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Only the Creator Does It Right

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"Believe me when I say that unless I was going to slavishly reproduce Fleming's Bond I was always going to get knocked simply because I wasn't Fleming."
John Gardner on writing James Bond books

This is Creator Worship taken to the next level. When someone makes a sequel to a popular work which they did not create, and it is completely savaged by fans.

Sometimes a Justified Trope because, while the actual quality will always be a point of contention, this trope is the result of the objective fact that the original creator is the only one who approached the work, the world, and/or the characters using a particular execution or tone that isn't replicated by later creators.

Can be considered a form of Jumping the Shark, only with that trope, the creator themselves can do it. If there's a Franchise Zombie, people may claim this. Despite all this, complaining about the new work solely because it is not by the original team is a fallacy, and can be a form of Fan Myopia.

Bear in mind that in the case of many popular media of a collaborative nature — Theatre, Movies, TV shows and Comic Books — there is often a lack of clear information about how much creative control the artist had towards their work, and what the specific contribution by certain figures were in the making of a given work. A great deal of the fan backlash for and against certain works stems from rumor, dated information, and lack of clarity and agreement about what made a work great in the first place. So when this trope is invoked, it is most effective when its done with an awareness of what the original creator brought to the project.

Compare Disowned Adaptation. Contrast My Real Daddy, where the fandom prefers a version of a work or character not made by the original creator.

See Running the Asylum, when other creators are considered evil step-parents.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • One could perhaps say this about anime Filler in general. No matter what the series, it's exceptionally rare for fans to feel that a filler arc is as good as the original manga.
    • To say nothing of non-canon anime movies. For example, the non-canon movies from the One Piece franchise are barely acknowledged by parts of the fandom, the exceptions being the fourth, fifth, and sixth movies which are considered some of the best movies in the franchise with movie six especially being a fan favorite. The eighth and ninth movies are usually not counted because they are simply compressed retellings of previous arcs, although the ninth movie gets a lot of praise for being a good compressed retelling. When Oda actually penned a movie himself (One Piece Film: Strong World), it was regarded as the best One Piece movie ever and universally praised by the fandom (it also helped that it was canon). The next movie he wrote, One Piece Film: Z, was similarly praised, though it wasn't canon (it was supposed to be, but the story would cause too many plot holes in the main canon timeline, so Oda decided not to include it).
    • Dragon Ball gets the same sentiment. The Dragon Ball movies are considered subpar to good, with a few fan-favorites like the Cooler and Broly movies, except movie 11 which is considered the worst, along with movies 1, 9, and 13. The two movies with direct input from Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F', are near-universally considered the best movies with rave reviews. They are also canon and have been adapted into Dragon Ball Super. Dragon Ball GT is often use as case study of what happens when Toriyama has little to no involvement.note  And let's not even get started on Dragonball Evolution.
      • Tellingly, most fans prefer the film versions of both Battle of Gods and Resurrection 'F' to the anime arcs (Toriyama had much less involvement with the anime series than the films). Meanwhile, Dragon Ball Super: Broly was written almost entirely by Toriyama, and is considered far-and-away the best Dragon Ball film to date.
  • Boruto, the sequel to Naruto, has been getting this sentiment since Masashi Kishimoto only has a supervising role in it, while his former assistants, Ukyō Kodachi and Mikio Ikemoto, handle the writing and drawing respectively. This was especially noticeable with the initial reaction to the different art style; although in later chapters this has been lessened somewhat thanks to Ikemoto's Art Evolution making it closer to Kishimoto's own style, in addition to the latter's announcement that he'll become more involved with the new manga.
  • FLCL fans have taken this mindset, viewing sequel series as steps down in quality as a result of original director Kazuya Tsurumaki having no involvement in them. The sentiment only intensified in late 2019 when Hideaki Anno (a close friend and collaborator of Tsurumaki) revealed that he attempted to acquire the rights to FLCL from Studio Gainax so Tsurumaki could develop new installments at Studio Khara, only for Gainax to increase the price behind his back and ultimately sell them to co-producers Production I.G.
  • The Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) series has gotten hit with this with the conclusion of the manga and the second anime adaptation. The first anime series split off from the manga halfway through and ended up creating its own original storyline. This storyline took the Character Development of several of the main characters in a different direction than the manga. As a result... Some fans of the manga have now adopted this mindset. Interestingly, the original manga author not only approved of the different direction, but actually encouraged it.
  • Gundam has some fans who insist that the Alternate Universe shows are all crap because Yoshiyuki Tomino had nothing to do with them (ignoring the fact that ∀ Gundam was not only his baby, but acknowledges everything that came before). Some take it a step further and say The Creator Does It Right Only When He's Depressed, savaging Gundam ZZ (made to clear up the gloom from Zeta Gundam) and the very divisive reception to Mobile Suit Victory Gundam and Gundam: Reconguista in G, shows that even the creator can get it wrong.
  • Jessie, James, and Meowth from Pokémon: The Series are a good, but little-known example of this. The late Takeshi Shudō, the show's original head writer, created the trio. Even though the characters have appeared in all but a few episodes of the show to date, when you watch the episodes and movies he wrote, it's clear who created the trio and truly knows what they're all about. In fact, he wrote many, many blog articles in Japanese concerning Team Rocket, their origins, personalities, and even philosophy (!), and stated he did not like the Running Gag character route they took after his departure from the anime, with many fan circles agreeing with him on this.
  • Fans of Psycho-Pass who dislike the second season often claim that the reason for its lack of quality was due to Gen Urobuchi not writing it.
  • Similarly, detractors of Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion's infamous ending often point out that it was not Gen's idea but Akiyuki Shinbo's and would have preferred Gen's original ending.

    Comic Books 
  • The Asterix books written by Albert Uderzo after the death of René Goscinny have been less well received.
  • While far from awful, the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics have gotten this reception for being written by people who were not part of the show. Azula's handling in them is met with particular scorn. Averted with the F.C. Yee novels, which have been warmly received.
  • A lot of people feel this way about the handling of Bucky Barnes by anyone other than Ed Brubaker. While Brubaker didn't create Bucky, he did redefine him and was the one to give him the Winter Soldier identity, the role the character is now much more famous for. This gave Brubaker uncontested My Real Daddy status over Bucky. Some people just don't like it when other writers handle Bucky, especially since a lot of the time, it tends to result in him either regressing (such as being flippant about killing) or adding things to his history that hurt the original story (Rick Remender added that Bucky could somewhat fight his programming).
  • Disney Mouse and Duck Comics: Some fans - especially in America - only consider the classic Duck-comics by Carl Barks as true Duck comics. Don Rosa is often seen as an exception - but noticeably, he himself only considers Barks' stories as canon for his own series. In a similar way, the Mickey Mouse-comics by Floyd Gottfredson are regarded as the only good ones - Mouse stories never became as popular as Duck comics ever again after Gottfredson's strips ended.
  • The overriding opinion on Earth 2 is that it took a sharp nosedive once James Robinson left the title. Under Robinson's pen, the series served as a place where characters mostly tied to the Justice Society of America were allowed to flourish, as well as other characters Retgone'd from the main DCU. It also was obviously slowly building up to the formation of the Justice Society. Once Robinson left the book, it increasingly focused on alternate versions of the Superfamily and Batfamily, to the point that the original leads were reduced to supporting characters.
  • Fantastic Four: The book under creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby was such a huge success that it defined an entire new way of imagining superheroes and introduced tons of classic characters essential to the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, when the creators left the book in the early 1970s, Marvel struggled to recapture the magic. Unlike other Marvel teams like the Avengers and the X-Men, that had several acclaimed runs over the years, the Fantastic Four will always remain Stan and Jack's baby. The creator that came the closest to avert this was John Byrne with his run in the 1980s that became itself a classic.
  • There have been several attempts to make the Justice League International work without creators Giffen and deMatteis, but none of them had even a fraction of the acclaim of the original.
  • The Unbelievable Gwenpool tends to be this when she's written by anyone besides Christopher Hastings, often forgoing the Character Development she rapidly underwent in her own series to instead be an self-righteous, stupid, and narcissistic caricature of a stereotypical 2010s "millennial" teenager. It doesn't help that Marvel itself tended to shill her as such with cameos in other comics and video games, which completely goes against and misses the point of her character. Thankfully, most fans agree that her characterisation in West Coast Avengers (2018), the series she migrated to after her solo run ended, is more in line with Hastings's vision. Her second solo title, Gwenpool Strikes Again, is another point of contention, some approving Leah Williams for still making Gwen an endearing Talkative Loon (Hastings himself liked it), while others deemed she went for a too meme-y Deadpool approach, regardless of the Meta Twist that explains her behavior.
  • Steve Gerber's comic, Howard the Duck, is considered a classic. Howard comics not made by Gerber? Not so much.
  • New Gods: Most Jack Kirby fans agree that nobody else has ever had a really good grasp of the characters and their universe but Jack himself. The series left a lot of unanswered questions, so inevitably every new writer ends up filling in the blanks with their own ideas, which usually feel at least a little "off." The most well-regarded version of the characters after Kirby are not the comics so much as the DC Animated Universe animated series by Bruce Timm.
  • Alan Moore's work offers a nice series of contrasts:
    • Moore has often drastically reinvented pre-existing creations such as Swamp Thing, Miracleman, Supreme and likewise written what many consider the definitive Joker story in The Killing Joke. All of them are generally regarded as the best runs of the respective comic books and none of them were created by Moore. On the other hand, none of the later attempts and runs at the respective titles (with the exception of Neil Gaiman's run on Miracleman) have matched Moore's stories in impact, acclaim and esteem.
    • Some of the Before Watchmen miniseries might be considered exceptions - Minute Men and Silk Spectre were fairly well-received by critics (Interestingly, both were done by Darwyn Cooke, who also did some acclaimed work on the Spirit as well), though fan reception is much more mixed. However, everyone agrees that all of it falls short of Moore and Dave Gibbons' original, but then considering that Watchmen is an all-time classic, it was a tall order anyway.
  • Critically, Ms. Marvel (2014) has never been as long-lasting and beloved as the GWW run.
  • Although New Warriors was conceived by Marvel editorial, the series has never again been as popular or as cohesive as it was under writer Fabian Nicieza in his original 53-issue run. With changes in team roster and storytelling direction, the brand had been increasingly irrelevant for the decade after Nicieza left (despite efforts to retool it as a comedy in the third volume), and the team being used as throwaway scapegoats in Civil War ensured it would never recover.
  • Brian K. Vaughan and Runaways. As soon as he left, it went downhill.
  • The Flash: The Speed Force and Mark Waid. As originally devised, it was the source of the various DC speedsters' powers and a kind of power limiter that restricted the characters from running at the speed of light, lest they become lost to it. It was also where speedsters go when they die, and everyone inside it eventually loses their individuality as they become fuel for the next generation of speedsters. This was a threat that was made clear, even though Wally West managed to return from it. Other writers tend to use the Speed Force as a Deus ex Machina, letting it do whatever the plot needs it to and using it to pull endless retcons, to the point that it's reached memetic status.
  • Spider-Man: There are some who argue that the series declined greatly after Steve Ditko's departure and that the art style and quality was greatly softened by later writers. While there are quite a lot of prominent Spider-Man elements and stories that succeeded Ditko's run, in terms of consistency and artistic quality, it remains the Glory Days of the comic.
  • This is the general opinion about The Spirit comics not written and drawn by Will Eisner. There's some conflict about whether the strips drawn under Eisner's supervision but not personally by him are up to standard, but much less about the several attempts to revive the character after his death.
  • Superboy (1994): After sales dropped substantially during the run of Ron Marz and Ramon Bernado, the character's original creators (Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett) returned to the title in an attempt to recapture the magic the book once had. However, the new stories featured a radically different direction and despite the original team, never truly recovered.
  • Many Thanos fans tend to dislike depictions not written by Jim Starlin, as the character tends to devolve from a complex, multifaceted villain into a generic Evil Overlord under most other writers.
  • Combined with Tough Act to Follow, many people feel this way about the handling of Viv Vision, the Vision's daughter created in The Vision (2015) by writer Tom King. King's approach to writing has always been on a more complex level, and his writing of Viv's approach to humanity was lauded as a fresh take on a very old idea. His series was nominated for a Hugo Award and earned him a Harvey and Eisner award. When Mark Waid used Viv in his Champions run, fans of King's Vision run were less than impressed, as not only did Waid write her in a more typical "robot wants to understand humans" way, but she seemed to lose a lot of complexity.
  • Wonder Woman: There has long been an element of the fandom who felt that the character only really worked in the original Marston/Peter comics, despite or because of their idiosyncrasies. Joye Murchison who wrote under the same pen name as Marston also gets a pass with this group, as she was Marston's assistant as well as writing on her own, but every writer since has tweaked the Amazons and Wonder Woman significantly from their pacifist feminist roots.

  • Books that get turned into movies are nearly 100% this.
  • At least a significant portion of the Douglas Adams fans out there were not at all satisfied with And Another Thing..., which was written by Eoin Colfer several years after Adams' death.
  • The Berenstain Bears' shift towards Christian themes starting in 2008 has been seen as a black mark on their reputation by fans, and most of it is attributed to Stan and Jan's son, Mike Berenstain. While Jan was an Episcopal Christian, Stan was Jewish, and they met halfway during the writing process to make the books appeal to most demographics. On the other hand, Mike became a devout Christian following his marriage, and health complications and their untimely passing caused Stan and Jan to not have as much influence over the stories anymore, with fans believing them to be the backbone behind the book's broad demographic range.
  • Certain V. C. Andrews fans feel this way after her death and Andrew Neiderman took over the name. In terms of series that she actually started, the last three Casteel books had this response.
  • The sequel series to The Chronicles of Amber written after Roger Zelazny's death is universally regarded as Fanon Discontinuity. This stance is considerably helped by the fact that several of Zelazny's friends have publicly stated that he abhorred the idea of anyone else writing canonical stories in the Amber 'verse.
  • Conan the Barbarian. To the most visible portion of the fanbase, the true Conan stories are the ones written by Howard and only by Howard. The post-Howard writers are referred to as "Conantics," and backlash ensues if you admit to liking any of the books by Lin Carter or the others. The films largely have a separate fanbase, and fans of one are usually civil to the other.
  • H. P. Lovecraft is often seen as the best writer of the Cthulhu Mythos literature. Fellow authors like August Derleth who carried on writing literature based on the mythos are derided by some as missing the point of the bleak, hopeless outlook on the universe that Lovecraft conveyed.
  • Fans generally don't like the Dragonriders of Pern books written after Anne McCaffrey died.
  • This was one of the reasons the TV series adaptation of The Dresden Files failed compared to the books. Most fans did not see the show as good without Jim Butcher.
  • Frank Herbert's Dune series was taken over by his son after the former's death, based on his father's notes. Despite this, many fans suggest stopping after Chapterhouse: Dune, Frank's final Dune work (other fans suggest stopping after the original Dune).
  • The James Bond novels written after Ian Fleming's death are nowhere near as famous as the ones written by him (nor as typically well-received). Of course, there wasn't really any other way around his death.
  • The Millennium Trilogy was planned to be much longer had writer Stieg Larsson not died right after submitting the manuscripts. The publisher eventually decided to continue under the pen of David Lagercrantz, and those who dislike the new trilogy will give this assessment for their inferiority.
  • Although the sequels to Rendezvous with Rama (Rama II Garden of Rama, Rama Revealed and the Gentry Lee solo spinoff novel Bright Messengers) have Arthur C. Clarke as co-author with Gentry Lee, most readers have concluded that Lee did the majority of the actual writing with Clarke doing little more than pitching in a few ideas and that having Clarke on the cover as co-author was more of a cynical marketing ploy than anything elsenote . The writing style is nothing like Clarke's. His longtime readers know that he did not focus on heavy character background stories and soap-opera style relationship drama, which makes for almost 85% of the sequels' content. Clarke's 1973 original novel was heavy on concept and focus on the Big Dumb Object while the characterization was mostly absent. While some critics may feel that the sequels correct the characterization deficiency in the original, many of Clarke's loyal readers feel that these critics miss the whole point of the original book.
  • "Erin Hunter" has always been a pseudonym for a group of writers, but originally Warrior Cats and Seeker Bears were done by the same group of people: Vicky Holmes plotting out and writing the storylines and editing the books, with individual writers Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, and Tui Sutherland fleshing out the storylines into the full books. Survivor Dogs got a lot of backlash around the time of its announcement and the first book's release, as it was by an entirely new team of writers and editors under the Erin name and many readers were of the opinion that it didn't have the same feel or tone as previous Erin Hunter works. Eventually, Vicky retired from the books around the Warriors arc Dawn of the Clans and a "story team" took over writing Warriors in addition to the other Erin Hunter books. Although sometimes fans still express doubts about the books written by the new team compared to the ones written by Vicky, and the newer Erin books (Bravelands and Bamboo Kingdom) aren't quite as popular, overall the fandom has reached the general consensus that both Vicky and the story team have their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • The Wheel of Time: Robert Jordan famously kept churning out volume after volume, rarely moving the plot even close to a resolution, and then finally passed away before finishing. There was some debate over whether another author would step in and finish, but eventually Jordan's widow Harriet McDougal did choose Brandon Sanderson to write the last book in the series, which turned into the last three books. Some of the more devoted fans of the series will tell you in no uncertain terms that the final three books show a measurable drop in quality, with Sanderson butchering many of the characters and story arcs he obviously didn't understand. Other fans who were irritated with Jordan's rather extreme wordiness, languid pace and seeming unwillingness to resolve any of the plot threads felt rather differently about Sanderson.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda was Ruined FOREVER when its creator and head writer, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, was fired from it near the end of Season 2. However, most of his core writing team (Zack Stentz, Ashley Edward Miller, Matt Kiene, Joe Reinkemeyer) stayed behind and kept the show more or less watchable throughout Season 3. It was ruined forever again a year later, when those four writers left and there was nobody remaining who had any idea what the hell they were doing.
  • Joss Whedon was largely absent from Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as he was working on Firefly. The result was a season that was disliked by a lot of fans, with the exception of the beloved "Once More With Feeling", which, funnily enough, was the only episode Whedon wrote and directed that season, though as always he contributed the overall seasonal plot and made notes on others' work.
  • The first two seasons of Charmed, where creator Constance M. Burge acted as the show's creative lead while Brad Kern handled the showrunning duties, are usually regarded as being by far and away better than the rest of the show's run, where Kern alone was in charge of things.
  • A widespread perception of the fourth season of Community, made after creator Dan Harmon was fired by the network. In the following seasons, after Harmon was reinstated as showrunner when Season 5 rolled around, the characters discuss their odd behavior the previous year, and explain it as having been the result of a gas leak in the study room.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The early seasons aligned mostly with the plots developed by George R. R. Martin, including having him write a few episodes. Unsurprisingly, those episodes written by Martin (particularly the Battle of Blackwater Bay) are seen by fans as being among the strongest in the series. The demarcating mark amongst critical fans seems to be the strange decision not to write in the Tysha betrayal storyline in season four when Jamie releases Tyrion; a defining mark in Martin's storyline. Once the showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were fully responsible for the direction of the show, the gaping plot holes developed and the dialogue got weaker to the point of Memetic Mutation. The declining quality reached its zenith in the final season, regarded by most fans as a total letdown and is unwatchable to many.
    • Averted so far with House of the Dragon. The first season has received much praise across the board. Martin being back with some degree of creative control over it probably helped, in addition to Ryan Condal replacing Benioff and Weiss as showrunner.
  • Zigzagged with Gilmore Girls. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel left the show after Season 6. Opinions on the following seventh season differ, but it's generally acknowledged that the show just wasn't the same afterwards. However, when the creators returned with full control for the 2016 Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which reportedly incorporated developments that were originally planned for season 7, the reception ended up ranging from mixed to completely negative, even leading a lot of people to say they prefer the original Grand Finale and thus subverting the trope.
  • Gossip Girl. When Joshua Safran took over as showrunner the quality of the show went drastically downhill and the ratings followed, which led to the majority of the fans complaining about him. It did not help matters that Safran frequently argued with the fans on twitter and that one of the show's directors stated that people who didn't like the changes were not real fans. He left the show after the fifth season, but the damage was done (the next season was its last, and its lowest-rated, and Cut Short to boot. And as for the Series Finale...).
  • Shari Lewis was a great ventriloquist and puppeteer. Her daughter Mallory... decidedly less so.
  • Night Court is regarded is having gone downhill when Reinhold Weege left after Season 6.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series. The Gene Roddenberry produced Seasons 1 and 2 are regarded as being way better than Season 3, where Fred Freiberger took over. Inverted by the following Star Trek shows however, which are widely regarded to have hit their strides after the original creators stepped down from the showrunner role (see My Real Daddy for more info). There are also some fans who regard only the Roddenberry-produced episodes and film as genuine Star Trek, and everything else as brainless trash, though this is very much a minority viewpoint.
    • Inverted by the movies, which saw a huge improvement after Roddenberry was kicked off of them, and by Star Trek: The Next Generation, which got much better after he was Kicked Upstairs and subsequently died (although Star Trek: The Motion Picture has been Vindicated by History thanks to its 2001 Director's Cut).
    • Played straight when the Rick Berman era ended and the Kurtzman era began. Berman wasn't involved in the franchise until 1987, but he at least had the benefit of working with Gene Roddenberry and being his hand-picked successor. Kurtzman, on the other hand, is best-known for working with Michael Bay to ruin Transformers forever.
  • Superman:
    • Deborah Joy LeVine was pushed out of Lois & Clark after the first season, and her intentions to chart character trajectories for the two leads and to emphasize Clark's impact on others (as in the Jack storyline) were scrapped for what some saw as a heavier reliance on soap and melodrama. In particular, the post-LeVine leadership was blamed for the notorious Clone!Lois story arc.
    • Arguably also true of Smallville. After the departure of co-creators and original show runners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar at the end of Season 7, the show seemed to end up in something of a Running the Asylum state with what was originally conceived as an accessible story about the future Superman with a loose approach to the mythology degenerating into DC Continuity Porn. It didn't help that most of the original cast had left by the time Gough and Millar stepped down.
  • Supernatural. Many fans blamed Seasons 6 and 7 showrunner Sera Gamble for the show's less-than-stellar state after Eric Kripke, the creator and original showrunner, stepped down (though Kripke still had some input on the show). After Season 7, Gamble also stepped down and was replaced first by Jeremy Carver and then by Andrew Dabb, who closed out the show after fifteen seasons. Carver was praised for getting the show back on track, and Dabb was praised for adding new characters, including The Wayward Sisters and Jack Kline, but most fans agree the Kripke years are superior to anything that came afterward. This persists despite many beloved standalone episodes primarily because the show never nailed its arcs the same way after Kripke's departure. Moreover, since the controversial Series Finale, fan opinion remains divided even though nearly everyone agrees that Kripke's vision for the end, which was the Season 5 finale, was superior.
  • For a number of fans, the quality of writing on True Blood went downhill after showrunner Alan Ball left at the end of Season 5, and took most of the veteran writers on the series (Alexander Woo, Raelle Tucker, Mark Hurdis) with him. The result is that Brian Buckner took over, and brought in a new host of writers who weren't familiar with the show. It is believed this is the reason a lot of the story threads set up in Season 5note  didn't get properly followed up on in the final two seasons, and that these writers wanted to redeem Bill's character after all the heinous things he'd done.
  • The West Wing. Creator and showrunner Aaron Sorkin left the show at the end of the fourth season; the fifth season was savaged by critics and fans alike, and while the sixth and seventh were generally accepted as being an improvement, there are many fans of the Sorkin era who simply ignore everything after season four.

    Multiple Media 
  • BIONICLE's story zig-zags this. The first three Direct to Video movies were bashed for not being written by original comic author Greg Farshtey, but he later became Misblamed when some of his ideas divided fans and it was revealed he wasn't part of the original concept creators. Christian Faber, Bob Thompson and Alastair Swinnerton dethroned him as the "fandom's favorites". Faber in particular rose to prominence after the series' cancellation thanks to his blog and a book about the LEGO company revealing the extent of his contributions — although the fans' goodwill toward him has been slipping due to his cryptic and confusing social media activities. As for the movies themselves, most fans dislike the fourth because it wasn't made by the creators of the much more popular (if still not well-loved) first three. With the series' failed reboot, the absence of the original creators was felt even more, as it became clear that neither the new team, nor the LEGO execs really "got" Bionicle.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppets has often sparked this response, with regards to Jim Henson's death in 1990. There are quite a few beloved Muppets projects to be released after, such as The Muppet Christmas Carol or The Muppets (2011), but even the greatest fans of the post-Henson era will admit that the loss of Henson dealt a blow that the franchise never truly recovered from.

    Web Animation 
  • Rooster Teeth:
    • One such case is gen:LOCK, which got a second season on HBO Max that fans wished had remained in RT's hands instead of done by an entirely different company who downplayed the most liked elements (slick mecha action and interesting character moments) while taking the show in widely criticized new directions.
    • After Monty Oum's death, some fans of RWBY felt that Rooster Teeth hasn't done a good job continuing the series, usually citing the fight scenes not having Monty's unique flair and believing the story isn't moving in the direction he would have wanted. Unfortunately, things have become so heated and vitriolic that the current showrunners (who were close friends and colleagues to Monty prior to his death) have been subject to frequent online abuse and Mis-blamed for choices that were actually Monty's ideas; for instance Jaune's prominence in the story is not down to Miles' doing a self-insert — Monty always intended for Jaune to be an audience viewpoint character, the "Watson" to Team RWBY's Sherlock.

    Western Animation 
  • Many Adventure Time fans have this opinion regarding Pendleton Ward and, to a lesser degree, Rebecca Sugar. After Ward stepped down as showrunner during the fifth season, with Sugar leaving the production entirely to helm Steven Universe, the show shifted into a more introspective tone under new showrunner Adam Muto, which many felt was pretentious and distracting from the actual plot. A lot of fans who felt this way argue that only Ward and Sugar really knew how to balance the crazy adventures and humor evenly with the darker elements. Thus, in their opinions, the rest of the crew was allowed to get self-indulgent due to no longer having someone to restrain them.
  • The two best-received Asterix animated films, Asterix and Cleopatra and The Twelve Tasks of Asterix, are also the ones that were written and directed by series creators René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. None of the other ones are generally considered that bad, but the only two to be up near the ones that Goscinny and Uderzo themselves directed were Asterix Versus Caesar and Asterix in Britain, which lacked any hands-on involvement from Uderzo (Goscinny had died by that point), but were written by Pierre Tchernia, who was involved in making Cleopatra and Twelve Tasks.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes fans rarely think highly of episodes written by Man of Action Studios instead of the usual Marvel Animation writers.
  • Downplayed with the Ben 10 franchise. The original series, which for a long time was the only installment that had Man of Action Studios as showrunners, is the only one that the fanbase can be said to be in overall agreement about. Every sequel show afterward suffered from Broken Base for one reason or another, leading to many fans just wanting MoA to take the reins again. When Man of Action came back for the fifth installment (which served as Continuity Reboot), the result still led to a Broken Base, due to the creators deciding to go in a Denser and Wackier direction.
  • This is most people's reactions to sequels to Don Bluth movies. An American Tail: Fievel Goes West is still considered a classic as well, but notably Steven Spielberg was still involved in the production as he was with the first movie.
  • The consensus on Season 4 of The Boondocks is that the show only works when Aaron McGruder is at the helm. [adult swim] seems to think this as well, as the season has never appeared in reruns since concluding, with the channel always wrapping back around to the first episode after the Season 3 finale "It's Goin' Down".
  • Fans of Code Lyoko when comparing it to Code Lyoko: Evolution, which had very limited input from the original showrunners, who themselves have basically politely disowned the series as canon in their view.
  • Like The Powerpuff Girls (see below), fellow Cartoon Network series Dexter's Laboratory was this following the Ego Trip movie, as Genndy Tartakovsky had moved on to make Samurai Jack. Not only did the show suffer an unpleasant redesign, but fans felt the new staff largely flanderized a lot of the characters. Tartakovsky, however, did return to work on "Chicken Scratch" and "Comedy of Feathers".
  • Disney:
    • There's a subset of animation fans who feel this way about Disney after Walt and Roy died, particularly about the films released between the early '70s and the mid-80s before the older, Walt-era management was shown the door and the new, outside management took over the studio. Anything made from the late '80s on tends to get mixed reactions, with the general consensus seeming to be that the work overall is an improvement over the early '70s to mid '80s films, but it just "isn't Disney".
    • Similarly, not many fans cared for the subsequent incarnations of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (by Charles Mintz and Walter Lantz), preferring the originals done by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks.
    • Gargoyles fans got this attitude after Disney tried to do a season without Greg Weisman and botched it up.
  • Zig-zagged with Doug. Many fans believe that Nickelodeon was the only ones who could do Doug right, thanks mostly to the huge tonal shift when it moved from Nickelodeon to ABC. However, Jim Jinkins and several of the staff were actually involved with Doug even during the Disney run despite accusations that they weren't. However, Jinkins has stated that as the series went on, he had less and less to do with it, and some of these episodes are the ones that fans have the most issue with. The main example being the Quailman episodes, which were much more numerous in the final season.
  • The silent Felix the Cat shorts directed by Otto Messmer are near-unanimously considered the best ones. Most future incarnations of the franchise (with the exception of the Cult Classic The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat) are of contested quality at best, and outright panned at worst.
  • Max and Dave Fleischer:
    • The Superman Theatrical Cartoons produced and directed by Max and Dave Fleischer, respectively, broke new ground for the Superman mythos and provided strong inspiration to other animators. The cartoons produced by Famous Studios don't have as high a reputation.
    • To only a slightly lesser extent, the Fleischers' Popeye cartoons. Many of those are considered to be among the best classic cartoons ever made, while the cartoons produced by Famous Studios are notorious for being Strictly Formula and for their heavy use of Recycled In SPACE.
  • Many fans of the Ice Age movies didn't like the Disney+ film The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild due to it lacking the involvement of Blue Sky Studios, which was shut down by Disney a year prior (and in fact, never even involved in that production), and anyone from the original franchise's creative team.
  • Zig-zagged with Johnny Bravo. The first season, which the creator, Van Partible, had full input on is considered the best season by fans. The second and third seasons were made without him and, while they have their fans, are more polarizing among fans, mainly in regards to Johnny taking a level in dumbass. Partible would eventually come back on board for the fourth season. However, that season was received so poorly that it wound up killing the series.
  • Johnny Test is an interesting case in that its first season (produced by Warner Bros. Animation) is considered average at best rather than being a great show. Regardless, everything after that first season (produced by Cookie Jar Entertainment/DHX Media) is considered some of the worst Seasonal Rot to ever befall a show, to the point of rendering it (well, that and the fact that the show was Adored by the Network throughout its run) one of the most hated cartoons of all time to many (though people have started to lighten up on it since it got cancelled).
  • After Lauren Faust lessened her role on the show, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic got its fair share of criticism as she was only indirectly supervising Season 2's production and left the show entirely by Season 3. However, with the show going on to have far more seasons that didn't have Faust's involvement, fans debate whether the show was better under her or Meghan McCarthy.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016) is this for many fans of the original series, since the original creator Craig McCracken had no involvement with it. In a related vein, the original series was also guilty of this, as McCracken left the show after the fourth season to focus on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and the episodes in Seasons 5 and 6 declined in fan reception.
  • This was once a commonly held consensus by fans of The Ren & Stimpy Show, who for a long time believed that Nickelodeon had been in the wrong when they fired John Kricfalusi, and that the seasons produced following his firing were overall inferior to the seasons he had worked on at best, and absolutely horrible and a blatant insult to Kricfalusi's own creation at worst. Over the years, however, attitudes towards the post-Kricfalusi episodes of Ren & Stimpy have improved, and are now usually seen as being generally good cartoons in their own right. But what really led this trope to be overturned was in 2018 when Kricfalusi was accused of sexually abusing minors, as well as having unreasonably high demands of his animators, thus destroying what was left of his career. Nowadays, the common consensus among fans is that, while the post-Kricfalusi episodes of Ren & Stimpy may not be as iconic as the seasons that he was involved in, Kricfalusi himself deserved to be fired from the show.
  • An In-Universe example in Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling, where Rocko believes that the original creator of The Fatheads should make the special to save Ed's job, as he believes the Chameleon Brothers would mess it up. The special generally takes Rocko's side, as the Chameleon Brothers' attempts at making the special are... shall we say, less than stellar.
    Rocko: But, Mr. Bighead, if Ralph doesn't make The Fatheads, the special will flop!
    Ed: Flop???
    Rocko: Those guys will ruin The Fatheads!
    [Cut to the Chameleon Brothers goofing around with their laptops as Mr. Dupette picks his nose]
  • The Simpsons: The show's "golden age" is generally thought to be seasons 1 (1989-90) through 8 (1996-97), with some occasionally including season 9 (1997-98) in there, too, because those were the years Matt Groening was most involved with the show, as starting in the Simpsons's 10th season (1998-99), he co-created Futurama and became much more involved there than in The Simpsons, with several writers and producers also leaving The Simpsons for Futurama.
  • Trey Parker and Matt Stone had little involvement behind Season 2 of South Park, due to filming Baseketball at the time. As a result, many fans see it as one of the worst seasons of the show, alongside Season 20. It is also Parker and Stone's most hated season, and the only season they haven't done commentaries for on DVD.
  • The general consensus among fans of SpongeBob SquarePants is that the show's quality dipped after Stephen Hillenburg left the series following The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Season 4 is considered to be the start of the Seasonal Rot, but it has enough well-received episodes that some will include it with Seasons 1-3 as the Golden Age of SpongeBob. Season 5 has fewer defenders than Season 4 and Seasons 6-8 were poorly received by fans. Hillenburg returned for Seasons 9-11 and many agree that the quality started to go up again before Hillenburg's sudden passing.
  • Many fans of the 2003 Teen Titans series feel this way about Teen Titans Go!, as very few involved with the well-regarded former series worked on the divisive latter series.
  • In an interesting case that actually does mix in a bit of My Real Daddy, while Ciro Nieli has remained on the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, Joshua Sternin and Jennifer Ventimilia, who were also heavily involved with its development as well as the original head writers for the series, both took off after the first season was over. Opinions on seasons two and onward have notably been much more divided between fans.
  • The fandom has several opinions about this with Thomas & Friends:
    • One side feels that the episodes in the first four series were the best, as these were the ones adapted from the Awdry books
    • Another side feels this towards Allcroft, Mitton, and Maidment rather than the Awdries. Some consider Season 5 to be one of the best, but everything after (When David Mitton was replaced as episode director) wasn't as good. Some even feel Series 6 and 7 were the start of the decline, because Allcroft, Mitton, and Maidment had less and less involvement to the point when David Mitton wrote no episodes in Series 7 but remained the director.
  • The Adventures of Tintin (1991), which was produced by the Canadian animation studio Nelvana, is a curious variant in that it was created long after creator Hergé died. However, the cartoon is still much better received by fans than earlier adaptations, in no small part because it generally stuck to adapting Hergé's original comic albums instead of coming up with its own plots the way other adaptations have done.
  • Fans of Tom and Jerry usually agree that the shorts directed by Hanna and Barbera themselves are the best, with reception of subsequent entries varying wildly (the Chuck Jones shorts and Tom and Jerry Tales get generally good reception, but have their detractors; the Gene Deitch shorts, The Tom and Jerry Show (1975), and The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show are mostly loathed, and The Tom and Jerry Show (2014) is divisive).