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Generational Saga

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"I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine."
John Adams, 1780

This is a work that traces the evolution of a single family through multiple (usually three) generations, covering a long enough period of time that you get to see more than one generation at the same age or stage of life. Often it follows the pattern of Three Successful Generations:

  1. The first-generation protagonist is someone who has begun with a "fresh slate" (for instance, an immigrant to a new homeland).
  2. The second-generation protagonist builds on the first's foundations and establishes the family's position in the new world (The daughter who becomes entirely assimilated in the host culture and goes on to have a successful career).
  3. The third-generation protagonist reaps the benefits as a full-fledged member of society. (The grandson who ends up learning to appreciate their ancestral heritage).

With only two generations, the third-generation protagonist is usually the one omitted; works which follow this pattern through more than three generations might have multiple second-generation-type (assimilated) protagonists, or they might alternate between second- and third-generation-type protagonists.

Another frequent theme is that the first- and third-generation characters have more in common with each other than either does with the second-generation character. Often they both react in the same way to her, or (if the first-generation character is still alive when the third-generation character is around) form a bond that excludes her.

This is not to say that this trope applies to only three generations. The stories can span decades, hundreds or even thousands of years, all following the same family.

Note that properly speaking this only applies to unified works; having a Changing of the Guard sequel in which we meet Generation Xerox isn't enough. It's primarily a literary trope, though it also appears in theater and film; you might be able to see less-planned versions of it in long-running Soap Operas or possibly even Comic Books (but with the latter, it's far more common for the first-generation character to live well beyond when the third-generation would reach adulthood).

Compare An Immigrant's Tale. Also compare Three Successful Generations. May end up producing a Tangled Family Tree if the family is especially prolific, and most or all of the characters are plot-important. The Super-Trope is Dashed Plot Line, where years or decades are skipped multiple times in order to tell a multigenerational story in less time than it takes to live one.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • The first six parts follow generation after generation of the Joestar family, starting all the way back in 1880 with nobleman Jonathan Joestar. Part 2 follows Jonathan's grandson Joseph Joestar in 1938. Part 3 follows Joseph's grandson Jotaro Kujo in 1989, followed by Part 4 with Joseph's illegitimate son Josuke Higashikata (who is also Jotaro's uncle despite being 12 years younger) in 1999. Then there's Part 5 with Giorno Giovanna (who is Jonathan's biological son via rather complicated circumstances) in 2001, and finally Part 6 with Jotaro's daughter Jolyne Cujoh in 2011. A theme of inherited legacy is present throughout the series.
    • The seventh through ninth parts follow their own version of the Joestar family, who also parallel one or more Part 1-6 Joestars, starting with Part 7 following American ex-horse jockey Johnny Joestar in 1880. Part 8, set in 2010, explores both the Joestars and the related Higashikata family through a mix of cross-generational flashbacks and adopted protagonist Josuke Higashikata’snote  attempts to discover just who he is and what legacy he’s part of. Finally, Part 9 follows two great-great grandchildren of Johnny and cousins of Yoshikage Kira, Jodionote  and Dragona Joestar, at some point after 2019.
  • Dragon Ball starts off as the adventures of a very strong, monkey-tailed little boy named Goku. As the series goes on, he and his friends age and have children, and some of those children fight alongside them. The second half of the story puts a significant amount of focus on his son, Gohan, and his development as a hero, and by the end Goku is a grandfather. It's also a bit of a subversion; while we do see the offspring of various characters, when all is said and done, Goku is still the main focus of the story.
  • Kinnikuman and its sequel Ultimate Muscle, the latter of which focuses on the main character's son following in his father's footsteps as a wrestler and being trained by the same guy who trained him.
  • Baccano!. Although the majority of the cast are immortal, some aren't, and since the story takes place over several decades some of them eventually pass away, and their children (or their children's children) make appearances and play important roles later on in the series.
  • The story of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE takes place over the course of a century during a "One Hundred Year War" and follows Flit (grandfather), Asemu (son) and Kio (grandson) Asuno, as each of them participate in said war.
  • Downplayed in Mnemosyne: members of the Maeno family are important, but not the main characters throughout the series. Koki is the most prominent male character in the first half, who establishes the family's long-term relationship with the immortals Rin and Mimi. Koki's son Teruki enjoys, unwittingly at first, the many benefits of having immortal friends and eventually goes on to become a successful businessman. Finally, Teruki's daughter Mishio enjoys all the upsides of having a rich dad and being friends with immortals, and ultimately fulfills the Maeno's destiny of saving Rin. In a subversion, it is revealed that the Maeno family goes way further back than Koki, being descended from Rin's millenia-old lover and protector.
  • Naruto and Boruto form a generational epic, with Naruto following the titular ninja and showing the many great feats he accomplishes on his journey to be Hokage, while Boruto follows his son, and an entire new generation of ninja, some of which are the children of the previous cast of characters seen in Naruto. Naruto depicts the ninja world as far more brutal and full of conflict between nations and clans, while Boruto takes place in a time of peace ushered in by the protagonists of Naruto, thought it's implied this peace ultimately won't last.
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers follows the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan in an Alternate History scenario where an endemic disease called the Red Face Pox breaks out in the 17th century and kills 80% of Japan's men, forcing the Tokugawa clan (as well as most of the noble families) to become matrilinear with a female Shogun. The story begins with the eighth Shogun Yoshimune, at a point where the Red Face Pox has long since become a fact of life, though through an early flashback we learn of how the Tokugawa family has fared ever since the third Shogun Iemitsu became the first woman to take the position. The story looks to be ending with the fifteenth and last Shogun Yoshinobu, following the eradication of the Red Face Pox that has restored a normal gender ratio to Japan.
  • Inuyasha and its sequel Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon can be considered this as their main protagonists are Half-Human Hybrids from a powerful Dog Demon family spanning across two generations. Inuyasha follows the adventures and character development of half-demon Inuyasha, during which he crosses paths with his half-brother Sesshomaru whom he has a tense relationship with and that both brothers are looking for ways to surpass their powerful late father. On the other hand, Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon focuses on Towa and Setsuna, the twin daughters of Sesshomaru, and Moroha who is the daughter of Inuyasha, as the three of them go on a journey together to discover their past and identities.

    Comic Books 
  • The The DCU and Marvel Universe can be thought of as two great, big generational sagas (especially in regards to team titles like Teen Titans or Justice League for the former, and the many X-Men or Avengers titles for the latter).
    • Most adaptations of the DCU, Post-Crisis (and even AFTER the New 52 - just to show how iconic the idea has become), make the DCU out to be a THREE Generational Saga: The First Age of Heroes, made up of WWII-era heroes like Jay Garrick (the FIRST Flash), Alan Scott (the first Green Lantern of Earth and the only magic-based GL), Dr. Fate, etc.; the Second Age, being the primary Age of the DCU and featuring Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Barry Allen & then Wally West as the Flashes, Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Guy Gardner as the Green Lanterns of Earth, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter etc.; and the Third Age, that being of the Nightwing & the Robins, the Titans in all their incarnations, Superboy, Supergirl, Batgirl, etc.
    • The Incredible Hulk: Interestingly, generation is a bit of a fluid thing here. The first generation is Bruce Banner, Jen Walters, and their supporting casts, then we get the second generation with Skaar and Lyra, the Hulk's son and daughter, as well as members of the first generation becoming Hulks themselves.
    • Spider-Man: The multiverse of spider-themed heroes, including ones from futures in which Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson have a child who goes on to become a hero like their father. There's also Miles Morales, Peter's protege whose being set up as the next Spider-Man, and Miguel O'Hara, a Spider-Man from the year 2099, where Peter Parker is hailed as one of Earth's greatest heroes. The web-head's come far since his humble beginnings.
    • Fantastic Four, whenever it leans into the Future Foundation, and the importance of Reed and Sue's children Franklin and Valeria. There's also Doctor Doom's adopted son, Kristoff Vernard, who has led Latveria in his father's place before. Jonathan Hickman's run is a good example of this trope.
  • Albedo: Erma Felna EDF (and many of its sequels and side-stories) is a quite complex example, due to the complex nature of its plot: It follows the lives of the Felna family and their role on many of the wars that plagged their setting, during a period of more than 250 years. If we include non-canonical side-stories featuring characters technically related with the main cast as well, the whole saga is basically one hell of a story lasting half of a millenium.
  • Grendel is an interesting example in that it doesn't focus so much on a proper family as it does an identity. The titular Grendel is a Legacy Character, with the title, costume, and general philosophy being passed down through the ages and each progressive arc focusing on a different Grendel. Another notable twist is that each generation in the saga is a different kind of Genre Throwback; it starts as a pulpy Film Noir, transitions into a Cyberpunk Dystopia, then into a post-apocalyptic Feudal Future, and finally into a Planetary Romance space epic.
  • In the saga of The Metabarons, the entire history of the Metabarons is told from the start of the dynasty to the last Metabaron.
  • The french comic book series ''Le Décalogue" follows the history of the book "Nahik" in general, and of the Fleury-Nadal family in particular.
  • Les maitres de l'orge follows the lives of a family of Belgian brewers, from 1854 to 1997.

    Film — Animated 
  • The movie American Pop covers four generations and their relationship to popular music in America.
  • When put together, The Lion King (1994) and The Lion King II: Simba's Pride are one. The first film is about a young lion cub named Simba going on a long journey of self-discovery and rising up to lead the serengeti after the murder of his father, King Mufasa. The sequel focuses on the forbidden romance between his daughter Kiara (the future queen) and the young, reluctant successor of his deceased Arch-Enemy.

    Film — Live Action 
  • The movie Mi Familia, whose tagline is "Three generations of dreams."
  • The Star Wars movies have so far covered the adventures of four generations of the Skywalker family with Shmi, Anakin, Luke and Leia, and Kylo Ren / Ben Solo. The Legends Alternate Continuity did something similar with the Skywalker/Solo children and later Cade Skywalker and Ania Solo, distant descendants of the original characters.
  • Hellraiser: Bloodline follows three non-consecutive generations of the LeMarchand/Merchant family: Phillip LeMarchand in 1796 France, John Merchant in 1996 Manhattan, and Paul Merchant on a space station in 2127.
  • The 1999 film Sunshine (1999) tells the story of the Hungarian Jewish Sonnenschein family, with each generation living in a time of political upheaval. The first generation has to deal with World War I and its ramifications, the second generation with World War II and the third generation lives through communist Hungary.
  • The Rocky movies follow Rocky Balboa all the way from his days as a boxing champion in the 70s and 80s, to his days as a retired fighter mentoring the son of Apollo Creed, his deceased rival and friend. The movies also explore his relationship with his own son, Rocky Jr.
  • How the West Was Won follows the Prescott family and the next three generations of their descendants from 1839 to 1889 as they move increasingly further west to the Pacific Ocean.
  • The Back to the Future films focus on Marty McFly's adventures travelling through time and meeting and interacting with his parents in 1955, his future children in the year 2015 and his great-great-grandparents in 1885.

  • For The Other Wiki's list of novels like this, see here.
  • Assassin's Creed : Forsaken: In concert with Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, the Kenways form a classic example. Grandfather Edward creates the family fortune, and rises from Rags to Riches and discovers the Assassin ideology which he raises his son in. But Haytham ends up assimilated into the Templars, with his son Connor reclaiming the family's Assassin lineage.
  • The quintessential example for French literature is Émile Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart saga, which includes 20 books (the most famous being the 13th, Germinal). Subtitled "Natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire", it follows the lives of the members of the two titular branches of a fictional family living during the Second French Empire (1852–1870).
  • Thomas Mann's epic Buddenbrooks, which is also a Roman à Clef about his own family of North German merchants.
  • The Family Tree Series chronicles the lives of four generations of a family that is based in the seaside town of Lewisport, Maine through the maternal line as they each come of age. The final book intertwines all four generations—Abby, Dana, Francie, and Georgie and a fifth generation in Abby's mother Nell, as revealed through the diaries she kept hidden in their first home.
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides follows this pattern for a family of Greek immigrants to the Detroit area.
  • The House on the Lagoon: narrator Isabel Monfort tells the story of the family she married into, from Buenaventura, his marriage to Rebecca, their children Quintin, Ignacio, Patria and Libertad, and their grandchildren Willie and Manuel.
  • Accelerando by Charles Stross; in this case, the "immigration" that occurs is into The Singularity.
  • Roots by Alex Haley is an extended example, going through seven generations, starting in Africa and moving through slavery in America.
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez traces the history of the Buendia family over several generations, from the settlement of their home village to its eventual destruction.
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. It only covers the first two generations of four sets of mothers and daughters, but they all follow the pattern.
  • The Edge Chronicles revolves primarily around generations of the Verginix family. Only two stories in the series aren't about members of the Verginix family; The Stone Pilot and The Blooding of Rufus Filatine.
  • John Jakes's Kent Family Chronicles, which covers 10 generations.
  • Both London and Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd trace a few families' non-consecutive generations from Stone Age England through to modern times. He's also done it for Russia (Russka) and Ireland (The Dublin Saga), among others.
  • James Michener's writing:
    • Technically his novel Centennial covers residents going back essentially to the beginning of humanity, but the bulk of the narrative starts in the early nineteenth century. Such diverse characters as Mennonite farmers, French trappers, Arapaho natives, British nobility, and Scottish immigrants eventually combine into the main character set in the present day.
    • The Source covers the events at one (fictional) site in the Middle East from 10,000 BCE to 1962.
    • Hawaii and Alaska do this one better, the former going back to the creation of Hawaii via volcano over billions of years and the later going all the way back to the beginning of time.
  • Sidney Sheldon's Master of the Game follows four generations of one family in detail and also has appearances from an earlier and later one. The significant four generations are headed by, in order: A Scottish man who ventures to late-1800s South Africa to make his fortune in diamonds; his daughter, who devotes her life to making the resultant company even bigger and more powerful; her son, who wants to be an artist instead of her heir; and his Cain and Abel twin daughters. The first and second generations are similar, the third obviously different, and the twins split the difference — one isn't interested in the company, the other most certainly is.
  • The Full Matilda discusses four generations of African-American servants living in Washington, D.C. and their interactions with Matilda. The first generation is Matilda's father Jacob (only partially covered) becoming a servant during the early 20th century, the second generation discusses the Sibling Rivalry between Matilda and her brother when they start a catering company from The Roaring '20s to The '50s, the third generation is Martin's sons David and Rodrick (who starts a food distribution company) growing up in The '60s, and the fourth is Rodrick's biracial son who is Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life during the Turn of the Millennium.
  • Warrior Cats. The first series follows Fireheart as he joins the Clan and eventually becomes leader. The second series is from his children's point of view; they consider themselves Clanborn and don't really think much about their non-Clan roots. The third and fourth series are from his grandchildren's point of view, and their kittypet heritage is rarely if ever mentioned.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Silmarillion traces the rise and fall of multiple families of both the Elves and Men. The one most central to the plot is that of Feanor, the Noldor who forged the Silmarils to hold the light of the Two Trees, and his sons' ultimately fruitless quest to avenge the Silmarils' theft and recover the jewels for themselves.
    • Taken together, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are a tale of how a single hobbit family brought about the downfall of the Evil Overlord Sauron, with the first generation recovering the lost One Ring and the second generation proving instrumental in its destruction.
  • A variation in Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark series, whose main characters are descended from a Half-Human Hybrid (except for the first novel, where one of the secondary characters is the pregnant mother of said hybrid), but the novels frequently jump several generations. Each of the characters has Psychic Powers inherited from the hybrid, although it's stated that many other descendants have not inherited them (but may still pass on the genes). Another common factor is that all the main characters are Space Navy officers.
    • Interestingly, another of Akhmanov's series called Trevelyan's Mission (set in the same universe centuries later) focuses on a single character, who in the last novel is revealed to be a distant descendant of the same line but himself did not know it.
  • The novel Fall on Your Knees tells the story of the Piper family and the terrible secrets that shaped their lives. The narrative is focused mainly on James Piper and his three daughters (each of whom gets a turn as the Point-of-View-Character), but it includes segments which involve family members spanning at least four generations (if one includes James' immigrant father-in-law). It's difficult to be precise about how many generations are actually present without going into the squicky details of the plot.
  • A Fraction Of The Whole by Steve Toltz is a satirical Black Comedy take on the genre.
  • The Dollanganger Series by V. C. Andrews (indeed, many of her series) is an example of this. The first series, which is the only one Andrews wrote herself before her death, begins with Cathy Dollanganger (Foxworth) and her brothers and sister. Woven into the first two novels are the back-stories of her parents and grandparents. The third novel in the series takes place from the point of view of her sons, Bart and Jory. The fourth novel continues the story of Cathy and her children, and the last novel fills in the gaps as a prequel which tells the story of Cathy's grandparents and how they came to disown their daughter. It's just about as complicated and soap opera-ish as it sounds.
  • Timothy Zahn's The Cobra Trilogy follows three generations of the Moreau family as they first colonize, then defend, their new homeworld of Aventine.
  • The story Malê Rising revolves on how alternate ideologies act upon the African continent and the wider world over a period of almost 200 years. At the heart of the tale is the Abacar family, whose first generation led a slave revolt which secured their passage - along with their fellow slaves - back to West Africa. From this, the first Abacar promulgated new from of Islamic liberation theology, which became a cause to uphold for his descendants against a backdrop of colonialism, nationalism, and post-Westphalianism.
  • Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits traces three generations of the Truebas, a wealthy family, through the political unrest of their home country.
  • The novel A Candle In Her Room has a four-act structure. The first act is young Melissa, who with her parents and two younger sisters relocates from London to a manor in Wales which they have inherited. The second act is Dilys, the daughter of Melissa's sister Judith, recounting her childhood in the same house with the aunt she adores and the mother she fears. The third act returns to Melissa, now in middle age, talking about Dilys disappearing during World War II and how life goes on at the manor in her absence. The final act belongs to Nina, Dilys's long-lost daughter, who has been reunited with "Aunt Liss" and must once and for all eradicate the evil which has plagued the family and the manor for the last several years.
  • Not the whole book, but the first short story at the beginning of The Overstory follows this format, tracing the story of immigrant Jorgen Hoel and his descendants over generations, all paralleled by life of the chestnut tree that grows on his farm.
  • Fire & Blood covers several generations of the Targaryen dynasty, starting with Aegon the Conqueror, as he and his sister-queens conquer most of Westeros, and proceeding for a hundred years through to Aegon III, and the six Targaryen kings between them. The book itself is part of a fictional document, which apparently covers several more kings after that, going up to Jaehaerys II.
  • Semiosis follows the growth of a human colony on the extrasolar planet Pax over seven generations, starting with its founding.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Bicentennial Man": In this story, the Martin family is used to indicate the passing of decades. Andrew was purchased by Sir, the first-generation Martin. As he helps raise the second generation, including Little Miss, he develops unique quirks, and Sir goes to the law firm of Feingold to ensure that Andrew can collect money for his artwork. When the third generation arrives, in the form of Little Sir (Little Miss's son), Andrew asks Sir for his freedom. Little Sir, whose name is George Martin, becomes a lawyer, then senior partner, for Feingold, and it is renamed to Feingold and Martin. Andrew continues his work, even as George dies and is replaced by the younger Paul Feingold. By the end of the story, Andrew is the only Martin left alive.
  • InCryptid spans at least four generations of the Price-Healy family (though only three have had their stories told so far, and only the youngest generation are viewpoint characters in the novels). The Jonathan and Frances short stories take place from the 1920s to the 1940s, their daughter Alice and her husband Thomas have theirs in the 1950s, and Alice's grandchildren (the current generation) have their books and short stories set in the 2010s.
  • Clade follows a family dealing with Global Warming over about six decades. The book begins before Adam becomes a father, and ends with his grandson Noah in his thirties.
  • Água de Barrela, written by Eliana Alves Cruz, is a semi-autobiographical book that follows an Afro-Brazilian family for five generations, starting out as slaves captured from Africa and finishing with them free and occupying places formerly denied to them in Brazilian society.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an unusual twist, the successive series of Blackadder follow (non-consecutive) generations of the Blackadder dynasty.
  • The Cleopatras covers the last five generations of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Ancient Egypt from 145 BCE to 30 BCE. As the title would suggest, it focuses most of its attention on the six Cleopatras who ruled during that time, culminating in the death of the most famous of them, Cleopatra VII, and Egypt becoming a province of The Roman Empire.
  • Cobra Kai is a continuation of The Karate Kid film series. While original series protagonist Daniel LaRusso and his first rival Johnny Lawrence are still the main focus, the story focuses on their descendants (Sam for Daniel, Robby for Johnny) and students (Miguel, Hawk, Demetri, Tory) just as much as they pass on the legacy of their respective dojos while also keeping the mistakes of the past from haunting them.
  • Encantadia kicks-off with a war that resulted in the animosity between the previous generations and continuous on as the main characters themselves have children.
  • House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones concern different generations of House Targaryen.
  • I, Claudius tells the story of four generations of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, the first imperial dynasty of The Roman Empire, from 24 BCE to 54 CE. It focuses on the intrique, machinations and conflicts that took place during the reigns of the first four emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and finally Claudius himself. After his death in the final episode "Old King Log", Claudius is succeeded by his great-nephew and adopted son Nero, the fifth and last Julio-Claudian emperor who ruled Rome for almost 14 years until his own death in 68 CE.
  • The Philippine television drama Ikaw Lamang revolves around two generations of the Hidalgo family of sugar barons.
  • Mulawin vs. Ravena is a Sequel Series to Mulawin with the protagonist being the son of the original series' Official Couple. The characters are mostly descendants of characters from the original, with The Lancer even being the former Kid Sidekick of The Hero's Action Mom.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Snow White loses her daughter, her husband, and her whole world as the evil queen sends them "someplace horrible" - the real world. Emma, Snow White's long-lost daughter, is street smart and resents her biological parents for her abandonment. It takes her own long-lost son Henry to bring her back to the family that she never knew and the idea of the enchanted world from which they came.
    • Later, it gets complicated, dealing with at least four generations through Henry's father's line (Peter Pan, Rumplestiltskin, Baelfire, Henry), three through his mother (Snow White, Emma Swan, Henry), and four through his adoptive mother (King Xavier, Cora (and the elder Henry), Regina Mills, Henry)... unless you count the fact that Henry's adoptive mother is also Henry's grandmother's stepmother, in which case you can draw a straight line through six named characters (Xavier, Cora, Regina, Snow, Emma, Henry), of which five are major heroes or villains.
  • Quantum Leap touches on this with the 3-parter Trilogy, where Sam helps a woman at three different points in her life: when she's a child, Sam leaps into her father; when she's a young adult, he leaps into her fiancé; and when she's a grown woman with her own daughter, he leaps into the lawyer defending her against murder charges.
  • Like the book by Alex Haley, the miniseries Roots and its sequel Roots: The Next Generations tell the story of the struggles of Kunta Kinte and his descendants over the course of seven generations, culminating in Haley himself. The two miniseries take place from 1750 to 1967.
  • There's an In-Universe example from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Garak lends Julian a Cardassian epic novel called The Never-Ending Sacrifice, about seven generations of a Cardassian family who all live selfless lives of service to the State. Julian finds it dull as ditchwater, while Garak calls it "the finest Cardassian novel ever written" and the definitive example of the "repetitive epic" genre.
  • Star Trek loosely fits this trope if you consider that most of the shows center around Starfleet crews (often aboard ships named Enterprise) exploring new unknowns. Deep Space Nine, for its part, was a bit of a black sheep in this family, instead focusing on political intrigue and galactic conflict centering around a space station.
  • Taken: The series follows the Keys, Crawford and Clarke families over the course of four generations and 58 years from 1944 to 2002.
  • This Is Us focus on the story of the Pearson family, jumping between different time periods covering the parents Jack and Rebecca when they meet and fall in love, their children as they grow up, and their own grandchildren in the year 2030.
  • The History Channel's Vikings deals with one generation's rise to prominence and the rise of the following generation of kings and vikings.
  • Yellowstone follows at least two generations of the Dutton family with the spinoffs 1883 and 1923, as well as the main series being set nearly 100 years later.

    Myth and Religion 
  • The Bible has plenty of examples, one of the most famous is the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph detailed and chronicled in the Book of Genesis.
  • From Classical Mythology we have the stories of the primordial gods Uranus and Gaia (themselves spawned by Chaos), which were overthrown by their offspring, the Titans led by Cronos; and then they themselves overthrown by Cronos' children: The Olympian gods Zeus, Poseidon and Hades.

  • The Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera follows the McAlistair family through four generations; one for each act.
  • The Kentucky Cycle: This play follows three Kentucky families over 200 years of Appalachian history. There's the Feuding Families the Bowens and Talberts, one of whom (the Bowens) was started by an Irish immigrant, and who spend nearly a century fighting over the same valley. After the Bowens wind up losing the valley to a mining company they wind up fighting over unionization. Then there's the Biggs family, which forms the local African-American community and began when Bowen patriarch Michael Bowen raped his slave Sallie.
  • The family from Rock 'n' Roll by Tom Stoppard aren't immigrants, but it does have the three generations of protagonists with the intermediate one being the odd one out.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A popular game concept for Vampire: The Masquerade is a generational campaign, beginning with a group of vampires in one time period and then switching to their childer (and grandchilder, and so forth) as time progresses. Because of the mechanic of Generation (where the further removed a vampire is from Caine, the first vampire, the weaker they generally are), the power level tends to scale down over each Time Skip.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed has the character Desmond Miles exploring his ancestors lives through "the Animus" - a device that allows one to view their Genetic Memory - for the first six main games in the series. Later instalments do not have familial links to each other or character in the modern day, explained as advances in Animus technology allowing anyone to view the genetic memories after they had been scanned.
  • Castlevania is perhaps the oldest example in gaming, in which the descendant and close relatives of the Belmont clan battle Dracula through the centuries every time he's revived. The franchise has a few recurring characters (Most notably Alucard and Simon Belmont), but most games focus on a new character in a specific year, spanning from the early 1000s all the way to 20 Minutes into the Future, reboot notwithstanding.
  • Age of Empires III the original game's campaign mode is framed as Amelia Black telling the story of her great-great-grandfather Morgan Black in the first chapter, her grandfather John Black in the second, and her own story in the third. The Warchiefs expansion adds the tales of her father Nathaniel and her son Chayton.
  • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, which is divided into two halves which follow a different generation. The first half follows Sigurd and his attempts to save his friend only to be manipulated into a plot to revive an evil dragon. The second half deals with the children of the first half and their attempts to stop said evil dragon.
  • Elemental — War of Magic: Start out with a sovereign, end up with an army fielded out of your pants.
  • Romancing SaGa 2 chronicles a roughly 500-year lineage of emperors. SaGa Frontier 2 also lets players follow the multiple generations of the Knights family.
  • Dragon Valor follows one of two paths, depending on whether the first Jerkass protagonist marries the common girl or the princess, and traces his lineage for four generations.
  • Crusader Kings puts you in control of a medieval European dynasty and gives you 400 years to shape them according to your whims.
  • Agarest Senki: At the beginning of the game, the player character swears a vow that he and his descendants will serve as Spirit Vessels to contain and ultimately defeat an ancient evil. You then get to play as these descendants as the game progresses.
  • Massive Chalice has the generations of heroes as an actual gameplay mechanic. The game's driving conflict between humanity and the demons spans multiple generations, and it is up to the player to make sure the current heroes retire in time and have kids who're even stronger than their ancestors to ultimately win the war.
  • In The Sims franchise:
    • A popular Self-Imposed Challenge for the later Sims games is the "Legacy Challenge" first invented in the Sims 2 era by EA Forum member Pinstar. The core rules are to play through 10 generations of Sims, with one child from each generation serving as the heir to the next, and to earn bonus points for factors like total net worth or lifetime achievements fulfilled. There are many variations, with additional challenges like limiting heirs to males or femas, associating each generation with a certain color, or having each heir rise to the top of their career. For the very hardcore there's the Alphabet legacy, which is 26 generations long, one for each letter of the alphabet.
    • In The Sims 4, it became an in-game challange, as the players gets achievements if they play a family for certain numbers of generations.
  • Phantasy Star III starts with Prince Rhys and ends up following his son, and then his grandson. Depending on who each character marries, the plot can take some curious turns.
  • This is a primary gameplay mechanic of Rogue Legacy. Whenever a player character dies, you can choose one of three randomly generated descendants to continue their ancestor's legacy. And the final boss is the very first of these ancestors, rendering the entire quest a Rogue's Legacy.
  • In the Total War series, the player is ususally given control of the ruling family of a particular empire over a period of decades (Shogun, Empire) or centuries (Medieval, Rome) and dedicates that time to carving out an empire.
  • Tekken follows the feuding Mishima family and the numerous iterations of the eponymous fighting tournament they sponsor, starting with father and son Heihachi and Kazuya, and later adding Kazuya's son Jin and Heihachi's dad Jinpachi to the already bubbling crucible. Step siblings, illegitimate children, in-laws and family pets get in on the fun too. Many of the side characters have children who end up competing too.
  • The Legend of Zelda zig zags this somewhat. It's about as common for a game's Link to be a direct ancestor/descendant of another one (such as Ocarina Of Time's Link and Twilight Princess's) as it is for them to be unrelated biologically but connected through reincarnation (as is the case in The Wind Waker). The titular Zelda however is always a relative of the Zelda preceding her in the timeline.
  • Metal Gear: The series takes place over a fifty year period with two of the three playable characters being father and son.
  • Crypt Of The Necrodancer has this trope in lore and gameplay, even if the latter plays it in the reverse order: after the death of her mother Melody, Cadence goes to the titular Crypt to find her father Dorian who went into it to find a Golden Lute which could resurrect his wife. After Cadence frees him from his Dead Ringer curse and defeats the titular NecroDancer, Melody's campaign starts: she defeats the master of the Crypt a second time and resurrects her own mother Aria. The latter happens to be the protagonist of the last campaign and explores the Crypt from bottom to top to destroy the Lute.
  • What Remains of Edith Finch is about the misfortunes of a family over 4 generations (or 6, depending on how you look at it). The 0th generation is Odin Finch, who tries to take his family to America to escape the "family curse" that keeps killing them all, only to die just before reaching shore. His daughter Edith (Edie) lives through the entire story. The 2nd generation are her children Molly, Barbara, Calvin, Sam, and Walter, the 3rd generation are Sam's children Dawn, Gus, and Gregory, and finally the 4th generation are Dawn's children Lewis, Milton, and Edith Jr. (the main protagonist). The whole story is framed by Edith's son, Christopher, reading his mother's journal, making him the 5th generation.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender and its Sequel Series The Legend of Korra. Both focus on the latest reincarnation of a God in Human Form, the Avatar, with flashbacks to events from the lives of prior incarnations. In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang seeks the guidance of Avatars that came before him many times throughout the story and the setting of Korra sees a seventy-year Time Skip, where many of Avatar's main protagonists have had Spin Off Spring and have either aged considerably or passed away. The Legend of Korra focuses on the legacy the main characters left after the original series, as well as Korra being guided by Aang and Katara's middle-aged son Tenzin on her path to fulfill her role as the next Avatar.
  • Possibly the world's shortest? ''Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, get your adverbs here!" in which the store is floundering until Lolly the Third calls in the media.
  • Young Justice is based around this very premise:
    • Barry Allen, his nephew Wally West, and his grandson from the future Bart Allen.
    • Sportsmaster, his daughters Cheshire and Artemis, and Cheshire's infant daughter Lian.
    • Superboy is the clone of Superman and Lex Luthor.
    • Icicle Senior and his son Icicle Junior.
    • Black Manta and his son Aqualad.
  • The DC Animated Universe is a generational saga, especially in regards to Batman, and to a lesser extent the Justice League. Batman: The Animated Series, Superman, and Justice League show the original generation with Bruce Wayne as Batman, and the founding members of the League. Batman Beyond showcases the next generation of heroes and villains, with Terry McGinnis as Bruce's successor and biological son, and a future Justice League with legacy characters, some older heroes who are still active (like Superman and Big Barda), and one character who turns out to be the son of two former League members. There are also a team of 30th century heroes inspired by Superman known as the Legion Of Superheroes, who make appearances in Superman and Justice League.

Alternative Title(s): Family Saga