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  • As Told by Ginger has a particularly jarring one in the episode "Wicked Game": a deeply involved plot about a plan involving Ginger's best friends to break her and Darren up. In a series that normally follows things through, the sudden lack of consequence to this episode is especially jarring.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Aang is required to let go of deep emotional ties such as his feelings for Katara so he can master the Avatar state, but he never actually does it. He spends more than a whole season agonizing over his ability to master it because he doesn't feel comfortable getting rid of any deep emotional bonds. The series just has him abruptly and accidentally activate it by hitting a rock with his back. This makes absolutely no sense because unlocking the chakras is established as a mental process. The novelization completely glosses over it, with Aang's thoughts remaining on Katara even as he enters the Avatar state.
      • It's particularly notable in that the idea of romantic attachment as a barrier to entering the Avatar State is never touched upon before or after this. Multiple past Avatars are shown to have had spouses and/or children, and in the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, Korra's various romantic relationships have no effect on her ability to enter the Avatar State.
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    • The season one finale features Aang traveling to the spirit world meeting the potent character Koh the Face Stealer, who ominously says "We'll meet again," as Aang leaves. They never met again in the series, not even in the second season of The Legend of Korra which dealt with nothing but spirits. That said, this was touched upon in a series of flash games that take place between seasons 2 and 3, where they do meet again, and Koh is more than a little eager to pay Aang back for escaping the last time they met.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!: Due to being cancelled after only two seasons, the show had a few of these. Notably, the heavily foreshadowed showdown with Surtur and the Enchantress never took place, and Maria Hill's repeated rants about a Superhuman Registration Act never panned out.
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  • Avengers, Assemble! Season 2 ended with Captain America and Iron Man deciding that they needed to expand the team in order to face bigger threats, and the last shot showed them looking at images of a bunch of potential new recruits like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, and Moon Knight. The Season 3 premier then opened up with none of these characters as part of the Avengers roster, with The Falcon offhandedly mentioning that the expansion plan had been cancelled.
  • Due to being Screwed by the Network, Batman: The Brave and the Bold had to abort the Shards of Equinox arc, an arc that would have focused on finding the various personality shards of Equinox that were scattered through the universe. The Grand Finale episode even made a Lampshade Hanging over the cancellation of the show by being about getting the show cancelled.
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  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Three arcs fell victim to this; the lingering threat of King Viktor, the redemption journey of Charmcaster (whose true name is Hope), and the possession of Elena Validus by the Hive nano chips. This was because then-series producer Dwanye McDuffie passing away during production. The people placed in charge of the following series outright stated they had no interest in continuing them. While that first plot got some satisfying closure through Dr. Viktor becoming himself again (with Zs'Skayr being shown removing Xarion's soul and allowing Viktor to regain control), the others didn't. Elena cameoed as herself toward the end of the series with no explanation as to how she was freed of the nano chips' influence, while Charmcaster never went by her true name again and saw no escape from the Heel–Face Revolving Door (as the answer for what side she'd finally land on was to happen in a proposed Spin-Off starring Ben's cousin Gwen, who is Charmcaster's main rival).
  • Birdboy's debut episode in Birdman ended with Birdman promising to help him find his father, and the search was occasionally brought up in Birdboy's later appearances. However, nothing ever came of it.
  • BoJack Horseman:
    • Despite the pictures of BoJack having sex with Sarah Lynn being given some build up, they were mostly used for a few comedic moments before being resolved very simply without much thought given to them. How much do the paparazzi demand to prevent the photos from leaking? $150. Each.
    • Played for comedy when Todd gets $8 million at the end of season 3. He starts wondering what interesting adventures that could lead to, but in the very next scene, he intentionally gives it all away, making him poor again.
  • In the Season 2 finale of Code Lyoko, the diary of Franz Hopper mentions that Lyoko and XANA were originally created to stop a certain "Project Carthage", a military program designed to "disrupt enemy communications". This led to the expectation that the next season would deal with the Project somewhat, while delving into Lyoko's history some more. Not so. Season 3 took off in a different direction, and other than the fanon assumption that "The Men in Black" seen throughout the show are from this organization, Project Carthage is never, ever mentioned again.
  • Danny Phantom had this in spades, as no one expected that the show would be ending with three seasons. The major ones are:
    • Anything involving Vlad. Those being his plans with Fright Knight, the Crown of Fire, his Elaborate Underground Base, and his acquirement of Axion Labs.
    • The return of Danny's evil older self, which was heavily hinted at at the end of his sole appearance, with one of the head writers outright stating that they did have more stories with him planned.
    • The show's penultimate episode has Valerie discover that her employer Vlad and Danny's "cousin" Danielle are half-ghost. The episode ends with her saying that she plans to do something with this revelation. The series finale makes no mention of this plotline whatsoever, with Valerie herself only getting a short non-speaking background cameo.
    • 10 years later, Butch Hartman confirmed that had a fourth season occurred, Danielle would have been Happily Adopted by the Fentons, becoming Danny and Jazz's little sister.
  • Frisky Dingo intentionally played with this trope on at least two occasions.
    • In one episode, it was revealed that Xander had a long lost twin brother named Nearl, who planned to become a villain and seek vengeance on him. Nearl was then promptly shot and killed by Ronnie, who said things were already complicated enough without throwing some "Evil Twin bullshit" into the mix.
    • One of the last episodes of the second season introduced Xander's illegitimate teenage daughter. She initially seemed like she was being set up to join the cast as a major character in the next season, but the episode abruptly ended with Xander paying her an outrageous sum of money to leave and never contact him again.
  • Futurama: The pilot episode introduced the career chip, which supposedly assigned one a permanent job and was ostensibly mandated by the law. Although Smitty and Leela both say that those who reject their career chips are labelled "job deserters" and "fired out of a cannon into the sun", nobody is ever shown facing those legal consequences. The career chip appears twice in the show and only once in the comics, and the time gap between the its two appearances in the main series is quite large.
  • In an early Gargoyles episode, Demona is left thinking that Elisa is dead, which Goliath says is probably for the best for now. Nothing really came of it before she saw Elisa alive again in the season one finale, probably because the writers realized how hard it would be to keep Elisa's existence a secret from Demona while she was still living her normal life.
  • In Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable has a romantic arc with Zita Flores, a girl who works at a movie theater who he quickly became infatuated with and who shares his love of gaming (albeit of different genres). She only appears in two season 2 episodes before reappearing in the Grand Finale over 50 episodes later, where she's been randomly paired off with Ron's friend Felix. It's never mentioned at what point they stopped dating.
  • In the third season of King of the Hill, an ongoing plot thread dealt with Hank and Peggy attempting to have another baby but failing due to Hank's narrow urethra. What made this more aggravating for the Hills was that Hank's father Cotton had somehow managed to impregnate his wife Didi, with Cotton being 75 and Didi the same age as Hank. This thread followed only into the first episode of the following season and was then dropped.
  • Two cases in Max Steel; a flashback shows that Jefferson Smith's predecessor as CEO of N-Tek (and, by extension, the man in charge of the secret espionage division) was a man named Marco Nathanson, who bore an uncanny resemblance to season one Big Bad John Dread. According to the original producer, this was actually meant as a Red Herring, though later said by others to be exactly what it looked like, but neither interpretation is followed up on. Even more blatant, the episode "Truth be Told" features real-life athlete Jeremy McGrath discovering that the protagonist and his friends are ex-secret-agents-turned-vigilantes, and he suggests bringing in one or two friends he has on the sports circuit who could help the heroes save the day on occasion. This is the final scene of the episode, except the episode is also the Series Finale. Along with half the premise of the show, this was never picked up on in the subsequent made-for-TV movies.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Season 4 had a recurring subplot about The Mane Six rebuilding The Castle of the Two Sisters, Princess Celestia and Luna's old home, implying it may be used as a new base of sorts for their future adventures down the line. But after Twilight gets her own castle in the season finale, this plot is immediately forgotten and the old castle is only brought up one more time at the end of season 5.
    • In the Season 5 premiere, Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer both mention a Mage Meadowbrook who wielded eight magic items, which Twilight realizes the "Staff of Sameness" was not one of. This plot thread is never touched on again; when Meadowbrook appears much later, rather than being a unicorn who wields enchanted items, she's now an earth pony more akin to a Louisianan Witch Doctor. Said magical items aren't even referenced.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle had a storyline about Boris counterfeiting cereal box tops to procure all the prizes from cereal promotions and ruin the world economy. This did not sit well with General Mills, the show's sponsor (and owner, who likely thought it was inappropriate case of Biting-the-Hand Humor), and "The Great Box Top Caper" was stopped after a few episodes.
  • In the Story Arc of Season 20 of South Park, nostalgia-powered sentient fruit called Member Berries are threatening a conspiracy that Randy Marsh eventually finds out about and teams up with Presidential nominee Mr. Garrison to stop. Unfortunately, the conclusion to this arc relied on the presumption that Hillary Clinton would win the current election. When Donald Trump, whom Garrison was serving as a proxy for, won instead, the plot is abruptly stopped by Garrison and Randy brainwashed by the Member Berries. The Member Berries then get to stay in the White House and nothing is done about them in the end.
  • Many episodes of The Simpsons begin with the family embarking upon one task or adventure only for their priorities to abruptly switch to something else with no further mention made of the thing they began the episode doing. This is often lampshaded. In “Simpsons Safari,” for instance, the plot begins with Homer instigating a bag boy strike at the grocery store, an arc which is then promptly abandoned as the family travels to Africa. Ages later, as the family hurtles down a river in a makeshift boat heading straight for Victoria Falls, Homer randomly muses “So, you think they settled that bag boy strike yet?”
  • Spawn: A Season 1 episode introduced a minor subplot about Angela, a warrior from Heaven who voiced her intention to hunt down and kill Spawn. Due to the notorious legal battle between Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman over ownership of the character, Angela never appeared on the show again, necessitating the creation of a similar character named Jade.
  • Superman: The Animated Series:
    • The two-parter "Little Girl Lost" ended with Clark planning to introduce Jimmy to Kara, hinting at the start of a possible romance as Jimmy had been at Supergirl's side when she investigated Intergang. However, Jimmy ended up crushing on another girl in his next major role and he and Supergirl never interacted again.
    • "Legacy" was originally intended as the introduction to a story arc about Superman regaining the world's trust after being used as a pawn by Darkseid. Instead, the two-part episode became the Series Finale, and a variation of the theme was used in the Cadmus arc of Justice League.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): The episode "Raphael Meets His Match" introduced a character named Mona Lisa and ended with her moving to the sewers and the implication she would go on more adventures with the Turtles. She never appeared again.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)
    • One episode ended with the people of the USA becoming aware of the turtles' existence after the president came face to face with them and mistook them for aliens. This was never mentioned again. More glaringly, an ongoing plot in the series' sixth season, featuring Corrupt Corporate Executive Darius Dun, was aborted when the series was re-retooled and the turtles were sent back into the present.
    • A lot of the story arcs went nowhere due to Executive Meddling. Not only was the sixth season's story (Fast Forward) supposed to continue so that it could wrap up the hanging threads there, but the shoehorned seventh season's story arc (Back to the Sewer) was also supposed to wrap up ALL loose plot threads in an arc called "The Shredder Wars"... before the series was canceled. Granted, the series was then finished off with a mega-crossover love letter to fans TV movie, but that never wrapped up anything other than the final fate of a couple of series regulars.
  • Total Drama:
    • Action has Justin as the main antagonist, DJ's illegal alliance with Chef Hatchet, and Harold's one-sided friendship and attraction with Heather (which actually started as early as the post-Island special). By the season's halfway point, all three of these subplots are abandoned entirely, with the first example as a result of the studio realizing too late how ineffective Justin was in this role and leading to Courtney being his hastily-chosen replacement in order to avoid rewrites. Alejandro, a character that debuted in the following season, is essentially what they wanted with Justin.
    • Action features a friendship forming between Heather and Leshawna after being at each other's throats for the entirety of the first season, only for this to disintegrate in World Tour.
    • Gwen's friendships with both Bridgette & Leshawna that were formed in Island more or less evaporated by the end of Action.
    • Courtney and Gwen's newfound friendship, Blaineley's participation in the game, and the increased focus on several of the early losers from Island were abandoned mid-season in World Tour.
    • Owen and Izzy's romantic subplot came to an abrupt halt about halfway into World Tour due to the same order of Executive Meddling that broke up Gwen/Trent and Duncan/Courtney.
    • Revenge of the Island includes the short-lived love triangle between Zoey, Mike, and Anne Maria and the rivalry between Brick and Jo.
    • The first half All-Stars is one long pastiche of aborted arcs, from Lindsay's short-lived participation to Jo and Lightning's continued rivalry, the Gwen and Duncan romance, Duncan's personal crisis and his conflict with Mike/Mal, Cameron's efforts to save Mike from Mal, Courtney and Gwen's friendship yet again, the Scott and Courtney romance, Sierra competing without Cody, Jo and Heather's attempted alliance with Gwen, Alejandro flirting with Gwen, etc.
    • The second half of the season Pahkitew Island has Jasmine's friendship with Samey (due to the latter being eliminated) and Samey trying to be her own person (dropped because she tricks Amy into being eliminated in her place leaving her to pretend to be her for two episodes before being actually eliminated).
    • In the spin-off The Ridonculous Race, several teams that fell victims to the Ice Dancers' cheating, namely Crimson, Ennui, Emma and Kitty, wished that the Big Bad duo would get their karma in a bad way. However, when they do get eliminated in the finale, they get no kind of punishment (or any kind of proper sendoff for that matter) besides being forced to watch their rivals compete against each other.
  • Every set of producers for the Hasbro-owned Transformers had to deal with never knowing if their incarnation of the franchise be renewed or not, and every series got wrapped up in a hurry when the plug got pulled with little notice. Plot lines would also change suddenly, due to the desire of higher-ups to push new toys and promotions. (This can potentially apply to every Merchandise-Driven series.)
    • In the third season of The Transformers, Blitzwing began to have doubts about the Decepticon cause, and a deleted scene even has him considering joining the Autobots. The writers wanted him to become an Autobot in a later episode; however, the editors forced them to instead give this arc to the new toy Octane. (A close viewing of one episode featuring the character suggests that this change happened at the very last minute - Octane references events that happened to Blitzwing, and demonstrates a number of the latter's quirks like getting stuck while transforming.)
    • Transformers Animated had a bevy of plot threads Left Hanging, included Meltdown making a return, Waspinator coming up with a plan while putting himself together, where Sari's protoform came from, and both Lockdown and Swindle escaping. It should be noted that the cancellation that resulted in a number of these plots threads being unresolved was a mix of Hasbro's Executive Meddling and being Screwed by the Network.note 
    • This goes back to G1, where "The Rebirth" three-parter introduces a ton of new characters and situations... and suddenly has to wrap up the entire show, as during its production it was cut from a fourth season to a five-parter to a three-parter. The various comic series have faced the same problem, though with the Dreamwave Comics series, it had more to do with the death of the company itself. There's one exception to the rule: Transformers Prime. Despite all Hasbro's talk of the constant reboots ending in favor of a "new, aligned continuity" producers plotted a three-season series with a beginning, middle, and end. When that end came a bit sooner than intended with season three's episode count getting cut down, it apparently didn't hamper them much. As such, we get the only western TF property to finish all it started and have a truly satisfying ending instead of a rushed wrap-up.
    • Beast Wars mostly avoided this and, even after the third season turned out to be the last, managed to wrap things up pretty well, with the only major plotline to be truncated being Tarantulas and his feud with the Vok. It did, however, have a weird case of this where the beginning and resolution of an arc are there, but the middle part explaining how they’re connected got left out; season two has Dinobot back up his memories aboard the Axalon’s computer shortly before he dies and in the finale, his evil clone gains those memories after his connection to Rampage is severed. There was supposed to be an episode connecting those events where Rattrap would try to upload the back-up memories into the clone, but it’s script was rejected and the episode went unproduced, leaving the clone’s fate in the finale a bit inexplicable.
  • X-Men:
    • "The Unstoppable Juggernaut" ends with Colossus declining an offer to join the team and saying that he intends to travel the country to find Illyana, his missing little sister. The next time Colossus shows up, he's still in New York, and Illyana is safely in Russia with their parents. There's no further mention of her supposed disappearance, and nothing to indicate she's ever even been to America.
    • In the second episode of the "Beyond Good and Evil" arc, Apocalypse is able to keep Magneto in line by promising to resurrect his dead wife. This is never brought up again, and a later episode of the same storyline instead offers a completely different explanation for why Magneto chose to work for Apocalypse.
    • The same episode has the Time Traveler Shard say that Archangel is destined to become a member of the X-Men. Despite this, Archangel never actually joins the team in any of the subsequent episodes. This is because "Beyond Good and Evil" was initially going to be the show's Grand Finale, and was planned to end with the team's line-up shifting. When the show was unexpectedly picked up for one more season, the scene showing Archangel and the other new heroes joining the X-Men was scrapped.


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