You guys are on my mind.
You asked me what I wanted to be,
And now I think the answer's plain to see...
I wanna be famous!"
Total Drama is a Canadian animated series produced by Fresh TV, the creators of 6teen, that ascribes to New Season, New Name and debuted on Teletoon in Canada on July 8, 2007. On June 5, 2008, it came to Cartoon Network in the United States. The show is about teenagers who sign up to star on a reality show similar to Survivor called Total Drama, where they are divided into teams that compete against each other in challenges. Whenever a team loses a challenge, they have to vote one of their members off the show. After enough contestants are eliminated, the teams merge, and the remaining contestants compete as individuals and engage in a free-for-all where it's every person for themselves. The last contestant standing wins a huge sum of cash; C$100,000 initially, then C$1,000,000 starting with the first season's special.
The first season, Total Drama Island, takes place at Camp Wawanakwa, a rundown summer campsite located on an island in an unspecified area in Muskoka, Ontario. 22 contestants are introduced in this season, as are the series' hosts, Chris McLean and Chef Hatchet.
The second season, Total Drama Action, made its world debut on January 11, 2009 in Canada on Teletoon. While the season recycles contestants from the first season, it lowers the contestant count to 15 and changes the location from Camp Wawanakwa to an abandoned film lot somewhere in Toronto. New to the series are the Aftermath episodes, which take place in a studio and feature all the non-competitors and eliminated competitors. Timeline-wise, Action takes place two days after Island.
The third season, Total Drama World Tour, has 15 of the old contestants, as well as 3 brand-new ones, traveling to different locations all around the world in the Total Drama Jumbo Jet. This season premiered on June 10, 2010, once again in Canada. The Aftermath episodes are back, now with a plotline, and a new rule requires all the contestants to sing once per episode, turning the season into a musical.
The fourth season, Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, features an all-new cast of 13 contestants and once more takes place at Camp Wawanakwa, only now its covered in radioactive waste and infested with mutants big and small. The season premiered on January 5, 2012 on Teletoon and is the first season to consist of only 13 episodes instead of the norm of 26 that the first three seasons enjoyed.
The fifth season takes an interesting turn by being split into two wildly different mini-seasons of 13 episodes each. This confusing setup is the reason second mini-season occasionally gets advertised as the sixth season.
Part one of the fifth season, Total Drama All-Stars, not only contains 14 of the most iconic contestants returning from the previous four seasons, but also has a Heroes vs. Villains setup. Also, like the previous season it takes place at Camp Wawanakwa, the only difference being that the island's been cleaned up since the end of Revenge of the Island and is (mostly) toxic waste free once more. Unlike the previous seasons, this one debuted in the United States on Cartoon Network first, on September 10, 2013.
Part two of the fifth season, Total Drama: Pahkitew Island, features another round of all-new contestants, introducing 14 new characters to the franchise. It takes place on a new island, Pahkitew, located somewhere in Western Canada (British Columbia). Like All-Stars, it also debuted in America first, on July 7, 2014.
A spin-off series set in the same universe called Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, premiered on Sept 7, 2015 on Cartoon Network. The series is modelled after The Amazing Race and features a new host and new contestants competing in teams of two, although a few of the past characters also compete alongside the new cast.
Total DramaRama is a Spin-Off Babies series set in an Alternate Continuity that premiered on Sept 1, 2018 on Cartoon Network. It features fan-favorite characters from the first three seasons (as well as, surprisingly, Jude from 6teen) as toddlers in a daycare run by Chef Hatchet.
In late September of 2018, it was confirmed by Tom McGillis (co-president of Fresh TV and co-creator of the Total Drama franchise) that there were then no plans to continue either the original Total Drama series or its spinoff The Ridonculous Race, with his reason being along the lines of fleeting demographics, and the show's original concept of spoofing reality TV no longer being marketable.
However, a Q&A by Chris McLean's voice actor, Christian Potenza, revealed that this was not actually McGillis and Fresh TV's stance, but rather Cartoon Network's, as the company wanted to market to a younger audience and hosting series that focused on characters in their late teens didn't trend well. This perspective appears to have since changed with the advent of more experimental avenues like streaming: In mid-February of 2021, two new seasons were announced to be in the works for HBO Max and Cartoon Network.
General trope examples:
- Even Evil Has Standards
- Hidden Depths
- Mirror Character
- Laser Guided Karma
- Nice Guy
- Role Association
- Series Continuity Error
- Wham Episode
Tropes found in the series:
Waldorf: It's more hope than thought, but I think I will!