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So Bad It's Good can be popular to the point that a whole fandom can arise out of a mocked work. This is the magic of Camp, in that even if the writers weren't trying to be tacitly absurd, it's still possible to get a lot of laughs out of it if the writing is bad enough.

Sometimes, though, a copyright holder will try to fix the image of the So Bad It's Good franchise by trying to give it a Reboot. The purpose being, hopefully, to make what once was Camp serious drama. When this falls by the wayside, the viewers get a poor result. The show is no longer So Bad It's Good, but now it's So Okay It's Average. In other words, a thorough "meh". Still bad, but not so bad that it's fun to mock anymore.

This trope is only for fans who honestly felt the original sucked So Bad It's Good. If the fans didn't think the original sucked, or if they honestly liked features that were removed on their own merits -- or if nostalgia means that they just hate change -- then that belongs under They Changed It, Now It Sucks and Nostalgia Filter instead.

This is, to a great extent, a incredibly subjective trope. Note that the perceptions listed here are general perceptions of a work as a whole.

Contrast Narm Charm. This trope is the lack - more specifically, the loss - thereof. Also see George Lucas Throwback, which may or may not result in one of these.

Wilder Over Depp is when audiences react with this trope towards a Truer to the Text adaptation.

Examples of I Liked It Better When It Sucked include:


Anime and Manga

  • On a smaller scale, the Latin American dub of Saint Seiya had a completely different (and worse, and much more fun) opening. When the series were re-released, the opening was changed to a translated version of "Pegasus Fantasy". Old-school fans (90% of the whole) thought it was at most So Okay It's Average.
  • On that note, the first dub of Akira was a truly awful English version distributed by Carl Macek's Streamline Pictures distributed in the 1980's. However, in 2001, a new dub was recorded, featuring a fresh and more coherent translation of the Japanese dialogue, and arguably better acting... ironically, the dub was dismissed by old-school fans as inferior to the original English dub. Which is ironic, because neither director Katsuhiro Otomo, Streamline, nor even Macek were pleased with the original dub.
    • And one would initially think that fans would be more pleased since the writers and actors of the 2001 dub actually knew how to pronounce Kaneda's name.
    • Now why would anyone prefer a lower-quality version, hmm?
      • It wasn't actually liked because it was low-quality, it's more liked due to the Nostalgia Filter - for a lot of people, it was the first anime they actually saw, especially one that was aimed at a more mature audience thanks to the Animation Age Ghetto.
      • That, and it's fun hearing Leonardo use curse words.
  • The English dub of Angel Blade gives all the women rounded even tones... including Karin, which isn't ravingly bad, per se, but it loses its narmy goodness in the process.
  • Some Rurouni Kenshin fans from Latin-America were very pouty when the series was aired in Netflix only with Japanese and English audio, setting aside the hilariously cheesy Colombian Spanish dub.


Comic Books

  • The character of Frank Drake in 1970s Marvel Comic The Tomb of Dracula was originally an emasculated neurotic and certified wimp when it came to women and anything else for that matter. His more mature self, as seen in the 1990s Nightstalkers, is your typical sanest member of the group. But that's because he's a cardboard Ghostbuster clone without the comedy part. Actually without a personality of any type.

Fan Fics

  • Star Trek Fan Fiction writer Stephen Ratliff once wrote an update to his Marissa Picard story Time Speeder called Athena Prospects. Anyone who has read both stories knows that Athena Prospects is a much better story than Time Speeder, although it's still pretty bad. Time Speeder, by contrast, is way more fun to read because all the incredibly stupid stuff is in it. Such as the two villains checking into hotels as James Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard. In a universe where all the Star Trek shows are accurate foretelling of the future (!) or when Saddam Hussein takes over the entire Middle East in a throwaway line.

Film

  • The Ang Lee-directed Hulk tried to be serious, but some people felt it had cheesy lines, poor acting, an awful pace, and dodgy effects (such as bouncy tanks) which to them, made the film become a humorous example of So Bad It's Good. Then the second film actually didn't suck and was instead... watchable. Good if you're a fan of the film, not so good if you enjoyed laughing at it. Then again, a similar argument could be made for those who preferred the charm of the low-budget TV series over the first big-budget movie's excesses.
  • The original Death Race 2000 was great, schlocky, over-the-top Roger Corman-esque fare, perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000 style ribbing. Death Race, the remake, was a watchable action flick (and featured the presence of Jason Statham), but felt like the soul had been ripped out of the concept.
  • Likewise, if you can find it, the Roger Corman The Fantastic Four film from the early 1990s is So Bad It's Good, compared to the two So Okay It's Average 2000s films.
  • While in real life the 2009 Star Trek film was a hit among Trekkies and layfolk, the new movie's slick production values combined with this trope to make a great Onion News Network piece.
    • That brings us some amusing comments from viewers complaining about the dazzling action scenes and fast-paced writing. "Where's the heavy-handed moralism and political commentary? Why aren't the fights more like two out-of-shape guys in rubber suits doing lame karate chops at each other?"
  • The notoriously trashy 1992 Hong Kong production Naked Killer originally sported hilariously badly-translated English subtitles (featuring such unforgettable lines as "When I saw Kitty, I had priapism!") which many viewers felt enhanced the delirious experience of the film. The "digitally restored and remastered" DVD featured newly (and apparently, more accurately) translated subtitles, which rather spoiled the fun for fans of the original version.
  • The Batman films and television shows sometimes elicit this response. For example, when Tim Burton's 1989 film came out, there were some who came out to say they preferred the campy Adam West television series of the 60s.
  • A common quibble with the Clash of the Titans remake. While the original had lovingly crafted Harryhausen stop-motion beasties and a certain old-timey cheesy charm, the remake, despite having a much greater budget and access to more advanced technology, had badly tacked-on 3D effects and an even more convoluted plot while staying even less faithful to Greek Mythology.

Literature

  • In-fiction example: In Atlas Shrugged, James Taggart is always very patient with his wife's social gaffes... but when she finally adapts to high society and becomes popular in her own right, he tells her that the only reason he married her was because she was obviously from humble beginnings and he found it politically expedient to seem like a "man of the people." Mrs. Taggart is understandably quite upset by this.
  • Other in-universe example in an Italian short story: a third-rate writer hires an incredibly incompetent typist, in the hope that her typos will turn his trite works into surreal humor masterpieces. It works, and in little time the author is hailed as a comic genius. That's when the typist, seeing her employer's success, decides he deserves better and takes typing lessons, leading to his downfall.

Live Action TV

  • This trope became in effect when the trailers for Titans was released. As much derided as Teen Titans Go! is, it's still a lot closer to the comics than Titans. It doesn't help that the trailer comes during a time when Teen Titans Go! is Growing the Beard and toning down the Comedic Sociopathy and Designated Heroes of the early seasons.
  • Attempts to mature Saved by the Bell into a prime-time sitcom just resulted in a rather average sitcom with no excessive wackiness.
  • The original Dragnet, while not bad, was much more low-key and subtly humorous than most cop shows that we see today. So when ABC tried to remake it as an extremely gritty tough-as-nails life on the street show, well...let's just say nobody was going Book'Em Danno.
  • The Lost in Space movie toned down the Camp and replaced the cheesy special effects with CGI. The TV show was So Bad It's Good, but the movie was just So Okay It's Average at best.
  • The Sci-Fi Channel original series update of Flash Gordon suffered from this as well, turning Ming (who is hardly Merciless) into a milquetoast Corrupt Corporate Executive IN SPACE! AN ALTERNATE DIMENSION!, the Hawkmen into vagrants who only THINK they can fly, etc. This from a franchise whose most recognizable entry was the most gleefully campy movie since the 1966 Batman movie.
  • The Eurovision Song Contest is better when the acts are crazy, nonsensical and generally bad. The 2009 contest failed in some respects because most of the acts were neither truly good nor so bad they were good.
    • There's a very good example of the difference between 2008 (ridiculous) and 2009 (serious business) by ways of Estonia on that page.
  • Invoked in one episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, where Crow and Tom spend a segment complaining about the antiquated encyclopedias on the Satellite of Love (so old, in fact, that they include a picture of Stonehenge under "construction"), only for the encyclopedias to be replaced with a brand new set featuring an internet uplink for constant updates...which fails to satisfy Crow and Tom, who thought it was much more fun to mock the old encyclopedias.
  • This, combined with Narm Charm, is part of the reason why quite a few Star Trek: The Original Series fans detest the remastered episodes - it just isn't 60s Trek without analog clocks in the 23rd century and cheesy special effects.

Other

  • The principle is illustrated in the page image above.

Video Games

  • People who don't like the Galaxy Angel video games generally take this attitude, because they got into the Series Franchise through the Gag Series anime. This happens when our Far East friends decide to release their exports in arbitrary order.
  • When Final Fantasy Tactics received an Updated Rerelease for the PSP as War of the Lions, fans lamented the loss of much of the game's Narm Charm derived from poorly translated lines.
    • This is due in part to the fact that only the English translation used archaic-sounding dialogue (the Japanese version always used modern Japanese), and actually made some nonsensical changes such as Inkidasu being "Iaido" (drawing the sword from the sheath, and a real martial art) instead of "Draw Out" (drawing spirits from the sword). (The ability to press select to see descriptions helps somewhat.) Say what you will about the PS 1 version's bad dialogue, but the item/skill names were dead-on literal. (Until you wonder why "Fire Bracelet" is breathing fire on you, or why you're summoning "Rich") In a slight reversal of this trope, the "write entirely new dialogue to match an aesthetic not found in the original" was applied later and tends to be more well-received amongst fans who weren't around for the original.
    • They also kept some "bad" translations, such as "Wiegraf" instead of "Wiglaf".
      • And Square-Enix apparently has learned nothing, as they did the exact same thing to Tactics Ogre on PSP. To say that a part of the hardcore fanbase was... displeased with their arbitrary name changes would be a major understatement. In particular, fans weren't amused when Aloser's name was changed to Arycelle - 'Aloser' was a rather obvious example of So Bad It's Good name (plus there's the hilarity in a hard boss being destroyed in one hit by 'A Loser', who happens to be a Game Breaker), while Arycelle was viewed by many as Generic Fantasy Name #63879. It doesn't help that Aloser's name is clearly romanized in the original SNES version's supplemental material as 'Alocer'... so 'Arycelle' isn't any more correct than 'Aloser'. But given that the SNES version was only fan-translated, and the 1998 translation was not done by Square Enix but Atlus in their infancy...
  • A chunk of the original Resident Evil's fanbase was offput by the GameCube remake of the the game from 2002, which significantly "improved" the original's hammy acting ("You were almost a Jill sandwich!") and replaced it with a more natural, sometimes genuinely scary script ("A second later, you would have fit nicely in a sandwich!"). Usually for these fans, the choice between the PlayStation and GameCube versions comes down to whether you want cheesiness or actual horror.
  • Star Ocean 2's Enhanced Remake got this. The fans were all saying, "Boy I hope they redo the voice acting!" and/or "I hope they translate it better this time!" when the Enhanced Remake was announced for the Playstation Portable. Those were perhaps the number one criticism from fans, and even critics who dislike the genre as a whole. Then it comes, and fans actually said they liked the Playstation version better, partly due to the Nostalgia Filter. (The Ten Wise Men names, however, are all up to the subject of opinion and are therefore excluded, some people who liked the Playstation Portable version better actually appreciated Indalecio) Never mind that not only were some characters saying "Claude" and others "Craude" in the Playstation version, the developers actually forgot to record two of Rena's spells (That she often uses) and they play the Japanese audio, and it was in general, just a rush job.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and its remake. The original dialogue was totally cheesy, but a rich well of Narm Charm and a Fountain of Memes. The new one? It's better dialogue, but it's not nearly as hammy or fun to listen to.
  • Most of the retranslation of Chrono Trigger for the DS is relatively good, but some fans lamented the loss of Frog's Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe dialogue, which added to the character's status as The Comically Serious.
  • In Pokémon, the first gen was flat out broken, with psychic types wrecking everything in their path. Gen II introduced the dark and the steel types to help combat the psychic types overpowered nature, as well as fixed the glitch that made the ghost types even more broken. Later gens have actually focused more on making other types feasible to use throughout the entire game so one cannot just win with only a psychic type. A good number of fans wanted their Game Breakers back.
    • Later games also had considerably fewer bugs and glitches (especially of the game-breaking variety) than Red and Blue did. Naturally, quite a few nostalgic fans would also like their glitches back.
  • The Elder Scrolls has had this happen over numerous times, with fans complaining about some aspect of the game, only for them to mysteriously take back everything about it when the next game addresses that complaint.

Western Animation

  • The original Biker Mice From Mars series' dub became popular in Finland because it was filled with double entendres and overall silliness. When the new series started airing in Finland, fans weren't happy with its new toned-down dialogue.
  • Superfriends is notorious for being, at times, aggressively anti-logical. The incoherent plots and ridiculously cookie-cutter nature of the characters is what makes it fun to watch. So when the show was retooled in the mid-eighties, well, it just wasn't as much fun anymore. The show was still bad, but now it was just generically bad like any other 80's cartoon. No more plots about Brainiac trying to steal the world's supply of credit. No more Aquaman accidentally destroying the entire Asian Pacific seaboard and using the same "Oh no!" tone of voice he uses when Gleek makes a stupid joke. No more crazy feminists mind-controlling all the women in the world into turning men into data on microchips. It just wasn't the same.
    • At some point in the '90s the Wonder Twins were re-integrated into the DC Universe and given a Darker and Edgier backstory which made them into oppressed slaves. Wrap your head around that. Serious Wonder Twins? What's the point?
  • For those who like Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog over Sonic Sat AM, it's like this. Adventures is Ren and Stimpy meets Sonic the Hedgehog, the perfect storm for Youtube Poop. Concurrently, Sonic Sat AM is a more serious version of Sonic that is closer to other '90s cartoons at the time. Depends whether you liked the humor or wanted a stronger narrative. Sonic Underground, by contrast, is frequently considered as the mean between the two... having neither.
  • The original Scooby Doo had bad dialogue, low quality animation, bad jokes and ridiculous plots for the "monsters" reason of being there and that memorable line "I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids." So even after airing it years after the time its set in, it is fun to watch. But then multiple remakes came along removing these charming factors making it a lot less fun. Eventually, Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? restored the Narm Charm of the original show, right down to the art style.

Real Life

  • The takeover of Škoda by Volkswagen, leading to their cars becoming actually good. Annoying for budding comedians, as suddenly Skoda jokes didn't work (well, other than the ones in the adverts that went "It's a Škoda. Honest.").
  • "Ken Lee", a garbled pronounciation of "Can't Live" from the Mariah Carey Badfinger song "Without You", as song by Valentina Hasan, was an internet meme, almost in the sense of a reverse Buffalax. But much of the fun was lost as she worked to correct her pronunciation, as seen in the live performance. The So Bad It's Good silliness was lost and it became So Okay It's Average.

 This page was awesome...until everyone in this wiki started improving it. Now this page sucks.

Notes

  1. To be fair, he opening is actally good -and above average Intros- but there is no way it can compete with the narm-charm on of the original. This is true even for the more hardcore fans, who just prefear the Japanese Pegasus Fantasy
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