallOutBoy with their song "SophomoreSlump Or Comeback Of The Year".
* Music/PinkFloyd's first album, ''Music/ThePiperAtTheGatesOfDawn'', is often regarded as a masterpiece of psychedelic rock. However, their second album, ''Music/ASaucerfulOfSecrets'', was at the time generally dismissed as an inferior imitation at best, partially [[TheBandMinusTheFace due to the departure of]] Music/SydBarrett.[[note]]After the success of ''Music/TheDarkSideOfTheMoon'', ASOS was re-released as double album together with the first album and turned out to be more successful the second time around. While it's easy to tell that the band were struggling to cope without Barrett, the musical ideas that eventually made Pink Floyd great are clearly present.[[/note]]
* Music/JenniferLopez narrowly averted this with her second album, ''J.Lo.'' While the album and lead single "Love Don't Cost a Thing" started off strong, her follow up singles, "Play" and "I'm Real," both underperformed. It was only after her now-famous remix of "I'm Real" with Ja Rule that things got back on track.
* Music/TheJam's second album ''This is the Modern World'' is generally regarded as a rushed and very much inferior gap-filler between their pretty good debut ''In the City'' and the widely hailed classic third album ''All Mod Cons''.
* Music/DeepPurple Mark II(a) released two classic albums, ''Music/DeepPurpleInRock'' and ''[[Music/MachineHeadAlbum Machine Head]]''. Sandwiched between them is a little lost album called ''Fireball''[[note]]''Fireball'' actually charted higher than ''In Rock'' at the time, but posterity thinks otherwise[[/note]], which has a couple of great songs and a lot of failed ones that attempt to get out of the formula established by ''In Rock'' but end up nowhere. Interestingly, one of their greatest hits, "Strange Kind of Woman", was recorded during the same sessions but not included on the UK album (on the US or Japanese versions of the album, SKOW is included, making it somewhat stronger).
* Music/{{Suffocation}}'s ''Breeding the Spawn'', which is almost entirely down to [[TroubledProduction the production]] -- and hoo boy, is it a mess. The reason is that the band got a pittance from Roadrunner Records, who were too busy chasing mainstream success to [[ScrewedByTheNetwork give a crap about Suffo or any of their other death metal bands]]. As a result, not only could they not get down to Florida to do another session at Morrisound (where they recorded ''Effigy of the Forgotten''), they apparently didn't have enough money to get a half-decent production job. This led to other complaints, namely that [[ItsTheSameNowItSucks they failed to evolve in any meaningful way]] from ''Effigy'' (although either a really good ear or a listen to any of the re-records placed on later albums debunks this and reveals the album as being one of the most technically complex albums not only of their catalog, but in the genre as a whole). Mercifully, they came back with a vengeance on ''Pierced from Within'', which paired the complexity of its predecessor with far better production, courtesy of a return trip to Morrisound.
* Music/JasonAldean's second album, ''Relentless'', was his only one not to produce a Top 5 country hit (although "Johnny Cash" and "Laughed Until We Cried" both just missed, at #6). It's also his weakest-selling album to date. However, he bounced back nicely starting with the third album and ascended to A-lister.
* Jerrod Niemann had a strong start with his first major-label album, ''Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury'', which produced a #1 hit in "Lover, Lover" and a Top 5 hit in "What Do You Want". His next album, ''Free the Music'', performed dismally its lead single barely made Top 20, and the followup barely made Top ''40'', and the album only sold ''eight thousand'' copies. However, he seems to have bounced back quickly with the third album, ''High Noon'', whose lead single "Drink to That All Night" quickly became his second #1 in April 2014.
* Rick Trevino, a minor country music singer in TheNineties. His self-titled first official album[[note]]he had a mostly Spanish-language album out before it, but no singles were released[[/note]] was certified gold and had two Top 5 hits ("She Can't Say I Didn't Cry" and "Doctor Time"). The next album (''Looking for the Light'') had three singles, but the only one that even made Top ''40'' was the poorly received novelty "Bobbie Ann Mason". The third album, ''Learning as You Go'', brought him back to form, with three straight Top 10 hits (the title track, followed by "Running Out of Reasons to Run" his only #1 hit and "I Only Get This Way with You") before the hits tapered off again. (However, he did win a Grammy in 1998 as part of the supergroup Los Super Seven.)
* Randy Houser. His first album had the fan favorite "Anything Goes" (his debut single) and a big Top 5 hit in "Boots On". But his second album was delayed repeatedly due to its singles underperforming, with the second single ("I'm All About It") not even making the final cut of the album. The album was released to little fanfare and nothing else from it went anywhere. He was prepared for a third album, but when its lead single ("In God's Time") went nowhere, he left the label. ''Then'' he signed to Stoney Creek Records, where he released ''How Country Feels''. The title track became his first-ever #1 hit in 2013, followed by a second #1 in "Runnin' Outta Moonlight" and additional Top 10 successes with "Goodnight Kiss" and "Like a Cowboy".
* Music/CatStevens' second album, ''New Masters'', fared so poorly that he wouldn't release his third album, ''Mona Bone Jakon'', until 1970 (although his musical absence was due to contracting tuberculosis and not the album's failure). Then again, ''New Masters'' has one of his most famous (and frequently CoveredUp) songs, "The First Cut Is the Deepest."
* [=SHeDAISY=]'s first album, ''The Whole [=SHeBANG=]'', was certified platinum and produced three straight Top 10 hits on the country charts. They followed it up with ''Knock on the Sky'', which underperformed and had only two singles, both of which barely made Top 30. Their third album, ''Sweet Right Here'', brought them back up to speed with gold sales and the hit singles "Passenger Seat", "Come Home Soon", and "Don't Worry 'Bout a Thing". The last of these mocks their sophomore slump twice with the lines "Ever knocked on the sky and had it fall on your head?" and "Ever found your last record in the bargain bin?"
* This doesn't just apply to albums -- singles can fall victim to this, too, as Music/TheByrds did this with "All I Really Want to Do," released between their two #1 hits, [[Music/MrTambourineMan "Mr. Tambourine Man"]] and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" Beaten by Sonny and Cher's cover of the song, The Byrds' own version peaked at #40, just barely qualifying it as a hit.
* Canadian country music group Emerson Drive. Their self-titled American debut album[[note]]they had two albums in the late 90's under the name 12 Gauge, but neither one had a hit on it[[/note]], for Creator/DreamWorks Records, produced two big hits in "I Should Be Sleeping" and "Fall into Me". ''What If?'' completely tanked stateside, with none of its singles doing anything on the U.S. country charts, although "Waitin' on Me" was a minor hit in Canada and Music/{{Lonestar}} later CoveredUp the album cut "You're Like Comin' Home" to Top 10 success in 2005. On top of that, [=DreamWorks=] Records closed in mid-2005. Two years later, they signed with the small independent Midas Records and released ''Countrified'', which brought the semi-hit "A Good Man" and their only American #1 hit to date, "Moments". Although their momentum dropped off again with the next album, they have continued to be successful in Canada.
* Jamie O'Neal got hit with this pretty hard. Her first album had back-to-back #1 hits with "There Is No Arizona" and "When I Think About Angels" (in fact, the former made her beat out Music/KeithUrban by ''one week'' to become the first Australian with a #1 country hit in the States). The lead single to her second album underperformed so badly that the album didn't even get ''released'', and she was dropped by the label. But her third album (and second released) got her additional hits with "Trying to Find Atlantis" and "Somebody's Hero", the latter her first Top 5 hit since her debut, before her momentum dropped off again.
* While Jack Ingram had been independently releasing albums since 1995, his first to contain a hit was ''Live: Wherever You Are'', a mostly live album {{Book End|s}}ed by the studio tracks "Wherever You Are" and "Love You". The former was a huge hit, becoming the first #1 for the Big Machine label (which would later have phenomenal success with a young Pennsylvanian named Music/TaylorSwift). Ingram's ''second'' Big Machine album was a flop, led off by a country-rock cover of Hinder's "Lips of an Angel". His third album seemed to be headed for a flop too, but in 2009, he scored his second and final Top 10 hit with "Barefoot and Crazy".
* Like the Byrds, Music/DustySpringfield had two big hit singles early in her career, "I Only Want to Be with You" and "Wishin' and Hopin'," and a less memorable single between them, "Stay Awhile."
* Ash's first full-length album, ''1977'', was very well-received, containing such hits as ''Kung Fu'' and ''Girl From Mars''. (The preceding mini-album, ''Trailer'', was also well-received). Then came ''Nu-Clear Sounds'', the second full-length album, which nearly left them bankrupt. After a rethink, they came back with ''Free All Angels'' which contains such hits as ''Burn, Baby, Burn'' and ''Shining Light'' and is considered by many to be their masterpiece.
* Music/GiuseppeVerdi followed up the success of ''Oberto'' with his first (and penultimate) comedy, ''Un Giorno di Regno'', which was pulled after a single performance. In his defense, it had actually been written when he was suffering from CreatorBreakdown, having lost his wife and two infant children.
* After Music/GioachinoRossini established himself as a musician of both serious and comic operas, respectively, with ''Tancredi'' and ''L'italiana in Algeri'', he floundered in both genres with ''Aureliano in Palmira'', now rarely performed, and ''Il turco in Italia'', which has since been VindicatedByHistory. He continued to struggle with his operas until ''Theatre/TheBarberOfSeville'' in 1816.
* Though it peaked at #1 in ''Billboard'' and scored a #1 hit with "I'm a Believer," ''More of Music/TheMonkees'' was basically a slapdash effort of outtakes from the group's first album (with a few other songs, "Believer" included, thrown in) to promote the group while they were touring and [[Series/TheMonkees working on the TV show]].
* Music/TheRollingStones had this on both sides of the Atlantic with ''Music/TheRollingStonesNo2'' in Britain and ''12x5'' in the US. Though both albums are pretty good, they basically follow the format of their debut album, mostly comprising covers of songs over original material.
* Following the success of his first opera, ''Le villi'', Music/GiacomoPuccini suffered this with ''Edgar'', which remains one of his more obscure operas to this day.
* Music/KatyPerry's ''Prism'' fits this with its singles. "Roar" was a #1 smash hit, then the follow-up "Unconditionally" fizzled out pretty quickly after its debut. The third single, "Dark Horse", was an even bigger hit than "Roar".
* Music/{{Rihanna}}'s debut single "Pon De Replay" was a big #2 in 2005. Her follow up "If It's Lovin' That You Want" went nowhere, and then "S.O.S." her lead to her next album became her first #1.
* Hamilton, Joe Frank, & Reynolds: Their self-titled debut (with "Don't Pull Your Love") hit #59, their follow-up only reached #191, and their third album, ''Fallin' in Love'' (featuring the #1 hit of the same name), reached #82.
* If you start with their commercial breakthrough ''As Cruel as School Children'', Gym Class Heroes fit, as their follow-up ''The Quilt'', although their highest charting album on the Billboard 200, didn't produce any hit singles unlike its predecessor and successor.
* Before they recorded their self-titled album, {{Music/TheB52s}} wrote more than an LP's worth of songs, and deliberately saved songs for the followup to try to avoid this: In fact, only three new songs were written during the ''Wild Planet'' sessions, with the rest being songs that they'd been playing live since before the self-titled album came out. ''Wild Planet'' sold better than the debut and was critically well-received... Though the self-titled album is still generally more well-known due to featuring "Rock Lobster", a SignatureSong for the bgand.
* Music/TraceAdkins had a hugely successful debut album ''Dreamin' Out Loud''. His followups ''Big Time'' and ''More...'' sold far more poorly, with neither scoring a major hit. But he got back on track with ''Chrome'', ''Comin' On Strong'', and ''Songs About Me'', which were far more successful and notched some of his biggest hits such as "Chrome", "Hot Mama", "Songs About Me", and "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk".

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* The first ''Wrestling/WrestleMania'' was a sensation that helped usher in the Rock n Wrestling Era - complete with high profile appearances from Mr T and Cyndi Lauper. The second event was regarded as a disappointment - thanks to the poor decision to broadcast it from three different arenas - and most of the matches being short and unmemorable. With the third ''Mania'', the event became the celebrated tradition it's now regarded as in the WWE.
* The second season of ''Wrestling/WWEToughEnough'' is regarded as the worst. The first was a success, but the training was viewed as a disappointment. It even underwent MemeticMutation for Al Snow constantly saying "these kids aren't ready" in all the confessionals. The finale was a debacle too - with the last minute decision to have two female winners instead of one male and one female. The third season was viewed as a little better - and produced more wrestlers who would make an impression in the business.
* The first season of NXT introduced Wrestling/DanielBryan to a WWE audience and produced many more future regulars such as Wrestling/WadeBarrett, David Otunga, Heath Slater and {{Wrestling/Ryback}} (albeit he had to be repackaged after an injury) - as well as the memorable Nexus stable. The second season was viewed as a step down, especially with its disaster of a finale. Any of the contestants of that season didn't achieve success until years later or after being repackaged (and their time on NXT therefore ignored). The third all women's season wasn't necessarily seen as good, but still produced more prominent stars in the form of Wrestling/AJLee, {{Wrestling/Kaitlyn}} and {{Wrestling/Naomi}}.

* In the UsefulNotes/EnglishPremierLeague this tends to manifest as "Second Season Syndrome," whereby a newly promoted team will excel in their first season, only to crash and burn (or at least do much poorer) in their second season after promotion. Examples include:
** 1996/97 -- Middlesbrough, after finishing 12th and comfortably surviving in their first Premier League season, finished 19th and were relegated. This one was quite controversial, as the club only went down because they were deducted three points for failing to fulfil a fixture, though it would have been a much poorer second season regardless.
** 2000/01 -- Bradford City had gotten into the top-flight for the first time in ''77 years'' for the previous season, and survived on the last day against all the odds by beating Liverpool. Unfortunately, promotion-winning coach Paul Jewell then left in an ultimately doomed attempt to revive the fortunes of local rivals Sheffield Wednesday, his assistant Chris Hutchings proved severely out of his depth and was sacked just a few months into the following campaign, and the club were relegated at the end of the season, sending them into a downward spiral that saw them relegated three times over the next six years.
** 2001/02 -- Ipswich Town, in probably the TropeCodifier for Second Season Syndrome, finished third-bottom and were relegated (only even finishing that high due to a late run that ultimately wasn't enough) just one year after finishing in fifth place and qualifying for the UEFA Cup in their Premier League debut campaign.
** 2005/06 -- West Bromwich Albion had the previous year became the first side to beat the "Curse of Christmas," a long-standing record of whichever side was bottom on Christmas Day going down. Unfortunately, all it ended up doing was postponing relegation by a year, and they just went down this season instead.
** 2006/07 -- Wigan Athletic and West Ham United had both done well in the previous season, securing solid mid-table finishes (Wigan's still being the highest-ever for that club). In this particular case both clubs actually ''did'' manage to avoid relegation by winning on the last day... but it was highly controversial in West Ham's case, as the goal that meant the difference between survival and relegation for them (and by extension sent down Sheffield United) was scored by Carlos Tevez, who was playing for the club under an arrangement later ruled to be illegal.
** 2007/08 -- Reading had finished a comfortable eighth in their first-ever top flight season the previous year, but a combination of a horrible mid-season run and a late revival by Fulham saw Reading go down on the last day.
** 2009/10 -- Hull City had a mild case of this; they'd only barely survived the previous year, ultimately staying up by virtue of good early-season form, but this time around they floundered all season and were relegated, only kept off bottom spot by a financially stricken Portsmouth side who also had a massive points deduction.
** 2010/11 -- Birmingham City, after yo-yoing between the top two divisions in the previous decade, finally seemed to have established themselves the previous season with their highest finish since 1959. This season, despite winning the League Cup they were relegated on the last day of the season.
** 2012/13 -- Queens Park Rangers survived in their first top-flight campaign in 15 years despite a late wobble the previous season, but this time around they recorded the worst start in Premier League history and finished bottom.
** 2014/15 -- Hull City ''again''; the previous season they earned their highest-ever league finish and were FA Cup runners-up, but this time around they struggled a lot more and were relegated two weeks before the season ended.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry 2'' was the video game equivalent of being booted in the crotch by a large angry golfer. ''Devil May Cry 3'' was aces. These days, Capcom has taken to pretending the second game never happened; ''3'' was a prequel, ''4'' is set between the first and second, and the characters frequently comment on having no memory of the second game when they appear in other media (such as ''VideoGame/ViewtifulJoe'' or ''[[VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3 Marvel vs. Capcom 3]]''), the only exception being Dante's {{guest|Fighter}} appearance in ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne]] [[UpdatedRerelease Maniax]]'' (based on his ''[=DMC2=]'' appearance, as it was the most recent release at the time of the game). Neither Hideki Kamiya (the creator of ''DMC'') nor Team Little Devils (Kamiya's personal dev team for ''DMC'') were involved with ''2'', the project instead going to a different team under the direction of Hideki Itsuno (director) and Tsuyoshi Tanaka (producer). That being said, this same group of developers was responsible for [[SurprisinglyImprovedSequel the third game]], which handily proceeded to WinBackTheCrowd (critically, at least; sales were hurt somewhat by consumer wariness due to the second game's poor reception).
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'':
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBrosTheLostLevels'', the Japanese sequel to ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros1'', was a NintendoHard MissionPackSequel of the first game that went unreleased outside of Japan until several years later. ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2'', the US sequel, was well-received but also a DolledUpInstallment barely playing like other titles. ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3'', however, was a worldwide success, providing several positive changes while still retaining the style of the first game.
** The phenomenon repeated itself with the 3D ''Mario'' games. ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'' was widely beloved. ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine'' was much more divisive, stripping away the franchise's most [[MascotMook iconic]] [[PowerUp features]] and adding [[ScrappyMechanic some polarizing gameplay elements]]. While it has become more beloved with time, it's still stuck between ''64'' and ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'', both of which are near universally beloved games in the franchise, if not the entire platformer genre.
** ''VideoGame/VirtualBoyWarioLand'' is considered a very worthy entry in the ''VideoGame/WarioLand'' series, but having to deal with the graphics of the UsefulNotes/VirtualBoy on top of being pretty short means that even the few people who have played it don't consider it better than the preceding ''VideoGame/WarioLandSuperMarioLand3'' or the succeeding ''VideoGame/WarioLandII''.
* Among the ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' games, ''{{VideoGame/Persona 2}}'' ''Eternal Punishment'', the second half of the ''Persona 2'' duology, is considered this; the main character from the first half ursurps the female lead's position about 2/3 of the way through the game, there's a lot of reliance on throwbacks to the ''first'' game, and the lore isn't quite as intriguing (or outright batshit insane) as ''Innocent Sin's''. The main liking factor for it, though, is the well-developed adult cast (the only adult cast, whereas every other game stars high school students).
* ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaWarriorWithin'' is considered by many to be an example of DarkerAndEdgier GoneHorriblyWrong. ''The Two Thrones'' goes so far as to {{Retcon}} the Prince's behavior in that game into being a ''curse''.
* The second ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament'' game, ''Unreal Tournament 2003'' was such a disappointment that Epic gave out rebates to owners who traded it in for the much better ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament2004''. Turned UpToEleven with ''Unreal II: The Awakening'', which Epic outsourced to a third-party developer, and ended up being so badly received that it was an outright FranchiseKiller for the single-player ''Unreal'' games.
* ''VideoGame/{{Dizzy}} II: Treasure Island Dizzy'' is rampantly the least popular of the series, due to the extraordinary FakeDifficulty of Dizzy spending the entire game as a OneHitPointWonder.
* On the NES, ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'' gets heck for being a [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks radical departure]] from the rest of the series. A reason was because the usual conventions and mechanics of the franchise weren't fully defined yet, hence why the developers had tried to expand the gameplay features. Though later games returned to more classical formats, it did leave a legacy (for example, it introduced elements to the ''Zelda'' games like magic, towns, Dark Link, and character names like Saria or Nabooru),
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaIISimonsQuest'' was criticized for opting for a different gameplay approach to that of the original game, but its [[{{Metroidvania}} gameplay style]] would later become the series' bellwether after ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'' perfected the formula.
* ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'':
** ''VideoGame/MetroidIIReturnOfSamus'' on the UsefulNotes/GameBoy suffered this due to some gameplay changes and a more linear progression. And until [[VideoGame/MetroidSamusReturns its long-awaited remake]] (over two and a half decades since the original's release), it felt very dated visually.
** ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime2Echoes'' is considered a bit of a slump for the ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeTrilogy''. While it's generally agreed to be a good game, the [[NintendoHard brutal difficulty]], key collection, and ammo system tend to draw ire. It's also criticized for having many of the same upgrades and weapons as the original, with the only really new upgrades being the Seeker Launcher, Screw Attack, and the Echo Visor. Another point of debate is the multiplayer mode.
* ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyJusticeForAll'' didn't quite match up to the first game, mostly due to its widely despised third case, and the new health system being rather punishing at times. Fortunately, the next game, ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyTrialsAndTribulations'' got the series on track, mostly thanks to having a better overall storyline (''Justice For All'' is the only game without an over-arching storyline). On the other hand, ''Justice For All'' has chapter 2-4, "Farewell, My Turnabout", widely considered to be [[Awesome/VideoGameLevels one of the best cases in the series.]]
* ''VideoGame/EchoBazaar'' has a quasi-example, once you start the story line to become a Person Of Some Importance. All the POSI content requires either huge amounts of time and in-game resources or Fate (bought with actual money) to achieve, and are mainly {{cosmetic award}}s. Contrast to the earlier game, where things were much more reasonably priced.
* ''VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar'' turned off many fans, who felt that it sacrificed much of the complexity and freedom that made the original so enjoyable. ''[[VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution Human Revolution]]'' has been [[WinBackTheCrowd received significantly better]].
* ''Franchise/MegaMan'':
** ''VideoGame/MegaManII'' for the Game Boy was derided due to its easy level design, flawed soundtrack, and generally half-hearted feel. The following three Game Boy entries, however, got successively better.
** ''VideoGame/MegaManX2'' borders on being this. While certainly not a bad game overall, it added virtually nothing to the first game's gameplay, dropped its dark, stylish visuals in favor of a style more akin to the ''VideoGame/MegaManClassic'' series, and was just generally somewhat forgettable. ''VideoGame/MegaManX3'', while a ContestedSequel, made more of an effort to distinguish itself from the first game, and then ''VideoGame/MegaManX4'' ended up being a major return to form.
** ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce 2'' was poorly received, probably due to discarding most of the first game's stellar themes. It also had much less nuanced Villains of the Week (From sympathetic individuals possessed by manipulative beings in the first game to already evil villains who fuse with almost mindless BloodKnight entities in the second}. The easily broken battle system probably didn't help either. The third game was better-received, but doesn't seem to have been enough to save the series.
* ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime'', while considered a ''good'' game in the ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi'' series and is one of the darkest entries, is generally not as well-received as its acclaimed [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga predecessor]] or its [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory successor]]. Part of this has to do with the American version being ChristmasRushed, which explains why the difficulty in that version is higher then normal. For example, grinding is more as a necessity because the bosses health are twice as high as they were in the Japanese and European releases, which have been {{nerf}}ed in those versions. It's telling that both ''Superstar Saga'' and ''Bowser's Inside Story'' got [[VideoGameRemake remakes]] for UsefulNotes/Nintendo3DS with their own minion-based AnotherSideAnotherStory companion games, while ''Parners in Time'' is left out of that luxury.
* The second ''VideoGame/NancyDrew'' PC Game, ''Stay Tuned for Danger,'' suffered from this, since Her Interactive was still working out the kinks. It had a rather frustrating InsurmountableWaistHeightFence (namely, you started off the game picking a lock with a credit card; later on, other doors, which are identical and in the same building absolutely '''have''' to be opened with keys), a pretty bad loophole (if you enter a certain room before picking up two necessary tools, you are unable to leave again to get them and Game Over), a final game that was so frustratingly difficult they had to release a patch to ease the frustration, a pretty clumsy overworld map (where you had to click on a location, listen to Nancy hail a cab, talk to the driver, then arrive, which is frustrating after several repetitions; the other early games all took place in one location, avoiding the problem). It's telling that, thanks to TechnologyMarchesOn, the first two games were discontinued because of issues with newer sound and video cards. The first, ''Secrets Can Kill'' was later remastered and re-released in 2010, but there seems to be no indication they plan to do the same with ''Stay Tuned for Danger.''
* Whereas ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}} 1942'' was both a commercial and critical hit, its immediate sequel, ''Battlefield Vietnam'' got unspectacular reviews and sank without a trace in the sale charts. Nowadays, most people forget that particular ''Battlefield'' game ever existed, and those that do remember it generally rank it as the worst game in the franchise. However, the series' third entry, ''Battlefield 2'' was a return to form, and an even bigger hit than the first game.
* Kaos Studios was formed out of the core developers for the "Desert Combat" mod of Battlefield 1942. They went onto create ''VideoGame/FrontLinesFuelOfWar'', which was an extremely mediocre effort that didn't rise to any great heights, certainly not anything close to the love their Desert Combat mod inspired.
* ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'' was hit with this for its second game but not from the usual stuff. In fact the gameplay was vastly improved over its predecessor. What happened was that the first games director, Yoko Taro, was not part of development of the second game leading it to have a fairly standard idealistic JRPG plot as a result in stark contrast with the first games CrapsackWorld setting and nihilistic tone.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' Episode II was hit with a bad case of TheyChangedItNowItSucks. So much so that many of the changes were reversed in Episode III, including the voice acting.
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'' went through this with ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''. While many consider it decent for reasons such as its excellent companions, it fell short of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' in almost every other way, with CutAndPasteEnvironments everywhere, tons of bugs and many of them [[GameBreakingBug game-breaking]], overly simplified gameplay, and an extremely small world to explore. Despite some porting issues and a few other complaints, ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' has been widely hailed by critics and fans as an excellent return to form for the franchise, attempting to correct almost all of the problems mentioned above, in addition to taking ''numerous'' seemingly unimportant plot points and items from ''[[InnocuouslyImportantEpisode Dragon Age II]]'' and [[ChekhovsGun making them major plot elements]] in ''Inquisition''.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' is likely the least popular game in the series. At the time, it was one of the most experimental {{Role Playing Game}}s, with a very intricate leveling system as opposed to the original's "EXP = Level Up" model, and the plot was very intricate for an NES game, but it had many [[GameBreakingBug Game Breaking Bugs]] (Ultima did nothing whatsoever, most infamously) and the leveling system was so badly implemented that many players wound up ordering their characters to attack each other to train them up. The game [[NoExportForYou didn't make its way out of Japan for years,]] which denied it even the NostalgiaFilter, and by the time it was released to other regions (thankfully fixing many of the game's faults in the process), nobody thought it especially innovative anymore. ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' is much more favourably looked upon for its world design, [[LighterAndSofter more upbeat story]], and for introducing the job system. The only knock generally held against it is its [[NintendoHard brutally unfair difficulty]].
* While ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' is generally considered a fantastic game, [[VideoGame/DarkSoulsII its sequel]] is very divisive among the fanbase and often thought to not be as good, having a number of issues the first game didn't with things such as level design, enemy placement, and boss fights. While the UpdatedRerelease ''Scholar of the First Sin'' fixed many of the issues, it also brought along some of its own and still left in many of the {{Scrappy Mechanic}}s of the original release. ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsIII'', along with the series' SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}'', are considered to be returns to form, bringing back what fans loved about the original ''Dark Souls'' and ironing out the issues of ''II''. It's notable that the head director of the series, Hidetaka Miyazaki, did not work on ''II'', which is thought to explain some of its problems.
* [[Creator/BenCroshaw Many fans]] consider ''VideoGame/BioShock2'' to be the worst game in the series, as it stripped away the first game's {{Deconstruction}} of the ButThouMust nature of video games and changed the genre from Horror to something more akin to a Tower Defense Game. Creator/IrrationalGames apparently agrees, because no reference was made to the events of the game in ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'''s [=DLC=] ''VideoGame/BurialAtSea'', which took place in Rapture and [[spoiler:set in motion the events of the first game]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* While the [[LetsPlay/TwitchPlaysPokemonCrystal second]] ''[[LetsPlay/TwitchPlaysPokemonCrystal run]]'' managed to more or less avert this, defying expectations (though it might still vaguely qualify due to being caught between the FirstInstallmentWins group and those who believe that [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness it didn't really hit its stride until the third run]]), ''Season'' 2 of ''LetsPlay/TwitchPlaysPokemon'' got hit with this hard, containing just five runs, two of which were more or less overlooked and one of which is largely considered a failed experiment in keeping things fresh (also plagued by mild {{squick}}iness for some due to the romhacks being used and some community drama).

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''[[WesternAnimation/TotalDrama Total Drama Action]]'' was not well-received by fans of the original series, mainly due to ''massive'' amounts of {{Flanderization}}. Most of the afflicted characters SnapBack in the third season and it seems like the writers are trying very hard to pretend none of it ever happened (to the point of creating continuity errors in later seasons).
* Season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' is [[OldShame loathed]] by series creators Matt and Trey to the point that they have called it their Sophomore Slump. It is the only season they have never done commentary for.
* Book Two: Spirits of ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' received polarized reception from fans and critics due to its writing and animation[[note]]-- half of the season was done by Creator/StudioPierrot, rather than Creator/StudioMir[[/note]], and is generally agreed upon to be the weakest season of the show by even its most die-hard fans. The following two books were much better received, with many season two's events made fun of in the final season (such as [[spoiler:Toph]] calling the Water Tribe Civil War "[[SelfDeprecation nonsense]]", while the simplistic, uncharismatic BigBad Unalaq was [[TakeThatScrappy hilariously lambasted]] in a recap episode by Varrick).
* ''WesternAnimation/DanVs'': Season 2 is disliked by a lot of fans for having less BlackComedy and focusing more on Elise. Season 3 is considered an improvement, but there are still some fans who dislike it.
* The second season of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' is victim of this, despite also managing to contain some of the most universally loved episodes in the show's entire run.
* Creator/RankinBassProductions' second Christmas special, ''The Cricket on the Hearth'', stands as the least-beloved of the four they produced during TheSixties, due to a nonsensical, MoodWhiplash-ridden script, and shoddy 2D visuals. It didn't even receive a home video release until after rights to R/B's earliest specials shifted from Family Home Entertainment to Golden Book Family Entertainment (later known as Classic Media).