10 TV Drama Tropes That Reddit Fans Dislike

It can seem impossible to watch a TV drama and not see a few tropes throughout every episode. It can feel like fans have seen everything from the way that characters talk in stressful situations to how they fall in love and solve mysteries a million times before. Sometimes, these tropes are inevitable, as they make sense for the story and move things along.

TV fans are tired of seeing the same things happen over and over again, and several Redditors are discussing the storytelling devices that they would love to see disappear. These tropes often feel unnecessary, easy to avoid, and all too obvious.


10 A Character Gives Birth At A Bad Time

Nathan Scott and Haley James Scott with baby Jamie in One Tree Hill

Redditor babywipeslol doesn’t like how on many TV dramas, “the baby is always coming at the most inconvenient time.” It’s true that pregnancy and childbirth are often dialed up to make these experiences the most dramatic and intense possible.

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One Tree Hill is an example of a show that uses this trope, as Haley is expecting her first child while still a senior a high school. Haley goes into labor at her graduation ceremony, which makes for a wild plotline but does feel a bit over-the-top.

9 The Characters Are On A Team But It’s Never Mentioned Again

The cast of Grey's Anatomy in baseball uniforms, cheering

One Redditor doesn’t like when “all the main characters are on the (bowling team, softball team, etc.) but they never talk about it any other episode in 8 seasons.”

while Grey’s Anatomy has many fan favorite storylines, and the hospital drama is always compelling, this show uses this trope as the characters play baseball in one episode. If characters belong to a team that meets regularly, it would make sense for this to be mentioned more often.

8 A Love Triangle

One Redditor thinks that a “love triangle is always the worst” and this is definitely one of the most used tropes.

Love triangles are also a much debated trope. They work well on teen dramas since main characters often have more than one love interest and sometimes, like on One Tree Hill, two best friends fall for the same person which creates a huge amount of drama and confusion. But other times, it’s obvious who should be together and who shouldn’t, making a love triangle feel unnecessary.

7 Rewinding Several Hours Earlier

while 24 uses time effectively and in a compelling manner, since the show tells stories within a one-day period, sometimes shows will share something wild that has happened and then rewind 24 or 36 hours earlier to tell the complete story. Redditor moonsong99 doesn’t like when “an episode opens with some future moment then shifts to x hours ago to show how they arrived there.”

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It makes sense that this trope would be used sometimes, as it feels exciting to see that a big moment has happened, but the episode would be just as impactful if it followed a more traditional timeline and structure.

6 Thinking Of Computer Passwords Easily

Gibbs looking over McGee's shoulder in NCIS.

One of the most used tropes on procedural TV dramas is when characters need to get into someone’s laptop to find out some crucial information.

Redditor zombiegamer723 doesn’t love this trope and wrote that it often seems like the characters are saying, “so let’s look around the computer to get clues to their password…oh, look, here’s a picture of his sister.” In reality, it’s hard to imagine being able to come up with a total stranger’s password in a few seconds or at all.

5 Constant Flashbacks

Some TV dramas use flashbacks sparingly and others use them so often that they become a key part of the storytelling.

One Redditor doesn’t enjoy regular flashbacks, writing, “you can always retcon anything whenever you feel, by adding a bit of history that wasn’t revealed before.” lost is a good example of a drama that employs flashbacks, and while some viewers like learning more about each character’s life before the island, some might say it’s a poor way to relay this information.

4 Characters Explaining The Plan… Then Doing The Plan

Paige standing next to Walter sitting at his desk on Scorpion

When characters are plotting, often on a crime procedural drama or mystery or thriller show, they often have long discussions prior to throwing themselves into action.

Redditor ImpressiveDoggerel dislikes the trope when “Characters stand around telling each other what the plan is for what they’re going to do next” and the next scene is exactly what the characters just discussed.

3 A Ghost Giving Advice

Izzie in bed with her patient, Denny.

Redditor Razzler1973 doesn’t like the way that ghosts are used on TV dramas: “someone seeing a recently deceased person, either a family member giving them advice or a former adversary haunting their thoughts.”

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Grey’s Anatomy uses this trope as Izzie says goodbye to her patient and love interest Denny and then he appears to her in spirit form. This is a much debated storyline as it goes on for a long time and can be pretty confusing.

2 Platonic Partners Suddenly Turn Romantic

Jane and Lisbon in The Mentalist.  Theresa is looking at a computer and Patrick is standing behind her.

There are many great platonic duos on TV shows who have fun, joke around, and in some cases, work together and get the job done without even thinking about dating each other.

Redditor diatho doesn’t like when partners “get together after years of being nothing but platonic friends” and mentioned that this is a storyline between Lisbon and Jane on The Mentalist.

1 A Character Suddenly Solves The Mystery

For Redditor Da_Kahuna, “The trope that irritates me is the Eureka Moment” when a character will think about a mystery and, out of nowhere, seem to have the answer.

There are many TV dramas that use this trope, like a teen thriller like Pretty Little Liars featuring characters who are caught up in several mysteries in every single episode. Every time it happens, it can seem unrealistic and hard to believe that it was really this easy to come up with a solution.

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