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Sequelitis

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"Actually, yeah. ... See, there was a sequel. Wasn't as good."
Joel, The Last of Us Part II (referring to The Lost World: Jurassic Park) note 
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As the number of films in a series grows, the probability that the latest entry will be terrible increases geometrically. While the first sequel of a movie is something of a coin toss between "totally awesome" and "mediocre", the more they milk the Cash Cow, the less cream you see. Of course, movies that go to theatre have high production values. On the whole, their directors are at least trying. But if it's Direct to Video, the chances that the third one is nothing but unmitigated crap is already close to 100%. This is partly because people assume a DTV movie is just something that wasn't good enough to get into theatres. And, as a general rule, they tend to be right.

In other words, Sequels to movies, generally created on the impetus of box office revenue, are rarely as good as the movie they're a sequel to. If there is a third installment, it will frequently mark a sharp downhill turn even when the second movie turned out all right. And even if there's a good trilogy, going beyond that has an even greater chance of crapitude.

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Common symptoms of Sequelitis — the elements that contribute to the sequel not being as well-received as the original — can include, but are not limited to:

  • Making a sequel just because the original was successful and the executives want more money, regardless of creative potential or the fans wanting a sequel or not.
  • The sequel being unplanned. Many movies are written to have a sense of closure, with the creators not having any follow-ups in mind when they were made. This happens much less often nowadays, since everyone in Hollywood is aware of this trope, and almost all blockbuster movies are already made with sequels at least on the table, if not outright planned from the start.
  • Undoing the ending of the previous film when it gave no room for more stories. The backlash can go double for sequels that turn happy endings into the beginning of great suffering, struggle, and conflict.
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  • The contrived revival or return of a character (particularly a villain) who was killed off or kicked out in the first film.
  • The attempt to turn a standalone movie into a Two-Part Trilogy, with the first movie being a single story with a proper ending, but the next two movies actually being one story split into two films, resulting in two bloated, incoherent sequels with too little plot stretched between them.
  • After a series of good or bad sequels, the creators want to finish the franchise the best way possible, or are sick of delivering bad sequels, so they make a movie intended to end the series, they promise this movie will be the last, and may even advertise it as the final chapter, but then that promise is broken with yet another sequel.
  • In an inversion of the above, the first movie may have a planned sequel, but it was self-contained and could be enjoyed on its own. For the second or third movies, though, the producers had plans for even more sequels and spinoffs, and filled the sequel with Sequel Hooks and unfinished plot threads in order to set up upcoming movies, as opposed to... you know, making the current one good. This can get even worse with another inversion, those movies are canceled, leaving those plots unresolved.
  • The original was thematically rich, but then the sequels were either too Anvilicious with topics that require tact and subtlety or only scraped the surface of subjects where Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
  • Retcons that upset people for whatever reason.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Early in the franchise there were minor flaws, but as new installments roll in these problems just get out of hand.
  • The sequel having a much lower budget than the original. While money alone isn't enough to make a movie good, and there are many inferior sequels that have a bigger budget than the original, a bigger budget means that at least the executives have some faith in the movie being a big deal. If a sequel is made on a shoestring budget, it typically means they're just farting it out for a quick buck.
  • The recasting of the returning characters with a cheap batch of B-list actors (and not just those formerly played by child actors who are now too old, or big-name stars now busy elsewhere).
  • The mysterious unexplained departure of a main or major supporting character from the original movie, usually because the actor(s) didn't want to return and the filmmakers wouldn't or couldn't recast the role.
  • The casual, shameless, meaningless, and sometimes callous killing off of beloved characters.
  • The mysterious unexplained departure of a hero's love interest, usually because the producers thought the Shippers would lose interest in the hero if he or she was married. At most, there may be a throwaway line that tells us 'it didn't work out'. This doesn't stop the hero from getting a new love interest.
  • The sequel revolving around the (often previously unmentioned) relative/friend of a beloved character whose actor can't or won't return, in hopes that a connection to the original character will help make a new character just as popular as the original. This can lead to In Name Only.
  • The sequel being Lighter and Softer than the original, to the point of being labeled a kid's movie and alienating most or all of the original's fanbase, or being unnecessarily Darker and Edgier and adults-only just for the sake of it.
  • Being too similar to the previous movie(s), to the point that it's just the same thing over again. Creators are not realizing that if we want sequels, we want the story to continue, not to be repeated. For the more general trope applying to recycled story arcs, see Fleeting Demographic Rule.
  • Being nothing like the previous movie(s), but not because they want to stay fresh or try to innovate, but for other reasons like not being able to do something like the original thanks to the plot/actors/lower budget/rating/licenses/etc, or relying on what is current and/or popular or trying to be more like other successful movies.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribes begin choking the plot to conceal the fact that the writers have basically run out of story.
  • The reuse of some element that was felt to be important to the first movie's success, in hopes that having even more of that element will make the sequel even better. If it works for the first sequel, it will be cranked up more and more in further sequels. This may lead to Vulgar Humor, sadistic slapstick violence, or something else along those lines.
  • Pandering to the Base, which can come in several harmful forms that may appear together or separately:
    • Potential new audience members become victims of Continuity Lockout when knowledge of the first movie - or the source material - is required to understand what's going on.
    • Continuity Porn annoying fans who get the nods and being downright confusing and jarring to those who might not even know references are being made.
    • Existing fans become irritated when elements they liked in the first movie are overused or used poorly. They typically say so, quickly and loudly. This can be caused by the filmmakers having a limited or poor understanding of what the general fanbase liked, leading to their catering to the Fan Dumb.
    • This is particularly the case when bringing back a character who unexpectedly won the audience over in the first movie, only to do nothing interesting with them - or worse, Flanderize them so much that they end up being a one-dimensional caricature of the charming and multi-faceted character the audience fell in love with in the first place.
    • The opposite can happen too, where an intentionally wacky story based on Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny tries to ground itself and be more realistic in the sequel, losing its original charm in the process. However, this seems to be a far less common occurrence than the reverse.
  • Making a sequel just to earn more money, but from toys and other licensed products instead of tickets. It's common for successful movies to actually make more money from merchandise than the actual movie, even movies that only had modest box-office returns. Sequels made to sell toys instead of trying to tell a story can warp the script in ways, almost none for the best (e.g. making the movie more "kid friendly", introducing/focusing on cute/marketable characters, or even completely ditching characters who can't sell toys).
  • All the previous sequels had numbers in the title, but there ended up being so many that they just stopped numbering them, since the audience is aware of this trope and a such a high number in the title may be a bad marketing move.
  • With adaptations or remakes, when all the source material was already covered up in the previous movie(s), continuing to churn out sequels with original stories—especially when the author of the original source material can't or won't help. Worse, if the new stories aren't faithful to the originals, they can end up looking like bad fan fiction. This is especially problematic when doing sequels to well-established works, such as those starring a Public Domain Character; the original is such a classic that the sequel can't help but look a bit blasphemous.
  • The writers attempting to up the ante from the previous installments or trying to make the environment bigger and better in the sequel, but working themselves into a corner and making the next sequel a letdown for not living up to the last installment, or for not upping the ante again.

The dreadful compulsion on the part of writers and filmmakers to add new chapters to perfectly good works has been likened to an addiction, sometimes termed 'sequelholism'. The writers sometimes seem aware of this, and as a run of sequels is produced they may drop numbering the movies entirely and start adding cliché subtitles. This only makes it harder to guess the order to watch for new fans. If they aren't aware of this, then, in the end, odds are First Installment Wins.

The inverse is a Surprisingly Improved Sequel (a good sequel to a mediocre or terrible work) or Even Better Sequel (an awesome sequel to a good original work). Compare Contested Sequel (when there is considerable division about the sequel's quality), In Name Only (when a sequel is strangely divergent from its predecessor) and Villain-Based Franchise (when a sequel retains the monster or villain but features none of the original heroes). Can be caused by a poor choice in Sequel Escalation, and lead up to Franchise Zombie if a sequel that should have been a Franchise Killer doesn't destroy the series. Backlash against sequels has made many reviewers Sequelphobic. Some fans treat such sequels with Fanon Discontinuity. See also Sophomore Slump, The Problem with Licensed Games, and Seasonal Rot. For TV series, this can sometimes be a result of a Post-Script Season. The reason why Sequel Snark and Ridiculous Future Sequelisation became common jokes. And, of course, any and all of this can happen just as easily with Prequels.

See also Egoraptor's web series of the same name.

Examples With Their Own Subpages:


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Rumor has it Yoshiyuki Tomino invented the Kill 'Em All trope partly to prevent this from occurring, as he routinely claimed to despise sequel work. Obviously it greatly backfired with Mobile Suit Gundam (the franchise continued even after the original principal characters Amuro Ray and Char Aznable died), but most of Tomino's other works, such as Aura Battler Dunbine and Space Runaway Ideon, otherwise ended with their initial series since most of their casts (or their entire setting in the case of Ideon) were killed off.
  • Bubblegum Crisis was canceled after 8 of the planned 13 episodes were produced due to legal issues. However, a 3-episode sequel Bubblegum Crash was made to give the series some closure, but it only ended up raising more questions and altering many characters' personalities, as well as plot details. A 3-episode prequel A.D. Police Files was also released to a decent reception. This was all followed by a pretty good TV series remake/reimagining Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, and got two more spinoff series, A.D. Police: To Protect and Serve and Parasite Dolls, with the former being savaged by fans and critics, and the latter mostly going unnoticed. A sequel to Tokyo 2040 called Tokyo 2041 was once in production, but never left Development Hell.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball GT is seen by some of the Dragon Ball fanbase as a combination of this and Franchise Zombie due to being created entirely by Toei Animation, with very little input from Akira Toriyama beyond designs, which likely lead to it being retconned by the new series.
    • Of the Non Serial Movies, two of the most consistently well-regarded are Cooler's Revenge and Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan. Their sequel films (Return of Cooler for the former and Broly - Second Coming and Bio-Broly for the latter) are considered some of the worst - on top of a host of problems, such as a weaker cast of characters in the latter and extremely poor animation in the former, the consensus is that they missed the point of what made the previous films entertaining to begin with.
    • Bardock: The Father of Goku is considered to be one of the best bits of Dragon Ball Z material, frequently being praised for its morally dark grey protagonist, expansion of the universe's lore, and wonderfully tragic climax, immediately turning Bardock into a fan favorite. Episode of Bardock, on the other hand, is far less well-regarded, primarily for undoing everything interesting about the prior special (Bardock actually didn't die tragically and is now a straightforward good guy instead of a violent anti-hero, and he gets to become the first Super Saiyan and beat up Freeza's ancestor instead of being the low-class warrior who stood up against hopeless odds and only accomplished anything by proxy). It doesn't help that its plot (Bardock somehow travels back in time by being hit by Freeza's attack, somehow loses his future vision, and somehow manages to turn Super Saiyan in the name of protecting a bunch of random people he barely knows despite casually having committed genocide beforehand) isn't any better. Team Four Star considered it to be the worst film or special in the franchise, and a vindication of Bardock's Misaimed Fandom.
  • The Eureka Seven fandom was divided on the subject of Eureka Seven AO from its announcement. As the series progressed, barring brief moments of hope, fan outlook grew increasingly bleak, with the ending (and even a few of the plot threads) provoking cries of Fanon Discontinuity. It hardly helped that it contradicted many of the themes of the original series, particularly the ability of humans and Coralians to coexist. That last one was enough to spark the "Dewey was right!" fandom meme.
  • Gunslinger Girl il teatrino was received much more poorly than the original, for several reasons: A new Japanese cast, an emphasis on action, more spotlight on the girls Precocious Crushes, a new Moe art style, lesser accurate Gun Porn, Angelica being alive, and averting the fan-preferred Accidental Aesop in exchange for an anime that's clearly just meant to be about cute girls with guns. Oddly enough, il teatrino is truer in spirit to the manga than the first anime season.
  • Pokémon has, as of 2018, a total of twenty-one movies made. Similar to The Land Before Time, most fans say that the quality of the movies has been all over the place, with the first few movies (Pokémon: The First Movie, Pokémon 2000, Pokémon 3) being superior to most of the sequelsnote , barring a few standouts. However, three that have received notably negative reviews include Genesect and the Legend Awakened, Hoopa and the Clash of Ages, and Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel — the latter two of which did very poorly, leading to the next films being set in a new continuity, putting the main continuity of films on ice.
  • This is why Pretty Cure doesn't do sequel series anymore after the poor reception of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 Go Go!. Many of them are realizing, though, that rival series Aikatsu! is heading that way, what with a second sequel series coming up.
  • SHUFFLE! Memories. Though some fans say it's terrible, other fans say that the Fanservice-laden last episode was more than enough to make up for the series being little more than a terrible recap of Shuffle.
  • If the subpar ratings in Japan and overall lack of accreditation beyond loads of magazine previews (keyword here) are anything to say, the Un-Canceled fourth (Revolution) and fifth (Evolution-R) seasons of the Slayers anime are this. Most countries outside Japan (including the States) gave the seasons positive reviews, but 'most' of the viewers were older fans of the series, so that still doesn't help in the long run.
    • A bizarre reversal of this trope occurs with the Slayers Smash novels, which are a part of the book series that takes place before the main storyline. Whereas the main series ended in 2000, the prequel books came out two years after the first original novel came out and are still ongoing. Sales have been dropping, and many fans agree that the adventures of Lina and Naga are being unnecessarily dragged out. Unfortunately, the man who created the novels has no intention of continuing the main storyline.
    • In hindsight, this seemed more accredited to either season not following upon the novel storylines (not even reaching the point where Gourry finds the Blast Sword), and instead simply repeating the first series in reverse. Otherwise, Slayers fans had been demanding a follow up for quite some time, partly for the aforementioned and partly to alleviate the mediocrity that was Slayers Try.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew à la Mode ended up being penned by a different writer (Mia Ikumi, the artist of the original series), but taking place in a universe explicitly the same as the original, something many manga explicitly avoid in order to start fresh. It renders Ichigo utterly useless (no, really) so that a shiny new character named Berii Shirayuki/Mew Berry can take her place. And that's the mildest of its many, many problems.
  • The 2003 sequel to the original '90s Tenchi Muyo OVA series got poor reception from fans and critics, as well as the spinoff Tenchi Muyo! GXP. The franchise had been dormant for a few years following the poor reception of spinoff Tenchi in Tokyo, and the mixed reception of the three films. The original OVAs and their TV remake/reimagining Tenchi Universe are really the only parts of the franchise with good reception.
  • Twin Princess of Wonder Planet has a sequel series in the form of Gyu!. It took virtually all of the characters out of their unique world and put them into a generic school location and had a similarly-generic Monster of the Week format (going along the success of the previous series delving into Magical Girl Warrior later during its run) and Demoted to Extra everyone but Fine and Rein. While it did introduce a handful of good characters, most fans like to pretend ''Gyu!'' never happened.

    Comedy 

    Comic Books 
  • Parodied in The Simpsons comic book storyline "When Bongos Collide!", in which everyone in Springfield gets superpowers as a result of a nuclear explosion. Troy McClure's alter-ego, The Sequelizer, has the power to "create an infinite number of copies of [himself] — although each is only 50% as powerful as the one before."
  • Several fans think of Pk2 as this for the excellent Paperinik New Adventures. Many more consider "Pikappa" a definite case.
  • The Punisher suffered from this. He did fine when he started out as an occasional guest star in Spider-Man's comics and did okay when he debuted in his own limited series, and then ongoing series. Unfortunately, when he became more popular and Marvel started to star him in Punisher War Journal and Punisher War Zone, fans started to see what a one-dimensional character he was. In 1995, all three of his comics were canceled due to poor sales; he did gain some popularity back in 2000 as part of the Marvel Knights line.
  • Avengers Undercover was considered vastly inferior to both its immediate predecessors, Avengers Academy and Avengers Arena, and sales were so bad it was canceled at ten issues out of an intended twelve. For reference, cancellation of a book that has a set number of issues from the get-go is extremely rare. Avengers Arena itself was a Contested Sequel at best, with very few fans of Academy or Runaways walking away satisfied. Undercover, it seems, burned through what little goodwill Arena had remaining.
  • The Nail is one of the more beloved Elseworld stories, with its dark storytelling and interesting showcasing of a world without Superman and how needed The Cape really is to the DCU. You'll find much fewer fans of Another Nail, which featured a far more convoluted and silly plot without any real hook to draw it together.
  • Secret Wars (1984) was, and is, widely regarded as the classic Marvel Crisis Crossover, and one that's held up very well since. Secret Wars II, on the other hand, usually gets the response of "There was a second one?" Of course, it's hard to blame one for forgetting; a sequel to one of the most action-packed books in Marvel's history where a lengthy scene is devoted to the main villain learning how to use the bathroom was never going to go down well, and the considerably worse writing (better suited to a Jim Carrey comedy than a superhero event book) did it no favors. The biggest weakness was that it tried to make the story about the Beyonder, whom most readers didn't find very interesting the first time around, and assumed that readers cared about seeing his story resolved when they mostly saw him as a plot device.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide is beloved by readers of both Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) and Mega Man for the unique way everything happened and giving both video game stars a chance to meet long before Super Smash Bros. could. Its sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Unite isn't as beloved, due to too many characters (seriously, not counting the main four of Sonic, Sonic Boom, Mega Man and Mega Man X, there are twelve franchises represented here), wasting the Mega Man X characters, reducing Sonic Boom to just Sticks, and so on. It ended up causing the deaths of all the series involved.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is widely seen as one of the best Batman stories in history. The Dark Knight Strikes Again is at best polarizing, mostly due to Character Derailment of non-Batman characters, Batman himself being a bit of a Jerk Sue, some serious Author Tracts, and shockingly bad color work. Its prequel, the clunkily-titled All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, is generally regarded as So Bad, It's Good. Its sequel Dark Knight III: The Master Race was well-received due to it primarily written by Brian Azzarello than Frank Miller himself.
  • Batman: Year One, also by Miller, is considered to be the definitive Batman origin story. By contrast, most people are barely aware that there ever was a Year Two, considered So Okay, It's Average at best. It really only comes up in discussions of how it inspired the much better-regarded Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Year Three is so obscure that it's never even been collected.
  • 52 is a well-regarded yearlong series that took place after Infinite Crisis, while its follow-up Countdown to Final Crisis isn't due to it being responsible for the controversial Face–Heel Turn of Mary Marvel and other wide-sweeping character changes. This is not helped by the fact that Dan DiDio once said that Countdown was 52 done right before it hit the shelves and due to its Padding structure.
  • The original Marvel Zombies was a major success, and it's generally regarded as a lot of fun and surprisingly well-written. Marvel Zombies 2, on the other hand, is mostly considered boring, due to trying to eke character growth out of a premise meant for gonzo absurdity and an extensive further story out of a plot where all the most interesting things already happened. 3 moved back into the absurdity and made it fun again, and is considered the major bright point after 2. Then 4 tried to continue on from 3 and was largely okay, but by that point the premise was starting to run pretty thin. Return tried to give the franchise a finale, and had its moments, but suffered from very weird pacing and attempts at tying up plot points from 2. It didn't work, because Marvel Zombies 5 came out, and was mostly a big joke on how much the premise had been milked dry, with the heroes, having exhausted the zombies on Earth, traveling to other universes to fight variant zombie plagues with new rules. There have been five non-numbered miniseries since then, and most of them have been less about trying to write a good story and more about trying to write a story that does anything with the idea - not helped by the zombie craze being largely dead.
  • The Ultimates first two arcs, written by Mark Millar, were very well received, for its reinvention of The Avengers and its deconstruction of the superhero genre. Both stories neatly resolve all the subplots in them. But then Jeph Loeb wrote The Ultimates 3 with a sudden genre shift to the worst vices of The Dark Age of Comic Books, and the reception fell from a cliff.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation (Non-Disney) 
  • The Land Before Time's thirteen sequels are exceptionally infamous. It's a bad sign when there are more sequels than even horror movie franchises like Halloween, Saw, Paranormal Activity, or Friday the 13th. And in-between all of these movies, it got a TV show to boot. It must be said though the quality of the series is up and down from movie to movie, some are indeed mediocre to poor, but others are surprisingly solid. In the end, though most agree that none are a match for Bluth's original film, some of the sequels got close.
  • Some of Don Bluth's other animated films have also been hit with Sequelitis: there are sequels for An American Tail, All Dogs Go to Heaven (both of which also got a TV series), and The Secret of NIMH. An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, though Lighter and Softer than the original, is actually considered a quality follow-up due to a higher budget theatrical release. All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 is also considered a fairly solid sequel, even with the rampant They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot. The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue on the other hand is considered terrible by practically all fans of the original. In all of those cases, Bluth was not involved with any of the sequels. The only sequels he was ever actually involved with making were the video game Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp and the Anastasia direct-to-DVD sequel Bartok the Magnificent, which although not hugely popular, has fared better than some of the other sequels to his films. Incidentally, Bluth was originally to have been involved in the other aforementioned sequels, but had to turn it down to due heavy development on his own projects at the time.
  • 1995's Balto has two sequels that cause many Plot Holes; given Universal Pictures' dislike of the movie, they opted for making more The Land Before Time sequels until their traditional animation studios were closed for good. From there, they changed to computer-traditional mix, resulting in a more vivid color scheme, but considerably better quality animation.
  • The first Shrek movie was a hit. Shrek 2 grossed almost twice as highly and is considered by many to be even better. Shrek the Third is more polarizing in comparison and muddied up DreamWorks Animation's plans for a 5-film series (though they're still hoping for the 5th one). Consensus on Shrek Forever After is that it's at least far better than the third. The irony of all this is that it was always intended to mock Disney for churning out sequels to their tired old proprieties and making everything more saccharine with each installment.
  • The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat was not written or directed by Ralph Bakshi, the maker of Fritz the Cat, or Robert Crumb, who created the original comic. The only people involved with the first film who returned for the sequel are producer Steve Krantz and voice actor Skip Hinnant. Even Duke, one of the characters from the first film, is voiced by a different actor.
  • Alpha and Omega seems to be getting this treatment. As of 2018 there are eight sequels to the original! This is par for the course for Richard Rich films - The Swan Princess, despite being a minor bomb critically and financially, got four sequels. Being made with fairly low budgets and based on films that weren't very good to begin with, they tend to make the Disney cheapquels look like high art.
  • The Big Damn Movie of Futurama, Bender's Big Score, is pretty well-regarded in the fanbase, and places well in appraisals of the series. The succeeding three films vary in reception, but are generally seen as being much worse. The general consensus is that Bender's Big Score feels like a movie, while the other three feel like overstretched episodes of the TV show that probably wouldn't have made for very good episodes to begin with.
  • The first Ice Age has a respectable Rotten Tomatoes score of 77%. The first sequel got a rotten 57% (though it has since become a Cult Classic), and it just went down from there (46%, 38% and 16%; the last of these, Collision Course, is considered one of the worst films of 2016 and is the first Ice Age movie to get AniMat's "Seal of Garbage", and bombed in the domestic box office in the 2016 Summer Bomb Buster).
  • While not reprehensible, Rio 2 is agreed on by both critics and audiences to be much weaker than the original Rio.
  • Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island was a Darker and Edgier revival of the Scooby-Doo franchise and is widely considered to be the best of the DTV movies, while the ones that came after it are more polarizing.
  • Almost all of the Tom and Jerry DTV movies. The first four movies (Tom and Jerry and the Magic Ring, Blast Off to Mars, The Fast and the Furry, and Shiver Me Whiskers) are considered good though not exceptional, and the fifth (A Nutcracker Tale) is... polarizing. The rest are despised, mocked within an inch of their lives, or both. Each successive movie consists of any Public Domain Character or movie within the writers' reach being given a shot for shot animated remake, occasionally interrupted by Tom and Jerry engaging in their usual antics to pad the runtime. Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory attracts particular vitriol, as not only are large portions of the script and blocking lifted wholesale from the original movie, there were accusations that it was rushed through production—or worse, only exists—to capitalize on Gene Wilder's death.note 
  • The Despicable Me films exhibit a downplayed example. All three (four counting Minions) were box-office successes, but it's generally agreed that the first one is the best and that the sequels, although entertaining in their own right, don't really bring anything new to the table. It's probably not a coincidence that this dip in quality coincides with the Minions' rise in popularity, moving from amusing side characters to having their own subplot to receiving more attention and focus than the actual main character of the series, especially in advertising. The Rotten Tomatoes scores for the films corroborate this—although all of the movies except for Minions have Fresh ratings, the score dips lower for each successive installment.
  • Dragon Hill, as a Spanish animated movie franchise, is already obscure enough as it is. The sequels, so cheaply made that they discard the 2D animation for CGI and utterly devoid of what little charm the first had, continuously plummet on the IMDb scores (which were already low for the first installment).
  • While Surf's Up never managed to find much of a wide audience, its unique mockumentary-style story-line earned it cult classic status. So nobody was ready for the Direct to Video sequel, Surf's Up 2: WaveMania, which serves as nothing more than Product Placement for WWE wrestlers. The animation is comparatively inferior, most of the lessons Cody Maverick learned in the prior film are completely forgotten despite being a sequel, and much of the focus is on the wrestlers instead of the main characters. It's also plagued by a subpar script, a desert subplot that has nothing to do with surfing, and an infamous joke about Vince McMahon's character enjoying sucking fish with his tongue.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 22 Jump Street parodies this in the Credits Gag with increasingly wacky sequel ideas. The concept of the film being a retread of the first one is one that's explored.
  • Air Bud. It went from a touching story about a dog escaping an abusive owner, helping a young boy find his place, and leading a small-town sports team to victory, to a wacky comedy about talking puppies. Most fans were not amused.
  • Airplane II: The Sequel, which wasn't produced by James Abrahams and the Zucker brothers who did the brilliant Airplane!. Most of its jokes and plot were re-hashed from the original movie, Leslie Nielsen didn't return, and it did so badly at the box office that the planned second sequel was canceled. The best parts were the courtroom scene and the self-parodying performance by William Shatner.
  • Alien is almost universally considered as an outstanding horror/science-fiction film, the sequel Aliens was even more successful with both critics and audience and is considered by many as equal or superior; the third film Alien³ is not necessarily a bad film, but is considered inferior to the previous films with an "obscene" Happy Ending Override. The fourth film, however, was disastrous and is loathed by fans of the saga and co-writer Joss Whedon; it halted independent Alien films until 2012's Prometheus, and also mostly halted the careers of the producers and director.
  • American Pie descended into this for a while. The American Pie Presents series were direct to DVD releases with predictable results. The sole main cast member reprising a role from any of the first 3 movies is Eugene Levy. Inverted with American Reunion, which brought back the principal cast and was a much better film than the DVD cash-ins that preceded.
  • American Psycho 2: All American Girl, starred Mila Kunis as a sociopath college student, whom after surviving an encounter with Patrick Bateman as a teen (in the sequel its established that he really was a serial killer), decides to study to become an FBI agent to profile serial killers, and is willing to do anything or kill anyone who stands in her way to acheive her goal. The movie was panned heavy by critics and fans of the original, giving it full Fanon Discontinuity, and Mila has said its one of her most regretful roles she played.
  • Both The Amityville Horror (1979) and The Howling had an unusually high number of sequels, most of them direct-to-video. With Amityville, it also extended to the book series, which eventually became pure fiction, and got progressively weirder and surreal.
  • Arthur 2: On the Rocks is still held up today as one of the biggest drop-offs in quality between a comedy and its sequel. The original 1981 film was a huge Oscar-winning hit, but prospects for a sequel were dicey from the beginning — first, writer-director Steve Gordon died the year after its release. Second, a major plot point in the original was Arthur's Servile Snarker valet Hobson dying at the end of the second act. Third, the title character was a happy, witty alcoholic, a character type falling out of favor as The '80s progressed and as substance abuse of all kinds was increasingly frowned upon. Fourth, the Surprisingly Happy Ending was pretty definite. There was still a major push for a sequel, though, and the original cast and a new creative team ultimately obliged. The plot made a legitimate attempt to continue the narrative of the first film and give Arthur more Character Development by stripping him of his fortune, leaving him and his true love in poverty, and having him sober up as part of his resultant quest to earn his happy ending, working in an appearance by Hobson that may or may not be a hallucination along the way (thus adding fantasy elements to a non-fantastic story). Unfortunately, critics felt this sucked all the fun out of the premise and Escapist Character, and audiences agreed — and the cast and crew had their regrets as well. Writer Andy Breckman actually stood outside his hometown movie theater to apologize to anyone who saw it.
  • The Austin Powers series, once it became insanely popular (i.e. by the first sequel), started becoming a caricature of the first movie, with its Vulgar Humor and especially their tendency to take gags that were most memorable from the previous movie and exaggerating them in the next. The first was intended to be an Affectionate Parody of the movies Mike Myers used to watch with his father. After the first became a cultural phenomenon on home video, more writers were brought in to create something Denser and Wackier. By the time the third movie came around, the series was repeatedly breaking the Fourth Wall and just generally making a mockery of itself. Still, some fans regret that the token Character Development Austin went through in the first movie had to be systematically scrapped for the sequels to work.
  • Batman. The first two movies in the Burton-Schumacher saga were met with acclaim. Batman Forever was more contested, but still a commercial success. The last movie, Batman & Robin was met with derision from fans and critics alike, torpedoing the plans for a fifth film (Batman Triumphant) and leading to a reboot with the highly succesful The Dark Knight Trilogy.
  • Baby Geniuses of all things falls under this trope; in spite of the original film's critical thrashing, its modest box office success led to a sequel entitled Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, and viewers are still divided over which one is worse. Plans for a third movie seemed to fall through after its original director Bob Clark died in 2007, only for a new director to take the helm and resume the series with the third released as direct-to-video, and practically no-one admits that it's better than the first two.
  • If there's one thing worse than a highly anticipated movie stuck in Development Hell, it's when the producers, directors and stars try to rush to get it out of said hell and completed, which is why the sequel to Basic Instinct was condemned by critics and ruined any chance of a third movie. The box office gross didn't even cover Sharon Stone's salary for the movie.
  • Battle Royale 2 suffered heavily from this. Even the most enthusiastic fans of the sequel will admit that it isn't anywhere near the caliber of the original (whether it be novel, manga or movie).
  • Be Cool. The sequel to Get Shorty was loosely based on the novel that was the sequel to the original Get Shorty novel, but was so crammed full of actor allusions, cameos and industry in-jokes (for both film and music) that it had none of the spark of the first movie.
  • A Hard Day's Night is still regarded as a classic with its story that served as mockumentary on The Beatles. Help! showed some decay for a Denser and Wackier plot full of random events and setting changes. And then there's Magical Mystery Tour, which is too bizarre for its own good. (not counting the other movies about the band, Yellow Submarine which didn't involve the actual Beatles until the end; and Let It Be, an actual documentary about a band about to split that seems to be too downbeat for enjoyment.)
  • Beethoven was a modest hit when it came out, but wasn't anything particularly special. However, the success of the film was enough to give Hollywood an excuse to turn it into a franchise, resulting in a film series that became more and more out of touch with the original with every installment. While Beethoven's 2nd stayed true to the original formula with its then-familiar cast and Beethoven still at his usual canine antics, Beethoven's 3rd saw Beethoven transferred to a new family headed by father Judge Reinhold replacing Charles Grodin, with increasingly uninspired villains and stories appearing in each installment. By the time of Beethoven's sixth film appearance, the series was rebooted and retooled and then the seventh installment, Beethoven's Christmas Adventure, had Beethoven talking, finally doing away with what little resemblance the sequels still bore to the original. There was also a short-lived animated series. In 2014, it spawned an eighth installment, Beethoven's Treasure Tail.
  • Birdemic quickly gained a So Bad, It's Good following for its slipshod camera work, Author Tract-laden dialogue, and incredibly fake-looking special effects. The director, realizing he had a cult hit on his hands, later put out Birdemic 2: The Resurrection, which—like many sequels to so-bad-they're-good works—is self-aware and deliberately tries to be corny. General consensus on this film is that this results in the movie trying too hard and ending up feeling forced and artificial, completely removing what makes the first movie so fun to watch. It's as bad at being intentionally bad as the first movie is bad at being intentionally good.
  • The Blues Brothers is one of the most famous movies inspired by Saturday Night Live, but Blues Brothers 2000 was basically just the same thing all over again — so much that the only major difference is that John Goodman replaced John Belushi — and it gained little fanfare from critics and audiences. As a result it completed to the downfall of John Landis, who directed the original eighteen years earlier.
  • The Bourne Series followed a very acclaimed trilogy with two movies that couldn't live up to it: The Bourne Legacy, which tried something different with another main character and was not as inspired; and Jason Bourne, which brought back the title character but did absolutely nothing new, with reviews noting the story beats are ripped straight from the first films without deviation.
  • Caddyshack II. Chevy Chase was the only star returning for the sequel, which lost all of what made the first movie funny. They knew the writing was on the wall, as every other castmate and even returning writer Harold Ramis had no desire to even consider a sequel.
  • Many sequels to movies starring Jim Carrey have suffered from this, including Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (which is is considered inferior for overreliance on Toilet Humor and making Ace more of a Jerkass) and Dumb and Dumberer. This is most visible in the fact that the vast majority of sequels to his movies do not include Jim Carrey, either starring someone else in his role (Dumberer), or dropping his character entirely (Ace Ventura Jr., Son of the Mask, Evan Almighty); Jim Carrey so thoroughly detested working on When Nature Calls that he declared he would never do a sequel ever again.note  He worked on A Series of Unfortunate Events because it would be a series he'd enjoy doing... but it entered Development Hell after a single movie, and it's since been rebooted as a Netflix series, with Carrey's role being taken up by Neil Patrick Harris. He also broke this rule for Dumb and Dumber To, a proper sequel to Dumb and Dumber, but that film had a ridiculously difficult production (up to and including Carrey dropping out of the project at one point and, apparently, the money used to produce it having been stolen from a Malaysian government investment) and received a negative reception from critics. His next major film role after that, Sonic The Hedgehog, was enough of a success to get a sequel greenlit, and Carrey publicly expressed interest in returning as Dr. Robotnik, but it remains to be seen if Carrey's rule will be dropped or if Dumb and Dumber To will remain the sole exception.
  • Carrie is considered one of the landmark horror films of The '70s, and its success helped to establish Stephen King, the writer of the book it was based on, as one of the biggest names in horror literature. Twenty-three years later comes The Rage: Carrie 2, a film that, while most definitely enjoyable in a certain way, fails to hold a candle to the original, and was a box office disappointment. Part of this may stem from the fact that The Rage was originally written as a separate film called The Curse, and was turned into a Carrie sequel presumably after somebody saw the obvious similarities between the two films.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000) was considered fun if uninspired. Sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, on the other hand, tried to disguise the weaker script, both plot and comedy-wise, with more fanservice, quick edits and celebrity cameos, and could not repeat the same success.
  • The original Children of the Corn (1984) film has suffered from an attack of Sequelitis, spawning seven gradually worsening sequels - The Final Sacrifice, Urban Harvest, The Gathering, Fields of Terror, 666: Isaac's Return, Revelation and Genesis.
  • A Christmas Story is regarded as a holiday classic. The sequels were too obscure... except for A Christmas Story 2, which seen as one of the worst movies of all time.
  • The Conjuring fared well with critics, then its prequel Annabelle released the following year was reviled by some and considered So Okay, It's Average by others. The Conjuring had a proper sequel in 2016 that met critical success, while Annabelle had a Surprisingly Improved Sequel in 2017... and then things fell down again with side stories The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona, before another So Okay, It's Average outing with a third Annabelle.
  • Even in otherwise positive reviews, the majority of viewers and critics feel The Craft: Legacy is inferior to the 1996 film The Craft (and critics weren't hugely enamored with that movie, either, though it's regarded as a Cult Classic). The main criticisms include being overly-derivative of the first movie, the rushed climax, the lack of characterization for the girls save for Lily, the toned-down horror, multiple unresolved plot threads, and the lack of nuance in some of its themes. Not helping is that while The Craft had something of a uniqueness factor as dark fantasy aimed at teens was uncommon in the 1990's, these days supernatural teen dramas are a dime a dozen. While some appreciated Legacy's attempts to address topical social issues and its girl power themes, there's not much else to make it stand out.
  • The Crow:
    • The Crow was a powerful, emotionally-gripping comic book, that had an equally powerful film adaptation—with a kickass soundtrack, to boot. It had several sequels in both media, and none of them were anything close to the original, or even enjoyable. Thus, The Crow uniquely has severe Sequelitis in two media.
    • The second movie, The Crow: City of Angels, in particular, suffered - tortuously - from the writers attempting to take the "framework" of the original story and try to swap out the plot details, replacing the original compelling story with a particularly unsubtle morass of "IKEA Pathos." That, and apparently no one on the film team even noticed the visual aesthetic of the original, since not even the barest effort was made to retain it. Add to this wooden acting, a notable dearth of memorable lines or dialogue, an obvious, over-the-top Ass Pull ending, the utter absence of verisimilitude between the visual (and linguistic) environment depicted in the film and the real-life Los Angeles it was allegedly based on, and a particularly blatant bridge drop at the end, and you have a shameful attempt at remaking - even cloning - The Crow, with essentially none of the things that made the original great. You might say the series Came Back Wrong.
  • Death Wish started as a grounded, down-to-earth crime drama where Charles Bronson's character brought about a cynical analysis of the attitudes of Americans regarding the crime waves of the 1970s, and stood out as unique in the action genre at the time. However, its four sequels became progressively less grounded in reality and increasingly over the top, with Bronson resorting to excessive means in dispatching one typical action movie villain after another and dropping the social commentary that magnified the first film's impact.
  • Each Die Hard film after the first became slightly less believable than its predecessor, resulting in John McClane being Made of Iron by Die Hard 4, and nobody ever bleeding, despite the original's highly praised realism (though the decision to lower to PG-13 is to blame for the Bloodless Carnage). The plot is as convoluted as in the campier Bond films, as well as the marriage he was trying to save in the first film getting only a cursory mention (as being long over). Though up until 2013, at most there were two Contested Sequels in the second (for being too similar to the first, as lampshaded by the quote "Another basement, another elevator—how can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?") and the aforementioned fourth movie (being the apex of Serial Escalation). Then came A Good Day to Die Hard, a fifth movie which did not split the fanbase regarding doing everything wrong.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God is often said to have inverted this trope in spite of being released as a SyFy Channel Original, which is normally a step worse than Direct to Video. It helps that the first Dungeons & Dragons was so campy and far gone from what D&D was (or was expected to be) that the few fans left felt it had nowhere left to go but up. The third one, however, The Book of Vile Darkness, managed to do worse again and strangely dropped all connections to the previous movies despite actually numbering itself this time.
  • The Expendables 3, due to being rated PG-13 and adding unnecessary new characters played by lesser-known actors who are taking the screentime from the bigger name actors whose appearance were the whole point of the franchise, has drawn much criticism. It doesn't help that many of these new characters are played by real-life MMA fighters and martial artists with little to no acting experience, which unfortunately comes across in their performances.
  • The 2015 Fantastic Four film is a reboot-related example, being rated much lower than both the unreleased Corman film and the 2 Tim Story movies - this is somewhat of an ironic case, as the Story movies were considered incredibly silly and somewhat campy, whereas the 2015 film tried to distance itself from those 2 films and was more in the vein of The Dark Knight Trilogy, yet was universally considered to be the worst version of the Four on the screen (a big feat given the Corman film is a No Budget effort done only to retain rights).
  • Final Destination. Of the films, the first two are viewed as the best, the third is viewed as average, the fourth film is violently hated, and the fifth is viewed as a proper return to form (with the highest critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 61%).
  • The Fly II is generally seen by critics as inferior to the the 1986 remake due to being more of a standard monster movie than the tragic psychological thriller of its predecessor. Audiences, on the other hand, were more forgiving due to its visuals still as good as those of the remake and even critics noted that this was the one area it could match it.
  • Friday was a great comedy with good performances from Ice Cube as Craig and Chris Tucker as Smokey, the latter of whom is widely thought to be the funniest part of the film. A sequel, Next Friday, was released in 2000 and is generally considered inferior - mainly due to the lack of Smokey (Tucker had chosen to do Rush Hour instead and had become a born-again Christian after making Money Talks), who was replaced by Mike Epps as Day-Day - but the movie still has its defenders. 2002's Friday After Next, however, has been almost universally panned.
  • Gamera: While the films were never considered high art, the first few films were considered entertaining but gradually became of lower and lower quality around the fourth film as it succumbed to over-reliance on repetitive plots, focus on annoying child characters, evermore shoestring production quality, and use of Stock Footage to pad the runtime. This culminated with the universally reviled Gamera: Super Monster which brought these flaws Up to Eleven, with another ineffectual alien invasion, the most annoying little boy main character yet, the budget of a ham sandwich, and more than a third of its runtime being recycled scenes. The Heisei trilogy which followed invert this though, and are considered miles better than any of the Showa Gamera sequels, by virtue of being a Darker and Edgier Continuity Reboot which avoid the flaws of the original series.
  • Ghostbusters II film fell victim to this, as the plot reads like a Mad Lib rewrite of the first movie: An ancient (god/warlock) is resurrected in modern New York, possesses Dana Barret's nebbish (neighbor/boss), and needs (her/her baby) as part of its plot to destroy New York. She gradually falls for Peter's quirky charm, while the rest of the Ghostbusters try to convince the skeptical mayor and a sleazy (EPA agent/mayoral aide) that the world's in danger, until the big finale has the heroes facing off with the (god/warlock) in a gothic (skyscraper/library) now overrun by evil, while a giant walking mascot (terrorizes/saves) the city by stepping on things. It's all made even more implausible given how easily all the world-changing events of the first movie seem to have been swept under the rug, and the end result was so lackluster, both critically and financially, that the director and other three stars were completely turned off from Dan Aykroyd's plans for a third movie (which were mostly reused in a video game that reunited the cast). The 2016 Continuity Reboot, for all its controversy, falls outside the range of this trope on technical grounds.
  • The Godzilla films often fall under this considering there are 27 sequels to the original Japanese film and two remakes. The first film is regarded as a classic and a few sequels are beloved by the fans. However, many films (especially the ones made in the 1960s-1970s) are considered to be So Bad, It's Good at best.
  • Grease is a hugely popular 50s nostalgia musical funfest. Grease 2 has only a few characters returning from the original (Frenchie, Eugene, the principal and her assistant, and the coach. All brief roles.) and introduces Sandy's cousin Michael in some weak attempt to connect the two movies. The plot is a Gender Flip of the first movie's plot and the results are... well, most Grease fans like to pretend it doesn't exist. Incidentally, Grease 2 unwittingly stopped the franchise from experiencing what would likely be more sequelitis. There were plans for two more movies and a TV series, but they were scrapped after Grease 2 flopped.
  • The 2009 comedy The Hangover quickly became regarded as a well-done, raunchy comedy, making $467 million of a $35 million budget. A sequel was made only two years later. Unfortunately, it played out as a carbon copy of the first film, only far more dark and raunchy without any of the surprise. While it managed to make even more money than the first, many people didn't like it for the above reasons. A third film came out another two years later, and while it did try to do something different, it had a plot that seemed to put comedy in second place and gave too much focus on the quirky Alan and Chau to the point they became unbearably annoying; unsurprisingly, it's widely considered the worst of the three by critics and viewers alike.
  • The Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle sequels are seen this way by some. The first is well loved, though technically its box office performance was the smallest of the three, but Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay gets a lot of criticism for being too political even though it has the highest box office performance of the trilogy. However, the third film, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas has gotten better reviews than the previous movie mostly because it avoids the politics that plagued it.
  • Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II are usually seen as pretty good, while Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is often looked down upon for being more "mainstream" and slashery. The fourth tried returning to the series roots, but suffered severely from Executive Meddling, resulting in an extreme case of What Could Have Been. Mileage tends to vary on the direct-to-video films though Hellraiser: Hellworld seems to be the only near-universally disliked one (consensus saying it could've been a decent standalone film, but as a Hellraiser film, it falls flat).
  • Just ask Highlander fans about the sequels, and you'll be told, "There should have been only one [movie]!" Part of the issue is that each film tries to retcon the previous movie out of existence (with the partial exception of Highlander II, which merely retcons the first one's first thirty minutes).
  • Hot Tub Time Machine was well-received, while Hot Tub Time Machine 2 was ravaged by critics and only slightly better-received by audiences.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer was a minor hit in the 90s very loosely based on a mystery/suspense novel. It's fondly remembered as one of the better post-Scream slasher films of the day. Its first sequel, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, is divisive among fans but generally still accepted as canon. The next film, I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, was a poor Direct to Video knock-off that featured none of the original cast and introduced out-of-nowhere supernatural elements that weren't in the original. Fans like to pretend it doesn't exist.
  • In the Heat of the Night had two sequels, 1970's They Call Me Mr. Tibbs and 1971's The Organization, that most people tend to forget about. It doesn't help that the only people who worked on all three films — other than Sidney Poitier, who played Tibbs in both sequels — were Quincy Jones, who provided the jazzy score for each, and producer Walter Mirisch.
  • General opinion seems to be that, while not bad or horrible, Independence Day: Resurgence isn't quite as good or fun as the original film.
  • Interview with the Vampire vs. Queen of the Damned. The two movies were made over ten years apart, with completely different studios, directors, and actors. The themes and tones of the movies were vastly different, and no references were made to characters or plots from the first film, but it was explicitly set afterwards. Both movies being relatively self-contained, QotD was less of a sequel and more like the closest thing to a Continuity Reboot without actually doing so. Interview was based on the novel of the same name, while Queen of the Damned was an attempt to squeeze two separate novels into one film.
  • While the first Iron Eagle is considered a Cult Classic, the remaining three... definitely aren't. At most, you might get some who argue IV to be a Surprisingly Improved Sequel compared to II and Aces, but all three are considered well behind the first in quality terms.
  • Iron Man 2 is usually considered the weakest or one of the weakest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. That said, general consensus seems to be that the second movie is still an entertaining film, if not exactly as fresh as the first one, and plagued by cramming too much stuff so it can both be a follow-up and help set up The Avengers. It may help if you think of it as the second in a trilogy.
  • A few James Bond films suffered from this, specially You Only Live Twice (the formula is starting to age), Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun, Moonraker (all three for being overtly stupid note ), A View to a Kill (Bond is too old, girl is annoying, plot is a rehash note ), Die Another Day (silliness, dodgy special effects note ), Quantum of Solace (too serious for its own good, convoluted plot), and Spectre (plot is too incoherent).
  • Jaws 2, Jaws 3D, Jaws: The Revenge, ad nauseam. Ken Begg's series of reviews chronicles the slide in quality from Jaws to Jaws 2 (which he admits is merely inferior and mediocre, but much better than the knock-offs and the next sequels) to Jaws 3-D to Jaws: The Revenge (which bottomed out at 0% on RT, including a zero star rating from Roger Ebert, and ensnared the careers of a good chunk of its crew). So much that it was mocked in Back to the Future Part II: a holographic Jaws 19 poster can be seen during the 2015 sequence. Which makes oddly prescient a move by Peter Benchley, who wrote the original novel. Prior to the film's release, the royalties were late. He called his agent, she replied that there were negotiations on sequel right. “Sequel rights!? I don’t care about sequels; who’ll ever want to make a sequel to a movie about a fish? Sell them the rights to anything they want ... my life as an astronaut, anything. I need money!” Eventually Benchley's sequel rights were exchanged for one-time payments for each new installment, making the original author someone not to blame for the decay. Parodied again around "Back To The Future Day" in October 2015, when, to celebrate the gag from II, Universal released a fake trailer for the aforementioned Jaws 19.
  • The Ju On/The Grudge film series, which began life as Takashi Shimizu's V-Cinema TV special but is now up to a second special (which recycled most of the first), two theatrical Japanese films, two Japanese shorts, an American remake, and two American sequels. Special honors to the first American film because it reenacted, almost scene-for-scene in some cases, the exact same plot as the first Japanese theatrical movie, though somehow keeps the main star/character (Sarah Michelle Gellar) alive through the end.
  • While it's agreed something like this came into effect with Jurassic Park there's a lot of debate over when it came into effect.
    • Opinions were divided over whether The Lost World: Jurassic Park or Jurassic Park III was worse, although the latter usually won out in such arguments, with most outside the fanbase feeling neither of them held a candle to the original, even with several actors inexplicably agreeing to reprise their roles. Both films' Contested Sequel status slid over the years among the fanbase, with an increasing (but far from universal) number of fans regarding TLW as a worthy sequel to JP though with JP3 usually regarded as the abomination at worst, but a decent effort at best.
    • Since the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom however, an increasing number of fans prefer to isolate the "original trilogy" of films from the subsequent installments, seeing the latter as a Dork Age for the franchise, and though many fans liked the film, a notable number of reactions invoked fears that Sequelitis had set in.
  • The Karate Kid movies initially averted this trope, as The Karate Kid Part II was well-received, specially for being different enough from the first movie. But then things went straight into much less appreciated routes with The Karate Kid Part III, with its Idiot Plot that basically remakes the first movie, and The Next Karate Kid, a lame and clichéd attempt at actually remaking the first movie that became a Franchise Killer. Still, audiences were later receptive of the remake The Karate Kid (2010), in spite of taking liberties with the material (for starters, it's about kung fu), and the Un-Reboot sequel show Cobra Kai.
  • Kick-Ass 2 was generally not as well received as the original (although audiences reacted better than critics), being more violent, dark and cynical but without the compelling characterization and comedy of the original, to the point of being called "unpleasant".
  • Released in 1989, Kickboxer was a fine action film that did well at the box office and helped propel Jean-Claude Van Damme to stardom. And then came the 1991 sequel, which Van Damme did not return for. Van Damme's character... and the paralyzed brother he fought to avenge... were both murdered before the events of Kickboxer 2, and the protagonist is a previously-unmentioned third brother. Then THAT was followed by three direct-to-video sequels, in which fewer and fewer actors returned to reprise their roles... and by the time the fifth film came out, absolutely no one came back, putting it squarely in In Name Only territory. Easy to see why most fans tend to ignore everything after the first one.
  • Both the original King Kong (1933) and the 1976 remake were followed by forgettable sequels (The Son of Kong and King Kong Lives, respectively, the latter of which finished off John Guillermin's directing career).
  • The first Lethal Weapon is generally considered the best, despite making far less at the box office than its sequels. Lethal Weapon 2 lacked some of the tension, but traded it in for a lot of gags making it funnier. Lethal Weapon 3 seemed to get a little more tired and Lethal Weapon 4 gives us fake-looking sharks, anvilicious (and hypocritical) political sentiments and a sympathy-pouch-wearing Rene Russo who's supposed to be 9-months pregnant yet able to fight martial arts-trained mooks.
  • The Matrix was generally well-received and a major game-changer for action movies. The second and third movies are usually seen as overly long and pretentious (though some though Reloaded was okay), while the prequel The Animatrix ranges from decent to bad since it's an anthology of nine short films based on The Matrix, with the two-parter CGI The Second Renaissance considered the best (reason to purchase the rest). The other seven vary.
  • The Maze Runner was well-received for being considerably smarter than a lot of the other YA adaptations. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials was viewed as a huge step down, with no emphasis on character development and for it being an In Name Only adaptation of The Scorch Trials. Maze Runner: The Death Cure got even worse reviews (particularly as delays made it come out over two years after The Scorch Trials, when the predecessor wasn't as fresh in people's minds and the YA genre was all but dead), but fans were more welcoming, deeming it an emotional conclusion.
  • Those who consider Mean Girls to be a Cult Classic find Mean Girls 2 to be fairly lackluster. None of the characters return (except the principal, who is now the butt of out-of-place jokes where he appears to sexually harass the students), instead featuring a new group of Plastics and another new girl in Cady's position. The plot is very similar, but the original's deconstruction of high school tropes has been mostly thrown aside in favor of playing the cliches completely straight. Add that to its short production time of under a month, it bears resemblance to one of the more unremarkable Disney Channel original movies (which makes sense, as several characters are played by Disney Channel actresses).
  • Meatballs: The original 1979 comedy was a comedy classic, featuring Bill Murray in his major film debut/Star-Making Role, and featuring a Coming of Age story involving a group of teen campers who are led by rebellious camp counselor Tripper Harrison (Murray) to compete in a triathlon against a rival camp for bragging rights. The original film was a critical and commercial smash hit, but further installments in the series forgot what made the original so enduring (the friendships between the counselors and students), and instead lapsed into Hotter and Sexier knockoffs of 80's sleazefilms like Film/Porkys. The end result was a mishmash of Same Story, Different Names (two of the three sequels all revolve around a camp competition between rival groups), unrelated concepts rewritten to fit in the franchise's mold, and waning box office. By the time the fourth film, Meatballs IV, arrived Direct to Video, it's clear that the shine was long gone from the franchise.
  • The original Men in Black was well received by both critics and audiences, but Men in Black II (while still being a hit at the box office) was generally considered to be a dud; with the biggest symptoms of MiBII's problems being the One-Scene Wonder talking pug being promoted to supporting character and Agent K being pulled right back out of retirement because the dynamic between him and J was just too good in the first. In addition, a lot of the first film's fresh and bizarre aliens, appear again in the sequel because they tested well. After a decade in Development Hell, Men in Black 3 was released, and managed to not only be another big hit at the box office, but got very good reviews from the critics as well. And then many years later, Men in Black: International was released and was generally regarded as an uninspired dud, and had a tepid box office as well, by far the lowest of any the films in the series.
  • The sequel to Miss Congeniality suffers from sequelitis, as many a fan (girl) was probably very disappointed that the second film did not see the return of Benjamin Bratt as Eric Matthews, not to mention weaker jokes and characters.
  • The Missing in Action series could have averted this trope but didn't due to Executive Meddling. The original two films were shot back-to-back and as discussed in the documentary Electric Boogaloo, Cannon executives realized the second film was a Surprisingly Improved Sequel. Knowing that no one would come out for it if the first movie bombed, they released the sequel first as Missing in Action and retitled the original Missing in Action 2: The Beginning! Thus the series gets progressively worse with each installment.
  • The Mouse on the Moon was completely devoid of Peter Sellers and brought back very few people from The Mouse That Roared, one of whom, producer Walter Shenson, made two more (better recognized) movies with director Richard Lester. Unsurprisingly, the other three "Mouse" novels by Leonard Wibberly never made it to the silver screen.
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is widely considered to be inferior to the first The Mummy (a very fun Indiana Jones style romp) and The Mummy Returns (the first film on steroids) films. Probably not helped by the seven year gap between the second and third films - it badly misses Rachel Weisz, who was replaced by Maria Bello (Weisz's and Fraser's chemistry in the first two films is obvious whereas Fraser and Bello are totally unconvincing as a couple). The omission of Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) and Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr) robs the film of those actors' abilities to stretch beyond the schlock setting and craft believable and human characters. Jet Li is criminally underused in the Dragon Emperor role, spending most of his screen time as a CGI dragon. Michelle Yeoh is wasted in her role also and the sequence with the yetis stretches willing suspension of disbelief too far. Critically panned with poor fan reactions, it made LESS money than either of the first two despite seven years worth of inflation, and has probably killed the main franchise (though the The Scorpion King spinoff series continues).
  • Muppets Most Wanted starts with a song about sequels that hangs a lampshade on this trope. "And everybody knows that the sequel's never quite as good." It was further lampshaded by Dr. Bunsen, who pointed out this was the seventh Muppet film released in theaters.
  • National Lampoon's Vacation is a well-liked road trip comedy, and out of its sequels, only Christmas Vacation gets a pass with its relatable Christmas hijinx. European Vacation was deemed as an inferior rehash, Vegas Vacation is watered-down to the point the series was now PG, and the 2015 "remake" got widely bashed for reveling in crude humor.
  • Neighbors was well-received and a huge box office success, grossing $270 million against a $18 million budget. Naturally, a sequel was ordered, leading to Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising two years later. Although that received a modest reception, which is a rarity for sequels to comedy films, critics complained that the film used the same clichés as the prior film and did nothing unique to them.
  • With a title like The Neverending Story, one would expect the movie to have at least a few sequels or follow-ups. The first movie is a very nice fantasy film; the second movie is not as good as the first one (with a dramatic drop in production values), but still watchable, at least compared to the third movie, which had to invent a plot out of whole cloth and ended up with a lot of cringeworthy sitcom-style humor plus OOC characters and shut the book on The Neverending Story (it's also an Old Shame to villain actor Jack Black). That third film only got a limited release in the States after the second bombed there, and eventually went Direct to Video by Miramax/Disney instead of Warner.
  • Oh, God! is generally remembered as a quirky little Carl Reiner comedy, while the next two movies are ignored almost to the point of being Fanon Discontinuity. The changes in creators definitely didn't help.
  • The first Once Upon a Time in China film is an iconic classic that more or less made Jet Li a superstar and has a number of very moving scenes that push it well beyond being just a kung fu movie and more towards a tragic, End of an Era sort of historical film. The second doesn't have the same iconic status, but it's a very high quality movie beloved by the fans with a lot to enjoy (especially Donnie Yen and Jet Li facing off) and in some specific areas (such as the depiction of Westerners and Chinese xenophobia) it might have done some things better than the original. The third film... most fans will agree that the main good thing about it was an antagonist who does a Heel–Face Turn about halfway through the film, but otherwise it's pretty underwhelming and forgettable. Jet Li declined to reprise the lead role of Wong Fei-hung for the fourth and fifth films, and they afterward became exiled to Canon Discontinuity, not even being included in the official Blu Ray boxset of the series. While Jet Li did return for the sixth movie and it seems to be regarded as at least some improvement over the previous two films, it didn't gain much attention outside of Hong Kong and is still a steep drop in quality from the first two installments.
  • While not considered terrible Pacific Rim: Uprising is considered a major downgrade on the original, lacking Del Toro's artistic vision, having disliked retcons, much less likeable or memorable characters, and being far more Merchandise-Driven. Rather tellingly, following this film, nearly all online hype regarding followups to the franchise (which was very prevalent beforehand) vanished almost overnight.
  • The Pink Panther movies escalated the slapstick comedy, wacky disguises, and whatnot quite a bit in the 1970s entries, even bringing in science fiction elements in The Pink Panther Strikes Again. There were also new female leads in each entry, whether they became Inspector Clouseau's love interest or not. The series also hit Franchise Zombie status with Revenge of the Pink Panther, which United Artists commissioned for summer 1978. Still, they were all hits — the franchise jumped the rails in The '80s when director-writer-producer Blake Edwards attempted to continue the series in spite of the death of Peter Sellers, who played Clouseau. It turned out that without Sellers, people weren't interested in more of the same hijinks. This was made clear with the release of Son of the Pink Panther in 1993, which became a huge Box Office Bomb and is considered to be the series' worst.
  • The original Planet of the Apes (1968) had four sequels - most entering Franchise Zombie; Charlton Heston even asked that the second, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, to end with Earth being destroyed so it would be the last, but didn't work - with varying levels of quality, mostly due to lowering budgets, culminating in the terrible Battle for the Planet of the Apes. It only continued afterwards in TV series and reimaginings. The third movie, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, considered the best of the sequels, was the only one deliberately written open-ended with a sequel in mind. The fourth movie, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, would have been the last (the producer was already considering a TV series), but profits were good enough to justify a fifth movie.
  • The Police Academy series. The first movie was a commercial success, and jumpstarted the careers of several actors who would go on to bigger projects (Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall, Bobcat Goldthwait), but as the sequels progressed, the humor became increasingly lowbrow and cast members started leaving throughout the franchise. By the time the seventh and final film, Mission to Moscow, was released in 1994, only a handful of original characters remained, and it failed to surpass the $200,000 mark. It's the last theatrical film directed by Alan Metter, who disowned it in the end.
  • The first Poison Ivy was a Cult Classic despite its poor critical reception (a lot of which came from it being directed by a woman and centering on teenage girls). Its sequels follow the formula of the trope - featuring none of the original cast, only a vague connection to the first film and amping up the gratuitous sex and nudity (which actually wasn't in the film). And of course all of them were either Direct to Video or made for TV.
  • The original Psycho spawned three sequels, none of which involved Alfred Hitchcock due to Author Existence Failure. Psycho II, directed by Hitchcock protege Richard Franklin, is widely considered a good follow up to the first movie. The third and fourth movies, not so much.
  • The first Return of the Living Dead is an almost perfect mix of black comedy and horror and is also a deconstruction and/or Affectionate Parody of Romero's "Dead" series. It's a Cult Classic. Return of the Living Dead Part II uses a lot more comedy than the first which makes it less scary. Return of the Living Dead 3 disregards continuity from the first two and makes it Darker and Edgier. More scary but without the charm. Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis and Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave aren't well-regarded at all.
  • The Ring franchise has suffered from this disease. While each of the three "original" films has been well-received (Japanese, American, and Korean, respectively), their sequels have met with various degrees of scorn and failure to the point that the very first sequel, a film adaptation of the novel's follow-up Spiral, is considered so bad it's Canon Discontinuity by the Japanese producers, who went on to make The Ring 2 instead.
  • RoboCop (1987) (and its sequel, RoboCop 2) were violent, edgy and full of satire on mid-'80s corporate culture. While the second film was derided for focusing too much on shock value and having less of the satirical humor, the franchise was still doing pretty well for itself (an animated series was created during this time, and the films performed very well at the box office). Unfortunately, studio executives (likely smelling several marketing opportunities) toned down the violence in the third film, RoboCop 3, to appeal to younger viewers. While there were some elements that remained from the previous films (Basil Poledouris' score, a return to the silver armor from the first film, most of the surviving cast members returning and some of the satire), the end result was too juvenile for most audiences, and the film bombed both financially and critically. Although there were attempts to resurrect the franchise over the years (a mid-'90s Canadian-made TV series bombed after one season, a late-'90s cartoon was critically panned and a miniseries [also filmed in Canada] was made-for-TV, a 2014 reboot was seen as So Okay, It's Average), it never really flew with audiences.
  • Rocky:
    • The series had one of the longest cases of Sequelitis ever. The series started out gritty and realistic, but gradually became more over-the-top to the point where the first movie won an Oscar for best picture and the fifth, after a drawn-out decline, is generally regarded as terrible. After a 16-year Sequel Gap, a sixth entry was made, and successfully took the series back to its roots, as well as providing closure to Rocky's career.
    • Parodied by a sight gag in Airplane II: The Sequel, where you can see a movie poster showing a 90-year old man in boxing trunks and gloves, with the caption "Rocky XXXVIII". Also parodied in Spaceballs (where the whole Trope is poked fun at), where a newscaster claims the film critic will be critiquing "Rocky Five... Thousand."
  • Shortly after Diane Thomas agreed to write a sequel to her first screenplay Romancing the Stone, she was killed in a car crash. The studio went ahead with the sequel and created The Jewel of the Nile, a film so bad that one college screenwriting professor made an exam out of pointing out all the flaws in it.
  • The Rush Hour trilogy. The first was a box-office success and a modest critical hit. Rush Hour 2 had mixed critical reception but still did well in theaters. Rush Hour 3 is unanimously considered the weakest of the three, despite also being a modest box office hit.
  • Saw:
    • Fans debate whether the series has suffered from Sequelitis, and if so, at what point. This argument is closely tied to the one over Jigsaw's successors. Some fans believe that the series should've stopped at the third movie, which acted as a solid conclusion to what had been until then a trilogy. Others feel that the fourth movie was still good, but that the fifth was the series' jump the shark moment. Oddly enough, even they usually agree that the sixth film was a surprising improvement over the fifth. Opinion on the seventh film is too wildly varied to pin down any fan consensus. A few believe that there shouldn't have been any sequels, or that only the second film counts as a proper continuation.
    • Honestly, the series was supposed to stop at the third film, but when Lionsgate saw how much money it was bringing in, they demanded that the script to Saw III be changed to allow more movies to be made. The suckiness of Saw IV and V and sequelitis in general are the fault of Executive Meddling.
    • They decided not to make Saw VIII. Until they decided to make Saw VIII.
  • The Scanners franchise. The original film was a landmark in sci-fi horror, and had David Cronenberg and Michael Ironside doing some of their best work... but then came a pair of Direct to Video sequels that stopped going for shock value and settled on B-movie cheese focusing on various scanners' unsuccessful attempts to start a revolution, backed by shoddy effects and weak performances by the main cast. This later produced a spinoff series, Scanner Cop, which also went DTV and just had more of the same.
  • Scary Movie expressed the tagline, No mercy. No shame. No sequel., but as we all well know, did have one anyway (with the tagline "We lied"); which reveled far too much in Vulgar Humor for its own good. The series got closer back to its roots of satirizing horror movies in the third, but then stepped back again and had that Tom Cruise couch jump parody in the fourth. A fifth film happened, but mostly everyone from the previous films is out of it, and rarely would anyone say that that's a good parody. The spinoffs of the franchise have been even worse, starting with Date Movie, billed as "from two of the six writers of Scary Movie", and somehow running on to three more.
  • Scream:
    • Scream (1996) is considered a great movie. Scream 2 is pretty awesome too. Then comes Scream 3, which gives plenty of reasons to be treated as bad by critics and fans. Scream 4, which came well after the original trilogy, is accepted as a better effort than Scream 3, if still not on the same level as the first two films.
    • Occurs in-universe with the reception of the Stab series. These films are based on the real life events, but apparently kept on going to six sequels - one of which involving time travel.
  • S. Darko. Despite having one actress from Donnie Darko, Daveigh Chase, returning for this sequel, most Donnie Darko fans won't even acknowledge its existence.
  • The original Sharknado was just a typical Syfy Z-movie churned out by mockbuster proprietor The Asylum. What set it apart from the rest was its absurd mishmash of creature feature and Disaster Movie, as well as downright silly moments like Ian Ziering taking on a shark with a chainsaw, turning it into a social media phenomenon. Syfy immediately greenlit a sequel, which ramped up the So Bad, It's Good elements and stuffed it with celebrity cameos. In no time, Sharknado became a Cash Cow Franchise for Asylum and an event for Syfy, ordering sequels for the next few years. While the third film cranked up the goofy factor Up to Eleven (the sharks are flown TO SPACE!), the franchise started to lose its bite with the fourth film's attempt at upping the ante being seen as tired. By the time the fifth film rolled around, viewers felt that the franchise had outstayed its welcome and the So Bad, It's Good factor was getting contrived to the point of not being amusing anymore. While the sixth (!) film lampshaded the series' longevity and apparent fatigue, it was clear that the initial joke was stretched out for so long it was no longer there.
  • Though Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows managed to be a box office smash like its predecessor, critics and audiences found it weaker and more uneven.
  • Shock Treatment was originally planned as a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but was re-written as Something Completely Different after Tim Curry refused to be typecast as Frank. The second movie features Brad and Janet, but the events of Rocky Horror are never mentioned. Taken on its own, it has its merits, but proved a massive disappointment for people expecting an actual sequel. Point of clarity: Shock Treatment was not the original plan for a sequel, that being Rocky Horror Shows His Heels, which never ended up happening. Shock Treatment did keep Brad and Janet (albeit played by different actors), and some of the subtext to their relationship troubles can be taken to have been caused by the first movie. Also, Judge Oliver Wright probably was the Criminologist, making Charles Gray and Jeremy Newson (Ralph Hapschatt) the only actors to continue playing the same characters (unless you consider the McKinleys to actually be Riff and Magenta returned to Earth for some strange reason... also, Bert Shnict was supposedly Dr. Scott in earlier versions of the script). Besides, it's not a sequel, it's an equal.
  • Most slasher movies tend to suffer this fate.
    • At the time of writing (2018) there are eight A Nightmare on Elm Street movies and a remake, eight Halloween movies, a remake with a sequel to that remake and a direct sequel to the original which ignores the rest of the franchise and ten Friday the 13th movies and a remake. And that's just the names most horror fans would be familiar with. As expected, the quality of the sequels of these franchises varies widely.
    • The only movie in the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series that has gained wide recognition is the original. The first sequel took a more exaggerated, comedic route that remains controversial among fans and critics, although part 2 has gained a cult following over the years. the third film is considered forgettable and the fourth is infamous for its Narm Charm. Despite great box office success, the remake is highly divisive, and its prequel is mostly disliked.
    • One particularly painful example: The original Sleepaway Camp was surprisingly deep for its genre, and possessed a genuinely unexpected (yet not nonsensical) Twist Ending that hasn't succumbed to It Was His Sled. The sequels, by comparison, are almost parodies of their predecessor. According to writer/director Robert Hiltzik, only the 2008 sequel, Return to Sleepaway Camp, is canon (he had little to nothing to do with Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland).
    • Halloween deserves special mention. The first film is seen as one of the best horror films ever, and every following film is seen as average at best and more often disastrous. It's at the point where, not counting the reboot, the franchise has had to pull Canon Discontinuity twice, with Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later ignoring everything after the second film, and Halloween (2018) ignoring everything after the first. It's generally seen that the 2018 film is the only one to be a genuinely good followup, though not as good as the classic original (they're the only two with a positive critical reception).
    • The Child's Play franchise doesn't get nearly as much hatred for their sequels as other franchises. That said, there are two major contenders for this trend:
      • Child's Play 3: This sequel garnered heavily negative reception from critics and fans. The problems witth this one range from Andy's actor being replaced, unlikable characters such as Tyler and Shelton, the story working more like a military war camp film than a slasher film, and so many plotholes. The biggest problem with this film is that it was rushed, being released just nine months after Child's Play 2. It's also an Old Shame for creator Don Mancini, and Chucky himself, Brad Dourif.
      • Seed of Chucky: While critics had mixed opinions on the film, fans absolutely loathed it, as while Bride of Chucky renewed the series by going in a Comedy Horror route, Seed went too far into the former and didn't provide enough of the latter, with spoofing and pop culture references overtaking the scares and kills. Some even deem the film even worse than the aforementioned Child's Play 3.
  • Smokey and the Bandit was a massive hit in 1977, with only A New Hope grossing more money at the box office that year. Its two sequels, however, did not do so well against its fellow Star Wars films. The second film was considered a tired rehash of the first film, but gets some flack off of it for at least featuring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in their starring roles and having an awesome climactic battle. The third film, however, put Jackie Gleason's Buford T. Justice in the lead role (which is considered the only positive about this film) and omits Sally entirely and Burt's only involvement is a cameo at the end.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman received a sequel in 2016 titled The Huntsman: Winter's War - dropping Snow White completely. Word was originally that her actress Kristen Stewart was removed from the franchise after a scandal involving her having an affair with the first film's director, but she later said she kept turning down the scripts due to their general badness. The sequel pulled several Retcons including giving Queen Ravenna a sister she'd never mentioned before to serve as a new antagonist, ignoring any mention of her canonical brother, changing the backstory involving the Huntsman's dead wife (who turns out to be Not Quite Dead) and going for a Lighter and Softer tone. The film was a huge bomb that acted as a Franchise Killer, and got poor critical reception.
  • The original Species was a decent (if not spectacular) sci-fi horror film that had Natasha Henstridge running around (mostly naked, to boot) while a team of scientists tried to stop her. A sequel three years later that combined a nonsensical plot (the scientists clone the original alien, then act shocked when she escapes to mate with another member of her species), cheesy effects and a cast that appeared to be going through the motions, and the following TV movie, Species III, was made by filmmakers who thought the entire franchise was composed of gratuitous violence and sex. The fourth film, Species - The Awakening, splits opinions - it's either an improvement, regarded as a decent B-movie that by having a plot not very connected with the previous two stands well on its own, or somehow even worse, as it's even cheaper-looking than the third and lacking on story depth, sex and blood.
  • The first Speed movie was a huge commercial and critical success. The sequel Speed 2: Cruise Control was almost universally panned while barely avoiding being a box-office flop worldwide, and is one of the all-time classic examples of what Sequelitis is fully capable of. It began the career derailment of director Jan De Bont and became an Old Shame for Sandra Bullock.
  • Spy Kids proved to be a very successful family film and thus spawned its own franchise; unfortunately, each new installment has done worse than the one that came before. While Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams proved to be a decent movie despite this, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over quickly came to be considered the series' jump the shark moment, having little to do with the franchise other than the characters; however, this did not stop Robert Rodriquez from producing (reluctantly) Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 2011, eight years after the conclusion of the original trilogy, with rumors of a fifth film on the way despite the fourth film's poor critical and box office reception.
  • Star Trek has the "odd-number curse" - the first (which can be considered a sequel to the series), third (this one is actually alright, but still not as good as 2), fifth note , seventh and ninth films are considered letdowns. It was broken when the tenth was a critical and commercial disappointment note , leading to a wildly successful reboot (though some try to make the curse still work by considering the Affectionate Parody Galaxy Quest the tenth movie). Star Trek Into Darkness got a decent critical reception, but the overall opinion was either that it didn't live up to the first reboot (if you loved the movie), or that Gene Roddenberry is spinning in his grave (if you didn't), and contains a rather infamous Untwist that those trying to to justify the (Quest-adjusted) curse can point to. The jury is still out on Star Trek Beyond, which got generally positive reviews from critics, and more mixed reviews from a fanbase still deciding what to think of the reboot movies.
  • In the Star Wars series, this started with Return of the Jedi, which wasn't considered quite as good as the two movies before it, but still a classic. Then came prequelitis, with The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones widely considered the two weakest films in the series. Revenge of the Sith, however, was generally thought to be an improvement, but that's not saying much given the competition. Fortunately, the next in the series, The Force Awakens, is generally believed to be a return to form, and Rogue One is widely regarded as being a worthy prequel to A New Hope. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about The Last Jedi which received mixed receptions that divided the fanbase once again. Then came Solo, which unlike Rogue One was considered alright at best, and The Rise of Skywalker, which reviewers bashed (alongside The Phantom Menace, it's the only not-Fresh Episode on Rotten Tomatoes) for an uncreative and messy plot, split the fanbase even further (though the overall trend among most factions of the fanbase leans towards dislike), and grossed the least of the three sequel trilogy films by a decent margin.
  • The Spider-Man Trilogy. The first two are considered to be stunning critical and commercial successes. The third film has a massive Broken Base, though it remains the most successful Spider-Man film to date. Then The Amazing Spider-Man reboots the franchise and is met with a decent reception, though it made a whole new Broken Base. Then it happens again, with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 being overall regarded as an average movie at best to being considered a complete failure at worst, causing Sony to cancel the rest of the series and create another reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming, with a helping hand from Marvel.
  • The X-Men Film Series had two beloved movies, followed by a Contested Sequel. Since continuing after The Last Stand would be hard, they decided to make prequels instead. First was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which also divided everyone; then came X-Men: First Class, but it completely averted sequelitis and is now considered the best in the series since X2: X-Men United. Following that was a sequel/stand-alone story to Wolverine, simply titled The Wolverine, which was considered a better film than its predecessor back in the day. Then came indirect The Last Stand sequel / direct First Class sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was not only considered a better film to both of its predecessors, but was also hailed by critics as the series' zenith followed closely by Deadpool which is considered the first successful R-Rated superhero movie. Afterwards, it became a lot more uneven with X-Men: Apocalypse being one of the biggest Contested Sequels in the franchise, Logan being hailed as one of the best X-Men movies, if not THE best, and considered a tremendous improvement over the two previous Wolverine-centric movies, Deadpool 2 being considered good although whether it is better than the first or not is debatable, Dark Phoenix getting even worse reviews than The Last Stand, and The New Mutants being delayed too much and ultimately not being well-received to officially end Fox's run with a whimper rather than a bang.
  • Superman. 1978's Superman: The Movie told his origin story, was quite successful and today is regarded as a Trope Codifier that proved superheroes could credibly carry serious films. It was followed by Superman II, which also got warm reviews but was plagued by Creative Differences between director and producers. Superman III, in turn, is an uneven mess of a film with Richard Pryor of all people clumsily stealing the show. And then there was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, an Anvilicious, Special Effect Failure-filled, unmitigated disaster that completely bombed both critically and commercially. It was 19 years before another Superman movie was released— Superman Returns, which pointedly erased III and IV from its continuity. Superman IV also erased the career of Mark Pillow, who moved on to being a family man, and helped towards the implosion of The Cannon Group. One of the frequently-raised criticisms with Returns is that the producers didn't seem to be able to make up their minds as to whether they were actually making a continuation of the earlier film sequence, or whether they were making a completely fresh start. The next movie, Man of Steel, was an actual intended reboot.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was considered a nice piece of 1990s pop culture. The second film wasn't quite as well-received due to being Denser and Wackier, but it still had a few entertaining moments, and it has its fans. The third film, however, was bashed mercilessly by critics and fans alike (fans were actually far more ruthless on it than Siskel & Ebert ever were to the trilogy as a whole), and it's viewed as the worst of the three by a healthy margin; it swept the Turtles off the big screen until 2007, and it would take until 2014 for another live-action TMNT film to surface; it does not have any continuity to the others.
  • Terminator: The first was iconic. The second, possibly one of the single greatest sequels of all time. The third was one hell of a Contested Sequel, and resulted in a TV series being made on the principle that T3 never happened. The fourth, while visually impressive, lacked substance and ended up being an underperformer at the box office, which then led to the death of its production company and the rights being sold off. And when the fifth came out, again it wasn't as well received - particularly how it retcons the events of the first four movies with convoluted time travel - and led to the next film doing another reboot. Terminator: Dark Fate has got the best reviews since the third, but time will tell how well it will be remembered.
  • There were six films in The Thin Man series. The first got a Best Picture nomination and is still remembered as a classic. The subsequent movies have been progressively less acclaimed, going from the "pretty good" second movie to the "terrible" sixth one.note 
  • The Toxic Avenger is a horror comedy classic. The second film isn’t bad, but it’s largely just made up of footage that was cut from the first one, and it shows. The third film was panned and subjects Toxie to severe Badass Decay. This being the sort of series it is, the fourth film hangs a hilarious Lampshade Hanging on it During the opening narration:
    15 years ago, A mop boy named Melvin Ferd fell into a case full of toxic waste and became a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength, he became... The Toxic Avenger, the first superhero from New Jersey! Then came two shitty sequels, sorry about that. This is the real sequel.
  • The Transformers movies alternates between playing sequelitis straight and turning it on its head. Critical consensus has the first being nothing special, the second downright bad, the third having no real consensus, and the fourth somehow being both an improvement and the worst of the lot. The first movie was an okay sci-fi action-thriller that gave a semi-realistic tone to the franchise. The second movie lost that touch and became an over the top action movie with tons of unneeded adult humor (such as the pot smoking mom, the racist robots and mechanical testicles) and a generic plot. The third movie tried to please everyone and lowered the screen time for the robots (even though they are the title characters), made the first half almost a sort of parody (which led to the return of Sam's parents who by now are nothing more than The Artifact) and the second half a sci-fi war movie that dropped bridges on many characters. Finally, the fourth movie acted as a soft reboot of the series by replacing the human cast and notably extending the length of the action sequences; which in turn made the film the longest film of the series (2 hours and 45 minutes). While this move gave the title characters a notably increased amount of screentime, the final result was also considered by many reviewers to be a monotonous and phoned-in regurgitation of the previous three films. And the fifth film looks to have finally driven off the public, to the point that it underperformed in China, historically the franchise's biggest stronghold, and grossed less than the first film despite a decade of inflation and foreign market expansion. (it was so bad that Bumblebee, widely considered better than most, if not all the movies, underperformed at the box office given The Last Knight poisoned the well)
  • The Trial of Billy Jack: The first two movies in the series, The Born Losers and Billy Jack are both well-received. Trial of Billy Jack, on the other hand, is listed frequently as one of the worst sequels ever made. Fourth movie Billy Jack Goes to Washington, a blatant copy of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington that came out well after the series' cultural moment had passed, was seen by almost nobody and lacks even the So Bad, It's Good reputation of Trial.
  • Parodied In-Universe in Tropic Thunder. Tugg Speedman stars in the Scorcher series, which revolve around the Earth ceasing to spin and becoming a giant fireball. The 6th one, Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown, changed the fate into a frozen wasteland because the previous films had exhausted the previously mentioned concept. Here's the trailer:
    Trailer Announcer: In 2013, when the Earth's rotation came to a halt, the world called on the one man who could make a difference.
    [Speedman is shown standing on a blasted cliffside, and everything in the background is on fire. He has a baby in one arm and a rifle in the other]
    When it happened again, the world called on him once more. And no one saw it coming. Three. More. Times! Now, the one man who made a difference five times before, is about to make a difference again. Only this time, it's different.
    [Speedman is shown standing on an iceberg, and everything in the background is frozen. He has a set of twins on him and he's holding two rifles]
    Tugg Speedman: Who left the fridge open?
    Trailer Announcer: [voice over] Tugg Speedman. Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown.
    Tugg Speedman: Here We Go Again!. Again...
  • Universal Soldier had a lot of it, first with two TV movies without anyone from the other movies, and then by actually bringing Van Damme back in Universal Soldier: The Return, but delivering a lame action movie with underwhelming effects and an Idiot Plot. Surprisingly, the direct-to-video sequel Universal Soldier: Regeneration (which like The Return ignored the two TV movies, also removed The Return from canon), averted this, being considered the first worthy follow-up, only for Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning to be a more divisive affair.
  • U.S. Marshals was less enthusiastically received by critics and audiences than The Fugitive, the film to which it is a spinoff.
  • Wayne's World 2 was deemed a step down and not as fresh as the first, though with still positive reviews and a fair share of fans - though not the same box office success, as steep competition made it only gross $48 million domestically against a $40 million budget.
  • Movies based on video games aren't exempt from this rule, either, even though very few of them get sequels in the first place (and usually deservedly so). Just ask anyone who paid to watch Mortal Kombat: Annihilation or Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. The one exception managed to be, of all things, The Angry Birds Movie 2, which is even the best-reviewed video game movie ever.
  • Weekend at Bernie's is an amusing little comedy, with Terry Kiser stealing the show as the eponymous dead guy. Then they went and made a sequel. The female character one of the heroes spent the entire first movie obsessing over/wooing vanishes without even the most cursory attempt at Hand Waving, and it was all downhill from there. Some viewers felt that Weekend at Bernie's II pulled off the rare feat of being so unbelievably stupid that it came back around the other side and was So Unfunny, It's Funny. Referenced in How I Met Your Mother, as evidence that Lily is a "laugh-slut":
    Ted: "Remember that time we heard her laughing, and we thought she was watching Weekend at Bernie's, but it turned out she was watching Weekend at Bernie's II?"

    Literature 
  • Most sequels to works in the public domain are awful, or at least so inferior to the originals that fans will invariably be disappointed. One reason for this is that only the very best books survive the test of time: perhaps a sequel to Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South would be comparable to the original, but any sequel to Pride and Prejudice would pale in comparison. Another is that anyone, no matter how dreadful a writer they may be, can publish a sequel to a public domain work. That's not possible for a work under copyright, where the copyright holder can prevent the publication of any unauthorized sequel.
  • Sequelitis is Older Than Feudalism: even The Iliad and The Odyssey of Homer were followed by The Trojan Cycle, which Classical writers believed to have been written later, and by other authors. All but a handful of lines from these are lost today, but most ancient literary critics concurred that they weren't very good anyway.
  • Andrzej Sapkowski named it as one of major SF&F plagues in his No Gold in the Grey Mountains article... and didn't forgot to add a Hypocrisy Nod.
    I myself, while considering myself an attentive inspector of the news of fantastics, sometimes don't buy the freshly released sixth book of a saga because my attention somehow failed to register previous five. But much, much more frequently I decline to buy tome one if its cover grins with a warning: 'First Book Of the Magic Shit Cycle'.

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was, famously, followed by the Even Better Sequel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. However, some years later when Mark Twain fell into some financial difficulties and needed some good-selling books to pay the bills, he wrote two additional sequels, Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective. There's a reason you've probably never heard of them. Suffice to say, the characters are Flanderized nearly beyond all recognition and the plots are merely flimsy excuses for satire of popular genres of the day.
  • Gregory Benford once wrote a sequel to Arthur C. Clarke's amazing Against the Fall of Night, called Beyond the Fall of Night. It's awful, primarily because Against sets up a massive battle between good and evil with a disembodied intelligence called Vanamonde battling the evil Mad Mind. Benford completely ignores that and makes Beyond be about a very strange track of evolution and Vanamonde barely appears right at the end, and is almost completely superfluous, having the Mad Mind being defeated by a specific branch of humanity. Against the Fall of Night is loved by science fiction fans, but Beyond the Fall of Night tends to be hated.
  • Even though Through the Looking-Glass is a well respected novel, its Darker and Edgier tone makes it less popular than Alice in Wonderland.
  • Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series started as a quite cool detective series, but it's debated on when the quality slipped. Some state that it began with book five onward, others state that book nine was the last coherent book, most agree that books 10 to 22 are just plain bad, with 23 onward getting deep into completely unreadable territory.
  • In The Bible, there's the famous story of David and Goliath that everyone's heard of. Another story from the Bible is the one where a guy named Elhanan manages to kill Goliath's brother, Lahmi. That one isn't nearly as popular as the one about Goliath. Had you ever heard of it before you read this?
  • The sequel novels in The Bourne Series.
    • They contain, in the first addition, Dropped A Bridge On two of the most important characters in the first twenty pages, a character who is canonically supposed to be dead suffering from Parental Abandonment, Comic-Book Time, and much, much, much, much Canon Defilement. The second addition is no less egregious, including Dropping A Bridge On Marie In Between Books, having Bourne abandon all common sense, ridiculously atrocious pseudoscience, almost downright offensive portrayals of Washington, DC, and Bourne suddenly becoming an expert on everything, including knowing every language from Arabic to an obscure Ethiopian dialect, when in canon he's just supposed to be a professor of Oriental Studies. Seriously. Also, he carries around a PlayStation 3 for no other reason than it looks cool.
    • The Bourne Deception is plain humiliation. Bourne visits a Balinese shaman, sleeps with a woman who was formerly his friend's girlfriend, and mentions virtually nothing about his children. In The Bourne Ultimatum he is 50, and that is when Soviet Union still existed; the book mentions the timeline had passed 2005 since Indonesian Bali Bombing. The new author transforms this tortured amnesiac soul into ageless James Bond-wannabe.
  • Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber series: Don't talk to fans about the sequel series focusing on Merlin. And don't even dare mention the John Betancourt knockoffs, officially sanctioned or not.
  • Robert E. Howard's most famous creation Conan The Cimmerian suffers horribly from this. Not only are there endless continuations, prequels and other adventurers of vastly varying quality by many different authors but the original stories were rewritten in places to make them sync up with the sequels. However even the original stories occasionally suffer from sequelitis. Because of the character's popularity, Howard knew he could sell any Conan story to Weird Tales and wrote some very cliched tales (such as The Devil in Iron) which were effectively knock-offs of his own earlier efforts when he needed quick cash.
  • Quite a few people have the latter half of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series falling into this trope. It became especially evident when he had elements of DT leak into his non-DT novels (especially Hearts in Atlantis and Insomnia). Even if you do like the later installments for their writing or whatever, it definitely shows by the end that King didn't actually know where he was going with the story to begin with and had to just come up with something without the benefit of having planned in advance.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
    • An in-universe example with the fictional Slumber Party Pals series. Greg thinks the first 30 books were good, but that the quality went downhill when the author ran out of ideas. Volume #87 is titled Lindsey Loses a Mitten.
    • Rather ironically, many people feel the same way about Diary of a Wimpy Kid itself, as quite a few fans think the books have been getting progressively less funny with each new installment and its characters are becoming more unlikable as they suffer from Flanderization. It doesn't help that the number of books is fourteen going on fifteen (plus two spin-off novels) with no end in sight, and much like your average sitcom, nobody is allowed to grow up or change.
  • Dinoverse suffers this to an extent, though it's only six books long. The first book, which was split into two, was more thoughtful and less Anvilicious than they became. Characters became better people, but it was due to their experiences rather than appearing to be the intention of the M.I.N.D. Machine. Rules and powers set down as rigid later were more flexible then, animals were less anthropomorphized, and there was more depth of character interaction. The last book abandons the idea of traveling through time by astral projecting and possessing other creatures to go with a more standard portal mechanic, and female characters stop being proactive for no reason.
  • The Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel The Quantum Archangel. A sequel to "The Time Monster", which the author claimed was intentionally "the ultimate in fanwank", it's basically "The Time Monster" ONLY BIGGER! So the TOMTIT machine that affects space-time is replaced by a more advanced version called the TITAN Array that affects Calabi-Yau space (the "extra" dimensions in superstring theory). TOMTIT was secretly created by the Master to trap a Chronovore; TITAN is commandeered by the Master to wipe the Chronovores out and give himself their powers. The Third Doctor disrupts TOMTIT with an arrangement of forks and winebottles; the Sixth Doctor builds a much bigger version to disrupt TITAN. The Third Doctor and the Delgado Master go on a jaunt to Ancient Atlantis; the Sixth Doctor and the Ainley Master visit a forgotten planet from the beginning of the universe. Stuart Hyde gets temporarily youthed instead of aged, the Doctor attempts to Time Ram the Master's TARDIS, and Kronos again Deus Ex Machinas everything at the end. Even the throwaway gag that "E = MC cubed" in the Vortex gets reused and amped up; in Calabi-Yau Space, apparently, E = MC to the fourth power. It's so blatant about it that some feel it goes beyond conventional sequelitis and becomes good, or at least successfully does what it wants to do.
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series has this. The first book was stunning and awesome, and the second and third that followed were, while having their problems, quite good. Unfortunately, she kept writing, and things went to hell in a handbasket. She contradicted established canon from one book to the next, couldn't keep names, ages, and places straight, and the plots devolved into pathetic monstrosities.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin completed the original Earthsea trilogy in 1974. Sixteen years later, she wrote a fourth book, Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, which suffers from Mood Whiplash, Writer on Board and a lack of plot. And it wasn't even the last book.
  • Orson Scott Card with his Ender and Shadow saga (the first of each series being parallel, and the rest a split following different characters). While the sequel to Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, is widely considered to be just as good if not even better than the first, the final two in that saga, Xenocide and Children of the Mind are overly pretentious and bloated philosophical works that could have easily been cut into one shorter volume. They also leave on a horrible cliffhanger that rivals that of Chapterhouse: Dune which Card has had 13 years to end, but instead written a midquel between the first and second books as well as a short story collection. The Ender's Shadow series fares even worse, with the first book being equal to or better than the parallel Ender's Game but taking a steep decline starting with the second. While not as bloated in narrative as the Ender saga's latter books, the Shadow series instead destroys most of the mystery behind Peter's unification of Earth by making him into nothing but an annoying schoolchild, and doing absolutely nothing. A 4th sequel is planned, thus putting the series at 11 books. The irony of it all? Some copies of Speaker for the Dead are prefaced with an introduction that talks about how reluctant the author was to revisit Ender just for a second book.
  • While Fifty Shades of Grey never was a critical favorite, the book Grey—a retelling of the first book from Christian's point of view—has been poorly received even by readers and critics who liked the original trilogy. The two main complaints are as follows:
    • Too much of the text is copied and pasted from the original book.
    • Christian's thoughts are banal, and also way too stalker-like. While Christian certainly acted like a stalker sometimes, it's unpleasant to see that he actually feels and thinks like a stalker.
  • Final Fantasy X-2.5: ~Eien no Daishō~ (The Price of Eternity), the novel sequel to the video game Final Fantasy X and its sequel is nearly universaly hated in Japan and, unsurprisingly, was never released overseas. For some highlights, Tidus kicks a bomb because he thinks it looks like a blitzball, which ends up killing him in a needlessly gory manner (complete with his disembodied head landing on Yuna). She revives him, which incidentally brings back everything from the Farplane, including Sin, but he's made of pyreflies and will vanish if he realizes this. Rather than attempt to salvage it and play this tragically or have Yuna regret undoing the happy parts of both games’ endings, she approaches this by claiming she’s no longer interested in Tidus and hooks up with someone else (this part made it overseas in the HD rerelease of the games, and was universally hated). There's also a lot of sex for some reason, even after Tidus dies and is subsequently revived.
  • George Macdonald Fraser's Flashman series dances around this. There's no fan consensus on what's the best book, though certain sequels (namely Royal Flash and Flashman at the Charge) are generally ranked higher than the original. While the first seven books are considered pretty solid, the last five are somewhat polarizing. Criticisms include Badass Decay, making Flashman less Magnificent Bastard and more conventional Anti-Hero, Fraser injecting political views into the books and increasingly formula storytelling (Flashman gets dragged into danger, meets some historical figures, shags pretty ladies, gets betrayed by everyone yet improbably survives as a hero). Flashman on the March, the very last book, feels like a deliberate attempt to assuage these criticisms — notably evinced by the scene where Flashman kicks his Ethiopian lover down a waterfall.
  • While V. C. Andrews' Dollanganger Saga aren't exactly critical darlings, they are generally beloved by Andrews' fans, even if the prequel Garden of Shadows was completed by her ghostwriter. Almost 30 years after Andrews' death, the ghostwriter began the Christopher's Diary series, billed to bring a new prospective on the series (Via Chris). The series has so far been met with disappointment and even loathing from fans for not actually bringing anything new to the table, and for retconning Cory's death, the latter which some readers have called "Disrespectful" to Andrews' legacy.
  • Under the name of "Collodi Nipote," Paolo Lorenzini, the nephew of Pinocchio author Carlo Collodi, wrote six more stories about the little wooden puppet between 1917 and 1954. The Sequel Reset of keeping Pinocchio as a puppet didn't help.
  • James P. Hogan's Giants Series. It's not as if the sequels are bad - it's just that they tend to detract from the previous books. The first book, Inherit the Stars, is the story of a bunch of scientists trying to wrap their brains around a massive enigma. The second one, The Gentle Giants of Ganymede, brings in aliens, but is fairly similar. The third one, Giants' Star, alters the style by bringing in conflict.
    • The third also adds the idea that the reason people are evil is because evil time-travellers have made them that way. The fourth expands this to the evil time-travellers were actually taken over by aliens who lived inside a computer.
    • And the books Ret Cons things established in the previous ones to an annoying degree.
  • Gone with the Wind:
    • 55 years after its publication, Scarlett, an "authorized" sequel, appeared. Critics were not impressed.
    • Another sequel, Rhett Butler's People, also appeared. The critics panned that one too.
  • L. Frank Baum made thirteen Land of Oz novels. Most people have only heard of the first book, and that's only because it was made into a movie, but it's by far the best received one. The other Oz novels are generally thought of as mediocre to outright bad, with the series becoming Strictly Formula as time went on. (It's worth noting that Baum himself came to dislike the series, but they were his only books that made money.)
  • A subversion comes with J. R. R. Tolkien's abandoned sequel to The Lord of the Rings. With the Working Title of The New Shadow, he got as far as coming up with some characters and setting it in the fourth age of Middle-earth where a dark cult rose up in the lands of Gondor. However, he abandoned it after only a few pages as he felt it would not be as epic or up to the standards of his other work, then suffered Author Existence Failure, meaning it's highly unlikely this will be finished.
  • The feminist science fiction writer Suzette Elgin conceived Native Tongue with a lot innovative ways to fuse feminism, SF, and linguistics. In the novel, the women use a language she invented to express difference experiences more suited for woman. The novel is excellent, the two sequels on the other hand are chaotic jumbles that create more loose ends than they tie up.
  • Susan Kay's Phantom is generally considered to be pretty good by the phandom, and is even accepted as (admittedly dubious) canon by some. The sequel to The Phantom of the Opera musical may not be so lucky (see Theater below).
    • Even Kay suffers from her share of criticism. While it's generally agreed that the first two-thirds of her book (actually a prologue to the original story describing Erik's backstory) are well done, a lot of fans strongly dislike the way she portrays the Erik/Christine relationship and its aftermath in the final third.
  • Robert Asprin's Phule's Company series; the first 2 books are decent, the books co-written after that take a marked turn downwards. But this is partly the fault of Real Life Writes the Plot and Author Existence Failure. His Myth Adventures series, while maintaining a high standard for quite a while, has also begun to sag for the same reason.
  • Piers Anthony's series of Xanth novels has reached over 30 novels and currently consists almost entirely of puns and plot developments suggested by readers.
  • Redwall, partially because the plot that worked for the first five or six books gets a bit stale when it's pulled out for the twentieth time. It does not help that the Wacky Wayside Tribes started to replace "plot relevance" with "annoying habits" around the time of "The Pearls of Lutra".
  • The sequels to Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama (which are actually written primarily by Gentry Lee) suffer from this.
  • The Ringworld series by Larry Niven has succumbed to this as Niven has caught Retcon Fever and begun tearing down the conventions of his own universe.
  • River God, by Wilbur Smith, was quite interesting and different to mainstream fiction. The sequel Warlock went from the engaging and amusing first-person narrative style to third-person, which allowed for us to see scenes from several characters' perspectives, but mostly allowed for gratuitous shoehorning- in of sex scenes to pad out the already inflated-but-largely-empty plot. The Quest has almost completely dispensed with any ties to the Ancient Egypt pantheon, instead substituting some vaguely New-Agey mumbo-jumbo universally-recognised quasi-religious belief system.
  • The Rocheworld series by Robert Forward likewise has a great first book, a moderately good second, and utter crap dragging along behind.
  • Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series started putting more and more focus on magical history, Objectivist philosophy and the main character's role as a leader after the second book. The common opinion on this site is that it is Jumping the Shark, with each book getting worse and worse. Goodkind gave the last three books a rather good attempt to emulate the first two's plot and style, at least.
  • Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles are almost universally agreed to suffer from this, with the fourth book, Tale of the Body Thief, or the fifth, Memnoch the Devil, usually cited as the shark-jumping point. Not-so-coincidentally, this is around when Rice decided she had Protection from Editors. It doesn't take a particularly careful interrogation of the text to see that the characterizations are stronger in the first few books, and that's not even getting into the forgotten plot points and frequent passing-about of the Idiot Ball. Upon meeting another Vampire Chronicles fan, it's probably best to ask "what's your canon?" early on, so you can get into discussing the books you both think are good.
  • Warrior Cats. The 1st arc of novels is treasured by fans. The second arc is usually seen as good, but not as good as the original. The third and fourth arcs are very... polarizing, and the fifth is typically liked a little better than those due to being fresher with the new time period and characters, but still there's a general opinion that the series is dragging on too long. Since the series is so financially successful, and has a vast and dedicated fanbase, the books just keep on coming. Most complaints about the later series cite the reused plot devices, the ridiculous amount of mostly flat and undeveloped supporting characters, and the smaller focus on nature and survival in favor of more anthropomorphized themes like love and family issues. It's often compared to a soap opera. And this doesn't even touch on the vast amount of mangas, field guides and other companion books, which generally entertain diehard fans but hold little literary merit. It's hard to say when the franchise will actually end, because the fans are always eager for new books and the authors, who keep in touch with their fanbase regularly via author chat, don't want to disappoint them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Even more than the film examples, Star Trek suffered this in its series. The Original Series was considered an uneven novelty, a series that was either teeth grating crap, or the very pinnacle of science-fiction, depending on the given episode. The Next Generation has been formally recognized as being among the top 100 shows ever made and a crowning achievement of television. Paramount came down with Sequelitis, commissioning three follow-up series (Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and even a prequel in Enterprise). The critical reception deteriorated with each successive series, along with the ratings (though a few preferred DS9 in later years). The last one made it to four seasons, the fourth one only made so that the series could be syndicated, and not end up a total failure. Although the jury is still out on Star Trek: Discovery (set between Enterprise and The Original Series), the general fan consensus seems to be that it's a good show in its own right, but the Darker and Edgier serial plotline and somewhat forced "mature" tone are a poor fit for Trek.
  • Dead Ringers had a sketch in which different versions of Arnold Schwarzenegger came back from the future to warn him not to sign up for any more lousy Terminator sequels, eventually reaching Terminator 23 before Sarah Connor shot the present Arnie to save the future. To her dismay, another Arnie came back and revealed she is now his co-star in Kindergarten Cop 14! Nnnooooo!
  • The spinoff/sequel to That '70s Show, That '80s Show, alienated old viewers and didn't get any new ones.
  • The New Monkees had the misfortune of competing with reruns of the series that inspired it. As a result the series was pulled after only thirteen episodes.
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978) was never massively successful but it was popular enough for a large letter-writing campaign to make ABC commission Galactica 1980 which was canceled after only 10 episodes killing the franchise. The show got a reboot 20+ years later with the critically acclaimed Battlestar Galactica (2003) which had a well-received spin-off-prequel Caprica and two Made-for-TV Movie. The final series of the remake was divisive, with a controversial series finale splitting fans. Afterwards it was clear audiences and the studios weren't impressed by the attempt to create another spin-off-prequel with Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome marking the end of the franchise for the near future, at least until the next inevitable reboot.
  • Friends spinoff/sequel Joey failed to be as popular as its predecessor and was canceled after two seasons.
  • In-Universe in The Good Place series finale. Shakespeare has written 4,000 plays in the afterlife which are said to not have been as good as his old works, including The Tempest 2: Here We Blow Again.
  • Stargate SG-1 and its spin-off, Stargate Atlantis, were both strong, well-regarded science-fiction series. The third series, Stargate Universe, felt to most fans like a soap opera filmed in a series of shipping containers.

    Music 
  • The first Woodstock Festival in 1969 is often considered one of the best music festivals ever. For the 25th anniversary, music promoters tried to recreate the experience with the mostly-uneventful but not as memorable Woodstock '94. For the 30th anniversary, promoters held Woodstock '99, which featured many top-tier performers but was poorly received — tickets cost much more than other festivals (the first Woodstock was free), attendees were price gouged for amenities like water and food, and organizers seemed unprepared for an event that size, with massive amounts of garbage piling up and portable restrooms frequently overflowing. The final day was marred by riots — most media outlets covering the event abruptly pulled out their crews — and dozens of reports of sexual assault, effectively ending the concert series.
  • Critics wanted E.S. Posthumus's albums to have more powerful and action-filled songs; this caused the pieces in Makara to have less variation compared to the flow and richer tunes in previous albums Unearthed and Cartographer.
  • Lil Wayne's Tha Carter II is universally considered to be an improvement over Tha Carter; some fans still consider II to be his best album, in fact. While Tha Carter III massively outsold II, debate still rages on the better album. However, a consensus has emerged on Tha Carter IV - namely, that it's a steaming hunk of shit compared to the previous two Carters. As two albums came between III and IV (including the rock album), IV ended up playing the rule straight.
  • Chance The Rapper became a breakout star in the early 2010s with his mixtapes 10 Day, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book being well received, and the latter even earning him a Grammy for Best Rap Album. His first official album, The Big Day, was vehemently ravaged by fans for being too inconsistent and having subpar lyrics. Its critical reception was generally positive, but still a step down compared to his previous efforts.
  • Jay-Z: The Blueprint is widely considered a classic album, among Jay-Z's best, contributed the term "renegaded" to hip-hop lexicon(referring to Eminem's guest appearance on "Renegade"), and helped jump-start Kanye West's career. Blueprint 2 was considered to suffer from too many filler songs, and while Blueprint 3 was a major hit, it had a less positive critical reception.
  • Many people consider Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime to be one of the best metal albums ever. Eighteen years later, after a number of less-well received albums, they made a sequel, Operation: Mindcrime 2, which most critics and fans saw as mediocre at best.
  • There's a joke about the group Chicago (a band that named most of their albums numerically). The joke is that their first album is rated 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, and that as the number in the name of each album goes up, the number of its rating goes down.
  • Referenced in-work by "You Part 2" by Olivia Lane, which compares an ex who is coming back for more to a bad sequel:
    You know I never liked going to a sequel
    Somehow the second one never is equal to the first one
  • Blackfield and Blackfield II are highly praised collaborations between Steven Wilson and Aviv Geffen, while the subsequent Welcome to My DNA and Blackfield IV are considered sub-par in comparison. Some have attributed this to Wilson's limited involvement in the latter releases, especially after he returned to being an equal contributor in the fairly well-received Blackfield V. However, most fans agree that they haven't been able to top their first two albums.

    Theater 
  • The musical Of Thee I Sing, a cheerful satire on the American political system, opened on Broadway late in 1931 to immense popular and critical acclaim, which not only made it one of the longest-running shows of the decade but won a Pulitzer Prize for its writers; it was the first ever musical play to win the award. Almost two years later, a sequel, Let 'Em Eat Cake, appeared from the same authors, with the same principal actors and the same producer. It was not a commercial success; many of its jokes were recycled from the earlier show, and a bewildering series of plot complications (involving, among other things, a baseball-playing League of Nations) stretched Willing Suspension of Disbelief too far.
  • Bring Back Birdie was a sequel to Bye Bye Birdie, produced and set twenty years later. It was written by the same authors as the original show, and featured the same characters, with Chita Rivera once again starring as Rose Alvarez. Most people who saw the show during the less than a week it ran on Broadway agreed that it was horrible. Somewhat infamous for a moment where the actor playing Birdie lost the beat to one of the songs then marched off stage, saying, "You sing it! I never liked this song anyway!"
  • The musical Annie similarly had a sequel written by the same authors (including composer Charles Strouse, who had also done Bye Bye Birdie and Bring Back Birdie, though lyricist Martin Charnin seems to have been the ringleader in this scheme), with several of the older members of the original cast reprising their roles. In the implausible plot of Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge, Daddy Warbucks was ordered to find a mother for Annie, which provided the opportunity for Miss Hannigan's scheme (conceived with a good deal of Motive Decay) to first become Warbucks's wife and then a widow without any dependents. When the eagerly awaited show had its pre-Broadway opening in Washington, D.C. in January 1990, audiences were stunned at how unfunny the show was. Massive rewrites ensued, and continued in earnest even after the show's Broadway booking was canceled and several star actors dropped out, including Dorothy Loudon as Miss Hannigan. Miss Hannigan was ultimately written out in favor of a Suspiciously Similar Substitute (though the plot remained mostly the same), and the authors' desperate efforts to get their show into New York finally resulted in its opening off-Broadway in 1993, as Annie Warbucks. Critics recognized the show as an unnecessary sequel, and it failed to catch on with audiences.
  • The musical The Boy Friend also suffers from this despite being not as well known as some others out there. Its sequel is so ridiculous that it has to be seen (or read) to believe. The name? Divorce Me, Darling!
  • Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, is being slammed by many fans of the original, although the Australian run was extensively reworked by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with the greatest improvements being made to the characterization (of nearly all the characters) and the plot.
  • Though the one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti has never ranked among Leonard Bernstein's best-known works, its reputation is considerably better than A Quiet Place, the three-act sequel Bernstein decided to write three decades later. The libretto reads like a bad soap opera, and the music is generally dull except for the parts of the second act which incorporate Trouble in Tahiti in its entirety as a flashback.
  • While The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro are well known, though mainly due to Adaptation Displacement as operas written respectively by Gioachino Rossini and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, La mère coupable ou l'autre Tartuffe, Beaumarchais' third entry in the "Figaro trilogy," is not so much so. Most people who have seen both operas are upset of the absence of two popular characters, Bartholo (Bartolo) and Bazile (Basilio).
  • Thirteen years after the premiere of Louise, Gustave Charpentier gave Paris the opera Julien, the story of which focused on Louise's boyfriend. It didn't do so well.

    Theme Parks 
  • Many rides at Disney Theme Parks fall prey to this. Perhaps the most puissant example of this trope in a Disney ride is the "Imagination" rides featured at the EPCOT theme park in Disney World. The original ride, Journey into Imagination, was a much beloved and very creative ride centering around the world of a child's imagination and starred the Dreamfinder, a red-bearded eccentric who collected dreams and creative thoughts, and his pet purple dragon Figment with a Clock or Steampunk style. Executive Meddling involving a potential change in sponsors caused the ride to close in 1998 for a complete overhaul. It was reopened in 1999 as "Journey Into Your Imagination", a completely redone ride featuring none of the charm possessed by the original and with both Figment and the Dreamfinder MIA. The new ride set a record for the most complaints received over a new attraction at a Disney Park. The revamp was received so badly, it was closed a mere 2 years later in 2001. In 2002 the ride received a later update, "Journey Into Imagination With Figment". Though it is a notable improvement over the second version of the ride, most long time Disney parkgoers tend to agree that the ride's first incarnation was by far its best.

    Video Games 
  • The Hub's Adventure Ponies! is an amusing little retraux Flash platformer that, while not amazingly good, is a fun way to kill an hour or two. Adventure Ponies 2: Wait! There's More?! wasn't as warmly received; besides the loss of the colorful backgrounds of the first game in favor of brown forests and caverns, the game is essentially a Mission-Pack Sequel to the original game with different characters. Even looking past that, it's a lot buggier than its big brother (the game has been known to crash to a sprite sheet or debug menu on occasion).
  • Alone in the Dark:
    • The second game is generally seen as one of the worst in the series, due to a combination of rushing it out to try and capitalize on the original's success (the director later acknowledged in an interview that they knew the game was buggy and unbalanced, but weren't concerned about the quality) and attempting to cash in on Wolfenstein 3D's success. The end result is it's essentially a shooter, but it made no attempt to change the base gameplay (you'll often end up getting shot at from offscreen, and in the unlikely event that you do manage to get an enemy in your view, good luck aiming at him) and ends up borderline unplayable. The entire "horror" thing is also completely absent, with it taking the little moments of silliness that were common in contemporary horror games and cranking them up to eleven until the game became a self-parody. It really says something when the most famous part of a "survival horror" game involves bludgeoning zombie dwarf cooks to death with a frying pan while wearing a Santa outfit. Fortunately, the third game reintroduced the adventure elements from the original and took itself a bit more seriously.
    • The 2008 reboot received fairly mediocre reviews, but many suggested the game's main problems owed more to trying to do too much and being an Obvious Beta; the common line was "it has a lot of interesting ideas but they aren't well-realized." It was followed years down the line by Alone in The Dark: Illumination, regarded as a fifteenth-rate Left 4 Dead knockoff with impressively broken combat and a metric load of bugs. The poor reception may finally put the franchise to rest.
  • Another World wasn't intended to have a sequel, but Interplay, who brought the game to the U.S. (as Out of This World), decided they really needed to produce one. The result was Heart of the Alien, a mess of a game which only confirmed Eric Chahi's initial doubts.
  • Arc the Lad: End of Darkness is widely considered inferior to Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits and is one of the worst rated PS2 RPGs. The game features a new, but slow and cluncky, Action RPG battle system and most of its maps and character models are cut-pasted from its predecessor. The reception was so bad that no new game was annunced until Arc The Lad R, a mobile game, in 2018 (14 years later).
  • Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel. The first two games didn't break much new ground in the Third-Person Shooter genre, but still garnered a fanbase by embracing the macho "bro" culture for all their worth. Devil's Cartel strips away the few unique elements the other games did havenote , robbing the series of its charm.
  • The Army Men franchise was initially insanely popular. Then somewhere the lackluster spin-offs and In Name Only sequels slowly choked off sales until 3DO finally went bankrupt in 2003. Even with the parent company dead, other companies are still trying to make cash off of the brand, the latest entries getting some of the worst reviews in shooting games; even a similar attempt at a game like it in The Mean Greens has, at best, received glowing reviews but no lasting playerbase.
  • The fourth game in the Avernum series switched from the antiquated engine and sketch-like, endearing graphics of the first three to something more powerful and (theoretically) more realistic, and hence got hit with They Changed It, Now It Sucks!. Since the new engine was taken from Geneforge, it also got hit with They Copied It, So It Sucks!. And since the plot was quite similar to that of the third game, it was also subject to It's the Same, Now It Sucks!. Then there were the complaints when the game was taken on its own merits...
  • Backyard Sports started off as a decently enjoyable game series with clever characters and a good sense of humor. After Atari's buy-out from Humongous Entertainment, the series began a noticeable drop in quality.
  • Battlefield V. Over time, many fans came to view the BFV entry as weakest installment in the mainline Battlefield games (1942, 2142, Vietnam and the 5 numbered titles) with much criticism aimed at its botched launch and weak post-launch support. Upon release in November 2018, the game had game-breaking bugs, deviated from the realistic aesthetics of previous games, didn't have iconic battles and lacked advertised features like the much-touted battle royale mode. While past Battlefield games improved with updates, BFV was riddled with problems throughout its lifecycle and whatever updates it received took too long to implementnote . The game couldn't even support double XP events or having more than 4 game modes at a time even though these features have been in every prior Battlefield games. Many fans have compared the game unfavorably to its predecessor Battlefield 1 as that game was released in a solid state and improved over time whereas Battlefield V lingered in mediocrity for its entire lifespan. It's widely accepted as a very missed opportunity as Dice & EA took what was a highly anticipated game that was going back to its World War 2 roots, and instead created a buggy, controversial mess.
  • The arcade version of beatmania IIDX 9th Style didn't go so well with fans. The judgment timing windows are inconsistent from song to song; one song may be ridiculously easy to score on, another may feel very tight, another may be off, etc. In addition, 9th Style took out the Effector, a staple of the series, and a Game-Breaking Bug sometimes causes the game to crash upon selecting "Quasar". Dance Dance Revolution X and X2, especially the console versions, suffered from similar problems.
  • Poor, poor Blood. The first game in the series was a major cult hit, and is still often considered the best shooter to ever run on the Build Engine. However, the second game hit major Troubled Production woes, and was given a mandate to be programmed in under a year—even the game's director told the publisher that the game was simply not finished. They shipped it anyway, and it showed, leaving the franchise strangled in the cradle.
  • Bloody Roar peaked early with Bloody Roar II, and every game since that one hit a drop in quality that ended with Bloody Roar 4. By then, the series had devolved into a mindless Button Mashing game, and was hard to take seriously.
  • Bubsy was never the most well-received franchise, but it really dropped the ball on the 1996 Bubsy 3D, considered one of the worst games of all time. It was one of the first 3D platformers released... a few months after the much better-received Super Mario 64. Bubsy 3D caused the franchise to lay dead for 21 years, until it got revived in 2017.
  • Call of Duty got into this with its business model of new games getting released yearly, resulting in ten-plus games so far. Peoplenote  started to realize they were paying $60 for games very similar to each other every year, as Ghosts has sold less than many of the previous Call of Duty games before it.
  • Call of Juarez: The Cartel, riding off the successful Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, shifted the series from the Old West into a more modern setting and brought with it unresponsive controls, graphical glitches galore, and uninspired level design that penalizes you for going off track. Thankfully, the series was able to quickly get back on its feet with Gunslinger.
  • Chibi-Robo! was a decent little Gamecube-original platformer-adventure game hybrid, known for its large open world and charming concept of being able to explore a house as a tiny robot. It sold satisfactorily, got good reviews, and developed a small but devoted fanbase. However, the franchise seemed to have an odd aversion to just making a newer installment, with most of the results being small-budget spinoffs that failed to impress. It all culminated in Chibi-Robo: Zip Dash, which pretty much ditched the franchise's entire aesthetic and most of its gimmicks in favor of a depressingly bog-standard and mediocre 2D sidescroller, with the baffling gimmick of requiring the player to roll a roulette wheel to determine whether or not they could advance to the next stage after beating a level. Paradoxically, despite the massive overhaul, the producers essentially said that if the game failed, the franchise would probably never see another entry. It did, receiving poor reviews, alienating what little fanbase the franchise had left, and having copies marked down to clearance levels.
  • Sony's former two PS1-era platformer franchises, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, share a similar fate of both being franchises that started out with a solid first game, followed by two sequels that were better than the first, and then afterwards succumbing to Franchise Zombie territory after being mishandled by the same parent company (Universal Interactive Studios/Vivendi Games). Crash's first outing without Naughty Dog, The Wrath of Cortex, was considered to be average at best, but it was more playable compared to Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, Spyro's first outing without Insomniac Games. An Obvious Beta that suffered from uninspired level design, Loads and Loads of Loading (they even had loading screens for the loading-screens!), terrible graphics, terrible voice acting (which shows how much they cared, almost the entire voice cast didn't reprised their roles), and being so glitchy in the PS 2 version that achieving 100% Completion was near impossible.
  • The Dark Parables series of hidden object games have fallen victim to this, with ten games in the series. It's generally considered that the first four games in the series are the best, with original storytelling and gameplay. Starting with the fifth game, The Final Cinderella, the reviews weren't as positive as the games began to repeat game mechanics, dropped in art quality, and shifting story focus; however, the next game, Jack and the Sky Kingdom, was well received. It also hasn't helped the following installments that Blue Tea Games eventually sold the game series to another developer, Eipix; the eighth game, The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide, was a collaboration between the two in order to transition the series to Eipix, and this is considered one of the weakest games in the series. The fandom is divided over the quality of the series as it progresses.
  • The Dark Tales series has been experiencing this since its sixth game, with player opinion of the quality varying widely. The eighth game, The Tell-Tale Heart, has unquestionably the worst reviews of any game in the series, thanks largely to the ending which does nothing to resolve the mystery.
  • Dawn of War and its expansions are generally agreed to have suffered from this.
    • The original Dawn of War was quite liked. The combination of hard counters and the ability to customize individual units with various upgrades was hailed as a brilliant move, and though the balance was far from perfect (due to every race but one mostly comprising heavy infantry and thus being especially vulnerable to the Eldar race's focus on hard counters), it was a decent game.
    • Then came Winter Assault, which was originally anticipated for its addition of the Imperial Guard and several units for the existing sides. And then it hit, and the fanbase raged. Fresh out of the gate, Chaos players were severely miffed that their Chaos Marines had all their heavy weapons ripped out in an attempt to streamline the tech trees, the hard counter system was gone, and special fury was caused by the fact that Terminators and Obliterators had been nerfed hilariously. Unit obsolescence was also a large problem here.
    • Following Winter Assault, Dark Crusade promised fixes on several problems with the original game and Winter Assault, and it was a very bold attempt after the failure of Winter Assault, including an addition of a hard cap system, the return of some CSM heavy weapons, and several problems with Space Marines were fixed. Unfortunately, the game remained riddled with problems, and it introduced one of the most hated "fixes" in the series. Apparently having decided that firing on the move was overpowered, Relic introduced a flat accuracy penalty for firing on the move... of 15%. No Dreadnought ever saw a weapon upgrade again, as the assault cannon was not only functionally useless (and all other units intended to fire on the move became useless as well), it hindered the Dread's melee ability, and the Eldar Fleet of Foot ability became tantamount to godmode. This was an ability on practically all Eldar infantry that boosted their movement speed beyond everything in the game, and with the accuracy reduction, there was no reason at all not to use it. A plethora of other glitches also existed. Then, after a 7 month wait for a patch, it came. And not only did it leave many things unchanged, it nerfed practically everything but Eldar, the race that was even before the patch decried by numerous fans as overpowered. In addition to all this, the two new races introduced were also blatantly broken on release.
    • And then Soulstorm came out and balanced a great many things, thanks to Iron Lore. Unfortunately, it was not to be: THQ and Relic forced the addition of flying units, something the engine was never designed to accommodate, in the process cutting the addition of many greatly-demanded units like Ork Wyrdboyz, the Leman Russ Demolisher and the Wraithguard, for example. The game's voice acting and script were also greatly criticized. And then it happened. 19 hours after launch, a game-breaking glitch for the Sisters of Battle was found that effectively killed all multiplayer until after a 9 month wait for a fix, and by that point, the game was well and truly dead. The game also suffered from multiple other glitches and bugs, and the Eldar remained blatantly overpowered.
  • Dawn of War III is considered a serious step-down from its celebrated predecessor, downgrading to only three playable factions in the base game instead of the traditional four, and adopting a cartoonish, exaggerated art and gameplay style that drew plenty of Narm and unfavorable comparisons to StarCraft. Few of the returning characters from previous games had their original voice actors, and the campaign's bare-bones plot and Generic Doomsday Villain left a sour taste in a lot of mouths. The backlash and lack of sales that was generated by these factors caused Relic to announce ten months later that support was ending for DOW III, and all planned content for the game was cancelled, making it likely that this game killed the Dawn of War franchise entirely.
  • Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, a girls-only spinoff of the main DOA fighting games, offered a decent volleyball game to go with its heaping helping of fanservice. While Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 boasted better character models and a few more minigames, much of its content was recycled from the first DOAX, and the new content wasn't compelling enough to justify its initial cost.
    • The third game Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Fortune/Venus (depending on its console) took the meager plot out entirely, removed old characters like Tina, Lisa and Christie in favor of bringing in Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate's Female Tengu, Honoka, Marie Rose and Momiji, and took out several mini-games from Xtreme 2 note  and put in a simple button-input rock climbing minigame instead.
  • The Destroy All Humans! franchise. It started off with a well-liked game set in the 1950s, followed this up with a decent game set in the 1960s, and then two games set in the 1970s, Big Willy Unleashed! and Path of the Furon, that received such bad reviews (this was mostly due to them not only being rushed to release, but suffering from many signs of Obvious Beta and Flanderization of the main characters) they shot the franchise down with a seeker missile. However, the current owners of the series (THQ Nordic) have said of their plans to revive the series, starting by porting the first two games to the Playstation 4.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Devil May Cry 2 is generally considered to be far inferior to the original, what with its lousy story, bland combat, and greatly lowered difficulty level.
    • Dm C Devil May Cry is despised by fans due to its "Westernized" approach, overly simplified combat system, and Dante's new immature and unfunny characterization. The negative reaction to DmC led Capcom to shelve the reboot continuity altogether and eventually release a new game set in the original continuity, to considerable acclaim.
  • Double Dragon:
    • The original game was a fairly innovative beat 'em up that introduced some of the conventions used in later games of the genre like two-player co-op and obtainable weapons, while the arcade version of Double Dragon II was mostly a Mission-Pack Sequel with a fairly improved NES version. Double Dragon III on the other hand, featured crappier "realistic" graphics, replaced half of the original game's moves and weapons with ineffectual new ones, and added a gimmicky shopping system where you can purchase power-ups for your character (including a replacement character) by inserting more tokens to the machine. There were a few more Double Dragon games after the third one, but the series never achieved the same level of popularity it once had with the first two games.
    • On home consoles, the NES edition of Double Dragon III is still seen as a very good game despite its absurdly high difficulty. The series didn't really go downhill until Super Double Dragon, which was rushed out to store shelves as an Obvious Beta. Then came the dismal Double Dragon V which, despite being a numbered sequel, wasn't even by the original developers, threw out the beat 'em up formula and swapped it for lackluster one-on-one fighting.
  • While the Dynasty Warriors series has long been accused of Capcom Sequel Stagnation, even longtime defenders found it hard to say much good about 2018's Dynasty Warriors 9. One of the biggest points of contention was the new open-world map design, which failed to add anything meaningful to gameplay but made it trivial to bypass enemy soldiers to take down the commanders. Combat was also stripped down and homogenized, with the combo system being completely altered to give every character a set of attacks that only differ aesthetically. Weapon diversity was similarly butchered, ostensibly in the name of realism; more cynical individuals posit that the actual reason was to sell DLC weapon packs later on.
  • Earnest Evans isn't so well regarded as El Viento, in part due to poor gameplay and design and most infamously, poorly done graphics, especially on the titular hero, who is made up of multiple sprites put together to create the illusion of more fluid movement, but only succeeded in making Earnest look like a deranged marionette. The cutscenes in Earnest Evans are commonly poorly done, though they were removed completely from the American version, which tried to make it a sequel rather than a prequel to El Viento. The Earnest Evans trilogy ended with the Japan-only title Annet Futatabi, a Golden Axe ripoff whose most outstanding points were cutscenes and copious Fake Difficulty.
  • Earthworm Jim was a weird and well-received game. The second game was even better in nearly every aspect. Then the series met the Polygon Ceiling courtesy of a different developer, and anything resembling quality went out the window. Then Shiny Entertainment themselves threw their own quality off their windows some time after dumping Jim.
  • Epic Mickey was an average game at worst, suffering mostly from Camera Screw, janky controls, and not living up to the (admittedly impressive) hype. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two took all the problems the original had and left them basically unchanged (if anything, they got worse), and added co-op play with a broken AI, grating voices and song sections, and boring puzzles. The resulting game collapsed with a quarter of the original's sales and took its developer with it.
  • The first two episodes of Eye of the Beholder, while not revolutionary, were excellent dungeon crawlers and the second is recognized as an Even Better Sequel. Then Westwood went on to work on Lands of Lore but SSI decided to make another sequel anyway. The result was a game that brought back many of the flaws of the original and amplified them, with absurd mazes and frustrating difficulty, and suffered from a mediocrely programmed engine too.
  • Fallout 76: In what seems to be a trend for Fallout spinoffs, the game is generally considered by gamers and critics to be the worst game in the series since Bethesda bought the franchise. Dated visuals, buggy gameplay, an outdated engine, the absence of a story and human NPCs, and insipid and asinine gameplay all add up to a game that has been savaged by review outlets and fans alike. The result is a game that seemingly pleases no one. It's worth noting that many fans and critics agree that the idea of a multiplayer Fallout game is a great one, but its implementation leaves a lot to be desired.
  • While there's a lot of flame wars out there about whether and which Final Fantasy this applies to, there are two prominent examples largely agreed upon, however:
    • The first release of Final Fantasy XIV was universally considered to be subpar upon release. The reception for the game was so bad that many of the staff working on it were laid off, and Square Enix had to make the game free to play in order to keep fans around. Because of this, the game underwent a complete overhaul in order to fix the many problems that were addressed by reviewers. It divided people, but was better at least.
    • While not a direct sequel, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest was poorly received by critics and fans alike due to its shallow gameplay and lack of story. The game scored an infamous "25/100" in Metacritic, the lowest of the franchise.
  • The first two FlatOut games were well-known for their destructible environments and ragdoll driver physics - the most amusing parts being the mini-games that involved the player launching their driver out of his car into various targets and watching him flop around in pain. Five years separated the second and third games, and development was taken up by Team 6 Games (of European Street Racer infamy) while Bugbear Interactive worked on Ridge Racer: Unbounded. Unfortunately, Team 6's FlatOut game looks ugly, is riddled with bugs, and none of the tracks are fun to navigate. That said, a fourth game has since come out and while it's not as good as the original two, it's at least an improvement over the third one.
  • When Activision took over the Guitar Hero franchise from Red Octane, they released a ton of sequels in a very short time. While the quality of the sequels varies, the constant stagnation between those games choked the life out of the genre for several years.
  • Harry Potter: The first two games are seen as fun and enjoyable games that while not great, avert a lot of the issues that plague movie licensed games of the era. The third is also well-liked but not to quite to the extent of the first two. However, starting with the fourth, most people feel that Electronic Arts got lazy with the license and just started cranking out subpar releases that are more in line with the quality that you'd expect for licensed movie games. The 7th and 8th games, in particular, are more or less considered unplayable.
  • Surprisingly, the Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA series has managed to largely avert this despite the existence of ten main series games, two spinoff series with four games between them, two arcade installments, and two mobile game installments. The only real stumble the series has experienced was with the 10th main series title, Project DIVA X, which is considered a significant downgrade to the highly-acclaimed F subseries due to recycling a lot of questionable design choices from the very first game that 2nd fixed, such as a Randomly Drops acquisition system, none of the short story videos that made the series iconic, and an incredibly small tracklist. In addition, it suffers from Sequel Difficulty Drop and a "story" that was very hyped up in trailers but ultimately boils down to an Excuse Plot. Fortunately, Project Diva Future Tone came shortly afterwards, which is considered the best in the series due to its massive song list and difficulty.
  • Homeworld averted this, barely, with 'standalone expansion' Cataclysm, despite it being a literal Mission-Pack Sequel. It caught some flak for the dramatic shift in narrative tone and the new tech and ship designs were a bit hit-or-miss, but it did some pretty cool stuff with the existing graphics engine and generally came across like the development team at sub-contractee Barking Dog had at least played the original. Homeworld 2 was a bit less fortunate, however; a lot of the original creative team had moved on in the interim, and Relic massively over-extended themselves trying to create game environments with 'megastructures' straight out of the best kind of Space Opera and generally go Serial Escalation, and much of the more Crazy Awesome stuff failed to make the final cut. The end result was by no means bad -the graphics stand up quite well six years later and it's a lot more mod-friendly than the previous two- but the finished product had several minor but annoying bugs and balance issues and generally felt rushed. The gulf between Relic's original vision and the final release version didn't help.
  • For being such a guilty pleasure, HuniePop still had a rock-solid puzzle gameplay and a nice animesque visual style. When the pseudo-sequel HunieCam Studio came out, many disliked how it ditched all of its most popular features. The puzzle/Dating Sim hybrid was substituted by a shallow and repetitive Tycoon-style management game, the animesque style replaced by a more cartoony "Western" style that clashed with the game's erotic themes and, while the offensive humor abounded and in some cases was turned Up to Eleven, the actual explicit content was reduced to a minimum. The girls received little to no characterization outside of the fetishes they embody, unlike the previous game. And, all in all, HCS is really not that different from the browser and Facebook games it's meant to parody. Thankfully, at the time of this writing (2018), the devs are working on an actual HuniePop 2 that will be much closer to the predecessor.
  • Initial D Arcade Stage started to suffer from this after Ver. 3, not necessarily because of game quality, but because the game changes way too much with each new game in a series where the player can transfer their personal data from one installment to the next, and as a result playing a new game is like relearning how to walk in an adult body.
  • The first game in the Kunio-kun series was localised for western audiences as Renegade and considered to be a fine Beat 'em Up, enough so that Ocean Software made their own separate sequels to it. The first sequel, Target: Renegade, combining the original game with cues from the then-nascent Double Dragon franchise was also well received and considered a worthy sequel. The third game, Renegade III: The Final Chapter, received a very poor reception, was widely considered to be an In Name Only entry in the series and ended up being a Franchise Killer - no new Renegade games were released after it.
  • Nearly any Lemmings game after Lemmings 2: The Tribes.
  • LEGO Island 2: The Brickster's Revenge is somewhere between this and Contested Sequel. It was beyond rushed to the shelves, and the final product a very extreme case of Loads and Loads of Loading, dull and lifeless voice acting, painfully linear gameplay, no replay factor, a removal of a lot of characters, little explanation to anything, and mediocre animation.
  • The first LEGO Star Wars game was somewhat enjoyable for kids, and since that focused on the prequel trilogy it made sense to eventually follow it up with a sequel based on the classic trilogy. However since then, discounting minor additions they've essentially been using the exact same gameplay and simply applied it to different licensed themes, having now done LEGO Indiana Jones (two of 'em), LEGO Harry Potter, LEGO The Lord of the Rings, LEGO Batman, and Lego Marvel Super Heroes. Aside from the last two, all the games are basically made up of levels loosely based on scenes from their respective movies (with cutscenes that are literally just cheesy re-enactments with no dialogue) and some hanging out in a notable location from the respective franchise in between.
  • Madden NFL and similar sport game series are notorious for being continued every year, usually with next to no changes in gameplay or even graphics. The main difference is updated statistics and players. EA bought an exclusive license from NFL and, while they don't own the rights to football and football games, EA has the exclusive rights to a huge number of real teams, players and stadiums, giving them a monopoly on mainstream football games.
  • Manhunt was a well-received game for its creepy tension, innovative use of sound, complex enemy AI, and wide variety of kill moves. Manhunt 2 was a step back from that, with less intelligent enemies, less menace and tension, and a confusing story. At least the gorn is still good — or at least it was, until Rockstar was forced to censor it to avoid an AO rating, since none of the major console manufacturers allow AO-rated games on their systems.
  • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: Reception for the games that followed on the Wii releases has been increasingly negative. Sochi 2014 was criticized for recycling the majority of Vancouver 2010's events and having a less engaging single-player, while Rio 2016 was bashed for having the least amount of minigames out of all entries up to that point. Though Tokyo 2020 fared a little better critically, it's still considered lackluster due to the bare-bones Story Mode and the lack of Dream Events.
  • The Marvel vs. Capcom series is widely agreed to have peaked at Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, with Marvel vs. Capcom 3 facing criticism over X-Factor and switch to 3D graphics. While Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite's gameplay was applauded, it quickly became infamous for poor attempts at realistic graphics, a ham-fisted story and numerous instances of Executive Meddling, leading to it becoming the Franchise Killer.
  • Opinion differs on whether Master of Orion or Master of Orion II is the better game, but almost no-one thinks Master of Orion III is anything but unmitigated crap.
  • BIONICLE's Mata Nui Online Game is a rough around the edges, hastily made and not too challenging, but charming Point-and-Click Game that many fans consider the franchise's best piece of media for its memorable characters, commendable writing, great world establishment and fantastic atmosphere. Mata Nui Online Game II is a step up in technical terms, it looks more polished and the gameplay is a lot more involved, but has none of the original's story element and likable characters. Grinding is a massive chore, the bartering system is tedious, world-building is replaced with walls of exposition that read like religious mantra, and the ending is unfulfilling: you don't get to play the championship you trained hours for, because LEGO forced the developers to tie the game into their then-upcoming animated film. It is also literally unplayable without fan patches thanks to Lego losing some gamefiles. The Voya Nui Online Game, a Role-Playing Game unrelated to the previous two in all but name and a few characters, is either an improvement for being more fun, or even worse for being more tedious in its later parts and not being canon to the franchise's story.
  • Mega Man X7 is generally considered the worst game in the franchise due to its terrible gameplay in the 3D stages, awful voice acting and for Axl being a whiny Replacement Scrappy to X.
  • The first three games in Sony's NFL GameDay series (especially GameDay '98) were highly innovative in both their realism and gameplay; one reviewer predicted that GameDay would displace EA's well-established Madden NFL franchise. In fact, the opposite occurred; Madden grew more sophisticated over time, while subsequent GameDay installments were criticized for having mediocre graphics and uninspired gameplay. Gamers evidently agreed, as sales declined until Sony cancelled the series in 2005.
  • The NASCAR games from the same publisher (EA Sports) and developer (EA Tiburon) as Madden suffered a particularly bad case of this, with sales dropping off with each increasingly sub-mediocre entry. The series was eventually killed outright after having a particularly awful faceplant onto 7th-generation consoles.
  • Some fans of the Need for Speed series argue the series got really bad after the third or so installment, especially when it started drifting into GTA territory.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 is seen as an unspectacular WRPG. Mask of the Betrayer, its expansion, is seen as one of the best-written games out there, and usually gets compared favorably to Planescape: Torment (it was made by many of the same people). On the other hand, the second expansion, Storm of Zehir, ditched the story-driven aspects (possibly because of Mask being a Tough Act to Follow) in favor of an open-world retro dungeon-crawler in the style of Icewind Dale. Though it's not considered bad by the standards of retro dungeon-crawlers, including one of the best applications of the skill system, it's nowhere near as well-regarded as its predecessors.
  • NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams is widely considered inferior to the original, partially due to being spearheaded by Takashi Iisuka, instead of Yuji Naka & Naoto Oshima, creators of the original title and partially due to averting the minimalist aspects of the first game along with gameplay changes.
  • Ninja Gaiden III was a major departure from what made the first two Xbox/PS3 entries memorable, stripping Ryu of most of his arsenalnote  and nerfing the previous games' punishing difficulty to the point that battles are no longer challenging or fun.
  • After the release of Painkiller and its expansion pack, developer People Can Fly moved on to greener pastures and the publisher hired a revolving door of developers to produce a slew of sequel, which were generally buggy and suffered from amateurish graphics and game design (one of them, Overdose, literally started as a mod before being upgraded to a full-blown retail game). The last game in the series, Hell & Damnation fared slightly better due to being a remake of the first installment with some of the original developers on-board, but even then it faced harsh critcism for its decision to withold levels that were in the base game and make them paid DLC.
  • Planet Puzzle League is generally disliked by longtime fans of the series for having slower, floatier mechanics than previous games, cutting out popular features from previous games such as 3D mode and four-player multiplayer while adding very little in return, and most notoriously almost completely removing the mascot characters, excising the story in the process, in favor of a bland, generic "techno" motif. The only trace of the franchise's roots is Lip's stage as an unlockable - and the Western releases didn't even get that much!
  • Perfect Dark is considered one of the best Nintendo 64 games. Prequelitis ensued with Perfect Dark Zero, you can essentially call it a In Name Only prequel. The continuity of the first game is only glanced upon, Joanna is a spunky oddly clad girl with red hair and a penchant for one liners. The Carrington Institute makes an appearance... with Carrington himself having become 200% more Scottish, complete with a kilt. The aliens are non-existent and only hinted in one cutscene, the main antagonist being a company connected to dataDyne being run by a small stereotypical Chinese man. The gameplay? The game was developed by a different team (because the original developers left Rare), that speaks for itself; it plays more like Gears of War or Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter than a follow-up to the original Perfect Dark.
  • In spite of being the most story driven of the Puyo Puyo series, YON and 7 are often seen as this due to its usage of Scrappy Mechanics.
    • For Yon, the pacing was noticeably slowed down from Tsu's pacing, from the base gravity speed, to the time it takes for Puyo to split when placed on uneven piles. It also attempted to introduce special abilities for each character, but it falls flat due to the lack of competitive balance and potential for dragging out matches. The issues are absent in the Pocket version, but the console's flaws are often brought to the forefront.
    • 7 attempted to bring a twist to the "Fever" mode introduced in the Fever games by introducing "Transformation", which would eventually be split and called "Giant Puyo Rush" and "Tiny Puyo Rush" in later installments. On paper, it does bring a fresh take on an already-established mode, but in practice, the balance is absolutely busted. Giant mode in particular attempts to balance itself by having short chains caused by a smaller field and being lower on the chaining power curve, but with how easy it is to perform an All Clear, it's possible to cap out the timer, allowing the player to chain at leisure while sending copious amounts of garbage in bursts. Oh, and its chain is cumulative until it goes without popping Puyo for long enough, unlike Tiny mode which resets chain setups like standard Fever mode.
  • Resident Evil series:
    • The series was heading this way starting with the third game which re-hashed the second game only giving more emphasis on the Raccoon City outbreak. Resident Evil – Code: Veronica (the technical fourth game) hardly added anything new to the formula save some improved camera angles. The remake of the first game picked up some interest but that fell with Resident Evil 0 which coasted by on a gimmick that let you switch between the two characters. After a few side games (Survivor, Gaiden, Dead Aim, the Outbreak games), the series did an overhaul with Resident Evil 4 which was praised as one of the better games. Then part five came and it was considered more of the same only with co-op added. The less said about Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City the better.
    • Resident Evil 6 got an overall mixed reception compared to previous installments, with most of the professional reviews being extremely polarized as really positive or really negative.
  • The general fate of the RollerCoaster Tycoon series. RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 is generally still well-regarded, but gets some accusations of being an unambitious Mission-Pack Sequel with less creative scenarios. 3 switched developers to Frontier Developments, and while it was eventually Vindicated by History, it was a somewhat buggy Contested Sequel at launch and spawned many arguments over whether or not the franchise hit the Polygon Ceiling. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D, released eight years later as a 3DS exclusive, did not split fans over hitting the Polygon Ceiling, being viewed as excessively limited even taking the handheld's limitations into account and bogged down by constant tutorials. 4 is viewed as a straight-up bad game for being "free", and as such being the perfect embodiment of all the things people hate about the freemium business model. Atari tried to Win Back the Crowd with World, but it flopped with unimpressive reviews due to being even buggier than 3. RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch was better received than 4 (not like that was hard), though still not viewed as much better than So Okay, It's Average; it was followed up by the low-effort Switch/PC port RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures, which had an investment strategy handled so poorly and so bizarrely that some suspect it may have been part of a tax writeoff scheme. Even these games' defenders have nothing nice to say about RollerCoaster Tycoon Story, an In Name Only mobile Match-Three Game that was universally panned as a cheap cashgrab and had fans clamoring for Atari to either sell the IP or put it out of its misery already.
  • SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS, despite its much wider variety of playable cards compared to its two Neo Geo Color Pocket predecessors, is commonly perceived as having a weaker and more easy-to-break battle system. First-run English copies also contained an unavoidable Game-Breaking Bug that prevented completion of the New Game+.
  • The Shining Series really was the fantasy series in the Sega Genesis era topping off with an amazing if little-known three-part finale on the Sega Saturn. Attempts to branch off into the action-adventure genre have varied between mediocre-but-passable (SF Neo, SF EXA, Shining Soul II) to forgettable (Shining Tears, the original Shining Soul). Atlus and Sega did a competent job with the Game Boy Advance Enhanced Remake of the first Shining Force. Fans have been waiting for years to see if a remake of Shining Force II will surface, but it's looking increasingly unlikely every day.
  • Silent Hill:
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The first four titles on the Sega Genesis (as well as the obscure installment for the Sega CD add-on) were highly praised at the time of their release, and are still largely considered the best titles in the series. The series was largely out of the limelight during the Sega Saturn era, with Sonic Team pursuing different projects and Sega making new Sonic games without them to little success (with the cancellation of Sonic X-treme, what would had been the Video Game 3D Leap for the series, being the most notorious example of this).
    • The franchise eventually made its 3D leap (with questionable results) through the Sonic Adventure series on the Sega Dreamcast. While they are regarded as good games (particularly the sequel) they are widely considered to be a step down from the classics, due to various bugs and glitches, a poor camera, and the contentious alternate playstyles. From there, the series continued its first decline, with Sonic Heroes being considered to be average, the Shadow the Hedgehog spinoff being mostly panned, and the series hitting its low point with Sonic 2006, a rushed, glitch-ridden mess that is near-universally despised by gamers and critics alike. The trend initially started to reverse with Sonic Unleashed, with the subsequent console versions of Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations being lauded by fans as the best 3D titles in the franchise; only for another decline to occur with Sonic Lost World seriously dividing reviewers and fans alike, the Sonic Boom spinoff games being outright duds, and Sonic Forces considered an unremarkable disappointment. (With that said, the retraux side-game Sonic Mania, developed by a different team, received widespread praise as the best-Sonic game in years; indicating that there may still be some hope for the Blue Blur as of yet.)
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 compared to its direct predecessors (the aforementioned Genesis titles), upon which its two episodes are considered anything but worthy followups. The main points of contention are the gameplay and controls being virtually nothing like the original games, while the game at the same time heavily recycled content from its predecessors as opposed to bringing new material to the table.
  • The Soul series got hit with this pretty hard in The New '10s. Soul Edge was a respectable 3D fighter, though it wound up being overshadowed by its sister series and then displaced by its sequel Soulcalibur, which became a major Killer App for the Sega Dreamcast. Soulcalibur II continued to improve upon its predecessor's refinements and is considered one of the best fighting games of all time. The third and fourth Calibur games aren't bad, but couldn't match the standards set by II. Then came Soulcalibur V, which was full of Fake Balance and a number of changes to the story that were met with a lot of derision from the fanbase. Major League Gaming, the crowd that V was meant to appeal to, rejected it outright. Then, the series shifted focus with Soulcalibur: Unbreakable Soul and Soulcalibur: Lost Swords, which got even more backlash from the inclusion of microtransactions and online DRM, respectively. note  Couple that with all three of those titles coming out in a twelve-month period, and for a long time, the subsequent fall from grace had left the fate of the series up in the air. Subverted with Soulcalibur VI, which fortunately managed to reverse the downwards spiral and won acclaim from critics and fans alike.
  • The Spider-Man: The Movie games demonstrated much the same path as the movies: the first one is good, the second is awesome, then things go a bit downhill. Fortunately, Web of Shadows was there to fix matters after Friend or Foe, which we do not talk about.
  • Star Control was a fun turn-based strategy game. Star Control 2 was an epic action-adventure Even Better Sequel. Star Control 3, made by none of the people involved with the first two, is a game most fans try to forget about.
  • A very divisive example is the Star Fox series after Star Fox 64. There's so much Fan Myopia that it has led to one of the most broken fanbases of all time. Nintendo themselves have caught on to the decrease in sales, and though Miyamoto joked about it, it took the series almost a decade to get a new game (Star Fox 64 3D notwithstanding).
  • The general consensus of Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is that while the original game's controller was bulky and gimmicky, at least it worked. Heavy Armor's hybrid Kinect/traditional controller setup was meant to mimic this feeling without the use of as many buttons, but the implementation is sloppy and the game is barely playable as a result.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken, despite a lot of early excitement among the fighting game community, never caught on as well as Capcom's previous Intercontinuity Crossover games did (with the exception of Capcom Fighting Evolution, which is perceived to be just as bad), mainly due to its slower pacing and gimmicky "Gem" system that granted temporary status buffs. The decision to lock most of SFxT's content behind a paywall (most infamously including a dozen fighters that were coded into the game discs at launch, but not officially added to the roster until months after the game's release) drew even heavier criticism, along with derisive jokes about future Capcom games shipping with disc-locked DLC.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The New Super Mario Bros. series. While they all received a generally great critical reception and were huge commercial successes for Nintendo, the sequels have also fallen under criticism for not bringing much to the table. The biggest point of contention are the games' static presentation, with the games reusing the same music and level tropes (as well as the same sequence order of level tropes), and all having a similar artstyle (though the fourth game, New Super Mario Bros. U, is generally credited to have at least significantly tweaked the aesthetics). The third game in particular, New Super Mario Bros. 2, is usually considered the weakest entry in the series, due to the only real major addition to the formula being a coin-collection gimmick.note 
    • The Mario Party series is filled to the brim with this trope. Every sequel has had a few new gimmicks and mini games to stand out from the game before it, but eventually, the games started to rehash older mini games/boards/gimmicks with a slight tweak to them. Fan favorite Donkey Kong was quickly shunted to the side as an NPC after being a playable character in a few games and has even completely vanished from some of the party games as well. Other characters kept coming and going like a revolving door; characters like Toad and Blooper would appear in only one or two games while others like Birdo and Dry Bones only appeared in certain other games. Since the party games kept being released every year or every other year, fans started to notice just how stale the series was getting, which may explain why Mario Party 9 came out four years after the eighth party and revamped the basics of the game. It was poorly received by the fanbase, viewed as neither interesting nor unique. That being said, even detractors preferred it over 10, thanks to Bowser Mode being weighed heavily in Bowser's favor, to the point where it's almost impossible for the other players to win. It wouldn't be until Super Mario Party was released on the Nintendo Switch that a Mario Party installment would be generally warmly received by the fanbase.
    • The Paper Mario games have this. The second is usually considered superior to the original and is seen as the high point of the series. Super Paper Mario is generally agreed to be a step down in gameplay, but it's said to have the best story out of all the games. Paper Mario: Sticker Star, however, is considered to be a complete step down in both story and gameplay by revamping combat and making battles redundant. Paper Mario: Color Splash is polarizing, but the general consensus is that it's at least much better than Sticker Star.
    • A Super Mario World hack series, Super Sig World, has twenty five installments in about two or three years. They're considered terrible, with the best ones being merely average as the amount of reused content is kind of staggering. Just making a 70-level game every three months is perceived like overkill.
    • The Mario Tennis subseries hit this trope with its Wii U installment, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, getting significantly worse reviews than its predecessors for its abysmal lack of content. Many of its players have noted that, in some respects, it feels more like an open beta for the significantly more polished and much better-received Mario Tennis Aces.
  • Sword of the Stars II has gotten a lot of flak from the original's fans for dramatic shifts in the mechanics and unneeded extra complexity for no obvious good reason.
  • Thunder Force VI. Released over 10 years after Thunder Force V, it came to be a massive disappointment amongst fans. Very short game length (even by shmup standards), the lack of the "direct" control scheme from V, bosses that are made pathetically easy thanks to a certain ship's Limit Break, excessive Internal Homages, and stages that pale in comparison to the rest of the series; the last stage, for instance, looks like a cheap version of Thunder Force V's Stage 4.
  • Tomb Raider II was generally considered almost equal or an Even Better Sequel on release. By Chronicles, the Tomb Raider series had firmly fell into this and The Angel of Darkness was the last straw before the series began recovering by being moved from Core Design to Crystal Dynamics. The reason the franchise fell into the trope was due to the huge success of the first Tomb Raider. Because the game sold so well, Edios demanded that a new Tomb Raider should be made every year. This caused a big burnout with the developers and they killed off Lara in the end of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation in the hopes of ending the series and going to do something else. It didn't work.
  • The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series started off as a unique concept to the industry and garnered hundreds of fans, with the PS2 port of the third installment being one of the most critically-acclaimed games of its time. As the series progressed through the Underground titles, however, the changes became minimal and predictable, the over-the-top tone got stale really quickly and the series declined in overall quality, with the peripheral-based RIDE and SHRED installments getting intense lashings from critics and fans alike. It didn't help that EA's Skate had stolen the market from Activision, too. Like the hip-hop examples, they tried to rekindle interest with a Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5, which was very incomplete, slammed hard by fans and critics alike, and effectively put the final nail in the series' coffin.
  • Undertale has an in-universe example. Alphys, the geeky royal scientist, spends a great deal of her social media posts ranting about how terrible Mew Mew Kissy Cutie 2 (seemingly a direct parody of the above Tokyo Mew Mew a la mode) is compared to the original. One of the signs that things are very different in Deltarune is that she considers 2 to be a Surprisingly Improved Sequel instead.
  • X-COM: UFO Defense:

    Web Videos 
  • The Microsoft Sam Reads Funny Windows Errors subseries Microsoft Sam And The War Trilogy has The Great Final War, which was so poorly received due to its excessive drama tone that it was cancelled and currently undergoing a major revamp.
  • The Happy Video Game Nerd: Invoked: Two of three of his negative reviews were sequels to games that he loves. He's also spoken poorly of several other sequels.
  • In a weirdly fitting example of this trope, the third main installment of Sequelitis (which dealt with Ocarina of Time) was received far worse than the previous two, being criticized for its Bias Steamroller arguments and moving away from "these things are bad because of poor design" and towards "these things are bad because they're different." It proved the last one of the series, as even Arin Hanson claimed to regret a lot of it and didn't appreciate the backlash either.

    Western Animation 
  • The Legend of Korra was not considered nearly as good as Avatar: The Last Airbender; In this case however, it's less that the sequel is a terrible product and more that it just couldn't match the sheer acclaim of it's parent show. Korra has plenty of fans and many high notes, but it is also considered to have several narrative shortcomings not present in the original show, which is considered one of the, if not the, greatest cartoons of all time, whereas Korra is believed to be "a decent followup". It's also worth noting that, because of this case of A Tough Act to Follow, a sizable chunk of the first show's fandom has become a hatedom for Korra, taking it apart over relatively forgivable or at least not too severe flaws simply because The Last Airbender lacked them. Later on the show has since been Vindicated by History and now has a much larger fanbase, though the general consensus is still that its predecessor is better.
  • This is the general consensus of Planet Sheen, the spinoff-sequel to The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. How, you wonder? They removed almost everything from the original, focused on a character who was tolerated at best, flanderized him to make him even less popular, and went from somewhat realistic to bizarre. Also suffers from Fanon Discontinuity.
  • All Grown Up! is this to Rugrats, due to being a rather generic Slice of Life show that suffers badly from Most Writers Are Adults, when the original had a fairly unique premise. Plus, even fans disliked the second season.
  • Total Drama, depending on who you ask, given the mixed reception of its followups compared to Total Drama Island, which enjoyed the greatest and most universal critical acclaim. A few instalments have come close, but they tend to be intensely and prominently Contested Sequels in certain circles.
  • Pinky and the Brain was doing just fine on its own, so no one knows quite why Executive Meddling decided to force the addition of Elmyra into the show (especially considering a previous episode had made it abundantly clear that a third main character would be basically useless). The resultant Retool, Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain, had a few bright spots, but for the most part was enjoyed by neither viewing audiences nor those working on the show.
  • Part of the Ben 10 fanbase considers Ben 10: Omniverse as such, though some would consider the series before it, Ultimate Alien. Alien Force has also been hit by this, owing to the tendency of the sequels to take liberty with the canon at the risk of contradicting one another or the original series.
  • Teen Titans Go! isn't a direct sequel to Teen Titans per se, but being a follow-up series, it still counts given its worse animation, concentration on goofy humor, and occasionally near-Sadist Show levels of meanness from the main characters. The original was a blend of humor and weirdness with genuine plot and character moments.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show? A pretty great Nicktoon. Its Darker and Edgier Spin-Off Adult Party Cartoon? Not so much. It had so much adult humor and so many less funny jokes that it was disliked by most who enjoyed the original series.
  • 1980's Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century. While Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century remains a classic, Return proved less funny, leading to Fanon Discontinuity and, according to Cartoon Network, Canon Discontinuity.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016) is this to the original. Fans of the original show dislike the newer villains (except Silico and some one-shot characters) for lacking the quality of the original show while pushing most of them out of the spotlight, the Flanderization of the girls and their voice change, the wonky animation, and weak plots among other reasons. Unlike Teen Titans Go! above, this show doesn't have the benefit of being a follow-up; it's a direct continuation.
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Smurfy is not as interesting as the previous Smurfs specials. It feels more like an episode of the show and is considered weak due to its light-hearted comedic plot told through a handful of random events, lack of darker elements, little to no conflict and a generic theif/villain who doesn't pursue the Smurfs or is unaware of their existence. Though it does have some heartwarming moments and a moral that "it's better to give than to receive", it isn't enough to save this special.


 
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Alternative Title(s): Sequel Decay

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Santa Clause 2 and 3

Jack loved The Santa Clause as a kid, but the sequels are a bit too...gassy for his tastes.

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