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Top 10 Annoying Things About Sequels

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Garrett Alden. More isn’t always better. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Annoying Things about Sequels. More isn’t always better. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Annoying Things about Sequels.

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Top 10 Annoying Things about Sequels

More isn’t always better. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Annoying Things about Sequels.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most frustrating and irksome aspects of sequels in movies.

#10: The Original Didn’t Leave Things Open

Sequels are a fine concept. We all love to see more of our favorite characters and stories. However, some stories don’t have endings that are open enough to allow for a natural follow-up. This causes the creators to jump through logic hoops or use retroactive continuity in order to make a sequel viable – and a sequel built on retcons has trouble standing on its own. If only the people behind the scenes could remember that the stories that shine the brightest don’t necessarily shine the longest.

#9: Too Much Time Has Passed

Some sequels are released years, or even decades after the original story. Clearly whoever’s in charge of making them has never heard the expression, “strike while the iron is hot.” These “cold iron” sequels often have difficulty connecting with audiences in the same way that the originals did. Perhaps the actors no longer have the same passion, or the directors and writers have a different voice than they once did. Maybe audience tastes have changed. Regardless, waiting too long to make a sequel can result in a lukewarm or bad sequel, although there are some shiny and chrome exceptions.

#8: Too Many Sequels = Not Enough Original Properties

Sequels are all the rage these days for one simple reason – they put butts in seats. Getting audiences to see a movie in the theater can be challenging, and sequels provide established names that are guaranteed to get people’s attention, since most people prefer the familiar. However, this means that media is becoming oversaturated by franchises and sequels, leaving little room for inventive new stories. The entertainment industry needs original properties, but few executives are willing to take chances when sequels have a built-in audience.

#7: When They Contradict the Message of the Previous Movie

Sequels can be tricky to pull off, but many of them fail at their most basic concept – giving the audience another story that’s true to the source material. Too often, sequels are made without considering what attracted people to the original story. Details are changed, characters act contrary to how they had previously, and the themes and messages of the first story are completely contradicted. You’d think that the executives who are so fond of sequels because they’re more of the same would realize that you have to keep some things about them… you know – the same.

#6: Overstuffed Plots

Sequels are meant to expand upon what came before them, but sometimes they expand too much and too fast. A lot of sequels suffer from having an overabundance of plot elements, which leaves them feeling bloated and low on character development and substance. Part of a making a good sequel is pacing oneself, as well as keeping a balance of new and old. Too often, sequels throw everything in AND the kitchen sink. Most of our entries thus far have demonstrated that more isn’t always better, but this one really embodies that idea.

#5: Disappointing New Characters

Sequels have an uphill battle when it comes to new characters. They need to complement the old ones, while hopefully not overshadowing them. Of course, then there are characters that don’t live up to the standard set by those that came before them. Whether they’re pandering to a demographic, one-dimensional, or just carbon copies of previous characters, new sequel characters can have a profound impact on how the sequel is perceived, as well as how people see the franchise as a whole.

#4: Produced Too Fast

While we’ve already discussed the adverse effects of waiting too long to make a sequel, not waiting enough can produce similarly awful results. As we’ve already mentioned, sequels and franchises are big business right now, so studios are under big pressure to release them as fast as possible. Many sequels don’t receive enough time to be screened, edited, or even filmed, to the point where they rarely reach the level of quality of their predecessors. For example, the critically reviled “Scary Movie 2” was released less than a year after the more well-received original. In short, haste makes waste.

#3: When They Reuse the Same Plot

Creators don’t want to alienate their audience by making a sequel that’s too different from the original, but sometimes they can overcompensate by going too far in the opposite direction. Few things are as irritating to a viewer as discovering that the folks behind the cameras have made what should be a new chapter into basically the same thing with a new title. Just because something isn’t broken, doesn’t always mean it can’t stand some improvements or additions. After all, if audiences wanted to watch the same plot, they’d just watch the first one.

#2: The Magic is Lost

In theory, sequels have the potential to be better than their predecessors. In practice, though, this is rarely the case. Whether it’s due to a new team behind the scenes, the same team failing to capture lightning in a bottle a second time, or through some combination of the previous issues, sequels just have a tough time delivering the same magic as the originals. Perhaps it’s because, like magic, we’re less likely to be impressed the second time around. Maybe our own expectations are to blame. Whatever the reason, sequels have tough acts to follow.

#1: The Franchise Overstays Its Welcome

No matter how much we like a story or characters, our interest in them is going to wane at some point. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and even the best franchises can begin to feel stale after one too many sequels. As we stated earlier, the entertainment industry loves sequels right now, and the longer they go on, the more likely people are to get tired of them. Endless sequels may put money in pockets, but they tarnish the brand as often as they benefit it.

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