Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.

Following

Signature Series Arc

Go To

We understand Signature Scene as that one scene everyone remembers about a film, either "No, I am your father" or King Kong atop the buildings fighting off against planes. A way for people to remember this scene is thanks to Popcultural Osmosis, Shout-Outs and countless parodies of said scenes.

However, in long-running franchises, you can get something a bit more than this. Addition to singular moments that fans gush over, you get fans recommending an entire Story Arc as representing the pinnacle of the work. Maybe it's when the series starts to grow the beard and the transition was done masterfully. Maybe it's a fantastically written story that was just never topped afterwards. Maybe it isn't the greatest, but it's still the one that gets adapted into other mediums the most. Or maybe elements of that arc just happen to be the most merchandise-friendly, so even non-fans end up seeing it everywhere. The last one is the most probable.

Advertisement:

Note that this is not always be a good thing. Despite being a beloved segment of the saga, many of the work's future flaws could stem from this well-regarded storyline as a result of the writers trying to replicate its success, so watch out.

Sub-Trope of Signature Scene, as this is more about an entire arc and not a single scene. After all, a particularly good scene may still be in a trainwreck of a story. When a series' Signature Series Arc is its first arc, you also have a case of First Installment Wins.

Advertisement:

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Astro Boy: The Greatest Robot in the World is the most iconic arc of the manga due to its high stakes, moral philosophical themes, and introducing the fan favorite Anti-Villain Pluto. The arc has been adapted to all three anime adaptations of the manga as well as the Naoki Urasawa series Pluto, an expanded Perspective Flip reimagining the story arc.
  • Attack on Titan: While the Battle for Trost arc hooked fans on the premise, the following arc, the Female Titan and subsequent Clash of Titans arc, is what really solidified things and is most remembered for its shocking developments concerning other titan shifters who're are deliberately causing harm to the walls. Character interactions, some truly triumphant and tragic moments, and the finale between two Titan shifters.
  • Ask any fans of Berserk which is the most famous saga in the series, and they will all respond to you with the following: "GRIFFITH!!!"—which of course refers to the Golden Age Arc. This is the saga that showed Guts's Dark and Troubled Past that fully developed him from the generic antihero he was to the complex character everybody loves, and it introduced Love Interest Casca and the master of the Moral Event Horizon Griffith. In addition, the finale of the Golden Age Arc, also known as the Eclipse, is still regarded as one of the most horrifying sequences in all of manga. This is the only consistent saga to be adapted in almost all adaptations.
  • Bleach: The Soul Society Arc is the most famous and beloved arc of the series, and is generally seen as the moment where Bleach Grew the Beard. Not only did the arc introduce the Shikai and Bankai forms of Soul Reapers note , but featured genuinely nail-biting tension in the battles between the protagonists and the nigh-invincible Gotei 13. And to top it off, the finale of the arc revealed the Big Bad Aizen, who had one impressive villain debut.
  • Blue Exorcist: The most beloved arc by fans is the Illuminati Arc, for The Reveal that Renzo is a double agent, its dive into Nightmare Fuel territory, a memorably detestable villain in Gedouin, and its Bittersweet Ending.
  • Digimon Adventure: The Tokyo/Eighth Child Arc, which stretches roughly from Episodes 21 to 39, is the most popular arc due to moving the action from the fantasy realm of the Digital World to modern Tokyo, leading to some thrilling moments as Digimon wreak chaos in "our" world, plus the seven Digidestined's frantic search for their eighth member before the Arc Villain Myotismon finds them himself. The arc's popularity may be why Myotismon was brought back in Digimon Adventure 02 as the Greater-Scope Villain responsible for everything bad that ever happened.
  • Dragon Ball: The Red Ribbon arc is usually touted as the most memorable of the original series being the first large scale villains Goku goes up against in the series combined with the adventure aspect of both sides trying to get the balls for themselves. Likewise the first time someone outside the tournament actually gives Goku trouble to boot.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • While the series is pretty well known for all the events that transpired in the life of Son Goku and his friends, the Namek Saga is the one saga the series is most familiar with. Not only was it the saga that introduced Breakout Villain Freeza, but is also the one which introduced the world to the Trope Codifier for Golden Super Mode: the Super Saiyan. The saga has been adapted in almost all the video games, it has been reanimated at least twice in Dragon Ball Z Kai and a special of Dragon Ball Super, and is the one with the most countless parodies (including the infamous "Namek time" for the series' Arc Fatigue).
    • The Saiyan arc is likewise pretty well remembered as well. Not only was it the first introduction of the series to many outside Japan note , it also expanded on aspects seen in the Piccolo Jr. arc with much faster fights combined with energy attacks and emphasis on the back and forth hand to hand that would come to define the series. Likewise expanding things to a more cosmic scale with the introduction of alien races like the Saiyans (up to this point, the series was mostly mystic based), the utter seriousness with characters getting bumped off (onscreen this time) and the very iconic clash of Goku and Vegeta.
  • Gintama's version of this trope is the Benizakura arc, the series' first major serious arc in a mostly comedic series beforehand and the major introduction of Gintoki's archenemy Takasugi. This arc was so popular that it was the first thing done for the franchise's live-action debut.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • The Chimera Ant arc, which many consider the high point of the series in terms of action and storytelling, and even something of a modern classic when it comes to Shonen story arcs. It's known for its length, the complexity of its main villain, the twists and turns of its plot, the way it handles complex themes and adds a lot of moral ambiguity to both sides of the conflict, and its large cast of characters, most of whom receive extensive development over time. The Chimera Ant King Meruem in particular is considered one of the best villains in the series.
    • The Yorknew City arc, which introduces the popular Phantom Troupe and gives Kurapika his signature Nen chain abilities. Much like the Chimera Ant arc, it's seen as a standout of the series.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has been going on for more than thirty years by now, but its most famous is still Stardust Crusaders. Its reception is more middling in the West compared to Japan, but it's still arguably the most well-known in both places. There are numerous reasons for this, such as its incredible amount of meme-worthy moments, Memetic Badass protagonist and Big Bad, several famous catchphrases, the fact that it was the first JoJo arc to move outside the manga medium (with two OVAs and a video game), and it being the only Part released to the West for a long time. However, the most likely reason for its widespread fame is that it is the first Part of the series to include Stands, which later became the most iconic part of JoJo.
  • Made in Abyss has the Idofront/Fifth Layer Arc, which isn't surprising considering this is the arc that features Bondrewd as its main antagonist and introduces the fan favorite Prushka, not to mention marking the Point of No Return for the heroes and therefore giving it a much more climactic edge.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • The Sports Festival Arc, which was considered the point where the series grew its beard by fleshing out Shoto and Ochaco's characters and its well-done fights.
    • The Hero Killer Arc, for introducing fan favorite villain Stain and being the first major battle Izuku fought and won.
    • The Hideout Raid Arc, which is fondly remembered for the battle between All-Might and All For One, as well as being a major turning point in the story where All-Might retires.
  • The Chunin Exams arc of Naruto. It's an early arc that introduces several characters who would go on to become staples of the series (such as Rock Lee and Hinata), and sees a lot of character development for Sasuke and Sakura, before transitioning the ongoing plot of Naruto into the wider conflict between Konoha and Orochimaru, and then turning the focus onto Akatsuki.
  • One Piece:
    • The events between the Straw Hat Pirates arriving to Sabaody and the Time Skip, generally known as the Paramount War. This included massive expansion of the setting and lore, shocking answers to several long-running questions about many of the characters followed by all new ones, introductions of numerous new characters whose existence has only been vaguely hinted at before, outright deaths of two major characters in a series that used to have a reputation of nobody ever dying outside of flashbacks, a massive reconfiguration of the status quo, revelations of the portions of Luffy's past that have never been seen before, and the single biggest Darkest Hour in the entire series, as Luffy reaches just this side of the Despair Event Horizon over the disappearance of his entire crew due to his own actions, his utter and complete failure in his mission to attack Impel Down and Marineford, and the death of his brother Ace. This was the biggest sequence of Wham Episodes in the series and its events have affected the world the series takes place in to this day, with the sheer high stakes having still not been topped despite taking place back in 2010.
    • Before that was the Alabasta arc, which was the longest and had the highest stakes up to that point, with an entire kingdom on the line, a cruel and memorable cast of villains in Sir Crocodile and Baroque Works, and scenes that are now considered iconic moments for the franchise, like the Straw Hat crew's secret salute to Vivi.
    • Between them were the subsequent Water Seven and Enies Lobby arcs, together forming another fine candidate for "best arc in One Piece."
      • Water Seven was the point when the series turned seriously Darker and Edgier, coming right off the heels of Luffy's battle with Aokiji, the first unqualified defeat for the Straw Hat Pirates since Zoro's duel with Mihawk back in East Blue. The arc itself has the greatest internal crisis of the crew until Sabaody, when an argument over the fate of the Going Merry leads to Usopp leaving the Straw Hats while at the same time Robin seems to have betrayed them for an opaque Government Conspiracy. Before Paramount War, Water Seven was seen as the series' Darkest Hour for a very good reason.
      • The plot threads of Water Seven then culminated in Enies Lobby, a Rescue Arc bringing in major upgrades to most of the main characters' abilities. It gave us more iconic moments such as Luffy ordering for the World Government's flag to be shot, boasting that he's perfectly willing to take on the entire world to defend a single member of his crew. It also brought in some long-awaited Character Development for the until then utterly mysterious Robin, with a flashback to her childhood that also revealed some horrific truths about the history of the world. In this, Enies Lobby caused the fandom's perception of the World Government and the Marines to shift from adversaries to enemies.
    • And long before any of the above arcs, there was the Arlong Park arc, virtually the culmination of the East Blue Saga and the finale of the Debut Queue of our, at the time, five main characters with this one focusing on Nami. Many a fan have stated this as their favorite arc of the series and it's not hard to see why: It's the first time our fledgling crew is fighting together, a extremely Love to Hate villain in Arlong, the first time Oda ratchets up the tragedy in a backstory with an extended flashback and a death of a family member caused by said villain, some absolutely heart tugging moments with Nami's situation and the Cocoyashi Village desperation to be free from the Fishman Pirates, followed by a heck of a climax with memorable moment such such as Luffy giving Nami his hat, the badass walk of Luffy, Zoro, Ussop and Sanji to Arlong Park followed by Luffy punching Arlong on first sight, all the battles that follow (with Ussop even getting some major character development) culminating with Luffy vs Arlong, the destruction of the building in the final clash and of course the iconic scene of Luffy rising from the rubble and proclaiming Nami his friend. The anime even adding to it by including a scene of Nami talking with her deceased adopted mother, and of course her send off which is both hilarious and heartwarming. To say this arc resonated and made a fan out of many viewers is an understatement.
  • For Pokémon, no matter how many sequel series get made, the original Kanto arc always remains the one that is most remembered. Combined with First Installment Wins, this also has to do with the franchise's well-known use of the original 151 Pokémon.
  • The Promised Neverland is usually described as a Genius Thriller of super-intelligent kids trying to escape from an evil orphanage with only their wits as weapons. But that part is only the first four-and-a-half volumes; after that the story moves to the outside world and the heroes' goals become much larger in scale, with more fantasy elements. Despite that, the first arc is generally considered the most memorable for its tension, numerous twists, and beloved antagonists (Isabella and Krone).
  • Reborn! (2004): The Varia arc is the most remembered of the series and where author's shift to action improves greatly with some unique villans and battles ending in very memorable climax.
  • Sailor Moon's is the Dark Kingdom Arc - involving Usagi discovering she's Sailor Moon and finding the other Sailor Guardians one-by-one as Queen Beryl is gathering energy to restore Queen Metalia, and then the big reveal that Usagi is actually the reincarnation of the Moon Princess. The live-action and Crystal reboot both adapted this first (not without justification, since it was the manga's first storyline). Queen Beryl is the most remembered Big Bad of the series, and pop culture sometimes imagines Usagi as eternally being like her pre-Character Development self across the entire franchise.
  • Saint Seiya: Out of all the sagas in the series, the one everyone remembers is the Twelve Houses saga, which fully introduced the Breakout Characters of the Golden Saints, and has been reanimated into multiple mediums, including a CGI film and a foreign remake.
  • For Sword Art Online, the Aincrad arc is easily the most iconic arc and the one the series is most heavily associated with, which is a case of overlapping with First Installment Wins.
  • To Your Eternity: The manga is better known for its opening arc, which follows the nameless immortal taking the form of a dog and befriending a boy who is the only one left in an empty village in an arctic zone, serving as the Series Establishing Moment for a series that is pretty heart-wrenching.
  • For the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, it's the Duelist Kingdom arc, which officially transitioned the manga to a card battle series, directly tied the card game to Yami Yugi's past and expanded the series' lore, began its heavily serialized multi-chapter arcs, and introduced several characters, such as Pegasus, Mai, Weevil, Rex, and Bandit Keith, who would make reappearances in multiple series as well as video games, which subsequently adapt many elements from the arc. The fact that the better-known anime skipped directly to Duelist Kingdom for the beginning also helps contribute to this since it was many people's introduction to the franchise, allowing it to also mix some First Installment Wins for fans of the show.

    Asian Animation 
  • The most popular Story Arc in Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf might be Great War in the Bizarre World. It's one of the show's first attempts at a long story and one of the most memorable. The characters from this arc are still popular to this day.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers:
    • For the Roy Thomas era, it's the Crimson Cowl/Ultron two-parter and The Kree/Skrull War. The former for introducing the major recurring villain of the Avengers, and the second being one of the first cosmic stories in Marvel that placed the Avengers at the center of it.
    • Then there's the story arc in Avengers #211-230 that shows the downfall of Hank Pym as he slaps his wife, humiliates himself, gets divorced, expelled from the Avengers, framed for a crime and imprisoned, and then framed again as an accomplice before overturning and defeating the Masters of Evil by himself, and taking responsibility for his actions. This story which was strongly serialized redefined the Avengers group dynamic, and made them flawed and conflicted heroes, and it is also for better and worse, the defining story of Hank Pym and Ant-Man.
    • In Roger Stern's lengthy run it's definitely Under Siege, where the Masters of Evil go big like never before and infiltrate and take over Avengers mansion and imprison and/or decommission many Avengers making Earth's Mightiest Heroes the underdogs as they take back their headquarters.
    • In the second millennium, important story arcs include New Avengers, Secret Invasion and in The Avengers (Jonathan Hickman)Infinity and Time Runs Out.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight has been defined and redefined multiple times in multiple styles by different artists and writers across the ages:
    • "Strange Apparitions" by Steve Englehart was one of the first lengthy serialized arcs in a Batman title (very rare at DC at the time since they preferred one-and-done stories). It also deepened Bruce Wayne as a character, created a new dynamic with his Rogues Gallery and reinvigorated Gotham as an active background rather than static setting.
    • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. The former is an AU story that famously, according to the writer, "gave Batman his balls back", while the latter (which is in-continuity) is cited as Batman's definitive origin. Both comics produced some of Batman's most iconic images of the character, setting, supporting cast, rogues, and gadgets and were often reproduced in adaptations.
    • Knightfall, Batman: No Man's Land and Batman: Hush were likewise era-defining story arcs, introducing a number of notable villains, character moments, plot threads, and story ideas cited by later authors and in adaptations.
  • Daredevil remains indelibly defined by Frank Miller's legendary run which produced many great stories such as The Elektra Saga and especially Daredevil: Born Again which is for many the Daredevil story and one of the greatest stories ever put out by Marvel.
  • The DCU:
    • DC is particularly famous for Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Trope Namer for Crisis Crossover and Red Skies Crossover. Never before had comics seen so many characters assembled (some even from other companies after they'd been acquired by DC), seen stakes so large, or had consequences so dire. By the end of the story, TRILLIONS of people are dead, including several fan-favorite heroes, and the entire history of the DC Universe had been forever altered. It's telling that this event is one that has had sequels or revisits several times, in stories like Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!, The Kingdom, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, Flashpoint, DC Rebirth and many, many others.
    • The other defining series arc for DC in The '80s is from one of their lesser titles, Swamp Thing. This was Alan Moore's first ongoing gig for a major comics company and his extended run on the character was not only the definitive run for Swamp Thing but was also a watershed for DC since its Genre-Busting of supernatural, horror, crime, superhero, and environmental politics as well as its high literary appeal led to the development of Vertigo Comics. In Moore's Swamp Thing significant story arc include "The Anatomy Lesson" and "American Gothic" (which introduced John Constantine, who became a significant Breakout Character in his own right).
    • 52, a year long miniseries that focused on the lesser known DC superheroes, a story arc that spanned all fifty two weeks a year (i.e. a new issue every week) is also cited as a landmark story for recent DC Comics.
  • For Doctor Strange, it is The Eternity Saga which really defined the weird ethereal cosmic-mystic side of Stephen Strange.
  • Fantastic Four by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee had many notable stories but the most famous arc is undoubtedly The Coming of Galactus.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Civil War remains Marvel's biggest-selling event. It completely altered the status quo of the Marvel universe while also defining the characters and stories of several key players for more than a decade.
    • The Infinity Gauntlet. While hardly the only major story involving Thanos or the rest of the Cosmic Marvel lineup, it is by far the most memorable largely because it allowed every character to shine, including every hero, the Big Bad Ensemble, and several cosmic deties. But it is an especially Establishing Character Moment for Thanos, who gets cemented as a Magnificent Bastard with complex motivations and interesting character flaws. This arc has been adapted to video games (perhaps most notably Marvel Super Heroes) and a big part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • Secret Wars (1984). The first major event comics and best-seller. It provided many iconic story and character beats and likewise introduced elements such as the Symbiote costume of Spider-Man that led in turn to Venom—a character who has since become a major successful spin-off character. It also led in turn Secret Wars (2015), a spiritual sequel that was likewise a landmark storyline for Marvel in The New '10s.
  • The Mighty Thor:
  • Shazam! is defined by The Monster Society of Evil, the first serialized story arc in superhero comics which introduced the iconic villain Mister Mind.
  • Spider-Man, being a long-runner, has many iconic Story Arc across its publication history:
    • During The '60s, and in The Amazing Spider-Man (Lee & Ditko), it was definitely "If This Be My Destiny—" or The Master Planner Saga (ASM #31-33) where Spider-Man lifting tons of machinery is still one of the most oft-featured, oft-reproduced images across comics history. Then from The '70s, there's The Night Gwen Stacy Died, a story arc that is single-handedly credited with not only ushering in The Bronze Age of Comic Books, but in slowly introducing Darker and Edgier stories into comics in general.
    • During The '80s, The Saga of the Symbiote, i.e. the lengthy story arc that spanned Spider-Man's acquistion of the Symbiote black costume to the first appearance of Venom in ASM #300 is also highly iconic. Other landmark stories include Kraven's Last Hunt, and, more controversially, The Clone Saga—not so much for its quality but for its proverbial impenetrability and confusion.
    • For Ultimate Spider-Man, it's the opening 12 issues known as "Powers and Responsibility" and "Learning Curve". The other famous arc is "Death of Spider-Man" and its aftermath which led to the rise of Miles Morales.
  • Supergirl:
    • The Unknown Supergirl was the first lengthy story arc in the Superman family of books (spanning nine issues), and changed irreversibly Supergirl's status quo in favor of giving Kara Zor-El her own setting and supporting cast, as well as her first nemesis. Metropolis holding a parade in honor of Supergirl is one of the most iconic moments in the character's decades-long history.
    • The Supergirl from Krypton (2004) was the storyline which reintroduced Kara Zor-El in the modern DC Universe after remained exiled from continuity for eighteen years. The story arc was popular enough to be adapted into an animated movie: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.
    • Red Daughter of Krypton, wherein Supergirl becomes a Red Lantern, is one of her most famous and most popular stories, being referenced in other media such like video games.
  • Superman:
    • Kryptonite Nevermore was the storyline where Superman transitioned from the whacky Silver Age to the darker Bronze Age. The Neal Adams' cover where Superman breaks his chains has been reproduced and copied time and again.
    • Who Took the Super out of Superman?: One of its era's best remembered stories, it delved into the duality between Superman and Clark Kent.
    • Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?: Written by Alan Moore, it was the Grand Finale for the Pre-Crisis Superman, and one of his most iconic story arcs.
    • The Death of Superman: His best-selling and most famous storyline, featuring the first battle between Superman and the savage monster Doomsday.
    • All-Star Superman: A love letter to the Silver Age Superman, it has remained one of his most important and iconic stories since publication, to the point it was adapted into an animated movie.
  • The first two volumes of The Ultimates written by Mark Millar were a Tough Act to Follow for every writer who worked on the series afterward, including Mark Millar.
  • X-Men:
    • Giant Size X-Men by Len Wein is cited as the real beginning of the X-Men as we come to know it. This introduced an entire new team of mutants as the X-Men with brighter more individualistic costumes (over the bland two-color uniforms that preceded it) and greater diversity than before. The likes of Wolverine, Nightcrawler and others were introduced in a flash and despite coming in so late immediately became the Spotlight-Stealing Squad.
    • Chris Claremont, who followed on from Wein's run, also wrote many of the central and defining moment of the franchise, working with both John Byrne and Dave Cockrum. This includes The Phoenix Saga and The Dark Phoenix Saga as well as Days of Future Past and The Brood Saga.
    • Age of Apocalypse was likewise a defining X-Men story from The '90s and one of Marvel's most famous and iconic events.
    • House of M is another defining story famous for its shocking ending which altered the status quo in a way that Marvel and X-Men have yet to recover from in the comics.
Advertisement:

    Fan Works 

    Films - Live-Action 
  • Crossed with First Installment Wins, the original trilogy of Star Wars is often held up as the apex of the Skywalker Saga if not the franchise as a whole.

    Literature 
  • The original series of Warrior Cats combines this with First Installment Wins. It contains the most well-known characters and is highly influential in the fandom's fanon.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Angel's unfortunately is the infamous Season 4 arc involving Cordelia being possessed by Jasmine, sleeping with Angel's teenage son and getting pregnant while the sun is blacked out. It's even more remembered due to the sheer controversy surrounding the treatment of Cordelia's actress Charisma Carpenter; her real-life pregnancy reportedly enraged Joss Whedon, exacerbating his already abusive tendencies towards her and leading her to be written out unceremoniously at the end of the season.
  • Babylon 5 is generally remembered for or even as The Shadow War, its longest arc by far. The Shadow War arc stretched all the way from mid-season one "Signs and Portents" to early Season 4 "Into the Fire". With the Earth Alliance and Minbari Civil Wars sharing the remainder of Season 4, and various smaller arcs (many of which pertained to the aftermath of The Shadow War.) making up the remainder of the series.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has its "Evil Angel" story arc that comprised Season 2 and saw heroic vampire and love interest Angel end up losing his soul and become the main villain. It proved to be the show's Growing the Beard moment for turning the show's formula on its head, as well as introducing major characters, not the least of which included Spike, and planted seeds that would set up Angel's spin-off down the line.
  • Charmed (1998) has the Cole storyline in the first half of Season 3 - a half-human demon sent to infiltrate the sisters and then falling in love with Phoebe for real. It helps that it's the show's most popular season, and it became a Star-Making Role for Julian McMahon.
  • Coronation Street is a true Long Runner (having been on the air since The '60s) and its most iconic storyline involved Richard Hillman marrying Gail Platt, becoming a serial killer, murdering Maxine Peacock and trying to drown the entire Platt family by driving their car into the canal.
  • Downton Abbey is remembered best for its Season 2 story arc involving Tom Branson the chauffeur falling in love with and eventually marrying Lady Sybil, the youngest Crawley daughter. Even the actors remember it most.
  • Farscape's second season is this, as it brought Scorpius to the front and center, introduced the Scarrans, and most importantly laid the foundations for the War Arc between the two.
  • Game of Thrones has anything and everything leading up to the Red Wedding. To be specific, the War of the Five Kings that's kicked off in the finale of Season 1 and culminated in the penultimate episode of Season 3. The start of it is considered the show's Growing the Beard, with the wedding becoming one of the biggest WHAM Episodes in television history.
  • H₂O: Just Add Water gets the arc in the second half of Season 2 involving Charlotte discovering she's descended from the original mermaid trio from the 50s, becoming a mermaid and Lewis's girlfriend, and undergoing a proper Face–Heel Turn. Charlotte is easily the most memorable antagonist the show ever had, and there continue to be discussions about her character's motivations years later.
  • Merlin (2008) has the development towards Morgana's Face–Heel Turn in Season 2; starting with her realising that she has magic, her half-sister Morgause turning up and Merlin eventually poisoning her to save the rest of Camelot. The last part is especially controversial, and has been the subject of much discussion regarding the treatment of Morgana's character.
  • Once Upon a Time's most remembered arc is actually its third season one in Neverland, in which Peter Pan is the villain. It brought about Heel Face Turns for Hook and Regina that led to them becoming part of the main cast, also sowing the seeds to pair up Emma and Hook as the show's Official Couple.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Supernatural is most well known for its "stop the apocalypse arc", which started in Season 4 and really came to a head in Season 5 — the introduction of biblical themes (after previously focusing on smaller-scale creatures such as cryptids) and fan-favourite characters like Castiel, Gabriel and Lucifer permanently changed the show, and are widely considered to be the best written seasons. It made such an impact that new viewers are often very surprised to find out that angels are treated as non-existent and dismissed as silly for the first three seasons.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • When They Cry:
    • Higurashi: When They Cry: Meakashi-Hen and Tsumihoroboshi-Hen. The former arc is infamous for Shion going on a revenge fueled killing spree as well as well some of the most emotional moments. Most notably three of Shion's fingernails being ripped off, Rika killing herself with a knife to avoid being tortured by her, Shion's brutal torture and murder of Satoko, and Shion killing herself after she realized what she did and imagining being part of the club and remembering Satoshi's promise to take care of Satoko. The latter arc is remembered for heavily emphasizing the theme of friendship, Rena slowly succumbing to Hinamizawa Syndrome, and the awesome and Tear Jerker rooftop fight between Rena and Keiichi as the latter tries and succeeds on bringing Rena back to her senses which is THE Signature Scene of the series.

    Webcomics 
  • Homestuck: Act 5 is the most famous part of the comic and it lead to a massive Newbie Boom of it and its parent series MS Paint Adventures. The two most standout "arcs" within Act 5 are the introduction of the trolls throughout Act 5 Act 1, part of the comic's sudden rise in popularity; and the "Murderstuck" arc late in Act 5 Act 2, where half of them are killed off.
  • Mob Psycho 100:
    • The Keiji Mogami Arc is widely regarded as the pinnacle of the series thanks to its much Darker and Edgier tone, massive amounts of Character Development for Mob, and a fantastic climactic battle against Keiji Mogami, who is probably the most popular villain in the series by a long shot. Not even the arc dealing with the Big Bad managed to be this popular.
    • Before that, the Teruki Hanazawa Arc is often cited as the changing point from the series from being "One-Punch Man 2.0" to its own unique identity.

    Western Animation 
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood is especially remembered for the Season 1 journey from Farthing Wood to White Deer Park, with the opening even still depicting it when the characters settled in White Deer Park at the end of the season. It contains the most memorable character deaths, such as the hedgehogs on the road, the pheasants getting shot by farmers and the infamous scene of a butcher bird impaling baby mice on thorns.
  • For the DC Animated Universe, it is either the Justice Lords two-parter of the original Justice League, or its more or less direct sequel, the Cadmus arc in Unlimited. The former pits prime universe's heroes against their eponymous unfettered AU counterparts and forces them to draw the line that separates heroism from extremism. The latter builds upon that by having The Government realize that the League going the Justice Lord route is the single biggest threat to humanity and pitting Good Versus Good in a Myth Arc spanning two seasons and culminating in one of the most epic finales of the whole DCAU.
  • Gargoyles has the City of Stone four-parter. These episodes revealed the tragic backstories of Demona and Macbeth and why they hate each other so much. This was also the point in the show where the writing and storytelling greatly improved, in addition to the introduction of the The Weird Sisters and ending on one of the saddest moments in the series.
    "The Access Code is alone."
  • Looney Tunes has the Hunting Trilogy—Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning, and Duck! Rabbit! Duck!—which codified the relationship between its two biggest stars and finalized Daffy's Chuck Jones incarnation.
  • Season Four of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, to the point where the movie basically adapted the finale almost plot point for plot point (with a few world-building additions, as well as nixxing Discord).

Top