Villain of the week

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"Villain of the week" (or, depending on genre, "monster of the week", "freak of the week" or "alien of the week") is an antagonist that only appears in one episode of a multi-episode work of fiction. A villain of the week is commonly seen in British, American, and Japanese genre-based television series. As many shows of this type air episodes weekly at a rate of ten to twenty new episodes per year, there is often a new antagonist in the plot of each week's episode. The main characters usually confront and vanquish these characters, often leaving them never to be seen again as in Doctor Who, Charmed,[1] Smallville,[2] and Scooby-Doo.[3] Some series alternate between using such antagonists and furthering the series' ongoing plotlines (as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer,[4] Supernatural,[2] Fringe,[5] and The X-Files,[6][7] where fandom is often divided over preference for one type of episode versus the other), while others use these one-time foes as pawns of the recurring adversaries (as in Kamen Rider,[8] Sailor Moon,[9] Ultra series and as well as in Super Sentai[10] and its American equivalent, Power Rangers).[11][12] On other occasions, these villains return reformed, becoming invaluable allies or gaining a larger role in the story. The American action drama Burn Notice focuses on short-lived antagonists, but the final portion of every episode is committed to developing a larger story arc. The British Doctor Who spin-off programme Torchwood used this format in its first two series, before switching to a continuous story format.

"Villain of the week" plotlines are attractive to syndicators, as it means that episodes can be rerun in any order and do not need to be aired in sequence as serials with continuing storylines do.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eirth, Annabelle (January 20, 2019). "25 Things Wrong With Charmed Fans Choose To Ignore". Screen Rant. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Leane, Rob (April 1, 2015). "Does Superhero TV need the Villain of the Week Format?". Den of Geek. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  3. ^ Sproull, Patrick (September 13, 2018). "The 10 Scariest Scooby-Doo Episodes". Den of Geek. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Vinney, Cynthia (March 16, 2019). "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The 5 Best Monsters Of The Week (And The 5 Worst)". Screen Rant. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  5. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (March 26, 2012). "'Fringe': 'A Short Story About Love' recap". Digital Spy. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  6. ^ Bassett, Jordan (January 8, 2018). "The X Files' scariest 'Monster of the Week' episodes". New Musical Express. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Navarro, Megan (September 10, 2018). ""The X-Files" Turns 25: The 10 Best Monster of the Week Episodes!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Eisenbeis, Richard (January 17, 2014). "I Can't Decide if Samurai Flamenco is Brilliant or Terrible". Kotaku. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  9. ^ Wellham, Melissa (November 21, 2016). "Re-watching Sailor Moon as an adult". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  10. ^ Whitbrook, James (April 7, 2016). "The io9 Guide to Super Sentai". io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Clements & McCarthy 2015.
  12. ^ Bruce, Amanda (August 25, 2017). "Power Rangers: Every Major Villain, Ranked Worst To Best". Screen Rant. Retrieved July 11, 2019.


  • Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2015). The Anime Encyclopedia, 3rd Revised Edition: A Century of Japanese Animation. Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 9781611720181.