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Franchise Original Sin

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"To me, all the fatal flaws fanboys bitched about in regards to the [Star Wars] prequels — stiff dialogue, wooden performances, a convoluted plot, and mindless spectacle divorced from human emotion — were there from the very beginning."

A Franchise Original Sin is anything that the audience takes issue with in later installments of a serial work which has been present since earlier installments or even from the very start.

Franchise Original Sins may be exacerbated by Protection from Editors resulting in Filibuster Freefall, or a result of a Creator Breakdown or other form of Troubled Production. It is possible for a story to recover from its sins if the writer experiences a Creator Recovery — or you might be looking at the point where the fans invoke Fanon Discontinuity. Or it might be regression to the mean; the work in question became popular because the early installments were above the quality the creators could normally produce, and when they returned to baseline, it was over for them.

Expect to hear statements like "It was all right when it only happened occasionally, but..." when this idea is brought up in fan conversations. Sometimes the 'sin' is an element that the fanbase initially liked, only to reject it after it became offensive or overused. Ironically, the Fan Dumb might use this to defend Seasonal Rot, invoking false equivalency with statements like "Well these elements were used back in earlier installments, and you weren't complaining about it then!"

This takes its name from "original sin", an idea posited in the Confessions that all of humanity's desire to do evil came from Adam's decision to disobey God in the Book of Genesis. Just replace Adam with "the first installment" and humanity with "all the sequels" and voila.

Rule of thumb: if you can imagine a reboot or spiritual successor without the element in question, then it qualifies. If you can't, then it doesn't. Secondary rule of thumb: If it wasn't visible in episodes prior to ones that garner complaints about it, it's an Ass Pull or a Retool gone bad, not a Franchise Original Sin. Compare with First Installment Wins, Overused Running Gag, Discredited Meme (a more specific variety of this where a joke gets used so often that everyone gets sick of it) and The Artifact (which remains in place despite no longer serving its original purpose). Often goes along with Sequelitis. Contrast Seinfeld Is Unfunny, when overexposure makes the original seem less good in hindsight. See also Borrowing from the Sister Series, if the sin originated in a different series by the same creator and was copied over.

John Bull has referred to this as a key part of the buildup to what he calls the "Trust Thermocline", the point where companies and content creators lose the trust of their customers and see a precipitous collapse that they never recover from. The road to the Trust Thermocline is often a long one, with many little problems slowly building up but being brushed aside by customers because they're too invested in the product to give it up. Eventually, however, something serves as The Last Straw that causes customers to switch to another product, even a long-existing competitor that they might never have considered before.

Please be careful you aren't Complaining About Shows You Don't Like. Please also be careful your examples doesn't sound like justifying a criticism of a show by saying it's always been an element from the beginning. Due to misuse, a cleanup and maintenance thread can be found here.

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    Fan Works 
  • A much maligned trend in Battlestar Galactica (2003) and Stargate-verse crossovers is the portrayal of the Colonials as religious fanatics and generally evil, despite little canon evidence. This can be traced all the way to Reunions Are a Bitch, but whereas that fic placed the blame on the leaders, with the average Joe Colonial being sympathetic, later fics simply made them Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Nobody Dies: The main complaint about the fic is that it got too silly to be taken seriously, but silliness was always a part of the story. Just look at this version of Rei and what she pulls off. The difference is the silliness was mostly limited to her and balanced out by serious and touching events that made those moments of levity more appreciated. Arguably, the cracks began to show as early as season two, what with more ridiculous events, the goofy antics spreading even into more serious chapters and the introduction of the Ree, a gaggle of girls whose primary purpose was just to be silly.
  • Prehistoric Earth is largely agreed upon by readers (as well as by Nathanoraptor, one of the fic's own writers) to have entered a period of declining quality once original main writer Drew Luczynski introduced Creator's Pet Cynthia Night into the story and subsequently tried way too hard to force the readers to like her for the character's (and story's) own good. But as much as the readers and Nathanoraptor agree that Cynthia's introduction was the point where things started briefly going to Hell for the story, Luczynski had previously shown signs of the two biggest complaints against him and his handling of Cynthia (specifically, his willingness to lionize his personal favorite characters in the narrative at the unfair expense of others he comparatively didn't like as much and his seeming difficulty in handling female characters) long before this point. For on closer examination, Luczynski had previously shown signs of similar favoritism towards one character at the expense of other characters in his handling of the main protagonist named after him via having him express a trait similar to the writer's own Real Life personality that didn't match up with Nathanoraptor's planned personality and characterization for him, provide explicit assistance to a character for a problem that said character he helped logically should have been smart enough to take care of on her own, and take part in an activity that his planned personality should have made him a bad fit for despite the activity arguably making more sense to be done by one of two other characters already introduced in the story that would have been far better suited for it. And as far as Luczynski's questionable handling of female characters is concerned, he'd likewise first shown signs of this difficulty long before Cynthia's introduction by virtue of giving one especially important female character a personality trait in her earliest appearances in the story that didn't match up with Nathanoraptor's explicitly planned personality for her that she ended up having throughout the rest of the story, accidentally making another important female character seem pointless and of no importance in another earlier round of chapters, and causing a third one to drastically deviate from the personality that Nathanoraptor had explicitly told him she was supposed to have for the sake of his own desires. A lot of these mistakes seemed relatively excusable at the time due to them occurring fairly early on in the story, both Luczynski and Nathanoraptor still having a few growing pains to undergo in regard to handling large ensemble casts like the one planned for this story, and the female characters that Luczynski had messed up on all being characters that had been created by other authors for the sake of the story with he himself only approving for their inclusion rather than playing any direct part in their creation. However, it wasn't until after both Luczynski's introduction of Cynthia (a female character created entirely by him) and his subsequent efforts at forcing her into a prominent role while also seemingly trying to prop up her and Drew's prominence at the expense of the vast majority of the other planned prominent characters in the ensemble even long after the earliest chapters of the story had already passed that the readers and Nathanoraptor began to severely complain about his seemingly forcing aside and unfairly handling several genuinely interesting and likeable characters in favor of one character that was considered likable but not as interesting and another character that was considered unsympathetic and unlikable.
  • React Watch Believe Yikes: Back during the season one viewing, the author borrowed a joke that one of his reviewers made and used it in the story, giving the fellow proper credit. This gave other people the idea to suggest their own lines for use and it was good because it helped provide exposure and eased the writing process. The first signs of a problem were early into the season two viewing, when one of those jokes resulted in Blake taking injuries as a result, causing a suggestion to have significant, lasting consequences. As a result, when readers realized they could have some degree over the direction of the plot, the reviews became less substantial critique and more about thinking up funny ways to pull the plot where they wanted it to go. And because the author kept taking those suggestions, this caused some of the more inane twists and the increased importance of Noire that the story would be later criticized for.
  • Robb Returns: Some reviewers of the later chapters of the story complain about the lack of stakes, the heroes easily winning all the time and suffering no losses, and villains who were formidable in canon being dealt with extremely easily. Those problems have been there from the very beginning. The difference is that, since both the books and especially the show were rather dark settings in which most heroic characters ended up dying or undergoing severe traumatic experiences, and in contrast, many villainous characters thrived and succeeded in their evil schemes led to a case of Too Bleak, Stopped Caring, reading a more optimistic story in which the heroes finally score the wins they deserve and villains get their karmic retribution felt very cathartic.

    But as the story progressed, the sense of catharsis began to wear off, and readers started to notice that the story is too good to the heroes and that there are almost no villainous characters either alive or active to stir up some conflict. This results in many chapters featuring nothing but heroic characters that get along well with each other talking about the impending threat of the Others, which, unfortunately, feels too distant to induce any kind of tension or drama.
  • The Stalking Zuko Series gets some criticism for the third installment, Not Stalking Firelord Zuko, particularly how long it takes for Zuko and Katara to get together but this extended amount of time for them to get together had been present from the beginning. The first installment takes place from just after "The Western Air Temple," to the end of "The Southern Raiders," so Katara doesn't officially forgive Zuko until the end, and ends up staying behind while Zuko goes on plot-related excursions with Aang and Sokka. The second installment, Not Stalking Zuko, takes almost half the fic to get up to "The Ember Island Players," and there's a fair amount of original story until the "Sozin's Comet" arc. The reason why the problems didn't get as much criticism back then was because readers had accepted that it wouldn't be reasonable for Katara and Zuko to hook up so quickly, since the author made a point of being canon compliant. When Zuko forgot Katara's Anguished Declaration of Love after nearly dying during his Agni Kai against Azula, and temporarily got back together with Mai for the sake of his honor, readers started getting frustrated.
  • Embers (Vathara) always had a habit of making characters less sympathetic. The things is, it usually happened to minor characters like Arnook and Pakku; while the first major character to go through this, Katara, was still portrayed as a decent yet flawed person. It's only when the story applied this to Aang and the Air Nomads, however, that people started to complain, as the story had now turned the nicest character in canon into a selfish, immature child, and a bunch of peaceful nomads into a brainwashing cult. Now this story just comes across as a massive case of Too Bleak, Stopped Caring as a result of there now no longer being any characters considered worth rooting for.
  • A case of "Author Original Sin" occurs with Coeur Al'Aran, a writer of multiple RWBY stories. His earlier works faced some criticism for having inconsistent themes (Professor Arc), making the characters more selfish and obnoxious than they are in the original (From Beyond) and using Deus ex Machina to conclude plots (Not this time, Fate). Most of these complaints, however, were limited to singular instances and rarely ruined the readers' enjoyment of the stories. Forged Destiny took all the above-mentioned flaws, multiplied them and combined them together, resulting in a story that is frequently accused of featuring Ass Pulls, enforcing messages that heavily contradict each other and having an entire cast of Unintentionally Unsympathetic characters.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    • While this abridged series was always a very funny and clever show, it did sometimes rely a bit too much on running gags and pop culture references, even if there wasn't necessarily a joke attached to the reference. Those who don't like the later seasons will usually say it's because the episodes became nothing but running gags and references.
    • "Yu-Gi-Oh! DMX", a running gag of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX characters being depicted as rap artists, originated from one of the most well-liked episodes of the series. People liked it then because it was just a doofy one-off gag, and pretty funny at that. After that episode, nearly every single episode mentioning GX had a reference to it being a stupid show about rap — which, on top of being a Shallow Parody, resulted in fans of GX getting harassed at conventions and a backlash against the Abridged Series. It's one of the few jokes LittleKuriboh has outright apologized for.

  • One of the many criticisms suffered by the film adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen was how Ben Platt was simply too old to reprise his role as the teenaged titular character. As it so happens, Platt was already 21 years old when he first originated the role in the original stage play. However, Platt still looked young enough at the time to be realistically easy to mistake for a teenager in conjunction with his acting ability, and the Willing Suspension of Disbelief is much easier to maintain in the inherent theatricality of Broadway. In the film, on the other hand, not only is Platt much visibly older when he reprises the role at the age of 27, but the different standards for suspension of disbelief in live-action film compared to stage theater made it a lot harder for critics and viewers to take Platt seriously as a teenage character.
  • Love Never Dies has been described as all of the bad parts of The Phantom of the Opera with none of the good parts:
    • One major criticism is the score, which is padded out with slow, dramatic songs that keep going well after they've run out of steam. The same was something that most critics could say about the original Phantom of the Opera (not to mention for, as noted by Musical Hell, just about all of Andrew Lloyd Webber's work in general) to some extent or other. But by the time of Love Never Dies, old age, Creator Breakdown, and Protection from Editors had inflated this fault and made it a lot harder for critics and viewers to tolerate without the elements that had previously helped balance this flaw out.
    • "The Beauty Underneath" is an out-of-place '80s-esque rock number with heavy sexual undertones reminiscent of the previous show's Signature Song. However, "The Phantom of the Opera" used its anachronistic instrumentation (electric guitar and a very '80s synth snare, contrasting the show's otherwise very classical-tinged score) to lend an otherworldly, ahead-of-his-time feel to the Phantomnote , and rock is often associated with sexuality, further driving in the idea of the Phantom seducing Christine. However, Love Never Dies portrays the Phantom with far less mystique than the first show, meaning that "The Beauty Underneath" does not have the same effect. Furthermore, it carries some of the sexual undertones with it as well, which, given that the Phantom is singing to a ten-year-old boy this time around, adds a layer of squick to the proceedings. Finally, while Webber's rock sensibilities were acceptable in the mid-80s, they are ridiculously dated by The New '10s standards.
    • Phantom also made the title character somewhat more sympathetic than his literary counterpart. This was not widely objected to at the time — the Phantom remains a Tragic Villain, with a sufficiently intimidating presence and a body count, and he ultimately does the right thing in the end. But by Love Never Dies, the narrative blatantly romanticizes the Phantom and downplays his outcast status by giving him followers in the form of the Girys, which causes him to come off as an Unintentionally Unsympathetic Karma Houdini who we're still supposed to side with over Raoul.

    Theme Parks 
  • A common criticism of many new attractions at Universal Studios, especially the Orlando parks,note  in The New '10s was that the parks' creative teams seemed to have a love affair with "screen" attractions, often to the exclusion of more traditional rides and shows, with virtually every new big-ticket attraction being a motion-simulator-driven, 4-D short film where the visual effects and the Excuse Plot took precedence over the ride experience.
    • Few were complaining, however, in 2010 when they first opened Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Islands of Adventure. Boasting an All-Star Cast of actors reprising their roles from the Harry Potter films, Forbidden Journey also made use of innovative KUKA arm technology that moved riders around in a fashion comparable to traditional thrill rides. While there had been motion simulators and 4-D films at Universal before, the massive success of this ride, which helped establish Universal Orlando Resort as a serious competitor to Walt Disney World, caused Universal to embrace motion simulators and 4-D films wholeheartedly going forward. Despite its merits as a ride, however, it was the production values of The Forbidden Journey that seemed to have stuck in the heads of Universal's creatives, as later motion simulators toned down the thrills and placed the focus more on the CGI-filled action projected onto the screens surrounding the ride. The resulting complaint can be summed up as "whatever happened to being able to 'Ride the Movies' rather than watch them in rumble seats?", a complaint that reached a crescendo with the sharply negative reaction to Fast & Furious: Supercharged upon its opening in 2018. Since then, Universal's creative teams have backed off from screen attractions, building more traditional rollercoasters and dark rides that combine screen elements with practical props and theme park thrills.
    • Universal's earlier screen attractions were few and far between as well, and like with Harry Potter, often combined elements of screens with physical rides (or in the case of 1996's Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time, a live stage show). With Uni gutting its most beloved attractions left and right over the years while at the same time shoving screens in people's faces, it's understandable why there has been so much backlash over this creative decision.
  • Disney Theme Parks:
    • In the late 2000s, Disney decided to revamp Epcot's World Showcase pavilion and bring more Disney characters to what was primarily a permanent world's fair. The first addition of The Three Caballeros into the Mexico pavilion, while successful, was a mixed bag with die hard fans. Some felt that it dumbed down the cultural elements a smidge, but most forgave it given the characters' popularity in Latin America and that the attraction still touched upon different aspects of Mexican culture (didn't hurt that Disney was giving some more love to a rather obscure animated feature, either). But then Disney made the decision to close down Maelstrom, the ride at the Norway pavilion, and replace it with a ride based off of Frozen, a film that only has loose Norwegian connections in its art direction and costume design. Maelstrom, on the other hand, was a ride that was firmly rooted in Norwegian culture, touching upon all the different aspects of it. The direction eventually led to the announcement of an entirely new ride in the France pavilion based on Ratatouille, which has led to accusations that Disney is forsaking the original vision of the park in favor of IPs.
      • Bringing IPs to Epcot in the first place goes back to the mid-1980s, when Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the like arrived as walkaround characters in a park that originally featured no preestablished characters, with only Dreamfinder and Figment from the Journey into Imagination pavilion resembling traditional Disney park fare. Speaking of them, this happened around the same time as Captain EO, which replaced Magic Journeys, broke the stylistic continuity of its host pavilion (by being a Star Wars-meets-Music Video hybrid), and because that and its successor Honey, I Shrunk the Audience were more popular with casual visitors than Journey was, ever since then there have been periodic and unsuccessful attempts to, by way of replacements and revamps, tie all the attractions together into one style again.
    • Regarding the above example, the shoving of existing IPs in a theme park that was mostly free from that stuff can be traced all the way back to Disney's California Adventure, which slowly began the year after its 2001 grand opening with the area "A Bug's Land". At the time this was accepted as DCA was regarded as a joke by many due to its lack of attractions appealing to children and its redundancy, being a Theme Park Version of the state that visitors are already in. This translated to success in the long run, with DCA hitting a record attendance of over 7 million visitors in 2012. Applying the same strategy to more beloved and long-standing attractions that stood on their own merit is bound to garner some backlash.
    • Many of the complaints raised about Stitch's Great Escape! are traced back to its location's previous tenant, the better received ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. As the title made clear, the attraction was horror-themed, and uncomfortable shoulder restraints, loud noises, and periods of darkness contributed to a chilling atmosphere. Re-using that in a more child-friendly and comedic manner for something based on an animated feature just doesn't work, as small children are scared by the distressing elements, and older audiences were irritated by the unpleasant and gross humor.

  • Sprite Comics in general are considered the trash heap of the internet, since there's the idea they were made with very little production value (usually only a few sprite sheets, MS Paint and a keenspace account). This, of course, is also true of the earlier, actually good examples of the sub-genre, like Bob and George and 8-Bit Theater. The big difference is, while those two used the sprites and the plot of the games they were parodying as the basis for the comic, they were much more interested in showing off the creators' style of humor, rather than "getting done with" the plot of the games in a visually-uninteresting manner.
  • One of the problems Dominic Deegan faced as the strip went on was that Dominic was too manipulative and a bit too able to plan everything out. But in the beginning, the audience would at least be aware that he was up to something with some hints sprinkled about, so the reveal never came out of left field and made sense in hindsight. The schemes were also pulled on Hate Sink targets, making his plans a well-deserved smackdown on those who deserved it. It was the "Snowsong" arc that it got out of control, as the hints Dominic was up to something the entire time were far more vauge until the reveal explained them and his target was a more morally gray character whom the point was redeeming instead of defeating. So when that arc neared its end and it took a week of exposition to recap all the information the audience wasn't shown to make sense of the story, that was when it was agreed things got out of hand and they had Dominic called out on his actions. The sin was ultimately addressed by having Dominic be more morally conscious about the use of his powers, putting the focus on more of the cast so he wasn't in the middle of everything and having the Greater-Scope Villain simply be too alien and powerful to go up against in his usual manner.
  • Homestuck:
    • One of the most common issues readers have had with Act 6 was how it added more characters from its beginning, particularly the "player"-type characters that use an online chatting device. This led to a greater amount of dialogue and caused complaints that the plot was moving along too slowly or that the new characters were not as likable as the old. This was also present in Act 5 when the trolls were introduced, only they led to an explosion in the story's popularity while Act 6 has slowly driven readers away. A general opinion was that the new human characters of Act 6 were not as memorable or unique as the original trolls once were, that the new trolls being minor joke characters with the purpose of attacking sections of the fandom came off as a harsh waste of world-building, and that the cast expansion overall failed to re-capture the lightning in the bottle that the twelve initial trolls succeeded in.
    • Homestuck has always had an interesting relationship with Character's Deaths and resurrection, to the point of death and rebirth being a Central Theme. Much of the world-building meant that characters could feasibly die and then be brought back. In fact, some characters (Nanna, Jasper, and Aradia) were introduced into the story as Dead to Begin With. While plenty of character deaths and rebirths happened as the comic went on, they usually were plot-significant and occurred during major updates. Additionally, some of these deaths did receive Black Comedy (such as the reveal of Jade's dreamself being taxidermied), it was usually more double-linecrossing, if anything. Starting around the "Murderstuck" arc in Act 5 Pt. 2, the tone started getting darker and deaths of significant characters became more common, with a few characters even getting Killed Offscreen. When they did receive dark humor, it often came off more meanspirited. Characters did come back, but there were occasions when it'd come off more like a plot contrivance than anything previously established. After a certain point, characters dying went from a central part of the story's theme to almost literally a joke.
    • Homestuck's ongoing continuation, Homestuck^2: Beyond Canon, has been taking the series' characteristic exploration of narrative tropes even further, having split the narrative in two separate timelines exploring polar opposite extremes: One that takes the world and its characters far too seriously and dramatically (symbolized as "Meat"), and one that's constantly whipping them into the soap-opera-esque melodrama of fanfiction to a comical degree (symbolized as "Candy"). Although the entire affair has labeled itself as "Dubiously Canon" (meaning it's more or less an open invitation to consider it non-canon and leave the original comic's run wrapped up nicely), many fans are starting to have negative reactions, having become lost and confused by the exponentially compounded, seemingly self-diluted metanarrative. The epilogues (which are comprised of the aforementioned "Meat"/"Candy" timelines) had already started this trend, however with Beyond Canon being labeled as a direct sequel (or at least perceived as such by those who disregard its "Beyond Canon" subtitle or its official "dubiously canon" status) it has been drawing more criticism by those who either believe these elements to have stemmed from it or from those who classified the epilogues as strictly non-canon to begin with.
  • Sinfest became infamous in 2011 for its switch from a comedy strip to one built entirely around radical feminism, with a particular fixation on hatred of pornography and sex work. It became even more infamous when it switched in 2019 to a fixation on anti-transgender viewpoints, which marked the beginning of a pivot the following year into far-right politics. In the process, many characters had jarring personality shifts, and the political metaphors became convoluted and inscrutable. Many fans complained that the strip was getting political, but it actually had strips attacking commercialism as early as 2004. In 2008, Sinfest heavily endorsed Barack Obama and attacked imperialism. These attempts at politicization did not receive as strong a reaction as the more recent ones do because they did not totally derail characters or use lots of confusing mixed metaphors, and the stances taken were considered more benign than radical feminism or right-wing extremism.
  • Sonichu:
    • One of the biggest problems is the over-exposure of Chris at the expense of other characters. This can be seen in the earlier... less controversial issues, where Chris is heavily built up as essentially the god of the setting. However, Chris's appearances were relegated to side stories, with the main plot still being about Sonichu and the Chaotic Combo's adventures. As Chris the author slowly became more notorious and Real Life Wrote The Plot, Chris the character slowly became more prominent in the main plot to the point that the titular character was Demoted to Extra, and the tenth issue was solely dedicated to Chris eradicating all of the "bad guys".
    • Chris also has a massive habit of shoehorning in references to shows that hold personal significance and Official Fan-Submitted Content. Indeed, the whole webcomic was born out of Chris's mutual like for both Sonic the Hedgehog and Pokémon, and earlier issues referenced Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pretty Cure simply because Chris and/or a real life acquaintance was interested in them at the time the issues were written. It was later on (especially after the end of the long hiatus between 10 and 11) that it truly became a detriment, with 12-9 over-focusing on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and turning Sonichu into an Artifact Title, and with the issue after that focusing on Hyperdimension Neptunia, with real life events making it obviously clear that Chris had been unwillingly coerced into adding the content.
  • Survivor: Fan Characters: Most fans consider Season 10, the second All-Stars season, to be the series' worst season. The two biggest criticisms of it are that it turned many of its returning characters, including eventual winner and former fan-favorite Jackie, into one-dimensional caricatures and/or jerkasses and gave its villains like Bonnie way too much screentime and let them survive for far longer than they should have reasonably done. However, both of these problems had their roots in earlier, more well-received seasons:
    • The first All-Stars season had also turned a character who had been a fan favorite in their original season (Bitsy from Season 2, in this case) into more of a jerk who ultimately won their season. While Bitsy taking a level in jerkass did get some divisive fan reaction, it wasn't as severe as the backlash that Season 10's Jackie got because it was intentionally done as part of Bitsy's Protagonist Journey to Villain character arc and it was shown how her new attitude alienated her friends and caused her a lot of emotional turmoil. In contrast, Jackie's increased jerkassery in Season 10 was never built on or acknowledged by the narrative and only served to flatten his personality into a one-note Jerk Jock who was the "hero" of his season only because he was up against even worse villains.
    • Season 9, Bonnie's original season, was also guilty of giving her a massive amount of screentime and letting her get away with things that she should not have gotten away with. However, this all served as a huge build-up to her getting a thoroughly satisfying and cathartic downfall in the finale at the hands of Cherman, who had been the season's Butt-Monkey up until that point, that's widely regarded as one of the series's best moments. The series had also never had such an irredeemably evil, attention-hogging villain like Bonnie before, which made her character feel fresh and exciting. When Bonnie came back for Season 10, the novelty of her character had worn off and she was perceived by fans as a one-note villain with no depth or redeeming qualities who was taking screentime away from more interesting and likable characters. In addition, Jackie, the character responsible for Bonnie's downfall in Season 10, completely lacked Season 9 Cherman's underdog charm and likability which caused Bonnie's downfall to him to fall flat compared to her first one to Cherman. The creator even listed letting Bonnie survive for so long in Season 10 as his biggest mistake of the series and when he later brought her back for a third season, he made sure to give her much less screentime and eliminate her before she outstayed her welcome again.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss: While it's a heartwarming and funny episode, "Loo Loo Land" has many of the hallmarks that would make the series much more divisive in the second season, such as IMP taking a job outside their usual profession, Loona having little to no screentime, an increase in character-based drama, and greater focus on Stolas and Blitzo's relationship at the expense of the other characters. Fortunately, all of these aspects are well-balanced in this episode, but not so much in later ones.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Season 16 faced criticism for its Denser and Wackier approach, featuring outlandish elements such as gods and time travel and things like a live-action character. But as some fans, and even the show itself in the following season noted, there was always silliness, particularly in the earlier, more comedic seasons — season 3 had another time travel plot (albeit one that ended up retconned) and a robot reduced to just a head still managing to build other robots and operate a turret. The problem was that after more serious plots entered the show, turning back to weirdness was unexpected and more noticeable.
    • In a bigger case, Season 18, Zero, had all of the concerns being expressed by fans ahead of its release (i.e., the season being focused on a different cast of characters from the Reds and Blues, an emphasis on drama and action over comedy, the quality of the new CGI animation and relatively fresh voice acting/writing talent, etc.) practically identical to those expressed prior to the release of The Project Freelancer Saga years ago. The main difference between the two is that while Zero introduced a whole new team, the Freelancers had already been introduced to the setting long beforehand, and were given time both before and during the saga to explore their characters and dynamics. Additionally, while action is a big part of both iterations of the series, Zero uses it more for spectacle in itself, whereas The Project Freelancer Saga uses it as a secondary element to the character driven nature of the story.
  • RWBY:
    • The show as a whole received a lot of backlash after Volume 5 due to awkward dialogue, stilted writing, and lackluster fight scenes. However, the show had rather awkward dialogue and stilted writing since it first debuted; it's just that the fight sequences were so over-the-top and downright enjoyable that no one really cared about these problems. Combined with the passing of the well-loved series creator, Monty Oum, very few people were willing to criticize the show. However, thanks to the declining quality of the fight animations in the fifth volume (to the point where several of them had to be done off screen) and putting a greater emphasis on lengthy scenes of exposition, these flaws became a lot more noticeable.
    • The series has always made use of the Jigsaw Puzzle Plot as part of its appeal, with information about the world or important characters being sparse and revealed over time. For example, the series Opening Monologue is given by an unknown character revealed to be the Big Bad at the end of Volume 3. 3 volumes later, her and her main rival Ozpin's backstory, as well as the context of their war and the existence of the world of Remnant, were revealed to both the main characters and audience in a Whole Episode Flashback. But by later volumes, some of the remaining unanswered questions, like what said Big Bad actually wants, why she and Ozpin fight in secret, certain points in characters' backstories, or what the two unseen relics do have begun to grate on viewers, who feel that not knowing these hurts their emotional connection to the story. The show has seemingly passed up chances to answer these questions (the aforementioned Whole Episode Flashback left many unanswered), and some important characters have taken their secrets to their graves. The characters themselves also seem to rarely discuss these questions or ask them of those who do know more, making them seem disinterested in their own world and conflict.

    Web Original 
  • Discussed in an episode of Midnight Screenings. Brian mentions that he initially liked Transformers (2007) because it was different from the sequels, but after re-watching it admits that the movie has "the same shit [as the other films], just less of it".
  • Epic Rap Battles of History:
    • The accusation of biased rap battles. Blatant political bias existed back from the very first battle, when conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly was portrayed as a Card-Carrying Villain who spent his whole second verse admitting to being a terrible person who kept his career alive by stirring up controversies over non-issues. This is a rare case where the flaws were actually worse in the earlier installments, but were ignored because expectations were lower.
    • Season 6 has had some people complaining about an overuse of meme joke/references in a lot of its battles, with some people calling them unfunny, "cringy" or out of place... despite the fact that they have been doing meme jokes/references since the start, most notably in Abe Lincoln vs Chuck Norris, where most of Chuck Norris’ lines were just a bunch of Chuck Norris Facts copy and pasted into the lyrics. Again, this could be a case where the flaws were ignored in the earlier installments because expectations were lower.
    • Thanos was criticized for how unconvincing his costume looked. But this was also the case with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in "Artists vs. TMNT", but it was easier to over-look since the rap itself was considered rather good (if a bit too short) and the costumes, considering they were on budget, weren’t that bad as they at least resembled the characters. But Thanos looks too small and the mask looking too static and fake. What also helped was the fact that while the Ninja Turtles had live-action incarnations, the rap battle takes a more generalized look at them without being tied to a particular version of them, let alone any live-action version. Thanos, meanwhile, was clearly based almost entirely on his iconic MCU incarnation, with only cursory mention given to aspects of him from the comics (such as his unrequited love for Mistress Death and the fact that his own mother tried to kill him), making the ERB-version look like a bootlegged version.
  • PIEGUYRULZ invokes this with his assessment of Adventure Time versus Steven Universe where he talks about the flaws of the former that were apparent since the beginning, but were ignored because there wasn't anything quite like it on TV at the time. He even compares it to breaking up with someone, then realizing the flaws that weren't there with the newfound perspective.
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • One of the most base-breaking aspects of the post-2013 videos are the Mid-Review Sketch Show cutaway gags, with many feeling that they take too much time away from the reviews. However, sketches are nothing new to the series and have been featured since the early days, and some episodes from what's considered the "classic" era like Home Alone 3 featuring recurring segments that wouldn't feel too out of place in the modern videos. The difference is that sketches in the earlier reviews were used more sparingly and not in nearly every episode; they were also much shorter, lasting around half a minute at most, and also only focused on Critic himself, while modern sketches are in most reviews, can take up to a few minutes, and focus on gags between new additions Malcolm and Rachel (later on, Tamara), which could often extend a review to over 40 minutes. With all this new focus on sketches, one could say that post-revival Critic is a Spiritual Successor to his now-scrapped show Demo Reel, which received a lot of backlash even from fans.
    • Reviews on later films. The Critic did review films from the 2000s prior to the retool, plus one of his earliest reviews was of Pokémon: The First Movie, when the film was less than ten years old at the time, but the difference there is they were usually from the earliest part of the decade (2000-2002) with a few movies occasionally being from after such as Baby Geniuses (2004) or TMNT (2007). The other key difference was that these were either special requests or one-offs, or they were still relevant to "nostalgic" media, typically being reboots. He would also often talk about characters, films, and specials from later times in his countdown lists, but this was usually given more leeway due to still featuring nostalgic works as well being mixed in. Now in his modern videos, he primarily talks about movies from the later 2000s and 2010s and even movies still in theaters (the latter of which he promised not to review, only to break it in protest of several video takedowns), which has made some people wonder why it's still called "The Nostalgia Critic" due to it being an Artifact Title.
    • It was pretty obvious from the beginning that Doug Walker has basically no formal education in film or film analysis; going back to his first reviews, many of them had pretty shallow criticism, bad research, or him missing the point. It usually wasn't so problematic in his early days because he was both one of the only games in town in terms of video-based film reviews and analysis, especially considering his schedule, and he (by nature of his format) generally chose obscure and/or critically panned films or TV shows that were soft targets for criticism and not widely discussed or defended, like Batman & Robin or The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. When he started doing reviews of recent or popular films, the limitations of his style and skills as a reviewer became a lot more evident, especially with the dozens of film critique and review channels by people who actually studied film professionally or as a hobby, be they students, critics, or even filmmakers, that have popped up in the intervening years. All of this came to a head with his widely-panned review/parody of the 1982 film adaptation of Pink Floyd's The Wall, which received plentiful criticism for providing only surface-level analysis of the movie, failing to demonstrate proper research (such as apparently ignoring the fact that the album predated the movie by roughly 3 years), and missing much of the point of the original album. Even in light of Walker making it clear that he himself enjoyed the album and simply thought the movie was a bit full of itself at times, his video on The Wall has been touted as a microcosm of several long-persisting issues with his content that made themselves more than apparent here. It doesn't help that the focus of the show has obviously shifted from laughing at the character's bad critiques to expecting the audience to take his word as gospel no matter what, nor does the fact that Doug apparently disregards his own criticisms whenever he feels like it.
    • The weaknesses in the show's filming (bad special effects, amateur cinematography, cheap production values) are a weird case, in that they've undeniably improved from where they were when the series began. But when the series began, it was one guy in front of a camera riffing on movie clips; the humor came from the movie first, the guy's jokes second, and any sketches or stuff that required actual filming a distantly third bonus. When later reviews, especially post-revival, upped the number and length of those sketches considerably (to the point of taking up the entire review in reviews of recent films, due to Doug's policy of recreating clips as sketches rather than waiting for the home releasenote ), while they did improve, their lacking quality became a lot more evident. It also became a lot harder to use Stylistic Suck as a defense when the Critic has become a more legitimate enterprise with a studio and an actual budget, but still uses the same cheap Halloween costumes and bad green screen.
    • Doug's humor as well. While a lot of it came from the Critic reacting to the movie, being based around a Manchild who hates any film he watches, it's only gotten a lot more harsh as well since the revival. The Critic is also not the one mostly getting hurt, as he more causes pain to others rather than getting hurt himself. The Critic used to get a considerable amount of Laser-Guided Karma (or at least more than he currently does) for acting like an ass, but now other people suffer, including ones who probably didn't even deserve it. Considering most other review shows like his generally have the hosts being nice people that the audiences can latch on to, this only stands out further.
  • Stupid Mario Brothers can trace a lot of the problems of Seasons 4-5 back to show's highpoints, specifically:
    • The Darkness. When he was first introduced in Season 3, he was seen as an interesting, intimidating villain the audience could Love to Hate. However, that meant that when the storyline moved past him, the writers decided to bring him back, at which point they overexposed him significantly, meaning the audience grew sick of The Darkness.
    • In Act II of "The Stupid Mario Brothers Movie" The Darkness gets back up off the ground after being seemingly killed by Wario, because of a counter curse that was never hinted at. It didn't screw up the movie's plot, even if it made no sense when you really thought about it, so it was tolerated at the very least. Also, Liquid Snake came back to life with no explanation given (though it's hinted that The Darkness had a role in it), but it worked since it lead to the face off scene between Solid and Liquid Snake. This lead to a major annoyance most fans had in the later seasons, where characters are revived for no reason (no good reasons, at least), simply to provide a villain in the laziest way possible. This even got Lampshaded by Snake when Vercetti came back, indicating that at least some of the cast and crew were sick of it as well.
    • Many fans found it extremely hard to sympathise with Mario and Luigi in Seasons 4 and 5, seeing as how utterly isolationist they are. Said isolationist thoughts were present in the very first episode, and worked, since the idea was that Mario and Luigi were fed up with having to save the Mushroom Kingdom all the time and decided to have a vacation. In later seasons, Mario and Luigi do little to solve the problem of the beacon's destruction, which proved enough to make them come across as incredibly unlikable to a lot of viewers.
  • Cracked has been criticized for its perceived shift away from a comedy-focused website to one that tries to take itself more seriously. Thing is, "serious" content has been around from very early on. It's just that said content, in addition to taking a backseat to more comedic stuff, generally still had a good deal of levity in it and tended to be more personal in nature (often offering some valuable insights and/or life advice in the process), rather than promoting (often political) ideas that many readers found divisive.
  • The Mysterious Mr. Enter has always been a polarizing reviewer for his highly controversial opinions and hot takes, as well as a generally cynical and unforgiving attitude, but those traits wouldn't significantly alienate his fanbase until much later on:
    • Mr. Enter's first major brush with controversy came in 2014, when he stated very clearly that Breadwinners was worse than Allen Gregory and that "Nickelodeon needs to die" for the direction it was going in at the time — very extreme claims even considering the network's Audience-Alienating Era back then. On the other hand, Mr. Enter was willing to recognize and amend some of his other bad habits (namely his vicious creator bashing and tendency to flip his lid), so his reputation, while still spotty, was fairly positive. That would change when he began to turn his ire towards shows that, while not without their criticisms and detractors, had amassed much larger fanbases (such as The Legend of Korra, Big Mouth, and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) without expressing much consideration as to why others would like them.
    • On that note, Mr. Enter was no stranger to politics and the like, despite even admitting he wasn't the best educated in the area, dropping his two cents on subjects like standardized testing, gun control, overpopulation, and the double standards of society. The thing is, those videos tied into his prior reviews on Animated Shows that brought up the subjects, and were also motivated more out of concern for those affected rather than typical "World Gone Mad" griping. This reached its breaking point in his review for Turning Red, in which he criticized the movie for not mentioning 9/11, even though the movie is set in Canada, a nation that had less of an impact of where 9/11's aftermath was, and even the mere mention of it could clash with the light tone of the film. The rampant Memetic Mutation from the controversial review made sure that he was known as the "Turning Red 9/11 Guy" outside of the animation community, and even those within who already had a shaky trust with him broke ties afterwards.
    • Also related to Turning Red, this was not the first time that Mr. Enter has accused a work of not really being accurate to the time it was set in because it wasn't how he experienced it; it was just the time when it became most noticeable and when a large part of his audience felt that particular criticism was least accurate.
    • Mr. Enter's rampant cynicism was already apparent in his heyday, when he was able to semi-consistently release Animated Atrocities, but sporadically released Admirable Animations, downright admitting that the latter required far more passion on his part. Unfortunately, and going hand-in-hand with everything detailed above, he would put Admirable Animations on indefinite hiatus and later end the series, meaning that his body of work would be devoted primarily (if not entirely) to negativity. This would prove all the more glaring as it happened at a time when the Video Review Show genre had been growing away from its primarily rant-driven beginnings.
  • Sequelitis: From episode one, Egoraptor clearly favored old-school mechanics and gameplay with open loathing of modern ideas. But at least he was willing to attempt to understand other's points of view and not insult those who didn't agree with him. That can't be said for episode four, where he threw all restraint out the window and culminated in an unhinged rant against the Zelda series and Skyward Sword in particular for not being like the old games. This alone was the Franchise Killer for the show, as no new episodes were made since then, mostly because Egoraptor got too stressed from the hate others threw at him for that episode.
  • The Warp Zone discusses this in Is “The Last Jedi” Bad? (Fanboy Court), when it comes to Supreme Leader Snoke's lack of backstory in The Last Jedi. The Fanboy defends Snoke by comparing him to the Emperor, who had no backstory when he debuted in the original trilogy, but ended up being a memorable villain. The Hater counters that when the creators introduce a new Suspiciously Similar Substitute for the Emperor after six movies, they should at least tell us who he is and why we should care about him. Basically, backstory-less villains were forgivable when the franchise was getting established, especially since the prequels showed Palpatine's rise to power, but trying to introduce new villains the same way later on doesn't work.
  • Todd in the Shadows calls this a "delayed flop", a successful but underwhelming album recorded at the height of a musician or band's career that is propelled to the top by name recognition and momentum, but in hindsight contains all manner of warning signs that their next album would plunge them into an Audience-Alienating Era or worse. He specifically coined the term in his Trainwreckords episode on Katy Perry's album Witness, saying that her previous album Prism was her delayed flop. While Katy's popularity buoyed it, it wasn't the megahit that Teenage Dream had been, and most of its singles failed to leave an impact and were widely seen as pale imitations of what had worked for her before.
  • Many longtime followers of The Backrooms have taken issue with the entities, arguing that the Existential Horror of being trapped inside an endless maze of liminal spaces with no hope of escape was what made the titular Eldritch Location so unique and scary, and that shifting the focus to be about monsters only undermines that. The idea of monsters in the Backrooms has been around since the very beginning — the original 4chan post that started it all ended with a warning that should you hear something moving nearby, then chances are it's already heard you. However, this was just a vague warning following a paragraph describing the Backrooms themselves, and largely served to heighten the sense of paranoia you'd be feeling in that situation. Contrast this with the later entities, which would typically have whole wiki pages covering their appearance, behavior and lore in exhaustive detail.