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Engaging Chevrons

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A time-filling sequence.

In the early seasons of Stargate SG-1, the required settings for the stargate were made with a great deal of pomp and ceremony. Stirring music was played under a series of announcements...

"Chevron One, encoded. Chevron Two, encoded! Chevron Three encoded!! Chevron Four Encoded!"

...all the way up to, if the audience was unlucky, the full seven chevrons ("Chevron Seven... LOCKED!"). This was from the film Stargate, where it was quite suspenseful. The reason for that suspense, however, was that it was only after Daniel figured out the seven-chevron coordinate system that they managed to make the Stargate work for the first time. In the TV show, this sequence came after a while to feel like it was just there to fill time. In some fan communities the phrase "engaging chevrons" has come to mean any recognizable time-filling ploy. As in:

"The fight scene was just engaging chevrons: 'Fu for 'fu's sake."

"They started engaging chevrons about how 'terrorists are really, really bad people', so I went to the fridge for a fresh drink."

Compare Stock Footage, Padding. Specific examples include Fighter-Launching Sequence and Transformation Sequence. Contrast with Trapped by Mountain Lions.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the second and fourth seasons of Digimon, many an episode is padded with the Transformation Sequence. Digimon's known for its complex and awesome scenes of 'digivolving,' Mons undergoing temporary Applied Phlebotinum-induced changes from their standard forms to stronger ones. The full sequence is often very long and only seen rarely. However, seasons two and four will often show the complete sequence, and of all characters transforming, without a split-screen. Five solid minutes of digivolving is not unheard of in season four.
    • 02 would also have Digimon evolve separately, and then "DNA digivolve" together, which was a separate, third sequence. If you want all six in Ultimate/Perfect forms, you might find yourself waiting for six rookie-to-champion evo scenes, then three DNA scenes, for a total of nine. On top of that, it also has the Digi-Port sequence that would play at least once an episode in the first half of the season as the group would travel from Earth to the Digital World. Hilariously, the champion-to-ultimate evolution sequences for the original group were shortened from the prior season, thanks to the destruction of a Transformation Trinket shown right at the beginning in the Adventure finale.
    • The most egregious example from season two is a time when something was screwing up the process. You got the complete, extended evolution scene up to the point where it'd almost finish... and then you'd have to watch it all in reverse. The characters puzzled over the fact that it wasn't working, tried again, and we had to wait for them to evolve and then un-evolve a second time. Not. Cool.
    • Another instance from 02, in one episode everyone gets ready to fight the villains at a restaurant, everyone goes through the full sequence to battle.... Then the bad guys escape and everyone undoes the evolution to chase after them.
    • Happened in season 1, too. First the Dark Masters, with the mons digivolving one level for each Dark Master, only to be beaten every time. Then again with Apocalymon, where they all digivolved to perfect or mega, only to reverse digivolve, and then for mon & tamer to both be reduced to binary code, go through all of the digivolution sequences again, before reforming themselves from binary code. And then the next episode spent the first few minutes showing the end of the prior episode!
    • Frontier is made a little less painful by having an extremely cool evolution insert song, though. Note that this does not in any way imply that the music used for evolution in Adventure was not Awesome.
    • Adventure tri. was very vicious with this, in particular due to Warp Digivolving (AKA going from Rookie to Mega) no longer being a thing for the series. As a result, you have eight Digimon that all have to go from Rookie to Champion, then Champion to Ultimate, and finally Ultimate to Mega, with each Digivolution stage having a unique and lengthy sequence.
  • Granted this is the least of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny's sins, but the Fighter-Launching Sequence and Transformation Sequence for the Impulse Gundam was blocked to eat up an excessive amount of screen time.
  • In Transformers, the Armada and Cybertron seasons had the launching sequence. Jetfire even once lampshaded it, saying "this seems a little elaborate for a takeoff." (Early in Cybertron, such scenes are often done with nothing said, but eventually Powers That Be realized that the sequence loses something after the 20th time or so and needed some dialogue to keep the viewers awake.)
  • There are also the transforming and Super Mode sequences in all three parts of the Unicron Trilogy. (Transformers: Robots in Disguise had stock footage transformations too, but they were much quicker.) Cybertron boasts the longest duration of stock sequences, but Energon gets points for having Prime's Super Mode sequence at the beginning of every fight and then not actually using said powerup in more fights than not. The same goes for the combining that is the series' main toy selling gimmick - it's a pure time-waster, as Hot Shot firing his standard weapon is no more effective when he happens to be wearing Inferno as his legs.
  • The Chevron Engaging Transformation Sequence in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha actually has a purpose in the story. The first two times Nanoha transforms, she must hold Raising Heart while reciting a long speech and must endure a minute-long transformation sequence; later, she learns to transform without reciting the speech, then she learns the quick transformation, much to the surprise of Yuuno, who says few mages can pull this.
  • The Sky Girls prologue OVA is roughly 50% Chevron Engaging.
  • The transformation sequences of the Sailor Senshi in Sailor Moon. Generally you can quickly tell a poor episode script from a better one by seeing if the full transformations are shown, or just shortened versions. Transformations happening offscreen? You might actually have a good story there… They eventually began doing split screens to transform everyone at once, or showing condensed versions, but it would still eat 1-3 minutes out of the climax of each episode. That goes double for the seasons where Sailor Moon had a double transformation: first to regular Sailor Moon, then an added one to transform into Super Sailor Moon. As the seasons progressed and added more and more Senshi, it just lengthened out again.
  • The 2-minute-long spiral staircase sequence that precedes duels in Utena is made up of stock footage and establishes a sense of ritual. There are instances where characters go to the dueling arena without the pomp of a duel, and they tend to feel unsettling.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes does this in one of its prequel series, when Reinhard and Kircheis are preparing to go out in a battle tank.
  • Dragon Ball Z: There have been episodes in which characters "powered up" (grunted fiercely) for literal minutes at a time. While they did this, the animation would be of the camera panning over one still frame. Sometimes it's justified by the sheer high amount of power required to reach what they're aiming for, like Super Saiyan 3, while others...
    On tonight's episode of Dragon Ball Z, Goku continues powering up to Super Saiyan!
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- has Syaoran and Chaos staring at each other for one full minute.
  • The first Dominion OVA series has a sequence of the deploying from the second floor on ropes down to their tanks in their hanger bay. The first time they do this, it makes sense. In a later episode, it seems really stupid, as they had been in the hanger bay when the deployment order came out, which means that in order for that stock footage to make sense, they'd have had to leave the bay and go upstairs off-camera, just so they can be seen going back downstairs and getting into their tanks.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers had that scene with Japan, Italy and Germany on the island and that moment when they realize that the Allies are there. And that fact that they repeated it several times.
    • Lampshaded much later, when the narrator repeatedly describing how to use spare punchlines over text on a black screen becomes exasperated and the final set at the end of the episode is fast-forwarded.
  • The edited dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! replays Yugi's lengthy transformation sequence in places where the original skipped over it.
  • Godannar, in keeping with its retro-Super-Robot-show style, has an extended sequence for when Dannar and Okusaer take off from the base - the robots' engines are spun up by an external flywheel, the Jet Boys are attached to their backs, a huge runway is raised from beneath the sea, the front of the base opens up, numerous lights flick to green in the control-room, and the pilots flick a sequence of switches, etc. They're about 50% Fighter-Launching Sequence, and the rest is this trope. To spice things up, however, they (almost) never use the FULL sequence, and instead vary which parts are shown each time. Keeps it from getting TOO... chevronish?
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion uses these frequently:
    • Misato watching the train Shinji has apparently boarded leave the station.
    • The elevator ride with Rei and Asuka. The Directors Cut version at least mixes it a little bit up. That is to say, Asuka moves briefly and only once. The same shot is reused in Evangelion: 2.0, but for a much shorter amount of time (making its inclusion a bit of a joke for fans).
    • Shinji holding Kaworu in Unit 01's hand for one full minute before he crushes him.
    • Asuka curled up in Unit 02 at the bottom of the lake.
    • Misato and Shinji's Last Kiss.
    • Somehow, a live orchestral Eva concert is subject to this. Symphony of EVA, a live concert recording, ends with the track "Thank You," which is for all intents and purposes a huge, 11-minute and 9-second curtain call and improv session. It's interesting at first as the orchestra gets out all the random bits of music they can but then the applause just keeps going... and going... and going... until the track ends on what appears to be the main choirgirls and the conductor casually chatting as the audience meanders out of the venue.
    • To be fair, a lot of this trope in Eva was not because the story needed padding, but because in later episodes they simply lacked the budget to animate everything they wanted to, resulting in a lot of reuse of Stock Footage and excessively-long shots like the Ode to Joy scene.
  • In the Outlaw Star spin-off Angel Links they run a minute or so launch sequence everytime the main ship launches. If you get bored of the regular launch sequence, they also have a night version.
  • The unaired final episode of Excel♡Saga includes several unnecessarily drawn out moments, include one where Hyatt repeats the words "how exciting" like a Broken Record. These were included to deliberately make the episode too long to fit into the show's time slot.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me parodies this when Dr. Evil tells Frau to initiate a 30 second countdown for his rocket (overcompensating for the first countdown being too short). He eventually gets bored and tells her to just say "go".
  • Spaceballs:
    • Parodied by Colonel Sandurs, who prefaces these statements with "Prepare to [do mundane task]", e.g.:
      Colonel Sandurs: Prepare to fast-forward!
      Mook: Preparing to fast-forward!
      Colonel Sandurs: Fast-forward!
      Mook: Fast-forwarding, sir!
    • It's later lampshaded by Dark Helmet:
      Dark Helmet: What are you preparing for? You're always preparing. Just go!
    • Which immediately came back to bite him in the ass for once.
      Sanders: Driver, just go. [to Helmet] Sir, hadn't you better sit down? [Helmet gets a lesson in why you don't stand up in an open-topped vehicle]
  • One of the many criticisms of Star Trek: The Motion Picture was that it contained many long tracking shots of the ships and little action, leading to its Fan Nickname "Star Trek: The Slow-Motion Picture". Also "Star Trek: The Motionless Picture".
  • In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Rocky's "creation scene," where Frank brings him to life. This leads to Audience Participation:
    "Is it soup yet?"
    "Is it soup yet?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Perhaps as Lampshade Hanging, in the Documentary Episode, Walter (whose job it is to make the announcement, and who, at this point in the series, had never been seen to do anything else) painstakingly describes his entire purpose in life, explaining that he usually says "Chevron seven locked" rather than "Chevron seven encoded" just for a bit of variety.
    • Stargate SG-1 also periodically uses a passing-through-the-wormhole animation for similar purposes. It's also the Trope Namer, as despite the movie using the exact same format, it was not really intended as filler, but suspense. On one occasion, when O'Neill while under the influence of an Ancient Repository of Knowledge rigs the computer to dial an address automatically, Walter goes through with the chevron announcements anyway despite having no control over the dialing. The characters are all thrown for a loop, though, when Walter announces the seventh chevron... and the gate continues to dial an eighth one. Since at the time it was believed that every stargate in the universe could be reached via a 7-chevron address, this time the announcement actually was dramatic.
    • The reason Earth's stargate goes through all this rigamarole is because it lacks the control console (which they refer to as a DHD, for "Dial Home Device") which is connected to most offworld gates. Without a DHD, they're forced to use a jury-rigged dialing computer and a manual dialing method that involves spinning the inner wheel and locking the chevrons in sequence. Activating a gate with a working DHD can be compared to a touch-tone phone (the chevrons engage as fast as you can hit the buttons), while dialing Earth's gate is more like the old-style rotary pulse dialing.
  • Subverted in the first episode of Stargate Atlantis, when the Atlantean gate is first activated. Dr. McKay starts in on the chevron announcement, but stops and just pushes all seven buttons in rapid succession after Dr. Weir gives him a dirty look.
  • Stargate Universe does this, without a trace of irony (because that wouldn't be Dark or Edgy) for all nine chevrons. Twice! But thankfully they don't bother doing it beyond that point, even though the old-style rotary gate dials slowly enough. Though the first nine chevron dialing could be deemed as being as dramatic as the (now standard) seven were in the original movie. Lampshaded by Rodney McKay in "Seizure"': "I may just be the brilliant scientist relegated to shouting out the obvious in terms of chevrons here, but..."
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): "Jumping" the ship via FTL takes as long as the plot demands. In the miniseries it's a lengthy sequence of Gaeta counting down as the crew brace themselves before the ship moves. In subsequent episodes it's usually reduced to someone shouting "Jump!" and a quick burst of CGI unless there's something partiuclarly dramatic going on. e.g. they're being chased or someone got lost.
  • Parodied in The Colbert Report with an episode of Tek Jansen. "Engage front landing thruster!" "Front landing thruster engaged." "Engage rear landing thruster!" "Rear landing thruster engaged", etc for about 5 different landing thrusters, and a long, slow view of each one being engaged. It took up most of the short.
  • iCarly: In 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. (you don't say the one).
  • Power Rangers (and all of the similar series), where they show the exact same transformation ritual scenes every episode. However, it goes by a lot faster than a lot of other examples. The Zord summoning can go on in some series, though.
    • Season 2 was particularly egregious about this, going from the rangers holding their hands up and calling their zords in unison in season 1 to each character having an individual "Super Sentai" Stance for his or her zord, followed by the Zord changing from its season one form into its season two form - something you'd think would only need to be done once.
    • Power Rangers Samurai was terrible for this - whilst later seasons would have lengthy sequences for each Ranger morphing & summoning their zords, after the second or third episode showing the full sequence, it would usually be shortened down & whichever Rangers were morphing were shown on a splitscreen. Samurai, however, would continue to show the full length morph sequence for each Ranger consecutively, and then do the same thing for each of the zords on top of that, until well into the season.
  • Legend of the Seeker: When Kahlan uses her Mind Control "Confession" thing on somebody the first time, the clouds part, the sky darkens, thunder rumbles, her eyes go black, and she passes out for nearly a minute. Averted, in that the production quickly tones it down for subsequent uses. By the second season, she barely breaks her stride.
  • The original Adam West Batman (1966) series: "Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed"... then the rocket engine ignites, they take off out of Bronson Canyon... and off to Gotham City, past that sign stating, "Gotham City 14 miles."
  • Vulcan mind melds in Star Trek tend to involve a mantra similar to "My mind to your mind. My thoughts to your thoughts. Our minds are merging." By the end of Voyager, though, Tuvok's mind melds usually just consisted of "My mind to your mind."
  • In the fourth season of the original series of Knight Rider, KITT gets a Super Pursuit Mode upgrade that allows him super-speed. This is achieved with various aerodynamic bits and winglets popping out, with the same stock footage used over and over. By the end of the season this was occasionally omitted or achieved in a jump-cut. On the other hand, sometimes it was used multiple times an episode.
  • Thunderbirds has International Rescue heading out to much drama, right down to Thunderbird 2's loading procedures. Say it with me: "Five! *chord* Four! *chord*...."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Pro wrestling uses several techniques to fill time, either so that wrestlers can communicate more easily to plan out the next piece of action, or to allow them to take a breather after a period of intensity. Such moves are known as 'rest holds', and are usually weak-looking submission holds that most fans have worked out by now will almost never actually result in a submission. The other favourite trick is the "double impact" move, where both wrestlers hit a move on each other at the same time (usually either a clothesline, dropkick or flying body block) and both spend a period of time on the mat recovering.
  • Some wrestlers have introductions long enough to qualify for this, usually wrestlers who go on at the end of a show, when it's clear how much time there is to fill before the show ends. Some have a certain routine to go through on the way to the ring, Others just walk very slowly. The Undertaker does both. At one point, enough wrestlers had slow entrances that fans were placing bets on whose would be longest on a given night.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Gerry Anderson's works tended to suffer from this, most prominently breakout hit Thunderbirds: The first time you see the full Technology Porn-laden launch sequence for each craft, it's cool. By the sixth or seventh the novelty has honestly begun to wear off. They cut down the length of such sequences in later works, and in the case of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons ' infamous Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle requisitioning scenes actually came up with a different set every time to show that SPECTRUM is Crazy-Prepared enough to cache these things all over the globe. But even then it got to be an Overused Running Gag and The Remake did away with it apart from a couple of homages.

    Video Games 
  • Frequently in video games to disguise load times. An especially notorious example is the opening door from the Resident Evil games; although the much faster loading times of the PS2 and the Gamecube technically mean it's not necessary, it was left due to tradition in Code: Veronica, RE 0 and the RE 1 remake, and wasn't dropped until Resident Evil 4.
    • The PC version of Resident Evil also had them, but they were skippable (after the game finished loading, at least, something barely noticeable even on contemporary machines).
  • Mass Effect. Slowest elevators the universe has ever seen. People claim that they hate the game for no other reason than that those endless elevator-sequences drives them to distraction. Admittedly, when there's some plot relevant announcement or witty comrade banter it's not too bad, but the rest... egh. The Unreal engine can do much better than that. (Also fixed in the PC version.) Mocked here by Penny Arcade. Arguably the worst is the elevator on the Normandy. Going down one level? Almost thirty seconds. No music. No radio. No other characters talking. And then you have to go back up when you want to go somewhere else in the ship!
    "There are 27 lines of bricks in this damn elevator." "But have you named them yet?"
    • The PC version isn't completely immune:
      Normandy: Stand by shore party. Decontamination in progress... Decontamination in progress... Decontamination in progress... Decontamination in progress...note 
      Shepard: Come on!
      • The sequel replaces the elevator rides with loading movies, which is probably worse, since you just get a video of something happening regardless of how long the actual load took. While the original Normandy was all one level with no additional loading, the second one has to load every floor, including the captain's quarters, which consists of one room (granted, this one loads pretty fast). What made it worse was that movies had to run for the whole duration each time. A simple mod that replaced movies with a static image showed that actual loading times could be, on faster PCs, under a second, whereas watching the "loading" movie would extend it to 10 or 15 seconds.
    • Mass Effect had another example with the pre-mind-meld speech given by the Asari commando on Feros. Averted later; whenever Liara melds with Shepard all she says beforehand is "Embrace eternity!", and by the end of her romance arc she doesn't even need that much.
    • One of the things Mass Effect: Andromeda got flak for was the inexplicably long time it takes to open any door in Kadara Port. This process normally finishes in under a second everywhere else, but on Kadara it can take ten seconds or more. And no, this doesn't actually disguise the loading of the areas behind the doors; they load just as quickly as every other hub in the game. The most common assumption as to the reason behind this is that the "open door" animation was accidentally switched with the "hack door" animation during development. Unsurprisingly, a mod that trims Kadara door opening times down to normal levels is among the most popular on the Nexus.
  • Metroid Prime had load time elevators but they were pretty short due to the quick load time of the Gamecube and awesome because it was the best way to check out suit upgrades. The more annoying version was that doors sometimes stayed closed until the rooms behind them finished loading. In a sub-series with much Backtracking, that got old really fast, especially in Metroid Prime: Hunters where there were Timed Missions that kept the timer counting down while you had to wait for the doors to open.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and The Two Thrones played an animation in full when loading, forcing you to watch the entire animation even if the actual load time was a fraction of a second. This could, fortunately, be avoided by manually deleting the videos files in question.
  • Steel Battalion deserves a special mention here because it actually has you, the player, engage your own chevrons. Five switches on the game's almost absurd flight-stick-esque controller were dedicated to being flipped on during the start-up sequence before each mission, then off again between missions.


    Western Animation 
  • Voltron's Transformation Sequence. Especially Vehicle Voltron, which would go on to be ruthlessly mocked by Robot Chicken.
    • The length of transformation became a plot point in Voltron Force, when a super-fast Robeast actually attacks Voltron during the transformation — the first time that's ever happened. In a bit of Leaning on the Fourth Wall, they analyze the battle and it's stated it takes Voltron about 36 seconds to combine, exactly the length of both the original series' transformation, and the sequence for this one. Subsequently, they create a new "Flashform" technique that cuts down on the time.
    • Voltron: Legendary Defender is no different when it comes to the Transformation Sequence. It can come off as a bit Narm-y at times, especially since it's often done at the episode's climax where it's intended to be a Moment of Awesome, but the fact that it's the same Stock Footage that goes on for ages makes it seem more like a Running Gag.
  • The Saban Gatchaman translation Eagle Riders. There was a roll call routine every time the Chickenship launched. Every. Friggin'. Time. There were only five on the team.
    Joe Thax: All Eagle Riders security checked and present.
  • Code Lyoko has quite a lengthy and very often copy-pasted sequence of the gang traveling from their school to the factory, then finally being virtualized into Lyoko almost Once per Episode.
  • Almost every 22-minute episode of Miraculous Ladybug includes shot-for-shot duplicates of all of the following:
    • Hawk Moth opens his window, captures a butterfly, evilizes it, and it flies out the window.note 
    • Ladybug's transformation sequence.
    • Cat Noir's transformation sequence.
    • Ladybug's Lucky Charm power sequence.
    • Cat Noir's Cataclysm power sequence.
    • Ladybug captures the butterfly and uses her de-evilize sequence, and throws the Lucky Charm in the air to create the World-Healing Wave.
    • Ladybug and Cat Noir's fist bump (Not always used, however).
    • Final shot of Hawk Moth in his base closing the window.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and its Spinoff She-Ra: Princess of Power each had their own very similar Once per Episode Transformation Sequence that would show each character transforming both themselves and their Animal Companion into their superheroic identities
    Prince Adam: By the Power of Grayskull! I AM HE-MAN!
    Adora: For the Honor of Grayskull! I AM SHE-RA!
    • The 2021 reboot of He-Man would also have a rather lengthy Transformation Sequence (With the invocation of "By the Power of Grayskull, I have the power!" this time around), but this time for five characters each with their own unique transformation scenes, and later on, the villains themselves would acquire these too, making for rather lengthy sequences of transformations. Though the show did manage to cut down on time by having the transformation sequences either overlap, or have them trimmed down slightly as the series went on. Season 3 in particular actually made very light use of the full-length transformation sequences, and in several occasions didn't even show the sequence at all for some of the transformations.
  • Gerry Anderson Productions had learned their lesson about this trope by the time of Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet. The Fighter-Launching Sequence was animated in elaborate, Technology Porn-laden detail for the pilot, but when it was reused in other episodes only the last few seconds were shown.

    Real Life 
  • Although it's for a very good reason, this occurs a lot in real life with many operations requiring the reading out of long and sometimes quite repetitive checklists. A well known example is the launch of a Space Shuttle, but a more common example occurs before and at various times during a commercial airliner flight. Safety is obviously the main purpose here, but particularly for televised events like a shuttle launch, it does add to the drama considerably.
    • The Shuttle is particularly funny, because the countdown has "built-in holds". For missions to the ISS, the launch window is only five minutes long; if you don't hit it, there's a scrub. So they have a clock saying it's X amount of time before the launch, but it's really more than that, and they stop the clock now and then for a predetermined amount of time, so that by the time the final hold is over, the displayed time to launch is equal to the actual time to launch. This probably doesn't make a whole lot more or less sense than Daylight Saving Time if you really think about it...
      • According to NASA, "Pauses in the countdown, or 'holds,' are built into the countdown to allow the launch team to target a precise launch window, and to provide a cushion of time for certain tasks and procedures without impacting the overall schedule. For the space shuttle countdown, built-in holds vary in length and always occur at the following times: T-27 hours, T-19 hours, T-11 hours, T-6 hours, T-3 hours, T-20 minutes, and T-9 minutes." Activities during the holds can range from being as important as clearing personnel away from the launch site and preparing tracking antennas or as apparently trivial as vacuuming the crew module.
    • All aviation checklists derive from a fatal accident that killed two test pilots when Boeing's prototype B-17 crashed in 1935. As grimly noted on the other wiki, modern pilots who operate without checklists can fall victim to the same error as the first B-17: leaving the "gust locks" engaged and rendering their aircraft uncontrollable.