Never Trust A TrailerWham EpisodeMagnificent BastardLove It Or Hate ItParental Abandonment
Downer EndingFamous Last WordsThey Wasted A Perfectly Good PlotLarge HamLoads And Loads Of Characters
Eldritch AbominationTsundereCreepy ChildSmug SnakeVerbal Tic
Mythology GagActor AllusionTalking To HimselfDid You Just Punch Out CthulhuThe Dragon
The Other DarrinIdiosyncratic Episode NamingGame BreakerMeaningful NameBad Ass
Never Trust A Trailer
If Covers Always Lie, trailers can, too. Sometimes Tonight Someone Dies or hyping The Reveal might not be enough. And with the Internet an open window these days for writers and directors to viewers' likes, dislikes, hopes, predictions, and Shipping loyalties, it's easy to know exactly how to bait fans into watching the next episode. Be careful not to believe everything you see, though, because as ...
Wham Episode
They pulled it off! A legitimate Twist Ending! An episode that suddenly sets the Story Arc moving in a very different direction, metaphorically hitting the viewer over the head with a sharp shock. Frequently the result of The Reveal (possibly of The Mole), a Luke I Am Your Father, a Tomato Surprise, all at or other such surprising twist. Sometimes carries a significant dose of Mood Whiplash along ...
Magnificent Bastard
The Magnificent Bastard is what happens when you combine the Chessmaster, the Trickster, and the Manipulative Bastard (sometimes throwing in a bit of Large Ham). He is bold, charismatic (though not necessarily lovable), independent, and audacious. This character is a villain. He can be at any level of the villainous hierarchy - Big Bad, The Dragon who's a Knight Templar or Puss In Boots, or a wil ...
Love It Or Hate It
Many shows have broad appeal, and most people who see them generally have a positive or neutral opinion on their value. Others appeal to a niche market and get positive views from their target audiences, while mainstream viewers are merely indifferent. Others are unbelievably awful, but a lucky few of those manage to gain fans who like them because they're so bad. Some, however, manage to achieve ...
Parental Abandonment
A stunningly large number of heroes and their coteries are lacking in the parent department, either through death or in that they just aren't talked about. Even if both parents are alive, they may well be emotionally or physically distant. Everyone is, for the sake of the plot, Conveniently An Orphan, whether they actually are or not. This is a very convenient way for characters to be able to run ...
Downer Ending
1. A finale to a movie, a TV series, a video game, or some other form of media that ends things on a low note, or in some other way that isn't quite happy. These tend to be rare, as there is overwhelming pressure to tie loose ends up in a 'happy' way. Sometimes done as a way to assure that the show, once canceled, cannot be revived later (similar to the Grand Finale), but sometimes leaves the sho ...
Famous Last Words
Contrary to popular belief, very few fatal injuries result in instant death. As long as you haven't been decapitated, shot in the head, or asploded, your body will take at least two minutes to fully shut down, giving you a chance to belt out a few parting words to your comrades or the enemy that felled you. More realistic than the Final Speech, which lasts as long as the plot needs it to no matter ...
They Wasted A Perfectly Good Plot
You feel like you've been given the first three chapters of a story, a story that you really would have liked to see to its conclusion, but either a) it's on a whole different set of rails now, or b) while you do see it to its conclusion, it ignores the intriguing possibilities you'd hoped to see. Note that this does not include a plot/idea you like not being a well-written story/well-made game/et ...
Large Ham
Ridiculously larger-than-life character, often a mentor to one of the regulars. Typically played by a guest star with an Internet Movie Database listing longer than the rest of the cast put together. Full of energy, joie de vivre and nothing but line readings and dramatic gestures that can shake a scene to pieces. Often a key redeeming element in shows that are So Bad Its Good. The first line from ...
Loads And Loads Of Characters
Also known as the Character Clusterfuck, a show that has so many regulars that you can't fit them all into one episode. Therefore, one week some characters will appear, another some different people. You'll rarely get the same combination twice. This is especially common in Long Runners, as characters tend to accumulate over time. Similarly, some video games involve collecting as many distinct, un ...
Eldritch Abomination
How to describe these unclean mockeries of natural law? There are no words that can encompass such foulness, not in English or any other human tongue. They are other, alien beyond comprehension, their very existence an affront to all rationality. I could speak of ichor-dripping tentacles and yonic voids, painfully dissonant cries and colours of no earthly hue, but those are mere superficialities. ...
Tsundere
A character (usually female) who runs 'hot and cold', flipping between◊ aggressive and confrontational (tsuntsun, meaning 'aloof' or 'cranky' in Japanese) and affectionate and sentimental (deredere, meaning 'lovestruck'). The distinct moods usually aren't subtle, especially with the latter ranging from 'simple teasing' to 'lovestruck kindergartener who pushes you into the sandbox'. The reasons b ...
Creepy Child
They look sweet, innocent, even angelic, but there's something not quite right about them. They're too calm, too knowing. They aren't really children any longer, not at heart. Children should be innocent, in need of adult protection. By inverting this, the trope arouses deep-rooted fears. The Creepy Child might not be physically dangerous, but their profound unnaturalness is just as chilling. Cree ...
Smug Snake
The Smug Snake is a type of character (usually cast as a villain) who tends to treat friends and enemies alike with equal disdain. They almost constantly speak in a sarcastic tone and punctuate most of their sentences with a smirk. More often than not, they will aspire to be a formidable and awe-inspiring adversary, but tend to fail in the face and/or servitude of more cunning villains. Others tha ...
Verbal Tic
An exceptionally odd Catch Phrase, used to the point it seems more like a bodily emission than speaking. This is often a single nonsense word added at the end of sentences, well past the expected formal variations in speech. Occasionally, it'll be a stretched-out and bizarre play on Japanese grammar. This is rarely, if ever, applied when the series is dubbed into English. Both variants are extreme ...
Mythology Gag
A Mythology Gag is a sort of Meta-Continuity Nod, wherein some facet of a show's mythology or past production history (which is not actually considered Canon in the context of the show) is made. Often seen in Revivals or Series Franchises, when an element from the previous version of the show (or from the previous show in the Series Franchise) is referenced or seen in some way. This is usually don ...
Actor Allusion
An Actor Allusion is a joke or reference which is specific to one of the actors in a television show. It can be a little blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, such as Mary Albright (Jane Curtin) spotting some people in Conehead costumes at a sci-fi convention in Third Rock From The Sun, or it can be bigger and more blatant, such as when John Lithgow repeated his entire anti-music rant from Footloose in ...
Talking To Himself
Professional voice actors pride themselves on range. So, hiring a few good VAs means you can take care of many, many characters with a small cast (especially if one or two actors are a Man Of A Thousand Voices). Oftentimes, this results in funny situations, like two characters played by the same person having intense conversations and heated arguments with each other. The talent is in making sure ...
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu
So, along comes the Eldritch Abomination: incomprehensible, insanity-inducing gods; alien beings that don't even notice humanity, let alone care; technological beings whose thoughts encompass the universe. You know the type. Eternal, infinite, impossible to even understand, let alone oppose... And then along come a couple of plucky heroes, who didn't get told that the Abomination is impossible to ...
The Dragon
No, *I* am your trope picture!. In classic Fairy Tales and folklore, the hero must often slay a dragon, or other semi-intelligent monster, before he can confront the intelligent (but weaker) master villain. The Dragon is the Big Bad's top enforcer, and is correspondingly dangerous in combat. Some Dragons are ferocious fighters who leave the heavy thinking to the boss. Others are smart, detail-orie ...
The Other Darrin
A new actor is brought onto a show to play the same character as an actor who's leaving. Often not explained to the audience at all. Named for arguably the most famous case: the Darrin swap — Dick York to Dick Sargent — on Bewitched. Somewhat easier to get away with when dealing with voice actors or with animals. In daytime soaps, there are several standardized ways this is done: the new act ...
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming
Most prominently noted in Friends, many shows utilize quirky episode naming conventions. Though the episode title is usually not even broadcast with the show (usually only Animated Series do this), this information is gleaned from press releases, closed captioning, and the guide information. Of course, in literature it can be more obvious. Pilots are exempt from this, as pilots do not usually hav ...
Game Breaker
Occasionally known as 'a cheese' or 'cheesing,' a Game Breaker is controversial because of its vague status of 'cheating'. Since it does not involve outright hacking, such as a ram edit, nor exploiting an outright bug which clearly should not occur, Game Breaking utilizes some organic feature of the game in an unintentional way, resulting in Gameplay Derailment. A major reason these occur is due t ...
Meaningful Name
A name that has a direct, barely-hidden meaning to it. The first, last, or full name says something primal about the character. Often has multiple layers. To hide the meaning a bit, use an alternate spelling or foreign equivalent. Instead of writers having to make up random words or think of real names, they can use mythological names or old words. As an example, it is common to use for heroic cha ...
Bad Ass
The Rule Of Cool personified. A character who gets away with outright insane stunts (defusing a bomb with their teeth, conning a mob boss, getting into a firefight with the entire US army, etc.) that would never work in real life. A Bad Ass is a fantasy figure who the audience roots for precisely because they break the Willing Suspension Of Disbelief - or, between Refuge In Audacity and Rule Of Co ...