"I've been suddenly rescued by some force utterly outside of the context of this narrative! How... unsatisfying."
"I mean, come on! Time travel?! What kind of deus ex machina bulls@#! is that?!"
"You can't just throw stuff like this into the story out of nowhere! Where's the foreshadowing?!"
"Who says deus ex machina is an outdated plot device?"
— Captain Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager
"Oh Lord, hear our prayer... HELP!!!!" (God's hand appears to help him and Richie)
— Eddie Hitler, Bottom
"It's one of the bigger cop-outs in epiphany history."
"Doctor Who stories are resolved by a Time Lord who emerges from a Time Machine - they're ALL deus ex machina. [sic]"
"This particular blunder is known as deus ex machina, which is French for "Are you fucking kidding me?"
"'Life is too precious to be left to chance.' - Deus X. Machina"
"I've never liked this scene," I said. "Detective confronts murderer. Murderer produces gun, points same at detective. Murderer tells detective the whole sad story, with the idea of shooting him at the end of it. Thus wasting a lot of valuable time, even if in the end murderer did shoot detective. Only murderer never does. Something always happens to prevent it. The gods don't like this scene either. They always manage to spoil it."
Resist the urge to use magic to solve problems unless you've already explained and shown that aspect of how the magic works. Don't give the heroes a new power whenever they need one, and be very careful about writing laws into your system just so that you can use them in a single particular situation. (This can make your magic seem flimsy and convenient, even if you HAVE outlined its abilities earlier.)
''If you're writing a soft magic system, ask yourself "How can they solve this without magic?" or even better, "How can using the magic to TRY to solve the problem here really just make things worse." (An example of this: The fellowship relies on Gandalf to save them from the Balrog. Result: Gandalf is gone for the rest of that book.)
Robin: "Gosh, Batman. The nobility of the almost-human porpoise."
Batman: "True, Robin. It was noble of that animal to hurl himself into the path of that final torpedo. He gave his life for ours."