%% This list of examples has been alphabetized. Please add your example in the proper place. Thanks!
%% And when adding examples, please refrain from writing first-person pronouns.

->''"Shit up my nose! What right does this game have to suddenly kick arse?"''
-->-- '''[[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw]]''' [[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/1433-Dark-Void on]] ''VideoGame/DarkVoid''

A pacing problem that occurs when the beginning of a story is so front-loaded with {{exposition}} and details about the world contained within, taking forever to get to the good parts and putting all of that exposition to good use. In other words, this is a specific type of {{Infodump}} that occurs at the beginning of a story.

This can understandably take a while to get through, and you may well have lost heart before
you manage it. It might be worth sticking around though...quite a few classic stories suffer from this, only to reveal a real classic when the writer finally gets into gear. Or not. Either way, the writer probably doesn't do themselves any favours by boring their reader at the start. As many writers will tell you, the first line of a book will often decide whether it gets published or not.

Sometimes, though, this {{pacing problem|s}} [[IntendedAudienceReaction can be used deliberately]]. Maybe the writer ''wants'' to establish the hero's former life as slow, tedious and mundane before they discover their SecretLegacy. Or, in the case of historical fiction, the writer wants to ensure that the reader doesn't need the Encyclopedia Britannica close to hand to understand what's going on. However, deliberately making the beginning of your story boring is a ''very'' risky game; it can take quite a tenacious audience to deal with this and reach the interesting part.

A ''lot'' of webcomics demonstrate this, a natural consequence of learning to cartoon, plot, and write by the seat of one's pants.

Compare to {{Padding}}, EarlyGameHell, {{Filler}}, GrowingTheBeard, ProlongedPrologue, DevelopingDoomedCharacters, and ArcFatigue. Often goes hand-in-hand with CheckpointStarvation. Contrast LostInMediasRes, where a show starts with too ''little'' exposition and EndingFatigue, when it takes forever to ''end'', not start.

Contrast ActionPrologue. In VideoGames the endgame version is DisappointingLastLevel (although a game can suffer from both).

No relation to FromBadToWorse, which is about the events in the story and not the quality thereof. Also not related to the Website/ItGetsBetterProject. And not to be confused with ItGetsEasier, which is about becoming more jaded and accepting of bad things that happen.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The first four episodes of ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' are somewhat slow, focusing on character interactions and world-building. Once the Titans show up in Episode 5 and all hell breaks loose, though, the show picks up and becomes a much more enjoyable watch. Though this only occurs in the anime; in the manga the author chose to put the training mini-arc after the Trost battle was over, probably because he precisely wanted to avoid this trope. The drawback being that we are introduced to a lot of characters we don't know anything about right off the bat.
* Season 1 of ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' is pretty slow due to the large amounts of [[{{Filler}} filler episodes]] and plot rearrangements done to keep the show from [[OvertookTheManga overtaking the manga]], which was in the middle of the Cassandra Arc at the time,[[labelnote:Explanation]]The Golan & Jackal arcs were moved to the middle of Season 1, rather than occurring between Shin's defeat and Kenshiro's meeting with Mamiya.[[/labelnote]] and the rather [[LimitedAnimation shoddy]] [[OffModel animation]] can be very off-putting to a first-time viewer. However, after Shin's defeat in the season finale, the show really picks things up and the rest of the show is faster-paced and more faithful to the source work, and the animation gradually starts to [[ArtEvolution improve]] after the massive AnimationBump that came with with the first Kenshiro vs. Raoh fight. Comparing the first season to the fourth, the latter is considerably better-paced, with filler being carefully intertwined with the source material's plot rather than having every filler story get pasted somewhere in the middle, and the animation is very detailed and pleasing to look at compared to Season 1's.
* ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' starts like a SliceOfLife show with mons, battling the MonsterOfTheWeek and exploring the character's lives and personalities. Then they go to the Digital World with lots of hopes and dream. THEN, [[WhamEpisode Episode 34]] happens and [[TraumaCongaLine everything]] [[BreakTheCutie gets]] [[CosmicHorrorStory weird]]. The difference is quite shocking, to say the least. WordOfGod says this was intentional.
* ''Anime/EurekaSeven''. In its earliest episodes, it seems like an average {{Shonen}} series with a whiny EmoTeen protagonist; however, it improves as we learn more about the characters and their world, and it's the love story between Renton and Eureka that really sells it.
* One problem several people have with ''[[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood]]'' is that [[CompressedAdaptation its first thirteen episodes cram about thirty chapters worth of material into them]] compared to the 2003 anime series, [[AdaptationExpansion which takes around thirty episodes to cover and expand the same amount of material with some light]] {{filler}}, resulting in the first fifth or so of ''Brotherhood'' coming across at a rushed pace. This can be particularly troublesome for those who are more familiar with the 2003 anime than the manga and aren't aware of the second one being more faithful. Once ''Brotherhood'' fully diverges from what was shown in the 2003 anime, however, while [[AdaptationDistillation some material is still cut down]], it gradually slows down to a much more manageable pace without seeming too drastic.
* ''Anime/HeatGuyJ'' appears to have attempted this, and suffered a CosmicDeadline. It starts out very slowly, and ends on quite an action-packed note, but many fans dropped off before even making it halfway through.
* The first couple episodes of ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' are rather slow-paced and generic. It isn't until later, when things get [[DarkerAndEdgier darker]], that the story and characters become more engrossing, and the series starts actively deconstructing {{Shonen}} tropes. Also, the second anime has been criticized for repeating the same event from the first anime series while ignoring likable parts and even cutting parts from the first manga chapter. However, after 60 episodes the series will cover for the first time the material the first anime never adapted.
* The first 50 or so chapters of the manga ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' are just there to introduce the characters and the world. It would be easy to think it was a comedy manga instead of the actual high-paced action manga it evolved into.
* ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' starts off like it's going to be a standard MagicalGirl show with a GottaCatchEmAll plot, but a few episodes in, it changes, as Nanoha runs into [[DarkMagicalGirl Fate Testarossa]] who is out to stop Nanoha, and is more powerful, better trained, and a lot more desperate to complete the task.
* ''Anime/{{Monster}}'' suffers from a first book/few episodes filled with mustache twirling villains and a protagonist who is a little bit too pure to be interesting. Fortunately the villains become more complex and the series pulls back the focus a bit from the overly pure character for some more interesting ones.
* Pacing issues like this are one of the biggest obstacles for new readers of the ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' manga; the first few volumes of the series are a fairly generic ''Manga/LoveHina''-ish UnwantedHarem comedy series, and the actual plot doesn't show up until around at least chapter 15, and even then it isn't until around half a dozen volumes in that the series [[GrowingTheBeard hits its stride]]. The official translation makes it worse, as the adapter of the first few volumes didn't realize that the early chapters ''do'' contain some important characterization and foreshadowing, so a lot of it ended up getting cut, bordering on a {{Macekre}} and making the opening material even weaker.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'': To transcribe the average reaction:
-->'''Episode One:''' Seen It A Million Times. Horror, SceneryPorn, but [[SoOkayItsAverage otherwise meh]].
-->'''Episode Two:''' Oookay, little DarkerAndEdgier, but whatever.
-->'''Episode Three:''' [[WhamEpisode HOLY]] [[HolyShitQuotient SHIT]]!
-->'''Episodes Four through Twelve:''' [[TraumaCongaLine ...meep]]!
* ''Manga/RaveMaster'' has a slow start and poor artwork at the beginning of the manga. It isn't really until Sieg shows up that the series really kicks into gear, even if he leaves shortly afterward. This leads to the infamous Tower of Din arc, and the story escalates from there.
* There are often complaints that roughly the first third of ''{{Trigun}}'' (the anime) is silly, stupid and episodic, with only vague allusions to the fact that Vash's story is remotely deep or complicated. With the arrival of Nicholas D. Wolfwood (episode 9), Legato Bluesummers and the Gung-Ho Guns (episode 12), the story arc of the series actually begins.
* You can read the first couple chapters of ''Manga/TsubasaReservoirChronicle'' and then skip around 90 chapters (a little over a third of the manga's run). Story arcs before then have very little to do with the overall larger story, save for a handful of minor events, and can be summed up as "Syaoran and Co. travelled to X world to solve X problem and get a feather".
* The first half of the first season of ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'' was so full of pointless filler duels, it hurts. By the second half of the season, it gets a bit better, and it gets a lot better once season three comes around.
* ''Anime/WeddingPeach'' got a very bad reputation when it first made its way to the West due to this. Animerica magazine slammed the show in its review, although it was clear to anyone acquainted with the series that the reviewer had only seen the first six or seven dubbed episodes. After [[spoiler:Jama-P stops being the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Monster of the Week]] every episode due to a [[HeelFaceTurn Heel-Face Turn]]]] and weddings become simply a motif and not the central focus of each episode, the series improves greatly.
* The early volumes of ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' can be prone to cause DarknessInducedAudienceApathy for some, due to the rampant violence, disturbing imagery, utterly dismal world, and thoroughly unsympathetic protagonist. It's not until near the end of Volume 3, when the Golden Age arc begins, where the story begins to show its true colors with rich characterization, complicated themes, plot development, and tear-jerking tragedy.
* ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato'' gets off to a slow start in both of its seasons, though the exposition and character introductions are interesting. For a show dealing with a giant space Battleship, the Yamato doesn't lift off and fly from earth until the end of the third episode.
* ''Manga/PandoraHearts'' can be difficult for new readers in the beginning due to its JigsawPuzzlePlot nature. Interestingly, it isn't because of a lack of action, but rather because of the many odd occurrences that are given no explanation or context to help the reader understand. The Cheshire Arc is where many fans believe the story truly begins to hit its stride, acting as a clarifying point for what the varying goals of the main characters are, and from there the reading experience improves drastically.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Neil Gaiman himself has this opinion on ''ComicBook/{{The Sandman}}''. For most of the first volume, he was struggling to get a sense of the characters and the kinds of stories he wanted to do, and also had to deal with an editorial mandate to include characters from the DC Universe which he found very awkward. But when he got to the final issue of that volume, which introduces Death, suddenly everything clicked for him. He still advises people that the first volume isn't really worth it, though many fans disagree.
* ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim'' is a mediocre SliceOfLife series in the first two volumes, before it lets its video game elements play a bigger impact on the plot and characters from volume 3 onward.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* About 90% of the first chapter of ''FanFic/FriendshipIsOptimalCaelumEstConterrens'' consists of an overly detailed and completely irrelevant description of the heroine connecting and turning on her new gadget.
* Some aspects of ''Fanfic/{{Hivefled}}'''s early chapters put people off, such as the slow pace, the grimdark tone, and [[AxCrazy Gamzee's]] disproportionate actions towards his own friends. The latter is especially the case if they haven't read the prequel "Reprise" and don't know what happened to Gamzee to make him act like that. Once CharacterDevelopment sets in and the plot kicks off, these issues are usually rectified.
* The first three chapters or so of ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'' suffer from this, with a touch of EarlyInstallmentWeirdness. It doesn't really kick on until chapter 9, when darker themes are introduced and it becomes abundantly clear that the forces of good aren't going to have it all their way. Chapters 16 and 21 only underline this, while it equally becomes clear that Harry's apparently smooth adjustment to his new circumstances isn't as smooth as it appears.

* ''Film/DeathProof''. 45 minutes (more or less) of talking about pot, dancing, jobs and everything. Halfway through it, people can walk out... except that after all that, there's a car crash in which everybody dies except Stuntman Mike.
* Definitely present in the Best Picture Winner ''Film/TheDeerHunter'', a war film where it takes 45 whole minutes before the heroes even get to the war. Yes, it's kind of the point of the movie to show that [[WarIsHell war destroys the lives]] of normal, hard-working Rust Belters, but holy crap, does that wedding scene go on forever.
* ''Film/DrStrangelove'' is fairly pedestrian and slow-paced for the first fifteen-to-twenty minutes, with a couple of good lines, until the viewers get to The War Room and suddenly it becomes hilarious, and stays that way for the rest of the film.
* ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' is nearly three hours long. The first 45 minutes are just Blondie and Tuco's shenanigans, with a minor sub-plot involving Angel Eyes searching for a guy who ultimately becomes a plot point. It's only about the 45-minute mark that Blondie and Tuco finally find out about the buried gold and begin searching for it. Strangely, this is a case where this was not only done deliberately, but it works, and even if you get bored by the first part, the main plot just gets better, to the point where the greatest scene in the whole film is saved for the very end.
* ''Film/{{Interstellar}}'' is a long three hour film featuring fantastic visuals and accurate (for the time) depictions of theoretical celestial bodies; but for the first 30-40 minutes the viewers get to follow farmers living in a depressing down-to-earth world making you wonder if you're watching the right film.
* The film version of ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' takes ''thirty minutes'' to just get the hobbits out of the Shire. The extended edition takes ''almost fifty''.
* ''Film/MadMaxBeyondThunderdome'' is an inversion. The film starts out as decent post-apocalyptic film, then the children appear and the movie is now a painfully silly kid-adventure flick.
* ''Film/{{Maleficent}}'' not only starts with a lot of exposition, it is also [[TastesLikeDiabetes very, very sweet and cutesy]] at the beginning. You could think you are watching a different movie entirely once the action starts.
* ''Film/MirrorMask'' begins with a grand tour of the boredom of circus life, with the only effect on the second and third acts being the audience knows of the main character's mother's condition. There's also all the visual callbacks, extra significance for the [[IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight I Know You're In There Somewhere Juggling]], actual established relationships with the parents... a sense of real-world consequences and the instability of such a life, rendering it all the more precious when threatened and regained...
* Dingo's ranting in the deleted scene from ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'' (the scene is sometimes shown on TV and on the DVD) is interrupted by: The three-headed knight, Dennis, some characters from later in the film [[spoiler:(the old man from Scene 24, Tim the Enchanter, and the English army)]], and {{God}}, the latter four entries all just shouting "Get on with it!"
* Creator/SergioLeone has said ''Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest'' is supposed to reflect the process of death, slow-paced with breaths of amazing (usually duels). Well, some people can get bored.
* You can skip the beginning of ''Film/PaulBlartMallCop'' without missing much. If you really don't want to miss anything, watch it on fast-forward until the criminals show up.
* ''ThePinkPanther'' (1963) begins very slow and moves along like a drama until it somewhat abruptly breaks into the {{slapstick}} and chase scenes the series is known for.
* ''Film/TheProducers'' begins with an unnecessarily long sequence where Bloom engages in a lengthy conversation with Bialystock in order to illustrate how slimy Bialystock is followed by an equally lengthy exposition about how the Broadway scam is supposed to work. On the other hand, it has some of the best lines of the movie ("My blanket! MY BABY BLUE BLANKET!").
* ''Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld'' starts off slowly. The first Evil Ex doesn't appear until about 40 minutes in, making it seem like nothing more than some hipster comedy about a dweeb's love life. The idea is to establish how uneventful Scott's life is before his ManicPixieDreamGirl Ramona shows up and turns everything into chaos.
* Evident in ''Film/{{Stargate}}'' and ''Disney/AtlantisTheLostEmpire'', where not only does it take the expedition ages to discover civilization, but scenes of the team linguist overcoming the language barrier immediately follow, seeming like additional {{Padding}}.
* ''WesternAnimation/StrangeMagic'': General consensus from those who like the film is that it massively improves once Marianne and [[spoiler: the Bog King]] meet, fight and team up.
* Both the ending ''and'' the beginning of the horror movie ''Film/TheStrangers'': at the beginning the viewers see a text explaining how many American citizens are estimated to be involved in violent crimes a year, a voiceover, in wannabe ''Franchise/TheTexasChainsawMassacre'' style, explaining what had happened, and ''shots from the freaking end''. And at the end they make it pretty obvious that [[spoiler: Kristen is going to let out a huge scream and [[TheReveal turn out]] to be NotQuiteDead]].
* ''Film/{{Them}}'' is a movie about mutated giant ants. Except for the first half hour, where it's a leisurely-paced police procedural set in the New Mexico desert instead.
* From the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' series: ''Breaking Dawn Part 2'' is, for the most part, a fairly banal and boring affair... until you reach the action climax where the movies suddenly decides to kick all kinds of ass. It's a sight to behold, really.
* ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''. Half an hour of deserts and apes before the viewers see any outer space exploration. And even then it's lots of nothing until the stuff with [[AIIsACrapshoot HAL]] starts happening. You actually can fast forward past the space station and moon segments and all you'll miss is they found something on the moon and they're going to find out what it is.


* ''Literature/AnAcceptableTime'' spent most of its time loafing around the Murrays' home. It isn't until you're most of the way through the book that the events described on the back of the cover actually get around to happening.
* GeorgeRRMartin's ''ASongOfIceAndFire'' can induce this by way of a bit of a bait-and-switch...the opening to the first book has the local equivalent of the LegionsOfHell being introduced and then promptly being so relegated to the background for five {{Doorstopper}}s and counting in favor of political intrigue and gritty civil war action that despite the subtly rising tide of magical and mystical events and the persistent threat that [[ArcWords winter is coming]], people think it's the actual focus of the series. (There's a standing theory among some readers that this dichotomy is a major theme of the series: "Why would the powerful be fiddling while Rome burns?")
* ''Literature/ATaleOfTwoCities'' has some difficulty with this trope: The first 6 chapters are actually very good. Interesting, full of intrigue, likeable characters. Then, after finishing Part 1, (the first 6 chapters), there is Part 2 (the next 24 chapters), which is a long sluggish read setting up for part 3 (the last 15 chapters), which is very good.
* ''{{Atonement}}'' by Ian [=McEwan=], for half the novel, with the other half spent on the fallout of events from the last couple pages of the first half. [[LampshadeHanging And he calls himself out on it!]]
* The Creator/HPLovecraft novella ''Literature/AtTheMountainsOfMadness'' starts with an unusual take on this - fifty pages of description of how their scientific expedition was '''meant''' to go. How it actually went starts around page sixty. He's careful to set this description up so that it works for the book instead of against it, though.
* ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'': Most of the novel goes into a great deal of detail about cloning and how society works in the future. It takes a while before the main characters even get introduced, then the action begins. Of course, since setting up the dystopia is vital in order to tell a dystopian story, this is an example of TropesAreNotBad.
* ''Literature/TheCasualVacancy'': most of the story is spent establishing characters and seemingly unimportant plot points. It doesn't really pick up until the last 100 pages, with plot points slowly coming together and the last 75 pages throwing everything you had read and thought unimportant in your face.
* With regards to ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' Tasha Robinson's comment about the [[Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory 1971 film adaptation]] at the A.V. Club could be applied to the novel and any other adaptation: "Picture a ''[[Film/TheWizardOfOz Wizard Of Oz]]'' where the Kansas scenes take up half the film." The opening third of the novel is not only busy with DevelopingDoomedCharacters and the PinballProtagonist but also with establishing the legend of Willy Wonka and the resultant SeriousBusiness of the Golden Ticket contest. Adaptations follow suit, generally not getting to the factory and Willy Wonka himself until the halfway point -- luckily, most of this buildup is PlayedForLaughs, which eases potential tedium, and once the characters are in the factory, the story becomes a briskly-paced lark.
* In-universe with ''Literature/TheCityOfDreamingBooks''. The protagonist was told repeatedly by his uncle to read the great novel "Ritter Hempel" (Hempel the knight), but gave up after the first fifty or so pages were all about how to clean lances. Only later he learns that everyone else had the same problem, and later in the book there are great and funny scenes, like when the knight loses his glasses in his armor.
* ''Literature/CloudAtlas'': The opening of the novel's six stories seems to be a lot of people's least favourite in the book. It may be that the 17th-cenury English makes the section a little less accessible than others, and it may be that it's just a function of being the first section: the reader doesn't understand all the significances within on the first read. It might also suffer from being right next to the Robert Frobisher section, which is a fan favourite.
* ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'' includes long diversions into the backstories of many characters in the first half, eventually integral to the plot but difficult to chew on. Most adaptations break them up over the course of the story.
* Similarly, some fans of ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' find the first book, ''Literature/TheGunslinger'', too slow and think that the series doesn't get good until the second book, ''Literature/TheDrawingOfTheThree''. On the other hand, an almost equal number love ''The Gunslinger'' because it's so contemplative.
* ''Discworld/MakingMoney'' is possibly the only Literature/{{Discworld}} book to suffer from this. We know he's going to take the position at the bank, it's on the dust-jacket, hell it was foreshadowed at the end of the last book. It is funny at first to see him resisting [[MagnificentBastard Vetinari]], but eventually you want to shout "Get on with it!" Creator/TerryPratchett himself has said this about Discworld as a whole, claiming that the earlier books were "[[SelfDeprecation written by a less talented author]]". He recommends that new readers bypass some of the EarlyInstallmentWeirdness and start with [[{{DiscWorld/Mort}} Mort]].
* The beginning of Frank Herbert's first ''Literature/{{Dune}}'' book is heavily weighted down with this kind of exposition in the first hundred pages.
* ''Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh'' has a tendency of [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment repeating entire passages verbatim over and over]] (for example, one person would speak to the messenger, and the messenger would then deliver the exact same speech again to his master; there's also the very long winded title of Gilgamesh, which would be repeated every time someone uses his name). However, this is more due to a quirk of Mesopotamian oral storytelling style (and a feature of oral storytelling in general), than bad writing. The repetition aids memorization for the story-teller, and the long titles of heroes make it easier to fit the name in a poetic line (as all epics were written in poetic form).
%%* ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'' has a similar problem.
* ''Literature/TheIliad'': The Catalogue of the Ships in the second book is so tedious that it puts some readers off altogether. For the record, it's entirely skippable as it has almost no relevance to the rest of the poem.
* ''Final Cut'' by Steven Bach has a brief prologue about why he needs to find a new movie for United Artists Studios, then spends over a hundred pages going through the entire history of United Artists before getting back to the studio's slow downfall.
* The first chapters of ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'' deal with the backstory of the sea captain who met the titular Doctor on his expedition to find the North Pole. If you didn't know that the novel was a Story Within a Story (Within a Story) you would read the opening wondering "[[JustHereForGodzilla What does this have to do with the Monster?]]"
* Readers may react in this way to several Creator/FrederickForsyth stories. The author [[ShownTheirWork researches his subjects so thoroughly]] that the reader usually earns the equivalent of a Ph.D. in history, [[Literature/TheOdessaFile investigative journalism]], corporate espionage or prospective mining just by reading the first three chapters.
* ''Literature/TheDogsOfWar'' is an excellent example, since it's a novel about a coup in Africa that has several chapters devoted to one character's attempt to buy out a "shell corporation". It's so detailed, it was actually used as the blueprint for at least one real coup attempt.
* This methodical approach works really well for ''Literature/TheDayOfTheJackal'', being a novel about an elite assassin.
* ''Literature/GoneWithTheWind'' is like [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar the Civil War]] in real time, or it would be had Margaret Mitchell not mucked up the timeline so badly. The book drags at multiple points, but the beginning is especially slow. It takes an awful lot of description about high society life on a rural plantation before the readers see any actual fighting. The book is explicitly a view of life in the South before and after the civil war from the civilian point of view. While the war starts a few chapters into the book, the hardships and realities of war start escalating as the book goes on. Life doesn't get much better after the war ends about halfway through the novel either.
* ''Literature/TheGrapesOfWrath'' seems to take ''forever'' to just get to the Joads, wasting a whole chapter on a freaking ''turtle crossing a road''. Then due to pacing problems of the Joad plot, the chapters about turtles and angry car salesmen with no names end up being the best parts of the book for a lot of people.
* ''Literature/GreatExpectations'' takes forEVER to really get moving, despite a pretty action-packed first chapter. As a result of its serial nature, the first two parts rely heavily on building suspense that pays off in the third part (where nearly every chapter has a plot twist or revelation).
* All ''Literature/HarryPotter'' books are like this, but some more than others. The first book takes almost half of its (short) length for Harry to actually get to Hogwarts, the rest being spent on exposition. The fourth also contains several long-winded scenes about the Quidditch World Cup before that happens as well (admittedly they are crucial to the plot, but readers won't know this at first). ''Halfblood Prince'' is mostly uneventful with most of it just exposition. Think of it as the prologue to the next book Deathly Hallows as it sets up a lot of key plot points.
* Many Creator/HarryTurtledove series have over a dozen viewpoint characters, and each book or major section typically starts out with a little vignette for each of them, just to remind you of the position they were in at the end of the previous book. If you're lucky, the end of these sections will feature a big change for the character, or even kill them off if you're even luckier; sometimes it just [[FromBadToWorse does not get better]].
* The ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series can be like this, depending on how much you like politics. Each is at least several hundred pages long, and in one instance, a book for which the title and back cover talk all about Honor being captured, said capture doesn't happen until the last 100 or so pages of the book. In ''War Of Honor'', the first 450 pages or so go by without a shot being fired, being spent instead on the politics leading up to the resumption of hostilities. While the political junkies are rubbing their hands in glee, the action junkies are sitting around thinking, "Someone shoot at ''somebody'' so something actually ''happens''."
** Much of the first book is spent explaining [[InfoDump in excruciating detail]] just how space travel, artificial gravity, and ship-to-ship combat work in this universe, in addition to explaining the workings of a Royal Manticoran Navy starship, the political complications brought on by the Baselisk System, and of course, setting up the background behind the impending war between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Peoples Republic of Haven... which wouldn't start until the third book of the series (the second book had more ''para bellum'' posturing, but was much more action-packed).
* Several reviewers have commented that beginning of ''Literature/TheHost'' is weaker than the rest of the novel.
* Proof that great literature isn't immune to this: Robert Graves' novel ''Literature/IClaudius'' begins with a massive history lesson that barely mentions the title character. Still, the history lesson provides enough murder, bloodlust and political conspiracy to tide the viewer over until Claudius introduces himself properly...and then things ''really'' get interesting. It might also raise a smile at the end of the book when Claudius (a historian) says that one of the perks of becoming Emperor is that he can make everyone read his history books, and is out and out Lampshaded when Claudius mentions a few dozen pages into the book that he has written several chapters of his autobiography and hasn't quite got up to the point where he is born.
** Done again in the sequel ''Claudius the God'' where, after having one page describing him being carried off by the army to be declared Emperor, he sees an old friend of his, Herod Agrippa. The next five chapters are devoted to relating Herod's life story up to that point. Though again, the story is entertaining enough to be worth it and the character will be of great importance later on. Notably, the Television Adaptation just starts with Herod.
* ''Literature/JaneEyre'' is notorious for this, especially among those that read it for a school assignment.
* ''Literature/JonathanStrangeAndMrNorrell'' has this effect on a lot of people - the action doesn't pick up until a good four hundred pages in. That the character of Strange doesn't show up until a quarter of the way through the 1000 page novel is another factor.
* A good deal of the beginning of ''JourneyToTheCenterOfTheEarth'' is the heroes' journey from their home in Germany to the Icelandic volcano they want to explore. Except for the acquisition of their [[SixthRanger third adventurer]], nothing of importance happens in all this time and the whole first section can be skipped over without missing anything.
* Very common in the ''LightNovel/KaraNoKyoukai'' novels; each part in a chapter (and there are many parts in any given chapter) usually has paragraphs interspersed through it focusing on nothing but philosophy and concepts, which even pop up in the middle of a ''very'' heated life-and-death battle.
** This is actually prevalent throughout Nasu's writing, not just ''Kara No Kyoukai''.
** The anime version cuts nearly all of this out, in the process removing any hope of understanding what's going on. Oops.
** The AnachronicOrder hurts the anime more than the manga, as the first episode's lack of character establishment leaves the otherwise smoothly-animated action sequence without significance or personal investment, then the second's continued lack of explanation as to who the hell these people are make it just as much of a chore. Watching it chronologically presents a much better foundation for the series, though that episode's slow pacing still requires an amount of commitment to reach the climax of it, It Gets Better sooner and stays better longer.
* The slice-of-life look at hobbit society in the original novels of ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' has this problem. It takes the Hobbits ''four chapters'' just to get from the Shire to Bree. In comparison, the Mines of Moria take up only two chapters, and Frodo and Sam only spend three and a half chapters in Mordor. The improved pacing is one of the places where the film trilogy [[AdaptationDistillation manages to improve upon the book]]. Part of that may be because the early parts of the book were [[TheArtifact still locked in a more episodic format]] (akin to ''Literature/TheHobbit''), and only shifted to a more plot-driven focus later on.
** ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' is even more front-loaded with exposition. Much of this is aimed at literally building the world of Middle-Earth, but several chapters are devoted to the origins of minor figures. In this "History of the Silmarils," it's not until midway through the fifth chapter that the eventual creator of the Silmarils is even introduced.
* The central character of ''Literature/LesMiserables'' doesn't appear until after seventy pages spent introducing a minor character who shortly thereafter disappears from the book. This keeps happening, as when the Battle of Waterloo is described in meticulous detail before returning to the plot, which is why the book is 1200 pages long.
* ''The Life and Opinions of Literature/TristramShandy, Gentleman'' could be seen as this when the title character narrator digresses so much that his birth is not even covered until volume 3 of this 9 volume book, but the entire story is a humorous series of anecdotes and digressions.
* A common phrase said by fans to new readers of ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen''. The first book throws the reader in the deep end without so much as a "can you swim?", with a whole host of characters and events and expects you to run with it. After the first few hundred pages, after the reader has acclimatised themselves, the experience quickly becomes less "Huh-wha?" and more "Ooohh! That's clever."
** It's not that the first novel is bad, but it's not anywhere near as well written or complex as the rest of the series. Part of the reason is the author attempting to sell it as a script first, then making a book of it.
* ''The Marriage Plot'' by Jeffrey Eugenides features detailed description of the protagonist, Madeleine's English literature courses at Brown University, including a lengthy discussion of Semiotics that's either AuthorAppeal or thinly veiled TakeThat. There are also [[InfoDump info dumps]] on manic depression and religious studies used to flesh out her putative suitors, Leonard and Mitchell, along with several chapters where Mitchell travels through Europe and India. Considering that the story's a relatively simple LoveTriangle, many readers find it a bit much.
* Eugendes' earlier novel, ''Literature/{{Middlesex}}'', also suffers from this at times, covering as it does a large swath of history from the Greco-Turkish War of the 1920s to Detroit during the Depression, the birth of the Black Power movement and the Detroit riots of 1967... all before the protagonist appears in the narrative.
* The first hundred pages of ''Literature/TheNameOfTheRose'' go at a mindbogglingly easygoing and unhurried pace (at least compared to other murder mystery novels), with ''lots'' of [[FlavorText obscure references and other diversions unconnected to any part of the whodunnit itself]]. Its author Creator/UmbertoEco wrote a WordOfGod postscript in part to clarify that the hard-to-get-into beginning was a deliberate choice.
-->'''Eco:''' Those first hundred pages are like a penance or initiation, and if someone does not like them, so much the worse for him. [[TakeThatAudience He can stay at the foot of the mountain.]]
* Parodied in the novel ''Literature/ThePrincessBride''; the fictional novel that it "abridges" supposedly has a second chapter involving sixty-six pages of Florinese history. This chapter is left out completely. There's also the referred scene where the abridging author (WilliamGoldman) describes how a visiting princess arrives, unpacks in meticulous detail, is insulted at dinner, and then ''repacks'' everything in just as much detail as she unpacked, before leaving and never being seen again. Indeed, the whole premise of the book is that Goldman published the "good parts version" because the original was so very long and tedious.
** And in one of the curious fictional autobiographical accounts Goldman has written to go with the various editions, this one tied with the nonexistent sequel, he has Creator/StephenKing chastise him for leaving some of this stuff out. Knowing King's style, that's actually remarkably funny.
* ''The Princess of Cleves'', a 17th-century French novel, begins with about 40 pages describing King Henri II's court and family in confusing and mind-numbing detail. But most of this is irrelevant to the real story, a simple LoveTriangle involving three of the aristocrats.
* The Creator/RobertWChambers story ''The Repairer of Reputations'' starts with 2-3 pages of alternate history. If you completely skip it, you won't even notice.
* ''Literature/TheReturnOfTheNative'' spends all of the first chapter describing the heath where the story takes place. The whole goddamn chapter.
* ''{{Ringworld}}'' spends quite a while showing the reader why Louis Wu wants to go traveling. Unfortunately the reason he wants to travel is that his life is boring and hollow, something that Niven gets across a bit too effectively.
* The opening chapter of Nathaniel Hawthorne's ''Literature/TheScarletLetter'', called "The Custom House," is composed of between 31 and 55 pages of exposition based on which version you're reading. What does this lengthy opening have to do with the book? Nothing. It tells of how a fictional Hawthorne found the fictional documents to write The Scarlet Letter. It's [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis a thematic device]] that most people just skip over, as it's extremely dry.
** It's basically a long list of [[TakeThat digs]] at Hawthorne's former co-workers, along with his complaints about being fired when [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoils_system his party lost the election.]] Some parts, in particular the description of the General, may have had some satirical value for contemporary readers. For modern readers? Not so much.
* The first third of ''[[Literature/SkylarkSeries The Skylark of Space]]'' is rather low-key. All the action occurs on Earth and is mostly the subterfuge of [[CorruptCorporateExecutive [=DuQuesne=]]] trying to steal [[TheHero Seaton's]] technology. Then they finally do get in space, and after a few jaunts to various planets, the LensmanArmsRace eventually comes in full force.
* In ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'', the first sentence of ''Triplanetary'' begins "Two thousand million or so years ago" (and based on our current understanding of the history of the Solar System, it really should have been at least "Five thousand million"). It skips pretty rapidly through time after that, with short stops in Atlantis, the Roman Empire, World War II and World War III (which, given the dating in the book, should have happened by now already) before settling down to some point in the indefinite future for the rest of the book. However, the ''entire first book'' is about the ancestors of the eventual main protagonists of the series and can be summed up as "The Arisians are Good and the Eddorians are Bad; Gharlane of Eddore in particular has been mucking up Earth's history for a Very Long Time Indeed."
* If [[Creator/StephenKing King's]] ''Literature/TheStand'' were really about a battle between good and evil, it would consist 90% of exposition and set-up. Of course, it just ends up being about a pandemic and the rebuilding AfterTheEnd with a bonus dash of that good vs. evil thing. Typically of King's style, the ending [[EndingFatigue features an epilogue longer than the final confrontation itself]] about someone making his way home by various mundane means while nothing much happens. (The book was heavily influenced by ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', which has a similarly long denouement.)
--> [[TakeThatMe "Some critics have accused me of having diarrhoea of the word processor."]]
* In ''TheSumOfAllFears'', a 700 page book, the first 500 pages are devoted to the miserable personal life of the main character. Then the action starts.
** In ''Literature/ClearAndPresentDanger'' Tom devotes nearly a chapter to the history and exploits of USCGC Panache captain Red Wegener, along with a backstory about a journalist on his ship... and Wegener goes on to play a relatively minor role in the remainder of the book. He gets about five seconds of screen time in the movie (and is played by a woman about 20 years younger than he would have been).
** Captain Tupolev's introduction in ''Literature/TheHuntForRedOctober'' comes to mind as well.
* Arthur Ransome's ''SwallowsAndAmazons'' series is full of this (except [[spoiler:We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea]]) to the point where, in a hypothetical 100-chapter book, chapters 1-98 would be very... slowly... building up suspense, chapter 99 would be the action, and chapter 100 would be tying up loose ends. (It is especially bad in [[spoiler:the one where they are accused of untying boats but didn't, and it's really obvious who did it.]]) The books '''are''' very interesting, however.
* ''Literature/ThatHideousStrength'' is a [[SomethingCompletelyDifferent drastic departure from the previous two books]]. Firstly, it takes place on Earth, and while there are some vaguely supernatural elements introduced early on, the first 100 pages or so are, by and large, devoted to University politics and polite people politely arguing about various intellectual pursuits that seem to be nothing but fluff if you're not paying close attention (much like the CSPAN parodies on TheOnion). You'd be forgiven for thinking you got the wrong book, until the second third of the book begins and things start picking up. Of course, you get a sense for where things will be going if you can manage to pay attention.
* ''Tyger Pool'' by Pauline Fisk uses this deliberately to establish the slowness and gloom suffered by a recently-bereaved family, featuring long monologues by the heroine about her deceased mother and the paralysing gloom that's affected her father. Just when you think the story's not going to go anywhere... it does.
* The premise of ''War and Democide Never Again'' is that the heroes travel into the past to prevent all the atrocities and wars of the twentieth century. No TimeTravel is actually done until halfway through the book, however. Before that, there is more than one hundred and fifty pages of the main character talking about his life before getting involved in the AncientConspiracy to travel through time, and reading flashbacks of people's lives in oppressive dictatorships.
* Creator/JackLondon's ''Literature/WhiteFang'' took about five chapters before White Fang was even ''born,'' let alone named.
* Creator/TadWilliams loves to take his time. His ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'' trilogy (the fourth book was so long it had to be cut into two 800 page books for the paperbacks) took 150 pages for the action to start; everything up to that was mystery, backbiting, and intrigue. The entire first book of his Shadowmarch series is intro. The central mystery of his ''Literature/{{Otherland}}'' series is introduced in he opening chapters of the first book and barely even merits mentioning until it's wrapped up at the end of the fourth doorstopper. The only book he's written that got things going in short time also wrapped up quickly, that being his stand alone novel TailchasersSong.
* This is a common problem with 18th and 19th Century novels. Because of the wide use of the LiteraryAgentHypothesis, many novels start with long, irrelelvant introductions about the literary agent and how he acquired the novel. (The fact that many if not most authors back then were paid by word count [[MoneyDearBoy probably had something to do with it]].)
* This occurs in many (though not all) of the works of Creator/MichaelCrichton. For one hundred or even two hundred pages, he introduces the characters and describes the situation in painstaking detail. On page two hundred, things go wrong and people start dying.
** In the case of ''Franchise/JurassicPark'', it's several chapters before we even meet the main characters. Crichton states this is because he wanted to set it all up as something of a mystery in the beginning, and to uncover what's going on slowly to the reader. Which is a weird thing to do, considering the title of the book leaves little doubt as to what the reader will find inside. The huge popularity of the films makes it even worse, pushing it pretty firmly into ItWasHisSled territory.
* Don DeLillo's ''Literature/WhiteNoise'' doesn't introduce the plot device "Airborne Toxic Event" until about a hundred pages in. The first segment of the book introduces characters and sets up key themes, and it's both funny and insightful, but there isn't a ton of plot there.
* [[Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy So Long And Thanks For All The Fish]] has a chapter in the middle which is basically ''Creator/DouglasAdams'' giving a ReasonYouSuckSpeech to all the fans asking about Arthur's sex life, then tells readers who ''aren't'' interested in it to skip ahead to the last chapter, which is rather good and has [[EnsembleDarkhorse Marvin]] in it.
* Leon Uris's ''Exodus'' is especially bad at this. Early chapters interweaves the protagonists' escape from Cyprus with detailed mini-histories of the Holocaust and World War II - at least partially justified as back story for several characters. Then the second "part" of the book stops completely for a 100 page description of modern Zionism from the 1890s through the creation of modern Israel. The novel picks up once the main story starts, but just getting there will exhaust many readers.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{The 100}}'' is one of those shows where the first two or three episodes are generally considered to be the worst of the series: they're filled with a ''lot'' of exposition, and the writers hadn't gotten a good grasp on the characters' personalities or the dynamics between them yet. A common refrain from ''The 100'' fans is that they were planning to give up on show, until [[spoiler:Charlotte killed Wells]] at the end of episode three; that moment got them hooked, and the episodes that followed made them fall in love with the series.
* ''Series/TwentyFour'':
** The fanbase expressed annoyance with seasons 3 and 8 because they started off on a weak note. The cluster of subplots, pacing problems, and weak CharacterDevelopment killed the tension [[Series/TwentyFour 24]] is usually known for. Around the halfway point, the writers finally got a grasp with what they should do, and managed to produce much stronger episodes until the end of their respective seasons.
** Subverted in season 7. Although it's a split around whether it started to improve when Jonas Hodges was introduced as the major antagonist or the season was relatively consistent from the beginning, after [[spoiler: Hodges was taken out of action and [[ReplacementScrappy replaced]] with a much less favored villain, Jack was [[HeroOnHiatus sidelined]] for the rest of it and Tony crossed the MoralEventHorizon,]] up to the finale just about every fan found the remaining part damn near unwatchable and easily some of the worst episodes in the show's run.
* ''Marvel's Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' started things off with many episodes with disconnected plot points that failed to grab audiences. Many of the plot points introduced in these episodes become relevant in later episodes and the series really starts hitting its stride when the plot focuses more on Centipede, introduced in the first episode and TheBigBad, The mysterious Clairvoyant, is introduced. Events in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' had dramatic affects on the ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD''. It's entirely possible that there was padding added to the first season while waiting for the film's release. The most common advice seasoned fans give to newcomers is to hang in there past the first dozen episodes.
* Season 4 of ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' starts off pretty slow as it spends most of the first few episodes setting up key plot points that pay off at the end and mostly puts jokes to the side. The whole season should be thought of as a movie with interweaving plots that make much more sense as the story goes on.
* Many fans of ''Series/BabylonFive'' lament of how hard it is to get new people into the show. This is because much of the first season is [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness very difficult to get through]], being largely episodic and universe-building in nature, to pave the way for later events. And featuring a bland and uninteresting male lead who was replaced [[GrowingTheBeard in the second season]].
* The first 12 episodes of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' (or its first season) had potential and could be fun/entertaining, but had no continuous plot and relied on MonsterOfTheWeek episodes, as well as having some cringy humour thrown in and clunky, predictable villains. Trust that it is totally worth sticking with it for season 2 and 3, which are both full of [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome Awesome Moments]], SugarWiki/FunnyMoments, SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments and the odd TearJerker.
* For this reason, ''Series/TheDailyShow'' once introduced a story under the title "Be Patient, This Gets Amazing." This applies to the show itself as well: the early Craig Kilborn years weren't nearly as popular or acclaimed as when Jon Stewart took over and the show steered in the direction of more political satire.
* Series 8 of modern ''Series/DoctorWho'' is the first season for the Twelfth Doctor (Creator/PeterCapaldi) and is a hit-and-miss year. The StoryArc is preoccupied with giving belated CharacterDevelopment to companion Clara Oswald (who'd spent her first half-season as more puzzle than person), leading to some spotlight-hogging and a RomanticPlotTumor with Danny Pink. Twelve's a broody, dry-witted ByronicHero with NoSocialSkills who takes longer to warm up to than most Doctors. And the arc culminates in a gloomy finale that's a DownerEnding for both Clara and the Doctor. But the season manages some fan favorites in "Listen", "Mummy on the Orient Express", and "Flatline", and it's directly out of this arc that a strong ChristmasEpisode and an excellent Series 9 emerge. A warmer Doctor takes center stage in better-paced stories that have a good balance of action and introspection, and a StoryArc that puts him through an emotional wringer yet ends on a hopeful note twice over (first with a finale that [[spoiler: has him separated from Clara for good]], second with a ChristmasEpisode that [[spoiler: brings closure to his relationship with River Song]]).
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' had a tough time building an audience during its first season, because its earlier episodes resembled ''Series/TheXFiles'' a little too much, what with its MonsterOfTheWeek plots, and its FBI based setting to solve paranormal crimes and/or mysteries. Creator/JJAbrams helming the show during its early days may have hurt as well (if the reputations of ''Series/{{Alias}}'' and ''Series/{{Lost}}'' were anything to go by). As a result, the more GenreSavvy sci-fi fans tuned out before the halfway mark, which was the point when ''Fringe'' revealed that those episodes was mere setup for the ''real'' plot that has unfolded ever since. At that point, ''Fringe'' carved its own identity beyond the [[XMeetsY X-Files-meets-Lost]] that stereotyped the show earlier, [[GrowingTheBeard and never lost its stride from that point onward]].
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'' season one can be aptly described as ProlongedPrologue in TV form. Most of what goes on establish the many protagonists and significant locales that will be heavily involved later in the plot. With the exception of some key moments, most of what unfolds is exposition layered on top of more exposition, with not much plot inertia going on (similar to how ''Series/TheWire'' started; see below). This all changes once the big WhamEpisode hits in episode nine, which throws the semi-stable equilibrium of the previous episodes into outright chaos, which defines the following episodes, and never relents from that point onward.
* After ''Series/{{Lost}}'' season 3 opened up with an awe inspiring first five minutes, many fans found the first six episodes to be very frustrating and boring, plus a hasty death that cut off a potentially awesome future to an already great character. Some viewers during the season's original airing jumped ship around this time, which is too bad, because the following episodes were mostly wonderful, and the [[MindScrew completely unexpected season ending]] [[WhamEpisode changed everything viewers knew about the show]].
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' isn't terrible ''per se'' but the first couple of seasons struggle, with awkward storylines, jerky character development and interaction, and [[{{Anvilicious}} often heavy handed morals]] that they [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped don't get away with as easily as the original series]] did. By the third season however they've really come into their own and distinguished themselves as more than just a sequel series for a cult 60's show. Next Gen is now one of the most popular series, and is in fact TropeNamer for GrowingTheBeard.
** ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' had similar early growing pains. The writers were riding Next Gen's coat-tails ''hard'' early on, with a lot of first-season episodes that had a big "hey, remember this thing from ''The Next Generation''?" hook. It eventually found its feet and had its own story to tell, and did as much to deepen the Trek universe as any other series broadened it.
* The first five episodes of ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' are very slow, due to hardly any characters actually being aware of the vampires' existence. Then Elena finds out at the end of episode five, and the show improves considerably.
* ''TheWire'' isn't exactly instant gratification TV, and it certainly [[ContinuityLockout does not exactly make it easy for new viewers to jump in and understand the show]]. The first few episodes get hit with this problem the hardest, which almost overwhelms to the point of discouragement, thanks to [[InfoDump detail overload]] and an [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters abundance of characters to introduce and dissect]]. However, as all longtime fans of ''The Wire'' know ''very'' well, for people willing to take the time to understand the show's intricate design, they will be rewarded a hundred times over. It just takes some perseverance to get there.

* DeltaGoodrem- Believe Again is this, 40 seconds introduction definitely makes it harder for casual listeners to enjoy.
* {{Music/Dream Theater}}'s "Bridges In the Sky" starts with a full minute and a half of synth drones, throat singing, and Eastern instrument effects before the main song starts. It still manages to be [[AwesomeMusic awesome]].
* fun.'s second album, ''Some Nights'' has this as the title as one of their songs. However, it is not this trope, as the album starts off with fun.'s recent three singles, all of which have been critically acclaimed.
* It is commonly said that "the LoneRanger music is Rossini's William Tell overture". Those interested in "hearing the original" may fall victim to this trope. The William Tell overture actually has four movements and the Lone Ranger music is the last one.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJzWGkgFcTU "Ghost of Stephen Foster"]] by SquirrelNutZippers has a minute of slow, somber violin music before the catchy klezmer ''finally'' begins.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxP-KR-O2Ls "Threnody"]] by SebastiAn is quite possibly the biggest build-up to a bass drop ever: out of a 13 minute song, the build-up is ''11 minutes long''. SebastiAn has played it live many times before in its entirety, often extending the introduction by ten or more minutes, with [[HilarityEnsues hilarious results.]]
* The {{Music/Yes}} album ''Talk'' is this for fans of their 70's work, since only the last 2 tracks really try to get the "classic sound".
* An overwhelming amount of electronic dance music (house, trance, techno, dubstep, etc.) contains intros and/or outros of just the percussion, which are primarily there for [=DJs=] to use for mixing. These intros/outros are usually removed for an artist's album and their appearance phases in and out of use based on current trends: as of 2012, many producers are reducing or removing their beat intros altogether.
* Songs can have a filler of their own. Often they're [[EpicInstrumentalOpener near the beginning]] and can be recognized by an urge to skip forward. The most common examples are video game song remixes.
** "Singing Mountain" from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''. A beautiful piece of music preceded by a whole minute of listening to the wind.
* There's a lot of Russian folk themes and French martial music snippets before you get to the bit people can hum - with all the artillery and stuff - in the 1812 Overture. (The overture itself is some sixteen minutes long; that famously hummable bit is barely more than two.
* Kris Kristofferson's 1970 debut album ''Kristofferson'' features his own versions of all his early songs that revolutionized country music songwriting ("Me and Bobby [=McGee=]", "Help Me Make It Through The Night" and "Sunday Morning Comin' Down" for starters), but for some odd reason the album opens with the goofy, sarcastic, not-very-country novelty song "Blame It on [[Music/TheRollingStones The Stones"]].

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Introducing new competitive divisions or revitalizing old ones can fall into this. When the whole promotion is fresh entire shows can consist of almost nothing but establishing whose who and what's what. When champions and angles are already running though, that leaves less time to explain rules new the audience(Most television titles, the small amounts of variation in Wrestling/{{U|niversalWrestlingFederation}}WF's early shoot fights, Wrestling/RingOfHonor's Pure division), what makes this weight class special(Wrestling/{{All Japan|ProWrestling}}'s attempts to duplicate what Wrestling/{{New Japan|ProWrestling}} did with Super Juniors), the different stakes in teams and singles(tag teams were the first to catch on in [[Wrestling/AllJapanWomensProWrestling Zenjo]], tercias built UWA/LLI), just how these minis most fans have never seen compare to one another(every mini estrella division except maybe Wrestling/{{AAA}}'s and Wrestling/{{N|ationalWrestlingAlliance}}WA Mexico since they had what Wrestling/{{CMLL}} already established), that these valets who have been nothing but distractions till now are willing to bleed(WWC having to build from the ground up after Tigresa's heyday), leading to early days-months being repetitive, contrived or awkward as audiences don't know what to make of it(each of these things wound up being successful in the long run).
* On an individual level, all professional wrestlers get better with experience. Some are pretty good the second they debut(Wrestling/TheRock, Wrestling/KurtAngle) as fare as wrestling goes but don't have the finer aspects of WrestlingPsychology down or a workable [[TheGimmick gimmick]], which becomes problematic when companies push them to moon before those traits are truly realized(both men were met with XPacHeat early on because of it). Most have shoddy matches for their first year or two (or three) in addition to this, even those with a background in sports, including combat sports or amateur wrestling(no less than [[Wrestling/GeorgeWagner Gorgeous George]] and Wrestling/KarlGotch were considered bland early on). Even athletes with background in other performance arts like Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin tend to take awhile to hit their stride but they also often end up being some of the best pro wrestlers when they do..[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' up until 4th edition suffered from this: People routinely started campaigns at level 3 because at level 1 there are just so few options and so few player hit points that it's both boring and extremely swingy. Max HP at 1st level was a common house rule (and became an official rule with 3rd edition).
** This is one of the major things WizardsOfTheCoast tried to fix in 4th Edition. It didn't really work: combat at level one is no longer as swingy but, for the lack of abilities, still boring; and some of the UnpleasableFanbase want the thrill of low-level danger back.
** The big problem is that after the first time you play, the simplicity of low level characters is boring, and the first time you play, the complexity of first level characters is confusing. Dungeons & Dragons after second edition became an extremely complicated game from the get-go, making the low level tutorial mode futile - a first level character is STILL too complicated for a first time [=RPer=].

* The first part of the prologue of ''[[Theatre/DerRingDesNibelungen Götterdämmerung]]'', with the Norns, is 15 minutes of pure exposition.
** Considering the entire opera cycle is about twenty (yes, twenty) hours long, it's not as though they don't have the time.
* The first two thirds of ''OurTown'' consists of a mind-numbingly detailed portrait of completely average small-town life. Of course, that's part of the point the author is trying to make.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/AeternoBlade'' feels like a very generic Metroidvania until all pieces of the titular blade are recovered about halfway through the game and the time warp mechanics open up the world and make the game far more unique and fun.
* It's a fairly standard behavior for fans of ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing'' to wax annoyed at various qualities of the JustifiedTutorial. Either it's too long, it's too repetitive, or it really ought to be skippable.
* In ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol'', a combination of low-level skills and weaponry makes combat a chore early on, and the missions in Saudi Arabia can come across as pretty boring for the most part. The game opens up immensely by the time you're given free reign to choose your missions.
* ''VideoGame/ArcanumOfSteamworksAndMagickObscura''. Coming off the crashed blimp, you have barely any money to buy your starting equipment, and your skills are lacking. It's hard to say at what point the game manages to pick-up, but you'll just suddenly realize that it did.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'' takes a good hour and a half to get to your first real mission. That's if you're quick.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'' spends the first three sequences setting up the plot with a completely different character and doesn't really open up until the 6th sequence about seven to ten hours in.
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'':
** The first game is extremely unforgiving to begin with, as you are at level one (see the D&D entry above) and have barely any HP, combat ability (whether you are a fighter, mage or other class) or special abilities (where applicable). You can only really start to actually do anything interesting without being slaughtered after gaining a couple of levels, half-decent equipment and a party.
** ''Baldur's Gate II'' has a much more forgiving opening area. For a start, there's the fact that being a direct successor means you actually have some skills and are tougher than a wounded puppy this time around (and you can actually import your character from the first game). However, the opening dungeon becomes extremely obnoxious and boring for many after the first trip or two through it, let alone if you like making new character builds. Mods have been made that allow you to skip it entirely while still taking everything of note, including experience.
** ''IcewindDale'' has a similar start. Thankfully, there are some moderately challenging sidequests in the first town to get experience. Going on to fight the first goblins will probably get you killed, especially your squishy wizard, with his 4 hitpoints and one spell (two if you have maxed Intelligence).
* Invoked in the 2004 PS2 and XBox release of ''TheBardsTale'', where an extremely talkative Viking explains at length how he got into the situation he's in. The Bard himself can choose to shut him up before he finishes, but doing this denies the Bard a useful trinket a little later on.
* ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos'':
** ''Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean'' gets off to a rocky start. The card-based battle system is something that you really have to experiment with to master; even if you read the manual cover to cover, you'll still spend the first few battles just pushing buttons. Just to add to that, you spend most of Sadal Suud with nobody but Kalas in your party, which slows battles against even the weakest enemies to a crawl. Finally, to top the whole thing off, there's little to no strategy involved; most of your weapons are simple nonelemental swords with only one spirit number, reducing battles to little more than hitting the enemies over and over. It's probably intended to ease players into the system, but it makes the whole thing feel clunky and tedious.
** ''Origins'', meanwhile, suffers from an underwhelming first half. The gameplay is enjoyable, but, story-wise, all the major villains can't die yet, so you lose a lot of boss battles. ''A lot''. Sagi becomes a borderline FailureHero just because he's so ineffective at getting things done. It's not until the [[WhamEpisode Heart-to-Heart scene]] that Sagi becomes anything more than a thorn in the BigBad's side.
* The first ''VideoGame/BloodRayne'' game began with several levels in an ugly brown swampy area, fighting zombies and ''spiders''. It's only after you slog through this that you get to the real business of slaughtering Nazis. Thankfully in subsequent playthroughs you can skip the swamps entirely.
* ''VideoGame/{{Castlevania64}}'' begins with the forest complete with CameraScrew nasty platforms, moves on to the Villa with the [[TheMaze hedge maze]], then puts you smack dab in [[ThatOneLevel the nitro level]]. Once you get past that the game actually gets pretty fun, but most people unfortunately don't stay that long and [[NeverLiveItDown its rather bad reputation stuck]].
* ''VideoGame/CaveStory'' can make a bad first impression, thrusting you into a confusing web of a plot with underwhelming weapons, tricky controls, and tiresome fetch quests. By the time you reach the Labyrinth, you're done with the fetch quests, you have some excellent weapons, and you're finally starting to get a bearing on the plot.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' games (including [[SpiritualSuccessor member in spirit]] ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'') start off quite slow: you have only one city, it takes ages for anything to get done, and there's miles and miles of empty space between you and the next civilization/faction over (usually). However, the game gets increasingly engrossing (and time-consuming) as world civilization gets more and more complex, and your rivals develop a unique character.
* ''VideoGame/DarkCloud'' suffers from this. The game opens with a roughly six minute cutscene about the release of the Dark Genie; unfortunately, about four of those minutes are spent on long, slow shots of characters dancing. Once the Genie is released, it looks like things will pick up...but then we cut to Toan's village, and there's ''another'' six-minute cutscene detailing the festival that he's supposed to attend (which again features long, slow shots of characters dancing). Things don't even pick up after the Dark Genie's attack, as this leads to yet another cutscene, followed by further bouts of exposition from the Mayor as he gives you the key to the first dungeon. All told, it takes about thirty minutes for you to actually start fighting monsters and restoring your village. ''VideoGame/DarkCloud2'' goes even further with this, as it opens with an extended sequence of main character Max...going to a circus. The player mostly watches cutscenes--including a lengthy sequence of circus acts that has no bearing on the plot--and only gets to control Max for a few minutes as he chases around a small boy who stole his circus tickets. What makes this particularly frustrating is that there's a sequence that could have been a lot of fun to play--namely, when EvilClown Flotsam and his goons are chasing Max through the city--but this, too, is an FMV.
* Unfortunately, the first couple hours of ''VideoGame/DeadlyPremonition'' are probably its weakest. It start with a combat section, which are all uniformly clunky and tedious, and it's not until you run the first few objectives and the sandbox-esque town of Greenvale opens up that the game REALLY gets interesting.
* The first level of ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' was this for many people; it essentially throws you to the wolves and is extremely difficult if you don't yet get how the overall gameplay and systems of the game work yet. On the other hand, it grows on many people in subsequent playthroughs for this reason too (as it doesn't really compromise too much on what works so well in the game). It's also thematically appropriate, as several characters note that the mission ''is'' a test of [=JC's=] capabilities, and if you complete it at all most people will be deeply impressed and say things like, "Who's awesome? You're awesome."
* The first ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' game started by forcing you to jump around the lifeless opening foyer of a mansion and find 45 red orbs to unlock a door before meeting your first mook.
* ''VideoGame/DivineDivinity'' is a perfect example of this. Long, linear dungeon crawl to begin with, takes at least several hours to get through before you get to the heavily nonlinear and somewhat less combat-intensive main part of the game, which has heaps of interesting quests and whatnot. Technically it's possible to skip the dungeon but it makes it difficult somewhat because every other enemy around is well too tough at level 1.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', from a strictly storytelling standpoint, went through this. Act 1 is relatively slow, acting in a similar manner to the above-mentioned first season of ''Series/BabylonFive'': Those first fifteen hours or so do nothing but expand on [[VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins the first game]]'s world building, introduce plot elements, and set up future events (mostly having to do with the Qunari and Templar/Mage conflict). The entire thing is more or less one big InnocuouslyImportantEpisode. Act 2 is where the game begins taking many of [[ChekhovsGun the plot points and items introduced in Act 1]] and starts weaving them into the overall narrative.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVII'' may have the longest Start-to-Slime time in video game history.
** The game sets itself up nicely in the beginning for the time-travel/world-hopping main storyline, but it takes ''two freakin' hours'' before the party encounters its first monster.
** The reaction your hero's friends have to this first battle may be a bit of LampshadeHanging; [[JumpedAtTheCall Kiefer's]] so excited he breaks into ''insane laughter'', while [[{{Tsundere}} Maribel]] is... less than pleased.
** The game also starts to get real fun when you reach Dhama Temple and the JobSystem kicks in, which is about 30 hours later. Before that the fights are still pretty boring.
* For people used to modern RolePlayingGames, the UpdatedRerelease versions of ''DragonQuest'' games can be this. The only way to know how far your character is from the next level is to head to the local SavePoint, combat is ''brutal'' on lower levels, and depending on the game, there may be few ways to regenerate magic outside of towns. Even the newer games like ''IX'' suffer from these due to the GrandfatherClause.
* The first ''VideoGame/DragonQuestMonsters'' on the Game Boy Color, while superior to its spawn in almost every other way, suffers from a lot of dull text at the start, as you're forced to wander around a NoobCave with monsters that don't have much in the way of usable skills, then do another mediocre dungeon, before you can finally start using the customization that makes the game so awesome. The DS game suffers a little from this, but the period is much shorter.
* ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' sort of fits this, though in an odd way. It would be more accurate to say the player gets better. Simply, Dwarf Fortress is so complex that anyone new to the game simply will be unable to enjoy it yet. But once you figure out how to dig and build, you'll start enjoying the game. Then you can begin to scale that difficulty cliff, which provides you with an ever increasing view of awesome that by the time you reach the top you feel you deserve every bit of fun you now get... until you realize you just climbed up the side of a volcano, and so on.
* ''VideoGame/{{Mother}}'':
** ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' starts you out with one party member, rendering any strategy beyond 'hit and get hit' nonexistant. Also, the game gives you little room for error; this isn't too much of a problem in Onett, but [[ThatOneLevel Peaceful Rest Valley]] can be a nightmare even with the help of the rolling HP meter. After Paula joins and levels up enough for her tremendous speed and magical powers to start showing, the game gets much better.
** ''VideoGame/EarthBoundBeginnings'' will be rather tedious at times, especially since this is the only game of the series with {{Random Encounter}}s. But as soon as you first enter Magicant, the game gets a little better.
** ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER 3}}'' does this as well. The first three chapters cover three very important days. While they may be excellent as far as the story goes, the gameplay suffers somewhat, ''especially'' during [[ForcedLevelGrinding Chapter 3]]. After the TimeSkip, however, you get control of Lucas and Boney, and the gameplay becomes much more enjoyable, especially after getting your PsychicPowers.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'':
** A lot of people dislike the tutorial level of ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'', as it consists of a (dull) cave which they must play through before they can start the game proper. Considering one of the biggest selling points for the game when it was released were the [[SceneryPorn beautiful outdoor landscapes]], it was particularly stupid to set the tutorial entirely inside a stuffy dungeon. Oblivion being what it is, [[GameMod there's several mods allowing you to start the game in different ways]]. Naturally, it's one of the more popular mods available.
** The intros to both ''Arena'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'' were similarly boring traps that the player must escape before they're free in the Sandbox. The tutorial beginning of ''Morrowind'' received complaints and made mods as work-arounds, but weren't nearly as bad as the others or ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' described above. Morrowind also got the complaint that its tutorial is virtually non-existent, making the game too difficult to start. Bethesda has yet to find the sweet spot, it seems.
** Skyrim manages to briefly show off the main attractions--impressive landscapes and dragons--during the introduction. The dragonborn gets hauled across the landscape, then sent to the executioner's block, then rescued by a dragon... and after that the tutorial starts. Which is mostly a DungeonCrawler, again. In short, it takes a while to get to the sandbox mode. It gets quite boring when one wants to start again with another race/gender.
** Also in ''Skyrim'', while the player gets free reign to explore after the tutorial dungeon, if you want to use the Shouts you still have some tedium ahead of you. You need to go from Riverwood, to Whiterun, to a dungeon near Riverwood (Although you can clear the dungeon before heading to Whiterun, since you can get a sidequest from the merchant in Riverwood that'll take you through it), back to Whiterun, then go kill your first dragon, then report back to the Jarl and get told to go see the Greybeards.
* ''VideoGame/TheEvilWithin'' has a tense and frightening first chapter that immediately goes into a lull with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th chapters. Chapter 5 ramps up the creepiness and terror, and Chapter 6 plunges you right into the emotionally tense and nerve-wracking atmosphere of the rest of the game headfirst. The chapters also grow to be far longer, with Chapter 3 taking about 30 minutes to complete, and Chapter 6 taking anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.
* ''VideoGame/{{Eversion}}'' seems like a SugarBowl Mario-clone platformer at first, but after a few levels, you need to figure out how to "evert" in order to solve the puzzles.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' takes at least a half-hour to get going, as you're forced through an extended character creation/exposition bit that, for all its attempted immersion, even ''one of the characters'' admits is a joke [[spoiler:right before he offers to change your stats for you]].
** VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas, by contrast, has an extremely quick tutorial. However, the first hours of the game are defined by {{Railroading}}, mostly by throwing {{Beef Gate}}s up everywhere, funneling players who don't know how to get around them more or less down the same route. Once you actually get to New Vegas and its surrounding areas, the game massively opens up, the main quest picks up, and the entire thing generally gets a lot more enjoyable.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}'', you begin with little money and poor equipment, and typically fight repetitive melee battles against scorpions. The more interesting gun battles against gun-wielding soldiers and powerful mutants of the wastelands start coming in The Den, and get more interesting as the game goes on. Due to ExecutiveMeddling, the very first thing you do in the game is travel through the Temple of Trials, a tutorial that makes absolutely no sense and even ''contradicts the main story'' in having this incredibly elaborate temple only used for worthiness-testing next to your dirt-poor village. Then the trial features a scrap against another member of your tribe to prove your worthiness - using your fists. Difficult if you've specced for guns during setup or worse gone for certain diplomacy traits, unless you use an oddball way around it.
* ''VideoGame/SystemShock 2''. You start the game in the moment you enroll with [[MegaCorp TriOptimum]]. You go through the basic training (three simple and very quick tutorials) and then through three years of training. It averts the trope however, since it is very quick, especially if you want it to be quick. It works well as part of the intro - establishing your character, while the FMV-intro establishes the setting of the game.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' opens with a very long intro, then a tutorial battle comprising schoolyard children having a snowball fight, then more exposition before finally getting to the game.
** The original ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' suffers too. During the first battle, only Ramza is controllable, and there's like, 10 other AI controlled units, so you'd have to wait and watch until your turn comes up. Plus, the first chapter of the game is pretty slow-paced. (But its so hard that you probably won't even notice.)
* The first twenty levels of your first character in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' are ''painful'', as the game drops you in your hometown with absolutely no instruction about how to do anything. They're by far the hardest, most frustrating, most unintuitive, grindtastic levels you will ever play in the entire game.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII''. It's 2-3 hours before you get any real combat options.
* Sweet lord, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII''. It dumps you straight into [[LostInMediasRes a plot-in-progress]] with no real clue as to what's going on, who these characters are, and what they're trying to do. On the subject of characters, most of them don't make a good first impression, so you're likely to spend a while hating at least one or two of them. Gameplay-wise, the crystarium and paradigm systems are completely absent, leaving you with nothing to do but use the Auto-Battle command every turn, and maybe an item here or there to mix it up a bit. It's not until the Anima fight that the gameplay gets interesting. On the bright side, it's all uphill from there.
* The first level in ''VideoGame/ForbiddenSiren'' was called "easily the worst level in the entire game" by one website.
* ''FreedomWars'' starts out terribly, with you being punished for doing basic things like walking more than five steps or talking to people, as well as a bunch of walking back and forth for a later mission. But once you get fast travel, the game becomes far less dull due to most of the padding being removed.
* ''VideoGame/GabrielKnight'' suffers from this for those not interested in backstory, historical minutiae, and/or drawn-out interview processes, especially when controlling Grace. Each of the three games takes about half the game for the action to pick up, which is good when it does, but until then it's jarring.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun: The Lost Age'' starts out feeling like a rehash of the first game, up until about a quarter of the way through, when you get the ship. Even if you know exactly where to go and what to do, many players will feel like they are trudging through nothing but mundane fetch quests and crossing one side of a continent to another for the plot while wading though RandomEncounters up the ass. It isn't until after discovering the true nature of the Lighthouses in Lumeria and then going to the far west to tackle the Jupiter Lighthouse is when the game starts to pick up.
* While the prologue of ''VideoGame/{{Half-Life 2}}'' is well liked, the first "real" gameplay sequence in the canals/Airboat before getting the gravity gun is considered a drudge by a lot of people. When selecting "New Game", you can choose to [[NewGamePlus begin on any chapter you've already played to]], allowing you to skip to Ravenholm, which is just after the Gravity Gun tutorial, and the point at which the game starts to get really good. That is also one of the two chapters playable in the demo.
* ''VideoGame/HamtaroHamHamHeartbreak'' starts of with Hamtaro, who has to look for Bijou (who will join him permanently) and save Oxnard and Pepper's relationship. It's somewhat uninteresting until Bijou joins you and the relationship between Oxnard and Pepper is fixed, and then you meet Spat, but it's when you meet Harmony that the game will hit its stride.
* ''VideoGame/HeadOverHeels'' is mostly just tricky platforming for the first sixth of the game, learning how each character works (Head's climbing and gliding abiilties, Heels needing to outrun stuff and carry things around) and hunting down their gear, and not really impressing. But once they pair up in Blacktooth Market, the game ''explodes'' with possibilities, and only more so when the non-linear section kicks in on the Moonbase.
* ''VideoGame/HeavyRain'': The intent of the opening sequence playing Ethan Mars And His Idyllic Home Life is to familiarize yourself with the {{Quick Time Event}}s and make you care about Ethan...but lots of people found it incredibly boring.
* ''VideoGame/HeyYouPikachu'' gets off to a weak start, mainly because you can't look away from your Pika-pal until he comes to live with you. Once you get full camera controls, the game opens up nicely.
* ''VideoGame/InfiniteUndiscovery'' was (rightly) criticized for its obnoxious opening hour. It starts with the player running up a long series of cut and pasted stairs, being chased by an invincible boss, proceeds into a ridiculously long and mostly pitch black forest full of enemies, all with only two characters and about as many health items. After the forest, the player gets a proper party... controlled by the AI, with the only player-controlled character being unable to attack, being required to carry another character to a nearby town. Fortunately, it picks up immediately afterwards.
* ''VideoGame/{{Izuna}}''. While the games are a NintendoHard [[{{Roguelike}} dungeon crawler]], the first game has a long text introduction followed by a boring dungeon where you get few items and die in a couple of hits. The 2nd game is better for this, but still has a lot of text at the start.
* In ''VideoGame/JediKnightIIJediOutcast'', the first few levels where the player is confined to using painfully inaccurate ranged weapons are painful to get through. However, upon obtaining a lightsaber and gaining Force powers the game becomes primary example of how fraggin' cool it is to be a Jedi. Also, as ammo and health are limited and stormtroopers have taken about [[TookALevelInBadass sixteen levels in badass]]. It's awesome. And you will spend a lot of time weeping bitter tears as you can't get through one room with four guys--'''again''', no matter how worth it you know it will be when you can literally stand in front of an entire army and not touch a button and ''win''.
* ''VideoGame/{{killer7}}'' has an extremely slow start, with the introductory level throwing you straight into the action without a word of explaination, and only offering bits and pieces of exposition during the incredibly long second level...but as soon as you reach the Cloudman chapter and meet Andrei Ulmeyda, the game picks up instantly.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'':
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''. You go through a three hour prologue/tutorial playing as somebody who is not even the main character and whose story only even gets cursory mention throughout the rest of the game until the very end. Even within this three hours, you get five to ten minutes of really cool stuff set between a half hour of slow, boring, stuff.
** Even in the original ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'', the plot doesn't kick in until you reach Traverse Town, which happens after roughly an hour--maybe two--of play. But this is much better paced than its sequel.
** The series has improved on this matter, ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' and ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance'' feature short and ''skippable'' tutorial sequences. You need to have seen the tutorial at least once in ''Birth by Sleep'' to be able to skip it, but you can skip ''Dream Drop Distance'''s tutorials right away. ''3D'' even puts some of its heavier background exposition in a menu log, allowing you to view them at your leisure instead of breaking up game flow with repeated flashbacks.
** Final Mix of ''Kingdom Hearts II'' at least sort of fixes it by adding a number of things to make the whole Roxas story more relevant, [[spoiler:most notably a battle against him towards the end of the game.]]
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', both the first game and [[Videogame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords its sequel]], have less than stellar opening levels that take a long time to complete and have a severely limited Jedi experience. It's only when planet selection is available that the games really pick up. The sequel is definitely a worse case, with the [[NoSidepathsNoExplorationNoFreedom incredibly linear]] ProlongedPrologue that takes in excess of three hours to complete, before dumping you in ''another'' prolonged prologue, albeit one with more openness and actual dialogue.
* ''VideoGame/LaMulana'' starts off with a [[WithThisHerring horribly weak character]] armed with a single clumsy weapon in a jungle full of [[GoddamnBats irritating enemies]] and [[GuideDangIt unclear puzzles]], all while fighting tricky JumpPhysics and trying to figure out where to go. However, this has less to do with pacing problems and more to do with the developers' stated desire to weed out anyone who doesn't have the patience to put up with the steep learning curve. It picks up after you get the grail (which makes dying very unlikely outside of boss battles) and the glyph reader (which gives you a chance to start working on most of the puzzles). By that point, you've probably got some bearing on the general logic the game runs on and have gotten the hang of the control system.
* ''VideoGame/TheLastRemnant'' has an ''extremely'' complex battle system that takes a lot of patience to understand, much less master. There's also the really long, unskippable cut scenes...but, once you understand the fights enough so that you're not just pushing buttons, it gets good. It should be noted that the PC version makes the cutscenes skippable and somewhat streamlines the battle system, though it is still quite bewildering starting out.
* ''VideoGame/LauraBow: The Dagger of Amon Ra'' doesn't actually get interesting until after you make it to the museum. Before that it's a bunch of gathering information, gathering items because you've conveniently lost all of your stuff and somehow don't have a press pass, money, or a dress to wear to this party you've been hired to go to write a story on, and you have to take the taxi from place to place, watching the same unnecessarily long, unskippable transition clip every single time you do. But then the game actually starts to get interesting.
* Almost every ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' game tends to have this problem from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' onwards:
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask Majora's Mask]]'', you have to do several succesive tasks to regain your original form, from Deku Scrub to Hylian. [[TimedMission And you must do it within the time limit]] or else you'll have to do everything since the beginning, because you can't save your progress until you're done. Note that the part about saving no longer applies in ''Majora's Mask 3D'', as owl statues now merely need to be examined instead of slashed at. Everything else is still true, however.
** The beginning of ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker The Wind Waker]]'' is quite different from the rest of the game: you start out on a tiny island with no weapons, hang out with a cast of pirates, are carted around on their ship, lose your equipment, have to spend about an hour doing a StealthBasedMission (the only one in the entire game), and then have to do a number of fetch quests for various townspeople. It's only about 3 hours into the game when you finally have your equipment and your own boat that the game catches its stride.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]'' forces you to go through a ton of tutorial-style content before you get to the actual game. From the start of the game, it is roughly five hours before players enter the first dungeon, several hours more before they gain access to Hyrule Field, and far longer still before they can explore it in its entirety. Included in the tutorials is learning how to fish, usually completely optional. Then after you catch something, you need to find out how to drop it so that the cat takes off with it.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks Spirit Tracks]]'' parodies the trope. It starts out with a big chunk of back-story, told with text and still pictures, just like the beginning of ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker The Wind Waker]]''. Once it ends, it's shown that Link got bored and fell asleep while an old man was telling the story.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'': the first game opens with a short exposition onboard the Normandy starship, followed by the "dungeon" mission on Eden Prime which serves as a combat tutorial, then more exposition, which is followed by your arrival to the game's major town, the maze-like Citadel, which is full of ''even more exposition'' and fetch quests with a few action scenes before finally opening up when they give you the Normandy to explore the galaxy. The sequel in contrast opens with an action-packed dungeon nowhere near as long as Eden Prime, followed by a short exposition, then another action-packed dungeon, and then an even shorter exposition before opening up. On the other hand, given that half the reason for playing [=BioWare=] games is to experience the worlds they've created, some players might ''enjoy'' the exposition.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' can start off slow, stiff and exposition-heavy for some... until the scope of the plot and narrative slowly build up, hitting a spike at the [[MindScrew Psycho Mantis battle]], culminating into an explosive, emotional climax that few games can compare to.
* ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'':
** The first game starts with the derelict frigate, which is well regarded by players but then you lose everything, ''including the Charge Beam'', leaving spamming the Power Beam (read: ''constant'' ButtonMashing) your main attack until you get it back, which is a borderline GuideDangIt if you're new to the series and haven't gotten used to the exploration-based gameplay.
** In ''Echoes'', the start of the game is slowed down because of the extreme caution necessary during the first forays into Dark Aether. Without the Dark Suit, gameplay is reduced to darting from beacon to beacon while defeating persistent enemies, and exploration of the nonlinear worlds (the core of ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'''s gameplay) is effectively ''punished''. Dark Aether isn't meant to be safe by any definition, but it's only later with the obtainment of the Dark Suit that taking risks becomes a genuine option, but by then the game is already a third on the way to the end.
** In ''Corruption'', the Olympus and Norion are very generic Federation areas (though the Ridley fight is good), and Bryyo is very linear and with some annoying level design and tasks. Once you beat Mogenar, you're off to Elysia, a stunning steampunk world with tramlines to grapple across, more exciting upgrades, and it gets a bit more open at this point too (a third on the way to the end).
* ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'' games games start out slow, but once you get used to the controls and the craft/shop system then anyone can really pick up to fighting monsters that are challenging, colorful, and entertaining, with resulting weapons follow suit. In particular, ''Freedom Unite'' has a set of tutorial missions that can take a day or more to get through. After you actually start getting rewarded for your effort, however, it picks up nicely, even though there's no plot beyond the premise. It goes a lot faster with friends.
* This is one of the reasons Act I of ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' tends to get flak from some players, particularly those mainly interested in the story. You travel through two quest hubs, several scripted encounters, and lots of ultimately irrelevant sidequests before you ''finally'' get to Neverwinter--at which point you get ''even more'' irrelevant sidequests before finally getting a chance to continue with the main plot.
* ''Oh No! More VideoGame/{{Lemmings}}'' begins with the Tame levels -- twenty levels of various terrain formations, with all skills available and ''no hazards'', so there is no difficulty whatever, and not much fun either.
* ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' has a long, unskippable, if beautifully drawn, introduction detailing the historical battle between Nagi, Shiranui and Orochi. If the player started the game only after letting the "attract loop" play, which illustrated the exact same story slightly differently, it seemed to go on for a very very long time. It is possible to skip the cutscene [[NewGamePlus once you've already finished the game]], while the Wii remake also allows you to skip them on your first run through.
* The first ''{{VideoGame/Paper Mario|64}}'' is the only Mario RPG that explicitly prevents you from [[ActionCommands guarding and using timed hits]] until it is [[YouShouldntKnowThisAlready explained by the tutorial]] at the end of the lengthy prologue. Until then, battle is purely "hit and get hit", and the player is forced to use healing blocks and items to avoid dying.
* ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' can feel a bit slow at first. Then the game gets interesting--when Peach joins, when Bowser joins, when [[spoiler:Sammer's Kingdom is destroyed]], etc.
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' is an odd case in that it just can't help but justify the AnthropicPrinciple. You know as soon as you discover the TV world that you're going to wind up going to it and fighting monsters, but the characters react realistically rather than [[JumpedAtTheCall simply rushing in]], with the result that gameplay doesn't fully open up until about three hours in.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' franchise, it's annoyingly tedious to be shown how to catch Pokémon at the beginning of every game. Especially bad in a few of the games, where it's possible to catch a full, six-mon party of Pokémon ''before'' you receive this tutorial. Some people say that the most boring part of every single Pokémon game is the first few towns until the first gym battle. You knew everything that happens there years before the game was even made.
* There isn't any interactivity at ''all'' for the first hour or so of ''PrincessWaltz''. The first time you do anything other than click through dialogue is the battle at the end of Chapter Two... which promptly introduces you to the simple yet intricate card-battle system, at which point your interest gets reignited.
* ''VideoGame/RetroGameChallenge'' opens up with the earliest, simplest game in the collection: ''Cosmic Gate''. If you happen to not be a fan of ''Galaga'' then you're in for a bit of a bad time.
* ''VideoGame/{{Rune}}'': After the perfectly serviceable tutorial, you and your allies are killed at sea. Your body then sinks so far DownTheDrain that you end up in a network of boring underwater caves and ruins under the underworld before ol' Odin decides to revive you, which are filled with boring enemies like crabs, anenomes and jellyfish (with occasional goblins, but they're very rare.) On your way to the surface, you then have to pass through Helheim, which is full of almost nothing but boring zombies. ''Finally'', you get to the "land of the living", and the game gets vastly better from there on in. The intro is bad enough that it was probably partially responsible for the game's obscurity.
* ''VideoGame/SeriousSam III: BFE'' starts out rather slowly with most of the enemies coming one by one. A pistol and a single shotgun are your only ranged weapons near the beginning. Taking cover is also necessary despite what the game's slogan is due to a lot of enemies having hitscan weapons. Near the end of the third level, first big battles start to happen and the pace of the game picks up a lot. After that it gradually builds up. The lack of ranged weapons can be averted through finding secrets. Find the right ones and by the time you reach those first big battles you already have both shotguns, an assault rifle, and the laser gun; this still leaves you with little ammo for them until the point you normally acquire them, though.
* The Westopolis stage is one of the worst opening stages in the entire Sonic franchise and probably helped lower the already rock-bottom public opinion of ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog''. It exposes many of the game's flaws; the game starts becoming considerably more fun around the halfway point when better weapons deal with the targeting system's flaws when in close range. And in order to get the final ending of the game and face the TrueFinalBoss, you have to get the game's ten normal endings. That means you have to play through Westopolis ''ten times''.
* A number of ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' players tend to give up before they enter Tokyo, as that's where the game's EarlyGameHell and lack of varied environments ends and the player can start picking up attacks and weapons best-suited to eliminating entire enemy parties at once, which are vital especially given the game's [[RocketTagGameplay lack of a defense stat]] that leads to either the player's party emerging victorious or getting destroyed in about one or two turns.
* ''VideoGame/SimCity'':
** Starting off small can be rather boring for some, but this is also where you can make a lot of mistakes by expanding a city ''too quickly'' and going bankrupt or get into bad development habits. Particularly after the first, when you have to lay out a lot more to expand at all. Luckily, you can dive into working with an existing metropolis in all of the games, though you might have to turn disasters off in some scenarios.
** ''Sim City 4'' takes this to the extreme in the sense that they offer the regions of San Fransisco, New York City, and a generic "Fairview" as being ''completely empty'', as in not one town to get you started, let alone your own custom regions start off blank. It can be frustrating to get the first few towns to grow, but after you get the regional population over 150,000, getting other cities to grow actually becomes incredibly easier and more strategically challenging as opposed to being pure frustration.
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'':
** The Game Gear ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'' is very different from the Megadrive/Genesis Sonic 2. Notably some genius decided to put perhaps the hardest boss (FAR harder than ANYTHING in a Genesis Sonic game) in any Sonic game ever as [[WakeUpCallBoss THE FIRST BOSS]].
** ''VideoGame/SonicAndTheSecretRings'' forces you to unlock many of the interesting abilities, going as far as to make you actually have to [[FakeDifficulty unlock better controls.]]
** ''VideoGame/SonicAndTheBlackKnight'' isn't much better, although it's more tolerable at first, and gets ''much'' better by the end. It has less to do with gaining abilities and more to do with the player learning what to do combined with bad level design for the first couple stages. Right around Molten Mine, the game picks up significantly.
* The early parts of ''[[VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine Spec Ops: The Line]]'' (presumably intentionally) seem like a generic, somewhat unpolished, modern military shooter. As it progresses, the story begins to play with and subvert the expected tropes, creating a more engaging experience. [[FromBadToWorse "Better" probably isn't the right word to describe the direction the plot takes, though.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Splatoon}}'''s multiplayer: You start with one available weapon, one game mode, and one set of gear and must earn everything else by leveling up. The early battles are still fun, but it isn't until you've gained a few levels that other weapon types become available and the real variety of gameplay styles become apparent. When you hit level 10 and gain access to ranked battles, the game ''really'' opens up.
* The first hour or so of ''VideoGame/StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime'' consists almost entirely of "run to this place, talk to this person, repeat." There's only two battles during the entire opening, and one is a tutorial.
* ''VideoGame/StarRuler''. At the start your industry is poor, your ships are short-legged, slow, weak and don't carry much ammo, early-game rushes are nearly impossible. It's only after some tech buildup that you can start making war in earnest.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' has a lot of this, especially on the Republic Classes, and doubly so on the Jedi Consular.
** The Consular's first act is hunting down Jedi Masters afflicted with a Dark Side plague, and is a FetchQuest. But then Alderaan is seen, where the last Jedi Master is negotiating with the squabbling noble houses (and under the Dark side plague, making the civil war ''worse''). The Consular, either way, shows up and ''forces'' a peace among those haughty nobles, establishing them as a first-rate {{Ambadassador}} and setting into motion the events of Acts 2 and 3.
** A class' first Act is comprised of going to a planet, doing the same thing as they do on the other three planets (destroying a terrorist cell as the Agent, disabling a superweapon as the Knight, finding an artifact as the Sith Inquisitor, etc.), and then leaving. In comparison, Acts 2 and 3 generally have much more epic, tightly woven stories, with a clear objective, more interesting characters, and more of a sense of impact on the world as a whole. The stories become more interesting, too: The Imperial Agent [[spoiler: is brainwashed and uncovers an AncientConspiracy]], the Jedi Knight [[spoiler: goes after [[BiggerBad the Emperor himself]] ]], the Sith Inquisitor [[spoiler: becomes a Sith Lord, builds a power base, hunts ghosts and fights for their life against a Dark Council member who wants them dead]], etc.
** This hits some characters harder than others. While classes like the Imperial Agent and Jedi Knight still have fairly interesting stories (albeit much less so than their Act 2 and 3 stories), others can be a nightmare to get through. The Jedi Consular, as mentioned, is downright ''painful'' to get through at first, and the Sith Inquisitor doesn't fare much better. Luckily, they get much better by Act 2.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}'' series can take varying amounts of time to get to the best parts of the game, but ''Suikoden V'' is the real offender as far as this trope goes - it takes a good 10-15 hours (as in, probably the better part of a real life day) to get past the initial go to various towns, talk to various people, see cutscenes, and okay, we'll let you fight a *few*battles here and there stage to where the game starts opening up, letting you get your base and actually starting to explore, recruit, and really get into the actual game. But once you do get past that, it's actually probably the best Suikoden game other than the revered "Suikoden 2".
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars Original Generation'' starts you off with one or two Gespensts (mass-produced units with only a handful of abilities) and maybe a fighter plane or two. It isn't until the cooler unique prototypes that it gets really interesting. Kyosuke's route isn't too bad though, as you get quickly several unique units and even some {{Super Robot}}s. Ryusei's, in the other hand, has no such luck.
* ''Franchise/TalesSeries'':
** The first ten hours of ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' can be a real drag since the main character Luke is an unlikable JerkAss and the plot is fairly typical. Even worse is how expensive weapon and armor is, so every time you get a new character you have to waste a lot of time running around fighting monsters because you will not have enough money. But eventually you get all your characters geared up, Luke has a HeelRealization moment, and the first traditional ''Tales'' plot twist happens, making the story actually interesting.
** ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'': What seems like a classic "power up the ChosenOne and save the world" story turns out to be a complete and utter LIE. In fact, you've only completed about five percent of the game! Now get ready to use daemonic weapons, PoweredByAForsakenChild augmentations, and unholy summoning spells against Cyber-Heaven for the remaining ninety-five percent.
** ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphoniaDawnOfTheNewWorld'': You start off with a long unskippable cutscene, and the first chapter is essentially one long, long unskippable tutorial on how to play. Even on NewGamePlus. It really doesn't help that this is the first of many chapters where the "Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality" line is really overused.
* The first stage of ''Tatsujin Ou'' / ''[[MarketBasedTitle Truxton II]]'' mostly consists of {{copy and paste|Environments}} space and enemy patterns for several minutes until you reach actual scenery. Once you get to stage 2, the game picks up in variety, although it also gets [[NintendoHard more difficult]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Toribash}}'' starts off rather awkward and clumsy. There's a tutorial in the game, but a lot of players starting tend to only learn the most basic of moves, or just blindly enter inputs... then, as understanding of the physics, timing, tolerances, and power available sets in, players can start pulling off more impressive maneuvers, and by then even the basic default settings will allow for some rather spectacular (or [[LudicrousGibs spectacularly gruesome]]) feats.
* The first episode of the ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' VisualNovel is nigh-unplayable due to this. You literally spend 2 hours reading people discussing the weather and politics. [[spoiler:Then death happens. [[{{Gorn}} Lots of horrible nasty death.]]]]
* Whenever you recruit a new character, ''ValkyrieProfile'' gives you an unskippable cutscene detailing his or her backstory. Some are good, some just have you mashing the X button in the irrational hope that it will do ''something''. Notably, the intro to the entire game- which has to introduce the main character AND her first two companions- takes nearly ''fifty minutes''. And there's also a prologue cutscene that plays [[AttractMode if you leave the game on the title screen without pressing start for a while]], sets up a plot twist later on, and is almost as long.
* The first stage of ''VideoGame/WaiWaiWorld 2'' is a slow, boring autoscroller that seemingly takes forever to end. Thankfully, the game gets more exciting the minute the second stage starts.
* The first episode of ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead: Season Two'' isn't all that interesting, with Clementine mostly on her own, while one of Telltale's greatest strengths is creating memorable characters and giving the player meaningful interactions with them. The overall direction of the story is also very vague. Once Clementine finally begins to be trusted by the new group of survivors near the end of episode one and the focus of the story is introduced early on in episode two, the game becomes the Walking Dead experience players know and love, and stays that way.
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcher'' certainly has this issue. While the Prologue might not seem that bad to first-time players, Chapter I probably will. The slow learning curve, slower pace, fair amount of backtracking and seemingly side-tracked plot ended up putting off some gamers - most notably [[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation Yahtzee]]. However, things get better in the next chapter, which is when the player's abilities start to diversify and the main story starts to pick up.
** VideoGame/TheWitcher2 had a similar problem due to its inverse difficulty curve and barely-present tutorial. Some players RageQuit the game after failing to beat the first encounter with enemy mooks. However, once you get a hang of the way the combat works and get some levels to unlock more abilities, it turns into a very rewarding experience.
* The early levels of ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' can be boring if you're not playing for the first time. You have only one or two skills and no talent points yet.
** Especially the low level Barrens for the Horde. The zone is as exciting as it sounds, and it's extremely big, with plenty of quests that have you scour large areas to find those elusive kodos that [[TwentyBearAsses just don't drop quest items as often as they should]]. Even one of the quest {{NPC}}s is constantly moving. And ganked repeatedly by the Alliance.
** Enormous areas of the game were made this when an expansion came out. Azeroth, the original two continents, were nearly totally abandoned when the Burning Crusade came out and everybody went to Outland. Only low levels and bank alts were left. Then the Wrath of the Lich King came out, and Outland was abandoned.
** Blizzard actually acknowledges the issue and throughout the second expansion was constantly improving it. They have cut the amount of experience needed for levels 1-60 several times, added [=XP=] gain in battlegrounds, introduced the whole new system for random dungeons which made it far easier to gather a party for them, ''and'' gives more loot and finally added several moderately challenging dungeons which awarded loot on par with lower level of previous raid tier. While the last addition removed the need for new players to farm several tiers of raids to finally get into actual content, it got hit with ItsEasySoItSucks.
** ''Cataclysm'' takes it a step further. Most of the classic zones have been redesigned (the Barrens for example were split into two more manageable zones), the talent trees are completely revamped (and now give you first SignatureMove for a chosen specialisation at level 10 instead of around 30), dungeons are readjusted for new level ranges, etc. [[SoCoolItsAwesome It is very awesome.]]
* The developmental league in ''Wrestling/{{WWE}} Day of Reckoning''[='=]s story mode. There's no storyline or anything interesting going on, it's all "Beat this guy," "OK, beat this guy using your finisher," "OK, beat this guy using a top-rope move," "OK, make this guy tap out..." and on and on and on. And you're fighting crappy nobody wrestlers that are just an amalgamation of CAW parts instead of the actual WWE guys you bought the game for. Overly realistic for many gamers.
* Endemic to the ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]]'' series. Depending on the game, it can literally take ''days'' to get enough cash together for your first factory, assuming you don't try to take advantage of [[GuideDangIt the derelict ships floating around]]. Recently the devs have been trying to reduce the lead time and make the games more accessible to new players.
* [[http://www.gamespot.com GameSpot]] has a review demerit Game Emblem called ''Terrible First Impression'' for games that suffer from this trope.
-->"Games with this demerit pick up at least a little later on, but they definitely don't start strong."
* The game ''VideoGame/{{FlyFF}}'' is a pretty big offender, most of its early advertisments and hell even its name, Fly For Fun, advertises its flying system and doing it at will, The Catch? You have to wait until level 20 to do so. Also the Class System for your character, you can't make the first change until level 15 and before you can make the change you must also complete a quest, the same happen's with the 2nd job change at level 60.

* It's often recommended to skip straight past the first five chapters of ''Webcomic/DanAndMabsFurryAdventures''.
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater''[='=]s art takes a bit to improve, and its writing is initially bland when compared to the later RapidFireComedy.
* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' was an amusing, [[NarmCharm albeit narmful]], comic with mediocre art and a ridiculous amount of [[GenderBender gender bending]]. Eventually, it evolved into an extremely involved comic [[ArtEvolution with great art]] and a ridiculous amount of [[GenderBender gender bending]].
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' starts as the story of a LoserProtagonist, in black-and-white. But here, this is voluntary: the story begins with her intelligence limiter removed. So ''she'll'' get better.
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt''[='=]s first few chapters aren't really ''bad'', but seem a bit [[MonsterOfTheWeek episodic]] (especially chapter 2, which is mostly irrelevant to the main plot). It takes some time for the story to come together--[[TheProducerThinksOfEverything from the readers' perspective, anyway]]--plus, those first few chapters [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/?p=782 "looked a little weird."]] Annie's UncannyValley-ish squashed-football head [[ArtEvolution is slowly phased out over about 20 chapters]] and the rest of the art, which was already good, improves greatly at the same time.
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' starts out about a kid in his house. It then proceeds to [[GrowingTheBeard grow a]] [[MindScrew very, very strange]] [[GrowingTheBeard beard]] when the reality-altering video games come into the plot. According to the author's Formspring, this is one hundred percent intentional. The rest of the first act, even though it is the shortest real act you'll see in the entire comic, is about a kid messing with inventory systems and a video game's mechanics until a meteor comes and almost pulverizes his house.
* The first season and a half of ''WebComic/TwistedKaijuTheater'' aren't bad or anything like that, but if you want actual coherent storylines as well as be properly introduced to the comic's universe and characters, than you might as well skip that whole part. And the latter half of season 2 is where the comic really [[GrowingTheBeard grows its beard]] and its quality increases. This can be a good way to lessen the insane ArchiveBinge you'll probably end going on.
* The WalkyVerse starts out as ''Roomies!'', a fairly dull and simply drawn SliceOfLife comic about college kids, which eventually improved considerably. It goes on to become ''Webcomic/ItsWalky'', a dramatic action/scifi multiverse with great art and well developed characters, and spins off into Webcomic/{{Shortpacked}}, a beacon of geek humor and satire. A ContinuityReboot, DumbingOfAge, returns to the slice-of-life-at-college roots, but keeps the superior artwork and characterization. It's repeatedly acknowledged by the author when he celebrated the continuity's 15th anniversary by reposting the old comics a day at a time on a new site, along with commentaries. He doesn't hesitate to Lampshade the blandness of the early art, humor, and characters, as well as the occasionally naive moralizing.
* The creator of ''[[http://xawu.thecomicseries.com/ Xawu]]'' keeps on ''saying'' that It Gets Better. It seems to have just died instead.
* ''Webcomic/TailsGetsTrolled'' starts off as a SoBadItsGood revenge fantasy with subpar art and [[NarmCharm unintentionally hilarious dialogue]]. Not only does the art undergo [[ArtEvolution major improvement]], but the characterisation helps shift the comic's story from a revenge fantasy to a story about [[BlackAndGreyMorality villains who grow ever more powerful fighting against a group who begin to be as evil as their enemy]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The animated UrbanFantasy series ''BrokenSaints'' is notorious for being very slow to start, apart from being just slow-paced in general. However, as writer Brooke Burgess is quick to point out, if the series didn't take its time with the nice character moments early on, the audience wouldn't care as much about them later on when the shit hits the fan.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic's early videos were ''okay'', they just weren't particularly laugh out loud funny or the Critic himself especially interesting. But then Doug tried something new by challenging WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd and both the comedy and character started falling into place.
* The web puppet series "Robot Rampage" suffered this in its first episode. While it essentially sets up the plot for the first season (building a Robot), the episode is a bit slow and expositional.
* TribeTwelve of ''TheSlenderManMythos''; it starts off as a ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets'' clone, but after the funeral submission, it begins to improve noticeably, in just about all respects. The acting is especially noticeable.
* "Ayla and the Mad Scientist" in the WhateleyUniverse takes forever before we even find out who's going to be the antagonist for the book.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' begins not with the founding of The Avengers, but with about two hours' worth of shorts detailing how each of the first eight members fought crime ''before'' becoming part of the team. Regardless of whether you watch each short one by one, or watch the five episodes compiling them, they make a rather disjointed introduction to the show.[[note]]The individual shorts were released in an order that caused the heroes' exploits to constantly interrupt one another, while the episodes compile them in a manner that sometimes fails to give each hero equal prominence.[[/note]] Even after the Avengers get founded, it takes six ''more'' episodes for all eight of those superheroes to join. However, a number of the episodes detailing the team's founding and early expansions became regarded nearly as highly as those that followed, if not more so.
** Season 2 takes its sweet time for the team to realize there is a mole on their team, this being the BIG cliffhanger from season 1. We're also waiting for the one person who figured this out to escape from the mole's prison. He escapes in episode 9. The arc is 13 episodes long, but the climax and payoff is well worth it as the build up finally begins to merge and pay off.
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' for its first few episodes is a very run-of-the-mill action show with mostly one-note and at times annoying characters and basic plots. The pilot in particular is just a slow-paced setup full of exposition and a ''very'' simple story that's basically just an excuse to have a huge fight scene. It isn't until about the first season's half-point that the characters settle into their roles and a continuous storyline begins to take shape. [[WordOfGod The writers admittedly]] [[WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants had no idea what to do with the show]] in the beginning, but thankfully they were able to tie the random plot-points they had laid out into a mostly coherent story by the season finale.
* Many people agree the first half of season 1 of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad!'' is mostly non-humorous political humor that was outdated before it even aired, in addition to having ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''-esque {{cutaway gag}}s. Thankfully, the second half of season 1 saw to it to get rid of many of the political humor, as well as completely removing the cutaways. Ever since then, it has been wildly regarded as the funniest animated series on Fox.
* The animated part of ''WesternAnimation/GertieTheDinosaur'' comes when the film is about halfway done. Of course, the whole thing is less than fifteen minutes long. Despite this, there was still a version made that cut the non-animated first half out.
* While they probably stand out compared to G3 and 3.5, [[DorkAge which in the opinion of some fans are pretty terrible]], the first two ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episodes are heavily clichéd and predictable. While these two episodes certainly aren't ''bad'' exactly, they didn't do much to establish their own identity. It's the later, [[SliceOfLife slice-of-life]] episodes that are the real gems of the series. Season 4 was also a case of this, beginning with several very controversial episodes but picking up after the first third and ending with a very highly-regarded finale.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' starts off by throwing the viewer into the deep end of the show's absurdist comedy, and it can take quite a while to get a handle on the setting and characterization due to how little continuity there is. It isn't until about halfway through the second season that the interpersonal relationships between the characters get more focus, and the show starts to build continuity within the setting. Then in the S2 finale, the Lich appears, and things really come together.
* The first couple of episodes of ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'' are considered decent but nothing really special. It's not until the fairly serious first season finale that it starts getting good.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' can be a disorienting experience for newcomers, as the first ten episodes or so provide only the smallest of hints that something bigger than a boy with a gem for a bellybutton and his mother figures having seemingly random adventures is going on. The series really picks up once it starts dealing with its MythArc in "Lion 2: The Movie", seventeen episodes in. It only gets better after the show's first two-parter, which would then go on to produce a steady string of high quality episodes containing the rich CharacterDevelopment and WorldBuilding the show's known for.
* ''WesternAnimation/BojackHorseman'' didn't impress too many people with its first two episodes; while not ''bad'', they didn't look like much more than a [[AllAdultAnimationIsSouthPark typical animated sitcom]], complete with FamilyGuy-esque [[CutawayGag Cutaway Gags]] and an unsympathetic protagonist. Around halfway through the first season, however, it revealed itself to be more of a thoughtful character study with surprising emotional heft.
* While the villain scenes of ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone'' are consistently humorous through the entire series, the heroes spend most of the early run being thoroughly humourless and bland, with very little effort put into developing their mythos and world, or even just [[DesignatedHero having them look sympathetic against the Urpneys]], making the show incredibly uneven. Season Three onwards starts to give more side plots for the heroes' duties and travels, with a lot more surreal world building present. Rufus and Amberley also gain more comedic, snarky personalities to make their scenes as enjoyable as the Urpneys'.