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->''"If there's one thing history has taught us, besides not to piss off people called Genghis or put lead in your water pipes, it's that if you're going to make something incredibly good that becomes frighteningly popular, make sure it's the last thing you ever make in your entire life because otherwise you get to spend the rest of your creative career struggling under the weight of high expectations and bricks."''
-->-- '''Ben [[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation 'Yahtzee']] Croshaw''', ''VideoGame/{{Spore}} [[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/218-Spore Review]]''

A work which attains such overwhelming success that it dooms its creator's later efforts to languish in its shadow. The follow-up may have its own merits, but fans will dismiss it because [[ReplacementScrappy it doesn't stand up to the original]].

Essentially the creative version of [[TypeCasting typecasting]].

Contrast ProtectionFromEditors, for when the new creations ''do'' suck but get published anyway, or need more work if they're not going to suck but no one dares tell you this. Compare with GloryDays. See also FirstInstallmentWins, SophomoreSlump, PostScriptSeason, and OneHitWonder. If fans becomes split over this, it will lead to a BrokenBase. This will often lead to {{sequelitis}} and/or {{contested sequel}}s. Frustration over this trope may cause CreatorBacklash.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Believed to be the reason why ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' author Nobuhiro Watsuki was not (and likely will never be) able to have another series which runs longer than 10 volumes, the magic number where ''Manga/BusouRenkin'' ended publication. ''Manga/GunBlazeWest'' was cancelled after only three.
* After ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', Creator/HideakiAnno tried to make "serious" films, and publicly bashed both ''Evangelion'' fans and {{otaku}}s in general. He never managed to make anything as widely successful or influential as ''Eva'', and eventually gave in and created the ''Anime/RebuildOfEvangelion'' series over a decade later.
* ''Manga/SaintSeiya'' fell victim to this. Kurumada's first runaway hit was ''Ring Ni Kakero'', a boxing drama although with its share of Shonen elements. ''Saint Seiya'' was the closest he got, but it lost popularity and was forced to conclude with a BittersweetEnding. A few of his works have tanked and the only series post-Kakero he was able to end on his terms was ''Anime/BtX''.
** On the other hand, ''Manga/SaintSeiya'' is [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff the only one of Kurumada's works that enjoys worldwide popularity]] (even more than twenty years after it was first published,) and it continues to generate spinoffs and prequels, and in 2012 even a reboot. ''Ring Ni Kakero'' is all but unknown outside of Japan.
* Likewise, Creator/NaokoTakeuchi was less than well received after having completed ''Manga/SailorMoon'', and never managed to ''finish'' anything else afterwards, leaving several OrphanedSeries behind.
* YoshiyukiTomino had this problem with ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam''. [[CreatorBacklash He became very bitter over this]], but has lightened up considerably since working on ''Anime/TurnAGundam''.
* Yudetamago ran into this after concluding ''Manga/{{Kinnikuman}}''.
* Director Kazuki Akane started strong with ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'', which became wildly popular (even broadcast on FoxKids in the United States), and remains to this day one of the most iconic anime from the 1990s. His next project was ''Anime/{{Geneshaft}}'', which was seen by few and hated by most who did. His next creation was ''Anime/HeatGuyJ''; most who know of it know only about how much Geneon paid for it (as much as Funimation paid for ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist''), and how poorly it sold. Next came ''{{Anime/Noein}}'', which fared better in popularity and reception, but only modestly. His latest work was ''Anime/BirdyTheMighty: Decode'', which sold very poorly in Japan.
* Tetsuo Hara never illustrated another manga series that was as wildly popular as ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar''. ''Hana no Keiji'' (a fictionalized biography of Keiji Maeda) was somewhat of a moderate success, but most of his other titles (''Cyber Blue'', ''Takeki Ryusei'' and ''Rintaro Nakabo'') never managed to last more than a couple of volumes. Even ''Manga/FistOfTheBlueSky'', a prequel to ''North Star'' set during the early [=20th=] century, concluded in a rather lukewarm matter after the magazine that was publishing it folded and Hara went on to work on a different title.
* Creator/AkiraToriyama has created quite a few short manga since ''Manga/DragonBall'', but they've barely registered on most people's radars. It might be because they're almost all single-volume series, though. He's never even attempted a long series since ''Dragon Ball'' ended, partially for fear of this trope. He does avert this trope in the video game realm, where he remains quite popular as the head artist for the cult classic games ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', ''VideoGame/BlueDragon'', and the ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' series. His earlier series, ''Manga/DrSlump'', was a huge success in its native Japan, and was considered the tough act there.
* Office Academy, the company behind ''[[Anime/UchuuSenkanYamato Space Battleship Yamato]]'', made several forgettable series such as ''Anime/SpaceCarrierBlueNoah'' that failed to gain recognition inside or outside of Japan, unlike ''Yamato''.
* Quite possibly the reasoning for nothing but more ''Franchise/YuGiOh'' from Kazuki Takahashi. And even then, his input has fallen from writing the manga (''Yu-Gi-Oh!''), to having major input and plot work on the anime (''[[Anime/YuGiOhGX GX]]''), to just doing character designs (''[[Anime/YuGiOh5Ds 5Ds]]'' and ''[[Anime/YuGiOhZEXAL Zexal]])''.
* None of Ryosuke Takahashi's works after ''Anime/ArmoredTrooperVOTOMS'' managed to achieve the same level of acclaim and longevity as that aforementioned series, with ''[[Anime/RoninWarriors Yoroiden Samurai Troopers]]'' coming the closest (but even that didn't last past [[TheNineties the early nineties]]). As a result, he's ended up handling most of ''VOTOMS''' prequel and sequel [[OriginalVideoAnimation OVAs]].
* The ''Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure'' series, considered to be one of the best seasons in the entire ''Anime/PrettyCure'' franchise, due to its DarkerAndEdgier plot and having even more over-the-top fight scenes compared to its predecessors has left the few seasons after it as part of this trope.
** ''Anime/PrettyCureAllStars'' movies get hit with this as well, as ''DX 3'' and its fans argue that its over the top moments make the succeeding ''New Stage'' series seem lacking by comparison.
** ''Anime/GoPrincessPrettyCure'' is being considered the best thing since ''HeartCatch'', so inevitably, ''Anime/MahoGirlsPrecure'' is already dividing the fan base, ''again''.
* After ''Manga/SazaeSan'' had become a huge success and the most viewed anime ever (a record which remains unbeaten to this day), Machiko Hasegawa created a new comic strip called ''Granny Mischief'' about an old woman who always spent her time creating trouble for her fellow man with all kinds of pranks. It's just as funny as ''Sazae-san'', but never became quite as popular.
* '' Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs'' was a major improvement from the first series for many fans. ''[[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikerS StrikerS]]'', however, wasn't that popular with fans because it didn't live up to the complexity and awesomeness that was A's. The manga sequels and movies have suffered from this as well.
* ''Manga/{{Bartender}}'': According to Hanegashima, every cocktail is a Tough Act to Follow. Either you underperform, and the customer will never return, or you do your best, and your customer will come back, and expect you to do even better.
* This is probably the reason why OdaEiichiro has said he won't do anything else after ''Manga/OnePiece'' is finished.
* Following the cult success of ''Anime/BloodTheLastVampire'' and ''Anime/BloodPlus'', Creator/{{CLAMP}} is entrusted to work with Creator/ProductionIG on their own version, ''Anime/BloodC''. However, the overall reception of the franchise is [[LoveItOrHateIt mixed]], coupled with the low BD/DVD sales of the TV series and the movie being bombed in the Japanese box office despite the latter being funded by the Japanese government. This also affected CLAMP's later works.
* ''Gunnm Last Order'' is an example. The original ''Gunnm'' was a huge success; it was translated into English under the name ''BattleAngelAlita'' and became a must read manga classic for people getting into the genre. The sequel is no where near as successful and only survived mainly because of dedicated fans of the original giving it a cult following.
* ''GunsmithCats'' was a very popular GirlsWithGuns manga and did good enough to get a well made 3 episode OVA that also became very popular. The follow up ''Gunsmith Cats Crash'', was [[FanonDiscontinuity rejected by most fans]] for it being just silly action with no focus on plot and character development like the original.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Creator/ArtSpiegelman when it comes to his "comix" duology ''ComicBook/{{Maus}}''. He has been quite vocal about how he never expected the "monument to my father" to become so popular, nor did he expect that his later works would be greeted by wishes for ''Maus III''.
-->'''Spiegelman:''' I'm proud that I did ''Maus''; I'm glad that I did it. I don't really regret it. But the aftershock is that no matter what else I do or even most other cartoonists might do, it’s like, well, there’s this other thing that stands in a separate category and it has some kind of canonical status.
* Jim Starlin, who thanks to his masterful work crafting ''ComicBook/TheInfinityGauntlet'', has every comic book given to him compared to it and rarely in a favorable light.
* After Creator/KurtBusiek's historic ''[[Comicbook/TheAvengers Avengers]]'' run, Creator/GeoffJohns took over the tile, only to quickly quit and jump ship back to DC due to ExecutiveMeddling. Chuck Austen followed Johns' run, and was widely considered to be one of the worst writers in the franchise's history. Sales fell so sharply that Marvel cancelled the book with ''Comicbook/AvengersDisassembled'' and allowed Creator/BrianBendis to reboot it as ''Comicbook/NewAvengers'', which was a much stronger seller.
* Creator/ChrisClaremont on the Comicbook/{{X-Men}}; only a bare handful of writers have managed to carve an identity out on the X-Books that did not have Claremont's shadow hanging over them. Similarly, everything Chris Claremont himself has done since then has been inevitably been declared not as good as his original X-Men run.
* Comicbook/GreenLantern has Ron Marz, who made the book a hit with the introduction of Kyle Rayner of Green Lantern. When he left the book, he was replaced with Creator/JuddWinick, who's run started to bleed readership. Following him was Ben Raab, whose run was so reviled that many Rayner fans blame him (in addition to Winick) for sinking the sales of title and basically forcing DC to bring Hal Jordan back as Green Lantern to stop the bleeding.
* Keith Giffen and [=J.M. DeMatteis=] inevitably have every series they launch compared to their classic ''ComicBook/JusticeLeagueInternational'' run, no matter how different their new projects are. They finally got in and accepted this, as they started writing a new Justice League spin-off as part of the ComicBook/{{New 52}}.
* Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster never created anything that people remembered to nearly the extent of {{Franchise/Superman}}. Same with {{Franchise/Batman}}'s creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger ([[MyRealDaddy who created most of Batman's traits and key characters]] though Kane got sole credit due to a contract stipulation until 2015 when Finger was finally given co-creator credit on Batman associated media).
* Cullen Bunn had the unfortunate luck of writing for [[{{ComicBook/Venom}} Agent Venom]] right after Rick Remender's run, which was praised by fans and critics alike. While plenty of people liked his work on the title, it was almost universally viewed as a step down in quality and the book ended up being [[CutShort cancelled]] right in the middle of resolving it's MythArc.
* Christopher Priest basically redefined ComicBook/BlackPanther in every way and to this day his run is considered by many to be the greatest book Panther has ever had. He was followed by Reginald Hudlin, who's work was immediately hit by the this trope in full force. The new volume was tolerated only as long as Hudlin was basically siphoning off Priest's work; the second he decided to go in his direction, sales crashed and the book was dead in the water in under a year. Black Panther hasn't had an ongoing of his own ever since.
* [[AvertedTrope Averted]] with ''ComicBook/{{Seconds}}''. While Bryan Lee O'Malley one-upping himself over ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim'' was going to be very difficult, the general consensus seems to be that he succeeded.
* Sombra's issue of ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFiendshipIsMagic'' was very well received, being well written and giving what fans wanted from his backstory, and set the high bar against which the subsequent issues would be measured.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* The Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon:
** One of Creator/WaltDisney's early successes was the cartoon short Disney/TheThreeLittlePigs" (which featured the song "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?") Other follow-up cartoons with the same characters were less successful, which prompted Walt to comment, "You can't top pigs with pigs."[[note]] He actually made that comment ''before'' he made the other two cartoons. He made them anyway as a sort of proof-of-point to his distributors, who just wanted more of the same.[[/note]]
** Disney suffered this after his attempts at surpassing ''Disney/SnowWhite'''s success [[Disney/{{Pinocchio}} with]] [[Disney/{{Fantasia}} several]] [[Disney/{{Bambi}} experimental films]] ended in disaster in the 40's[[note]]the only success he had in the 40's was ''Disney/{{Dumbo}}'', a low-budget feature[[/note]], not having another big hit until 1950's ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'' gave the company the boost it needed.
** ''Disney/TheSwordInTheStone'' often gets overshadowed / forgotten because of its much more well known, much more popular predecessor, ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians''.
** ''Disney/TheRescuersDownUnder'' had a ''very'' tough act to follow in ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' and boy, did that turn out ugly (receiving mixed-to-negative reviews and flopping at the box office). ''Down Under'' is today one of Disney's obscurities, barely known by the general public (also being followed by ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast''), although it has become a CultClassic in its own right.
** In TheNineties, ''Disney/{{Pocahontas}}'', ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'' and ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' were the three films immediately following ''Disney/TheLionKing''. These are also the three most controversial 1990s Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon entries, although ''Herc'' was received much better than ''Hunchback'', and both were received better than the decidedly SoOkayItsAverage ''Pocahontas''. ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'' and ''Disney/{{Tarzan}}'' in turn were received better than ''Herc'' and ''Hunchback''. All five, however, are usually as fondly remembered by children of TheNineties as the earlier canon installments.
** ''[[Disney/{{Fantasia}} Fantasia 2000]]'' came a whopping sixty years after ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}''. To say this trope was fully into effect at the time of the release is putting it mildly.
** Ironically ''reversed'' in between the releases of ''Disney/HomeOnTheRange'' and ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog''. ''Range'' was so badly received by fans and critics alike, ''Princess'' could be nothing but spectacular compared to it.
** ''Disney/BigHero6'' got hit with this from two totally different sides. Firstly, it was Disney's follow-up animated film to ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' which had broken out the previous year to become a cultural phenomenon and the highest-grossing animated film of all time, meaning that the next Disney film was basically doomed from the beginning to languish in its shadow, no matter how good it actually was or how much money it actually made. Secondly, it was the follow-up Marvel-based film to ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', which had dominated the latter half of summer 2014. And so despite getting a 90% Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes and grossing more than ''Tangled'' and ''Wreck-It Ralph'' did, ''Big Hero 6'' became noted for deviating from the freewheeling optimism of ''Frozen'', looking decidedly "DarkerAndEdgier" than most recent family films, and was considered a disappointment [[DisproportionateRetribution simply because it]] [[FelonyMisdemeanor didn't break out the way that]] ''Frozen'' and ''Guardians'' did (even though it was the second highest-grossing film of 2014 ''not'' based on a popular property). Its opening weekend was considered so unremarkable that the Hollywood trades didn't even focus on ''Big Hero 6'' taking the #1 spot in the U.S., but rather on Creator/ChristopherNolan's hugely-anticipated ''Film/{{Interstellar}}'' [[AnimationAgeGhetto "embarrasingly" taking the #2 spot behind a Disney cartoon]].
* Creator/{{Pixar}}
** [[Creator/PixarRegulars Lee Unkrich]] admitted to waking up physically ill from worry while directing ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'', afraid he would screw up the series. He turned out to be wrong, as the third film was warmly accepted by the fans and critics alike.
** Unfortunately, that warm response has made ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'' this for Creator/{{Pixar}}; their next film, ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}} 2'', was the company's first outright failure with critics, while ''WesternAnimation/MonstersUniversity'' and the ''Cars'' spin-off ''WesternAnimation/{{Planes}}'' have also received mixed-to-negative notices (with ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'' being the studio's lone standout of the period), suggesting the company's fallen into a rut, as demonstrated by the fact ''Planes'' got a sequel one year after its release. (While ''Brave'' did win the Best Animated Feature Oscar for 2012, it was a surprise win over Disney's ''Disney/WreckItRalph''.) It didn't seem to shake off the cobwebs until the release of ''WesternAnimation/InsideOut''.
** ''WesternAnimation/TheGoodDinosaur'' then fell into this rut as well. The film's delayed release resulted in it debuting just five months after ''WesternAnimation/InsideOut'', the film that was universally heralded as Pixar's return to form and one of the greatest family films ever. As a result, the movie was generally well-received, more so than the movies released during Pixar's 5 years beforehand, but not nearly as much as its predecessor.
** With ''Toy Story 4'' officially [[http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/11/06/toy-story-4-coming-in-2017 announced for 2017]], this trope is coming full into effect for the franchise, with moviegoers wondering how a fourth film could possibly top the third.
* Pixar's rivals at Dreamworks are also liable to suffer this as well:
** ''WesternAnimation/SharkTale'' came out just after ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek 2}}'' became a smash. The film's attempt into a more mature story (the death of an instrumental character) didn't tune in with either audiences nor critics, and was received much less favorably. It didn't help that the studio's following film, ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'' would become wildly popular.
** ''WesternAnimation/MonstersVsAliens'' was a milder version, as it was sandwiched between ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' and ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'', with both becoming notable for marking Dreamworks' turn into more story-based films.
** Also downplayed with ''WesternAnimation/MrPeabodyAndSherman'', as it was released just after ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheLegoMovie'' became cultural phenomenons in early 2014: In spite of its low-budget, it was directed by Rob Minkoff, had a score by Danny Elfman and featured noted Amercan and British actors in bit roles. While the film proved popular with critics and audiences, the franchise's obscurity hindered its box office performance overseas, becoming a moderate hit, and DW's second lowest-grossing CG movie[[note]]At over $225 mil, it became the third highest grossing film of the year not based in a popular product[[/note]].
** ''WesternAnimation/PenguinsOfMadagascar'' had the same fate: It was released after ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon 2'' and put on the lucrative holiday season. However, as the ''Penguins'' TV show was no longer the juggernaut it was in the early 2010s as tastes changed to more mature fare, the movie became an important disappointment in spite of its positive reviews, and the studio resorted to tie-ins to save face. The issue got so far that it undermined Dreamworks' nominations at the Oscars.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsRainbowRocks'' is considered a SurprisinglyImprovedSequel and GrowingTheBeard to the ''Equestria Girls'' SpinOff. Its sequel, ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsFriendshipGames'', had a lot to live up to. [[ContestedSequel Opinions are divided]] regarding how well it compares.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Actor turned director Richard Attenborough's greatest achievement was ''Film/{{Gandhi}}''. His next film right after ''Gandhi'' was the much maligned film version of ''Theatre/AChorusLine''. His subsequent efforts though better received included {{biopic}} ''Chaplin'' starring Robert Downey Jr. (which got him his first Oscar nomination), ''Shadowlands'' starring AnthonyHopkins as C.S. Lewis, and ''Grey Owl'' starring PierceBrosnan never had the same level success. He found better success returning to acting in films like ''Film/JurassicPark'' and the remake of ''MiracleOn34thStreet''.
* Roberto Benigni directed the film ''LifeIsBeautiful'', which netted him several Oscars. His next film, a big budget adaptation of ''Film/{{Pinocchio}}'', was a massive flop with a terrible English dub and a truly ludicrous case of DawsonCasting.
* After ''Film/EasyRider'' the studio gave Dennis Hopper [[ProtectionFromEditors carte blanche]]. The result: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Movie The Last Movie]]'', which was once considered to be one of the 50 worst movies of all time. Hopper's later films were mostly duds, although ''Colors'' became both a critical and financial success and ''The Hot Spot'' has been VindicatedByHistory.
* Director Michael Cimino had an unbroken string of hits starting with ''Film/SilentRunning'', and continuing through ''MagnumForce'', ''Thunderbolt and Lightfoot'', and ''Film/TheDeerHunter'' (for which he won two Oscars). As a result, Creator/UnitedArtists gave him free rein on his next picture. The result was the Western ''Film/HeavensGate'', a film that lost so much money it effectively bankrupted United Artists and killed Cimino's career as a big studio movie director. It also killed off the entire notion of a [[ProtectionFromEditors director's creative control]] in Hollywood.
-->'''[[http://moviemoses.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/desperate-hours-1990-michael-cimino/ Miles Antwiler]]''': ''This is a horrendous movie which highlights the express elevator to rock bottom in the career of Michael Cimino. With each passing movie his potential and talent just go down down down. There was a time when I only had seen ''Deer Hunter'' and I pondered to myself how someone like this could never get another hit again. Well, I now know and it was [[SuckinessIsPainful a brutal lesson to learn]].''
* Creator/JuddApatow's ''Film/FunnyPeople'' came on the heels of ''Film/KnockedUp''; one of the highest grossing R-rated movies of all time, and one of the most critically acclaimed of 2007. ''Funny People'' got mixed reviews, and nearly completely fell out of the top ten within a few weeks of its opening.
* Creator/MelBrooks followed up his musical version of ''Film/TheProducers'', which ran for six years on Broadway and set a record for Tony Award wins, with a ''Film/YoungFrankenstein'' musical that brought back Susan Stroman as director-choreographer and Thomas Meehan as co-writer on the book. Despite huge anticipation and ticket prices that topped out at '''$450''' for the very best seats, it was dismissed as unable to live up to its source material ''and'' its stage predecessor by critics, was mostly ignored when it came to Tony nominations and won none of the three it received, and only ran for 15 months (counting previews).
* Richard Kelly started his career with the cult-favorite ''Film/DonnieDarko''. His next big move: ''Film/SouthlandTales'', which did so terribly with both critics and the public that Hollywood ran his AuteurLicense through a shredder. (''Film/{{Domino}}'' came before ''Southland'', but Kelly was only screenwriter on it, not director.)
* In 2002, Rob Marshall directed ''Film/{{Chicago}}'' which was a smash-hit and the first musical in over thirty years to win the Best Picture UsefulNotes/AcademyAward. His next musical, ''Theatre/{{Nine}}'', was a critical and financial disaster which failed to win any of the four Oscars it was up for.
* After the incredible success of ''Film/{{Deliverance}}'', John Boorman was given free rein to make the movie he always dreamed of making. The result? ''{{Zardoz}}''.
* One for ''Film/{{Adventureland}}'' that noted that many directors follow up a mainstream success with a more ambitious, personal movie that fails to find an audience, which sadly ''did'' end up happening to ''Adventureland''. It was directed by Greg Mottola, who also directed ''{{Superbad}}''. Mottola himself expected this to happen.
* ''Film/{{Alien}}'' is one of the best horror films of all time. ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' is one of the best action films of all time. ''Film/{{Alien 3}}'', while a pretty severely flawed film, probably gets more flak than it deserves because of this trope.
* Olivier Dahan decided to follow-up ''Film/LaVieEnRose'' (which won Creator/MarionCotillard an Oscar) with ''My Own Love Song''. The resulting film was a complete mess that badly tries to combine country music with the supernatural and was destroyed by critics at its festival screenings. The final movie got dropped by two different distributors (Fox and Lionsgate) and was quietly sent straight-to-DVD (even with Creator/ReneeZellweger, Creator/ForestWhitaker and Creator/NickNolte starring).
* ''Film/TheThing1982'' is constantly looked at as one of the greatest sci-fi/horror films of all time. Its prequel, ''Film/TheThing2011'', could never hope to live up to this. Sad really.
* Since ''Film/TheSixthSense'', Creator/MNightShyamalan has been trying to replicate his success with low-key supernatural horror and the TwistEnding. So far, each film has had a progressively worse critical reception overall, to the point that now Shyamalan's name attached to any project seems to be a kiss of death.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' is often derided for not being as good as the fan favorite ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' (which in turn had to struggle against the fame of ''Film/ANewHope''). The prequels get enormous amounts of hate simply over being not as good as the original trilogy.
* ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull'' fell flat in part due to comparisons to the original trilogy.
* Creator/OrsonWelles never had a prayer of producing another film that would live up to the reputation ''Film/CitizenKane'' enjoyed, although this is partly because he was never again allowed the degree of creative control he had with ''Kane''. A later Welles film, ''Film/TouchOfEvil'', is nowadays regarded by critics as a great artistic work, though it's nowhere near as well known to the public at large as ''Kane'' is. ''Film/TheMagnificentAmbersons'' is regarded as almost as good, but the "almost" wasn't Welles' fault; it was RKO's for [[ExecutiveMeddling destroying the original ending and tacking on a new one]].
* ''Film/PulpFiction'':
** Most of Creator/QuentinTarantino's films have been financial and critical successes, but none of them will probably ever top his first major release, ''Pulp Fiction'', at least in terms of mainstream reinvention of the medium. In fact, ''Pulp Fiction'''s direct follow-up, ''Film/JackieBrown'', is widely considered to be Tarantino's weakest film (rivaled only by ''Film/DeathProof'') simply because it had the most to live up to.
** Despite the fact that Creator/SamuelLJackson is one of the most popular Hollywood actors, people agree that his star-making turn as Jules Winnfield is still easily his greatest performance. Since then, Jackson hasn't landed an Oscar nomination and is more known as a blockbuster actor than an Oscar darling.
* Creator/TobeHooper never was able to replicate the success of ''Film/TheTexasChainSawMassacre1974'' as well as his subsequent films. The closest he ever came was probably ''Film/{{Poltergeist}}'', but the involvement of executive producer Steven Spielberg overshadowed Hooper's work.
* Austrian actress Luise Rainer won the Best Actress Oscar twice in a row in 1937 and 1938, (a feat repeated only by Creator/KatharineHepburn). She once said about her awards that nothing worse could have happened to her, as audience expectations from then on would be too high to fulfill. Her career waned at the end of the 1930s, and she retired in 1943.
* Donald Cammell spent his career trying to make another film as well-received as his debut, ''Performance'' (co-directed by Nicolas Roeg). He eventually committed suicide after dealing with ExecutiveMeddling one too many times.
* Creator/ChristopherNolan had expressed anxiety over the prospects of the third film in the ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga'', noting that after the massive accolades ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' received it would be difficult to write a satisfying follow-up, and pointing out "how many good third parts in a franchise can you think of?" And of course, some CriticalBacklash occurred for ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'', given how high the stakes were set by its predecessor. There's also the fact that Nolan's [[Film/{{Inception}} last film]] would be a tough act to follow up on as well.
* ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'' had it all: an edge-of-your-seat plot, tremendous music, fantastic (for its time) visual effects, literary references galore, a true TearJerker ending, and great timeless themes interspersed throughout. With every new movie since, they've been trying to measure up to that - and frequently fell short. Although [[Film/StarTrek the 2009 reboot]] ended up dethroning ''II'' as the best-reviewed Trek film on Rotten Tomatoes. For many people, the same has been true of ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'' when compared to the 2009 film.
* Canadian filmmaker Michael [=McGowan=] built credit on the performance of his films ''Saint Ralph'' and ''One Week''. Soon after, he was given the freedom to pursue a passion project - a comedy-musical about a homegrown hockey player who makes it to the big leagues. The resulting film, ''Score: A Hockey Musical'', featured a who's who of Canadian singers and character actors, backing from Canadian production houses/government funding and a selection of up-and-coming Canadian talent. Unfortunately, the film flopped (making just $200,000 on a $5.3 million budget), was thoroughly trashed by Canadian critics and audiences (even those who liked the concept of a hockey-themed musical), and put a damper on [=McGowan=]'s career just as it started.
* John Singleton's directorial debut ''Film/BoyzNTheHood'' was critically acclaimed, and made him the youngest UsefulNotes/AcademyAward nominee for Best Director at the age of 24. Twenty years later, it's still regarded his best work.
* This is definitely one interpretation of ''[[Film/TheGodfather The Godfather Part III]]''. When you're making a sequel to two films that are almost universally regarded as absolute masterpieces, whatever you make is highly likely to not live up to its predecessors, even if it's a good film in its own right, which a lot of people regard ''Part III'' as. Most people also put the 16-year gap between the second and third films and the fact that [[Film/{{Goodfellas}} another Mafia movie released the same year]] would become a masterpiece on par with the first two ''Godfathers'' as part of the reason the film came off as disappointing.
** This trope applies big time to ''Godfather'' director Creator/FrancisFordCoppola's career after the '70s. It doesn't help that after making four of the most iconic and acclaimed films of the decade (''Film/TheGodfather'', ''The Godfather Part II'', ''Film/TheConversation'' and ''Film/ApocalypseNow'') he followed up with the seismic box office and critical failure ''One From the Heart''. His later career has some highlights and cult films (''Film/TheOutsiders'', ''Film/RumbleFish'', ''Film/PeggySueGotMarried'', ''Film/TuckerTheManAndHisDream'', etc.) but none (not even, ironically enough, the third ''Godfather'') come close to having the impact of his four masterpieces.
* Creator/HansZimmer had ''really, really'' big shoes to fill as the composer for ''Film/ManOfSteel'', because the theme of ''[[Film/{{Superman}} Superman: The Movie]]'' is one of the greatest movie themes of all time and is undeniably ''the'' theme of the ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' franchise. In fact, Zimmer initially stated that he wasn't scoring ''Man of Steel'' for this reason, but it was [[FlipFlopOfGod confirmed later]] that he was scoring ''[=MoS=]''. Any actor playing the Man of Steel will be measured against Creator/ChristopherReeve, a truly daunting high standard of acting excellence and sincere charm.
* ''Film/{{Bruno}}'', Creator/SachaBaronCohen's follow-up to ''Film/{{Borat}}'', didn't get anywhere near as positive a reaction as ''Borat'' at the box office. While it opened as big, its second weekend fell a staggering amount (nearly 75%) to a single-digit-million-take after pulling north of $30 million the week before.
* Website/{{Cracked}}'s "[[http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-works-art-so-good-they-ruined-their-whole-genre/ 5 Works of Art So Good, They Ruined Their Whole Genre]]" calls ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'', ''Film/FightClub'', and ''Film/AnimalHouse'' tough acts to follow in their respective genres.
* ''Film/GoldenEye'', Creator/PierceBrosnan's debut as Film/JamesBond, simply was so phenomenal that [[Film/TomorrowNeverDies his]] [[Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough subsequent]] [[Film/DieAnotherDay movies]] could not live up to its high standards. Then again, ''[=GoldenEye=]'' was ''the'' film that revived the franchise after years of DevelopmentHell.
** Many of the Bond films have gone through this, starting all the way back with Film/{{Goldfinger}}, the Codifier for all future Bond films. It was followed by Film/{{Thunderball}}, which, while well-received, failed to have the staying power of its predecessor. This is also true of Film/DiamondsAreForever, Film/{{Moonraker}}, Film/{{Octopussy}}, and Film/QuantumOfSolace, and currently seems to be the case with ''Film/{{Spectre}}''. Reviews are mixed, unlike the nearly unanimous praise for its predecessor ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'', and even the positive reviews are forced to admit that it isn't as good as the previous film.
* Creator/PeterOToole holds the record for being nominated the most times (8) for an Academy Award without winning. A contribution to this is without a doubt that his first nomination was for ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia'', his most iconic role, where he lost to Creator/GregoryPeck for ''Film/ToKillAMockingbird'' (see further below) as Atticus Finch (his most iconic role). It was simply the case of one being the veteran and the other never having done a film before. While he has been a great actor, Lawrence is of course what he will be remembered as.
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:
** ''Film/IronMan3'' hasn't gotten as overwhelmingly positive a critical reception as Iron Man's previous cinematic endeavor, the crossover ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}''. However, it received much better reviews than ''Film/IronMan2'', and was the highest grossing film in the ''Film/IronMan'' series, as well as the third highest grossing film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
** ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' ultimately became a victim of this. Not only did it have to live up to ''The Avengers'', it also had to follow the massive dual-success of ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' and ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy''. Ultimately, many fans just felt underwhelmed by ''Age of Ultron''.
* ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'' is facing a double wammy of tough acts. As a film devoted to setting the Film/DCExtendedUniverse, it's following in the footsteps of the mega-successful MarvelCinematicUniverse, which pretty much invented the concept of a shared cinematic universe for Western audiences. As the first film in this new universe featuring Batman it's also following in the footsteps of ''Film/TheDarkKnightTrilogy'', considered by many to be one of (if not ''the'') greatest superhero movie series of all time.
* ''Film/PaperMoon'' was this for director Peter Bogdanovich. His next three films were critical and commercial failures. No other film he made after was nearly as successful until ''Film/{{Mask}}'', which was released 12 years later, and he hasn't had another one since. Today, not even ''Paper Moon'' itself is well-remembered (aside from the fact that Tatum O'Neal became the youngest person to ever win an Oscar with her role in the film.) That being said, ''Film/TheLastPictureShow'' is still his most acclaimed and best-remembered film by far.
* Given that Neill Blomkamp's debut film was ''Film/{{District 9}}'', this reaction was kind of inevitable, unfortunately. While many praise ''Film/{{Elysium}}'' for its effects and Sharlto Copley's performance as Kruger, quite a few thought that the social commentary and the overall character development paled in comparison to Blomkamp's debut film.
* The second movie Creator/MelBrooks directed, an adaptation of ''Literature/TheTwelveChairs'' starring Ron Moody, Frank Langella, and Creator/DomDeluise, hasn't left nearly as strong an impact on pop culture as ''Film/TheProducers'' has. Fans could make a similar comparison between ''Film/YoungFrankenstein'' and ''Film/SilentMovie'', although at least they ''both'' more money than ''The Twelve Chairs'' did.
* Creator/KevinSmith followed up ''Film/{{Clerks}}'', a [[TheNineties Generation X]] comedy masterpiece, with ''Film/{{Mallrats}}''. While it's since been VindicatedByHistory and recognized as a pretty entertaining film in its own right, ''Mallrats'' was initially seen as a SophomoreSlump for Smith, subject to a lot of unfair comparisons to ''Clerks'', to the point where Smith gave a mock-apology for it at the 1996 Independent Spirit Awards. It didn't help that, at the time, it was a BoxOfficeBomb that nearly bankrupted distributor Gramercy Pictures. He's said multiple times the film "hangs over [his] whole career."
* While ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderManSeries'' has a good deal of fans, it does have one major case of this within itself with J.K. Simmons' iconic performance as J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films. It dealt with this by turning the character into TheGhost.
* After ''Film/BehindEnemyLines'', many of John Moore's movies [[Film/TheOmen2006 didn't]] [[Film/MaxPayne do well]] [[Film/AGoodDayToDieHard with critics]].
* ''Film/PaperTowns'' is by no means bad, but gets compared to ''Film/TheFaultInOurStars'' a lot, with many complaints that ''Paper Towns'' can't quite live up to ''TFIOS''.
* Creator/ChristianBale won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2010 for his role in ''Film/TheFighter''. Unfortunately, it followed not one, but ''three'' all time classic villainous performances to win the Oscar -- Creator/ChristophWaltz's [[Film/IngloriousBasterds Hans Landa]], Creator/JavierBardem's [[Film/NoCountryForOldMen Anton Chigurh]], and ironically enough, given who Bale is, Creator/HeathLedger's [[Film/TheDarkKnight take on]] SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker. Even with its win, the shadow of the past three victories is still glaring.

* ''Literature/EndersGame'' was Creator/OrsonScottCard's first novel, which received major critical accolades and has sold millions of copies. His later novels, including a number of sequels, have been successful as genre fiction, but never broke out into mainstream acceptance as ''Ender's Game'' did.
* This trope is [[GenreSavvy (probably) the reason]] Harper Lee took over half a century to publish anything after ''Literature/ToKillAMockingbird''. (She eventually published ''Go Set a Watchman'', a book she wrote before ''To Kill a Mockingbird''.
* The idea that everyone has a moment which overshadows the rest of their life becomes a major theme of the novel ''Literature/FoucaultsPendulum''. (And some would say the work is itself an example!)
* William Golding's first novel was ''Literature/LordOfTheFlies''. He wrote many others afterwards, but none of them matched its success.
* The success of ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz'' haunted Creator/LFrankBaum for the rest of his career. Although he tried to make forays into other stories, he was never very successful and ended up penniless, forced to write more Oz books. In the intro to one book he actually says that he knows many stories ''not'' about Oz, and wishes he had a chance to tell them. He used the fifth book of the series, ''The Road to Oz'', as a sort of MassiveMultiplayerCrossover by inviting characters from his other books to attend Princess Ozma's birthday party, hoping to get his Oz readers interested in those other stories. He even tried to end the series after the sixth book, ''The Emerald City of Oz'', neatly tying up the loose ends, giving an in-universe explanation for the end of the stories, and announcing at the end that it would be the last Oz book. It didn't work, and he ended up writing eight more Oz books after that.
* Sir Creator/ArthurConanDoyle could never escape the popularity of his flagship series [[Literature/SherlockHolmes about a certain 19th century detective]]. Despite Doyle's attempts to move on by killing off the iconic protagonist, he later bowed to public pressure to bring him back. Also, like Frank Baum, Doyle got fed up with having to continue the series, but financial necessity and failed outside novels prevented him from branching out.
* ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'': Mary Shelley once said something to the effect that: "some people only have one really good novel in them." She would probably know a little about this trope, given that most people can only name one thing she ever wrote, even though she went on to write ''Literature/TheLastMan'', which is remembered as the first post-apocalyptic-future novel as well as other works.
* Creator/PeterSBeagle unintentionally displayed the upside of this trope in an introduction to one edition of ''Literature/TheLastUnicorn''. He stated that the book would always haunt him "even as ''The Crock Of Gold'' came to haunt James Stephens." Notice that Stephens and ''The Crock of Gold'' don't have entries on the wiki -- but ''Literature/TheLastUnicorn'' does, and Beagle got a stub primarily because of it.
* ''Literature/WatershipDown'' was Richard Adams's first novel. He wrote several others, but none of them became nearly as successful.
* Similarly, Joseph Heller never again came close to the success of The Great American Novel, ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo''. Some of his later works playfully reference this. Did you know that there's a sequel?
-->"When I read something saying I've not done anything as good as Catch-22 I'm tempted to reply, 'Who has?'"
* Creator/ChuckPalahniuk exploded onto the scene with ''Literature/FightClub'', which became a major success after the highly popular and influential film adaptation. While his other novels sell well, none of them have come close to the success of ''Fight Club''. His other novels usually advertise the fact that they are written "by the author of ''Fight Club''", and reviews typically describe his work in relation to it.
* Walter Miller Jr. After publishing his masterpiece ''Literature/ACanticleForLeibowitz'', Miller isolated himself for 40 odd years and never published another book again, only stating in an interview that his reasons for not publishing were "not for the public to know." The posthumously published follow-up to Canticle, "Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman," is universally regarded as inferior.
* Andrzej Sapkowski, writer of ''TheWitcher'' saga has published few other books in his native Poland after the last volume of the series, but cannot top its popularity. In fact, his last book is hated by many for being too different from ''The Witcher''.
* Amy Tan admits in her memoirs that she felt a lot of this after the runaway success of ''Literature/TheJoyLuckClub''. Her eventual solution was to write ''many'' novels until she came up with one she thought could stand on its own (''TheKitchenGodsWife''). In the end, she thinks [[AvertedTrope it's better]] than ''The Joy Luck Club''.
* Creator/StephenieMeyer had a huge hit with the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' series. Her next novel, ''Literature/TheHost'' sold very well and was also made into a movie, but has nowhere near the same level of hype. She has stated she has many other ideas for novels, so it remains to be seen if anything she does will come close to her first.
* Japanese author Koushun Takami has not written another novel since ''Literature/BattleRoyale''. After the original book received much international acclaim, and a film and manga adaptation a mere year after its 1999 release, not to mention renewed international interest thanks to the latter-day popularity of the very similar ''Hunger Games'' series, it's hard not to see why.
* Frank Stockton's "His Wife's Deceased Sister" had fun with this idea. A struggling author writes a tragic short story with the aforementioned title, which is published to universal acclaim; but to his horror finds that no one will even consider publishing any of his subsequent works, none of them being considered even half as good as [=HWDS=]. In the end he is forced to write under a false name in order to make a living at all. Stockton would be rather familiar with this situation, as he is far better recognized as the author of ''The Lady Or The Tiger''.
* Creator/JKRowling wrote the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series, which became a cultural phenomenon and has earned over 10 billion dollars, ''not'' including book sales. She's acknowledged that nothing else she writes is remotely likely to approach that. However, she has proven herself not to be a one-hit wonder, given her non-Potter follow-ups (albeit two released under a undisguised pseudonym) have all been critically acclaimed best-sellers.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' has ''Literature/AStormOfSwords''. ''Literature/AFeastForCrows'' and ''Literature/ADanceWithDragons'' were both well received but considered somewhat disappointing by comparison, having the dubious honors of following ''Swords'' which had so many game-changing plot developments and deaths that it was essentially a 1000+ page WhamEpisode. The two that followed were essentially there to depict the aftermath of these events.
* ''Literature/ZenAndTheArtOfMotorcycleMaintenance'' is a very famous novel, but how many people have even ''heard'' of its sequel ''Literature/{{Lila}}'', let alone have actually read it?

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* After the success of ''Series/{{The Office|UK}}'', creators Creator/RickyGervais and Creator/StephenMerchant actively parodied/dared people to invoke this trope in the lead-up and advertising for their next series ''Series/{{Extras}}'', which was essentially billed as "the show people are already calling 'the disappointing follow-up to ''Series/{{The Office|UK}}.''" Although ''Extras'' was largely praised as being just as good as their original series, comments of this nature could still nevertheless be heard from time to time.
* On ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'', when [[Creator/NormMacDonald Norm [=MacDonald=]]] was fired in the midst of a mild controversy, Colin Quinn's first episode as the Weekend Update anchor acknowledged this trope essentially saying "don't shoot the new guy."
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Everyone's favorite [[Series/DoctorWho Doctor]] is a tough act to follow (not to name names; you know where the [[BrokenBase bases are broken]].)
** Some purists also apply this trope to the Modern Era (2005 onwards) versus the Classic Era (1963-1989). Certainly in terms of longevity the revival is unlikely to equal the original, although at eight seasons (as of 2014) it has already run longer than most English-language sci-fi series.
** Leaving aside matters of quality, personal preference or favouritism, Tom Baker cast a long shadow over many of his successors in the role and to some degree continues to do so. There are many potential factors for this, but the simplest is probably that at seven years, he's still the actor who played the part on television the longest (although many of his successors have overtaken him when it comes to Creator/BigFinish), so had longer to become cemented in people's minds as the Doctor. He was also the star at a point when for numerous reasons the show was receiving its biggest ratings ever; at one point (episode four of "City of Death") 16 million people were watching, which remains the highest ratings an episode of ''Doctor Who'' has ever recorded. As such, his interpretation of the Doctor for better or worse became the one that much of the general public associated with the role. His unusual and distinctive style, including the [[IconicItem distinctive 18-foot long scarf]], also probably helped. Even today, the Fourth Doctor is still the one many people associate with the classic series when it's brought up and perhaps notably, Tom Baker was the only living pre-2005 Doctor to appear in person in the 50th anniversary special rather than just as part of stock footage.
* Creator/ChrisCarter is a variant of this trope. He tried three different times to premiere new shows while his most famous show, and ultimately the only one that's remembered, ''Series/TheXFiles'', was on the air. These shows are: ''Series/{{Millennium}}'', a conspiracy show in a similar vein as ''The X-Files'' minus the paranormal angle; ''Series/TheLoneGunmen'', a spin-off of ''The X-Files'' featuring three of its most popular supporting characters; and ''Series/HarshRealm'', a critically derided effort featuring characters trapped in a virtual reality. All three featured an attempt at crafting a MythArc much like that of ''The X-Files'' but all three failed to catch on and lasted less than one season (with the exception of ''Millenium'' which lasted 3, with the show being retooled beyond recognition each season). ''Millenium'' and ''The Lone Gunmen'' both received {{Fully Absorbed Finale}}s on ''The X-Files'' and neither is remember as fondly. ''Harsh Realm'' on the other hand is almost not remembered at all. Since ''The X-Files''' conclusion, Carter, who was once a well-known show runner on the same level as Creator/JossWhedon, has mostly faded into obscurity, coming out of semi-retirement to write and direct an ''X-Files'' film which was not well received and failing (or possibly not attempting) to get any other series or films off the ground as of 2011.
* Brit comedian Creator/TonyHancock apparently sunk into a deep depression after his famous Blood Donor sketch. Most people couldn't understand why this could be, given how brilliant the sketch had been, but it was apparently because Hancock believed he would never ever top it.
** It didn't help that he'd been the passenger in a car involved in a road traffic accident that same week. The reminder of his mortality seems to have had a very bad effect on him, in particular it probably contributed to his decision to split from writers Galton & Simpson, which in retrospect is recognised as a bad move.
* The Franchise/SuperSentai series experienced this throughout the early and mid 90's--''Series/ChoujinSentaiJetman'' was so immensely popular, that nearly every season that came after it in the next 9 years was seen as a huge step down (although ''Series/GoseiSentaiDairanger'' has been VindicatedByHistory as being a spectacular season in its own right). In 2000, when ''Series/MiraiSentaiTimeranger'' began airing, the ''Jetman'' hype had finally died down, and even the hardcore ''Jetman'' fanbase was satisfied with ''Timeranger''s drama and story rivaling ''Jetman'''s.
** General consensus was that Zyuranger and to a lesser extent Kakuranger were the only ones affected. Dairanger was an awesome series in its own right, and the other series were no slouches either (except for [[Series/ChourikiSentaiOhranger Ohranger]], but it was because of other factors).
** Played straight, however, by Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger, coming immediately after the dripping-with-awesome Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger. It doesn't help matters that ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'' came after it. ''Series/TokumeiSentaiGobusters'' got exactly the same position, coming right off of the immense success that was ''Gokaiger''. And if that wasn't enough, ''Shinkenger'' and ''Go-Busters'' were both written by Yasuko Kobayashi, and the latter show kept being compared to her earlier work.
* There's the infamous "Seinfeld Curse" that allegedly prevents any of ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'''s four main cast members from achieving future success:
** Jason Alexander had two failed sitcoms, ''Listen Up'' and ''Bob Patterson''. He's consistently found supporting work in various movies and TV shows but is always seen as George Costanza, a fact he disdains so much that as of 2011 he started wearing a hairpiece to open up his acting opportunities.
** A bigger victim is Michael Richards (Kramer), who basically retired from acting after ''The Michael Richards Show'' failed to catch on in 2000 because the main character was turned into a cheap Kramer clone thanks to ExecutiveMeddling and Richards almost completely destroyed his reputation in 2006 when he hurled racial slurs at a heckler during his stand-up act. In the 12 years since ''The Michael Richards Show'' Richards has only returned to acting for a voice part in the Jerry Seinfeld written ''BeeMovie'' and an appearance as himself on co-creator Creator/LarryDavid's ''Series/CurbYourEnthusiasm''.
** With [[Creator/JuliaLouisDreyfus Julia Louis-Dreyfus]] having won a total of 4 Emmys in the 15+ years since ''Seinfeld's'' conclusion on 2 different shows that have each lasted for multiple seasons (not to mention headlining Nicole Holofcener's well-received film ''Enough Said'' opposite James Gandolfini), it's agreed upon that Julia more than shattered the curse.
** Jerry Seinfeld himself largely sidestepped this, returning to stand-up and only doing the occasional one-off voice acting job.
** Co-creator Creator/LarryDavid subverted this when his film ''Series/SourGrapes'' bombed critically and commercially but his second series ''Series/CurbYourEnthusiasm'' became a hit in its own right.
* A similar fate has affected the actors of ''Series/{{Friends}}'' after the show ended:
** The female actors have got it good: Creator/JenniferAniston and Creator/CourteneyCox have to this day successful careers on Hollywood and TV respectively. Creator/LisaKudrow has had more limited success.
** Of the male actors, only David Schwimmer has had any success to date ([[WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}} and that for voicing a talking giraffe]]), Matthew Perry has had a string of failed shows (''Series/Studio60OnTheSunsetStrip'', ''Series/MrSunshine'' and ''Series/GoOn''), and Matt [=LeBlanc=] has largely retired from acting (mainly to concentrate on his daughter). This was until his series ''Series/{{Episodes}}'', in which he was nominated for an Emmy award three times.
* Keeping with the Sentai trend, ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai''. The show isn't without its faults, but the series would have likely been better received had it not been adapted from ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' (a '''very''' well-received ''Sentai'') and following ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'' (considered one of--if not '''the'''--best season that ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' has ever done). Similar things could be said about ''[[Series/PowerRangersWildForce Wild Force]]'' coming behind ''[[Series/PowerRangersTimeForce Time Force]]'', and ''[[Series/PowerRangersTurbo Turbo]]'' never stood a chance after ''[[Series/PowerRangersZeo Zeo]]''. To varying extents, this could be said of ''every'' series set after ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace'', which not only managed to WinBackTheCrowd after ''Turbo'''s lukewarm reception, but was the GrandFinale of a StoryArc starting with the original ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' (''in Space'' was originally going to be the last ''Rangers'' season, so it ''needed'' to end with a bang). As all subsequent seasons are ([[ReunionShow mostly]]) self-contained, standalone works with only about 30 episodes to develop character and whatnot, they tend to fall short of a saga that had a ''six'' season buildup and was more or less at the apex of the CerebusRollercoaster by its end.
* ''Series/TheOprahWinfreyShow'' enjoyed reverence, and ended partly because Oprah felt that she couldn't top herself. However, Oprah's television network is struggling.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' managed to step out of the shadow of [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries the original show]] and ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' managed to [[GrowingTheBeard grow its own beard]] about the time ''TNG'' concluded. ''[[Series/StarTrekVoyager Voyager]]'' and ''[[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Enterprise]]'' are overshadowed by comparison, especially for trying to use the original formula after much of the fandom had jumped ship for ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'''s heavier and more intricate arc-based storytelling.
* ''Series/ThePrisoner'': Actor Patrick [=McGoohan=] actually left the UK shortly after the controversial final episode aired and settled in the US, and his only television series since then (''Rafferty'') has been long forgotten except by die-hard cult fans. He did have some sporadic success in the US, notably when working with Peter Falk on some Emmy-winning episodes of ''Columbo'' but ''The Prisoner'' completely overshadows all his other work. (Indeed, one of his ''Columbo'' episodes was essentially a riff on ''The Prisoner'', and a film he starred in called ''Kings and Desperate Men'' not only was directed by and co-starred one of his ''Prisoner'' actors, but it revisited many of the earlier show's themes.)
* James Gandolfini worked pretty consistently after completing ''Series/TheSopranos'', taking several parts before his death in 2013 that helped [[PlayingAgainstType subvert his mobster persona]], such as the General in ''InTheLoop'', Leon Panetta in ''Film/ZeroDarkThirty'', a grieving husband and father in ''Welcome to the Rileys'', and a GentleGiant love interest to Julia Louis-Dreyfus in ''Enough Said''. That said, none of his roles matched up to the public ubiquity of Tony Soprano in popular culture.
* ''Series/TheShield'' writer Shawn Ryan's career has staggered (his follow-up shows ''The Chicago Code'' and ''Terriers'' and his time working as show-runner of ''Lie To Me'' were largely ignored by most).
* DanSchneider has made some of Nickelodeon's most well-known and popular successes, like ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'', ''Series/{{Zoey 101}}'' and ''Series/{{iCarly}}''. His 2010 creation, ''Series/{{Victorious}}'', on the other hand, has been panned by quite a few fans of the former works (especially ''[=iCarly=]'' considering the shows ran alongside each other for a while) for not being what they were. The fact that the show was constantly promoted by the ''[=iCarly=]'' cast doesn't help either (because non-fans of ''Victorious'' found that infuriating). While most fans of Dan's past works liked it, even part of those fans felt that [[SophomoreSlump the second season was significantly lower quality than the first]], but the third season rattled the line between being better than ever and even worse. The show ultimately met its untimely end after the third season's filming. The show did win Favorite TV Show at the 2013 Kids Choice Awards, however, which was the second year in running, so it didn't end on a completely bad note.
* ''Series/SamAndCat'', which is what ''Victorious'' was reportedly canned for, has been received worse than the former. It did win at the 2014 Kids' Choice Awards which made sense being it was the only Nick show nominated (compared to the ''Victorious''/''[=iCarly=]'' wars of years' past), and was riding on Ariana Grande's huge popularity, so its win was justified.
* ''Series/TheWire'' is regarded by many TV critics as one of, if not ''the'', best television show ever made. David Simon's follow-up, ''Series/{{Treme}}'' has been chugging along in relative obscurity, which is admittedly what ''The Wire'' did for most of its run as well. Within the run of the series itself, there are many who cite the fourth season as one of, if not THE greatest season in all of television. By contrast, quite a number of fans and critics complained that the fifth (and final) season was hindered by Simon hanging his dirty laundry out to dry (particularly regarding its criticism of journalism, which echoed Simon's real life feelings on the ''Baltimore Sun''). Luckily, those critics still cite the series finale as among the greatest episodes the show had done, so the show was still able to finish on a high note.
* David Milch hit big with ''Series/{{Deadwood}}'', which achieved a lot of cultural saturation in spite of not being a ratings powerhouse. Neither of Milch's follow-up series, ''Series/JohnFromCincinnati'' and ''Series/{{Luck}}'', made it to a second season.
* The fifth season of ''Series/TwentyFour'' was universally acclaimed and managed to net the series the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama. Season six however, suffered from poor writing and is easily regarded as one of the worst of the show, with the , with the biggest problem coming from the writers trying to find a way to top season five's shocks early on, only to run out of steam immediately after that. Seasons 7 and/or 8, [[BrokenBase depending on who you ask]], either improved the series after the sixth season slump or marked when the show officially JumpedTheShark, but its clear that both of them wound up living in the fifth season's shadow as well.
* With ''Series/BreakingBad'' already going down as one of the greatest series in television history, with many critics even going so far as to call it the modern Shakespearean tragedy, and having ended in a blaze of glory, both critically and commercially, this trope can be applied in countless ways regarding the show:
** Its creator, Vince Gilligan, has already resigned himself to the fact that he will likely NEVER hit the same level again. Since then, he's made two new series, ''Series/BetterCallSaul'' and ''Series/BattleCreek''. Considering the former is a {{Spinoff}} of this series, this is a given. However, even with that over its head, the general consensus thus far is that it is great in its own right, though admittedly not as brilliant as its predecessor. The latter was based on a script that Gilligan wrote before ''Breaking Bad''. Although the show was well-liked, most people were too skeptical to tune in to a "commercialized" product, being on network TV instead of cable. The show was cancelled after one season due to low ratings.
** This came up within the series itself. The third to last episode of the series, "Ozymandias" is almost universally regarded as both the best episode of the series and ''one of the best episodes ever aired on television''. The two final episodes of the series are widely regarded as superb in their own right and an excellent ending to the series, but many feel that they suffered a little, for no other reason than being forced to follow the universal praise for "Ozymandias".
** This also applies to its actors as well, most notably Creator/BryanCranston. After an appearance in ''[[Film/{{Godzilla2014}} Godzilla]]'', he went back to drama. His 2015 film ''Film/{{Trumbo}}'' got good but not great reviews, if solely because of Walter White's shadow looming above him.
* It was unlikely ''Series/TheThinBlueLine'' was ever going to be better than Ben Elton and Rowan Atkinson's previous work on ''Series/{{Blackadder}}''. The last series of the latter, with its widely praised DramaBombFinale, saw the series reach a high point and a fitting conclusion. This is thought to be why the writers ended it there.
* When Bob Barker retired as host of ''Series/ThePriceIsRight'' in 2007, his successor Drew Carey quickly fell under this trope — possibly because Carey was taking the reins of the longest-running daytime game show ever, despite ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' being the closest he ever done to a game show beforehand[[note]]he also did a short-lived game show called ''Power of 10'' shortly before he took over on ''Price''[[/note]]. Granted, Bob had hosted for a whopping ''35'' years (and had hosted ''Series/TruthOrConsequences'' for 19 years on top of that), so just about ''anyone'' would have had a tough time following Barker.
* When the 2014 version of ''Series/{{Cosmos}}'' was first announced, the makers cited this trope directly with regards to the 1980 original.
* In 1984, ''Series/DoctorWho'' premiered "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS21E6TheCavesOfAndrozani The Caves of Androzani]]", Creator/PeterDavison's final story as the [[TheNthDoctor Fifth Doctor]]. It was an unexpected critical success widely heralded as a fan favorite ever since its premiere. However, producers wanted to capitalize on the hype for the next actor who would play the Doctor, Creator/ColinBaker, by airing his first story right after Davison's last. This put him in a very unfavorable position, as he had no time for the Sixth Doctor's character to be scripted attentively, and what resulted... was for lack of a better word, a ''trainwreck''. With a hastily written story and little time for audiences to be let down from the initial excitement of ''Caves'', "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS21E7TheTwinDilemma The Twin Dilemma]]" hobbled onto the screen... and the reaction from audiences was [[BaseBreaker not pretty.]]
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' was such a revolutionary show that changed comedy altogether that the main cast members have consciously done more conventional comedy stuff afterwards. Many other alternative sketch comedy shows have tried to imitate ''Monty Python'', but still pale in comparison to the anticommercial risks the Pythons took. Some comedians have even thrown ideas away because they were too Pythonesque in nature.
* ''Series/TheColbertReport'':
** The series was such a pop culture phenomenon that since it ended its run in December 2014, there has been concern over whether its successor series, ''Series/TheNightlyShow'', another spinoff of ''Series/TheDailyShow'' premiering in January 2015, can match up to it.
** Similar reaction was shown when Creator/StephenColbert succeeded Creator/DavidLetterman as host of ''Series/TheLateShow'' in ''Series/TheLateShowWithStephenColbert'' in September 2015, both in relation to the ''Report'' and Letterman's gig. The ''Report'' looms so large in the minds of his fans and the public consciousness that he has to strike a delicate balance; preserving the charisma, incisive interviewing skill, and political savvy that made him a star, while moving away from the old show enough to demonstrate that this is not just "the Report 2.0" and make the needed adjustments for a rather different audience. Fortunately, he seems to be doing just fine.[[note]]And by "fine", we mean, "in a month on the air he has massively increased total viewership numbers and nearly ''tripled'' viewership among the 18-49 demographic."[[/note]]
* ''Series/TheDailyShow''. After it was announced that [[Series/TheDailyShowWithJonStewart Jon Stewart]] would soon retire and [[Series/TheDailyShowWithTrevorNoah Trevor Noah]] would take his place, many doubted whether Noah could fill Stewart's shoes. Indeed, the first episodes Noah did had jokes about [[SelfDeprecation Noah admitting just how great a task he'd taken on]].
-->'''Creator/JohnOliver''': ...he's taking on the impossible -- you can't replace the irreplaceable, so [Noah is] doing his own thing.[[note]]From Oliver's interview on ''Series/TheLateShowWithStephenColbert''[[/note]]
* Jenji Kohan, creator of ''Series/{{Weeds}}'', subverted this ''big time.'' Her next series was the Netflix prison dramedy ''Series/OrangeIsTheNewBlack,'' which became much more popular than ''Weeds'' ever was with both critics and audiences.

* In 1992, Flatwoods, Kentucky native Billy Ray Cyrus hit right off the bat with "Achy Breaky Heart," the song that practically began the country line-dance craze. Despite having several more country hits and parlaying that success into several long-running TV series -- "Doc" and, with daughter Miley, the Disney Channel series ''HannahMontana'' -- there are some who will never think of Billy Ray as more as that long-haired boy from the Kentucky backwoods who "[[OneHitWonder got lucky with a bad dance song]]." (which was a BlackSheepHit to boot). That, and being his daughter's father.
* ?uestlove, drummer for The Roots, said this about the trope in an interview:
-->"For anyone that's ever had a musical breakthrough in their career, it's always followed by the departure period right after. Music/StevieWonder's ''Music/SongsInTheKeyOfLife'' gave you ''Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants''. Music/{{Prince}}'s ''Film/PurpleRain'' gave you ''Around the World in a Day''. Music/TheBeatles' ''Music/{{Revolver}}'' gave you ''[[Music/SgtPeppersLonelyHeartsClubBand Sgt. Pepper's]]'' -- which kind of backfired and made them even bigger."
* Music/DonMcLean may be the biggest example, never being able to create anything close to the success of "Music/AmericanPie."
** Part of the problem was that it was [[BlackSheepHit a different type of song from the rest of what he did]], so his other good songs were legitimately worse than ''American Pie'' by the measures of the people who preferred it, and many of the people who would have liked his other songs didn't bother listening to the further discography of "that guy who wrote ''American Pie''."
*** Though it never reached the sales success of ''American Pie'', his song ''Vincent'', a heartfelt love-letter to impressionist painter Creator/VincentVanGogh, was truly a tearjerker, and has a small but loyal fanbase.
* Music/BoneThugsNHarmony can't make a album without people bitching about it not being like ''E.1999 Eternal'' (or ''The Art Of War'', depending on who you ask).
* Music/{{Nas}} is always in the shadow of his classic debut ''Illmatic''. Nothing he has made after that has been as acclaimed. He came close with ''Stillmatic'', though.
** Some go as far to say that none of his songs top "Live at the BBQ."
* Music/MichaelJackson's ''Music/{{Thriller}}'' became the best-selling album of all time in the early 1980s. An amazing feat, but perhaps the best example of a tough act to follow. Nobody, not even Michael Jackson himself, has ever managed to top the sales and the critical acclaim of this record, no matter how hard he tried.
* Music/HootieAndTheBlowfish's ''Cracked Rear View'' is their dark cloud. However, lead singer Darius Rucker went on to have a fairly sucessful career in CountryMusic over a decade later.
* Alt/Rap group Arrested Development went through this after their debut album. Most credit their downfall mostly to HypeBacklash rather than a lack of good music.
* Music/TheBeatles, as a band: there was no possible way a solo career was going to stand up to the massive success of the Beatles. None of them did ''poorly'' (You all know "[[Creator/JohnLennon Imagine]]", don't you?), but it's been a millstone ever since.
-->'''[[Creator/PaulMcCartney Paul McCartney]]''': "You don't follow the Beatles. Everyone who'd ever tried to in our career - even to this day[[labelnote:*]]([[NerdistPodcast December 2014]])[[/labelnote]] - anyone who says 'We are the next Beatles' is dead."
* Pietro Mascagni and his career after ''Cavalleria Rusticana'' (Countryside Knighthood). He was once interviewed and asked why he never made another Opera after Cavalleria Rusticana. He had a sad moment and then melancholically said "I did. I made a lot of other works. But no one seems to care."
* One of Music/FelixMendelssohn's first works was the Op. 21, the overture for ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'', and some claimed it indicated talent greater than that of Mozart. While not a failure, none of his later works ever reached the prominence of this one, composed when he was 17 years old.
** Except for the [[LohengrinAndMendelssohn wedding march]] from Op. 61, incidental music for the same play expanding on the overture he already wrote.
** Mendelssohn had a number of other works that are also very popular and successful, including his symphonies and violin concerto, but most of these were written several years after ''A Midsummer Night's Dream''. ([[AuthorExistenceFailure And then he died young.]]) This tends to be common among composers; since they often produce many individual works instead of a smaller number of collections (e.g. albums) like pop musicians do, it is unlikely that two consecutive works will be considered among their best.
* Music/{{Oasis}} averted this with their second album ''(What's The Story) Morning Glory?'', which sold better and as well-received by critics as their debut ''Definitely Maybe''. The ones that followed, however, spawned successful singles but weren't in the standards of the first two.
** Their third album, ''Be Here Now'', not only failed to live up to the hype but also managed to kill the Britpop movement (debatable, since all their contemporaries had already done a [[GenreShift Genre Shift]] or faded into obscurity by then).
* Also a problem of Music/PearlJam after the release of ''{{Music/Ten}}''; the albums that came after couldn't really live up much to the success of it.
** In fact Pearl Jam were consciously aware of this, and more or less intentionally sabotaged their own career to a certain extent so they wouldn't become major rock stars. ''Vitalogy'', their third album, was initially released on vinyl, and only released on CD and cassette two weeks later, meaning it was only available on an effectively dead format for the first several weeks of its release.
** ''Vs.'' has become one of these on a critical level, and has built a reputation as their pivotal moment of creativity and passion. Everything afterwards is considered either a [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible clumsily-concieved experiment]] or a [[ItsTheSameNowItSucks tired retread]].
* Country music singer Cyndi Thomson stopped recording because she couldn't handle the pressure of a second album. To this day, she remains a OneHitWonder with "What I Really Meant to Say".
* Carl Orff disowned everything he had written before ''Theatre/CarminaBurana''. His later works, while not entirely unknown, are largely overshadowed (and it doesn't help that some of them quote words from ''Carmina Burana'').
* Music/NatalieImbruglia and "Torn", as well as the fact unbeknownst to most it was a cover, almost everything she's done afterwards has never quite lived up to the massive success of her debut single. Outside her homeland and especially in the U.S, she's almost universally remembered as a OneHitWonder. It even holds a place as the most played track on Australian radio since 1990 as of [[http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/torn-between-20-singles/story-e6frf96f-1225707024364/ May 2009,]] about 11 years after its release.
* The Music/{{Eagles}} certainly realised that ''Music/HotelCalifornia'' was going to be a Tough Act to Follow. Not only did their next album, ''The Long Run'', fail to live up to that challenge, but the stress of striving to make it do so was one of the main factors in the subsequent breakup of the group.
* Music/{{Mayhem}} will always be remembered primarily for their debut album, ''De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas''. Every subsequent album has been nowhere near as widely acclaimed.
* Music/{{Slayer}} knew that they couldn't follow up their 1986 album ''Music/ReignInBlood'' with faster guitarwork, so they made a deliberate decision to slow down for 1988's ''South Of Heaven''.
* Music/TheStrokes. Their first album, ''Music/IsThisIt'', was released to massive critical acclaim and is often named as one of the greatest albums ever created. While all of their follow-up albums are very good, they will forever be eclipsed by it.
* Music/TheCars, after a successful run of singles in the late 70's and early 80's, had one of the top-selling albums of the decade with their 1984 album, ''Heartbeat City''. The innovative video for "You Might Think," won the first {{MTV}} Video Music Award for "Best Video," and they followed that up with hits (promoted with groundbreaking videos) like "Drive" (their first Top 10 hit in the UK), "Magic," "Why Can't I Have You," the title track, and "Hello Again." A successful tour followed which brought them to Live Aid. Aside from a GreatestHits album with the single "Tonight She Comes," they took a hiatus from 1985-1987, they released one more album, ''Door To Door'', which largely failed to make an impact, and they were unable to fill arenas. Only one major hit was released, "You Are The Girl." They broke up amicably in 1988. Bandleader Ric Ocasek maintained a low-profile solo career, bassist/vocalist Benjamin Orr [[AuthorExistenceFailure died of pancreatic cancer]], and drummer David Robinson retired. guitarist Elliot Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes largely laid low, except to form "The New Cars" with ToddRundgren [[ReplacementScrappy replacing]] Ocasek. Ocasek, Easton, Hawkes and Robinson did finally get back together in 2010, releasing ''Move Like This'' a year later - instead of drafting a new member, Easton and Hawkes alternated playing bass and Ocasek sang lead for the whole album. Of course, ''Move Like This'' didn't match the success of their earlier material, but it did meet with generally positive reviews and debuted at #7 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
* Mike Oldfield has never done anything else as brilliant as his debut album ''Music/TubularBells'' (which made Richard Branson very, very rich). There was certainly a radical change after ''Incantations'' and only ''Tubular Bells 2'' (a very clever rewrite of the original) and ''Amarok'' have been anything like it.
* Music/GeorgeMichael and his ''Music/{{Faith}}'' album of 1987. It didn't help to have [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible more challenging and introspective follow-up albums]], constant [[TakeThat Take Thats]] at his sex symbol image in later videos, a scandal which [[StraightGay outed him]] in the mid-1990's, problems with his record labels, and drug- and alcohol-related run-ins with the law over the years.
* Even the kindest reviews of Music/{{Weezer}}'s latest material will usually have the aside: "It's not as good as ''The Blue Album'' or ''Music/{{Pinkerton}}'', but..."
** ''Music/{{Pinkerton}}'' itself was one, receiving some backlash for being too different from the successful debut, but it was VindicatedByHistory.
* Music/JayZ is a weird hybrid of this trope and BrokenBase. His first album ''Music/ReasonableDoubt'' is considered a hip-hop classic. But he has since made albums that is at least five times more popular ''financially''. But people still put ''Reasonable Doubt'' as his top record ''artistically'', and ''critically'', even above his second best album ''The Blueprint''.
* Music/DreamTheater's ''Falling Into Infinity'' isn't a terrible album by any means, but the fact that it came on the heels of ''Images and Words'' and ''Awake'' (two of the most acclaimed ProgressiveMetal albums ever) meant that just about everyone was disappointed by it. To a degree, every subsequent album (except for maybe ''Scenes from a Memory'') is inevitably compared to ''Images and Words'' and ''Awake''.
* Natasha Bedingfield's two singles "Single" and "I Bruise Easily" underperformed, partially because they were both released after her '''monster''' hit "Unwritten," which radio stations simply refused to let die. It wasn't until "Pocketful of Sunshine" that things got back on track.
* Music/DeltaGoodrem's Innocent Eyes is exactly this, 4.5 million copies world wide, number one at the ARIA's for 29 weeks, coupled with the TallPoppySyndrome when her second album came out. She may be justified in wanting a break now and again. Still Australia's princess never the less.
* Music/{{Evanescence}}'s ''Fallen'' is still the go to record for alot of people's "teen angst" stage and was a HUGE success for the band selling 17 million world wide and top three in the ''Billboard'' charts. Sadly everything released afterwards has only been received at a temperature of lukewarm or ignored outright; the departure of primary songwriter Ben Moody is an easily pinpointable catalyst.
* Music/{{Boston}}'s self titled album was the (then) highest selling debut album of all time with 17 million copies sold and spawned songs that are played repeatedly on any classic rock station. None of the four albums since have reached that amount of success and aren't well remembered out of some of the band's more hardcore fans.
* In 2006, a country music band called Heartland had a number one hit with "I Loved Her First." This was quite a feat, as a.) it was the first top 40 hit ''ever'' for their label, Lofton Creek Records, and b.) they became only the second band in the history of country music to send a debut single to #1 (Diamond Rio was the first). Then the label dropped the ball massively by flip-flopping on what the second single would be. The original plan was for "Let's Get Dirty," but the label heads changed their minds and went with "Built to Last," very similar in sound to "I Loved Her First." After "Built to Last" amassed a single week at #58, they went with "Let's Get Dirty" but it went nowhere. Heartland ended up changing labels twice but still have nothing to show for it.
* Music/{{Metallica}} has had plenty of trouble following up ''Master of Puppets'', [[DeadArtistsAreBetter especially thanks to the tragic death of Cliff Burton]] and introduction of ReplacementGoldfish Jason Newsted, who, no matter your opinion of him, was nowhere near the musical force that Cliff was, even though the band achieved the peak of their commercial success with the self-titled "Black Album", the second with Jason on the bass.
* Most older Music/MariahCarey fans will tell you that 1995 until 2000 was both her creative, commercial and critical peak. During that time period, she had 3 platinum-selling hit albums (one of which has since gone DIAMOND), a special compilation that featured every #1 hit she had up until that point (13 of them, only 8 years in to her career), and amassed 7 number one hits (which gave her a #1 for every year of the 1990s). All of her post-comeback work has been compared by the fandom to that period in her career, with the consensus being that her 2009 "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" is the closest she has ever come to returning to her late-90s peak--well, at least creatively. Critically and commercially speaking, that would have to be her 2005 comeback, "The Emancipation of Mimi," where not only did she almost break her own record that she set 10 years prior (her 1995 hit, "One Sweet Day" spent a record-breaking 16 weeks at #1 and her 2005 hit, "We Belong Together" spent 14 weeks at #1), but she also set a Billboard achievement by being the first female artist to occupy the top 2 positions on the charts (her #2 hit was "Shake It Off").
* Sir Music/EltonJohn had a critically winning period from 1970's SelfTitledAlbum until 1973's classic DoubleAlbum ''Goodbye Yellow Brick Road''. Even when the reviews got worse (and he occasionally delivered relatively lackluster albums that still produced hits), he had a financially successful streak from 1972 to 1976, when he was the biggest-selling most popular male solo act in TheSeventies. His friend Music/JohnLennon was quoted in an interview as saying that Elton was biggest thing to come along since Music/TheBeatles came along. The period was also marked with Elton wearing elaborate, crazy costumes, glasses, theatrics and wardrobe, and he even reached TeenIdol status. Following [[StraightGay his self-outing]] in RollingStone magazine in 1976, and a TenMinuteRetirement a year later, his popularity fell fast. He's been largely unable to repeat his 1970-76 success since. He's had a few career comebacks, a sobering-up in the early [[TheNineties '90s]], and an Oscar for co-writing songs for ''Disney/TheLionKing'', but nothing compared to his glam period.
* For over 15 years, Mark Kozelek of Music/RedHousePainters and Music/SunKilMoon had no trouble following up a critically acclaimed album. The two band's albums were consistently loved and praised. Then in 2008, somehow he outdid everything he had done before with Sun Kil Moon's ''April'' and the two albums since have been showing some disappointed reactions as they aren't as dark as ''April''. Mark shows the pressure he's under in his latest album by giving off a bit of ego.
* This happened twice to Music/GreenDay. In 1994, their major label debut ''Music/{{Dookie}}'' brought punk back to the mainstream and sold 14 million copies. Their followups ''Insomniac'' and ''Nimrod'' each sold into the millions, but far less than their predecessor, and they hit a low point with ''Warning'', their most experimental release up to that point, which sold only half a million copies. Then came ''Music/AmericanIdiot'', widely considered their MagnumOpus—a rock opera that incorporated a drastically new arena rock sound influenced by TheWho and Music/{{Queen}} and became one of the epochal albums of the first decade of the 2000s, selling over 15 million copies and later becoming a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Their next effort, another ConceptAlbum entitled ''Music/TwentyFirstCenturyBreakdown'', took them five years to record, and while it was their best-charting release to date, it sold only 5 million copies (though this could be because of a huge increase in music piracy since ''American Idiot'' 's release in 2004). When they released their ''Uno! Dos! Trč!'' trilogy, fans would never let them hear the end of it about how they had gone "mainstream" with their sound, which is noticeably upbeat and even poppy compared to the rest of their discography. Commercial-wise, the trilogy only sold 266,000 copies altogether in their first week.
* Website/{{Cracked}}'s "[[http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-works-art-so-good-they-ruined-their-whole-genre/ 5 Works of Art So Good, They Ruined Their Whole Genre]]" calls DavidBowie's ''Music/TheRiseAndFallOfZiggyStardustAndTheSpidersFromMars'' a tough act to follow in glam rock and two Music/BobMarley albums, ''[[Music/ExodusAlbum Exodus]]'' and ''Music/{{Legend}}'' tough acts to follow in reggae.
* Music/PinkFloyd admitted that they struggled with this trope when trying to come up with a new album after ''Music/TheDarkSideOfTheMoon''.
* In November 2012, [[Music/MyBloodyValentine Kevin Shields]] [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/nov/07/my-bloody-valentine-new-album announced]] a follow-up to ''Loveless''. That is, the album which completely defined the entire {{Shoegazing}} movement and effectively [[GenreKiller destroyed the genre]] in 1991.
* Played straight (maybe unwillingly) by swedish prog act Music/PainOfSalvation. 2000's ''The Perfect Element. Part I'' was just ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin according to fans and critics, and it's their most regarded album to date. Then came 2007's ''[[GenreShift Scarsick]]''. Even though Daniel Gildenlow claimed to be "part II of The Perfect Element", the majority of their fanbase and critics tend to [[FanonDiscontinuity disregard]] it as such. ''Scarsick'' is not a bad album in and out of itself (for the genre it's classified under, mind you), but one would think if you make a sequel to a work, you would at least try to make it in the same vein and style of the previous album.
* Averted frequently by Music/PorcupineTree. All along the road this band has switched genres (with the same frequency as Jennifer Lopez goes from one boyfriend to another, but I digress), yet they're somehow able to make at least one outstanding album for each period the band has been into. ''The Sky Moves Sideways'' was considered their first masterpiece in the "[[Music/PinkFloyd Pink Floyd]]/[[Music/KingCrimson King Crimson]]-esque" British [[ProgressiveRock prog rock]] approach, until ''Signify'' appeared in 1996. Enter 1999 and ''Stupid Dream'', their most acclaimed album when it comes to "alternative pop/rock". 2002 delivered us ''In Absentia'', not only their most popular and well regarded work in their "Progressive Metal" period, but in their entire discography. And their albums ''Fear of a Blank Planet'' and ''The Incident'' (not exactly best-sellers, but definitive cult albums in the countries where they're the most popular, such as [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff Netherlands and Mexico]]) are solid evidence that this band isn't afraid to keep experimenting while going back and forth their musical roots all the way. Their quality has been so consistent throughout the years, a lot of people consider '''the band itself''' to be the ToughActToFollow from within the British progressive rock scene, more than them releasing an album as good as the previous one.
** Band leader Steven Wilson is a well-known perfectionist and a full-time music person, so it comes as no surprise this is the key for their constant success. Most of Porcupine Tree's albums take from [[ScheduleSlip 2 to 4 years]] of completion, in order for the transitions between the songs and the overall music to sound cohesive and coherent, yet feel fresh; something hard to achieve in a genre so musically nitpicky and technically-sided as progressive rock is (the fact all members of the band are involved in a ton of other side and solo projects doesn't help them meet their deadlines either).
* In his song ''Till I Collapse'', rapper Music/{{Eminem}} [[LampshadeHanging remarks as to how people think that he would never top ''My Name Is'']]. Of course he was more than happy to prove them wrong.
* Producer first and rapper second, Music/DrDre found this out the hard way with his second album ''The Aftermath''. His second effort was ripped apart by both the critics and the fans. Unlike his first album, ''Music/TheChronic'', which was considered one of the greatest rap albums of all time and helped pushed the genre into the mainstream.
* {{Music/Live}} managed to live up to the expectations laid by their CultClassic ''Mental Jewelry'' with their multi-platinum breakout ''Throwing Copper'', featuring a rich arrangement of well-written and creatively crafted gems. Every album since then has been considered either a crushing disappointment or outright [[FanDiscontinuity non-existent]].
* Music/FaithNoMore ended up with two of these: ''The Real Thing'' on a commercial level and ''Angel Dust'' on a creative level. It didn't help that Jim Martin, the guitarist who played on both albums, was jettisoned from the group. The band pressed on trying to carve a niche for themselves with ''King For a Day, Fool For a Lifetime'', but when it came time to record ''Album of the Year'' it became apparent to the band that their songwriting was sliding into irrelevance, and became a major factor in their 1998 breakup. Music/MikePatton himself said in an interview, "We started making bad music." Most fans agree that ''Angel Dust'' is a level of artistic achievement that can never again be replicated.
* The difficulty of topping ''Crimson'' is generally considered to be the main reason ProgressiveDeathMetal group Music/EdgeOfSanity broke up.
* Avicii's "Wake Me Up!" was one of the biggest hits of 2013. Not only was it the biggest EDM radio hit in American history, but was also notable for an uncharacteristically slow decline down the charts. His next single, "Hey Brother," struggled to rise up the charts as radio stations were reluctant to move on to the new song. Simultaneously, vocalist Aloe Blacc released "The Man," which took off thanks to its placement in a Beats ad. The song also got the cold shoulder from radio executives. Once both songs peaked around April-May, radio stations dropped them faster than a hot potato and went straight back to playing "Wake Me Up!" Neither artist has hit the U.S. Top 40 since.
* The critical and commercial success of Music/TalkingHeads (and to an extent, David Byrne and Music/BrianEno's side project ''My Life in the Bush of Ghosts'') has been both a blessing and a curse to Music/DavidByrne's solo career since the Heads broke up. On the one hand, those past albums gave Byrne the AuteurLicense to record [[GenreRoulette whatever the heck he feels like]]. On the other hand, it seems none of his solo stuff will ever be as popular as the Heads were. Byrne could put out an album that cured cancer in everyone who heard it, and people would still bug him about reuniting Talking Heads.
* Music/BonJovi found this with their ''New Jersey'' album, which followed the phenomenal success of ''Slippery When Wet,'' which sold 28 million copies worldwide (12 million in the U.S.). They needn't have worried--after a relatively slow start, it went on to sell a very solid 7 million copies in the U.S. and 18 million worldwide. However, they were never able to match ''Slippery'''s success.
* Both Simon Cowell and Olly Murs have stated that Series/TheXFactor will never again create an act as globally successful as Music/OneDirection.
* Music/FiveSecondsOfSummer, a former 1D opening act, haven't had an easy time filling the void their predecessors left behind and replicating their successes, in part due to 1D not fading away nearly as fast as expected. Then again, most people assumed that recreating [[Music/JustinBieber Bieber Fever]] was borderline impossible for 1D; they did so with ease. In the end, not only did 5SOS completely fail to replicate 1D's success (although they've done ''far'' better than any other 2010s boy band), but 1D stayed much more popular than them throughout their entire run. The final nail in the coffin came in 2016, when 1D were nominated for their fourth consecutive Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Music Group despite being on hiatus whereas 5SOS, who were still active and coming off of a "best new artist" nomination the year before, weren't honored anywhere outside their native Australia.
* Music/DJShadow's [[FirstInstallmentWins first]] album, ''Endtroducing.....'', received mass critical acclaim for its unique sample-centric sound, being recognized as one of the nineties' greatest musical efforts. Unfortunately, every future album he released would be crushed under outcries of TheyChangedItNowItSucks.
* Music/{{ABC}}'s debut ''The Lexicon of Love'' was such an amazing NewRomantic/SynthPop/[[NewWaveMusic New Wave]] album with so many iconic songs the band have never really been able to follow it with anything like the same success (though ''Alphabet City'' came close).
* T.I. had this happen to him. He's credited for being one of the biggest names in southern hip-hop, and helped bring UsefulNotes/{{Atlanta}} to the mainstream. This all culminated with ''Paper Trail''. It went triple platinum in the US and produced ''three'' pop crossover hits -- "Whatever You Like", "Live Your Life", and "Dead and Gone", as well as massive urban hits such as "Swagger Like Us". Since then, his albums have sold far fewer copies and the success of his songs are primarily limited to urban radio. This isn't really helped by his multiple run-ins with the law.
* While Creator/BrunoMars certainly won't have any problems finding success following his hit collaboration with Mark Ronson, "Uptown Funk!", it's doubtful that he ever has a song come anywhere close to its popularity again. However, it will almost certainly be played straight for Ronson himself, as he was almost completely unknown outside his native U.K. prior to the hit. Signs of the inevitable were already showing as its parent album ''Uptown Special'' bombed spectacularly outside the U.K. and none of its other songs have charted at all even in his home country. Not helping the fact was that it was almost universally seen as Mars' song in the public eye (despite the fact that Ronson was billed as the lead artist and Mars the guest). It's saying something when Ronson's only major appearance on an international singles chart since was a small cameo on an A$AP Rocky song that charted for a single week.
* Wiz Khalifa won't have any problems finding success after his megahit "[[Film/TheFastAndTheFurious See You Again]]", his tribute to Creator/PaulWalker, however it's unlikely that he'll ever score a hit nearly as big, or have another big crossover as the lead ([[BlackSheepHit especially since it sounds nothing like his normal material]]). His collaborator Charlie Puth was hit even harder with this trope, since, unlike Khalifa, he was almost a complete unknown prior to the song. His single "Marvin Gaye", [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff while a hit overseas]], failed to make a lasting impression back home, and he will likely be considered a one-hit wonder for "See You Again" (despite the fact that it wasn't officially his song and "Marvin Gaye" is). Also, it's unlikely there will be another soundtrack album that will be as popular as the ''Music/Furious7Soundtrack'', or another hit song produced from the franchise.
* Music/IggyAzalea was hit pretty hard with this trope fast. After exploding on the scene in 2014 with "Fancy" and "Black Widow", which featured her SignatureStyle of EDM-pop-rap songs featuring female pop singers with music videos that homage {{chick flick}}s. She repeated this exact formula with "Beg for It"[[note]]which actually didn't have a music video, it was cancelled due to time constraints[[/note]], "Trouble", and "Pretty Girls" -- with less-than-stellar results. This, combined with a wide variety of other things, got everyone burnt out on her after a year.
* Music/PapaRoach had this happen to them twice. The first was 2000's ''Infest'', which went triple platinum and produced their signature "Last Resort", becoming a hallmark of the NuMetal era. Then their second album, 2002's ''Lovehatetragedy'' only barely reached gold status, and its lead single "She Loves Me Not" quickly faded out of public consciousness. After that, they changed their sound to an AlternativeMetal leaning towards HardRock style, and saw more success with 2004's ''Getting Away With Murder''. The TitleTrack dominated rock radio upon its release, but even better, the single "Scars" became their first Top 40 hit, and it went all the way to #15. The album went platinum and they successfully transitioned to fit the new sound of the mid-2000s. Unfortunately, it would also be their [[OneHitWonder only hit]], and all albums afterwards failed to even reach gold, with airplay limited to mainstream rock radio.
* Music/ImagineDragons was hit pretty hard with this trope after ''Night Visions''. The album produced three ''massive'' crossover singles with "It's Time", "Radioactive", and "Demons" and their album went double platinum in the US alone. This level of success was almost unheard of for a rock band in TheNewTens. Naturally, it wouldn't be an easy follow-up, with ''Smoke + Mirrors'' not being nearly as successful. While it was their first #1 hit on the albums chart, it took what felt like forever to reach gold and still hasn't gone platinum. Its lead single "I Bet My Life" only barely scraped the Top 40 and its airplay was primarily limited to alternative and hot adult contemporary radio, while further singles were played exclusively on the alternative format. It's not that it wasn't ''good'', it's just that it couldn't live up to the massive success of their debut.

* Most of Creator/PatLawlor's pins after ''Pinball/TheAddamsFamily'' and ''Pinball/TheTwilightZone'' are unfairly dismissed by players just because they fail (or are perceived to fail) to live up to the lofty standards set by those two blockbusters.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* This typically happens on a PPV when the best match of the night ''isn't'' the main event.
** ''Wrestling/WrestleMania XXV'': Wrestling/ShawnMichaels vs Wrestling/TheUndertaker. They showed up ''everybody'', and the crowd was effectively dead for the rest of the night. Understandably, their rematch next year was made the main event (aided by the fact that it was HBK's retirement match).
** ''[=WrestleMania=] XXVIII'': Wrestling/TripleH vs The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. In a 'Mania headlined by Wrestling/TheRock vs Wrestling/JohnCena, this is the match that everyone thinks about.
** ''Wrestling/{{WWENXT}} [=TakeOver=]: Brooklyn'': Wrestling/{{Bayley}} vs Wrestling/SashaBanks. The fact that it was a Divas match of all things made it more surprising, but afterwards many consider it to be the greatest women's match in WWE history (despite the fact that it was on a ''developmental'' brand). In fact, the biggest, glaring flaw that everyone saw in the Wrestling/FinnBalor vs Wrestling/KevinOwens ladder match, a sure show stealer on any other card, was the fact that it had to follow this one. It was so good that their rematch got to headline the next special, making history in the process.
** ''King of the Ring 1998'': The infamous Hell in a Cell match between Wrestling/TheUndertaker and Wrestling/{{Mankind}}. This match is so damn iconic that most people don't even remember that this wasn't the main event of that PPV, which was Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin vs Wrestling/{{Kane}} in a First Blood match, nor the titular tournament that took place that night, which was won by Wrestling/KenShamrock.
** ''[=WrestleMania=] X8'': Wrestling/TheRock vs Wrestling/HulkHogan. This is a weird case in that though it headlined the PPV, it wasn't the main event because it didn't go last like it was supposed to. Instead, Wrestling/TripleH lobbied for the world title match to go on last. [[SarcasmMode Coincidentally]], Hunter happened to be the challenger thanks to winning the Wrestling/RoyalRumble earlier that year after he returned from his first quad injury. It would be ''years'' before he would admit that he was wrong.
** ''[=WrestleMania=] 29'': Wrestling/CMPunk vs Wrestling/TheUndertaker. Granted, this one is debatable seeing as not only was it the best match, many believe it was the only good match on the card (besides the always decent Wrestling/DanielBryan match).
* Wrestling/CMPunk vs Wrestling/JohnCena at ''Wrestling/MoneyInTheBank 2011''. This match got a five star rating from ''Dave Meltzer'' -- the last time the WWE managed that was the first Hell in a Cell match between HBK and the Undertaker (which was also Wrestling/{{Kane}}'s debut). While every match afterwards easily clocked at four stars and above, it's kinda hard to match this one for a variety of reasons, mainly being the atmosphere just isn't as charged as it was as Chicago, and the stakes just weren't as high, lowering the drama factor. It's not helped that this is considered to be one of the best matches the WWE has put on in ''years'' (with some even going on to say that it's the best match in WWE history).
* Wrestling/{{WCW}} in regards to Wrestling/{{TNA}}. TNA was originally created to fill the void that WCW left -- the problem was that the times had changed and a lot of the stuff that made WCW so big were either regarded as passé or had their flaws magnified by TNA's attempts to rehash it. Then they started emulating the stuff that ''killed'' WCW during its disastrous final years (not-so-coincidentally, this was when Wrestling/VinceRusso returned to the booking team), and somehow made WCW look ''better'' in comparison.

* Any team that was led to success by a standout athlete has trouble after he goes away - best example being the UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan-less Chicago Bulls.
** Or the Denver Broncos without John Elway. It's actually eerie how similar those two turned out: Jordan was universally regarded as basketball's greatest player, while Elway was a top class quarterback. Both retired in 1999 after winning championships, and neither team has truly recovered. (Of course, Jordan came back with another team, but [[DorkAge we prefer to not think about that]])
** Another would be the 49ers without Jerry Rice or Joe Montana, as well as the Dolphins without Dan Marino, and the Bills without Jim Kelly.
*** In some ways this can be subverted, for instance Kobe Bryant is just as beloved as Magic Johnson. How? Because he has a completely different playing style and personality. Same for Larry Bird and Bill Russell. Of course, they all have championship rings too, which helps.
** In UsefulNotes/FormulaOne, Ferrari after Michael Schumacher. Or any other team.
*** Schumacher's career after he returned to the sport after retirement. The most race wins in UsefulNotes/FormulaOne history, most driver championships and all around legendary. Naturally it would be impossible for him to live up to his own record since he hadn't raced in [=F1=] for a number of years and he wasn't in a team as good as Ferrari. Initially he got some flack (which everybody noted for being unreasonable) for not being his "old self" but his post-retirement career has been respectable. Fortunately, this made Kimi Raikkonen's return to the sport easier as people accepted that they couldn't expect too much - his post-retirement career has been equally respectable.
*** In Brazil, anyone after Senna - Rubens Barrichello in particular got some flack from being the new Brazilian driver but unlike Senna not having [[ButtMonkey his prowess, powerful car or luck,]] '''until''', that is, he pulled the proverbial rabbit out of his hat [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome by beating The Stig]]!
*** In the UK this has an odd occurrence, having produced so many successful drivers means that not one of them is overwhelmingly considered to be the greatest (Moss, Clark, Stewart, Hill and Mansell all being equally well regarded for example) but the commentary partnership of Murray Walker and James Hunt (or Martin Brundle) and the BBC's use of "The Chain" as the theme song for the coverage are so etched into the public mind that any other suggestions will always be compared to that.
** Every Brazilian National [[UsefulNotes/AssociationFootball Football (Soccer)]] Team after the Pelé-led team of Mexico 1970. The winning teams of 1994 and 2002 have come close, but since Korea-Japan the team has been increasingly beaten in any World Cup they are in, leading to the "Verde amarela"'s infamous 7x1 loss against Germany in the 2014 World Cup.
** Argentina and the "Maradona Curse": His infamous doping-related retirement led to the downfall of the same team ewhich had won the last two (South) America Cups, also the last trophies since 1993 for the "Albiceleste". This has gotten to the point Messi has been mocked for his subpar performance for his team while being Barcelona's superstar.
** Also in soccer: the USA women's national team after the groundbreaking [[TheWorldCup World Cup]] champions of 1999. Despite four Olympic golds since then, the current women still haven't gotten out from under the shadow of the 1999 team. The 2011 World Cup team came close, but lost to [[YamatoNadeshiko Japan]] in the final. In 2015 however, the US beat Germany, being their first Cup in 16 years.
** English examples. England's 1966 World Cup winning squad (The Brit team of later years has been more notorious for its failures). Liverpool in the 1980's (They have not won a league title since 1990!) Manchester United's 1999 Treble winning side, Arsenal's Invincibles from 2004.
** The New York Yankees will never be as loved as when they had Babe Ruth. They probably will never even be as loved as when they had Mickey Mantle. ''Feared'', yes...
** Bill Mazeroski, the Hall of Fame second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, called his walk-off home run to win the 1960 World Series to complete an upset of the Yankees "a curse in disguise." He was never a prolific hitter, and outside of Pirates fans, people saw only that home run, not realizing he is the best defensive second baseman to have ever played the game.
** Roger Maris, after breaking Babe Ruth's single season record for home runs claimed the rest of his career would have been "a helluva lot more fun" had he never done that.
** Any league with a salary cap essentially forces this as any team with a surprisingly good year is forced to get rid of half their players since they're now demanding pay raises, especially if they win the championship. Aversions happen in teams that are centered around a few key players or have excellent general managers.
* Any sensational record in any sports.
** At the 1968 Summer Olympics, Bob Beamon set a world record for the long jump with a jump of 8.90 m. Prior to this, the world record had been broken thirteen times since 1901, with an average increase of 6 cm; Beamon's jump bettered the existing record by 55 cm. The defending Olympic champion, Lynn Davies told Beamon, "You have destroyed this event." The record stood until 1991. Beamon himself never won another Olympic medal.
* The absolutely daunting task that any future UsefulNotes/OlympicGames swimmer will have to face if they try to defeat Michael Phelps' record in Beijing 2008 of winning 8 gold medals in a single Olympics. As of London 2012, with a grand total of 22 medals (18 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze) to his name, Phelps is the most decorated Olympian '''EVER''' in any event.
* As for personal tough acts to follow, quintuple Olympic ski jumping champion [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matti_Nykänen Matti Nykänen]] is a particularly sad case - not only did his sports career plummet with his failure in adopting the modern V style, so did his life. From TheOtherWiki: ''since the 1990s, his status as a celebrity has mainly been fuelled (...) by his colourful personal relationships, his "career" as a "singer," and various incidents often related to heavy use of alcohol and violent behaviour''.
* Brett Favre, after signing with the Minnesota Vikings, had the best season of his career, almost taking the team to the Super Bowl. The second season with them... well...
* When Andy Roddick won his first Grand Slam and became the World No. 1 in 2003, he was expected to continue the dominant American Usefulnotes/{{Tennis}} tradition on the heels of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Unfortunately, Roger Federer shot to the top of the tennis world soon after and Roddick would never again win a Slam or hold the No. 1 position, but it's a sure bet that even if Federer hadn't been around to beat Roddick in four Slam finals, he would still have been doomed to fall short of Sampras's 14 Slams and Agassi's 8 in spite of being good enough to be included in the Tennis Channel's list of top 100 players.
* In 2012, Novak Djokovic won one Grand Slam, the year-end championships, a total of six titles, and finished the year as No. 1, which would qualify as an incredible season by any reasonable standard -- but since this came right after his otherworldly 2011 season in which he won three Grand Slams and went undefeated for over 40 matches, the general consensus of his 2012 season was that it was "good, but not as good as his 2011 season."
* The 70s dynasty of the "Steel Curtain" Pittsburgh Steelers is not only hard to follow for the franchise itself, but also for most teams in the NFL, even the ones that succeeded in creating SuperBowl winning dynasties themselves. In the case of the Super Bowl, it's called the "Super Bowl Hangover"; the New England Patriots were the last back-to-back Super Bowl Champions, and, until the 2014 season, were the last team to win a playoff game after winning the Super Bowl the previous season. The latter part was broken by the 2014 Seahawks, who made Super Bowl XLIX, but lost to the Patriots.
* It's common in season previews to treat the last champion that retained its core players with "anything less than a repeat will be a disappointment for fans".
* Any athlete who is the son or daughter of a sporting legend will be compared to their parent.
* With the conclusion of Rugby World Cup 2015, with the New Zealand Team - The All Blacks - standing victorious once again, the retirement of rugby legends [[TheLeader Richie McCaw]], [[OldSoldier Keven Mealamu]], [[TheLancer Dan Carter]], [[ThoseTwoGuys Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu]] and [[TheBigGuy Tony Woodcock]] has rugby fans feeling this trope deeply.

* Creator/GilbertAndSullivan struggled with this after the mega-hit, ''Theatre/TheMikado''. Gilbert darkly suggested renaming their next operetta, ''Theatre/{{Ruddigore}}'', to ''Kensington Gore: Or, Not Quite So Good as The Mikado''. ''Ruddigore'' was erroneously considered a flop in Gilbert's lifetime (the original run of ''Ruddigore'' was 288 performances, good by any standard except comparison to the ''672'' performances in the original run of ''Theatre/TheMikado''); SpecialEffectFailure on its opening night may have contributed to its underwhelming reception. 20th century revivals restored the work's reputation.
* Meredith Willson's first Broadway musical, ''The Music Man'', achieved great popular and critical success. Of his three subsequent musicals, each was less successful and less distinguished than the previous one, with his final show (''1491'') closing before reaching Broadway.
* Mitch Leigh had an even worse record: all the musicals he wrote after ''Theatre/ManOfLaMancha'' were atrocious flops.
* Pietro Mascagni, whose fame rests on his debut ''Cavalleria Rusticana'', went on to compose another 14 operas. All are forgotten by the time of his death. It is especially lamentable because, as the rare revivals attest, some of these works (like ''Iris'' and ''Il piccolo Marat'') show great artistic vision and experimentation. But sorry, the public is looking for another ''Cav''.
* ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' is this for AndrewLloydWebber -- while several of his subsequent shows did decent/fine business in his native England (''Theatre/SunsetBoulevard'' also did well in the U.S.), he's never had another international sensation along the lines of ''Theatre/{{Evita}}'', ''Theatre/{{Cats}}'', ''Theatre/StarlightExpress'', or ''Phantom''. In 2010 he brought out a sequel to ''Phantom'', ''Theatre/LoveNeverDies'', but its reception has been extremely mixed.
* For Lerner and Loewe, one reason ''Camelot'' disappointed so many people was that it was their follow-up to the sensation that was ''Theatre/MyFairLady''.
* Boublil and Schonberg followed up ''Theatre/LesMiserables'' with ''Theatre/MissSaigon'', a critical and popular smash that introduced the world to a seventeen-year-old Filipina phenom named Lea Salonga. But not even ''Miss Saigon'' can top the longest-running, best-written, best-loved, best-known, and quite possibly ''best'' musical ever produced. Interestingly, ''Les Mis'' is '''so good''' that no one really cares what Boublil and Schonberg have gotten up to since - they wrote ''Les Mis'' and are therefore entitled to write whatever else they damn please.
* Even though Creator/StephenSchwartz was well known at the time, this could almost be said to apply to ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}''. Nothing he did before it even comes close to ''Wicked'' 's level of popularity and revivals of some of his older work (notably ''{{Theatre/Godspell}}'' which is returning to Broadway) now carry the advertisement: "From the creator of ''Wicked''" (with occasionally ''Theatre/{{Pippin}}'' being mentioned as an afterthought).

* The story of ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'' was so, well, ''huge'', that its successor line ''HeroFactory'' gets a considerable amount of hate for its bare-bones, simple-to-follow plot and minimalistic characterization. Complainers tend to overlook the fact that even so, HF's story is still a tad more complex than that of an average, non-licensed {{LEGO}} line, and its characters are among the most developed of any original-LEGO characters (if still far from ''Bionicle'''s). LEGO themselves consider HF a wholly separate entity -- a line that occupies the same niche as ''Bionicle'', but it's not a follow-up. Further, they deliberately set out to ''avoid'' creating another complicated universe such as that of ''Bionicle'', partly because of this trope, but mostly because a simpler story is easier to promote to younger kids, which the PeripheryDemographic has a hard time realizing.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''[[VideoGame/Rayman3HoodlumHavoc Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc]]'' is not called a bad game, but considering it was a follow-up to one of the most [[VideoGame/{{Rayman2}} critically acclaimed, best-selling 3-D platformers of all time,]] being what is considered the masterpiece of UbiSoft, its critical reception and sales did not live up to the previous game. Some have speculated that Rayman 3's underwhelming performance was why ''Rayman 4'' was retooled from another 3-D platformer into the mini-game centric ''Rayman VideoGame/RavingRabbids'', as well as why another Rayman platformer was put on ice for years until ''VideoGame/RaymanOrigins'' came around.
* While still being good, [[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Generation 3]] of ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' had to follow up [[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver Generation 2]], which is widely regarded as the best in the series (until their Generation 4 remakes). The fact that they downplayed the time factor and the exclusion of many Pokémon didn't help matters either. [[VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite Generation 5]] is said to be a new tough act to follow as well.
** Generation 5 had a hard time following ''itself''. ''VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2'', despite introducing loads of new features, were also received partly unfavorably by both critics and the fans for not being what ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' were (lacking the story that what made the original games, and traces of difficulty).
** On a similar note, the ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon'' series has been highly regarded for its story and gameplay elements that variate from the main series. However, the 3DS installment ''Gates to Infinity'' has also received quite a bit of panning from fans for not being what the first two were; most complaints being in regards to the story (which is considered by most to be weaker then ''Explorers'') and the small number of Pokemon available as starter/partner choices and for recruitment.
** [[VideoGame/PokemonXAndY Generation 6]] had it even tougher than ''Black 2 and White 2''. While the plot isn't bad by any means, it didn't stand a chance compared to ''Black and White'', which are widely agreed to have had the best plot of the series. The fact that the game also introduced only about 70 Pokémon, the least of any generation, was also all the more noticeable proceeding Gen 5, which introduced over 150, the ''most'' of any generation since the originals.
** An odd character-specific variation occurred with a Pokemon species from Generation 4: Lucario. For whatever reason Creator/{{Gamefreak}} and Pokemon Co. decided to give the [[ExtraOredinary metal]] [[CharlesAtlasSuperpower fighting]] [[StarWars Force]] jackal heavy promotion before the start of G4 (having one in the starring role of one of the anime series' movies and cameoing in spinoff games) and continued into Generation 4 proper. The marketing push ended up being well handled-enough to actually ''work'', and Lucario quickly became a fan-favorite (it helps its debut movie was [[SurprisinglyImprovedSequel well-received by fans]] and gamewise it's pretty powerful and is no slouch in the competitive scene). However, this proved to be a double-edged sword to the creators, as every attempt at trying to ape Lucario's success failed either partially or entirely because it couldn't live up to Lucario itself.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' was cursed from the beginning to never be as popular as ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', one of the most beloved games ever made.
* Games designer Will Wright seems to be heading in this direction, considering the general reaction to his latest game, ''VideoGame/{{Spore}}'', hasn't been nearly as warm as with his seminal masterpiece, ''VideoGame/TheSims''. The quote from Yahtzee up top is from ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'''s review of Spore. This is also true for post-Sims entries to the ''VideoGame/SimCity'' franchise, though Wright [[GodDoesNotOwnThisWorld hadn't been involved with those games]] since at least ''[=SimCity=] 4''. Even without Wright at the helm, ''4'' was critically acclaimed and is widely considered the apex of the series; just not ''[[OvershadowedByAwesome quite]]'' as popular as ''The Sims''.
* Apparently, HideoKojima regrets being remembered only for the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series, which overshadowed his earlier games and whose shadow looms on every possible future title.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** The fandom is "[[BrokenBase divided]]," but it's probably safe to say that ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' didn't live up to what was expected after ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''. Whether or not ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' lived up to what was expected after ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' is [[FandomRivalry the source of many]] [[FlameWar flame wars]].
** There is also a BrokenBase regarding ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' didn't live up to what was expected after ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', which is considered one of the top games in the series, because of its characters and heightened drama typical to many other games of the series. All of which many fans felt the fifth installment of the series lacked. Other fans on the other hand felt that the game featured some of the best gameplay in the series, period, thanks to the evolved job system, that has served as the basis for that of three spinoff titles, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', ''VideoGames/FinalFantasyDimensions'' and ''VideoGame/BravelyDefault'' (albeit the former is a genre/franchise crossover with Tactics Ogre). Combine all of this with an annual (unofficial) charity run, and you have a franchise dark horse, making ''it'' a tough act to follow of its own, especially when sizing up Dimensions and Default.
** And then there's Music/NobuoUematsu: he has since produced many solid and great video game soundtracks, but after the [[AwesomeMusic/FinalFantasy dozens of anthems to video game awesomeness]] that pervade the sixth installment, for some people, everything he composed since is fated to be seen as "not as good as ''FFVI''[='s=] soundtrack." Uematsu himself considers ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'''s OST his masterpiece.
* ''VideoGame/BioShock2'' is a decently good game, but it lives in the shadow of ''VideoGame/BioShock1'', one of the most renowned and critically acclaimed games of all time. Had it been released as its own animal, it might've gotten decent recognition; as is, it's often seen as little more than a pale imitation, repeating most of the same steps the original took in the hopes of creating the same magic while introducing an element of chaotic multiplayer into a game about fear and isolation. ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'', however, averted this and received praise on equal level to the original, some even finding themselves preferring ''Infinite'' over the original.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMetroid'' [[TropeCodifier set a standard]] for every subsequent game in the ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' series and (by extension) the {{Metroidvania}} genre in general. This was the only reason fans didn't get ''Metroid 64'', as [[WordOfGod the creator said almost word for word that]] ''Super Metroid'' was a Tough Act to Follow. When the series ''did'' return, ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'' was fantastically well-received, smashing through the PolygonCeiling ''and'' successfully switching genres from platformer to [=FPS=] while appeasing the fans. Once the ''Prime'' subseries ended, the next 3D ''Metroid'' title was ''VideoGame/MetroidOtherM'', which had a very hard time following up both Retro Studios' games and ''Super Metroid''.
* ''VideoGame/DeusEx'', naturally. Provided you accept that there ''were'' acts that followed it at all; [[FanonDiscontinuity quite a lot of fans don't]].
* The original ''VideoGame/YoshisIsland: Super Mario World 2'' was a great game, seen as a classic entry in the Mario series in all respects. However, ''Yoshi's Story'' and ''Yoshi's Island DS'', despite being good games on their own, got incredibly badly overshadowed by the original, to the point of the former being ripped apart for not being the same style and general gameplay as Yoshi's Island. They listened with ''Yoshi's New Island'', but then people started complaining ItsTheSameNowItSucks.
* One of the reasons why ''VideoGame/DukeNukemForever'' festered as long in development as it did, according to a [[http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/fail_duke_nukem/ Wired article]], was simply because 3D Realms wanted their game to be as groundbreaking as ''VideoGame/DukeNukem3D'' was back in its day. As a result, they were constantly adding more and more new features into the game, upgrading the technology and occasionally starting the entire project from scratch because what they had wasn't up to par, until they ran out of funding in 2009 and Gearbox finished off what they had two years later.
* ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry'':
** The reason fewer players like ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry3DixieKongsDoubleTrouble'' compared to ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry2DiddysKongQuest''. The second game was (and still is) the generally most well received in the series, and the very different style of the third is something that seems to have not quite lived up it in the same way. To a lesser extent, this also affected ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'', which also had to follow up the success of ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie''.
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryReturns'' would have been a lot more well-received, if it didn't have the ''Donkey Kong Country'' label. While a great game standing alone from the others, it was criticized because of the ditching of ice and underwater levels, having all Kongs but Donkey, Diddy, and Cranky suffer ChuckCunninghamSyndrome, and having [[ReplacementScrappy the Tiki Tak Tribe]] replace the Kremling Krew. ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryTropicalFreeze'', the follow-up, fixed all these problems except the last one, but made the new villains in ''that'' game seem more like [[{{Expy}} Expies]] of the Kremlings rather than entirely new antagonists, and thus became very popular among fans.
* In hindsight, Harmonix choosing to craft their first single-artist ''VideoGame/RockBand'' game around the musical output of Music/TheBeatles might have been a poorly considered move in the long term, because no matter how great your music is, it's very, very difficult to find another group as universally beloved as The Beatles. So who did they pick for their next game? Music/GreenDay. After making two overwhelmingly popular franchises (the aforementioned ''Rock Band'' and ''VideoGame/DanceCentral''), Harmonix announced that they were making a game based off of Creator/{{Disney}}'s legendary ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' films. So far what they had shown failed to impress fans as the gameplay requires you to use your arms rather than using your whole body like in ''Dance Central''. And the song count is quite low compared to their other games. Fans are still waiting for the next ''Dance Central'' or ''Rock Band'' to be announced.
* The ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' series is falling apart because of the role-playing game ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' being a Tough Act to Follow, with its good battle system, horde of {{Ensemble Darkhorse}}s, SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic, and [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments hilarious]], [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments heartwarming]], and sometimes [[TearJerker sad]] plotline. Nintendo feared ItsTheSameNowItSucks for its sequels, so both ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' and ''VideoGame/PaperMarioStickerStar'' both underwent an UnexpectedGenreChange, to platformer and sticker-collecting Metroidvania respectively. Fans missed the classic elements and are still longing for a true successor today.
* At this point, the entire ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series is trapped in the shadow of the ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight Symphony of the Night]]'' for most. On the other hand, ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow Aria of Sorrow]]'' was really well received for a unique battle system of collecting [[PowerCopying souls from defeated enemies]] ([[LuckBasedMission at random]]), a less crufty castle design, and a great TomatoSurprise PlotTwist of the game's protagonist. Its direct sequel, ''Dawn of Sorrow'', improved upon the game balance in many ways while not straying much, though received a bit of flak for the grinding of souls needed for upgrading weapons and the souls themselves, as well as the seals needed to destroy the bosses. ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin'' is often considered either ItsTheSameNowItSucks or ItsEasySoItSucks, and ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaOrderOfEcclesia'' is, while well received (and NintendoHard), a form of a stale formula. The game after that was the ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow Lords of Shadow]]'' ContinuityReboot.
* Most of the Classic ''VideoGame/{{Mega Man|Classic}}'' series' sequels (and their soundtracks) generally aren't considered quite as good and memorable as ''VideoGame/MegaMan2''. ''[[VideoGame/MegaMan9 9]]'', however, was good enough to revive the series and rival ''2'''s level of quality and popularity. This naturally became apparent, once ''[[VideoGame/MegaMan10 10]]'' came out, [[BrokenBase divided the fanbase again]] and performed below sales expectations. The only real alternatives to ''[=MM2=]'' you'll see fans frequently mention are ''VideoGame/MegaMan3'' (which counts as MagnumOpusDissonance, given Creator/KeijiInafune's thoughts on the game's development) and ''VideoGame/MegaManV'', and when discussing sequel series ''VideoGame/MegaManX'', the only title seen on equal footing with the [[VideoGame/MegaManX1 first]] is ''VideoGame/MegaManX4''.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' is generally considered to be one of the greatest games in the franchise, and by many outside of it one of the greatest games ever. Future games in the series, while still very good, garner complaints because of how unlike (or, [[DoubleStandard sometimes]], how ''like'') ''Ocarina of Time'' they are. Some of the later games, like ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask Majora's Mask]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker The Wind Waker]]'', were succesfully VindicatedByHistory, but in the grand scale of the series' lifetime they still suffered from the high bar left by the 1998 title.
* The ''Franchise/SilentHill'' series has struggled in the shadow of its [[EvenBetterSequel second incarnation]] through four sequels, numerous comics and its film release. ''VideoGame/SilentHill2'' is widely regarded as the definitive installment, which tragically influenced its subsequent media by having various elements recur when they were either unwelcome or poorly implemented (Sexy Monster Nurses, Pyramid Head, solipsistic protagonists fighting through suppressed trauma). Even Team Silent's third and fourth game failed to enthrall the wider public as their predecessor did.
** Akira Yamaoka, the composer for ''seven'' of the Silent Hill games, and sound director responsible for most of the [[HellIsThatNoise hair-raising sounds]] in the [[VideoGame/SilentHill1 first]] [[VideoGame/SilentHill2 three]] [[VideoGame/SilentHill3 games]], also made for a big shadow over the series after he left Konami.
* Infinty Ward's [[VideoGame/CallOfDuty first two games]] were critical and commercial successes. Then they released ''Call of Duty 4: VideoGame/ModernWarfare''. They turned a good-selling series into a CashCowFranchise, perfected the single player experience, changed the perception of the "generic shooter" from World War II to modern, and created the possibly the most addictive multiplayer system of all time. Both [[BaseBreaker Treyarch]] ''and'' I-Dub have had trouble following that act.
* ''VideoGame/TecmoBowl'' had this happen after ''Tecmo Super Bowl'' was released for the NES. In 1993, they released a sequel (not a port, contrary to popular belief), also named ''Tecmo Super Bowl'' for the SNES and Mega Drive (Genesis). One of the main reasons was because of the roster changes from the 1990 season to the 1993 preseason. Many teams and players got better or worse, such as Dallas improved the most and Chicago got worse. One common complaint was the three-season mode, where you play three seasons in a row with one team to get a better ending. Of course, it's an optional feature.
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'' was beloved by so many that ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' almost had to be a letdown. Taken on its own merits, there's not a lot wrong with ''The Third'', but when compared to its predecessor, there's a lot missing. For every new great thing that ''The Third'' introduced, it gave up something else from its predecessor. Better looking models but way less-extensive character customization. Better action, less reason to care about the characters. Better graphics for the city, but much more boring ''design'' for the city. Shaundi becoming a completely different character from her original to the point of being unrecognizable. The optional side-activities becoming mandatory and a lot more easier/comfortable to do without being such pains; at the cost of losing a lot of the popular ones from the past (like FUZZ or Septic Avenger). So on and so forth.
* This is one of many ways one can describe what's happened to ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog''. The original three games (this is taking ''Sonic 3'' and ''Sonic & Knuckles'' together as [[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles the complete title]]) and ''[[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD Sonic CD]]'' are hailed effectively universally as the shining gems of the series (and fantastic examples of high speed platforming in general). ''Every. Single. Sonic. Game. Since. Then.'' Has been trying to get out of this shadow, some to far better results than others, and even then each one has an unfortunately strong FandomRivalry to go with it. The series has gone on to become ''the'' exemplary sample of BrokenBase (amongst other things) as a result of this very trope.
** Seems to have died down in the past few years, as ''VideoGame/SonicColors'' and ''VideoGame/SonicGenerations'' have been very well received by critics. Even most fans consider the two to be well done. Naturally, these two games combined to create another tough act to follow when ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'' was released.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'' is considered to be the best ''[[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]]'' 3D platforming game in the history of the series, despite it [[BrokenBase dividing the fans over whether or not the 3D games are better than the 2D games.]] ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine'' had an extremely hard time living up to everyone's expectations that was set by ''64''. ''Sunshine'' wasn't a bad game by any means, but many fans prefer ''64'' because the game was more open compared to Sunshine. ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'' also was met with high expectations and it generally succeeded.
* Most succeeding installments from the ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' series are generally regarded as better than their predecessors, at least when it comes to the same platform. ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsW'' for the NintendoDS is a fan favorite, featuring a great cast of series and well-liked [[OriginalGeneration original characters]]. ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsK'', on the other hand, had a myriad of problems, alongside increased difficulty and standardization of many game mechanics. Many players didn't sit well with ''K'' when they thoroughly enjoyed ''W''.
* This can be said of the Heaven's Feel scenario for ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' as on top of the issues it has (due to time constraints), it follows up the very Popular Unlimited Blade Works scenario. This also applies to the heroines of both, [[{{Tsundere}} Rin]] and Sakura with the latter's lack of real development causing some fans to see her as TheScrappy.
* The ''Franchise/DragonAge'' series sometimes comes across as this. The [[VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins original game]] was heralded as a return to the good old days of the CRPG, a spiritual successor to the storied ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' franchise. The [[VideoGame/DragonAgeII sequel]] is a good game on its own merits but often fares poorly when compared to its predecessor. ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' [[WinBackTheCrowd on the other hand...]]
* Likewise, just ''trying'' to live up to the first ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic''; the Obsidian-made [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords second game]] is a [[BrokenBase point of contention]] that was unfortunately rushed for a Christmas release. ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' is breaking the base not just for being an MMO, but also because some of the game's {{Backstory}} turned that epic first game into a textbook ShootTheShaggyDog.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' was a fantastic two-part series ending on so many plot hooks the fans clamored for a sequel. ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'', released years later, [[SoOkayItsAverage didn't quite live up to the legacy]].
* The first ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage'' was a decent counter to ''VideoGame/FinalFight''. However, ''Streets of Rage 2'' would easily be the best game in the series and one of the best games on the UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis and among beat-em-ups in general. ''Streets of Rage 3'', even with its added features like cut-scenes, couldn't surpass it.
* Depending on who you ask, ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall'', ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'', ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'', or ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' is the best game in the ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series. The fight began at ''Morrowind''[='s=] release, and continues to this very instant with only the original not having many people argue in its favor.
* While ''VideoGame/FableIII'' still got favorable reviews, it wasn't as good as the second. Possibly because one of the most common complaints was how [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks they changed the gaming mechanic]].
* Many of the complaints about ''VideoGame/TotalWarRomeII'' are essentially this: it's a pretty good game in its own right, but it's the immediate follow up to [[VideoGame/TotalWarShogun2 one of the best games in the series]] and a remake of [[VideoGame/RomeTotalWar the other best game in the series]].
* While ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard 3}}'' is accepted by the fans as a worthy sequel to the [[Frachise/{{Drakengard}} main games]], it came after ''VideoGame/NieR'' which is regarded as the series' masterpiece and ''Drakengard 3'' being unable to live up to that game's legacy.
* ''VideoGame/{{Lemmings}} 2: The Tribes'' improved on its predecessors in many ways (and added many new abilities) -- so many, in fact, that almost every other game in the series (typically {{Mission Pack Sequel}}s to the original with some added gimmick, such as 3D environments or touch screen mechanics) has been generally considered SoOkayItsAverage by the fanbase.
* Creator/ArcSystemWorks are responsible for ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'', a series that has a respectable place among the UsefulNotes/FightingGameCommunity for its unique mechanics compared to other franchises like ''Franchise/StreetFighter'', with a very rock and roll-inspired art style and atmosphere that many appreciated. They would lose the rights to the series years later, but not wanting to discontinue their fighting game resume, they made a SpiritualSuccessor named ''VideoGame/BlazBlue''. The series does well enough in its own country to not qualify for this trope, [[AmericansHateTingle but in America?]] It has a massive stigma against it for being "Anime!''Guilty Gear''", mostly due to its more {{Shonen}}-influenced character designs, slower and simpler gameplay (that counterintuitively requires a far steeper learning curve than ''GG'' ever did, at least on paper), and [[KudzuPlot very confusing]] ClicheStorm of a narrative ([[AudienceAlienatingPremise not helped by]] [[AllThereInTheManual several crucial supplemental materials]] [[NoExportForYou not making it out of Japan]] [[note]]the fandom has collectively managed to translate many of these works, fortunately, but there is a substantial amount of fans who are unaware of these materials to begin with[[/note]]). All ''[=BlazBlue=]'' did was just make the fanbase want another ''Guilty Gear'' after [[CapcomSequelStagnation years of updated releases]] (and one [[OddballInTheSeries very unorthodox sequel]] in the form of ''[=GG2=]: Overture'') rather than a new series entirely. When a true follow-up was received in the form of ''Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-'', American reception to ''[=BlazBlue=]''[='s=] [[VideoGame/BlazBlueChronophantasma latest releases]] was mostly lukewarm as the hype for a new ''Guilty Gear'' was felt all throughout the community.
* There's a reason the [[UsefulNotes/SuperNintendoEntertainmentSystem SNES]], with its robust game library, iconic gamepad, and impressive 2D visuals, is hailed by many Nintendo fans as not just Nintendo's greatest game console of all time but their ''last'' great one: Every console Nintendo has put out after has had elements that fans find highly questionable and has them pining for the [[UsefulNotes/NintendoEntertainmentSystem 8-]] and 16-bit days of good ol' Ninty. The UsefulNotes/{{Nintendo 64}} was ill-received due to Nintendo's choice to continue using expensive cartridges instead of a disc-based format and a controller that is seen by many as the worst controller design Nintendo has ever put out. The UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube suffers from a poor third-party library compared to [[UsefulNotes/SegaDreamcast its]] [[UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 three]] [[UsefulNotes/{{Xbox}} competitors]]. Although the UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} was more successful than the last two, its {{Waggle}}-bait motion controls and non-standard controller design on top of its perceived UsefulNotes/{{Shovelware}} library made many gamers see it ultimately as a joke. The UsefulNotes/WiiU is faring decently in spite of a ''very'' rough start, but Nintendo's falling back onto existing [=IPs=] for new games and a continued lack of third-party support makes some gamers still skeptical about modern-day Nintendo.
* Take Nintendo's legacy and make the decline far, far worse, and you have Sega. The Sega Mega Drive, or UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis as North Americans know it, was seen as ''the'' console to have in the early 90s if you didn't want a SNES, or had one but felt like getting another console anyway--an excellent library and strong processing power make it a great platform, especially if you enjoy fast-paced games. However, Sega just kept slipping and slipping afterwards. The UsefulNotes/SegaSaturn was marred by its developer-unfriendliness especially for 3D titles in a period when 3D gaming was really starting to take off, as well as a decision to release it in North America early, pissing off many retailers and third-party developers, and Bernie Stolar running the system into the ground. Sega did manage to briefly get back in the groove with the UsefulNotes/SegaDreamcast, but a number of reasons, such as the hype for the UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 a few years later, prevented it from becoming the next Mega Drive and killed off Sega's days as a console industry force once and for all.
* ''VideoGame/FZero GX'' is hailed as not only the best game in the ''F-Zero'' series, but one of Nintendo's best racing games period and one of the best racers of its decade. So when ''F-Zero GP Legend'' was released a few years later, it was treated with lukewarm reception at best despite bearing a number of improvements to the sprite-based ''F-Zero'' games. (Although it being a tie-in to a poorly-received ''F-Zero'' anime may have something to do with it as well.) In addtion, this trope has been speculated to be the reason Nintendo won't produce another ''F-Zero'' game: because it would inevitably be measured up against ''GX'' and be treated as SoOkayItsAverage at best if it didn't meet that standard.
* Nintendo's 1989 UsefulNotes/GameBoy version of ''VideoGame/{{Tetris}}'', at least in the West, has yet to be topped by any newer version of ''Tetris'' in terms of iconic status, even though many newer versions introduce new modes and gameplay-streamlining features.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius'' was popular and loved for many reasons: strong characters, plenty of HoYay and LesYay, diversity and variety in character types, a strong feminist undercurrent as many of the major territories ended up being ruled by female characters. Because of this, several hardcore fans considered ''Shadow Dragon'' and ''Awakening'' to be a step backward, though which was worse depends on said hardcore fan.
* While both [[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamOrigins later]] [[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamKnight installments]] in the VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries were still well received, they wound up having the misfortune of coming after the universally acclaimed ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'', still considered to be the best game in the series. ''Origins'' had to deal with having [[OnlyTheCreatorDoesItRight a different developer]] working on the game rather than Rocksteady, with many feeling that the gameplay [[ItsTheSameNowItSucks didn't really change much up]] and finding it to be much glitchier than normal. ''Knight'' had Rocksteady as the developers again, but that one had several Batmobile segments taking up a good portion of the game which many felt was a ScrappyMechanic, as well as Creator/PaulDini not returning to pen the story, causing several people to feel it was much weaker than the previous games' stories, including ''Origins'' interestingly enough.
* ''VideoGame/MadMax2015'' is an unusual cross-media example of this. Despite being an entirely separate project, it had the misfortune of coming out the exact same year as ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad'', a film that not only brought acclaim and attention to the franchise that had never been seen before, but was widely praised as a game-changer and one of the greatest action films in history. Even with a completely different story and concept and a decent game in its own right, it still had to go through being compared to a masterpiece of a completely different medium in a number of reviews.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'': Being ''by far'' the most requested, longest, most extensively researched and most viewed of the ''Death Battle'' series to date, "[[Anime/DragonBallZ Goku]] vs. Franchise/{{Superman}}" casts a massive shadow over the rest of the series in terms of production, scale and fan excitement. Not that the other episodes aren't enjoyable, but they're more OvershadowedByAwesome. In a more Meta sense, ''Death Battle'' is this to every other series Website/ScrewAttack has tried to release - after it was announced that the matchup after "[[WebAnimation/{{RWBY}} Yang Xiao Long]] vs. [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Tifa Lockhart]]" would be revealed in the season finale for ''The Industry'', many fans deliberately spoiled the ending of the episode by writing the matchup in the comments along with a message along the lines of "There, now you don't have to watch all this just to find out the next ''Death Battle''. You're welcome!"

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Sean Howard [[http://www.squidi.net/blog/2010/2010.05.php#05.03.10 has provided this]], as the reason why he's not writing any more webcomics. ''Webcomic/AModestDestiny'' got very popular for [[CreatorBreakdown getting very dark]], and when he entered emotional recovery he didn't feel he could write like that any more. However, when he tries to write anything more lighthearted, he gets hate letter after hate letter from people demanding that he [[LeftHanging finish AMD]] rather than "waste time" on his new project.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* When Creator/DougWalker retired ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'' after four years of internet fame in order to pursue a show that he'd been dreaming of doing for ages, the fan-base was split to say the least, with some enjoying it some thinking it wasn't as good as the Nostalgia Critic and others disliking it entirely. This divide ended up cutting into the show's profits and resulted in the return of the Critic, much to the dismay of Creator/DougWalker himself, who loved ''WebVideo/DemoReel'', and wanted to focus on that project of his dreams; instead having to torch the thing and bring back the character everybody else wanted.
* ''WebVideo/HonestTrailers'' by ''WebVideo/ScreenJunkies'' consistently generates 1 million+ views for the channel. Other videos they produce, including ''WebVideo/MovieFights'' can rarely exceed the 500k mark.
* The monumental success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in August 2014 has yet to be replicated. The challenge returned in August 2015 but wasn't even 1/100th as popular as it was in 2014. Many other social media fads have been started; the only one that truly took off was "The Dress", and even then it wasn't nearly as big as the Ice Bucket Challenge. It's agreed that a phenomenon like the Ice Bucket Challenge can't be forced, but rather will have to take off organically through word of mouth.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' had such a devoted and passionate fanbase that when ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'' premiered, it was held to an impressively high standard and unfortunately, in the eyes of many fans, did not meet expectations. And since then, ''Beast Wars'' has become almost like a measuring stick for newer Transformers shows to be compared to.
** The Transformers franchise suffers from this as a whole. Despite numerous reboots the 1984 series is considered the definitive version. Any new version is compared to it and rarely passes. Even ''Beast Wars'', the most successful reboot had hatedom for a while ([[TheyChangedItNowItSucks "Trukk not munky"]], ''et al'').
** One of the reasons why this situation results in numerous arguments among fans is because the ''Generation 1'' show and ''Beast Wars'' are seen as "the standard" for different reasons by different people. G1 for many fans ''is'' the definition of Transformers -- its concepts, the characters, the designs, the overall "feeling" of the show is what hard-core fans want to re-experience in every new cartoon. ''Beast Wars'', on the other hand (and nowadays ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' and ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' as well), is used as a comparison point because it is a generally good, solid, quality production. In short, [[BrokenBase part of the fandom]] strives for the preservation of details between the different TF iterations, while the other isn't so concerned about these, just want a show that's ''good'' in its own right.
* Many of the revivals of WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes have suffered from trying to live up to the quality of the original [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation Golden Age]] theatrical cartoons. That said, ''Film/SpaceJam'' and WesternAnimation/TheLooneyTunesShow tried to avert this by intentionally going in a different direction from the original shorts (sans the new Wile E Coyote CG shorts)--the latter show's producers even admitted that they did this because they realized by that point that trying to imitate the original cartoons would only lead to more failures. Some were happy, [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks but most were not.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'': The first succesful animated sitcom on TV proved particularly difficult to top, even for Hanna & Barbera themselves. They tried with ''WesternAnimation/TheJetsons'', but it never caught on quite the same way. Virtually every Hanna & Barbera animated TV series after that failed to duplicate the enormous success ''The Flintstones'' had with both adults and children. ''Scooby-Doo'' was the closest they got in duplicating the commercial success, but it was definitely more of a children's show and also received that way by adults. Eventually the first animated TV sitcom hit to surpass the success of ''The Flintstones'' with children and adults would be ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' is another example of this trope. Many animated series have tried to duplicate its succesful format, but none have become quite the commercial and critical success with both children and adults. Yes, WesternAnimation/SouthPark and WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy have both become commercial hits, but strictly with adults and both of them are too crass and lowbrow vulgar for mainstream audiences, whereas ''The Simpsons'' has somewhat of a more dignified stature, especially among adults. Even Creator/MattGroening's own followup, ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', failed to attract the same colossal audience and is still nothing more than a CultClassic, cancelled and revived several times in a row.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' has broken so much taboos and shocked so many audiences that no other TV series, animated or live-action, has been able to create a similar RefugeInAudacity show and stay on the air as long as they did. And even their imitators and successors don't dare to go as far as Creator/TreyParker and Creator/MattStone often go in their subject matter.
* The UnCanceled ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' has had similar problems living up to its first few seasons.
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'':
** Check a video on Website/YouTube for ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'' or ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' and see how long it takes to scroll through the comments and find someone complaining it isn't as good as ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' or that Creator/KevinConroy or Creator/MarkHamill do a better Batman and Joker. Maybe this tendency will continue with other animated adaptations of that character...
-->'''[[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold Lumberjack]]:''' I always felt [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries Batman was best suited to the role of gritty urban crime detective]], but now you guys have [[DenserAndWackier got him up against Santas, and Easter bunnies?]] I'm sorry, but that's not '''my''' Batman!
** Creator/PeterWeller had to deal with this twice over in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns'', as not only was his portrayal of Batman was being compared to Conroy's, but also to Creator/MichaelIronside, who voiced the Batman from ''ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns'' in the episode [[Recap/TheNewBatmanAdventuresE19LegendsOfTheDarkKnight "The Legends of the Dark Knight"]]. But as the segment didn't feature the Joker, Creator/MichaelEmerson was still only compared to Hamill.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'' adapted Franchise/SpiderMan and his adventures with a good balance of drama and humor, updated characters and stories for the 21st century while retaining their likable traits, and managed to fit a relatively high amount of depth. Unfortunately, Sony Pictures Television's rights to Spidey expired, which resulted in a premature cancellation, and the rise of a new cartoon: ''WesternAnimation/UltimateSpiderMan''. Several Marvel fans find that it doesn't take itself very seriously, and the characters don't seem as endearing. The high level of {{Cutaway Gag}}s and running gags in ''Ultimate Spider-Man'' can make it unbearable to sit through for viewers wanting more drama and/or characterization.
* The first animated ''Comicstrip/{{Peanuts}}'' special, ''WesternAnimation/ACharlieBrownChristmas'', attracted half of the nation's TV viewers of its time, won a Pulitzer Prize, and continues to air every winter to this day. The second, ''Charlie Brown's All-Stars'', didn't win any awards, and only airs sporadically these days. The fact [[WesternAnimation/ItsTheGreatPumpkinCharlieBrown Charlie Brown's second most popular TV special]] came a few months afterward probably pushed it even deeper into obscurity.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvengersAssemble'' has the misfortune of following ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' among cartoons based on ''Franchise/TheAvengers''. After the series' announcement, fans ''already'' felt like cursing Marvel Animation for not going beyond 52 episodes of ''Earth's Mightiest Heroes'', despite the fact the announcement said nothing more than, "A new ''Avengers'' cartoon will come next year."
* When ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'' premiered in 1997 as one of the premiere shows of OneSaturdayMorning, it attracted a huge fanbase (most being a part of the PeripheryDemographic) and critical acclaim, as well as being nominated for many awards (and winning one), getting a very successful [[WesternAnimation/RecessSchoolsOut movie]] (and two direct-to-video films), and gaining various types of merchandise, while the rest of the shows on the block eventually faded into obscurity. In 2001, the creators made another show for the block, ''WesternAnimation/LloydInSpace'', which despite getting very good ratings and reception, it never matched the popularity ''Recess'' had (and eventually got ScrewedByTheNetwork). The later ''[[WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies2010 Pound Puppies]]'' series from the same creators is also not looked on upon as fondly as ''Recess''.
* Creator/JohnKricfalusi hit the proverbial jackpot with the amazing success of ''WesternAnimation/RenAndStimpy'' in the 1990s. Most, if not all, of his subsequent cartoons have been widely panned, or at best receive a SoOkayItsAverage response.
* While ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' is widely beloved, both the comic book continuation ''[[Comicbook/AvatarTheLastAirbenderThePromise The Promise]]'', ''[[Comicbook/AvatarTheLastAirbenderTheSearch The Search]]'', and the sequel series ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' had a more mixed reception, and while generally considered to be good, are rarely considered to be equal to the original series.
* The original Creator/{{Fox}} seasons of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' have built a reputation as a SacredCow, with a rabid fanbase hailing them as dripping with perfection. Both the DirectToVideo miniseries' and ''especially'' the ComedyCentral seasons have been doomed to the highest levels of scrutiny in comparison.
* Many fans feel that the UnCancelled ''WesternAnimation/FairlyOddParents'' and ''WesternAnimation/TUFFPuppy'' do not measure up to Butch Hartman's past creations, especially since he set the bar so high with ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom''.
* ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'' had this problem with its villains. For BigBad, the first season had Malware, a terrifying and intelligent KnightOfCerebus who was [[EnsembleDarkhorse beloved by fans]] and had the unique gimmick of being an evil mechamorph trying to make his own Omnitrix. After him, none of the other villains were able to capture the same level of interest; the Incurseans, Albedo, the Rooters, Maltruant, and even classic baddies like Vilgax and Zs'Skayr just couldn't compare to him. His departure from the series is cited as one big reason the show went through SeasonalRot.
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'': DarkerAndEdgier, character and plot-driven, generally the most serious version of Scooby-Doo to ever show up on a screen, and was generally well-received. An elephant couldn't fill the shoes that the [[LighterAndSofter light-hearted]], more comedic, and DenserAndWackier follow-up ''WesternAnimation/BeCoolScoobyDoo'' has to fill.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** The Season Five finale [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS5E25TheCutieRemarkPart1 "The Cutie Re-Mark]] [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS5E26TheCutieRemarkPart2 Parts 1 and 2"]], while by no means horrible, is this towards the Season Four finale [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E25TwilightsKingdomPart1 "Twilight's Kingdom]] [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E26TwilightsKingdomPart2 Parts 1 and 2"]] due to the fact that the Season Four finale had so much high-octane action, characters, twists, adventure, and stakes that kept building up over Season 4 and before it. "The Cutie Remark" seems much more subdued and anti-climactic in comparison as it lacks most if not all of these traits, with the Mane Five and other important characters being demoted to [[DemotedToExtra background characters]] and Twilight Sparkle being [[SpotlightStealingSquad thrust into the spotlight once again]] being a particular sore spot among viewers. Other aspects like Starlight Glimmer, her backstory, and [[SixthRanger the]] [[NothingIsTheSameAnymore resolution]] only made things tougher for it.
** ''Twilight's Kingdom'' also made [[NothingIsTheSameAnymore spectacularly]] [[HolyShitQuotient radical]] [[WhamEpisode changes]] to the show's formula and Status Quo to really send the season off with a bang. ''The Cutie Remark'' on the other hand, didn't really make overly big changes.
** Starlight Glimmer's backstory was ''also'' a case of this: her motive of "I lost a friend and it ruined everything" was practically identical to Moondancer's from "Amending Fences", which is almost universally considered to be the highest point and most emotional moment of the entire season: good luck following ''that''.
** Season 5 in general is seen as a tough act to follow to Season 4, which was seen as [[WinBackTheCrowd a return to form]] for the show. From the afformentioned characters, Starlight Glimmer, and the Season finale, Season 5 is a hot point of contention because of the lack of any forward planning and interesting arcs and stories Season 4 had[[note]]Season 4 had the Rainbow Chest/Rainbow Power, Weird Al guest stars in a MusicalEpisode, The Power Ponies, The Equestria Games, The Breezies, weird bat transformations, the Discord arc continues[[/note]] The mid-season hiatus has not helped matters either.