I'm addicted to a site called tvtropes.org. It's basically a catalogue of various literary and artistic devices used in various forms of media (books, movies, TV). It's fun because the site gives names to practices that you already recognize but haven't bothered to identify in any specific way. Examples include Genre Blindness, which explains the tendency of Bond villains to reveal their entire master plan to the spy rather than just shooting him, and Lampshading, which is an attempt to diffuse an obvious plot hole by having a character draw attention to it.
Another one of these articles is called "Darker and Edgier", which describes a "a Tone Shift that seeks to make a work of fiction 'more adult'." This should be familiar to anyone who has seen a recent superhero or science fiction movie. Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, for example, is a grittier version of Tim Burton's Batman - which is itself a much grittier version of the awesome campfest that was the 1960's Batman TV show. Battlestar Galactica is another notorious example - it's a remake of the campy 1970's TV show and is, at times, extremely depressing.Read more