Win Back the Crowd

Ah my, was it glorious. X was a superhero/science-fiction/romance/vampire/police-procedural... pick any franchise unlike any other. The fans loved it. It caused fangirls to squee with delight. Even those who weren't fans grudgingly respected its brilliance. There were books, TV shows, movies, video games, comics, lunchboxes, T-shirts, and a thousand fan-fics. It was magnificent.

But then, something went wrong. Author fatigue set in. Or maybe the author failed to exist. Or perhaps their ego overshadowed the work. Maybe the executives meddled too much. Or maybe the original stars wanted too much money and left. Or the work tried to grow the beard by trying to be Darker and Edgier, and instead jumped the shark. Alternatively, the hype was just too much. Might have been merely as simple as They Changed It, Now It Sucks.

Whatever the cause, the result was the same. The show's ratings slipped, the movie gave way to cornier sequels, and folks stopped buying the t-shirts. The franchise lost the crowd it worked so hard to win. And it died. So sad.

The End... Or Is It?

Sometimes, the crowd can be won again! Even though the fanbase has revolted against a franchise and declared it "played out", the creator (or maybe even a new one) can actually make the franchise fresh and new and relevant (and profitable) again.

The creators realize that the franchise simply has to be adjusted for new changes in society. Or they remake it with new actors, who are *gasp* as good as the originals. Maybe they cut out the Narmtastic parts of the original. Or fix the visual effects. Or maybe the franchise just needed to rest for a little while. Maybe they changed it back now that it sucked. Whatever it is, the result is the same. The fangirls are squeeing again, folks are buying T-shirts again, and the Fan Fics are back.

It's magnificent (again).

Compare And the Fandom Rejoiced (when a preview reassures fans by showing the producers are being faithful to the source material), Win the Crowd. See also Career Resurrection. If a company is trying to invoke this, it's a case of We Don't Suck Anymore.


Examples (Note: Some of these franchises are multi-media, examples are of the specific work that won back the fans.)

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comics 
  • Due to many comic series being published over a long period of time, they fall into this trope.
  • At one point Fantastic Four and The Avengers were dwindling properties at Marvel Comics despite the fact that they were the company's flagship super-teams and in the case of the "FF", the oldest series. With not particularly stellar talent working on each book, The Dark Age of Comic Books seemed to be making idealistic super-hero teams irrelevant. After the mixed-reception Onslaught Cross Over, the two teams were thrown into an alternate reality, leading to the reviled Heroes Reborn. This ended up being setup for a little Status Quo Is God, returning the titles back to their former glory with very popular creative teams.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The comic hit a massive creative nadir with the anti-climatic conclusion to the four year long Hobgoblin Saga, which was blotched by behind the scenes drama and the decision to kill off Hobgoblin in his civilian identity in an unrelated story, denying fans a final confrontation and sticking a third string villain in the costume to keep the character around. But Marvel managed to pull their asses out of the fire with the decision to FINALLY marry Peter and Mary Jane off, which resurrected interest in the character, along with the introduction of Venom, the hiring of Todd McFarlane as artist for Amazing Spider-Man, and Kraven's Last Hunt. The Reveal by Hobgoblin creator Roger Stern that the man who had been killed off was NOT in fact the real Hobgoblin, but rather his brainwashed stand-in, allowinged the final confrontation between him and Spidey that the fans were initially denied.
    • The title hit this again in the mid-'00s after the disaster of his unmasking in Civil War and the universally-reviled One More Day storyline as new writers were brought in who kept trying to replace Spidey's supporting cast and rogues gallery by creating their own set of third string villains and characters. It hit its own nadir when they had the Lizard cross the Moral Event Horizon and later undid the Sacred Cow that was "Kraven's Last Hunt". Enter Dan Slott, who took over the title as the sole writer and generally made the series enjoyable again, though it's something of a Base Breaker concerning Superior Spider-Man.
  • The concept for the original Justice League International was a "Win Back The Crowd" moment after the disastrous Detroit era of the franchise. Similarly, when JLI became old and stale and fans became tired of it, Grant Morrison was brought back and was allowed to do what many thought was impossible: bring back the Big Seven JLA line-up.
  • Grant Morrison's Batman was seen as this too, as an overdose of crossovers, questionable storylines (Hush, War Games and War Crimes) and fans getting sick of the modern "Bat-God" take on the character had soured fans on Batman. Enter Morrison, who rejected the Bat-God formula he created in favor of a run built around the much reviled 1950s era Batman, introduced a fresh new element into the book in the form of Damian Wayne, and giving fans stories such as "The Club of Heroes" and "Batman RIP".
  • A possibly-accidental one for Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog. By the mid-00s, the comic was knee-deep in its Dork Age, bleeding readers as they got tired of the Romantic Plot Tumor that Karl Bollers tacked on and the Creator's Pet that was Ken Penders' Echidna society. After the two writers left due to them headbutting over directions, Ian Flynn, originally a simple starting back-up writer, was asked to take over. He spent his first year or so cleaning up the messes the two made, fixing up all of the plot threads left behind, making bland characters more interesting (such as turning Evil Counterpart Evil Sonic into Scourge the Hedgehog), introducing characters who should have been in the series much sooner (like Bean and Bark) and generally making it a fun series again.
  • Convergence is DC's attempt to win back fans who are upset at losing their favorite status quos due to the Flashpoint reboot.
  • After the lackluster reception to Tirek and the Sirens, Nightmare Moon's issue of My Little Pony: Fiendship Is Magic got a bit of a warmer reception, and then Chrysalis' issue ended the miniseries on a high note, most considering it as good as Sombra's if not better. Goes doubles for writer Katie Cook; after "Reflections" "The Good, The Bad and the Ponies", and "The Root of the Problem" in the main series received mixed to poor reception, her return with Chrysalis' issue proved she's not washed up.

    Films — Animated 
  • Kung Fu Panda: The sequence of Master Oogway's death up till Po's despairing confession to Master Shifu about his deep self-loathing that the old red panda feels helpless to counter. In that sequence, Dreamworks Animation showed that it had recovered from its post-Shrek 2 creative nadir that drove away its partner, Aardman Animations, and learned how to make stories with profound emotional depth with a skill rivaling Pixar. That in turn made the blistering wuxia action to follow all the more powerful now that you have grown to care about these characters.
  • Two years later, and How to Train Your Dragon would help to more or less finish the rise that Kung Fu Panda started, proving that even if it couldn't quite beat out Pixar for the awards, it certainly had finally gotten a strong roll going. HTTYD would become their best reviewed film up to that point, being a massive critical success, and managed to pull one of the best Sleeper Hit runs in animation.
  • Continuing with the, "facing off against Pixar" note; after almost a decade living under its shadow, Disney has managed to regain its relevance in the animation industry. First with small steps like Meet the Robinsons, and continuing with that film's Bolt, followed by a throwback in the form of The Princess and the Frog which came very close, but still fell somewhat short in the box office. After which they finished the job with an experiment on their classic formula in Tangled, and proved they could speak to the modern audience with Wreck-It Ralph which were both staggering successes not seen since The Lion King. Finally, with the 2013 release of Frozen, which took the lessons gained from the prior two princess films and ran with them; having been nothing short of a spectacular critical and box office smash hit, there's little doubt amongst critics now that the old giant has reaffirmed its legacy and is back on its feet.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water:
    • News of series creator and former showrunner Stephen Hillenburg writing the story for the movie was positively received by fans.
    • The trailer has won over many fans thanks to its humor reminiscent of the first three seasons, as well as the very well done animation.
    • And now the release of the film seems to have restored confidence in the series for many disillusioned fans.
    • As with many modern traditionally animated films before it, such as The Princess and the Frog, this film has also started to inspire hope for future hand drawn animated features.
  • Interest in South Park was waning by the time the third season arrived in 1999 and. Luckily, the feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was critically acclaimed for its risk-taking satire and wonderful score and songs (including the Oscar-nominated "Blame Canada") and it made a decent amount of money, thus giving the show more fans and helping it live on to this day.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Many Warrior Cats fans grew tired of the series after The New Prophecy, due to the increased focus on the supernatural elements of the series, the disappearance of the Anyone Can Die factor of the series, the increasing number of continuity errors, the increased focus on characterization over plot, and a perceived Romantic Plot Tumor. Then came Dawn of the Clans, which is not only a perfect starting point for new readers, but also contained fresh themes, a faster pace, witty dialogue, plenty of death, a whole new crew of likable characters, tighter continuity, a protagonist vastly different from Firestar, and antagonist who wasn't a rehash of Tigerstar, Brokenstar, or Scourge, and a perfect combination of lighthearted scenes and darker scenes. The reception has been almost entirely positive.
  • The GONE series dipped a little in the third book, which didn't seem to going in any particular direction, made formerly beloved characters (like Astrid) unlikable and annoying and the Big Lipped Alligator Character that was Nerezza confused and infuriated fans. Many fans lost respect for heroic characters, and a lot of things weren't explained, to the point were a few scenes made little sense and more were monotomous and out of character. The lack of action and mystique that was all part of the appeal was lacking somewhat too. Thankfully, this was just a temporary low, and the next book PLAGUE heavily won over critics and fans alike, and was even claimed by many to be when the series Grew the beard. It kept the quality at a steady high with FEAR and the last book LIGHT has gripped universal acclaim, and is regarded by many to be the best Michael Grant book ever written.

    Live Action TV 
  • The sixth season of 24 was heavily panned, making many, even hardcore fans, think maybe the show ran its course. The seventh season, beginning with 24:Redemption has won back the old fans and even a fair share of new ones along with the highest ratings ever for the series.
  • Law & Order wins back its fans at regular intervals. But then, after nearly 20 years on the air, that should be expected.
  • Similarly, Saturday Night Live has had several periods where everyone hated it, until new talent (most notably Eddie Murphy in the early '80s and Will Ferrell in the mid '90s) brings it back into the public's good graces.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The 2005 reboot was a resounding triumph for the Britain's biggest sci-fi hero following the series' ignominious death back in 1989 and the failed pilot on Fox.
    • Following "Kill the Moon" proving to be incredibly polarising, Base Breaking and poorly received with a large portion of the audience. "Mummy on the Orient Express" has been received with near universal admiration. To the point multiple fans have outright referenced this trope when talking about it.
  • The first post-SG-1 Stargate Verse movie The Ark of Truth was considered by some to be blah at best. However, it seems everyone loved Stargate Continuum.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers in Space won back old fans of Power Rangers lost after Power Rangers Turbo, as well as new ones
    • Many years later, Power Rangers RPM won back fans that had been dissatisfied with the previous succession of mediocre to bad seasons.
    • The rights then reverted back to Saban, resulting in Samurai and Megaforce; both very poorly received seasons. Then along came Power Rangers Dino Charge, which managed to win back the fandom in the space of the very first episode.
  • The Academy Awards ceremony had to do this after the 1989 show opened with a notoriously campy production number "highlighted" by Rob Lowe singing a rewritten duet of "Proud Mary" with Snow White. Things didn't much improve from there, aside from several witty presenters, and the show was pilloried both within and without Hollywood as a disgrace. The following year, one of those witty presenters — Billy Crystal — was tapped to host the whole show, and largely thanks to him the result was a much-acclaimed ceremony. Crystal has hosted eight more times since then, most recently in 2012 to win back the crowd after the poorly-received 2011 ceremony that James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosted.
  • While Star Trek IV was winning the box office, Star Trek: The Next Generation almost permanently won back the Trekkie crowd, for good. Its success triggered an almost continuous 20-year run of Trek series being produced.
  • When the iCarly special iStart a Fan War was announced, Seddie shippers got excited that after Season 4's lackluster quality, it would give them some Seddie moments and reboot the show's glory. Unfortunately, when it turned out to be an Author Tract against the shipping concept, shippers were not pleased, and when they took it to Dan Schneider's blog, they claimed he crossed the Moral Event Horizon when their comments were being erased and that the show was dead. That is, until his next blog explained his true intention, and that he only meant that to the obsessed shippers. He also promised them something that would make them quite pleased, which left most fans forgiving him. And that something came in the form of iOMG, which was seen as a Moment of Awesome by many fans.
  • Quite a few fans were redrawn to Kamen Rider by Kamen Rider Double following the debacle of Kamen Rider Decade, though this likely applies more to the non-Japanese Periphery Demographic.
  • While the seasons of Two and a Half Men without Charlie Sheen still get criticized, many fans of the show feel like Season 11 seems to have won everyone back for real, with the introduction of Charlie's daughter Jenny, who has received a considerable amount of praise, due to her personality being almost exactly like Charlie's.
  • Community has been going this way with season 5, as it's seen the return of series creator Dan Harmon after he was let go before season 4, and he's taking steps to undo the Flanderization of the characters that plagued them in season 3.
  • Scrubs had jumped the shark roughly since Season 6, with continuing Flanderization of the protagonists girliness, and plot-lines that many people didn't like (such the relationships with Kim and Keith). When the show switched from NBC to ABC for Season 8, however, the show successfully managed to grow its beard back (doubling since JD literally grew a beard). Not only did JD dial down his girlyness and regain some of his early charm, it featured fresh plot-lines and episodes that were both hilarious and emotionally stimulating, as well as a spectacular series finale.
  • Daredevil had many, who only knew the character for the mediocre 2003 film, very skeptical. When it came out, it received almost universal acclaim for its clever and tight plotting, well-choreographed and brutal fight scenes, and in-depth character development and acting, and is regarded by many as the single best entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This had the effect of almost completely redeeming the character in the mainstream public's eye.

    Music 
  • One of the most famous examples in musical history is Aerosmith. They were among the defining hard rock bands of the 1970's and had a massive influence on the then-fledgling heavy metal scene. However, the early-80's were anything but kind to the band, as nasty drug addictions and a string of mediocre albums temporarily doomed them to "has-been" status. But, in 1986, the tides turned. They collaborated with Run-D.M.C. for a rerecording of "Walk This Way" (one of the first notable fusions of rock and hip hop), and 1987's Permanent Vacation further paved the way for a comeback. It finally happened with 1989's Pump. Widely considered to be both their big comeback album and one of the greatest hard rock albums of the late-80's.
  • Though some parts of the fandom disagree, Metallica's Death Magnetic helped bring back quite a few fans after St. Anger with a return to their 80s sound.
  • Dr. Dre's Chronic 2001, which featured then-rising Aftermath artists like Eminem and Xzibit, also revived interest in his career after several years out of the limelight.
  • Accept. A lot of people had a lot of doubts with Mark Tornillo, replacement of Udo Dirkschneider. And then, they release Blood Of The Nations. It turns out to be one of the best Metal albums of 2010.
  • Elton John took a break from touring and recording in 1977, at the height of his fame as the biggest selling solo performer of The '70s, and not long after his coming out as "bisexual" lost him fans in Middle America. A creative and financial slump followed. He bounced back as an MTV star on the strength of of his 1983 album Too Low For Zero, a solid, critically and commercially successful effort which reunited Elton with the classic lineup of his "Elton John Band" (Davey Johnstone: guitar; Dee Murray: bass; Nigel Olsson: drums) and saw Bernie Taupin back as full time lyricist. Two tracks from the album, "I'm Still Standing" and "I Guess That's Why The Call It The Blues", were Top 10 hits and had popular music videos.
  • Cliff Richard's career had been in apparently terminal decline for some years until his 1976 New Sound Album I'm Nearly Famous repositioned him as more of a rock artist and broke him into the US market.
  • Celtic Frost and Monotheist. Despite it being their final album, they manage to win back after the release of Cold Lake. Given that there were already two albums between those two that excised Cold Lake's sound, it must have been quite a dark cloud to emerge from.
  • Megadeth also had a Base Breaking one in Endgame, ironically released a year after Death Magnetic. Though there are fans that will cite The System Has Failed, which followed the disastrous double-whammy of Risk and The World Needs a Hero and Mustaine's 10-Minute Retirement, as such.
  • Machine Head faced a nasty Dork Age with their turn-of-the-millenium releases The Burning Red and Supercharger. Through the Ashes of Empires re-introduced elements of their classic Thrash sound with warm welcome, and The Blackening went even further, going in a Progressive Metal direction. The band/Rob Flynn still has a mountain to climb, though, as they/he still have both the shadow of Nu Metal and the high standards set by Burn My Eyes to live up to.
  • Brad Paisley's 2013 album Wheelhouse was a major Broken Base for him. First off, it was the first album that he produced by himself instead of using longtime producer Frank Rogers. Those who liked the album found it a wonderful change of pace for its more varied songs and heavier production; opponents found it a massively overproduced mess that tried way too hard to be "different" (although consensus was that the LL Cool J duet "Accidental Racist" was a huge misstep). The divisive nature of Wheelhouse was also evident on the charts, as the third and fourth singles ("I Can't Change the World" and "The Mona Lisa") were his lowest-charting since his debut album back in 1999. However, Brad released Moonshine in the Trunk in 2014, and it has generally been better-received by critics despite Paisley still sitting in the producer's chair for it.
  • Florida Georgia Line, with their breakthrough smash "Cruise", became the Trope Makers and Trope Codifier of the "bro country" subgenre of Country Music in The New Tens. Said subgenre is defined by songs about hot girls, drinking beer, trucks, partying, and the like, and is widely derided for its sheer lack of substance. The lead single to their second album, "Dirt", seems to point to a turnaround for the duo, as it is noticeably more substantial and less dependent on the "bro" stereotypes than most of their first album, with many critics praising the duo for doing something different. It even has Brian Kelley singing nearly half the song instead of being buried under Tyler Hubbard's voice. However, they seem to have gone straight back into Broken Base right away, as its followup was "Sun Daze", a party song just like nearly all of their other "bro country" material BUT WITH REGGAE PRODUCTION!
  • After Rascal Flatts' albums Me and My Gang, Still Feels Good, and Unstoppable were panned for their weak songs and Dann Huff's bombastic production, Rascal Flatts seemed to get the message, as most critics felt that Nothing Like This (their first album for Big Machine Records after their previous label, Lyric Street, closed) and Changed had better songs and production even though Huff was still on board. This culminated in the band finally ditching Huff on Rewind, which was equally lauded for its quality… However, its second single "Payback" became the band's lowest peaking single to date.
  • Nu Metal band Korn has done this twice. After the band succumbed to a Dork Age during the mid to late 00s with their output after Take a Look in the Mirror, 2010 saw the release of Korn III, a "true successor" to Korn's earlier 90s work such as their self titled debut album and it's followup Life Is Peachy. The album was very well received by fans for returning to the dark and gritty style that made the band famous in the first place. However Korn's next album, Path of Totality, went in a highly experimental route by trying to fuse nu metal with dubstep (even getting Skrillex involved). Opinions were highly divided, to say the least. The next album, The Paradigm Shift, went back to the nu metal sound again, included the return of one of the band's founding guitarists, Head, and opinions, while not as favorable as Korn III, were still much higher than Path of Totality.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The WWF became the undisputed top promotion of the wrestling world in the 1980's, but by the time the '90s rolled around, their top name (Hulk Hogan) was gone, nobody else was grabbing the audience's interest, and the booking had become ridiculous, predictable, and lame. The WWF found themselves trailing behind WCW, and staring down the barrel of bankruptcy. Then came the Attitude Era, a Darker and Edgier reinvention focused around "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and the rest is history.
  • Invoked at ECW Hardcore Heaven 95. There was a tag team match with Chad Austin and The Broadstreet Bully (Tony Stetson) vs. Donn E. Allen and Dino Sendoff that featured blown spots, with the crowd turning on it and Joey even saying, "This match isn't very good," and, figuring that the match probably wouldn't make TV, using it to take a shot at WCW Slamboree, a PPV which, from 1993-1995, would feature Ring Oldies along with wrestlers from the regular roster. Then "Frankenstein" hit, bringing out Paul E. Dangerously and 911. 911 chokeslammed all four guys to the cheers of the crowd.
    • A similar situation occurred at WWE's Survivor Series 2008, namely during Vladimir Kozlov and Triple H's match for the WWE Championship. Originally the match was supposed to include Jeff Hardy as a third man, but he was reportedly found unconscious earlier that day and thus taken out of the match. HHH and Kozlov did not work particularly well together, becoming so maligned as to earn chants of "boring" and "TNA". I repeat. Fans chanted TNA during a HHH match. That's how dull it was. Then Vickie Guerrero came out and announced that "He's here!", getting the crowd to finally show some life as they believed Hardy would be appearing. Then… "You think you know me." And the crowd was off their feet, as EDGE returned with his comeback beard and wrestling gear on and speed-walked his way into the ring. Then, before he could capitalize on the situation…Jeff Hardy indeed came rushing out with a steel chair, wildly swinging at Edge (presuming that Edge was physically responsible for his earlier condition). Some swings and Spears later, Kozlov, Hardy, and HHH all sprawled out on the ground, and Edge became WWE Champion to a hero's welcome.

    Video Games 
  • After the dedicated server fiasco in the PC version of Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops was advertised to have dedicated servers. And its sequel, Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Near future setting, missions with multiple paths, Strike Force missions that can alter the story based on success or failure (and the player can even play these missions like an RTS if they want), and a story written by the writer of The Dark Knight Saga, even those who hated Modern Warfare 3 for being "too much of the same thing" are becoming optimistic that Black Ops II is truly the change of pace the series needed.
  • Most Sonic fans will tell you that the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise finally achieved this in the years since the near-universally reviled Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). The game which achieved that, however, is yet another (intensely heated) point of contention between Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, or Sonic Generations.
  • Mortal Kombat 9. The series had fallen back into a Dork Age right after Deadly Alliance had so narrowly pulled it out of one. The 2011 game sees to it that your fond memories of the series aren't exclusive to just the 90s.
  • The Street Fighter series was seen as being repetitive and boring after Capcom went to the well one too many times with their update editions of Street Fighter II. And then lost the mainstream gamers completely with Street Fighter III and its update editions. Thanks to the Fighting Game Community, they were able to bring attention to how great a game Street Fighter III: Third Strike really was, and eventually brought enough attention to the game for Capcom to make Street Fighter IV. The game was a huge success, and not only did it help revive the fighting game genre as a whole, it made the FGC popular as well, especially when it came to EVO, the biggest event for the pro community. Not to mention that some fans no longer mind Capcom's update edition concept with the Street Fighter series anymore, as evidenced by the latest version, Ultra Street Fighter IV.
  • While Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty didn't turn everyone away from the series, it did cause a serious Broken Base with many worried as to what the next game would bring. Cue Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater which had a much more straightforward and powerful character-driven plot, a main character who looked and sounded exactly like Snake, solid gameplay that expanded on the Metal Gear Solid 2's gameplay, new outdoor jungle environments (which hadn't really been done before in the series since the original 2D games), spectacular boss fights and an absolutely heartbreaking yet incredibly effective ending. While debate still goes on as to the overall quality of Metal Gear Solid 2 in relation to the rest of the series, Metal Gear Solid 3, along with the original Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, are considered to be the franchise's crowning achievements.
  • After the huge success of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, between hands was a Tough Act to Follow, which neither Majora's Mask nor The Wind Waker managed to surpass at least in term of popularity among fans (in fact, the former was for the most part overlooked, and the latter fractured significantly the fanbase). Then Twilight Princess was released and, while not completely, it managed to put the series back on spot in sales, critical acclaim, awards and nominations. Meanwhile, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds did this for the handheld lineage after the more divisive Nintendo DS games.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution struggled to win any fans from its conception — a fanbase already disillusioned by Invisible War was less than thrilled when they discovered that the third game in the series would include Regenerating Health and cover-based combat. However, when a disgruntled ex-employee leaked the press demo, previously unenthusiastic Deus Ex fans were pleasantly surprised by what they found - so much so that even the notoriously pessimistic /v/ was genuinely impressed and looked forward to the game's release with far more excitement than before.
  • The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater franchise had grappled with Sequelitis for years, eventually hitting a nadir with Tony Hawk's RIDE and SHRED, two games built around an atrocious skateboard peripheral. Activision, finally seeing where this was going, released Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, a revamped collection of levels from the well-reviewed first and second titles.
  • The first Devil May Cry was universally hailed and anticipation was high for the second one. However what fans got was a lackluster sequel that was laughably easy and stripped Dante of his rogue charm. Understandably, many were wary come news of the third game, which was developed by the same team behind DMC2. However, Capcom rectified all the problems of the second game, ratcheting up the difficulty, reverting Dante back to his old self, and even giving him some new toys to play with. Then came the announcement of Special Edition, which offered an Easy Mode and allowed players to play as Vergil.
  • For years, the Ultramarines chapter had been the butt of jokes due to their being a Creator's Pet who interpreted them as Lawful Stupid and overshadowing other armies. But with Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, the fans are finally starting to appreciate them again (it doesn't hurt that the game has a few Take Thats towards the by-the-book aspect, and by extension the author who presented them as such). The story also called for exactly what they excel at: being generic action heroes, with no tie-ins to ongoing stories or complex Chapter characterization to confuse players new to the IP.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns was this for the Donkey Kong series in general. It was riding high in the Donkey Kong Country days, and Donkey Kong 64 did well too. But once Rare left Nintendo, the series was basically orphaned for a few generations, with nothing but spinoff games (which failed to sell) to show for it. But when Retro Studios revived it, Donkey Kong was back. Donkey Kong Country was back. The game sold a ton, was well received and ended up introducing a whole new generation to the series, getting an enhanced remake on the 3DS, and getting a sequel on the Wii U in 2014 in the form of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze .
  • The promised Perfectionist difficulty in Splinter Cell Blacklist seems to be this as it is a return to classic stealth play, removing melees from the front and Mark & Execute, features from Conviction that may have deterred hardcore fans of the earlier games.
  • Contra 4, Contra ReBirth, and Hard Corps: Uprising, three Contra games that came out after four consecutive installments that sat poorly with fans of the series (two lame PlayStation games, one of which is also a Sega Saturn game, and two average PlayStation 2 games) which whipped the series back into what it should be.
  • BioWare had to win back the crowd twice in the early 2010s:
    • The Citadel DLC seems to be doing this for Mass Effect 3. While the overall game was generally seen as very good, its ending was almost universally despised. While there will always be some who will never forgive for it, the kudos for Citadel seem about as widespread as the furor was over the original ending. Crossing over with Author's Saving Throw, there was also the Extended Cut, a free release that attempted to make the ending actually make sense and provide closure; approval rose to around 50%, which is fairly impressive given that the original ending had an estimated approval rating of 8%.
    • Dragon Age II completely splintered the entire fanbase for a number of reasons, due to its limited world, players' lack of effect with their choices, glitches, Cut-and-Paste Environments, and overall rushed feel. There are many who consider it a decent game for elements such as its excellent companions, but a significant step back from its predecessor Dragon Age: Origins. Its follow-up, Dragon Age: Inquisition, despite complaints about problems with different versions, has been far better received for its much more epic story that successfully took many seemingly unimportant elements from Dragon Age II and incorporated them in big ways, highly varied wide-open worlds and the choices having a far greater effect on the story and characters. By extension, quite a few see Inquisition as return to form for BioWare after the widespread disappointment with Dragon Age II and the ending of Mass Effect 3.
  • Due to declining sales from Fire Emblem titles, Fire Emblem Awakening was originally going to be the final game in the series if the game didn't reach 250,000 sales. Fortunately, Awakening managed to save the series from cancellation with sales close to, if not surpassing, one million copies worldwide. And a lot of them were from Nintendo's E-Shop downloads! With the fact that another game, Fire Emblem Fates, is getting released, it seems like the franchise is not going away any time soon.
  • Atari was very clearly attempting this with Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers and Rookie Rush, which featured no licensing from any major sports brands and tried to be more than just another year of the same game. Unfortunately, it didn't pull the series out of its Dork Age very well (as a matter of fact, it only solidified the issues most longtime fans took), and it flopped to the point that no new games in the series, one that's been milked to death with two to three games every year for a decade, have since been announced.
  • Fallout 3 was a very popular game overall, but it was exceptionally controversial among the original fans of the first two games. Fallout: New Vegas, done by a descendant studio of the original Black Isle, was well-received by both sides and generally seen as a sign that Fallout hasn't quite lost its magic.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • The hardcore fans of Super Smash Bros. generally took a "once bitten, twice shy" approach to Wii U / 3DS after Brawl, and the early build displayed at E3 2014 and subsequent promotional events that suffered many of the same problems as Brawl didn't help matters. Then, the finished game was released, which altered the mechanics from the demo build completely, along with doing things like adding onscreen tips that explained details and tactics previously hidden to most players, fans are beginning to warm back up to it.
  • Many Franchise/Pokemon fans felt turned off by Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire due to the large number of changes from previous installments, including unavailability of Generation I and II Pokémon. But when Generation IV came out, especially Platinum and the long-awaited remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver, it brought back many old fans, along with some new ones.
  • The original release of Final Fantasy XIV back in 2010 was seen by many as the nadir of the entire MMORPG genre and the Final Fantasy franchise, to the point where a major investor sold every last share of his Square-Enix stock in protest. Three years later, the game was rebooted as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, having undergone enough changes to make Cataclysm look like a minor patch. This time, the game was a critical and financial success far beyond anything Square Enix expected. (How successful? It is now the second most profitable game in the franchise, next to Final Fantasy XI, and got that way in a fraction of the time.)
  • After the unpopular and poorly received mess that was Call of Juarez: The Cartel, Ubisoft realized that they were losing fans of the series at an abysmal rate. It seems they got the message why fans didn't like The Cartel and went on to release Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, a game that plays like an Affectionate Parody of the whole Spaghetti Western concept, gently poking fun at the cliches and storytelling conventions of the genre while providing blazing-fun action and an engrossing story at the same time. It didn't hurt that it was also less expensive than The Cartel and that its characters ended up more well-liked by the Call of Juarez fans.
  • Starbound proved to be extremely popular around the time of its release, but fervor for the game died down not long after due to stagnating updates. The massive update released for the game in January 2015, however, managed to win back some of that popularity by adding many promised features, including the new Novakid race, ship customization, customizable UI windows, and oodles of new items to collect and planets to explore.
  • Star Trek Online hit a major snag during 2014, when then-EP Stephen D'Angelo allowed a number of changes to hit the game, increasing the grind exponentially, leading to the infamous Tau Dewa incident Explanation . Come 2015, D'Angelo stepped down and Stephen "SalamiInferno" Ricossa, a former dev, took over, quickly winning over many players with his quick and prompt responses over incidents and getting them hyped for what was coming next.
  • When X Rebirth launched to almost universal poor reviews due to the Obvious Beta state and a plethora of bizarre design decisions, the development team, EGOSOFT, admitted that they goofed up, and spent the next year refining the game to be playable and indeed fun; first with the massive "2.0" update and again with "3.0", which coincided with the release of the game's Expansion Pack, The Teladi Outpost, which was free for every owner to pre-order until the day of release as an apology. Critics and fans praised the decision and were more in favor of the game after all the changes. EGOSOFT has a history of this, with their games being released as buggy, often unplayable messes which are rectified about a year after release and with features expanded via free Downloadable Content, but winning back the crowd after the Rebirth fiasco - whose level of buggyness was an order of magnitude worse than previous games - was make-or-break for the company.
  • After it was revealed in May 2015 that KLab had fuddled with the English localization of Love Live School Idol Festival to strip out references to same-sex relationships and change the Featureless Protagonist's implied gender from female to male, fans were very, VERY angry at the whitewashing of the characters' sexualities, with many refusing to buy any more Love Gems (if they were buying them) or outright uninstalling the game. One month later, KLab apologized and put out a patch that retranslated the Bowdlerised lines; many fans were elated to see the revised script and came back to the game.

    Web Video 
  • The Yogscast Minecraft Series appears to have won many fans back with the new "Cornerstone" series. It's generally agreed by many that series, which introduces mass collaboration and everyone working together and tasks being delegated out, is a good series, partly due to it stirring up old memories of the Tekkit series, where collabs were frequent enough. The effects have been fairly positive for individual members, too- Strippin has gotten a fair amount of love for his good chemistry with Hat Films.
  • The second season of the Rooster Teeth show "The Gauntlet" appears to have won over many fans that were not happy with the first series. With a shift away from all-community teams (which led to a huge case of Broken Base) to one community team, a Rooster Teeth team, a team composed of various internet celebrities and a team from Achievement Hunter, people are on the whole much more positive.
  • Sips came under fire for making content that appeared to be solely Garry's Mod-based, with fans starting to angrily spam comments on Youtube. Sips' starting a playthrough of Fallout 1 and Evolve has since won over many of his detractors, who like the shift away from Gmod and back to the older style content.

    Western Animation 
  • Transformers Animated has proved to be an excellent show, especially after the years of spottily-dubbed Japanese-produced for american consumption (Or not) series, attracting many old and even new fans.
  • Transformers Prime, following the success of Transformers: War for Cybertron (and being in that same universe), has won over basically all fans of the franchise - including man Gee-Wunners - and is marked as being the best Transformers show since Beast Wars, if not even better. Part of this is the serious tone of the show, the return of the original voice actors for Optimus and Megatron, and the ubiquity of pieces of the Transformers Mythos from every major installation of the Transformers Franchise. Then it won a bigger crowd with the third season.
  • The eighth and ninth seasons of Spongebob Squarepants. Plankton is more threatening than he was before the movie, using deadly weapons and slave labor, Mr. Krabs has a nice side, characters who plagued the past three seasons have been dropped, there's a bit more drama, the epic horrors of Whelk Attack and "A Pal For Gary", Sandy may be getting back in the spotlight soon, genuinely good specials, The Black Comedy being handled better, the best SpongeBob game since Battle For Bikini Bottom, the brief Story Arc, SpongeBob getting less stupid, Patrick becoming a lovable oaf again after a brief jerkass stint , etc. Although they aren't without their stinkers (i.e. "Squid Baby" and "Are You Happy Now?").
    • Many fans are getting hyped up for the upcoming sequel, with claims that Stephen Hillenburg is set to return to the series after his departure since season four. These factors ignite hope for some that the series will regain quality after the sequel.
  • It seems that Family Guy is taking this direction, since after the much reviled Season 7: Peter's Jerkassery was toned down, Brian is no longer the Mary Sue Author Avatar everybody was sick of, Meg and Chris are getting more screentime, and the Meg bashing is much, much less blatant, Stewie starts to show glimpses of his old characterization, the newer chapters have better storylines and less flashbacks and pop culture references (which, by the way, are more recent and easier to get than the obscure 70-80s references that nobody recognized), the Black Comedy is less prominent, etc. There are even a few dramatic and serious moments once in a while.
  • The Simpsons experienced a massive boost in popularity in 2007, thanks to the acclaimed smash hit The Simpsons Movie.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic won back the My Little Pony franchise, after it had been a joke for years. Moreover, it gave rise to the brony movement, appealing to adults as well as children.
    • In a smaller case, writer Merriwether Williams' four episodes in season 2 were among the most disliked of the show (with the exception of Hearth's Warming Eve), most notably in how their stories relied on everyone acting like jerks. Her next episode in the following season, Wonderbolts Academy was far better received.
    • The 3rd season is considered a case of minor Seasonal Rot in quality due to a shorter life-span, a lackluster Arc Villain, premise-altering story turns including Discord's Heel-Face Turn and Twilight Sparkle becoming an alicorn princess, and fan favorite character Derpy Hooves being a no-show due to the "controversy" surrounding her first speaking appearance. The 4th season is considered a point where the show greyed the beard. The plot developments that were feared to be the show's downfall wound up refreshing it. Twilight and her friends' struggles with her new royal duties are presented in a surprisingly mature light while Discord takes on the role of Token Evil Trickster Mentor while going through some Character Development to make his reform easier to swallow. It returns to a 26-episode format while setting up a Half-Arc Season that gives a hearty taste of Equestria's history with the finale featuring long-lost G1 antagonist turned Breakout Villain Tirek serves as its resolution. As a cherry on top, Derpy makes a grand return in "Rainbow Falls" (S4E10).
  • Superjail season 3 went over much easier with fans than season 2 had, perhaps due to the writers deciding that they'd try to combine the original "psychedelic bloodbath" formula from season 1 with season 2's character-centric stories and development. The wild scene transitions and camera angles were also re-instated, while season 2 had mostly used traditional cuts and fades between scenes. Acclaim-wise, it managed to win over at least a bigger number of fans, but when it came to the ratings this trope was inverted (season 2 aired in the summer and had managed to get consistently high ratings, while season 3's ratings dipped much lower).
  • Total Drama:
    • The series' popularity was revitalized by Revenge of the Island after the much reviled Action and Base Breaking World Tour by bringing in a new set of characters while having appearances by the original ones.
    • All-Stars seems to be even more hated than Action, but its follow-up, Pahkitew Island, managed to revive the franchise again with another new set of characters.
  • Due to Andrew Brenner becoming head writer of Thomas the Tank Engine in Season 17, there are references to older episodes and fan favourites like Bill, Ben and Duck are brought back. The writing style is also more mature than the other CGI seasons and there has been a lot of Character Rerailment, undoing the Flanderization of the later seasons. Thomas, while still appearing frequently, is regulated to supporting roles and the same moderated number of lead roles as other engines instead of being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad.
  • The Legend of Korra's first two seasons were seen as weaker compared to the original series with a rushed Myth Arc that took a back seat to a widely disliked Love Triangle and an un-charismatic villain in the second season. The third and fourth seasons dialed back the romance and fixed the pacing and ended the series on a high note with fans.

     Works That Won Back a Given Genre or Type of Work 

    People Who've Won Back Their Careers 
  • See Career Resurrection
  • Marlon Brando was considered a has-been after Mutiny on the Bounty ruined his career. Then he staged an epic comeback with The Godfather.
  • Mickey Rourke with Sin City and The Wrestler.
  • John Travolta with Pulp Fiction.
  • Uma Thurman winning back the crowd would be her work in Kill Bill, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination and redeemed her in the eyes of many who were still holding Batman & Robin and The Avengers (1998) over her head.
  • Peter Sellers' career, in the early 1970s, had eroded to the point that a few of his movies didn't even make it to theaters. Then he reprised the role of Inspector Clouseau in 1975, was immediately back on the A-list, and remained there for the last few years of his life.
  • Sylvester Stallone did it twice, with Cliffhanger (after two horrible comedies), and Rocky Balboa (after many years of unremarkable films).
  • Robert Downey, Jr.. was a successful brat pack actor from the 1980s and early 1990s whose performances in Less Than Zero and Chaplin were critically acclaimed. However, from 1996 to 2001, RDJ suffered from continual episodes of substance abuse, rehab, relapse and was fired from Ally McBeal for substance abuse-related arrests in spite of his performance's critical acclaim. After a long stint in rehab, he was cast in moderately successful and cult movies, such as Gothika and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but would later become a blockbuster star in such films as Tropic Thunder, Iron Man, and Sherlock Holmes.
  • After the promising debut of Point Break and Near Dark, it seemed that Kathryn Bigelow was the IT girl; a woman director who was married to IT director James Cameron. But then, her big-budget, Cameron-produced Strange Days tanked. Badly. It was nearly a decade before she directed another big movie: The Hurt Locker.
  • While The Abyss didn't exactly tank at the box office, it wasn't the success it had been expected to be, and it hadn't been a particularly good experience for James Cameron (it suffered much Executive Meddling). Cameron's next movie: Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Tom Cruise was largely considered to have destroyed his career forever after becoming Hollywood's new front man for Scientology, with his numerous bizarre and off-putting public appearances. Then came his tour de force Playing Against Type performance in Tropic Thunder. THEN his return to Mission Impossible with Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, especially with the advertising that he performed the "scale-a-skyscraper" stunt himself.
  • Jackie Earle Haley hadn't appeared in a film for 13 years when he made his out-of-nowhere comeback in 2006 with roles in the All The King's Men remake and Little Children, the latter earning him an Academy Award nomination.
    • And then there was Watchmen, with great praise for his great work as everybody's favorite antihero Rorschach.
  • Howard Mackie, one of the seminal Spider-Man writers back in the 90's, was originally ostracized not only for his participation in the heavily controversial Clone Saga storylines, but also the mishandled Spider-Relaunch which followed it. Mackie was even for a time considered poison for any project and was even called "The Worst Spider-Man Writer Ever" by many. Currently, he's managed a small comeback with the moderately liked "The Ravagers" book over at DC while, for fairly-or-unfairly, the title of "Worst Spider-Man Writer" has been given by some to current Spider-Writer Dan Slott for his controversial run.
  • After being one of the most respected actors of the '90s, thanks to his prominent lead roles in Se7en, American Beauty and The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey's career slowly declined through the 2000's, with many of his roles relegated to supporting parts in small TV miniseries and underwhelming films. Even 2006's Superman Returns—his highest-profile movie in years, where he scored the lead role of Lex Luthor—turned out to be a huge box-office disappointment, and it failed to spawn a new Superman franchise. That all changed in 2013, when his acclaimed performance as Frank Underwood in House of Cards (US) suddenly made him a household name again, leading to Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

    Networks 
  • The success of shows like Adventure Time and Regular Show reignited Cartoon Network's popularity after losing its classic cartoons to Boomerang and the utter failure that is CN Real, with others such as Young Justice, The Amazing World of Gumball, etc. made to show viewers that the network is dead serious about putting behind its CN Real days and returning to its rootsnote . Parallel to this, [adult swim] followed suit after their resurrection of Toonami, while The Eric Andre Show has redeemed its live action programming among some of its fanbase due to being one of the few unambiguously live action shows produced by the network, and its strange, absurdist tone fitting the rest of the networks output.
  • CBS, long regarded as "the Tiffany network" throughout The '90s, regained viewers it lost after Survivor debuted. Then it managed to secure a handful of critically acclaimed and popular scripted shows that pulled it into the big leagues like How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory (the latter which helped dethrone "Must See TV Thursdays" from NBC). Today it's the dominant TV network in the ratings. Similarly, it regained the younger crowd in the 90s after spending much of the 80s being "the network of the living dead".
  • At the end of 2003-2004 TV season, ABC had been floundering for a few years, even becoming the first of the original Big Three networks to fall to fourth place in overall network ratings (falling behind FOX, who was surging behind American Idol). Their programming schedule had glaring holes left from the flame-out of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and a lack of hit dramatic fare and reality shows. Under new management for the 04-05 season, ABC debuted two fall series that would instantly become smash hits: LOST and Desperate Housewives, followed by three more hits with mid-season addition Grey's Anatomy and reality series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Dancing with the Stars. ABC rode that wave of success back into second place while NBC tumbled all the way to fourth.
  • For over five years, the Sci Fi Channel descended into a state of Network Decay that no one thought it would escape from, with the rebranding of the network's name to "Syfy", the phasing out of actual Sci Fi shows in favor of Reality shows and Wrestling programming, and any Sci Fi content they do air consisting of low budget Z-grade creature features. However, recent statements from the network president about the network's decay and the announcement of an upcoming Space Opera mini-series imply that the network is attempting this, though only time will tell whether or not this attempt will be successful enough to bring the channel back to its roots.