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Western Animation / The Hollow

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The Hollow is a Netflix original animated series created by Vito Viscomi. It was released on June 8, 2018. A second season was confirmed in January of 2019, set to be released in 2020.

The story 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 three 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.

Due to the nature of the series, some of the listed tropes will inherently spoil the plot. You have been warned.


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 finale.
  • 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".
  • 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 a thin man with blue skin and dark hair that has been dyed bright orange and yellow, resembling a flame. He wears a black and white striped shirt, a red jacket, a cyan scarf, dark navy skinny jeans, black formal shoes, and dark red sunglasses.
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  • 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, it's unclear how evil she actually is, since she may or may not have been the one to cause A Glitch in the Matrix, based on the show's ending.
  • 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.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The sirens that almost lure Adam and Kai off a cliff serve as this.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The ishibo serves as this with the ever changing map coming in at a close second.
  • Dead All Along: Discussed. A recurring gag throughout the series is Kai's theory that they're already dead.
  • 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. The other group assumed that you would regenerate before believing that it's actually Final Death when Kai and Mira try tricking them into believing Adam died while the two groups were separated. Meanwhile, the host's reactions to the glitches heavily imply that whatever happened to the game's code would have resulted in actual death.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Driving Question: Why are the teens there, how did they lose their memories, and what kind of world are they in?
  • Escaped from the Lab: In the first episode, Adam suggests that maybe the teens are somebody's lab experiments, which would explain their powers.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The events of the story 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.
  • 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.
    • Reeve and Adam both act as The Muscle 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 a genuine Sadist who gets a kick out of abusing his power and seemingly has little to no empathy for others.
    • Kai and Skeetz 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 dumb as he looks and flat-out abandons his team when it seems like the odds are against them.
  • 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.
  • Genre Savvy: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lifelines: Shouting "Help, please!" summons the Weird Guy to give you a push in the right direction. Each group can only do this three times.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Medium Blending: At the end, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Playing with Fire: Kai's ability, which he learns later in the game.
  • 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. Though 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 a boy and a girl 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.
  • Real Time: In the flashback epilogue, the title card reads "Five Hours Before". The miniseries is ten half-hour episodes long.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The devil dogs have glowing eyes that have a reddish tint.
  • The Reveal: The setting the kids are in is a video game on a game show called The Hollow.
  • The End... Or Is It?: At the end, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Adam, Kai, and Mira form this. The same goes for the other team of humans.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Example of: