Anything formulaic follows a formula or pattern, especially in a mechanical, by-the-numbers way. A formulaic TV show is predictable and probably similar to lots of other shows.

Have you ever noticed how many songs are similar to others? When a song is almost identical to previous songs and it’s not very original at all, it's formulaic. This word usually conveys a lack of imagination. If you call a movie formulaic, you're saying it's so much like other movies that it probably didn't need to be made. A formulaic speech follows a pattern that's been used many times before. The opposite of formulaic is original.

Definitions of formulaic
  1. adjective
    characterized by or in accordance with some formula
    following accepted customs and proprieties
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