->''"I hate bottle episodes. They're wall-to-wall facial expressions and emotional nuance. I might as well sit in the corner with a bucket on my head."''
-->-- '''[[MetaGuy Abed]]''', "Cooperative Calligraphy" ([[HypocriticalHumor the bottle episode]]), ''Series/{{Community}}''

A "bottle episode" is designed to take up as little money as possible. The easiest way to go about this is to use only the regular cast (or even just ''part'' of the regular cast) and set it in a single location, especially if you have a main standing set. This keeps production costs down, because no one needs to scout locations, build new sets, or create fancy CGI graphics of the outside of the spaceship. Bottle episodes are often a chance for a slow, characterization-filled episode before[=/=]after a big special-effects-laden action episode. Of course, all this doesn't mean the episode ''will'' be cheap, just that it's ''meant'' to be; like any regular episode, [[RealLifeWritesThePlot unforeseen complications]] can cause the show to run over the scheduled budget.

Note that the term has become synonymous with "single-location" episode, even though bottle episodes can (theoretically) have as many locations as a normal episode. All that matters is that it costs less, because the money is having to pass through a "bottleneck". The ''Franchise/StarTrek'' cast and crew call this a "ship-in-a-bottle" episode, which is where the name originated.

Typically, effects-heavy shows such as ''Star Trek'' will hold off on the bottle episodes until near the end of a given season, saving the Big Money for mid-season cliffhangers and special guests.

Bottle episodes are known as a challenge and/or a chore, depending on the writer. Since most/all of the episode is set in a single location (sometimes even entirely in one room) with a smaller than usual cast, the dialogue (regarded as one of the harder things to write) needs to be better and tighter than in other episodes since the writer can't really do anything else with the cast. Depending on the writer and how well the premise works out, bottle episodes can range from terrible, to some of the best episodes of their shows and even their franchises.

Sometimes, writers create single-location episodes just [[SelfImposedChallenge as an exercise to see if they can]], like in the case of one of the first bottle episodes, ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'''s "The Chinese Restaurant", which actually ended up costing as much as a regular episode due to the expense of the new set. In any case, this generally results in either one of the most boring episodes of a series, or one of the best. In [[BritCom britcoms]] especially, they tend to be one of the better episodes.

Some plots lend themselves to the nature of a BottleEpisode, such as SinkingShipScenario, GroundhogDayLoop, LockedInARoom, or EpisodeOnAPlane. Sometimes an episode which is a PeriodPiece may ''look'' fancy and expensive, but these are often using the studio's already-existing (thus free) costumes and sets. DieHardOnAnX, though limiting the episode to one location, rarely fits this trope, since the other elements of that trope often negate the budget-saving aspects of a Bottle Episode. Also, a bottle episode may or may not involve a MinimalistCast.

Keep in mind that [[TropesAreNotBad a Bottle Episode is not necessarily bad]]. Just being a Bottle Episode does not mean the episode had NoBudget or badly done - they were just saving some up, or making up for an earlier expensive episode.

Almost all {{Clip Show}}s (and, by extension, {{Recap Episode}}s) fit this trope, despite not strictly being an actual Bottle Episode. Not to be confused with DrowningMySorrows, nor with [[MessageInABottle sending out messages in bottles]]. Another cause that happens on occasion is a [[TVStrikes writers' strike]].


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' episode "Someday in the Rain" takes this idea and runs with it including a long shot of Yuki reading a book motionless as language lessons and radio programs play in the background. Oddly the budget was clearly substantial and the episode has no connection to the light novels the rest of the anime is based on -- implying that it may have been done either for the hell of it or as a deliberate reference to the typically conservative animation styles in anime.
** Surprisingly averted with the infamous Endless Eight arc, consisting of the cast stuck in a GroundhogDayLoop repeating most of the same actions and lines over and over for 8 episodes. Despite the premise practically begging for laziness and animation recycling, each episode was animated from scratch (with the cast's constantly rotating outfits hinting at this.)
* Episode four of ''KamichamaKarin'' has possibly the most OffModel art of the whole series, but the story was actually quite well-written.
* Episode 11-B "Nothing To Room" of ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt''. The episode consists entirely of [[LeaveTheCameraRunning a single shot with no variations in camera angle or location]] (with some minor modifications to depict different times of day), and the majority of the episode is just the characters talking with each other about [[SeinfeldianConversation nothing in particular]]. Even the plot is minimal; it's basically "Panty and Stocking sit on the couch and waste an entire day." It still manages to be entertaining, though. It's also the last episode before the GenreShift the GrandFinale faces.
* In the first season of ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', the episode "Pikachu's Goodbye" was thrown together during the hiatus following the "Electric Soldier Porygon" seizure incident, and was the first aired when the show returned from its hiatus. To take pressure off the animators, the only Pokemon included were Meowth and Pikachu (the latter in large numbers). The end result was arguably the first season's CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming.
* One chapter of ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' is solely about a conversation between a blind girl and her friend, a king. As it's from the point of view of the blind girl, every panel is pitch black except the speech bubbles. The perspective returns to normal third-person at the end of their conversation to show that [[spoiler:the king has died]].
* ''Manga/{{Genshiken}}'' has an episode with only two characters, Kasukabe and Madarame, with the majority of the acting simply being Madarame ranting in his head about his feelings for Kasukabe, and the majority of the animation being Madarame on various minimalist backgrounds as he struggles in his imagination, while Kasukabe turns the pages of her book.
* Taken to the LogicalExtreme with the last two episodes of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. Episodes 25 and 26 start with a disclaimer - [[spoiler: "[[TheBadGuyWins Instrumentality is starting]]]], but we don't have [[NoBudget the time]] to show it, so we'll just ''completely deconstruct our characters''".
* In the anime adaptation of ''Manga/{{Nisekoi}}'', the second episode of the second season has only three characters present: Raku, Tsugumi, and Paula, and nobody else, not even in the background.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/TransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye'' does this multiple times:
** "The Waiting Game" (aka Spotlight: Hoist). The issue stars four mismatched Autobots and their pet Insecticon trapped in shuttle on an uninhabited world. They cannot venture out for fear of being killed by an extremely powerful Decepticon and are unable to call for help. They wind up spending most of the issue swapping stories and getting on each others nerves.
** Issue 31. The entire issue takes place inside an escape pod, where twenty members of the crew are stuck after the events of the previous arc. Nothing is seen outside of the pod aside from brief glimpses of empty space through the windows.

* ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'' is a bottle episode, as much as a movie can be. After ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'', which DevelopmentHell and special effects turned into an extremely expensive project ($46 million, including development on the aborted ''Star Trek: Phase II'' TV series), the studio gave the next film a considerably lower budget. It resulted in what is still typically considered the best ''Trek'' film - despite costing only a quarter of what its predecessor did. Harve Bennett hired a production team with mainly TV movie experience, much of the ship footage is StockFootage reused from the first movie, and Nicholas Meyer wrote the script so that a majority of the scenes would be shot on the ''Enterprise'' bridge set (which was also redressed as the ''Reliant'' bridge). The space suits worn by Terrell and Chekov, as well as the uniforms worn by extras, were also leftovers from the first film. Kirk and Khan also never physically meet in the film -- they only ever interact with each other over radio transmissions and the viewscreens on their ships. The two actors had busy schedules and working around them would have been much more expensive. Yet Khan is often cited as the greatest opponent Kirk ever faced, despite the fact that their scenes were filmed months apart from each other.
* Creator/AlfredHitchcock liked to experiment with this format:
** Except for a shot of the ship sinking at the beginning, the entirety of ''Lifeboat'' is set on the lifeboat, the plot driven solely by the survivors' increasingly hostile bickering among each other.
** ''Theatre/{{Rope}}'' begins with an EstablishingShot of the apartment building where the rest of the movie takes place. Not only does the whole story unfold in one room, the movie was edited in such a way to conceal as many cuts as possible, making it feel like the whole movie was a single ''shot''.
** Paralleling the protagonist's voyeuristic tendencies in ''Film/RearWindow'', the camera in this movie never ventures more than several feet away from Jeffries's room's window. Until the climax, the camera never even leaves his room.
* The majority of the original ''Franchise/{{Halloween}}'' movies take place over the course of the titular day, with brief prologues set the day before. In particular the first two--[[Film/HalloweenII1981 the second]] even picks up right where [[Film/{{Halloween 1978}} the first]] one ended.
* ''[[Film/EbirahHorrorOfTheDeep Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster]]'' is considered this in the Godzilla franchise as it's unlike its previous films. The cast is mostly on an island or out at sea, Godzilla does not attack a city (although he does attack a military base), and the only other monsters are Ebirah and Mothra.
* ''Film/GodzillaVsMegalon'' features a relatively small cast and a heavy reliance on StockFootage, while the number of miniature sets is limited to a single dam.
* Creator/QuentinTarantino has said he wrote ''Film/ReservoirDogs'' like this to keep the costs down to make it more likely to be filmed. The majority of the movie takes place in the warehouse, while Mr. Orange's apartment and Joe's office were located in the same building.
* Similarly, Creator/KevinSmith set ''Film/{{Clerks}}'' almost entirely within a convenience store to keep costs down.
* ''Film/HardCandy'' only has [[MinimalistCast two main characters]] and is set almost entirely in the house of the male lead.
* ''Film/TheManFromEarth'' is shot entirely in one location, mostly in a single room.
* ''TheBreakfastClub'' is basically a play.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfSuperman'' is an early example. Not only were many of the same shots used in many episodes (the establishing shot of the Daily Planet, Clark running into an alley emerging as Superman, the same shot of Superman flying and looking to his left superimposed over different backdrops) but in any given season, every scene in the usual sets, such as Perry White's office were filmed within a few days, and for the most part, the seasons were all filmed within two weeks.
** The Season 1 episode "Crime Wave" consists largely of clips from earlier episodes. It wasn't quite a ClipShow because they weren't showing these shots as "highlights," they're just used as stock stuff, even though some of it (the fight from "Mind Machine") were fairly notable.
* ''SteptoeAndSon'' pretty much IS this trope
* ''Series/SavedByTheBell'' was often made of bottle episodes, especially in the first season where the scenes were shot entirely in the one and only classroom and the hallway immediately outside. Even more common on the single season of Good Morning Miss Bliss as it didn't have the same budget.
* ''Series/NightCourt'' was almost exclusively bottle episodes, particularly in the first season when budgets were limited. The vast majority of the content takes place in the court room, with only occasional visits to the hallway and Harry's chambers. Later on another hallway and the cafeteria was added. Only rarely did they venture out to a late night restaurant or someone's apartment.
* Every single episode of ''[[Series/BlackAdder BlackAdder II]]'' was somewhat of a bottle episode. The first series of the legendary British sitcom, though generally being well received, cost the BBC huge amounts, with many different and massive sets, from the many rooms of the castle to the battlefields, towns and other locales. When the next series came along, the BBC wanted to keep costs down, and so there were only a few sets, all relatively small, with the odd outdoor scene, new set and such. Downplayed in the first episode, as there are a massive number of sets: a bunch of outdoor scenes, a doctor's office, a bedroom, the Queen's court, Bob's home and numerous other joints. The trend for having a small number of sets continued with the third and fourth series. Blackadder the Third rarely moved away from the Prince Regent's apartments, the servants' quarters downstairs and Mrs. Miggins' Pie Shop, while Blackadder Goes Forth rarely left the trenches or General Melchett's post behind the lines.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' uses flashbacks and flashforwards very liberally, but "The Limo" was, according to WordOfGod, a bottle episode. No flashes, and the tale of them hitting up five parties on New Years Eve was told almost entirely from the backseat of a limo (with only a couple shots of street, and one brief phone call to the limo from one of said parties).
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' was a pioneer of this trope. All the modern ''Franchise/StarTrek'' series would frequently resort to series of BottleEpisode when {{ratings}} were down (or when the budget was), with a complete list available at [[http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Bottle_show Memory Alpha]]. A notable side effect of bottle episodes is that they are frequently of [[ADayInTheLimelight higher quality in terms of writing, direction, character development, and plot]] than their unbottled counterparts.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'': A perfect example of this is "[[Recap/StarTrekDeepSpaceNineS01E19Duet Duet]]", from the first season of ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'' - shot purely on existing sets, with purely existing costumes and props, with a grand total of one guest star and a brief appearance by a semi-regular, it cost less than half a normal episode. It's also generally considered one of the top five episodes of the entire series' run and one of the best episodes in the entire history of the franchise, and is a crucial moment of CharacterDevelopment for Major Kira.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'': Subverted with the episode "The Next Phase". It was ''meant'' to be a bottle show and was written with saving money in mind, but they somehow didn't account for the many complicated special effects required, which made it one of the most expensive episodes of the season. The same thing happened to "Power Play" from the same season.
* ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'': The Shuttlepod One plays it straight, taking place almost entirely in the titular shuttlepod, with a few short scenes taking place on the Enterprise itself, and only featuring the main characters. On the other hand, breaking the usual pattern of Trek bottle shows, "A Night in Sickbay" took place almost entirely in sickbay and frequently appears on "Worst Ever" lists.
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' had a particularly impressive line in them, since the USS Voyager was far more active at putting itself in harm's way than the Enterprise; it ran into enough anomalies, obstacles, and [[NegativeSpaceWedgie negative space wedgies]] that at times it could feel like they were trying to film half the season without actually setting foot on a planet.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Because Creator/JossWhedon has to take this trope and mix it up with Angst UpTo11, there's the episode 'The Body'. It has only one instance of special effects, one vampire (that's where the SE come from), and takes place almost entirely indoors and has no soundtrack.
** There's also season 6's "Older and Far Away," where Halfrek tricks Dawn into wishing nobody can leave the Summers house. Hilarity and drama ensue.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Episode "Spin the Bottle" has at least the tendencies of a Bottle Episode: most of the episode takes place in the hotel, with no guest stars and an "amnesia" concept that makes for a low need of special effects.
* ''Series/TeenWolf'':
** The episode "Night School" [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin takes place in the high school at night]]. It has Scott, Stiles, Lydia, Allison and Jackson form a temporary alliance while trying to evade the Alpha.
** The fourth season episode "Weaponized" is a recreation of it, with the cast being trapped inside the school, this time due to a virus. Curiously, many guest stars are present in the episode.
* UK cop drama ''Series/TheBill'' often invoked this in the old days, when the "cheapie" episode could be distinguished by the fact that it would take place entirely within the confines of the police station, and (usually) had a plot focused on characters doing their daily paperwork/avoiding doing their daily paperwork. In other words, the bottle episodes were usually the ones which focused a lot on 'character interaction' rather than on story.
** One award-winning episode was set entirely in the back of a police van.
** Another notable episode was set entirely in the Interview Room
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'' has done this quite a few times, especially in the first season where the entire cast had to stay in one apartment, and it was so well received that bottle episodes became a staple of that program.
** Notably, the season 3 episode 'The One Where No One Is Ready' is often lauded as one of the best episodes ever, and it never even leaves Monica and Rachel's main room (except for a short scene during the credits).
** Interestingly, the episodes featuring all six Friends among themselves are consistently the best episodes of the entire series. This fact is why Thanksgiving episodes are typically bottle episodes.
* In ''Series/BuckRogersInTheTwentyFifthCentury'', the episode "A Blast for Buck" was mainly a montage of previous episodes, plus a framing story where Buck Rogers receives an ominous sounding message in a container teleported into his room. The episode took place almost entirely within a single room.
* ''Series/{{Cheers}}'' had many episodes where the entire episode took place in the bar, including the ''entire first season''. The first episode with scenes set outside the bar was the second season premiere, "Power Play".
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', perhaps following the lead of the show it spun off from (''Cheers''), employed this a lot. Early episodes rarely left Frasier's apartment, KACL, and the Cafe Nervosa. The grand champion example of a ''Frasier'' bottle ep would be "The Dinner Party" which uses only the main cast (plus one voice over), only one set (Frasier's apartment), and occurs in RealTime.
* The first season finale of ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'', "Johnny Be Gone", takes place only downstairs at the Bundys', only features the main cast, and is in fact one long scene. This was repeated, albeit with guest stars, in the penultimate episode "The Desperate Half-Hour".
* ''Series/{{Titus}}'' is nothing '''''BUT''''' bottle episodes, though sometimes it's two joined rooms rather than just one room and it does cut away to Titus in the Neutral Space [[note]][the black-and-white room in which Creator/ChristopherTitus narrates the episodes] explaining a certain situation or giving insight on an event that just happened (often comedically; but sometimes dramatically)[[/note]]. Other than that, a typical episode of Titus usually has two settings, the five main actors [[note]](Christopher Titus {[[AdamWesting as himself, essentially]]}, Zack Ward {Dave}, David Shatraw {Tommy}, Cynthia Watros {Erin}, and Stacy Keach {Ken Titus})[[/note]], and maybe some recurring supporting characters [[note]](Amy, Titus's sister Shannon, Erin's DysfunctionalFamily {Nora, Merritt, Kim, and Michael}, Juanita {Titus's violent, manic-depressive schizophrenic mom}, and/or Kathy {Ken's bitchy nurse fiancee})[[/note]] or one-shot characters.
* ''Series/InTheFlesh'' Season 2:
** In the fifth episode, where Kieren is absent for most of the episode and the episode focuses mostly on Simon. Nearly the whole episode rakes place at Norfolk, with a few bits and pieces in Roarton.
** Episode 3 does the same thing, focusing on a minor character with nothing major happening until the final scene.
* The {{Britcom}} ''Series/MenBehavingBadly'' had a bottle episode that took place in a single room -- indeed, very nearly a single camera shot.
* ''Series/MadAboutYou'' had a bottle episode ("The Conversation", which was also an example of TheOner) where the camera didn't move -- it remained stationary, pointed at the door to the crying baby's room, while Paul and Jamie talked about stuff. The characters left the frame completely several times, talking off-screen and the camera was pointed at nothing. This was lampshaded in the ending credits, where Paul was watching an unseen show and commenting about what amazing cinematographic skill it took to shoot an entire episode from one camera shot. This is in addition to plenty of "traditional" Bottle Episodes that never leave the couple's apartment.
* ''Series/{{Spooks}}'' did something very close to one in its second series (The VX one) and it was one of the best of that series.
* ''Series/TheDeadZone'' had a BottleEpisode ("Cabin Pressure") that took place entirely on a flying airplane (which, admittedly, was not one of the show's normal sets). Interestingly, this episode was also an example of RealTime.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Classic:
*** The original series had "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E3TheEdgeOfDestruction The Edge of Destruction]]", which was set entirely in the TARDIS. It came immediately after a seven-part Dalek serial (the first ever), which naturally required them to spend a lot of money on building tens of Daleks.
*** "Mission to the Unknown", a sort of proto-Minisode, a PoorlyDisguisedPilot for a Dalek television series and a prequel to the later serial "The Daleks' Master Plan". It was written hastily when "Galaxy 4" was judged to be too long and rewritten down to four episodes rather than the planned five. It uses three sets (a human spaceship, the Dalek [[TheWarRoom War Room]] and a jungle) all built for and [[RecycledSet recycled]] in "The Daleks' Master Plan", a couple of [[PropRecycling Daleks]], a couple of [[PeopleInRubberSuits very low budget monster suits made of glue and fluff]] representing PlantAliens (which also get reused in "The Daleks's Master Plan"), a bunch of rather better-looking aliens on the Dalek ship (also reused in "The Daleks' Master Plan") and a spot of cheap {{Gorn}}. There is no Doctor, no companions, and the majority of the episode takes place with two actors arguing in the jungle.
*** "The Underwater Menace", an unpopular script that was dashed out as cheaply as possible when the producers realised it was the best script out of the bad bunch they had. Unlike many of these examples, which are quite minimalistic, suspenseful and creepy, this does not work in the episode's favour as it relies very heavily on sets (representing a massive Atlantean temple system with a series of box rooms with shells glued on), costumes (cardboard headdresses for everyone!) and monsters (the 'fish people' are dressed in what look like Pierrot-style white ruffled bodysuits with sequins to represent scales and big cardboard eyes). Some people find this to be enjoyable 1960s camp and link it to the psychedelia movement. Others find it SpecialEffectFailure.
*** Episode 4 of "The Evil of the Daleks" is Doctor-lite and (one) companion-lite as Patrick Troughton was on holiday. It mostly is about the primary companion, Jamie, running down corridors with one-shot ally Kemel, with the Doctor only appearing in a pre-recorded sequence where he describes Jamie's personality to the Dalek, and the other companion, Victoria, only appearing in a quick pre-recorded shot right at the end.
*** The first episode of "The Mind Robber", which was added at the last moment to extend the story to five episodes and took place only in the TARDIS and on an empty stage.
*** "Inferno", which is set in a MirrorUniverse version of UNIT. It takes place entirely on sets already built for UNIT and a bit of location filming in a generic [[BBCQuarry refinery]]. There are monsters in the episode, but they are TechnicallyLivingZombie versions of the main cast requiring minimal makeup, and much of the supporting cast is [[ActingForTwo playing both their usual characters and their evil counterparts]]. There are few effects beyond some fight sequences and StockFootage.
*** "Carnival of Monsters". The more elaborate set is a combination of PropRecycling from the extensive BBC CostumeDrama collection, some BackedByThePentagon boat exteriors, a BBCQuarry and a dark sound stage. The less elaborate set is a small round area. About half of the plot is three RubberForeheadAliens arguing with two HumanAliens in a small room. The monsters are latex puppets called Drashigs, a SignificantAnagram of 'dishrags', as Robert Holmes assumed that was what they'd end up being made out of considering that this was a cheap story.
*** The first episode of "The Ark in Space" features just the Doctor, Sarah, Harry and no other characters save for some cryogenically frozen extras. This was because the set had been extremely expensive to construct. The set [[RecycledSet reappears]] with some light modifications in "Revenge of the Cybermen" later.
*** "The Sontaran Experiment". The incoming showrunning team (Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes) had decided to abolish the 6-parter format in favour of 4-parters while still being commissioned for the same number of episodes, leading to a remainder of two episodes which had to be produced for NoBudget. The whole story, in addition to being two episodes long and [[VideoInsideFilmOutside shot on videotape to save money]], takes place entirely on a [[BBCQuarry hillside]]. There are four guest stars in [[PropRecycling recycled space suits]], one of whom is even played by Tom Baker's StuntDouble ActingForTwo, and two Sontarans (recycled costumes). There's a TinCanRobot and some props recycled from the Sontaran spaceship sets of previous Sontaran stories. It also has no scenes in the TARDIS. The most notable thing about it is that it was also Tom Baker's first story in which he could adjust to the role.
*** The Fourth Doctor serial "The Brain of Morbius" was written to be the season's cheap story - it's not particularly extreme as one, but it has only a couple of fairly simple sets, is light on the special effects and features mostly heavily made-up HumanAliens with only a couple of proper monsters showing up. At least one of the monsters was a recycled monster costume from the Pertwee story "The Mutants". In fact, the original script had a villainous robot character in it, but to save money on building a robot the script was rewritten to convert it into Mehendri Solon, a HumanAlien MadScientist, and his [[TheIgor disabled servant]]. This all ended up working in the story's favour, as Solon is able to be a lot more expressive and entertaining than some guy in a robot mask would ever be able to manage, the simple visuals force the serial to rely on very tight and intelligent dialogue storytelling, and it's ranked amongst Tom Baker's best serials.
*** "The Horns of Nimon". Sets recycled from various other BBC productions and from previous stories, a bit of slowmo with some borrowed equipment from the sports department, some CSO, some fireworks, some teenage extras. The focus is on a small cast of ridiculously campy villains and a lot of HamAndCheese. This was to save money for the next serial, "Shada", [[MissingEpisode but]]...
** The {{revival}} of ''Series/DoctorWho'' has done this [[OnceASeason Twice a Season]], having to squeeze fourteen episodes into a budget (and shooting schedule) of thirteen. Often the limitation is not in set construction, but in special effects or actors, meaning a 'Doctor-lite' and a 'Companion-lite' episode get shot in the same production block:
*** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E11BoomTown "Boom Town"]]: Specifically described by Russell T Davies as a bottle episode, set in Cardiff, with the guest stars being Margaret Slitheen and Mickey Smith, recycling monsters that had already been designed, and more scenes in the TARDIS than any other episode up to that point.
*** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E11FearHer "Fear Her"]]: A nearly FX-free episode (some lights and banging, animation, a monster that's just a big ball of wire and a single shot of a CGI jellyfish). It was a last-minute affair to take the place of a planned episode by Creator/StephenFry which fell through.
*** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E10Midnight "Midnight"]]: Nearly all of the episode takes place in a single location with minimal effects. Donna is almost entirely absent from it, because she was filming [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E11TurnLeft "Turn Left"]], in which the Doctor was likewise mostly absent. It's basically one continuous scene: Of a sixty-six page script, there are thirteen scenes. Two are effects shots and one is wordless. Scene 9 is the longest one, starting on page 17 and ending on page 65. Rusty wrote it on the hoof in about three days. Like "Blink," this episode is considered remarkably good and scary in its weirdness. And despite all this, it wasn't a money-saving episode. They had to build that one set to meet a lot of requirements, pay a whole cast for two weeks instead of a few days each, and spend a day on rehearsal, since it had to be performed basically like a play. It's a bottle episode done for its own sake. It's a bit surprising it ever got made.
*** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E7AmysChoice "Amy's Choice"]]: Which uses only the TARDIS set and the same sleepy country town utilized for "The Eleventh Hour".
*** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E11TheLodger "The Lodger"]]: An episode set mostly in a Colchester flat. Amy's scenes are limited to a handful in the TARDIS control room.
*** The specials for Red Nose Day 2011 are set within the TARDIS control room, which is ''also'' within the TARDIS control room. It's a Klein Bottle episode!
*** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E10JourneyToTheCentreOfTheTardis "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS"]]: There are only six characters and two settings. There are no monsters. There's about a minute of CGI of objects floating in a white room. There's also some Christmas lights in a black room.
*** "Listen" - a tiny cast (some extras, two guest stars, Samuel Anderson doublecast as an IdenticalGrandson of his usual character), no CGI, a bit of ScreenShake, space suits [[PropRecycling recycled]] from "The Impossible Planet", a focus on 'the Doctor having a tiny mental breakdown', a "monster" [[BedsheetGhost represented by a small figure moving under a blanket]] and [[NothingIsScarier never actually shown to us]]
* In ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' the vast majority of [[Recap/TorchwoodS1E6Countrycide "Countrycide"]] was filmed entirely around a few buildings in rural Wales and had no CGI at all. And as with ''Doctor Who'''s "Blink", the episode is pant-soilingly scary.
* ''Series/RedDwarf'':
** The first two series were predominantly set in the bunk room or the engine room, and usually one or two other rooms, all aboard the ship Red Dwarf itself or its sub-craft Blue Midget. Most scenes focused on the two main characters Lister and Rimmer, and subplots focused on The Cat. The budget was very low partly due to a writer's strike early on, and partly because the BBC didn't have much faith in it at the time. The second series was popular enough to get them a higher budget for the third series.
** In what is frequently regarded as one of the show's best episodes, "Marooned" primarily takes place on a crashed Starbug, with a couple of shots of Red Dwarf. Kryten, Holly and The Cat make very small appearances, with most of the episode focusing on Lister and Rimmer. It was also shot with a handheld camera, unusual at the time.
** Series VII's Duct Soup was almost entirely set in the air ducts of the ship. They put the episode together at the last minute to replace the unfilmed episode Identity Within, having spent most of the budget on the rest of the series, and therefore had to keep to a minimum for new sets.
** Much of Series X was this because Dave didn't have as high a budget as the BBC did.
* Several episodes of ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' were either filmed in a small space ("Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room" was filmed in a single room with a minimal cast), filmed with a minimal cast (the PilotEpisode had Earl Holliman walking around a deserted town asking "[[TitleDrop Where Is Everybody?]]" for nearly the entire duration), or filmed only with two people (in "Two", Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery are the only two soldiers at war after WorldWarIII has vaporized everyone else). "[[Recap/TheTwilightZoneS5E125TheLastNightOfAJockey The Last Night of a Jockey]]" takes all honours, however - set entirely in one room, with a cast of ''one'' (Mickey Rooney).
* ''Series/TheFortyFourHundred'' had an episode that took place entirely inside NTAC HQ.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1963'' is another contender for possible TropeNamer, and many TOS episodes were written specifically to be produced cheaply. In particular, "Controlled Experiment" was made at a time when the first season's production budget was going out of control and "The Probe" was written and filmed ''after'' the series was canceled to fulfill the show's commitment to Creator/{{ABC}}.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'' had several, including an interesting twist on the Doomsday Device in "Dead Man's Switch" where at least 1 of 5 people have to press a button (which triggers at random intervals) to prevent the end of the world. Humans set this up because aliens are coming and they don't know their intentions. Almost all of the episode takes place in a single room, with 4 other people shown through closed circuit TV.
* ''Series/TheGoodies'' used this a few times, two notable examples being "The End", where the Goodies' office was sealed in a block of concrete, and "Earthanasia", which took place in real time on Christmas Eve [[spoiler: with the world being destroyed at midnight]]. These episodes usually came at the end of a series, after the entire budget for location filming, special effects and guest stars had been exhausted.
* ''Series/{{CSI}}'' had the lighthearted [[LowerDeckEpisode Lower Deck]]/BreatherEpisode "You Kill Me," about TheLabRat Hodges running the other Lab Rats through elaborate (and absurd) murder scenarios as part of a CSI-themed board game he was creating. The previous episode featured the PutOnABus departure of a main character, while the following episode concerned another main character breaking down after becoming addicted to prescription drugs.
* ''Series/{{Eastenders}}''' two-hander episodes (and its ''one-hander'' episode) are usually this to a T - originally designed as casting timesavers much like ''Series/DoctorWho'' mentioned above, they've since become revered in their own right - although the show uses them sparingly to prevent overkill.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'''s "Crackers Don't Matter" is light on effects, takes place wholly on the ship, and has only one weird alien guest star-- all odd for the series. The main characters all become increasingly crazy over the course of the episode, eventually turning on each other and exposing harsh truths about their relationships, making the episode a fan favorite.
** That was just one of the most memorable, there were a '''lot''' of ''Farscape'' episodes that were set entirely aboard the ship with only one or two guest characters.
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'': A ''lot'' of the action happens in the eponymous Battlestar, especially the CIC. Ron Moore mentioned at one point that it was a shame that they could not have shot more scenes aboard the civilian ships in the fleet.
** The episode "Unfinished Business" consisted almost entirely of a boxing tournament in a single room and flashbacks to the time on New Caprica. The flashbacks had all been shot during the hiatus between seasons. They were intended to be spread across the entire season, but they all ended up being put into one episode.
** Another episode contained an extended space battle scene... in which the scene was depicted without CGI-- or even seeing the battle at all-- but rather by the reactions of the bridge crew to the audio of the space battle.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' and ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' both have their fair share of episodes taking place almost entirely within the SGC or Atlantis, respectively. Including, for each series, the second ever episode.
** They even reference each other a bit: One SG-1 episode was called "Grace" and most of the episode was Carter, alone, on the starship, 'hallucinating' a little girl named Grace, as well as some of the other members of SG-1 and her father, with those hallucinations bidding her to deal with her {{UST}}. For Atlantis they had Rodney stuck in a jumper under the ocean. The name of the episode was "Grace Under Pressure", which was a rather clever pun - the episode was essentially "Grace" under pressure. In this episode Rodney hallucinates ''Carter'', who not only helps him cope with his situation but advises him on his relations with the rest of the Atlantis expedition.
** One SG-1 season 8 episode (''Prometheus Unbound'') was a bottle episode that (except for a brief establishing scene) used only two existing sets; featured only one main actor, several regular secondary actors, and one guest star; and seems to have been set up in such a way that it could be filmed simultaneously with other episodes without taking up all of the main sets and actors. It became notable in that the guest character featured became a fan favorite, and was [[EnsembleDarkHorse brought back as a recurring character in the following season and a main character in the one after that.]]
** Fan favorite GroundhogDayLoop episode ''Window of Opportunity'' was this to the point that it was overly successful at it. According to the DVDCommentary, because of the minimum set redressing, etc, the whole crew was enjoying going home early every day for once. In the end they had to film a bit of extra footage (biking through the base, the golf scene, etc) because the show was coming in ''under its normal running time'' - a rarity, as shows usually need to be cut back.
** According to the DVD commentary, ''Trio'' of Atlantis was supposed to be this. The orginal idea behind it was to save a lot of money by putting three characters into a small room with minimal prop-requirements, and have them fill 40 minutes with dialouge and some climbing in their attempts to get out of there. However, due to a rather complicated set required for most of the stunts and the earthquake effect they needed, it would eventually turn into the most expensive episode of the entire 4th season.
** One of the bottle episodes from the second season has an apt title ''Message in a Bottle.''
* ''Series/TheWestWing'':
** During the second season, Creator/AaronSorkin was told that money was tight, and to make up for budget overruns, he'd have to write an episode with "no guest cast, no locations, no new sets, no extras and no film. In other words, [he] got to write a play." The resulting episode, "17 People," is probably one of his best.
** "No Exit" contains three sets bottled by the Secret Service after a possible toxic breach is declared. The President, Debbie and Charlie were sealed in one area with a Doctor and Agent Butterfield, Kate with Josh, Will with Toby, Leo with Abby and CJ with Donna. Notably, except for the group with the President, and the CJ/Donna match, which were fairly amiable, all of the other bottled pairs had spent the majority of the season growing increasingly angry with each other. Also notable because when you lock each of them in one room on a Sorkin production, you lose the abiliuy to {{pedeconference}}.
** "Isaac and Ishmael" also ended up being this, in its capacity as a VerySpecialEpisode (likely because it was done in response to the then-recent 9/11 attacks, and didn't have much of the budget allotted to it because it wasn't planned in advance). The entire episode consisted of the main cast having a discussion about terrorism with a group of high-schoolers while stuck in a guest room at the White House, with characters drifting in and out at their leisure to throw their two cents into the discussion. In the cast's introduction, Bradley Whitford even refers to the episode as a "play".
* ''Series/{{Eureka}}'':
** "H.O.U.S.E. Rules" - automated house S.A.R.A.H. locks the cast inside
** "A Night In Global Dynamics" - self-explanatory.
** There's also the Season 3 episode "You Don't Know Jack" (people start to lose their memories), which consists of maybe 40% footage from previous episodes, and only requires one explosion as far as FX go. However, it is not entirely self-contained, as [[spoiler: Allison's daughter is born]] in this episode.
* A couple of ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' episodes, such as "Our Mrs. Reynolds" or "Objects In Space," took place almost entirely aboard the ship.
* ''Series/TopGear'' occasionally has an episode where the presenters tell the viewers they've "spent all the money" and can't afford their normal mix of insane stunts and expensive cars. This is used as much ironically as straight up; what follows is either even more insane stunts with cheaper cars or the most expensive cars of the season. An example is Series 14, Episode 07, where Clarkson claimed the budget had run out and he had to do a sensible review of the BMW X6 - and then filled the film with gratuitious SceneryPorn shots of him and the car all around the world. It started on a quiet English lane, but the fun began when Jeremy makes a note of the two-part clamshell glovebox.
-->'''Clarkson''': It works well here, but what about upside down?\\
(Cut to establishing shot of the Sydney Opera House.)
* ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet''
** Won an Emmy for "Three Men and Adena" which was almost entirely two detectives and a suspect sitting talking in the interrogation room.
** "Night of the Dead Living" from the same season similarly stayed in the station house. Both of these episodes are substantially more TruthInTelevision, however, as they depict, in fairly realistic terms, events from the non-fiction book of the same name that inspired the show. Not that it didn't also help to save money.
* ''Series/TheShield'' had, in its fourth season, an entire episode set in the Farmington police headquarters' interrogation room, where Vic Mackey and Monica Rawlings spend 42 minutes grilling a suspect. Notably, the episode was an extended 90 minute (with commercials) episode as opposed to the usual 60 minute (again, with commercials) episodes.
* ''Series/{{Bottom}}'' has a lot of these.
** One series 3 episode took place solely on top of a Ferris wheel [[spoiler: [[ItMakesSenseInContext and God's palm]]]] with only the two cast members.
** 3 episodes take place entirely outside the flat (with only one set), and 3 episodes feature only two characters. There are a few set entirely within the flat.
* An episode of ''Radio/HancocksHalfHour'', 'The Bedsitter', was not only just set on the one set (Tony Hancock's bedsit flat) but also featured no other actors other than Tony Hancock himself. The plot, such as it was, just featured Hancock trying to amuse himself for 20 minutes. It was justly acclaimed as one of the funniest episodes he'd done. The aim of this one wasn't so much to save money (although that was no doubt a welcome side-effect for Creator/TheBBC) as to prove that Hancock could carry a show on his own.
* Many episodes of ''Series/TheSandbaggers'' come close to this. The majority of each plot unfolds in the offices of [=SIS=], with the occasional exterior shot set in London or a [[CaliforniaDoubling stand-in for an Eastern Bloc country]].
* ''Series/OneFootInTheGrave'' had these once per series (except for the first series) and all make use of different extremes and take place in real time:
** "Timeless Time" (series 2, episode 6) is set entirely in Victor and Margaret's bedroom during a sleepless night.
** "The Beast in the Cage" (series 3, episode 4) is set entirely on a motorway during a traffic jam and almost entirely in a single car stuck in said jam. It's the only BottleEpisode in the series to be shot entirely on-location; the rest are shot entirely in-studio (save for a few filmed inserts at the beginning and end of "The Trial"). In BottleEpisode terms, this one rather backfired as the setting made it considerably ''more'' difficult to film than a regular episode.
** "The Trial" (series 4, episode 5) is set entirely in the Meldrews' home and might be the most extreme example in the series as it features no actors other than Richard Wilson (though Doreen Mantle as Mrs. Warboys can faintly be heard over the phone at one point), much like the ''Hancock's Half-Hour'' example above.
** "Rearranging the Dust" (series 5, episode 4) is set entirely in a solicitor's waiting room.
** "Threatening Weather" (series 6, episode 4) is set entirely in the Meldrews' home during a power cut on the hottest day of the year.
* The ''Series/OnlyFoolsAndHorses'' episode "The Longest Night" takes place mostly in a supermarket manager's office during a raid [[spoiler:which turns out to be a set-up]].
%%* ''Series/RedDwarf'' has a bottle episode in almost every series: "Me^2"[[note]]written to replace "Bodysnatcher"[[/note]], "Queeg", "Marooned", "White Hole"[[note]]written to replace an episode based on the novels' "Garbage World" sequence[[/note]], "Quarantine", "Out of Time", "Duct Soup"[[note]]written to replace "Identity Within"[[/note]] and "Dear Dave"[[note]]written to replace an episode featuring Kristine Kochanski[[/note]]. Most of these are considered among the show's best episodes. Many were written due to other planned episodes being too expensive or running into too many production problems. zero context
* Episode 4 of ''Series/{{Psychoville}}'' features only David and his mother attempting to avoid getting caught by a police inspector in a flat in Hammersmith, London. It's an homage to Creator/AlfredHitchcock's ''Film/{{Rope}}'' (with nods to ''Film/{{Psycho}}'' and ''Film/{{Frenzy}}'') and mostly consists of two long continuous shots joined by a concealed edit.
* ''Series/{{MASH}}'':
** "Hawkeye" has Hawkeye confined to a Korean family's hut after having crashed his jeep and gotten a concussion. Alan Alda is the only one of the main cast to appear in the episode.
** "O.R." was shot entirely in the operating room. And since the LaughTrack wasn't used for any shot taking place in the O.R., this is the first ''M*A*S*H'' episode to omit the laugh track completely (although when ''M*A*S*H'' was shown in Britain initially the ''series'' omitted the laugh track - this is not the case nowadays).
** "A Night at Rosie's" takes place entirely at [[LocalHangout Rosie's Bar]].
** "The Bus" takes place entirely on and around the title conveyance (which has broken down in the countryside behind enemy lines), and only five of the eight regular characters appear.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': between the on-location filming and narrative structure that constantly calls for new sets, it's almost impossible to have an episode filmed on just one or two standing sets. But by having each episode focus on just one or two characters, some of the actors can disappear for weeks at a time, possibly saving the producers money over the season.
** "The Constant" is one of the most widely loved episodes though only six (out of sixteen) regulars appear, with only two of them being original cast members.
** The Hydra arc of early season 3, where 3 principal actors were stuck in cages for several episodes in a tow resulted from the network's concerns about the show going over budget in season 2 finale.
** The season 6 episode ''Across The Sea'' is possibly this. It features none of the regular cast whatsoever save a brief piece of archive footage from the first season, only prominently features 3 characters, 5 actors with big speaking parts (two of whom are child versions of two of the characters) and takes place entirely on the island.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'''s main premise are elaborate cons, but they manage to fit a few Bottle Episodes into the format.
** "[[LampshadeHanging The Bottle Job]]" takes place almost entirely within the pub Nate lives over. The episode title has [[FridgeBrilliance a triple meaning]], as this is also the episode where Nate starts drinking again; and the team has to squeeze a con that normally takes the better part of a month to pull off into about an hour and a half. Nate explicitly calls it "[[AttackPatternAlpha The Wire]] in a bottle."
** "The Cross My Heart Job" featured the team at an airport in which they recover a stolen heart that was intended to be transplanted to a young boy. [[OffscreenMomentOfAwesome The team had just returned from a job in which Eliot fought someone underwater while destroying Hardison's computer.]] As a result of this previous con Hardison burned their identities and [[NoGearLevel they had no access to money or any of their equipment]].
** Similarly, "The Broken Wing Job" features Parker with a broken leg foiling a [[spoiler: kidnapping]] while the rest of the team is doing [[NoodleIncident God-knows-what]] in Japan.
* The ''Series/{{Porridge}}'' episode ''A Night In'' takes this concept to an extreme -- it's 25 minutes of two men talking ''in a darkened room''.
* ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'':
** The episode "The Chinese Restaurant" took place entirely in a Chinese restaurant, in which the characters do nothing but hang around bitching about not being able to get a table and worrying about offscreen issues. The concept of an episode like that was so groundbreaking at the time that the network executives couldn't understand it, thinking that the only explanation was that production ran out of money. This wasn't the case; it was just an experiment by the writers, and "The Chinese Restaurant" became ''Seinfeld's'' GrowTheBeard episode, introducing the unique plot and humor styles that made the show a hit later on.
** Other bottle episodes include "The Parking Garage", which never leaves the titular location, and its second-to-last episode which takes place over a few hours. Like "The Chinese Restaurant" these had nothing to do with lack of funds by the production team; creating the titular set for "The Parking Garage" was extremely difficult and time-consuming before filming even started.
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', the Season 4 episode "Intersections In Real Time", the main character (Sheridan) was in a cell, being psychologically tortured to make him break. It is widely regarded as the most emotionally-charged episode of all the series. It is also notable in having been done with one continuous take for each act of the show, and having only one main character (Sheridan) speak. The only other main character who appears is Delenn, who appears only as a non-speaking hallucination.
* ''Series/BreakingBad''
** The season 3 episode [[Recap/BreakingBadS3E10Fly "Fly"]] - with only Walt and Jesse appearing, and set almost entirely in one room, the lab. It saw Jesse and Walt [[ItMakesSenseInContext chasing a fly]] for the full forty-something minutes. Better than it sounds, thanks to the extraordinary levels of tension present throughout, coming to a peak when Jesse is balanced precariously at the top of a ladder while at least three potentially relationship-destroying secrets are on the brink of being revealed during the course of an absolute TearJerker of a monologue by Walt.
** To a lesser extent [[Recap/BreakingBadS1E3AndTheBagsInTheRiver "...And the Bag's in the River"]] in season 1 which takes place mostly in Jesse's house.
** Season 2's [[Recap/BreakingBadS2E9FourDaysOut "4 Days Out"]] subverts the idea as far as cost lowering goes. It revolves around Walt and Jesse being stranded in the desert and was intended to take place entirely in the RV. But the plot ended up requiring more and more scenes outside and it eventually became one of the season's most expensive episodes.
* The season six Christmas episode of ''Series/TheXFiles'' was this; the other episodes were getting so expensive that Fox was getting antsy. Therefore, "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" takes place almost entirely in one room and has only four cast members.
* The aptly titled ''Series/ReGenesis'' episode "Unbottled". The lab is deserted except for the main cast and the terrorists holding them captive, and the protagonists spend most of the episode locked in a storage room.
* In the ''Series/AdamTwelve'' episode "Light Duty", the whole episode takes place entirely inside the police station, as Malloy (sporting an injured wrist) and Reed man the front desk and listen to the day's action through the radio while dealing with assorted people who come in for assistance.
* The ''Franchise/{{Dragnet}}'' episode "B.O.D.-DR-27" also had Friday and Gannon manning the front desk.
* ''Series/{{Community}}'' has a lot.
** The most notable being the episode "[[Recap/CommunityS2E08CooperativeCalligraphy Cooperative Calligraphy]]", which takes place entirely in the study room that the main characters meet for their study group. Abed and Jeff even refer to the "Bottle Episode" concept by name. (It's also the only one actually referred to as being "The Bottle Episode" by fans and crew alike.)
** Also, the second season episode "[[Recap/CommunityS2E14AdvancedDungeonsAndDragons Advanced Dungeons and Dragons]]" took place almost entirely in the study room with the group playing D&D. Like, dice-rolls-and-described-actions D&D, not elaborate-dream-sequence D&D.
** And [[Recap/CommunityS2E22AppliedAnthropologyAndCulinaryArts Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts]], the entire episode was shot in the anthropology room, due to the two/three expensive episodes it was between.
** Season 3 has "[[Recap/CommunityS3E04RemedialChaosTheory Remedial Chaos Theory]]" which takes place entirely in Troy and Abed's apartment (save for one scene in the study room at the end) that involves Jeff rolling a die to decide who has to go downstairs to let the pizza delivery man in the building and each way that it lands creates an alternate timeline.
** Season 5's "[[Recap/CommunityS5E04CooperativePolygraphy Cooperative Polygraphy]]," except for TheTag, takes place entirely in the study room as the group is interrogated [[spoiler: as to whether they were responsible for Pierce's death.]]
* "The Suitcase" from ''Series/MadMen'', in which Don and Peggy spend a whole night trying to come up with an idea for a suitcase commercial. It was pretty much immediately hailed as one of the show's best single episodes.
* "Just Act Normal", episode 5 of series 2 of ''Series/{{Miranda}}'', is set entirely in a psychiatrist's office.
* In ''Series/TheMonkees'':
** "Monkee Mother" and "A Coffin Too Frequent" both take place entirely in the Monkees' apartment.
** There's also the episode "Fairy Tale", which takes place on a minimalist cardboard set.
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'':
** The Season 6 episode "Blackout in the Blizzard" has an abridged cast of the main characters; 2 of which spend the majority episode stuck in an elevator with a 3rd overlooking. The remaining 4 characters in the episode solve the entire crime in the standard "Jeffersonian" set...in the dark.
** The season 1 ChristmasEpisode had the cast quarantined at the Jeffersonian.
* In one of the few childrens' show examples, season 1 ''Series/{{Victorious}}'' episode "Wifi in the Sky" takes place entirely on an airplane--though subverts the idea a little with webcam interaction with her friends.
* While ranging quite a bit through various Seattle locales, episode #11 "The Missing" from ''Series/TheKilling'''s first season strikes many as being a bottle episode in spirit. It features only the two main characters, with generous helpings of heretofore basically absent character development. While some dismissed the episode for venting whatever narrative urgency the main murder plotline still had going, others were grateful for a reprieve from those most frustrating elements of the show.
* The classic sitcom ''Series/BarneyMiller'' was nothing BUT bottle episodes. Every episode took place in the same squad office at the police station, which consisted of three small rooms: the main office, the holding cell, and Barney's office. That's it. Characters would come and go, but their interactions with the world outside the office were almost always implied and not shown. About once a year they would do an episode where characters actually went outside, but after a few seasons, even this was dropped. The show was never a big ratings hit but managed to last eight seasons because it was incredibly inexpensive to make. WordOfGod says that the whole philosophy behind ''Barney Miller'' was to make a show that resembled a classic stage play. The economic benefits were just a happy side effect. If the Internet Movie Database's trivia page is to be believed, only thirteen episodes over the whole course of the series (1975-82) showed scenes outside the station: "Ramon", "Graft", "The Stakeout", "Hair", "The Hero", "Film/GrandHotel", "Fish", "Wojo's Girl" part 2, "Contempt" parts 1 & 2, "Chinatown" parts 1 & 2, and "Eviction" part 2.
* Most episodes of the Mexican sitcom ''Series/ElChavoDelOcho'' are this, taking place in "La Vecindad" with occasional scenes inside Doña Florinda's or Don Ramón's apartments. There were also occasional episodes (or in some cases, single scenes) set in the school that El Chavo, Quico (before Carlos Villagrán left the show), and La Chilindrina attend. There was however, one two-part location episode where the characters are on location in Acapulco.
* The BritCom ''Series/{{dinnerladies}}''. ''Every'' episode took place entirely on a single set. (The only time a character appeared elsewhere was in two short inserts of film (one a home video, one an in-universe TV show) that the other characters were watching)
* The eighth season of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' had to bring down its budget, in part by setting most of its 18 episodes in the hospital, and giving each cast member (including the main character, Zach Braff's J.D.) at least two episodes off. Thus, a lot of the episodes come off a little bottle-y, but a few episodes especially so. "My Full Moon", for example, only features cast members Sarah Chalke & Donald Faison, as well as a few recurring characters, and takes place over one night on one floor of the hospital.
* ''Series/PoliceCameraAction'':
** ''The Liver Run'', which was a VerySpecialEpisode featuring the Metropolitan Police, Eli Kernkraut, Aliza Hillel - filmed in one room, and entirely footage-based (apart from interviews with officers).
** ''Helicops'' (1995 episode) - only filmed at a police airfield in London - with the Metropolitan Police - and around Surrey (mainly Sunbury-on-Thames, Hersham and surrounding streets), but nowhere else.
** The episodes ''Don't Look Back In Anger'' (aired 13 November 1997) and ''Learning the Hard Way'' (March 1999) zig-zag this trope; the first one is almost a ClipShow with some new footage added, whilst the second one is an entire ClipShow / RecapEpisode. Both are VerySpecialEpisode episodes
** ''Less Lethal Weapons'' - set almost entirely in one room with police weaponry.
** ''Death Wish Drivers'' (which has 2 edited versions) - this episode has no StockFootage, and does '''not''' go out "on report" with the police unlike the rest of the 2007 - 2010 series.
* The ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' episode "Trojan Horse" mostly takes place within NCIS headquarters. Another example would be season 7's "Good Cop, Bad Cop", which aside from the opening scene, had all the present-day scenes occur inside NCIS.
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'' has the episode "Seven Seconds", which took place within the same shopping mall almost the entire time.
* A handful of ''Series/ColdCase'' episodes did this, with the flashbacks that filled in the blank between when the audience meets the victim and his/her murder taking place only over a matter of hours and/or in the same location ("Blood On The Tracks", "Blackout")
* Any episode of ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' that centres on Gaius will be that season's BottleEpisode.
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'':
** "Sand Franscisco Dreamin" takes place almost entirely inside the Manor and features a plot about the sisters' dreams coming to life. None of the lavish special effects the show normally used were required (Piper's dream was a man romancing her, Paige's was her clown doll coming to life, Phoebe's was being chased by a masked chainsaw killer and Leo's was being pregnant himself) and hardly any other cast members were used.
** "Cat House" from season 5 is another contender. The majority of the episode is Piper and Leo at a marriage counsellor where they have cast a spell to relive their memories that ends up sending Phoebe and Paige into the past to relive them. Most of the episode has clips of Alyssa Milano and RoseMcGowan superimposed over clips from previous episodes.
* ''Series/H2OJustAddWater'' has "The Siren Effect" in season 1. The episode takes place in both the Juice Cafe and Cleo's house, two regular sets on the show. None of the girls use their powers and it's the only episode of the series not to feature a mermaid transformation.
* "Sunday Best" from ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire'', about little more than how various characters spend Easter.
* ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai''
** Did this with "Trickster Treat", which may have been a contractual obligation; shot well after production had wrapped and not long before ''Series/PowerRangersMegaforce'' started shooting. The episode uses almost no original footage ( save for a couple of shots), recycling stuff from other episodes of Samurai, even recycling stuff from ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' that normally would've been edited out, such as the Kuroko. It even features Mako standing in for Mia at one point, with only clever editing attempting to hide it (and not that well; even someone who hadn't seen Shinkenger could see that the woman singing wasn't Mia). Only the main 6 Rangers were in this with no supporting characters.
** "Stuck on Christmas" did it as well, though it actually used original footage, mainly the Megazord cockpit and the Shiba house intertwined into a ClipShow. Also of note this episode used very little Shinkenger footage and the main unmorphed fight scene was recycled from an earlier episode. Plus none of the actors minus those for Ji, Bulk and Spike appeared in this with the ranger actors once again confined to the audio booth with Antonio mysteriously missing most likely due to the Shinkenger footage not featuring Shinken Gold.
* You can tell when ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' in general (Barring ''Samurai'' and ''Megaforce,'' which primarily take fights from the Sentai anyway) is saving up for a large, original fight-scenes-and-effects-heavy set of episodes when they rely a lot on the ''Super Sentai'' source material and/or only the primary recurring characters appear alongside the Rangers.
* The ''Series/{{Castle}}'' episode "Cuffed" takes place almost entirely in [[LockedInARoom a little room]] where Castle and Beckett are [[ChainedHeat handcuffed to each other]], with a few flashbacks as they tried to remember [[HowWeGotHere how they'd gotten there.]] In the DVD commentary, writers Andrew Marlowe and Terri Miller acknowledged that they'd deliberately planned a bottle episode because they needed it to be under-budget after the last few episodes had gone over-budget.
** The episode "Still" revolves around Beckett standing on the trigger plate for a bomb while she and Castle discuss their relationship and adventures over the years interspersed with flashbacks to previous episodes.
* The vast majority of ''{{ER}}'' episodes took place over the course of one day and had the majority of its action set in the titular hospital. Several (among them the show's best known episodes--"Love's Labor Lost", "Hell & High Water", etc) even focused only on one story and one even took place in real time, with the patient's admission, treatment, and death, taking all of 45 minutes.
* Series/{{Heartbeat}} had one episode consisting of all the regular characters gathering to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing on TV. The entire episode took place on the regular sets, with the only outdoors "scene" being a single stock shot, and uniquely there was no period music on the soundtrack, just the show's standard cues.
* The season 9 ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode "Slumber Party" takes place entirely in the Men of Letters bunker where Sam and Dean live, although Oz is glimpsed through a door near the end.
* The ''entire run'' of Series/MrsBrownsBoys takes place on just three sets, or two if you count Mrs Brown's kitchen and living room as a single set.
* ''Series/{{Oz}}'' may very well be [[RecycledTheSeries Bottle Episode: The Show]], in terms of settings at least. Throughout the entire run, the only settings used were Emerald City, the cafeteria, the library, the gym, the medical wing, one of the cell blocks, death row, solitary confinement, the staff break room, and the offices of Leo Glynn, Sister Peter Marie and Father Makuda. The outside world was only seen through the television, very brief crime flashbacks, conferences Governor Devlin held, an episode where a bus transported family members of prisoners, once in a flashback and then a last time in the finale. That may seem like a lot, but keep in mind these were the only settings used for fifty six episodes.
* ''TheRoyleFamily''. There are only two sets, the living room/dining room (with attached hallway that is occasionally seen) and the kitchen. In the show's original three series they'd ''at most'' go upstairs for a scene once a season. This is averted with the one off specials, which tend to spend very little time in the Royle household. It is often regarded as a startlingly funny and well observed portrait of (a now slightly dated version of) British domesticity.
* The season 1 ''Series/PennyDreadful'' episode "Possession" takes place entirely in Sir Malcolm's home, as the protagonists attempt to exorcise Vanessa.
* ''{{Series/Baywatch}}'' would do this occasionally and they'd often be among the show's better episodes. One in particular had no definite plotline, just depicted the typical chaos that a lifeguard might deal with on an average day.

* ''Music/{{Berlin}}'' by Music/LouReed: All action of this ConceptAlbum takes place in Berlin.
* ''Music/{{Heroes}}'' by Music/DavidBowie: All action of this concept album takes place in Berlin.
* A band or artist's demo or acoustic session is this due to it normal, being recorded in one location, with a couple of overdubs at best and, especially in the latter case, one or two performers.

* The ''SherlockHolmes'' radio drama "The Abergavenny Murder" takes place entirely in the Baker Street sitting room and consists of Holmes and Watson trying to discover what happened to the client who staggered in, asked for their help, and dropped dead.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'': The Water Temple, as theorized [[http://gameological.com/2012/06/the-legend-of-zelda-ocarina-of-timewater-temple/ here.]]
* In the latter half of [[VideoGame/DevilMayCry Devil May Cry 4]], since you are replaying the same levels/bosses as the first half, the level structure is just reversed.
* The Inverted Castle in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight''. The level layout is exactly the same as the normal castle, just flipped upside down (though at least there's different bosses and enemies).
* The remakes of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' have included post-game bonus content in which 2 of 3 dungeons are mirror images of the levels at the end of the regular game.
* ''VideoGame/SonicGenerations'' resolves about Sonic and his friends being caught in a simplistic white world reliving memories of past games, using designs and concepts that were already there years before.
* ''VideoGame/ThisIsTheOnlyLevel'' could possibly fit this trope, as the game revolves around escaping the same room over and over, with different variations each time.
* ''VideoGame/OdinSphere'' has only 8 locations, with 5 characters having to go through 7 of them each. Each location has the same set of enemies with the occasional bit of variation (like Velvet's run through Winterhorn Ridge where she's being chased by goblins along with the standard enemies) and generally has the same map layout throughout, just with rooms switched around for each character. Bosses are fought repeatedly by the characters (''especially'' Belial, who's fought by every character, though with one of them it's part of a DualBoss fight) with unique bosses only coming rarely.
* The original ''[[VideoGame/EarthwormJim Earthworm Jim's]]'' secret level, Who Turned Out the Lights, is an entire level that the player may never stumble upon. How could the time and effort needed to make such a level be justifiable? Easy. It consists of the player running around in the dark with the only new graphics being spotlights, a silhouetted Jim, menacing orange enemy eyes, superimposed [[ByTheLightsOfTheirEyes regular]] and [[EyePop AWOO-GA]] eyes for Jim, and ''giant'' menacing orange eyes. The level's music didn't even need composing, as it's the [[PublicDomainSoundtrack public domain]] Maple Leaf Rag. The level is fun and interesting and even has items hidden in hard-to-reach sections.
* The final level of ''[[VideoGame/SilentHill1 Silent Hill]]'' (titled "Nowhere") consists entirely of reused rooms and assets from earlier sections of the game. [[spoiler:Most notably, Nowhere closely resembles the hospital. However, some rooms are also taken from other areas, such as the school, the town center, and the antique shop.]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Unless you count the Machinima aspects of the show, the entirety of ''Machinima/ArbyNTheChief'' mainly consists of two talking action figures that live alone in an apartment and are unable to venture out of it in fear of causing panic to the outside world.
* ''WebAnimation/BonusStage'' has a few bottle episodes that the fandom termed "Anti-Episodes" due to them often having nothing to do with their episode guide description:
** Season 1 had "Recap", ostensibly about Joel and Phil reminiscing on the good old days. It was actually less than a sentence from each with a short bonus cartoon after the credits.
** Season 4 had "Cursive Written Script". It was delayed a week due to trouble scripting it, [[RealitySubtext mirroring the plot of June and the other characters being aimless without Joel to script]], and released a day before the next episode. The voices were done by Shmorky, half of the episode took place in Phil's garage, and it, like "Recap", had more of the episode after the credits.
** Season 5 originally had "Fe Fi Fo", to be about [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever Joel accidentally making Phil a giant]], but it was changed to "Five Minute Story Time", a story about a laptop's adventure narrated by Joel.
** Season 6's "Phil the [=WereDevil=]" was originally about Phil being infected by malicious marine life, but was changed to an MTV-like special about the production of the episode or lack thereof.
** Season 7 gave "Nerds and Geeks Are Not the Same", which was, instead of a regular cartoon, a sort of proto–{{abridged series}} with Andrew, Elly, Phil and Joel voicing [[WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}} Popeye, Olive Oyl, Bluto]] and a skeleton, respectively. The episode was released sooner than originally planned, pushing three other episodes behind it.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/EchoChamber'', the TVTropes webseries, had [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmB1u1C-cSs an episode]] on WalkAndTalk which was substantially shorter and simpler than a normal episode. Tropers were divided on whether its [[Administrivia/BrevityIsWit brevity]] was an asset or a liability, compared to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV_W6uMfrv0 the previous episode]].
* ''WebVideo/KateModern'' tended to follow a schedule of one episode every weekday, with Bottle Episodes on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and a more special effects-heavy episode on Friday. This was sometimes subverted, either by having the bigger budget episode earlier in the week or by showing an additional, often more dramatic episode at the weekend.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AnyBondsToday'' just features WesternAnimation/BugsBunny, WesternAnimation/PorkyPig and Elmer Fudd singing on a stage in front of patriotic and militaristic imagery. This the only location seen in this propaganda WartimeCartoon.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}''
** "Lo Scandalo" is one, the entire episode taking place inside Malory Archer's apartment.
** Season 6 Episode 5's "Vision Quest" has the entire cast stuck in an elevator for almost the entire duration of the episode. Between the characters' respective quirks and addictions, no cell phone service, and Pam [[UrineTrouble turning it into a Pee Bottle Episode]] after guzzling a forty-oz. then [[{{Squick}} trying to pour it back in the bottle]], the most dangerous mission may have been this one, where they were barely twenty feet away from the office.
* ''WesternAnimation/ClerksTheAnimatedSeries'':
** In one episode they made a point of keeping Dante and Randal inside the store while incredible happenings occurred just outside, with the whole purpose being to [[LampshadeHanging hang a lampshade]] on how dissimilar the series was to [[{{Clerks}} the original movie]].
** The ''very second episode'', "The [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Clipshow]] Wherein Dante and Randal are Locked in the Freezer and Remember Some of the Great Moments in Their Lives", was both this trope ''and'' a fake ClipShow.
* The ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' episode "Zim Eats Waffles", with the exception of the first minute and about twenty seconds at the end, consisted entirely of two camera angles. May have been due to a relatively large portion of the budget allocated to the second season finale (which was never made due to [[ExecutiveMeddling the series being canceled]]), although that remains unclear. The commentary actually states that this was the writer's intention.
* By the same token, the episode "A Third Dad Cartoon" from ''WesternAnimation/DextersLab'' uses a ''single'' camera angle, and consists entirely of Dad setting up a golf shot while the kids watch. Luckily, this was one of the shorts.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': "Look Before You Sleep" fits this trope, and may have been intended to conserve the budget, since it has only three speaking parts and is set mostly inside Twilight's treehouse. It's rumored they originally were well into another episode which had to be scrapped, and what we got was what they made in about a third of the time they'd normally have to make an episode.
* The ''WesternAnimation/RenAndStimpy'' DVD commentary says that "Rubber Nipple Salesmen" was a BottleEpisode. The only fully-animated scenes were Ren and Stimpy driving the truck and standing outside someone's house whenever they had to sell rubber nipples. The animation budget they had for the episode was really tight, so John K. and the good people at Spumco couldn't animate Ren and Stimpy actually getting out of the truck or driving away.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'':
** "Gary Takes A Bath". 8-minute season 2 finale with one voice actor, only three characters (Mr. Krabs doesn't even talk) and a simple plot.
** The NoDialogueEpisode "Reef Blower", which only focuses on Spongebob and Squidward, and only the latter has any semblance of dialogue.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Sealab 2021}}'' episode "Fusebox" consists almost entirely of one exterior shot of Sealab while the power is out.
* According to WordOfGod, ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' episode "Tag Sale...You're It!" was ''meant'' to be one of these by keeping the action on the Venture compound. Then the plot of the episode called for [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters Loads and Loads of Background Characters]], and the amount of work for the animators didn't really diminish.
* The 150th ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode "Brian & Stewie", which is about Brian and Stewie coming to terms with each other while locked in a bank vault. The entire episode was free of the show's normal conventions (cutaway gags, recurring characters, burns against celebrities, flashbacks). It's basically just SethMacFarlane TalkingToHimself -- no Alex Borstein playing Lois, no Seth Green as Chris, not even Mila Kunis as the DesignatedMonkey Meg -- for 22 minutes. It's about as minimal as an episode can get.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' has several.
** "Marceline's Closet", where Finn and Jake spend the majority of the episode [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin trapped in Marceline's closet.]]
** "Still" is also one, as evident by the fact that Finn and Jake are frozen the entire episode. One of the workers on the show even ''called'' it a Bottle Episode.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' had "Lights Out", following action mostly by sound-effects and following the characters ByTheLightsOfTheirEyes.
* ''WesternAnimation/LittlestPetShop2012'' has at least two such episodes, though in different senses:
** "[[Recap/LittlestPetShop2012S1E24Frenemies Frenemies]]" is set almost entirely in the day camp room, with a handful of short scenes in Blythe's room and at the storefront. Nevertheless, the episode is indoors from beginning to end, and only the main characters are present.
** "[[Recap/LittlestPetShop2012S2E3EightArmsToHoldYou Eight Arms to Hold You]]" shows a lot of locations, more so than most other episodes, but only six characters have screentime longer than five seconds. These six are also the only characters in the episode with speaking roles and thus half of the voice actors for this show sat this episode out. To save on animation, a power outage means a few scenes are also set in total darkness.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' has the appropriately titled "The Powerpuff Girls' Best Rainy Day Adventure Ever," which as the title suggests features the girls stuck inside the house because of the rain, so they in turn act out one of their own adventures. It's generally regarded as one of the funniest episodes in the series.
* ''WesternAnimation/VeggieTales'' has the special known as "''Dave and the Giant Pickle''", which is a simple retelling of the story of DavidVersusGoliath. According to the crew, they had spent so much money putting together their previous special "''Rack, Shack, and Benny''" that they had to make this particular special very simple, otherwise Big Idea Inc. would've gone bankrupt.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAngryBeavers''' unaired and unanimated series finale "Bye Bye Beavers" would have been this.
* The ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' episode "Blackout" appears to be this, as the animation mostly consists of several pairs of eyes against a black background.
* The 1930 [[WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShort Disney short]] ''Fiddling Around'' was made in response to the sudden departure of Disney's key animator Creator/UbIwerks. It featured only MickeyMouse, and it consisted him of performing violin tunes on a stage.