The show as a whole has:
- Ear Worm: The theme song, in all its incarnations.
- Fanon Discontinuity: It's rare, but there are some fans who disregard The Black Adder due to how out of step it is with the following incarnations. A slightly more common viewpoint is that the Blackadder lineage died with Captain Blackadder at the end of Blackadder Goes Forth, and that Blackadder Back & Forth never happened.note Yet another is that The Stinger at the end of Series 2 never happened, as many fans thought it too contrived, out of character, and just plain not funny, as well as requiring Prince Ludwig to have survived being run through the chest and struck with a hatchet with 16th century medicine.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The first series' first episode opens with a darkly comic depiction of the Battle of Bosworth Field and even has a scene where Edmund takes one look at the fighting and decides to run away, all played for laughs. The final episode also deals with war but plays it completely straight, and this time Blackadder doesn't get away.
- Growing the Beard: Many fans prefer the seasons after the Re Tool. The first season has its laughs, but it's just not as much fun watching a screwball doofus and his two moron friends as it is watching a wicked snarker and his two moron friends. However, if nothing else, the first season would still be required watching purely on the strength of BRIAN BLESSED's definitively hammy performance (in fact, it's the source of the current image and caption on his page).
- Incidentally, Blackadder gains a literal beard in the second season, the first one after said Re Tool.
- Nausea Fuel: Occasional. Usually provided by Baldrick.
- Seasonal Rot: Inverted for the most part. The Black Adder is generally felt to be pretty average, Blackadder II awesome, Blackadder the Third either slightly better or slightly worse than the previous series (depending on whether or not Blackadder is too much of a Villain Protagonist), and Blackadder Goes Forth the best of all.
The Black Adder has:
- Crazy Awesome: King Richard IV. A crazy and over-the-top Blood Knight who goes to war (and sometimes against his allies) just for the hell of it and is implied to have killed several thousand Turks with a fruit knife. Being played by BRIAN BLESSED certainly helps.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The ending theme
- Ensemble Darkhorse: King Richard IV, due to his characteristically over the top performance.
- Fan Nickname: The nameless King played by John Savident in the original, unaired pilot has been nicknamed King Frederick I by fans, in reference to Savident's most well-known role.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: "What is a Scotsman doing in Egypt?"
- I Am Not Shazam: Inverted. Other characters rarely call Prince Edmund "Blackadder".
- Memetic Mutation:
- "Or as shall I be known... THE BLACK... Vegetable."
- "CHISWICK! FRESH HORSES!!"
- "As our good lord said: Love thy neighbour as thyself. Unless he's turkish. In which case, kill the bastard!"
- Retroactive Recognition: Harry Potter fans may be shocked to find a young Horace Slugthorn as Don Speekingleesh, translator to the Infanta.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: There is really nothing wrong with the premise of the first season. In fact it can certainly be argued it had more potential than other seasons, since it's actually rather ingenious. The execution left much to be desired; plot elements with potential (the ghost of Richard III following Edmund around and taunting him) were thrown out, while others were sorely underdeveloped (Brian Bloody Blessed as king Richard IV!).
Blackadder II has:
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene in "Bells" where Blackadder falls in love with "Bob", which suddenly turns into a love song album commercial, for no discernible reason (well, okay, maybe one).
- Evil Is Sexy: Lord Blackadder.
- Growing the Beard: According to popular opinion, this is the season where it happened.
- Quite literally. The original Black Adder is beardless, while the Elizabethan version is bearded, as well as more interesting, although Blackadders of the third and fourth installments are also beardless.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Blackadder's mocking of Prince Ludwig's mimicking various accents, given Ludwig's played by Hugh Laurie.
- Ho Yay:
Lord Flashheart, Lord FlashheartI wish you were the starLord Flashheart, Lord FlashheartYou're sexier by far!
- A little gem from the balladeer at the end of "Bells"
- Moments earlier, Blackadder was jilted at the altar (His fiancee ran away with Flashheart), so he now must marry his bridesmaid, who in fact is Baldrick, who agrees with the idea.
- Memetic Mutation: YOUR BOTTOM WILL WISH IT HAD NEVER BEEN BORN!
- Nightmare Fuel: The Stinger to "Chains" probably qualifies.
- After the credits, we hear a tolling bell and eerie wind noises (from the intro to Elton John's "Funeral for a Friend") as the camera pans over the murdered, wide-eyed bodies of Edmund, Percy, Queenie, Nursie, Baldrick, and Melchett. We then see Queenie there, alive and well, before she turns to the camera, gives a chuckle in a strange voice and says, in the master of disguise Prince Ludwig's voice, "Now this is a disguise I'm really going to enjoy. If I could just get the voice right." A more creepy than funny end to the series.
- One-Scene Wonder: The fandom loves Lord Flashheart. So does the balladeer (see the entry for Ho Yay).
- The Woobie: Lord Percy Percy. Despite being constantly insulted by Lord Blackadder, he would do anything for him and sees his insults as nothing more than his friend being witty.
Blackadder the Third has:
- Acceptable Targets:
Blackadder: Criminal record?Baldrick: Absolutely not.Blackadder: Oh, come on, Baldrick, you're going to be an MP, for God's sake!Blackadder: You mean they actually rehearse? I thought they just got drunk, stuck on a silly hat and trusted to luck.
- Nothing like repeatedly insulting the French.
- And the Welsh. Really, this season is quite merciless.
- Ditto Germans.
- Politicians too:
Blackadder: Well, you could appoint him a high court judge.George: Is he qualified?Blackadder: He's a violent, bigoted, mindless old fool.George: Sounds a bit overqualified!
- Judges too:
- Anyone else who isn't Edmund Blackadder.
- Cant Unhear It: If you've seen "Ink and Incapability", try reading any writings or quotes from Dr Samuel Johnson without doing it in Robbie Coltrane's voice.
- Cargo Ship: Lord Sod-off Baldrick has a relationship with his turnip.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: The ending of "Dish and Dishonesty" has Baldrick elevated to being a lord over Blackadder, much to the latter's annoyance. In 2013, Baldrick's actor Tony Robinson was knighted, while Rowan Atkinson "only" got a CBE.
- Lawful Evil: Although Edmund claims that his only loyalty is towards himself and that he is incredibly ruthless and cold, only the latter is completely true as he demonstrates a great deal of loyalty for his boss, despite the fact that his boss is incredibly stupid and that he (Blackadder) could manipulate him into giving up all of his (The Prince) money and power to him. He even risks his own life for him. But abandons The Prince after he is mortally wounded. Making him a Type III Lawful Evil character.
- Magnificent Bastard: The third Blackadder, Edmund Blackadder, is the butler to the idiotic Prince George of Regency England. A roguish cheat who constantly scams money out of his employer, Blackadder is also left with the task of running the country, manipulating the election of his completely idiotic sidekick Baldrick to the House of Commons to vote down a measure harmful to the prince by setting up a Rotten Borough and taking over the position as the only voter as well as the supervisor of elections by murdering his predecessors. When a bet is made for him to one-up the Scarlet Pimpernel, he simply opts to head down to a coffee house and find an aristocrat at the French embassy. When the real Scarlet Pimpernel is about to reveal his treachery, Blackadder promptly murders him and wins a great award from Prince George by claiming to be the true Scarlet Pimpernel. Even in the finale, Blackadder sees Prince George dead when they've switched identities and takes the chance to claim to be the real prince to the insane King George III, gleefully ascending to the throne of England several years later.
- Memetic Mutation: The "Macbeth" scene from "Sense and Senility"
Blackadder Goes Forth has:
- Anvilicious: The show has been criticized by its over-the-top anti-war message.
- This is despite the fact, that if you actually watch the season, it's more "anti-war for stupid reasons and while in war don't do stupid things" than "anti-war."
- Awesome Ego: Captain Flashheart is an egotistical braggart that views himself greater than God, while being so entertaining about it that he's one of the most memorable and quotable characters in the series.
- Crazy Awesome: Captain Flashheart, more so than his Elizabethan Fake Ultimate Hero incarnation.
- Critical Dissonance: While fans consider it as the best incarnation, many critics in retrospective have panned its overtly pacifist stance.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Lord Flashheart. His role is greatly expanded from his previous incarnation's, but he still only appears in one episode.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Blackadder flirting with Nurse Mary.
Blackadder: Yes, why not? When this madness is finished, perhaps we could go cycling together. Take a trip to the Old Swan at Henley and go for a walk in the woods.
- Given that nowadays there's a heightened awareness of hate crimes, Flash shooting the Red Baron in cold blood and then yelling a homophobic insult at his corpse is pretty awkward to watch. Not that it wasn't in character.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Ho Yay: "Baldrick, I love you. I want to kiss your cherry lips and nibble at your shell-like ears."
- Jerkass Woobie: Captain Blackadder to a certain extent, but Captain Darling to a massive extent. He's a hilariously obnoxious Butt Monkey for the first five episodes, but as soon as he starts to realise that he's being sent to his death he becomes a real person, with a life at home, and even someone who loves him. His stoicism at the end is in sharp contrast to his desperate pleading to Melchett that he not be sent to the front.
Blackadder: How are you feeling, Darling?Darling: Erm — not all that good, Blackadder. Rather hoped I'd get through the whole show. Go back to work at Pratt & Sons. Keep wicket for the Croydon Gentlemen. Marry Doris. [Beat] Made a note in my diary on my way here. Simply says..."Bugger."
- Memetic Mutation:
- Moral Event Horizon: Comedy or not, by the end you are not going to like General Melchett.
- Older Than They Think: Much of the anti-war themes, tropes, and character archetypes relating to World War I (or the Great War, if you prefer) are present in the British war comic series written by Pat Mills and drawn by Joe Colquhoun, "Charley's War."
- Tough Act to Follow: Part of the reason why a fifth series was never made, as nearly everyone involved realized that there was simply no way they could top the final moments of this series, and that critics would be merciless if they fell short. Sure enough, when Back and Forth was eventually released, one of the primary complaints was that it cheapened the ending of Goes Forth.
The Specials has:
- Broken Base: Fans tend to be divided whether Back and Forth serves as a satisfying Book Ends finale to the series, or is a watered down Edutainment short.
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: It's played for laughs, but let's be honest. Blackadder Christmas Carol shows how easily altruists can get exploited by freeloaders.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Hugh Laurie's appalling attempt at an American accent in Christmas Carol, given his later role as House.
- Squick: The visions in Christmas Carol shows at one point Baldrick in a speedo.
Blackadder: And I end up wearing Baldrick's posing pouch.