Follow TV Tropes


Serial Escalation

Go To
Wait 'til you see the centuple one. Fun fact: 

"Kara, when I started living this life it was just me and I was going up against human threats. That I can handle. Then it was the metahumans and I can handle that. And now I learned that there are multiple Earths and I was brainwashed aboard an alien spacecraft."

Some series push themselves up and over the top, surpassing the bar they just set themselves a few episodes ago. Then they do it again. And again. And again.

This isn't meant to be confused with the buildup to season finales or a plot climax, but rather a consistent escalation in events that always exceeds what a viewer would expect. When this is done well, a new Moment of Awesome is, at any given moment, just around the corner. When done poorly, what would constitute as a Moment of Awesome can feel ordinary, or even absurd.

For events that are impossible, go to Beyond the Impossible.

Related to Sequel Escalation.

Compare Troperiffic, Exaggerated Trope, Logical Extreme, Lensman Arms Race, Sorting Algorithm of Evil, Power Creep, Mid-Season Upgrade, and Next Tier Power-Up, although they can overlap.


Works with their own pages


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Strips 
  • Played with in one strip from Piranha Club, where Bud Grace (the author/artist, who regularly appeared in the comics for behind-the-scenes tomfoolery) was told by a frustrated editor that his comics were getting weirder and weirder — which was around the time the martian Zerblatt had become a recurring character and had fathered dozens of froglike kids with a supermodel. In a later interview, Grace admitted that his comics were getting increasingly more and more bizarre, likening it to eating a lot of spicy food — after a while it doesn't seem as spicy anymore, and then you want something spicier.
  • Dilbert: Topper. Every story you tell, he did it better, even if it seems logically impossible.
    Coworker: When I first started programming, we didn't have any of these sissy windows! We only had ones and zeros, and sometimes we didn't even have ones! I once programmed an entire database using only zeros!
    Dilbert: You had zeros? We had to use the letter O!

  • Destroy the Godmodder:
    • The game started out as a silly Minecraft-themed forum game with little story beyond a Random Events Plot. Then, in DTG2, the series slowly evolved into the large-scale conflict with intricate plotlines, illustrations, and proper roleplaying that it is known for today.
    • In-universe, the Godmodder perpetuated this. In the first game, he was attacking a small Minecraft server. At the start of the second, he traps every Minecraft player on a server. Now, an inter-universal team of bigger villains overshadows him, and they may not even be the biggest bad of the game.
  • GET THAT PIZZA!: Played with. While tropers can steal the pizza in any way at any time, meaning less impressive ways can still be used as the thread goes on, it's only natural that the tropers would come up with more complex ways as the thread goes on. Lampshaded by Awe, after Bluethorn accidentally causes a Class X-4 apocalypse.
    "Awe921 looks back at the first page and reminisces about the days when the worst thing that happened to him was merely a bullet."

  • During the Transformers toy line's original run in the 1980s, Hasbro tried to top a number of their own gimmicks. For example, in 1985, Hasbro introduced the Triple Changers — toys that had three transformation modes (one robot mode, and two vehicle modes) instead of the usual two. In 1987, they introduced Sixshot — a toy that had SIX transformation modes!

Alternative Title(s): Spectacle Creep


Video Example(s):



One of the most insane scenes in anime you've ever watched.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / SerialEscalation

Media sources: