Please don't list this on a work's page as a trope. Examples can go on the work's YMMV tab.
Let's say you're watching a movie, playing a game, or reading a book. The story is well-told, the characters are engaging, and the settings are beautifully presented. When you finish, you walk away satisfied by what it had to offer.
Later, you decide you're in the mood to experience it again. Maybe you'd like to remember the exact way a quote was phrased, maybe you want to show it to a friend, or maybe you just want to watch it. Whatever the reason, it isn't long before the events are once again playing out in front of you.
But wait, what's this? That Funny Background Event looks suspiciously similar to the final battle. And are these conversations really just idle chitchat? And doesn't that janitor kind of look like the masked crusader that appears later on?
Congratulations, you've discovered this work's Rewatch Bonus! This is where the creators show off just how much work they put into writing the story! You just happened to miss it the first time through because there were bigger things drawing your attention.
Compare Foreshadowing. May result in Fridge Brilliance. Sometimes coincides with Late to the Punchline. Many of these end up being regarded as Cult Classics. This is especially common if the work has a Chekhov's Armory. Compare Replay Value.
It's out of order, meaning the first storyparts only shows part of the picture (like in the case where Keiichi's murder victim is mysteriously moved).
Not to mention the incredibly large amount of foreshadowing.
The plot of The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya makes much more sense when re-watched chronologically, or at least with the knowledge of what order the episodes take place in.
Even disregarding the Anachronic Order, this anime has so many hidden details you might notice on the first view that you have to watch it another time to notice. Just as example, did you know the taxi driver of episode 5 (chron.) is very likely to be the butler Arakawa? Or even all the books Yuki reads.. Or the Funny Background Event in "Live A Live". Or... The list goes on and on.
The first time you FLCL, you're just trying to figure what is going on. See it again, and you'll be noticing little jokes, Shout Outs, and visual metaphors you missed the first time.
The runes weren't meant to be deciphered until the release of the last BD, where the jacket would have the same lines as the almost-last display of runes, in plain letters (a case of Rosetta stone, that is). Unfortunately for the creators, some people are determined code-breakers. Mami mogu mogu.
One Piece... Where to begin with One Piece? It got the foreshadowing, Easter eggs here and there, trivial lines that will blow up in your face 500 chapters later. And it all just makes perfect sense and shapes the One Piece world and it's characters beyond the first glance.
Watching RahXephon a second time is a completely different experience, as suddenly all sorts of really minor incidents suddenly seem to be Foreshadowing or Symbolism. More than a few people have claimed to not truly understand the story until rewatching the series.
Pretty much everything in episode 1 of Steins;Gate where Okabe and Mayuri visit the time travel lecture counts as foreshadowing and gains more significance in episode 23 when Okabe revisitsthe conference using the improved time machine.
In Naruto, during the Kakashi Gaiden arc, an annoyed Obito tells Kakashi that he will surpass Kakashi once he activates his Sharingan. He kept his word.
Itachi had set up Sasuke's eyes such that it would cast Amaterasu on Tobi if Tobi were to show his Sharingan to Sasuke. He does, and the Amaterasu does engulf Tobi. Tobi goes offscreen for a while, and returns without any damage, exclaiming to himself, "I am glad Itachi did not know everything about me." We can now see that Tobi escaped the Amaterasu by using Kamui to teleport it into his alternate dimension.
The Sandman and its spin-offs have loads of foreshadowing, Arc Welding, and plenty of overlapping sidestories that enrich the series. Usually, people who read the series often reread it once they've finished all the volumes.
Watchmen is like this. Moorestated that this reason alone is why he felt it was un-filmable: there is simply too much detail going on in every panel for a movie to capture all of it.
A careful watch of The Sixth Sense will observe that the color red isn't present in the majority of the film. The times when the color is present are generally things that are touched by the "other world" inhabited by the dead and things that are especially emotionally charged for Dr. Malcolm Crowe or Cole, the boy, making them more present to them.
Fight Club, due to noticing the "clues" that hint at Tyler Durden not being real, and also the way your entire perception of certain characters will change once you know what's happening.
Memento, due to the Anachronic Order. The film is interspersed with Black-and-White scenes (which are played in chronological order) and Color scenes (which appear in reverse chronological order); interpreting what happens in what order may require multiple views.
The Spanish Prisoner lives and breathes this. There are so many details in the plot that even the third or fourth time you're still finding new ones.
Reservoir Dogs, due to the Anachronic Order. Orange's plea for White to take him to a hospital comes off less self-sacrificing and more desperate when you find out he's the cop, for example. The opening scene in particular is loaded and loaded with foreshadowing that you won't pick up on the first couple of times.
Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (from the same makers) have this in loads. The latter, especially, foreshadows and calls back to everything. It's a whole different movie when you know what's going to happen.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, from the director of the two movies previously mentioned, is filled with many little things that you won't notice on your first viewing.
The Prestige the film is very interesting to watch once you know Christian Bale is playing two characters. It takes some careful analysis of the plot and close attention to the performance, but the two twins have very distinct personalities, and Christian Bale plays them differently, in a subtle way. Even their accents are slightly different, especially when angry or drunk (when the facade is weakest). This is particularly impressive, since it is a subtlety of acting performance that not only won't an audience likely get the first time through, they're NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO. Which leads to an extra bit of Fridge Brilliance when you realize there's another art form that involves the artist doing a lot of work that the audience isn't supposed to notice—magic.
The "I'll be back" line from the original The Terminator was originally intended to be one of these. It backfired, as the line became more well known for first-time viewers than anyone expected.
And speaking of being back, for a first time viewer of Scream 1996 it seems like Stu's mockingly declaring, "I'll be right back!" instants after being warned not to when Randy explained the rules of surviving a horror movie situation is just another instance of many of Stu being a dumbass. But on repeat viewings we realize the real reason for his confidence and prankish tone is that he knows he genuinely has nothing to fear of breaking any of Randy's rules—as he is one of the killers himself.
The Avengers (2012) has this in spades. Not even mentioning foreshadowing, it's hard to catch all the clever jokes and distinctively Whedon-y lines the first time through.
Many Pixar movie have something from an upcoming movie worked in. It'd take the likes of Sherlock Holmes to recognize Nemo as the toy fish Boo handed to Sully in Monsters Inc, but you'll definitely notice these things on your next viewing of the earlier film.
The Book of Eli after you learn that Eli is blind, you'll realize all the subtle hints made towards it throughout the film.
The film Inception has you Mind Screwed the first time, heavily confused the second time because you start looking for signs of dream and reality, and finally by the third time, you might get it.
Sucker Punch: The subtle camera angling doesn't make sense till you actually focus on it—focusing on what it's focusing on over what it's not.
The Silent Hill movie is full of this. The plot may not make that much sense upon first viewing, but in subsequent viewings, you'll realize all sorts of things, like the fact that someone else hijacked the daughter's body and was the one that allowed the mother to leave Silent Hill — geographically, that is...
Once you know who The Mole is in The Dark Knight Rises, every time you rewatch it, you'll want to scream "Don't do it!" everytime The Mole eagerly volunteers to help everyone. Talia snaked her way into Wayne Enterprise's board 3 years ago (which means she's been in their circle even longer) and pioneered the creation of the energy reactor, so that by the time the movie starts, she's a well-trusted and well-received professional. She wanted to distract Bruce while Selina stole his prints, but Alfred wouldn't let her up. She called a board meeting for no particular reason so that Bane could kidnap them. She easily relented to Bane's demands to activate the energy reactor. She comes out of nowhere when Gordon wanted Foley to follow him to volunteer to scout for the bomb, which means all she had to do was lie and they tracked the wrong trunk. You will SCREAM at how well-trusted she is. Not without reason. The slow knife cuts the deepest.
All the Mind Screws in Black Swan makes much more sense once you learn that Nina is suffering a mental breakdown.
The Back to the Future series has a few small bits and pieces that the average viewer may not notice the first time, like the Twin Pines/Lone Pine Mall sign.
When watching the third movie the first time, it's easy to wonder where Marty got the bullet-proof vest for his confrontation with Budford Tannen. On a second viewing? It's blatantly obvious.
Cloud Atlas: The first time you'll watch it struggling to get a basic idea of what the hell's going on. The next time, you can pick up the subtleties and foreshadowing, while already knowing the story.
Additionally, having watched the Creative Credits before, you will notice many more familiar faces among the actors in different roles.
Pulp Fiction: The prologue is made even more awesome when you know that it's foreshadowing the climax of the movie, and stuff like Tim Roth asking for a refill of coffee will show up later on.
The Lord of the Rings, simply because it's impossible to absorb a thousand pages of information in one sitting.
Specially the Prologue, which makes little sense when read before anything else on the books.
The whole trilogy gains one of these once you've read The Silmarillion - suddenly all those name-drops and random songs make sense.
This counts for every single Gene Wolfe novel and short story. PEACE is a completely different read the third time through. Neil Gaiman notes that on first read PEACE seems to be the quaint memoir of an old man in a dying town, but on the second or third read through, the story is a full blown ghost tale.
Nearly every Discworld novel happily survives multiple readings. Once you know the surprise that inevitably happens near the end, you can go back and pay attention to all the little things that hinted to it. There are also a whole whack of references and Shout Outs which you may miss the first time. It's also true for the series as a whole; once you've seen how, for example, Lord Vetinari's character ends up, it's extremely satisfying to go back to his first appearance and see his Character Development.
Malazan Book of the Fallen. Good lord, Malazan. Throughout this ten-book series, Erikson runs with every form of rewatch bonus from subtle foreshadowing ( Karsa casually destroying a small Fener shrine in book #4, House of Chains, the event foreshadowed not happening until the final book in the series) to entire events, characters and subplots that will simply go right over the reader's head or utterly baffle them on first read. Erikson himself has said that the series is written to feel entirely different on a re-read, and many fans who've undertaken the not-inconsiderable feat of re-reading have described it as a massively rewarding experience.
The best possible example of this being major character, Sirius Black being mentioned in passing in the first chapter of the first book when he wouldn't be introduced until the third.
The Westing Game has so many such bonuses that, even after a hundred times, with each reread you notice some new facet of Sam Westing's manipulations that led to the every single character getting their own individual happy ending. Plus tons of foreshadowing and other hints planted throughout the book.
Wishsong Of Shannara. This was serious Epileptic Trees fuel. In the second reading, there were some strange quotes that separately meant little, but had some serious Fridge Logic issues. The female lead, Brin, travels with the wizard Allanon and Morgan Leah to stop a crisis. Although initially, this seemed like the first two, where their travelling partner ends up marrying them, this reads very different. Morgan, first of all is Jerk with a Heart of Gold, who spends less time actually being useful, and more time defending Allanon when he's supposed to be defending her. After getting sick, and breaking his sword, they take a 10-Minute Retirement at the house of Cogline and Kimber Boh. It becomes clear that Brin has virtually no interest in Morgan, feeling that he is too much controlled by his magic sword, and worse, too much under the thumb of Allanon. On the other hand, she quickly becomes close friends with Kimber, to the point that Kimber agrees to lead her through the marshes. When she's done with the quest, she says some kind words or something to Morgan, but she embraces Kimber. Allanon later gives her the stock advice on what was really going on, as he did in the previous two books (though this time as a shade), saying that her magic is more or less centered around transformation than creation or destruction, and that she can become "anything", good or evil. "Anything?" she asks. There's clearly something not being said here... It seems likely that Brin used her magic to have a sex-change, in order to have a child with Kimber, rather than face a loveless marriage with Morgan. This would also explain Allanon's strange warning to "never use the wishsong again."
Jossed by the author, not once but twice, claiming that she married Morgan Leah. But it's obvious the author is lying or something. Also, supposedly the two families met near the end of three hundred years, but that sounds too much of a coincidence. For one thing, she was living outside of town with an old man, and seemed to have few to no prospects of marriage, since the townspeople avoided the place. Also, Morgan has no Druidic powers, where Walker Boh Ohmsford does.
If you reread Warrior Cats, you notice all sorts of foreshadowing that you'd have missed the first time, especially with the original series and Power of Three. For the original series, this includes things such as, Yellowfang's affair with Raggedstar, the true parentage of Mistyfoot and Stonefur, and Tigerclaw trying to get his apprentice killed. If you reread Power of Three after finishing the series you notice that the whole thing with Leafpool was really obvious.
Read A Song of Ice and Fire. Now read it again. The number of new things you pick up will boggle your mind. Game of Thrones in particular at first feels like it's heavy with buildup, and the second time through you realize it's absolutely dripping with foreshadowing. And this is before the series is even finished.
A Christian reading of The Bible has a lot of both major and minor events in the Old Testament, particularly in the book of Genesis, take on a whole new meaning. God giving Adam and Eve clothes of animal hides, God cursing the serpent that Eve's offspring will "crush his head", Isaac's near-sacrifice, God's promise to Abraham that through him all families of the Earth will be blessed... the list goes on.
Ender's Game can receive this thrice, first with the reveals that the war simulations are real, that the Buggers/Formics have been trying to communicate with Ender and Ender's Shadow's reveal that Bean has been secretly navigating the formation of Dragon Army. The pre-chapter conversations also make much more sense with a reread.
The Rita storyline in particular stands out. Who would have thought the behaviour of a spy and a Mentally Retarded Female could be so similar?
Mystery Science Theater 3000. In too many episodes to name, it's impossible to catch all the jokes in the first viewing, because you're too busy laughing at the jokes that came immediately before them. Or simply didn't laugh because you didn't get the reference, but laughed hard once later when you did.
For Babylon 5, this was called Holographic Storytelling, that if you read two scripts, went back and reread the first one, you could see things in it that you hadn't seen before. When you read three, again glanced over the first - and new things had come out.
The fourth season of NCIS. After the season finale Reveal, the entire Tony gets a girlfriend plotline becomes much more interesting.
The Mighty Boosh gets a lot better on repeat viewings. Part of this may be because of the way the stories meander and don't necessarily seem to be going anywhere. Once you've seen the episodes once, you can just enjoy the ride and the jokes on repeat viewings.
The new series of Doctor Who can be like this at time. The RTD era means that it can be fun to look out for barely noticeable arch words such as "Bad Wolf", "Torchwood", "Harold Saxon", missing planets and "The bees are disappearing!" The Moffat series are good for a re-watch purely because of the extreme amounts of timey-wimey-ness, espeically in relation to River Song's arch. There's so much Foreshadowing, Call Backs and Book Ends that entire lines and scenes can gain a new meaning.
Joss Whedon enjoys doing this, pointing out the Blue Sun posters in the backgrounds of the pilot episode of Firefly in his commentary.
It's not just in the Pilot but throughout several other episodes as well. The Blue Suns logo has a subtle appearance usually when River freaks out on the ship, like when she tears the labels off the canned food, or when she slashes Jayne (and the Blue Sun shirt he was wearing) across the chest with a kitchen knife.
Sherlock is crammed just chock-full of these; they're mostly minor details and subtle character interactions, but they're genius.
Though a massive lampshade is hung on it, Breaking Bad Season 4 does this in "End Times" post-"Face Off"; watching Walt pleading for his life has a whole new perspective if you know Walt lying about poisoning a child to control Jessie.
LOST developed a reputation for this early on. It's even lampshaded by one of the characters in a Quip to Black after viewing one of the DHARMA Orientation films:
Locke: "We're gonna have to watch that again."
And then again in Season 4, when Locke offers Ben a book from his own shelf:
Ben: "I've already read it."
Locke: "You might catch something you missed before the second time."
Seinfeld is much more entertaining when you know how the characters got to be the way they are. The first season doesn't explain much backstory, but once you find out how the characters' families and their experiences growing up have caused their personalities to form, it makes their jerkass behavior more excusable.
Once Upon a Time, created by two of the main writers of LOST, certainly doesn't lack in this department either, given that it explores the backstories of over a dozen characters within at least three different timelines in its first season alone.
Many of the more open-ended Video Games fall into this trope, either because you see new ways through a Wide-Open Sandbox level you didn't see before, or playing on a different difficulty level or as a different character cause the game to play out differently.
Bastion has a fair number, especially given that the characters are trapped in a Groundhog Day Loop. “Proper story’s supposed to start at the beginning. Ain’t so simple with this one.”
Shadow Hearts: Covenant has a twist ending that... Does something to the character dynamics. The female lead character falls in love with the main character... Who turns out to be her son, thanks to little time travel incident at the end. Thankfully the relationship never went anywhere beyond one-sided crush, so it's all just a bonus to the game's pervy humour.
In Call of Duty: Black Ops Viktor Reznov, the Red Army sergeant from World at War, is a prominant character during the story of Black Ops thirty years later. We first see him as a fellow prisoner in a Russian prison camp who escapes with Alex Mason, the protagonist. They are seperated, but Reznov turns up years later as a Russian defector and joins Mason's MACV-SOG unit on their various black ops, going as far as wearing an American uniform; he actually blends in frighteningly well with American Marines whenever they're around. MACV-SOG has a precident for this in the form of Grigori Weaver, another Russian defector whom Mason has to assure others is trustworthy despite being Russian. It turns out Reznov died in the camp and from then on is actually a figment of Mason's imagination, Fight Club style. He's wearing an American uniform because Mason is replacing a random American with Reznov in his mind, but the player finds nothing strange about Reznov joining the unit and wearing the uniform because of previously seeing Weaver. Because Reznov is also an Ensemble Dark Horse, the unbelievability is further mitigated by the fact that a weak excuse is satisfactory if it allows him to have more screen time. Several innocent moments and seemingly unimportant lines of dialog are actually the people around Mason questioning his sanity as they notice fleeting moments where he's talking to someone who isn't there, but they're all cleverly disguised; the one time someone simply says "What the fuck is wrong with you?" to Mason, it seems as though he's chastising Mason for being startled and making noise when they're supposed to be keeping quiet.
Mass Effect as a series has this due to Multiple Endings, but the Overlord DLC has a different form. Throughout the mission, you hear a noise that sounds like random static multiple times, until you get to the end and hear it with no distortion. The next time you play, you will very clearly hear QUIET PLEASE MAKE IT STOP every time you play.
The more you replay Dragon Age II, the more facets the story gains. Even Act I, which seems completely irrelevant to any on-going Myth Arc in the series at first playthrough, turns out to have set up plot points that have a huge impact in the endgame. The storytelling in the game is so subtle, many players never come to appreciate it (further fueling the epic Flame War surrounding the game), but it's not uncommon to hear people suddenly "get it" after giving it a second (or third) chance.
Fable III "They will bow to my will or they will burn", eh Logan?
Final Fantasy VIII uses very subtle storytelling techniques to describe its characters. Big Bad Ultimecia is a HUGE victim of this, as it's not clear people are referring to her origin unless you play the game the second time and note when she is speaking through someone else. By the same token, much of Cid and Irvine's behavior through the first two discs of the same takes on a great deal more significance once you know the whole backstory.
Similarly, if you replay Final Fantasy VII knowing that Cloud was never really in SOLDIER and most of his memories are recounted as if he were someone else, the flashback scenes play very differently, as do Tifa's reactions to them, because she knows that Cloud's account of what happened isn't accurate. Aerith's date is essentially her trying to tell Cloud to stop pretending to be Zack.
Batman Arkham Asylum has this to a lesser extent. One of the things the player will notice is that the Joker will applaud the player for trying to sequence break.
Ghost Trickdefinitely warrants a replay once you learn that Sissel is a cat.
The World Ends With You contains a thick and complex plot that tends to be easy enough to follow on the first playthrough. However, during a second playthrough, perspective will alter your perception of the storyline, most noticeably everything regarding Joshua. It happens again after you've played through the game again and gotten all the secret reports, this time with Hanekoma.
Most notably, the opening movie actually sums up the entire plot, but you won't know until a second playthrough. Even the biggest spoileriffic detail is there, though it's a Freeze Frame Bonus.
Valkyria Chronicles is another example of an opening movie that makes more sense after beating the game. It contains scenes from the last few chapters, and there's even a glipse of Valkyria!Alicia. Some cutscenes in the main game benefit from a second viewing too, e.g. Isara's "I want to fly my brother" line makes absolutley no sense the first time you hear it, until you learn she's building a plane. And if you replay the game after finishing the DLC, you'll never feel the same way about having to fight Oswald the Iron in chapter 10...
Illbleed generally doesn't have too much to warrant a replay, but after the true ending, and on the offchance you play the game again, you'll notice something interesting in the intro: the monster that was chasing Eriko was her dad, Michael Reynolds.
Katawa Shoujo has a lot of this. Even after getting 100% Completion you probably still need to replay each girl's story route at least 2-3 times in order to truly catch and understand everything. Shizune's route in particular is so full of subtext that a lot of things, including the emotional element of Shizune and Hisao's relationship tends to go over a lot of players heads on the first play through unless they are really paying attention.
In Red Dead Redemption, you'll likely not realize the significance of most of Marston's interactions with the Strange Man in the optional "I Know You" mission until you've seen the game's ending and know that he dies. Most notably, your final confrontation with him takes place at the site of Marston's future grave.
Dishonored has a few safe combinations that you can't find out until later in the game, and plenty of foreshadowing of plot points and later enemies.
Nearly every single opening video shows something that happens later in the game, and you'll only fully understand the openings once you've beaten them. Tales Of Symphonia shows Kratos and Lloyd about to duel, presumably to release Origin.Tales Of The Abyss, shows Eldrant and Asch and Luke's final duel on top of it, and the hyperresonance that destroys Akzeriuth. The anime eventually shows Luke speaking with Lorelei and holding Asch in his arms, which is basically the second-last scene. The very first image in Tales Of Graces shows adult Sophie at the end of the future arc. It also shows Richard disappearing into the Lastalia shaft and Lambda's old body in the spaceship wreckage.
There's nearly always a traitor in your midst. Play the games again and you'll notice that some of them - including Anise in Tales Of The Abyss and both Zelos and Kratos in Tales Of Symphonia - are especially harsh towards minor characters who turn out to be traitors, and they often warn the party not to be too trusting. Guilty conscience, perhaps?
Late in Tales Of The Abyss, you learn that Guy was initially in league with Big Bad Van. Play the game again and check out the conversation Guy has with Van in the manor in the first hour. Van mentions something about "leaving everything" to Guy, just as Luke approaches, and then Pere, who's also hanging around, shouts "Master Luke!" Seems like an incongruous exchange the first time, but the second time... wait a second, is Pere spotting for them to make sure Luke doesn't overhear their conversation? Genius!
On your first playthrough, Metal Gear Solid 2 is not going to make sense at all. But the more times you finish it, the more the plot (especially the ending) starts to make sense.
Red vs. Blue: The whole Church and Tex are AIs thing. It seems to come out of nowhere in season 6, but going back and watching earlier seasons—especially all the stuff with Gary—, you start to wonder how on earth you missed it the first time around! Same for the reveal of Carolina's parentage at the end of season 10. It explains an awful lot of the interactions with the Director and Tex in seasons 9 and 10.
Futurama. It's hard to notice everything in one episode.
By extension, the first Futurama movie, Bender's Big Score. It's extremely enjoyable the first time, but it takes multiple viewings to fully understand the several complex Time Travel subplots. Plus the boatload of foreshadowing to the Plot Twist. And the thousand and six instances of continuity.And the few shout-outs to Matt Groening's earliest work, Life In Hell.
The season 4 episode, "The Why of Fry" features the revelation that Fry was intentionally frozen for 1000 years by Nibbler in the pilot episode. When watching that episode (And the various others that show that scene as a flashback) again, it's possible to spot various sublte hints towards Nibbler's presence in 1999.
Similarly, it's possible to watch episodes of The Simpsons dozens of times without catching all of the hidden gags.
The sole two parter in the show's 20 plus years on the air, "Who Shot Mr Burns?" features a significant number of subtle hints towards the The Reveal of the shooter which the viewer won't pick up on until future viewings when they start paying attention to the character's actions throughout both episodes.
Cirque du Soleil shows have this trope in spades. The first time out, one's attention tends to focus on the often-spectacular acrobatics and comedy acts (which is as it should be), but with repeat viewings the distinctive characters and relationships, throwaway gestures, background events, lovely music, etc. are easier to notice and appreciate. This is especially true with non-touring shows such as Mystere, "O", and LOVE, which crank up the Scenery Porn and often invoke Loads and Loads of Characters. And any show with real Audience Participation will be a little bit different every time.