Created By: ropertroper on November 8, 2014 Last Edited By: lakingsif on January 15, 2018
Troped

Extra Long Episode

Longer episodes of TV shows

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Trope
Sometimes, a TV show will have a special episode that lasts longer than usual.

It is especially common for Grand Finales (especially for Long-Runners), and Very Special Episodes to originally be broadcast as these longer episodes. It can also be common (in, say, the USA where programming slots are fairly strict) for both half-hours of an hour-long extended episode to have their own separate plots, so that they can be re-run independently.

When two episodes are aired back-to-back (often at the start of a new season), and are explicit in this, it does not count. Additionally, having a Pilot be of an exceptional length is common and examples of such go under The Pilot. Is commonly an element of the Stock Sitcom Grand Finale.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • The Director's Cut version of episodes 21—24 of Neon Genesis Evangelion are several minutes longer than the others. Some scenes were cut out in their Original Airing to trm them down to the normal length, despite their vital role in making the massive Mind Screw that the series was actually make sense.
  • Season 1 finale of Code Geass (episodes 24-25) were originally aired back-to-back, and split up for reruns.
  • The episodes of the 2014 anime of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (Stardust Crusaders, particularly) has long episodes, up to 29 minutes long.
  • Detective Conan have several of these every year. In particular, the first episode of the year is usually two hours long.

Live-Action Television
  • Full House: "Happy Birthday, Babies" and "Michelle Rides Again" were both originally broadcast as hour-long episodes.
  • That '70s Show: The season eight premiere, as well as the last episode were both originally broadcast as hour-long episodes.
  • How I Met Your Mother: The season eight premiere, as well as the final episode were broadcast as hour-long shows.
  • M*A*S*H's fourth, fifth, sixth, and tenth season premieres were originally hour-long episodes that were later split into half-hour two-parters for reruns; similarly, Season Seven originally had an hour-long Clip Show that was also split into a half-hour two-parter in syndication. Of course, the Grand Finale was a two hour (minus commercials) TV movie.
  • The Office (US) was frequently having more and more hour-long episodes as the series progressed, though people were starting to complain about the frequency of them, not only because they were just going to be split into half-hour two-parters for syndication anyway, but the hour-long episodes were mostly filler that contributed nothing to the stories.
  • Seinfeld, like M*A*S*H occasionally did hour-long episodes every once in a while, and they two were split into half-hour two-parters in syndication; two of these were Clip Shows, while another was the Grand Finale. As far as running time goes, all episodes originally ran for 22 minutes (which was standard practice at the time), except for, "The Yada Yada," which originally ran 26 minutes with limited commercials.
  • The Stargate SG-1 episode "Threads" runs 63 minutes rather the show's usual 45-ish. It's recut to 45 for syndicated airings.
  • MythBusters: The "Jaws Special" (the first time Jamie and Adam hosted "Shark Week") was two hours long. Subsequent repeats on Discovery have either been split into two one-hour segments or edited down to a single hour.
  • According to Bob Newhart's autobiography, the last episode of Newhart lasted a little longer than 30 minutes because the producers couldn't figure out what to edit without affecting the plot.
  • "Once More With Feeling", the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It never aired in complete form after the first time.
  • Numerous series from the Star Trek franchise have had two-hour long episodes (as opposed to the usual hour long) that are later re-aired as two part episodes. This generally happens to series openers such as "Encounter At Farpoint" from Star Trek: The Next Generation and series finales such as "What You Leave Behind" from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but has also happened to episodes in the middle of seasons such as "Dark Frontier" from Star Trek: Voyager.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Numerous episodes of Doctor Who have been longer than the usual episode length. The final episode of "The Trial of A Time Lord" from the classic series ran slightly longer than 25 minutes. In the new series, where episodes are normally 45 minutes in length, this can happens to episodes introducing the new Doctor, such as the Twelth Doctor's first episode "Deep Breath" and season finales such as "Journey's End", both of which ran for a full hour.
    • Conversely, there was a serial in one of Patrick Troughton's seasons where the episodes all ran five minutes shorter than the usual 25 minutes.
    • Not counting specials, several episodes of new Doctor Who have been extra-length by five or ten minutes, most notably the Eleventh Doctor's introduction, "The Eleventh Hour" and every series premiere and finale for the Twelfth Doctor. The longest episode in the revived series is the Twelfth Doctor's introduction "Deep Breath", at 76 minutes raw. On BBC America these have been shown at full-length for their first showings and cut down to an hour afterward.
  • In each season of Tracy Beaker Returns, the opening two episodes would be broadcast together into an hour long format and then split into two 30 minute episodes on later airings. This has also happened with the show's spin-off The Dumping Ground. Funnily enough, it is the compilation broadcasts that cut material, while the individual episodes are aired intact.
  • Season 3 of Wizards vs. Aliens opened with its first two episodes joined together, as opposed to being broadcast separately.
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force had its multi-part episodes, including its opener "Broken Spell" and the three part episode "Dark Wish" originally broadcast as extra long episodes.
  • Cheers ended its hugely successful 11-year run with "One for the Road", a 98-minute episode.
  • Zig-Zagged with the first episode of Alias, originally broadcast 69 minutes commercial free - which works out to about a more standard 90 minute episode when commercials are added in.* The Grand Finale of Late Night with David Letterman ran about 5 minutes longer than usual, ending with Dave Riding Off Into The Sunset on a horse (and implied over to CBS).
  • The Grand Finale of The Late Show with David Letterman ran 12 minutes over its standard 1:03 running time.
  • The Walking Dead had a 90-minute episode (S 6 E 4), when most of their episodes are an hour. Some people speculated it was extra-long to help watchers deal with Glenn's apparent death in the previous episode, when actually it ratcheted up tension by not dealing with it at all.
  • Most Odd Squad episodes are about 11 minutes, but some episodes, especially those important to the story arc, like "Training Day" or "O is Not for Over," are double the length.
  • The last two episodes of the seventh season of Game of Thrones were extended to run fifteen minutes (+) more compared to the previous hour-long episodes. The eighth season continues the trend, as it has only six episodes.
  • Inverted version: the first-season episodes of Fringe all lasted 50 minutes without commercials (rather than the standard 42-43 minutes), and the series switched to a standard episode run time from the second season onwards.
  • Black Mirror: Consider that the "episodes" are more like shows and aren't episodic, nor regular outside of the particular series of its broadcast (the year).

Web Original
  • The season 9 finale of Acquisitions Incorporated is over an hour longer than the previous live games had been (3 hours instead of regular 2), probably because the organizers realized that they have run late every time. Before that, the season 8 finale had been 30 minutes longer than the usual episodes, but it wasn't planned to run that long (and was more than likely the final straw that led to the AcqInc regular time slot at PAX being officially extended).
  • Most movies that comprise the Kara no Kyoukai adaptation are about an hour long. Episode five and seven, however, are at least twice that, because they are so pivotal to the plot. The former resolves the overarching conflict with the Big Bad of the series, while the latter brings closure to the lead couple's personal arcs.
  • Ultra Fast Pony episodes are normally about 5 minutes long. However, season finale episodes always run 10 to 15 minutes long. It's lampshaded, as these episodes are all titled "The Longest [noun]".
  • Most episodes of Dragon Ball Z Abridged are 7 to 10 minutes long, whereas the season finales are around 30 minutes. The first of which was cut into thirds to save bandwidth.

Western Animation
  • DuckTales: There were a number of five-part episodes that were originally broadcast as two-hour movies before being split into multiple episodes.
  • Family Guy:
    • The three Star Wars parody episodes were all originally broadcast as hour-long episodes.
    • "Brian and Stewie" was originally broadcast as an hour-long show, with the first half hour being the main feature, and the second half having Brian and Stewie host a compilation of music clips from the show. In this case, the episode is not split into two halves, as the second half isn't seen in syndication.In fact, the only reason this second half exists is because the first half lasted a little longer than a half hour and Seth MacFarlane did not want anything to be cut from the episode.
    • Another Family Guy example comes in the crossover episode "Simpsons Guy".
  • Starting around 2002, later episodes of VeggieTales began to run for either 40 minutes or even 50 minutes, as opposed to earlier episodes, which ran only 30 minutes.
  • From 1984 to 2003, episodes of the animated Thomas the Tank Engine were four and a half minutes long. After the series Replaced the Theme Tune in 2004, the episodes were extended to being seven minutes long. Since 2009, after the series' transition to using C Gi, as opposed to the live-action scale models of the previous seasons, the episodes are now eight and three-quarter minutes long.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle's first story arc, "Jet Fuel Formula," lasted for a whoppin' 40 chapters, book-ending 20 half-hour episodes; Bullwinkle even remarks in the last chapter that the story's been so long, he forgotten why his and Rocky's original motives were. Rocky and Bullwinkle also engaged in another particularly lengthy arc in Season Two, "Upsidasium," which was 36 chapters, book-ending 18 half-hour episodes.
  • Potatoland, part of the Disney Channel series of Mickey Mouse shorts, runs seven minutes, about twice the length of the other shorts, and about the same length as the original Classic Disney Shorts.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • The episode "A Tale of Two Stans", which introduces Grunkle Stan's twin brother/author of the journals Stanford Pines, originally ran without commercial breaks for a full half hour. Rather than cutting it down for rebroadcast, the show is run in full, with 15 minute episodes of other shows filling out the time.
    • The Gravity Falls finale is an hour-long special.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas and other Peanuts specials originally ran in a standard 30 minute timeslot including commercials, then got bits chopped out of them in order to accomodate more advertising. In more recent years they get run in hour long blocks so that the original can run in its entirety in 32-35 minutes, followed by one or more unrelated Peanuts shorts to fill out the hour.
  • Another Mickey Mouse short "Wonders of the Deep" is a half-hour special.
  • While most episodes of Courage the Cowardly Dog followed the Two Shorts format, with each short being 11 minutes long, some episodes, such as "The Tower of Dr. Zalost" and "The Mask" were full 22-minute episodes.
  • Steven Universe has had two double length episodes.
  • Tangled: The Series: The episode Queen for a Day in Season 1 runs, at 56 minutes, for more than twice as long as the normal 22-minutes-episodes.
  • There are some Nicktoons that usually run 11 minutes but then have longer episodes. The special episodes of Rugrats and SpongeBob SquarePants are usually 30 minutes, when the stories are eleven, and these shows also had hour-long episodes.

Community Feedback Replies: 49
  • November 8, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Western Animation
    • MASH's fourth, fifth, sixth, and tenth season premieres were originally hour-long episodes that were later split into half-hour two-parters for reruns; similarly, Season Seven originally had an hour-long Clip Show that was also split into a half-hour two-parter in syndication. Of course, the Grand Finale was a two hour (minus commercials) TV movie.
    • The Office US was frequently having more and more hour-long episodes as the series progressed, though people were starting to complain about the frequency of them, not only because they were just going to be split into half-hour two-parters for syndication anyway, but the hour-long episodes were mostly filler that contributed nothing to the stories.
    • Seinfeld, like MASH occasionally did hour-long episodes every once in a while, and they two were split into half-hour two-parters in syndication; two of these were Clip Shows, while another was the Grand Finale. As far as running time goes, all episodes originally ran for 22 minutes (which was standard practice at the time), except for, "The Yada Yada," which originally ran 26 minutes with limited commercials.
  • November 8, 2014
    CaveCat
    • Starting around 2002, later episodes of VeggieTales began to run for either 40 minutes or even 50 minutes, as opposed to earlier episodes, which ran only 30 minutes.
  • November 8, 2014
    StarSword
    TV:
    • The Stargate SG 1 episode "Threads" runs 63 minutes rather the show's usual 45-ish. It's recut to 45 for syndicated airings.
  • November 8, 2014
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    Western Animation
    • From 1984 to 2003, episodes of Thomas The Tank Engine were four and a half minutes long. After the series' Replaced The Theme Tune in 2004, the episodes were extended to being seven minutes long. Since 2009, after the series' transition to using C Gi, as opposed to the live-action scale models of the previous seasons, the episodes are now eight and three-quarter minutes long.
  • November 8, 2014
    DAN004
    Often a Very Special Episode

    Compare O Va.
  • November 8, 2014
    NateTheGreat
    The older NBC shows like Friends and Mad About You sometimes had 40-minute supersized episodes back in the 90s, as a gimmick.

    Shouldn't we separate the "TV movie split into individual episodes" examples from the "usually the episodes of this show are one half-hour, but this time a two-part episode was broadcast in one hour" and the "a little extra footage was added to the initial broadcast as a gimmick, but in syndication the extra footage was taken back out."
  • November 8, 2014
    Antigone3
    Myth Busters: The "Jaws Special" (the first time Jamie and Adam hosted "Shark Week") was two hours long. Subsequent repeats on Discovery have either been split into two one-hour segments or edited down to a single hour.
  • November 8, 2014
    ropertroper
    I'm thinking it might be redundant to point out every instance where an extra-long episode was split into multiple parts for syndication because that's already mentioned in the main text here and therefore that fact should be known by time the reader gets to the examples. And besides, this proposed trope isn't about how hour-long episodes are edited in syndication (since in syndication every episode is broadcast in the same length).

    Thinking about that, I wonder if there's a trope for TV shows that had changed their lengths throughout their original runs.

    Some more examples:
    • According to Bob Newhart's autobiography, the last episode of Newhart lasted a little longer than 30 minutes because the producers couldn't figure out what to edit without affecting the plot.
  • November 8, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Western Animation
    • Rocky And Bullwinkle's first story arc, "Jet Fuel Formula," lasted for a whoppin' 40 chapters, book-ending 20 half-hour episodes; Bullwinkle even remarks in the last chapter that the story's been so long, he forgotten why his and Rocky's original motives were. Rocky and Bullwinkle also engaged in another particularly lengthy arc in Season Two, "Upsidasium," which was 36 chapters, book-ending 18 half-hour episodes.
  • November 9, 2014
    Arivne
  • November 9, 2014
    robinjohnson
    See also The Movie, which can sometimes come across as a glorified Extra-Long Episode.
  • November 9, 2014
    TonyG
    Potatoland, part of the Disney Channel series of Mickey Mouse shorts, runs seven minutes, about twice the length of the other shorts, and about the same length as the original Classic Disney Shorts.
  • November 10, 2014
    NESBoy
    I thought Jeopardy: The IBM Challenge (starring Watson) was an example, but then I read the description and I understood that this trope is about episodes aired as an extended episode without ending and opening credits interrupting the middle of it.
  • November 10, 2014
    SvartiKotturinn
    The Director's Cut version of episodes 21—24 of Neon Genesis Evangelion are several minutes longer than the others. Some scenes were cut out in their Original Airing to trm them down to the normal length, despite their vital role in making the massive Mind Screw that the series was actually make sense.
  • November 10, 2014
    ropertroper
    Three Western Animation/Popeye shorts were two-reelers, lasting longer than the average Popeye short.
  • November 10, 2014
    chicagomel
    "Once More With Feeling", the musical episode of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It never aired in complete form after the first time,
  • November 18, 2014
    triassicranger
    Live Action Television
    • Numerous series from the Star Trek franchise have had two-hour long episodes (as opposed to the usual hour long) that are later re-aired as two part episodes. This generally happens to series openers such as "Encounter At Farpoint" from Star Trek The Next Generation and series finales such as "What You Leave Behind" from Star Trek Deep Space Nine, but has also happened to episodes in the middle of seasons such as "Dark Frontier" from Star Trek Voyager.
    • Numerous episodes of Doctor Who have been longer than the usual episode length. The final episode of "The Trial of A Time Lord" from the classic series ran slightly longer than 25 minutes. In the new series, where episodes are normally 45 minutes in length, this can happens to episodes introducing the new Doctor, such as the Twelth Doctor's first episode "Deep Breath" and season finales such as "Journey's End", both of which ran for a full hour.
      • Conversely, there was a serial toward the end of one of Patrick Troughton's seasons where the episodes all ran five minutes shorter than the usual 25 minutes. This was due to the cast becoming tired at having done a full season and Patrick Troughton had to convince whoever was in charge to keep the episodes cut down as they were all getting tired.
    • In each season of Tracy Beaker Returns, the opening two episodes would be broadcast together into an hour long format and then split into two 30 minute episodes on later airings. This has also happened with the show's spin-off The Dumping Ground. Funnily enough, it is the compilation broadcasts that cut material, while the individual episodes are aired intact.
    • Season 3 of Wizards Vs Aliens opened with its first two episodes joined together, as opposed to being broadcast separately.
    • Power Rangers Mystic Force had its multi-part episodes, including its opener "Broken Spell" and the three part episode "Dark Wish" originally broadcast as extra long episodes.
  • November 18, 2014
    gallium
    See also Grand Finale and Stock Sitcom Grand Finale for instances in which programs aired extra-long episodes for series finales.

    Live-Action Television

    • Cheers ended its hugely successful 11-year run with "One for the Road", a 98-minute episode.
  • December 9, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Zig Zagged with the first episode of Alias, originally broadcast 69 minutes commercial free - which works out to about a more standard 90 minute episode when commercials are added in.
  • December 9, 2014
    ThatFanwiththeGlasses
    ^^^In regards to the Doctor Who serial with shorter episodes than usual, I assume you are referring to The Mind Robber. I feel I should probably correct you as to the circumstances surrounding that one. Firstly, The Mind Robber is only the second serial in season 6, not one of the last. The reason why the episodes were shorter than usual was because it was originally four episodes, not five. A new episode had to be written to compensate for the previous story getting shortened by one episode. Because of this, we ended up with the five shortest full episodes of Doctor Who to date (episode 5 clocking in at a mere 18 minutes).

    I apologize if I come off as a bit of a know-it-all, but I felt such an egregious error should be rectified.
  • August 29, 2015
    Koveras
    • The season 9 finale of Acquisitions Incorporated is over an hour longer than the previous live games had been (3 hours instead of regular 2), probably because the organizers realized that they have run late every time. Before that, the season 8 finale had been 30 minutes longer than the usual episodes, but it wasn't planned to run that long (and was more than likely the final straw that led to the AcqInc regular time slot at PAX being officially extended).
    • Most movies that comprise the Kara No Kyoukai adaptation are about an hour long. Episode five and seven, however, are at least twice that, because they are so pivotal to the plot. The former resolves the overarching conflict with the Big Bad of the series, while the latter brings closure to the lead couple's personal arcs.
  • August 29, 2015
    TonyG
    The Gravity Falls episode "A Tale of Two Stans", which introduces Grunkle Stan's twin brother/author of the journals Stanford Pines, originally ran without commercial breaks for a full half hour. Rather than cutting it down for rebroadcast, the show is run in full, with 15 minute episodes of other shows filling out the time.
  • August 29, 2015
    randomsurfer
    A Charlie Brown Christmas and other Peanuts specials originally ran in a standard 30 minute timeslot including commercials, then got bits chopped out of them in order to accomodate more advertising. In more recent years they get run in hour long blocks so that the original can run in its entirety in 32-35 minutes, followed by one or more unrelated Peanuts shorts to fill out the hour.
  • August 29, 2015
    NateTheGreat
    Seriously, is this "a TV movie or special is cut into half-hour episodes for later broadcasts" or "something that is broadcast in an unusual slot that isn't divisible by thirty minutes"? Because that still seems like two different tropes.
  • August 29, 2015
    shimaspawn
    ^ This is about the initial episode being longer than normal. All the stuff you're talking about is stuff that comes after the trope.

    Sometimes it's sliced up. Sometimes it's edited for length. Sometimes it's never run again. Doesn't matter. The trope has already happened. If it's divisible by 30 minutes or not is also irrelevant.

    So, in other words Nate, it's about neither. Neither of those things matter to this trope in the least.
  • August 29, 2015
    MetaFour
    Web Video:
    • Ultra Fast Pony episodes are normally about 5 minutes long. However, season finale episodes always run 10 to 15 minutes long. It's lampshaded, as these episodes are all titled "The Longest [noun]".
  • November 26, 2015
    Kartoonkid95
    • Another Mickey Mouse short "Wonders of the Deep" is a half-hour special.
    • The upcoming Gravity Falls finale will be an hour-long special.
  • November 27, 2015
    randomsurfer
  • November 27, 2015
    DrNoPuma
    • While most episodes of Courage The Cowardly Dog followed the Two Shorts format, with each short being 11 minutes long, some episodes, such as "The Tower of Dr. Zalost" and "The Mask" were full 22-minute episodes.
  • November 27, 2015
    Generality
    • Not counting specials, several episodes of Doctor Who have been extra-length by five or ten minutes, most notably the Eleventh Doctor's introduction, "The Eleventh Hour" and every series premiere and finale for the Twelfth Doctor. The longest episode in the revived series is the Twelfth Doctor's introduction "Deep Breath", at 76 minutes raw. On BBC America these have been shown at full-length for their first showings and cut down to an hour afterward.

    • The pilot of Samurai Jack is feature-length. It was cut into three episodes for reruns.
  • November 27, 2015
    jamespolk
    The Grand Finale, especially for a Long Runner, will often be one of these.
  • November 27, 2015
    DAN004
    Can it apply to manga or comic books?
  • November 28, 2015
    Boston
    The Walking Dead recently had a 90-minute episode (S 6 E 4), when most of their episodes are an hour. Some people speculated it was extra-long to help watchers deal with Glenn's apparent death in the previous episode, when actually it ratcheted up tension by not dealing with it at all.
  • November 28, 2015
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Is anyone even updating this thing?
  • November 28, 2015
    shiro_okami
    Season 1 finale of Code Geass (episodes 24-25) were originally aired back-to-back, and split up for reruns.
  • November 28, 2015
    jamespolk
    I added my note re: the Grand Finale to the main text, hope that's all right.
  • November 29, 2015
    1gn1sW1ngs
    Anime And Manga
    • The episodes of the 2014 anime of Jo Jo (Stardust Crusaders, particularly) has long episodes, up to 29 minutes long.
  • December 3, 2015
    randomsurfer
    The pilot episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures is 60 minutes long. All other episodes are 25-30 minutes long.
  • December 3, 2015
    SamCurt
    Anime and Manga
    • Detective Conan have several of these every year. In particular, the first episode of the year is usually two hours long.
  • November 27, 2017
    Generality
    Most episodes of Dragon Ball Z Abridged are 7 to 10 minutes long, whereas the season finales are around 30 minutes. The first of which was cut into thirds to save bandwidth.
  • November 27, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    And usually, a Pilot or a Season Premiere can last an hour long.

    Examples can be the pilot, the season premieres and season finales of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.
  • November 27, 2017
    henke37
  • December 26, 2017
    LB7979
    Western Animation
    • Tangled The Series: The episode Queen for a Day in Season 1 runs, at 56 minutes, for more than twice as long as the normal 22-minutes-episodes.
  • November 28, 2017
    GirlofMassDeconstruction
    • Most Odd Squad episodes are about 11 minutes, but some episodes, especially those important to the story arc, like "Training Day" or "O is Not for Over," are double the length.
  • December 25, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    • The last two episodes of the seventh season of Game Of Thrones were extended to fifteen minutes and more compared to the previous hour-long episodes. The eight season continues the trend, as it has only six episodes.
  • December 26, 2017
    marcoasalazarm
    Inverted version of the Trope: the first-season episodes of Series/Fringe all lasted 50 minutes without commercials (rather than the standard 42-43 minutes), and the series switched to a standard episode run time from the second season onwards.
  • December 26, 2017
    mimitchi33
    How about Nicktoons that usually run 11 minutes but then have longer episodes? I can think of the special episodes of Rugrats and SpongeBob that are usually 30 minutes when the stories are eleven, and these shows also had hour-long episodes. Same with some Cartoon Network shows- Teen Titans Go is one big example, as some multi-part episodes rerun as hour-long specials.
  • December 27, 2017
    Snicka
    Duck Tales 2017 episodes typically run around 20 minutes, but the pilot, titled "Woo-oo!", is over 40 minutes long - the length of two regular-length episodes. The second half of the episode, re-titled "Escape To/From Atlantis!" has also been aired as a separate episode.
  • January 15, 2018
    greshnak
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=bbufxujyncfbrtg9f5k64j1j