Win Back the Crowd
Ah my, was it glorious. X was a superhero/science-fiction/romance/vampire/police-procedural... pick any, franchise unlike any other. The fans loved it. It caused fangirls to Squee with delight. Even those who weren't fans grudgingly respected its brilliance. There were books, TV shows, movies, video games, comics, lunchboxes, T-shirts, and a thousand fan-fics. It was magnificent.
But then, something went wrong. Author fatigue set in. Or maybe the author failed to exist. Or perhaps their ego overshadowed the work. Maybe the executives meddled too much. Or maybe the original stars wanted too much money and left. Or the work tried to grow the beard by trying to be Darker and Edgier, and instead jumped the shark. Alternatively, the hype was just too much.
Whatever the cause, the result was the same. The show's ratings slipped, the movie gave way to cornier sequels, and folks stopped buying the t-shirts. The franchise lost the crowd it worked so hard to win. And it died. So sad.
Sometimes, the crowd can be won again! Even though the fanbase has revolted against a franchise and declared it "played out", the creator (or maybe even a new one) can actually make the franchise fresh and new and relevant (and profitable) again.
The creators realize that the franchise simply has to be adjusted for new changes in society. Or they remake it with new actors, who are *gasp* as good as the originals. Maybe they cut out the Narmtastic parts of the original. Or fix the visual effects. Or maybe the franchise just needed to rest for a little while. Whatever it is, the result is the same. The fangirls are squeeing again, folks are buying T-shirts again, and the Fan Fics are back.
It's magnificent (again).
Compare And the Fandom Rejoiced (when a preview reassures fans by showing the producers are being faithful to the source material), Win the Crowd. See also Career Resurrection. If a company is trying to invoke this, it's a case of We Don't Suck Anymore.
(Note: Some of these franchises are multi-media, examples are of the specific work that won back the fans.)
- Due to many comic series being published over a long period of time, they fall into this trope.
- At one point Fantastic Four and The Avengers were dwindling properties at Marvel Comics despite the fact that they were the company's flagship super-teams and in the case of the "FF", the oldest series. With not particularly stellar talent working on each book, The Dark Age of Comic Books seemed to be making idealistic super-hero teams irrelevant. After the mixed-reception Onslaught Crossover, the two teams were thrown into an alternate reality, leading to the reviled Heroes Reborn. This ended up being setup for a little Status Quo Is God, returning the titles back to their former glory with very popular creative teams.
- Spider-Man titles received a massive dip in popularity with the Clone Saga which saw the hero replaced by a clone, among other things. Since Spidey has always been a very popular character, it was a simple matter of killing off the clone and bringing the title back to its down-to-Earth roots. Whether or not the current Spider-titles can make it after One More Day remains to be seen.
- The transition from Brand New Day to Big Time was supposed to be this, but failed miserably due to plot twists that pissed off fans (Hobgoblin returns, but it's the much hated teenage Green Goblin under the mask, having decapitated the much loved Roderick Kingsley, JJJ's wife being senselessly killed off, the reviled Carlie/Peter Parker romance, and Mary Jane being brought back simply to shill Carlie as Peter's true love. Oh and Peter Parker helping torture Sandman with acid.
- Alternatively though, the spin-offs Venom (with Flash Thompson as the new heroic Venom) and the resurrection of Kaine/Kaine getting the Scarlet Spider identity) have been well received, as was Spider-Island, which resurrected Kaine, got rid of Carlie, and teased MJ and Peter FINALLY reconciling. But this was all for not: a reviled crossover with Mark Waid Daredevil (designed to steal Black Cat from the Spider-Man books so she can become Daredevil's new love interest), the launch of the rather blah Avenging Spider-Man (designed as a replacement for Marvel Team-Up), and the much loathed "The End of the Earth", wiped out any gains that Spider Island might have given the franchise.
- If there's one thing the Star Trek franchise is known for, it's the ability to rise anew like a phoenix and win back movie-going audiences (multiple times over) after underperforming or dismal films:
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture left a lot of folks thinking Trek was only for the geek crowd and would never be a big franchise (like Star Wars). Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan proved otherwise.
- After the dismal showing of Star Trek V the Final Frontier (which was, at the time, the lowest box-office earning entry of the franchise and a critical disappointment), Paramount Pictures made a point to bring back fan-favorite director Nicholas Meyer (who had helmed The Wrath of Khan) to helm Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country.
- Star Trek: Nemesis was the worst-performing Trek film in more than 15 years, a critical and commercial bomb that broke the Star Trek Movie Curse in the worst way possible by being an awful even-numbered Trek film. The announcement that the franchise would be rebooted was met with much discontent from long-time fans... until it was announced that J.J. Abrams would be directing it (along with Michael Giacchino composing), and focused on an alternate-universe plot that would bring back the spirit of the original series. The resulting film was the highest-grossing Trek film of all time and a hit with both hardcore fans (apart from a few holdouts) and general audiences.
- For many, the Cold Open in Casino Royale made James Bond seem cool again.
Dryden: How did he die?
- Being a Long Runner, the James Bond films regularly have resurgences in fan appreciation. The casting of Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye won back James Bond more than 10 years before Casino Royale.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom divided a lot of fans and caused Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to take a lot of flak for ruining the Indiana Jones saga. The two of them hit back with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which won over everyone, and among some fans is considered better than even Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- The Muppets reached a nadir with Muppets from Space, which failed both critically and financially. After a few years of disliked TV specials, and modestly popular commercials and viral videos, 2011 brought a new big-screen movie, The Muppets, with a script and sense of humor recalling Jim Henson's Muppet movies. Said script also counts as an in-universe example of this trope, as the Muppets try to win back an audience that has grown to favor cynicism in the years since they last performed together. This became one of the most critically-acclaimed movies of the year, and the Muppets' highest-grossing movie ever (not adjusting for inflation).
- After the dismal failure of Batman and Robin, The Dark Knight Saga by Christopher Nolan rebooted the film franchise in order to win back Batman fans. Both films quickly became resounding critical and commercial successes and have raised the prestige of comic book movies as gripping drama films, and are generally ranked among the greatest comic adaptations ever. After The Dark Knight came out, it became the highest-grossing comic book movie ever.
Live Action TV
- The sixth season of 24 was heavily panned, making many, even hardcore fans, think maybe the show ran its course. The seventh season, beginning with 24:Redemption has won back the old fans and even a fair share of new ones along with the highest ratings ever for the series.
- Kiefer Sutherland himself he was at best a B-movie actor before his Golden Globe and Emmy-winning turn as the baddest counter-terrorist agent of all time.
- Similar to Sutherland, Dennis Haysbert's biggest role was in Major League. After 24 he became the star of The Unit.
- Kiefer Sutherland himself he was at best a B-movie actor before his Golden Globe and Emmy-winning turn as the baddest counter-terrorist agent of all time.
- Law and Order wins back its fans at regular intervals. But then, after nearly 20 years on the air, that should be expected.
- Similarly, Saturday Night Live has had several periods where everyone hated it, until new talent (most notably Eddie Murphy in the early '80s) brings it back into the public's good graces.
- The 2005 reboot of Doctor Who was a resounding triumph for the Britain's biggest sci-fi hero following the series' ignominious death back in 1989 and the failed pilot on Fox.
- The first post-SG-1 Stargate Verse movie The Ark of Truth was considered by some to be blah at best. However, it seems everyone loved Stargate: Continuum.
- A number of TV shows may lose viewers (or indeed never really had many in the first place) when initially aired. But in reruns, they become many times more popular. The premier example is the original Star Trek: The Original Series series; cancelled after three seasons in 1969 due to low ratings, it became the biggest sci-fi franchise aside from Star Wars after being syndicated around the world.
- The George Lopez Show is proving far more popular in reruns on Nickelodeon than it was during its initial run on ABC.
- As good as The Twilight Zone was during its original run on CBS, it has become an almost universal cult hit in reruns, and is still watched to this day.
- Both Family Guy and The Game benefited from this to the point of being Uncancelled. The first three seasons of Family Guy got so-so ratings at best and constantly switched around in bad time slots, but always got great ratings when aired on Adult Swim's lineup, which led to the amazing DVD sales that sparked its resurrection. The Game was treated similarly when it was on the CW, but when reruns started of BET, the fanbase grew exponentially. So once the CW let the show go, BET picked it up and enjoyed the ratings boost.
- Smallville marked a resurgence for Superman following the years of inactivity after Lois and Clark went off the air and the last Christopher Reeve movie was released.
- Power Rangers in Space won back old fans of Power Rangers lost after Power Rangers Turbo, as well as new ones
- Many years later, Power Rangers RPM won back fans that had been dissatisfied with the previous succession of mediocre to bad seasons.
- The Academy Awards ceremony had to do this after the 1989 show opened with a notoriously campy production number "highlighted" by Rob Lowe singing a rewritten duet of "Proud Mary" with Snow White. Things didn't much improve from there, aside from several witty presenters, and the show was pilloried both within and without Hollywood as a disgrace. The following year, one of those witty presenters—Billy Crystal—was tapped to host the whole show, and largely thanks to him the result was a much-acclaimed ceremony. Crystal has hosted eight more times since then, including in 2012 to win back the crowd after the poorly-received 2011 ceremony that James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosted.
- While Star Trek IV the Voyage Home was winning the box office, Star Trek: The Next Generation almost permanently won back the Trekkie crowd, for good. Its success triggered an almost continuous 20-year run of Trek series being produced.
- When the iCarly special iStart a Fan War was announced, Seddie shippers got excited that after Season 4's lackluster quality, it would give them some Seddie moments and reboot the show's glory. Unfortunately, when it turned out to be an Author Tract against the shipping concept, shippers were not pleased, and when they took it to Dan Schneider's blog, they claimed he crossed the Moral Event Horizon when their comments were being erased and that the show was dead. That is, until his next blog explained his true intention, and that he only meant that to the obsessed shippers. He also promised them something that would make them quite pleased, which left most fans forgiving him. And that something came in the form of iOMG, which was seen as a Crowning Moment of Awesome by many fans.
- Quite a few fans were redrawn to Kamen Rider by Kamen Rider Double following the debacle of Kamen Rider Decade, though this likely applies more to the non-Japanese Periphery Demographic.
- Though some parts of the fandom disagree, Metallica's Death Magnetic helped bring back quite a few fans after St. Anger with a return to their 80s sound.
- Dr. Dre's Chronic 2001, which featured then-rising Aftermath artists like Eminem and Xzibit, also revived interest in his career after several years out of the limelight.
- Accept. A lot of people had a lot of doubts with Mark Tornillo, replacement of Udo Dirkschneider. And then, they release Blood Of The Nations. It turns out to be one of the best Metal albums of 2010.
- The WWF became the undisputed top promotion of the wrestling world in the 1980's, but by the time the '90s rolled around, their top name (Hulk Hogan) was gone, nobody else was grabbing the audience's interest, and the booking had become ridiculous, predictable, and lame. The WWF found themselves trailing behind WCW, and staring down the barrel of bankruptcy. Then came the Attitude Era, a Darker and Edgier reinvention focused around Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the rest is history.
- Exalted has had a long cycle of Jumping the Shark, followed by this, followed by Jumping the Shark again. It seems to be in this trope right now thanks to the Ink Monkeys, but they have had their missteps as well.
- After the dedicated server fiasco in the PC version of Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty Black Ops was advertised to have dedicated servers. Your Mileage May Vary on how well it worked, with the PC version's many bugs that plagued many users.
- Now we have Call of Duty Black Ops II. Near future setting, missions with multiple paths, Strike Force missions that can alter the story based on success or failure (and the player can even play these missions like an RTS if they want), and a story written by the writer of The Dark Knight Saga, even those who hated Modern Warfare 3 for being "too much of the same thing" are becoming optimistic that Black Ops II is truly the change of pace the series needed.
- Sonic Colors. The Blue Blur has finally broken through the Polygon Ceiling.
- Even before that, Sonic Adventure was made by Sega in an ambitious effort to keep the Sega Dreamcast from meeting the same fate as the Sega Saturn did in the U.S., as well as make Sonic relevant again in the eyes of gamers after he slipped into a Dork Age by the late 90s. It worked.
- Sonic Unleashed, to a lesser extent. Most people liked about half the game (with a polarizing other half). It was enough for people to forgive Sega for Sonic the Hedgehog 2006.
- Mortal Kombat 9. The series had fallen back into a Dork Age right after Deadly Alliance had so narrowly pulled it out of one. The 2011 game sees to it that your fond memories of the series aren't exclusive to just the 90s.
- While Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty didn't turn everyone away from the series, it did cause a serious Broken Base with many worried as to what the next game would bring. Cue Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater which had a much more straightforward plot, solid gameplay that expanded on the Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's gameplay, new outdoor jungle environments (which hadn't really been done before in the series since the original 2D games), spectacular boss fights and an absolutely heartbreaking yet incredibly effective ending. While debate still goes on as to the overall quality of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty in relation to the rest of the series, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is considered to be possibly the franchise's crowning achievement.
- After the huge success of Ocarina of Time, between hands was a Tough Act to Follow, which neither Majora's Mask nor The Wind Waker managed to surpass (in fact, the former was for the most part overlooked, and the latter fractured significantly the fanbase). Then Twilight Princess was released and, while not completely, it managed to put the series back on spot in sales, critical acclaim, awards and nominations.
- Deus Ex Human Revolution struggled to win any fans from its conception - a fanbase already disillusioned by Invisible War was less than thrilled when they discovered that the third game in the series would include Regenerating Health and cover-based combat. However, when a disgruntled ex-employee leaked the press demo, previously unenthusiastic Deus Ex fans were pleasantly surprised by what they found - so much so that even the notoriously pessimistic /v/ was genuinely impressed and looked forward to the game's release with far more excitement than before.
- The Tony Hawks Pro Skater franchise had grappled with Sequelitis for years, eventually hitting a nadir with Tony Hawk's RIDE and SHRED, two games built around an atrocious skateboard peripheral. Activision, finally seeing where this was going, released Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, a revamped collection of levels from the well-reviewed first and second titles. And the Fandom Rejoiced.
- The first Devil May Cry was universally hailed and anticipation was high for the second one. However what fans got was a lackluster sequel that was laughably easy and stripped Dante of his rogue charm. Understandably, many were wary come news of the third game, which was developed by the same team behind DMC2. However, Capcom rectified all the problems of the second game, ratcheting up the difficulty, reverting Dante back to his old self, and even giving him some new toys to play with. Then came the announcement of Special Edition, which offered an Easy Mode and allowed players to play as Vergil.
- For years, the Ultramarines chapter had been the butt of jokes due to their being a Creator's Pet who interpreted them as Lawful Stupid and overshadowing other armies. But with Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, the fans are finally starting to appreciate them again (it doesn't hurt that the game has a few TakeThats towards the by-the-book aspect, and by extension the author who presented them as such). The story also called for exactly what they excel at: being generic action heroes, with no tie-ins to ongoing stories or complex Chapter characterization to confuse players new to the IP.
- Transformers Animated has proved to be an excellent show, especially after the years of spottily-dubbed Japanese-produced for american consumption (Or not) series, attracting many old and even new fans.
- The seventh season of SpongeBob SquarePants. Plankton is more threatening than he was before the movie, using deadly weapons and slave labor, Mr. Krabs has a nice side, characters who plagued the past three seasons have been dropped, there's a bit more drama, the epic horrors of Whelk Attack and A Pal For Gary, Sandy may be getting back in the spotlight soon, genuinely good specials, The Dead Baby Comedy being handled better, the best SpongeBob game since Battle For Bikini Bottom, the brief Story Arc, SpongeBob getting less stupid, Patrick becoming a loveable oaf again after a brief villainous stint, etc.
- It seems that Family Guy is taking this direction, since after the much reviled Season 7: Peter's Jerkassery was toned down, Brian is no longer the Mary Sue Author Avatar everybody was sick of, Meg and Chris are getting more screentime, and the Meg bashing is much, much less blatant, Stewie starts to show glimpses of his old characterization, the newer chapters have better storylines and less flashbacks and pop culture references (which, by the way, are more recent and easier to get than the obscure 70-80s references that nobody recognized), the Dead Baby Comedy is less prominent, etc...
- They sadly slipped back into their old habits. One episode featured an entire music video comparable to the Conway Twitty incident, and a Thanksgiving episode revolved entirely around criticizing the Iraq War (as if that's somehow a recent issue that people don't talk about).
- The Simpsons experienced a massive boost in popularity in 2007, thanks to the acclaimed smash hit The Simpsons Movie.
- My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic won back the My Little Pony franchise, after it had been a joke for years. Moreover, it gave rise to the brony movement, appealing to adults as well as children.
Works That Won Back a Given Genre or Type of Work
- The "Sword-and-Sandals" type of epic had been dead since at least The Sixties. Gladiator (incidentally the Trope Namer of "Win the Crowd") won back the genre.
- The Disney Animated Canon, which largely floundered after Walt's death in 1966 (the last film he actually worked on was The Jungle Book), came back in a big way with The Little Mermaid in 1989. They went on to dominate theatrical animation during the 1990s, until they lost the crowd to CGI houses such as Dreamworks Animation at the turn of the millennium. This seemed to spell the near death of traditional animation. Fans were not pleased, until The Princess and the Frog brought hand-drawn Disney animation back on the big screen with old-fashioned charm, and Tangled successfully merged elements of Disney's classic fairy tales with modern-quality visuals.
- Moulin Rouge and Chicago can both be credited with reviving interest in movie musicals after the genre died a slow death over the late 1960s-early 1980s.
- Unforgiven won back westerns... and, cued a massive career resurgence for Clint Eastwood that let up only when Eastwood finally entered retirement after the incredibly high note of Gran Torino.
- Pirate movies. Killed by Cutthroat Island, and not doing too great before that. Resurrected by the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
- The successes of Blade and X Men managed to breathe new life into the Comic Book and Superhero Genre, after Batman and Robin killed it.
People Who've Won Back Their Careers
- Marlon Brando was considered a has-been after Mutiny on the Bounty ruined his career. Then he staged an epic comeback with The Godfather.
- Drugs and a string of box-office duds had many thinking Robert Downey, Jr.. had wasted his career. He won over everybody with the two-hit combo of Iron Man and Tropic Thunder.
- Mickey Rourke with Sin City and The Wrestler.
- John Travolta with Pulp Fiction.
- Also, Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman; though they were never as big stars as Travolta prior to Pulp Fiction.
- Quentin Tarantino seemed destined to never escape the shadow of Pulp Fiction. But then, he directed Kill Bill.
- Peter Sellers' career, in the early 1970s, had eroded to the point that a few of his movies didn't even make it to theaters. Then he reprised the role of Inspector Clouseau in 1975, was immediately back on the A-list, and remained there for the last few years of his life.
- Sylvester Stallone did it twice, with Cliffhanger (after two horrible comedies), and Rocky Balboa (after many years of unremarkable films).
- After the promising debut of Point Break and Near Dark, it seemed that Kathryn Bigelow was the IT girl; a woman director who was married to IT director James Cameron. But then, her big-budget, Cameron-produced Strange Days tanked. Badly. It was nearly a decade before she directed another big movie: The Hurt Locker.
- While The Abyss didn't exactly tank at the box office, it wasn't the success it had been expected to be, and it hadn't been a particularly good experience for James Cameron (it suffered much Executive Meddling). Cameron's next movie: Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
- Later, Cameron also helped Arnold Schwarzenegger to have success again with True Lies, after the misstep that was Last Action Hero.
- Tom Cruise was largely considered to have destroyed his career forever after becoming Hollywood's new front man for Scientology, with his numerous bizarre and off-putting public appearances. Then came his tour de force Playing Against Type performance in Tropic Thunder. THEN his return to |Mission Impossible with Ghost Protocol, especially with the advertising that he performed the "scale-a-skyscraper" stunt himself.
- Jackie Earle Haley hadn't appeared in a film for 13 years when he made his out-of-nowhere comeback in 2006 with roles in the All The King's Men remake and Little Children, the latter earning him an Academy Award nomination.
- And then there was Watchmen, with great praise for his great work as everybody's favorite antihero Rorschach.
- The success of 90s-esque shows like Adventure Time and Regular Show reignited Cartoon Network's interest in showing cartoons again. Prior to that, the network was undergoing a nasty case of Network Decay and attempted to become a Live Action network. Along with that were the many, many interesting shows that came along with it such as Generator Rex, Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated, and quite a few more.
- Adult Swim seems to be trying to follow suit after their resurrection of Toonami.
- ↑ Unless one counts the Affectionate Parody Galaxy Quest as an honorary Trek film.