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Western Animation / The Hollow

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The Hollow is a Netflix original animated series created by Vito Viscomi.

Season One follows three teens who wake up in a closed room with no memories. After relearning their names from strips of paper in their pants and bit of puzzle solving with a typewriter, the trio (Adam, Mira, and Kai) manage to escape the enclosed bunker... only to find that they're just as clueless about the world outside it. As they travel through mysterious lands and meet a number of strange beings, the group endeavors to figure out just who they are, what they are, how they got there, and (most importantly) how to return home, whatever that may be. The first season premiered on June 8, 2018.

Season Two begins with our heroes awakening with all their memories intact and everything appearing normal. Well, other than the fact that despite the events of the previous season, they're all still trapped within the depths of The Hollow. After reuniting with each other, Adam, Mira, Kai, and their former rivals must all work together and use the knowledge gained from their previous journey to locate the Weird Guy and figure out how to truly return home... though they may find the answer to be stranger than they ever imagined. The second season was released on May 8th, 2020.


In September of 2020, it was announced Netflix had not renewed the show for a third season.

This show provides examples of:

  • Advertised Extra:
    • Death was in the show's trailer as much as the other characters, but he only appears as a major character in the third episode, with another brief appearance in the season one finale.
    • Team B (Nisha, Iris and Tyler) were hyped up a lot in the initial season 2 trailer, but they barely get developed beyond their powers and status as new rivals to the protagonists.
  • Aerith and Bob: You have Adam, Mira, and Vanessa along with Kai (slightly unusual) as well as Reeve and Skeet (very unusual).
  • After the End: The desert has indicators of being such a place; namely the wrecked, sand-buried remains of flight-capable vehicles and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse mulling around and eating what Death calls "provisions".
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  • All Just a Dream: Discussed Trope. The Weird Guy outright mocks the concept after Adam and Kai decide to share their theories about their predicament with him.
  • All Part of the Show: How the host of the game show plays off the glitches to both the audience and contestants once everyone is safely out of the game.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The Weird Guy has purple skin. Justified because the season one finale shows that his face was illuminated purple thanks to the stage lights.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Brynhilda from "Unbalanced" is a Statuesque Stunner Viking.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Adam and Mira are both considerably more dark-skinned than Kai, especially Adam. Subverted in that Adam seems to be white-passing in real life, though Mira is Asian.
  • Ambiguously Evil:
    • The Weird Guy, who is a trickster whom enjoys pushing the main characters into the crazy situations they find themselves in. It's not clear whether he actually means them any harm, since he also saves them at the end of the first episode and occasionally gives useful warnings. It turns out he is the game show host of The Hollow, with his job naturally being to make the game more interesting to the viewers while also guaranteeing the safety of the players.
    • Vanessa, though not in the traditional sense. While she is clearly a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and The Heavy of the show, Season 2 reveals she did so because she wanted to win that much using an illegal contact lens that let her into the game while keeping her memories.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Subverted. Mira and Adam do kiss, but it's extremely awkward and he immediately follows it up by saying that he is not interested in her. In Season 2, he explains to Kai that he's gay, which he'd somehow forgotten about when he lost his memories.
  • Blank Book: In the beginning of Season 2, the gang experiences some weirdness around town. Trying to pick out more differences, Adam looks through his copy of Moby Dick only to find that it's blank past the first couple pages because he never finished the book. It turns out they're still in a computer simulation, constructed from their memories.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The sirens that almost lure Adam and Kai off a cliff serve as this.
  • Character Class: The secret powers each character gets to choose before entering the game likely fall into this category. We see six over the course of the season 1, but the epilogue shows eleven assigned to various symbols. A stereotypical flame symbol (Kai's powerset), a running person with speed lines behind them (Skeet's powerset), an atom symbol, a lightning bolt, a wing (Vanessa's powerset), a fist (Adam's powerset), a wrench, a head icon with curved lines coming from the sides (Reeves's powerset), an eye with six lines emanating from it, a geometric paw-like symbol, and a set of wavy lines presumably representing water (Mira's powerset).
    • Season 2 introduces new powers. These include size shifting {Iris' powerset) and weather manipulation {Tyler's powerset). Another team is seen using a sonic scream power and a teleportation power.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Ishibo serves as this with the ever changing map coming in at a close second.
  • Darker and Edgier: Season 1 definitely had it's darker moments but season 2 ramps it up to eleven.
  • Dead All Along: Discussed. A recurring gag throughout the series is Kai's theory that they're already dead. This continues into season 2 and everyone is just as annoyed at him for regularly bringing it up.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Somewhat averted, as we never get to know what the actual consequences of dying in the game would be when functioning normally in Season 1. It's revealed in the second season that the intended consequence is that you and the rest of your team is booted from the game, but it's heavily implied that the glitches plaguing the game in the first season would have resulted in actual death. In Season 2, it is fully averted for our main characters, as they're digital remnants of the teams from Season 1, so their deaths are actually permanent.
  • Deadly Game:
    • Played with, as while the whole thing turns out to really be a virtual reality game, it was never meant to harm the players. However, the game's code does become damaged somehow and the host is seemingly legitimately worried by that turn of events potentially killing the players.
    • Played straight in Season 2. The main trio and the other team are digital copies, so should they die in the game, they'll die for real.
  • Die or Fly:
    • Mira discovers that she has mermaid-like abilities after the group's ship crashes into the ocean and she gets stuck in the ejector seat.
    • Kai discovers that he has fire powers when he and Benjamini are trapped in a burning haunted house ride.
    • Vanessa claims to have learned of her flying powers when she accidentally fell off a cliff while trying to tie her shoelaces. However, considering she was trying to get Kai to join her team at that point in time, this might have been a lie on her part to gain his trust. In the second season, this is confirmed. She used special contacts to stop The Hollow from erasing her memories, and thus had complete knowledge about the nature of the world she woke up in and how her powers work from the start.
  • Driving Question: Why are the teens there, how did they lose their memories, and what kind of world are they in?
    • In Season 2, it's why are they still in The Hollow?
  • Escaped from the Lab: In the first episode, Adam suggests that maybe the teens are somebody's lab experiments, which would explain their powers.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Reeve confirms in season two that he didn't know Vanessa was cheating. In fact, his digital clone calls her out when her duplicate in turn confesses about the contacts. He says that he and Skeet didn't know because if they had, they would have stopped her. Vanessa looks genuinely guilty.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The events of Season 1 actually take place in real time, over the course of five hours. Daylight and nightfall within The Hollow is the standard accelerated cycle seen in video games, with the characters failing to notice this for whatever reason.
  • Final Boss: Invoked and lampshaded. Since the setting turns out to be a video game, Kai states that there must be a big boss fight. Surely enough, a huge dragon named Colrath shows up soon after he says this.
    • Season 2 had Olym the Scrap Giant for the new team, but the challenge for the protagonists wasn't to beat Olym but to survive him, the new team, and the potential death of the digital world.
  • Foil: The other kids act as this to Kai, Adam and Mira.
    • Vanessa and Mira are both the only female in their respective team, have dyed hair and become Kai's love interest for a short amount of time. But while Mira is a legitimately nice person who always tries to look for a peaceful solution first, Vanessa is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and a Dark Action Girl who has no problems with hurting or even potentially killing others, if it gets her what she wants. However this turns out only because in season one she knows its only a game so she considers her actions irrelevant due to this. Her digital Avatar based on her real personality is far more empathetic and even feels guilt for her actions
    • Reeve and Adam both act as The Big Guy for their respective group and have powers that primarily focus on offense. However, while Adam is kind, good-natured and only attacks when he feels his friends are being threatened,Reeve is far more pro-active willing to use overwhelming force. The Hammer to Adam's scalpel. While Adam excels at being part of a team, Reeve is torn between his own sense of independence and the games need for teamwork.
    • Kai and Skeet both act as the seemingly harmless comedic relief in their groups, with both of them not really coming off as the sharpest tool in the shed upon first glance. But while Kai is actually extremely skilled in mechanics and gets over his cowardice later on, Skeetz really is as flighty as he looks and flat-out abandons his team when it seems like the odds are against them. However his digital Avatar based on his real personality in season 2 has hidden depths and dies bravely attempting to save Vanessa
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Death says that there are only two people who can lead them out of the world they're in. While one of them is the Weird Guy, he is hastily stopped before being able to talk about the other one, but it still foreshadows the existence of the Last Ironwood Tree in the following episode.
    • When the trio first meet the Weird Guy, he aggressively asks them if they think this is some kind of game. It is a game, and he's the host. Later on, he tells Kai and Adam that they "chose to be here" when they prod him for answers, which they assume means that they were destined to end up in this world. He literally meant that they chose to be contestants on the show.
    • The characters in each realm cannot leave their area. Just like NPCs in any other game.
    • In the ghost town, Kai and Vanessa pass by a weather vane that bears a likeness to Colrath.
    • In Season 2, Weirdy is genuinely surprised to see Adam and co. back in The Hollow, but calls them programming bugs instead of actually acknowledging them. That's because they are programming bugs. The group are digital copies of last season's characters that were originally intended to be used as part of a life-sim game, but were given self-awareness as a result of the glitch that broke the game.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Defied. The duplicate Mira and the group mourn Skeet's clone in season 2, with Mira mentioning he would have liked the burgers her digital dads are roasting. Kai and Reeve reassure her that at least the real Skeet is alive and safe, and they will always remember the duplicate.
  • Freudian Trio: Adam, Kai and Mira are each part of the trio.
    • Kai is the Id. He is the most impulsive and hotheaded of the three.
    • Adam is the Superego. He is the most calm of the trio and tries to act the most logical.
    • Mira is the Ego. She is just as logical and smart as Adam, but fits the role of the Ego better because she usually resolves disputes between Adam and Kai. She also acted as a mediator between Adam and Reeve when they were friends.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • After seeing a second witch, Kai warns them to watch out for a third witch, because there's always a third witch.
    • The trio, once aware that the world is actually a video game, assume that the final realm is going to have a final boss battle. They're right.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: Adam sees the old man beneath the cemetery glitch, and realizes they must be in a game. As things progress, the glitches get more frequent and severe, until the Weird Guy finally shows up and reveals that there's a fatal error corrupting the game.
    • In Season 2, the kids themselves are the glitch. Because of the Season 1 glitch, the kids awaken in a new game world they later learn is called "Hollow Life", which is is based on their real world memories. They know they are in a game, and later find out they are digital copies on top of that, while the other NPCs are completely unaware.
  • Groin Attack: Kai is on the receiving end of one of these, as he accidentally lands crotch first on a tree branch after the group falls from a portal.
  • Has Two Daddies: In "Home", we see that Mira has two dads.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: Kai thinks Adam is interested in Mira, whom he is also starting to grow interested in. Adam immediately denies that there's anything romantic between them when prodded about this. When Mira kisses Adam a few episodes later, he reacts by awkwardly saying he has no interest in her, to her shock and embarrassment. Season 2 expands on this when Adam tells Kai that he's gay.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The first season ends with a flashback to 5 hours earlier, the approximate length of the season's episodes combined.
  • Lifelines: Shouting "Help, please!" summons the Weird Guy to give you a push in the right direction. Each group can only do this five times. The first sign that things are wrong in season two is when Kai calls out for Weirdy repeatedly and there's no sign of him.
  • The Load: Kai is this for the first few episodes due to a lack of any discernible skills and his general cowardice, but he shows surprising technical expertise in the desert and learns he has pyrokinesis later on, further subverting this.
  • A Load of Bull: The desert land is largely populated by a tribe of antagonistic minotaurs.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: In the jazz club, Weirdy sings (the cleaner radio edit of) Creep by Radiohead to a peppy jazz tune.
  • MacGuffin:
    • The Ishibo. A staff made out of the Last Ironwood Tree's arm, which the kids, as well as the other team, need to get in order to go home. When the item is obtained, the quest becomes finding a way back to the Last Ironwood Tree to return it.
    • Season 2 makes this a recurring thing. The show implies that the point of The Hollow is to find and take a MacGuffin to the end of the game. In the new game, the item is a bazooka-like weapon that fires nukes.
  • Meaningful Name: One of the minotaurs is named "Toros", which is a corruption of "Taurus", the Latin word for bull.
  • Medium Blending: At the end of Season 1, when its revealed that the show is actually a video game and the characters finally manage to leave, the series shifts to the live-action set of the titular game show.
  • Monty Hall Problem: The kids come across this scenario in Season 2, Episode 4 "Puzzled". They are presented with three doors, only one of which leads to an exit. After Kai impetuously chooses one, the host opens one of the doors to reveal a non-winner. They then try to discuss the actual logic of this problem, poorly.
  • The Namesake: "The Hollow" is the title of both the video game the kids are playing and the game show the characters are playing said game on.
  • Never Say "Die": Played with in Season 2. When Skeet dies, Kai has trouble saying it, to which Mira snaps and says that he's dead.
  • Not Quite Flight: After regularly attempting to do so after discovering his fire powers, in the penultimate episode Kai figures out how to fly by shooting flames out of his hands, which is useful during the dragon Boss Battle and throughout Season 2.
  • Obliviously Evil: The gang's main rivals in Season 2 fall under this by virtue of being in the same position the gang was in Season 1. Having no memories of their own, Team B fight back against the gang under the impression they're rivals or enemies encoded in the game.
  • Playing with Fire: Kai's ability, which he learns later in the game.
  • Please Wake Up: Heartbreaking example in season two; Lou the snail knocks away Skeet as the latter performs a Heroic Sacrifice to rescue Mira. This blow proves fatal. After they fend off Lou, the group gathers around Skeet's body. Mira begs for him to wake up, Kai nervously says that he should be entering the real world by now, and Adam tries to revive him with the lab medicine. They are stunned when Skeet doesn't pixelated, wake up, or respond to the medicine, and realize that he is dead for real.
  • Properly Paranoid: When served food by a woman they've just met, Kai is suspicious and asks her what is in the soup. Just vegetables... and Toros bones. Downplayed in that the trio don't freak out about it beyond an initial Spit Take and being slightly disgusted that they just ate soup that used bones from humanoid cows. Kai finished his bowl because he was hungry. Later, one of her sisters drops a plate of jello... which contains things like eyeballs and these women are actually witches that want to eat the trio's souls.
  • Raygun Gothic: The Four Horsemen's abode, a spaceship scrapyard, looks a lot like an old SF magazine cover.
  • Reality Ensues: Just because two people of the opposite gender spend a lot of time together, it doesn't mean the both of them are romantically interested in each other. Adam turns down Mira, whom Kai had a crush on before he fell for Vanessa, because he's gay.
  • Real Time: In the flashback epilogue, the title card reads "Five Hours Before". The first season is ten half-hour episodes long.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kai gives a pretty epic one to Vanessa, which hits her so hard that the only response she has to being called out is, "You're right".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The devil dogs have glowing eyes that have a reddish tint.
  • The Reveal:
    • Towards the end of Season 1, the group realizes that they're in a video game, with the season finale revealing them to be contestants on a game show called The Hollow.
    • Season 2 has two, the first of which was teased in the previous season; Vanessa cheated using special contact lens in order to retain her memories, which caused the glitch that nearly killed everyone in Season 1 and the characters in Season 2 are actually digital copies of the original players from Season 1.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Both seasons 1 and 2 have many moments of Foreshadowing that make much more sense upon the reveals of both seasons. One particular moment is the end of season 1, when in the real world, Vanessa's eye seems to glitch out. While at first, it might suggest the kids are still stuck in the video game, it is revealed she was wearing a special contact lens; the lens being the thing that caused the glitches in Season 1 and caused their digital copies to gain sentience in Season 2.
    • Additionally, Vanessa's reveal that she knew she was in a video game the entire time explains her behavior in Season 1.
    • Adam being awkward about Mira kissing him becomes this after it's revealed that he's not into her; he's gay.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Adam, Kai, and Mira are pursued by three demon dogs.
    • In the Minotaur territory, Adam is forced to decide which out of three doors to go through.
    • A trio of witches take the appearance of fifties Housewives.
    • Three sirens attempt to lure Adam and Kai off a cliff.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Puzzled", there is a reference to The Sound of Music when Adam and Kai say "The hills are alive with the sound of mucous!"
    • In "Race", when they are trying to recall the name of the lava creature, cherufe, Kai guesses covfefe.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: In Season 2, Weird Guy performs a jazz cover of Radiohead's "Creep". While it's definitely apropos for him, it also mirrors the current situation of the main characters, who shouldn't be in The Hollow anymore at that point and are desperately trying to get his attention throughout the performance.
  • The End... Or Is It?:
    • At the end of Season 1, when the winners are revealed, Kai looks over to Vanessa only for her to smile devilishly at him as her left eye glitches out. It's also never explained what exactly happened to damage the code and cause all the glitches in the game, as the hosts' reactions imply they were in serious danger and those things weren't planned.
    • Season 2 has the camera pan upwards to a calm and serene-looking sky... only for Lou Carcolh to appear on the horizon, implying that Weirdy's rush job was too rushed.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The group learns in the eighth episode of the second season that they're digital copies created from all the memories and behavior The Hollow gathered from the actual characters during the previous season, meaning they're effectively glitched coding that wasn't meant to develop consciousness.
  • Traitor Shot: The second team has these very often, looking at the main group menacingly and exchanging knowing and smug looks while interacting with the main characters.
  • Treants: The Last Ironwood Tree, though she only starts looking like one once she is complete. After that she is able to move around on two legs.
  • "Truman Show" Plot: The video game turns out to be a competition between Adam, Mira, Kai and the other team as part of a game show being recorded in front of a live studio audience. Played with in the sense that the teens did volunteer for the competition, but it also involved them temporarily losing their memories once they started the game.
    • The reverse happens in Season 2. The kids wake up in their respective homes and realize they are still in a video game world, but their families and friends don't know this. Everyone else lives like they are in a normal town.
  • Turns Red: The Final Boss, the Dragon Colrath, once first defeated comes back again, this time much faster and able to blast lightning. Ironically, though he starts off red, he becomes blue once he gets stronger.
  • Twenty Minutes In The Future: When we see what the world outside the game looks like, an elderly man (Kai's butler), mentions that laptop and internet were things of his childhood, meaning the setting is placed about 50 years in the future. The world looks pretty much the same, but technology has advanced a lot.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Adam, Kai, and Mira form this. The same goes for the other team of humans in season 1. Averted with Team B in season 2.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Season 2 reveals that Vanessa brought special contacts to keep her memories from being blocked once she was transferred into the game, causing the glitch in the first season and that glitch caused them to become sentient digital copies of their real-world selves once the game was over in season 2.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Mira, Adam and Reeve used to be in the same team, before Reeve left due to overhearing part of a conversation between Mira and Adam, in which Adam stated he wanted Reeve out of the team. Sadly, Reeve left before hearing Adam say that he may want to throw Reeve out, but in the end knows it's horrible of him to think so and that he couldn't do that to his friend.
  • What Measure Is A Nonhuman: In season 2 the kids are digital, sentient copies of their original selves. They are not told this until near the end. While Reese and Adam have some misgivings about this realization, they get over it quickly and switch gears to returning to their digital homes rather than the real world.
  • Where It All Began: The game ends at the same place it started: the bunker. Except that everyone now has their memories, knows more-or-less what's going on, and there's a big green button in the middle of the room that allows them to win the game.
    • Season 2 begins and ends in the digital town based on the characters' real lives. Except everyone is now fully aware that they are really digital copies of last season's cast that were accidentally given sentience due to the glitch, and said town is where they're meant to be.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Season 2 features a group one directed at Vanessa. She finally admits she cheated by using special contact lenses to retain her memories, and that caused the glitches. Kai has already called her out and tries to tell the team that she didn't mean for any of them to become digital clones. The rest of the group doesn't buy it; Reeve reveals that he and Skeet didn't know, and they wouldn't have let her cheat if they had. Adam and Mira also ask her why she was willing to stoop that low for a game.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The kids, familiar with pop culture, make various theories about what's going on, from being experiments by a Mad Scientist or a secret government agency, to being superheroes, to being stuck in some parallel universe, to being stuck in purgatory or some weird afterlife. They're willing competitors in a televised game show and it's (supposed to be) harmless. This continues into the next season, where they assume they're in some sort of secret Level 2 or that the game has otherwise glitched out and trapped their consciousnesses. They're really AI based on the previous season's characters, created for a life simulation game.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: The show kicks off this way, with the three main characters waking up in a bunker with no door and a typewriter and having to solve a puzzle to escape. The second season starts off with a variant, with the three waking up individually in what are supposedly their bedrooms.


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