Critical Backlash

Jack: For my pick, the Best of the Worst is Theodore Rex!
Rich: Jack... you're such a hipster that even in our small group—even in our tiny little group—you just have to be the dissenting opinion.
Best of the Worst, "Dinosaur Movies"

So there's a show that everybody hates. The critics tear strips off it, your friends swear it sucks, and even the advertising seems to agree. So one night you happen to come across it and, as you see it, it's not that bad. It might not by any stretch of the imagination be perfect — the star is a Large Ham, the hero's daughter is a whiny brat, and the walrus scene doesn't work — but it's nowhere near the disaster that everyone says it is. What's going on?

You've just experienced a critical backlash.

The opposite of Hype Backlash, Critical Backlash is what you get when something is over-criticized and -condemned to the extent that it couldn't possibly be as terrible as everyone makes out. Like Hype Backlash, it's yet more proof that the critics aren't always necessarily correct and Quality by Popular Vote isn't always a reliable indicator of something's merit (or lack thereof).

Critical Backlash tends to occur when critical reaction towards the product is tainted by some outside factor; overhype, overexposure and outside controversy may prompt the critics to focus on the noise surrounding the work rather than the merits of the work itself. Critics are often primed to dislike the product based on some preexisting prejudice and fail to look deeply enough for redeeming value, particularly if the work suffers from Public Medium Ignorance. Some critics may Follow the Leader and echo more popular and louder critics.

Of course, some things also just press a critic's buttons the wrong way; critics usually have different expectations and approaches than the wider audience, and just because something doesn't tick the right boxes on their checklist doesn't mean the wider audience might not find something of merit in it. Alternately, it may be that the vehemence of the criticism has conditioned the audience to expect the show's flaws, lessening the blow, and thus making what good qualities it has stand out more.

If the work develops a particularly devoted audience despite the critical drubbing, then it may experience Hype and Critical Backlash from different quarters; the work may not be as bad as the critics say, but likewise not as good as its most ardent fans claim, falling instead somewhere in between. Cult Classics have often suffered from a critical backlash, only to be later rediscovered and Vindicated by History.

Adaptations and works that generally fall into a critic's Acceptable Targets radar (such as animation and genre fiction) often receive this kind of reaction. This phenomenon is deeply related to the Streisand Effect and No Such Thing as Bad Publicity.

Please note that this page is not a personal blog to discuss your personal experiences of this; this page is all about the general properties which tend to receive this treatment. Remember also that Tropes Are Tools and that this is YMMV; seeing something you hate here only means that other people may not hate it as much as you do, not that it doesn't have points worth of criticism, so try to resist the urge to make a Justifying Edit.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Code Geass has received so much exaggerated praise and exaggerated criticism due to its Broken Base status that long after the show originally aired different people regularly experience either Critical or Hype Backlash (depending on their expectations, degrees of suspension of disbelief, etc.) after they finally get to see it for themselves. It's not surprising to see newcomers arguing that the series doesn't deserve all the hate or all the hype.
  • Much like InuYasha below, the soundtrack from Bruce Faulconer's production team for the FUNimation English dub of Dragon Ball Z was reviled early on, and its fans became more vocal over the years since the show's airing. The dub overall has its own supporters as well.
  • The InuYasha anime plays around with this: when the series first came out in [adult swim] during the early 2000s, the show was considerably renowned, but the English dub from Viz Media and The Ocean Group was openly reviled by fans (sure even back then it had its supporters, but still). However, over time, the fanbase for Viz's English dub became a lot more vocal and, while it may not be seen as one of The Ocean Group's finest works, it is still considered to be a good effort. Unfortunately, while this was happening, the show was starting to get a lot more backlash (due to various things such as hype backlash and the show becoming more episodic). It has even gotten to the point where plenty of viewers think that the English voice acting is the only good thing about the show nowadays (especially in the case of Naraku and Koga).
  • MD Geist has been so often called 'the worst anime ever' that when a lot of people actually watched it when it aired on Sci Fi Channel, for many of them it failed to be as bad as claimed and it's gained something of a fanbase largely for the designs of the mech, its soundtrack, and generally avoiding anything 'cute'.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny has such a vocal hatedom that anyone watching the show after its initial run is liable to experience a Critical Backlash. The show has its issues, certainly, but since nothing could ever hope to be as bad as the hatedom claims it is, it's not uncommon to find people for whom all the bile is hard to understand.
  • A character example is Katejina Loos from Victory Gundam. By the time most people discover Victory and watch the show, they will have been told again and again that Katejina is "The Queen of Evil" in the Gundam verse. They will have been told repeatedly that she is more evil than Gihren Zabi, Yazan Gable, Muruta Azrael, Lord Djibril, Ali Al-Saachez, and Decil Galette, and more annoying than a gene-splicing Katz Kobayashi and Flay Alster mixed with the blood of Scrappy-Doo himself. While Katejina is undoubtedly a horrible person, there is simply no way for her to be as revoltingly awful as the fandom makes her out to be, and many people watching Victory for the first time (years after it aired) find themselves actually noticing her few good points, if only because the fandom's (largely deserved) bashing of her, makes her bad ones something you just sort of accept.
  • Naruto having such a massive fanbase as well as a large, and vocal, Hatedom (a portion often holding it up to Double Standard for things they may let slide in series) means that in addition being possible to suffer from Hype Backlash, hearing about the series from its haters means having Critical Backlash can be just as likely.
  • The Wham Episode ending for Neon Genesis Evangelion in the form of the movie The End Of Evangelion becomes a lot less tragically depressing if you come in expecting the show to be, well, tragically depressing. For most people, the fact that it came out of nowhere and derailed the series, killing off several major characters and giving us the infamous Tang ending is what really caused a lot of emotional anguish to the audience. However, thanks to It Was His Sled and the numerous explosions on Internet forums and on this site's page description, it's almost impossible to go into the show not knowing it will experience eleventh hour sadness due to Creator Breakdown. Thusly, when everything starts falling apart after episode 20, and the show forcefully cranks out the Deconstructor Fleet and Tear Jerker Up to Eleven, the implausibility borders on mildly depressing to So Sad It's Funny.
  • Interesting example with the Pokémon anime. The series is often criticized for its Strictly Formula nature; as well as refusing to age the characters with the passing years. Yet, despite the decline in popularity it experienced in the Johto arc, it still maintains high ratings in both Japan and the U.S.; and has a large and devoted fanbase.
  • Following the Seasonal Rot of the Fairy Dance arc, quite a few anime fans who have previously praised Sword Art Online, have switched to bashing it by series end. Not surprisingly, an increasing amount of folks are saying that the hate and backlash for the show is quickly reaching this territory. This is actually the opinion of Toonami themselves (whom probably witnessed first-hand many requests of SAO coming to the block get retracted when the show moved on to Fairy Dance during its Japanese run), as their rationale for picking it up in response to the backlash.

    Comics 
  • The entirety of Brian Michael Bendis' Marvel career, really. People either love or absolutely hate him and his work (to the extent that he got death threats over killing Hawkeye) but there's been a growing wave of positive reviews for his more recent work. The most recent volume of Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man and All-New X-Men seem pretty popular and generally have very good monthly reviews from the critics.
    • That and there's always been a huge amount of Critical Dissonance with his writing. For all the people on the internet screaming about how he's "ruining" comics, his work consistently sells very well.
  • In the Spider-Man pantheon, Maximum Carnage and The Clone Saga are routinely used for target practice by seemingly everyone under the sun. While they are probably not examples of the best of Spidey's career, there are many people who genuinely feel that both stories don't warrant the sheer volume of backlash routinely given to them. One reason for The Clone Saga being less hated is how it was streamlined in the 90s cartoon (as was the Alien Costume/Venom origin). Everyone in the fanbase and critics hated One More Day more. A lot of people do acknowledge that the Clone Saga had some very good material (among other things there was an excellent miniseries called The Lost Years), but it dragged on far longer than could be supported by the story, resulting in the endless cycle of who the clone is until everyone stopped caring. Another problem is that some of the stories were very bad, among them the death of Dr. Octopus, though some were even worse than that one.

    Film 
  • Avatar, even in This Very Wiki. When Avatar got extremely popular, the Hype Backlash was so bad, many critics began to dissect it and complain about even the slightest of its flaws, to the point where even that backlash and all its criticisms were considered overblown.
  • Citizen Kane: People from the 1940s would probably be cringing at seeing how something like this is considered a Sacred Cow today.
  • Doom, not the game, but the movie. It may not be accurate to the game, but does that really matter? The biggest problem The Rock leaves a Lampshade Hanging on. Otherwise, it's fine.
  • Gigli is an interesting case. A lot of its initial reviewers said they thought it was bad, but not terrible. Somehow it sank in popular perception from 'bad movie' to 'worst movie ever' thanks to its many mildly to moderately negative reviews, combined with the fact that it starred Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (who were the 'it' couple at the time). Roger Ebert actually took time out of a different review to point out that it wasn't that bad.
  • The American 1998 Godzilla film often gets this; true, it does severely depart from its source material, but as a standalone monster film and as a 'realistic' take on the Godzilla franchise, it's not bad, and some of the diehard Japanese Godzilla fans admit to liking it (and especially its Animated Adaptation) better than some of the official Toho films (some of which have been known to be famously horrible).
  • Heaven's Gate was annihilated in reviews and became one the most dramatic flops and Genre-Killers in Hollywood history, but some modern critics have suggested it wasn't as bad as it was made out to be. Part of the problem was that the film had received so much bad publicity during production due to delays, cost overruns, stories about Michael Cimino's hyper-perfectionist directing style, protests from animal rights groups and ⅓ of the film being cut, that critics were already expecting it to suck by the time they reviewed it. Although critics have softened their views, the original version is still panned, as the cut muddled up the storyline. On the other hand, the rerelease of the uncut version in 2012 was actually very well-received.
  • Some critics seem to think Hello, Dolly! is a terrible movie musical. If you overlook the most glaring problems (Barbra Streisand's acting and sluggish pacing) it's So Okay, It's Average at worst, though definitely not up to the standard the same studio had set with The Sound of Music.
  • The film adaptation of The Host has been well and truly savaged by critics, leaving it with a meager 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Opinions vary as to whether this was deserved, depending on your fondness for Stephenie Meyer's novel.
  • Hudson Hawk was raked over the coals by critics when it was released. They thought it was an absolutely terrible action movie. And it was. Many viewers since have, however, noticed that it is a pretty darn good comedy, which is what its creators intended all along. It has also found an audience among anime fans due to the startling number of parallels to Lupin III.
    • One of the main issues was that the film was poorly marketed, the theatrical trailer made the film look like a fairly straightforward action film, when it was anything but, so moviegoers were caught off guard.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. While it's doubtful the film will ever be considered the best of the franchise, and it does have a groan-worthy scene or two, it's by no means as bad as people make out. Most of the backlash aimed at this movie seems to be the result of Nostalgia Filter, as well as complaints about the film's MacGuffin being Science Fiction rather than a mystic/religious artifact. Which isn't true anyway, but that's beside the point.
  • "Manos" The Hands of Fate got a reputation as "THE worst movie of all time" after it was shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000, causing Dr. Forrester to apologize for showing it to Joel. It's probably easier to agree with it if you haven't already heard it.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie was fairly well thrashed by reviewers but made a decent amount of money from its fanbase. Today, it is generally regarded as a Guilty Pleasure, retaining all that is considered fun about Power Rangers while having a much bigger budget and completely original footage.
  • On lists of Worst Best Picture Winners, Ordinary People is often given a high rating. But this is possibly because it beat Raging Bull to the Best Picture Oscar. The film itself is a very subtle, quietly moving film that doesn't deserve the almighty kicking it gets.
  • A number of people think this of Pixels. If you take away Adam Sandler's character (who was arguably responsible for literally all of the film's negative publicity) and focus on the video games and the way they're brought into the real world, then it becomes a fun, enjoyable romp with shades of Wreck-It Ralph.
  • Kevin Costner's The Postman was a major commercial failure and its premise sounds ridiculous the first time you hear it, but it's certainly no Battlefield Earth and the premise does makes sense after you think about it.
  • Despite how much critics love to hate Repo! The Genetic Opera, the movie still has a huge fan following similar to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • Disney is so ashamed of Song of the South that the film isn't distributed anymore. Those who do get their hands on it, though, may find their reactions vary from 'Gee, that was kinda cute, not that bad' or 'Ughhh, this is really boring, where's all the racism I can mock?...'
  • Speed Racer. Critics hated it and it flopped, but many of those who watched it consider it to be a fun, if silly movie.
  • The Star Wars prequels tend to get varied reactions from audiences. This is an agreement amongst some fans that The Phantom Menace's reputation has been blown out of proportion by people more angry with how the film was a disappointment than any actual legitimate criticism. While Menace and Attack of the Clones polarized critics, Revenge of the Sith was released to rather great acclaim.
    • An earlier Star Wars example — a look at Return of the Jedi's stats on Metacritic illustrates the considerable gulf between critical reaction (52%, meaning mixed reviews) and the audience reaction (8.3/10, meaning universal acclaim). The film still carries a reputation as a disappointing end to a great trilogy which made the bad guys into idiots, but the average Star Wars fan typically considers it to be a great film that happens to follow two even greater ones.
  • Super Mario Bros.: it's the Ur-Example of Video Game Movies Suck, but some people who have looked at it from a different angle (not expecting a direct adaptation, not listening to the Nostalgia Critic's word for it for once) actually don't find it to be that bad — some even think it's actually pretty good.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: the much more negative reviews the professionals gave it in relation to its predecessor (Roger Ebert giving voice to a particularly strong condemnation) may have been a reason why it grossed over $800 million.
    • Dark of the Moon, while getting slightly better but still negative reviews, grossed over a billion dollars worldwide.
    • And then Age of Extinction got even worse reviews than Revenge of the Fallen and still recorded a ten-figure worldwide gross, albeit slightly smaller than Dark of the Moon.
  • Many people feel this way about Waterworld. It arrived in theaters in 1995 with both the baggage of its gigantic budget and Troubled Production (the sets got hit by a hurricane and that still wasn't the biggest issue) and growing critical and audience weariness with Kevin Costner, and its story is hackneyed, but its scope and scale are genuinely impressive.

    Literature 
  • You know, a lot of critics back in the '40s would probably look at one series/universe today and wonder why people like it. They hated it because of how it was written, even using the same stock phrases people use to describe the Inheritance Cycle. Now? If you criticize it at all you'll be deemed "illiterate" by its Defensive Fans, who have given it the prestigious "Sacred Cow" badge. What is it? The Lord of the Rings!
  • British author Colin Wilson first hit the big time in 1958 with a book of critical literary analysis called The Outsider. This was at first hailed as a critical success and the big-name critics couldn't get enough of this perceived driven young genius whose personal life was also newsworthy — it turned out he was living rough to save on rent and spending his days in the British Library researching and writing. However, with subsequent books the critics turned and savaged him, perhaps fearing they'd been over-fulsome the first time. While still having cult status, Wilson's 'formal' literary career never really survived this early critical Heel-Face Turn.
    • A lot of this had to do with his nonfiction writing: Wilson has written a number of histories of occultism, and publicly stated his belief in some supernatural phenomena. He also wrote what is widely regarded as one of the most risible books about Jack the Ripper (at least until Patricia Cornwell got into the act).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Many people have disparaged Two and a Half Men as the Antichrist of sitcoms. The show itself is guilty of trite jokes and plots more than anything else. It also gets away with many more sex jokes than its time slot, and having a minor as a costar, would seem to allow. Besides all that, Charlie Sheen's real-life antics seem to color many people's perception of it even though he left the series in the eighth season. Yet it always commanded a sizable audience.
  • Variety shows definitely count. They were derided by many critics and audiences for being schmaltzy and uninspired in their heyday, but there's a sizeable population who view them with nostalgia goggles and think that they didn't deserve the bashing they got and/or are certainly better than the crop of reality shows that we have today. The Star Wars Holiday Special might be an example.

    Music 
  • The Beatles' final (sort of) album, Let It Be, was derided as a mess of half-done songs and sloppy editing, and arrived in stores after they'd broken up. However, it contains "Let It Be", "Get Back", "The Long and Winding Road", and "Across the Universe", some of the group's most famous and beloved songs.
  • Bob Dylan's 1978 album Street-Legal was slaughtered by critics (in Rolling Stone's review Greil Marcus started out by calling it "a joke" and got even more vicious as he went) for its Springsteen-ish arrangements and sometimes inscrutable lyrics. It's even been speculated that the album's poor reception might have helped drive Dylan to convert to Christianity. But after a remixed version was released in the '90s many fans have embraced it as one of their favorite albums.
  • The Hatedom of Justin Bieber has gotten to the point where even people who dislike his music think all the hate is overblown.
  • The album My Beauty by former Dexy's Midnight Runners lead Kevin Rowland came in for some of this. In this case, many critics chose to focus their ire on the fact that Rowland chose to wear drag and makeup on the album cover. This led the album being one of the worst-selling in the label's history, with only about 500 copies shifted; however, on its rerelease after the the controversy had died down, later reviewers found it to be a relatively solid album of cover tracks.
  • The 1970s musical genre of disco isn't the naming genre behind Deader Than Disco for no reason, but it's nowhere near as bad as many of its more virulent critics would make out. Part of the problem is that much of the disco was commercialised and nothing like the original genre. For instance, pop disco songs often featured far too many strings.
    • It's also a case of Double Standard, many people feel free to mock classic '70s disco hits but yet some acclaimed current artists still draw inspiration from the genre, Random Access Memories by Daft Punk was a success of both critics and public and is a love letter to disco.
  • Ironically a lot of music that is nigh untouchable by critics today (unless they're insane) was actually hated by critics back in the day.
  • Megadeth's Youthanasia and Cryptic Writings experienced this to the point where they are now considered great albums. Risk is on the verge of it, the album being the butt of jokes even though Dave Mustaine corrected a lot of the Executive Meddling when he remixed and remastered it in 2004. In a reversal of the situation, the once–well-received 'return to form album' The World Needs a Hero is now considered lackluster.
  • Adam Buckley of A Dose Of Buckley makes reference to this effect on his 'Musical Autopsy' and 10 Worst Songs of the Year videos when he's deluged with comments asking why X, Y, or Z song isn't on his list by replying that musically and lyrically a particular song isn't actually that bad, that there is a difference between a bad song and an overplayed song ("If you had to hear the same Mozart song six times a day, seven days a week, for three months, you’d be pretty fucking sick of it too"), or that he simply can't think of anything funny to say about it.
  • Teen pop and boy bands tend to have this happen once they fade out of the spotlight. Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and *NSYNC were hated almost as much as Justin Bieber back in their day. Today, with these groups/musicians now seen as nostalgic and the culture having found new teen pop to hate on, it's become at least tolerable to admit to liking them.
    • Frank Sinatra was the original teen idol in the 1940s. Most of his songs of that period were hated by men across the globe, because girls went crazy over him. Yet as Time Marches On and Sinatra became more associated with a mature adult singing about more world-wise topics these songs from early in his career have been judged on their own merits and are actually quite good. In fact his voice never sounded better.
  • Nickelback gets plenty of hate, often voted as the worst band ever to the point where many non-fans doesn't feel that it's deserved and rather consider their music as bland but not awful.
  • Everclear was derided by critics quite a bit in their heyday, but they still produced at least three hit singles ("Santa Monica," "Father of Mine," and "Wonderful").
  • Metallica's Load and Reload albums. Upon release, the albums were heavily criticised for their alternative rock leanings and the band's questionable fashion choices. Over time, however, they've become more accepted by the metal community. The reasoning for this is twofold: First, while the Load twins alienated many of the band's longtime fans, they also gained the band many new ones. Most significantly, they brought Metallica's music (and arguably metal in general) to a much younger audience. Since a good portion of the people that got onboard the Metallica bandwagon with the Loads eventually went on to discover less mainstream metal bands, it's only natural that the albums would be more accepted by the metal community now than they were during the mid-'90s. Secondly, in a weird way, the enormous backlash (not just with metal fans but also with the mainstream) with 2003's St. Anger got led many to go back and listen to the Load albums, realising that 'For bluesy hard rock (i.e. mostly non-metal) albums, these really aren't so bad.'

    Professional Wrestling 
  • John Cena, or more specifically, his wrestling ability. While Cena's move set is certainly limited and his matches can be formulaic, he's nowhere near as bad as a lot of his detractors will have you believe (at least in comparison with most other WWE main eventers with similar schedules). On the flip side, when he has a good opponent to work with, his psychology and understanding of story can lead to classics such as his Money in the Bank match against CM Punk; the same match that managed a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer, the premier writer of the The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the first one Meltzer had given the WWE in over fifteen years. For comparison, Shawn Michaels has only had two of his matches rated as five stars from Meltzer, and he's often regarded as the best in-ring performer of all time. The Undertaker, a similarly highly regarded wrestler, has only ever managed one, and that was the first Hell in a Cell match against Michaels back in 1997, the last time WWE ever managed the five-star rating. Punk's second draw with Samoa Joe in their trilogy back in Ring of Honor was the first match in the United States to gain the rating in years. The fact that Cena managed to gain such acclaim for one of his matches indicates that he does have some amount of talent, no matter how much the other guy is carrying the match.

    Video Games 
  • Alpha Protocol: Savaged by various reviewers who panned it for being unpolished and glitchy, scaring off the vast majority of first adopters, it has become a cult classic whose fans admit that it has flaws but enjoy the vast replayability it offers.
  • The Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial are frequently called "the worst games ever" by critics. Granted, Pac-Man suffered from being a Porting Disaster and E.T. has some issues of its own, but they're not as bad as critics might think, compared to other games released on that system at the time these two games were released.
  • Bomberman: Act Zero was intended as a Darker and Edgier Continuity Reboot for the "next generation," but its Halo-reject characters, uninspired dingy levels and pointlessly hard single player mode (99 sluggish, repetitive levels to play on one life with no continues or saves) won no awards. To further irritate fans of the series, few of the power-ups from previous installments were retained, and offline multiplayer, one of the series' biggest selling points, was not available. The game's only possible redeeming feature, its online multiplayer mode, was written off by most people for a long time; with copies of the game collecting dust in bargain bins, it was doubtful that people would actually be eager to actually play it. Then ProtonJon's livestream featured it on a dare, and a lively series of 8-player matches ensued.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War is actually a really good FPS and received average critical scores of about 8/10. To hear the fans talk about it though, it's the worst heresy ever spawned from the pits of FPS hell- or at least little better than Daikatana and it is even considered Fanon Discontinuity by some. This is more because it simply can't live up to the original, largely because it's accused — with some justification — of being 'dumbed down' for the Xbox (but if Invisible War was dumbed down, you can't blame it on the Xbox — the original Deus Ex did just as well on PS2).
    • It still had a much, much more down-to-earth story than the original game did, which arguably became almost a caricature by the end. Heaven forbid you say you liked it better than the original.
  • Many reviewers chose to follow the crowd in bashing Dragon Age II, calling it a dumbed down action game, when in fact it still features the tactical combat just like Dragon Age: Origins, only faster. The game did have its problems (recycled dungeons, unpredictable enemy spawns), simplified action commands, and removed isometric view for the PC version, but the writing and dialogue were very good. It probably doesn't help that BioWare was caught planting user reviews from its employees, was quoted out of context in wanting Call of Duty's audience, and that there was a ridiculous amount of pre-order DLC available. Despite a flood of harsh negative user reviews, many fans will agree that it's still a solid overall game.
  • Duke Nukem Forever: Rescued from Development Hell after a decade and a half, it was the most popular playable title at PAX 2010 — yet it was almost universally treated as Snark Bait by critics once it was released. Some reviewers even ventured into Fan Hater territory, slinging insults at anyone who actually enjoys DNF. Despite all that, the game still sold well enough to be profitable — a fact that actually annoyed its critics. Check out the Metacritic scores for the PC version, and note the difference in distribution of ratings between critics and users.
  • Many in The Elder Scrolls community will lead you to believe that Oblivion will insult your parents and rip out your brain and shit on it before stabbing you in the nads. This is only a natural cycle...they said the exact same thing about Morrowind, only for most of the fanbase to drop that when Oblivion came out and gave them a new target.
  • Despite Final Fantasy VIII being an easy target for criticism for its obtuse gameplay systems and even more obtuse plot, there's still a large fandom for the game, liking the more complicated character drama, the subtle nuances of the plot, and the card game.
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is becoming an example of this trope as well as its fanbase is starting to become a bit more vocal over the years. More people are willing to be okay with how simplistic the game is and find it to be a fun little title nevertheless (though its fairly renowned soundtrack probably helped).
  • The Halo series tends to get this a lot of this, especially from fans of Half-Life, System Shock and Call of Duty. Especially on The Escapist, thanks to Zero Punctuation (who has openly said he didn't really enjoy Halo, but said it was average) in which the series is frequently complained about ripping off stuff it actually created or popularized or was done on Marathon (which was also done by Bungie), is criticized for its fanbase (despite that they themselves are not so different), has extremely subjective opinions thrown at it, and stuff that's flat out contradicted by the games.
  • Herzog Zwei had the unfortunate distinction of being among the first of its kind — a Real-Time Strategy game — coming from a developer renowned for classic overhead shooters, namely the Thunder Force franchise. Reviewers, therefore, treated Herzog as a classic shooter and were perplexed as a result, and their horrific scores followed that train of thought. Now that the RTS genre is firmly cemented in the gaming public's consciousness, fans are much kinder to the game.
  • This YouTube video actually shows the reviewer honestly saying he didn't find Zelda's Adventure and Hotel Mario to be as bad as everyone says they are — he even goes so far as to say that he liked them, despite having his fair share of complaints towards the games. In fact, the CD-i in general had this used by the reviewer, who said that it actually wasn't that bad, usually saying it was So Okay, It's Average.
    • There is a top 10 worst CD-i games list made by Johan Oberg, which is also the only list of its kind. Though he hated all three of the Zelda CD-i games on the console, he also said that they weren't the worst games ever made. The games weren't even the worst games on that console (reflected by the fact that he put it at #3. Later on he also made a top 10 best CD-i games, in which Hotel Mario was at #10 (his opinion about the 2 other Mario games on the console isn't known).
  • Despite all the criticism, many feel that Mario Party 9 and 10 were good games in their own right, especially with all the innovation.
  • Metroid: Other M. Mainly due to the story, the game was met with severe criticism from most fans. Gameplay-wise, however, it's a genuinely decent and enjoyable game, despite its linearity and non-innovative gameplay, especially compared to previous Metroid game.
  • Any Mortal Kombat game between MK3 and Deadly Alliance falls into this, most notably MK4. Ironically, the game was panned for the exact reason Street Fighter IV was acclaimed.
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star is the lowest critically-rated game in the Paper Mario series and also gained a large hatedom for lacking original characters or memorable characterizations as seen in the previous titles, instead going into a "New Super Mario Bros.-esque" formula. (Not helped by how many were already sick of elements from the New series by that point.) Despite this, it still has a following for being a decent and quirky game by its own standards and not when compared to the past titles.
  • Senran Kagura. Any article that mentions this game will be flooded with comments about how said game is "ruining" gaming as we know it. Kotaku tried turning it into Dragon's Crown 2.0 by bashing the game during it's localization announcement. And what do the people that actually played it say? It's a pretty damn good brawler.
  • Every Sonic the Hedgehog game made since 1995. Sonic Unleashed gets hit especially by this hard from IGN and GameSpot's (quite unfair) reviews, which made it all the more ridiculous when Sonic Unleashed got worse reviews from those sites than the much-maligned Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
  • In a similar situation to Zelda II, the western Super Mario Bros. 2 is often derided for being a Dolled-Up Installment of Doki Doki Panic, odd mechanics and not being as much memorable than its predecessor and successor. Some fans however think the game is good on its own if not better than the real second installment.
  • Ok, Unreal Tournament III was an Obvious Beta at the launch moment, which played a bit against it, critically speaking, in the beginning. It isn't Unreal Tournament or Unreal Tournament 2004. However, its gameplay isn't the bad the fans of previous installments make it to be seen, and with the advent of the Black Edition, it was just improved in any sense possible, and it's actually worth of a high place in the series' quality.
  • When the PC version of Final Fantasy VII was released on Steam in 2013, many who played it (including those who played for the first time ever) didn't think it was as bad as the hatedom says that it is.
  • Zelda II The Adventure Of Link has been one of the most divisive games ever, due in no small part to the Genre Shift and difficulty. While there are a few issues, namely limited lives, instant deaths, and reset experience, the game still controls incredibly well for an early-to-mid NES game, and predated many Metroidvania games with RPG elements. Still, the game gets hate for "not being Zelda enough", over two decades after the fact, even though there has never been another Zelda like it since.

    Web Original 
  • The webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del is widely derided, yet maintains such a significant base of regular readers that the author is able to live off the comic. In the world of webcomics? This is very rare.

General
  • Discussed in a SF Debris review of Star Trek: Insurrection, where Chuck Sonnenburg argues that the movie is one of the most hated films in Star Trek history because it didn't have Critical Backlash on its side. Though it definitely wasn't the most popular or critically acclaimed Star Trek movie, it also wasn't panned badly enough to make anyone eager to defend it. Thus, it probably has the least people that openly admit to liking it, even though several movies in the series have gotten much worse critical receptions (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Nemesis come to mind).
  • The Unjustly Maligned Podcast is about this subject, with a guest every episode discussing and defending a work that they think isn't as bad as it's reputation, including many examples from this page.

    Western Animation 
  • Breadwinners has received VERY negative reception from certain YouTube critics and older Nickelodeon fans, many calling it the worst show to have ever existed. That said, professional critics gave it So Okay, It's Average reviews, and it does have a small fan following who believe it's not that bad.
  • Transformers:
    • Beast Machines originally had quite a bit of backlash after all the praise and love Beast Wars got. With the advent of fansubs of Japanese produced G1 material and the later dubbing of The Unicron Trilogy made many people realized their weaknesses made Beast Machines strengths stand out more (animation, story, characterizations, etc.).
    • Any given Transformers series after Beast Wars is starting to receive this treatment as even Transformers: Robots in Disguise and the Unicron Trilogy were starting to have a bit more vocal fanbases over the years. While Transformers Animated is still fairly popular with the fanbase by the time it came out the fanbase was starting to be a bit more forgiving to past Transformers shows. (One potential reason why is the popular notion of "The Original series was the only good Transformers show!" is becoming more & more widely frowned upon in the Transformers fanbase even by those who still like the original series).
  • Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien certainly aren't flawless, but they are far from being as crappy and hated as the original series' fans usually describe them. Considering how long they were able to air, as well as the quite notable Broken Base caused by Ben 10: Omniverse, it would seem those two shows still had quite a fandom of their own.
  • Plenty of Disney movies before their "renaissance" or "Second Golden Age", actually. Even some that were considered to be the "Dork Age" or "Black Sheep" of Disney's animation like The Black Cauldron have cult fanbases today.
    • There's also Home on the Range, which was heavily bashed by critics, and continues to be, even on This Very Wiki. But if you look on deviantART, YouTube, or IMDb, you'll notice that it has a decent fanbase who compare it to Disney's films from the 40's and 50's.
  • Some Looney Tunes fans argue that the Daffy/Speedy series isn't as bad as it's made out to be. Many even argue that several of these cartoons are, by their own merits, actually pretty decent.
    • Same with Loonatics Unleashed, despite critics and some fans not particularly liking the premise, the show does have a considerable enough fanbase.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a subversion. While some critics were initially quick to dismiss it as "just another sugary sweet girl's show", its unexpected popularity led many to rewatch the series and reconsider their opinions of it. It now stands as one of the most critically acclaimed kid shows on television.
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls plays this straight. As soon as the movie's very existence was hinted at, involving a plot where the ponies become teen-age humans in high school, a portion of fans pounced and rocked the very internet with drama. Even now people who haven't even seen it yet continue to hate it. However, most people who have seen it, while agreeing the story is a bit weak, admit that it is entertaining and definitely worth watching.
  • The Mike Scully-era episodes of The Simpsons are starting to get this. While almost nobody thinks they're as good as "Golden Age" Simpsons, a good portion of them are still pretty funny and watchable in their own right. Some fans even believe they contain some of the best Funny Moments in the entire series.
  • For how much hate Star Wars: The Clone Wars got from The Movie, many people have come to see it more along the lines of "Not too bad" instead of "It rivals The Star Wars Holiday Special for badness". Part of the reason for this is that most people now watch it, less as a standalone movie, and more of a pilot for the highly regarded animated series. The television show has been applauded in several circles and the much hated Ahsoka has her fans.
  • Total Drama has been a frequent victim of this over the years. After an immensely successful first season with Island, its immediate sequel Action has frequently been derided by fans as a significantly weaker followup to an otherwise well-received series, so much to the point that some fans refuse to acknowledge its existence. World Tour was better received, but easily led to the Broken Base in the fandom due to the controversial love triangle arc that dominated the second half of the season, as well as its finale which was considered hit or miss, depending on who you ask. Revenge of the Island was relatively well-received, but the introduction of a completely new cast didn't sit well with all fans, and even the mutated island theme was a mixed bag or some. However, Backlash mounted significantly with the release of All-Stars, which quickly became reviled for what is widely recognized as weak writing amplified by inconsistent character development, a lack of integrity to the plot, a lack of focus on the crossover between the show's first two casts, numerous abandoned plot points for no apparent reason, a weak villain (depending on who you ask), unbalanced focus on characters considered over-exposed, and a major Downer Ending. Fan backlash proved so strong that All-Stars gradually assumed Action's status as the most hated season in the series.