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Follow-Up Failure

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In television, with a successful creation usually comes the chance to create something else. As a successful series runs on longer and longer, the network that carries it will sometimes give the creator of the hit an opportunity to create a new show. And then, because the studio doesn't quite trust the creator, they'll proceed to engage in Executive Meddling until the new show dies a horrible death.

This can be done by moving the show around in the schedule so often that no one can find it; issuing demands on the direction and content of the show to the creator that introduce things the fans hate; demanding that the new show be more and more like the old show; or even pre-emptively cancelling a show before it has a chance to actually generate an audience. In some cases, the show actually ends up being better than the original and the network buries it to avoid killing the existing cash cow.

Of course, sometimes the failure of the new show isn't the studio's fault. Sometimes the studio gives the creator carte blanche when it came to production, and as a result, the show is either too bad or just too self-indulgent. Perhaps the show ends up built around the creator's own likes and dislikes or turns into a series of rants about the creator's pet causes. In any case, it fails to connect with the audience because it lacks the broader appeal of the old series.

This can also lead to The Firefly Effect, as fans are afraid to commit to a new show that is perceived as being ultimately doomed to failure, no matter how successful the original show is. Compare Sophomore Slump. Compare and contrast Tough Act to Follow, where fans find a sequel work to be inferior to its predecessor whether or not it has been meddled with.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • Alexandre Cabanel was a virtuoso, so by the time he was 22, his religious-themed paintings enjoyed hard-earned approval from the art judges. One of his works was displayed in the Salon of Paris, the most prestigious art exhibition of the time, while another had won the Prix of Rome. Yet, the moment Cabanel dared to experiment a little, the judges and other masters decried him. Thus, they deemed his "Orestes" and his "The Fallen Angel" inadequate. Back then, if you weren't backed up by the Academy, your works weren't displayed, so Cabanel's oil paintings during this rebellious period had to be discovered much later by art historians to get recognition.

    Comic Books 
  • In a combination of this trope and Creator Breakdown, in 1992 seven of Marvel Comics' biggest artists left that company to form Image Comics, in reaction to what they say was an overabundance of Executive Meddling. What followed was a textbook example of how not to run a comic book company that went so badly, it actually managed to kill another book company by associating with them. It was only when Rob Liefeld was kicked out and the company got new management (Jim Valentino and then Erik Larsen) that the company started doing well. Image still survives today with a very diverse range of comics, including The Walking Dead, Age of Bronze, Fell, and plenty of other well-regarded works.
  • After the success of Runaways, the series' then-editor C.B. Cebulski conceived of a spin-off series featuring Excelsior, the group of former teen superheroes who appeared in the "True Believers" arc. Problems came up almost immediately. Stan Lee held the trademark to the word "Excelsior", which forced Cebulski to change the mini-series title to The Loners. A long delay between conception and publication didn't help, since by the time the first issue came out in 2007, the landscape of the Marvel universe had been altered by Civil War, which required Cebulski to explain why none of the characters had decided to simply register so that they could legally keep being superheroes rather than sitting around and complaining about their lost superhero careers. Ultimately, the series lasted only six issues.

    Films — Animation 
  • Despicable Me is the film that put Illumination Entertainment on the map. Following the complete bank maker that it was, they released Hop, which was savaged critically and financially disastrous. It still ranks as their poorest-grossing film to this day.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah followed the success of Life on Mars (2006) with the widely mocked Bonekickers. However, the sequel to Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes (2008), had a respectable four-series run, even if it didn't reach the heights of the original.
  • David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd followed the success of Are You Being Served? with Come Back Mrs. Noah, which went over so badly that it was cancelled after a single six episode series.
  • Two attempts to replicate the success of MTV's reality show The Hills (itself a Spinoff from Laguna Beach). The City (a second spinoff that saw cast member Whitney Port take a job in New York City with a prestigious fashion house) faltered and sputtered for two seasons, sunk by audience apathy, mixed reviews and dwindling ratings. Despite a successful second-season opener, the show quickly fell back to its old habits and was cancelled by MTV at the end of that season. A third spinoff, Audrina (focusing on another cast member, Audrina Patridge) didn't even get picked up at the network, despite production already having completed on its first season. This led it to be picked up by VH1, which decided not to renew the show after the episodes were aired.
  • Doctor Who:
    • After the resounding success of Jon Pertwee's run, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks launched their own original sci-fi series, Moonbase 3. It lasted just one series and has fallen into obscurity.
    • Under showrunner Steven Moffat, DW featured a number of Backdoor Pilot episodes featuring characters and concepts ripe for spinoffs (examples include The Paternoster Gang, UNIT, Psi and Saibra, and Clara and Ashildr). The only spin-off to come out of the Moffat era, however, was Class (2016) which featured only the most oblique connection to the series by way of a supporting character who'd only appeared a couple of times (and was almost immediately killed off) and a fictional location. Originally released via the online streaming service BBC Three, Class failed to even register in the top 50 streaming programs and subsequent over-the-air broadcast by BBC One was done in "burn-off" style in a graveyard time slot.
    • Moffat and Mark Gatiss' first solo series following Doctor Who was the massively successful Sherlock. They followed that up Dracula (2020), which wasn't as well-received.
  • Tony Holland, Tony Jordan and Julia Smith gave The BBC their first successful Soap Opera in fifteen years with EastEnders. They followed this with Eldorado, which went down as one of the biggest disasters in the history of the corporation.
  • Hill Street Blues creator Steven Bochco had so much pull at the time following the success of his cop drama that ABC gave him an unprecedented deal to create ten shows for the network. Among them were the notorious misfires Cop Rock and Capitol Critters, the first a musical police drama that mixed gritty police realism with song and dance numbers and the second a prime-time animated series about mice living in the White House. The first is considered a legendarily bad series, while the second has achieved a cult following. In fairness, Doogie Howser, M.D. and NYPD Blue also came out of this deal, and these were successful shows.
  • After two successful made-for-TV movies, Kolchak: The Night Stalker was under-promoted and only made it a season. Stephen King, in his nonfiction book Danse Macabre, argues that that's the least of the series' problems.
  • Millennium (1996) and Harsh Realm, both by The X-Files creator Chris Carter, were both victims of studio frustration with The Chris Carter Effect.
    • Vince Gilligan, probably the best-known co-writer from The X-Files, has stated that Millenium was preoccupied with human evil to a disturbing degree and failed to attract an audience—lessons Vince would internalize as showunner.
  • According to Aaron Sorkin, the failure of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, the show he worked on following the end of the highly successful The West Wing, was because of his own Creator Breakdown.
  • Jenji Kohan followed up her show Weeds with Ronna and Beverly, a show that not only failed to get picked up but was only aired once on Showtime in the middle of the night. Her second attempt at a follow-up, Tough Trade, failed to get picked up as well. Ronna and Beverly actually got revived as a podcast. Fortunately, she scored with Orange Is the New Black which quickly became much bigger than Weeds ever was.
  • James Corden and Mathew Horne followed the success of Gavin & Stacey with a failed sketch comedy called Horne & Corden.
  • Joss Whedon's first attempt at a series outside of the Buffyverse was Firefly. It died an ignoble death, but has a devoted fandom.
  • The first Cheers spinoff was The Tortellis, which was a capable sitcom with one glaring weakness: no one liked the characters. The second spinoff, Frasier, fared much better.
  • Babylon 5 was Un-Cancelled by TBS and allowed to complete its five-year arc, because TBS wanted showrunner J. Michael Straczynski to do a Spin-Off, called Crusade. JMS lays the blame for the show's failure squarely at TBS's feet. According to him, they wanted an action Sci Fi show, full of sex and violence, which JMS had zero interest in doing. It was cancelled after 13 episodes.
  • Michael Mann stepped down as showrunner for Miami Vice after two seasons to oversee Crime Story. Sadly, it didn't have the same impact.

  • Many musical acts fall victim to the "Sophomore Slump" with their second album. Some recover, others don't.
  • Nelly followed up the acclaimed Sweat/Suit double album (which sold six million copies together) with Brass Knuckles, which was critically panned and sold less than 250,000 copies. He attempted to make up for it with 5.0 but it didn't fare any better.
  • Two Country Music artists have had the biggest country song of the year per the Billboard Year-End charts, only to follow up with a flop. Specifically:
    • James Otto's "Just Got Started Lovin' You", a two-week #1 and the biggest country hit of 2008, was followed by the #39 dud "For You", and his career never recovered.
    • In 2012, after a discography that had long run hot and cold, Josh Turner had the biggest hit of the year with "Time Is Love" (although it never hit #1 on the airplay charts). The follow-up, "Find Me a Baby", stalled out at #42.
  • Heartland was only the second country music band ever to hit #1 with a debut single: specifically, 2006's "I Loved Her First". However, the label (Lofton Creek) was inexperienced with Top 40 radio, as it usually only worked singles to smaller-market stations not on the Billboard chart survey. Between their inexperience and indecision over what the next single would be (they waffled over the very similar-sounding "Built to Last" and the more upbeat "Let's Get Dirty"), Heartland wound up being one of the more literal examples of a One-Hit Wonder in country music and never saw the Top 40 again. They tried to follow up on a few more labels, lost four of the six members in favor of one new one, and had yet more followups that went nowhere.
  • Jerrod Niemann had one of the biggest country hits of 2014 with "Drink to That All Night", a #1 smash that was certified platinum. What did he follow it up with? "Donkey", a very polarizing Double Entendre-laden song that died a very rapid death at #43. This seemed to kill the album's momentum entirely, as he quickly switched out for "Buzz Back Girl", which fared little better at #35. What little promotion "Buzz Back Girl" got also seemed to act as if "Donkey" didn't exist.
  • Buddha and the Chocolate Box was one of Cat Stevens' best-selling albums, peaking at #2. His next album, Numbers, while still somewhat successful (peaking at #13), almost led him to give up his career, but Executive Meddling pushed him on to record Izitso (#7) and Back to Earth (#33).
  • Mark Ronson went from having an inescapable 14-week #1 megahit with "Uptown Funk" to not being able to chart his follow-ups anywhere. However this probably due to everyone in existence assuming it was featured vocalist Bruno Mars' song rather than his.
  • This has happened many times to Little Big Town. First, "Little White Church" off their fourth album The Reason Why was a Top 10 hit on the country charts, but followups "Kiss Goodbye" and "The Reason Why" both stalled at #42. Then after the one-two punch of "Pontoon" (their first #1 hit) and "Tornado" (which hit #2) off the next album, both "Your Side of the Bed" and "Sober" just barely made Top 30. Then after the monster hit that was "Girl Crush", followup "Pain Killer" only got to #38. Then after the success of "Girl Crush"'s corresponding album Pain Killer, they recorded the pop album Wanderlust which did absolutely nothing at all. Finally, the #1 smash "Better Man" in 2017 was followed by "Happy People", which became their lowest peaking single to date at #46.
  • Ray Stevens had this happen with both of his #1 hits on the Hot 100: "Everything Is Beautiful" was followed by a string of duds which all failed to hit the Top 40 ("America, Communicate with Me", "Sunset Strip", "Bridget the Midget", and a series of gospel songs). Much later, "The Streak" was followed by the #73 "Moonlight Special" (although that time, he quickly bounced back with his #14 cover of "Misty"... only to flop again until he stopped hitting the Hot 100 entirely in 1979).
  • Country Music singer Randy Houser has had this happen twice. First, after his debut album spawned a big hit in "Boots On", he led off his second album with "Whistlin' Dixie", which stalled at #31 and sent said second album into Development Hell. Two more singles followed, one of which ("I'm All About It") didn't even make the cut of his second album, which was quietly released in fall 2010. Another single, "In God's Time", also went nowhere, and he left his label. After signing to Broken Bow Records, he seemed destined for the big time when his first album for the label brought him four big hits in a row, including the #1 singles "How Country Feels" and "Runnin' Outta Moonlight". His second Broken Bow album also produced a #1 in "We Went", but this trope came into being again when that song's follow-up, "Song Number 7", debuted at #43 and quickly fell from the charts... and its follow-up, "Chasing Down a Good Time", didn't even make the charts at all!
  • In 2002, Tracy Byrd had the #1 smash "Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo", his first trip to the top of the country charts since 1993. The follow-up single, "Lately (Been Dreamin' 'bout Babies)", stalled out at #38 and didn't even appear on an album due to its underperformance.
  • Justin Moore's 2013 album Off the Beaten Path produced the hits "Point at You" and "Lettin' the Night Roll", but then his label released a multi-artist Mötley Crüe tribute album and decided to promote his rendition of "Home Sweet Home" (featuring Mötley Crüe lead singer Vince Neil) as a single. It petered out at #30, so they went back to Off the Beaten Path for another single. That choice, "This Kind of Town", became his first single to miss the Top 40 entirely.
  • This happened twice early in Blake Shelton's career. His #1 debut smash "Austin" was followed by the #18 flop "All Over Me", while his second #1 hit "The Baby" was followed by the #32 "Heavy Liftin'" (and, judging from its chart run, that song was prematurely withdrawn for "Playboys of the Southwestern World", which fared little better at #24).
  • Dan Seals' last #1 country hit, his 1990 cover of Sam Cooke's "Good Times", was followed by the #49 "Bordertown". Seals never hit Top 40 again, despite having previously had a hot streak of Top 10 hits dating back to 1984 (and several more in The '70s as one-half of the soft-rock duo England Dan & John Ford Coley).
  • Jake Owen topped the country charts in 2016 with "American Country Love Song". Its follow-up "If He Ain't Gonna Love You" bombed at #37, becoming his lowest charting song to date.
  • Dierks Bentley has had this happen a few times:
    • His debut smash "What Was I Thinkin'" was followed later in 2003 by "My Last Name", which for nearly seven years remained his only single not to reach Top 10 on the country charts or enter the Hot 100 at all.
    • After a false start with "Bourbon in Kentucky" (withdrawn due to radio stations not wanting to play a moody ballad in the summer), his Riser album produced three #1 hits... followed by the title track, which stalled out at #24.
    • The first three singles off Black were all successful, with the first two reaching #1 and the title track reaching #2, but "What the Hell Did I Say" produced his lowest chart peak ever of #46.
  • Dan + Shay followed up three straight #1 Country Airplay hits with "Road Trippin'", which became their first single to miss the Top 40 entirely.
  • Rascal Flatts' 2017 single "Yours If You Want It" was a #1 country hit. It was followed by "Back to Us" which became their very first single not to even crack top 40 (their previous record low peak was #21).
  • Darryl Worley's 2003 smash "Have You Forgotten?" spent seven weeks at #1 on the country charts in 2003. Its follow-up was "Tennessee River Run", which only got to #31. The album's third single only got to #57.
  • Steve Holy followed up the five-week Hot Country Songs #1 "Good Morning Beautiful" with "I'm Not Breakin'", which fizzled out in the mid-20s and started a chain of underperforming singles that delayed his second album for five years. Said album finally came out in 2006 off the success of his second #1 "Brand New Girlfriend"... only for that song's following singles to all wither and die in the lower regions of the charts.
  • Darius Rucker had this happen twice: his Signature Song "Wagon Wheel" was followed by the underperforming "Radio" and "Miss You", the latter of which was his only single not to make Top 40. Then in 2017-18, he had the #1 hits "If I Told You" and "For the First Time" followed by a cover of Drivin n Cryin's "Straight to Hell", which despite featuring guest vocals from Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley, stalled out at #40.
  • David Lee Murphy had a few hits in the 1990s, but spent most of the succeeding years as a songwriter, outside a momentary return to the Top 10 with "Loco" in 2004 (which was stunted by a label closure). In 2018, friend and frequent collaborator Kenny Chesney persuaded him to start recording again, so he issued "Everything's Gonna Be Alright", which featured Chesney on guest vocals. Due to the bigger name attached to it, this song went to #1 in 2018... but radio was not interested in follow-ups from the now 60-year-old Murphy, so his solo followup "I Won't Be Sorry" stalled out at #52.
  • Kenny Chesney's 2018 single "Better Boat" snapped a nearly sixty-song streak of Top 20 hits on the Billboard country singles charts when it peaked at #24. To put this in perspective, his last song not to make the Top 20 was "I Will Stand", which was released in mid-1998.
  • Rap-rock band Crazy Town went #1 and platinum with their debut album, mostly due to the success of its third single "Butterfly". Said single, aside from borrowing a Red Hot Chili Peppers riff, had a very different (somewhat more polished and commercial) vibe compared to the rest of the album (more aggressive and rough). As a result, regardless of their huge commercial success, the band wasn't treated seriously, to the point of being taunted as "Butterfly Boys" on Ozzfest. So they tried to reverse the curse and restore some credibility by taking a more straightforward rock approach for their next release, "Darkhorse", even hiring Rivers Cuomo of Weezer to do a guest riff on one single. The Result: #120 and a pathetic 28,000 sells worldwide, which they tried to play off as what they initially wanted to do to stop selling out, but then Columbia gave them the boot and Crazy Town soon disbanded.
  • Phantom Regiment's "Spartacus" show won a highly competitive 2008 DCI Championship which had the Blue Devils' "Constantly Risking Absurdity" and the Cavaliers' "Samurai" shows within a point of victory. 2009's "The Red Violin" proved to be far less competitive for Phantom, finishing a disappointing 9th. To date, it represents the biggest dropoff for a defending DCI champion.
  • Country Music singer David Ball had a Sleeper Hit in late 2001-early 2002 with "Riding with Private Malone", whose war-inspired themes likely hit home for a lot of listeners after 9/11. However, it was released on a small independent label, and Ball was 48 when the single came out, so any attempts at a followup didn't even make the lowest regions of the Hot Country Songs charts.
  • Chris Cagle had this happen three times. His only #1 hit "I Breathe In, I Breathe Out" saw its followup "Country by the Grace of God" stall out at #33. One year later, his Signature Song "Chicks Dig It" was followed by the #39 flop "I'd Be Lying". Then his late 2007-early 2008 smash "What Kinda Gone" had followup "No Love Songs" stall out after only a few weeks, almost certainly due to him being arrested for assaulting his wife.
  • While Fleetwood Mac's Tusk sold over four million copies worldwide, a level of success most artists would kill for, it was still considered one to Rumours because that album sold over 40 million copies worldwide. A combination of the high price of the double LP set during the height of the petroleum crisis, Lindsey Buckingham's experimental tendencies confusing fans, and RKO airing the entire album over the radio— giving plenty of room for home taping that invalidated the need to actually buy a copy— were blamed for the relative failure of the album, which scared record companies off of double albums for the rest of vinyl's popular lifespan until the Vinyl Revival of the 2000s.
  • Ty Herndon's debut album What Mattered Most went through this. The title track served as Herndon's debut single, setting new records for first-week country radio airplay by a new artist and swiftly reaching the top of the Hot Country Songs charts in 1995. Followup "I Want My Goodbye Back" also landed in the top 10, but the Stephanie Bentley duet "Heart Half Empty" only got to #21 and fourth single "In Your Face" fizzled out at #63 after only two weeks. It's most likely that radio cooled their heels on Herndon due to him getting arrested in a Fort Worth park for indecent exposure and possession of meth. Thankfully for him, he was able to bounce back and get quite a few more hits on country radio before the '90s ended.
  • Maren Morris had a huge crossover hit in 2020 with "The Bones", a multi-week #1 country hit and #12 Hot 100 hit. Its followup "To Hell and Back" stalled out at #32 on the country charts, becoming her lowest-peak there as well as her first single not to enter the Hot 100 at all.
  • Norah Jones burst onto the scene in 2002 with her debut album Come Away with Me, which became a Sleeper Hit, topping the Billboard 200 almost a year after it's release, spawned a Top 40 hit in the form of "Don't Know Why" (which was also a Sleeper Hit), saw her beating out established artists at the Grammys by winning in four of the major categories, and became one of the best-selling albums of all time. She followed it up with the one-two punch of the similarly successful Feels Like Home and Not Too Late (both of which also topped the Billboard 200), but it was at her fourth album The Fall that her success began to show signs of wane. The Fall, while still going platinum like her prior three albums, didn't make the top spot, only making it to #3 on the Billboard 200. She followed The Fall up with two albums that only went gold (2012's Little Broken Hearts and 2016's Day Breaks; the latter of which only sold 44,000 copies), then took 4 years off between albums, which resulted in her 2020 album Pick Me Up Off the Floor becoming a complete dud, peaking at only #87, and her next album, the 2021 Christmas album I Dream of Christmas, did even worse, peaking at only #100.
  • Esperanza Spalding was one of the most buzzed-about artists of the late-2000s/early-2010s, with her mixture of jazz-pop and indie rock stylings earning attention from both critics and mainstream audiences. After winning the Grammy for Best New Artist for her album Chamber Music Society, her follow-up Radio Music Society went Top 10 on the Billboard 200 and spawned a minor radio hit in the form of "Black Gold". However, that would be the end of her commercial success. She took four years off in-between albums to work as a supporting musician for other artists, which seriously hampered her career momentum. Her 2016 jazz-rock comeback album Emily's D+Evolution was an Acclaimed Flop, received great reviews but debuting at only #88. Her subsequent albums failed to enter the Billboard 200 at all.
  • Bruce Hornsby and the Range followed up the triple-platinum The Way It Is, it's #1 smash hit title track and two Top 20 follow-up singles with Scenes from the Southside (#5) and A Night on the Town (#20), which, while still somewhat successful (with Southside even going platinum) and harboring Top 40 hits, weren't as popular outside rock and adult contemporary audiences compared to their debut (compare Southside track "The Valley Road"'s three-week #1 peak on the mainstream rock charts to it spending a solitary week at #5 on the Hot 100). Hornsby had better luck solo, with a resume that includes being a touring member of The Grateful Dead (along with working with the surviving members' other bands after the Dead dissolved), writing songs for Spike Lee films, collaborations with Ricky Skaggs, and a series of acclaimed solo albums (with or without his current backing band the Noise Makers).
  • Country singer Michael Ray has had four Top 10 hits on Country Airplay, but each of them were followed by a single that failed to make the Top 10: his debut #1 single "Kiss You in the Morning" was followed by the #17 "Real Men Love Jesus", the #2 "Think a Little Less" followed by the #15 "Get to You", the #3 "One That Got Away" followed by the #22 "Her World or Mine", and finally the #1 "Whiskey and Rain" followed by the #32 "Holy Water".
  • During the height of the the "Hampster Dance" meme, a novelty song by Hampton The Hamster, "The Hampster Dance", was released. The song exploded in popularity and spawned a Cash-Cow Franchise in the form of a virtual band. Although "The Hampster Dance" was near-unavoidable in the second half of 2000, no other single from the debut album found success outside of Australia. Any further attempt to replicate its success fell flat. Later singles, such as "Sing a Simple Song", only got meager airplay on Radio Disney and didn't chart anywhere.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling Association was set up to oversee the many women's pro wrestling organizations that sprung up in response to Mildred Burke's WWWA in the same manner the National Wrestling Alliance oversaw promotions on a larger scale. Unfortunately, the Japanese promoters didn't respect this body's authority, not even after the NWA itself sent The Fabulous Moolah to drop the World Women's title to Yukiko Tomoe in 1968, and in the end only one promotion survived.
  • Ring Ka King, another project by Jeff Jarrett after he lost control of TNA that used much of the same talent and acquired the training services of OVW. It drew great crowds and popped decent ratings in India but petered out after no one decided to pick it up for another season.

    Software and Computers 
  • In software development, this trope is called "the second-system effect". It tends to imply a Troubled Production as well, as the term was coined during one: IBM's System/360 project in the 1960s, which was fraught with delays, feature creep and general loss of morale (one key lesson learned was "adding workers to a late project just makes it later"). The book The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks (who was project manager on the System/360) describes the struggles to get the project out on time and is considered a classic in tech and business circles.
  • Short-lived 1990s Apple Macintosh shareware company Storm Impact had two hit programs right out of the gate, both video games: the RPG TaskMaker and the skiing sim MacSki. Both were fairly successful games met with positive reviews. Their next two products were a Shoot 'Em Up called Asterbamm and a technical support utility called Technical Snapshot, both of which bombed.
    And just when they looked to be getting back on track with a sequel to TaskMaker called The Tomb of the TaskMaker, the company went under due to a combination of undercapitalization (they were mostly just one programmer and one graphic artist, and their resources were further drained during a lawsuit against a software-of-the-month club which Storm Impact won), issues with a publisher who kept botching orders, a declining Macintosh market at the time, and advances in video game development since the first version of MacSki came out. Storm Impact closed up shop right after Tomb was rushed out in Obvious Beta form.
  • IBM Personal Computer: The IBM PC, first released in 1982, proved to be an immense success for IBM and the computer industry as whole, thanks to its easily-clonable architecture allowing countless manufacturers to make their own versions of it. That last part proved problematic for IBM, since they weren't making any money off of the clones, so in 1987 they launched a successor to the PC, called the Personal System/2 or PS/2. Unlike its predecessor, IBM designed the PS/2 with a proprietary, difficult-to-clone architecture that no one could implement in their products without paying royalties to IBM. Naturally consumers and other manufacturers rejected this, and came up with another, royalty-free standard to compete with the PS/2. While the PS/2 sold well in the business market, which had strong loyalty to IBM, and could and would pay IBM's premium prices, it failed to make a dent in the home market, which ultimately resulted in IBM giving up on the line after a few years.

    Tabletop Games 

  • Aspects of Love was Andrew Lloyd Webber's first musical after The Phantom of the Opera. It debuted under a cloud, with unknown American leading lady Ann Crumb cast as part of a deal with the Actors Equity Association to ensure Sarah Brightman's presence in Phantom's Broadway cast - with Lloyd Webber expressing his displeasure on opening night. The West End production lasted for over 1,300 performances, respectable but still one of the shortest runs for a Lloyd Webber musical. The Broadway production flared out after only 377 performances, with the $8 million investment lost in what's been called one of the biggest flops in Broadway history. To be fair, a musical with themes including open marriage, borderline statutory rape, and incest was going to be a hard sell no matter what came before it.

    Video Games 
  • Anthem (2019) was a game made by BioWare that had a lot going for it, but a VERY Troubled Production sealed its fate from the instant it was shown at E3 2017, where developers didn't even know what the final product was going to be until then. When it finally released in 2019, it got middling scores from critics and absolutely savaged by BioWare fans, who saw it as lacking the trademarks of BioWare's writing and chasing the coattails of its competitors but not doing anything to learn from them. In the end, it ended up becoming a Stillborn Franchise only a year or so after launch, since a planned overhaul got halted in 2021, basically killing the game and leaving it Overshadowed by Controversy.
  • Kindly Beast's Bendy and the Ink Machine became one of the big hits of 2017's indie horror scene. The developer's second game, Showdown Bandit, largely flew under the radar and was Cut Short after one episode.
  • Dead by Daylight is the game that put Behaviour Interactive on the map, a massively successful Asymmetric Multiplayer horror game. Their followup effort, Deathgarden was not so lucky, plagued with low player rates and middling reviews from the get-go. After less than 2 years, the game's servers were shut down.
  • Daikatana was John Romero's IP after his seminal work on Quake and Doom. He was an ideas man, but didn't fare as well as an auteur developer with total freedom. Yahtzee would later compare it to Lennon and McCartney breaking up. This was also during a weird period in gaming where developers were being treated as rock stars. Romero's branch of Ion Storm were spending boatloads of cash on lavish marbled penthouse offices and licensed race cars, while the real work was being done in cubicles by semi-anonymous staffers. Daikatana is essentially unfinished, and the ad campaign was universally-mocked for its hubris. It is gaming's Heaven's Gate; no major publishers will entrust that much power to a single man again.

    Web Original 
  • After a campaign to get "Never Gonna Give You Up", at the height of the Rickroll phenomenon, to become the 2008 UK Christmas number-one failed, Jon Morter became an early social media sensation when he started a Facebook campaign to get Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name" to become the 2009 Christmas number-one single, which succeeded and led to the song beating that year's The X Factor winner Joe McElderry for the coveted spot. With the exception of his participation in getting The Justice Collective's version of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" to become the Christmas number-one in 2012 (his participation in running a campaign to get "Last Christmas" to become the Christmas number-one in the UK doesn't count, as it only peaked at no. 1 in 2021, several years after the campaign was created), nearly all of his campaigns to get songs to no. 1 in the UK since then have been complete failures.

    Western Animation 
  • After the successes of Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!, Nickelodeon pushed for the creation of a third Dora series, with said series (Dora and Friends: Into the City!) coming out after years of being stuck in development hell. It was ultimately overshadowed by PAW Patrol, with Into the City's lack of popularity killing the Dora franchise. Nickelodeon decided to shove anything Dora-related into early morning timeslots on Nick Jr. and pulled reruns off the main Nickelodeon channel.
  • After 3 successful seasons of China, IL, Brad Neely was right back at it with Brad Neely's Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio. An animated Sketch Comedy show filled with his usual oddball humor. Unlike China Il. however, the show was very unpopular. And after dismal ratings and unkind reviews, was done after one 10 episode season.