Franchise Original Sin

"To me, all the fatal flaws fanboys bitched about in regards to the [Star Wars] prequels — stiff dialogue, wooden performances, a convoluted plot, and mindless spectacle divorced from human emotion — were there from the very beginning."

A Franchise Original Sin is a flaw which in earlier, good installments was kept under control to the point of not really being a flaw, but which goes completely out of control in later, bad installments and brings the franchise down.

Franchise Original Sins may be exacerbated by Protection from Editors resulting in Filibuster Freefall, or a result of a Creator Breakdown or other form of Troubled Production. It is possible for a story to recover from its sins if the writer experiences a Creator Recovery — or you might be looking at the point where the fans go 'Nope. The series really ended two seasons ago.' Or it might be regression to the mean; the work in question was popular because the early episodes were above the quality the creators could normally produce, and when they returned to baseline, it was pretty much over for them.

It's possible to Jump the Shark without having an Original Sin. Take, for example, Moonlighting, which couldn't keep up the Will They or Won't They? any longer, and the point at which they did was the moment all dramatic tension deflated from the series. There was no Original Sin there, besides the Will They or Won't They?, which was part of what made the series work, so it doesn't qualify here.

Rule of thumb: if you can imagine a reboot without the element in question, then it qualifies. If you can't, then it isn't a Franchise Original Sin. Secondary rule of thumb: If it wasn't visible in previous good episodes, it's an Ass Pull or a Retool gone bad, not a Franchise Original Sin. Compare with First Installment Wins. Also compare with Overused Running Gag and Discredited Meme, a more specific variety of this trope where a joke gets used so often that everyone gets sick of it.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • In Naruto, even in early episodes you could already see that Sasuke was going to be really important and tips about how the Uchiha clan's Myth Arc is key were dropped. Then Sasuke became really important, and the Uchiha clan's Myth Arc swallowed the plot. It's a sore spot between fans whether this is a good thing, a bad thing, or something in between.
  • Bleach:
    • Many of the criticisms during the Arrancar saga first showed in the Soul Society arc. The decreased focus on Ichigo and his friends (much of the arc revolves around the intrigue among the Shinigami as opposed to Ichigo's mission to rescue Rukia, Chad is taken out easily by Captain Kyoraku, and Ishida and Orihime disappear for a large part of the story), the feeling of Arc Fatigue, and Aizen's improbable level of planning and his ability to easily take out anyone in his way are all things that would become much worse in later arcs.
    • Numerous plot twists are a trend that also dates back to the end of the Soul Society arc. It's revealed that the real reason Rukia's execution was arranged was so Aizen could get a powerful object called the Hogyoku that was implanted in her body. The Hogyoku itself didn't really get much build up beyond a vague mention in a letter, but because the story was still in it's early stages and because it was important to the main villain's plans, most viewers didn't have a problem with it. Aizen himself was introduced as a kind hearted captain that was brutally murdered, before revealing that he had faked his death and was behind everything in the story to that point, a development that was widely praised at the time. Since then, the number of 'shocking' plot twists in the story has become perhaps the most common criticism about Bleach after Arc Fatigue, and every new twist tends to cause massive arguments in the fanbase about whether they make sense or not. This is most prominent during the Deicide arc, where Aizen becomes embroiled in a Gambit Roulette so ludicrous people stopped taking him seriously.
  • Sailor Moon's much reviled fourth season, SuperS, was founded on many of the elements people hated most about this arc: fairy tale inspired mythology, campy villains, a destined love between Official Couple Usagi and Mamoru, and spotlights on characters other than Usagi herself (namely Chibiusa). While all these elements worked wonderfully in previous seasons, by the time the fourth arc rolled around they just felt stale. The fifth season attempted to fight the Seasonal Rot by immediately sending Chibiusa back to the future, returning the series to magical sci-fi, introducing new characters for a fresh Love Triangle story, and making the Big Bad far more lethal than any previous season.
  • In the El-Hazard: The Magnificent World OVA, Makoto's a Chick Magnet from day one, with three girls initially attracted to him, but it isn't really a Harem Series at that point. Makoto chooses his girlfriend fairly early on, and Nanami and Shayla-Shayla's attraction is a side plot occasionally tapped for humor and fanservice. But when they reach the third series, El Hazard: The Alternative World, the writers seem to have run out of ideas, and Makoto's girlfriend is on a bus anyway, so they have the girls fighting over Makoto every episode and insert a Third-Option Love Interest to spice things up. As a result, The Alternative World was widely seen as inferior to the first and second OVA series, and was Cut Short, with only 13 out of 26 episodes completed.
  • One Piece:
    • The elements that made the 4Kids Entertainment English dub so hated were mostly present in earlier, far more successful shows like PokémonCut-and-Paste Translation, baffling Bowdlerization, Viewers Are Morons, and so on. However, this was sort of okay then because Pokémon skewed towards a much younger audience, and 4Kids had demonstrated that they knew not to use this strategy all the time, as seen in Shaman King or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003. It was only when complaints about those two shows led them to try to apply it to One Piece that the whole thing fell apart... and it didn't help that the Cut-and-Paste Translation technique was falling out of favor at around the same time.
    • In the original version, problems that affected later parts of the series started showing up early on. Pacing problems were present since Skypeia, and the plot having way too many characters started in Enies Lobby.
  • The Saiyan Saga of Dragon Ball Z, despite setting the tone for the remainder of the series also introduced many staples the franchise would be criticized for. Power Levels, Beam-O-Wars, death becoming a plot device, and Goku getting a ridiculous power-boost ahead of his comrades.

     Comic Books 
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths. While cleaning up the Continuity Snarl that was the multiverse was a good idea, bringing Retcon to whole new levels and unleashing the horror that was The Dark Age of Comic Books did not help things.
    • And you can't accuse Crisis on Infinite Earths without also pointing the finger at the fateful "Flash of Two Worlds" story from 1961, establishing the idea of Golden and Silver Age versions of the same heroes coexisting in separate universes and traveling between them. If the Crisis was Original Sin, "Flash of Two Worlds" was its corresponding Fall of Lucifer.
    • COIE firmly established that Anyone Can Die by having Killed Off for Real two dozen pre-established characters, the most famous being The Flash and Supergirl who each had a whole issue devoted to their deaths culminating in a Heroic Sacrifice. None of the other deaths were handled that well. For the rest, they Dropped a Bridge on Him. This reached its apex in the final issue (# 12), where 7 characters were quickly dispatched in a 2 page spread, including two popular pre-Crisis Multiverse characters, the Earth-2 Robin and Huntress...and these 7 characters weren't the only pre-established characters to be so easily butchered that issue. As the years went by, and more promoted fanboys began Running the Asylum, there were more and more deaths like this, invariably newer characters the writers and editors hadn't grown up reading, creating the C-List Fodder trope and causing the Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy readers now have for newer characters.
  • Some of the worst excesses of the Dark Age can also, quite famously, trace their roots back to two of what are still recognized as among the greatest graphic novels in the medium's history: Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Both comics won enormous praise and commercial success for their elevation of the medium to new levels of artistic credibility; the former was recognized by Time in 2005 as among the 100 greatest novels ever reviewed by the magazine (the only graphic novel on the list). They also contained levels of violence and sex that were, at the time, unheard of in comics. Writers with less talent than Alan Moore and Frank Miller mistakenly assumed that that was the reason why Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns were so successful, leading to a slew of comics that desperately aimed to be 'mature' yet reveled in the most immature sort of shock value.

    There's a key reason Watchmen, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and later, Kingdom Come were so universally acclaimed and it isn't because they were such flawless masterpieces that no one could ever find fault with them. No such work of any kind actually exists. The key reason for the relative lack of unfavorable reactions is because none of these series actually took place within the DC Universe. If a reader tried out any of these mini-series and were among the few who didn't like them, they didn't have to hate these stories. These readers could just ignore them and go on reading the regular DC Comics series because these stories had no direct impact on the regular DC series. But when DC tried to incorporate much of the darker elements of these stories into their regular comics, the reaction became much more divisive. For example, when one of the 'heroes' in Watchmen believed that for the greater good he had to become a mass murderer and did so, there was no massive backlash because the character didn't exist outside of Watchmen. Take that same Character Arc, and repeat it on a popular pre-established character like, say, Hal Jordan, and the reader response was much less favorable.
  • A lot of the problems with X-Men started with Chris Claremont doing too many things on the fly and not often planning ahead. But at least he didn't force those Running the Asylum now to take his older plots as canon gospel. That is their own fault.
  • Generation X was basically Dawson's Creek with a cast of mutants. As such, its main failing from the beginning was a general lack of plot direction. The characters basically did whatever, and in the first two-thirds this was fine because their characters played off each other and the comic climate accommodated its leisurely pace. It helped that, being like a teen drama, it dealt with common teen problems. As the series wore on and the nineties gave way to the early 2000s, however, the general quality dissolved little by little. The character interactions became strained, and the teenage fans had begun moving on to more meaty stories. This (coupled with lots of changes in creative teams) eroded all the draws that kept readers on the book, and the old aimlessness came out.
  • Uderzo's run as writer of the Astérix comics started out very similarly to Goscinny's run, but with a few immediate shifts in character — first that Uderzo had a more satirical and parodic sense of humour than Goscinny, who was more into absurdity and anarchy; secondly, that Uderzo liked writing more complicated, cinematic adventure plotlines, where Goscinny tended to prefer plots that were in the background to the characters's antics; and thirdly that he pushed fantasy elements further into the foreground, where the setting up until that point had been Purely Aesthetic Era Ancient Roman Empire with one really important fantasy element. This is not considered to detract from the quality of most of the early Uderzo-only books, like The Great Divide, Asterix and Son and The Black Gold (with a very un-Goscinny James Bond parody subplot), although they are definitely different in tone; but books like The Magic Carpet (where the Dreadful Musician suddenly develops a magic power necessary for the plot to work) and Obelix All At Sea (Obelix gets turned to stone, reverts to childhood and they all go to Atlantis) are often criticised for being straight fantasy adventures with not much in the way of humour. Then there was Asterix and the Secret Weapon, a book about a Straw Feminist taking over the village and defeating a female villain by offering her clothes and shoes. Put Genre Shift, Strawman Political and Cerebus Syndrome all together and you get the series Jump the Shark moment, Asterix and The Falling Sky, a weird, puerile, xenophobic and poorly-drawn science fiction story involving the village being invaded by aliens representing the Americans and the Japanese, which was intended as an Author Tract about the influence of manga and American comics on Franco-Belgian Comics but too poorly-written to even work on that level. Fans widely derided it as the worst thing in the world and Uderzo retired before writing another book.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog can point theirs all the way back to issue 50 and the creation of Knuckles' comic. With issue 50, Dr. Robotnik is Killed Off for Real and they attempted to use Naugus, a one-off character from Sonic Sat AM, as a new villain before bringing in Dr. Eggman. The comic said it best years later: Sonic must always fight Robotnik. The comic lost a very credible threat with the death of the old Robotnik and using Eggman early on made him a very ineffectual villain, still trying to install other villains and expanding convolting storylines that either made the world a Crapsack World or went nowhere. This isn't even including just how expansive and bloating Knuckles' backstory ended up becoming. It got to the point where a very dedicated comic reviewer, tired of it all, was ready to jump ship when Ian Flynn came in and practically saved the comic.
  • When Superboy-Prime was reintroduced in Infinite Crisis by Geoff Johns, he was something of a affectionate jab/deconstruction at the fandom and a Take That towards obnoxious, overreacting Fan Dumb. This was somewhat clever and liked by fans, especially since it picked on jerkass fans who deserved to be mocked. Unfortunately, less talented writers got their hands on him and Flanderized him into a giant assholish insult towards all readers. Thus he was quickly turned into The Scrappy and readers started hating him and the comics he was in since they were doing nothing but insulting the very people who pay for comics.
  • The entirety of Infinite Crisis itself is a bit of a discourse on the "Return to the Silver Age" movement that had arisen since the publication of Kingdom Come. The latter was written as a late-90s treatise on The Dark Age of Comic Books, showing the absurdity of Dark Age heroes with their Kill 'em All stance, juxtaposing them against the Silver Age heroes with their Thou Shalt Not Kill stance. However, it was not afraid to point out that the Silver Age ideals were quite prone to believing in Black and White Morality, The Complainer Is Always Wrong, and thus they could very easily fall to using — albeit nonviolent — totalitarian tactics in order to make sure their ideals, and ONLY their ideals, were followed by other heroes. The final moral is that the two sides (Silver Age and Dark Age) must come to terms — an analogy that a return to the Bronze Age is best: Heroes should treat matters seriously as the gray areas they often are, but should never lose the convictions to do what's right, rather than just do what's easiest/most permanent. However many fans of, and authors at, DC misunderstood and figured this was the windfall that would allow them to return comics to their Silver Age Campiness, if not completely return to Pre-Crisis status as a whole, and the years to come saw a multitude of attempts by various authors to do this. Infinite Crisis, then, pointed out that while the Dark Age was admittedly an Old Shame, fans and authors also needed to take off the Nostalgia Filter and realize that while the Silver Age has a lot to offer in terms of plot devices and elements, it was also filled with tons of embarrassingly-badly-written nonsense that should just be forgotten.
  • The famous Gwen Stacy death plotline from Spider-Man. Behind the scenes it happened as a way for writer Gerry Conway to resolve the Gwen Stacy romance since she had become too close to Peter and realistically they would eventually marry and settle down which aged up the character considerably. Thing is, Gerry Conway was a decent writer and the storyline worked out pretty well, becoming a stunning Wham Episode that changed the course of the series. When a later editor developed the same fear of aging Peter too much, we got universally reviled storylines and retcons like Sins Past and One More Day.

    Gwen's death itself became so famous and influential it spawned many more stories of superheroes' wives or girlfriends getting Killed Off for Real that led to the Stuffed into the Fridge trope that's so polarizing now to many readers, especially female readers. With the shock value now gone forever, and with all the imitations since then, it can be hard for newer readers to understand what was so great about this story in the first place. It can even seem like one of the worst examples of Fridging. Gwen's barely in the issue that kills her off, spending most of her time there drugged and unconscious until she dies. Reading this story as a standalone, as it's so often reprinted, divorced from the context of previous Spider-Man issues, it can even be hard to see why Gwen was such a popular character beyond the vague idea that she was a Nice Girl.
  • In many ways, the increasingly criticized True Art Is Angsty approach of the New 52 is just the culmination of DC's somewhat well-received attempts at Darker and Edgier, beginning with Identity Crisis. Back than it was the stories becoming somewhat more mature. Now it's the stories trying way too hard to be edgy and slipping back into the excesses and failures of the Dark Age. Only time will tell if DC's upcoming event, Convergence, will be able to put a ceiling on this.
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was sold largely as a Massively Multiplayer Crossover, with an intricate universe that showed dozens of classic works of literature weave together into a cohesive whole. Another element that got some buzz was Moore's use of Broad Strokes to develop once-bland cyphers into interesting characters in their own right. These two elements perfectly complimented and spiced up a genuinely interesting adventure story. However, by the time of Black Dossier and especially Century, they had become a major weakness. For the former, many scenes ended up being devoted to showing off Moore's education instead of advancing the plot, leaving a whole lot of interesting names scattered through a slow and boring narrative. As the series advanced into modern times, Moore also ran out of Public Domain Characters, forcing him to do a whole lot of obvious Writing Around Trademarks. For the latter, Moore attempted to apply his broad-strokes reinvention technique to characters who were far more well-known and fleshed-out to readers than the likes of Allan Quatermain (most infamously James Bond and Harry Potter), leaving the impression that Moore either hadn't done any research or was trying to fulfill some kind of vendetta. Other times, he botched the reinvention; one of his most ambitious creations, Orlando, earned a reputation as a Creator's Pet, and the general opinion of the Golliwog is that he was best left forgotten.


  • The 1989 Batman film suffered from the problems that would persist in later Batman movies, which reached their peak with Batman & Robin.
    • The first film was 'Batman: starring Jack Nicholson as The Joker.' Batman Returns was similar — its two villains combined have more screen time than Batman. This led the way for the Schumacher films to become overcrowded with villains and the same 'villain shows up, teams up with other villain, they fight Batman, Batman wins' plot repeated in every sequel. Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer both left the series because they felt that the movies were more about the bad guys than Batman.
    • The two biggest flaws present in all four of the Burton/Schumacher Batman films were the semi-obligatory casting of A-list actors as the main villains (whether they were any good in the role or not) and the Bizarrchitecture (which was reasonably subtle and effective in the first film, but by the fourth film had become an obscene distraction). You'll notice that the Nolan films invert the first trope by casting their biggest guest stars in relatively small parts and avert the second altogether by shooting all their outdoor scenes on actual locations, rather than on soundstages or in front of computer green-screens.
    • Batman & Robin is incredibly campy, but there was a certain level of camp present in Batman that only increased with every following installment. The first film had most of the Joker's scenes, from the giant revolver to the museum robbery, and the second film had the Penguin remote-controlling the Batmobile with an arcade machine and eventually plotting to destroy Gotham with an army of missile penguins.
    • While comic-book fans had then only recently seen Batman become Darker and Edgier and wanted to pretend he always was (he most certainly wasn't), the public at large still remembered the campy, cheesy Adam West series. The dark, but successful, 1989 movie led to Tim Burton getting the reins on Returns, which he infused with BDSM undertones, Batman outright killing people, monster Penguin and his obscene, innuendo-laden dialog, and so on. Given Batman was widely popular with kids, Warner Bros. just about panicked at what Burton had done to the cash cow. No matter how successful one movie would be, WB wanted a franchise with toys, children's shows, a series of movies, and more. However, now the cat was out of the bag, the public thought Batman was a dark and brooding franchise, and it's hard to imagine how anyone could make the films work following Burton's portrayal of a character who started off in books sold to children for a pittance.
  • Superman also suffered from this with Superman II noticeably adding more campiness and more New Powers as the Plot Demands, the third one just made it worse, and then the fourth one... happened.
    • Man of Steel also comes with this in the other direction. A lot of the criticisms can either be traced back to the previous films (lack of depth to the character besides being angsty, weak motivation for the villains, killing said villain, questionable plot decisions, very unsubtle Christ/God symbolism, etc.), or to the comics, and even the entire superhero genre itself (large-scale destruction of property, lack of thought to collateral damage, and general irresponsible use of powers). The only criticism that originates from the film itself is the cinematography, which itself can be traced back to the well-received Dark Knight Saga that led to the production of this film, which incorporated similar lighting techniques. Maybe Christopher Nolan has to have a more active role than just as producer?
    • Like Man of Steel, Superman Returns was accused of being Anvilicious with its space Jesus/God symbolism. But in that respect, it only follows the lead of the Reeve Superman films, though there it was at least restricted to Jor-El's speechifying. Still, it's not to be found in the comics; Jor-El doesn't have any higher destiny in mind for Superman and Earth unlike Marlon Brando and Russell Crowe's portrayals, he just wanted his son to live.
  • One of the principal reasons Spider-Man 3 is the least liked in the original Spider-Man Trilogy is because it was too goofy. Spider-Man 1 and 2 are far from devoid of silliness, but that element provided actual levity in those first two movies because (1) they had more focused plots, having only one supervillain apiece, compared to the third having three, and (2) they didn't take the silly humour overboard. The infamous 'dancing emo Peter' sequence in 3, on the other hand, took it way too far.
  • All the problems with the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan-era James Bond movies — the over-the-top gadgets, the bad puns, the overly elaborate villain plans and death traps — are visible in Goldfinger, where they were still reasonably in check. That these elements were not necessary to the franchise was demonstrated by the 2006 reboot Casino Royale. The caveat to this, though, is that Royale and its immediate followup, Quantum of Solace, have been criticized for feeling less like Bond films and more like a reskinning of Bourne with all of the Bond names.
  • Star Wars:
    • As much fun as Return of the Jedi is, some things left ominous signs for what would happen in the prequels. The Ewoks were actually the least of these (they were going to be Wookiees until George Lucas decided to make Chewbacca a main character).
    • For that matter, even as early as A New Hope, one can tell that Lucas was mostly focused on the visual aspect of the movie rather than getting the best performance from the actors (see the page quotation). It was a combination of his vision and his collaborators that helped forge the original trilogy into the well-liked works they are. As some of those people went on to other projects and didn't come back for the prequels, he no longer had that support that kept his weaknesses from showing.
  • Many of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg's trademark writing traits (shallow, narrow parodies depending more on references and audience recognition than actually making fun of the target, regardless of how well the reference works with the movie itself) are fully visible in their earlier, funnier movies, Spy Hard (which was barely saved by some of its clever bits, including its theme song by "Weird Al" Yankovic) and Scary Movie (which was saved by having four other writers). Then the duo dived headfirst into directing their own movies, with every problem that plagued the last two movies amped Up to Eleven and creating some delicious Snark Bait in the process.
  • Although it did save the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan started the trend of every Star Trek film being built around one particular villain (the major exceptions being IV, which doesn't have a villain, VI, in which General Chang is just the most visible member of a large conspiracy, and Star Trek Into Darkness, in which Khan and Admiral Marcus are both villains on opposing sides) for better or worse. The failure of Star Trek: Nemesis had shown how worn-out the formula had become.
  • As explained here, Maven of the Eventide feels that a lot of went wrong with the film adaptation of Queen of the Damned can be traced back to its much better predecessor, Interview with the Vampire. In Interview, Lestat was a vivacious, lively character who mocked his brooding counterparts, yet those "tortured souls" still came off as sympathetic characters due to their development over the course of the story. Unfortunately, the makers of Queen mistook that as 'brooding = sexy and cool.'
  • Francis Ford Coppola included many of his family in the cast and crew of The Godfather, Parts I and II, most notably his sister Talia Shire in an important role. In The Godfather Part III, he cast his daughter Sofia Coppola in an important role that she couldn't handle.
  • The scene in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull where Indiana Jones survives a nuke by hiding in a refrigerator was mostly reviled as the point where it stretched the audience's credulity. However, Raiders of the Lost Ark already had Jones somehow surviving a possibly days-long trip while hanging on to the outside of a U-boat, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom had Jones using a raft as a parachute to escape a plane crash.
  • While the final three The Pink Panther movies (not counting the 2006 remake and its sequel) are frequently criticized for their reliance on questionably funny Running Gags, outdated racial stereotypes and over-the-top humor more suited to the Pink Panther cartoons than their live-action cousins, in actual fact most of these began during 1978's Revenge of the Pink Panther, the last one generally regarded as being any good. As to why Revenge works and most of the subsequent ones didn't, most fans have one simple answer: Peter Sellers was still alive.
  • After Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy debuted, the general consensus of them were that they were the best potential LOTR adaptations that the books were likely to get. Some criticism was directed at the overly long ending(s) but they were mostly joked about than harshly derided. When Jackson's King Kong came around, consensus also was that it was great but that Jackson might have overdone the homage to the original a tad, resulting in the film being much longer and padded than it should be. Then when Jackson returned to Middle-earth with The Hobbit, enthusiasm for them dipped upon the announcement that it would be split into three films, despite the book being shorter than any of The Lord of the Rings books. The resulting films have been highly divisive, with many criticisms directed at the over-length of the story being stuffed full of unnecessary Padding.
  • By the time of its self-destruction with the sixth film, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, the A Nightmare on Elm Street series had fallen into almost literal self-parody, with Freddy Krueger a comedian first and a killer second. The overarching plot had also become needlessly complex, with Freddy developing a backstory that stripped away his mystique. (As a result, when Wes Craven returned to the series with New Nightmare, he expunged all traces of camp from the character and set the film in a 'real-world' continuity where the Nightmare films existed In-Universe. Freddy vs. Jason and the remake followed much the same Darker and Edgier route.) Both of these elements can be traced back to the the third film in the series, Dream Warriors, generally regarded as the best of the Nightmare sequels and even a rival to the original by some fans. Here, Freddy first began to take on his jokester persona, but he was still Faux Affably Evil, his twisted sense of humor only getting under his victims' (and the viewers') skin that much more. As for his developing backstory, well, "the bastard son of a hundred maniacs" is still an unforgettable line.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! featured needless Adaptation Expansion, confused morals leading to a Broken Aesop, an emphasis on big sets over good writing, some problematic and unfitting jokes, and a few creepy makeup jobs. However, it was saved by Jim Carrey, who was at the height of his popularity and perfectly cast as the protagonist, topped off with an Academy Award-winning look. When the same people made The Cat in the Hat, they cast Mike Myers right when he was starting to slide off the radar, and shoved him into a costume that mostly just looked creepy, leaving the bawdy jokes, rancid morals, and mindless spectacle in the spotlight.
  • At the time of The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan didn't have any reputation to speak of, so nobody saw the film's Twist Ending coming. The problem came when Shyamalan started relying on twist endings in his films, a problem that first became apparent with Signs, generally considered the last film of his that's any good. By the time of The Village, viewers had learned to see it coming, and his reputation and the quality of his films suffered for it.

  • A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons succumb to the sprawling, complex nature of the Song of Ice and Fire storyline that had previously been a selling point. The series has always been about gradual plot development and long term pay-offs, with a lot of detail put into exploring the backdrop of the action and the world in general — but this was all complemented by significant happenings. Though some POV characters had less to do than others, each book had dramatic arc to it. Feast and Dance, meanwhile, are criticized for (among other things) essentially very little happening because the focus is drawn so wide, with so much time spent describing characters and places that don't really matter.
  • Similarly, while The Wheel of Time always suffered from too many subplots, dozens of viewpoint characters and massive word count padding, in the earlier books it was easier to overlook this because Robert Jordan was able to write an interesting story into each thread of the epic. Then came Crossroads of Twilight, when the first section of the book was dedicated to showing what various characters had been doing during the Battle of Shadar Logoth, which was essentially 'nothing at all.' Crossroads of Twilight was seen as the weakest book in the series for this reason.
  • In the Bitterbynde trilogy's first book, The Ill-Made Mute, the characters frequently sit down and begin to tell a Tale-within-a-Tale, usually some retelling of a known myth about magical creatures. This fit in with the book's easygoing pace, the characters in question, and it helps to build the world of Erith as a world where such occurrences are commonplace. The prose is also lavish and very detailed, but again, it's used well and it creates a beautiful and distinct world in the reader's head. By the time the second book rolls around, the easygoing pace is maddeningly slow, the prose has gotten to a point where the reader needs a dictionary handy at all times, and a knowledge of how to diagram a sentence, and the constant interruption with myths and folktales becomes a huge distraction and hindrance. The third book is nearly unreadable, for these and other reasons.

     Live Action TV 
  • Before Season Three's "In Name and Blood", Criminal Minds never revealed to the audience who the UnSub was before the team figured out who the UnSub was (besides "The Last Word", although that one still had one UnSub to be revealed at the end). Later episodes, including some hailed as classic episodes such as "Normal" and "The Uncanny Valley", would use this early reveal to good effect, illuminating some aspect of the UnSub that couldn't be brought out unless it was directly shown (such as the effects Norman Hill's wife's belittling had on Norman). However, as the series moved on the writers fell in love with the idea too much dragging it to the point where it is now where virtually every UnSub, even those who had no storytelling reason to be revealed, are revealed early to the audience, making the episode an exercise (sometimes painful) in watching the team try to catch the UnSub before it's too late. Fans often complain that this early reveal robs the show of what once made it good — the guessing game of who the UnSub was as a person — since now the audience now already knows the puzzle before it's finished.
  • Deadwood:
    • Later seasons were criticized for having many secondary characters in the camp, to the point that they were seen as padding that took away from the stories of Bullock and Swearengen. However, these camp personalities were also present in the first season, albeit in a less-obvious fashion. The padding then could be excused by the fact that it was an ensemble show, but this grew less believable as time went on.
    • The show's trademark swearing and derogatives were seen as hilarious in the first season, but eventually became so dense and complex that viewers had trouble understand what any of the characters were saying.
  • Doctor Who: All the problems with the original series in the mid-eighties — Author Tracts, useless companions, unintentionally inappropriate music, Camp, Chewing the Scenery, hilarious Special Effects Failure — were all present in the seventies. But in the eighties they became highly prominent and common, and had few good plots or characters to balance them out, leading to viewership dropping like flies, a brief hiatus, and then another one that lasted for 16 years. (Ironically, the second hiatus was implemented just as those elements had been mostly stripped.)
    • If any one story from the classic series counts as this, it would probably be "Earthshock" from 1982. On its first broadcast — and even today, in fact — it was a hugely popular story thanks to its action, gritty and mature feel, and the return of a classic villain. However, attempts to recapture all of these elements in future stories would play a major part in driving the series into the ground in the mid-1980s. The continuity aspects were emphasized to such an extent that it led to major Continuity Lockout. This is well-shown by the Cybermen's next major story, "Attack of the Cybermen", which is basically incomprehensible without a good knowledge of Cyber-History and incredibly violent.
    • The Doctor and Rose's Implied Love Interest status started out with Rose helping to heal the emotionally damaged Doctor and him ending up effectively sacrificing himself for her, with their relationship slowly developing in the background. However it got to the point where the narrative kept presenting her as the Doctor's One True Love, to the point that even a lot of fans who liked her started viewing her as a Creator's Pet. This got worse when she appeared in Series 4, undermining what a lot of fans felt was a satisfying and emotional departure. The companions having romantic interactions with the Doctor is also accused of this, including a bizzare scene in "Flesh and Stone" where Amy Pond tries to seduce the clearly unwilling 11th Doctor the night before her wedding. Peter Capaldi even asked for there to be no flirting between 12 and his companions.
    • The moral debate over the Doctor's actions, particularly with the Daleks, started as an interesting (though controversial) departure from the original series, with the Doctor wracked with guilt over his actions and always uncertain about whether he's doing the right thing. After this point, it was alternately ignored or given such disproportionate focus (sometimes the Doctor would wipe out a species without any moral conundrum, sometimes he'd waver back and forth on killing an Always Chaotic Evil species that's about to kill a bunch of innocent people) that it lost any sort of impact, and something that started as a way to explore the Doctor's morality was repeatedly used as a way for the Doctor to lord his moral superiority over everyone else (like Harriet Jones or Handy). Eventually this aspect was dropped completely, returning to the times of killing villains no questions asked (which started its own Broken Base), only for it to come back from the dead for season 8, making just as little sense. (Killing villains by yourself is justifiable, but killing them with a Cyberman army which makes this more effective is bad? Huh?)
      • Aspects of this can be seen earlier in the Series 1 finale "The Parting of the Ways", where the Doctor deliberates over wiping out the Daleks even though it will destroy all life on Earth and finally refuses to do so, considering it the moral high ground. Even though the Daleks have just wiped out nearly all life on Earth and the Doctor points out earlier the human race has spread to other worlds and will survive.
      • "Journey's End" in many ways is a good example of the aspects of the RTD era done badly. Author Favouritism for Rose? Very much so. The moral debate about the Doctor's actions, such as killing Daleks, being inconsistent and not making much sense? Yes. A ridiculous Deus ex Machina? On multiple occasions.
    • The criticisms of Steven Moffat's run of the reboot series are largely present back in the episodes he wrote for the series when Russell T Davies was in charge, including convoluted plots, Soap Opera-level interactions between the cast, female characters who revolve entirely around the Doctor, and Everybody Lives endings via flimsy Deus ex Machina. For individual episodes his style worked marvelously, especially as it contrasted with the rest of the episodes at the time, with "Blink" still regarded as one of the best (and scariest) episodes in Who history. But when Moffat graduated to showrunner this stuff took over the show so that plot intricacy became alienating incoherence, the once-creepy elements (the Weeping Angels, the use of repeated phrases etc) were overused to the point of Narm, and the sexist undercurrents mutated into prominent themes. Also Rory's deaths, while dramatic in Series 5 as they only happened twice, ended up becoming a joke, in his last episode he dies three times.
    • To some classic fans, the Tennant and Smith eras are bashed for the doctors seemingly newfound appreciation for humanity as well as rather soapish elements with the companions becoming a Romantic Plot Tumor. But these two complaints both have elements of them showing up as early as Peter Davison's tenure, with his overall more kind persona as well as the sheer amount of companions he had causing various B-plot conflicts, this might be Older Than They Think.
    • Steven Moffat's storylines were criticised for not giving a satisfying payoff that really explained the aspects. What a lot of people forget is that earlier finales didn't always explain this. S1 did, S2 just had random words which didn't really impact the plot, S3 was put together in a more influential way, but the S4 Finale did even less explaining of many of the plot points throughout the series, such as how Rose appeared in "Midnight" or much of her role in "Turn Left". It seems that the prospect of Rose coming back distracted a lot of people (including the writers) from the lack of a full explanation, while with Moffat the lack of Rose means they can notice the storyline flaws more.
  • Look back at the first two seasons of Dexter and you'll find everything that annoys viewers about the later seasons: sloppiness from both Dex and the cops; Debra being needy and grating; too much time spent on the secondary characters' problems; love interests you wish Dex would kill already; fumbled endings to plotlines. This was all easier to forgive when the show's premise was still brand new and exciting.
  • Full House is now held up as a good example of what happens when fan reaction is taken too far by people behind the scenes. When the show began, Michelle's childlike one-liners were seen as absolutely adorable and she easily became the most popular character on the show, with merchandise featuring her easily outselling all others. However, the executives saw this, and as the Olsen twins got older and were able to handle more difficult scenes and dialogue, Michelle was pushed to the front of the show hard. Her status as the Creator's Pet meant she was featured heavily in later episodes and was often not held accountable for her behavior (often when she did misbehave, the blame instead fell on DJ and Stephanie for mistreating her, Danny for neglecting her, etc.) Because of this, Michelle nosedived from a fan favorite to easily the most despised character on the show.
  • Glee:
    • The first-season episode Theatricallity still remains one of the most contentious episodes in the series. Whille it was not the first Gay Aesop of the series, it was the first that had viewers questioning if it was actually effective. Because the episode got the writers praise from critics, this would become a reoccurring trend that would plague the series.
    • Acafellas has its share of detractors for jamming several unrelated, distracting and immediately-forgotten story lines together. Something which, even during the first season, became a chronic issue for the show and remains a primary cause for criticism.
  • The original Jump the Shark moment was merely the point at which Happy Days completely Flanderized Fonzie and lost track of its Fifties motif, both trends that had been present for a long time by that point.
  • Heroes was derided in its later seasons for having long-term myth arcs that went nowhere or were squandered, stringing the audience along by cutting away from important action scenes or big moments and featuring extraneous characters who did nothing to further the plot. The first season did all of this, but it was excused at the time because it was new and the premise still hadn't been fleshed out. Characters like Hana Gitelman show up and disappear for little reason (besides having more characterization and appearances in tie-in online comics), the big fight scenes in the heavily-touted 'future episode' either cut away for most of the action or are heard from behind a door, and the final battle (which was hyped all season long) is underwhelming and looks like it was hastily filmed in a single night.
  • Jeopardy has frequently used categories with Punny Names, but starting in the 1997-98 season, almost every category has some sort of pun, almost to the level of Win Ben Steins Money.
  • The original sin in the BBC's Robin Hood was the moment that the writers became more interested in Guy of Gisborne (and specifically, his volatile relationship with Maid Marian) than with every single other character on the show. This led to more and more screen-time being devoted to Guy and Marian as a potential couple, until the point where the writers (presumably) realized that they'd gone too far with it, and needed to derail it pronto. Their solution was for Guy to stab Marian to death in a jealous rage at the end of Season Two. There are plenty of reasons why Season Three is considered terrible, but it's mainly because that without Marian, the story had absolutely no emotional centre. There was simply nothing left to care about, or to look forward to.
  • The production methodology that Saturday Night Live has had from the beginning (six days to come up with around an hour of comedy material minus musical guest segments and commercials) guarantees that the show will be inconsistent even on its best days. This also ties in with Web commenters who rip guest hosts and cast members for reading from cue cards and not memorizing their lines. Sketches are rewritten practically up to air time, with frequent changes in the 90 minutes between the dress rehearsal and the live broadcast, so everyone is forced to use cue cards. Some people are just better at not making it obvious.
  • For Sherlock, many fans felt that in the third season the elements used successfully in the first and second seasons (cleverness, twists, extreme personalities) become a problem for the show.
  • The Season 2 episode of Sliders, "Invasion", introduced the Kromaggs, a xenophobic species bent on dominating every Alternate Universe where humans were the dominant species on Earth. Most agree the episode wasn't that bad in and of itself. It was actually an interesting concept, until the Kromaggs became the sole focus of the series starting in Season 4 (after a season-long absence, no less).
  • Star Trek:
  • Super Sentai/Power Rangers:
    • The Red Ranger always has slightly more powers or upgrades than the rest of the team, such as a mecha that could fight by itself without the others, either a feature of his primary mecha (the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord and the Red Dragon Thunderzord from the first two seasons) or he receives a secondary one when the others don't (the Red Battlezord from Zeo), a motorcycle, a Super Mode, etc. This is often not a big deal, since the Red Ranger is the leader of the team, so him having Protagonist Powerup Privileges would be logical. However, this sometimes gets more and more out of hand until some seasons give Red such preferential treatment the series turns into 'The Red Ranger and his Incompetent Friends.'
    • The use of Stock Superpowers during Disney's tenure. The first season to use them was Ninja Storm, where the Rangers were ninjas-in-training so it made sense that they could use Supernatural Martial Arts even when unmorphed. However, all the following seasons also gave their Rangers gratuitous extra superpowers, whether they had an [X]-in-training justification or not. This wore off when Saban took the franchise back — Samurai used the 'in-training' justification (and had the excuse of it being a holdover from the source footage Shinkenger) and Megaforce just didn't have them.
  • True Blood. Since so many people wondered when the show took such a turn for the worse, others were quick to point out that, frankly, it's always been a drunken hayride in terms of being good and terrible at the same time. The only difference is now that they've gone through vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc., they've introduced everything and the thrill of discovery is over.
  • While later seasons of 24 were criticized for increasingly-outlandish plotlines like the infamous 'cougar' scene in Season 2, Chloe watching over a baby in season 3, Lynn McGill's crack-addled sister in Season 5 and so, those campy plotlines were part of the show from the beginning. The first season had several moments which are often forgotten about, including Kim going back to the house of her conflicted co-kidnapper, Rick, getting into an argument with his girlfriend and being involved in an undercover police sting, while her mother was thrown from a vehicle which exploded, contracted amnesia and met up with an ex-boyfriend who clearly still harbored feelings for her.
  • Community has the Inspector Spacetime gag, a fairly obvious Captain Ersatz to Doctor Who . When it first cropped up in Season 3, it got some good response from Whovians. This led to it being used more and more, running the joke completely thin. Its overuse also ended up suggesting that the creators hadn't actually seen ''Doctor Who''. This caused the Whovians to abandon the joke, leaving only the people who found Whovians obnoxious... just in time for the fourth season, which beat the joke to death.

  • From Cracked: "4 Classic Rap Albums That Ruined Rap Music."
    • The Notorious BIG's Ready to Die for "marrying rap and high fashion". His slick, suave persona stood out in a crowded genre that, until then, was dominated by a gritty, inner-city gang banger image, allowing him to sell Gangsta Rap to a mainstream that was still a bit uneasy with such content. In the long run, though, he wound up being the Trope Maker for Glam Rap, which completely took over hip-hop in the coming decade. Cracked later doubled down on this assessment, going so far as to claim that, had Biggie never been murdered, the path of his career and music in the ensuing years would've mirrored that of Puff Daddy (who was his mentor and boss at Bad Boy Records) or Jay-Z.
    • Raekwon the Chef and Ghostface Killah's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx starting the trend of rappers taking on several different personas and alter-egos.
    • LL Cool J's Bigger and Deffer, particularly the song "I Need Love", inflicting the rap ballad on the world. While "I Need Love" was a great song, few rappers have been able to do the rap ballad half as well as LL Cool J.
    • De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising and De La Soul Is Dead popularizing 'skits', which break up the flow of an album and are rarely all that interesting.
  • Every album Ministry put out in the 2000s seemed like an extended political Author Tract, but they first dabbled in political themes on 1986's Twitch, meaning political lyrics have been a part of Ministry's music longer than guitars.
  • "Believe" from Cher and the abuse of Auto-Tune. Before then, Auto-Tune was primarily used for its intended goal of (minor) pitch correction. However, Cher liked the sound it gave to her voice and decided to keep it. It worked for "Believe" since, as a techno-pop song, it was supposed to sound weird and otherworldly, and that song was a massive hit. However, ever since, Auto-Tune has slowly started to take over pop music, with almost every song having a weird robotic element to the vocals, even songs that aren't supposed to sound weird and otherworldly.
  • It's frequent that different hip-hop artists have elements that get out of hand over the course of their career:
    • Lupe Fiasco was lauded for his political and social commentary in a genre that, by the '00s, was largely more pop-oriented, cleverly exploring topics like urban poverty and greed on his albums Food & Liquor and The Cool. Both of these albums are very highly regarded in 2000s hip-hop. However, his subsequent albums Lasers and Food & Liquor II were accused of trying to do the same, but with less subtlety. While Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped, general fan consensus is not as positive on his subsequent albums.
    • Eminem received a lot of praise and controversy for his use of boundary-pushing gross-out humor on his first three albums, The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, and The Eminem Show. Encore and Relapse, however, were accused of turning the humor and accents Up to Eleven, without as many of the substantial songs that balanced it out on the first three albums, and are generally viewed as the weakest in his discography. Eminem himself has expressed some Creator Backlash towards these albums, and has claimed his drug addiction as a reason as to why Encore and Relapse feel so all over the place.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • WWE has the breakup of The Rockers. The immense success Shawn Michaels found after the breakup was good for the business no question, even taking the diva persona Shawn acquired as a result of it into account, but Marty Jannetty's fade into obscurity was unfortunate. The plan was for both members of the team to become big single's stars but it came to be that, in trying to duplicate the success of Shawn Michaels, the WWE broke up a lot of popular tag teams and instead of getting one good single's star out of it usually ended up with two wrestlers fading into obscurity and eventually this behavior all but destroyed the tag team division. Right before WWE's tag team division could be considered dead there was an unexpected revival in the 90s...only for the sin of the Rockers to be committed once again in what would become a recurrence.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's refusal to tap out to Bret Hart in their iconic Submission Match created a trend for future wrestlers. It was the career defining match that set the tone for Austin's character for years. His refusal to tap out would actually become a reoccuring topic when he turned Heel. Although there were wrestlers (namely Hulk Hogan) who also never tapped out, Austin was the first person they ever brought attention to. In more recent years, wrestlers like John Cena have been criticized for never tapping out and tapping out in general being treated like a coward's action.
  • WWE giving the women's title to Sable, a model who had not gone through developmental nor wrestled on the indies. Sable went beyond needing to be carried; she flat out refused to take bumps. Still, her popularity revived interest in the division and led to talented wrestlers putting on good matches. The sin was actually having Sable win the title from Jacqueline, which set up Trish Stratus, another inexperienced model, getting the title when it was vacated. While Trish, to her credit, became a respectable talent despite her beginnings, WWE continued to push models with little to no wrestling experience, to the point it had to take the title off television altogether when the roster overflowed with inadequately trained people who were not learning as quickly as Trish and could not appeal to audiences as Sable could to offset the low level of performance.
  • The First WWE Diva Search added nothing to the program in the long run but did not do any damage either, as everyone soon forgot about it. What everyone remembers is the 2004 quarter-million-dollar Diva Search, which lead to a football player from the Lingerie Bowl with no wrestling experience coming straight to television with with a bigger paycheck than half the roster. That in itself would not have been so bad if not for the aforementioned sin of Sable, which lead to three mainstays being released in favor of runner ups from the 2004 Diva Search, who stayed on longer than the fan-voted winner. This decision was the direct cause of the title being removed from television, and there were three more Diva Searches before the fans made it clear enough was enough. At least the last two actually kept the winners over the runners-up.
  • The Rock's return to the WWE between Wrestlemania 28 and Wrestlemania 29 might appear to be shaping up into one. When it happened, almost everybody was happy: the fans were happy to see The Rock return, WWE got some mainstream press (which they're always desperate for,) and in general, despite the flaws in the execution, all was good. However, when WWE saw the surge they got from a returning legend, they've tried desperately to make that same lightning strike twice, bringing multiple former Superstars back, including Chris Jericho, RVD, Brock Lesnar, the New Age Outlaws, and Batista. Some have worked, some haven't, but as a whole, the sheer number of them are seen as damaging. It creates difficulty in creating storylines and building momentum due to their spotty appearances, which can damage the push of younger Superstars who are working with them. The sheer number of them who are clogging up the roster, and the short-term rise in popularity, could potentially hurt WWE long-term by not giving their rising stars the time to become the main-event performers they need to be when the current generation starts to step down. While most of the returning Superstars themselves are very popular, the term "part-timers" has become a dirty word among WWE fans.

     Tabletop Games 
  • The irrelevance of your 3-to-18 stats in Dungeons & Dragons. Since first edition, your basic stats are determined by rolling 3d6 (or variations, such as 4d6-drop-the-lowest), giving you a range of 3 to 18, weighted toward 10 and 11. As early as 3rd edition, those actual numbers were almost entirely irrelevant except as a table lookup to get your modifiers. By 5th edition, once you've got the modifiers, you can put your actual stats away in a safe for weeks at a time, until you get stat bump, at which point you increase the number, look up a new modifier, and lock your stats away again. It would be perfectly possible to reboot D&D so that those numbers don't ever get written down. Accidentally, this is exactly what Green Ronin did with their True20 system (a variant of the d20 System) and others derived from it (like AGE): skipped the middleman and defined The Six Stats exclusively as corresponding ability modifiers, ranging from -2 to +4.

     Video Games 
  • Mega Man 5 was the first game to not make any substantial change to the series formula (Mega Man 2 had items and eight bosses, Mega Man 3 had Rush and sliding, and Mega Man 4 had the charged buster shot and the Disc One Final Dungeon). The series became notorious for repetition not long after. It was also the first game to repeat the 'twist reveal' that the Big Bad was Dr. Wily all along and make it completely unsurprising; 4 had the element of Wily supposedly dying in the previous game while introducing a completely new antagonist in Dr. Cossack, making the twist somewhat surprising. For 5 to suggest that Proto Man had suddenly undergone a complete Face-Heel Turn for no real reason, most gamers could easily guess how it was going to turn out.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • It's said that Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, while worthy installments in their own right, started a number of annoying trends exacerbated in the later 3-D Sonic games, like Unexpected Gameplay Changes, Sonic (or sometimes his friends) using the Chaos Emeralds as an Eleventh Hour power up, and Eggman being upstaged by a Monster of the Week that goes out of his control. Later games started rectifying this by demoting the Emeralds back to bonus power-ups and re-estasblishing Eggman as the main villain like in the original games.
    • Some consider the introduction of Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Knuckles in Sonic 3, and ESPECIALLY Amy Rose and Metal Sonic in Sonic CD, while well-liked additions to the series overall, to be the beginning of the franchise's (at times overexaggerated) troubles with Loads and Loads of Characters and juggling different styles of gameplay.
    • Some others thought Sonic 3D Blast foreshadowed the problems with the 3D games. Gameplay is slowed-down and running controls are loose and slippery, while the 'get to the end as quickly as possible' goal was replaced with 'find all of the birds and guide them to the exit'. This possibly led to experimental gameplay mechanics like Big the Cat's stages in the Adventure games that deviated too much from the Sonic formula.
    • Some also believe that SEGA's very loose policy on canonicity of side materials (most notably the TV shows and the comics) created a Broken Base as early as 1992—one year after Sonic was introduced—as Sonic fans started siding with one particular interpretation while viciously attacking the other ones, not unlike today's Broken Base with Sonic (only with gameplay more than story). During the 90s, however, Sonic fans had a common enemy in Nintendo and Mario, so the cracks didn't become visible to most until 2001 with Sonic Adventure. At this time, SEGA exerted greater enforcement over canonicity rendering all other storylines non-canon, followed shortly by SEGA's financial collapse and subsequent alliance with Nintendo. With the barriers torn down and no uniting force, the bickering became the Sonic fandom's most infamous trait.
  • Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s was a poorly received Mission Pack Sequel to the excellent Guitar Hero II, made by Harmonix under contract after Activision bought the series. Neversoft (under Activision) made Guitar Hero III and onward, with Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, Guitar Hero: Van Halen, Guitar Hero: On Tour — Decades, Guitar Hero: On Tour — Modern Hits and Band Hero, drowning the series in a flood of Mission Pack Sequels.
  • For Rock Band, themselves Harmonix continued this trend on their own with Rock Band Track Packs (bare-bones game discs with songs taken from the game's vast DLC library, for players stuck on consoles with no DLC or who want to get the songs for slightly cheaper) and band-specific sequels with artists like The Beatles and Green Day.
  • Mortal Kombat only completely entered its Dork Age when it smashed into the Polygon Ceiling, but the third game shows at least some of the weaknesses of later installments: overreliance on dial-a-kombo,note  unmemorable and often easy-to-hate new characters, the complete shattering of the Eastern-ish theme (which resulted in people realizing how ridiculous some of the characters looked), and the bosses suddenly getting cheaper. Yet there's still a lot of fans and defenders of this one.
  • In World of Warcraft, this is the case with its creeping layers upon layers of retcons, the Horde/Alliance Conflict Ball, and the increasingly immersion-breaking self-aware humor. You could say that the worst excesses of Wrath of the Lich King existed in embryonic form in The Burning Crusade, and likewise, the worst excesses of Cataclysm can be found in a weaker form in Wrath of the Lich King. The Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome of Orcs is also thought to have originated in Cataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria. Most of this was present when WoW launched. The real Original Sin came in WarCraft III, where Blizzard first began to rely on massive retcons in lieu of moving the story forward in a logical fashion.
  • Pokémon:
    • Weather effects have been around since Gen II, but at the time of their introduction, Weather-based teams were not very popular because altering weather would only last five turns, and the effects were rarely worth the time spent setting up. Gen III introduced abilities, among which were several weather-related ones: Drought/Drizzle/Sand Stream, which caused weather effects that would last indefinitely until another move or ability was used to cancel them out; along with other abilities like Swift Swim that doubled certain stats in certain weather conditions. However, Drought/Drizzle were exclusive to two Legendary Pokémon that could not be used in most forms of competitive play, and Sand Stream was (at the time) weaker and harder to use than the other two, so this wasn't a huge issue. Gens IV and V, however, have since added even more weather-based abilities, moves and items, including giving Drought/Drizzle to non-banned Pokémon and introducing strong Sandstorm users such as Garchomp, Excadrill and Landorus. The result is the Gen V metagame is so dominated by weather teams a few of the larger Pokémon communities have had to place bans on certain Pokémon and combinations, and have even discussed banning weather (or at least weather-inducing abilities) outright. Game Freak nerfed weather abilities themselves in Generation VI, by limiting ability-caused weather to five turns, as a weather-altering move would do.
    • "Mythical Pokémon", aka Event Legendaries (Pokémon only attainable through real life limited-time-only events) have been around since Gen I's Mew. Mew was added in at the last minute and wasn't meant to be obtainable, hence why not having it had no bearing on Pokédex completion. As of Gen VI, the number of Event Legandaries has increased to thirteen, and while they still don't affect Pokédex completion, it is still irritating to completionists due to how gratuitous their status is (these Pokémon have no valid reason to be restricted to nigh-unobtainable status nowadays as they're not last minute additions like Mew was) and how contradictory it is to the original slogan of the series (you can't "catch 'em all" if a fair number of them are all but locked off to you, can you?note  Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire seem to be taking steps to rectify this however as one of the Mythical Pokemon, Deoxys, is now available in the games, time will tell if this will last into future games.
    • Some of the biggest Scrappies and Base Breakers of the franchise are Pokémon with Animate Inanimate Object designs, particularly those in Gen V. What a lot of the complainers forget about Garbodor, Vanillite, and Klink is that they aren't unprecedented; way back in the first generation, there was already Voltorb (living Pokéball), Grimer (living slime), Magnemite (living magnet), and Koffing (living gasses), all of which had evolutions and two of which (Muk and Koffing/Weezing) were owned by main characters in the anime.
  • American Wasteland may have marked the exact moment when the Tony Hawk series' franchise zombification became irreversible, but the things that sent it and later games off the rails can be seen as far back as Underground (and even Pro Skater 4), when the series was still on top of the world. By adding the ability to walk around on foot and drive around in vehicles, Underground started the series' trend towards over-reliance on gimmicks like the "Nail the Trick" feature and Ride's use of an expensive skateboard peripheral, and became less about the actual skateboarding — something that was made readily apparent when Skate came out without any of these gimmicks and proved that they were unnecessary. Going back further, 3 featured the revert. Now you can do air on a quarter-pipe and link it into a manual, making the expected combos longer (and riskier, since bailing cancels out the whole thing) even for relatively casual players who didn't make as much use of the long grind and manual chains in the earlier games. Further still, the way combos are scored (powerful multipliers awarded for each little trick, losing everything for bailing), all the way back to the first game, could be considered an Original Sin.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 4 set the series on a far more action-packed course as opposed to the Survival Horror genre that it had pioneered. It had downed enemies dropping ammo and other loot for the first time, allowed players to use that loot to upgrade and purchase weapons, replaced the zombies with the comparatively human-like Ganados, introduced quick-time events, and featured scenes of Leon suplexing enemies and leaping through a laser grid in a manner that would make Keanu Reeves proud. While these changes were divisive even then, RE4 was still scary enough, and retained enough of past games' horror/exploration DNA, that longtime fans could ignore them and appreciate the much-needed improvements to gameplay that it made. It's not too controversial within the fandom to list RE4 as one's favorite RE game.

      However, the next "main" installment, Resident Evil 5, took these changes even further and started bringing the series into Third-Person Shooter territory. It featured nearly non-stop action at the expense of scares, abundant ammunition supplies that made ammo conservation a much more minor concern (and thus reducing tension by making enemy encounters far easier to plow through), a removal of the exploration of past games in favor of a more linear progression, and over-the-top Action Hero protagonists — a shift that was met with a mixed reception from fans and critics. The following game, Resident Evil 6, as well as the spinoff Operation Raccoon City, were full-blown action shooters and low points for the series. Furthermore (as argued here), RE's transition from horror to action wound up impacting the entire Survival Horror genre, especially at the big-budget levels, as games like Silent Hill: Homecoming and the Dead Space sequels imitated it. Some have even called RE4, in the long run, a Genre Original Sin for survival horror, if not an outright Genre-Killer.
    • Another, and earlier, likely Original Sin may have been the film adaptation, which was, at the time, one of the most action-packed zombie movies ever made, and certainly more action-heavy than the games that preceded it. Its sequels only further amped up these elements, to the point where the RE movies are now described strictly as action films with zombies in them. The success of the film series likely colored people's expectations of the games, leading to later installments of the latter, such as RE4, incorporating more of the former's stylistic elements.
  • Metroid:
    • After eight years in rest since Super Metroid, the series was revived with two well-received games, one of them being Metroid: Fusion. Despite the positive reception, a point of criticism from fans was its stronger focus on a story, it was even the first time Samus interacted with another character. This was seen as a turning point for the entire series to shift towards more plot-driven games, like Metroid Prime 3. Other M brought the debate on whether or not this is a good idea to a flame-war-stricken head, particularly due to how it characterizes Samus Aran.
    • Samus' more and more gratuitous sexualization of as the series has gone on. The series has always rewarded good gameplay with Samus out of her armor and in skimply clothing, but in the earlier games it was much more about the Tomato Surprise than Fanservice and most players wouldn't even see it because it required a very good performance. Ever since Metroid: Zero Mission introduced a skintight undersuit for her, however, suitless Samus has become just a thing that happens for fanservice, at times in contexts some fans consider inappropriate and/or degrading.
  • Medal of Honor, as discussed in this article, contained early versions of many of the things that later military shooters would be criticized for — most notably, its desaturated color palette and how that style became associated with 'realism' even in settings where it didn't make sense.
  • While the aforementioned Resident Evil and Mega Man are already good examples of this, Capcom, their developer/publisher, as a whole has become reviled over the years. Yet, many of the bad practices seen now in the company have been a part of Capcom since the beginning. Capcom Sequel Stagnation, for example, along with some questionable business decisions that have been a part of the company long before their current situation, had been glossed over by most gamers and Capcom fans for quite some time before then, even though they were in some ways worse than they are today.
  • Mario Kart:
    • The Spiny Blue Shell that debuted in Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit was a quite honest and balanced weapon in those two games, since it worked like a blue shell that hit every other racer in front of the one who threw it; however, in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the item was given an overhaul, where it was given wings, thus only hitting whoever is leading the race, and the possibility to explode, which means a damage that takes longer to recover. While normal damage (i.e. being hit by a normal shell) only takes two seconds or so to recover, an explosion flat-out stops the kart, and it takes roughly five to ten seconds to gain speed once again. Exploding on contact, alongside it only hitting the leader (although the explosion can hit nearby racers), means the only kart getting any benefits whatsoever is the one in second place, which often happens — unsurprisingly — to surpass the one at the head of the race. This 'feature', already problematic when playing MK:DD!! in single player, was even more frustrating in Mario Kart DS, and outright plagued single player races in Mario Kart Wii, where getting hit by a Spiny Blue Shell inches before the race ended was so common, that unlocking characters and/or karts requiring Golden Cups at 150cc difficulty was nearly impossible. Thankfully Mario Kart 7, while still having the Blue Shell explode upon hitting the first-place driver, also stripped it of its wings, thus reverting it to its pre-Double Dash! form: now the shell hits everyone else in the processnote .
    • Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, aside from changing how the Spiny Shell worked, introduced a new gimmick that forced players to use 2 characters at once (one for driving and one for using items). This wasn't bad in single player since you did everything at once, but if you had to play with a friend, you really needed to communicate and have good timing in order to race properly. The introduction of 2 players per kart also meant the amount of items in play was doubled, leading to item spam in the whole race and increasing the chances of getting an item that screws everyone else over. Mario Kart Wii amplified the problem with items by introducing more items that can either screw everyone over or screw one person over if he/she can't shake the item off. On top of this, the game had 12 players in a race instead of the standard 8, which meant more items popping up and causing chaos. The game also introduced bikes, which became everyone's favorite thing to use because abusing the wheelie mechanic made bikes go faster than karts, regardless of stats. It wasn't until Mario Kart 7 that Nintendo balanced things again and got rid of mechanics that did not work.
    • The coins mechanic was heavily disliked by players for nearly every game it appeared in. Super Mario Kart used coins as a way to boost speed and you'd lose coins for being hit or going off course and being bumped would also make you lose coins. Mario Kart Super Circuit brought the coins back and they doubled as a requirement to be met if you wanted to get the best rank. Mario Kart 7 had the coins return once more, though they would only give you a slight speed boost and you wouldn't spin out from a bump if you had no coins. However, coins were needed to unlock parts for your karts and it got really ridiculous with some parts requiring thousands or even beyond ten thousand coins to unlock. Mario Kart 8 not only retained the coin system and unlocks that the previous game used, but now coins can be an item you can pick up, which means your measly 2 coin bonus will not protect you from the red shell the person behind you will use.
  • BioWare:
    • Romance plots originally were rather subdued, some romantic requirements having different requirements to set off a relationship (especially in Baldur's Gate where playing nice is a good way to have your advances rejected by your prospective love interests). By Dragon Age II certain party members had little or no role in the story beyond their romance, which caused the game to suffer.
    • The focus on epic storylines, intricate plotting, and massive worldbuilding started hitting a brick wall as early as Jade Empire, where there were far too many characters and background for such a short game. Spread out over three games in Mass Effect, the plotlines became increasingly complex, but the realties (read: limitations) of CRPG technology led to having to railroad a Gainax Ending to the series. It's also biting them hard with Star Wars: The Old Republic, where their ambitious writing (8 character classes, each with their own story arc) and production values (top-tier voice talent) has led to a very satisfying process of leveling from 1-50, but budget cutbacks from Electronic Arts means they've abandoned the individual class stories, leaving a generic, repetitive grind (the story arc only differs by faction) for anything past the initial story arc.
    • As pointed out on 1d4chan, the first two Mass Effect games, while still extremely good, had quite a few omens of the problems that arose in Mass Effect 3; powers being made redundant, story vital characters and events being left to DLC, a drop in character development, EA butting in where they don't belong, and a decrease in making vital choices. All of these things were present over the first two games but were either barely noticeable or well controlled. The third game was merely the point where these issues really started impacting the quality of the game.
    • They also point out that this applies to Dragon Age, as well, only to a much sharper degree; every base breaking aspect of the second game was present in Origins. There was pointless DLC, divisive or unlikeable characters, and the first expansion pack Awakening was visibly rushed and had loads of gamebreaking bugs. Thing is, there it was all kept in check and plenty of work was put into Origins to ensure it came out good. Dragon Age II was every problem with Origins made blatant due to EA forcing Bioware to bum rush the game out. As good as Bioware is, a game of the same quality level of Dragon Age: Origins being completed in less than a year just wasn't going to happen.
  • Quick-Time Events, one of the biggest Scrappy Mechanics in modern video games, can be traced all the way back to the beloved Dragons Lair, whose gameplay was nothing but quick-time events, and can be seen in its more modern form in other well-liked games like Die Hard Arcade and Shenmue before Resident Evil 4 popularized the concept.
  • Grand Theft Auto III was hardly the first violent, M-rated video game to raise eyebrows; Doom, Mortal Kombat, and Duke Nukem have it beat on that front by several years. However, it was the first such game to become a mainstream pop culture sensation on the level of Pokémon or Super Mario Bros.. It was both acclaimed by critics and railed against by Moral Guardians for the then-unprecedented freedom it offered to gamers, which included all manner of violence and debauchery. Ignoring the many direct ripoffs that came out in the early-mid '00s, the success of GTA III has been pointed to as a Medium Original Sin, responsible for the proliferation of Rated M for Money attitudes among both developers and gamers who demanded more 'mature' (i.e. "rated M for Mature") content in games.
  • David Cage has always had great moments in his games, but even back in Indigo Prophecy, there was a note that the overriding plotline was just weird, and didn't fit with the previous scenes. At the time, this could be forgiven due to Executive Meddling forcing the developers to rush the game out the door before they came up with a proper ending, leading to the Gainax Ending that it ultimately had. However, Heavy Rain had the strange foreshadowing with no payoff, and in Beyond: Two Souls, the plot is in a chopped-up order and doesn't fit together at all. While Beyond still has quite a few fans, if the trend continues, the Original Sin will be revealed. Cage plots by imagining cool, individual scenes, but doesn't seem to know how to put them together in a sensible fashion.
  • The first game in the New Super Mario Bros. series re-using most of the Video Game Settings from Super Mario Bros. 3note  was generally not seen as a big flaw. However, all of the settings from NSMB were later re-used in three more games (maybe even four) with little variance, and as a result the lack of originality is one of the biggest criticisms for the entire sub-series.
  • Square Enix's updated rereleases and ports of some of their older games once got a great deal of excitement from many RPG fans, especially those in the US and Europe. It gave many people the chance to play some of Square's classic catalog but with far less of the No Export for You, "Blind Idiot" Translation, and financial difficulties of hunting down certain SNES cartridges that RPG fans dealt with before the very end of The Nineties. In some cases, Square even remade entire games for the purposes of rereleasing them. However, during the later half of the 2000s, many of these same consumers started complaining about this practice. It became viewed as oversaturation, partially due to the huge numbers of systems that these games were playable on. Between 2005 and 2011, Square Enix rereleased Final Fantasy IV alone 4 times, for example. The Troubled Production of both Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XIII and the lack of a game to really fill that gap did not help either.
  • Health potions in action RPGs have a tendency to nullify most forms of difficulty other than one-hit kills as long as the player has enough (usually very cheap) potions in his belt. More recent games like Diablo III and Path of Exile have taken a shot at solving the problem, the former by adding a cooldown timer and health orbs that drop off monsters and the latter by making potions refill through combat; neither has been particularly well received, especially the former. This also affects more story-driven RPGs like The Elder Scrolls, which have yet to take any steps towards resolving the issue.
  • Nintendo's censorship of games during the releases of the initial consoles has followed them in two ways: In the first case, it was what led to Nintendo Consoles having the negative reputation of being 'kiddie consoles'. The censorship of the original Mortal Kombat was in particular was infamous since the Sega Genesis version was released in it's original glory. On the other end, Nintendo's censorship practices also showed the early signs of their strenuous relationship with Third-Party devs. By the time the fifth generation of gaming came, Nintendo's censorship combined with their refusal to adopt CD technology caused developers like Square to get fed up with their practices and jump ship to Sony. Nintendo's lack of strong third-party support has been a reoccurring flaw in all of their consoles since.
  • While Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories was fairly well-received and popular enough to get an Updated Re-release, it embodied a number of controversial trends that helped give the series a more Unpleasable Fanbase:
    • The decision to make a direct sequel to the first Kingdom Hearts game on the Game Boy Advance, rather than the PS2, helped build a great deal of hype for the game. However, it also created a good deal of Continuity Lockout when Kingdom Hearts II was released and many people got back into the games and were immediately faced with characters and plot points they had never seen before, and led the charge for many plot-relevant games in the series to be spread across all available portable systems. Following the story became a much more challenging and expensive prospect when it required one to have a Playstation 2, a Nintendo DS, a PSP, and a Nintendo 3DS to fully understand what was going on. This was, thankfully, addressed somewhat by the 1.5 and 2.5 Remix compilations for the PS3: all the Kingdom Hearts games up to Birth By Sleep on one console... either as a full game or just as a 'movie' of the game's cutscenes so you can at least get the story.
    • On a plot level, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories was the debut of a slide into a Darker and Edgier plot tone and the newer antagonists, Organization XIII and the Nobodies. By the time Kingdom Hearts II was released, the Kudzu Plot and influx of original characters became highly controversial among the players and reviewers.
  • One of the biggest criticisms of Duke Nukem Forever was the character of Duke himself, who many reviewers described as a repulsively unlikeable person. Back in the days of Duke Nukem 3D, though, Duke had still been a pretty unlikeable person, but he was lauded for the fact that he had a personality at all, compared to non-characters like the Doom Marine or BJ. In the following fifteen years, however, many shooter games had been released featuring extremely fleshed-out and likeable protagonists, and Duke hadn't evolved at all — if anything, he'd become more unlikeable.
    • Most of the more criticized elements of DNF's humor also hail from 3D: the Take Thats to other franchises, and the pop culture references. The Take Thats worked back then because 3D was a genuinely innovative game that improved on Doom's formula, so a bit of gloating didn't feel undeserved. DNF, however, tried to deliver Take Thats to games that it was outright copying, while bringing very little to the table gameplay-wise. In terms of pop culture, 3D's jokes were either very topical or referencing sources obscure enough that people thought they were original jokes. On the other hand, DNF's infamously long development cycle meant that many of its jokes or references had already become Discredited Memes (most infamously a lengthy Leeroy Jenkins joke, made in 2011).
  • X-Universe series of games had fundamentally flawed gameplay design - in the developer's own opinion - due to the Singularity Engine Time Accelerator, a device which makes the game run faster to make the long travel times bearable. It wasn't too bad with the simplistic gameplay of X: Beyond the Frontier, but as the games went on, it became more and more obvious to Egosoft that they had built up the entire game around the abuse of SETA. If they were to speed up the slow item production rate at factoriesnote , the economy would implode when the player traveled across a sector with SETA. If they were to make ships faster to reduce travel time, the AI would break (well, break harder than normal), battles would turn into jousting matches and the economy would implode from traders instantly grabbing every deal. They attempted to rectify the flaw in X Rebirth by introducing a completely different travel system and were somewhat successful, though the nigh-unplayable state of affairs at release brought up a whole slew of new issues.
  • As detailed in this video, Final Fantasy VII, with its focus on flashy visuals, cutscenes, and production values to rival Hollywood blockbusters, birthed many of the problems that plagued not only later games in the Final Fantasy series (which culminated in the divisive Final Fantasy XIII), but also AAA gaming in general, which became increasingly dominated by gorgeous graphics and cinematic spectacle at the cost of highly linear gameplay that's barely interactive. The difference was that Final Fantasy VII still had a deep combat system and a well-written story to make up for it.

     Web Original 
  • Discussed in an episode of Midnight Screenings. Brain mentions that he initially liked the first Transformers film because it was different from the sequels, but after re-watching it admits that the movie has "the same shit [as the other films], just less of it".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    • While this abridged series was always a very funny and clever show, it did sometimes rely a bit too much on running gags and pop culture references, even if there wasn't necessarily a joke attached to the reference. Those who don't like the later seasons will usually say it's because the episodes became nothing but running gags and references.
    • "Yu-Gi-Oh! DMX", a running gag of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX characters being depicted as rap artists, originated from one of the most well-liked episodes of the series. People liked it then because it was just a doofy one-off gag, and pretty funny at that. After that episode, nearly every single episode mentioning GX had a reference to it being a stupid show about rap — which, on top of being Shallow Parody, resulted in fans of GX getting harassed at conventions and a backlash against the Abridged Series. It's one of the few jokes LK has outright apologized for.
  • A lot of problems with The Nostalgia Critic (lack of research, unfair jabs and Shallow Parody, the Critic acting like too much of a jerk to be likable, etc.) became much more noticeable and criticized after he was Uncancelled. A big cause of this was the Critic's popularity basically forcing Doug Walker to abandon Demo Reel, his pet project that he had wanted to do for years, to keep making Nostalgia Critic videos. Thus he became embittered and resentful of the character and fans, no longer caring about his viewers.

     Western Animation 
  • In Tom and Jerry, the title characters would in some of the original shorts be friends and speak, though rarely (and something would always come between their friendship, making them fight again). These elements are what is most reviled about The Tom And Jerry Show from the 1970's, and Tom and Jerry: The Movie.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The season 4 episode "Marge vs. the Monorail", considered one of the greatest of all time, is now the most fan-rewritten as a 'modern' Simpsons episode to illustrate how badly the show has fallen into Seasonal Rot: It has a lot of elements that have come to be abused during its seasonally rotten years: celebrity cameos (Leonard Nimoy as himself), Homer being the main focus of the plot and showing him with a new job that only lasts one episode, a Big Lipped Alligator Moment (Homer singing the theme to The Flintstones), and the needless musical number that also has no plot relevance. Suffice it to say, these days, this would be more at home as a Family Guy episode, not a Simpsons one.
    • Back when it started, the series was revolutionary when compared to other cynical shows centered on a dysfunctional family because it was an animated show set in Comic-Book Time and with Negative Continuity. The family could go anywhere, interact with anyone, and do anything without having to care about budget constraints, actors that wanted to leave or children that grew up. However, after 20 years that original strength has turned into its biggest constraint. Bart and Lisa behave like teenagers, but they are still 10 and 8 and go to the same primary school, so the writers can't make them face the actual teenage (or young adult) problems they would be dealing with by now if the show was live-acted; Marge and Homer have gone through countless marriage crises and been thrown into jail countless times, but they have to go back home together at the end; Maggie feels more like a prop than a character in most episodes because the writers can't think of new plotlines starring a baby, etc. As a result, the show has become stalled and boring.
    • Pop culture references, including cutaway gags and episode-length spoofs, have been a staple of The Simpsons since its earliest seasons (eg. Bart the General riffing on Patton, Kamp Krusty on Apocalypse Now). Generally though, earlier episodes tend to spoof classic movies and TV shows, where more recent episodes tend to parody recent films or cultural trends. Which wouldn't necessarily be bad, except most such episodes wind up only spoofing a film/show's most obvious aspects.
  • As the Ben 10 franchise has gone on, one of the most major complaints about it is that many aliens in the sequels use similar abilities, as well as many outright having the same power. Surprisingly, the first show could run into this problem too, with a few aliens with redundant abilities that could sometimes render another alien obsolete (Benvicktor/Frankenstrike, along with super strength, has lightning powers, and generally does everything Fourarms could do, except without the arms). Omniverse is also similarly criticized for its overt focus on old elements, pandering to first-series fans, and sometimes script-recycling. These elements can be traced to its immediate predecessor too, with most major plot elements being recycled from the original show (Kevin's insanity and being a composite form of Ben's aliens, which were heavily referenced) and featuring a guest appearance from the original Ben.
  • A common complaint about modern day episodes of Sponge Bob Square Pants is the tendency to overhype regular episodes as huge specials. This trend started back during season 3 of the show, which is often considered to be during the show's golden age. Also, the show's oft-criticized descent into gross-out humor started as early as Season Two. Typically though it would be limited to one or two Cutaway Gags per episode, whereas more recent seasons feature whole episodes centered around SpongeBob getting a splinter or contracting a fungal infection.
  • Pre-uncancellation Family Guy already showed many of the traits that would fully manifest once it came back, including Cutaway Gags, Overly Long Gags and the main characters bordering on Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists. In the earlier seasons these were balanced out and broken up enough that it wasn't as much of a problem.
  • The signs of the Avatar series focusing on teenage romance and Ship Tease at the expense of plot and character development could be seen all the way back in the original series as later seasons gave those subplots more focus in response to the creators realizing how large (and vocal) the shipping community was, but because the 3 season story arc had already been planned out there was only so much room for those scenes to be inserted and for the most part they didn't feel like they got in the way. Come The Legend of Korra, which had a brand new story arc built from scratch around older teen protagonists, and the creators put in far more romance and a Love Triangle from the very first episode to the point it became a Romantic Plot Tumor that made many fans dislike one of the central characters (Mako) and the rest of the plot, including the main antagonist and the social forces behind his movement, felt rushed and underutilized, and the ending of the first season wound up feeling like a Deus ex Machina that the protagonist had handed to her rather than earning. Later seasons tried to undo the damage by having Mako and Korra break up and fan consensus is that it wasn't until season 3 that the story began to truly feel more balanced. Another major factor is that unlike the first series, the first two seasons of Korra were written under the possibility that they could be the end of the story. Seasons 3 and 4 were made back to back and feature far more confidence in shoving the romantic material to the side.
    • The massive complaint that characters like "The Great Uniter" Kuvira are a textbook example of the Villain Sue sometimes tends to overlook that this thread with the villains (Magnificent Bastard with lots of minions, smooth personality and a (comparatively) high tech base, combat capability good enough to make the Avatar struggle (knowledge of rare special techniques optional), plans to conquer the city/world that gets pretty far before it's stopped, massive overtones of a radical political school of thought (fascism or anarchy of the "bomb throwing" variety), Deus ex Machina they couldn't foresee giving Korra and companions a fighting chance after a season's worth of not making much dent on their plans (let alone winning fights against them), humanizing backstory and moments given at the near-end of their arc to try and create an Alas, Poor Villain air when they are taken down) appeared all the way back at the first season with Amon... and if you wanna expand on the argument, as far back as the first series.
  • Part of the reason Chowder became popular was it's heavy usage of Painting the Medium and fourth wall breaking jokes. In the final season, gags about breaking the fourth wall became so overused that the novelty wore off.

Alternative Title(s):

Dork Age Foreshadowing, Foreshadowing The Dork Age