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File:Rebel briefing 1896.jpg

The briefing before a mission, of whatever form.

In one form of this, the boss gets an aide to turn the lights down and run through a series of slides as he gives the briefing. One of these slides will be "the best photo we could get" of the Big Bad or The Dragon, and there will usually be a line to the effect of "we lost three men getting this out of Commie Land" or wherever.

Military briefings will either take place in a proper briefing room or theatre, or consist of a bunch of officers hunched over a map table.

Sometimes this is used for comedic effect when the plan has to do with something non-military, and often not deserving of such seriousness. (Such as planning out how to get ice for the barbecue). Might be a way of lampshading Serious Business. Occasionally this is done by a person giving a briefing without an audience.

Allows a character to be Mr. Exposition about what will happen next in the story.

Naturally, these are frequently given before levels in Real Time Strategy, First-Person Shooter, or Simulation Games.

Occasionally, the Mission Briefing will include This Page Will Self-Destruct and/or Obstacle Exposition. See also: Unspoken Plan Guarantee.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • In Lucky Star Konata holds a mission briefing with Kagami and Tsukasa before entering Comiket (A large anime/manga convention). Tsukasa fails to follow the plan and soon falls victim to the enemy.
  • Genshiken has Madarame explaining at the clubroom every single detail of the titular group's visit to the "Comifes". Everything goes just as planned... except for Madarame, who destroys his arm and is taken to the infirmary after delivering a long-winded, dramatic pre-"death" speech.
  • Area 88 features several briefings in all incarnations, since it's a series about a foreign legion air force.

Comic Books

  • In The DCU, Suicide Squad missions would usually start with a mission briefing delivered by Amanda Waller.
  • DC:The New Frontier: In a scene that evokes the Star Wars briefing scenes, the greatest minds in America tell America's greatest heroes how to attack the Centre.

Film

  • It changes here and there a bit, sometimes shifting locations, but it generally stays the same in James Bond films.
  • Star Wars (episode IV) with the briefing before the attack on the Death Star. Luke spoke up about how the impossible-seeming goal wasn't really.
    • And again in Return of the Jedi, as the Rebel Alliance plans for their assault on the second Death Star.
    • And again in The Phantom Menace when R2D2 displays a hologram outlining the palace raid.
  • Possibly one of the earliest examples; the model house rehearsal from The Dirty Dozen. Of course, because we hear it step by step, it doesn't go exactly as planned.
  • In Toy Story, Woody outlines the toys' attack on Sid, using a model built from dominoes and other objects from Sid's room.
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, with Kevin Costner explaining how he's going to rescue the prisoners as they're being hanged.
  • In both the original Ocean's Eleven and the remake Danny explains to the other ten how they plan on pulling off the heist in Las Vegas.
  • Back to The Future The Doc Brown of 1955 builds an elaborate model of Hill Valley to explain to Marty how he's going to get him back to 1985.

Literature

  • Since it's a series about pilots, this happens regularly in the X Wing Series. It's implied to happen before every mission. The readers see it either before something unexpected happens, forcing a change of plans, or because some important bit of character interaction shows up before, during, or after.
  • Tucker Max gets a few of these in his stories that rely on more exposition that stream of conscious for comedic effect.

Live Action TV

 "Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it, is to ____________. As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim."

    • Parody example: An episode of Get Smart has Agent Smart's message briefing delivered via tape:

 "That is your mission, should you choose to accept it. Should you choose not to accept it, then you're fired."

 "If you or any of your team are caught or killed, I don't wanna know your butt. You're sad losers. This tape will self-destruct NOW!"

  • Alias has these practically Once an Episode-- often more than once, and with debriefings as well. Television Without Pity dubbed the "Conference Room of Endless Exposition" as such for that reason.
  • Both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis do this about Once an Episode. The mission briefings are frequently sources of lasting funny quotes and snarky one-liners.
    • As far as SG-1 is concerned, this is protocol, since it is a military organization, which holds briefings before and debriefings after operations. Atlantis probably follows the same protocols since most of its personnel are in the air force.
  • Dog the Bounty Hunter has the team gather for these before going after bail jumpers to review the relevant information on them.
  • Battlestar Galactica makes use of this trope over and over again, during pre-flight briefings for pilots and battle planning throughout the series. As with the Stargate franchise, this is a military organization so it would be expected protocol.
    • Used notably in episode 1.10 "The Hand of God" to explain to most of the main cast and the audience the plan of attack on a cylon-occupied asteroid.
  • Done Once an Episode on Leverage to describe The Mark and his various evil activities using fancy slideshows, unusual in that it's Hardison who does it instead of Nate, the team's leader. Usually, everyone butts in with their own comments or the character who actually knows what they're talking about takes over the briefing.
  • Occurs occasionally on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, most notably in the episode "Hush", which came complete with the lights turned down and an audiovisual presentation... but no spoken dialogue since their voices had all been stolen.

Tabletop Games

  • In Paranoia, the PCs play a team of Troubleshooters sent out on missions, so naturally there's always a Mission Briefing early on.

Video Games

  • The game Far Cry 2 notably has no actual mission briefing of sorts, however, after the first five minutes (or so) of cinematic gameplay, you end up in a bed unable to move, where you are confronted by the Big Bad, who reads your mission objectives to you.
  • F.E.A.R. features a mission briefing at the beginning of the game from the protagonist's point of view. During the briefing, you're introduced to the main allies and the source of your abilities is more or less explained. It ends up ultimately unnecessary.
  • Almost every mission in the Ace Combat games is prefaced with a briefing, usually with a wire-grid map with marked targets in the PS2 titles. If the map is blank, that is a very very bad sign.
  • The mission brief is a staple of the Wing Commander games, which isn't really surprising given that WC's setting is a military one. Also where one can find one of the early swipes at Maniac:

 Halcyon: I thought so. Now, let's look at your patrol plan, Maverick. It's a simple three-point route, with a few asteroids near Nav 2. Keep alert. We really don?t know what to expect out there, but we know we're in hairball territory. Just fly your route and get back with a report--and if Maniac gives you any static, you have my permission to shoot him to pieces.

Maverick: Should I use missiles, sir, or ship's guns?

Halcyon: Guns, Maverick. Save your missiles for important targets.

Maniac: What?!

Halcyon: Squadron dismissed.

  • Armored Core.
  • The Command and Conquer series used full-screen FMV briefings from the onset, with occasional twists: during the GDI campaign of Tiberian Dawn one of your objectives gets Lost in Transmission, while over the first half of the Brotherhood of Nod campaign your intelligence grows increasingly inaccurate.
    • Tiberian Sun was a departure in that the FMVs depicted someone else receiving a briefing. To help make up for this, the following map screen gave the player additional information as well as the option to complete side missions that affected the main mission.
    • Red Alert 3 may like mission briefings a little too much. Before every mission you're given an full-screen FMV briefing, being told what your mission is. Then you go to a world map where the female officer tells you your mission in more detail. Then you finally go to another screen where a computerized voice shows a map of the mission itself, telling you what to do in even more detail. Some missions even have further briefings once you're on the field.
    • The first Generals game didn't put much effort into its briefings, only giving you a voice-over as you stared at a map while the level loaded. Its Zero Hour expansion mixed things up with news reports that described what was going on, followed by instructions from your Mission Control once the level started.
  • The Naval Ops series has a briefing before each mission that lays out your objectives, likely enemies, and suggested armament.
  • Unreal Tournament III: occasionally the characters are shown in a briefing room in cinematics. A minimalist example is done at every mission loading screen; schematics and still shots are displayed with a summation that sounds like it's being delivered in a briefing.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • In the Futurama episode "War Is the H-Word," Earth declares war on Spheron I, a planet that commanding general Zapp Brannigan describes in a briefing as devoid of any natural resources and possessing no strategic value. Zapp Brannigan briefs the troops in front of a large Earth Government flag, a parody of the opening scene of the movie Patton. Richard Nixon's Head also joins in.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids. Always ended by Wally dragging Elvis the dog into the lair and the computer's sneeze blasting the team out of the room.
  • The Houndcats ripped . . . um, alluded to the Mission Impossible briefings at the start of every episode.
  • Inspector Gadget. Proof that the Chief is a masochist.
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