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Oddball in the Series

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Gabe: So if Final Fantasy X has the water sword... VIII had the gun sword... and VII had the big sword... There was no IX! They skipped a Final Fantasy! There is no Final Fantasy IX!
Tycho: Was too. The guy had a tail.
Gabe: Was it a sword tail?
Tycho: No, I think it was just a regular tail.

Some media, such as Final Fantasy or Gundam, are known for being long-running series with multiple incarnations. Within these series, there is always at least one installment that is drastically different to the rest. Most of the time, this installment will be considered the Black Sheep of the group.

The reasons for this particular installment being different vary, the most common generally being Genre Shift and Art Shift. Games which acquire this status are different enough that it's hard to coherently compare them to other counterparts in the series. Many a Flame War is likely to ensue over the relative quality of the title compared to its counterparts with the same license branding.

Will often happen specifically with the second incarnation of the series, often because the creators, not having realized the exact blend of their successful formula, will change it in such a way that many of the fans' favorite parts are removed. As a result, later sequels will take more influence from the first title than the second. Note that an entry being an oddball isn't necessarily a bad thing, and the break from the standard formula can even set it apart as having tried something new rather than falling back to what's expected (for example, Halloween III: Season of the Witch has gained a Vindicated by History status despite its negative reception upon release). Spin-offs of a series can also fall into the trope unless the spin-offs themselves start to create a series of their own. Early-Installment Weirdness can ensue if the first one is the oddball, and Later-Installment Weirdness if the installment in question comes long after the series or franchise has fully established itself. See those pages for such special cases, and all examples pertaining them are to be listed there instead of here.

See also Creator's Oddball, for Creators instead of franchises. Compare Bizarro Episode and Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.

Example subpage:

Other examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam drastically departs from the Real Robot Genre and war themes to delightfully and shamelessly embrace Shōnen and Super Robot tropes. Still manages to be popular and loved despite, or perhaps because of, this.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 reaches this by the movie, what with the aliens in a series that generally has zero signs of any extraterrestrial life no matter how far humanity spreads out into space.
    • ∀ Gundam, due to the considerable differences in themes and settings. Slow paced, atmospheric, and largely set in a pseudo-World War I landscape.
    • Gundam Wing is something of an edge case— On paper it's pretty similar to the others, with more or less the same themes and plot elements. In execution, though, the tone is radically different, featuring loads of over-the-top action and a less-focused story due to the Ensemble Cast.
    • Gundam X is, much like Wing, an edge case. (The 90s were pretty experimental for the franchise as a whole.) It takes familiar elements (like for example, the Colony Drop) and uses them to craft a story radically different in tone (despite the fact the story starts with an Apocalypse Wow, something not repeated since, it actually is one of the lightest in the franchise, coming close to Turn A above in terms of overall atmosphere) and in delivery (compared to the Universal Century, Newtypes are nothing more than specially gifted people rather than an outright evolution as the Universal Century seems to hint).
    • Gundam Build Fighters takes place 20 Minutes into the Future where Gundam is a fictional series, having technology to allow Gunpla figures to move and be controlled. It's by the the most Lighter and Softer series without the series' usual themes of War Is Hell.
  • Digimon:
    • Digimon Tamers is the Cyberpunk deconstruction of what's normally a Science Fantasy multiverse, and the only installment to avoid broad, archetypal character types in favor of more subtle personalities (or boring personalities, depending on what side of the Broken Base you fall on). It also makes adult characters more prominent than usual, and, most famously, it's much much darker in tone.
    • Digimon Frontier stands out as the only Digimon series with no partner Digimon, instead having the human characters fuse with spirits to become Digimon themselves, making the series more like a Sentai show than a Mon one.
  • Within the "Baron" series, Chiisana Sūpāman Ganbaron qualifies. Unlike the previous installments, which were Super Robot Genre shows, Ganbaron is more of a typical Henshin Hero show done in the vein of Superman (albeit with the ability to call a Combining Mecha for help). Between the glut of Ultraman imitators that came out at the time and the show's sponsor Bullmark going out of business, it went relatively unnoticed.
  • Pretty Cure has two potential examples:
    • Smile Pretty Cure!: There's no Myth Arc, the character designs are more cutesy and Moe, and there's a greater focus on slice-of-life and comedy (to the point that it almost feels like a parody). While it does have its fans, it's generally considered to be one of the weakest seasons.
    • Doki Doki! PreCure: The main reasons are its Kudzu Plot, lack of filler, and (attempted) subverting of most tropes associated with the franchise.
  • Macross has Macross 7, which is decidedly more Super Robot Genre than the rest of the franchise, with Magic Music, giant space vampires, and other silliness of that sort. It also contains by far the most Stock Footage out of any entry in the franchise. Nonetheless, the story is still canon: the more fantastic aspects of it have since been explained away by hyper-advanced Protoculture technology and then-little understood properties of Fold Waves.
  • Washio Sumi Is a Hero was adapted into the first half of the second season of Yuki Yuna is a Hero as Washio Sumi Chapter. Unlike the first season and the latter half of the series Hero Chapter, characters besides the main team are minor characters. The rest of the anime has Invisible Parents but Washio Sumi Is A Hero doesn't. It also has a few named male characters (unlike Yuki Yuna Is A Hero's female Chromosome Casting).
  • King of Prism compared to the rest of the Pretty Series. It's the only installment aimed at older girls, it's told entirely in film (though Shiny Seven Stars had a TV run that broke the films up into episodes), and it's the only installment with any overt fanservice. Of all the series, King of Prism is so far the only anime whose tie-in rhythm game is for smartphones only.
  • Tama & Friends:
    • The series follows a fairly standard formula. Adorable kitties (and one doggy) in a Slice of Life setting doing kitty and doggy things. Which makes Tama and Friends: Search For It! The Magic Puni-Puni Stone stick out like a sore thumb in the franchise. Shifting it to a Funny Animals series set in a magical kingdom. The shift did not sit well with fans, and the franchise wouldn't produce anything for the next decade.
    • Then there's Uchitama?! Have you seen my Tama? which has a more realistic style and has the cast shift between being animals and Kemonomimis.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics:
  • Garfield: His 9 Lives has a much darker, more surreal tone than most other Garfield media, alongside a very different premise: instead of focusing on modern-day Garfield, it tells the stories of his past lives.
  • Tintin: The Castafiore Emerald is the only Tintin story that doesn't involve the heroes globehopping, instead, it's a Slice of Life story set at Marlinspike Hall. Hergé described the writing of this story as "trying to see if he can maintain tension in a plot where nothing actually happens." (The theft of the emerald doesn't even happen until page 44 of a 62-page story.).


    Eastern Animation 
  • Even though they were vastly different in format, the first two seasons of Mézga család featured self-contained stories with overt sci-fi elements. The first season (Message from the Future) was structured as a family sitcom, while the second (The Strange Adventures of Aladár Mézga) was an all-out Fantasy Kitchen Sink, and both were seeped in satire. The third (The Mézgas on a Vacation) was a serialized and relatively realistic (at least by the show's standards) adventure story with no sci-fi themes whatsoever. Supporting character neighbor Máris also became a main cast member. The planned but not fully completed fourth season (The Mézgas and the Computer) returned to a format most closely resembling the first.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 
  • Disney:
  • The Dot and the Kangaroo film Dot in Space. While most of the films are about protecting animals or the environment, Dot in Space is instead about racism— and to a lesser extent, the use of animals in space missions. Dot's motivation for going there was to rescue Whyka, a Soviet space dog who acts as an expy of Laika, and was trapped on a broken-down satellite in orbit.
  • Pokémon: The Power of Us is a down-to-earth Pokémon film focused more on human characterization and character development than the normal legendary Pokémon-themed plots. It lacks Ash's friends, instead being based solely upon Ash and his relationship with the other characters he encounters. The Power of Us also reverses a lot of the Earth Drift of the series, such as showing that lemonade is made of lemons (instead of berries as seen in the Sun and Moon games) and that ordinary schools exist. On another note, The Power of Us uses a completely different art-style than the previous films.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Die Hard 2 is notably the only film in the series in which the Terrorists Without a Cause trope is averted: while Colonel Stuart's men are mentioned to be mercenaries who will be paid handsomely, Stuart has an actual political and personal motive to do what he does, being friends with General Esperanza and a believer that it was a dumb move by American politics to get the General arrested.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is quite different from the other films in the Indiana Jones series. Whereas the rest of the films have Indy trotting the globe, racing to find an artifact before aggressive government agents from an enemy of America do, this story has Indy stuck in India fighting thuggee cultists. The tone is also very different, with a wacky child sidekick and several scenes dedicated solely to gross-out reactions.
  • Halloween:
    • Halloween III: Season of the Witch: Where every other movie is a slasher flick about Michael Myers, the third installment is about a crazy Halloween mask maker who wants to use magically bombing masks and Stonehenge to kill children. The original intent was to turn Halloween into an anthology series, but fans rebelled and the series reverted back to focusing on Michael Myers.
    • Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later doesn't take place in Haddonfield, Illinois (while the prologue is in Illinois, the town is Langdon, not Haddonfield), and occurs over several days, rather than one.
  • After Friday the 13th went over to New Line Cinema, two instances of oddballs were made in a row:
    • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the ninth film, where instead of a hockey-masked killer and/or a Crystal Lake Locale, Jason becomes a body-stealing demon thing for most of the film.
    • Jason X had Jason being his familiar self again, but otherwise the film was a deliberately campy effort which sent him into space.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street has A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, where Freddy is not quite the horrific figure of the original, nor the quipster he would become in 3, and instead attacks people in reality, rather than in dreams, and manipulates the protagonist to do his bidding. It is also the only film in the series with a male protagonist.
  • The Godzilla series has a few oddballs here and there.
    • All Monsters Attack, also known as Godzilla's Revenge, is a surreal Clip Show where a kid suffering from bully problems at school daydreams about Godzilla (or rather, daydreams about footage of Godzilla taken from the previous movies). It's unclear whether it's meant to take place in the same universe as the other movies or in the real world, but either way, it's nothing like anything else in the franchise.
    • Godzilla vs. Hedorah is a disturbing art-house film which alternates between live-action and animated segments, has a scene where a character randomly hallucinates that all of the people in a club have transformed into fish, a scene where Godzilla flies using his atomic breath (which never happens again), several psychedelic montages using weird split-screen effects, and the only appearance of the word "fuck" in the series (only in the dub, obviously). In general, it's a very strange and nearly incomprehensible movie that sticks out from the others so much that its director was permanently banned from ever working for Toho Studios again.
    • Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) is your standard Godzilla movie and doesn’t do too much to drastically change itself up, but compared to the rest of the Heisei era films it stands out for being the only one that has an overt fantasy like atmosphere to it, whereas other entries lean more towards technology and science fiction. It’s also more focused on the Mothra and Battra plot, so much so that Godzilla himself ultimately takes a backseat as a minor character, whereas other films of that era had him as the central part of the plot. It’s often seen as a divisive entry of the Heisei series for these reasons.
    • Godzilla (1998) is an American reboot which presents a different version of Godzilla who looks and acts nothing like the Japanese one (even lacking the character's trademark atomic breath) attacking New York. Fans have labeled this creature as GINO ("Godzilla In Name Only") while Toho has named it Zilla, as it does not deserve to be called a god.
    • Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack! marks the only time in the series in which King Ghidorah, who is usually depicted as the bad guy in all other media, is the good guy who has teamed up with Mothra against Godzilla. It’s also the only time the monsters themselves are all portrayed as guardians of the Earth, rescuing it from destruction. It is the only film depicting Godzilla as a legit villain, as opposed to a vengeful animal or anti-hero. In spite of these changes, or possibly even because of them, it’s considered a strong fan favorite.
    • Godzilla: Final Wars was meant to be a celebration of the franchise's 50th anniversary though the film itself barely feels like it belongs in the series. It's more of a general sci-fi thriller focusing on martial arts and motorcycle chases, putting the monsters in the background. It has more in common with The Matrix, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Independence Day than with the previous Godzilla films.
    • Shin Godzilla can definitely count as well for being the first Japanese Made Godzilla movie that ignores even the events of the original film note , serving as a complete continuity reboot to the series. It’s also the only film where the Kaiju King himself isn’t an irradiated dinosaur, but rather a series of microorganisms that fed on nuclear waste in the ocean that’s slowly mutating throughout the course of the film into the Godzilla fans know and love. He also shoots his atomic breath out of his tail and dorsal spines. Pretty standard for Hideaki Anno.
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the oddball for the Star Trek movie series. Whereas every other movie is set in the 23rd century and features Captain Kirk & company flying around the galaxy on the Starship Enterprise, this movie takes place almost entirely in the mid 1980's, on Earth, with the crew being Fish out of Water, trying to literally "Save The Whales" (and hence becoming the Trope Namer for Space Whale Aesop). The crew is also not flying on the Enterprise as it was destroyed in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and they are instead using a hijacked Klingon Bird of Prey; the Enterprise only appears at the very end when a new one is built and assigned to the crew as a reward for saving Earth. And it's the only Star Trek movie where Everybody Lives; the only times we see weapons used are Chekov trying and failing to stun his FBI interrogators, and Kirk welding a door shut. It’s also the only Star Trek movie that is heavily a comedy; while most of the other films in the series include comedic moments, they are generally more focused on action and adventure.

  • Terminator Salvation is the only film in the series that does not have Time Travel as a central plot device. Salvation instead focuses on the war between Skynet and the resistance, with most of the time travel shenanigans being relegated to John's backstory.
  • The Incredible Hulk, the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a massive oddball in that series:
    • First of all, unlike the rest of the movies preceding The Avengers, it was distributed by Universal rather than Paramount; when Disney acquired the MCU's distribution rights from Paramount in 2013, that naturally did not include this film, so finding the film in the same places you'll find the rest of the franchise is very difficult. Marvel is unable to continue to make movies starring the Hulk without seeking Universal's approval, meaning the film has no direct sequels; fortunately, their continued ability to use him as a supporting character has resulted in well-received storylines.
    • The film breaks from the MCU formula by having a darker tone than the largely action-comedy franchise would become known for, and also by establishing the Hulk's origin story via a montage in the opening credits (allowing it to share Broad Strokes continuity with the 2003 film) rather than in the movie proper. Having opening credits at all is a rarity for the series, a trait it shares only with its immediate successor Iron Man 2 and the two Guardians of the Galaxy films.
    • The S.H.I.E.L.D. presence that linked all the other Phase One films together was reduced to an Easter Egg in this film. Top it all off with the fact that Edward Norton was replaced by Mark Ruffalo in the role of Banner for the rest of the series, and that Ruffalo's Hulk looks and behaves much differently from Norton's, and you might not even think TIH is an MCU film at all, the only real sign being the cameo from Tony Stark at the end, a Sequel Hook that confirmed the seeds planted in Iron Man that the MCU was a thing that was happening. Even that was handled oddly, as it became an MCU staple for these hooks to take place in The Stinger, while in TIH alone, it happens before the credits roll.
    • To this day, Call Backs to the events of TIH are far rarer than callbacks to any other film in the series, to the point that William Hurt's Thaddeus Ross returned in Captain America: Civil War for the explicit purpose of assuring audiences that The Incredible Hulk is still canon; this has been solidified a bit more as Ross has become a recurring character, though his past with Banner has not been mentioned outside of an episode of What If…? (2021) which revisited the events of TIH; and Tim Roth's Abomination has returned to the series as of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
  • Halloweentown High, the third film, actually takes place almost entirely in our world, with Halloweentown residents coming over as foreign exchange students. It's also set over at least several weeks instead of just Halloween night, unlike its predecessors (but like its sequel). In addition, Gwen suddenly drops her dislike of magic and Marnie's Love Interest for this film is never mentioned again. (The sequel also tries to ignore any consequences of this film breaking the Masquerade so that Marnie still can't be happy in the human world.)
  • The long-running Witchcraft series of B Movies (perhaps most famous for Allison Pregler's reviews) has a few potential examples, but the most obvious is Witchcraft VIII: Salem's Ghost, which focuses on new characters instead of the usual protagonist, William.note  The first and tenth entries also have different protagonists, but they're at least people who are connected to William (his mom and his Friend on the Force, respectively.)
  • Wild Horse Phantom is the only film the 45 film Billy the Kid series that is set in the present day.
  • Mission: Impossible II is the only movie in the Mission: Impossible Film Series in which Ethan Hunt and his team don't end up having to go on the run from the government and try to accomplish the mission while wrongly considered rogue at some point. The action direction by John Woo is also different from the setpieces of the rest of the series, being the only film where Hunt does Gun Fu.
  • James Bond:
  • Francis in the Haunted Hall, the last film of the Francis the Talking Mule series, was made without the involvement of series director Arthur Lubin, star Donald O'Connor, or Francis' voice actor Chill Wills. Instead it is directed by Charles Lamont, stars Mickey Rooney as new character David Prescott, and has Paul Frees providing the voice of Francis (by impersonating Wills).
  • In the fifties and sixties, the actor Eddie Constantine was known in France for playing detective Lemmy Caution in a series of pulpy (and increasingly comedic) B-movies. The character is a suave, optimistic womaniser who Constantine later described as "James Bond before James Bond". The last Lemmy Caution film is Jean-Luc Godard's proto-Cyberpunk movie Alphaville, set in a dystopian future, and with Caution as a more worn-out and conflicted figure.

  • The fourth Hercule Poirot novel, The Big Four takes a break from the usual murder mystery scenario and reads more like a thriller, where Poirot must stop a secret organisation from taking over the world.
  • The fourth A Song of Ice and Fire novel, A Feast for Crows made a lot of changes that created a Broken Base, not for any individual change necessarily but all of them combined together. Compared to the first three novels, very little happens in the plot, which is basically: two named characters explore war-torn Westeros, one new POV progressively makes things worse for everyone in Westeros through her incompetent decisions, some pirates decide who they want to elect King, and a couple of main characters develop their skillsets. The three main characters from the previous novels do not appear (except for one in a cameo). Finally, the series changes from deconstruction to reconstruction, with a lot more emphasis on theme and character development than plot. A lot of the plot that does happen in the novel is just a set-up for future novels, where the payoff will presumably take place. The basic explanation for this is that GRRM originally wanted to have a five-year time skip where several of his (Stark children) protagonists would grow older and develop their skills (assassin, wizard, and political leader). However, the frequent reliance upon flashbacks plus the realization that some of the plotlines could not just sit around for five years made him abandon the plan and thus spent a good portion of the novel showing that character development. The followup novel also had the same structure, but at least brought back the main characters and there are a few more important plot developments.
  • Ring for Jeeves in the Jeeves and Wooster series by P. G. Wodehouse - the novel features only Jeeves as a character (Bertie Wooster is absent), it is the only Jeeves and Wooster novel told in the third person (Bertie being narrator of all the other books and stories) and the story is set in the post-WWII Britain instead of the usual vague Genteel Interbellum Setting. There are quite unpleasant implications for the upper class protagonists, who have to actually start to work for a living. It is quite funny, just different from the classical Wodehouse, into whose signature Strictly Formula novels reality intrudes quite disturbingly.note 
  • The tenth James Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me, is told from the First Person perspective of the Bond girl, rather than the usual third-person perspective focusing on Bond. Fleming didn't like the result—the movie with that title is In Name Only, on his request—though fans of the books generally think that it was an interesting experiment.
  • The Lost Years of Merlin's fourth book, The Mirror of Merlin, is a mild example—it's not as Strictly Formula as the others (dispatching with the rhyming prophecy and with a subtler Race Against the Clock), and is a bit less In Name Only in its approach to Arthurian legend, featuring a Time Traveling Arthur and Merlin's older self, as well as Nimue as the Big Bad.
  • In the choose-your-own-adventure Time Machine series, The Rings of Saturn is the only book that is set in the future rather than the past, and thus doesn't try to teach the reader anything about history.
  • He Who Hesitates is the only novel in the 87th Precinct series that is told from the villain's point of view.
  • In the 11-volume Horatio Hornblower series, Lieutenant Hornblower stands out as being the only book in which Hornblower is not the viewpoint character. That position goes instead to Lieutenant William Bush. note 
  • Of Ludwig Bemelmans' original six Madeline books, Madeline's Christmas, is the only one that features magic and fantasy. Subsequent books by his grandson John Bemelmans Marciano have also included fantasy elements, but of the original six, especially compared to the Slice of Life tone of the first book, the Christmas story is a definite oddball. Unsurprisingly, the Animated Adaptation gives it an extensive rewrite, replacing the magic with a Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane scenario more tonally in-line with the rest of the series.
  • Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell isn’t too out of place in The Cosmere, having a decently similar tone and style to the other entries. However it has one notable exclusion that makes it an Oddball; it’s the first (and so far only) story in the whole series where Hoid never appears or gets mentioned at all.
  • Land of Oz: Glinda of Oz was the last Oz book written by L. Frank Baum before his death. This is suspected why it has some dark elements such as an evil witch having books written in blood. Glinda of Oz also portrays Oz as more technologically advanced than most of the other books, with an underwater city that requires a submarine to visit being prominently featured.
  • The Horse and His Boy is one to The Chronicles of Narnia. It's also an Interquel set during the "Golden Age" of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, with protagonists who are native to the world of Narnia—though not Narnia itself, as the plot mostly focuses on the neighboring countries of Archenland and Calormen. Though Edmund, Susan and Lucy appear as side characters, the fact that they're from our world is irrelevant, so this is the only book that averts Summon Everyman Hero.
  • The 33 1/3 series of books are usually non-fiction works about an album's production, contents and legacy. The one exception is the entry on Master of Reality by Black Sabbath, which was written by John Darnielle and is a fictional novella about a teenage metalhead stuck in a psychiatric hospital who is trying to retrieve his confiscated tape of the album in question. There is still discussion of the album and its songs, but they are entirely from the perspective of the character and about what the album means to him.
  • A Murder Of Quality is the only book in the George Smiley series that isn't a spy thriller. It's a murder mystery that Smiley investigates after he retires from the Circus.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Baby Einstein: The first video, Language Nursery (formerly Baby Einstein) is considered this, due to having no puppets or classical music.
  • Musical Mornings With Coo: While most Sprout programming blocks had "websites," the show had a character page on Sprout's website, It was also given rarely any treatment or promotion at all.
  • Novoland: The Castle in the Sky: All the other Novoland series are fantasy epics. This one, on the other hand, is a fluffy fantasy-romance. It's also the only one of the television adaptations that isn't based on a book.
  • Our Miss Brooks: The last season of the television series, the product of Executive Meddling. Madison High School turns out to have been in Los Angeles. Not the City of Madison — as had been the case before. What's more, it's immediately being torn down for a new freeway. Miss Brooks and Mr. Conklin start working at Mrs. Nestor's private school. These changes were completely ignored by the radio series. Our Miss Brooks ended with a theatrical series finale that followed the radio continuity and ignored the final TV season entirely.
  • Roseanne, upon being told that they only had one more season, decided "whatever, let's have some fun" and retooled things by having the lower middle-class family win the lottery. A string of Bizarro Episodes ensue, including one where Roseanne fight terrorists on the roof of a train while wearing a sports bra. Even when it wasn't being weird, it made some controversial decisions, such as Dan having an emotional affair with another woman. This all leads up to its finale, which infamously reveals that Dan died of his heart attack and most, if not all, of the series was actually a novel Roseanne wrote, based loosely on her life. All of this became Canon Discontinuity when the show was revived in 2018.
  • Among Star Trek series:
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is set on a station instead of a starship ("Fort Apache In Space" as opposed to "Wagon Train to the Stars"), and relies heavily on the use of the Story Arc. Instead of a weekly Planet of Hats, most of the focus is on the Federation's interaction with one planet, Bajor, and the planet's internal politics. It also acts as a deconstruction of the utopian Federation that Gene Roddenberry envisioned. As such, it's pretty polarizing among Trek fans, but also has a following among people who don't necessarily like the other series. On an in-universe note, it is the only series that features scenes set in the Gamma Quadrant (as the wormhole leads there) though it is primarily set in the Alpha Quadrant.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise is the only series in the franchise that takes place prior to the establishment of the United Federation of Planets.
    • Star Trek: Voyager is the only series that is primarily set in the Delta Quadrant (until Star Trek: Prodigy).
    • Star Trek: Picard is the sole series that mostly takes place in the Beta Quadrant, and all the main heroic characters are civilians (i.e. none of them are active Starfleet officers), until the Retool in season two.
    • Star Trek: Discovery is the only series where the main character is not (initially) in command (until Star Trek: Lower Decks took the concept much further)
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Amazon was a major departure from the traditional Showa-era Kamen Rider formula, having the main character transformed via mystical spells instead of using "traditional" belts. The Rider cuts the enemies in a gruesome way instead of letting them explode in most cases, and had inexperience at riding motorcycles. At the finale, the Rider had to leave instead of staying in Japan like other Showa Riders did.
    • Kamen Rider Kuuga, which began the Heisei-era formula, places as much emphasis on the actions of the police force as on the titular hero, has a mysterious ancient enemy whose motives are only fully understood in hindsight or on a second viewing, never has the hero declare his finishing moves, never uses the name "Kamen Rider" outside of the opening song, treats the growing destructive power of the main character as concerning or even detrimental, deconstructs the idea of the main character's powers coming from the same source as the enemy, and doesn't even have a traditional Final Battle where the hero and Big Bad show off the full extent of their abilities and powers, instead going for a bloody fist fight in the snow. Also, the final episode is set after everything's over and involves going back and revisiting all the main characters to see how they've moved on afterwards, instead of being the final battle.
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki was Kamen Rider In Name Only back in 2002. However, it fell victim to "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny, and most of the elements that made it unique when it was new (such as a Super Sentai-esque Transformation Trinket, grey moral tones, varied suit designs, etc) are quite passé now. The Highlander-esque plot, however, still makes it quite unique amongst the franchise, or at least until Gaim touched that again.
    • Kamen Rider Hibiki was vastly different from the other Kamen Rider Series, to the point where it was originally supposed to be its own show before Toei decided to put it as the next Rider. Everything is a departure from the previous shows. The Rider barely looks like a rider, his main weapons are drumsticks, he lacks the bike in which he has his name, and the signature move for the Riders is nixed in favor for beating the monster to death like a taiko drum (he actually puts a taiko drum on the monster to boot). Because of this, it created a Broken Base with the fandom of Riders, and the Executive Meddling that was done to try and make Hibiki more like Kamen Rider seemed to make it worse in eyes of the half that liked Hibiki.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid is a Medical Drama in the form of a Tokusatsu show, with the Riders having a Video-Game motif, Super-Deformed base forms, and masks with giant anime-style eyes.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) had four episodes that lacked any supernatural, magical, or science-fiction elements. "Where is Everybody", where an amnesic man wanders into a Ghost Town; "The Silence", about a man who aims to win $500,000 if he can stay quiet for a full year; "The Shelter", where a group of neighbors desperately try to get into a friend's bomb shelter after a missile warning; and "The Jeopardy Room," where a Soviet defector is caught up in a sadistic game with two hitmen.
  • The Ultra Series has had its share of unorthodox series:
    • In a franchise about giant superheroes, Ultra Q is a Twilight Zone-styled mystery show featuring all sorts of strange creatures (not necessarily Kaiju) and paranormal phenomenon menacing ordinary people, rather than superhero-type action. Stranger still, it was the first entry in the franchise before the Genre Shift!
    • 1967's Ultraseven is rather strange compared to other Showa entries. Asides from not being called Ultraman Seven, the show rarely featured Kaiju, preferring alien invaders (not always capable of turning giant-sized au contraire to series norm) as the weekly villains. It was also quite serious in comparison to its family-friendly contemporaries, covering themes ranging from dictatorships to genocide to war, as well as being more a la Star Trek than Superman. Still, Ultraseven has proven to be even more popular than the original Ultraman with more appearances as well as some sequels and spinoffs of his own.
    • 1974's Ultraman Leo seems like a fairly typical Showa entry at first glance, but, as the show makes it obvious from the start, it isn't. It's a lot less silly and light-hearted than its contemporaries with character death, minor horror, and disturbing examples of violence being standard. The title hero hailed L76 rather than the typical M78 and preferred martial arts style attacks over dazzling beams of energy. It also deconstructed many of the ideas of the series from before it. Unfortunately, these elements proved to be bad for its run as it proved to have the poorest ratings in the franchise's history!
    • 1980's Ultraman 80 had its first half as an oddball, being just as focused on Takeshi's life as a teacher and his relationships with staff and students as on his battles with kaiju. However, ratings dipped in the mid-tens, causing the rest of the series to be retooled into a far more standard Ultra show. Producer Noboru Tsuburaya specifically meant to use the first half as an attempt at a school dorama as well as a tokusatsu, and he later said the second half of the series was an Old Shame for him due to not living up to his original vision, and the first half of the show only got a resolution in Ultraman Mebius some 26 years later.
    • Ultraman Cosmos in 2001 has the Badass Pacifist hero put more emphasis on saving the monsters rather than destroying them directly like others, and fights very defensively. It's regarded as one of the lightest shows in the series aside some spin-offs.
    • 2004's Ultraman Nexus aimed for a much older audience than the average Ultra series. This is made most obvious by the extremely dark elements from horrifying monster killing innocents to lots of angst to the massive amount of deconstruction on the ideas typical to Ultraman shows. Monsters were not weekly enemies this time, but took a miniature story arc to kill too. This is even stranger when one considers that this show was the result of Tsuburaya trying to completely remake their iconic character! Like Leo, it also got screwed hard though, forcing Tsuburaya on a more lighthearted path it hasn't strayed off too much since.
    • Tsuburaya shifted gears in 2007 from superheroes to Mons with Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle. Although technically more of a spinoff to the main franchise, it had the same giant monster battles, only without the Ultramen involved, instead using the many monsters from the history of the franchise to battle each other a la Pokemon. This time, the hero was a man named Rei who had the mysterious ability to command monsters by capturing them in a Battlenizer; his partner of choice was the ever-popular Gomora. Also, it took place on alien worlds populated by rampaging hordes of Kaiju or aliens with Rei's powers, instead of Earth. This new aspect of the franchise uni-multi-verse would carry on into the Ultraman shows.
    • 2007 also has Ultraseven X, which is much darker than Nexus and being more Spy Fiction-oriented. The defense team in the story is an Anti-Villain All Along, and the giant monster/alien fights are rare. Unlike Leo and Nexus though, Seven X was put in Otaku O'Clock to avoid getting screwed.
    • 2013's Ultraman Ginga was the first proper Ultraman series since Ultraman Mebius in 2006. It took some strange turns with the formula though. First off, there's no defense team, but instead a group of childhood friends hanging out at their former, soon-to-be-demolished elementary school (think Digimon Frontier). Second, it used Spark Dolls, toys of monsters and Ultras that could be used by people to transform into the monster or Ultra trapped in the toy form, meaning it was not uncommon to see the monsters used by the good guys fighting the villainous monster of the episode. Third, and least significant but still noteworthy, the franchise had begun relying heavily on their most popular monsters (Zetton, Red King, Eleking, etc.) to regularly antagonize the heroes, but this time, the iconics either never appeared or were Demoted to Extra in favour of more obscure monsters. It wasn't terribly well-received with fans, so perhaps that's why Tsuburaya returned to the normal formula with the Sequel Series Ultraman Ginga S (albeit still using the Spark Dolls).
    • 2016's Ultraman Orb again skews the typical Ultra style in favor of the main hero being a wanderer, Gai Kurenai, helped out by a team of amateur paranormal investigators, against a mysterious demon who can take human form named Jugglus Juggler and his card-summoned Kaiju. All the main cast are played by actors with backgrounds in tokusatsu, something which hadn't been done in the Ultra Series in quite a while. Juggler and Gai have several untransformed fight scenes, and their relationship has often been compared to Kamen Rider's tradition of having villains who fight the hero both transformed and untransformed. Also, Gai gets his powers to transform from other Ultra heroes fairly late in the series, and there is a significant, Digimon Tamers-esque Cerebus Syndrome that takes hold starting with Episode 12.
    • 2017's Ultraman Geed pays homage to Ultraman Leo in multiple ways: The series has Ultraman Zero as a mentor to Geed in much similar way to Seven's relationship with Leo, he is significantly injured in combat and takes on a more vulnerable human form to mentor a younger Ultra. The series breaks several conventions of the franchise in the first 5 episodes alone. For one thing, while most Ultras are straight uncomplicated heroic figures, the very series premise is that Geed is the son of the thoroughly evil Ultraman Belial and has the fact constantly hanging over his head. Big Good Ultraman King is killed in the beginning of the first episode as part of the backstory to how Belial ended up on Earth after the Crisis Impact which destroyed most of the universe, and Ultra beings are normally not Killed Off for Real. The show also has Riku's monster hunter friend/potential love interest Raiha discover his identity of Geed within minutes of meeting him, and Zero's human identity to mentor Geed with, Reito, has a family, yet another Ultra no-no.
  • Out of all the shows in the Arrowverse, Legends of Tomorrow sticks out because, unlike all the other shows, it isn't a direct adaptation of an existing comic — it instead utilized side characters from Arrow and The Flash (2014), gathered together by time-traveller Rip Hunter (who has had his own comics and appeared in various others). Despite taking inspiration from those, as well as the Justice Society of America (beginning in season 2), ultimately it is it's own distinct thing — and has gotten progressively Denser and Wackier.
  • American Horror Story: Roanoke is arranged with the first half as a fictional documentary and the second half as a found footage horror series until the very end. It's also the only season with a Title-Only Opening.
  • Austin & Ally: Season 3 is the only season that does not feature the Mall of Miami as the gang's local hangout, having been replaced by Shredder's Beach Club.
  • Columbo had four episodes that broke from its usual Howcatchum murder format: "No Time to Die", which is a kidnapping story without a murder, "Last Salute to the Commodore" and "A Bird in the Hand", who are structured more as normal mystery stories where the killer is not revealed until the end, and "Double Shock", which starts out looking like a normal Columbo episode and then twists it by having an identical twin to the murderer (so the viewer spends most of the episode knowing one of the two did it, but not which one).
  • Jeopardy!: The "Super Jeopardy!" best-of-the-best tournament is the only one which took place on weekends instead of weekdays, airing June 16 to September 8, 1990, spanning the tail-end of the 1989-90 season and stretching into the typical summer hiatus, and it's the only one which showed four players in its preliminary round instead of the usual three.

  • Franco De Vita:
    • Among the studio albums, Fuera de este mundo (Out Of This World) is unique in that Franco employed a very acoustic flavor for his songs, which gives them an otherwordly feel (hence the sidereal aesthetics of the album's lyric booklet and the album's name, which is also the name of one of the songs). The album was also recorded in London, with the help of session guitarist Phil Palmer; many of the other albums were recorded in either Spain or the United States, and assisted by non-European musicians.
    • Among compilation albums, Segundas partes también son buenas (Second Installments Are Good Too). It was the only album Franco produced with Universal Music instead of Sony.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Some biblical apocrypha are so bizarre they're considered non-canon. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, for instance, is possibly the first example of Superdickery, featuring a very young Jesus that blinds, kills, and heals people left and right, then proceeds to lecture his teacher on theology. Mainstream Christians reject the Gospel of Thomas, which was widely read by early Christian communities, on the basis of its much later origin and the fact that it was most certainly not written by Thomas or anyone in his general time period. The Nicean council ruled that it wasn't authentic.
  • Song of Songs: This book is notably different from any of the other books in The Bible. It is a highly erotic love poem (even if many modern readers won't understand all the innuendo), which has no mention of God. Traditionally, it has been believed that King Solomon wrote it. But still, some people have argued that this book should not be taken at face value, but rather as an allegory for the bond between God and Israel, or maybe for the bond between Christ and the Church. Because it can be hard to see why it should be in the Bible otherwise.

  • Android 3.0 (aka "Honeycomb") is a notable outlier among the many different versions of Android that Google has produced. The primary reason is that despite the OS largely being associated with smartphones, Honeycomb was designed to work exclusively with tablets, and was rushed out in order to compete with Apple's iPad. Not only was it an Obvious Beta at launch as a result, it also meant that it ended up being the only version of Android that remained closed-source, as Google didn't want manufacturers to try and cram a rushed OS designed for tablets into a phone. It also had a pretty over-the-top, sci-fi-esque look to it that was quickly phased out afterwards.

  • Due to a player's strike, the 1982 National Football League season was shortened to 9 games. Thus, for the 1982-83 playoffs, the divisional standings that would determine which teams would qualify for the postseason were ignored, with the top 8 teams from each conference getting a playoff berth into a 16-team bracket. As a result, teams with losing records made the playoffs (the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions both finished 4-5).
  • Among Snooker's world ranking events, there's the Snooker Shoot-Out tournament, a knockout competition of single-frame matches with a time limit on both individual shots and the game as a whole. All the other ranking events follow the traditional tournament format, making the Shoot-Out really stand out as the oddball.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition was released under license by Fantasy Flight Games and broke from the series on several major points of mechanics and merchandising, such as by replacing percentile dice with a pool of proprietary non-numerical dicenote  and replacing generic printable character sheets with premade cards and tokens. When publication rights reverted to Games Workshop, those features were not carried forward into 4th Edition.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition massively overhauled the game's system to the point that many people complained it no longer resembled D&D and was less of a roleplaying game and more of a tactical combat game. It also made massive changes to the game's lore. While some of the game's changes were well received, it was not very successful, and so the 5th edition was designed to more closely resemble earlier editions and reverted a lot of the lore changes.

  • SD Gundam Seidan is the only work in the SD Gundam Gaiden series to not take place in Lacroa, instead taking place in a new world Llion Cardzi. After the events of SD Gundam Ultimate Battle, both worlds were then combined into a new world; Saddrac.

    Web Comics 
  • Bard Quest, unlike the rest of MS Paint Adventures, is written like a Gamebook instead of an adventure game. The comic never breaks POV (you start as the Bard and stay as him), the plot is straightforward, nobody ever actually reaches their objective, and the genre spoofing (in this case Medieval Fantasy) is relatively light. Because of problems with updating the branching storylines, it was canned 47 pages in.

    Web Original 
  • Dumb Lawyer Quotes IRL but in Ace Attorney: Part 4 tries to edit all the snippets of dumb lawyer quotes together into a single trial, whereas the others have them as separate skits.
  • The Mysterious Mr. Enter usually reviews animation. Two of his reviews, Re-Animated and Opposite Day, are live action (although the former has animation in it)

    Western Animation 
  • Beast Machines is this in the larger context of the Transformers canon. Instead of “giant warring robots that turn into vehicles or animals”, the series involves techno-organic beings fighting evil, anti-nature drones in a Villain World setting. Nothing quite like it has ever been attempted again, mainly because its failure led directly to the end of the Beast Era and the Generation One timeline. Its rather dark and serious tone also used to be considered unusual, though far darker entries in the franchise have arisen since.
  • In Bojack Horseman 's Show Within a Show "Horsin' Around", Bojack was the president of the United States for a season. Next season's episode confirmed it was a dream however.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • The Zeta Project is this to the wider DCAU, as it's the only show not based off comic characters, instead being an unplanned spinoff of Batman Beyond. Though there were a couple of crossovers with the parent show, by and large, it used its own cast of original characters and it was the only DCAU show to end on a cliffhanger.
    • To a lesser extent Static Shock counts as well — despite being based off a Milestone/DC character, it wasn't intended to be part of the DCAU at first. Early episodes even referred to Superman being fictional, before the show was retconned into the continuity by the second season. In addition, compared to the other DCAU shows, it was (mostly) Lighter and Softer, being aimed more squarely at kids and preteens than anything else in the DCAU.
  • Doc McStuffins has a few examples of this with Season 5:
    • It is the only season to not have any episodes with 11 minute segments. Each episode is instead either a half hour special or an hour long special.
    • It is the shortest season, having 15 episodes rather than 25-30.
    • It is the only season to not have Ed Valentine as a writer.
  • The Legend of Korra was originally ordered to be a standalone Mini Series before Nickelodeon gained enough faith in the project to order additional seasons. Because of this, Book One has a very isolated plot, while the following three seasons are part of a more involved Myth Arc where each book's storyline directly builds on the last.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Odor of the Day is the only Pepé Le Pew short where he is not a romantic.
    • Along Came Daffy and Honey's Money are the only Yosemite Sam shorts where he does not go up against Bugs Bunny (instead, Daffy Duck co-stars in the former and the latter is his only solo cartoon). Furthermore, Hare-abian Nights is the only Yosemite Sam cartoon not directed by Friz Freleng or a member of his unit (instead, it's directed by Chuck Jones' top animator, Ken Harris, in his sole direction credit).
    • Ducking the Devil is the only Tasmanian Devil cartoon where he does not co-star with Bugs Bunny (instead, Daffy).
    • Mr. and Mrs. Is the Name is Buddy's only appearance in the Merrie Melodies series, and by extension his only color appearance.
    • Hare-Breadth Hurry is nothing like the other Bugs Bunny/Wile E. Coyote shorts, instead playing out more like a traditional Road Runner short (complete with Wile E. Coyote remaining silent, unlike the previous shorts in the series).
    • The Squawkin' Hawk is Henery Hawk's only solo cartoon; he has to contend with Foghorn Leghorn in all of his other shorts (save for The Scarlet Pumpernickel, which he plays a minimal role in anyway).
    • In 1937, there were four shorts outsourced to Ub Iwerks' studio. Three of them had Porky co-starring with a long-forgotten character named Gabby Goat. Porky's Super Service, however, does not have Gabby, but instead a baby that resembles him.
    • Granny almost always appears alongside Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird. There are only three exceptions: Hare Trimmed (where she instead co-stars with Bugs and Yosemite Sam), This is a Life? (with Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, and Sam; she does not have a major role, though she attacks Daffy several times to keep him quiet), and Corn on the Cop (with Daffy and Porky; incidentally, this is her final appearance in a classic WB cartoon)
  • The Loud House has a couple examples:
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Out of all the seasons, Season 3 is the only one that does not last 26 episodes, instead it's cut in half to 13.
    • Seasons 1, 3 and 9 are the only seasons that do not end with a two-parter.
    • Season 7 is the only season that does not open with a two-parter.
    • Seasons 1, 8 and 9 are the only seasons where the episodes are released in the same order as their production order.
    • The season 6 finale "To Where and Back Again" has a few examples:
      • The only season finale that does not revolve around Twilight or all of the ponies.
      • The only season finale where the Mane Six are Demoted to Extra due to Starlight Glimmer getting A Day in the Limelight.
    • The Season 7, 8, and 9 finale two-parters are the only ones that do not feature a musical number.
  • Primal: The majority of the series takes place in a vaguely prehistoric time period and has no (intelligible) dialogue. However, "The Primal Theory" completely deviates from the established formula; it takes place in 1890 London, is about a group of British gentlemen trying to survive a break-in by an escaped madman, and has spoken English throughout.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Treehouse Of Horror II" is the only Treehouse of Horror special where the individual segments don't have onscreen titles. In this episode, the Framing Device is Lisa, Bart, and Homer have candy-induced nightmares, so the episode guide only refers to the segments as "Lisa's Nightmare", "Bart's Nightmare", and "Homer's Nightmare".
    • "Treehouse Of Horror XXXII" is the first, and so far, only Treehouse Of Horror episode to include more than 3 segments, featuring 5 segments in total.
  • Sofia the First has a few examples of this:
    • Season 3 is the only season without a Halloween or Christmas special.
    • The season 4 special "The Mystic Isles" is full of this:
      • It's the only special to not be written or co-written by Craig Gerber, as well as the only special to be written only by women (Laurie Israel & Rachel Ruderman).
      • It's the only special where most of Sofia's family doesn't appear. It's just her and Amber.
      • It's the only special to not have a cameo from any of the Disney Princesses, unlike previous ones where they show up for a few minutes to help Sofia as well as the series finale where they make a silent cameo and help Sofia out.
    • Season 3 is the only season where Ruby and Jade don't make an appearance.
    • Both of the season 4 holiday specials take place primarily outside the castle and with no appearance from Sofia's family.
    • Among the summoning episodes where Sofia's amulet brings someone to help, "The Secret Library: Olaf And The Tale Of Miss Nettle" is the only where it's not a princess, but instead Olaf.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: This is the only Star Trek series that is predominantly comedic, its main characters are junior officers in Starfleet, and it's not set on an distinguished Starfleet ship (i.e. a flagship, possessing advanced technologies, or holding a key tactical position).
  • Star Trek: Prodigy is the only series in which the main crew are all aliens, and the first series to be aimed primarily at a younger audience. The main characters aren't even members of the Federation, instead being a group of child slaves from the Delta Quadrant who find a Starfleet ship and use it to escape.
  • This Is America, Charlie Brown: Due to the nature of this mini-series, it is one of the only Peanuts productions where adults can be seen and heard (as opposed to being off-screen and The Unintelligible).
  • Season 12 of Thomas & Friends is the only season to incorporate CGI into the model sets, resulting in a rather unique blend of the original model seasons and the fully CGI seasons that came after Season 12. The sets and the engines remain as models like prior seasons, however, their moulded faces are replaced with CGI ones (though the moulded faces are still used for background shots) and humans, animals and various background elements are also rendered in CGI.
  • Winx Club:
    • Season 4 is the only season where the Trix don't appear.
    • Charmix is the only transformation that isn't an outfit change, instead being a pair of accessories.
    • Enchantix is the only transformation not seen in the classic Flash animation style from Seasons 5-7 and the specials.
    • Charmix, Enchantix, and Bloomix are the only transformations to be earned individually instead of all together.
    • Seasons 4 and 8 are the only seasons where Daphne does not appear, while the latter mentioned marks Roxy's first seasonal absence.
    • Seasons 5 and 8 are the only seasons where the Pixies do not appear, being replaced by the Selkies in the former and the Star Kids in the latter.
    • For the four specials that summarized Seasons 1 and 2, "The Shadow Phoenix" is the only one where Mike and Vanessa don't appear.


Video Example(s):


Big Willy Unleashed

The continuity-skewing Big Willy Unleashed Spin-Off for the Wii.

How well does it match the trope?

3 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / OddballInTheSeries

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