Like its predecessor, Total Drama Island, this season's series is an "animated reality show" starring twenty cartoon characters. The original twenty-four "campers" were cut down to sixteen "castmates" after the reunion special's dramatic ending between these seasons with four new competitors. Both host and assistant Chris McClean and Chef Hatchet will return as the castmates' supervisors and challenge distributors. The theme of this series is "Cinematography". These castmates have found out that they will be staying in an abandoned movie studio lot in Toronto, Ontario. Since the theme is all about movies, the competitors are treated as real actors. They stay in small, unaccommodating actors' trailers competing against each other and themselves. Challenges come back for this season, as well. Unlike the random TDI challenges, TDA challenges will be based upon which movie genre the castmates will portray. The "mess hall" of TDI will also be replaced this season with the Craft Services tent, which will also be catered by Chef Hatchet once again. The "outhouse/confession can" of TDI was used to let the audience at home know what the campers were really thinking about. In TDA, this was replaced with the "Make-Up Confessional", a room full of make-up and body enhancements. If the castmates were able to make it past Chris, the daily challenge(s), and themselves, their fate would, then, have to be decided. TDI also used the outhouse/confession can to cast votes as to who they would like voted off. Cast-mates of TDA now used "voting devices" placed under their seats to vote someone off. The elimination bonfire ceremony was replaced with an "awards ceremony", where all but one person would receive a Gilded Chris Statuette (which took the place of the marshmallows). The losers of Total Drama Island had to walk down the Dock of Shame, board the Boat of Losers, and leave the campsite (to go to La Playa De Losers); however, the Total Drama Action losers must walk down the Red Carpet Walk of Shame, get into the Lame-O-Sine, and leave the film lot for good (it is unknown to the viewing world where the losers go). This process is supposed to continue until one castmate is left on the film lot.
The returning characters for this season are Ferb, May, Buttercup, Isabella, Jeremy, Candace, Jimmy, Timmy, Misty, Patrick, Bubbles, Phineas, Wanda, SpongeBob, Blossom, and Ash. The Six new Castmates are Bloo, James, Libby, Pearl, Sheen and Trixie while the others who did not made are Dawn, Brock, Stacy, Max, Cosmo, Carl, Squidward and Sandy.