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YMMV: To Boldly Flee
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Doug was apparently terrified that nobody would like "Distraction", so put in loads of sound effects over his and Lindsay's voices to sate the people who were "obviously" were going to say they were terrible singers. Not only did everyone love it, but Rock Band wanted the song in their next edition.
    • In the documentary, Rob pleaded his hope for that the audience would care for the characters “just a tiny bit”. He shouldn't have worried.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Why do the answers Spoony's subconscious gives to questions radically different than views he's given earlier on his reviews? Is it because it's actually Ma-Ti's subconscious giving the answers; or are they really Spoony's actual opinions on Highlander II: The Quickening and the last four Final Fantasy games, as the lights flicker before Ma-Ti makes his presence known?
  • Applicability: No, people with horrible self-esteem won't become the universe, and "The Review Must Go On" onwards smashes the aesop, but the whole point was Critic could get out of his funk and become something better. As Brian praised on the commentary, so many fans took that as hope for their own lives.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The Plot Hole spawning in space is used as a catch-all fix for every fan-enraging inconsistency on the entire site, most prominently Spoony and Dr. Insano being the same character in Kickassia when they're separate characters otherwise. Well, that and the Aesop that there will always be inconsistencies in any art, just go with it.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Musicloops gets more free advertising from the second teaser alone with the song "Fatal Fight".
    • Part 2's Avengers Assemble scene has some truly goosebumps-inspiring music.
    • The Ghostbusters parody where the pink ball things flew around the world had a gorgeously trippy feeling courtesy of Doug's voice echoing "I believe in science" over a very cool beat, in homage to "I Believe It's Magic" from the Ghostbusters soundtrack.
    • The music played during Kyle's training of Luke.
    • Distraction. Lindsey and Doug have some pipes. (Kyle, too, even thought he only gets to sing a few notes).
    • Part 8 makes excellent use of, appropriately enough, The Planets Suite, particularly Mars and Jupiter.
    • "Crushin' Boots" by Sad Panda, which plays during the reviewers' "low budget independant film Coke party" and the end credits.
    • The bombastic song that plays as the Plot Hole swallows the entire universe.
    • The music that plays when we zoom out into space and into the Plot Hole as we hear Critic saying "I am The Nostalgia Critic".
      • That would be the ending of the aforementioned Jupiter, the most well-known movement of Gustav Holst's The Planets.
    • The unholy Tear Jerker of the Critic/Ma-Ti Playing the Heart Strings leitmotif.
  • Broken Base:
    • Even among the producers, there are some who really enjoyed the darker tone and character issues actually getting taken seriously, while there are others who would have preferred a lighter story.
    • JO as Radical Edward is either incredibly adorable, or incredibly annoying. Notably, JO herself stated in her Cowboy Bebop review that it's hard to make Ed's weirdness as lovable as Melissa Fahn did in the anime's dub.
    • The subplots and characters involving SUCKA and the MPAAA are either biting commentary on SOPA proponents or ham-handed, preachy, annoying, or even tired.
    • Following "The Review Must Go On," the whole movie is now in this catagory, as fans see it as an essential part of Critic's story arc, while detractors feel he negated his Grand Finale. It 'helps' the latter side that Doug seems to agree with them, as the entire comeback special was based on his anger that he had to revert Critic's happy ending.
  • Complete Monster: Mechakara, just like in his source series. He's the only villain in this special who is not Played for Laughs (while he has some funny moments, they're always due to the humor of the situation he's put in rather than him being funny personally.)
  • Continuity Lock-Out: As well as being a direct sequel to Suburban Knights, it also involves character dynamics and call backs from shows that you'd have needed to watch regularly to get the full dramatic and comedic effect.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Phelous getting stabbed by one of Turrell and Zod's goons. Over. And over. And over. And then he turns up in the ship right as rain, only to be killed and replaced two times over... somehow.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: To Boldly Flee makes heavy use of The Planets by Gustav Holst, particularly the best known pieces, Mars and Jupiter. They are as awesome as ever. The melodic line from Jupiter even manages to make Reality, otherwise known as our normal, everyday world, epic.
  • Ear Worm: ♪ "I'm a distraction! Of pure satisfaction!"
    • That song is even more of an ear worm in the Zod Music Video on the DVD.
  • Even Better Sequel/Surprisingly Improved Sequel: The previous two feature-length specials, Kickassia and Suburban Knights were both very divisive and littered with niggling problems (which varied wildly from viewer to viewer) and at the very least were very cheap-looking. In To Boldly Flee there's an unprecedented confidence in the storytelling, damn good SFX sequences, and the characters given clear personalities and story functions, rather than just taking turns delivering the jokes.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Despite him being a blatant Take That, Prick's smooth voice, prettiness and sharp fashion sense still earned him quite a bit of love.
    • And there are still plenty of people who'd be more than happy to Kneel Before Zod.
    • As with every other appearance by him in Atop the Fourth Wall, Mechakara has fawning fangirls. It's the voice.
    • Turrell too, no matter how hammy.
    • Rob as sleazy, handsy, manipulative, abusive, forever-smirking Christopher Clodd in Part 5.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: "Fame is fleeting, but infamy lasts forever." Mind you, this was said by a villain trying to deliberately manipulate one of the critics. A more true (and family-friendly) aesop comes two parts later, as a counterpoint: "Bad art is a distraction. Great art changes people."
  • Foe Yay Shipping:
    • Terl/Critic and Executor/Snob. I Have You Now, My Pretty is a common theme.
    • Chick/Zod is also popular, as they got very close in their duet, and it would have a different dynamic than what she had with her Spear Counterpart. (As Zod thinks she's Ursa, someone now dead that he had sexual history with, and he obviously looks like Critic, someone now dead that she had Word of God sexual history with.)
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Zod finds Turrell's first name hilarious. The Chick also found it unusual, and got caught by Mechakara for it.
    • The first trailer's anticipation of Schedule Slip becomes this with the "catastrophic technical difficulties" that plagued the producers computers after Part 1 was posted.
    • Snob finds himself fed chocolate by a sexy woman played by his real life wife Jillian; they had separated (but remain friends) by the time the special was uploaded.
    • Spoony's perception of Critic as nothing but a compilation of screeches and in-jokes becomes more depressing than funny when Part 7 tells us that Critic more or less thinks the same thing and hates himself for it.
    • Snob threatening Luke that they'll capture Critic and turn him into the next Tommy Wiseau. A promise that's scarier than it sounds, but at the time Critic was suicidally depressed but also a hero, and it spurred Luke on to fight. Fast forward to reboot, and there's a big portion of the Broken Base who find the "new" Critic just as fascinatingly bad as any Wiseau character, and Doug's commentary of The Room has him relate to the guy a lot.
    • And now as of Part 8, everyone joyfully gathering around and hugging Spoony, happy to see that he has returned to them alive and well is borderline Tear Jerker territory since he left the site shortly before the first To Boldly Flee trailer was released.
    • Practically all the commentaries, from Spoony's to Linkara's team to Rob's, make fun of Doug (while of course still giving him credit for some really good acting) for making some seriously airheaded mistakes with timing and green-screen and just basic social skills. They're ribbing him like friends do and it's really amusing. But then you get to Doug's where he says he was self harming (in the intentionally not eating or sleeping way) to keep from snapping at anyone and hating himself because he thought he gave his team too much stress, so the other commentaries become very awkward.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Considering Spoony's departure from Channel Awesome and the confirmation that his role won't be edited out, and unless there is a major reconciliation it will be the last time he appears in one of the site's Massive Multiplayer Crossover videos; the release of the teaser trailer coming the very next week had the title take on a whole new meaning for some.
      • The scene in the second trailer where Spoony is forcibly carried away by two of the shadowy men in black suits.
      • Obscurus Lupa being the one to question why the reviewers should trust the Critic when he says they have to save Spoony, considering her very public falling out with Noah in real life (although worth noting that the two did settle their feud eventually).
      • SadPanda stating that Spoony's "dead to him" in Part 3, and telling Dr Insano that "Some of us hoped that we'd never see you again" in Part 8.
      • Luke's comment about Channel Awesome being a family may be included in this context. Firstly because he disassociated himself from said family just a few months after To Boldly Flee's premiere, and secondly because a number of families have... controversial members... who are on poor terms with some members of the family but are still tight with others. It offers hope of a reconciliation, but family fights can be among the most bitter. (Spoony would later react to this scene by remarking on his Twitter that he's the drunken uncle no one invites to reunions anymore.)
      • Film Brain enters Spoony's mind and finds warped and exaggerated versions of some of his co-workers.
      • In the final part, Spoony doesn't appear with everyone else and it's concluded that he "didn't make it". He does show up again, but at that point it just makes the scene even more uncomfortable.
      • A shot in the finale shows Spoony sitting next to JO as she talks to her boyfriend Nash on the phone. Considering one of the events that lead to his meltdown... yeah.
    • Then there's...this, in wake of the revelation that real-life Noah suffers from bipolar II disorder:
    Critic: [To Spoony] I think you need a doctor.
    Critic: Have you lost your mind?
    • When Spoony falls on Critic, he then says "now I need a doctor". Doug's commentary for To Boldly Flee and The Review Must Go On both have him admitting he has brain problems.
    • Mechakara killing everyone in Minnesota who reminds him of Linkara is already disturbing, but as America has had a lot of shootings recently, it becomes even scarier.
    • Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, passed away the day before Part 2 (in which the reviewers head into space) was released. The last line of the part even contains the name "Neil" by sheer coincidence.
    • The storyline Linkara had started before the film's release but set after the film's events, is about his ego having grown over the years to make him evil. In this movie, everyone takes Mechakara being creepy and bad-tempered as Linkara acting normal.
    • Doug's commentary, where he spends a lot of it analyzing why the movie is such a perfect end for the Critic, is pretty awkward to listen to after “The Review Must Go On”.
    • JesuOtaku referring to Nash as "hun" is sweet until you remember that they broke up a year after To Boldly Flee was released.
      • She also says that she'll be home 'very soon'. She's since moved to California to live with her new boyfriend.
    • Critic's even-in-trailers desperation to actually do something right for once. The Bittersweet Ending and his happiness in the Plot Hole gives the reassurance that he did... but then it gets undermined by Douchey having to take over instead.
    • The Doug/Critic scene, the one scene that even the cast kept on raving over as the best in the movie, is pretty hard to watch after "The Review Must Go On". You Are Better Than You Think You Are speeches don't really have the same heartwarming effect when knowing the recipient will use it as an excuse to be cruel.
    • "The Review Must Go On" and beyond proved Ma-Ti right about Critic all along. He destroys Demo Reel, both in-universe and "out", doesn't care, and is never called out for it. And why this derailment? Because Word of God admitted Donnie = Critic was an attack on the fans demanding the character back.
    • Between the battle of "End of an Age and critics will soon be forgotten" vs "critics are a family and make art", Kyle is firmly on the latter side, giving one of the best most heartwarming speeches in the film. Fast forward a year or two, and he's spreading the uncomfortable truth that TGWTG is stagnating and everyone is bored.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Part 1 has the loud alarm beeping sounds of the hacked computers, and Part 3 mixes the Chick's screaming with the mechanical drill whirring its way into her skull.
  • Heartwarming In Hindsight: After the finale of To Boldly Flee, all the TGWTG crew's #thanksdoug hashtag tweets were sweet enough, but after hearing Doug's commentary where he even opens it saying he's positive he put everyone through overworking misery, it comes off as more of a reassurance that he shouldn't worry so much.
    • Much like his Suburban Knights commentary, Rob's commentary and the pride he shows in Doug (after a while of taking the piss out of him) becomes far nicer when you listen to Doug's audio and quickly figure out that his self-esteem is six feet under, so needs that affection desperately.
  • He Really Can Act: A consistent praise is that everyone's bringing their A game and giving some really good performances. Even Lindsay's getting love for her acting in Part 3, and she's usually the first person to admit that she falls into Dull Surprise normally.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The final trailer shows a brief clip of an alien ship fighting a car in space. Given that the NC Heavy Metal review was released over a month after filming on To Boldly Flee ended, this probably isn't deliberate, but who knows?
    • Toward the end of the series being uploaded, a flash was spotted on Jupiter, possibly from a meteor.
    • The reveal that James Rolfe was in the Gort costume is mocked for being very likely for the fans to have figured out during the eight days the special was supposed to run. They ended up getting twenty-two days to figure it out.
    • The fact that the Executor, an Expy of Darth Sidious, is strongly based on Senator Chris Dodd gets a lot funnier if you know that Lott Dodd, the Neimoidian senator from the Phantom menace, might have been named after him. Quite possibly as a Take That.
  • Ho Yay:
    • The Last Angry Geek decides the best way to make his presence known to Critic is to get into bed with him while he's still sleeping. Deconstructed in a cast commentary-talked about deleted scene where it just made Critic scared that he'd been raped again and Geek had to waste time by coaxing him out from behind his side of the bed.
    • In Part 1, the fact that Spoony's hand was on Critic's face a lot longer than Ma-Ti's previous action was lampshaded by Diamanda Hagan's absentee commentary.
    • Snob greets Spoony with a happy "Hey, sexy".
    • Luke telling Brad & Prick to "Ask Sage about his weiner."
    • Luke and Brad in general, really.
    • Paw gets Kirk/Spock flirty with Critic when he puts on his ears, and whines when Critic tells him he's undateable.
    • Luke and Film Brain's Belligerent Sexual Tension has evolved to Vitriolic Best Buds.
    • Didn't Turrell look kind of...smitten when he first laid eyes on General Zod? Also, they get into a bickering fight like a married couple, and leads to Zod pinning Turrell down in a compromising position.
      • Even more fitting in that the last Merry Zodmas episode had a long joke about Zod being suspiciously gay.
    • Critic tells Film Brain not to go "Brokeback" on him after a heartfelt scene.
    • Critic's knowing smirk when he sees Spoony's naked body doesn't totally mesh with the traumatized rape victim we saw when they were naked together.
    • The Executor/Christopher Clod touches Snob more than is necessary during their scenes together.
    • When they're all unconscious from lack of oxygen in Part 6, it's cruelly amusing that Critic is the one with his head in Spoony's lap.
    • After Sage saves Film Brain from Ma-Ti in Part 8, the two just hang onto each other for ages.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Despite his clear evil, later parts made audiences feel a surprising amount of sympathy for Zod. The lyrics of "Distraction" contributed a lot.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The Nostalgia Critic really does "die" and merge with the worm hole, discontinuing his own series.
    • As of The Review Must Go On, this trope is played straight.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The Executor/Christopher Clod. Fitting, since he's a Palpatine parody.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Ask Sage about his weiner.
    • Superego Spoony is shaping up to be this
  • Moe:
    • JesuOtaku, Playing Against Type as Ed.
    • Luke, with his curly mop of hair, big anime eyes and amazingly sweet speeches on how the site is a dysfunctional family.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Executor having a disgusting amount of fun electro-torturing Luke. He deserved his gory death at that point.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Christopher Clod is actually pretty unsettling, and he has a rather creepy scene with Cinema Snob in a theater. When he becomes the full-on Executor, despite creepy make-up, his character gets ALOT sillier as it starts parodying Emperor Palpatine's hamminess.
  • Rewatch Bonus: After watching the whole thing, and Doug's commentary where he says Critic's suicidal plan started forming at part two, Critic's self-destructive martyr moments in the Judge Dredd action sequence are a lot more noticeable.
  • Signature Scene: Critic getting consumed by the Plot Hole and his eyes glowing white. Oddly enough, the reboot's first opening theme had it as its longest clip.
  • Snark Bait: In-Universe: While To Boldly Flee's other cast commentaries (like those done by Spoony, Rob and Linkara) lightheartedly poke fun at the film while mostly talking about behind the scenes info, the commentary done by Brad Jones, Phelous and Obscurus Lupa treats the film as this, and they spend a good deal of their commentary riffing on it MST3K-style. Both Phelous and MikeJ (who had a cameo in Part 8) have poked fun at the film in later videos.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Doug's been trying to get people to understand that "movies can be appreciated by anyone no matter what flaws they have" and "the critics are a dysfunctional family" for about a year now.
    • The TGWTG crew have also responded to the complaints about the heavy-handed SOPA messages by asking if they'll seem unfunny and heavy-handed in a few years when such bills have been passed and their sites are taken down, because no one cared to act against them.
      • One could say that they've been proven right, considering that even over half a year after To Boldly Flee was released, people are still trying to get SOPA-esque bills passed into law(CISPA, anyone?). If Take Thats to SOPA, PIPA, similar bills, and the people who propose/support them are going to get dated, it's not happening anytime soon.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Film Brain really sucks at providing emotional support half the time. The other half...
  • The Untwist:
    • The death of Last Angry Geek, given the character he's taking the place of, can come off as this.
      • Somewhat subverted in that his death scene is based on Mace Windu's death, rather than Obi-Wan's.
    • In-universe, the Critic thinks the audience has already figured out James Rolfe's cameo. Hilariously, he actually was one of the people listed under the WMG entry on the matter.
      • Its possible to watch this movie and not know who Creator/James Rolfe is (or know, but simply not recognise him). Of course, they both seem to realize this, since at no point is this person named, so it could still be intentionally funny as The Unreveal.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Much of the movie portrays corporate oligarchies as evil. Guess what's become a major issue in politics today? Note that the movie was written during the height of the SOPA/PIPA controversy, when Channel Awesome actually sent several of their producers to Washington to talk to Congressional aides about their concerns.
  • The Woobie:
    • The Critic's having a hard time of it; missing Ma-Ti badly, having creepy dreams, feeling like everything he does has a negative impact on someone and desperately wanting to make things right, Turrell's insults reminding him of his mother, getting freaked out by Spoony being too close and confiding in the Chick that he thinks he doesn't belong and can never make a difference. It's very telling that the only times he ever looks happy in the movie are when he has a chance to leave his universe and become just another random person in reality, and when he's a dead spirit.
    • Spoony has been possessed by Ma-Ti, dragged himself from Arizona to the Critic's house in a daze, strapped to a brain scanner and suffered a seizure- all in Part 1. Not to mention the Harsher in Hindsight lines about his sanity and the bad guys wanting him to turn to the dark side. In Part 2, he's kidnapped and sealed in a box.
    • In Part 3, Todd's previously Played for Laughs-obsession with Lupa is now played straight, with him nervously asking her out, of course getting a (genuinely apologetic) rejection and sounding like he's about to cry when he tells her goodnight. He also gets bonus points for only getting assimilated because she asked for his help and not holding her to the one "cheers for saving my life" date she promised him.
    • The Nostalgia Chick has been assimilated by Mechakara. With a fucking ''drill''.
    • Luke is heartbroken when Snob is beamed onto the enemy ship. And even more so when he learns Snob has gone over to the Dark Side.
    • Film Brain loses his only two friends among the crew in Part 7: Critic, who leaves in the car-fighter on a one way trip into the Plot Hole and Luke, who undertakes a suicide mission (to kill the Executor and Darth Snob) which Luke makes even more dangerous by wanting to redeem Snob rather than simply kill him. Small wonder Luke found him crying in the Engine Room.

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