Follow TV Tropes

Please don't list this on a work's page as a trope.
Examples can go on the work's YMMV tab.

Following

Contested Sequel

Go To

"Grease your pitchforks and douse your torches in fanboy tears, fellow villagers, because depending on who you're speaking to in the Thief community, 2004's Thief: Deadly Shadows is alternately a brilliant and innovative sequel... or a botched abortion of Kermit Gosnellian proportions."

Sometimes there's a sequel that attempts to address complaints fans had with the original, or build upon the original's perceived strengths. Sometimes, in its attempt to do so, though, it may lose track of what made the original so great for many. If that happens, there may be a huge split in the fanbase, with some fans saying that the sequel is an excellent improvement, with others saying that the sequel's improvements aren't worth the other changes made. This can result in large flame wars when someone who prefers the original argues with those who consider the sequel to be superior.

Advertisement:

Sometimes, the company will try to fix things with the next installment in the series, only to make more friends and more enemies. This may lead to an Unpleasable Fanbase.

See also First Installment Wins, and Critical Backlash.

Notes:

Advertisement:

Examples:

Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Bubblegum Crash! is considered one for the original Bubblegum Crisis series, due to being a compressed version of the plot of the remaining five episodes.
  • Code Geass R2 is definitely base-breaking. Opinions vary if you considered the sequel as the best with cooler Knightmare frames or a heaping load of trainwreck particularly on the last episodes. And the ending was even more divisive.
  • Both sides of Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School are polarizing:
    • Actionized Sequel Future Arc is praised for its Darker and Edgier tone and the innovative killing game format, but criticized for the wasted new characters, fake deaths and, specially, for its disappointing villains.
    • Prequel Despair Arc is praised for the returning characters and the Big Bad's villainy, but criticized for pacing, the Retcons to pre-established lore, and the Flanderization of most of the Danganronpa 2 cast.
    • The concluding Hope Arc is even more divisive; you'll see opinions ranging from "deserved happiness" to "cheap pandering" and everything in between.
  • If it's a series of Digimon that's not Digimon Adventure, it qualifies. Although there are plenty who say Digimon Tamers should fall under Even Better Sequel (disregarding Adventure's second season.)
  • Dragon Ball:
  • Studio Bones' original productions also tend to have these. Case in point, Eureka Seven AO (and by extension, everything released after the original series) and Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor. The former went on the chopping block for poor planning and mishandling of a lot of promising ideas, and betraying a lot of values of the original series, and actually went as far as to have a revised final episode to diminish backlash. The latter is considered to be on the wrong end of a case of Tough Act to Follow and a drop in quality.
  • Jewelpet Kira Deco! suffers from this, largely because most complainers belong to the Periphery Demographic and they are disappointed with how much more childish this fourth season is compared to previous seasons, which often went out of their way to appeal to the otaku crowd. Meanwhile, younger viewers generally prefer this one over the season immediately before it.
  • Although not technically a sequel, the fanbase is spilt between calling Kill la Kill a great way of revisiting its older brother's style and themes while some claim it to be a lame rehash that depended way too much on its predecessor's hype.
  • Macross, being a long-running franchise, inevitably has some of this:
    • Macross 7 took the idea of a song being the key to saving the world and ran as far and as fast with it as possible. Instead of the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross's portrayal of a sad, desperate struggle for humanity's survival, the result is a rock star fighting space vampires with The Power of Rock. While the original SDF had a lot of silly moments, it wasn't to the extent of Macross 7.
    • While not nearly as over the top as its predecessor mentioned above, there are a good number of people who consider Macross Frontier to be fairly controversial in its own right, especially in regards to the two movies and the Love Triangle (and its resolution... or lack there of, depending on the continuity).
    • Macross Delta further split the fanbase between wanting to see the original mecha fights interspersed with a love triangle drama and newer fans who deeply appreciates the idea of an Idol group with mecha as its backup dancers.
  • The second season of Minami-ke is loathed by a significant percentage of the show's fanbase, caused mostly by the combination of low-budget animation and an increase in fanservice to silly levels. Luckily, the third season met with a lot better reception.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS:
    • It was a Contested Sequel even before it aired due to the Time Skip aging the nine-year-old main characters to adulthood; some were relieved that people might finally stop judging them for watching lolicon bait, others saw it as an insult to the original. Later accusations came from the copious amounts of screentime shafting resulting from the franchise's large cast, the heavy reliance on the Expanded Universe to explain many minor events, and the return to the slow pace of season one rather than a quick-moving plot like A's had.
    • It appears that the people behind Nanoha noticed how splintered the fandom became as they're making money out of both factions. On one hand, they've released a lot of StrikerS side materials and created The Movie to make the first season more StrikerS-like. On the other hand, they started a whole new video game series which is an Alternate Continuity centered around A's where the heroines had yet to grow up and the phased out characters are still prominent (and playable).
    • Force is a good example as well. While there were fans who liked it for maintaining the Sequel Escalation of StrikerS themes (increased cynicism and Anti-Magic), a lot of other fans dislike the new characters, the slow pace, the overall Darker and Edgier feeling, the somewhat questionable writing, the ridiculously overpowered villains, and Signum suffering The Worf Effect.
  • As a victim of the Star Trek Movie Curse, the Gundam meta-series is rife with hotly contested sequel series. Following the dark yet beloved Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam in the UC timeline, the lighter Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ was either liked for alleviating the brutal darkness of its predecessor or hated for causing Mood Whiplash and feeling borderline saccharine at times. The UC entry Mobile Suit Victory Gundam was also hotly contested for being even more brutal and grimdark than Zeta. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny and the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the respective sequel entries in the CE and AD timeline, were liked for having more optimistic tones or criticized for controversial changes to characters and narratives. It didn't help that both Destiny and 00's second season have been accused of ripping off Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. It also didn't help that Destiny kept flip-flopping on who was the protagonist and who was the antagonist, which naturally divided fans of each of the main characters against each other.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Every saga after the original series is disputed. In order:
  • Pretty Cure, not surprisingly for such an ongoing franchise. The second season, Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart, was this as some thought there was a drop in quality. Then there was Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star, which was either a boring re-tread of the original or an improvement on it. Then came Yes! Pretty Cure 5, which removed the Wonder Twin Powers and became a standard Sentai team of five magical girls. This change was either awful or it didn't matter because the result was still good. 5 had its own sequel season which was contested with the original. Then we get an aversion with Fresh Pretty Cure!, which is generally regarded as good, and then HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, which is regarded as the best one out of all them. Which made Heartcatch a Tough Act to Follow, because when that series ended every other series after it became an example of this. The only post-Heartcatch season that doesn't suffer from contesting is Go! Princess Pretty Cure, and that's only because it's seen to be better than anything after Heartcatch.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion. There are those who consider it an Even Better Sequel that takes the themes of the series in a new and even more interesting direction with an absolutely fascinating conclusion... and there are those who see it as a massive middle finger to everything that made the show good and absolutely hate the direction it takes at the end. Then there's those who think the movie as a whole is good but that the ending really drags it down, and those who like the ending but think the rest of it is overly padded... Basically the movie's divisive status is roughly on par with End of Evangelion. The fact that it ended in a Sequel Hook of sorts (that leaves the movie virtually needing a follow-up) that still hasn't been resolved isn't helping matters...
  • Psycho-Pass Season 2 is deeply contested as it was not written by Gen Urobuchi. Viewers were annoyed with the lack of social commentary, the underutilization of the old characters (Ginoza, Yayoi etc.), Kougami’s absence, the random deaths of the first half, and the characterization of Mika. Others enjoy the show for having more action, a more dangerous antagonist than Makishima and the Character Development of Akane.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • The Rebuild of Evangelion movies get this from fans of the original series. Some fans and critics praised the films (especially the first two) for making a more coherent and condensed plot, as well as avoiding the original series' penchant for gratuitous Stock Footage, while others complained about the Big Budget Beef-Up leading to more action at the cost of character development. Many fans of Asuka were particularly annoyed at the second film for putting her in a coma for the big finale.
    • The third movie is so polarizing that it caused another split among fans of the previous Rebuild films. Some praise the film for being the darkest and most daring entry in the franchise (it's the first entry not to be based off any existing arc of the original anime), while others criticized the massive Continuity Lock-Out, the mean-spirited nature of the movie, and the fact that most of the cast ended up being Demoted To Extras.
  • As the sequel to the popular manga Negima! Magister Negi Magi, UQ Holder! has had a lot to live up to. Opinions on the series tend to vary on how much of a sequel it should actually be, since Negima ended very abruptly and did not resolve many of the major plotlines in a satisfying fashion. While UQ Holder! has addressed some of them, some people feel it should've been a brand new series, a more direct sequel, or is fine the way it is. Moreover, fans have felt at times the series relies far too much on its predecessor and refuses to stand on its own merits and thus allows Negima to overshadow its setting and characters.

    Comic Books 
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics, very much so. There are those who like it and those who are yelling that the franchise is ruined because of them.
  • Meanwhile, the other Whedon series, Firefly has it with the Boom! Studios comics. The Dark Horse comics and Titan books are fairly well liked, but the Boom! comics have become contested due to the Boom! writers not keeping up with previous material and making a lot of continuity mistakes with them.
  • The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Frank Miller's sequel to the seminal Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Many dislike it for being an ugly self-parody of the original work. Some like it for exactly that reason.
  • Final Crisis is one to Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis, as the last part of the "Crisis Trilogy". To some, it is a masterful deconstruction of storytelling in superhero comics that is a poetic acknowledgement of all of the DC Universe, using high-concept ideas to tell a story about good winning over evil. To others, it is a pretentious, unfocused mess that lacks any cohesion as a story, and the embodiment of Continuity Lockout in a way that actually makes the story indecipherable.
  • Runaways fans were not very keen on accepting their beloved characters as C-List Fodder in Avengers Arena. For that matter, neither are Avengers Academy fans. Or Sentinel fans. Or fans of any of the pre-existing characters that ended up in Arena... There are some that liked that the series averted Death Is Cheap and liked the plot, but there were also just as many that would rather not see their favorite teen heroes die in a The Hunger Games/Battle Royale Follow the Leader book. The counter argument usually is that none of those characters were particularly popular to begin with (both Avengers Academy and Runaways received positive reviews but were cancelled due to poor sales), and that the fact that the characters were so obscure (thus meaning they were unlikely to get a quick resurrection) made the story much more tense than the usual superhero fights.
  • Watchmen:
    • The prequels quickly fell into this, even before they were released. One of the main complaints is that they were being released at all, in the face of the known feelings of its creator, Alan Moore. However, some have pointed out that he himself has been using other authors' creations for his own stories, such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Lost Girls, while DC is using Moore's creations for their own purpose. The only difference is that Moore primarily uses characters from authors who are long dead, so it's hard to see Moore being on the high ground in this particular regard.
    • Moore's side is even harder to get behind when you find out that almost all of the major characters in Watchmen were based on superheroes from Charlton Comics that DC prevented him from using. So he just ripped them off by creating new versions of them. However, some think that this made these characters more memorable than their original counterparts, but if the original idea had been used Watchmen might have been a Contested Sequel itself.
    • Fan regard for works set after the original graphic novel are even more complicated. While the HBO series has won over many (with some even agreeing with critics that it's one of the best TV shows of the decade), there are some who still favor the also-acclaimed comic sequel. Then there are those that favor both and try to fit them in the same continuity. Then there are others who agree with Moore and completely ignore anything without his name on it.

    Fanfiction 
  • In The Stalking Zuko Series, Not Stalking Firelord Zuko, the third and final installment, fell into this trope. Its popularity is comparable to the other installments and it's liked for the same reasons (worldbuilding, Character Development and the Zutara romance). On the other hand, it has drawn criticism for the pacing (particularly how long it takes Zuko and Katara to get together), as well as how some characters, like Mainote  and Jetnote , are portrayed.

    Film — Animated 
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven 2. While most fans of the first movie consider the second to be inferior because they say that it mostly lacks everything good from the original, others say that it's a superior followup to the original because it's not as depressing and it has a good story with catchy songs.
  • Fans of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West argue it is better than the first movie because it's not as relentlessly dark and heavy focus on the secondary characters offers a more memorable supporting cast (including John Cleese playing a villain). Fans of the original argue that making the sequel more light-hearted completely took away what made the first movie so great in the first place. That the sequel lacked Don Bluth's involvement and feels radically different in art style and tone doesn't help..
  • Despicable Me 2. Some fans loved it as much as the original, while others were disappointed that it barely gave Gru and/or his adopted kids, Margo, Edith and Agnes anything new to learn about them (e.g. how they ended up in the orphanage before Gru adopted them).
  • Disney:
    • No one actively dislikes it, but there's some frictions about The Rescuers Down Under. Some think it is a Surprisingly Improved Sequel with a more original story and better animation, which replaces the original's "dull" and "cheesy" moments with action and Fantasia-style spectacle, Disney Renaissance oblige. On the other hand, a lot of fans of the first movie think the more lush, computer-assisted style of animation doesn't fit the original's endearing 'sketchy' style, and many dislike the introduction of Furry Confusion to the franchise (with Marahute the Eagle, who is realistically drawn even though all the animals in the first movie, birds included, were talking animals).
    • Is Fantasia 2000 a worthy successor in modern style to the original Fantasia, or a commercialized trainwreck brought down by cheesy celebrity appearances? It is an ongoing debate among Disney fans.
    • For every Disney Toon Studios Direct to Video sequel, there is a huge discussion on whether it's good, decent, mediocre or horrible (though few argue that any is better than the original).
      • Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World did something that none of the others dared to try: permanently break up the main couple. As a result, many Pocahontas fans hate it. However, given how divisive that film is, many who don't like the original think that the sequel is an improvement, noting that it is more historically accurate and gives Pocahontas herself a stronger character arc.
      • Bambi II is one of the most divisive Disney sequels, largely because while it is one of the most lavishly made of Disney Toon Studios' efforts, it is also an Interquel for one of Disney's first and most iconic films. Fans of the first film complain the Interquel lacks the same artistic direction and nuance, with over focus on dialogue and cliche family plots, while fans of the second film prefer the warmer story and broader Character Development over the deliberate vagueness of the first film for natural perspective.
      • A Goofy Movie's Direct to Video sequel An Extremely Goofy Movie. Because Roxanne was removed, Max and Goofy got Aesop Amnesia, and there was an Extreme Sports Plot, many people didn't like the movie at all. However, because the animation was really good, Bobby became a Breakout Character, Goofy got a Love Interest and PJ, The Woobie, earned his happy ending (which even some people who had less context were happy to see because it showed a sympathetic fat character getting a girlfriend based on his personality), other people thought it was amazing even if they hated the first one. The audience's reaction spans "awesome but the first one sucked", "even better than the first one", "as good as the first one", "not as good as the first one but still awesome", "not as good as the first one in most ways but better in some", "okay", "not very good but with some redeeming qualities" and "completely horrible".
      • Fans are still divided between those that think The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride is decent in its own right and those that remain unhappy that Disney didn’t use the book series spin-off from the original film as its basis.
      • Disney's Winnie the Pooh sequels are often considered the most worthy contenders to their original film, namely The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Even some of the Disneytoon Studios' sequels have gained a cult following with fans of the franchise. However many still prefer the first film due to more closely adapting the original novels and their laid back, comedic but still sentimental tone, while some appreciate the sequels for taking on more ambitious, Darker and Edgier original story lines that allow for deeper Character Development (particularly cases such as Pooh's Grand Adventure and The Tigger Movie). The character focus is also a point of contention, since while the original film focuses more on the same primary cast as the novels, the later films often give limelight to some of the more minor characters such as Roo while placing mainstays such as Owl and Christopher Robin Out of Focus.
    • The sequel to Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet, became considerably divisive not very long after it was released. While a good number of folks like the sequel just fine and find it a worthy follow-up to the first movie, some others find it inferior for varying reasons. The most popular points of contention seem to be the premise itself note , its sense of humor note , and how Vanellope's character arc was handled note . There are also some people, even Disney fans, who see the whole movie just as a marketing ploy from Disney to push their various brands. Some even suggest that the reason this film isn't panned as much as The Emoji Movie even though they have similar premises is due to the reputation Sony Pictures Animation had at the time and the large brand loyalty people have towards Disney.
    • Frozen II. While the movie was well-received overall, there are some people who consider it a decent watch with some good moments, but ultimately paling to the original. Many criticized how the structure of the plot seemed messy while many characters took a backseat to the two sisters (and Olaf). Others consider it to be an Even Better Sequel, due to the stronger character arcs, animation, music and working to fix most problems that people had about the original.
  • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is quite contested; some consider it an absolute disaster, while others call it the best of the series.
  • The Equestria Girls series, namely the four films that precede the latter specials and shorts, are all over the place with this. The second installment, Rainbow Rocks, is often considered one of the best entries in the series, thanks to its character development for Sunset Shimmer and interesting villains in the Sirens. The third, Friendship Games, has the most varied reactions; Some people view it as the best of the bunch, due to Sunset's continuing Character Development and for formally introducing the human world's Twilight Sparkle. Others view it as the worst of the bunch due to the main antagonist, Principal Cinch, coming off as completely underwhelming in comparison to the Dazzlings, and for wasting the potential of the Shadowbolts, who were built up to be the counterparts of the main cast, but ultimately the film proper gave them little focus, which irked the fans. Then there's yet another batch of people who say it's not as good as Rainbow Rocks but better than the first movie. Meanwhile, Legend of Everfree is often an afterthought, with no strong opinions surrounding it.
  • Finding Dory is an odd case among Pixar movies. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is in the mid-90s, putting it nearly on par with Finding Nemo and Pixar's other acclaimed classics, but the reviews themselves frequently note that the movie isn't as good as its predecessor. If one looks at Metacritic, its score is a respectable 77, whereas the first film has a score of 90. In any case, it's considered the best-reviewed Pixar sequel that isn't a follow-up to Toy Story, and still seen as a worthy sequel and a good movie in its own right. And there are many who feel it's an Even Better Sequel for the deeper story, faster pace, superior humor, and Hank.
  • Some have criticized Incredibles 2 for having a plot similar to the first movie but with Helen's and Bob's jobs reversed, and saw the villain as an inferior replacement to the well-received Syndrome. The Immediate Sequel status of this film didn't help either. On the other hand, a significant number of fans see the film as even better, as the movie significantly develops Helen's job life (in contrast to Bob's job life in the first movie, which was mostly covered in a montage) and Bob's home life was given significant focus as well.
  • While both Shrek 2 and its predecessor are widely loved, there are those who prefer the second movie for its better pacing, humor and character development, and there are those who prefer the first for its "grittier" feel, more streamlined plot and greater impact on pop and Internet culture.
  • Toy Story 4 was already met with skepticism that it would stack up to the standards set up by the first three movies (especially the third movie, which had been regarded as the perfect Grand Finale to the series). Following the release of 4, reception was mostly positive among fans, critics, and audiences, who regarded the movie as a suitable and quality cap-off to the series. Despite this, some still took issue with the movie and found it a weaker grand finale than 3, with the biggest points of contention being two main things: Bonnie (unwittingly or not) forgetting her promise to Andy at the end of 3 when Woody ultimately has become The Unfavorite among her toys a year or two later and the ending where Woody parts ways with long-time best friend Buzz and the other toys and joins his long-lost Love Interest Bo Peep and her friends in their mission to help toys in need wherever the carnival goes; aspects fans who still swear by the ending of 3 feel cheapens or outright ruins that movie's heartwarming but bittersweet conclusion.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 is either a good movie, but not as good as the first two, or an Even Better Sequel. That said, you'll be hard-pressed to find any fans that outright disliked it.
  • TMNT from 2007, which is a sequel to the preceding live-action films or at least the first one according to Word Of God, gets a largely middle of the road response. Some finding it to be a dull entry with uninspired original villains that steal the spotlight from the Foot Clan, and others seeing it as a return to form to the tone of the original after the two goofier live-action sequels with some great action and praise in particular for the sub-plot concerning the rivalry between Leonardo and Raphael that comes to a head in this film.
  • The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water, depending on whom you ask, it's either better than The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie, worse than The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, or good, but not as good as The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Most agree it's an improvement over seasons 6 through 8 of the show, though. However, it takes place before the events of the first movie.
  • The second and third The Swan Princess films. On the one hand, they're direct-to-video and feature almost none of the original voice cast (save for Odette and Puffin). But on the other, the plots are more original and interesting than many of the Disney DTV sequels. The second devotes a lot of screen time to the entertaining Queen Uberta, while the third features a very charismatic villain and has a surprisingly dark climax. Plus the animation is still pretty consistent across all three films. The latter two CGI sequels on the other hand...

    Literature 
  • Larry Niven had originally intended Ringworld to be a one-off novel, but many fans wrote in to point out scientific or practical errors such as the fact that the Ringworld is unstable and the question of why its builders didn't build lots of small rings (a la Iain M. Banks's Culture novels) instead, which would be much easier to defend. Niven decided to write The Ringworld Engineers to address these questions. Whether this addition improved the Ringworld or merely diluted its premise is a matter of debate among fans.
  • Detractors of Roger Zelazny's second series of The Chronicles of Amber novels point out that it swaps out the hero of the first series, a Magnificent Bastard defined by his determination and ability to pull off The Plan, for his son, a Marty Stu defined by his ability to develop New Powers as the Plot Demands; and that the first series always felt like a fully planned-out puzzle that the reader just couldn't see until all the pieces were in place, while the second series felt like Zelazny was making it up as he went along. Fans of the second series love that it expanded on the mythology of the setting and showed the perspective of the villains of the first series. (Fans of the Amber Role-Playing Game either love or hate the second series for introducing bizarre Chaos-based powers and concepts that players aren't really supposed to have but at least one player in every group will take.)
  • A few reviewers felt this way about The Heroes of Olympus. While the book is generally thought of as good, many believe that Rick Riordan should definitely end Percy Jackson and the Olympians with this series, and not a third Great Prophecy. Thankfully, Rick has stated that he's going to be careful not to go overboard with the sequels.
  • The Dune series has this in two regards:
    • For many, the books stopped being good when they became more about overturning the archetypes established in the first book, culminating in the introspective God-Emperor of Dune. Others feel this was the logical extension of the themes in the original and ultimately made the universe reach its intended conclusion.
    • Many fans detest the sequels and prequels by Frank Herbert's son Brian Herbert and co-writer Kevin J Anderson for bucking the complicated sociological and philosophical themes of the original novels in favor of light action stories, while their fans see them as more exciting and easily understood.
  • Some people think Ender's Shadow is a brilliant switch of viewpoint from Ender's Game. Others think that its main character is a Canon Sue, that it changes scenes to directly contradict the same scene in the original book and that it weakens Ender's victory from the original.
  • Peter and the Starcatchers: Some people like "Bridge to Neverland" for being Lighter and Softer, and journeying to modern times. Other fans dislike it for its Trilogy Creep, leaving some loose ends unresolved, being less quick-paced than previous books, and leaving behind the original supporting cast without even featuring their direct descendants. Adding to the controversy is how it retcons the original novel by having Captain Hook still alive long after the Victorian era. While this twist is appreciated by those who don't want to see Hook eaten by Mr. Grin, it is less pleasing to those who like how effective a build-up to the events of the original book The Sword of Mercy is.
  • Redwall went on for a very long time, and almost every fan can agree that, at some point, the books started a sharp decline in quality. Getting them to agree exactly which book marks the point of decline is impossible, and every fan has at least one or two books during the Audience-Alienating Era that they still enjoy.
  • Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire are divided with the fourth and fifth books, particularly adding new POV characters who merely described the setting of the series and the Arc Fatigue on Daenarys’ mission to reclaim the Iron Throne and the incoming Zombie Apocalypse. Others seemed to be fine with the new characters and pointed out that the series doesn’t have a Myth Arc.
  • V. C. Andrews: Depending on who you ask, some sequels are worth reading, some are mediocre, and some should be tossed into an open fire.
    • The sequels to Flowers in the Attic get this treatment. Petals on the Wind is either better or not as good as the first book, while If There Be Thorns (wherein Cathy's sons Jory and Bart take over as the narrators of the book) and Seeds of Yesterday (Cathy is the narrator again, but not a whole lot really happens) are seen as inferior. Garden of Shadows is generally considered an improvement, despite being completed by Andrew's ghostwriter after her death. The ghostwriter-penned Diary series however is almost universally loathed by fans.
    • For The Casteel Series, Heaven and Dark Angel are considered some of Andrews' best work (if not her best work period) by fans, but everything after her death varies from person to person. Fallen Hearts is mostly seen as decent, but Gates of Paradise and Web of Dreams aren't too well liked (mostly for repeating plot points from the previous books, and for the former having an annoying narrator).
  • Twilight's fourth book (and the final one in the main series) Breaking Dawn is divisive amongst fans. The Amazon page gives it an average 3-star rating — because most of the reviews are either 5 stars or 1 star. In one camp, people thought it was a satisfying conclusion to the series; all the main characters survive and live Happily Ever After, the Love Triangle is resolved with no hurt feelings, all Bella's dreams come true and readers finally get to see what it's like to become a vampire in the Twilight universe, which had been hyped since the first book. Some readers also enjoyed the unexpected plot twists, such as Bella getting pregnant with a dhampir, especially as it helps expand the lore. In the other camp, readers criticised Breaking Dawn for having very slow pacing in a book that's already a Doorstopper, the lack of a climactic battle, certain plot threads being left dangling while others are tied up just a little too neatly, Renesmee hijacking the plot, Bella becoming (in their view) an Invincible Hero and the twists relying on gaping plot holes and/or retcons. Team Jacob were particularly unhappy with the outcome given Bella chooses Edward, as were those that shipped Jacob and Leah.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Nirvana in Fire 2 for Nirvana in Fire. The one thing all viewers agree on is it's not as good as the original. Opinion is split between whether it's a good but underwhelming sequel or a complete disaster.
  • The Battlestar Galactica franchise is notorious for this.
    • When comparing the Sci Fi Channel remake of Battlestar Galactica to its original counterpart, which is often considered a cheesy yet charming 70's Sci-Fi series. Many have complained bitterly that the creators of the new series scraped a rather good concept, and tried for a rather over the top Darker and Edgier approach.
    • And for fans of the Reboot, there's Caprica for a Contested Prequel. Many fans of the Reboot thought the series was overly melodramatic and slow as molasses with little of actual significance happening until close to the end, while Caprica fans praise the show's character-heavy storytelling as being superior and more meaningful than what the Reboot provided.
    • The short-lived second prequel series Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome saw almost precisely opposite responses to Caprica, with virtually the same groups of fans respectively condemning it as dumbed-down spectacle for lowbrow fanboys, or celebrating the return to space battles.
  • This almost always happens whenever Doctor Who tries to reinvent its villains to squeeze new life out of their future appearances, most famously with the New Dalek Paradigm, who didn't even get to fully display their purposes in the series because fans ridiculed their designs to death.
  • All the Star Trek series after Star Trek: The Next Generation have some form of this.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The odd thing about Deep Space Nine was that its Contested Sequel status occurred after Growing the Beard - prior to that nearly everyone agreed it was simply too slow and literally too "stuck" in its stationary premise. Once the Dominion War arc occurred, many proclaimed that it was the best of the Trek series - however, others felt that it was a complete betrayal of Gene Roddenberry's vision of humanity's goals for the future while still others claimed that it didn't just copy but outright plagiarized Babylon 5, with fans of that show still to this day providing "proof" that the writers directly plagiarized from a treatment J. Micheal Strazynski had shown Paramount.
    • Star Trek: Voyager is regarded by many fans as being a bland continuation of The Next Generation in all but name, all the while over-exaggerating the technobabble that people had come to associate with Trek. Others think it was an enjoyable series that, while flawed, still delivered on decent action plots and interesting concepts. Many fans also site Executive Meddling as a reason for the show losing momentum and going all over the place later into its run.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise was done primarily because fans had complained about the stationary nature of Deep Space 9 and the constant technobabble of Voyager. Setting it in an earlier time period allowed the scary nature of space travel to be more constant and the technology wasn't always the savior. There were fans who loved it from the start, fans who hated it from the start, and a third group who felt it had a hard time at first, but found its voice just before it was canceled (with a further subdivision based on whether the beard was grown in season 3 or 4).
    • Star Trek: Discovery ran into this as soon as details about the series were announced, ranging from the decision to set it ten years prior to the Original Series, to the Abrams-esque redesigns of the Starfleet uniforms, the Klingons, the ships and other elements, and the decision to make the show much more serialized as well as Darker and Edgier, as opposed to the Lighter and Softer episodic format that had predominated (and grown tired) on both Voyager and Enterprise. If anything, the severity and vehemence of the Broken Base has only intensified after the first season began airing, with a large hatedom passionately dedicated to savaging everything about Discovery for not immediately living up to their ideas about "what a Trek series should be".
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Stargate Atlantis. Many people thought it was just copying the Deep Space Nine model and you'll find frequent comparisons to those two series. On the other hand, others thought it was a decent series that did well to separate itself from the original with a new cast of characters and setting as well as changes in plot formulas that nonetheless stayed true to the spirit of the original.
    • Stargate Universe. In addition to the complaints about simply ripping off Voyager (after ripping off Deep Space Nine through Atlantis), the other major argument mirrors the Battlestar Galactica remake: was it an honest attempt to breathe new life into a franchise that had been going on for a dozen or so years on largely the same formula uninterrupted, or was it a botched attempt at making it Darker and Edgier that went straight into the series' Audience-Alienating Era and thus became the Franchise Killer, all in an attempt to mine the success of Battlestar Galactica?
  • Kamen Rider Decade is either a celebration of what makes Kamen Rider great with an interesting Myth Arc story, or what could've been a great Reunion Show ruined by the use of Suspiciously Similar Substitutes and the few characters who did return being weakened to make Decade look stronger. One thing that fans will agree on is that the show should've had more than 2 episodes per arc - one arc in particular that needed more time was the "World of Faiz" arc, which had a very interesting idea, "Orphnochs can't go to school"...but said arc forgot about that idea due to it also being the arc that introduced the Secondary Rider, DiEndnote . And then there's the "World of Den-O" arc, which could've served as a Post-Script Season for Den-O, as it was one of two arcs where Decade visited the actual world of said show (as opposed to an A.R. version)note , but it instead became a Poorly-Disguised Pilot for the Chou Den-O movies.
  • Torchwood ran for two normal series and then moved to the highly-acclaimed Children of Earth five-part epic. This was then followed by Miracle Day, which was equally ambitious and an attempt to co-produce between America and Britain, but unfortunately the most polarizing installment of the series for dragging on longer than necessary, as well as the one that stopped more series from coming out, at least on TV.

    Music — Classical 
  • Hector Berlioz's Lélio, ou Le retour à la vie is one to his Symphonie fantastique. Whereas Symphonie fantastique, despite its program, was an instrumental work, Lélio is made up mostly of choral movements originally written independently linked together with spoken narration.

    Music — Popular 
  • Elton John's 2006 sequel to his 1975 autobiographical, classic Concept Album Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy, titled The Captain And The Kid, did not do as well critically or commercially as the first one, though it did get some favorable reviews.
  • Everything Metallica have done since, depending on your point of view, either Master Of Puppets, ... And Justice For All or the Black Album.
  • Similarly, every Pearl Jam has released since 2002 has earned some review saying it's "the best since Vitalogy", given that everything after said third album splits the base uniformly.
  • The album Liebe Ist Für Alle Da is this for Rammstein. Fans are split over whether it's their best album since Mutter, or it's just as disappointing as Rosenrot.
  • Every work done by Mägo de Oz after Gaia: Epílogo.
  • N.W.A's final album, Niggaz4life is this. Depending on who you ask, it is either an awesome, fun gangsta rap classic with far better production value than Straight Outta Compton and proof that the group did just fine without Ice Cube, or a huge step down from Straight Outta Compton that is hurt by Ice Cube's absence, and a Flanderization of the band that tries way too hard to be shocking for its own good.
  • Machine Head became a victim of this trope with their 2018 album, Catharsis. This is due to its heavy Nu Metal sound compared to the band's previous four releases note  which had their usual Groove Metal and Thrash Metal combination. The fan reaction to the preview tracks grew worse and worse with each track (particularly "Kaleidoscope", which was absolutely savaged by the fanbase), and the critical reception wasn't much kinder. The general mood before it was even released was along the lines of "how on earth did Robb Flynn think this was a good idea", which was further intensified when Flynn attacked one of the more scathing reviews. Many believe that Flynn and the rest of the band did not learn their mistakes from releasing The Burning Red and Supercharger.
  • Suicide Silence thought it was a good idea to experiment with the most controversial metal genre in existence for their 2017 self-titled album. Unfortunately, sitting around without Mitch Lucker recording clean vocals did nothing for the band and Suicide Silence received polarizing reviews from critics, and ended up performing much worse than the previous record, You Can't Stop Me. It's kind of funny since there's another band that was successfully able to switch to nu metal compared to Suicide Silence.
  • All of Eminem's albums after The Marshall Mathers LP are debated bitterly by critics, ranging from a mild but notable debate over whether The Eminem Show is too uncontroversial and commercial or his great masterwork, to a much nastier debate over the value of his post-overdose material.
    • Relapse has a debate over whether it's nonsensical and unfunny sensationalism where Eminem raps garbage over unfashionable beats in racist accents about depressing murder fantasies, or a Cult Classic Concept Album which uses a Slasher Movie allegory to explore the misery of his drug addiction, employs his career-best beat-riding, and is a highlight of his discography (or even, for some, his only truly great album - Tyler, the Creator has suggested as much).
    • Recovery also creates very strong reactions. It served as Eminem's Career Resurrection, being perceived at the time as a return to his glory days that cemented his place in the rap pantheon, and it's still common to see people citing it as their favourite Eminem album, praising Eminem's new mature and empathetic persona, his fusion of "white-trash" genres like Southern Rock and Country Music with hip-hop, and and claiming its loving, emotional content got them through hard times. It's also common to see people considering it his worst album, a sickly one-eighty on his older and more interesting heel persona in which his Glurgey Self-Empowerment Anthem lyrical content is undermined by grossout humour, groanworthy puns and radio-bait pop production. Opinions are also split on whether his new hyper-aggressive, drum-solo-like rhythmic style is awesome and dramatic, or robotic and grating. A small but loud group hate the Recovery style so much that they contrived a conspiracy theory that the Eminem of Recovery onward is a body double to replace the original, who died of his drug overdose or was offed at some point after The Re-Up.
    • Probably the most polarising album is The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which, depending on who you ask, is a personal, deep, and continuity-referencing rock album displaying his stylistic versatility and improved personality, exploring wacky, retro and innovative pop and hip-hop sounds and demonstrating the greatest technical rapping of his career, or a pandering, shallow, overtechnical and inconsistent Good Is Boring pop album by a relic dressing like a teenager in his forties who is out-of-step with modern hip-hop and moral sensibilities, still saying disgusting homophobic and misogynistic slurs even though his shock value disappeared long ago. It's not uncommon to find people who think MMLP2 is up there with, or better than, his Persona Trilogy, and it's also not uncommon to find people considering it completely unlistenable. Some say it is better than the first LP — others view it as a stain on Eminem's masterpiece.
    • Due to Eminem's... polarising personality, it's not uncommon for both the case for worship and prosecution to be made in the same review. "Eminem's best album since The Eminem Show, and the rapping is unbelievable, but his personality and aesthetic is extremely annoying and the rapping is so good that it becomes horrible" has been a common trope to see in reviews of his work since Relapse, especially Revival, Kamikaze and Music To Be Murdered By.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons has this in spades. All previous editions built on the same basic structure created back in the 1970s, but 4th Edition rebuilt the game from the ground up. Half the fanbase loves it for its tightly defined rule set, tactical depth, strong support for the DM, ease of play and giving every class, even former Tier-Induced Scrappies like the Monk and Bard a fair shot at being as awesome as Wizards. The other half hates it for its reliance on Gameplay and Story Segregation, its heavy focus on battle mat combat, the shoehorning of all classes into the same mechanical structure, and a lot of gratuitous changes to D&D lore. Other editions saw similar arguments, but none were quite so contentious as that one.
  • The developers of Exalted Third Edition are pretty unashamed in their hatred of many decisions made in second edition from a design and storytelling perspective. During the promotion for their Kickstarter, White Wolf's Community Manager asked a /tg/ user to please not play 2E and just wait for their new one.
  • BattleTech's been feeling this one ever since they introduced the Jihad storyline and the Dark Age, as well as the click-based figure sets. Does the click system streamline the often slow process of play of the original tabletop game while providing fully colored, highly detailed models that represent the units they're supposed to, or does it deviate too far from the Humongous Mecha-dominated setting of the original Succession Wars and introduce a confusing set of inconsistent and easily exploited rules while also removing the unit customization that was central to a player's preparation? While the events of the Jihad and Dark Age are accepted as canon, the acceptance of the click-base game as a sequel to the original wargame is something fans have disagreed on heatedly for some time. A few fans have been shown to Take a Third Option and use the more visually appealing Mechwarrior Dark Age models to play classic Battletech.

    Theatre 
  • Love Never Dies, the sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. Is it a musically schizoid mess, or just a more modern show? Was the London production better than the Australian one? Does it really give the characters more depth, or just erase all the development they gained by the end of the first installment? Is it canon? Were the changes justified? Any opinion will start a flame war in the phan community, with very few outright defending it but many admitting it has some strengths, while the others hold it as a travesty that should be forgotten about and hated.
  • Everyone agrees that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, for not being written by the series' creator, "feels like fanfic" and should be at most be given a Broad Strokes treatment. But does it work as a sequel for its wonderful emotional beats and bringing back all their old nostalgia, or is it a worthless Cliché Storm rife with convoluted plots and questionable characterization?

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All is quite contested. On the plus side, the addition of the Magatama makes the investigation segments more interesting, while the trials are constrained to two days instead of three. The negatives are the unevenness of the cases, ranging from "Farewell, My Turnabout" - generally accepted as one of the best of the Ace Attorney franchise - to "Turnabout Big Top" - featuring several of the most hated one shot characters in the series, as well as almost no relevance to the surrounding cases.
    • And then came Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Some people loved the improved graphics and animation, the plot's focus on the weaknesses of the legal system and international politics, and the decreased emphasis on an increasingly complex continuity. Other people felt Apollo is an unworthy replacement for Phoenix, Klavier is too nice compared to the prior games' prosecutors of questionable morality and the middle two cases are goofy and poorly written with unmemorable villains.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice is also rather divisive, even compared to the other games in the Apollo Trilogy.
      • Those who praise the game consider it one of the most entertaining games in the series and vast improvement from the previous mainline entry Dual Destinies. Common points of praise include the vastly more consistently written and intelligent mysteries which don't resort to constant hand-holding or constant uses of Contrived Coincidence, the much grander and epic storyline, the interesting and likable new characters for the cases themselves and giving Apollo a proper epic case to handle. Of them, "The Magic Turnabout" is especially beloved by fans due to finally giving Trucy proper Character Development and overall being one of the best cases in the series in terms of construction.
      • The critics for the game, on the other hand, are far harsher to the story (with the pointed exception of The Magic Turnabout), and consider the game one of the worst in the series. Common complaints include the Kingdom of Khura'in being a gimmicky and implausible setting, Nahyuta being a poorly written and incredibly unlikable rival with an implausible character arc, Maya being an Advertised Extra and the story suffering from immense pacing and focus issues due in large part to splitting the story across two separate countries with different characters. The final case espcially attracts complaints due to the heavily convoluted nature of it that rather clumsily attempts to make Apollo the main protagonist, and for the rather underwhelming nature of Ga'ran as a villain.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony ended up being praised for its improved gameplay mechanics and bonus content, but criticized for the last chapter's plot twist (and to a lesser extent, for killing off the first female protagonist in the main series in the first chapter), as well as for a general inability to break away from or subvert the traditions set by the first two games.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • Its sequel series, The New Batman Adventures. Airing on a new station, the creators and cast returned, for the most part, and the art got revamped for the sake of smoother animation and to match the style used for Superman: The Animated Series. But controversy was afoot; all the characters got a redesign, either minor or major. Batman, Robin and Batgirl looked fairly similar, and the new grisly Scarecrow was loved by everyone, but Joker, Two-Face, Croc, Baby Doll, Poison Ivy and Riddler weren't received nearly as well. The tone of the series is said to have suffered as well, with the focus widening to include Robin and Batgirl in most episodes. However, the series still produced some very memorable episodes, such as "Over the Edge", "Old Wounds", and "Mad Love".
    • Later, Batman Beyond. On the one hand, it had a distinctive aesthetic, an excellent soundtrack, and a neat "What If" style look at the future of Gotham. On the other hand, it had a real tightrope to walk between leaning too hard on Bruce's past and classic villains and introducing new characters and conflicts that had a bad habit of feeling a little... high school. Of course, it was doomed to be hated by some segment of the fandom from the moment they made the decision to put someone besides Bruce Wayne in the Batsuit.
  • Beast Wars is nigh-universally considered one of the best, if not the best, Transformers series ever made. Its sequel, Beast Machines... Not so much. Even then, BM has some fans who claim that, while it's not as good as BW, it's still a good series.
  • Every follow-up to Ben 10 falls under this, with no two fans really agreeing on the quality of each successor series.
    • Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien made the franchise Darker and Edgier, making the characters far more mature and competent and putting heavy emphasis on serialization. Detractors of the two shows believe such changes didn't feel like a natural progression for these characters, and that they came across as entirely different people; especially Kevin, a major villain who underwent a Heel–Face Turn in Alien Force's first episode. The two series also contradicted many things from the original series, with some getting explained away, and others not, which only served to break the fanbase even more.
    • Ben 10: Omniverse was created in order to feel more like the original series in tone, while also working to fix any continuity issues that Alien Force/Ultimate Alien had. While there were fans who enjoyed this iteration, there are others who felt that Omniverse had gone too overboard in the Denser and Wackier department. The 2016 reboot, which puts its focus on comedy rather than action/adventure and is also far more episodic than every other installment, receives the same criticism.
  • Code Lyoko: Evolution is this to Code Lyoko for a multitude of reasons, with the most blatant one being that the real world outside of Lyoko is now live-action, replacing the 2D traditional animation of the original. The divide isn't helped by the showrunners of the first series not only having little to do with the sequel, but also outright disowning it due to the new creative team completely ignoring any input they gave.
  • The Legend of Korra, the sequel series to the much-beloved Avatar: The Last Airbender. The shows differ greatly in character, setting, structure, tone, and art style, which is enough to ruffle some feathers. With a second season that even those who love the show dislike, Korra is considered to have come into its own during its third season. But thanks to some perceived missteps throughout its run, especially during its first two seasons, the fanbase was divided mainly into those who consider it a worthy-but-flawed successor to the first series and those that consider it to have too many failures to be considered a good follow-up. And in the years since its conclusion, there's now a sizable group who believe Korra to be the superior cartoon, with even the divisive first two seasons seen as fantastic in their own right.
  • The second of the My Little Pony TV Specials, Escape from Catrina, gets this. It lacks the dark atmosphere of the previous special, none of the ponies from the previous special appear, Megan got a Girliness Upgrade combined with her becoming the leader, the animation style isn't as realistic, and it has A Very Special Episode feel. It's still considered far above My Little Pony 'n Friends though.
  • Recess - Taking the Fifth Grade is either a decent movie or mediocre compared to Recess: School's Out. General consensus is that the film is pretty good, but not as good as Recess: School's Out, and that it's a good film by Disney's Direct to Video standards.
  • Steven Universe: Future, the mini series epilogue to Steven Universe. Some fans loved the season, liking that some of the loose ends got tied up, enjoying the new concepts and characters, and viewing Steven's story arc dealing with depression and PTSD as both a great deconstruction of the character and a realistic and well-done depiction of such issues. Meanwhile, others thought that the season was full of wasted potential, with some questions still not getting answered, that Steven's arc was underwhelming at best and insulting to real-life depression and PTSD at worst, and that Future's finale was less satisfying than the (similarly polarizing) finale of the original series, believing the show should have ended with the movie.
  • Total Drama:
    • World Tour, big time. Some fans love it for the addition of new contestants Alejandro as an awesome Big Bad and Sierra as a hilarious Ascended Fangirl, the focus and development given to Ensemble Darkhorses who had been left out of Action (like Noah, Cody, Ezekiel, and Tyler), the catchy and entertaining musical numbers, and the Character Development of former Big Bad Heather into a mild Anti-Hero. Other fans despise the season for its mistreatment of longtime fan favourites (like Izzy, Bridgette, Leshawna, and DJ), poor handling of the returning favourites (Noah and Tyler were eliminated halfway, Cody became an Elimination Houdini, and Ezekiel got turned into a monster), Alejandro being an Invincible Villain and Sierra being an annoying Stalker with a Crush, and the continuation of the Courtney/Duncan/Gwen Love Triangle, a plot which many found tiring even during the season before (it doesn't help that the reason as to why it was continued this season was a result of Executive Meddling).
    • Not to the same extent as World Tour, but Revenge of the Island was, of course, getting this long before it aired due to replacing the entire cast of contestants with newcomers. Some say that the change gave new life to a series that was clearly running out of things to do with its old cast and thus adore the newcomers and their quirks, while others say that throwing away the old characters like that is what ruined the show and thus see the newcomers as poor man's replacements. Not helping was the shortening of the season's length from 26 to 13 episodes, which doubtlessly annoyed many fans.
    • Pahkitew Island either did many things right or was yet more proof of the series losing its touch. Those who believe in the former say the third batch of new contestants saved the show after the much-hated All-Stars season, saw the change of setting and increased focus on wilderness survival as a nice change of pace, and enjoyed the overarching mystery around the island. Those who hate the season despise the new cast as one-dimensional and gimmicky, feel its story arcs to have been poorly handled, and believe its villains to have been among the worst in the show's history.
  • Transformers: Robots In Disguise contrasts the more serious tone that Transformers: Prime into a more light tone. Humor has been implemented, making it somewhat compared to the spin-off series, Transformers: Rescue Bots. The story revolves around capturing prisoners that are considered Decepticons which spawned the problem with fans that most of these are Monster of the Week, although the show itself manages to obtain a Big Bad. The fans liked the idea of Bumblebee becoming the central character rather than Optimus Prime since it's established that Bumblebee himself is a character loved by all the kids.

    Other 
  • A strange case pops up with TRON. Disney wasn't all that interested in making a sequel, but Steve Lisberger got permission to shop around the idea of a video game. This became Tron 2.0, a First-Person Shooter that, despite getting released in the same summer as Final Fantasy X and Knights of the Old Republic, was still a modest success. The game spawned a comic book miniseries by Slave Labor Graphics. Between the two, it helped convince Disney there was enough interest in a sequel. Cue TRON: Legacy, the Betrayal comic, the ARG, and TRON: Uprising that put 2.0 into Canon Discontinuity. Some fans prefer 2.0 to Legacy, citing 2.0's attempt to translate modern computer systems, and feeling the look and tone are closer to the original. Some prefer Legacy's Darker and Edgier take. Others will just shrug and say both could be canon by making a few tweaks to both timelines. (It helps that Flynn vanishes in both, and that no one knows Tron's fate in 2.0's continuity)


Alternative Title(s): Contested Prequel

Top