WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

A time-filling sequence.

In the early seasons of Stargate SG-1, the required settings for the stargate were made with a great deal of pomp and ceremony. Stirring music was played under a series of announcements...


 "Chevron One, encoded. Chevron Two, encoded! Chevron Three encoded!! Chevron Four Encoded!"


...all the way up to, if the audience was unlucky, the full seven chevrons ("Chevron Seven... LOCKED!"). This was from the film Stargate, where it was quite suspenseful. The reason for that suspense, however, was that it was only after Daniel figured out the seven-chevron coordinate system that they managed to make the Stargate work for the first time. In the TV show, this sequence came after a while to feel like it was just there to fill time. In some fan communities the phrase "engaging chevrons" has come to mean any recognizable time-filling ploy. As in:


 "The fight scene was just engaging chevrons: 'Fu for 'fu's sake."


 "They started engaging chevrons about how 'terrorists are really, really bad people', so I went to the fridge for a fresh beer."


Compare Stock Footage, Fighter Launching Sequence, Padding. Contrast with Trapped by Mountain Lions.

Examples of Engaging Chevrons include:

Anime & Manga

  • In the second and fourth seasons of Digimon, many an episode is padded with the Transformation Sequence. Digimon's known for its complex and awesome scenes of 'digivolving,' Mons undergoing temporary Applied Phlebotinum-induced changes from their standard forms to stronger ones. The full sequence is often very long and only seen rarely. However, seasons two and four will often show the complete sequence, and of all characters transforming, without a split-screen. Five solid minutes of digivolving is not unheard of in season four. 02 would also have Digimon evolve separately, and then "DNA digivolve" together, which was a separate, third sequence. If you want all six in Ultimate/Perfect forms, you might find yourself waiting for six rookie-to-champion evo scenes, then three DNA scenes, for a total of nine.
    • The most Egregious example from season two is a time when something was screwing up the process. You got the complete, extended evolution scene up to the point where it'd almost finish... and then you'd have to watch it all in reverse. The characters puzzled over the fact that it wasn't working, tried again, and we had to wait for them to evolve and then un-evolve a second time. Not. Cool.
    • Happened in season 1, too. First the Dark Masters, with the mons digivolving one level for each Dark Master, only to be beaten every time. Then again with Apocalymon, where they all digivolved to perfect or mega, only to reverse digivolve, and then for mon and tamer to both be reduced to binary code.
    • Frontier is made a little less painful by having an extremely cool evolution insert song, though.
  • In Transformers, the Armada and Cybertron seasons had the launching sequence. Jetfire even once Lampshaded it, saying "this seems a little elaborate for a takeoff." (Early in Cybertron, such scenes are often done with nothing said, but eventually The Powers That Be realized that the sequence loses something after the 20th time or so and needed some dialogue to keep the viewers awake.)
  • There are also the transforming and Super Mode sequences in all three parts of the Unicron Trilogy. (Transformers Robots in Disguise had stock footage transformations too, but they were much quicker.) Cybertron boasts the longest duration of stock sequences, but Energon gets points for having Prime's Super Mode sequence at the beginning of every fight and then not actually using said powerup in more fights than not. The same goes for the combining that is the series' main toy selling gimmick - it's a pure time-waster, as Hot Shot firing his standard weapon is no more effective when he happens to be wearing Inferno as his legs.
  • The Chevron Engaging Transformation Sequence in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha actually has a purpose in the story. The first two times Nanoha transforms, she must hold Raising Heart while reciting a long speech and must endure a minute-long transformation sequence; later, she learns to transform without reciting the speech, then she learns the quick transformation, much to the surprise of Yuuno, who says few mages can pull this.
  • The Sky Girls prologue OVA is roughly 50% Chevron Engaging.
  • The transformation sequences of the Sailor Senshi in Sailor Moon.
    • They eventually began doing split screens to transform everyone at once, or showing condensed versions, but it would still eat 1-3 minutes out of the climax of each episode. That goes double for the seasons where Sailor Moon had a double transformation: first to regular Sailor Moon, then an added one to transform into Super Sailor Moon. As the seasons progressed and added more and more Senshi, it just lengthened out again.
  • The 2-minute-long spiral staircase sequence in every episode of Utena.
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes does this in one of its prequel series, when Reinhard and Kircheis are preparing to go out in a battle tank.
  • Dragonball Z: There have been episodes in which characters "powered up" (grunted fiercely) for literal minutes at a time. While they did this, the animation would be of the camera panning over one still frame.
    • On tonight's episode of Dragonball Z, Goku continues powering up to SuperSayan!
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle has Syaoran and Chaos staring at each other for one full minute.
  • The first Dominion OVA series has a sequence of the deploying from the second floor on ropes down to their tanks in their hanger bay. The first time they do this, it makes sense. In a later episode, it seems really stupid, as they had been in the hanger bay when the deployment order came out, which means that in order for that stock footage to make sense, they'd have had to leave the bay and go upstairs off-camera, just so they can be seen going back downstairs and getting into their tanks.
  • I'm calling in Axis Powers Hetalia for that scene with Japan, Italy and Germany on the island and that moment when they realize that the Allies are there. And that fact that they repeated it a million times.
    • It was only three times…
  • The edited dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! replays Yugi's lengthy transformation sequence in places where the original skipped over it.
  • Godannar, in keeping with its retro-Super-Robot-show style, has an extended sequence for when Dannar and Okusaer take off from the base - the robots' engines are spun up by an external flywheel, the Jet Boys are attached to their backs, a huge runway is raised from beneath the sea, the front of the base opens up, numerous lights flick to green in the control-room, and the pilots flick a sequence of switches, ect. They're about 50% Fighter Launching Sequence, and the rest is Engaging Chevrons. To spice things up, however, they (almost) never use the FULL sequence, and instead vary which parts are shown each time. Keeps it from getting TOO... chevronish?
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion uses these frequently:
    • Misato watching the train Shinji has apparantly boarded leave the station.
    • The elevator ride with Rei and Asuka. The Directors Cut version at least mixes it a little bit up. That is to say, Asuka moves briefly and only once. The same shot is reused in Evangelion: 2.0, but for a much shorter amount of time (making its inclusion a bit of a joke for fans).
    • Shinji holding Kaworu in Unit 01's hand for one full minute before he crushes him.
    • Asuka curled up in Unit 02 at the bottom of the lake.
    • Misato and Shinji's Last Kiss.
    • Somehow, a live orchestral Eva concert is subject to this. Symphony of EVA, a live concert recording, ends with the track "Thank You," which is for all intents and purposes a huge, 11-minute and 9-second curtain call and improv session. It's interesting at first as the orchestra gets out all the random bits of music they can but then the applause just keeps going... and going... and going... until the track ends on what appears to be the main choirgirls and the conductor casually chatting as the audience meanders out of the venue.


  • Austin Powers 2 parodies this when Dr. Evil tells Frau to initiate a 30 second countdown for his rocket (overcompensating for the first countdown being too short). He eventually gets bored and tells her to just say 'go'.
  • Parodied in Spaceballs by Colonel Sandurs, who prefaces these statements with "Prepare to [do mundane task]", e.g. :

 Colonel Sandurs: Prepare to fast-forward!

Mook: Preparing to fast-forward!

Colonel Sandurs: Fast-forward!

Mook: Fast-forwarding, sir!

    • It's later lampshaded by Dark Helmet:

 Dark Helmet: What are you preparing for? You're always preparing. Just go!

    • Which immediately came back to bite him in the ass for once.

 Sanders: Driver, just go. * to Helmet* Sir, hadn't you better sit down? * Helmet gets a lesson in why you don't stand up in an open-topped vehicle*


 "Is it soup yet?"


"Is it soup yet?"



Live-Action TV

  • Perhaps as Lampshade Hanging, in The Documentary episode of Stargate SG-1, Walter (whose job it is to make the announcement, and who, at this point in the series, had never been seen to do anything else) painstakingly describes his entire purpose in life, explaining that he usually says "Chevron seven locked" rather than "Chevron seven encoded" just for a bit of variety.
  • Stargate SG-1 also periodically uses a falling-through-the-wormhole animation for similar purposes. It's also the Trope Namer, as despite the movie using the exact same format, it was not really intended as filler, but suspense.
  • Subverted in the first episode of Stargate Atlantis, when the Atlantean gate is first activated. Dr. McKay starts in on the chevron announcement, but stops and just pushes all seven buttons in rapid succession after Dr. Weir gives him a dirty look.
    • The Earth gate has to be dialed by spinning the ring thanks to the jury-rigged dialing computer, which is, essentially, how you would dial it manually in the absense of a DHD, which dials as fast as you can press the buttons.
      • One wonders why, later, they didn't just tear the dialing console out of a Puddle Jumper and use it...
  • Stargate Universe does this, without a trace of irony (because that wouldn't be Dark or Edgy) for all nine chevrons. Twice! But thankfully they don't bother doing it beyond that point, even though the old-style rotary gate dials slowly enough. Though the first nine chevron dialling could be deemed as being as dramatic as the (now standard) seven were in the original movie.
    • Lampshaded by Rodney McKay in Seizure: "I may just be the brilliant scientist relegated to shouting out the obvious in terms of chevrons here, but..."
  • The reimagined Battlestar Galactica spent much of its fourth season engaging chevrons by having whole episodes devoted to a disagreement with an obvious logical compromise that any viewer with two brain cells to rub together could come up with in about three minutes.
  • Parodied in The Colbert Report with an episode of Tek Jansen. "Engage front landing thruster!" "Front landing thruster engaged." "Engage rear landing thruster!" "Rear landing thruster engaged", etc for about 5 different landing thrusters, and a long, slow view of each one being engaged. It took up most of the short.
  • Thunderbirds!
  • ICarly: In 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. (you don't say the one).
  • Power Rangers (and all of the similar series), where they show the exact same transformation ritual scenes every episode. However, it goes by a lot faster than a lot of other examples. The Zord summoning can go on in some series, though.
    • Season 2 was particularly Egregious about this, going from the rangers holding their hands up and calling their zords in unison in season 1 to each character having an individual Super Sentai Stance for his or her zord, followed by the Zord changing from its season one form into its season two form - something you'd think would only need to be done once.
  • Legend of the Seeker: When Kahlan uses her Mind Control "Confession" thing on somebody the first time, the clouds part, the sky darkens, thunder rumbles, her eyes go black, and she passes out for nearly a minute. Averted, in that the production quickly tones it down for subsequent uses. By the second season, she barely breaks her stride.
  • Lest we forget the original Adam West Batman series: "Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed"... then the rocket engine ignites, they take off out of Bronson Canyon... and off to Gotham City, past that sign stating, "Gotham City 14 miles."
  • Vulcan mind melds in Star Trek tend to involve a mantra similar to "My mind to your mind. My thoughts to your thoughts. Our minds are merging." By the end of Voyager, though, Tuvok's mind melds usually just consisted of "My mind to your mind."
  • In the fourth season of the original series of Knight Rider, KITT gets a Super Pursuit Mode upgrade that allows him super-speed. This is achieved with various aerodynamic bits and winglets popping out, with the same stock footage used over and over. By the end of the season this was occasionally omitted or achieved in a jump-cut. On the other hand, sometimes it was used multiple times an episode.

Video Games

  • Seen It a Million Times in video games to disguise load times. An especially notorious example is the opening door from the Resident Evil games; although the much faster loading times of the PS2 and the Gamecube technically mean it's not necessary, it was left due to tradition in Code: Veronica, RE 0 and the RE 1 remake, and wasn't dropped until Resident Evil 4.
    • The PC version of Resident Evil also had them, but they were skippable (after the game finished loading, at least, something barely noticeable even on contemporary machines).
    • Mass Effect. Slowest elevators the universe has ever seen. People claim that they hate the game for no other reason than that those endless elevator-sequences drives them to distraction. Admittedly, when there's some plot relevant announcement or witty comrade banter it's not too bad, but the rest... egh. The Unreal engine can do much better than that. (Also fixed in the PC version.) Mocked here by Penny Arcade. Arguably the worst is the elevator on the Normandy. Going down one level? Almost thirty seconds. No music. No radio. No other characters talking. And then you have to go back up when you want to go somewhere else in the ship!

  "There are 27 lines of bricks in this damn elevator." "But have you named them yet?"

    • The PC version isn't completely immune:

 Normandy: Stand by shore party. Decontamination in progress... Decontamination in progress... Decontamination in progress... Decontamination in progress...

Shepard: Come on!

      • The sequel replaces the elevator rides with a loading sequence, which is probably worse, since you just get animations of something happening. While the original Normandy was all one level with no additional loading, the second one has to load every floor, including the captain's quarters, which consists of one room (granted, this one loads pretty fast).
    • Metroid Prime had load time elevators but they were pretty short due to the quick load time of the Gamecube and awesome because it was the best way to check out suit upgrades. The more annoying version was that doors sometimes stayed closed until the rooms behind them finished loading. In a game with much Back Tracking, that got old really fast.
    • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and The Two Thrones played an animation in full when loading, forcing you to watch the entire animation even if the actual load time was a fraction of a second. This could, fortunately, be avoided by manually deleting the videos files in question.
    • Mass Effect had another example with the pre-mind-meld speech given by the Asari commando on Feros. Averted later; whenever Liara melds with Shepard all she says beforehand is "Embrace eternity!", and by the end of her romance arc she doesn't even need that much.
  • Steel Battalion deserves a special mention here because it actually has you, the player, engage your own chevrons. Five switches on the game's almost absurd flight-stick-esque controller were dedicated to being flipped on during the start-up sequence before each mission, then off again between missions.



 "Ready to begin speaking in Techno Babble, sir."

"Oh, shut up, it's just us. Turn it on!"

  • Sometimes joked about in the Alt Text of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. "I briefly considered doing a week of him falling down the stairs." "Who's ready to see bodies get disintegrated and mash together!? Cause that's what you're getting for the next six pages." Etc.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Although it's for a very good reason, this occurs a lot in real life with many operations requiring the reading out of long and sometimes quite repetitive checklists. A well known example is the launch of a Space Shuttle, but a more common example occurs before and at various times during a commercial airliner flight. Safety is obviously the main purpose here, but particularly for televised events like a shuttle launch, it does add to the drama considerably.
    • The Shuttle is particularly funny, because the countdown has "built-in holds". For missions to the ISS, the launch window is only five minutes long; if you don't hit it, there's a scrub. So they have a clock saying it's X amount of time before the launch, but it's really more than that, and they stop the clock now and then for a predetermined amount of time, so that by the time the final hold is over, the displayed time to launch is equal to the actual time to launch. This probably doesn't make a whole lot more or less sense than Daylight Savings Time if you really think about it...
    • I imagine this is so that if there's a last minute error in one of their systems they have time to fix it built into the countdown rather than having to rush the repair to remain on schedule.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.