I Liked It Better When It Sucked

"The Lamborghini; what you're saying is it would be better, if it were a bit worse?"
Clarkson to Hammond on Top Gear.

So Bad, It's Good can be popular to the point that a whole fandom can arise out of a mocked work. This is the magic of Camp, in that even if the writers weren't trying to be tacitly absurd, it's still possible to get a lot of laughs out of it if the writing is bad enough.

Sometimes, though, a copyright holder will try to fix the image of the So Bad, It's Good franchise by trying to give it a Reboot. The purpose being, hopefully, to make what once was Camp serious drama. When this falls by the wayside, the viewers get a poor result. The show is no longer So Bad, It's Good, but now it's So Okay, It's Average. In other words, a thorough "meh". Still bad, but not so bad that it's fun to mock anymore.

This trope is only for fans who honestly felt the original sucked So Bad, It's Good. If the fans didn't think the original sucked, or if they honestly liked features that were removed on their own merits — or if nostalgia means that they just hate change — then that belongs under They Changed It, Now It Sucks and Nostalgia Filter instead.

This is, to a great extent, an incredibly subjective trope. Note that the perceptions listed here are general perceptions of a work as a whole.

Contrast Narm Charm. This trope is the lack — more specifically, the loss — thereof. Also see Genre Throwback, which may or may not result in one of these.

Compare It's Popular, Now It Sucks.


Anime and Manga
  • With the switch from traditional to digital animation, it became much easier (and cheaper) for animation studios to fix mistakes. Nowadays, anime series will often have scenes - or on rare occasions entire episodes - cleaned up in the time between TV broadcast and the home video release. Fans usually welcome this. But, sometimes there's a show like Musashi Gundoh, whose popularity is based entirely on how hilariously awful it is. When the animators go back and fix the mistakes, fans complain because they considered the terrible animation a big part of its charm.
  • The Latin American dub of Saint Seiya had a completely different (and worse, and much more fun) opening. When the series were re-released, the opening was changed to a translated version of "Pegasus Fantasy". Old-school fans (90% of the whole) didn't like it.
    • Even if you don't speak Spanish, compare: So Bad It's Good Intro and So Ok It's Average Intronote 
    • That does not hold true of the Portuguese dub, however. Especially since the "Pegasus Fantasy" version that eventually ended up in the opening was sung by Angra's Edu Falaschi.
  • The first dub of AKIRA was a truly awful English version distributed by Carl Macek's Streamline Pictures in the 1980's. However, in 2001, a new dub was recorded, featuring a fresh and more coherent translation of the Japanese dialogue, and arguably better acting... ironically, the dub was dismissed by old-school fans as inferior to the original English dub. Which is ironic, because neither director Katsuhiro Otomo, Streamline, nor even Macek were pleased with the original dub.
    • The same is true for the ancient '80s dub of Castle in the Sky, although that version isn't as widely known as its few defenders will attempt to make you believe.
    • Subverted with the '80s dub of My Neighbor Totoro, which was actually quite good (Macek made it to show that he could do a better job dubbing Miyazaki's films than the rushed '80s dub of Castle in the Sky). Still the atmosphere with these two older dubs versus the newer and arguably better produced versions by Disney is identical to that of the AKIRA dubs.
  • The English dub of Angel Blade gives all the women rounded even tones... including Karin, which isn't ravingly bad per se, but it loses its narmy goodness in the process.
  • The Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z has a huge number of fans, despite its strict adherence to Never Say "Die". The BGM and Vegeta's hammy voice (and Memetic Mutation) are what make people prefer it.
  • Many fans of Weiß Kreuz prefer to ignore its sequel series Weiß Kreuz Glühen, whether in spite of or because of Glühen's significantly higher production values, more serious and less episodic plot, and better dub. The change of all of the main character designs due to legal issues and the large amounts of story buildup and character development only covered on Drama CDs not available to Western audiences didn't help, but one of the major complaints regarding Glühen is that its more serious plot is too dark and depressing, and that it fails to capture the Narm Charm of the original.
  • The Viz Media dub of Sailor Moon is victim to this from people who watched the DiC dub in their childhoods. If you watch some of the sample clips on Youtube, you'll see complaints such as Mamoru calling Usagi "bunhead" instead of "meatball head," or Luna not having a British accent.

Comic Books
  • The character of Frank Drake in 1970s Marvel Comic The Tomb of Dracula was originally an emasculated neurotic and certified wimp when it came to women and anything else for that matter. His more mature self, as seen in the 1990s Nightstalkers, is your typical sanest member of the group. But that's because he's a cardboard Ghostbuster clone without the comedy part. Actually without a personality of any type.

Fan Fics
  • Star Trek Fan Fiction writer Stephen Ratliff once wrote an update to his Marissa Picard story Time Speeder called Athena Prospects. Anyone who has read both stories knows that Athena Prospects is a much better story than Time Speeder, although it's still pretty bad. Time Speeder, by contrast, is way more fun to read because all the incredibly stupid stuff is in it. Such as the two villains checking into hotels as James Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard. In a universe where all the Star Trek shows are accurate foretelling of the future (!) or when Saddam Hussein takes over the entire Middle East in a throwaway line.
  • The chapters of The Prayer Warriors written by Thomas are chock-full of embarrassing spelling errors, unbelievably awkward dialogue, heavy-handed and rather disturbing preaching slapping the reader in the face every other word, and just plain lazy writing. The chapters written by Ebony are... kinda okay, with a little less religious themes, slightly improved spelling, and actually listening to bad reviews instead of just screaming about the fires of hell. The chapters written by Thomas are a lot more fun to read because of this.
  • The Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic Delta Invasion is an honored favorite among the community for how nonsensical and shameless it is. When the author pulled it from the sites it was hosted on and replaced it with "Gates of Oblivion", it was just as poorly written and self-serving, except it no longer had the spelling and grammar errors and sheer audacity that made the original so much fun to read.
  • Transformers Beast Wars fanfic author William A. Renfield was quite popular for his early Echowarrior fanfics on the TF usenet group alt.toys.transformers in the late 90s...mostly becuase they were horrible self insertion schlock. Hey, he was 12. Fast forward to WAR's material 6-7 years later now as a young adult, which had settled into the mediocre range...and zero people caring about it.

  • The Ang Lee-directed Hulk tried to be serious, but some people felt it had cheesy lines, poor acting, an awful pace, and dodgy effects (such as bouncy tanks) which to them, made the film become a humorous example of So Bad, It's Good. Then the second film actually didn't suck and was instead... watchable. Good if you're a fan of the film, not so good if you enjoyed laughing at it. Then again, a similar argument could be made for those who preferred the charm of the low-budget TV series over the first big-budget movie's excesses.
  • The original Death Race 2000 was great, schlocky, over-the-top Roger Corman-esque fare, perfect for MST3K style ribbing. Death Race, the remake, was a watchable action flick (and featured the presence of Jason Statham), but felt like the soul had been ripped out of the concept.
  • Likewise, if you can find it, the Roger Corman The Fantastic Four film from the early 1990s is So Bad, It's Good, compared to the two So Okay, It's Average 2000s films.
  • While in real life the 2009 Star Trek film was a hit among Trekkies and layfolk, the new movie's slick production values combined with this trope to make a great Onion News Network piece.
    • That brings us some amusing comments from viewers complaining about the dazzling action scenes and fast-paced writing. "Where's the heavy-handed moralism and political commentary? Why aren't the fights more like two out-of-shape guys in rubber suits doing lame karate chops at each other?"
  • The notoriously trashy 1992 Hong Kong production Naked Killer originally sported hilariously badly-translated English subtitles (featuring such unforgettable lines as "When I saw Kitty, I had priapism!") which many viewers felt enhanced the delirious experience of the film. The "digitally restored and remastered" DVD featured newly (and apparently, more accurately) translated subtitles, which rather spoiled the fun for fans of the original version.
  • A common quibble with the Clash of the Titans remake. While the original had lovingly crafted Ray Harryhausen stop-motion beasties and a certain old-timey cheesy charm, the remake, despite having a much greater budget and access to more advanced technology, had badly tacked-on 3D effects and an even more convoluted plot while staying even less faithful to Greek Mythology.
  • A lot of the comments from people reacting to the trailers for Godzilla (2014) is along the lines of "If it doesn't have monsters portrayed by People in Rubber Suits and human characters played by B-list actors whose lip motions don't match up with their spoken dialogue, then it doesn't count as a Godzilla movie." Indeed, the improved special effects, more talented cast that includes Bryan Cranston, and darker, more realistic tone are held up as examples of outright pretentiousness. Then again, a good number of these complaints come from people who have not seen the original 1954 film.

  • In-fiction example: In Atlas Shrugged, James Taggart is always very patient with his wife's social gaffes... but when she finally adapts to high society and becomes popular in her own right, he tells her that the only reason he married her was because she was obviously from humble beginnings and he found it politically expedient to seem like a "man of the people." Mrs. Taggart is understandably quite upset by this.
  • Other in-universe example in an Italian short story: a third-rate writer hires an incredibly incompetent typist, in the hope that her typos will turn his trite works into surreal humor masterpieces. It works, and in little time the author is hailed as a comic genius. That's when the typist, seeing her employer's success, decides he deserves better and takes typing lessons, leading to his downfall.

Live-Action TV
  • Attempts to mature Saved by the Bell into a prime-time sitcom just resulted in a rather average sitcom with no excessive wackiness.
  • The original Dragnet was much more low-key and subtly humorous than most cop shows that we see today. So when ABC tried to remake it as an extremely gritty tough-as-nails life on the street show, well... it didn't go over very well.
  • The Lost in Space movie toned down the Camp and replaced the cheesy special effects with CGI. The TV show was So Bad, It's Good, but the movie was just So Okay, It's Average at best.
  • The Sci-Fi Channel original series update of Flash Gordon suffered from this as well, turning Ming (who is hardly Merciless) into a milquetoast Corrupt Corporate Executive IN SPACE! AN ALTERNATE DIMENSION!, the Hawkmen into vagrants who only THINK they can fly, etc. This from a franchise whose most recognizable entry was the most gleefully campy movie since the 1966 Batman movie (curiously, both by the same writer).
  • The Eurovision Song Contest is better when the acts are crazy, nonsensical and generally bad. The 2009 contest failed in some respects because most of the acts were neither truly good nor so bad they were good.
    • There's a very good example of the difference between 2008 (ridiculous) and 2009 (serious business) by ways of Estonia on that page.
  • Invoked in one episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, where Crow and Tom spend a segment complaining about the antiquated encyclopedias on the Satellite of Love (so old, in fact, that they include a picture of Stonehenge under "construction"), only for the encyclopedias to be replaced with a brand new set featuring an internet uplink for constant updates...which fails to satisfy Crow and Tom, who thought it was much more fun to mock the old encyclopedias.
  • This, combined with Narm Charm, is part of the reason why quite a few Star Trek: The Original Series fans detest the remastered episodes - it just isn't 60s Trek without analog clocks in the 23rd century and cheesy special effects. Of course, another factor is that the remastered special effects are still really obvious; it's just that they now look like crappy 90s special effects than crappy 60s special effects, and stick out like sore thumbs.
  • Invoked by Doug Naylor when fans tell him that they preferred the first two series of Red Dwarf because of the dull grey sets and cheap props and costumes. He and Rob Grant never intended the show to ever look cheap but were stifled by a lack of money for anything better.
    • Hence the reason that Red Dwarf Remastered that updated the first three series went over badly with the fanbase who felt that the titular ship looked too spit and polished for a three million year old mining vessel, constantly on the verge of falling apart even when it was new and built on the cheap. Similarly fans hated the look of the ship in Red Dwarf VIII when the errant nanites repaired the ship to its original in-universe design before the Jupiter Mining Corp slashed the budget.
  • Certain Doctor Who fans say that they prefer the low budget special effects of the original to the modern looking effects of the revival. It might be worth noting that Colin Baker accuses this of just being rose tinted glasses. According to him, nobody really liked the crappy special effects, they just tolerated them.

  • The Portsmouth Sinfonia was an orchestra founded in 1970, made up of people who didn't know how to play their instruments (really, that was one of the requirements - they would allow musicians to join, but on the condition that they were unfamiliar with the instrument they chose). Well-known songs were given them to play, and the results were hilarious. Nearly a decade later, everyone had learned to play those instruments and the popularity of the symphony declined as it lost its novelty factor. The orchestra ceased performing in 1979.
  • The Shaggs were awful musicians when Philosophy of The World, their most famous album, came out. Later recordings shown them to be much more experienced with their instruments, and actually listenable, if not quite good, though they never quite got their audience back, and as a result faded into obscurity, at least until recent.

  • The principle is illustrated in the page image above.
  • The Comics Curmudgeon took up this line of thought sometime after Dick Tracy changed up its art and writing team in 2011. When the art cleaned up significantly and the writing became more coherent, he lost interest since it wasn't as amusing to try and make fun of it, as well as it not fitting his interpretation of Dick as "the most efficient killing machine on Planet Earth".
  • The Broadway musical version of Little Shop of Horrors got poor reviews. The most common critical opinion was that the appeal of most productions was their low-budget intimacy, and the crazy special effects and massive stage of the Broadway production just felt wrong.

  • One episode of This American Life entitled "Fiasco!" explicitly discusses this trope. The interviewee describes seeing a catastrophic stage production of Peter Pan, and admits there was a tipping point after which the crowd had turned on the performers and wanted the show to continue to fail. As he admits, had the show gone off flawlessly from that point, he would have been extremely disappointed.

Video Games
  • People who don't like the Galaxy Angel video games generally take this attitude, because they got into the Series Franchise through the Gag Series anime. This happens when our Far East friends decide to release their exports in arbitrary order.
  • When Final Fantasy Tactics received an Updated Re-release for the PSP as War of the Lions, fans lamented the loss of much of the game's Narm Charm derived from poorly translated lines.
    • This is due in part to the fact that only the English translation used archaic-sounding dialogue (the Japanese version always used modern Japanese), and actually made some nonsensical changes such as Inkidasu being "Iaido" (drawing the sword from the sheath, and a real martial art) instead of "Draw Out" (drawing spirits from the sword). (The ability to press select to see descriptions helps somewhat.) Say what you will about the PS1 version's bad dialogue, but the item/skill names were dead-on literal. (Until you wonder why "Fire Bracelet" is breathing fire on you, or why you're summoning "Rich") In a slight reversal of this trope, the "write entirely new dialogue to match an aesthetic not found in the original" was applied later and tends to be more well-received amongst fans who weren't around for the original. They also kept some "bad" translations, such as "Wiegraf" instead of "Wiglaf".
      • And Square-Enix apparently has learned nothing, as they did the exact same thing to Tactics Ogre on the PSP. To say that a part of the hardcore fanbase was... displeased with their arbitrary name changes would be an understatement. In particular, fans weren't amused when Aloser's name was changed to Arycelle - 'Aloser' was a rather obvious example of So Bad It's Good name (plus there's the hilarity in a hard boss being destroyed in one hit by 'A Loser', who happens to be a Game Breaker), while Arycelle was viewed by many as a mere generic fantasy name. It doesn't help that Aloser's name is clearly romanized in the original SNES version's supplemental material as 'Alocer'... so 'Arycelle' isn't any more correct than 'Aloser'. But given that the SNES version was only fan-translated, and the 1998 translation was not done by Square Enix but Atlus in their infancy, this doesn't come as a surprise.
  • A chunk of the the original Resident Evil's fanbase was offput by the GameCube remake of the the game from 2002, which significantly "improved" the original's hammy acting ("You were almost a Jill sandwich!") and replaced it with a more natural, sometimes genuinely scary script ("A second later, you would have fit nicely in a sandwich!"). Usually for these fans, the choice between the PlayStation and GameCube versions comes down to whether you want cheesiness or actual horror.
  • The House of the Dead series used to be known as a rich source of weapons-grade Narm Charm and Memetic Mutation. The quality of the voice acting improved dramatically in part 3 and it's even within a hair's breadth of actually being good in the fourth game. Enough people missed the endearingly god-awful dialogue from parts 1 and 2 that the next game, Overkill, employs Stylistic Suck and deliberately aims for a grindhouse B-movie approach.
  • Star Ocean: The Second Story's Enhanced Remake got this. The fans were all saying, "Boy I hope they redo the voice acting!" and/or "I hope they translate it better this time!" when the Enhanced Remake was announced for the Playstation Portable. Those were perhaps the number one criticism from fans, and even critics who dislike the genre as a whole. Then it comes, and fans actually said they liked the Playstation version better, partly due to the Nostalgia Filter. (The Ten Wise Men names, however, are all up to the subject of opinion and are therefore excluded, some people who liked the Playstation Portable version better actually appreciated Indalecio) Never mind that not only were some characters saying "Claude" and others "Craude" in the Playstation version, the developers actually forgot to record two of Rena's spells (That she often uses) and they play the Japanese audio, and it was in general, just a rush job.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and its remade dialogue in Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. The original dialogue was totally cheesy, but a rich well of Narm Charm and a Fountain of Memes. The new one? It's better dialogue, but it's not nearly as hammy or fun to listen to.
  • Most of the retranslation of Chrono Trigger for the DS is relatively good, but some fans lamented the loss of Frog's Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe dialogue, which added to the character's status as The Comically Serious.
  • Some fans of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake prefer the hilarious borderline-Engrish fan translation of the MSX version, complete with Comic Book Fantasy Casting digitised portraits of celebrities, to the official translation included on the Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence disc.
  • When Silent Hill 2 was remastered in an "HD Collection", many fans expressed everything from annoyance to outrage at the recasting of character voices and clearer, more crisp graphics. Many made the claims that the original PS2 game's less-professional, somewhat corny voice acting was part of its charm, and the murkier graphics added to the experience of being lost in a nightmare world.
  • A patch for Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing does very little to improve the gameplay (the opponent which used to not move now moves very slowly, but still doesn't reach the finish line), but what it does do is take the iconic "You're Winner!" image and replaces it with "You Win!". Yeah, now it's a proper game.
  • Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon, the western developed spin-off of the notoriously campy Earth Defense Force series, made many improvements to the controls, graphics and framerate. They also hired top tier voice talent like Steve Blum and Cam Clarke. Many fans disliked the changes as they came at the cost of the cheesy B-movie absurdity and shoddy production values that gave the series its cult status.
  • Although the prior Ace Attorney games in no way sucked, some fans worked on a type of this trope, in response to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies . Look in certain places, and you'll find complaints about plot-holes not being present, not having to pixel-hunt scenes, improved graphics, ect.

Web Original
  • TV Tropes. Before the policies on this Wiki changed (specifically, before the implementation of a far stricter Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment, a stricter ban on Natter, and the YMMV tab) there were lively debates and conversations on some of the entries; although they could easily descend to tiring arguments. Some tropers are still nostalgic for the older version of the website.

Western Animation
  • The original Biker Mice from Mars series' dub became popular in Finland because it was filled with double entendres and overall silliness. When the new series started airing in Finland, fans weren't happy with its new toned-down dialogue.
  • Super Friends is notorious for being, at times, aggressively anti-logical. The incoherent plots and ridiculously cookie-cutter nature of the characters is what makes it fun to watch.
    • So when the show was retooled in the mid-eighties, well, it just wasn't as much fun anymore. The show was still bad, but now it was just generically bad like any other '80s cartoon. No more plots about Brainiac trying to steal the world's supply of credit. No more Aquaman accidentally destroying the entire Asian Pacific seaboard and using the same "Oh no!" tone of voice he uses when Gleek makes a stupid joke. No more crazy feminists mind-controlling all the women in the world into turning men into data on microchips. It just wasn't the same.
    • At some point in the '90s the Wonder Twins were re-integrated into the DC Universe and given a Darker and Edgier backstory which made them into oppressed slaves. Wrap your head around that. Serious Wonder Twins? What's the point?
  • For those who like Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog over Sonic Sat AM, it's like this. Adventures is Ren and Stimpy meets Sonic the Hedgehog, the perfect storm for YouTube Poop. Concurrently, Sonic Sat AM is a more serious version of Sonic that is closer to other '90s cartoons at the time. Depends whether you liked the humor or wanted a stronger narrative. Sonic Underground, by contrast, is frequently considered as the mean between the two... having neither.
  • The original Scooby-Doo had bad dialogue, low quality animation, bad jokes and ridiculous plots for the "monsters" reason of being there and that memorable line "I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids." So even after airing it years after the time its set in, it is fun to watch. But then multiple remakes came along removing these charming factors making it a lot less fun.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 series, while it has fans, became a Base Breaker due to this; a lot of fans were nostalgic about the goofy, silly 80 cartoon and weren't appreciating of the Darker and Edgier approach of the 2003 version (despite it being closer to the original comic).
    • This is also considered the reason why the "Red Sky" Re Tool seasons flopped. All the goofiness and stupidity of the 80's cartoon was removed...and what we got was a generic mid-90's action cartoon that took itself too seriously.
  • The US finally got a DVD release of the Japanese-only Transformers: Headmasters series...complete with a new, competent dub. Many fans of the original god-awful Malaysian dub (aired on Star TV in Asia) hated this, as it was considered the best reason to watch Headmasters...otherwise many just found the show dull and repetitive.

Real Life
  • The takeover of Škoda by Volkswagen, leading to their cars becoming actually good. Annoying for budding comedians, as suddenly Skoda jokes didn't work (well, other than the ones in the adverts that went "It's a Škoda. Honest.").
  • "Ken Lee", a garbled pronounciation of "Can't Live" from the Mariah Carey Badfinger song "Without You", as song by Valentina Hasan, was an internet meme, almost in the sense of a reverse Buffalax. But much of the fun was lost as she worked to correct her pronunciation, as seen in the live performance. The So Bad, It's Good silliness was lost and it became So Okay, It's Average.
  • Many New Yorkers think that Times Square was more fun when it was a seedy haven for porno theaters before Rudy Giuliani cleaned it and the city as a whole up in The Nineties.
  • Something of a Justified Trope when it comes to performance cars. As the Page Quote from Top Gear says a car might be more fun to drive if it is dynamically worse since cars with more power than grip will oversteer, ie; the back end will slide around under acceleration, more dangerous on a road but more exciting to mess about with on a track. This can also apply to videogames where the 'less good' cars can be more fun to race than the top level cars.
    • It is for this reason that James Hunt preferred an Austin A35 for everyday driving.
  • Can happen in sports which use a draft system: Teams at the top get to compete for the championship, teams at the bottom get a shot at a franchise-changing player, but teams in the middle don't get either.

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