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Continuity Porn

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"Now, what part of this horrible, cheesy, low-budget television special would you expect to be official canon in the Star Wars Universe? The Answer? All of it. Life Day? Canonical. Itchy? Lumpy? Canonical. Harvey Korman in drag is an official part of the Star Wars Universe! Continuity Kills."

Primarily used in comic book fandom, Continuity Porn is a sometimes derogatory, sometimes affectionate, name for a story overly focused on continuity, to the detriment of the story.

There are two main types of continuity porn, although they often overlap:

  • The first is a story that exists primarily or only to resolve or explain continuity problems. The problem is that this often happens without having a strong story of its own — sort of a canonical Fan Wank or Fix Fic. However, anything that promises to "fix all those niggling little problems we've accumulated over the years" is likely to not do that to the satisfaction of anyone, but nearly always produces something that just manages to introduce even more problems. It often involves a thick soup of Retcon. This tends to be the most common type, especially for series with long histories and many writers/contributors behind it.
  • The other type is where Continuity Nods became so thick and integral to the plot that the story is incomprehensible without detailed knowledge of the continuity. Nobody likes stories where there's no continuity and writers just ignore whatever they feel like, unless it's firmly established that Status Quo Is God or Negative Continuity is in place. On the other hand, only the most hardcore fans appreciate a reference to something that happened 14 years ago in Weird Anthologies #224½ (the issue that only came out in Guatemala with a run of 42 copies) to explain a key plot point. It's basically just narrowly targeted nostalgia, probably for the benefit of the creators as much as for the readers.

Drawing the line between good and bad continuity is pretty subjective for either type, though, since fans have different expectations of exactly how much continuity is a good thing for the series. One fan's shameless continuity porn is another's "taking advantage of the rich history" or "cleverly and entertainingly fixing a long-standing problem".

This usually only happens with long-running series, because they're the only ones with enough continuity to support it. Usually the introduction of Continuity Porn is a good sign that the inmates have started Running the Asylum. Continuity Porn is also a form of Pandering to the Base.

Despite being primarily associated with comics, the term seems to have originated in Star Trek fandom. It reached a wider audience when Enterprise executive producer Brannon Braga, who read the Trek forums once in a while during his tenure, mentioned in a Cinescape interview that he found it an apt description.

Compare and contrast Continuity Cavalcade, where instead of the work being driven by continuity concerns, there is simply a single scene loaded with many Continuity Nods.

Compare with Continuity Creep, Continuity Snarl, Armed with Canon.

Example subpages:

Other examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Secret Gadget Museum, set in a museum displaying all the previous gadgets from the series, practically crams cameos of all gadgets from the manga and previous movies into as many scenes as possible, even one-shot tools from the comics. A short scene in the Robot Exhibition Floor already contain cameos from the Woodcutter's Pond, Knock-Down Hitmen, Mood-Changing Orchestra, Saio Horse, Umatake Bamboo, Instant Art-Critic, a Robot Girl that resembles Roboko from the manga, Come-Here-Cat, Smoke Genie robot, Robotic Reporter Microphone, the "Guidance Angel", the Robot Dog "best friend", each and every single one of them being from the manga or previous movies. Later on the gang visits the Zero-Gravity Display Hall, which has the Hypnotizing Bank, Medusa Heads, Wake-up Call Glove, Clockwork Key, Artificial Prehistoric Furs, Living Art Crayon, Sword of Denkomaru, Sound Reflector, Air Cannon, Wind Fan, Shrinking Tunnel, Mobile Snail House, Missing Person Stick, Spying Vines Plank, Belly Gas Injector, Cupid's Arrow, Doctor's Medical Box, Zero Gravity Gloves, and entire galleries of gadgets that will make long-time readers of the manga jump off their seat exclaiming, "Hey, I know that gadget!".
  • Macross Frontier. Notably, the continuity porn is only really noticeable to people who have been following the Macross franchise from the very beginning; it isn't so much the plot, as it is nearly every single scene having a reference to a different Macross series.
  • One Piece author Eiichiro Oda is big on this. The Straw Hat Pirate Brook is a perfect example, but far from the only one. It begins in a self-contained arc in volume 12, where the crew meets a whale who wants to reunite with the pirate crew that presumably abandoned it, goes completely unmentioned for another 30-40 volumes, then comes back when we learn that Brook is the sole survivor of that very pirate crew.
    • A special manga chapter detailing the backstory of the tenth movie's Big Bad also has panels featuring from all over the One Piece continuity, up to and including a guy who only showed up for one chapter in volume 3 getting his body stuck in a treasure chest.
    • Silvers Rayleigh, who first appeared in a flashback (volume 3, chapter 19), and then showed up in the actual storyline 487 chapters later (vol. 52, chapter 506).
    • Lately, we've got Jimbei. Not even the One Piece Wiki remembered that one of the nicest, most helpful characters in the series is also the one who released Arlong into the East Blue after he told Jimbei he could either kill him or let him go, and Jimbei chose the latter. Luckily, Oda did, and the manga had a flashback regarding this.
    • Another thing Oda is very good at is seeding in innocuous things that eventually become very important later. Best seen with Ace and Luffy's Blood Brothers ceremony, it turns out the black spot on the edge of the panel is the shadow of the previously unmentioned Sabo's cup.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: Denham's Zaku from the first episode of the original Mobile Suit Gundam showing up in a museum is a fairly good example. All the stuff from previous series' that show up in ∀ Gundam might count, but it's extremely oblique how, or even if, that show fits into the timeline (s).
  • The fourth season of Bakugan is this. Characters who haven't been seen since the first season have reappeared, New Vestoria and Gundelia have been revisited with the Gundelia Invaders cast playing a large role, Spectra appears to answer a Gondor Calls for Aid, and the Big Bad Mag Mel turns out to be the previous season's Big Bad Emperor Barodius turned that way due to being punished by the Bakugan version of God, Code Eve. And the season isn't even half way over yet! However, this is a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, as it's actually helped the story more than hurt it.
  • Since Natsu keeps a memento of every event in Fairy Tail, his house is this. Things he collects range from understandable (the flyers from the jobs he's gone on) to a little odd (the maid outfit he tricked Lucy into wearing on her first job) to just plain weird (rubble, which he has specifically labeled as being from the time he went berserk during Erza's trial)
  • Nearly every chapter in Yotsuba&! has some nod to a previous chapter, sometimes several. Every time you see the YotsuBox there are about 4 or 5 toys in it that Yotsuba was seen using a few chapters back. Remember the chapter where they assembled a bookshelf? Remember that little testshelf Koiwai and Yotsuba build? Yotsuba uses it to reach the stove when making pancakes.
  • Pokémon: The Series is prone to this:
    • AJ, Giselle, Duplica, the samurai and Jeanette and a Hiker showed up in both versions (Japan and international) the second opening, all of them only had appeared in one episode.
    • It's normal for some characters to only become recurring 30, 40 or even 50 episodes after their introduction. Examples include Casey, Hunter J, Nando, Ursula, Sunglasses Krokorok, Sanpei, the evil Malamar and Miette.
    • Minor characters from the many Battle Tournaments on the Best Wishes series show up in the Unova League. One of them even makes it to the finals.
    • The post-league episodes of Best Wishes were prone to this trope, bringing Looker, Clair and Charizard back, making an homage to Ash's Butterfree and having an ending that showed lots of Pokemon and characters from previous series.
      • Ironically, an episode focusing on Jirachi and a movie featuring Mewtwo happened around the time, and neither of them were their original incarnations, causing continuity problems.
    • Rather than exclusively focusing on the new region as previous seasons had done, the season of the anime for Sword & Shield instead has Ash and his new companion visiting every region currently in main series canon. This has led to a lot of characters from previous seasons making appearances.
    • Pokémon Zensho thrives on little references to the original games.
  • Boys Be...: The twelfth episode features a lot of flashbacks to past events throughout the series as the 20th century counts down to its close.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Doctor Who Magazine comic strip:
    • "Hunters of the Burning Stone". It's the fiftieth anniversary year, so naturally tying up a Story Arc about psychic metal that's been running since 2011 also involves a Call-Back to an Eighth Doctor strip (the final pre-New Series storyline), the return of Ian and Barbara, the revelation that the titular Hunters are the Tribe of Gum(!!) and a journey into the Doctor's memory.
    • The Seventh Doctor story "Emperor of the Daleks" is a much worse example that doesn't have the excuse of celebrating an anniversary. It's entirely dedicated to trying to explain what happened to Davros between "Revelation of the Daleks" and "Remembrance of the Daleks", and one of the main plot points used for that purpose revolves around a "loose end" from a 1970s Dalek story that hardly anybody actually thought needed tying up.
    • The Sixth Doctor story "The World Shapers", by none other than Grant Morrison, is written solely to explain the Cyberplanner's mysterious reference in "The Invasion" to the Doctor and Jamie having defeated the Cybermen on "Planet 14". It also incorporates an origin story for the Cybermen, the first attempted in any medium, that ties them to the second ever alien villain race the Doctor encountered, the Voord from "The Keys of Marinus". Finally, it has Jamie reappear. Unfortunately, precisely what Morrison did with all these elements was not popular with the fan audience, leading to it being declared Fan Discontinuity... until Steven Moffat decided to imply that it was canon with a throwaway dialogue line in "The Doctor Falls" (more details below in the live-action TV section).

    Fan Works 
  • The epic Star Wars/Star Trek crossover The Unity Saga, which features tons of characters from both franchises, including dipping heavily into the Star Wars Expanded Universe. It's highly advisable to have Memory Alpha and Wookieepedia on standby while reading it.
  • The Dragon Ball Z fanfiction Honor Trip is a great example. Author American Vigor seems to have taken it upon himself to explain away the main show's major inconsistencies regarding time travel, the otherworld and many other continuity errors it seemed to have. Whether this is a good choice in terms of the narrative is up to the reader.
  • The Spider-Girl Fixfic "The Parker Cliche" dismisses much loathed Spider-Man stories One More Day, Brand New Day, OMIT, and even events as Superior Spider-Man, as bad dreams of May "Mayday" Parker. Author Zarius, whose criticisms and distaste of bad Spidey stories are the stuff of legend, even takes the time to dismiss AU stories such as Ultimate Spider-Man's "Death of Spider-Man" saga and the 90s Spidey animated series story "The Return of Hydro Man" as bad dreams of their respective universes' Spider-Men. Mary Jane gives a "crowning speech of awesome" about how none of the Parkers will ever let these worst-case scenarios come to pass.
  • Ace Combat: The Equestrian War runs on this, as nearly every chapter references an event or marks the appearance of a character from the series. The sequel is bound to feature it as well.
  • Disk Mania, a Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Backstory, has detailed explanations for why the wrong pieces of the Planispheric Disk were sometimes shown in the animation, why there is a volcanic island off Crystal Cove that nobody remembers, and why Crystal Cove has so many glass door-knobs.
  • In The Legend of Zelda fanfic trilogy the Bound Destinies Trilogy, there is quite a bit of this. The entire trilogy is, in essence, a crossover of the lore of four games in the series: Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. The trilogy serves as not only dishing out various dynamics of emotion and storytelling, but they also help to expand the already intricate lore of the series and better connect the aforementioned titles together. Each one of the three stories, no matter what era of the series's timeline they take place in, all make references to all of the games in one way or another.
  • The Massive Multiplayer Crossover fanfics (Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo) written by Sovereign GFC venture here quite often. Not only to the works' canon (which it is assumed you have some knowledge of—including canon that came out after the work began, was overridden by fanon, but then still referenced anyway), but also to themselves—the more you read in Fractured (SovereignGFC) or Origins the more stuff piles up that requires having an understanding of what happened six chapters ago. Complexity, confusion, both, neither? As with The Unity Saga above, it's best to have respective wikis available while reading.
  • The Legend of Zelda fanfic, Zelda's Honor, starts off as a story that has minimal mythology ties to the source games and could almost be enjoyed as a standalone yarn. Casual readers will most likely enjoy the majority of the fanfic. However once it starts delving deep into the mythology and lore of the Zeldaverse towards the end of Act 3, you best be ready to whip out Hyrule Historia and other Wiki info dumps to truly appreciate all the nuances that the plot is trying to wrangle and utilize.
  • Born to Be Wilde is filled to the brim with not only Continuity Nods and Call Backs to the original movie, but also utilizes several unused locations and characters that only appear in concept art. It's own increasingly-complex continuity also gets referenced frequently in later chapters.
  • Repercussions: Due to massive Author Appeal, every chapter has some form of continuity porn for the readers. Be it an actual attempt to make Chuck Austen's horrible run believable or references to things that happened forever ago.
  • Hellsister Trilogy is chock-full of continuity nods to the History of the Pre-Crisis DC universe. Nonetheless, the author Dark Mark is aware that most of his readership hasn't read the original comics, so he takes great care to ensure his fanfiction is fully user-friendly and nobody needs to read Action Comics #330-331 to understand who on Earth is "Drang".
  • In crossover fanfic Kimi No Na Iowa, callbacks to the events of Your Name are everywhere once they start appearing.
  • Kara of Rokyn is filled with continuity nods and references to the Superman Pre-Crisis lore. Old characters like the first "Supergirl" Lucy of Borgonia -who made her sole appearance in Superboy #5 (1949)-, Lyla Lerrol -from Superman's Return to Krypton and For the Man Who Has Everything fame-, Nasthalthia Luthor, the clone of Linda Danvers or Captain Strong are referenced or make cameo appearances.
  • Horseshoes and Hand Grenades: Every named character in Kamen Rider Fourze up to episode 34 has been present and accounted for, and references to other Kamen Rider series are prominent.
  • Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, includes references to DC's lore like Silver Age Supergirl having a secret diary or Superman going beyond his universe's boundaries to save his cousin.
  • In Frozen sequel fanfic Frozen Wight:
    • After the book Memory and Magic came out and contradicted the Frozen Wight version of Anna restoring her memories, the chapters were edited to be in line with the officially published book's version.
    • After Olaf's Frozen Adventure came out, a time skip was added at the start of chapter 5 to place the main events of the conflict after that story.
  • The villains in A Force of Four are three Kryptonian rogues who were seen for the last time in Action Comics #194 (1954), and Wonder Woman's enemy Badra from Comic Cavalcade #25 (1948). Power Girl also mentions that time she was beaten up by a mindcontrolled Superman in Infinity, Inc. #7.
  • The beginning of Superman and Man includes a ton of reader-friendly references to the original Superboy's stories.
  • X-Men 1970: Obscure X-Men secondary characters like Bernie, Zelda Morton and Vera Cantor, and forgotten villains like Merlin make cameo appearances.
  • The first half of A Prize for Three Empires is a detailed novelizaton of Carol Danvers' life, covering the first three deaces of existence of the character and delving deeply into the Marvel Universe mythos.
  • References to all kinds of Spider-Man's lore One of the specialties of the author of Breaking the Deal. For example: N'astirh, Rom, and even Dr. Bong get thrown into the mix.
  • In The Vampire of Steel, Supergirl mentions that time she ran into Ambush Bug, and that other time when Batman was bitten by a werewolf in the World's Finest book.

  • Creepy Explorations: Noah takes on pretty much the entire genre of horror itself, which is of course jampacked with all sorts of the same cliches and tropes, so he's sure to always call recurring stuff out by referencing past episodes.
  • Super Mario World (Max Landis): In 2004, Max Landis wrote a feature adaptation of Super Mario Bros., and included everything that had been introduced to the franchise up to that point. The script ends up clocking in at 436 pages - 7 hours!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • James Bond:
  • Jaws: The Revenge has a lot of references to the original Jaws:
    • There are several sepia-toned flashbacks of scenes from the first movie (like Brody killing the shark).
    • Thea playfully mimics her dad's hand gestures, a nod to an identical scene from Jaws involving Brody and Sean.
    • Brody's elder son grew up to become a marine biologist. Brody's younger son became Amity's chief of police. There is a picture of Martin Brody on the wall of Sean's office and he even has a secretary called Polly.
    • Sean's death in the opening scene of Revenge is reminiscent of Chrissie's in the opening scene of Jaws.
    • Two side characters from Jaws, Mrs Kintner (Lee Fierro) and Mrs. Taft (Fritzi Jane Courtney), make cameo appearances. Hooper was also in the original script.
    • Hoagie, Ellen, Michael and Jake paddle back to shore on a piece of wreckage, à la Brody and Hooper.
    • Revenge even borrows a shot of Bruce the shark's dismembered body sinking after his demise.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially the films taking place after The Avengers (2012), is full of this.
  • Saw:
    • Much of the later films have flashbacks that explain details from previous films, such as how Jigsaw and his apprentices set up their "games". A large chunk of Saw V had this as it tried to retroactively fit Hoffman into the previous installments.
    • The Reverse Bear Trap first appears on Amanda in the first film, then in the background in Saw III and Saw IV, then plans for it can be seen in Saw V, then a newer model is used on Hoffman at the end of Saw VI, and the original one is seen once again on Jill in Saw 3D, where it finally goes off as John intended, and it looks awesome (of course, John never intended for it to go off at all). Its last appearance is a minor one at the end of Jigsaw, where it's shown that Logan had assisted John in building the original trap.
    • Saw 3D is by far the movie with the largest amount of Continuity Porn. It starts with a flashback to Gordon escaping the Bathroom in the first film, and gets progressively more referential from there on out. The Jigsaw Survivor Group, the aforementioned Reverse Bear Trap and the final Bathroom scene just cinch it.
  • Star Wars:
    • The prequel trilogy. The whole thing is devoted to explaining the retcons in the original trilogy. And to get as many characters from the OT into the backstory, even if there's no good reason for them to be there.
    • Rogue One exists entirely to explain a minor plot hole from A New Hope. That said, the movie was critically acclaimed and was a box office success, because Tropes Are Not Bad.
    • Solo fills in some of Han Solo's backstory, including putting an end to the fan debate over his famous boast that he made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs by canonizing the popular theory that he took a shortcut through dangerous space. It also shows how he won the Millennium Falcon from Lando, and how it became such a piece of junk.

  • Michael Connelly novel A Darkness More Than Night teams up Harry Bosch, star of about 2/3 of Connelly's novels, and Terry McCaleb, protagonist of non-Bosch novel Blood Work. It throws in an appearance by Jack McEvoy of non-Bosch novel The Poet, for no particular reason. And it even includes a reference to Thelma the parole officer from non-Bosch novel Void Moon, letting the reader know that Thelma survived getting shot in that book and has gone back to work.
  • Discworld is a collection of several different, intertwining series, as well as various stand-alone books, all of which refer to events from previous installments.
    • PTerry was pretty good about making the individual novels work if they're the first one you come across, though. While it's helpful to know a bit about the backstory of, say, Granny Weatherwax if you're reading Carpe Jugulum or Rincewind if you're reading The Last Continent, it's usually possible to pick up the character traits you need to follow the story pretty quickly.
  • Doctor Who's long history makes it especially prone to continuity wanking, as you'll see in the TV examples. But the Expanded Universe frequently goes further:
    • The stand-out example being War of the Daleks by John Peel, which, Armed with Canon, did a retcon on thirty years of ad-hoc and contradictory Dalek history into a coherent whole and did a Take That! against a particular Story Arc which the author abhorred. It did so by explaining entire stories as an elaborate plan against the Doctor, who had set up a plan in the already Continuity Porn-full "Remembrance of the Daleks". There wasn't really much room for an actual story to fit in the book as well.
    • The Quantum Archangel by Craig Hinton (creator of the term Fanwank — not a coincidence) beats War in the continuity stakes. It starts out as a sequel to "The Time Monster", drags in "The Dæmons" to tie together the two explanations for Atlantis, throws every Sufficiently Advanced Alien in the series and its spinoffs against the Mad Mind of Bophemeral, explains the origin of Mondas, and then chucks in a series of parallel universes involving Prime Minister Mel against the Cybermen; Lord President Doctor against the Daleks (with the inevitable nod to "The War" in the Eighth Doctor books); and Stuart Hyde against a team-up of the Master, Rani, Monk and Drax. Unlike War, however, it's fun.
    • Who Killed Kennedy covers a large chunk of the series' history, mostly around the Third Doctor's era, although other Doctors, past and future, are mentioned. The protagonist even started a romance with Dorothea "Dodo" Chaplet, a former First Doctor companion, while investigating the history of UNIT and confronting the Master over a plot to alter history during the Kennedy assassination. Writer David Bishop acknowledged the graphic novel Marvels as an influence on his story. The entire novel is available online for free with the author's permission.
    • The first Eighth Doctor Adventures novel, The Eight Doctors, is made of this trope. All eight Doctors and their companions appear in it, as do very large chunks of Time Lord society. In particular, the Sixth Doctor section consists almost entirely of an attempt to clear up the Trial of a Time Lord Continuity Snarls.
    • Gary Russell loves continuity porn as much as Hinton did. The Twelfth Doctor novel Big Bang Generation (which features Bernice Summerfield and her friends, and therefore contains a huge chunk of Big Finish continuity anyway) refers to the Pakhar BurrowWorld, River Song and the Stormcage Containment Facility, the generational Professor Candy family, and the Obverse. As well as outside references to Andrew Pixley's DWM Archive (as "the Repository Banks of Pixlie") and the Doctor Who collector cards that came with Sky Ray ice lollies. In the first chapter. It calms down a bit after that.
    • The Torchwood short story "Consequences" is about a girl who keeps running into Torchwood. As well as a string of previous Torchwood episodes and novels, it also references the Dalek invasion and the time people with certain star signs started acting weird.
    • The Milestone Celebration 50th Doctor Who New Adventures novel Happy Endings has two aims: 1) Marry Benny and Jason Kane. 2) Reference all 49 previous New Adventures along the way. It achieves both these things.
  • Elephant & Piggie: "The Thank You Book" has Piggie thanking every character who ever appeared in an Elephant and Piggie book. Brian Bat, the cat doctor, the worms from "Are You Ready to Play Outside?" ...everyone.
  • The 2006 novel Friday the 13th: Carnival of Maniacs is ripe with this, with every Friday the 13th film released at the time (with the exception of Jason X, since it takes place in the future) getting lots and lots of references, with even minor elements being referred to.
  • The Harry Potter series has more-or-less averted this. How? J. K. Rowling relegated Continuity Porn to Word of God, thus (mostly) keeping it out of the actual books. Although some have accused the final book of this.
  • The Icelandic Sagas, being semi-accurate descriptions of major events in Icelandic history all happening in the narrow time frame of around 200 years. It's not uncommon for a main character from one saga to become a minor one in another, or vice versa.
  • Stephen King's Needful Things is an entire book made up of characters, references and concepts from previous King novels. Billed as "The Last Castle Rock Novel" (a reference to the setting which many of King's books shared), the plot has a small-town sheriff named Alan Pangborn facing off against a supernatural creature who has possessed many of the local townspeople, including John Merrill from Stand by Me. The book references the Four Past Midnight novellas, a character who is related to the murderer from The Dead Zone, Shawshank Prison, It and The Dark Half. The final battle involves Alan and Big Bad Leland Gaunt summoning the spirits of the possessed car Christine and killer dog Cujo (from the books of the same name) to battle.
  • Ringworld tends to suffer from this, as it increasingly tries to reconcile a range of originally unrelated details and continuity issues from both the Known Space series generally, and its own increasingly self-referential Continuity.
  • Continuity porn is sadly common in many Sherlock Holmes pastiches, whose authors often attempt to recreate the feel of the original with a multitude of references. These can range from the mild (the reappearance of previous clients or the Persian slipper) to the jarring, with expressions lifted straight from the canonical stories ("...which veiled his keen and eager nature", "the game is afoot!"). Academic papers have been written on the subject of whether post-Return Holmes was the real thing, so one can hardly blame the pastiche writers for being worried.
  • The Star Trek Expanded Universe, particularly the Star Trek Novel Verse, loves this trope to death.
    • There's a Data-focused novel out there (Star Trek: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang) partially dedicated to explaining how Noonien Soong got into androids - and just to show off, they linked it to no less than two Star Trek: The Original Series episodes, "What Are Little Girls Made Of" and "Requiem for Methuselah". Before all was said and done, every sentient machine/artificial intelligence in the history of Star Trek up to that point gets at least a reference. And a reference to The Questor Tapes, Gene Roddenberry's other android!
    • What Immortal Coil does for Data, "Watching the Clock", by Christopher L. Bennett does for Time Travel. The author employs some heavy-duty Arc Welding to every. Single. Time Travel episode to smooth out Trek's notoriously tangeled Timey-Wimey Ball into something resembling a coherent whole.
    • Peter David is in love with this trope in his novels, most specifically Star Trek: New Frontier. Up to and including implying that Number One and Nurse Chapel were the same person, and explaining why the voice of Federation starships universally sounds like Majel Barrett Roddenberry. Number One, aka Captain Pike's XO, was a computer expert and programmed the voices.
    • And the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch, which managed to link the ever-popular first season of TNG neural parasites, the Trill, and an ancient civilization from a throw-away archaeology reference somewhere in TNG.
    • Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars, Greg Cox's novels on the early life of Khan are dripping in this: over 2 novels, Khan meets or is shown to affect every single person mentioned as living in the 20th century over the course of all series and movies, from Gary Seven from TOS and Gillian from The Voyage Home to Janeway's ancestor shown in flashbacks briefly in one episode of Voyager. It does all this WHILE explaining how there could be a world war between genetically engineered supermen who control much of the Earth, and the general public has no idea about it.
    • Star Trek: Federation does this subtly, expanding on small background details or using them for in-jokes that aren't necessary to "get" to enjoy the book. Just for a few examples:
      • The story is framed as an old, tired Admiral Kirk, post-TUC, asking a question of the Guardian of Forever ("Why?"), and getting an answer ("yes, your life and all the pain and losses you suffered were most certainly worth it, and this is why").
      • In the 2060s timeline, the Optimum movement is led by Colonel Green and uses the insignia seen in the "post-atomic courtroom" in "Encounter at Farpoint", and also has an appearance (as Red Shirts) of the New United Nations mentioned in that episode.
      • There's a Ferengi ship christened The 62nd Rule, in reference to the Rules of Acquisition that wouldn't come up until Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Timothy Zahn started the first Star Wars Expanded Universe with The Thrawn Trilogy, followed the EU as it progressed in the 90s, and tidied all of the Bantam section of the EU with continuity name-drops everywhere over the course of the Hand of Thrawn, including a missing puzzle piece he inadvertently created in the Thrawn Trilogy. Then he wrote a second two-book piece of continuity porn with Outbound Flight/Survivor's Quest, and tied up the Jorj Car'das arc as a subplot in Choices of One. Possibly provided porn before continuity with the appearance of Booster Terrik in his short story "Mist Encounter", published in the Star Wars Adventure Journal before Booster made his appearance in Stackpole's X-Wing books. Nobody is quite certain whether Booster is a creation of Zahn or Stackpole, but evidence and the authors' longstanding friendship suggests that Booster was Stackpole's character borrowed for the short story.
    • There are entire books in the New Jedi Order series which are nothing but Call-Back to previous plots strung together with a weak story. There wasn't much cooperation among most writers back then, and so each writer often tried to ignore every other writer's output; NJO sometimes took things too far in the other direction.
    • James Luceno is probably the ultimate examples when it comes to Star Wars novels. Whether his book is a prequel/sequel to one of the movies (Cloak of Deception, Labyrinth of Evil, Dark Lord—The Rise of Darth Vader, Star Wars: Catalyst), part of a larger series (New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos and The Unifying Force) or a standalone (Millennium Falcon, Darth Plagueis, Star Wars: Tarkin), they all include a ridiculous number of references to previous stories, sometimes digging up obscurities which have not been referenced in decades, and often using Canon Welding to tie them into a larger narrative. Even SWEU being rebranded into Star Wars Legends didn't stop him from keeping up with references, making each a Canon Immigrant.
  • The Super Mario Bros.-based Gamebook Doors to Doom, released in 1991, featured appearances by Donkey Kong, his son, the building from the original arcade game, Wart and Subcon, and also mentioned Mario's original girlfriend Pauline.
  • Thieves' World was a series of books created by Robert Asprin where various authors would write short stories in a Shared Universe, the town of Sanctuary. As time went on authors would make references to their and others' stories in earlier books. But since the authors were off writing their own stories and not sitting in a room together to make sure it all fit, various problems started to arise and eventually the idea was abandoned. Which is a shame... The first book did mention something along the lines that any continuity errors you might notice are from people telling their stories as first person and...enhancing... their part in a story. Those authors took great pleasure in abusing each other's characters to the greatest extent possible, which is part of the charm of the series.
  • Transformers: Exodus and its sequel Exiles give even Transformers: Animated (see Western Animation) a run for its money on this score. Of the many TF properties with the Informed Attribute of being connected to Transformers: Prime, this is the one that took the "new aligned continuity" thing most seriously. Chunks of everything ever, from G1 to the Beast era to the Japan-original series to the Japan-only series to the Marvel, Dreamwave, and IDW comics to Animated, and eventually, once enough of it had aired, Prime, have been taken to make a Transformers universe where at least something from your favorite incarnation, no matter what that is, won't just appear, it'll appear and matter. Even the bits that only exist due to bad dubbing.note 
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Definitely present in Bluestar's Prophecy. Scenes from later books replicated in full with detailed explanations of what was going on, lots of cameos of Field Guide characters, and backstories for all the major villains of the first arc. As well, the book did its best to give backstories to almost all the characters in the main group. This was kind of difficult. It even gave a large role to a character who was only mentioned once in the entire series and didn't get on the cast list in that book (Rosetail).
    • Though the entirety of Omen of the Stars has it, The Last Hope especially. Not only does it include appearances by many cats from the earlier series and the Expanded Universe, but after Firestar's death, all nine of the cats who gave him nine lives appear to take him to StarClan, with their gifts they gave repeated.
  • "Ayla and the Tests", in the Whateley Universe, is probably this trope, since there is a ton of continuity polishing over every other character's stories for most of the Fall 2006 term, fixing a bunch of little tiny things the fans had spotted (or in a couple cases, things only the author had spotted).
  • X-Wing Series: The first book Rogue Squadron manages to reference just about every single other Extended Universe book published at the time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • At times, Angel approached this in its references to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, some fans appreciated this, as spinoffs all too often ignore the parent show altogether.
    • Buffy was better in this domain, but sometimes some episodes followed directly the Angel ones. Which wasn't that bad in the original run because the recap segment also recapped the Angel episodes. But if you're watching on DVD and don't remember the Angel episode it goes with, you're a bit lost.
  • Arrested Development is a rare example of a sitcom engaging in this. It works, as it was exploited for a number of excellent retroactive Brick Jokes and other forms of inside-humor. This really only shows up in Season 3, when it was all but confirmed that the show wasn't going to be renewed and a Channel Hop was unlikely, so Continuity Lockout wasn't a problem.
  • The season 5B episode Blood Money of Breaking Bad features Hank pouring over every case related to Heisenberg, featuring evidence from season 1 onward, when he finds an incriminating book in Walt's house.
  • Season 8 of Charmed had a big stream of references to past episodes. The Seven Deadly Sins and Grams' cursed wedding ring were used against the sisters again in one of the last episodes, Greg Piper's brief fireman boyfriend from season 6 made a guest appearance, Billie references both Barbus and the B-plot of "Ex Libris" to make a criminal confess, the sisters get trapped inside the dollhouse again, the Angel of Destiny shows up as do the Elders and the Avatars and Phoebe gets a big flashback to her previous love lives. Then there's the whole Back for the Finale thing.
  • Community uses its ensemble cast to full effect. Masterfully subverted in a clip show that wasn't a clip show, creating continuity porn with episodes that never happened.
  • The final episode of Desperate Housewives. Season eight started with a book end Call-Back in the form of a note that originally drove Mary Alice to suicide, but the double-length Finale really takes the cake. Not only does it feature Mary Alice and Martha Huber in a flashback opening, but it also makes numerous references to the earlier plotlines, brings several characters back, including a one-shot character that met Lynette randomly at the supermarket in the very FIRST episode (and discussed choosing family over career with her both times). Then at the end of the episode we see a huge Continuity Cavalcade including just about every character that died during the series.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Planet of the Daleks" has a whole bunch of scenes referencing "The Daleks" and "The Daleks' Master Plan" with little explanation, stories from ten years ago before the age of home video or even novelisations.
    • Some pinpoint the first major Fan Wank moment in the Classic series as being the Fifth Doctor's post-regeneration trauma causing him to go through impressions of all four previous Doctors in "Castrovalva". There's a similar, more compressed moment in "The Mysterious Planet" when the Sixth Doctor, after being knocked out, reverts to the Third Doctor's personality for a little while until snapping out of it. More recently, a Ganger duplicate of the Eleventh Doctor glitched out and began acting like the Second, Third, Fourth, and Tenth Doctors before snapping out of it.
    • Plenty of eighties stories began to suffer from this, such as "Attack of the Cybermen", which attempted to tie in to "The Tenth Planet", "The Tomb of the Cybermen", and "The Invasion" as well, but was sufficiently inconsistent with the events of those stories to leave even the long-term fans confused. Did we mention that none of those three stories survived in complete form at the time?
    • In modern Who, "Turn Left" and "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", which referenced nigh-on every significant alien invasion of Earth from four series since the show was revived in 2005. Even many obsessive fans of the new series were a bit confused. Also, there was so much continuity that some elements of the story were left unexplained.
    • In the same vein, the whole conjoined era of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors was brought to a close in 2010's Season Finale "The End of Time", which was not only fairly Continuity Porn-heavy as a whole but concluded with a pure, unadulterated ten-minute slab of the stuff just to emotionally revisit a whole string of the era's main characters one last time. This is despite the Revival Series taking deliberate steps to avoid Continuity Porn when the programme was first brought back, by reintroducing its previous incarnation's 26 years of continuity only slowly and selectively.
    • And then there's spinoff show The Sarah Jane Adventures serial "Death of the Doctor", which is hardcore fetish Continuity Porn despite being not actually a Doctor Who episode. (And it's in a kids' show, ironically.) It's two half-hour episodes consisting almost entirely of references to classic Who, with former character Jo Grant brought back to star alongside Sarah Jane Smith 37 1/2 years since she last played the Doctor's onscreen companion. This culminated in scriptwriter Russell T Davies stopping the action dead just before the closing credits to allow Sarah Jane to fill us in on what some of the classic companions were doing, including Ian, Barbara, Harry, Tegan, and Ace. The target audience had no idea who these people were — but fans of the classic series did.
    • "The Doctor's Wife" by Neil Gaiman. Practically 80% references to the classic and new series!
    • The anniversary episodes, like "The Day of the Doctor", have lots of continuity because that's what anniversary episodes are there for. One trailer for the 50th has even more porn.
    • "Into the Dalek", made in 2014, is an episode that deals very heavily with the decision made by the Fourth Doctor back in "Genesis of the Daleks" (made in 1975) to the point of not making a whole lot of emotional sense if you don't know the other story. (For instance, the story puts big emphasis on a scene where the Twelfth Doctor puts two wires together.) While "Genesis of the Daleks" is probably one of the most famous Classic stories, other than Davros's appearance in "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" it was never particularly addressed in the new show. There was ample opportunity to use it as a source for angst, but even that was avoided because there was lots of much more recent Dalek angst for the Doctor to get over first. (An exception was in the Expanded Universe, which suggests that Four's actions accidentally started the Last Great Time War to begin with.) This might be a reason why a 2015 Vanilla Edition DVD compilation of new series Dalek episodes included "Genesis of the Daleks" as the "bonus" story from the classic series — on the same disc as "Into the Dalek" no less.
    • 2015's "The Magician's Apprentice"/"The Witch's Familiar" draws even more heavily upon "Genesis of the Daleks", as it centres upon the consequences of Twelve encountering young Davros on a Skaro battlefield, then abandoning him mid-rescue upon realizing who he is; near the end of the first episode it includes a snippet of the aforementioned Fourth Doctor scene by way of drawing parallels between Four and Twelve's actions.
    • "World Enough and Time"/"The Doctor Falls" attempts to reconcile all of the Expanded Universe's conflicting origin stories and in-universe dating problems for the Cybermen by suggesting that the Cybermen are not a single species with one point of origin, but a kind of social pathology that any humanoid species is at risk of falling into once it achieves a certain level of IT and biotechnology.
  • Emily Owens, M.D.: Watch one episode, and you'll need to remember the previous ones (like The Wire and Breaking Bad it has a very big continuity, and an equally high fanbase).
  • How I Met Your Mother often ventures into this territory, invariably forcing Alyson Hannigan to put on a wig for the hair color she had in a particular season during a flashback. Justified in that the narrator is one of the characters, looking back with nostalgia.
  • Surprisingly, there is a lot of continuity porn in the sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The season 6 finale featured a lot of callbacks to previous episodes showing Sweet Dee's ex-boyfriends and the gang trying to discover who the father of her baby is. The two-part season 7 finale being a high school reunion ties back to almost every character introduced (or mentioned) on the show who went to high school with the gang.
    • The 8th season episode "The Gang Recycles Their Trash" recycles various plots from previous episodes, all while the characters comment on how they're covering old ground and try to do things differently this time. Many of the associated jokes are re-done with a new twist.
  • Lost gives us quite a lot in the last two seasons because of all the Aborted Arcs that left mysteries unresolved. Some of the more offending examples are the dismissively offhand revelations that the mysterious whispers in the jungle are dead people, the bird that cries "Hurley" was genetically modified by Dharma scientists, and that JACOB HAD A THING FOR NUMBERS. These examples clearly fall under the category that serves no purpose to the plot.
    • Conversely, the show is replete with episodes that manage to advance the plot while filling in the deliberate blanks quite satisfactorily. Most of season 5 attempts this using time travel, and episodes like "Across the Sea" make good use of the show's trademark flashback plot device.
  • Once Upon a Time has Mr. Gold's Pawn Shop, which features a ton of fairy tale items that have been featured in the show previously such as the genie's lamp or the dead bodies/puppets of August's parents on display.
  • Over the course of the past nineteen years, Power Rangers have built a tradition for this. When Power Rangers Lost Galaxy began, and the show started changing the teams on a seasonal basis, there would be one episode per season with a team-up between the current Rangers and those of the previous season. One season had two such episodes, and the tenth anniversary was celebrated with "Forever Red", an episode featuring (almost) every Red Ranger from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers up to Power Rangers Wild Force.
  • The series finale of Seinfeld featured the main four in court, bringing as witnesses nearly every minor character ever introduced in the series. Including the Soup Nazi, whose name is revealed to be Yev Kassem.
  • The Shield featured a continuity-heavy episode, "Co-Pilot", that exists for no other reason than to fill in plot holes and continuity errors no one had asked for (as well as give the show's makeup team time to figure out how they would depict Strike Team member Ronnie Gardocki's facial disfigurement). The episode, set weeks before the actual pilot, brought back most of the supporting characters who had died over the course of the first and second season (including Connie, the hooker who was killed two episodes prior, and Detective Terry Crowley, whose death motivated the entire series), cleared up unanswered questions from the first season and explained how the entire cast got to be where they are.
  • Los Simuladores: Former clients of the guys appear in every episode taking part in the drills.
  • Smallville, having lasted ten years or so, did this several times. Most notably, the episode "Abyss" has many flashbacks and changes to Chloe's memories of past episodes, and scenes that took place before the series, but were mentioned.
    • Season ten in general borders on this. The wiki even started to have a "Homages to Previous Seasons" section on the episode articles.
    • The Grand Finale is made of this, including two very long flashbacks of Lex and Clark.
  • Taxi got away by having plenty of Continuity Nods at a time that TV comedies still had an strictly episodic/ Negative Continuity naturenote , as well as having continuities featured as subplots uniformly in the last two seasons. The show also benefited from lacking a true timeline from seasons two onwards.
    • Notably the fourth season episode "The Road Not Taken" deconstructed Noodle Incidents and seemingly meaningless footnotes originating in earlier episodes, by developing them into more complex stories, notoriously about Louie's stint as a cabbie (seen in "Memories of Cab 804"), Reverend Jim's semester at Harvard (first mentioned in "Going Home") and how Alex lost a lucrative job and a family, finally getting into the cab business (mentioned in various episodes).
    • A more specific (and longer) example involves Alex's aforementioned family. The Pilot Episode involves him driving to Miami to see his daughter Cathy, whom he hasn't seen for fifteen years, an event he mentioned two years later after he finds out he wasn't invited to Cathy's wedding by his ex-wife Phyllis (who even recalled how many years had passed after the last time she had seen Alex), whose weight gain was referenced a year later when they crossed paths once again after she was divorced by her second husband, who made a restraining order against her the following Christmas.
  • The fifth season of The Wire does this in an attempt to wrap up the entire series and touch as many of its dizzying plotlines and characters as possible. Former one-shot characters (like Jeff Price, the reporter who had a single appearance in season 3) become main characters, while other major/supporting characters (down to some of the dock workers and Russians in season 2, and a one-scene character from a season 1 episode) show up to further various subplots. There are also entire story threads that were filmed solely to emphasize continuity with previous seasons - a key resolution of the final case is the discovery of a character's saliva sample from the previous season, which is emphasized when a cop visits the Baltimore morgue (which hadn't been seen since Season 3) to discuss his findings.
  • The writers take Wizards of Waverly Place's continuity very seriously, as seen in Season 3. Although, they sometimes attempt this so much that they tend to mix things up. Justin confusing the Edgebono Utoosis spell with another is one example. In "Future Harper", Max refers to a pet lizard that ran away, with Alex and Justin inferring that it died. Later, in "Max's Secret Girlfriend", Max's dead lizard is his most loved possession.
    • Mason is a product of this. In "Future Harper", the Future Harper asks Alex if she had broken up with Mason yet. Alex looks confused, and nothing more was said about the subject. Guess who shows up later on?
    • Future Harper seems to be the hub for all plans, because she wrote books based on Alex's wizard adventures. Dozens of episodes later, regular Harper began to write a book based on Alex's life.
    • In the Grand Finale, there is plenty of Call-Back to previous episodes, and there are a lot of spells that are used in this episode that have shown up throughout the entire show.

  • When The Police got back together to remake 'Don't Stand So Close To Me', the Music Video featured primarily excerpts from prior Police videos. The other components are either CGI of Police-related items and features, and the Police themselves standing and rotating (although Sting's costume is well as what's in the costume, too). At least among the videos were bits from the original song's video.
    • Done by necessity rather than choice: the original idea had been for the group to begin their reformation by making a whole album of old songs revisited, but in the event they got on so badly that only one track was completed for release, and when it came to doing a video they refused to appear in it together.
  • blink-182 in their video for "Man Overboard", use "What's My Age Again?", "All the Small Things" and "Adam's Song" as nightmares.
  • The Beatles: listen to the lyrics in "Glass Onion" (Queen would do the same on "Soul Brother").
    • In the music video for "Free as a Bird" as well.
  • Done in Barenaked Ladies' "Thanks, That Was Fun". The video (made in 2005) references 15 years of the band's career, including all of their music videos, as well as live performances. The video clip also uses digital trickery to make it look as if singers Steven Page and Ed Robertson are "singing" the lyrics to this song in their older works - done by using CGI to move their mouths to match the new lyrics.
    • Also used in Alanis Morissette's "Three Easy Steps" video. It even references videos from her "pre-Jagged Little Pill" period, and goes so far as to reference You Can't Do That on Television, which she appeared on long before her music career.
  • Destroyer, aka Dan Bejar of The New Pornographers, IS this trope. There's even a lyrics wiki and a drinking game that revolve around his use of the trope.
  • Funeral for a Friend have spent most of their career paying homage to their early EPs and their first album Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation. Their 2007 EP The Great Wide Open features both their first two EPs played live in full, and their old logo from 2003 made a reappearance on their best of compilation Your History Is Mine in 2009. Their 2008 album Memory And Humanity features a reworked version of this logo and it also has similar Scenery Porn for its album cover. Their 2011 album Welcome Home Armageddon features a song called Old Hymns, which seems to be about how fans take the band's early work religiously and no matter what they do people will always compare their new stuff to it. It is in a similar musical style to that album, as well. It was even released on the label who released their EPs and first album, who they rejoined with for it.
  • Ayreon's 01011001 references all previous albums.
  • When Five Iron Frenzy (known in part for their joke songs) released what was then planned to be their final album, it included the track "This is how the story ends" giving endings/resolutions to all their joke songs/characters.
  • Judas Priest's 2005 album Angel of Retribution is littered with this, with at least half the songs strewn with citations of lyrics from past Priest songs, frankly to the point of self-plagiarization. This also happened as early as 1990, with the Painkiller song "All Guns Blazing" containing the lyric "sad wings that Heaven sent", which is a clear Call-Back to the very early Priest album Sad Wings of Destiny, which in 1976 (the year of its initial release) was recorded solely with a small record label in Britain. In fact, you could say that the metallic "Angel" who serves as the mascot of Angel of Retribution is practically a reincarnation of the Fallen Angel who appeared on the cover of Sad Wings of Destiny 29 years earlier!
  • The KLF went a bit nuts with this. The single and video "Justified And Ancient (Stand By The JAMs)" in particular manages to throw just about every Running Gag, Author Catchphrase, Arc Word and Recurring Riff into the pot and the video chucks in a whole bunch of clips from previous videos as well. And that's before you take into account all the additional references to guest star Tammy Wynnette's career...
  • Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, in the second suite of "Quartet," took Yes' penchant for Word Salad Lyrics up a notch by scattering the titles of no less than five of their Epic Rocking songs in "She Gives Me Love."
  • Eminem's video for "The Monster" has him on a Journey to the Center of the Mind, reliving the music videos for "My Name Is", "The Way I Am" and "Lose Yourself", as well as his 2001 Grammys performance of "Stan" with Elton John. At the end, he encounters Slim Shady in a cage surrounded by pill bottles, in a shot reminiscent of his appearance on the cover of The Marshall Mathers LP.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Long story short, The Bible is probably the only example on this list which has thousands of essays, hundreds of books, and entire university courses dedicated to analyzing the sheer tidal wave of Call Backs and Continuity Nods and what they all mean. Of course, when the most deeply-held beliefs of millions about the origins and meaning of existence are based in large part on the meanings of those call backs and continuity nods, you can justify that ocean of ink.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When it started Saturday Morning Slam was a good place for this. It had several segments that talked about the history of the WWE. For instance their Around the World in 40 Superstars segment did not only highlight current wrestlers, but also several Ensemble Dark Horse and legends going back to the early 1960's.note 
  • CHIKARA's Wham Episode at their Season 9 finale pulled the pin on a storyline at least two years in the making. Initial plotpoints that were dismissed as some oddity (a last minute contract negotiation in September 2007, one confusing end to a match two months later UltraMantis Black seemingly missing his man's opponent and knocking out his own man, then not showing any surprise], the rather unexplained disappearance of Chris Hero after the following show, a supernatural-themed site becoming a website sponsor in 2008/2009) were all tied together and then elaborated on in the following months.
  • A big part of the problem with Vince Russo's writing style is his inconsistent wavering between Continuity Porn and Canon Discontinuity. In order to appreciate many of Russo's storylines, you must remember exactly what he wants you to remember (even if it goes back to the '80s), and forget exactly what he doesn't want you to remember (even if it happened three months ago).
  • WWE celebrated the 1000th episode of Raw in 2012, and about ten episodes before that, the company busted out a floodgate of continuity, bringing back old wrestlers, managers, storylines, and the like.
  • The Firefly Fun House Match at Wrestlemania 36 was essentially this for John Cena's entire wrestling career.

  • BIONICLE ventured into this area from time to time, the most noteworthy example being the two-year flashback story of the Metru Nui Saga. Various other Flashbacks had a tendency to become this, though to some, they may have lead to a Continuity Lockout, especially if they referenced minor side-stories.

    Web Animation 
  • Slowly but surely Homestar Runner is getting there.
    • And there's DNA evidence to prove it! Witness how an Orphaned Punchline turned into a Call-Back turned into a Running Gag gained a short of its own in just seven episodes.
    • And then there's the cartoon "hremail #7". It exists to provide an origin story for the Strong Bad Email shorts and to parody the early years of the Homestar Runner website (the artwork is a pseudo-reversion to their earlier art style, and the jokes reference many abandoned early running gags). However, as the H*R wiki is quick to point out, the cartoon actually contradicts many prior cartoons.
  • Baman Piderman has frighteningly good continuity.
  • The "EVERYBODY DO THE FLOP" music video of the ASDF Movie canon features every primary character in the series.

  • Parodied in Narbonic, with "Continuity Repairs with Rob & Andy".
  • Happens quite a bit during the "bROKEN" arc from Sluggy Freelance. It seems like practically every strip for months on end has a footnote linking back to the past strips it references, some of which haven't been mentioned for nearly a decade. This was probably because bROKEN's plot was planned to air far earlier than a decade. A similar problem occurs in El Goonish Shive's Sister 2 storyline. It stands to reason that a surprise ending delayed for years is no longer a surprise, but webcomics are written seat-of-your-pants so it's easy to lose control. In the end, it's just as much the author's fault as it would be if they had done it on purpose.
  • A noteworthy example is Bob and George. So much weird stuff happens all the damn time that it's impossible for everything to work. And it still does. Nothing happens by accident, everything is explained, everything fits. David Anez is a god when it comes to retconning.
  • The final arc of Casey and Andy has things that wrap up every odd little throwaway gag for years, including odd things about their neighbor Jen, and why a deceased president hates them.
  • It's Walky! spin-off Shortpacked! intentionally avoided this for much of its run, due to the latter having a much different tone. This let Shortpacked! stand on its own as a comic about a toy store. In later strips, however, David Willis has started including more and more connections, cameos and guest-stars from the parent strip, often having to use his accompanying commentary to explain things to new readers.
  • Everything in Homestuck is a Call-Back of some sort. No exceptions.
    • As in most of the MS Paint Adventures comics, Problem Sleuth is also extremely confusing unless read from the beginning.
    • Hussie lampshades this in the commentary of the books, saying at one point that he was going to include a Callback Zone but then reasoned even he wouldn't be able to catch all of them, and at another point saying this:
      Chekhov's Mop Bucket is used later by John in a prank involving Gushers. Also, Chekov's Every Single Story Detail plays a key role in the future as well. Keep an eye out for it.
  • The "Strip Club of the Damned" story in Something*Positive highlights this. Every one of the strippers is an expy of a woman Davan's had sex with.

    Western Animation 
  • The Legend of Korra: "Beginnings" is this in that it ties together to every aspect and mystery surrounding the nature of the Avatar State, and makes significant references to other important things (such as the Dancing Dragon, the Lion Turtles, Pai Sho, etc.) in the original series.
  • Some of the installments that are part of DC Animated Universe revel in this trope:
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold. All of it is a reference to any event, character, concept, place, etc. of varying obscurity within the DC Universe. Any scene with Bat-Mite is subject to this to various degrees. Even more so in Mite Fall which has a cameo appearance of just about every character that ever appeared in the show and references to just about every Batman incarnation. Even way back when Batman used guns.
  • This trope applies to Young Justice (2010). Every minor hero or villain introduced seems to have been chosen to make some fan somewhere happy.
  • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. The movie does its best to introduce all its characters and plot points for novice viewers, but unless you've watched the Justice League show and are a long time DC comic reader, half the movie will go straight over your head.
  • Disney's House of Mouse is this for the Disney Animated Canon at large, including The Emperor's New Groove.
  • The Allspark Allmanac is a continuity porno if there ever was one. A reference to a magazine-contest-winning fancharacter in the 80s in Japan, never featured in a story ever? Sure, why not?
  • Moral Orel, despite being an 11-minute claymation comedy series, has plenty. Orel has a poster for a band mentioned in episode one, and the entire basis for season 3 is a single, seemingly throw-away musical episode.
    • This happens a lot in Moral Orel, more so as it goes on. Dino says early on he didn't care much about continuity (an early episode has Nurse Bendy referred to as "Nurse Blinkless"). Considering the last season is in Anachronic Order (most of it is happening prior to the season 2 finale). Lots of continuity hints even tend to be in the background, such as Miss Sculptham's newspaper clippings.
  • The Venture Bros. is loaded with this. Minor throw-away gags and pop culture references in one episode end up being the entire basis of episodes and new characters in later episodes.
  • The 200th and 201st episodes of South Park. It's a half-hour full-hour of non-stop references to older episodes that mocks the show's reliance on repeated plots.
  • Phineas and Ferb. A lot of references are made to minor gags, characters, events, and places seen earlier in the series.
    • Special mention must go to the hour-long special "Summer Belongs To You." The Continuity Nods flew as fast as the group did — and they went around the world in a day.
    • Rollercoaster: The Musical. Some of the bigger examples include one of Candace's songs listing a ton of the things that Phineas and Ferb had done up to that point and the finale song which features almost every character that had ever appeared in the show.
    • If Rollercoaster: The Musical turns it up to eleven, then Across the Second Dimension cranks it up past thirteen. Not only do continuity nods proliferate the work, but many become significant plot points or action sequences, and the climax is a continuity orgy every bit as big as the end of Rollercoaster: The Musical, except this time it has the benefit of not breaking the fourth wall to do it.
  • Frisky Dingo does this so much that in one episode the part that says previously on Frisky Dingo just has Killface saying if you want to know what happened I recommend iTunes.
  • The final episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
  • The episode "A New Leaf" of SpongeBob SquarePants, where Mr. Krabs throws Plankton's most recent invention into a room filled with every other invention he used earlier in the series.
    • The post-sequel episodes are full of these as well.
    • "Karen's Virus" plays various clips of previous episodes, both old and new, in Karen's memories.
  • In one episode of Gravity Falls, Dipper and Mabel steal a time machine from time traveler Blendin Blandin, and end up travelling through various time periods by accident, including the first three episodes of the series. At the end of the episode Blendin has to go back in time and pick up all the things Dipper and Mabel dropped and fix the various time paradoxes he caused. If you look closely in past episodes, he's there in the background picking up stuff they dropped before the episode even aired.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse is a borderline orgy of Continuity Nods to the the original Ben 10 series; the show is cut with flashbacks about adventures of 10 years old Ben back to the original series era, the characters were redesigned to look more like their original series counterparts, and old aliens and characters are brought back (the Megawhatts, an early threat from the original show, are brought back right in the third episode). This is from the guy who made Transformers: Animated after all.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: The season 3 episode "Magic Duel" not only brings back fan favorite Trixie Lulamoon, but officially canonizes both the fandom's use of the term "alicorn" to describe winged unicorns like Celestia and Luna and the Fandom-Specific Plot of Trixie being made into a laughingstock after the events of "Boast Busters" (even working on Pinkie Pie's family rock farm) and seeking revenge on Twilight, and then, aside from the winning age spell, every spell cast in the initial duel is a reference to a prior episode (including "Boast Busters", "Winter Wrap-Up", "Over a Barrel", and "Swarm of the Century").
  • The Rick and Morty episode "Never Ricking Morty" makes fun of this (as it does most tropes), by having the title characters stuck on a train forcing them to experience different narratives, randomly showing things and characters from previous episodes. The joke is that the show itself is right in the middle in terms of Sliding Scale of Continuity.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks is an entire series of this. When it isn't being a Decon-Recon Switch for the time-honored Star Trek plot devices and stories, it's inserting all kinds of references to every single televised or filmed Trek project, even in the background. An average episode will probably reference at least one previous episode of another series or a film, be it in dialogue or just as a background bit. It helps Creator Mike McMahon is an Ascended Fanboy.