Web Video: The Poparena

Greg (just Greg) hosts The Pop Arena, a Video Review Show where he provides in-depth reviews or recaps of television shows, comics, Video Games, and movies. He is most known for his retrospective of the Animorphs books and TV series. However recently he has expanded to include retrospectives on several other series and one-shot reviews of all sorts of media.


ThePopArena contains discussions of:

  • Anti-Climax: Greg says Megamorphs #1. The Andalite's Gift ends this way after the epic Chase Scene which had come before kept building with a lot of tension and the stakes getting higher.
  • Ax-Crazy: Greg accuses Aximili (shortened to Ax) of being ready to kill at a moment's notice in his review of Animorphs #7. The Stranger.
  • Bad Boss:
    • For Animorphs, Greg points out how Visser Three is likely to kill an underling just for reminding him that bugs exist.
    • Greg says Megabyte is worse than Visser Three in his review of ReBoot Episode 6 "In The Belly of the Beast" because he executes an underlings for doing something right.
  • Black and White Morality: Greg mocks how clear-cut the conflict between the Mercora and the Nesk is during his review for Megamorphs #2. In the Time of the Dinosaurs.
  • Broken Aesop: invoked Greg points out that Animorphs book #40. The Other tries to portray how wrong ableism is, yet the disabled character himself barely appears in the story and simply serves as a Damsel in Distress, fully justifying Ax's view of him as The Load.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Greg points out a particularly clumsy clue given early in Animorphs #39. The Hidden. Cassie mentions apropos of nothing that birds often bring down aircraft, to which Greg puts a picture of a bird in the corner for the rest of the video until that very thing happens at the end to save Cassie's ass.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Greg was very upset with Animorphs #28. The Experiment for avoiding a cliffhanger twice.
  • Continuity Nod: He acknowledges all the references in #18. The Decision with the line that he's getting a "continuity boner."
  • Death by Newbery Medal: After discovering the ghostwriter for Animorphs #42. The Journey created an entire series based around animals getting hurt, he delivered a quite withering sarcastic and faux-cutesy rant about using that for drama.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Greg notes Animorphs #41. The Familiar inexplicably repeats the standard opening exposition several chapters in, like they were worried some people would be starting the series forty-one books in.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Greg points out the oddity of a slow-moving bulldozer blowing up an alien Space Fighter.
  • Evil Gloating: Greg emphasizes the gloating of Visser Three, villain of Animorphs.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: In "The Dark Knight Retrospective," he points out the Joker's claim to being an agent of chaos directly contradicts the massive planning he obviously had to do in order to pull off everything the way that he did.
  • Flat "What.": Greg delivers one of these followed by one of the larger Big "WHAT?!" variety when he learns the Yeerks apparently have no security for their computer systems on the Blade ship.
  • Future Imperfect: While reviewing the Alternamorphs books, he points out how likely it is that we're doing it right now, given how much trouble he had tracking down accurate information on a pair of books just 15 years old, and all of whose contributors are still alive.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: While reviewing Animorphs Episode 1.06 Tobias, Greg inserts the images of two kissing lesbians fondling each other in the background while praising Ax's new device, which can generate thoughts for everyone to see, as "the greatest invention ever," and in his segment Breaking Spines #4. The Hunger, Greg theorizes that the author of the book, Whitley Striber, found lesbian erotic fantasy more sexually appealing than gay males, which the book seemingly glosses over.
  • Great Gazoo: Greg calls the Ellimist a "Great Gazoo" in his review of #7. The Stranger.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: Greg eventually decides that the actions of the two omnipotent creators, Ellimist and Crayak, means that both are basically jerks.
  • Godwin's Law: Greg mocks Cassie's reference to Nazis in Megamorphs #2. In the Time of the Dinosaurs.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Greg points out in his review of Animorphs #2. The Visitor how making a big display in stealing two drunk teens' guns instead of just flying away and then later berating Rachel rather harshly for using her morphing powers to stop a rapist make Jake and Marco both look like hypocrites.
    • In Greg's "Batman Begins Retrospective," he claims that Batman's rationale for not killing the villain, but that he doesn't have to save him, makes Batman directly responsible for his death.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Greg claims all the heroes to be acting stupid to justify the plot in his review of ReBoot Episode 2 "Racing the Clock".
    • Greg points out how the Yeerks frequently carry the plot by acting stupid in the Animorphs TV series.
  • Karma Houdini: Greg is unhappy about Ray escaping punishment while reviewing The Secret World of Alex Mack Episode "The Feud." Though he does like to think the character's absence from the following episode is because he was ashamed and hiding from Alex for a while.
  • Left Hanging: While reviewing the Animorphs TV show, Greg bemoans how several of his favorite shows as a kid never received proper endings, and cautions against shows doing season-ending cliffhangers in case it also happens to them.
  • Made of Plasticine: Greg frequently points out how Taxxons are more useful as tools but when it comes to combat they are very easy to kill.
  • Magic A Is Magic A:
    • Greg expresses that Brandon Sanderson's biggest writing strength is his ability to create comprehensible rules for his various fantasy worlds, and always stick to them. The downside is that the actual writing style tends to be very dry.
    • While reviewing #39. The Hidden, Greg says that he's willing to ignore violations of the internal rules for magic as long as the result makes for a good story, like the morphing buffalo might have if it stuck around.
  • Magical Negro: He states that the one from the Animorphs show episode "Tobias" is one of the absolute straightest uses of the trope he's ever seen, with a random black guy who comes in for one scene to give Tobias a perfect bit of advice and then vanishes.
  • Mary Sue: invoked
    • Greg is rather critical of the "Mary Sue" trope/term in Animorphs #38. The Arrival, because he feels it has become meaningless as the original intention from "A Trekkie's Tale" has been distorted into any female character who's overly qualified at what they do.
    • Greg's review of the Jack Reacher film discusses how it takes such a character and really makes him work, in a four-step process: Reacher never does anything blatantly impossible, the other heroes aren't made to look like idiots to prop him up, the villains are so evil that you can't wait to see a Wish Fulfillment character like Reacher take them out, and every single other aspect of the film is so top-notch that you don't really care about the ridiculousness of its main character.
  • Mood Whiplash: He notes the oddity of the ending of #42. The Journey being played for laughs when the dog that still has rabies is going to die and how in the meantime everyone in the building is in serious danger.
  • Moral Event Horizon: invoked In one of Greg's longer rants he fully lists how he believes Tobias making the decision to preserve the timeline by causing the KT Extinction Event in Megamorphs #2. In the Time of the Dinosaurs has Tobias crossing this line.
  • Narm: invoked
    • Greg finds the line "And then the Dracon beam blew up the buffalo" to be so unintentionally funny that his usually serious excerpts from the books play it for laughs.
    • Greg can't help laughing every time he says "Anti-Morphing Ray."
  • No Endor Holocaust:
    • Greg complains about many issues with In the Time of the Dinosaurs, one of the issues Greg has is the nuclear explosion not having any effect on the setting, when it should have been one of the biggest events in the series.
    • In #41. The Familiar he's quite disconcerted by how both the heroes' and villains' plans would wipe out all life on Earth.
  • Only Sane Employee: Gideon Van de Leur in his Doctor Who Season 6 Skit.
  • Padding: invoked
    • In his review of #6. The Capture he points out how time that could have been better spent developing Jake's character was wasted on Juan and Terry playing basketball and Jake buying a birthday present for his mom with Rachel and Cassie.
    • In #42. The Journey, Greg points out that a key sign to invoking this trope is when you can flip all the roles of the characters around without any effect on the story, ie whatever happens doesn't depend at all on who the characters are and adds nothing to their development.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Greg is disappointed when the sequence in #43: The Test, where Tobias morphs into Taylor, completely ignores Tobias's reaction to morphing a human woman, and speculates that this is because there's no way a straight cis teenage boy's reaction to something like this could be put in a kids' book series. He claims it's an absolute certainty that Tobias spent ten minutes fondling Taylor's breasts before heading out.
  • Series Continuity Error: #34. The Prophecy is called out for making a mess of a bunch of continuity that came before it, and having no effect on anything afterwards. It can't even maintain continuity within itself, thanks to an inexplicable editing oversight that results in a certain piece of information being portrayed as a huge shock surprise after everyone already knew about it.
  • Special Effects Failure: invoked Greg notes that the Animorphs TV series use special effects that fail to meet his standards.
  • Society Marches On: He feels the Animorphs belong firmly in the nineties due to it being a more complacent time in American history. With very few wars and a more trusting atmosphere.
  • Status Quo Is God: Greg's review of Animorphs #19. The Departure points out how everything goes back to the way it was at the beginning.
  • Techno Wizard: In one of his funnier rants for the Animorphs TV show, Greg points out how Ax reprogramming a cell phone to display images when it isn't designed to do that is highly inaccurate, and speculates that Ax might have literally cast a magic spell on the phone.
  • They Just Didn't Care: invoked Greg views the short-lived Season 2 of the Animorphs show, as if the crew abandoned any serious consideration toward their storylines in favor of lame kiddie gags.
    Greg: I swear, if the show lasted any longer than it did, we would have inevitably gotten an episode where Ax wears women's clothing.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: invoked
    • Greg is so intrigued by the concept of a buffalo getting the morphing ability and becoming part of the Animorphs team while gradually developing human-level intelligence that he'd be willing to forgive all the blatant abuse of Magic A Is Magic A to get to that point. Unfortunately, the buffalo doesn't survive the book it's introduced in.
    • Greg laments how the two Alternamorphs books waste a promising idea in just about every way possible, with the writers appearing to have no idea what the point of such a gamebook even is. There's only a single "good" path where any deviation means instant death, you're kept away from any real action, and you're actually punished for knowledge of the series.
    • Greg takes the Ax plot of the Animorphs TV show finale to task for having his plan to get back home fail, restoring the status quo. Since everyone knew going in that this was going to be the end of the show, why not just have him succeed and give us some tiny bit of closure for at least one of the characters?
    • Greg says that #43: The Test feels far more like part two of an unfinished trilogy about Taylor than a conclusion to her storyline. He's also disappointed in the complete lack of attention to Tobias morphing a woman, though he acknowledges that any realistic teenage boy reaction would probably be inappropriate for the books' target audience.
  • Villain Ball: He frequently points out how Visser Three carries this most of the time.
  • Yoyo Plot Point:
    ThePopArena: "Visser Three is there. Visser Three is always there."


ThePopArena contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Greg announced plans to review the Eighth Doctor Adventures books starting January 2012, but never did.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: invoked
    • The Animorphs books paint Cassie as the moral center of the team. Greg sees Cassie's moral speeches annoying and considers her more The Load.
    • Greg offers a darker and more dangerous interpretation to Tobias than the Animorphs books.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Greg finds opportunities to be sardonic about the stories he reviews.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • Greg is imitating the SF Debris opinionated Trek reviews. He isn't ashamed of it though and even notes it in the opening of every Animorphs TV review.
    • SF Debris himself would later do a book review, of Foundation, though he found it a quite awkward process and says more are unlikely. Though he also did World War Z later on.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In his review of Animorphs Episode 1.04 "On the Run", he states quite clearly that Rachel will eventually die later on.
    • Greg referenced Animorphs #42. The Journey and its infamous breaking the rules of how morphing works well before arriving to that review.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Greg stops several times during his review of "Who is Bugs Potter?" to insist he's not jealous that Gordon Korman had four books published before he even became a legal adult.
  • Insistent Terminology: Greg always pronounces it "Fictional Olympics Gymnastics Star Carla Belnikoff."
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Brought up during Greg's review of Animorphs #5. The Predator when it is revealed that Visser One is Marco's mom, complete with a superimposed image of Luke Skywalker himself.
  • Malaproper: He's infamously bad at pronouncing names, plus pronouncing "escape" as "ex-cape."
  • Metaphorgotten: Played for laughs while reviewing "The Angels Take Manhattan." It begins by mocking stereotypical film noir dialogue, which finally degenerates into him getting completely lost inside the "worm and apple" metaphor he was trying to make.
  • Orphaned Punchline: "Shut up, Char...Cassie." This was a reference to a LOST review show with the Running Gag "Shut up, Charlie," whose creator he collaborated with briefly, which was little seen and has mostly been taken down.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • After reaching the ghostwriter era of Animorphs, Greg does an impressive job of tracking down the identity of each ghostwriter, and what other work they did. And for "In the Time of the Dinosaurs" he enlisted an actual paleontologist to help explain how accurate or inaccurate the book's portrayal of dinosaurs is.
    • Before reviewing the Animorphs TV show, he got an interview with producer Ron Oliver. This paid off with several insights into the conditions the series was made under throughout the course of the reviews.
  • You Have Failed Me: Greg discusses how this is Visser Three's method in dealing with his subordinates and wonders how it is that nobody notices the large number of people disappearing from the city they live in.