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Engaging Chevrons
aka: Encoding Chevrons
A time-filling sequence.

In the early seasons of Stargate SG-1, the required settings for the stargate were made with a great deal of pomp and ceremony. Stirring music was played under a series of announcements...

"Chevron One, encoded. Chevron Two, encoded! Chevron Three encoded!! Chevron Four Encoded!"

...all the way up to, if the audience was unlucky, the full seven chevrons ("Chevron Seven... LOCKED!"). This was from the film Stargate, where it was quite suspenseful. The reason for that suspense, however, was that it was only after Daniel figured out the seven-chevron coordinate system that they managed to make the Stargate work for the first time. In the TV show, this sequence came after a while to feel like it was just there to fill time. In some fan communities the phrase "engaging chevrons" has come to mean any recognizable time-filling ploy. As in:

"The fight scene was just engaging chevrons: 'Fu for 'fu's sake."

"They started engaging chevrons about how 'terrorists are really, really bad people', so I went to the fridge for a fresh beer."

Compare Stock Footage, Padding. Specific examples include Fighter Launching Sequence and Transformation Sequence. Contrast with Trapped by Mountain Lions.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the second and fourth seasons of Digimon, many an episode is padded with the Transformation Sequence. Digimon's known for its complex and awesome scenes of 'digivolving,' Mons undergoing temporary Applied Phlebotinum-induced changes from their standard forms to stronger ones. The full sequence is often very long and only seen rarely. However, seasons two and four will often show the complete sequence, and of all characters transforming, without a split-screen. Five solid minutes of digivolving is not unheard of in season four.
    • 02 would also have Digimon evolve separately, and then "DNA digivolve" together, which was a separate, third sequence. If you want all six in Ultimate/Perfect forms, you might find yourself waiting for six rookie-to-champion evo scenes, then three DNA scenes, for a total of nine. On top of that, it also has the Digi-Port sequence that would play at least once an episode in the first half of the season as the group would travel from Earth to the Digital World. Hilariously, the champion-to-ultimate evolution sequences for the original group were shortened from the prior season, thanks to the destruction of a Transformation Trinket shown right at the beginning in the Adventure finale.
    • The most egregious example from season two is a time when something was screwing up the process. You got the complete, extended evolution scene up to the point where it'd almost finish... and then you'd have to watch it all in reverse. The characters puzzled over the fact that it wasn't working, tried again, and we had to wait for them to evolve and then un-evolve a second time. Not. Cool.
    • Happened in season 1, too. First the Dark Masters, with the mons digivolving one level for each Dark Master, only to be beaten every time. Then again with Apocalymon, where they all digivolved to perfect or mega, only to reverse digivolve, and then for mon & tamer to both be reduced to binary code, go through all of the digivolution sequences again, before reforming themselves from binary code. And then then the next episode spent the first few minutes showing the end of the prior episode!
    • Frontier is made a little less painful by having an extremely cool evolution insert song, though.
      • Note that this does not in any way imply that the music used for evolution in Adventure was not Awesome.
  • In Transformers, the Armada and Cybertron seasons had the launching sequence. Jetfire even once Lampshaded it, saying "this seems a little elaborate for a takeoff." (Early in Cybertron, such scenes are often done with nothing said, but eventually The Powers That Be realized that the sequence loses something after the 20th time or so and needed some dialogue to keep the viewers awake.)
  • There are also the transforming and Super Mode sequences in all three parts of the Unicron Trilogy. (Transformers: Robots In Disguise had stock footage transformations too, but they were much quicker.) Cybertron boasts the longest duration of stock sequences, but Energon gets points for having Prime's Super Mode sequence at the beginning of every fight and then not actually using said powerup in more fights than not. The same goes for the combining that is the series' main toy selling gimmick - it's a pure time-waster, as Hot Shot firing his standard weapon is no more effective when he happens to be wearing Inferno as his legs.
  • The Chevron Engaging Transformation Sequence in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha actually has a purpose in the story. The first two times Nanoha transforms, she must hold Raising Heart while reciting a long speech and must endure a minute-long transformation sequence; later, she learns to transform without reciting the speech, then she learns the quick transformation, much to the surprise of Yuuno, who says few mages can pull this.
  • The Sky Girls prologue OVA is roughly 50% Chevron Engaging.
  • The transformation sequences of the Sailor Senshi in Sailor Moon. Generally you can quickly tell a poor episode script from a better one by seeing if the full transformations are shown, or just shortened versions. Transformations happening offscreen? You might actually have a good story there...
    • They eventually began doing split screens to transform everyone at once, or showing condensed versions, but it would still eat 1-3 minutes out of the climax of each episode. That goes double for the seasons where Sailor Moon had a double transformation: first to regular Sailor Moon, then an added one to transform into Super Sailor Moon. As the seasons progressed and added more and more Senshi, it just lengthened out again.
  • The 2-minute-long spiral staircase sequence in every episode of Utena.
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes does this in one of its prequel series, when Reinhard and Kircheis are preparing to go out in a battle tank.
  • Dragon Ball Z: There have been episodes in which characters "powered up" (grunted fiercely) for literal minutes at a time. While they did this, the animation would be of the camera panning over one still frame.
    • On tonight's episode of Dragon Ball Z, Goku continues powering up to SuperSayan!
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle has Syaoran and Chaos staring at each other for one full minute.
  • The first Dominion OVA series has a sequence of the deploying from the second floor on ropes down to their tanks in their hanger bay. The first time they do this, it makes sense. In a later episode, it seems really stupid, as they had been in the hanger bay when the deployment order came out, which means that in order for that stock footage to make sense, they'd have had to leave the bay and go upstairs off-camera, just so they can be seen going back downstairs and getting into their tanks.
  • I'm calling in Axis Powers Hetalia for that scene with Japan, Italy and Germany on the island and that moment when they realize that the Allies are there. And that fact that they repeated it a million times.
    • It was only three times…
    • Lampshaded much later, when the narrator repeatedly describing how to use spare punchlines over text on a black screen becomes exasperated and the final set at the end of the episode is fast-forwarded.
  • The edited dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! replays Yugi's lengthy transformation sequence in places where the original skipped over it.
  • Godannar, in keeping with its retro-Super-Robot-show style, has an extended sequence for when Dannar and Okusaer take off from the base - the robots' engines are spun up by an external flywheel, the Jet Boys are attached to their backs, a huge runway is raised from beneath the sea, the front of the base opens up, numerous lights flick to green in the control-room, and the pilots flick a sequence of switches, ect. They're about 50% Fighter Launching Sequence, and the rest is Engaging Chevrons. To spice things up, however, they (almost) never use the FULL sequence, and instead vary which parts are shown each time. Keeps it from getting TOO... chevronish?
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion uses these frequently:
    • Misato watching the train Shinji has apparantly boarded leave the station.
    • The elevator ride with Rei and Asuka. The Directors Cut version at least mixes it a little bit up. That is to say, Asuka moves briefly and only once. The same shot is reused in Evangelion: 2.0, but for a much shorter amount of time (making its inclusion a bit of a joke for fans).
    • Shinji holding Kaworu in Unit 01's hand for one full minute before he crushes him.
    • Asuka curled up in Unit 02 at the bottom of the lake.
    • Misato and Shinji's Last Kiss.
    • Somehow, a live orchestral Eva concert is subject to this. Symphony of EVA, a live concert recording, ends with the track "Thank You," which is for all intents and purposes a huge, 11-minute and 9-second curtain call and improv session. It's interesting at first as the orchestra gets out all the random bits of music they can but then the applause just keeps going... and going... and going... until the track ends on what appears to be the main choirgirls and the conductor casually chatting as the audience meanders out of the venue.
    • To be fair, a lot of this trope in Eva was not because the story needed padding, but because in later episodes they simply lacked the budget to animate everything they wanted to, resulting in a lot of reuse of stock footage and excessively-long shots like the Ode to Joy scene.
  • In the OutlawStar spin-off AngelLinks they run a minute or so launch sequence everytime the main ship launches. If you get bored of the regular launch sequence, they also have a night version.

    Films 
  • Austin Powers 2 parodies this when Dr. Evil tells Frau to initiate a 30 second countdown for his rocket (overcompensating for the first countdown being too short). He eventually gets bored and tells her to just say 'go'.
  • Parodied in Spaceballs by Colonel Sandurs, who prefaces these statements with "Prepare to [do mundane task]", e.g. :
    Colonel Sandurs: Prepare to fast-forward!
    Mook: Preparing to fast-forward!
    Colonel Sandurs: Fast-forward!
    Mook: Fast-forwarding, sir!
    • It's later lampshaded by Dark Helmet:
    Dark Helmet: What are you preparing for? You're always preparing. Just go!
    • Which immediately came back to bite him in the ass for once.
    Sanders: Driver, just go. * to Helmet* Sir, hadn't you better sit down? * Helmet gets a lesson in why you don't stand up in an open-topped vehicle*
  • One of the many criticisms of Star Trek: The Motion Picture was that it contained many long tracking shots of the ships and little action, leading to its Fan Nickname "Star Trek: The Slow-Motion Picture".
  • In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Rocky's "creation scene," where Frank brings him to life.
    "Is it soup yet?"
    "No."
    "Is it soup yet?"
    "NO!"

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Pro wrestling uses several techniques to fill time, either so that wrestlers can communicate more easily to plan out the next piece of action, or to allow them to take a breather after a period of intensity. Such moves are known as 'rest holds', and are usually weak-looking submission holds that most fans have worked out by now will almost never actually result in a submission.
    • The other favourite trick is the "double impact" move, where both wrestlers hit a move on each other at the same time (usually either a clothesline, dropkick or flying body block) and both spend a period of time on the mat recovering.
  • Some wrestlers have introductions long enough to qualify for this, usually wrestlers who go on at the end of a show, when it's clear how much time there is to fill before the show ends. Some have a certain routine to go through on the way to the ring, Others just walk very slowly. The Undertaker does both. At one point, enough wrestlers had slow entrances that fans were placing bets on whose would be longest on a given night.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Perhaps as Lampshade Hanging, in The Documentary episode of SG-1, Walter (whose job it is to make the announcement, and who, at this point in the series, had never been seen to do anything else) painstakingly describes his entire purpose in life, explaining that he usually says "Chevron seven locked" rather than "Chevron seven encoded" just for a bit of variety.
  • Stargate SG-1 also periodically uses a falling-through-the-wormhole animation for similar purposes. It's also the Trope Namer, as despite the movie using the exact same format, it was not really intended as filler, but suspense.
    • On one occasion, when O'Neil while under the influence of an Ancient Repository of Knowledge rigs the computer to dial an address automatically, Walter goes through with the chevron announcements anyway despite having no control over the dialing. The characters are all thrown for a loop, though, when Walter announces the seventh chevron...and the gate continues to dial an eighth one. Since at the time it was believed that every stargate in the universe could be reached via a 7-chevron address, this time the announcement actually was dramatic.
  • Subverted in the first episode of Stargate Atlantis, when the Atlantean gate is first activated. Dr. McKay starts in on the chevron announcement, but stops and just pushes all seven buttons in rapid succession after Dr. Weir gives him a dirty look.
  • Stargate Atlantis has what amounts to a fetish of hand to hand combat scenes in an age of guns and energy weapons. Most fights could be avoided by a character simply using the gun at hand. Every fight is an episode time-waster and the reasons for the fights are usually contrived. If a fight would be 15 seconds long in real combat, it gets dragged out to 5 minutes or even ten minutes. Most of the fights are completely unrealistic and obviously scripted. Every chance to end the fight quickly is ignored. Some episodes like that of the "Super Teyla/Grossout the Doctor episode" have one fight after another, with the Atlantis characters making every mistake in the book (such as the aforementioned Teyla keeping a stick to fight with instead of using the fallen enemies' metal weapons.)Despite the short nature of real hand-to-hand fights where the first one to land a blow usually wins, almost every fight in SGA is long, drawn out, and has herculean persons who can take damage more severe than heavyweight prizefighters. "I've been hit on the noggin 25 times with a bat, but I'm doin' fine..." type of thing. Almost every character is required to have hand-to-hand combat in some episode (and usually more than one) and after the first dozen contrived fights, fans tend to fast-forward through them when they come on— they appear to be mainly filling time.
    • The Earth gate has to be dialed by spinning the ring thanks to the jury-rigged dialing computer, which is, essentially, how you would dial it manually in the absense of a DHD, which dials as fast as you can press the buttons.
      • One wonders why, later, they didn't just tear the dialing console out of a Puddle Jumper and use it...
      • A number of factors: tradition, a customized interface for the Iris toggle, the ability to prevent the Earth gate from falling victim to a galaxy-wide stargate-computer virus (an issue that does come up, twice), the ability to monitor gate behavior (such as when Anubis tried to overload the gate), and the opportunity to reverse-engineer the Ancient technology. Though, it should be noted, the SGC did have an available DHD as early as season 1 when they discovered the Antarctic gate and simply never used it. That's the military for you - reliable and resilient over quick and flashy.
      • You mean the DHD that ran out of power after a few goes?
  • Stargate Universe does this, without a trace of irony (because that wouldn't be Dark or Edgy) for all nine chevrons. Twice! But thankfully they don't bother doing it beyond that point, even though the old-style rotary gate dials slowly enough. Though the first nine chevron dialing could be deemed as being as dramatic as the (now standard) seven were in the original movie.
    • Lampshaded by Rodney McKay in Seizure: "I may just be the brilliant scientist relegated to shouting out the obvious in terms of chevrons here, but..."
  • Battle Star Galactica Reimagined spent much of its fourth season engaging chevrons by having whole episodes devoted to a disagreement with an obvious logical compromise that any viewer with two brain cells to rub together could come up with in about three minutes.
  • Parodied in The Colbert Report with an episode of Tek Jansen. "Engage front landing thruster!" "Front landing thruster engaged." "Engage rear landing thruster!" "Rear landing thruster engaged", etc for about 5 different landing thrusters, and a long, slow view of each one being engaged. It took up most of the short.
  • iCarly: In 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. (you don't say the one).
  • Power Rangers (and all of the similar series), where they show the exact same transformation ritual scenes every episode. However, it goes by a lot faster than a lot of other examples. The Zord summoning can go on in some series, though.
    • Season 2 was particularly egregious about this, going from the rangers holding their hands up and calling their zords in unison in season 1 to each character having an individual "Super Sentai" Stance for his or her zord, followed by the Zord changing from its season one form into its season two form - something you'd think would only need to be done once.
    • Power Rangers Samurai was terrible for this - Whilst later seasons would have lengthy sequences for each Ranger morphing & summoning their zords, after the second or third episode showing the full sequence, it would usually be shortened down & whichever Rangers were morphing were shown on a splitscreen. Samurai, however, would continue to show the full length morph sequence for each Ranger consecutively, and then do the same thing for each of the zords on top of that, until well into the season.
  • Legend of the Seeker: When Kahlan uses her Mind Control "Confession" thing on somebody the first time, the clouds part, the sky darkens, thunder rumbles, her eyes go black, and she passes out for nearly a minute. Averted, in that the production quickly tones it down for subsequent uses. By the second season, she barely breaks her stride.
  • Lest we forget the original Adam West Batman series: "Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed"... then the rocket engine ignites, they take off out of Bronson Canyon... and off to Gotham City, past that sign stating, "Gotham City 14 miles."
  • Vulcan mind melds in Star Trek tend to involve a mantra similar to "My mind to your mind. My thoughts to your thoughts. Our minds are merging." By the end of Voyager, though, Tuvok's mind melds usually just consisted of "My mind to your mind."
  • In the fourth season of the original series of Knight Rider, KITT gets a Super Pursuit Mode upgrade that allows him super-speed. This is achieved with various aerodynamic bits and winglets popping out, with the same stock footage used over and over. By the end of the season this was occasionally omitted or achieved in a jump-cut. On the other hand, sometimes it was used multiple times an episode.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Gerry Anderson's works tended to suffer from this, most prominently breakout hit Thunderbirds: The first time you see the full Technology Porn-laden launch sequence for each craft, it's cool. By the sixth or seventh the novelty has honestly begun to wear off. They cut down the length of such sequences in later works, and in the case of Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet's infamous Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle requisitioning scenes actually came up with a different set every time to show that SPECTRUM is Crazy-Prepared enough to cache these things all over the globe. But even then it got to be an Overused Running Gag and The Remake did away with it apart from a couple of homages.

    Video Games 
  • Seen It a Million Times in video games to disguise load times. An especially notorious example is the opening door from the Resident Evil games; although the much faster loading times of the PS2 and the Gamecube technically mean it's not necessary, it was left due to tradition in Code: Veronica, RE 0 and the RE 1 remake, and wasn't dropped until Resident Evil 4.
    • The PC version of Resident Evil also had them, but they were skippable (after the game finished loading, at least, something barely noticeable even on contemporary machines).
    • Mass Effect 1. Slowest elevators the universe has ever seen. People claim that they hate the game for no other reason than that those endless elevator-sequences drives them to distraction. Admittedly, when there's some plot relevant announcement or witty comrade banter it's not too bad, but the rest... egh. The Unreal engine can do much better than that. (Also fixed in the PC version.) Mocked here by Penny Arcade. Arguably the worst is the elevator on the Normandy. Going down one level? Almost thirty seconds. No music. No radio. No other characters talking. And then you have to go back up when you want to go somewhere else in the ship!
      "There are 27 lines of bricks in this damn elevator." "But have you named them yet?"
    • The PC version isn't completely immune:
      Normandy: Stand by shore party. Decontamination in progress... Decontamination in progress... Decontamination in progress... Decontamination in progress...
      Shepard: Come on!
      • The sequel replaces the elevator rides with loading movies, which is probably worse, since you just get a video of something happening regardless of how long the actual load took. While the original Normandy was all one level with no additional loading, the second one has to load every floor, including the captain's quarters, which consists of one room (granted, this one loads pretty fast).
    • Metroid Prime had load time elevators but they were pretty short due to the quick load time of the Gamecube and awesome because it was the best way to check out suit upgrades. The more annoying version was that doors sometimes stayed closed until the rooms behind them finished loading. In a game with much Backtracking, that got old really fast.
    • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and The Two Thrones played an animation in full when loading, forcing you to watch the entire animation even if the actual load time was a fraction of a second. This could, fortunately, be avoided by manually deleting the videos files in question.
    • Mass Effect 1 had another example with the pre-mind-meld speech given by the Asari commando on Feros. Averted later; whenever Liara melds with Shepard all she says beforehand is "Embrace eternity!", and by the end of her romance arc she doesn't even need that much.
  • Steel Battalion deserves a special mention here because it actually has you, the player, engage your own chevrons. Five switches on the game's almost absurd flight-stick-esque controller were dedicated to being flipped on during the start-up sequence before each mission, then off again between missions.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Although it's for a very good reason, this occurs a lot in real life with many operations requiring the reading out of long and sometimes quite repetitive checklists. A well known example is the launch of a Space Shuttle, but a more common example occurs before and at various times during a commercial airliner flight. Safety is obviously the main purpose here, but particularly for televised events like a shuttle launch, it does add to the drama considerably.
    • The Shuttle is particularly funny, because the countdown has "built-in holds". For missions to the ISS, the launch window is only five minutes long; if you don't hit it, there's a scrub. So they have a clock saying it's X amount of time before the launch, but it's really more than that, and they stop the clock now and then for a predetermined amount of time, so that by the time the final hold is over, the displayed time to launch is equal to the actual time to launch. This probably doesn't make a whole lot more or less sense than Daylight Savings Time if you really think about it...
    • I imagine this is so that if there's a last minute error in one of their systems they have time to fix it built into the countdown rather than having to rush the repair to remain on schedule.
    • According to NASA, "Pauses in the countdown, or "holds," are built into the countdown to allow the launch team to target a precise launch window, and to provide a cushion of time for certain tasks and procedures without impacting the overall schedule. For the space shuttle countdown, built-in holds vary in length and always occur at the following times: T-27 hours, T-19 hours, T-11 hours, T-6 hours, T-3 hours, T-20 minutes, and T-9 minutes." Activities during the holds can range from being as important as clearing personnel away from the launch site and preparing tracking antennas or as apparently trivial as vacuuming the crew module.


Elimination HoudiniYMMV/Home PageEnsemble Darkhorse
Elimination HoudiniYMMVEnsemble Darkhorse

alternative title(s): Unawesome Padding Sequence; Encoding Chevrons
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