"You look around these days...it's all different. It's all changed. The Joker's
killing people, for Christ's sake! Did I miss something? Was I away when they changed the rules?"
A Tone Shift
that seeks to make a work of fiction "more adult". Usually, this is interpreted as "add more sex
, and controversial content".
A show will attempt to shift towards seriousness
. In theory, archetypes which we are usually accustomed to acting in a more noble setting will have to act in one where they must think and act grimly in order to make progress, thus forcing re-examination of the tropes involved
and making a different sort of character. In practice, writers often are too lazy to make use of what most of those words mean, and ending up randomly "spicing up" a work with gratuitous gore, cursing, and sex.
When a show uses this trope as a tagline, expect anything that can go wrong will go wrong
: the setting to be a World Half Empty
, everyone to be bastards
, lots of unpleasant things happen to the characters
or backstories giving the characters a particular issue they can spend time angsting about
As we can expect, this is fairly easy to screw up and poor use of these tropes can just result in Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy
This trope became popular in Comic Books
as a rebellion against the Silver Age
led to more than a decade of clumsy attempts to show that comics are Darker And Edgier, and thus "not kid stuff anymore
." See Bronze Age
, Dark Age
, and Nineties Anti-Hero
for more details about how this worked.
Also mocked as "Grimdark" (one word), derived from the tagline of Warhammer 40,000
. ("In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.
Sometimes justified with the phrase "Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!
. Usually shows up in Dark Fic
Darker And Edgier is rapidly joining Hilarity Ensues
as one of the most beaten-to-death
marketing slogans. If a pre-existing show undergoes a Retool
under the guise of making things Darker And Edgier, expect Jumping the Shark
, especially if there was Executive Meddling
involved. This tends to go better if the change was planned in storyboarding stages to keep the tone from shifting too abruptly.
Note that this is not the same as a Deconstruction
. A Deconstruction plays out the genre's conventions to their logical conclusions in order to criticize the initial genre conventions. This does not have to be dark (see for instance Deconstructive Parody
) and it doesn't prevent things from turning out well. Darker And Edgier just adds "dark" elements to try and get the same effect. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but often a Deconstruction can cause a work to seem
darker because it's calling attention to dark aspects already implied but previously glossed over; see also Ascended Fridge Horror
Opposite of Lighter and Softer
. Parallel to Bloodier and Gorier
, Hotter and Sexier
, Younger and Hipper
, and Denser And Wackier
. Often a by-product of the franchise growing bigger and more epic
, American Kirby Is Hardcore
, Obligatory Swearing
, Real Is Brown
, Fractured Fairy Tale
, Sugar Apocalypse
, and Cerebus Syndrome
Note that Tropes Are Not Bad
, even one misused as often as this one. Please refrain from Complaining About Tone Shifts You Don't Like
It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.