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First Installment Wins

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"It's like Star Trek: The Next Generation — in many ways it's superior, but will never be as recognized as the original."
Wayne, Wayne's World

There's a general trend that when people consume works, especially serial works, they read/watch/listen in publication order. Which means "everyone" saw the first installment, most people saw the second, many people saw the third... the earlier it is in the series, the more familiar it is amongst the general populace. The culmination of this is that the very first installment (and, going even further, the first couple scenes, even) will be the one that is the most familiar by a wide margin.


However, this is not true with all works. Creators anticipate that audiences may start a work during the middle of airing, so add tropes such as Soft Reboot to facilitate audience entry to that installment of the work. This provides a contrast where some installments of a series are more well-known or popular than others. Installments can range in size, proportional to the series. A franchise with three Sequel or Spinoff series can consider each one an installment, and each series can consider the first episode the first installment of that series. Examples should clearly define the scope of the series and why a given installment is first. William Hartnell, of Doctor Who, represents the first installment of the entire multimedia franchise, whereas Christopher Eccleston can only be considered the first installment of the "nu-who" revival.


Still, to "win", one of the Doctors would have to be better known than all of the others. By now it's recognized as never happening, and Whovians will often introduce themselves by "their" Doctor, which might be the second, fourth, twelfth, or whatever installment. Other works tend not to have the same struggles, and this page contains many examples of works that have embedded their first installments into the public consciousness far beyond what their successive installments have achieved.

Concepts that help form this Audience Reaction are Nostalgia Filter, Sequelitis, and Small Reference Pools. Concepts that work against this reaction are Contested Sequel (when the first installment has a Broken Base), Early Installment Weirdness (when the first installment feels strange to fans of the second) and Sophomore Slump (where the third installment of a series turns out to be better than the second, and possibly even the first).


Note: inversions may be listed in Sequel Displacement (or Adaptation Displacement), where one of the successive installments (including adaptations) has become vastly more popular than the original. Reactions similar to the inversion are Surprisingly Improved Sequel and Even Better Sequel, where the successive installment is considered better than the earlier installment, which often makes it more popular as well.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • There have been several Beyblade anime series, but the Bakuten Shoot Beyblade series that started it is the most well-known.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura is an odd example. The most iconic outfit for Sakura is a pink and white one she wears on the cover of the first volume (manga) and the first opening (anime) (see it here), but never actually appears in the story proper. Despite one gimmick of the series being not repeating outfits.
  • Most people will be aware of Digimon Adventure, maybe Digimon Adventure 02 if you're (really) lucky, but probably won't even know there were any further anime series beyond 02, let alone that there are now six. And then Toei announced another sequel to Adventure long after Digimon Xros Wars finished its run, with little to say about the characters that debuted in 02! And then they release the first five minutes of said sequel where the little they said about said characters is that "They're beaten up by a new Digimon. Let's never mention them again."
  • The original Fist of the North Star manga can be divided into two eras: everything up to the end of the Raoh saga (or what was adapted into the first TV series) and everything afterward (the second TV series). The majority of the later anime and manga spin-offs, as well as the numerous video games based on the franchise tend to be based on or set around the former era, with even side characters like Juza or Amiba often getting more exposure than the major players from the later era like Falco and Kaioh.
    • The 1984 TV anime by Toei Animation is also by far the most well-known adaptation of the manga, to the point where fans use it as the basis for what an adaptation of Fist of the North Star should be like. It helps that the anime constantly receives high amounts of praise for its use of music and voice acting to convey the right kinds of emotions from certain scenes, leading many to call it the adaptation with a heart.
  • Gundam: the original series has the most spin-offs and merchandise, including video games, models, toys, manga, etc. etc. Outside of Japan, however...
  • Everyone knows that the eponymous Haruhi Suzumiya is God; fewer people realise that this explanation of her powers has held little canonical currency since Melancholy, the first book in the series (and even then, it was implied that Koizumi wasn't being entirely serious). A little more justified than other examples in that most of the later books haven't been made into an anime yet, which was even more true prior to the release of season 2 and the Disappearance movie.
  • µ's, the first group of the Love Live! franchise, remains the most popular and influential group outside of the series' fanbase despite the strong success of Aqours and Nijigasaki, with many of its members, songs and memes being more easily recognizable to non-fans.
  • Mazinger Z has got a lot of sequels (Great Mazinger, UFO Robo Grendizer...), alternate series (God Mazinger, New Mazinger, Shin Mazinger Zero...) and reimaginations (Mazinkaiser, Shin Mazinger...). Neither of them has got the success, the impact or the popularity enjoyed the original series. Of course, Mazinger Z fans tend to think the original series was better, and the sequels and remakes did not live up to its legacy.
  • Naruto:
    • Out of all the movies for Naruto, the most well known and the most liked is Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, the first one and usually the only one that people who write Fan Fiction for Naruto adapt. As for Shippuden, ironically enough the first movie during the second half of the series is arguably second in popularity. However, from a financial standpoint, Boruto: Naruto the Movie, the eighth Shippuden film and the last Naruto movie overall, is the most popular out of ALL the movies since it made the most money (Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow made the third most).
    • This trope can also apply to the Naruto series as a whole. Naruto receives more praise than Naruto Shippuden which suffers from an Annihilated Base — though everyone generally agrees that the last eighty or so episodes of Filler in the original series means it's not by that large of a margin. Boruto also had a hard time keeping up with the reputation of Naruto thanks to its Lighter and Softer first several dozens episodes and its Base-Breaking Character protagonist.
  • Noir, the first installment of Bee Train's Girls with Guns trilogy, remains by far the most famous and popular one, despite Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja's virtues.
  • Outlaw Star sure has a huge fanbase, but the majority of them never watched the spin-off show Angel Links. Now, this trope is inverted when you trace back to the root of this franchise — a manga series that a lot didn't read, either.
  • Pokémon:
    • Everyone knows of the first movie of the Pokémon anime. People also tend to know about the next two. But people outside the fandom are typically oblivious to the fact that there are over 17 films and counting.
    • The first season of the anime (Indigo League) is also the most recognized outside of the fanbase. Not to mention that out of all the theme songs of the Pokémon anime that have been made in the US, the first theme is considered by many to be the best and is easily the most recognized. A new cover of the original theme was composed for the XY series. The Johto League Champions season uses the first verse, but afterwards diverges into its own theme.
    • A fair amount of fans dislike the XY Mega Evolution Specials for their more serious stories and the older lead of Alain; preferring the more idealistic take on the series with Ash.
  • When non-fans discuss Pokémon Adventures they tend to discuss the Kanto and Johto arcs. This is especially common because most of the frequently-cited violent moments (like the Cloyster being killed by Giovanni or the zombie Psyduck scene) come from the first Kanto arc. It helps that the RGBY arc was the only one translated in many places for several years.
  • According to a 2019 NHK poll on the whole Pretty Cure franchise, The original season Futari wa Pretty Cure utterly dominates: it is the most favorite season, its two main Cures are the two most favorite Cures, and its opening song DANZEN! Futari wa Pretty Cure, with its multiple versions, made the list three times at positions 1, 5 and 11. The only aspect it did not top the charts is side characters, with the fairy Pollun only made to the 11th place.
  • Robotech fans are most passionate about the Super Dimension Fortress Macross Saga. It's also the most familiar installment to those who might only be casually familiar with Robotech. Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (The Masters) and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (The New Generation) have their fans, but their lack of recognition may have to do with merchandising in Japan. The Valkyrie mecha (Veritech Fighter) has become an institution in and of itself. The Spartus hovertank and Alpha Fighter...not so much. It's reflective of how the original shows were also received in Japan; Macross has become a respectable Long Running franchise in its own right, while there has been little interest in revisiting the settings of Southern Cross and MOSPEADA.
  • Whenever Sailor Moon is brought up in popular culture, the shout-outs will usually have only the first five Senshi, Queen Beryl as the main villain, and Sailor Moon will be in her iconic red, white, and blue costume. If you are lucky, Sailor Pluto or Chibiusa might appear. The fact that Sailor Moon Crystal is a remake (so far) of the first two storylines can count as this too (especially since many fans were hoping for a new story). Also the live-action series; it was a stand-alone show that only retold the first storyline. In fact, while the re-dub of the original series is considered vastly superior quality, with better voice-acting, uncut episodes, and no Cut-and-Paste Translation, it's the original DIC version from The '90s that many people still talk about, probably for that very same reason (and the well-regarded soundtrack).
  • Any Shout-Out to Saint Seiya almost always refer to the Gold Saints or something from the Sanctuary arc in general. Poseidon and Hades arcs are never brought up. Probably justified for the Hades arc, in that it took OVER A DECADE for it to get animated.
  • The first main story arc of School-Live!! (Chapters 1-30) and the anime adaptation are far more well-known and critically acclaimed then the University arc that came out afterwards in the manga (Which has a very mixed reception amongst fans). In particular most fanart and discussion about the series tends to be based on the anime and the first portion of the manga.
  • Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers: Many American fans are familiar with ''The Quest for Iscandar' portion but don't realize that the Star Force will also fight the Comet Empire and the Bolar Federation. Both sequel series had been imported to the U.S, albeit the Bolar Wars was brought over a few years after the first two and not as widely distributed.
  • When They Cry:
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! was a multi-million dollar smash hit when imported overseas. While the card game is still popular enough to warrant dubbing the series, most fans of the original won't accept anything from GX and onward.note 

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf. The general public is most familiar with the plot and jokes from Season 1, despite the show changing drastically in the years since. This is understandable when you consider that Season 1 has the most episodes out of any season of the show (530 episodes, to be precise), it still airs in some countries, and people tend to stop following the show after Season 1.

    Comic Books 
  • Heroes who become a Legacy Character will often be mostly well known for the original, not for their successors. This is usually because of Replacement Scrappy reasons, but most of the time, the first is the one who most know of. If asked on the street about the names of Robin or Venom, if they know any, it will be Dick Grayson and Eddie Brock (justified in Brock's case, as the second Venom is almost completely unheard of as he appeared for two issues then died, the third was more popular and well known for his role as Scorpion, and the latest Venom is only about a few years old), and if asked to describe the character, the descriptions will likely be along the lines of 'wears shorts, says "Holy X Batman!" a lot, and gets captured' and 'Big, scary, black, pluralizes himself, was a reporter like Peter', which describe Dick and Eddie.
    • A lot of it comes down to publicity though, as most adaptations, which are the usual way non-comic book fans learn any info at all about a character, will only get time to use the first or most well known version or take on them and as such, they're the only one people know of. As such, most people only know of the original, and will be surprised to know of them being replaced.
    • Jason Todd's infamous phone in vote on whether he would live or die got national coverage due to the fact that most people thought it was Dick Grayson who they were voting to kill off, and likely resulted in him getting more votes.
    • Ask someone on the street who Supergirl is and they will describe a blond girl wearing a female version of Superman's costume and who happens to be Clark Kent's cousin. Ask them about her name and "Kara" is the only one you will get. No one will mention or describe Matrix or human Linda Danvers. Supergirl's writer Peter David tells that his book -featuring human Linda Danvers- hardly sold anything because most of fans only cared for the original Kara Zor-El who was Kryptonian's Superman cousin. Of course, ''her live-action show has solidified this.
    • Dan DiDio has used this as justification for replacing many characters with their Silver Age incarnations, specifically Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon).note 
    • There are certain exceptions to this. Notably, John Stewart is highly visible among many people thanks to his appearance in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. It got to the point that when the (flopped) Green Lantern movie came out, many people wondered why he wasn't black. There are also cases like Blue Beetle and Nova, where the more recent iterations have had far more mainstream exposure than the originals.
    • Another exception is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Ant-Man movie stars the Scott Lang incarnation of the character rather than Hank Pym, the Silver Age Ant-Man, while the Captain Marvel movie stars the more recent Carol Danvers version of the character instead of Mar-Vell.
  • YMMV as to whether or not Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is masterful or overrated, but when its sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, was released, it marked the beginning, for many fans, of the Creator Breakdown of Frank Miller. Things only got worse when All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder came out, whether you accept it as a prequel or not.
  • Superman: Earth One turned out to be pretty popular despite being the umpteen-trillionth version of Superman's origin and advertised as somehow similar to Twilight. Batman: Earth One — as the umpteenth-billion version of Batman's early days — was nothing special, especially since it was released just after DC's New 52 line hit the stands, and Volume 2 of the Superman series tried to be Spider-Man 2 but was more of a Star Trek Into Darkness.
  • While the second and third issues of My Little Pony: FIENDship Is Magic have divided the fanbase on if they're good or not, Sombra's issue is not only agreed to be excellent by most, but is considered better than either of the two issues following. Issues four and five got back some of that affection, but only the latter is considered a challenger to the quality of Sombra's issue.
  • The original El Eternauta is widely regarded as a masterpiece and the greatest Argentinian comic ever made. Perceptions of the various sequels and follow-ups range from okay but not as good as the first, to angry leftist propaganda disguised as comics, to cheap, disgraceful tie-in crap that has no right to exist.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Recess: School's Out is a lot more well known and more well received by fans than either Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade and Recess: All Growed Down. Plus, the other two were released Direct to Video, and Recess: All Growed Down consisted of three previous episodes of the show it's based on, a never-before-seen origin story, and linking material, though Disney refers to it as a movie.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first film in the Disney Animated Canon, is often considered the best of Walt Disney's films. Disney viewed Bambi as the best, leading to Magnum Opus Dissonance.
  • ''Steamboat Willie", Mickey Mouse's first sound appearance, is by far the most referenced of Mickey's shorts. Fortunately, it also happens to be one of the funniest of Mickey's cartoons.
  • Every single Disney Animated Canon film with a non-canon direct-to-video sequel is always better remembered than its sequel. As for the movies that have canon sequels, Fantasia is generally preferred over Fantasia 2000 while The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under split the base on what movie is to be considered better (the latter admittedly having better animation, as well as more humor, a more menacing villain, and a "rescuee" who was tougher and more heroic).
    • Disney itself often packages canon movies with their DTV sequels for Blu-Ray releases, often giving the sequel equal billing (much to the resentment of the fans). The trailers they upload for these "2-Movie Collections" however generally give the sequels about 10-15% of screentime. This trailer for the Mulan/Mulan II Blu-Ray features clips from only the first film, though it sneaks in a frame of "Mulan II also available" for a few seconds at the end. Conversely, this same thing has dismayed fans of The Rescuers Down Under, who feel it doesn't deserve the same treatment as other Disney sequels.
    • Winnie-the-Pooh is a more complicated example due to it's enormous supply of follow up material, including a canon sequel, four B Team Sequels, a live action adaptation, four TV shows and a near endless amount of holiday specials. While The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is usually the most well regarded with Disney buffs, a lot of it's continuations are still praised for being rare effortful Disney follow ons, with many Pooh fans praising cases such as Pooh's Grand Adventure, The Tigger Movie or even The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh TV series as Growing the Beard moments for the franchise due to more poignant and consistent storytelling.
  • An American Tail has three sequels; Fievel Goes West, The Treasure of Manhattan Island, and The Mystery of the Night Monster. Of the four movies, the original remains the best remembered, probably thanks to the involvement of Don Bluth, although Fievel Goes West is a bit of a Contested Sequel and has its fans.
  • The Land Before Time. The original film is by far the most popular. It's considered to be an excellent piece of work, even for adults... the musical sequels on the other hand tend to be quite disliked. Still, they have scores of fans and an entire forum.
  • LEGO:
    • BIONICLE: Mask of Light is a nostalgic early-2000s Direct to Video film for many. Its two prequels are mostly only remembered by fans. The fourth movie is at times neglected even by them.
    • The LEGO Movie remains the most critically and financially successful of LEGO's theatrical films. While most of the later ones also received warm receptions in their own rights, the majority of viewers seem to find the novelty of the toys reaching the big screen, with more charm and depth than the average Merchandise-Driven cartoon, felt freshest in the original.
  • The first Ice Age film is the best reviewed of the series and the only one nominated for Best Animated Feature. Granted, the series has a status as a Franchise Zombie and none of the sequels are considered universally good by even the fans of the original.
  • Though the other two How to Train Your Dragon movies have their fans, both are also contentious for different reasons, like the Big Bad Draco being a Flat Character, several characters being underutilised and a poor tone balance in the case of the former and a highly divisive ending for the latter. As a result, there are plenty of fans who prefer the first movie for its charm and lacking said contentious elements, and this is reflected in its 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the sequels' lesser (albeit still high) 92% and 91% respective ratings.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Karate Kid: The first film is considered a pop culture classic, with the "wax on, wax off," and the crane stance being the most referenced scenes in the series, even with the second film being considered a strong improvement over the first. Most felt that the third film was mediocre in comparison to the previous two due to the fact that it's just the first movie but a different guy fighting Daniel in the tournament. You also have Daniel's character, who matured a bit in the second film, while in the third he suffered a case of Flanderization. The less said about The Next Karate Kid the better. The 2010 remake/reboot was met with decent critical and fan reception, but didn't leave a lasting impact on pop culture.
  • American Psycho had a DTV sequel, starring Mila Kunis. How bad is it? Patrick Bateman (obviously not played by Christian Bale) dies in the first scene. Murdered. By a little girl.
  • The first Back to the Future film is well-remembered in the popular imagination for many iconic elements, such as the DeLorean time machine, the Spinning License Plate, Marty's performance of "Johnny B. Goode", the clock-tower climax and the ending line "where we're going, we don't need roads". What are the two sequels, which were both really good, remembered for? Hoverboards, Gray's Sports Almanac, and cowboys. But mostly hoverboards.
  • Nobody really remembers the three sequels to the 80s-90s Batman series, as well as they do the original with Jack Nicholson playing The Joker (Batman Forever is really only remembered for "Kiss from a Rose", and, in the case of Batman & Robin, people who do remember it wish they didn't). This extends to people trying to quote the Bat-films, which will usually result in a Jack Nicholson Joker line ("Where does he get all those wonderful toys?" or "You ever dance with the devil by the pale moonlight?" being the most common), although occasionally you'll hear Catwoman or Mr. Freeze quoted instead. Despite Batman Returns having a much more divisive reception than its predecessor, it, too, has quite a few more positively remembered aspects in comparison with what came after (namely, Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman providing people with one of the more entertaining renditions of the character). It could be argued that Tim Burton's era, in general, was this to Joel Schumacher's, although it has arguably subverted this in relation to Christopher Nolan's trilogy (and it's easily an aversion within the Nolan era, as the best known entry to that was the second film).
  • A Christmas Story is far more well known than its direct sequel It Runs in the Family/My Summer Story (an adaptation of another part of the source novel), to the point that its universally panned and even more obscure Direct-to-DVD threequel was titled A Christmas Story 2.
  • The Crow has three sequels, but most people have usually only seen the first one.
  • Cruel Intentions and Wild Things both had several DTV sequels (Cruel Intentions had 2 sequels, while Wild Things had 3)
  • First Blood manages to somehow be both this and Early Installment Weirdness: while the name "Rambo" is more associated with the wanton death and destruction featured in the sequels, the general consensus is that the first movie is still the best, with a more compelling plot and dramatic study of trauma, rather than the mindless jingoistic war porn that followed.
  • The Free Willy films. Yes, there was more than one, proving the point of this trope.
  • Highlander is much better known than its sequels, notably the notorious second one. A common saying among the fandom is "There should have been only one."
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids to its sequels. Honey, I Blew Up the Kid did fairly well, but Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves doesn't hold up as well as the first two movies.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark is quite a bit more well known than its sequels, especially the very first scene. References to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and most importantly Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade do pop up infrequently, especially the latter's earlier parts. Why Did It Have to Be Snakes? indeed. (Also, It Belongs in a Museum.)
  • Jaws had sequels. The second is mostly remembered for the tagline ("Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..."). The other two, for intense decay (culminating in the Voodoo Shark and another famous tagline: "It's Personal"). In a variant, many consider this to apply to all the movies that tried to follow the steps of it, with the first Jaws being the only good movie about sharks.
  • The Matrix: Though the sequels are not without their own share of fans, quite a few see them as inferior films when compared to the original, if they not outright treat them as Fanon Discontinuity.
  • A lot of people try to forget that there are two sequels and a TV spinoff to The NeverEnding Story.
  • Did you know that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has a prequel? Or that The Sting has a sequel? Didn't think so.
  • Charlie Chan spoofs and homages pay little attention to The House Without a Key, which in both film and prose started the Charlie Chan series (the film remains lost as of 2009, however). The "Number One Son" Henry first appeared in the novel Black Camel. Keye Luke played him in the films (in the first film, they explicitly refer to Luke's role as Henry).
  • Psycho has had several sequels, a TV movie and a remake. But the original Alfred Hitchcock film from 1960 still reigns supreme, with the Bates Motel prequel series its closest competition.
  • Road House got a DTV sequel, and Patrick Swayze was originally supposed to reprise his role, but disagreements with him and the filmmakers prevented that from happening, so his character was killed offscreen.
  • This trope very much applies to the Scream sequels.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey vs. its sequels, both cinematic and literary.
  • K-9 had two direct-to-video sequels, though unlike most DTV sequels, these two were a rare case in which the original star (James Belushi) returned.
  • Final Destination, even though the fanbase's split on whether the first or the second installment wins.
  • Saw I is widely regarded as the best Saw movie. Despite having six sequels, most believe that none of them compare to the original; some fans even consider the first movie the only good Saw movie. Ironically, the first movie lacked most of the franchise's signature elements; the deathtraps weren't particularly elaborate nor overly gory, being much more of a psychological thriller about kidnapping victims and the police trying to figure out what happened, to some this is the reason why the first film is the best one.
  • Most Scanners fans don't know that there are three movies in the main series... and that there are FIVE of them if you count the spinoffs. That they are all B Team Sequels is a major factor. Also applies to the other B-Team Sequel to a David Cronenberg film, The Fly II. In this case, fans of the first film are well-aware of its existence and it has support among monster movie fans, but its much less ambitious and complex themes and characters mean it can never be regarded as an equal to its forbear.
  • Film/Summer of '42 was an Academy-Award winning blockbuster with a best-selling tie-in novel whose theme became a pop standard. Even most die-hard fans don't know that it was followed by a critically reviled sequel, Class of '44.
  • You didn't even know there were four sequels to The 400 Blows, did you?
  • James Bond as a whole averts this due to being Third Installment Wins (which is also present regarding Roger Moore's third movie; with Craig, is either Third with Skyfall or plain first with Casino Royale (2006)). But the "definitive 007" is still the first one, and the most well-remembered Dalton and Brosnan and movies are their debuts (The Living Daylights and GoldenEye). And Lazenby only had the one by default (On Her Majesty's Secret Service). And this trope might explain why Honey Rider remains one of the more popular Bond girls.
  • Predator, to the point where people often mistook Predators for the actual Predator 2.
  • Die Hard is the most well known of the series - it even originated an action subgenre!
  • Caddyshack. The first movie was a Cult Classic and is generally accepted to be one of the funniest movies ever. The second movie fell prey to Sequelitis and likely because the cast was replaced. Caddyshack II was enough to end the franchise.
  • Most fans of Starship Troopers don't even realize there are 2 DTV sequels. Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation experiences a major Genre Shift (from sci-fi action to sci-fi horror) and is generally considered to be terrible. Starship Troopers 3: Marauder is a step-up from that, but still much less impressive than the first one due to the scaled-down budget.
  • Many Alien fans prefer to watch Alien and Aliens and then stop there. There are fanbases for Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection (which to be fair are actually okay films - though the over-the-topness of the fourth one is a point of contention - though definitely not as good as the original). Opinions are split on Prometheus; half the Alien fanbase considers it to be an incredible and intriguing new entry into the canon which gives a whole new area of the Alien Universe to explore and accepts it as canon, the other half believes it to be an unoriginal mess of ideas and tries to ignore it.
  • Despite having three theatrical sequels and four DTV installments to its name, the first American Pie is still the most-remembered of the franchise. In addition to being released the most times of any of the films (in both rated/unrated Collector's/Ultimate editions and compilation boxsets), it featured most of the signature moments the series became famous for.
  • The first film in the Friday franchise is definitely the most well-known spawning a whole Fountain of Memes and gaining a huge cult following. Despite that, most fans (not critics) consider Next Friday decent but the less said about Friday After Next, the better. Of course, losing Chris Tucker saw the sequels take a hit in quality.
  • While the whole of the original Star Wars trilogy is beloved, you're more likely to see Whole Plot Reference to A New Hope (the fact that it has the most self-contained story of franchise helps). Although the most referenced moment from the series comes from the second movie. Which fans tend to regard as being the best Star Wars movie as well, though its box office take couldn't match the original. It wasn't until after Return of the Jedi that Empire started to be seen as an Even Better Sequel. And the best-known of the prequels is The Phantom Menace, with cool underused villain Darth Maul, annoying overused comic relief Jar Jar Binks and a lot of preceding hype.
  • Superman: The Movie is usually considered the best of the four films, often garnering the highest star reviews among critics, and having the highest rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is the highest grossing of the Christopher Reeve films, and holds its crown against Broad Strokes sequel Superman Returns and reboot Man of Steel.
  • Ghostbusters (1984) is more popular than its 1989 sequel and the 1980s cartoon that followed, which only added the mood slime and Slimer as the Team Pet to the series. Not even the mid-to-late 1990s animated reboot Extreme Ghostbusters is remembered much (though it has been somewhat Vindicated by History and does have a following by those nostalgic for obscure 1990s cartoons that aired in first-run syndication). And the less said about the 2016 all-female remake, the better.
  • There have been over thirty Godzilla movies, and the original 1954 one is STILL the highest rated on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB and Letterboxd (as well as amongst the fanbase) and the most famous in the popular mind, even if few have actually seen it.
  • Most people consider the first of the Pirates of the Caribbean series to be the best because it was fresh and original in its style and humor, although the second and third were bigger at the box office.
  • Jurassic Park is a widely-acclaimed visual masterpiece, whose two sequels are generally reviled. Although the belated fourth entry Jurassic World was much better received commercially, most people would agree that it doesn't live up to the first film's standards, and its followup Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom even less so (to the point that the reputation of the second film The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which shares some plot points, was slightly upgraded).
  • The first two Home Alone films are considered absolute classics. The next three? Not so much. The only thing that people ever bring up about the third film is that the lead character's older sister was played by a teenage actress named Scarlett Johansson.
  • Did you know that there have been eight official King Kong movies?
    • While the original from 1933 is one of the most referenced and recognizable films of all time, up there with Star Wars, its sequel The Son of Kong failed to make an impact on release and has languished in obscurity ever since.
    • Most people are vaguely aware that Kong fought Godzilla once, but hardly anybody knows about the followup King Kong Escapes, a live-action adaptation of the 60s Kong animated series in which he fights a robotic duplicate of himself (pre-dating Mechagodzilla by seven years!).
    • The 1976 remake is somewhat well known, but not nearly as iconic as the original. Its sequel, King Kong Lives, is basically only known among B-movie connoisseurs for being one of the worst films ever made.
    • The Peter Jackson-helmed remake is also pretty well-known, but again not as much as the original, and certainly not as much as Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Out of The Lord of the Rings films, The Return of the King won the most awards and The Two Towers was the best-reviewed, but in the years since the trilogy's release, The Fellowship of the Ring has proven to be the most well-remembered of them by far. For instance, the Fellowship-exclusive character Boromir is far more well-known than his brother Faramir despite the latter's large role in the sequels, the showdown between Gandalf and the Balrog is the single most iconic moment in the trilogy, a disproportionate number of Fellowship quotes have been immortalized as memes, and Gandalf's grey outfit is far more recognizable than the white one he dons in the sequels.note 
    • The Hobbit trilogy, although far from obscure, is nowhere near as iconic as the prior Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  • Most people remember Orson Welles for his first directorial effort, Citizen Kane.
  • As both the first movie based on Saturday Night Live sketches (though it's been at odds with Wayne's World for a while) and the first in its series, The Blues Brothers is one of the best known of them while Blues Brothers 2000 — and many other SNL movies — proved to be silver screen flops.
  • Quentin Tarantino is an unusual example. His best-known film, Pulp Fiction, was his second directorial effort, but it was the first to see a wide theatrical release.
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the first film ever based on one of Roald Dahl's books, is still indisputably the most iconic and beloved film ever adapted from his work. Ironically enough, it was the least successful at the box office; the most successful was the book's second trip to the big screen, which later faced intense backlash for being seen as an insult to the original. While Matilda and James and the Giant Peach are still cult classics, and generally more respected today than the 2005 Charlie, neither of them are quite on the level as the 1971 Willy Wonka.
  • The third installment of The Godfather trilogy is nowhere near as well-known and celebrated as the first two, or even its rival 1990 Mafia film, Goodfellas.
  • Scary Movie serves for both its own series (though the third has its fans) and the ouvre of co-writers Seltzer and Friedberg, who went on to make their own Narrow and Shallow Parody films with the suffix "Movie" (Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie), almost universally hated by critics. Although it wasn't their actual first screenwriting gig, that being Spy Hard.
  • RoboCop has quite a few sequels as well as a 2014 remake, but most likely will never match the 1987 original in terms of reception and impact on pop culture, with its ultra-violence and memorable quotes.
  • The first Transformers is widely considered the best (aside from Bumblebee), as it is devoid of all the problems caused by Sequel Escalation, such as overtly complicated plots and action scenes that border on Sensory Overload.
  • Zig-zagged with the Hannibal Lecter films. Of the three film Hannibal adaptations starring Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs is neither being the first chronological film (Red Dragon), nor even the most financially successful film (Hannibal). It also wasn't the first adaptation of the Thomas Harris novels; a separate adaptation of Red Dragon was brought to film five years prior. Silence however was the first film of the Anthony Hopkins trilogy that was produced (Hannibal and Red Dragon both entered production roughly a decade afterwards), and the first Hannibal film to find critical and commercial success, as Manhunter received polarizing reviews and grossed roughly half its budget in its original release. Even with Manhunter later being reconsidered in critical stature for its performances and art direction, Silence remains the most acclaimed and most referenced Hannibal film across not only the Hopkins trilogy, but all of the Hannibal adaptations overall.
  • The first Police Academy, while often viewed as little more than 80s slapstick, is still the best of the series. A certain portion still consider the 2nd and 3rd to be "good", but after that the less said the better.
  • Full Metal Jacket is an odd example. Everyone remembers the first half well, due to several funny moments from Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, but the second half, which is actually set in Vietnam, aside from a few notable moments (the Da Nang prostitute, the door gunner) isn't as well known as the first.
  • Most fans of the first Hellraiser probably aren't aware of how prolific a franchise is— as of 2020, there are ten films in the series, including a whopping six DTV sequels, all but two of which star Doug Bradley. One of them, Hellseeker, even functions as a direct sequel to the second film in the franchise. In terms of the big horror franchises of the 80s and 90s, this actually places Hellraiser second only to the Friday the 13th series in terms of the number of entries.
  • In the Austin Powers trilogy, only the first film, International Man of Mystery holds up today due to the sequels' jokes becoming Unintentional Period Pieces and overuse of gags. The sequels have since been Condemned by History because of this.
  • The Universal Horror classics are almost, well, universally examples of this. The originals —Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Invisible Man in the first wave, The Wolf Man a decade later, and Creature from the Black Lagoon a decade after that — spawned sixteen sequels, not including the Abbott and Costello comedies. Of those 16, Bride of Frankenstein is almost universally (there it is again) considered an Even Better Sequel; Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is remembered for Canon Welding the gang into a shared universe; and, for those who have seen it, Dracula's Daughter is a Contested Sequel in terms of comparison to the original's quality. The rest, well...

  • In an odd case of this happening to a portion of a single book, most people don't know that there is more to Gulliver's Travels than just the Lilliput section. This gets compounded by a lot of publishers choosing only to publish that section.
  • Proust's In Search of Lost Time: only "The Way By Swann's" (volume one of seven) is at all known; it contains the famous madeleine reminiscence (which also comes right at the beginning of the volume). There is a bookshop with about seven copies of Vol. I on the shelf, and one or two each of all the others: they know most people give up.
  • Older Than Print: Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy: Inferno is a cultural touchstone. Purgatorio and Paradiso, meanwhile, are the province of literary professors.
  • Beowulf has three sections, each linked to the monster that Beowulf fights. His first fight with Grendel is by far the most famous. Not surprisingly, Grendel has become a somewhat famous mythical monster, even inspiring a Twice-Told Tale (John Gardner's Grendel) in which he is the antihero of the story. Grendel's mother and the dragon, neither even having a name, are not nearly as well remembered.
  • Most people have heard of King Solomon's Mines. H. Rider Haggard's other fourteen Allan Quatermain books: not so much.
  • The second part of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is much less popular than the first.
  • Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland, which is actually two books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel (by popular demand), Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Since the Disney movie is almost completely based on the former, most people are most familiar with the first book. That is not to say that elements of Through the Looking Glass have not also entered into popular culture, including Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Jabberwock, and Humpty Dumpty's famous quote, "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
  • Robinson Crusoe got two sequels, The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe and Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe (although the last one is a series of essays to which Crusoe's name was added in order to boost sales).
  • Anne of Green Gables (by L. M. Montgomery) goes on to become Anne of Avonlea, The Island, Windy Poplars, her own House of Dreams, and Ingleside - then her kids take over. A popular "boxed set" of this series includes only the first three books.
  • Catch-22 received a sequel called Closing Time. It was written 33 years after the original novel and has essentially been ignored. Nothing else Joseph Heller ever wrote came close to Catch-22 in popularity. His rather brilliant comment on the situation:
    When I read something saying I've not done anything as good as Catch-22 I'm tempted to reply, "Who has?"
  • A Wrinkle in Time is the most famous of L'Engle's Time Quintet partially because of the tidy little Newbery Award on the cover.
  • Land of Oz:
  • Almost no one knows The Giver has three sequels, rendering all those English essays about the "ambiguous" ending completely moot. One of the "sequels" only barely references The Giver, another is plenty ambiguous itself, but the third clearly explains the ending of the original.
  • Everyone knows about Little Women. Its sequels, Little Men and Jo's Boys however... not so much. In the UK only the first half of Little Women is known, because the second part was published separately as Good Wives.
  • Although not the first book when read chronologically, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first book written in The Chronicles of Narnia and by far the best remembered. Some theorize that's why the film adaptation of Prince Caspian did not do as well.
  • Paradise Lost, in which John Milton attempts to justify the ways of God to men, is a triumph of literature. Four years later, he wrote Paradise Regained, which is now considered important only in the ways that it relates to Paradise Lost.
  • Ender's Game is definitely the most popular book in its the series. Ironically, Orson Scott Card only expanded the short story upon which it's based so he could provide backstory for Speaker for the Dead, the story he really wanted to tell.
  • Left Behind. Would you believe that, counting the three prequels, there are SIXTEEN books in the series? The later ones tend to suffer a bit from Arc Fatigue.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is probably as famous as or more famous than the earlier The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. But Twain's next two sequels, Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective? Not so much. (Yeah, that's right, Alan Moore didn't make up that part about Tom being an action hero.)
  • The Mysterious Island is much less well known than 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
  • Many people know Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers but not the sequel, 20 Years After. The next sequel, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, is split into multiple parts, of which only the last, The Man in the Iron Mask, is well known.
  • Thanks to a well-known movie version, The Talented Mr. Ripley is much better known than its four sequels (though some of them have been made into movies too).
  • Scarlett was the sequel to Gone with the Wind. Bet most of you didn't even know there was one, Timothy Dalton fans not included. It was written by another author after Margaret Mitchell died and generally regarded as a cheap attempt to cash in on the demand for a sequel. Mitchell's Estate regards Scarlett as non-canon, but commissioned an official sequel titled Rhett Butler's People.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped is still regarded as a classic of 19th-century literature. Practically nobody even knows there was a sequel, Catriona.
  • The Black Stallion is a series spanning over 20 books. Most people have only read the first few though.
  • Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book was followed by The Second Jungle Book just over a year later. Despite this, many people remain unaware that there was a second, even though it's arguably better than the first. Many readers also tend to remember the first three stories of The Jungle Book, i. e. the those that feature Mowgli, much better than the other four, in which he does not appear. There were also editions where the Mowgli stories from both Jungle Books were collected in one volume and all the others in the other; guess which one of those readers would remember better.
  • Dodie Smith wrote The Hundred and One Dalmatians, which was made into two different Disney movies and is thusly very well known and popular. She also wrote a sequel called The Starlight Barking, of which very few people have even heard, to the point that when Disney did sequels to its films based on her book, neither had anything to do with the plot of the actual book sequel. The Genre Shift to vaguely Twilight Zone-esque soft science fiction and the plot full of weapons-grade Mind Screw may have something to do with this.
  • Roald Dahl wrote a sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which is not nearly as well remembered. One reason for this is that Dahl hated the first film adaptation of Chocolate Factory so much that he ordered his estate to ensure that the sequel would never be adapted for film. While it had a stage play adaptation, that's only one adaptation compared to the many, many adaptations Chocolate Factory has enjoyed in various media.
  • Happens a lot with Latin texts, as most likely, a student had to translate the first part of an author's work, but not the rest. Most Latin students have read Cicero's First Catilinarian Oration ("To what end, Catiline, do you abuse our patience?"), but not the other three. Most have read the beginning of Caesar's The Gallic War ("All of Gaul was divided into three parts"), but not all eight books.
  • All the aspects of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which have experienced Popcultural Osmosis are exclusively from the first book in the series. You'd be very hard-pressed to find someone aware of anything beyond that book; that it was the only installment adapted for film doesn't help. This also extends to the work of Douglas Adams in general; Hitchhiker's is by far his best-known work, and his other books are dwarfed to a massive degree by it. In a subversion, not many people are aware that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a BBC Radio series before it was a book. (Though the radio series is itself an example: the well-known parts of the story are all from the "primary phase".)
  • Warrior Cats:
    • The first series of Warriors is pretty much universally considered the best of the numerous story arcs (there are five total series planned, plus plenty of Expanded Universe books out.)
    • The other Erin Hunter series' - Seeker Bears, and Survivor Dogs, Bravelands - are financially successful but are not nearly quite as popular, probably because Warriors is a tough act to follow.
  • Out of all the Watch books, most people know the name Night Watch. Day Watch is also fairly well-known due to the same style of writing. Then you have Twilight Watch and Final Watch, which many non-fans simply haven't heard of, not to mention the two spin-offs (one of which by the co-author of Day Watch). The first novel gained some international fame, mostly due to The Film of the Book.
  • Neuromancer is much more popular and critically acclaimed than the other novels in William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy.
  • Believe it or not, there were books after the original Corduroy.
  • The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder falls victim to this trope, though the effect is enhanced by Adaptation Displacement and Sequel Displacement. The series is known as the Little House on the Prairie series, owing in part to the television show and the fact that said book is the most popular of the series. However, it's not the first book in the series (it's the third), and finding people who even know it is part of a series (of more than eight books) is hit-or-miss.
  • The original Dune novel is still the most popular in the series.
  • Flowers in the Attic is the best known and most notorious of the Dollanganger series. You'll probably get people who didn't even know that there were three sequels and a prequel. It didn't help that for a long time FITA was the only book to receive a film adaptation (at least until Lifetime made adaptations of all the books sans the last).
  • Allen Drury's Advise & Consent was a best-seller that won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, inspired a successful film adaptation and remains a Trope Codifier for the modern Government Procedural. Its sequels have faded into obscurity, largely because they veer into right-wing polemics against Communism, liberals, the UN and minorities. To give you an idea, one book ends with a Soviet takeover of the United States.
  • Beatrix Potter's first entry to the Peter Rabbit series was The Tale of Peter Rabbit from 1901/1902. Potter later made a sequel to the story in 1904 called The Tale of Benjamin Bunny which takes place after the events of the original story and introduces Benjamin Bunny who is Peter Rabbit's cousin. The sequel has Peter's cousin wanting to go to Mr. McGregor's garden while Mr. McGregor and his wife are out for the day. Peter (recovering from a cold after the events of the previous story) tries to stop his cousin from heading into his garden. However Peter throughout the story tries to ask Benjamin that they should leave but Benjamin focuses more on getting food to take home. The story also explains how Peter got his clothes and shoes back since both of them were playing on Mr. McGregor's scarecrow. Benjamin's father later saves the duo by fighting Mr. McGregor's cat using a stick which he later uses to spank the two and later takes Peter back home safety. Not that many people remember that storynote . For that matter, none of Beatrix Potter's other books are as iconic as ''Peter Rabbit.
  • Jean Larteguy's The Centurions, a novel about French troops fighting in Indochina and Algeria, was extremely influential piece of military fiction that became a best-seller, inspired a movie (Lost Command) and introduced the "ticking time bomb" thriller scenario, besides its use by real-life military officers like David Petraeus. Larteguy's sequel, The Prateorians, is mostly forgotten, perhaps because it's more of a political drama focusing on its characters reacting to Charles de Gaulle's 1958 coup d'état.
  • Though not the first book written by Dr. Seuss, most people remember him for the first of his sixteen Beginner Books, The Cat in the Hat.
  • Tales from Watership Down, a collection of short stories in the same 'verse as the original which hardly anyone has ever heard of.
  • Peter David enjoyed quite a bit of popularity with the first book in the Knight Life Series, by comparison, the two sequels got far less attention and reviews, though they were largely positive. Granted, the original title was published in 1987 before being reissued in 2002 with a number of modernized revisions and expansion and was then followed with a sequel the next year and another three years later.
  • The Book of the Dun Cow series by Walter Wangerin, Jr. is an interesting case. The first book, The Book of the Dun Cow, is the most well known book in the series, receiving widespread critical acclaim as well as an off-Broadway theater adaptation. While the sequel, The Book of Sorrows, was also well-received critically, its Darker and Edgier tone (even compared to the already pretty dark first book) made it a tough read for some fans of the original. Then the author rewrote and cut large parts of the second book to fit the third book, causing a Continuity Snarl, leading to criticism from fans of the first two books as they already stood, and making the third book, Peace at the Last, the most divisive of the three. It was quietly published in 2013 with almost none of the first two's fanfare or acclaim.
  • While the follow-up novels were just as critically acclaimed, Dawn and Day don't hold up to Elie Wiesel's Night.
  • The first book in the Twilight series is considered to be the best and is the most well known. While not considered a work of art by any stretch of the imagination, it's seen as an overly long and flawed but enjoyable paranormal teen romance. It's also the lowest stakes book and focused on the romance rather than the world around it. The sequels are a lot more divisive due to Unfortunate Implications (like an eighteen year old boy falling in love with a baby), Wangst, Character Derailment, and lots and lots of Padding.
  • Just William is by far the best-known of Richmal Crompton's long-running series. Most readers couldn't name any of the 38 subsequent books, and may not even be aware of their existence. This often leads to the incorrect assumption that stories and characters not featured in the first one (in particular, Ensemble Dark Horse Violet Elizabeth Bott) were invented for adaptations in other media.
  • The "first few scenes" version holds true for A Study in Scarlet. The first half contains a series of Establishing Character Moments for various characters of the Sherlock Holmes mythos, and is fairly famous. The second half is an American-set flashback detailing the motive of the crime, and even many people who have read the book remember this part hazily if at all.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Star Trek canon, none of the follow-ups or films will match the cultural significance of the Original Series. Furthermore, Star Trek: The Next Generation was much more popular than the other Star Trek shows created after the original. Out of the later shows, Next Generation was the only one that became a film series.
    • In fact, TNG was, by most metrics, more popular than the original series had been during its first-run... but the financial success of the TOS-based movies remains unmatched.
  • When you ask a non-fan about Power Rangers, it would be something about Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (and most likely the first season of it); every Intra-Franchise Crossover episode with more than one returning Ranger team has featured a Mighty Morphin' cast member without fail and every Power Rangers parody is based on Mighty Morphin'.
    • When Disney did a poll for the five most popular Rangers, the only non-MMPR to make the list was Andros from In Space. Not a single Disney-era Ranger charted. In this case, first production company wins. Though it helps by the cast staying around for a lot longer than most of the other Rangers, rather than being replaced every year.
    • It seems like Saban understood this, as when they bought back the franchise, they made sure Power Rangers Samurai was as campy and over-the-top as the original.note 
    • Bandai themselves seemed to love MMPR too, to the point where they seem to have forgotten that their 20th anniversary toyline is for the anniversary of Power Rangers as a whole, not just MMPR.
  • The same thing also applies to Super Sentai. While some series had more postmortem popularity than others (Choujin Sentai Jetman and Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger being respective examples in the early 1990's and the 2000's - and the latter has two 2010's post-series productions to back it up and the pre-Gokaiger Blu-Ray releasenote ), it is Himitsu Sentai Goranger, the very first Sentai, that still gets the most exposure and is the subject of most homages and parodies. And just like the aforementioned Dekaranger, it got the Blu-Ray release. Unlike Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers however, Goranger does not get special attention in Intra-Franchise Crossover stories nor in toylines (though the latter one is explained by Goranger predating Sentai's shift to a Merchandise-Driven nature).
    • Choudenshi Bioman gets this in the Philippines and France as the first Sentai broadcast there, despite Bioman itself being the 8th installment in Super Sentai.
  • The first Kamen Rider series is the one most recognizable in Japan. Not to say that other, more recent series (like Den-O) haven't enjoyed their share of success, but the first series is the one that started it all.
  • In the Ultra Series, the 60s and 70s series (especially the original Ultraman and Ultraseven) are far more famous and popular in Japan (and the west, to a lesser extent) than their 90s-onwards counterparts. That's not to say those series don't enjoy their share of success (as is the case with Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Mebius), but there is a reason why most people think of the older shows when they think "Ultraman" (or even be unaware the franchise is still producing shows today) and the producers tend to bring back older monsters over newer ones.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is Netflix first live-action comedy, and to date is still considered its best one.
  • Virtually any Lost parody will focus on elements introduced in the first season - the survivors, the Others, the Hatch, the Monster, the Numbers, and the polar bears. Nearly the entire remainder of the series' pop culture reputation comes from the second season, with DHARMA Initiative. The first season is also the least disputed one as all five that followed are accused of Seasonal Rot, if only for making the plot weirder as it went. The fact that the show completely changed focus around Season 3 makes it very easy to identify someone who hasn't watched the show since the first season, and the fact that it continued changing focus basically every season after that makes it also easy to identify when someone stopped watching.
  • Ditto for the first season of Once Upon a Time, a show made by two of LOST's foremost writers.
  • Stargate SG-1 has lasted the longest of all the shows in the franchise and has the largest following, given how many times it was Un-Canceled. Stargate Atlantis lasted several seasons, while Stargate Universe (having a different format) was canceled fairly quickly. No mention of Stargate Infinity, a (non-canon) short-lived cartoon series. Surprisingly, the original installment, the Stargate film, is something most people who are fans of the series must be introduced to the film retroactively only after watching the series. Understandable with it being a relatively obscure sci-fi film from the 90s.
  • Heroes, as the first season is the only one which didn't disappoint most of the fanbase.
  • The L Word: Any trouble digesting the ridiculata of the latter seasons will either be soothed or completely exacerbated by the dramatic superiority of pretty much any episode from the first three.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959). While it had a few revivals that were quickly cancelled and forgotten, generation after generations go back to the original with its stark black-and-White images and Rod Serling's hypnotic voice doing the opening and closing narrations.
  • "Lucy Does a TV Commercial" is usually agreed to be the most well-remembered and one of the best episodes of I Love Lucy: not surprisingly it's in the 1st season. The other very well-known episode is "Job Switching" (the one where Lucy and Ethel work at the candy factory and contend with a fast conveyor belt), the first episode of the 2nd season.
  • Soul Train is known as an embodiment of The '70s (in music, style, and culture); however, many are unaware it ran over 30 years, ending in 2006.
  • Downton Abbey: The first season is regarded the most favorably with almost universal appreciation. The second season is reasonably popular but criticized for its more soap-opera like elements, the third is disliked because of Sybil and Matthew's deaths and the fourth went past the point of return for a lot of viewers.
  • While everybody agrees that The Sopranos was a great show through and through, most point to the first season as its best overall.
  • Family Feud has run non-contiguously since 1976: from 1976-85 with Richard Dawson; from 1988-95 with Ray Combs (except for the last season, which reverted to Dawson); and from 1999 onward with four different hosts (Louie Anderson, Richard Karn, John O'Hurley, Steve Harvey). Despite the contemporary incarnation running longer than its two predecessors combined, the original Richard Dawson version is still what most people think of when they think of the Feud, and the persistence of the Dawson and Combs eras in reruns has not hurt either.
  • AMC's first two original scripted shows in its current format, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, are two of the network's three best known shows (the other is its fourth).
  • Netflix has released ten original comedy series, but its first (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) remains its most popular. This is subverted with its drama series: while their first drama is still one of its biggest hits, its third and tenth are likely its most popular.
  • Also from Netflix, 13 Reasons Why caused a huge impact upon its release. The following seasons, on the other hand, are considered exploitative and non-sensical and gathered negative reviews all around (the Rotten Tomatoes score dip is particularly impressive: 78% for the first season, 27% for the second, and everything after scored on the 10% mark).
  • VH1's I Love the Exties miniseries has spun-off many different incarnations of decades, toys and even holidays, but I Love the 80s (and in particular the first two of the eventual three collections) remains the most memorable. Although I Love the 70s also has its share of fans, it's not nearly as celebrated as the 80s by the mostly Generation Xers or Yers who tuned in (and most noticeable, while many people complained about celebrities who were born in the 1980s being commentators for I Love the 80s, the latter series had far more celebrities born in the 1970s as commentators, yet these ageist "experts" suddenly falling silent.)
  • The Muppets:
    • There have been follow-up series' after The Muppet Show, but the first is most famous. The other shows used new settings, while the Muppet Theater setting is usually the one depicted in merchandise. The Muppets put the show in a different format from the previous shows, and following that show's cancellation, the Muppets have done a number of live shows invoking the classic Muppet Show format. But then again, all the follow-up shows were Short-Runners.
    • Gonzo and various members of The Electric Mayhem have changed their default outfits over the years, but in merchandise and illustrations, the characters are generally depicted in their original outfits.
  • While both seasons of Ezel are well-received, the first is considered more memorable for its tighter, more intimate focus and hewing relatively closer to its literary inspiration.
  • Similar to Full Metal Jacket in the Film folder, the first half of It (1990), with the kids in the 1950s, is widely more remembered, to the point no one saw a problem with a film adaptation featuring only that. Time will tell if the sequel vindicates the present day half.
  • If you count Saved by the Bell as the same show as Good Morning, Miss Bliss, then it is by far considered the best show in its franchise. Saved by the Bell: The College Years, while it has its fans, lasted for only one season, and isn't nearly as well-remembered. Saved by the Bell: The New Class, despite lasting even longer than the original show, is considered the worst show in the franchise, unless the upcoming 2020 reboot (which has been getting a lot of backlash from its trailers) manages to dethrone it.

  • Heck, this applies to almost everyone participating in the entire genre in rap/hip-hop. Most knowledgeable listeners are very likely to say that Nas can never top Illmatic, any member of the Wu-Tang Clan will never make an album on the level of their first solo records (with the possible exception of Ghostface Killah); the list goes on and on.
  • A hard core of fans believe the first three albums by the Blue Öyster Cult are far and away their best. Blue Öyster Cult, Tyranny and Mutation and Secret Treaties, the "Red, White and Black" trilogy, are held to be superior offerings, and in this view the commercially-oriented Agents of Fortune and Spectres are considered to be the beginning of sell-out disappointment. Conversely, fans who got into the band via Agents of Fortune containing the classic hit Don't Fear the Reaper, who then go back to the preceding three albums expecting more of the same, can be consternated by the different, denser, less immediately accessible sound and the seriously heavy lyrics.
  • Garth Brooks had a decade of solid country albums, but his most remembered hits are The Dance, from his first album, and Friends in Low Places, from his second.
  • Of Carl Orff's Trionfi trilogy of secular choral music, Carmina Burana is by far the best known. Catulli Carmina is far less popular, and Trionfo di Afrodite is outright obscure. And Carmina Burana is known mostly for its first (and last) song, the first to be composed: "O fortuna."
  • Pearl Jam's Ten. Depending upon who you ask, their sophomore effort, Vs., can also be considered this. For certain though, their third album, Vitalogy, definitely falls under this trope for many casual fans, since it includes a good number of massive hits like "Corduroy", "Better Man", and "Spin the Black Circle". It wasn't until No Code that the band really started to hemorrhage casual fans.
  • Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction works here. Not only is it the highest-selling debut album of all time, it also has "Sweet Child O' Mine", which is pretty much one of the most famous songs of the last 20 years. "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Paradise City" are pretty famous, too. Some fans argue that Appetite is the only good album the band has ever released. In either case, only very few even consider Chinese Democracy a Guns N Roses album instead of "Axl Rose and whoever wanted to record with him".
  • Aimee Mann is a critically-acclaimed and incredibly respected songwriter who crafts smart, witty, memorable, and utterly catch pop songs. She is widely considered to be one of the finest songwriters of her generation but, if you bring her name up, most people's eyes simply glaze over. Then, inevitably, you sigh and say, "You remember the chick from 'Til Tuesday who sang that 'Voices Carry' song? Yeah, her." At which the response is inevitably "Oh, the one with the funny hair, yeah, I remember that song! Is she still around?"
    • Devoted Rush fans know her as the female vocalist who sang on the chorus of "Time Stand Still" and whose laughter was heard at the start of "Force Ten."
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood's first album Welcome to the Pleasuredome is easily their most famous album.
  • Tori Amos' first two solo albums Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink are her most critically-acclaimed albums (especially the former). Critics tend to not pay attention to the rest of her albums.
  • Disturbed's best known and best selling album, The Sickness gets this quite a bit (which is unfortunate since the songs on it are terribly simple compared to their later work).
  • Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville got a huge amount of praise, and is considered one of the best albums of all time. Too bad the rest of her albums didn't match up to the success of her debut. Not the same level of critical success perhaps, but they got a lot more radio airplay.
  • Is This It by The Strokes is widely considered their masterwork by fans and critics alike, and is arguably the definitive record from the garage rock revival era. Only their second album, Room on Fire, really seems to compare favorably to their debut, with subsequent releases receiving a decidedly more lukewarm critical and commercial response.
  • Manolo Escobar's Mi Carro might hold a record at this: The beginning lyrics (Where the singer says his cart got stolen) are well-known by everyone in Spain, which led to many jokes about how "maybe Manolo Escobar hasn't found his cart yet" or somesuch, when if those people bothered to listen to the entire song, they would know he finds his cart at the end of it.
  • Violent Femmes' self-titled debut album.
  • Silverchair's Frogstomp debut album is massively more popular than their other 4 albums, despite being their least critically acclaimed.
  • Hell, how many one hit wonders are only remembered for that first album or first record?
  • A subset of fans maintain that R.E.M.'s debut album, Murmur, is their best (although it's not their breakthrough). Another subset considers their second album, Reckoning, to be this as well. A sizeable portion of their fanbase feels their entire I.R.S. Records catalogue to be better than anything they put out from 1988 onward.
  • Crazy Rhythms, the first album by The Feelies, frequently makes critics' lists of best alternative rock albums, best 80s albums, and so on. Their other albums, on the other hand, are rarely, if ever mentioned on similar lists.
  • Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill. Although her two subsequent albums both went platinum in the US, her first album (at least, not counting her teen pop career) is still her most remembered and popular.
  • Boston's self-titled debut.
  • Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory. Audiences saw Meteora as a recycling of the album prior, and a combination of Hype Backlash and name-sullying left the public to ignore and/or disavow the remainder of their catalog.
  • Although some fans seem to consider her second album her best, Tuesday Night Music Club is Sheryl Crow's strongest album to date.
  • Natalie Imbruglia's debut, Left of the Middle, is by far her most successful and churned out "Torn", her only American hit to date.
  • The Cars' self-titled debut album, The Cars, is still considered their best in terms of sales (going 6x platinum), critical reception, and radio play (most of the songs still receive some degree of airplay on classic rock radio).
  • Foo Fighters have either their debut, which is arguably the one that got most acclaim, or The Colour and the Shape, the first as a full band (as Foo Fighters is really a Dave Grohl solo album), sometimes called their masterwork, and the most commercially successful with songs such as "Monkey Wrench", "My Hero" and their possible Signature Song "Everlong".
  • Annie Lennox's first album, Diva, remains her best album to date.
  • Hootie & the Blowfish's Cracked Rear View. With the exception of Fairweather Johnson which had its predecessor's success to fall back on, none of their subsequent albums achieved its fame to any degree, thanks to changing musical trends (folk-rock was on its way out by the end of the decade), Hype Backlash, and dwindling ability of the band to write hit songs.
  • Norah Jones' first album, Come Away With Me, remains her most liked among both fans and critics, probably because of her subsequent straying from Jazz music.
  • Did you know that Franz Liszt wrote five Mephisto Waltzes (if you count the Bagatelle Ohne Tonart)?
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote three piano concertos as well as a concert fantasy for piano and orchestra. Only the first concerto is known by most people.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, a.k.a. 48 Preludes and Fugues. The entire work is a masterpiece, but the first Prelude remains its best-known portion.
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff wrote 24 preludes for solo piano. His first, in C♯ minor, overshadowed the rest in terms of popularity, much to the consternation of the composer, who considered it the weakest of the set.
  • Although Pink Floyd released the entire "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" suite on the Wish You Were Here album, most people remember the (album-opening) first half of it better than the (album-closing) second. The band themselves rarely played the second half of it after the Animals tour. Pink Floyd also had in interesting case regarding their first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, their only album with Syd Barrett as front-man. For many, many years, nothing they did quite measured up to their debut album, completely fitting this trope... until they released their seventh album. That album was The Dark Side of the Moon, and became so incredibly popular it totally eclipsed the now-obscure Piper. Still, you will find some die-hard Syd Barrett fans who claim that the band was never as good again after Barrett left them after their first album.
  • Australian Rockabilly band The Living End and their self-titled debut album is considered an Australian rock classic. Hardly anyone even knows they made more music after it.
  • According to most of the general public, Live only had two albums: their grandiose U2-esque folk-rock debut Mental Jewelry and its Darker and Edgier, grunge-styled and stylistically chaotic commercial breakthrough Throwing Copper. Everything afterwards doesn't actually exist.
  • Metal purists will swear by Fear Factory's debut Soul of a New Machine and especially their follow-up Demanufacture, considered a masterpiece and one of the most influential metal albums of the 1990s. The jury is still out on its successor, the concept album Obsolete, though there is a small faction that considers it to be the band's finest hour. The disastrous Digimortal, however, is universally deemed the falloff point, and nothing afterwards is very highly regarded (Archetype was initially hailed as a return to form before the hype died down and everyone realized it just looked that way next to Digimortal).
  • Not only is Silence considered to be Sonata Arctica's magnum opus by most of the band's listeners, but quite a few consider them to have jumped the shark with Winterheart's Guild and never looked back. Some take it even further and swear by their debut Ecliptica and have little interest in anything further.
  • Our Lady Peace's debut Naveed is widely considered a masterwork of concise, well-written Alternative Rock that the band has never come close to reproducing.
  • Andrew W.K. achieved moderate commercial success with his debut album I Get Wet and the hit song "Party Hard". Merely a year later, The Wolf was released to lukewarm impressions, likely due to his decision to go in a more ambitious direction rather than make another album of "Party Hard"s. It wasn't until three years later that Close Calls With Brick Walls was released... in Japan only.
  • Deicide's 1990 self-titled debut (and, to a lesser extent, its follow-up Legion) is hailed as a Death Metal classic. Any amount of anger and blasphemy within the genre was taken Up to Eleven, and all of the sudden a genre dedicated to having fun shocking people was dead serious. As it turned out, band mastermind Glen Benton didn't actually have anything else to say or take his music, and album after album of the same detuned riffing and Religion Rant Songs got old fast, leaving people to wonder why Benton and his cohorts decided to keep making them long after the well of enthusiasm and originality had dried up.
  • None of George Harrison's post-Beatles solo albums ever matched the success or acclaim of his 1970 solo debut All Things Must Pass.
  • For fans of the band Morbid Angel, their first three albums (Altars of Madness, Blessed are the Sick, and Covenant), especially Altars, are regarded as their best and most influential works, with their remaining albums succumbing to various degrees of of Contested Sequel, Fanon Discontinuity, and, with their post-2000 releases, Seasonal Rot.
  • Venom's first two albums, Welcome to Hell and Black Metal, were massively influential, being the Ur-Examples for Black Metal (for which the latter album is the Trope Namer), Thrash Metal, Death Metal, and all of their derivative genres, as well as making them the Trope Codifier for Rock Me, Asmodeus!. Beyond that, At War With Satan and (if you're lucky) Possessed may get mentioned in passing by metalheads, but anything beyond that is almost completely unknown outside the band's fans.
  • Stevie Nicks' solo debut Bella Donna is still her most popular album.
  • Madness' first album One Step Beyond is still the one that usually represents the group in "best album" polls and even has a book written about it. This is perhaps a little strange, since although there's certainly an almost-universal affection for the LP, few fans or critics actually consider it their best.
  • The Stone Roses' debut The Stone Roses is widely considered their best. Their second album never quite managed to get the same kind of praise.
  • The Shaggs' debut Philosophy Of The World has become a Cult Classic, but more because it's So Bad, It's Good. Later albums, where the band reunited and actually sounded more skilled, are dismissed by most fans because they lost the amateuristic charm of the original.
  • Wild Man Fischer's best loved album in his career is still his debut, "An Evening With Wild Man Fischer", which, due to a falling out with its producer Frank Zappa, has never received a re-release on CD.
  • Heavy metal band Machine Head's first album Burn My Eyes is widely considered a groove/thrash metal classic and one of the most influential metal albums of the 90s. None of their subsequent albums have managed to garner the same level of acclaim or long term popularity. Especially not the band's two "nu-metal albums" (The Burning Red and Supercharger).
  • Moanin' in the Moonlight by Howlin' Wolf is widely regarded as his best. It has all the songs he is most well known for.
  • Evanescence's debut album Fallen is seen by many as not only their best, but it's their biggest seller by far. Even after their time in the spotlight ended, Fallen is a steady seller to this day.
  • DJ Shadow's debut album Endtroducing..... is seen by many as not only his best, but one of the greatest and most influential albums of its time. Nothing Shadow has put out in the future received the same unanimous celebration as Endtroducing.
  • Possessed produced two solid works after their debut album Seven Churches, but those will forever be in the shadow of that monster. Churches is widely considered one of the most influential metal albums ever and one of the earliest albums to give rise to Death Metal.
  • While Massive Attack's first three albums are all critically acclaimed, their debut album Blue Lines is seen as one of the greatest and most important albums of all time, and it also boasts the fact that its track "Unfinished Sympathy" is hailed as one of the greatest songs ever made.
  • While the New York Dolls' albums since their reformation avert the typical reaction for reunion albums by being fairly well-liked, their reputation rests (and probably always will) on their first two albums from their original stint.
  • The Stooges have a similar case with their first three albums being the most widely liked (although Fun House and Raw Power are usually considered Even Better Sequels to their self-titled début).
  • The Velvet Underground's first four albums are universally regarded as classics. By contrast, no one ever talks about Squeeze. Amongst the VU's albums though, their first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, is the most widely renowned of all.
  • While their other two albums are fairly well liked, Television's Marquee Moon is universally regarded as their masterpiece.
  • Van Halen's first lead singer, David Lee Roth, is perhaps the best known of those they've had. Some could argue that their first, self-titled, album is their best too - though the competition from 1984 (the last before Roth left) is tough.
  • Though Edward Elgar wrote six Pomp and Circumstance marches, the last of which was left incomplete when he died in 1934, the most familiar is the first in D.
  • While most of their other albums are regarded to be good, Dismember's Like an Ever Flowing Stream is considered a classic album and a staple in both Death Metal and Melodic Death Metal.
  • Selected Ambient Works 85-92 by Aphex Twin is considered a milestone of electronic music and by far his most popular and critically acclaimed album.
  • The Wiggles will always be remembered as Greg, Anthony, Murray, and Jeffnote — not the version with Sam replacing Greg, or Anthony and the new Wiggles.
  • Many Country Music artists are susceptible to this:
    • Many feel that the only good single released by Dustin Lynch was his very first one, "Cowboys and Angels", since it was the only one that actually sounded like a country song, and not like the trend chasing "bro-country" sounds of all his subsequent releases.
    • Some fans believe that Brett Eldredge's debut single "Raymond" is his only good song, due to it being a well-written Tear Jerker, while the rest of his career has been largely criticized for a string of same-sounding ballads (e.g. "Beat of the Music", "Mean to Me") punctuated by the occasional "over the top" uptempo ("Drunk on Your Love", "Somethin' I'm Good At").
    • Luke Bryan's debut album I'll Stay Me is usually considered his best, due to it being his most indebted to country and free from the "bro-country" that has inundated all of his subsequent albums.
    • A similar opinion is often held to Jason Aldean, as his first two albums are usually considered his strongest, due to similar reasons as Bryan — those two albums were simply the countriest-sounding, and put out before Aldean became a big star.
  • Flyleaf's first album is their most well-known and features its most hits. This also applies to singers, as people are much more familiar with their original singer.
  • Max Bruch wrote three Violin Concertos. The first is one of the most popular Violin Concertos in the entire classical repertoire, while most people don't know the other two even exist.
  • Weezer's first two albums, The Blue Album and Pinkerton, are the most celebrated albums in their discography. While some of their later albums are also well-liked in their own right, it is generally agreed that Weezer never did top their first two releases.
  • The music magazine Kerrang! published a readers' poll of the best British rock albums. Top of the list was the debut album by Black Sabbath.
  • The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi are some of the most popular pieces of classical music ever written. They are also the first four Violin Concerti in a set of twelve, his Op. 8, published as Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention). To say No. 5–12 in the set are underplayed is a major understatement, with most having never heard of their existence.
    • Of The Four Seasons themselves, the first movement of the first season, Spring, is the most well-known.
  • The first movement of Palladio by Karl Jenkins is by far the most well-known of the three movements, to the extent that many recordings that feature the composer's music only include the first movement, even recordings by Jenkins himself. Its recording debut on the 1996 CD "Diamond Music" remains the only one with all three movements that Jenkins conducted, and violinist Ara Malikian recorded all three movements for his 2007 album "Meeting with a Friend", but to this day the second and third movements remain extremely obscure.

  • If you think of pinball, but you're not a fan of it, what comes to mind? Likely the sounds of bells and chimes, the ball bouncing wildly and ricocheting off of everything, and the tilt penalty that ends the game. Those are all traits of pinball during the Electromagnetic Era, and besides deliberate throwbacks to that style, no pinball machine had been released like that since 1982, when solid-state systems became the standard and the increased processing power gave way to pre-recorded audio and background music, a more controlled style of play based on aiming, and the tilt penalty ending the ball in play rather than the whole game.note 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Gimmicks come and go so frequently in pro wrestling that they are often forgotten by all but the most diehard fans after a relatively short period of time. Usually when people picture a star wrestler, they have the most enduring - and usually the first - gimmick in mind. To wit:
    • Hulk Hogan will always be the manfully-screaming, shirt-ripping all-American hero he embodied from 1984 to 1992. His "Hollywood Hogan" heel run from 1996 to 1999 is less well-known - which is just as well, because that gimmick was never anywhere near as successful.
    • John Cena will always be a rapper to casual wrestling fans, even though he hasn't acted as a rapper for the majority of his career. (And ironically, while the rap shtick was one of his first gimmicks, it wasn't the very first one.)
    • Averted by The Undertaker. While 'Taker's basic motif (death, or more generally "doom-and-gloom") has never varied too much, his appearance has. He's been a face for so long that many people forget he was originally a heel, that he didn't talk much, and that his ring entrance was at the beginning much less elaborate. Arguably his most famous look is either the "American Badass" biker gear from 2000 to 2004 or the "Gothic" look from 2004 to 2010 (black homburg and Badass Longcoat).
    • The most iconic incarnation of The Nexus is still the seven-man tandem they were introduced as.
    • Despite it barely lasting half a year, Doink the Clown's initial heel Monster Clown run is generally considered the only aspect of the gimmick worth watching.
  • While the WWE NXT developmental brand is much more popular than the competition ever was, few will argue that the first season of the competition is the most remembered and the most successful (most likely because it had a particular goal in mind). It most successful alumnus, Daniel Bryan, even ended up becoming the most popular wrestler the company has had in over fifteen years.
  • Despite its short length, Brock Lesnar's original WWE run from 2002-04 is significantly more revered than his 2012 return. This is because unlike his second run, Lesnar made regular appearances, had a more diverse moveset, actually did his own promos, and in general at least appeared to give a damn about his work.
  • Usually, when a wrestler changes their theme song, the new one quickly becomes more iconic than the previous ones. One notable exception is Sheamus's "Written in my Face", which has become so iconic thanks in no small part to its memetic Mondegreens that it will be difficult to top.

  • This trope might have hindered Linux adoption on the desktop. If you're not a geek, why install Linux when you have a perfectly good Windows OS on your machine?
  • This is certainly the case with many experienced users preferring Windows XP over the subsequent releases: Vista, 7, and 8.
    • Though XP is itself at least the fifth major version of Windows (assuming you consider 98 to be "95.5" and ME to have not existed at all), it's the first version that was unambiguously a complete operating system in its own right (versions prior to 95 were basically just graphical shells running on top of MS-DOS, and even 95 and 98 needed to boot to MS-DOS briefly as part of their loading process).
    • The UI also falls into this. One Microsoft blog said that they were toying with the idea of putting the taskbar on the left side instead of the bottom by default, but...
  • One of the early architects of the World Wide Web, Robert Cailliau, was quite aware of this being a possibility, and insisted that those who designed HTML should design a client-side script with it. They didn't and NetScape came up with JavaScript, which he claims is the worst programming language ever and the most hideous kluge in computing. He also admitted that this trope is the reason we're stuck with it.
  • The same with Flash. It was supposed to be a vector animation based media container to keep animation sizes small in the early days of the web. The Adobe added all this other stuff on top of it. Flash just eats memory and CPU cycles and has become the de-facto media container. HTML5 is supposed to remedy this, but Flash appears to be going kicking and screaming.

  • The Old Course at St Andrews Links is by far the most famous among the courses on its property, and most casual golf fans outside of the United Kingdom probably couldn't name another course on said property through fact alone. Some might be able to deduce the presence of the New Course because of the name of the Old Course, but don't expect much else. This example may even encompass the entire sport as it is recognized as one of the oldest active golf courses in the world, and is in fact the only golf course to appear in a rotating major championship on a consistent and uniform basis (although unwritten, it has hosted the Open Championship exactly every five years since 1990 and is generally assumed to uphold this interval unless stated otherwise by the Royal & Ancient sanctioning body, headquartered next to the Old Course).

    Tabletop Games 
  • The original, "0th" edition of Dungeons & Dragons has a devoted following to this day, despite being released in 1974 and having (depending on how you count it) 6 versions after it.

  • This is frequent among fans of Broadway shows that have touring or Revival productions. Generally, the original show cast sets the standard for the character portrayals and song performance and anyone following in their role has to live up to them. Some specific outstanding examples:

    Theme Parks 
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror drop ride attraction in the Disney Theme Parks has many variants throughout the world. However, the best version of the ride is considered to be the Orlando version. The reason for this is that the alternate versions do not include a famous portion of the original ride. Even in lists of best drop towers, the Japan, California & Paris, and Orlando versions top the list with the Orlando version often being no. 1.

  • The original 2001 run of BIONICLE is by far the best-known, even if most people only have a vague recollection of it. A person who once collected the sets but grew out of the hobby will most likely remember the "big robot warriors and small robot priests on a tropical island", but the conversation would get one-sided if you mention the Order of Mata Nui, the Shattering, the rest of the Makuta's race, cyborg gladiators, or indeed anything after 2002 (with the sole possible exceptions of the 2003 animated movie and video game).
    • Even more with the reboot. The original ran for 10 years and was hugely popular. The relaunch never caught on and was cancelled after just a year and a half, with many former fans not even realizing the franchise came back to begin with. This was in part due to LEGO's reduced marketing at the time.
  • Transformers suffers this as well. No matter how well engineered, articulated, proportioned, and so on, no figure can live up to the 'legendary' Generation 1 figures in the minds of a large chunk of the populace. Even though, for the same price as the original Autobot cars (or for only 25%-30% more) you get a figure that stands an inch and a half taller, has an alt mode that is just as realistic, much better robot mode and articulation, etc, nearly 27 years later when almost everything else has doubled or more in price for the same product.
  • My Little Pony:
    • The first generation/line of My Little Pony from the 1980s and early 1990s is still the one that collectors care about the most, not to mention that even though said original line of My Little Pony toys ended years and years ago, it still seem to be what most people think about when they think about the toyline (rather than any of the more modern, redesigned incarnations). Even the massively popular generation 4 line doesn't seem to be able to do much to change the public perception of what a My Little Pony toy looks like.
    • The Brony phenomenon means that generation 4 is the first one where many people can recognise individual characters. The consensus seems to be First Installment Wins for the toys but Sequel Displacement exists for the cartoon adaptations.
  • All these years later, the original 1977-1985 line of Star Wars action figures by Kenner is more fondly remembered than the "Power of the Force" relaunch in the 1990s and later, even though the "Power of the Force" versions were more realistic in design (especially Chewbacca, who looked like a shaved Cousin Itt in the original line). In fact, the '70s and '80s figures are so highly regarded that Hasbro (which eventually bought out Kenner) started putting out figures based on the prequel films that were packaged in authentic vintage style (which, yes, makes them - literally - a Genre Throwback of a Genre Throwback!).

    Video Games 
  • In regards to classic gaming franchises, Sean Malstrom almost always regards the first installments to be the best, especially if the installment was released on the NES. He holds to this idea so fervently that he actually regards Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, games that most fans and critics consider Even Better Sequels, to be the points when their respective franchises started going downhill.
  • Unless there is a very popular theme from later in the game, the Stage 1 themes or the closest equivalent are usually the most well-known themes of any given game, like the Castlevania's big three: Vampire Killer, Bloody Tears and Beginning. Likewise, in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Sonic's stage has five songs directly lifted from game levels. Only one of them isn't from a level one (Scrap Brain, the final level of Sonic 1 per se, as it precedes the final boss).
  • The NES version of Action 52 is a lot more infamous than the Sega Genesis version, despite (or rather because of) having a lot worse programming.
  • Aerobiz: Quite a few players can remember seeing the game on the shelves of video rental stores, but few ever saw the sequel, Aerobiz Supersonic, and even less saw the Japan-only released Air Management '96.
  • Alone in the Dark: The 1992 original is the most critically well-regarded of the series and had the most definite impact on shaping the Survival Horror genre.
  • Another World's sequel, Heart of the Alien, was disowned by the original author as well as a large portion of the fanbase. It was also only released on the Sega CD, whereas the first game got a release on practically every 16-bit and 32-bit gaming platform.
  • Ape Escape is generally considered to be one of the PS1's indisputable classics. Ask fans how they felt about the two follow-up games, and most of the time the response you'll get will be somewhere along the lines of "They made sequels?"
  • Some folks back in the day threw around the term "Asheron's Call 2 Syndrome" when discussing the problem that MMORPG sequels (spiritual or otherwise) are liable to run into (namely that the first installment is doing pretty well or you probably wouldn't be having a sequel). The term didn't stick. The phenomenon, on the other hand, is pretty much this entire page.
  • Battletoads has had a lot of ports over the years, sequels for the arcade and Super NES, and even a crossover with Double Dragon. But odds are very good that if you mention the name to anyone, the original NES game will come to mind.
  • "Hey, Blaster Master was a great NES game, wasn't it?... What's that? There's a second game on the Genesis? And a couple of Game Boy titles? Huh, never heard of 'em..." This trope was largely reinforced when Blasting Again was released for the original PlayStation as a budget title ($7.88 brand new!), and then the later WiiWare release of Overdrive.
    • The second game is mostly forgotten by fans (and for good reason). Blaster Master Boy was a Dolled-Up Installment of the sequel to the game Bomber King, called Robo Warrior internationally. Enemy Below was a Mission-Pack Sequel of the first game with new maps, bosses and weapons.
    • Thoroughly averted with the reboot installment Blaster Master Zero, whose own popularity got big enough to eclipse the first game. There's still a little of this trope present in gameplay mechanics, though, as it's aesthetically based off of the NES original.
  • Bubble Bobble. Whenever the series is mentioned, it is almost always in reference to the first game and not its four official sequels.
  • Choplifter! had 2 sequels. The first, entitled Choplifter 2, is a Game Boy game that is considered in the Game Boy crowd to be the original choplifter and is about as much well-known. The third, Choplifter 3, is a SNES game that most people have never heard due to its rarity.
  • Chrono Cross was doomed from the beginning not to be as popular as Chrono Trigger, one of the most beloved games ever made. While successful in its own right, it didn't even come close to the popularity of the original. Few people even know about Radical Dreamers (which is no surprise since it was exclusive to the Satellaview, an obscure Japan-only add-on for the Super Famicom).
  • Crash Team Racing is much more popular than either of the two sequels. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who prefers either of them to the original. In fact, you could say this of the Crash Bandicoot series as a whole. The original three platformers and the aforementioned Crash Team Racing by Naughty Dog are more well-loved among fans than the games made afterward, which all varied in quality and all had multiple different developers at the helm.
  • The original Crysis is often considered the star of the series, especially with the Warhead Expansion Pack with its gameplay, plot, and performance improvements. Crysis 2 has far more linear gameplay, a confusing plot, far more basic/small scale multiplayer, and in some respects reduced graphical fidelity for the sake of the console ports. Crysis 3 has much of the same problems, albeit not as pronounced as Crysis 2.
  • While the whole Dark Souls series is beloved, the first game remains the most universally beloved of its trilogy. While there are contingents of fans who prefer Dark Souls II and/or Dark Souls III, both sequels are rather polarizing among fans for assorted reasons, such as level design, lore, and changes to gameplay. Taking the entirety of the "Soulsborne" series into account, some consider Demon's Souls, the first Dark Souls, and Bloodborne to be the "true" series on account of them technically being the first or only installment in their respective franchises, feeling that FromSoftware's best work is when they create something (almost) entirely new.
  • Daytona USA is one of the most iconic arcade racing games in existence, but spinoff Sega Super GT and both versions of Daytona USA 2? Good luck trying to find anyone who remembers or plays these. It's telling that Daytona USA 3 features remastered versions of the original Daytona tracks, but not of the second game's.
  • The original Deus Ex is considered by many fans to be the best in the series and still one of the best PC games ever, with mods still being made for it to this day. While Deus Ex: Human Revolution is also well-liked, many people agree that the first game is still the best in the series. However, they aren't particularly fond of Deus Ex: Invisible War.
  • Dino Crisis. The X Meets Y premise was what grabbed original fans, and few who have played the sequels think that they are better than the original.
  • The cast and story of the first Disgaea are still the most well-regarded even after several additional games in the series. Inverted with the gameplay, however, as subsequent games have improved on the formula and the first game feels very dated and barebones by comparison.
  • Donkey Kong is a partial example. Every time it is referenced, parodied or mentioned in popular culture, it's always in the form of the first screen with the slanted girders, the ladders and the rolling barrels. The other three screens, with the conveyor belts, elevators and so on, might as well not even exist. It's played straight with the other games in its series, though (barring the Donkey Kong Country subfranchise, which is more or less its own animal). Pretty much everyone knows Donkey Kong, but even casual arcade fans probably haven't heard of Donkey Kong Junior, for instance, and games like Mario vs. Donkey Kong or Donkey Kong '94 have, at best, cult followings.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has an interesting version of this trope at play. Fans of the series tend to judge each new game (as well as earlier installments) against whichever game they were introduced to the series with, sort of their own personal version of First Installment Wins. Given Bethesda's tendency to build each installment from the ground up with wholesale changes from its predecessor, this leads to serious Broken Base issues and claims of Contested Sequels.
  • Fable I is generally the most well-liked game of the Fable series; the sequels tend to be very divisive for cutting off just about every possible branch. Both have received a lot of flak for canonically making the Hero of Oakvale Lawful Good. The Hero of Bowerstone was made canonically male and also Lawful Good by the third game, and novels continuing the story after the end of the third game also made the Hero of Brightwall canonically male and Lawful Good once again, which alienated more than a few fans who preferred playing as a woman and/or a not entirely good-aligned Hero.
  • Fairyland Online players generally agree that it is better than its sequel Fairyland Online 2. The sequel remains to be a Contested Sequel among them.
  • The first F.E.A.R. game is generally regarded as the best in the series; the second game was also well-received, though there were some complaints that the game had been "dumbed down" for a multi-platform console release (which the developers have admitted to). The third game, which was made by a different developer, had a dramatic shift in art style, and largely abandoned the series' action-horror roots for a co-op focused pure action shooter, was the least well received. Finally, the free-to-play multiplayer F.E.A.R. Online by a Korean developer came out, was widely regarded as a Franchise Zombie, and was quickly discontinued with all the servers shut down forever.
  • Go ahead and find a fan of Final Fantasy Tactics who thinks that Final Fantasy Tactics Advance or its sequel were better games.
  • The original Final Fight has gotten plenty of nods and references in later games, particularly with the inclusion of Guy, Sodom, Rolento, Cody and Andore (under the guise of Hugo with Poison as his manager) in many Street Fighter installments and other Capcom fighting games. Its two sequels contributed Maki (from 2) and Lucia (from 3) to Street Fighter canon, and... really, that's just about it.
  • Fire Emblem, at least among the Japanese fandom, is either a straight example or a subversion in its spinoffs. In Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE and Fire Emblem Heroes, it's the only title that gets even a fraction of the spotlight that Awakening and Fates gets compared to every other game in the series. In Fire Emblem Heroes, Marth's saga is unquestionably the one that gets the most attention, but the world named after it in Crisis Crossover is titled "World of Mystery", after the 3rd/12th game that remained No Export for You even in its remake, rather than something like "World of Shadow" to reflect the 1st game and its internationally-released remake, the 11th, suggesting that it's actually the first game's lone direct sequel that "wins out".
  • While there are six main-line installments, two spinoffs, and countless fan games, and while the sequels have made many gameplay refinements and were well-received in their own right, no game in the Five Nights at Freddy's series has yet to match the ground-breaking impact or the memorability of the first one.
  • Heroes of the Pacific enjoyed a good critical reception and is still is something of a minor Cult Classic in the arcade flight game genre. Its direct sequel, Heroes Over Europe, received a much more mixed reception due to its dearth of content (the result of a troubled development cycle) and massive difficulty spikes, and its remake Damage Inc.: Pacific Squadron WWII sank without a trace and received universally mediocre reviews.
  • There are many games in The Legend of Zelda series, all of them even the divisive ones have received heaps of praise for the consistent level of polish, care and dedication put into them. Many even hold an Even Better Sequel status in a lot of minds, however it can't be argued that when most people think of the name Legend of Zelda they think of The Legend of Zelda. Its sounds, pixel art and quotes are some of the most iconic of the entire series with the first quote of the game being the most well known of the franchise by far.
    Old Man in cave: It's dangerous to go alone! Take this.
  • Anyone who has played the Lethal Enforcers series probably knows that the first is the best-known of the series. The second game felt more or less like a rehash of the first game but only set in The Wild West rather than the modern day. The third game is actually obscure in the west, at a time when arcades outside of Japan were going into a serious decline. The game also played more like Police 911 and was titled Seigi no Hero in Japan.
  • Many, many people who have played Lunar Silver Star Story aren't even aware the game has a sequel... or that it's a remake, for that matter.
  • While fans of Mass Effect tend to be heavily divided about the quality of the sequels and spin-off, almost all of them see the original game as fantastic and many (particularly hardcore RPG fans note ) regard it as the best entry in the franchise.
  • MediEvil was ported to a decent number of consoles, included in bundles, remade for the PSP and re-released as an app, and is still somewhat fondly remembered. The sequel MediEvil 2, with its new Victorian setting, received no ports outside of its original PlayStation release and is mostly forgotten today. Even Sir Daniel's appearance in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale takes mostly after the original game and its remake.
  • Especially true when it comes to the Mega Man series. The other series and spinoffs have their fair share of fans, but when people utter the name Mega Man, it's almost always the original version they're referring to. Within the X series, it's generally agreed that Mega Man X1 is the best Mega Man X game, with its epic storytelling and soundtrack, and the only sequels that may come close are X2 and X4.
  • Metal Gear has two examples that qualify for both this trope and Even Better Sequel:
    • Metal Gear Solid, the first game of the Metal Gear Solid series note  and the first of the Metal Gear games released both outside of Japan and on a widespread console. Everything from the characters, to the stealth gameplay to the codec are landmarks of gaming popculture. While every other game has their share of fans and critical praise, none have managed to reach the touchstone status of the first.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, despite being the third Numbered Sequel and the fifth game overall, is both chronologically the first game in the Metal Gear universe, and the first of three prequels (four if we're counting non-Kojima titles) to star Naked Snake/(Big Boss). It's also (arguably) the most beloved game in the entire series for its compelling story and immersive gameplay.
  • The first Metroid Prime is generally considered the best of the Prime Trilogy and is often pitted against Super Metroid for being the definitive Metroid experience for many. The two sequels, Echoes and Corruption, while still well-liked, are generally not thought of as being on the first game's level; the former for its Sequel Difficulty Spike and several mechanics making the game more frustrating for some, the latter for its Sequel Difficulty Drop and being a linear, story-driven Actionized Sequel as opposed to the quiet ambiance of the rest of the series.
  • Taomee's Seer and Mole's World has more contents than their sequels and many people stick to them instead of shifting to their sequels, as well as characters in the original games are more well known than those in the sequels. Taomee even noticed that Mole's World 2 had less attention and players than the previous game so the game had shut down, and Aries Alliance, the third Seer game, is considered a failure and had also shut down.
  • The Mortal Kombat half of the character roster from Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe consists entirely of characters from the first two installments, which is when the series was at the peak of its popularity.
  • A lot of people have heard of Myst— unsurprisingly, since it was the bestselling PC game of all time for nearly ten years before it was displaced by The Sims. Fewer people picked up the sequel, Riven, and even fewer completed it, probably because of the dramatically increased difficulty level. Outside of the adventure game niche market, however, most people will be rather surprised to learn that Myst has four direct sequels, three tie-in novels, and a highly ephemeral spinoff online RPG. When you mention Myst to most people, they'll immediately think of the first one only; of the 12 million copies of total franchise games sold as of 2007, 6 million were the original.
  • If you see anyone outside of dedicated fansites and such talk about Oddworld, it will probably be about the first game, Abe's Oddysee. Most people probably don't even know that the game had two sequels, a spin-off, or even a remake.
  • Pac-Man is a definite example. Whenever Pac-Man is referenced somewhere it'll always be the original game, and it'll be his Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed form. Indeed, when he appeared as a Guest Fighter in the Super Smash Bros. games, he used his now-classic design from Pac-Land and Pac-Man World rather than his modern Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures self and even becomes a 3D representation of his original self.
  • Painkiller is a sad example of a franchise that started getting a colder and colder reception with each new release, starting with the Battle out of Hell, an Expansion Pack consisting near-entirely of levels that were made for Painkiller, but cut out. Since then, each new sequel to the game has been developed by an outsider team, and all of them started out as game mods before being given commercial funding by the publishers. It shows.
  • Played interestingly with Panel de Pon. The installment with the best gameplay is generally agreed upon to be the Nintendo Puzzle Collection remake/sequel (released outside of Japan for the Nintendo 64 as Dolled-Up Installment Pokémon Puzzle League), but when the fairy characters are referenced, it's far more likely to be the girls from the original SNES game rather than the Nintendo Puzzle Collection sequel.
  • The first Parasite Eve was an acclaimed PlayStation game that mixed RPG and horror elements. However, the second installment was viewed as a Resident Evil clone that took away features that made the first game well-liked including its controls and battle system. It was also less successful financially, selling about half as many copies.
  • The first Perfect Dark is universally preferred over its obscure Game Boy companion game and its belated prequel Perfect Dark Zero. While it's divisive whether Zero is a worth follow-up or not, very few people will actually claim it to be better than its predecessor.
  • Pokémon:
    • Any "Team _____" other than "Rocket" is mostly ignored by those outside of the fanbase (the Terrible Trio from the anime helps this).
    • The most recognizable creatures are also from Red/Blue/Yellow. Of all ten of the Super Smash Bros. playable Pokémon, just four aren't from those games (and one is a pre-evolution of franchise mascot Pikachu). Plus, the franchise's big return to mainstream popular culture also initially involved only the first generation's 'mons, though newer generation Pokémon have also been slowly joining the game since then.
    • The protagonist everyone thinks of is Rednote , be it his original design, his fanon design, or his remake design. Super Smash Bros. Brawl even modeled the Pokémon Trainer character after him. Pokémon Sun and Moon gave him and his rival Blue updated adult designs, while Wally from Gen 3, despite canonically being their age, sadly received nothing aside from having his design less chibi-fied. This trope is largely because Red is the only protagonist to be shown in canon. He regularly appears as a trainer and was the Final Boss in Gold and Silver.
    • Unlike most of the other third games, which are generally seen as improvements over the originals and are the "canon" versions, Pokémon Sun and Moon are this to Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. This is largely due to the changes in characterization and plot, especially in relationship to the main villain Lusamine. Most fans prefer the original, more abusive incarnation of Lusamine over USUM's Well-Intentioned Extremist version. This even appears in adaptations, as Lusamine's animenote  and Adventures counterparts are more based on her Sun and Moon incarnation than the UltraSun and UltraMoon one.
  • Zigzagged with Puyo Puyo. The original MSX and Famicom Disk Station releases of Puyo Puyo aren't looked upon fondly due to being strictly single-player affairs; however, the identically-titled 16-bit arcade game and its sequel Puyo Puyo Tsu are heavily influential to the series. This is reflected in SEGA's interpretation of the series, where remixes of songs from both Puyo Puyo and Puyo Puyo Tsu are common, the Puyo Puyo Tsu ruleset is usually the standard rule, and the recurring Compile-era characters all come from the first arcade game. Other games only get a minor nod at best, such as a stray music remix or a Continuity Nod. It's zigzagged because due to lack of localizations, the first non-Dolled-Up Installment that much of the western fanbase played is Puyo Pop Fever, a Soft Reboot. Thus, they missed out on all of the nostalgia and sometimes even prefer the characters from SEGA's run to the originals.
  • Go and ask anyone who has played the Puzzle Quest games what do they think about them. Without a shadow of a doubt, they will tell you that Galactrix and Puzzle Kingdoms suck and that Puzzle Quest 2, while good for the most part, is nowhere near as good as Challenge of the Warlords, the original game in the series.
  • Ragnarok Online is a Korean MMORPG, more or less a Long Runner. You probably never knew there was a Ragnarok Online 2, since few fans played, and among those fans, even fewer were the ones that liked, even among that group, none consider 2 better than the original title. The Spiritual Successor, Tree of Savior was much better received than RO2, but not nearly as well-received as the original game of the company, especially by old-time fans.
  • RayForce is generally regarded as the best game in the RAY Series due to its impressive use of scaling and rotating sprites, making it one of the most 3D-looking sprite-based games in existence. RayStorm and RayCrisis are not as highly-regarded due to 3D graphics that haven't aged well, the isometric perspective creating problems with dodging enemy fire, and same-altitude lock-on and the bonus-point opportunities that go with it discouraging players from using their main shot.
  • Mention the Red Faction series, and one will always remember the first one over the second one. This is usually because the second game removed some features, had nothing to do with the plot of the original, and wasn't very compatible with the popular Geo-Mod engine.
  • Ask RollerCoaster Tycoon fans what their favorite game in the series is, and they'll most likely say the first one. The second and third games do have their fans, but the second one is generally not as well remembered due to making almost no substantial changes to the formula and having less memorable scenarios, and the third is only remembered for including a sandbox mode and not much else.
  • The Sakura Wars franchise is dominated by the cast of the first game (and the second, since it's the same cast with a couple of extra characters added in), despite the fact that the fifth game was only one of two to get wide Western releases (and have their own pages on this site). The various adaptations tend to focus on them as well. However, Project X Zone has partly rectified this by having a representative character from not just the first game, but the third and fifth ones as well.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island is the most well regarded Monkey Island game by reviewers and every sequel has been compared to it. This is despite the fact it doesn't have as much a comedic tone, only allows you to visit two islands, and several of the characters have less cartoony personalities than they do later (notably Guybrush is less clumsy and LeChuck is less hammy.). Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is the one that set the tone for the sequels and it or the third game The Curse of Monkey Island are usually considered to be the series' highlight by fans.
  • Did you know that there were sequels to the classic game Shadowgate? If you did, you probably only know about the Nintendo 64 game Trials of the Four Towers. However, even that was preceded on the Turbo Duo by Beyond Shadowgate.
  • The original series of Sonic the Hedgehog games released for the Mega Drive/Genesis back in the early-to-mid 90s continue to be by far the most well-known games in the still ongoing franchise. Green Hill Zone and its boss the Checkered Wrecker are the most familiar in the franchise. Within the Genesis series, this especially holds true with the first two games, which are widely more recognized by the general public than the later sequels. A big reason for this was due to Sega's decision to utilize both games during the year of their release as Mega Drive/Genesis pack-in games during the holiday season (as part of their rivalry with Nintendo's SNES at the time), which resulted in both selling way more copies. This may also be the reason why Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 got higher priority in ports and re-releases in later years.note 
  • Like the Mortal Kombat example above, any time Street Fighter is involved in the Capcom vs. series, expect the vast majority of the characters to come from Street Fighter II (with the big exceptions being Ryu and Ken, who originated in its lesser known predecessor). Ryu, Chun-Li, M. Bison, Ken and Akuma are especially prevalent in this regard. In a more general sense, most pop culture references to the franchise will also usually focus on characters people remember from II, rather than any of the sequels or prequels.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • The first Super Monkey Ball, due to it being a port of an arcade game, had a wide variety of challenging levels and attracted a large Challenge Gamer fanbase as a result. The second game had more gimmicky levels, but still had quite a few Challenge Gamers trying to eke out both No Death Runs through Expert and Master, and single-level runs of TAS quality without the tool assistance. Then the games progressively got significantly easier, and the fanbase lost interest as a result.
  • Tetris: No matter how many variations with quality-of-life improvements the Tetris Company has kept creating, the classic Game Boy Tetris remains the most recognized one even today. Which is an interesting subversion, as while it's still one of the earliest Tetris games, it's also not the first (that honor goes to the Elektronika-60 version). And no matter how many different versions are released, the Game Boy music is the most recognizable. In particular "Korobeiniki" (a.k.a. Music A) is "The Tetris Song."
  • ToeJam & Earl, full stop. Its immediate sequel, Panic on Funkotron!, wasn't a bad game, but the fact that it was so different from the first game turned off a lot of fans. The third game, Mission to Earth, however, suffered hard from the Polygon Ceiling to the point of being a Franchise Killer.
  • Tomba! is remembered by many for its charming atmosphere, witty humor, and unique style of gameplay. About the only thing most people remember about The Evil Swine Return is the hilariously bad voice acting.
  • Turok will always be remembered for the first two games, in a slight stretch of this trope. Mostly because these two basically revolutionized first-person-shooters on the consoles (and on the Nintendo 64 at that, bringing gory content and well-designed action to a system that didn't have anything like it at the time). Besides the multiplayer arena shooter Rage Wars, every game that followed either just didn't have what fans considered to be "Turok" in their spirit, or were extremely unfinished and an Obvious Beta. It says everything that of all things to get HD remasters, it was the first two games before any others.
  • Unreal is widely acclaimed for its amazing visuals, explorative nature, solid enemy AI, long single-player campaign and surprisingly deep world-building from text logs alone; to boot, great quality custom campaign mods are made and released for it even as of 2013. Compare that with how many times you hear someone talk about Unreal II: The Awakening, even if it is to complain about its shortcomings.
  • Unreal Tournament, the multiplayer side of the Unreal franchise, is also subject to this: Unreal Tournament was released in 1999, UT2003 in 2003, UT2004 in 2004 and UT3 in 2007. UT2003 is considered the worst. There is a Broken Base case between UT3 and UT2004, because UT2004 was very different but very popular, while UT3 tried to get the best out of UT2004 and UT99, resulting in a game which is a sort of middle-ground, had a mixed reception and was never as popular as 2004 and 99. Everyone, however, agrees that UT99 was the single best game.
  • The first Viewtiful Joe game is said to be the best in the series, despite the successful sales and good reviews of the sequels.
  • X-COM:
  • Xenoblade has gained two sequels, but to most fans, the original title is still the best one, even though these two sequels were still very well received.
  • The original Yume Nikki is a Cult Classic. Players have long been fascinated by its surreal ambiguity, which results in a game that doesn't neatly fit into any specific genre. By contrast, its sequel, Yume Nikki: Dream Diary, is not nearly as liked.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Reflected in both the flashback case of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and the trial in London at the start of Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney where, despite the events taking place around the time of the third game in the series, they use music from the first.
    • The Pursuit theme from the first game is so beloved that it returns in Trials and Tribulations in the final case when you are about to present the final piece of evidence to prove Godot's guilt of murdering Misty Fey.
  • Tsukihime:
    • This Visual Novel separates different parts of the story by which girl you end up with. But because some information is revealed before others, you have to see every girl's story in a certain order, to its full conclusion. (START Arcueid->Ciel->Akiha->Hisui->Kohaku END.) Since Tsukihime truly is a novel, with tens of thousands of lines of text, casual players without a lot of time to devote to the game only play the first installment, Arcueid's route, without getting far enough to start on anyone else's. Arcueid is also the most popular of all the main heroines among fans, completely defying the First Girl Wins rule.
    • And how many people have actually played its sequel, Kagetsu Tohya? Both have been fan-translated for years but the first game is still better known.

    Web Animation 
  • Fan re-dubbed clip-shows, originating from god-knows-where, are generally referred to in their respective forms and themes by the originators of them. Examples include: AMV Hell, which has become a catch-all term for any clip show featuring several different Anime series; Phoenix Wrong, for Flash-made Ace Attorney-based clip shows.

  • Not an instance involving nostalgia or memories, but: the first episode of Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is by an enormous margin the most oft-quoted and most subject to Memetic Mutation outside the Homestuck fanbase. Virtually everyone knows about stairs and warnings thereof, but the chances of hearing about any other quotations from the series aren't all that great. This is partly because that first entry is always the one that comes up when you load the comic's home page (as it displays the first comic, not the most recent one), and partly because it's one of the more commonly-referenced pages within Homestuck itself.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation:
    • The first SCP made (173) is the highest-rated and locked from editing.
    • Defied by wiki staff with regards to contributions. In their How To Write An SCP guide, they make it a point that if you're going to cross-reference other SCPs, you shouldn't just reference Series I SCPs (SCPs 1 through 999).

    Web Videos 
  • Everyone's heard of Ben Drowned. Greatly fewer have heard of the Moon Children, and hardly anyone outside of Within Hubris has heard of Ryukaki.
  • Twitch Plays Pokémon. It started with Red, and became a sensation almost overnight. By the time it finished, over 100,000+ people had participated, over 20 million people saw it and many memes and religions were formed. Then it moved on to Crystal, and almost overnight the participants plummeted to around 10,000, and continued to halve for the next few runs. The viewer count continued to fall over the years, until it settled on a constant 100-200 viewers that it still maintains to this day.

    Western Animation 
  • The Ur-Example of western animation: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit starred in 192 shorts from the late 1920s to the early 1940s and during this time period had several different iterations, but the most famous is by far the original 26-short run of the character done by Walt Disney from 1927 to 1928 before Disney was forced off the series.
  • Bojack Horseman: Not the series in and of itself, but as the first animated series created by Netflix. So far, it is their most well-known and well-received cartoon among both general audiences and critics, and is generally considered one of the greatest adult animated series ever created.
  • One of the most famous of Disney's Silly Symphonies is "The Skeleton Dance", the first one ever made.
  • Whenever Transformers is ever referenced in popular media, the references will almost always be about the original cartoon (with occasional mentions of the AllSpark). By now, though, the movieverse has eclipsed all else when it comes to what the world at large (as opposed to actual fans of the franchise) thinks of when they think of it; by now, you'll hear the name "Bumblebee" even more than "Optimus Prime" in passing due to 'Bee's increased screentime. However, the franchise deserves special mention in terms of this trope because of the purist fans - to them, G1 isn't just the most memorable, but They Changed It, Now It Sucks! as practically a religion. It's hard to find a Star Trek fan who hates TNG for simply not being TOS, but if you dare suggest something not G1 is something other than garbage, let alone better, well... it won't be pretty. This has improved somewhat in recent years, though, largely as the original G1 fandom has been fairly willing to admit the original cartoon was none too hot itself.
    • The TFwiki also discusses "GEEWUN", about parts of the Unpleasable Fanbase who only like the G1 stuff.
    • Within the franchise itself, Beast Wars's corner of the continuity has this going on. The original Beast Wars is seen as one of the pinnacles of the franchise, while everything to do with the Beast Era since then (Beast Machines, the Universe and Collector's Club comics, IDW's Gathering and Ascension, Dawn of the Predacus), has been at best controversial, and more than a few attempted followups contradict one another. Pretty much the only one uncontroversially seen as good is Beast Wars: Uprising, which, on top of being far more obscure, is also an extremely heavy Alternate Universe. Depictions of the characters, such as their Masterpiece toys, also almost invariably use their Season 1 designs.
  • Ben 10 has five entries: the original, the Time Skip sequel, the other timeskipped sequel, the other-other timeskipped sequel, and the continuity reboot. Most fan loyalty goes to the original series, which is viewed as having the perfect balance of action/adventure and comedy that its subsequent iterations lack. Alien Force and Ultimate Alien gained mixed reception due to their more serious tone while Omniverse and the reboot are equally contested thanks to having a more comedic bent.
  • Until the introduction of Friendship is Magic (which has quite thoroughly displaced all previous incarnations in public perception of the franchise), the first of the My Little Pony TV Specials was considered the pinnacle of the franchise. The second special is a Contested Sequel while everything afterwards is a polarizing deal, even the aforementioned FIM. Speaking of Friendship is Magic, the first season is the most iconic and recognizable to many inside and outside of the fanbase for its many establishing moments and songs, as well as Lauren Faust being the primary showrunner (She left during season two).
  • The earliest seasons of The Simpsons tend to be the most well-known, partly because the show had real shock value in the early 1990s and wasn't yet facing competition from shows like South Park and Family Guy. Subverted, in that the actual earliest seasons aren't from the 1991-97 era, which everyone considers the best.
  • The first four seasons of Family Guy seem to be the most popular, considering it was mainly before the show was Un-Canceled, before its content became more gruesome and brutal, and before it went into avant-garde territory.
  • The original 1969-1971 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! is by far the most popular and influential incarnation of the Scooby-Doo franchise, being the origin of all of the franchise's famous memes and Once per Episode conventions. While Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island and Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated are both far more critically acclaimed, neither will ever beat the original for recognition (see page quote). Speaking of Zombie Island, it was the first entry in a long-running franchise of Direct-to-Video Scooby-Doo films. To this day, Zombie Island remains the most acclaimed and most well-remembered. The next film, The Witch's Ghost, while considered to be inferior, is also fondly remembered by the fandom. The next two films have fewer defenders than the first two and the rest of the series is really polarizing to say the least.
  • Mario had three TV shows in the late 80s, early 90s. There was The Super Mario Bros Super Show!, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario World. The first one, however, is the one most people think of and is the one referenced most often.
  • While the Total Drama series incorporates New Season, New Name, Island is the only season to get near-universal acclaim by the fanbase. Characters that succumbed to Flanderization in later seasons retain their charm, Chris is not as callous towards the cast, and the romantic subplots aren't as heavily focused on compared to later seasons, with the fan favorite couples flourishing here. As a result, the original 22 contestants are the most well-known and beloved, and Camp Wawanakwa is the most iconic location of the series.
  • The first season of Winx Club is the best-received and arguably the most memorable, and the others are criticized for creating good plots and characters and then wasting them, having anti-climatic resolutions, the Power Ups and Frilly Upgrades causing the main characters to lose the beauty and their simplicity, etc. In the fandom, the first 4 seasons have been generally much better received than the Nick-produced seasons 5 and 6
  • Duck Amuck is considered by the masses superior to its "sequel," Rabbit Rampage.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • While both the 2003 and 2012 shows have their share of fans, the original 1987 cartoon remains the most well-known and popular. The first season is also called the best by several fans of the show, due to having the best animation in it and for allowing the turtles to use their weapons more.
    • Speaking of the 2012 series, a good portion of that show's fandom also feels the first season was the best, due to being the only season the original crew worked on.
  • As campy and cheesy He-Man and the Masters of the Universe might be, it will forever be the most beloved and referenced facet of the Masters franchise, despite the 2002 continuity reboot being much better received critically.
  • You're unlikely to see any references to anything after the first three seasons (though the fourth season, after being Vindicated by History, is generally seen as pretty good in its own right and the fifth is polarizing) of SpongeBob SquarePants (and the movie), after which point the series creator Stephen Hillenberg and most of the writing staff stepped down, causing a widely-perceived decrease in quality. Even though reception has been more positive with Hillenberg's return in Season 9, you'll still see few people discuss them.
  • While there have been many animated TV specials made of Dr. Seuss's books (and some specials with original plots), How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (the 1960s version that Chuck Jones did for television) will always be the most iconic and well-known of these specials.
  • The original The Magic School Bus series remains the most beloved and well-regarded version of the series even as its Netflix reboot, generally considered to be unable to hold a candle to the original for a multitude of reasons, marches on.

    Real Life 
  • The 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang. Aka, the quintessential Cool Car. Applies to pretty much any '60s American muscle car whose brand name continued to be produced beyond the '70s fuel crisis. This can also apply to any car model or car enthusiast movement that catches on and evolves, even if the latter reiterations bring key improvements due to more advanced technologies or adapts successfully to changing market/cultural trends to prolong its life.
  • Just about everyone in the Western World at least knows the name of Hannibal Barca, who famously led an army from Northern Africa across Western Europe, eventually crossing the Alps with his elephants into Italy. His younger brother, Hasdrubal, did the exact same thing but did it second so no one cares. Speaking of the Punic Wars, a lot of really famous things and people actually came out of the Second War: Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, the crossing of the Alps, Fabian tactics, war elephants, etc. If one were to ask about the Punic Wars, or Carthage, Hannibal would come to mind first, despite being in only one of three, and at that the second, thus averting this trope in a larger sense.
  • If asked to name Roman Emperors, most people will reel off the names of the very earliest ones, like Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. Slightly later names like Hadrian, Trajan and Marcus Aurelius are usually recognised, but anyone after 200 AD will be virtually unknown. The only exception to this rule is another example of it. Most people will have heard of Emperor Constantine I, but know him simply as Constantine, despite the fact that there were a further ten Emperor Constantines after him. He's also known as the founder of the city of Constantinople and, by extension (in popular culture), the Byzantine Empire, so there's that angle as well. The mere fact that every Roman Emperor after called himself "Caesar" shows that the first guy truly won in the minds of other Romans, though Julius Caesar never bore the title of Emperor.
  • Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. Though he managed to get his fair share of recognition by punching a Conspiracy Theorist in the face after being constantly harangued to the point that a judge ruled that the punch was self-defense. There have, in fact, been 10 other men who walked on the moon. You need The Other Wiki to find out who they are, though.
  • In economics, this is known as a network effect.
  • Abraham Lincoln: the first Republican president, and arguably considered to be one of the best Presidents in the US. Related to this, an old piece of folk-wisdom says there's only five presidents the American public can be counted on to know at any given time: the guy in office right now and the four guys on Mount Rushmore.


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