1 Days Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)



"It's a sequel to the original show, but they kinda' messed it up [...] It's not very realistic, is all I'm saying."
Ben Tennyson, mirroring much of the fandom's feelings about Ben 10: Alien Force

As the number of films in a series grows, the probability that the latest entry will be terrible increases geometrically. While the first sequel of a movie is something of a coin toss between "totally awesome" and "mediocre", the more they push the Cash Cow, the riskier it gets. Of course, movies that go to theatre have high production values. On the whole, their directors are at least trying. But if it's Direct-to-Video, the chances that the third one is nothing but unmitigated crap is already close to 100%. This is partly because people assume a DTV movie is just something that wasn't good enough to get into theatres. And, as a general rule, they tend to be right.

In other words, Sequels to movies, generally created on the impetus of box office revenue, are rarely as good as the movie they're a sequel to. If there is a third installment, it will frequently mark a sharp downhill turn even when the second movie turned out all right. And even if there's a good trilogy, going beyond that has an even greater chance of crapitude.

Note, however, that this usually applies to unplanned sequels. Numerous examples exist of planned sequels which have been extremely good. And good unplanned sequels do exist, but the vast majority of sequels are on a downhill slope. The distinction is that unplanned sequels tend to have the feel of being tacked onto a story that was finished and done with, for no reason other than that the first work made lots of money and someone wants to keep that sweet gravy train rolling.

Common symptoms of Sequelitis — the elements that contribute to the sequel not being as well-received as the original — can include, but are not limited to:

  • Making a sequel just because the original was successful and the executives want more money, regardless of the creative potential for a sequel and regardless of the fans wanting a sequel or not.
  • The original was thematically rich, but then the sequels were either too Anvilicious with topics that require tact and subtlety or only scraped the surface of subjects where Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
  • Retcons that piss off people for whatever reason.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Early in the franchise there were minor flaws, but as new installments roll in these problems just get out of hand.
  • Undoing the ending of the previous film when it gave no room for more stories. The backlash can go double for sequels that turn happy endings into the beginning of great suffering, struggle, and conflict.
  • The contrived revival or return of a character (particularly a villain) who was killed off or kicked out in the first film.
  • The recasting of the returning characters with a cheap batch of B-list actors (and not just those formerly played by child actors who are now too old, or big name stars now busy elsewhere).
  • The mysterious unexplained departure of a main or major supporting character from the original movie, usually because the actor(s) didn't want to return and the filmmakers wouldn't or couldn't recast the role.
  • The casual, shameless, meaningless, and sometimes callous killing off of beloved characters.
  • The mysterious unexplained departure of a hero's love interest, usually because the producers thought the Shippers would lose interest in the hero if he or she was married. At most, there may be a throwaway line that tells us 'it didn't work out'. This doesn't stop the hero getting a new love interest.
  • The sequel revolving around the (often previously unmentioned) relative/friend of a beloved character whose actor can't or won't return, in hopes that a connection to the original character will help make the new character just as popular as the original. This can lead to In-Name-Only.
  • The sequel being Lighter and Softer than the original, to the point of being labelled a kid's movie and alienating most or all of the original's fanbase, or being Darker and Edgier just for the sake of it when it wasn't necessary and it doesn't make it any better, just not as good for kids.
  • Being too similar to the previous movie(s), to the point that it's just the same thing over again. For the more general trope applying to recycled story arcs, see Fleeting Demographic Rule.
  • Being nothing like the previous movie(s), but not because they want to stay fresh or try to innovate, but for other reasons like not being able to do something like the original thanks to the plot/actors/lower budget/rating/licenses/etc, or relying on what is current and/or popular or trying to be more like other successful movies.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribes begin choking the plot to conceal the fact that the writers have basically run out of story.
  • The reuse of some element that was felt to be important to the first movie's success, in hopes that having even more of that element will make the sequel even better. If it works for the first sequel, it will be cranked up more and more in further sequels. This may lead to Vulgar Humor, sadistic slapstick violence, or something else along those lines.
  • Pandering to the Base, which can come in several harmful forms that may appear together or separately:
    • Potential new audience members become victims of Continuity Lockout when knowledge of the first movie - or the source material - is required to understand what's going on.
    • Continuity Porn annoying fans who get the nods and being downright confusing and jarring to those who might not even know references are being made.
    • Existing fans become irritated when elements they liked in the first movie are overused or used poorly. They typically say so, quickly and loudly. This can be caused by the filmmakers having a limited or poor understanding of what the general fanbase liked, leading to their catering to the Fan Dumb.
    • This is particularly the case when bringing back a character who unexpectedly won the audience over in the first movie, only to do nothing interesting with them - or worse, Flanderize them so much that they end up being a one-dimensional caricature of the charming and multi-faceted character the audience fell in love with in the first place.
    • The opposite can happen, where an intentionally wacky story based on Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny tries to ground itself and be more realistic in the sequel, losing its original charm in the process. However, this seems to be a far less common occurrence than the reverse.
  • With adaptations or remakes, when all the source material was already covered up in the previous movie(s), keeping on making sequels but with original stories, especially when the author of the original source material doesn't come to help despite being available and bonus if the new stories aren't faithful to the originals, looking like bad fanfics.
  • The attempt to turn a standalone movie into a Two-Part Trilogy, resulting in two bloated, incoherent sequels with too little plot stretched between them.

The dreadful compulsion on the part of writers and filmmakers to add new chapters to perfectly good works has been likened to an addiction, sometimes termed 'sequelholism'. The writers sometimes seem aware of this, and as a run of sequels are produced they may drop numbering the movies entirely and start adding cliché subtitles. This only makes it harder to guess the order to watch for new fans. If they aren't aware of this, then, in the end, odds are First Installment Wins.

The inverse is a Surprisingly Improved Sequel (a good sequel to a mediocre or terrible work) or Even Better Sequel (an awesome sequel to a good original work) Contested Sequel is when there is considerable division about the sequel's quality. For a strangely divergent sequel, see In-Name-Only. For a sequel that retains the monster or villain but features none of the original heroes, see Villain-Based Franchise. Can be caused by a poor choice in Sequel Escalation, and lead up to Franchise Zombie if a sequel that should have been a Franchise Killer doesn't destroy the series. Backlash against sequels has made many reviewers Sequelphobic. Some fans treat such sequels with Fanon Discontinuity. See also Sophomore Slump, The Problem with Licensed Games. For TV series, this can sometimes be a result of a Post-Script Season. The reason why Sequel Snark and Ridiculous Future Sequelization became common jokes.

To see Egoraptor's web series of the same name, click here.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Rumor has it Yoshiyuki Tomino invented the Kill 'em All trope partly to prevent this from occurring, as he routinely claimed to despise sequel work. Obviously it greatly backfired with Mobile Suit Gundam (the franchise continued even after the original principal characters Amuro Ray and Char Aznable died), but most of Tomino's other works, such as Aura Battler Dunbine and Space Runaway Ideon, otherwise ended with their initial series since most of their casts (or their entire setting in the case of Ideon) were killed off.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew a la mode ended up being penned by a different writer (Mia Ikumi, the artist of the original series), but taking place in a universe explicitly the same as the original, something many anime explicitly avoid in order to start fresh. And that's the mildest of its many, many problems.
  • SHUFFLE! Memories. Though some fans say it's terrible, other fans say that the Fanservice-laden last episode was more than enough to make up for the terrible recap of Shuffle
  • To Heart: Remember my Memories.
  • Dragon Ball:
  • If the subpar ratings in Japan and overall lack of accreditation beyond loads of magazine previews (keyword here) are anything to say, the Un-Cancelled fourth (Revolution) and fifth (Evolution-R) seasons of the Slayers anime are this. Most countries outside Japan (including the States) gave the seasons positive reviews, but 'most' of the viewers were older fans of the series, so that still doesn't help in the long run.
    • A bizarre reversal of this trope occurs with the Slayers Smash novels, which are a part of the book series that takes place before the main storyline. Whereas the main series ended in 2000, the prequel books came out two years after the first original novel came out and are still ongoing. Sales have been dropping, and many fans agree that the adventures of Lina and Naga are being unnecessarily dragged out. Unfortunately, the man who created the novels has no intention of continuing the main storyline.
    • In hindsight, this seemed more accredited to either season not following upon the novel storylines (not even reaching the point where Gourry finds the Blast Sword), and instead simply repeating the first series in reverse. Otherwise, Slayers fans had been demanding a follow up for quite some time, partly for the aforementioned and partly to alleviate the mediocrity that was Slayers Try.
  • Pokémon has, as of 2016, a total of nineteen movies made. Similar to The Land Before Time, most fans say that the quality of the movies has been all over the place, with the first few movies (Pokémon: The First Movie, Pokémon 2000, Pokémon 3) being superior to most of the sequelsnote , barring a few standouts (Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, Kyurem Vs the Sword of Justice). However, two that have received notably negative reviews include Genesect and the Legend Awakened and Hoopa and the Clash of Ages; the latter of which ended up bombing at the Japanese box office and performing the worst out of all the movies.
  • The Eureka Seven fandom was divided on the subject of Eureka Seven AO from its announcement. As the series progressed, barring brief moments of hope, fan outlook grew increasingly bleak, with the ending (and even a few of the plot threads) provoking cries of Fanon Discontinuity. It hardly helped that it contradicted many of the themes of the original series, particularly the ability of humans and Coralians to coexist. That last one was enough to spark the "Dewey was right!" fandom meme.
  • This is why Pretty Cure doesn't do sequel series anymore after the poor reception of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 Go Go!. Many of them are realizing, though, that rival series Aikatsu is heading that way, what with a second sequel series coming up.
  • Fushigiboshi No Futago Hime has a sequel series in the form of Gyu!. It took virtually all of the characters out of their unique world and put them into a generic school location and had a similarly-generic Monster of the Week format (going along the success of the previous series delving into Magical Girl Warrior later during its run) and Demoted to Extra everyone but Fine and Rein. While it did introduce a handful of good characters, most fans like to pretend ''Gyu!'' never happened.
  • Gunslinger Girl il teatrino was received much more poorly than the original, for several reasons: A new Japanese cast, an emphasis on action, more spotlight on the girls Precocious Crushes, a new Moe art style, lesser accurate Gun Porn, Angelica being alive, and averting the fan-preferred Accidental Aesop in exchange for an anime that's clearly just meant to be about cute girls with guns. Oddly enough, il teatrino is truer in spirit to the manga than the first anime season.
  • Bubblegum Crisis was canceled after 8 of the planned 13 episodes were produced due to legal issues. However, a 3-episode sequel Bubblegum Crash was made to give the series some closure, but it only ended up raising more questions, and altering many characters' personalities, as well as plot details. A 3-episode prequel A.D. Police Files was also released to decent reception. This was all followed by a pretty good TV series remake/reimagening Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, and got two more spinoff series, A.D. Police: To Protect and Serve and Parasite Dolls, with the former being savaged by fans and critics, and the latter mostly going unnoticed. A sequel to Tokyo 2040 called Tokyo 2041 was once in production, but never left Development Hell.
  • The 2003 sequel to the original '90s Tenchi Muyo! OVA series got poor reception from fans and critics, as well as the spinoff Tenchi Muyo GXP. The franchise had been dormant for a few years following the poor reception of spinoff Tenchi in Tokyo, and the mixed reception of the three films. The original OVAs and their TV remake/reimagining Tenchi Universe are really the only parts of the franchise with good reception.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS stepped away from its predecessor series' magical girl motif and toward a more military setting, but was criticized for pushing some earlier established characters aside in favor of newer ones, Yuuno and Chrono being among the most frequently mentioned.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Fic 

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney's run of Direct-to-Video sequels from 1994 to 2007 made this inevitable. After Aladdin: The Return of Jafar enjoyed reasonable success and kicked off the well-written Aladdin: The Series, it opened the floodgates. While not all of their sequels were disasters, there were far more poor and mediocre sequels than you should expect from their franchises. More specifically...
    • Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World brings the title character slightly closer to her historical, real-life counterpart (her romance with John Rolfe, visiting England), and also shows her making more mature decisions. However, the quality of the movie itself was met with more varied opinions. It is particularly disliked because Pocahontas has a relationship with a different man in the sequel, destroying her romance with John Smith. The original was far enough removed from historical accuracy as it was.
    • Bambi has a direct-to-video midquel which was released just shy of the original's 65th anniversary. While it fares better with fans than most other Disney sequels, it is still usually regarded as average at best. The main complaints stem from that it either adds too little new to the universe of the original, or the changes it did make (i.e. Playing up contemporary humor, humanizing the characters' personalities and using contemporary folk songs mixed in with an orchestrated soundtrack) were not for the better. It is generally praised for having good animation and visuals among the Disney sequels however, its high budget garnering it a theatrical release in some regions.
    • The Emperor's New Groove manages to really break the mold in terms of Disney animated movies, but its sequel, Kronk's New Groove, was rather generic, playing out more like three episodes of a TV show strung together than an actual movie. Fittingly enough, there actually was later a TV series called The Emperor's New School, complete with a new voice actor for Kuzco and apparently having all of the soul of the first movie surgically removed and replaced with more slapstick.
    • The Atlantis: The Lost Empire sequel actually is three episodes from a planned TV series based on the movie that fell through. It's painfully obvious too, despite how desperately they try to connect the three completely unrelated stories together.
    • The Hunchback Of Notre Dame II was criticized for inferior animation, generic songs, and how many of the characters were incompetent. It was also heavily panned for its villain, widely considered one of Disney's worst in a followup to the film that gave us Judge Claude Frollo, who's widely lauded as one of Disney's deepest villains. One of the complaints included that Victor Hugo's novel couldn't have had a sequel because none of the characters survived. It was largely created to give Quasimodo a girlfriend but Madellaine was not a popular character. Some consider it Disney's worst DTV movie.
    • Mulan II is decently-animated, but is largely overlooked and ultimately criticized for the even greater liberties taken in its portrayal of Chinese culture, one character taking a level in jerkass, and for leaving the plot in which Mulan must save China once more unresolved; specifically, it was Mulan's mission to escort the Emperor's three daughters to a powerful lord in order to marry his sons, which would secure a union that would safeguard China from an impending invasion by the Mongols. Instead, shocked at the very idea of an arranged marriage, Mulan teaches the princesses to follow their own paths. This would be a meaningful lesson except for the fact that in doing so such a union apparently never took shape by the end of the film, which despite ending on an uplifting note with Mulan's wedding does not address the Mongol invasion that is now sure to happen due to these actions. The sequel earned a rare 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
    • The Fox and the Hound 2 is hated as well, due to being almost completely In-Name-Only, and the entire thing is accused of being a case of Tastes Like Diabetes.
    • Beauty and the Beast has two. The first one, Belle's Magical World, is extremely episodic and formulaic, clearly written to try and kick off a TV series. The second one, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, was received slightly better, but the plot has little to do with the fairytale, being more of a standard Christmas movie.
    • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea is again, accused of reusing the first film's ideas only telling the story in reverse (a human character wanting to become a mermaid) with a few new characters thrown in.
    • Cinderella has the first sequel, Dreams Come True, which was perceived as weak and rather episodic.
    • Tarzan had two sequels - one a midquel featuring a young Tarzan, the other a straight sequel. The second is considered at best mediocre, but the first is largely seen as even harder to sit through, due to basically being the first twenty minutes of the original stretched to fit a 90-minute runtime. Its only remarkable feature is an ape played by George Carlin, who seems to spend the entire movie holding back a swear.
    • In general, the "cheapquels" all suffer from this, simply by virtue of being Direct-to-Video sequels of polished, famous classics. Almost none are considered worthy followups, and even then, only in the cases where the original film was considered poor to begin with. In general, the ones considered passable films (but poor followups) include the Aladdin sequels, the Lion King sequels, and maybe Return To Neverland or Brother Bear 2, and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time is considered the only one to arguably be a worthy followup.
    • One of the conditions Pixar put when they joined with Disney was that they wouldn't be required to make sequels. In fact, because one of the parts of the merger was putting Pixar's people in charge of Disney's animation studio, one of the first things they did was halted production of Disney's own Toy Story 3 and began working on the title in-house. Consequently, both the third movie and the entire Toy Story trilogy have been lauded as cinema classics. They did, however, make a sequel to Cars, widely considered one of their worst movies, resulting in what is widely considered their worst movie, Cars 2 and shattered their nearly spotless artistic reputation. The 2013 prequel to Monsters, Inc., called Monsters University, didn't help matters, despite several good reviews.
    • For a canon example, Fantasia 2000, while enjoying quite a good reception, is not as well regarded as the original Fantasia; a lighter tone stemming from celebrity hosts and more cartoony pieces speaks of lower artistic ambition.
    • A former page quote itself was a long time slogan for Disney. With The Three Little Pigs being the best selling Silly Symphony, and thus a Tough Act to Follow, it's unsurprising to think about how The Big Bad Wolf, The Three Little Wolves and The Practical Pig fared in comparison.
  • The Land Before Time's thirteen sequels. The quality of the series is up and down from movie to movie and may range from good to mediocre to poor; most agree that none are a match for Bluth's original film. It's a bad sign when there are more sequels than even horror movie franchises like Halloween, Saw, Paranormal Activity, or Friday the 13th.
  • The rest of Don Bluth's animated films have also been hit with Sequelitis: there are currently sequels for An American Tail, All Dogs Go to Heaven (both of which also got a TV series), and The Secret Of NIMH. An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West, though Lighter and Softer than the original, is actually considered a quality follow-up due to a higher budget theatrical release. The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue however, is considered terrible by practically all fans of the original. In all of those cases, Bluth was not involved with any of the sequels; the only sequels he was ever actually involved with making were the video game Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp and the Anastasia direct-to-DVD sequel Bartok the Magnificent, which became a classic that we've all heard of. Incidentally Bluth was originally to have involvement in the other aforementioned sequels, but had to turn it down to due heavy development on his own projects at the time.
  • 1995's Balto has two sequels that cause many Plot Holes; given Universal Pictures' dislike of the movie, they opted for making more The Land Before Time sequels until their traditional animation studios were closed for good. From there, they changed to computer-traditional mix, resulting in a more vivid color scheme, but considerably better quality animation.
  • The first Shrek movie was a hit. Shrek 2 grossed almost twice as highly and is considered by many to be even better. Shrek the Third is more polarizing in comparison and muddied up DreamWorks Animation's plans for a 5-film series (though they're still hoping for the 5th one). Consensus on Shrek Forever After is that it's at least far better than the third.
  • The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat was not written or directed by Ralph Bakshi, the maker of Fritz the Cat, or Robert Crumb, who created the original comic. The only people involved with the first film who returned for the sequel are producer Steve Krantz and voice actor Skip Hinnant. Even Duke, one of the characters from the first film, is voiced by a different actor..
  • Alpha and Omega seems to be getting this treatment. As of October 2015 there are four sequels to the original, with three more in the works! This is par for the course for Richard Rich films - The Swan Princess, despite being a minor bomb critically and financially, got four sequels. Being made with fairly low budgets and based on films that weren't very good to begin with, they tend to make the Disney cheapquels look like high art.
  • The Big Damn Movie of Futurama, Bender's Big Score, is pretty well-regarded in the fanbase, and places well in appraisals of the series. The succeeding three films vary in reception, but are generally seen as being much worse. The general consensus is that Bender's Big Score feels like a movie, while the other three feel like overstretched episodes of the TV show that probably wouldn't have made for very good episodes to begin with.
  • The first Ice Age has a respectable Rotten Tomatoes score of 77%. The first sequel got a rotten 57%, and it just went down from there (45% and 37%).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) was considered a nice piece of 1990s pop culture. The second film wasn't quite as well-received due to being Denser and Wackier, but it still had a few entertaining moments, and it has its fans. The third film, however, was bashed mercilessly by critics and fans alike, and it's viewed as the worst of the three by a healthy margin.
  • There were six films in The Thin Man series. The first got a Best Picture nomination and is still remembered as a classic. The subsequent movies have been progressively less acclaimed, going from the "pretty good" second movie to the "terrible" sixth one.
  • Parodied In-Universe in Tropic Thunder. Tugg Speedman stars in the Scorcher series, which revolve around the Earth ceasing to spin and becoming a giant fireball. The 6th one, Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown, changed the fate into a frozen wasteland because the previous films had exhausted the previously mentioned concept. Here's the trailer:
    Trailer Announcer: In 2013, when the Earth's rotation came to a halt, the world called on the one man who could make a difference.
    [Speedman is shown standing on a blasted cliffside, and everything in the background is on fire. He has a baby in one arm and a rifle in the other]
    When it happened again, the world called on him once more. And no one saw it coming. Three. More. Times! Now, the one man who made a difference five times before, is about to make a difference again. Only this time, it's different.
    [Speedman is shown standing on an iceberg, and everything in the background is frozen. He has a set of twins on him and he's holding two rifles]
    Tugg Speedman: Who left the fridge open?
    Trailer Announcer: [voice over] Tugg Speedman. Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown.
    Tugg Speedman: Here we go again. Again...
  • Most slasher movies tend to suffer this fate.
  • Scream:
    • Scream (1996) is considered a great movie. Scream 2 is pretty awesome too. Then comes Scream 3, which gives plenty of reasons to be treated as The Scrappy by critics and fans. Scream 4 is, thankfully, pretty good again.
    • Also occurs in-universe with the Stab series.
  • Alien is almost universally considered as an outstanding horror/science-fiction film, the sequel Aliens was even more succesful with both critics and audience and is considered by many as equal or superior; the third film Alien³ is not necessarily a bad film, but is considered inferior to the previous films with an "obscene" Happy Ending Override. The fourth film, however, was disastrous and is loathed by fans of the saga.
  • Battle Royale 2 suffered heavily from this. Even the most enthusiastic fans of the sequel will admit that it isn't anywhere near the caliber of the original (whether it be novel, manga or movie).
  • S. Darko. Despite having one actress from Donnie Darko, Daveigh Chase, returning for this sequel, most Donnie Darko fans won't even acknowledge its existence.
  • The Police Academy series. The first movie was a commercial success, and jumpstarted the careers of several actors who would go on to bigger projects (Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall, Bobcat Goldthwait), but as the sequels progressed, the humor became increasingly lowbrow and cast members started leaving throughout the franchise. By the time the seventh and final film, Mission to Moscow, was released in 1994, only a handful of original characters remained, and it failed to surpass the $200,000 mark.
  • Most superhero film franchises follow the same formula: The first film introduces the characters and usually goes through the origin story. It meets with general approval. The second film, not being burdened by the need to rehash all that old stuff, is very good and is considered by many to be better than the original. The third film makes you wonder why they didn't stop at two. If a fourth film is even made, it makes the third film look like Citizen Kane. Then the series is dead for several years until another sequel is made with massive retcon (sometimes to the point of a reboot).
  • Averted with Sergio Leone's western trilogy. Though the first two films, A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More are generally considered to be rather good films, the third film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is generally considered the best in the series, is the most remembered of the Dollars Trilogy, and launched the career of Clint Eastwood. Oddly enough, however, as it wasn't actually made as a trilogy, but were marketed as such by distributor United Artists, who were looking for a strong angle for the films as a trilogy.
  • Scary Movie expressed the tagline, No mercy. No shame. No sequel, but as we all well know, did have one anyway (with the tagline "We lied"). It got closer back to its roots of satirizing horror movies in the third, but then stepped back again and had that Tom Cruise couch jump parody in the fourth. A fifth film happened, but mostly everyone from the previous films is out of it, and rarely would anyone say that that's a good parody. The spinoffs of the franchise have been even worse, starting with Date Movie, billed as "from two of the six writers of Scary Movie", and somehow running on to three more.
  • Tremors: An interesting case. The first movie was a semi-Black Comedy with Kevin Bacon. Not having to pay Bacon's salary meant Tremors 2: Aftershocks could afford lots more Stuff Blowing Up. Tremors 3: Back to Perfection is notable for reassembling the entire (surviving) supporting cast of the first, with no characters Put on a Bus.
  • American Pie descended into this for a while. The American Pie Presents series were direct to DVD releases with predictable results. The sole main cast member reprising a role from any of the first 3 movies is Eugene Levy, which is depressing in a "ordering fast food from your dad" kind of way. Inverted with American Reunion, which brought back the principal cast and was a much better film than the DVD cash-ins that preceded.
  • The Crow:
    • The Crow was a powerful, emotionally-gripping comic book, that had an equally powerful film adaptation—with a kickass soundtrack, to boot. It had several sequels in both media, and none of them were anything close to the original, or even enjoyable. Thus, The Crow uniquely has severe Sequelitis in two media.
    • The second movie, The Crow: City of Angels, in particular, suffered - tortuously - from the writers attempting to take the "framework" of the original story and try to swap out the plot details, replacing the original compelling story with a particularly unsubtle morass of "IKEA Pathos." That, and apparently no one on the film team even noticed the visual aesthetic of the original, since not even the barest effort was made to retain it. Add to this wooden acting, a notable dearth of memorable lines or dialogue, an obvious, over-the-top Ass Pull ending, the utter absence of verisimilitude between the visual (and linguistic) environment depicted in the film and the real-life Los Angeles it was allegedly based on, and a particularly blatant bridge drop at the end, and you have a shameful attempt at remaking - even cloning - The Crow, with essentially none of the things that made the original great. You might say the series Came Back Wrong.
  • Jaws 2, Jaws 3D, Jaws: The Revenge, ad nauseam. Ken Begg's series of reviews chronicles the slide in quality from Jaws to Jaws 2 (which he admits is merely inferior and mediocre, but much better than the knock-offs and the next sequels) to Jaws 3-D to the completely awful Jaws: The Revenge (which bottomed out at 0% on RT and got a zero from Roger Ebert as well; he and Gene Siskel tore up and devoured the film on Siskel & Ebert). So much that it was mocked in Back to the Future Part II: a holographic Jaws 19 poster can be seen during the 2015 sequence. Which makes oddly prescient a move by Peter Benchley, who wrote the original novel. Prior to the film's release, the royalties were late. He called his agent, she replied that there were negotiations on sequel right. “Sequel rights!? I don’t care about sequels; who’ll ever want to make a sequel to a movie about a fish? Sell them the rights to anything they want ... my life as an astronaut, anything. I need money!” Eventually Benchley's sequel rights were exchanged for one-time payments for each new installment, making the original author someone not to blame for the decay. Parodied again around "Back To The Future Day" in October 2015, when, to celebrate the gag from II, Universal released a fake trailer for the aforementioned Jaws 19.
  • With a title like The Neverending Story, one would expect the movie to have at least a few sequels or follow-ups. The first movie is a very nice fantasy film; the second movie is not as good as the first one (with a dramatic drop in production values plus a zero on Rotten Tomatoes), but still watchable, at least compared to the third movie, which had to invent a plot out of whole cloth and ended up with a lot of cringeworthy sitcom-style humor and shut the book on ''The Neverending Story'' (it's also an Old Shame to villain actor creator/Jack Black).
  • The first Weekend at Bernie's is an amusing little comedy, with Terry Kiser stealing the show as the eponymous dead guy. Then they went and made a sequel. The female character one of the heroes spent the entire first movie obsessing over/wooing vanishes without even the most cursory attempt at Hand Waving, and it was all downhill from there. Some viewers felt that Weekend At Bernies II pulled off the rare feat of being so unbelievably stupid that it came back around the other side and was So Unfunny It's Funny. Referenced in How I Met Your Mother, as evidence that Lily is a "laugh-slut":
    Ted: "Remember that time we heard her laughing, and we thought she was watching Weekend at Bernie's, but it turned out she was watching Weekend at Bernie's II?"
  • Opinions are divided over whether The Lost World: Jurassic Park or Jurassic Park III is worse, although the latter usually wins out in such arguments. Neither of them holds a candle to the original, despite several actors inexplicably agreeing to reprise their roles. Some fans regard TLW as a worthy sequel to JP though with JP3 usually regarded as the abomination. Averted with the fourth film, Jurassic World, which has been generally better-liked among fans than the previous sequels and was an even bigger financial success than the original film (though critical opinions have varied considerably).
  • Airplane II: The Sequel, which wasn't produced by James Abrahams and the Zucker brothers who did the brilliant Airplane!. Most of its jokes and plot were re-hashed from the original movie, Leslie Nielsen didn't return, and it did so badly at the box office that the planned second sequel was canceled. The best parts were the courtroom scene and the self-parodying performance by William Shatner.
  • The Matrix was generally well-received and a major game-changer for action movies. The second and third movies are usually seen as overly long and pretentious, while the prequel The Animatrix ranges from decent to bad. The Animatrix has range because it's an anthology of nine short films based on The Matrix, with the CGI The Second Renaissance considered the best (reason to purchase the rest). The other eight vary.
  • Movies based on video games aren't exempt from this rule, either, even though very few of them get sequels in the first place (and usually deservedly so). Just ask anyone who paid to watch Mortal Kombat: Annihilation or Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.
  • Ghostbusters II
    • The film fell victim to this, as the plot reads like a Mad Lib rewrite of the first movie: An ancient (god/warlock) is resurrected in modern New York, possesses Dana Barret's nebbish (neighbor/boss), and needs (her/her baby) as part of its plot to destroy New York. She gradually falls for Peter's quirky charm, while the rest of the Ghostbusters try to convince the skeptical mayor and a sleazy (EPA agent/mayoral aide) that the world's in danger, until the big finale has the heroes facing off with the (god/warlock) in a gothic (skyscraper/library) now overrun by evil, while a giant walking mascot (terrorizes/saves) the city by stepping on things. It's all made even more implausible given how easily all the world-changing events of the first movie seem to have been swept under the rug, and the end result was so lackluster, both critically and financially, that the director and other three stars were completely turned off from Dan Aykroyd's plans for a third movie.
    • Atari released a Ghostbusters video game that reunited the cast and acts as the third story. It's been well received. It expands on things from the first movie, provides closure on the Librarian ghost and explains where the mood slime from GB2 came from. The experience was so good that an actual Ghostbusters 3 is in the works.
  • Rocky
    • The series had one of the longest cases of Sequelitis ever. The series started out gritty and realistic, but gradually became more over-the-top to the point where the first movie won an Oscar for best picture and the fifth, after a drawn-out decline, is generally regarded as terrible. After a 16-year Sequel Gap, a sixth entry was made, and successfully took the series back to its roots, as well as providing closure to Rocky's career.
    • Parodied by a sight gag in Airplane II: The Sequel, where you can see a movie poster showing a 90-year old man in boxing trunks and gloves, with the caption "Rocky XXXVIII". Also parodied in Spaceballs (where the whole Trope is poked fun at), where a newscaster claims the film critic will be critiquing "Rocky Five... Thousand."
  • The Austin Powers series, once it became insanely popular (i.e. by the first sequel), started becoming a caricature of the first movie, with its Vulgar Humor and especially their tendency to take gags that were most memorable from the previous movie and exaggerating them in the next. The first was intended to be an Affectionate Parody of the movies Mike Myers used to watch with his father. After the first became a cultural phenomenon on home video, more writers were brought in to create something Denser and Wackier. By the time the third movie came around, the series was repeatedly breaking the Fourth Wall and just generally making a mockery of itself. Still, some fans regret that the token Character Development Austin went through in the first movie had to be systematically scrapped for the sequels to work.
  • Each Die Hard film after the first became slightly less believable than its predecessor, resulting in John McClane being Made of Iron by Die Hard 4, and nobody ever bleeding, despite the original's highly praised realism (though the decision to lower to PG-13 is to blame for the Bloodless Carnage). The plot is as convoluted as in the campier Bond films, as well as the marriage he was trying to save in the first film getting only a cursory mention (as being long over). Though up until 2013, only the fourth movie entered Contested Sequel status for being the apex of Serial Escalation. Then came A Good Day to Die Hard, a fifth movie which did not split the fanbase regarding doing everything wrong. Lampshaded twice in Die Hard 2: Die Harder: "Another basement, another elevator—how can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?"
  • Released in 1989, Kickboxer was a fine action film that did well at the box office and helped propel Jean Claude Van Damme to stardom. And then came the 1991 sequel, which Van Damme did not return for. Van Damme's character... and the paralyzed brother he fought to avenge... were both murdered before the events of Kickboxer 2, and the protagonist is a previously-unmentioned third brother. Then THAT was followed by three direct-to-video sequels, in which fewer and fewer actors returned to reprise their roles... and by the time the fifth film came out, absolutely no one came back, putting it squarely in In-Name-Only territory. Easy to see why most fans tend to ignore everything after the first one.
  • Friday was a great comedy with good performances from Ice Cube as Craig and Chris Tucker as Smokey, the latter of whom is widely thought to be the funniest part of the film. A sequel, Next Friday, was released in 2000 and is generally considered inferior - mainly due to the lack of Smokey (Tucker had chosen to do Rush Hour instead and had become a born-again Christian after making Money Talks), who was replaced by Mike Epps as Day-Day - but the movie still has its defenders. 2002's Friday After Next, however, has been almost universally panned.
  • The first Return of the Living Dead is an almost perfect mix of black comedy and horror and is also a deconstruction and/or Affectionate Parody of Romero's "Dead" series. It's a Cult Classic. Return of the Living Dead Part II uses a lot more comedy than the first which makes it less scary. Return of the Living Dead 3 disregards continuity from the first two and makes it Darker and Edgier. More scary but without the charm. Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis and Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave aren't well-regarded at all.
  • The Godzilla films often fall under this considering there are 27 sequels to the original Japanese film and two remakes. The first film is regarded as a classic and a few sequels are beloved by the fans. However, many films (especially the ones made in the 1960s-1970s) are considered to be So Bad, It's Good.
  • Two trivia questions. 1. How many sequels to Jim Carrey movies has Jim Carrey appeared in? (Answer: 2 - Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Dumb and Dumber To.) 2. How many sequels to Jim Carrey movies has he not appeared in? (Answer: 4 - Son of the Mask, Dumb and Dumberer, Evan Almighty and Ace Ventura Jr.) Jim Carrey so thoroughly detested working on When Nature Calls that he declared he would never do a sequel ever again (as for Batman Forever and Kick-Ass 2, neither followed on from one of his past films, and in the case of Forever predated the Ace Ventura sequel). He entered one movie because it would be a series he'd enjoy doing... but it'll be hard to have a sequel. As above, Carrey eventually broke this rule for a proper sequel to Dumb and Dumber, though given Dumb and Dumber To's negative reception from criticsnote , it remains to be seen if Carrey makes any future sequels.
  • Shock Treatment was originally planned as a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but was re-written as Something Completely Different after Tim Curry refused to be typecast as Frank. The second movie features Brad and Janet, but the events of Rocky Horror are never mentioned. Taken on its own, it has its merits, but proved a massive disappointment for people expecting an actual sequel. Point of clarity: "Shock Treatment" was not the original plan for a sequel, that being "Revenge of the Old Queen" which never ended up happening. Shock Treatment did keep Brad and Janet (having regenerated), and some of the subtext to their relationship troubles can be taken to have been caused by the first movie. Also, Judge Oliver Wright probably was the Criminologist, making Charles Gray the only actor to continue playing the same character (unless you consider the McKinleys to actually be Riff and Magenta returned to Earth for some strange reason... also, Bert Shnict was supposedly Dr. Scott in earlier versions of the script). Besides, it's not a sequel, it's an equal.
  • The Karate Kid movies:
    • Initially averted, then played straight. The Karate Kid Part II was different enough from the first movie to avoid falling into this trope, but The Karate Kid Part III was much less appreciated. Then The Next Karate Kid became a Franchise Killer.
    • The original film received a remake in The Karate Kid (2010), which aside from the basic plot layout and the name is a Karate Kid film In-Name-Only. As being set in China, there is little if any karate (being a predominately Japanese practice); it's now kung fu, taught by Jackie Chan, yet it's still called The Karate Kid in the US. note  Despite this, it's considered a good film.
  • In the Star Wars series, this started with Return of the Jedi, which wasn't considered quite as good as the two movies before it, but still good. Then came prequelitis, with The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones widely considered the two weakest films in the series. Revenge of the Sith, however, was generally thought to be an improvement, but that's not saying much given the competition. Fortunately, the next in the series, The Force Awakens, is generally believed to be a return to form.
  • Evil Dead
    • Averted by the movies, which stayed great. There's a case that they even got better as they went. Though if you pay attention at the beginning of the second movie, one notices several elements were rehashed in the exposition.
    • Word of God was that rights issues kept them from re-using footage from the original movie, so they had to rewrite and re-film the How We Got Here opening sequence from scratch.
  • The Fly II. No Goldblum. No Davis. No Cronenberg. No point.
  • The Scanners franchise. The original film was a landmark in sci-fi horror, and had David Cronenberg and Michael Ironside doing some of their best work... but then came a pair of Direct-to-Video sequels that stopped going for shock value and settled on B-movie cheese focusing on various scanners' unsuccessful attempts to start a revolution, backed by shoddy effects and weak performances by the main cast. This later produced a spinoff series, Scanner Cop, which also went DTV and just had more of the same.
  • Just ask Highlander fans about the sequels, and you'll be told, "There should have been only one [movie]!" Part of the issue is that each film tries to retcon the previous movie out of existence (with the partial exception of Highlander II, which merely retcons the first one's first thirty minutes).
  • The Pink Panther movies escalated the slapstick comedy, wacky disguises, and whatnot quite a bit in the 1970s entries, even bringing in science fiction elements in The Pink Panther Strikes Again. There were also new female leads in each entry, whether they became Inspector Clouseau's love interest or not. The series also hit Franchise Zombie status with Revenge of the Pink Panther, which United Artists commissioned for summer 1978. Still, they were all hits — the franchise jumped the rails in The '80s when director-writer-producer Blake Edwards attempted to continue the series in spite of the death of Peter Sellers, who played Clouseau. It turned out that without Sellers, people weren't interested in more of the same hijinks.
  • RoboCop (1987) (and its sequel, RoboCop 2) were violent, edgy and full of satire on mid-'80s corporate culture. While the second film was derided for focusing too much on shock value and having less of the satirical humor, the franchise was still doing pretty well for itself (an animated series was created during this time, and the films performed very well at the box office). Unfortunately, studio executives (likely smelling several marketing opportunities) toned down the violence in the third film, RoboCop 3, to appeal to younger viewers. While there were some elements that remained from the previous films (Basil Poledouris' score, a return to the silver armor from the first film, most of the surviving cast members returning and some of the satire), the end result was too juvenile for most audiences, and the film bombed both financially and critically. Although there were attempts to resurrect the franchise over the years (a mid-'90s Canadian-made TV series bombed after one season, a late-'90s cartoon was critically panned and a miniseries [also filmed in Canada] was made-for-TV, a 2014 reboot was seen as So Okay, It's Average), it never really flew with audiences.
  • Interview with the Vampire vs. Queen of the Damned. The two movies were made over ten years apart, with completely different studios, directors, and actors. The themes and tones of the movies were vastly different, and no references were made to characters or plots from the first film, but it was explicitly set afterwards. Both movies being relatively self-contained, QotD was less of a sequel and more like the closest thing to a Continuity Reboot without actually doing so. Interview was based on the novel of the same name, while Queen of the Damned was an attempt to squeeze two separate novels into one film.
  • Grease is a hugely popular 50s nostalgia musical funfest. Grease 2 has only a few characters returning from the original (Frenchie, Eugene, the principal and her assistant, and the coach. All brief roles.) and introduces Sandy's cousin Michael in some weak attempt to connect the two movies. The plot is a Gender Flip of the first movie's plot and the results are... well, just say most Grease fans like to pretend it doesn't exist. Incidentally, Grease 2 unwittingly stopped the franchise from experiencing what would likely be more sequelitis. There were plans for two more movies and a TV series, but they were scrapped after Grease 2 flopped.
  • Saw
    • Fans debate whether the series has suffered from Sequelitis, and if so, at what point. This argument is closely tied to the one over Jigsaw's successors. Some fans believe that the series should've stopped at the third movie, which acted as a solid conclusion to what had been until then a trilogy. Others feel that the fourth movie was still good, but that the fifth was the series' jump the shark moment. Oddly enough, even they usually agree that the sixth film was a surprising improvement over the fifth. Opinion on the seventh (and final) film is too wildly varied to pin down any fan consensus. A few believe that there shouldn't have been any sequels, or that only the second film counts as a proper continuation.
    • Honestly, the series was supposed to stop at the third film, but when Lionsgate saw how much money it was bringing in, they demanded that the script to Saw III be changed to allow more movies to be made. The suckiness of Saw IV and V and sequelitis in general are the fault of Executive Meddling.
  • The Ju On/The Grudge film series, which began life as Takashi Shimizu's V-Cinema TV special but is now up to a second special (which recycled most of the first), two theatrical Japanese films, two Japanese shorts, an American remake, and two American sequels. Special honors to the first American film because it reenacted, almost scene-for-scene in some cases, the exact same plot as the first Japanese theatrical movie, though somehow keeps the main star/character (Sarah Michelle Gellar) alive through the end.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean begun with a Sleeper Hit, and then turned into a Two-Part Trilogy that divided many due to an increasingly complicated plot with plenty of backstabbing and missed opportunities. The Trilogy Creep got even more dissers, though some at least appreciated that there was an attempt to make the plot easier to follow.
    • And then, the fourth movie came out.
  • The Ring franchise has suffered from this disease. While each of the three "original" films has been well-received (Japanese, American, and Korean, respectively), their sequels have met with various degrees of scorn and failure to the point that the very first sequel, a film adaptation of the novel's follow-up Spiral, is so bad it's considered Canon Discontinuity by the Japanese producers, who went on to make The Ring 2 instead.
  • The original Species was a decent (if not spectacular) sci-fi horror film that had Natasha Henstridge running around (mostly naked, to boot) while a team of scientists tried to stop her. A sequel was inexplicably made five years later that combined a nonsensical plot (the scientists clone the original alien, then act shocked when she escapes to mate with another member of her species), cheesy effects and a cast that appeared to be going through the motions, and the following TV movie, Species III, was made by filmmakers who thought the entire franchise was composed of gratuitous violence and sex. The fourth film, Species The Awakening, seems to be an odd inversion, however - most viewers seem to regard it as a decent B-movie.
  • Terminator: The first was iconic. The second, one of the single greatest sequels of all time. The third was one hell of a Contested Sequel, and resulted in a TV series being made on the principle that T3 never happened. The fourth, while visually impressive, lacked substance and ended up being an underperformer at the box office, which then led to the death of its production company and the rights being sold off. On June 2013, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the producers officially confirmed that a fifth movie would come out in 2015 and it would be the first in a stand-alone trilogy. The movie, called Terminator Genisys, retcons the events of the first four movies with time-travel, but it still suffered a case of Sequelitis, leaving IT'S future up in the air.
  • A few James Bond films suffered from this, specially You Only Live Twice (the formula is starting to age), Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun, Moonraker (all three for being overtly stupid note ), A View to a Kill (Bond is too old, girl is annoying, plot is a rehash note ), Die Another Day (silliness, dodgy special effects note ), Quantum of Solace (too serious for its own good, convoluted plot), and Spectre (plot is too incoherent).
  • Star Trek has the "odd-number curse" - the first (which can be considered a sequel to the series), third (this one is actually alright, but still not as good as 2), fifth, seventh and ninth films are considered letdowns. It was broken when the tenth was a disappointment, leading to a wildly successful reboot (though some try to make the curse still work by considering the Affectionate Parody Galaxy Quest the tenth movie). Star Trek Into Darkness got a decent critical reception, but the overall opinion was either that it didn't live up to the first reboot (if you loved the first reboot), or that Gene Roddenberry is spinning in his grave (if you didn't), and contains a rather infamous Untwist that those trying to to justify the (Quest-adjusted) curse can point to.
  • Be Cool. The sequel to Get Shorty was loosely based on the novel that was the sequel to the original Get Shorty novel, but was so crammed full of actor allusions, cameos and industry in-jokes (for both film and music) that it had none of the spark of the first movie.
  • The sequel to Miss Congeniality suffers from sequelitis, as many a fan (girl) was probably very disappointed that the second film did not see the return of Benjamin Bratt as Eric Matthews.
  • Carrie is considered one of the landmark horror films of The '70s, and its success helped to establish Stephen King, the writer of the book it was based on, as one of the biggest names in horror literature. Twenty-three years later comes The Rage: Carrie 2, a film that, while most definitely enjoyable in a certain way, fails to hold a candle to the original, and was a box office disappointment. Part of this may stem from the fact that The Rage was originally written as a separate film called The Curse, and was turned into a Carrie sequel presumably after somebody saw the obvious similarities between the two films.
  • Both the original King Kong (1933) and the 1976 remake were followed by forgettable sequels (The Son Of Kong and King Kong Lives, respectively).
  • The original Children of the Corn (1984) film has suffered from an attack of Sequelitis, spawning seven gradually worsening sequels - The Final Sacrifice, Urban Harvest, The Gathering, Fields of Terror, 666: Isaac's Return, Revelation and Genesis.
  • Both The Amityville Horror (1979) and The Howling had an unusually high number of sequels, most of them direct-to-video. With Amityville, it also extended to the book series, which eventually became pure fiction, and got progressively weirder and surreal.
  • Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II are usually seen as pretty good (though Roger Ebert disliked the first and hated the second), while Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth is often looked down upon for being more "mainstream" and slashery. The fourth tried returning to the series roots, but suffered severely from Executive Meddling, resulting in an extreme case of What Could Have Been. Mileage tends to vary on the direct-to-video films though Hellraiser: Hellworld seems to be the only near-universally disliked one (consensus saying it could've been a decent standalone film, but as a Hellraiser film, it falls flat).
  • The first Lethal Weapon is generally considered the best, despite making far less at the box office than its sequels. Lethal Weapon 2 lacked some of the tension, but traded it in for a lot of gags making it funnier. Lethal Weapon 3 seemed to get a little more tired and Lethal Weapon 4 gives us fake-looking sharks, anvilicious (and hypocritical) political sentiments and a sympathy-pouch-wearing Rene Russo who's supposed to be 9-months pregnant yet able to fight martial arts-trained mooks.
  • Oh, God! is generally remembered as a quirky little Carl Reiner comedy, while the next two movies are ignored almost to the point of being Fanon Discontinuity. The changes in creators definitely didn't help. (This didn't prevent Roger Ebert from wittily remarking that, since God was immortal, the producers could just as well make unlimited sequels.)
  • Caddyshack II. Chevy Chase was the only star returning for the sequel, which lost all of what made the first movie funny. They knew the writing was on the wall, as every other castmate and even returning writer Harold Ramis had no desire to even consider a sequel.
  • The first Speed movie was a huge commercial and critical success. The sequel Speed 2: Cruise Control was almost universally panned while barely avoiding being a box-office flop.
  • Shortly after Diane Thomas agreed to write a sequel to her first screenplay Romancing the Stone, she was killed in a car crash. The studio went ahead with the sequel and created The Jewel of the Nile, a film so bad that one college screenwriting professor made an exam out of pointing out all the flaws in it.
  • Final Destination. Of the films, the first two are viewed as the best, the third is viewed as average, the fourth film is violently hated, and the fifth is viewed as a proper return to form (with the highest critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 61%)
  • The Transformers movies alternates between playing sequelitis straight and turning it on its head. Critical consensus has the first being nothing special, the second downright bad, the third having no real consensus, and the fourth somehow being both an improvement and the worst of the lot. The first movie was an okay sci-fi action-thriller that gave a semi-realistic tone to the franchise. The second movie lost that touch and became an over the top action movie with tons of unneeded adult humor (such as the pot smoking mom, the racist robots and mechanical testicles) and a generic plot. The third movie tried to please everyone and lowered the screen time for the robots (even though they are the title characters), made the first half almost a sort of parody (which led to the return of Sam's parents who by now are nothing more than The Artifact) and the second half a sci-fi war movie that dropped bridges on many characters. Finally, the fourth movie acted as a soft reboot of the series by replacing the human cast and notably extending the length of the the action sequences; which in turn made the film the longest film of the series (2 hours and 45 minutes). While this move gave the title characters a notably increased amount of screentime, the final result was also considered by many reviewers to be a monotonous and phoned-in regurgitation of the previous three film.
  • Death Wish started as a grounded, down-to-earth crime drama where Charlie Bronson's character brought about a cynical analysis of the attitudes of Americans regarding the crime waves of the 1970s, and stood out as unique in the action genre at the time. Its four sequels however became progressively less grounded in reality and increasingly over the top, with Bronson resorting to excessive means in dispatching one typical action movie villain after another and dropping the social commentary that magnified the first film's impact.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God is often said to have inverted this trope in spite of being released as a SyFy Channel Original, which is normally a step worse than Direct-to-Video. It helps that the first Dungeons & Dragons was so campy and fargone from what D&D was (or was expected to be be) that the few fans left felt it had nowhere left to go but up. The third one, however, The Book of Vile Darkness, managed to do worse again and strangely dropped all connections to the previous movies despite actually numbering itself this time.
  • The original Men in Black was well received by both critics and audiences, but Men in Black II (while still being a hit at the box office) was generally considered to be a dud; with the biggest symptoms of MIB 2's problems being the One-Scene Wonder talking pug being promoted to supporting character and Agent K being pulled right back out of retirement because the dynamic between him and J was just too good in the first. In addition, a lot of the first film's fresh and bizarre aliens, appear again in the sequel because they tested well. After a decade in Development Hell, Men in Black 3 was released, and managed to not only be another big hit at the box office, but got very good reviews from the critics as well.
  • Neighbors was well-received was a huge box office success, grossing $270 million against a $18 million budget. Naturally, a sequel was ordered, leading to Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising two years later. Although that received a modest reception, which is a rarity for sequels to comedy films, critics complained that the film used the same clichés as the prior film and did nothing unique to them.
  • The original Planet of the Apes (1968) had four sequels - most entering Franchise Zombie; Charlton Heston even asked that the second, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, to end with Earth being destroyed so it would be the last, but didn't work - with varying levels of quality, mostly due to lowering budgets, culminating in the terrible Battle for the Planet of the Apes. It only continued afterwards in TV series and reimaginings. The third movie, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, considered the best of the sequels, was the only one deliberately written open-ended with a sequel in mind. The fourth movie, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, would have been the last (APJ was already considering a TV series), but profits were good enough to justify a fifth movie.
  • Air Bud. From a touching story about a dog escaping an abusive owner, helping a young boy find his place, and leading a small-town sports team to victory, to a wacky comedy about talking puppies. And there have been fourteen Air Bud movies. Seven of those movies are Air Buddies movies, which are about Air Bud's talking puppy offspring. Two are Christmas special spinoffs of Air Buddies. The series hasn't actually been about a dog learning sports since the fifth. It hasn't had the actual dog since the second, because he died in 1998, and incidentally that was the last time the film wasn't straight-to-DVD. And whatever miniscule ember of merit remained in the series after the fifth film, Air Buddies stomped it out. The general perception from those forced to sit through them is that they only get worse with every installment.
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is widely considered to be inferior to the first The Mummy (a very fun Indiana Jones style romp) and The Mummy Returns (the first film on steroids) films. Probably not helped by the seven year gap between the second and third films - it badly misses Rachel Weisz, who was replaced by Maria Bello (Weisz's and Fraser's chemistry in the first two films is obvious whereas Fraser and Bello are totally unconvincing as a couple). The omission of Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) and Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr) robs the film of those actors' abilities to stretch beyond the schlock setting and craft believable and human characters. Jet Li is criminally underused in the Dragon Emperor role, spending most of his screen time as a CGI dragon. Michelle Yeoh is wasted in her role also and the sequence with the yetis stretches willing suspension of disbelief too far. Critically panned with poor fan reactions, it made LESS money than either of the first two despite seven years worth of inflation, and has probably killed the main franchise (though the The Scorpion King spinoff series continues).
  • The Trial of Billy Jack: The first two movies in the series, The Born Losers and Billy Jack are both awesome. Trial of Billy Jack, on the other hand, is up there with Highlander II: The Quickening and Batman & Robin as one of the worst sequels ever made.
  • The 2009 comedy The Hangover quickly became regarded as a well-done, raunchy comedy, making $467 million of a $35 million budget. A sequel was made only two years later. Unfortunately, it played out as a carbon copy of the first film, only far more dark and raunchy without any of the surprise. While it managed to make even more money than the first, many people didn't like it for the above reasons. A third film came out another two years later, doing worse critically than even the second, despite trying not to rehash the same concept.
  • Kick-Ass 2 was generally not as well received as the originalby critics, at least. Fans and the general audience seem to be reacting more favorably to it.
  • Beethoven was a modest hit when it came out, but wasn't anything particularly special. However, the success of the film was enough to give Hollywood an excuse to turn it into a franchise, resulting in a film series that became more and more out of touch with the original with every installment. While Beethoven's 2nd stayed true to the original formula with its then-familiar cast and Beethoven still at his usual canine antics, Beethoven's 3rd saw Beethoven transferred to a new family headed by father Judge Reinhold replacing Charles Grodin, with increasingly uninspired villains and stories appearing in each installment. By the time of Beethoven's sixth film appearance, the series was rebooted and retooled and then the seventh installment, Beethoven's Christmas Adventure, had Beethoven talking, finally doing away with what little resemblance the sequels still bore to the original. There was also a short-lived animated series. In 2014, it spawned an eighth installment, Beethoven's Treasure Tail.
  • Spy Kids proved to be a very successful family film and thus spawned its own franchise; unfortunately, each new installment has done worse than the one that came before. While Spy Kids 2 proved to be a decent movie despite this, Spy Kids 3D: Game Over quickly came to be considered the series' jump the shark moment; however, this did not stop Robert Rodriquez from producing Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 2011, eight years after the conclusion of the original trilogy, with rumors of a fifth film on the way despite the fourth film's poor critical and box office reception.
  • The Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle sequels are seen this way by some. The first is well loved, though technically its box office performance was the smallest of the three, but Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay gets a lot of criticism for being too political even though it has the highest box office performance of the trilogy. However, the third film, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas has gotten better reviews than the previous movie mostly because it avoids the politics that plagued it.
  • Muppets Most Wanted starts with a song about sequels that hangs a lampshade on this trope. "And everybody knows that the sequel's never quite as good."
  • 22 Jump Street parodies this in the Credits Gag with increasingly wacky sequel ideas. The concept of the film being a retread of the first one is one that's explored.
  • Baby Geniuses of all things also falls under this trope; in spite of the original film's critical thrashing, its modest box office success led to a sequel entitled Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, now commonly regarded as one of the worst films out there. Plans for a third movie seemed to fall through after its original director Bob Clark died in 2007, only for a new director to take the helm and resume the series with the third released as direct-to-video, with others forthcoming and all focusing on the same premise with the same subpar mouth effects and production values to boot.
  • If there's one thing worse than a highly anticipated movie stuck in Development Hell, it's when the producers, directors and stars try to rush to get it out of said hell and completed, which is why the sequel to Basic Instinct was condemned by critics and ruined any chance of a third movie. The box office gross didn't even cover Sharon Stone's salary for the movie.
  • The Conjuring fared well with critics, while its prequel Annabelle released the following year was reviled by some and considered So Okay, It's Average by others. Despite this, its marketing campaign caused it to quickly become the second highest-grossing film in theaters two weeks after its release behind the better-received Gone Girl.
  • Hot Tub Time Machine was well-received, while Hot Tub Time Machine 2 was ravaged by critics and only slightly better-received by audiences.
  • The Expendables 3, due to being rated PG13 and adding unnecessary new characters played by lesser-known actors who are taking the screentime from the bigger name actors whose appearance were the whole point of the franchise, has drawn much criticism.
  • The Missing in Action series get progressively worse with each installment.
  • The Blues Brothers is one of the most famous movies inspired by Saturday Night Live, but Blues Brothers 2000 was basically just the same thing all over again — so much that the only major difference is that John Goodman replaced John Belushi — and it gained little fanfare from critics and audiences. As a result it led to the downfall of John Landis, who directed the original eighteen years earlier.
  • The Mouse on the Moon was completely devoid of Peter Sellers and brought back very few people from The Mouse That Roared, one of whom, producer Walter Shenson, made two more (better recognized) movies with director Richard Lester. Unsurprisingly, the other three "Mouse" novels by Leonard Wibberly never made it to the silver screen.
  • Of the five films featuring The Beatles, only A Hard Day's Night and Help! have really good storylines while the other three, each claiming to complete the group's three-film contract, do not. Magical Mystery Tour is too bizarre for its own good, Yellow Submarine was well done but didn't involve the actual Beatles until the end and Let It Be appears to be too downbeat for enjoyment.
  • In the Heat of the Night had two sequels, 1970's They Call Me Mr. Tibbs and 1971's The Organization, that most people tend to forget about. It doesn't help that the only people who worked on all three films — other than Sidney Poitier, who played Tibbs in both sequels — were Quincy Jones, who provided the jazzy score for each, and producer Walter Mirisch.
  • Though Waynes World 2 made back its $40m budget in theaters, it didn't do nearly as well as the original Wayne's World, largely due to its competition.
  • The Maze Runner was well-received for being considerably smarter than a lot of the other YA adaptations. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials was viewed as a huge step down, with no emphasis on character development and for it being an In-Name-Only adaptation of The Scorch Trials.
  • Rambo III is considered to be the weakest of the Rambo sequels.
  • Though Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows managed to be a box office smash like its predecessor, critics and audiences found it weaker and more uneven.

  • L. Frank Baum made thirteen Land of Oz novels. Most people have only heard of the first book, and that's only because it was made into a movie, but it's by far the best received one. The other Oz novels are generally thought of as mediocre to outright bad, with the series becoming Strictly Formula as time went on.
  • Piers Anthony's series of Xanth novels has reached over 30 novels and currently consists almost entirely of puns and plot developments suggested by readers.
  • Most sequels to works in the public domain are awful, or at least so inferior to the originals that fans will invariably be disappointed. One reason for this is that only the very best books survive the test of time: perhaps a sequel to Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South would be comparable to the original, but any sequel to Pride and Prejudice would pale in comparison. Another is that anyone, no matter how dreadful a writer they may be, can publish a sequel to a public domain work. That's not possible for a work under copyright, where the copyright holder can prevent the publication of any unauthorized sequel.
    • Susan Kay's Phantom
      • It is generally considered to be pretty good by the phandom, and is even accepted as (admittedly dubious) canon by some. The sequel to the The Phantom of the Opera musical may not be so lucky (see Theater below).
      • Even Kay suffers from her share of criticism. While it's generally agreed that the first two-thirds of her book (actually a prologue to the original story describing Erik's backstory) are well done, a lot of fans strongly dislike the way she portrays the Erik/Christine relationship and its aftermath in the final third.
    • Stephen Baxter's The Time Ships, a sequel to The Time Machine is considered quite good. Largely because it averts the 'anyone can do it' part; Baxter is a fairly major SF writer, and was authorised by the Wells estate.
  • River God, by Wilbur Smith, was quite interesting and different to mainstream fiction. The sequel Warlock went from the engaging and amusing first-person narrative style to third-person, which allowed for us to see scenes from several characters' perspectives, but mostly allowed for gratuitous shoehorning- in of sex scenes to pad out the already inflated-but-largely-empty plot. The Quest has almost completely dispensed with any ties to the Ancient Egypt pantheon, instead substituting some vaguely New-Agey mumbo-jumbo universally-recognised quasi-religious belief system.
  • James P. Hogan's Giants series. It's not as if the sequels are bad - it's just that they tend to detract from the previous books. The first book, Inherit the Stars, is the story of a bunch of scientists trying to wrap their brains around a massive enigma. The second one, The Gentle Giants of Ganymede, brings in aliens, but is fairly similar. The third one, Giants' Star, alters the style by bringing in conflict.
    • The third also adds the idea that the reason people are evil is because evil time-travellers have made them that way. The fourth expands this to the evil time-travellers were actually taken over by aliens who lived inside a computer.
    • And the books Ret Cons things established in the previous ones to an annoying degree.
  • The sequel novels in The Bourne Series.
    • They contain, in the first addition, Dropped A Bridge On two of the most important characters in the first twenty pages, a character who is canonically supposed to be dead suffering from Parental Abandonment, Comic-Book Time, and much, much, much, much Canon Defilement. The second addition is no less egregious, including Dropping A Bridge On Marie In Between Books, having Bourne abandon all common sense, ridiculously atrocious pseudoscience, almost downright offensive portrayals of Washington, DC, and Bourne suddenly becoming an expert on everything, including knowing every language from Arabic to an obscure Ethiopian dialect, when in canon he's just supposed to be a professor of Oriental Studies. Seriously. Also, he carries around a Playstation 3 for no other reason than it looks cool.
    • The Bourne Deception is plain humiliation. Bourne visits a Balinese shaman, sleeps with a woman who was formerly his friend's girlfriend, and mentions virtually nothing about his children. In The Bourne Ultimatum he is 50, and that is when Soviet Union still existed; the book mentions the timeline had passed 2005 since Indonesian Bali Bombing. The new author transforms this tortured amnesiac soul into ageless James Bond-wannabe.
  • Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series started as a quite cool detective series, but degraded from book five onward.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin completed the original Earthsea Trilogy in 1974. Sixteen years later, she wrote a fourth book Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, which suffers from Mood Whiplash, Writer on Board and a lack of plot. And it wasn't even the last book.
  • The feminist science fiction writer Suzette Elgin conceived Native Tongue with a lot innovative ways to fuse feminism, SF, and linguistics. In the novel, the women use a language she invented to express difference experiences more suited for woman. The novel is excellent, the two sequels on the other hand are chaotic jumbles that create more loose ends than they tie up.
  • Gone with the Wind
    • 55 years after its publication, Scarlett, an "authorized" sequel, appeared. Critics were not impressed.
    • Another sequel, Rhett Butler's People, also appeared. The critics panned that one too.
  • Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series started putting more and more focus on magical history, Objectivist philosophy and the main character's role as a leader after the second book. The common opinion on this site is that it Jumped the Shark, with each book getting worse and worse. Goodkind gave the last three books a rather good attempt to emulate the first two's plot and style, at least.
  • Robert Asprin's Phule's Company series; the first 2 books are decent, the books co-written after that take a marked turn downwards. But this is partly the fault of Real Life Writes the Plot and Author Existence Failure. His Myth Adventures series, while maintaining a high standard for quite a while, has also begun to sag for the same reason.
  • The Rocheworld series by Robert Forward likewise has a great first book, a moderately good second, and utter crap dragging along behind.
  • The Ringworld series by Larry Niven.
    • It has succumbed to this as Niven has caught Retcon Fever and begun tearing down the conventions of his own universe.
    • Ringworld's Children retcons... practically everything established about the Known Space universe. (OK, that's a slight exaggeration, but still.)
  • Most(?) people have the latter half of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series falling into this trope. It became especially evident when he had elements of DT leak into his non-DT novels (especially Hearts in Atlantis and Insomnia). Even if you do like the later installments for their writing or whatever, it definitely shows by the end that King didn't actually know where he was going with the story to begin with and had to just come up with something without the benefit of having planned in advance.
  • Andrzej Sapkowski named it as one of major SF&F plagues in his No Gold in the Grey Mountains article... and didn't forgot to add a Hypocrisy Nod.
    I myself, while considering myself an attentive inspector of the news of fantastics, sometimes don't buy the freshly released sixth book of a saga because my attention somehow failed to register previous five. But much, much more frequently I decline to buy tome one if its cover grins with a warning: 'First Book Of the Magic Shit Cycle'.
  • Orson Scott Card with his Ender and Shadow saga (the first of each series being parallel, and the rest a split following different characters). While the sequel to Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, is widely considered to be just as good if not even better than the first, the final two in that saga, Xenocide and Children of the Mind are overly pretentious and bloated philosophical works that could have easily been cut into one shorter volume. They also leave on a horrible cliffhanger that rivals that of Chapterhouse: Dune which Card has had 13 years to end, but instead written a midquel between the first and second books as well as a short story collection. The Shadow series fares even worse, with the first book being equal to or better than the parallel Ender's Game but taking a steep decline starting with the second. While not as bloated in narrative as the Ender saga's latter books, the Shadow series instead destroys most of the mystery behind Peter's unification of Earth by making him into nothing but an annoying schoolchild, and doing absolutely nothing. A 4th sequel is planned, thus putting the series at 11 books. The irony of it all? Some copies of Speaker for the Dead are prefaced with an introduction that talks about how reluctant the author was to revisit Ender just for a second book.
  • Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber series: Don't talk to fans about the sequel series focusing on Merlin. And don't even dare mention the John Betancourt knockoffs, officially sanctioned or not.
  • Redwall, partially because the plot that worked for the first five or six books gets a bit stale when it's pulled out for the twentieth time. It does not help that the Wacky Wayside Tribes started to replace "plot relevance" with "annoying habits" around the time of "The Pearls of Lutra".
  • The sequels to Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama (which are actually written primarily by Gentry Lee) suffer from this.
  • Gregory Benford once wrote a sequel to Arthur C. Clarke's amazing Against the Fall of Night, called Beyond the Fall of Night. It's awful, primarily because Against sets up a massive battle between good and evil with a disembodied intelligence called Vanamonde battling the evil Mad Mind. Benford completely ignores that and makes Beyond be about a very strange track of evolution and Vanamonde barely appears right at the end, and is almost completely superfluous, having the Mad Mind being defeated by a specific branch of humanity. Against the Fall of Night is loved by science fiction fans, but Beyond the Fall of Night tends to be hated.
  • The Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel The Quantum Archangel. A sequel to "The Time Monster", which the author claimed was intentionally "the ultimate in fanwank", it's basically "The Time Monster" ONLY BIGGER! So the TOMTIT machine that affects space-time is replaced by a more advanced version called the TITAN Array that affects Calabi-Yau space (the "extra" dimensions in superstring theory). TOMTIT was secretly created by the Master to trap a Chronovore; TITAN is comandeered by the Master to wipe the Chronovores out and give himself their powers. The Third Doctor disrupts TOMTIT with an arrangement of forks and winebottles; the Sixth Doctor builds a much bigger version to disrupt TITAN. The Third Doctor and the Delgado Master go on a jaunt to Ancient Atlantis; the Sixth Doctor and the Ainley Master visit a forgotten planet from the beginning of the universe. Stuart Hyde gets temporarily youthed instead of aged, the Doctor attempts to Time Ram the Master's TARDIS, and Kronos again Deus Ex Machinas everything at the end. Even the throwaway gag that "E = MC cubed" in the Vortex gets reused and amped up; in Calabi-Yau Space, apparently, E = MC to the fourth power. It's so blatant about it that some feel it goes beyond conventional sequelitis and becomes good, or at least successfully does what it wants to do.
  • Robert E. Howard's most famous creation Conan The Cimmerian suffers horribly from this. Not only are there endless continuations, prequels and other adventurers of vastly varying quality by many different authors but the original stories were rewritten in places to make them sync up with the sequels. However even the original stories occasionally suffer from sequelitis. Because of the character's popularity, Howard knew he could sell any Conan story to Weird Tales and wrote some very cliched tales (such as The Devil in Iron) which were effectively knock-offs of his own earlier efforts when he needed quick cash.
  • A subversion comes with J. R. R. Tolkien's abandoned sequel to The Lord of the Rings. Called The New Shadow, he got as far as coming up with some characters and setting it in the fourth age of Middle-earth where a dark cult rose up in the lands of Gondor. However, he abandoned it after only a few pages as he felt it would not be as epic or up to the standards of his other work, then suffered Author Existence Failure, meaning it's highly unlikely this will be finished. However, there is a fan made mod known as The Fourth Age: Total War which makes this concept and expands on it.
  • Warrior Cats. The 1st arc of novels is treasured by fans. The second arc is usually seen as good, but not as good as the original. The third and fourth arcs are very... polarizing, and the fifth is typically liked a little better than those due to being fresher with the new time period and characters, but still there's a general opinion that the series is dragging on too long. Since the series is so financially successful, and has a vast and dedicated fanbase, the books just keep on coming. Most complaints about the later series cite the reused plot devices, the ridiculous amount of mostly flat and undeveloped supporting characters, and the smaller focus on nature and survival in favor of more anthropomorphized themes like love and family issues. It's often compared to a soap opera. And this doesn't even touch on the vast amount of mangas, field guides and other companion books, which generally entertain diehard fans but hold little literary merit. It's hard to say when the franchise will actually end, because the fans are always eager for new books and the authors, who keep in touch with their fanbase regularly via author chat, don't want to disappoint them.
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series has this. The first book was stunning and awesome, and the second and third that followed were, while having their problems, quite good. Unfortunately, she kept writing, and things went to hell in a handbasket. She contradicted established canon from one book to the next, couldn't keep names, ages, and places straight, and the plots devolved into pathetic monstrosities.
  • George Macdonald Fraser's Flashman series dances around this. There's no fan consensus on what's the best book, though certain sequels (namely Royal Flash and Flashman at the Charge) are generally ranked higher than the original. While the first seven books are considered pretty solid, the last five are somewhat polarizing. Criticisms include Badass Decay, making Flashman less Magnificent Bastard and more conventional Anti-Hero, Fraser injecting political views into the books and increasingly formula storytelling (Flashman gets dragged into danger, meets some historical figures, shags pretty ladies, gets betrayed by everyone yet improbably survives as a hero). Flashman on the March, the very last book, feels like a deliberate attempt to assuage these criticisms — notably evinced by the scene where Flashman kicks his Ethiopian lover down a waterfall.
  • Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles are almost universally agreed to suffer from this, with the fourth book, Tale of the Body Thief, or the fifth, Memnoch the Devil, usually cited as the shark-jumping point. Not-so-coincidentally, this is around when Rice decided she had Protection from Editors. It doesn't take a particularly careful interrogation of the text to see that the characterizations are stronger in the first few books, and that's not even getting into the forgotten plot points and frequent passing-about of the Idiot Ball. Upon meeting another Vampire Chronicles fan, it's probably best to ask "what's your canon?" early on, so you can get into discussing the books you both think are good.
  • In The Bible, there's the famous story of David and Goliath that everyone's heard of. Another story from the Bible is the one where a guy named Elhanan manages to kill Goliath's brother, Lahmi. That one isn't nearly as popular as the one about Goliath. Had you ever heard of it before you read this?
  • Dinoverse suffers this to an extent, though it's only six books long. The first book, which was split into two, was more thoughtful and less Anvilicious than they became. Characters became better people, but it was due to their experiences rather than appearing to be the intention of the M.I.N.D. Machine. Rules and powers set down as rigid later were more flexible then, animals were less anthropomorphized, and there was more depth of character interaction. The last book abandons the idea of traveling through time by astral projecting and possessing other creatures to go with a more standard portal mechanic, and female characters stop being proactive for no reason.
  • While V. C. Andrews' Dollanganger Saga aren't exactly critical darlings, they are generally beloved by Andrews' fans, even if the prequel Garden Of Shadows was completed by her ghostwriter. Almost 30 years after Andrews' death, the ghostwriter began the Christopher's Diary series, billed to bring a new prospective on the series (Via Chris). The series has so far been met with disappointment and even loathing from fans for not actually bringing anything new to the table, and for retconing Cory's death, the latter which some readers have called "Disrespectful" to Andrews' legacy.
  • Under the name of "Collodi Nipote," Paolo Lorenzini, the nephew of Pinocchio author Carlo Collodi, wrote six more stories about the little wooden puppet between 1917 and 1954. The Sequel Reset of keeping Pinocchio as a puppet didn't help.
  • While Fifty Shades of Grey never was a critical favorite, the book Grey—a retelling of the first book from Christian's point of view—has been poorly received even by readers and critics who liked the original trilogy. The two main complaints are as follows:
    • Too much of the text is copied and pasted from the original book.
    • Christian's thoughts are banal, and also way too stalker-like. While Christian certainly acted like a stalker sometimes, it's unpleasant to see that he actually feels and thinks like a stalker.
  • Even though Through the Looking-Glass is a well respected novel, its Darker and Edgier tone makes it less popular than Alice in Wonderland.
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was, famously, followed by the Even Better Sequel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. However, some years later when Mark Twain fell into some financial difficulties and needed some good-selling books to pay the bills, he wrote two additional sequels, Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective. There's a reason you've probably never heard of them. Suffice to say, the characters are Flanderized nearly beyond all recognition and the plots are merely flimsy excuses for satire of popular genres of the day.
  • In-universe in Diary of a Wimpy Kid with the fictional Slumber Party Pals series. Greg thinks the first 30 books were good, but that the quality went downhill when the author ran out of ideas. Volume #87 is titled Lindsey Loses a Mitten.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Even more than the film examples, Star Trek suffered this in its series. The Original Series was considered an uneven novelty, a series that was either teeth grating crap, or the very pinnacle of science-fiction, depending on the given episode. The Next Generation has been formally recognized as being among the top 100 shows ever made and a crowning achievement of television. Paramount came down with Sequelitis, commissioning three follow-up series (one of them was a prequel). The critical reception deteriorated with each successive series, along with the ratings (though a few preferred Deep Space Nine in later years). The last one made it to four seasons, the fourth season was only made so that the series could be syndicated, and not end up a total failure.
  • Dead Ringers had a sketch in which different versions of Arnold Schwarzenegger came back from the future to warn him not to sign up for any more lousy Terminator sequels, eventually reaching Terminator 23 before Sarah Connor shot the present Arnie to save the future. To her dismay, another Arnie came back and revealed she is now his co-star in Kindergarten Cop 14! Nnnooooo!
  • The spinoff/sequel to That '70s Show, That '80s Show, alienated old viewers and didn't get any new ones.
  • The New Monkees had the misfortune of competing with reruns of the series that inspired it. As a result the series was pulled after only thirteen episodes.

  • Critics wanted E.S. Posthumus's albums to have more powerful and action-filled songs; this caused the pieces in Makara to have less variation compared to the flow and richer tunes in previous albums Unearthed and Cartographer.
  • No genre features more numbered albums than hip-hop. It usually works like this:
    • 1. Rapper releases album that's deemed a classic or has massive success.
    • 2. Rapper's followup albums don't perform as well.
    • 3. Rapper returns to "the series" to get "the magic" (and brand recognition) back.
  • The above rarely ever leads to any sort of comeback, so it's easier just to list aversions:
    • Lil Wayne's Tha Carter II is universally considered to be an improvement over Tha Carter; some fans still consider II to be his best album, in fact. While Tha Carter III massively outsold II, debate still rages on the better album. However, a consensus has emerged on Tha Carter IV - namely, that it's a steaming hunk of shit compared to the previous two Carters. As two albums came between III and IV (including the rock album), IV ended up playing the rule straight.
    • Eminem avoided this reaction with The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show. While The Slim Shady LP is widely viewed as a hip-hop classic, the two follow-up albums, especially The Marshall Mathers LP, contained a great deal of the social commentary, controversy, and more substantive songs like "Stan" that helped cement Eminem's legendary status. Played straight, however, with The Marshall Mathers LP 2 - while it's a monstrous hit, reception is a lot more all over the place.
    • Kanye West also strongly averted this with Late Registration, the second installment in the "college bear" series of albums, which is widely regarded as a worthy follow-up to College Dropout. Graduation is a bit more controversial - while it achieved massive commercial and critical success, it began Kanye's trend towards different sounds on each album. It should be noted that Kanye has actively averted this trope following Graduation - his subsequent solo albums (808s and Heartbreaks, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Yeezus) are stylistically and sonically very different.
    • Jay-Z: The Blueprint is widely considered a classic album, among Jay-Z's best, contributed the term "renegaded" to hip-hop lexicon(referring to Eminem's guest appearance on "Renegade"), and helped jump-start Kanye West's career. Blueprint 2 was considered to suffer from too many filler songs, and while Blueprint 3 was a major hit, but had a less positive critical reception.
  • Many people consider Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime to be one of the best metal albums ever. Eighteen years later, after a number of less-well received albums, they made a sequel, Operation: Mindcrime 2, which most critics and fans saw as mediocre at best.

    Stand-Up Comedy 

  • The musical Of Thee I Sing, a cheerful satire on the American political system, opened on Broadway late in 1931 to immense popular and critical acclaim, which not only made it one of the longest-running shows of the decade but won a Pulitzer Prize for its writers; it was the first ever musical play to win the award. Almost two years later, a sequel, Let 'Em Eat Cake, appeared from the same authors, with the same principal actors and the same producer. It was not a commercial success; many of its jokes were recycled from the earlier show, and a bewildering series of plot complications (involving, among other things, a baseball-playing League of Nations) stretched Willing Suspension of Disbelief too far.
  • Bring Back Birdie was a sequel to Bye Bye Birdie, produced and set twenty years later. It was written by the same authors as the original show, and featured the same characters, with Chita Rivera once again starring as Rose Alvarez. Most people who saw the show during the less than a week it ran on Broadway agreed that it was horrible. Somewhat infamous for a moment where the actor playing Birdie lost the beat to one of the songs then marched off stage, saying, "You sing it! I never liked this song anyway!"
  • The musical Annie similarly had a sequel written by the same authors (including composer Charles Strouse, who had also done Bye Bye Birdie and Bring Back Birdie, though lyricist Martin Charnin seems to have been the ringleader in this scheme), with several of the older members of the original cast reprising their roles. In the implausible plot of Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge, Daddy Warbucks was ordered to find a mother for Annie, which provided the opportunity for Miss Hannigan's scheme (conceived with a good deal of Motive Decay) to first become Warbucks's wife and then a widow without any dependents. When the eagerly awaited show had its pre-Broadway opening in Washington, D.C. in January 1990, audiences were stunned at how unfunny the show was. Massive rewrites ensued, and continued in earnest even after the show's Broadway booking was canceled and several star actors dropped out, including Dorothy Loudon as Miss Hannigan. Miss Hannigan was ultimately written out in favor of a Suspiciously Similar Substitute (though the plot remained mostly the same), and the authors' desperate efforts to get their show into New York finally resulted in its opening off-Broadway in 1993, as Annie Warbucks. Critics recognized the show as an unnecessary sequel, and it failed to catch on with audiences.
  • The musical The Boy Friend also suffers from this despite being not as well known as some others out there. Its sequel is so ridiculous that it has to be seen (or read) to believe. The name? ''Divorce Me, Darling!''
  • Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, is being slammed by many fans of the original.
    • The Australian run of Love Never Dies was extensively reworked by Andrew Loyd Webber, with the greatest improvements being made to the characterization (of nearly all the characters) and the plot. Needless to say, the current run is leagues better than when it first started showing. If it lives up to the original however is still very much YMMV.
  • Though the one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti has never ranked among Leonard Bernstein's best-known works, its reputation is considerably better than A Quiet Place, the three-act sequel Bernstein decided to write three decades later. The libretto reads like a bad soap opera, and the music is generally dull except for the parts of the second act which incorporate Trouble in Tahiti in its entirety as a flashback.
  • While The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro are well known, though mainly due to Adaptation Displacement as operas written respectively by Gioachino Rossini and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, La mère coupable ou l'autre Tartuffe, Beaumarchais' third entry in the "Figaro trilogy," is not so much so. Most people who have seen both operas are upset of the absence of two popular characters, Bartholo (Bartolo) and Bazile (Basilio).
  • Thirteen years after the premiere of Louise, Gustave Charpentier gave Paris the opera Julien, the story of which focused on Louise's boyfriend. It didn't do so well.

    Theme Parks 
  • Many rides in Disney Theme Parks fall prey to this. Perhaps the most puissant example of this trope in a Disney ride is the "Imagination" rides featured at the EPCOT theme park in Disney World. The original ride, Journey Into Imagination, was a much beloved and very creative ride centering around the world of a child's imagination and starred the Dreamfinder, a red-bearded eccentric who collected dreams and creative thoughts, and his pet purple dragon Figment with a Clock or Steam Punk style. Executive Meddling involving a potential change in sponsors caused the ride to close in 1998 for a complete overhaul. It was reopened in 1999 as "Journey Into Your Imagination", a completely redone ride featuring none of the charm possessed by the original and with both Figment and the Dreamfinder MIA. The new ride set a record for the most complaints received over a new attraction at a Disney Park. The revamp was received so badly, it was closed a mere 2 years later in 2001. In 2002 the ride received a later update, "Journey Into Imagination With Figment". Though it is a notable improvement over the second version of the ride, most long time Disney parkgoers tend to agree that the ride's first incarnation was by far its best.

    Video Games 
  • The Soul Series got hit with this pretty hard in The New Tens. The first game is seen as pretty good, whereas the second game is considered one of the best fighting games of all time. The third and fourth aren't bad, but couldn't match the standards set by II. Then came Soul Calibur V, which was full of Fake Balance and a number of changes to the story mode that were met with a lot of derision from the fanbase. Major League Gaming, the crowd that V was meant to appeal to, rejected it outright. Then, the series shifted focus with Soulcalibur: Unbreakable Soul and Soulcalibur: Lost Swords, which got even more backlash from the inclusion of microtransactions and online DRM, respectively.note  Couple that with all three of those titles coming out in a twelve-month period, and the subsequent fall from grace has left the fate of the series up in the air.
  • Opinion differs on whether Master of Orion or Master of Orion II is the better game, but almost no-one thinks Master of Orion III is anything but unmitigated crap.
  • X-COM: UFO Defense (or UFO: Enemy Unknown, depending on where you live) was a surprise hit, with its great atmosphere, fine management section, and superb tactical section. Microprose decided to ride the wave and, after less than a year, released X-COM: Terror from the Deep: under a shiny package of new graphics and sound, the game was exactly the same, only taking place underwater, with difficulty re-balanced for the worsenote , and bugs that could block the tech tree, making the game unwinnable. X-COM: Apocalypse was from the original developers but, sadly, it completely lacked atmosphere and, while trying to be more complex, it became cumbersome. X-COM: Interceptor (a mediocre Wing Commander clone) and X-COM: Enforcer (a shallow Third-Person Shooter) followed and were quickly and deservedly forgotten, while more interesting projects were cancelled thanks to the mismanagements of Microprose and Hasbro Interactive.
  • Nearly any Lemmings game after Lemmings 2: The Tribes.
  • Tomb Raider II was generally considered almost equal or an Even Better Sequel on release. By Chronicles, the Tomb Raider series had firmly fell into this and The Angel of Darkness was the last straw before the series began recovering by being moved from Core Design to Crystal Dynamics.
  • Earthworm Jim was a weird and well-received game. The second game was even better in nearly every aspect. Then the series met the Polygon Ceiling courtesy of a different developer, and anything resembling quality went out the window. Then Shiny Entertainment themselves threw their own quality off their windows some time after dumping Jim.
  • Mega Man has been all over the place with this. At some point a given series starts sucking hard and a spin-off is made. It starts off great, then slowly slides into crap until a spin-off is made and the cycle begins anew. From the sound of it, this could be blamed on Executive Meddling; Keiji Inafune, the creator of Mega Man, wanted to end the Classic series at 6 and the X series on 5, but Capcom wanted to make more money.
    • 7 was released after the series' first Sequel Series, and it and its following installments are considered massive improvements. Some fans still consider 2 and 3 to be the pinnacle of the series, however.
    • Mega Man X8 was also surprisingly good despite the enormous amounts of Fake Difficulty. Apparently Capcom sequels go in cycles. 9 supports this theory.
    • Mega Man Battle Network actually really improved for the last installment, although the two preceding ones were pretty mediocre. The progression goes: 1 was bad but an Obvious Beta so it was forgiven, 2 got the formula right, 3 was still a very solid game and regarded one of the best along with 2 and also would have wrapped everything up nicely if it had ended on that, 4 most people would rather forget and was pretty out there even for the games, 5 the game started to get back on track but not quite there, 6 returned to to the formula that made 2 and 3 good but still wasn't considered good enough to be masterpiece as games two and three.
    • Mega Man Star Force had the same situation. The first was alright, the second was bad, but the third is largely agreed to have been fantastic.
    • Mega Man Zero, on the other hand, averted this entirely. All four installments are universally beloved (even with, again, an extension beyond how many games Inafune wanted to make), with the largest complaint from reviewers being that they were too same-y.
    • Another aversion is Mega Man Legends, which became a massive cult hit but failed to sell well. The fans agree that its sequel improved on its flaws in every way, with some saying that it took the series out of Obvious Beta status. Thanks to a bad case of Executive Meddling, it'll never be known if the third game would've bucked the trend or not.
  • The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series started off as a unique concept to the industry and garnered hundreds of fans, with the PS2 port of the third installment being one of the most critically-acclaimed games of its time. As the series progressed through the Underground titles, however, the changes became minimal and predictable, the over-the-top tone got stale really quickly and the series declined in overall quality, with the peripheral-based RIDE and SHRED installments getting intense lashings from critics and fans alike. It didn't help that EA's Skate had stolen the market from Activision, too. Like the hip-hop examples, they tried to rekindle interest with a Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5, which was very incomplete and slammed hard by critics.
  • Devil May Cry moves back and forth with this. Devil May Cry 2 is generally considered to be far inferior to the original, what with its lousy story, bland combat, and greatly lowered difficulty level. Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening is usually seen as much better (sometimes even better than the original). Devil May Cry 4 is also seen by some as inferior, while others consider it to be decent but not as good as 1 or 3. As for the reboot, DmC: Devil May Cry, it is widely despised by fans due to its "Westernized" approach, overly simplified combat system, and Dante becoming unappealingly douchey and his dialogue being completely immature and unfunny.
  • Perfect Dark is considered one of the best Nintendo 64 games. Prequelitis ensued with Perfect Dark Zero, you can essentially call it a In-Name-Only prequel. The continuity of the first game is only glanced upon, Joanna is a spunky oddly clad girl with red hair and a penchant for one liners. The Carrington Institute makes an appearance... with Carrington himself having become 200% more Scottish, complete with a kilt. The aliens are non-existent only hinted, the main antagonist being a company connected to dataDyne being run by a small stereotypical Chinese man. The gameplay? The game was developed by a different team (because the original developers left Rare), that speaks for itself.
  • Star Control was a fun turn-based strategy game. Star Control 2 was an epic action-adventure Even Better Sequel. Star Control 3, made by none of the people involved with the first two, is a game most fans try to forget about.
  • Some fans of the Need for Speed series argue the series got really bad after the third or so installment, especially when it started drifting into GTA territory.
  • There's a lot of flame wars out there about whether this applies to Final Fantasy. Seeing as the Final Fantasy title is just a way of advertising that it's a JRPG that Square Enix put a lot of money into, this is somewhat nonsensical, but understandable.
    • Whether and at what point the mainline series has jumped the shark is a matter of great contention, though you generally only hear this complaint starting with Final Fantasy VII, which was a rather large departure in style, tone, and game design to the six games that came before it and came to define the franchise after it in spite of being the seventh title. Despite it literally being one of the best-selling games of all time and a critical and commercial success that no other entry in the series has equaled, fans of the first six games often blame this one first. The claims of "Sequelitis" tend to just grow from there. Final Fantasy VIII, another radically different game in the series, was the first one to really start feeling the harsh blowback, though several games past this point (in spite of most of them reviewing and selling better than most games on the market) tend to get singled out as "the one."
    • The few direct sequels / prequels have had mixed results. Some of them, like Crisis Core, have been considered worthy follow-ups. Others, like Advent Children, Dirge of Cerberus, and Final Fantasy X-2, start flame wars.
    • Final Fantasy XIV, on the other hand, was universally considered to be subpar upon release. The reception for the game was so bad that many of the staff working on it were laid off, and Square Enix had to make the game free to play in order to keep fans around. Because of this, the game underwent a complete overhaul in order to fix the many problems that were addressed by reviewers. It divided people, but was better at least.
  • Dragon Age: Origins is praised by those who have played it, not perfect but engaging and with a few semi-unique gameplay twists. Dragon Age II is very much in Contested Sequel territory, thanks to "streamlined" combat that appeals to some but puts off those that prefer a more tactical approach, heavily reused area maps, and a much more fatalistic storyline where things are going to hell, you're caught up in the middle of it and apparently just making everything worse as you try to help, and best case is you get to choose what side of the brewing civil war you want to be on. Thankfully the third game has been largely hailed by critics and fans as a much-needed return to form.
  • The Army Men franchise was initially insanely popular. Then somewhere the lackluster spin-offs and In-Name-Only sequels slowly choked off sales until 3DO finally went bankrupt in 2003. Even with the parent company dead, other companies are still trying to make cash off of the brand, the latest entries getting some of the worst reviews in shooting games.
  • Manhunt was a well-received game for its creepy tension, innovative use of sound, complex enemy AI, and wide variety of kill moves. Manhunt 2 was a step back from that, with less intelligent enemies, less menace and tension, and a confusing story. At least the Gorn is still good.
  • The original Double Dragon was a fairly innovative beat 'em up that introduced some of the conventions used in later games of the genre like two-player co-op and obtainable weapons, while the arcade version of Double Dragon II was mostly a Mission-Pack Sequel with a fairly improved NES version. Double Dragon 3 on the other hand, featured crappier "realistic" graphics, replaced half of the original game's moves and weapons with ineffectual new ones, and added a gimmicky shopping system where you can purchase power-ups for your character (including a replacement character) by inserting more tokens to the machine. There were a few more Double Dragon games after the third one, but the series never achieved the same level of popularity it once had with the first two games.
    • On home consoles, the NES edition of Double Dragon 3 is still seen as a very good game despite its absurdly high difficulty. The series didn't start getting nailed into its coffin until Super Double Dragon which was rushed to the point that it hit shelves as an incomplete game. Then came the dismal Double Dragon V which, despite being a numbered sequel, wasn't even by the original developers, threw out the beat 'em up formula and swapped it for lackluster one-on-one fighting.
  • Shift 4 lampshades this in the ending, aware that it is now a quadrilogy. "Who is the game that risks its rep on Sequel Shame? Shift!" Some people do think that the 2nd game was a vast improvement, but the 3rd and 4th installments were pretty average at best.
  • Backyard Sports started off as a decently enjoyable game series with clever characters and a good sense of humor. After Atari's buy-out from Humongous Entertainment, the series began a noticeable drop in quality. Then when the 2007 titles came in, it was agreed the series had lost all respect.
  • Homeworld averted this, barely, with 'standalone expansion' Cataclysm, despite it being a literal Mission-Pack Sequel. It caught some flak for the dramatic shift in narrative tone and the new tech and ship designs were a bit hit-or-miss, but it did some pretty cool stuff with the existing graphics engine and generally came across like the development team at sub-contractee Barking Dog had at least played the original. Homeworld 2 was a bit less fortunate, however; a lot of the original creative team had moved on in the interim, and Relic massively over-extended themselves trying to create game environments with 'megastructures' straight out of the best kind of Space Opera and generally go Serial Escalation, and much of the more Crazy Awesome stuff failed to make the final cut. The end result was by no means bad -the graphics stand up quite well six years later and it's a lot more mod-friendly than the previous two- but the finished product had several minor but annoying bugs and balance issues and generally felt rushed. The gulf between Relic's original vision and the final release version didn't help.
  • Thunder Force VI. Released over 10 years after Thunder Force V, it came to be a massive disappointment amongst fans. Very short game length (even by shmup standards), the lack of the "direct" control scheme from V, bosses that are made pathetically easy thanks to a certain ship's Limit Break, excessive Internal Homages, and stages that pale in comparison to the rest of the series; the last stage, for instance, looks like a cheap version of Thunder Force V's Stage 4.
  • The fourth game in the Avernum series switched from the antiquated engine and sketch-like, endearing graphics of the first three to something more powerful and (theoretically) more realistic, and hence got hit with They Changed It, Now It Sucks. Since the new engine was taken from Geneforge, it also got hit with They Copied It, So It Sucks. And since the plot was quite similar to that of the third game, it was also subject to It's the Same, so It Sucks. Then there were the complaints when the game was taken on its own merits...
  • The Spider-Man movie spinoff games demonstrated much the same path as the movies: the first one is good, the second is awesome, then things go a bit downhill. Fortunately, Web of Shadows was there to fix matters after Friend or Foe, which we do not talk about.
  • The Shining Series really was the fantasy series in the Sega Genesis era topping off with an amazing if little-known three-part finale on the Sega Saturn. Attempts to branch off into the action-adventure genre have varied between mediocre-but-passable (SF Neo, SF EXA, Shining Soul II) to forgettable (Shining Tears, the original Shining Soul). Atlus and Sega did a competent job with the Game Boy Advance Enhanced Remake of the first Shining Force. Fans have been waiting for years to see if a remake of Shining Force II will surface, but it's looking increasingly unlikely every day.
  • Madden NFL and similiar sport game series are notorious for being continued every year, usually with next to no changes in gameplay or even graphics. The main difference is updated statistics and players.
  • The NASCAR games from the same publisher (EA Sports) and developer (EA Tiburon) as Madden suffered a particularly bad case of this, with sales dropping off with each increasingly sub-mediocre entry. The series was eventually killed outright after having a particularly awful faceplant onto 7th-generation consoles.
  • The arcade version of Beatmania IIDX 9th Style didn't go so well with fans. The judgment timing windows are inconsistent from song to song; one song may be ridiculously easy to score on, another may feel very tight, another may be off, etc. In addition, 9th Style took out the Effector, a staple of the series, and a Game-Breaking Bug sometimes causes the game to crash upon selecting "Quasar". Dance Dance Revolution X and X2, especially the console versions, suffered from similar problems.
  • Sony's former two PS1-era platformer franchises, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, share a similar fate of both being franchises that started out with a solid first game, followed by two sequels that were better than the first, and then afterwards succumbing to Franchise Zombie territory after being mishandled by the same parent company (Universal Interactive Studios/Vivendi Games). Crash's first outing without Naughty Dog, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, was So Okay, It's Average at best, but it was at least playable compared to Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, Spyro's first outing without Insomniac Games. It's an Obvious Beta of a game that suffered from uninspired level design, Loads and Loads of Loading (they even had loading screens for the loading-screens!), terrible graphics, terrible voice acting (which shows how much they cared, almost the entire voice cast reprised their roles), and being so glitchy that achieving 100% Completion was impossible.
  • Bloody Roar peaked early with Bloody Roar II, and every game since that one hit a drop in quality that ended with Bloody Roar 4. By then, the series had devolved into a mindless Button Mashing game, and was hard to take seriously.
  • Sonic fell into this once the series went 3D.
    • The first four titles on the Sega Genesis (as well as the obscure installment for the Sega CD add-on) were highly praised at the time of their release, and are still largely considered the best titles in the series. The series was largely out of the limelight during the Sega Saturn, with Sonic Team pursuing different projects and Sega making new Sonic games without them to little success (with the cancellation of Sonic X-treme, what would had been the Video Game 3D Leap for the series, being the most notorious example of this).
    • The franchise eventually made its 3D leap through the Sonic Adventure series on the Sega Dreamcast. While they are regarded as good games (particularly the latter) they are widely considered to be a step down from the classics, due to various bugs and glitches and a poor camera. The alternate gameplay is also a point of contention. Sonic Heroes was considered to be average. Shadow the Hedgehog was mostly panned. The series reached a low point with Sonic 2006, a rushed, glitch-ridden mess that is near-universally despised by gamers and critics alike. The trend initially started to reverse with Sonic Unleashed, with the subsequent console versions of Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations being lauded by fans as the best 3D titles in the franchise; but with Sonic Lost World proving to be a serious Base Breaker with critics and fans and the Sonic Boom tie-in games being outright duds, whether the next game will continue the series' rebound or take things further south is anyone's guess.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 compared to its direct predecessors (the aforementioned Genesis titles), upon which its two episodes are considered anything but worthy followups. Even whether they are considered good games in their own right is contested.
  • Call of Duty is getting this with a new game getting released yearly with ten games so far. Peoplenote  are starting to realize they are paying $60 for games very similar to each other every year, as Ghosts has sold less than many of the previous Call of Duty games before it.
  • LEGO Island 2: The Brickster's Revenge is somewhere between this and Contested Sequel. It was beyond rushed to the shelves, and the final product a very extreme case of Loads and Loads of Loading, dull and lifeless voice acting, painfully linear gameplay, no replay factor, a removal of a lot of characters, little explanation to anything, and mediocre animation.
  • The first LEGO Star Wars game was somewhat enjoyable for kids, and since that focused on the prequel trilogy it made sense to eventually follow it up with a sequel based on the classic trilogy. However since then, discounting minor additions they've essentially been using the exact same gameplay and simply applied it to different licensed themes, having now done LEGO Indiana Jones (two of 'em), LEGO Harry Potter, Lego The Lord Of The Rings, LEGO Batman, and Lego Marvel Super Heroes. Aside from the last two, all the games are basically made up of levels loosely based on scenes from their respective movies (with cutscenes that are literally just cheesy re-enactments with no dialogue) and some hanging out in a notable location from the respective franchise in between.
  • The first two episodes of Eye of the Beholder, while not revolutionary, were excellent dungeon crawlers and the second is recognized as an Even Better Sequel. Then Westwood went on to work on Lands of Lore but SSI decided to make another sequel anyway. The result was a game that brought back many of the flaws of the original and amplified them, with absurd mazes and frustrating difficulty, and suffered from a mediocrely programmed engine too.
  • The general consensus of the Star Fox series after Star Fox 64. There's so much Fan Myopia that it has led to one of the most broken fanbases of all time. Nintendo themselves have caught on to the decrease in sales, and though Miyamoto joked about it, it took the series almost a decade to get a new game (Star Fox 64 3D notwithstanding).
  • The first two FlatOut games were well-known for their destructible environments and ragdoll driver physics - the most amusing parts being the mini-games that involved the player launching their driver out of his car into various targets and watching him flop around in pain. Five years separated the second and third games, and development was taken up by Team 6 Games (of European Street Racer infamy) while Bugbear Interactive worked on Ridge Racer: Unbounded. Unfortunately, Team 6's FlatOut game looks ugly, is riddled with bugs, and none of the tracks are fun to navigate.
  • Earnest Evans isn't so well regarded as El Viento, in part due to poor gameplay and design and most infamously, poorly done graphics, especially on the titular hero, who is made up of multiple sprites put together to create the illusion of more fluid movement, but only succeeded in making Earnest look like a deranged marionette. The cutscenes in Earnest Evans are commonly poorly done, though they were removed completely from the American version, which tried to make it a sequel rather than a prequel to El Viento. The Earnest Evans trilogy ended with the Japan-only title Annet Futatabi, a Golden Axe ripoff whose most outstanding points were cutscenes and copious Fake Difficulty.
  • Ninja Gaiden III was a major departure from what made the first two Xbox/PS3 entries memorable, stripping Ryu of most of his arsenalnote  and nerfing the previous games' punishing difficulty to the point that battles are no longer challenging or fun.
  • The general consensus of Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is that while the original game's controller was bulky and gimmicky, at least it worked. Heavy Armor's hybrid Kinect/traditional controller setup was meant to mimic this feeling without the use of as many buttons, but the implementation is sloppy and the game is barely playable as a result.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken, despite a lot of early excitement among the fighting game community, never caught on as well as Capcom's previous Intercontinuity Crossover games did (with the exception of Capcom Fighting Evolution, which is perceived to be just as bad), mainly due to its slower pacing and gimmicky "Gem" system that granted temporary status buffs. The decision to lock most of SFxT's content behind a paywall (most infamously including a dozen fighters that were coded into the game discs at launch, but not officially added to the roster until months after the game's release) drew even heavier criticism, along with derisive jokes about future Capcom games shipping with disc-locked DLC.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The Mario Party series is filled to the brim with this trope. Every sequel has had a few new gimmicks and mini games to stand out from the game before it, but eventually, the games started to rehash older mini games/boards/gimmicks with a slight tweak to them. Fan favorite Donkey Kong was quickly shunted to the side as an NPC after being a playable character in a few games and has even completely vanished from some of the party games as well. Other characters kept coming and going like a revolving door; characters like Toad and Blooper would appear in only one or two games while others like Birdo and Dry Bones only appeared in certain other games. Since the party games kept being released every year or every other year, fans started to notice just how stale the series had gotten and it may explain why Mario Party 9 came out four years after the eighth party and having revamped the basics of the game.
    • The Paper Mario games have this. The second is usually considered superior to the original and is seen as the high point of the series. Super Paper Mario is generally agreed to be a step down in gameplay, but it's said to have the best story out of all the games. Paper Mario: Sticker Star, however, is considered to be a complete step down in both story and gameplay by revamping combat and making battles redundant.
    • The New Super Mario Bros. series. While they all received a generally good critical reception and were huge commercial successes for Nintendo; the sequels had also fallen under criticism for not bringing much to the table. The second and third titles in particular were criticized for reusing levels and music from the previous entries while not introducing much new mechanics note , while the fourth title is considered a bit of an improvement for revamping the artstyle and refining the additions added in the past titles. The entire series is also viewed as such by fans of the NES/SNES Mario titles, who feel the series stripped out too many things from the older titles and failed to considerably advance the 2D Mario formula.
    • A Super Mario World hack series, Super Sig World, has twenty five installments in about two or three years. They're considered terrible, with the best ones being merely average as the amount of reused content is kind of staggering. Just making a 70-level game every three months is perceived like overkill.
  • Silent Hill:
  • Resident Evil series:
    • The series was heading this way starting with the third game which re-hashed the second game only giving more emphasis on the Raccoon City outbreak. Resident Evil: Code: Veronica (the technical fourth game) hardly added anything new to the formula save some improved camera angles. The remake of the first game picked up some interest but that fell with Resident Evil 0 which coasted by on a gimmick that let you switch between the two characters. After a few side games (Survivor, Gaiden, Dead Aim, the Outbreak games), the series did an overhaul with Resident Evil 4 which was praised as one of the better games. Then part five came and it was considered more of the same only with co-op added. The less said about Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City the better.
    • Resident Evil 6 got an overall mixed reception compared to previous installments, with most of the professional reviews being extremely polarized as really positive or really negative.
  • When Activision took over the Guitar Hero franchise from Red Octane, they released a ton of sequels in a very short time. While the quality of the sequels varies, the constant stagnation between those games choked the life out of the genre for several years.
  • Another World wasn't intended to have a sequel, but Interplay, who brought the game to the U.S. (as Out of This World), decided they really needed to produce one. The result was Heart of the Alien, a mess of a game which only confirmed Eric Chahi's initial doubts.
  • Sword of the Stars II has gotten a lot of flak from the original's fans for dramatic shifts in the mechanics and unneeded extra complexity for no obvious good reason.
  • Call of Juarez: The Cartel, riding off the successful Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, shifted the series from the Old West into a more modern setting and brought with it unresponsive controls, graphical glitches galore, and uninspired level design that penalizes you for going off track. Thankfully, the series was able to quickly get back on its feet with Gunslinger.
  • Speaking of cartels, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel also qualifies. The first two games didn't break much new ground in the First-Person Shooter genre, instead embracing the macho "bro" culture for all their worth. The third game in the series does so as well, but strips away the few unique elements the other games did havenote , robbing the series of its charm.
  • The first Drakengard wasn't a huge success but earned a cult following due to its bizarre characters and oppressive, incredibly dark plot with controversial and taboo subject matters such as incest, pedophilia, cannibalism, etc (though some of this was eliminated in Bowdlerization). The second game has its fans, but is widely accused of having betrayed the spirit of the original, due to SE wanting to tone down the dark elements to make the game more marketable, resulting in it being Lighterand Softer and having a much more generic main character and plot, when the point of the first game was to serve as a Deconstructor Fleet for these types of things. SE apparently realized this didn't go over well and allowed Taro Yoko, the director of the first game, back on board with creative freedom resulting in NieR and Drakengard 3 which were much more well-received for going back to the series' roots, though the latter has its share of detractors thanks to the game's Denserand Wackier tone compared to Drakengard 1 and Nier.
  • The Hub's Adventure Ponies is an amusing little retraux Flash platformer that, while not amazingly good, is a fun way to kill an hour or two. Adventure Ponies 2: Wait! There's More?! wasn't as warmly received; besides the loss of the colorful backgrounds of the first game in favor of brown forests (???) and caverns, the game is essentially a Mission-Pack Sequel to the original game with different characters. Even looking past that, it's a lot buggier than its big brother (the game has been known to crash to a sprite sheet or debug menu on occasion).
  • The Destroy All Humans! franchise started with a well-liked game set in the '50s, followed this up with an okay game set in the '60s, and finished up with two games set in the '70s that received such bad reviews they shot the franchise down with a seeker missile.
  • Dawn of War and its expansions are generally agreed to have suffered from this.
    • The original Dawn of War was quite liked. The combination of hard counters and the ability to customize armies was hailed as a brilliant move, and though the balance was far from perfect (due to every race but one mostly comprising heavy infantry and thus being especially vulnerable to the Eldar race's use of said hard counters), it was a decent game.
    • Then came Winter Assault, which was originally anticipated for its addition of the Imperial Guard and several units for the existing sides. And then it hit, and the fanbase raged. Fresh out of the gate, Chaos players were severely miffed that their Chaos Marines had all their heavy weapons ripped out in an attempt to streamline the tech trees, the hard counter system was gone, and special fury was caused by the fact that Terminators and Obliterators had been nerfed hilariously. Unit obsolescence was also a large problem here.
    • Following Winter Assault, Dark Crusade promised fixes on several problems with the original game and Winter Assault, and it was a very bold attempt after the failure of Winter Assault, including an addition of a hard cap system, the return of some CSM heavy weapons, and several problems with Space Marines were fixed. Unfortunately, the game remained riddled with problems, and it introduced one of the most hated "fixes" in the series. Apparently having decided that firing on the move was overpowered, Relic introduced a flat accuracy penalty for firing on the move. 15%. No Dreadnought ever saw a weapon upgrade again, as the assault cannon was not only functionally useless (and all other units intended to fire on the move became useless as well), it hindered the Dread's melee ability, and the Eldar Fleet of Foot ability became tantamount to godmode. This was an ability on practically all Eldar infantry that boosted their movement speed beyond everything in the game, and with the accuracy reduction, there was no reason at all not to use it. A plethora of other glitches also existed. Then, after a 7 month wait for a patch, it came. And not only did it leave many things unchanged, it nerfed practically everything but Eldar, the race that was even before the patch decried by numerous fans as overpowered. In addition to all this, the two new races introduced were also blatantly broken on release.
    • And then Soulstorm came out and balanced a great many things, thanks to Iron Lore. Unfortunately, it was not to be: THQ and Relic forced the addition of flying units, something the engine was never designed to accommodate, in the process cutting the addition of many greatly-demanded units like Ork Wyrdboyz, the Leman Russ Demolisher and the Wraithguard, for example. The game's voice acting and script were also greatly criticized, searching the darth wiki will prove it. And then it happened. 19 hours after launch, a game-breaking glitch for the Sisters of Battle was found that effectively killed all multiplayer until after a 9 month wait for a fix, and by that point, the game was well and truly dead. The game also suffered from multiple other glitches and bugs, and the Eldar remained blatantly overpowered.
  • Epic Mickey was an average game at worst, suffering mostly from Camera Screw, janky controls, and not living up to the (admittedly impressive) hype. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two took all the problems the original had and left them basically unchanged (if anything, they got worse), and added co-op play with a broken AI, grating voices and song sections, and boring puzzles. The resulting game collapsed with a quarter of the original's sales and took its developer with it.
  • In spite of being the most story driven of the Puyo Puyo series, YON and 7 are often seen as this due to its usage of Scrappy Mechanics.
  • Planet Puzzle League is generally disliked by longtime fans of the series for having slower, floatier mechanics than previous games, cutting out popular features from previous games such as 3D mode and four-player multiplayer while adding very little in return, and most notoriously almost completely removing the mascot characters, excising the story in the process, in favor of a bland, generic "techno" motif. The only trace of the franchise's roots is Lip's stage as an unlockable - and the Western releases didn't even get that much!
  • The Dark Parables series of hidden object games have fallen victim to this, with ten games in the series. It's generally considered that the first four games in the series are the best, with original storytelling and gameplay. Starting with the fifth game, The Final Cinderella, the reviews weren't as positive as the games began to repeat game mechanics, dropped in art quality, and shifting story focus; however, the next game, Jack and the Sky Kingdom, was well received. It also hasn't helped the following installments that Blue Tea Games eventually sold the game series to another developer, Eipix; the eighth game, The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide, was a collaboration between the two in order to transition the series to Eipix, and this is considered one of the weakest games in the series. The fandom is divided over the quality of the series as it progresses.
  • The Dark Tales series has been experiencing this since its sixth game, with player opinion of the quality varying widely. The eighth game, The Tell-Tale Heart, has unquestionably the worst reviews of any game in the series, thanks largely to the ending which does nothing to resolve the mystery.
  • The first three games in Sony's NFL GameDay series (especially GameDay '98) were highly innovative in both their realism and gameplay; one reviewer predicted that GameDay would displace EA's well-established Madden NFL franchise. In fact, the opposite occurred; Madden grew more sophisticated over time, while subsequent GameDay installments were criticized for having mediocre graphics and uninspired gameplay. Gamers evidently agreed, as sales declined until Sony cancelled the series in 2005.
  • The first game in the Kunio-kun series was localised for western audiences as Renegade and considered to be a fine Beat 'em Up. The first sequel, Target: Renegade combining the original game with cues from the then nascent Double Dragon franchise was also well received and considered a worthy sequel but the third game, Renegade III: The Final Chapter, received a very poor reception, was widely considered to be an In-Name-Only entry in the series and ended up being a Franchise Killer - no new Renegade games were released after it.
  • Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, a girls-only spinoff of the main DOA fighting games, offered a decent volleyball game to go with its heaping helping of fanservice. While Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 boasted better character models and a few more minigames, much of its content was recycled from the first DOAX, and the new content wasn't compelling enough to justify its initial cost.
  • SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS, despite its much wider variety of playable cards compared to its two Neo Geo Color Pocket predecessors, is commonly perceived as having a weaker and more easy-to-break battle system. First-run English copies also contained an unavoidable Game-Breaking Bug that prevented completion of the New Game+.

    Web Video 
  • The Microsoft Sam Reads Funny Windows Errors subseries Microsoft Sam And The War Trilogy has The Great Final War, which was so poorly received due to its excessive drama tone that it was cancelled and currently undergoing a major revamp.

    Western Animation 
  • Static Shock and The Zeta Project are part of the DCAU, which also contains such well loved classics as Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Batman Beyond, all acclaimed for their mature story lines, great characters and voice actors, and excellent animation. However, those two are considered far less intriguing, as they are taken to much lighter tone, as they lack many aspects that made the DCAU so memorable. While the two were far from terrible, and they still had their fair share of likable characters, and a few good episodes, they are far below the other series. Part of this reason is because of the lack of Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. The other reason is because Static and Zeta aren't DC characters; Static was from Milestone Comics (though DC was their publisher), while Zeta was from an alleged Poorly Disguised Pilot in Batman Beyond. Not that there bad, mind you, they just aren't as well remebered as the rest. Gotham Girls, a web-series, is another example. It is considered more of a parody series, and its official place in the DCAU is disputed. There is also a web-series based off of Lobo, and as with Gotham Girls, its continuity status is not known. Lobo is not considered too good, however.
  • This is the general consensus of Planet Sheen, the spinoff-sequel to The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. How, you wonder? They removed almost everything from the original, focused on a character who was tolerated at best, flanderized him to make him even less popular, and went from somewhat realistic to bizarre. Also suffers from Fanon Discontinuity.
  • The popular opinion of The Cleveland Show, an Expy-filled "spin-off" of Family Guy.
  • It's a Base Breaker but the general consensus is that All Grown Up! is this to Rugrats, due to being a rather generic Slice of Life show that suffers badly from Most Writers Are Adults, when the original had a fairly unique premise.
  • Pinky and the Brain was doing just fine on its own, so no one knows quite why Executive Meddling decided to force the addition of Elmyra into the show (especially considering a previous episode had made it abundantly clear that a third main character would be basically useless). The resultant Re Tool, Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain, had a few bright spots, but for the most part was enjoyed by neither viewing audiences nor those working on the show.
  • Part of the Ben 10 fanbase considers Ben 10: Omniverse as such, though some would consider the series before it, Ultimate Alien. Alien Force has also been hit by this, owing to the tendency of the sequels to take liberty with the canon at the risk of contradicting one another or the original series.
  • Teen Titans Go! isn't a direct sequel to Teen Titans per se, but being a follow-up series, it still counts given its worse animation, concentration on goofy humor, and occasionally near-Sadist Show levels of meanness from the main characters. The original was a blend of humor and weirdness with genuine plot and character moments. It might not be bad, but it certainly isn't the original.
  • Total Drama, depending on who you ask, given the mixed reception of its followups compared to Total Drama Island, which enjoyed the greatest critical acclaim. The trend began with the first sequel Action, which was widely regarded as having failed to recapture the fun and excitement of the original; then came along Total Drama World Tour, considered to have been a major improvement over its predecessor, if not superior to the original, but also suffered from a Broken Base due to several divisive plot points. Revenge of the Island, the first to feature a new cast became a major Base Breaker among fans who still dispute whether the second cast proved a positive addition to the series or not, and for taking the series in a new direction with its shorter length and more "kid-friendly" tone. The next season, All-Stars however has been regarded as abysmal by large sections of the fandom who took issue with the handling of the majority of the returning cast, numerous plot points that are either nonsensical or completely abandoned at the drop of a hat, and its controversial ending. Finally, Pahkitew Island saw the debut of yet another new cast and a new island, and was much more warmly received by fans than its predecessor with some even deeming it to be almost as good as Island, despite lingering disagreements over how the third cast compares to the previous two once more as well as arguments of how it continued to make the same kind of mistakes as the last two seasons (which becomes more apparent upon hearing that both Pahkitew Island & All-Stars were produced simultaneously).
  • Though still funny, the sequel to Duck Amuck, Rabbit Rampage, reads almost exactly like its predecessor, only with Bugs Bunny being the character who gets screwed with instead of Daffy Duck.
  • Averted with the Bugs Bunny "Opera Trilogy." While The Long-Haired Hare and Rabbit of Seville are hilarious, the third and last of them, What's Opera, Doc?, ranks at #1 on The Fifty Greatest Cartoons.
  • Three years after the release of Rabbit Punch, Chuck Jones made a sequel/remake, the much less memorable Bunny Hugged.

Alternative Title(s): Sequel Decay