- The characters spend the episode trying to find the cryptid. In a Slice of Life series, they generally don't succeed, conclude that it must not exist, and go home. (Sometimes it will be revealed to the audience that the creature is Real After All, but the characters discovering a cryptid could permanently change their lives forever, and that's BAD).
- The characters find a cryptid early in the episode, and spend the episode trying to look after it/hide it/help it find its way home.
- Characters are traveling on holiday and encounter one. (Abominable Snowman seems to be the most common one for this, what with mountain getaways and Christmas Episodes providing plenty of snowy settings).
- A show with a Monster of the Week format will have a cryptid as one of said monsters.
- A crime show may come across a murder or other crime allegedly committed by a cryptid. The characters usually find out that there's a reasonable explanation for it.
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Anime And Manga
- Kagewani showcases cryptids being investigated by Profesor Banba in a monster of the week format. It also shows their aggression towards civilians caught up in their attack.
- Lupin III: Fujiko's singing voice attracts the Loch Ness Monster, Lupin is tasked with collecting tears from a yeti, the entire gang goes after a mermaid's treasure... this sort of plot has happened a few times... In the anime Lupin III, at least.
- Magical Angel Creamy Mami, of all things, has an episode based around a sea monster.
- In an episode of The '90s Sailor Moon, they find a sea monster while on vacation. It doesn't have any connection to the magic of the show.
- Engaged to the Unidentified has an episode where the cast leave the city for a while and may or may not have found an analogue to Nessie.
- One season's shorts in Yokai Watch had Komasan and Komajiro recruited in a series to explore legends and mysteries, some of which were finding cryptids. The man that recruited them (poorly) faked them all only for Komasan to witness their existence as they leave.
- Goosebumps uses either stock monsters (vampires, werewolves, mummies, etc.) or original ones, the sole exception being The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena.
- In the short story "The Convenient Monster", The Saint uncovers a murder that looks like the work of the Loch Ness Monster. At the end of the story, the murderer is killed by the actual Loch Ness Monster.
- High Rhulain, one of the Redwall books, contains the Slothunog, an obvious Loch Ness Monster expy. It's notable for being the only instance in the entire series where Brian Jacques deviated from his rule of only using real animals.
Live Action TV
- The Bones episode focusing on the Chupacabra cryptid uses it as a way to explore the difference in worldviews between rational, scientific female lead and her more open-minded male partner.
- In Doctor Who, the Doctor has met up with Yeti in "The Abominable Snowmen" and the Loch Ness Monster in "Terror of the Zygons".
- In one episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, The Greys are hiding in Hazzard County.
- One episode of The Greatest American Hero has Ralph wanting to use the supersuit to hunt for a legendary sea serpent, but soon getting diverted into dealing with some human villains. Similar to the X-Files example below, the serpent puts in an appearance (of sorts) at the very end of the episode, seen only by the viewer.
- Heartbeat had one episode with the cops searching for some legendary big cats that were killing sheep on the Yorkshire moors. Turned out to be incompetent sheep rustlers instead.
- How I Met Your Mother had a "cock-a-mouse," part cockroach, part mouse, capable of flight.
- Also one cut to 2029 references this in a Background Gag, with an older, balding Marshall standing in front of a newspaper clipping reading "NYC Lawyer Captures Nessie".
- iCarly has an episode centering around the hunt for Bigfoot.
- The Invisible Man (the Sci-Fi/USA TV series) did a Big Foot episode. Big Foot turns out to be naturally invisible. And a female.
- MacGyver encounters Bigfoot in the thrid season episode "Ghost Ship".
- A latter-season episode of Miami Vice has one of the characters being kidnapped while investigating a cult and the rest of the cast rushing to find her, only to find out that they have run into an honest-to-God Alien Abduction plot with honest-to-God aliens (the leader of which is played by James Brown). A good example of the "Bizarro Episode" variant.
- Neal on The Newsroom would occasionally try to submit a story about Bigfoot being real. For obvious reasons, he was never taken seriously.
- Sherlock season 2 episode "The Hounds of Baskerville" centers around a mysterious "hound" that apparently killed the client's father in his childhood, near the Baskerville military installation. Sherlock and John chase this strange creature for the majority of the episode until it's realized they were suffering under the effects of a powerful hallucinogenic vapor that was being disseminated in a nearby wooded area. The client's father was killed because he figured out what was happening in that area and a researcher working on the project, a man he thought was his friend, had to silence him.
- The infamous The Six Million Dollar Man episode where Steve Austin fights with Bigfoot.
- Interestingly enough, Supernatural completely averts it: in the course of six-and-a-third seasons, the main characters have encountered angels, zombies and everything in between, but any hunter worth his rock salt knows that Bigfoot is a hoax.
- The Wendigo was still played straight though.
- The X-Files had enough cryptid episodes to stuff the Berlin Zoo full with them. And often subverted (and double subverted) them. A rampaging lake monster turns out to be a killer alligator while at the end the lake monster surfaces, unseen by anyone and a group of greys walking down a hill at an environmental spill turn out to be misidentification of men in hazmat suits.
- While most of the creatures in Primeval weren't connected to any real-life mythology, occasionally one would turn out to be the source of a legendary creature or cryptid. The most notable examples were the Dracorex (a dinosaur mistaken for a dragon), the "Mer-creatures", the gremlin-like "camouflage creatures", and the Pristichampsus (implied to be the inspiration for the Egyptian monster Ammut).
- Cryptid-related sidequests show up fairly often in Metal Gear:
- Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance's "Snake Tale E - External Gazer" is a story about Snake being sent by Otacon to photograph a weird sea monster that's been spotted in New York. Otacon is curious about what this means for the sciences, Mei Ling wants it in a zoo, and Snake doesn't believe it exists (and has to fight it, obviously). The sea monster is a giant version of the Mook soldiers you fight in the main game with a fin on its head, though this is never mentioned in the plot.
- In Metal Gear Solid 3, it is possible to capture the Japanese cryptid the tsuchinoko, which causes Zero to order you not to eat it and to bring it back home. If you successfully return it you get the rank 'tsuchinoko' and stealth camouflage to use. (If you eat it, it tastes delicious.) Only one exist in the game.
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker contains a chunk of Monster Hunter-pastiche missions where the player gets to fight and harvest meat from dinosaur-like monsters referred to in-universe as UM As, including Gear Rex (a non-"metal" version of Metal Gear REX). It also contains ghost photography missions where you must detect and photograph ghost guards.
- Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes has a mode where you play as Raiden to fight aliens.
- Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, in the second episode Nelson encounters Bigfoot who helps in destroying the lunacy machine.
- An episode of Gerry Anderson's Stingray (1964) has the submarine and crew shipped to Scotland to find the Loch Ness Monster.
- Par for the course in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! So far the characters have met Dragons, Unicorns, Bigfeet, and the Loch Ness Monster.
- A Monster of the Week in American Dragon: Jake Long was The Jersey Devil.
- In one episode, Angela Anaconda and her friends go looking for a yet- erm, sasquatch.
- In The Angry Beavers, Dagget meets "Big Byoo-tocks".
- One episode of Chowder has Chowder searching for Bigfood.
- One episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog involved Bigfoot. A subplot involves Eustace capturing said Bigfoot for a reward.
- In Dan Vs. "Canada", Dan and Chris run afoul of a yeti who is descended from Chris' great-grandfather, meaning him and Chris are related.
- One episode of Dexter's Laboratory featured Bigfoot while another used the Chupacabra.
- Earthworm Jim had an episode, "Trout!" where Jim drags Peter on a road trip after seeing a (obviously faked) postcard of a 'Giant Fur-bearin' Trout'. At the same time, Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is on earth searching for said fish, as, for some bizarre reason, Professor Monkey-For-A-Head's newest weapon is powered by fish-hair. Jim almost gives up after going to the maker of said postcard who admitted it was a fake, but is drawn by a vision which actually does lead him to the Giant Fur-bearin' Trout, which he must protect from the queen.
- In the Futurama episode "Spanish Fry", Fry goes to look for Bigfoot, who appears at the end to act as a Deus ex Machina.
- One episode of Garfield and Friends has Jon looking for Bigfeets.
- An episode of Gargoyles featured a visit to Loch Ness during the Avalon World Tour. Of course within the series, the Gargoyles themselves are technically cryptids too.
- In one episode of Generator Rex, the creature he is fighting turns out not to be an EVO but is instead a (perfectly natural) chupacabra.
- In Godzilla: The Series, Godzilla fights the Loch Ness Monster.
- The Lake Nose Monster and the Chupacabra from Phineas and Ferb.
- The "Little Bigfoot" episode of Sam & Max: Freelance Police has Sam trying to rescue a young Bigfoot working as a busboy and return him to the wild. It turns out he wasn't a Bigfoot, just the son of a sideshow freak.
- Interestingly, the Scooby-Doo franchise usually makes up its own monsters from scratch. When Those Meddling Kids do encounter a famous cryptid such as Nessie or the Chupacabra, it tends to happen in a feature-length story rather than a routine episode.
- In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, the discovery of the legendary Hodag turns out to be a hoax as usual, but it's perpetrated BY the meddling kids and they get away with it.
- The Secret Saturdays are about a family that both hunt and protect various cryptids, making the entire series an extended Cryptid Episode.
- The Simpsons:
- In an attempt to become the world's most lovable billionaire, Mr. Burns goes to Loch Ness to capture Nessie.
- A sort-of example is the episode where Homer gets lost in the woods and is mistaken for Bigfoot.
- The South Park episodes "Jakavosaurs" and "Jewpacabra".
"No one takes me cereal!"
- And Al Gore thinks it's the premise of "Manbearpig", but it really isn't.
- In one episode of The Spooktacular New Adventures Of Casper, Dr. Harvey and the Ghostly Trio went on a camping trip and Bigfoot scared them away. It turns out Bigfoot was actually Baby Huey.
- Tiny Toon Adventures inflicted the Big Butt upon its viewing audience. It was the one furry creature Elmyra wanted nothing to do with.
- According to a short from The Tom and Jerry Show, Bigfoot tracks are actually left by a diminutive hillbilly hermit who lives all alone because he's tired of people making fun of his giant feet.
- The Real Ghostbusters encounter Bigfoot in episode "Camping Out", whilst Extreme Ghostbusters face the Jersey Devil in the eponymous episode.