During the 1970s and 1980s, the increasing popularity of channel surfing led to networks putting mini-trailers for their shows on the start of that very show
. Usually preceded by "on tonight's X..." or "this time, on X...", the clips would then show all of the best stunts, most of the guest characters, an overview of the plot and sometimes even reveal major plot twists
. As most shows back then weren't exactly complex affairs, this usually meant that the entire plot was summarized in the first two minutes
, turning the following runtime into a tedious exercise of filling in the gaps
Ironically, although the practice was invented to keep people from flicking over to another channel, summarising the entire story in two minutes may have had the unexpected side effect of facilitating channel surfing.
These days this trope is almost exclusively reserved for Reality Shows
, and even then only shows the first ten or fifteen minutes. This is still annoying for some, however, since any show that involves members of the cast being voted out at the halfway point can be inadvertently spoiled for those that are paying attention to who's in each scene.
In console games, this is a subtrope of the Attract Mode
Compare Trailers Always Spoil
, Spoiler Opening
and On the Next
- More recent episodes of Pokémon start with a scene from the middle of the episode, essentially making every episode into a How We Got Here.
- Transformers Victory used previews.
- Cardcaptors would sometimes have these.
- The first season of Rosario + Vampire had a selection of clips from each weeks episode in it's opening.
- Sailor Moon did this up until season four, when it got rid of the precaps and instead used that space for a more tradtional Cold Open.
- Bleach has started doing this in the mid 200's.
- Van Dread had blipvert-style precaps in each episode's opening, similar to the Battlestar Galactica reboot.
- Durarara!! opens is a quasi-Precap after episode 2, showing scenes of the current episode with flavor conversation from the cast.
- Blue Comet SPT Layzner has one that does "on tonight's X..." on the middle of the opening sequence (Before the chorus plays, see for yourself here (starting at 1:00 mark)).
- Most of the Resident Evil games feature FMV of various scenes in the game - usually bosses, but sometimes clips showing how to complete some of the puzzles.
- Most video games, in fact, if left idle on the main menu, will go into Attract Mode. This may consist of showing a clip of action from the game, either a short snippet of a cut scene, or a gameplay demo.
- Super Metroid for the SNES goes a little farther than just showing gameplay snippets during its "attract mode"; the locations of three suit power-ups and how to get them are shown, as is a special technique that can recharge the Power Suit at the expense of ammo (though the exact method to do this is not shown - only the result, and that it's possible)
- Those are only shown after you beat the game once, so it's not such a big deal.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, if left idle at the outset, will run through two different full-length trailers showing various highlights of game play and cutscenes. The combined length of the two trailers comes to nearly ten minutes.
- The original The Legend of Zelda would scroll the backstorynote of the game if left at the opening screen for too long.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, letting the game idle at the title screen will eventually play a montage of cutscenes from the game backed by an instrumental remix of "Sanctuary", the main theme.
- Persona 4 does the same thing as the Twilight Princess example above, if one suffers a game over or chooses to return to the title screen, featuring a remix of the main battle theme over a (spoiler-laden) montage of gameplay.
- Persona 3 FES actually has two different intros - the one from the original game and the one made for FES (which spoils bits of "The Answer"). The two alternate each time you go back to the title screen.
- Dead Rising includes a short cutscene about a family crashing their car and being overrun by zombies. It looks unrelated until you see a picture of them in the wallet of the Psycho Vietnam Vet Boss. It was their death that made him crazy.
- In at least one instance, Total Drama Island did a preview for next week's all new episode... before this week's all new episode had ended. Being that TDI involves people being voted off, well, now one knew some of the people who were safe. Way to go, TDI.
- TDI also came up with parody clips...of the new episode, during said episode. The point was to be silly, usually along the theme of 'One character loses his mind, scares the others and or believes he is a giraffe'. They'd use clips of stuff that hadn't been shown yet, inducing more spoilering.
- Many episodes of The Flintstones had, at least for some airings, a seemingly random scene from the episode run before the episode begins. Later viewers unaccustomed to the practice watching decades-old reruns on Cartoon Network were probably confused to no end by this.