Villain of the week

Villain of the week

"Villain of the week" (or, depending on genre, "monster of the week" or "freak of the week") is a term that describes the nature of one-use antagonists in episodic fiction, especially ongoing American 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 to forward 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 Scooby Doo). Some series alternate between using such antagonists and furthering the series' ongoing plotlines (as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files, 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 Power Rangers and Sailor Moon). On other occasions, these villains return reformed, becoming invaluable allies or gaining a larger role in the story.


Use of the format

American series

There are two different uses for this plot gimmick. Some American television series (especially animated cartoons) are designed to be purely episodic so that they can be "stripped", that is, after the initial broadcasting as a network series, usually one day a week, the film or tape is leased to independent stations to be shown five or six days a week in any order. Hence, there is no plot development, although interesting villains may appear several times (e.g., Jonny Quest's Doctor Zin made four appearances in the original series).

Another reason for using this format is that it is convenient for writers to supply a continuous and varied amount of challenges for the protagonists to overcome. One perceived "flaw" to continuity-based series is that, if the show is based upon a single dominating plot device (such as defeating a single reappearing adversary), then should that plot device ever be resolved, the series would supposedly "end". Conversely, if the plot device is not resolved eventually, the premise of the show may become stale. Therefore, a lack of major continuity is often thought to be a convenient solution.

However, in recent decades, many American series have shifted away from this style. A prominent example is the DC Animated Universe, which is covered from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited. While the former series was mostly episodic, with only moderate continuity between episodes, Unlimited is very continuity-heavy — even making continual references to past series. Other American series (both live-action and animated) have also adopted more plot-based continuity. 24, Lost, Gargoyles, and The Sopranos are shows that placed varying levels of importance of continuity while Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Stargate SG-1, Supernatural, Fringe and The X-Files mixed villain-of-the-week stories with complex, season-long storylines. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone strive for continuity in their overall story timeline, while dealing with a "villain-of-the-week" format in the form of social issues.

Import editing

In Japan, continuity in animated television series is used more frequently than in the United States. A significant number of series are designed to have an overall plot, even if the plot is just advanced in an initial episode and one or two concluding episodes. Sometimes most of the intervening episodes have no plot or character advancement (e.g., the early Planet Boy Popi / Prince Planet), and are referred to as filler by fans wishing to distinguish them from more story arc-relevant episodes.

Sometimes, American distributors use existing footage from Japanese shows and use it for the "villain of the week" format. An example of this is the live action series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger. Footage from this, mostly involving the monsters, was edited together with American-made footage in the production of the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers; a trend which continues to this day in the latter franchise. However, as Japanese animation has become more popular with the American public, and most imported Japanese shows are now shown with only minor edits or no editing at all.

See also

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Gamers: Dorkness Rising — Directed by Matthew R. Vancil Produced by Ben Dobyns Cindi Rice John Frank Rosenblum Don Early Leticia Y. Lopez Jeff Madsen Ken Bolding Michael S. Bottorff Written by Matthew R. Vancil …   Wikipedia

  • The Shining (film) — The Shining Theatrical release poster Directed by Stanley Kubrick Produced by Stanle …   Wikipedia

  • The Mavis Bramston Show — Format Satire, comedy Starring Gordon Chater Carol Raye Barry Creyton Miriam Karlin Noeline Brown Ronnie Stevens Ron Frazer Bryan Davies June Salter Reg Livermore …   Wikipedia

  • The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase — The Simpsons episode Lisa and the real family members doing a skit for their variety hour, the plot of the third segment, in the episode s promotional imag …   Wikipedia

  • The Late Show (Australian TV series) — The Late Show was a popular Australian comedy show, which ran for two seasons on ABC TV from 18 July 1992 to 30 October 1993. Cast* Santo Cilauro * Tom Gleisner * Jane Kennedy * Judith Lucy (Second season only) * Tony Martin * Mick Molloy * Rob… …   Wikipedia

  • The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin — Genre Animated series Created by Ken Forsse Written by Marry Crawford Derek Diorio Directed by Chris Schouten Voices …   Wikipedia

  • The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! — The Super Mario Bros. Super Show title screen Genre Adventure Fantasy Comedy …   Wikipedia

  • The Twilights (band) — The Twilights were the leading Australian pop music group of the mid to late 1960s. Alongside The Easybeats and The Masters Apprentices the band are regarded as one of the most significant Australian groups of the period and renowned for their… …   Wikipedia

  • The Kids From C.A.P.E.R. — The Kids From C.A.P.E.R. was a Saturday morning live action television comedy series for children, produced by NBC, that aired from September 11, 1976 to November 20, 1976 and resumed from April 9, 1977 to September 3, 1977. The show produced… …   Wikipedia

  • The Fang Knows (Vampire Princess Miyu) — The Fang Knows is an episode of Vampire Princess Miyu anime TV series. Number 1 of a series of 26 episodes. Plot The main character is presented as a girl, Yamano Miyu, who became a vampire at her teens and is the Guardian or the chosen one who… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”