Sakura: So, did we even do anything this episode?Filler episodes are entries in a generally continuous serial that are unrelated to the main plot, don't significantly alter the relations between the characters, and generally serve only to take up space. This could be considered Padding applied to a whole franchise. They are extremely common in Anime, where many shows have 26 or more episodes per season. The producers have to use filler just to meet contractual demands. Filler is usually something entirely original for the anime, but not always; many manga - particularly weekly manga - employ filler just as ruthlessly due to the extreme deadlines. Sometimes entire filler Arcs are created, most often because the series Overtook the Manga. Just about every long-running manga-based anime action series will have gargantuan amounts of filler over time. This is because Japanese networks, unlike western ones, don't do reruns or season breaks. This is compounded when they go beyond the 26 episode mark. Many series air over 40 episodes per year, when they would have a hard time making even half of them related to the main plot. In most cases, the defining aspect of filler is the ''lack'' of series momentum. Filler can be safely ignored without any loss of important information. However, there is also a style of filler called the "single upgrade filler". This uses a filler episode to introduce a new power, machine, costume, minor character, etc. without having to work it into the greater narrative. In these cases, the episode can be ignored outside of "something got an upgrade". The term "filler" is also used by fandom to refer to anything that isn't in the source material. This stems from the practice mentioned above of adaptations that are threatening to catch up to the source using original story arcs, episodes, and general content to pad things out. That is not this trope, see Overtook the Manga or Adaptation Expansion, but such cases are often related to it. The Wacky Wayside Tribe is a common form of Filler in quest narratives. When the show splits to follow two or more characters, and one of them is engaged in Filler-type activities while the others are doing important things, it's Trapped by Mountain Lions. A Lower-Deck Episode can end up as Filler if badly done. When the Filler is just flat-out bizarre, it's a Bizarro Episode. If you need Filler badly enough, clips of previous episodes can be hacked together into a Recap Episode. Compare Fake Longevity and Side Quest, the video game equivalents. For filler in Web Comics, see Filler Strips. For filler in Music albums, see Album Filler. Compare Breather Episode and Out-of-Genre Experience. When the news media is forced to resort to this, it's Silly Season or Sweeps.
Kakashi: Sakura, welcome to the wonderful world... of filler.
Kakashi: Sakura, welcome to the wonderful world... of filler.
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Anime & Manga
- Maison Ikkoku had an episode concerning one of the Cloud Cuckoolander neighbours of the protagonist giving him a mysterious egg, and he frets the whole episode looking after it, not knowing if he should eat it, keep it in his fridge or try to hatch it... yet MI has the least filler of any Rumiko Takahashi series.
- Dragon Ball has a significant amount of filler. The relaunched series, Dragon Ball Kai, eliminates much of the filler in Dragon Ball Z. Throughout the first two series events end up are contradicted by canon events in several places, such as:
- An early one where Master Roshi explains the Dragon Balls to Launch, giving a completely bogus origin story in the process, though this may be more due to Roshi believing a myth and not knowing the truth.
- Another where they go visit Android 8's creator an in attempt to have the self-destruct mechanism within him removed, only for it to be revealed in Z that the previously unseen Dr. Gero was the one who built Android 8.
- It also had an entire arc of this, featuring Garlic Jr. (A villain from the first anime film). Opinions are, of course, mixed about it but it didn't contradict the main storyline. (Its aforementioned predecessor film was the one which contradicted the canon events).
- Whether a scene was Filler or not also plays into arguments about characters' power levels within the fan community, as often, the anime filler features fights that didn't exist in the original manga and tend to throw out previously established power ranking, leading to many of them completely disregarding those scenes for the sake of the debate.
- While most fans consider Filler, and most especially Filler arcs, to be terrible and hate it, Dragonball Z managed to produce a couple that fans found genuinely entertaining: the Other World Tournament, where Goku fought deceased warriors from throughout the galaxy's history after Cell blew up Goku; the Great Saiyaman arc, in which Gohan is a dorky superhero (happened in the manga, but was greatly expanded for the anime); and "The Driving Episode", considered one of the single funniest episodes in the series due to its sheer absurdity (Goku and Piccolo attempting to get drivers' licenses).
- Naruto's anime first went into filler for over a year (80 weeks to be precise) after it Overtook the Manga. StudioPierrot initially took steps for Shippuuden to have minimal filler so as not to break things up too badly, but results have been varied:
- Many episodes (especially the first couple of arcs, where it was every episode) were adaptations of a single manga chapter. However, many individual chapters of the manga contained long stretches of not much happening. This didn't change in the anime, and led to episodes where characters literally did nothing, including an egregious one where Naruto, Yamato and Sakura stood around for 20 minutes talking about how they needed to get moving and catch up to Orochimaru.
- Notable about the Shippuuden fillers is when they add to canon. Rather than a long series of Monster of the Week episodes evenly mixed with random variations of Defeat Means Friendship (as the original TV series did), the Ninja Guardians arc details a full-on storyline with an expanded backstory. Some arcs (such as the 3-Tailed-Beasts arc) focus on giving one last chance for screentime to many of the characters who would later die or otherwise be lost from the limelight.
- However, Studio Pierrot quickly reverted to their old ways following the Pain arc, with entire seasons of episodic plots and past arcs (even in one particular case a flashback account that trails off into portraying other's lives at the time). In the climatic War Arc, the pacing was significantly bogged down by episode-long flashbacks, some of which retell already-established events from a slightly different angle.
- The issue of fillers have come to a head in the Infinite Tsukuyomi filler arc, where a few pages in the manga illustrating a Lotus-Eater Machine has expanded into almost multiple episodes' worth of filler, resulting in 2015 having only eight canonical episodes. This, despite the original manga having ended and the anime technically having only a few chapters' worth of material to adapt, leading to dissatisfaction among fans.
- Bleach: Due to the anime catching up to the manga on a regular basis, series-long filler arcs were created. Individual filler episodes randomly occur through canon arcs, including canon scenes that might only consist of a few panels being expanded into an entire filler episode.
- The Bount Arc was the first filler arc, occurring immediately after the end of the Soul Society arc. It introduced a group of characters who were enemies of Soul Society but struggled with keeping Ichigo and Uryuu's power issues as close to canon as possible while making them still able to function in the storyline.
- When Hitsugaya's Advance Squad was based in Karakura Town for a month at the beginning of the Arrancar Arc, the anime team decided to create a mini-arc of filler episodes detailing what these shinigami were up to.
- The Captain Amagai Arc occurred in the middle of the Arrancar Arc, lampshaded in the episode tag scenes by having the characters (usually Ichigo) joke about the unfortunate timing of the arc and having the canon characters behaving like actors taking a set break. This arc focused on a new captain for the third division as well as a power struggle plotline within a high-ranking noble family.
- The Karakurizer stand-alone filler episodes (213, 214, 228 and 287) are based on a series of manga omakes (about life in Karakura when the main cast is off fighting battles) expanded into a mini-plotline but also crash head-first into self-parody.
- The Zanpakutou Unknown Tales Arc was a plotline where an enemy turned the zanpakutou against their shinigami owners while struggling with one captain also defecting, combining an action story with a mystery story as both the enemy's and the defector's motivations were slowly revealed.
- The Beast Swords mini-arc immediately followed the Zanpakutou arc, tying up some loose ends and using the zanpakutou characters for mostly comedy or slice-of-life stories.
- The Gotei 13 Invasion Army Arc occurred after the end of the Arrancar Arc and, like the Bount Arc, had to struggle between keeping Ichigo's power level relevant to the canon while making him useable for the arc. This story centred around a mysterious Damsel in Distress and her equally mysterious enemy who had the power of creating a clone army of the captains and lieutenants to serve him.
- In an example of how Filler can go dangerously wrong, Rurouni Kenshin was actually cancelled due to the extremely low quality of its filler arcs, and given a Gecko Ending or, more precisely, No Ending. Filler after the Kyoto Arc started nice, but went downhill. The first one (the "Christian Arc"), while having some holdings of the Idiot Ball and a disappointing amount of fighting, still had interesting characters, an unexplored element of Japan's history, and the animation was still as nice as ever. Then came the Daigoro Arc, which had too much padding, but still some interesting moments (it was based on an official RK novella). After that, the Black Knights arc: an interesting idea (European knights in Japan), but badly explored, as the story took too long to ever go anywhere and the battles were very, very static. And for the final blow there came the Feng Shui Arc, which had a ridiculously hard-to-follow plot, bland new characters, random unexplained events and practically zero action. Naturally, the show was cancelled after it.
- Kinnikuman and Kinnikuman Nisei both had filler arcs that got them cancelled. Both of them got revived later, but Nisei was canned again and The Resolution Will Not Be Televised.
- Gintama. Despite the very difficult genre of the anime, the staff did a pretty good job with the fillers, making them as amusing as ever. There was actually an episode in which Gin-san explains to the others what the staff could do in the case of the anime catching up with the manga, and one of the solutions was to make a filler. However, he also lists the cons of this - the anime could veer off its original plot because of this, and make it impossible to naturally come back without getting some complaints from the viewers. So what the Gintama staff chose to do was do reruns...if only because they didn't want their spot on the broadcasting schedule taken by another show, or their popularity diminishing in their absence and taken over by new anime, specifially Kuroko no Basuke.
- Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, despite being only 39 episodes, wound up having a filler arc added in the middle of production. These were the "Island/Africa arcs" (episodes 23-34) in which the entire quality of the production, from the animation to the storyline, sank like a stone. They were commissioned only because the show's ratings were very high and imposed on the production team against their will. Hideaki Anno actually had nothing to do with their production because he was so taxed with just fulfilling his original duties, and in later interviews expressed that if he could redo the series he would only keep parts of two of the filler episodes at most because the arc was so unimportant to the story.
- Any "Chii and [insert name here] Talk" episode in Chobits. They were considered so pointless and unnecessary to the plot that they were completely excised from the first North American DVD release, and only released as a bonus disc after fans complained.
- The Pokémon anime only starts a new game-based arc on the day the games in question are released, in Japan at least. This has led to lots of filler episodes. The Johto arc is considered terrible due to the many bad filler episodes and poor pacing since it had no B-Plot to fall back on before the next region. The Hoenn arc, however, was considered an improvement, as May's quest was given the same importance as Ash's and thus there were able to get two storylines worth of episodes and need less filler. The Battle Frontier arc was a mixed bag, due to uneven placement of the filler episodes.
- Early on, many filler episodes were simply the result of a carnival being in the town juuuust as Ash and co. arrived. Other times, it was due to them getting lost because no-one could read the map properly, or ending up in a town that wasn't present in the games.
- According to math, Johto was comprised of 50% filler. Surprisingly, the Sinnoh arc was only 20% filler.
- A recurring variant of filler episode is to just mash up a bunch of clips from major battles into one thirty-minute long video, add music, and call it a day. The dub, thankfully, skims over these.
- The writers did something different with the Best Wishes saga. Most of the episodes were devoted to the "task at hand" (whether that task be Ash's Gym Badges, then the Meloetta plot, then the Tournament Arc, then Team Plasma). There were few fillers in these arcs, with the majority of those being Upgrade Fillers and character episodes. Since the Team Plasma arc ended six months before the release of the next (game) series, the period in between was devoted to various stand-alone plots that could not fit into these arcs.
Too Long Didnt Read version: The Unova episodes saved most of their unrelated filler for after all the arcs were resolved, creating an "arc" of fillers.
- In something of an inversion, Slayers had at least three or four per season, but they are usually the funniest episodes.
- The third season of the Ikki Tousen anime, Great Guardians, has no basis in the original manga and has little bearing on the overall plot. The slightly slower pace and bigger emphasis on character interaction still make it a fairly enjoyable watch though.
- The Anime of Megaman Starforce was even worse. It had a great plot for the first half, a lot of promise. Then the creators forgot there was a plot for almost the entire second half of the series. So we got a bunch of random episodes about the FMs goofing around on earth until the last few episodes when the creators finally remembered that there was a plot. The series was hastily ended with a lot of loose threads and a bunch of stuff that made no sense unless you had played the Starforce video game, and even then the plots between the two mediums were so different by that point that is was more of a "fill in the blanks and hope you're right" thing.
- Magic Knight Rayearth anime in the first season has a lot of filler episodes. This, however, proves to be very important when it comes to Character Development. It also borrows several elements used in the manga too.
- And then on the second season there's everything involving Nova.
- Although not as much as Naruto, Yu-Gi-Oh! has a LOT of filler (about 80 episodes out of 224). Specific arcs are Noah's, Doma/Waking the Dragons and the KC Grand Prix, plus a few stand-alone filler episodes. The debate on which of those are good and which are crap can reach Flame War proportions.
Kaiba: "Alright, that little detour was a complete waste of my time and effort, so let's move on and pretend all that nonsense never happened. It's time to continue the Battle City Finals."
- The Noah arc's status as filler was lampshaded rather hilariously in the dub by Kaiba:
- Funnily enough, if they didn't skip over the first few arcs and chapters of the manga and adapted the DDD plot (Dungeon Dice Monsters) faithfully, there probably wouldn't have been any need for the filler arcs. The manga had more than enough material at that point for NAS to avoid going into filler hell. Unfortunately, advertising for the card game comes first...
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's has more of a universally agreed-upon list of filler, especially in the second season; The Crashtown arc, for instance, is to 5D's as the Noah saga was to the original. (Except for those who wanted to see the fate of a former-Dark Signer: Kiryu)
- Team Taiyou is also considered this since no cards are released from their decks. Even moreso when they are not involved in WC 2011 game.
- Season 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX had 52 episodes. A good quarter or more consisted of Duelist of the Week episodes with no relevance to the overarching plot, instead relying on Excuse Subplots (the Genex Tournament, Crowler and Bonaparte trying to groom a student into a celebrity duelist) to set up duels. A six episode mini-arc revolved around the students going on a field trip to Domino City, but aside from meeting Sartorius's sister and some backstory on him, it too was mostly filler, and could probably have been trimmed down into four or even three episodes.
- Soul Eater had a few hilarious fillers involving the character Excalibur, who's a filler-character, although he does come in on the last arc.
- In Fairy Tail, episodes 19 and 50. All in all though, the anime has a simple solution when it gets near the manga; just go on a hiatus, which it has done twice.
- All filler before the 7-year-timeskip was all either cut material Hiro Mashima chose not to use or to serve as Adaptation Expansion; the lone exception being the four-part Daphne filler in which Natsu is forced into a mechanical Dragon.
- And after the 7-year timeskip, two entire filler arcs were introduced, one preceding the Grand Magic Games and the other right after it. They were notable for introducing a Reborn Oracion Seis, the Earthland counterparts of notable Edolas characters (for the first), Super Powered Evil Sides of the Celestial Spirits, and additional screen time for the likes of Yukino, Princess Hisui, and Arcadios (for the second). Also notable in that at least the first one was made canon by Mashima.
- Sailor Moon has several fan-made lists flowing around the internet called "Sailor Moon Essential Episodes". Of the original 200 episode anime, more than 50 episodes can be considered completely irrelevant filler, with an additional 50 being single plot point or power upgrade curiosities. In a bizarre twist, the complete lack of filler episodes in Sailor Moon Crystal has completely thrown fans for a loop, with many people noting that it could've used some filler to explore the characters and their relationships to each other.
- The entire Doom Tree arc was filler. Naoko Takeuchi only intended for Sailor Moon to be a one-arc series and was taken aback by its popularity. When asked to continue the series, she did. However, the anime had no material to go off of, resulting in this arc to be created in order for the manga to establish a clear storyline for the second season. Fan response has been mixed; some people see it as a useless waste of time and ignore it while for others, it's one of their favorite story arcs.
- Most of the filler episodes at least justify their existence by featuring villain activity, often providing some characterization for the villains in the process. However, there's a couple of stories that aren't related to the villains at all, like the first season episode featuring a psychic girl, and the second season episode with dinosaurs, etc.
- One of the most egregious second season episodes comes where Chibi-usa tries to return home to the future and this backfires. At the end of the episode Minako asks her what she was trying to do so they could possibly help her. Mamoru simply says that Chibi-usa must have a good reason for not telling them and nothing more is said. So it seems the "good reason" was so that the season's plot didn't move along at all.
- Dennou Coil is mainly the story of Isako and her connection to the weird phenomena in the virtual world. This makes the episodes in which she doesn't even appear feel rather pointless.
- The filler episodes do feature Yasako, the other main character, and her friends exploring the nature of illegals, however, which gives them a point. It could be said that Yasako is the protagonist through whose eyes the action is seen, making her understanding of the milieu more important than Isako's arc.
- And then there's the beard episode...
- While the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist had some filler, Brotherhood, the direct adaptation of the manga, is an aversion: characters and events introduced in the original's filler episodes (like the introduction of Barry The Chopper and the Elrics removing a corrupt official of a mining town from power) are only quickly referenced, letting the main Story Arc progress in every episode.
- The 2003 anime also averted filler for the most part (with the exception of two episodes at the beginning) due to the writers going in a completely different direction with the plot.
- Compared to most shows of its length (thirteen years and counting!) One Piece has had relatively few filler arcs, due in part to how jam-packed with details Eiichiro Oda's stories tend to be (making it easy for writers to do adaptation expansion) The filler arcs which are present are a mixed bag; fans generally hate the Warship Island/Apis arc, but many consider the G8 arc to be good enough to stand with the best of the canon material. The Ice Hunter arc got high marks as well, perhaps because it was outlined by Oda himself.
- Some of the filler arcs are based on storylines which Oda planned for the manga but were later cut to keep the plot moving. The One Piece Film: Strong World movie also began life this way.
- After a point, One Piece has come to abandon filler completely, instead working on keeping a 1-Chapter-To-1-Episode-Ratio to prevent Overtook the Manga (a good thing too, as everything from the Sabaody Arc to the present day storyline have left no opportunities for filler arcs), getting by using ideas Oda came up with but couldn't implement due to pacing issues.
- Case in point for Adaptation Expansion: After the events of Sabaody, the fates of the remainder of the Straw Hat Crew was given a single chapter of the Manga. From that chapter, the writing staff created four episodes, covering the fates of two members in each. This was aired in-between Amazon Lily and Impel Down, due to fitting with travel time. In-between Impel Down and Marineford, the writers created another four episodes that touched upon the cover-stories that were put into the Manga during Marineford.
- While One Piece is good-and-all at being free of Filler, that doesn't mean that the anime is epic 24/7. It's instead subject to some pretty excruciating Padding as it attempts to stretch the chapters out.
- Eventually the Padding became so excessive that the fans actually started advocating for filler arcs, suggesting that instead of making entirely new material, Toei should just adapt the cover stories like what they did with the Straw Hat Separation Serial cover story after the Impel Down and Marineford arcs. Since those are canon, there's no way they'd detract from the anime's continuity. The chapter-episode ratio meant that the plot would drag on TV, thus the advocacy for filler, so that way Toei could adapt more chapters per episode.
- The second half of the A Certain Scientific Railgun anime is filler, containing material not covered by the original manga (or the original original novels), focusing largely on minor characters and had little to no action. It did manage to wrap up the Kayama plot from the manga, though, and it's all written by the original author, so it's canon.
- The second season, Railgun S, follows suit; adapting the manga's version of the Sister arc for the first 16 episodes, but then closes out with an anime-original arc surrounding the Febri character to which many agree to have been Railgun's weakest overall episodes and, as a result, has people considering Railgun S to have ended at episode 16.
- Fist of the North Star had more episodic villains than there were in the manga. This is particularly in the first season, due to overtaking the series to a huge extent, and wanting to put the first major fight (Kenshiro vs. Shin) at the end of the season. This involved inventing new henchmen for Shin every week and turning some independent enemies into his lackeys. The third season also overtook the manga, but stretched out the Souther fight and put five recap episodes at the very end of the season.
- The Haruhi Suzumiya 'Endless Eight' arc is filler taken Up to Eleven: the beginning and end have slight differences to begin and resolve the story, but the other six are almost the exact same things happening over and over again albeit completely re-animated and re-voiced. Other stories of similar length were handled in 1-2 episodes. There is an "ordinary" filler episode also. "Someday in the rain" is original to the anime, although it was written by Nagaru Tanigawa. The series seems to be a case of Pragmatic Adaptation. The anime seasons cover everything (chronologically) that happens before Disappearance, which was The Movie.
- Code Geass had two Clip Show episodes that the staff openly referred to as Filler; they weren't even included in the DVD release. However, many fans consider any episode that doesn't directly correlate to the war between the Black Knights and Britannia to be Filler, resulting in a lot of hate for the Breather Episodes that focus on Ashford Academy. The writers possibly fired back in the final School Festival episode, where Milly remarks (paraphrased) "There's nothing wrong with the little filler moments in life" - and in the English dub, she outright uses the word "filler".
- Kimagure Orange Road is one of the few series to have fillers that fans considered to be awesome.
- Being only 49-episodes long, the fillers in Macross 7 are incredibly hard to deal with since you can't totally avoid any episode without missing out some important events. In the first half of the show, you can count around 10 battles with nearly identical situation, the villains repeatedly announce their objectives (more Spiritia!) but ultimately retreat while accomplishing nothing, boring Stock Footage and the same songs being performed over and over. But mixed among those sequences are bits and bits of important information, making the show an obvious result from Executive Meddling to make the show longer than it should be.
- Heaven's Lost Property is a rare example of a manga with filler. There's no other way to call interrupting the main arc for some random perverted wacky hijinks of Tomoki (And maybe one or two pages with plot at the end). The worst part? It's a monthly manga. Thankfully the plot's great... when the author gets to it.
- Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi contains a tremendous amount of filler compared to the first series; which is unusual, since it's actually shorter. Annoyingly, no single episode can be just skipped over, since the creators almost invariably throw in a scene or two of story or character development just to keep it from being entirely irrelevant. To the point that removing all the filler from episodes 2 through 9 would leave about one and a half episodes of relevant material.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion didn't have very many of these (due to its being only 26 episodes long), but the most notable was Episode 7, "A Human Work". It contains no Angels, has no real bearing on the story, has little to no character development (other than Shinji's anger over Misato's slobbiness, leading to Shinji's being assured by Toji and Kensuke that knowing how slobby she is compared to her beautiful real-world persona makes them "a family"), and serves only to fill in the space between the battle with Ramiel and Asuka's introduction to the story. Though it is worth noting that despite the episodes aforementioned lack of content it does add a bit of world building and drops some large hints at NERV's more seedy involvements in the overall events of the series.
- Digimon was normally surprisingly good at averting this, unusual for a Merchandise-Driven anime of such length per series, but Digimon Frontier had a little bit of a problem with it. Then came Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time, where almost literally the entire series is filler: in twenty-five episodes, there have been only the vaguest hints of greater things going on but have been largely ignored in favor of pointless filler. The practical upshot was to leave them with just three episodes to introduce, carry out and conclude an actual plot. After the excellent high that was its immediate predecessor, especially in regard to its lack of filler, no-one was amused.
- Being the previous contender for the most episodic installment, 02 was surprisingly good at averting this — but episodes 12 and 15, which featured romps through a Digital western and Little Edo town respectively, did nothing to advance the plot or characterization.
- The early Digimon Tamers episodes before the Deva digimon appear follow a Monster of the Day format.
- Like Tamers, Digimon Savers also has a slow start with its first 10ish episodes following the Monster of the Day format. The plot only truly starts when Merukimon enters the picture.
- YuYu Hakusho has episode 3, where Yusuke, as a ghost, helps Kuwabara in his dealings with a nasty teacher threatening one of his friends. Aside from a dub-added line, none of the events in this episode are alluded to again, and the next episode's Recap doesn't mention it at all—a viewer could skip from episode 2 to episode 4 without feeling like anything's missing.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is essentially devoid of filler save for one questionable episode: Episode 16: Entire Polysynthesis. It's the equivalent of a clip show detailing the last 15 episodes to help make the transition of a 7-year Time Skip. However, it has virtually no new material, accompanied by live-action scenes of a writer's hands drawing title cards and commentary statements. The eyecatches themselves are made from those of the past episodes put back-to-back, 4x4, and in chronological order, with the anime title filling the last empty square. Oddly enough, its presence makes the show end on 27 episodes, cluing the viewer in that like a normal seasonal anime, 26 full episodes were produced, but this one was tossed in for good measure.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is more subject to Padding, but it does have two full-fledged filler arcs during the adaptation of the Future Arc. The first of which is for the Vongola Guardians to receive the flame of their respective Arcobaleno babies and a second arc which is to gain the flames of acceptance from their respective Vongola ancestors so that they'll be able to open up their box-weapons. As a result, the Future Arc was twice as long as the Varia, Kokuyo Land, Daily Life arcs combined.
- Pick a Super Robot Genre series at random and there's a good chance that it will have these (particularly if it's one of the earliest). Of course, due to being a part of Merchandise-Driven shows, such episodes tend to be used to introduce new upgrades for the main robot. This is one of the things that hurts GaoGaiGar as its entire first half is devoted to introducing every last robot, character and piece of equipment the Gutsy Geoid/Galaxy Guard uses to safeguard Earth.
- InuYasha was infamous for this. Although many of the earlier seasons were mostly storyline-based with filler thrown in here and there (because the manga was well ahead of the anime) many fans noted a deterioration starting during the fourth season before the Band of Seven Arc; after this arc, the anime was more or less caught up with the manga, causing copious amounts of filler to be created in order to compensate. This led to the show's premature ending, necessitating a short revival (The Final Act) several years later, after the manga finally ended.
- The second season of Is This a Zombie? was mostly filler, due to the plot's magical chainsaw being broken. While it was rather entertaining, only about three episodes were actually important to the plot, with all the other episodes being retconned.
- Higurashi: When They Cry: Yakusamashi-hen, the first arc of the second season. This is somewhat of a subversion, however, in that the creator specifically asked for this arc to be inserted into the start of the season, because of details left out of the anime's first season, which would create some plot holes if not covered. The arc itself is composed of some scenes left out of earlier arcs (e.g. the game of zombie tag) and the events of a PS2-only arc, with Satoko replacing Mion as the protagonist and the plot-hole preventing details worked in.
- Detective Conan has many anime-original cases totaling over 250 episodes that were never originally in the manga. In addition, the manga itself has a plethora of cases that has nothing to do with Character Development, or has any relation whatsoever to the continued Myth Arc revolving around the Black Organization and in the end, acts as canon Filler which explains as to why the manga has been able to last for 950+ CHAPTERS!
- MÄR 's anime was infamous for this despite the fact the manga was way ahead when they started it having individual episodes dedicated to events outsides the War Games or focus on side characters. As well as a few arcs (particularly the Zonnen, Real World, and Ghost Chess Pieces arc) and expansion of material from the manga. Some fans do like some of the added material as the manga did tend to rush things and gave some more much needed character development to some characters. Even the final battle was expanded upon as well. But some detractors note it does needlessly slow down the plot however.
- Midori Days has an excess of filler irrelevant to the main plot in the manga's later chapters. The anime had less filler.
- Tenkai Knights usually pretty good at avoiding this, but then came the Beast King Saga. For starters, it lasts several episodes, and seemingly has NO impact on the rest of the story, other than seeing Beag's Earth form. It also artifically increases it's length by having Scorpidon keep changing the rules so he can force everyone to start over. By the 3rd episode even the knights are begging for this to end already. It gets to the point where The Knights and Villius get fed up with them and decide to just beat the stuffing out of them, which ends with Scorpidon finally letting them go.
- The first anime season for Noragami ends with a short filler arc in which the main character, Yato, squares off with the God of Calamity, Rabou, in order to give the adaptation some form of a seasonal finale.
- Attack on Titan: Despite compressing quite a bit of manga into 25 episodes, some anime-original content is employed to maintain the pace of each episodes, such as more character interaction within the 104th's top ten members. One specific example is the Dieter sidestory, which happens as they Survey Corps heads back from the 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls.
- Some of the later episodes of the 1979 and 2005 anime of Doraemon were made specifically for the anime. There are also some later episodes that adapted a particular chapter from the manga a second time, with updated character designs, animation, and slightly different scenes.
- Bakugan Battle Brawlers actually kept the story going until the evoluton arc, where everyone gets an upgrade, and the audience has to wait several episodes before the actual story resumes.
- X-Men comics has had several:
- Uncanny X-Men #228: a filler issue designed to wrap up loose ends from Dazzler's ongoing book via flashback tale, made worse by the fact that the issue beforehand was the last part of the "Fall of the Mutants" storyline, which set up a new status quo for the X-Men.
- Uncanny X-Men #512: Matt Fraction does a one-off time travel/steampunk storyline which has the illusion of being important in the grand scheme of things via revealing why the Celestial in San Francisco was guarding, but never comes to anything and makes the issue just Fraction indulging in his own writing fetishes.
- Used with Roy Thomas's run in the 1960s, especially during the Factor Three storyline. Thomas uses the lengthy storyline to flesh out details (such as the X-Men struggling with reaching the bad guys lair without Xavier's resources) most writers would have glossed over.
- Subverted with the The Avengers tie-in issues for Secret Invasion, as the tie-ins essentially serve the purpose of filling in a TON of plot holes from the whole Skrull invasion storyline.
- The first three issues of Peter David's Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man series were forced crossover issues, leading to David joking that fans should just avoid those issues issues as filler and even had the first official TPB for his run called "False Start", as a joke about how issue #4 was the real first issue of the series.
- The infamous Titans Hunt storyline in New Titans was infamous for this. There are two filler issues tossed into the storyline (#80 and #81) which exist mainly to shill the newly introduced Team Titans and to serve as a "War of the Gods" crossover issue. The later is ironic: at the time, the Titans were largely off-limits for big storylines (the book was only sold at comic shops at the time), though in this case the plotline kind of had to be addressed as Donna Troy played a major role in War of the Gods and her involvement had to be addressed.
- Filler issues in comic books often exist because of plans changing at the last minute. Teen Titans had a crossover with Outsiders with another crossover planned soon after. DC decided to just make the second crossover a separate miniseries, resulting in a two-issue filler arc in each book.
- Alternatively, there is the cynical notion that fans consider Crisis Crossover issues to be filler and can ultimately be skipped, while comic companies see the crossover issues as important and the stories that exist between crossovers as the real "filler". This in turn has led to some Crisis Crossovers putting out mini-series for the big name characters so that the main books don't get interrupted, though this has the negative effect (especially when the mini-serieses don't impact the Crisis Crossover in any meaningful way) of the mini-series being treated as filler and ignored.
- Johnny the Homicidal Maniac has Filler Bunny, a cute little bunny rabbit who was created and tortured by cruel scientists for the purpose of filling pages when Vasquez can't come up with enough material.
- Book 5 and 6 of Les Légendaires count as this: not only does it have few, if anything, to do with what was the main plot at this point, but most of the events of those Books are retconned in-story thanks to Jadina's time reset. The main villain of those book, Captain Ceyderom, is the least important of all the major villains and the only one to not appear again after this arc. On the other hand, Prince Halan, who is also introduced in this book, appears again later, and theme such as Jadina's Arranged Marriage are further explored later.
- Nicely subverted in IDW's Transformers Ongoing. Issues #9-#12 feel like a short little filler storyline that develops a few minor subplots (like the fate of Thundercracker) and leads into the next storyline (which develops the main Myth Arc) but is otherwise unimportant. However later on, issue #29 reveals that the events of that storyline may have been more important then they seemed...
- Issues 8-12 of the Marvel Knights run of The Punisher, as they were the only issues not written by Garth Ennis during the run. Issue #8 was a one-shot where Frank travels back in time to kill Al Capone though it all turns out to be a dream and issues 9-12 featured the "Taxi Wars" arc, which was considerably sillier(as well as Lighter and Softer) and more over-the-top then any of the other stories in the Marvel Knights run as it centers around a villain called "The Medallion" who wants control of all Taxi cabs in New York. These were also the only issues to not be reprinted in any form(at least not in the U.S., the Taxi wars arc was released in Paperback form in the U.K.)
- Kyon: Big Damn Hero has an unsubtly named Filler Arc. It's not actually filler.
- Gensokyo's Heart has the aptly-named Intermission Chapters in between arcs. They're all big bags of exposition and recaps disguised as story. They also all have a brief scene at the end to introduce the next arc (the first Intermission ended with Remilia deciding to invite Abathur to the SDM, setting up the SDM arc).
- As far as the Star Wars Machete order is concerned, The Phantom Menace can be freely skipped. Most characters introduced in Menace are either Killed Off for Real by the end of it or have no impact on the series, and the characters who are important to the series have better Establishing Character Moments in later films. The creator of the order does admit that this makes the few Continuity Nods Menace gets from the other prequels confusing, especially when Anakin returns to Tatooine in Attack of the Clones and his mother being a slave and his relationship with C-3PO come out of seemingly nowhere.
"Search your feelings, you know it to be true! Episode I doesn't matter at all. You can start the prequels with Episode II and miss absolutely nothing."
- One criticism of The Stalking Zuko Series is that many chapters have relatively little to do with Zuko and Katara. In particular, a large portion of Not Stalking Zuko has the Gaang hanging out on Ember Island, between "The Southern Raiders" and the Grand Finale two episodes later.
- Roger Zelazny's Damnation Alley started off as a novella. When asked to write a novel length version of the story, the additional material is mostly a completely unrelated sub-plot.
- The Level 3 BIONICLE reading books were specifically developed to tell unimportant side-stories, so as to spare the fans from having to read "kiddy stuff". They of course still bought them, some even preferring them to the author's main-story writing.
- A little under half of the Animorphs series consisted of filler episodes; they became particularly infamous and prevalent once the ghostwriters kicked in. In particular, nothing between Visser and book 45 - a ten book period - at all contributed to the overarching plot, with the exception of the fourth Megamorphs.
- Glen Cook's The Black Company series consists of nine sequential novels and one spinoff. That spinoff was released between the only two books that don't have a Time Skip between them, and the first of the two ended on a cliffhanger.
- The Horse and His Boy from The Chronicles of Narnia could be considered an example. It only features main characters from other books in cameo appearances, and has no effect on the continuity of the series aside from a small appearance by two characters in the final book.
- Left Behind was originally intended to be a 9-novel series, but the books were selling so well they expanded it to 12. This becomes painful in the center of the series.
Live Action TV
- Many TV series will have a subplot, and often these will have little or nothing to do with the main story. However, these can serve several purposes beyond padding the episode — most notably, it can be used to contrast the tone of the main plot (usually, this will be light comedy), it can advance a recurring storyline, or it can test new actors and/or characters to audiences.
- Additionally, establishing shots — used to give context to the next scene or act — can sometimes be used as padding, especially if they come into play for more than a few seconds or if several are used in succession. Or it can suggest a passage of time — for instance, a scene set in the daytime, followed by stock footage of an exterior of the house set at night ... and if time were to pass, perhaps a clip panning over the evening/night skyline.
- Game Shows: When a game runs unexpectedly short, or if there's not enough time to start a new game, the host will usually engage in chatter with the audience and/or celebrities/contestants to fill the extra time. Sometimes, members of the audience will be invited onstage to play a special version of the bonus game to win a small cash or merchandise prize. And then, there's always the extended closing credits.
- The Dukes of Hazzard: The most common "filler" trope was the "Hazzard County Speed Trap," where a famous country singer of the day performed at the Boar's Nest. (In-universe, Boss Hogg would set up a speed trap for a tour bus, transporting a popular country music star to his next gig, and to "work off the fine," he'd have to perform at no charge at the Boar's Nest.)
- Twin Peaks was only intended to last until Laura Palmer's murderer was caught. Unfortunately, it was popular enough to spawn another season, which was completely unplanned and directionless as a result.
- That's not entirely true. David Lynch initially wanted her murder to be the main plot, then move on to focusing on how it affected the town and the people there after her murderer was revealed. The plan was to introduce other mysteries, including Dale Cooper's battle with the Black Lodge, along with continued soap opera plots as viewers got to know the people of Twin Peaks in more depth. However, the network executives made them reveal her murderer too early, wrapping up the plot in the middle of season two. It wasn't that it was popular enough to spawn another season - it was that it was already in the middle of what was planned for season two when her murderer was revealed, and then it quickly lost its popularity because of the too-early reveal.
- Lampooned in Garth Marenghis Darkplace: Dean Learner states that so many slow-motion sequences were used because the episodes often ran several minutes short and they had to be bulked out somehow. They tried to avoid doing it over dialogue, but anything else was considered. (Although it seems like part of the reason the episodes kept running short was that the actors, most especially Dean Learner himself, rushed through their lines.)
- Standard operating fare in certain live action SF and fantasy series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the revived Doctor Who, because the series or season arc would be designed to unfold slowly over the course of many episodes. This is true even of long-running series like Stargate SG-1, in which each season has its own Story Arc, and most episodes at least address the main arc at some point — and even then some of the episodes that have very little effect on the arc have proven to be popular with fans due to being humorous Breather Episodes, such as the "Groundhog Day" Loop episode "Window of Opportunity", or the self-parodying episodes "Wormhole X-Treme!" or "200" (all from Stargate SG-1), or the Halloween episodes of Buffy. Doctor Who took the opposite approach for its most famous filler episode, as "Blink" is pure Nightmare Fuel.
- Doctor Who:
- Serials running for five to seven episodes or more usually have so much padding, contrivances, and irrelevant storylines, they can get hard to watch. In the Third Doctor's era the six-parter was the standard fare. However, the four-part serials were essentially if you took the six-parters and squeezed out the material that dragged them on. These four-parters seemed more fluid, and it became noticeable enough to warrant a change in format. Production criticisms suggested these six-part serials could have the air let out of them, because they featured a lot of instances where the Doctor and his companion would get captured Once per Episode to kill time- sometimes reaching eight captures in one story. This was reduced in later seasons (starting with the Fourth Doctor), with a more manageable four episodes per serial with occasional six-parters.
- In particular, the First Doctor serial The Daleks' Master Plan, a massive 12-parter (plus a prologue episode broadcast weeks earlier and notable for not featuring any of the main cast), had a Christmas Episode intentionally meant as filler (since it was thought nobody would be watching, and viewers would be lost if the plot advanced in their absence). The Doctor even broke the fourth wall to wish viewers a "happy Christmas".
- Super Sentai and Power Rangers:
- Both series mostly follow the "half arc, half filler" formula, but each Sentai series has to run for a whole year's 48-52 episodes, whereas Power Rangers are usually much shorter. While some fans prefer the higher story-density of PR's shorter seasons, others miss the fleshing out of the characters (the girls in particular) that the additional fillers episodes allow the writers to indulge in in Sentai.
- Early seasons of Power Rangers, which aired on weekdays, we're stuffed with filler, the first season in particular having run for a whopping sixty episodes and abstained from doing story arcs that didn't focus on the green ranger (For example, those Power Eggs in the episode with the chicken monster? They were originally the last two dinosaur eggs, a subplot that ran all the way to the end of the series in the Sentai.) The third season still had plenty of filler, but was the first to use continuing plotlines, namely the 9-episode arc to introduce Kat as Kimberly's replacement, and the 11-episode arc with the child rangers looking for the Zeo Crystal and being temporarily replaced by the proper Sentai team labeled as Alien Rangers.
- Power Rangers also has another set of filler episodes- usually near the end of the season, the episodes will start to use much more footage from the source material than previously- Lost Galaxy is a prime example of this, having done it twice with the Lights of Orion arc and the entire arc concerning the Lost Galaxy- in order to save money for the finale episodes.
- A few seasons into The X-Files, the show settled into a mixture of "mythology" episodes and "Monster of the Week" episodes. If you were watching for the myth arc, the Monster of the Week episodes were filler.
- The Prisoner was originally intended to be a seven episode miniseries. The network wanted more, and so ten standalone episodes were created and intermixed with the main Story Arc. Less noticeable than in other series with a high filler percentage, as most of the filler episodes are still good.
- Unless it's 60 Minutes (the sacred cow of the entire genre), American newsmagazines seem to only exist these days in order to fill spots in the ANSI Standard Broadcast TV Schedule where other programming has failed. Often filled out to two hours and consisting entirely of Missing White Woman Syndrome - heavy True Crime stories solved years ago with running time-lengthening twists even the most dimwitted viewer can see as insulting their intelligence. Rock Center is trying to avert this, but notice that it's not replacing any of Dateline NBC's airtime.
- On Murphy Brown, there was an episode where Murphy was slated to interview Aretha Franklin - and wanted most of the show's airtime for the interview, leading to the others' stories getting cut short. Then Aretha is running late, leading to them having to stretch and pad everything to fill up the hour.
- Falling Skies dips its toes into this every so often from the start, but it really starts to hit its peak from Season 3 onward. First came the multi-episode stretch spent wandering around looking for Anne Glass, necessitated by Moon Bloodgood's pregnancy. The latter half of Season 4 also contains a great deal of this, especially after Lexi leaves and the town gets blown up by the Espheni. The crowner, though, has to be the fifth and final season, which ultimately piddles around digging up old conflicts, introducing brand new characters, and giving a two-parter to a newly-introduced military base where nothing of real consequence happens two episodes before the finale; the season's ostensible point of wrapping up the war against the Espheni does not become relevant until the series finale.
- Swedish children's sci-fi comedy show Vintergatan, both 5A and 5B, had children getting to call the characters and help them with personal things. These conversations could get very, very, very annoying. Even more frustrating in the sequel, which only had ten episodes instead of around forty-fifty — conversations on the ship between one certain alien and one certain human, mostly showing off their Odd Couple-sort of relationship, and serving absolutely no purpose, aside from minor Character Development — which was forced by the plot later on anyway.
- Used as a quick gag in the Musical Episode of Buffy, where the cast sings "Walk Through The Fire," and Willow's only line in the song is "I think this line's mostly filler."
- The Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Game Show" was produced during contract disputes between the supporting cast and the producers. Therefore, it is unique in that of the main cast members, only Tony Shalhoub appears, and the role of the assistant doesn't go to Sharona, but rather to Monk's upstairs neighbor Kevin Dorfman.
- It usually happens in Fringe, where there's always a Monster of the week focus and mostly all of the episodes advance very little on the plot. There was one episode in the second season, for example, that showed Charlie Francis alive. Keep in mind, the character had already died in the show, but apart from that, it felt like a normal episode. Apparently, it had been filmed for the first season but they waited until then to air it.
- One particularly obvious example of this on Saturday Night Live was the 1985-86 season's Christmas episode hosted by Teri Garr. The centerpiece of the episode was meant to be a 'made-for-TV movie' spoof called "The Big Tree," which was split across a commercial break due to its length. However, the entire second half of the sketch was cut (most likely after 10 PM dress rehearsal) after the audience failed to respond, so the live episode has painful patches of filler. Segments such as Teri's monologue and Don Novello's 'Mr X.' commentary on Weekend Update are clearly padded out to be much, much longer than they should've been; and a sketch about a tropical island further drags out the episode by using a number of overlong stock-footage clips.
- Sons of Anarchy Season 2 has the first couple of episodes seem to set the stage for the rest of the series...until it becomes apparent that the resolution to this begins about three episodes from the end. The remaining episodes generally expand on subplots and have many, many instances of Just Shoot Him.
- It was pretty common in the first two seasons of Farscape to alternate between arc-oriented stories and monster-of-the-week filler episodes. The plot was fairly ill-defined and the characters needed fleshing out anyway, so it was quite bearable. Still, these episodes were safe to ignore until the third season or so, when old filler characters started to play crucial roles in the main stories. New material that seemed like filler was also harder to dismiss. Especially when what had seemed like a textbook filler-psychopath-of-the-week twinned the main character, changing the course of that season and throwing a monkey-wrench the size of a Command Carrier into John and Aeryn's relationship.
- The "Mirror Universe" episodes of the various Star Trek television series fell into this. Placing the action in an alternate universe allowed the writers to create new stories without affecting the main "timeline" in any shape or form, could result in alternate (or darker) versions of already-established characters (which was a great acting opportunity for the main cast because they got to try a different spin on their role), had massive battle sequences with real consequences and casualties...and were always forgotten about as soon as the episode was over. This was later averted with the 2009 Star Trek reboot, which is intended to be a long-term relaunch of the franchise in an alternate universe.
- Improv-heavy Outnumbered's solution to an episode coming up short seems to be having little Karen act out a Reality Show with plushies, and cutting that into the episode as necessary.
- Retro Game Master: Arino ends up clearing Ninja Spirit in two hours. One of the producers gives him a phone call telling him they don't have enough footage for a whole episode and that he should occupy the audience for a few more minutes. So we get a scene of the cast having lunch.
- Transformers: Classics was a toyline specifically created to bridge the gap between the Transformers Cybertron and Transformers movie series, and consisted of radical modern updates of the original Transformers Generation 1 characters. Re-releasing old favorites with modern-day engineering proved to be a very popular idea with the fans, and the line has since seen several successors, often running alongside the cartoon or movie-backed toy-lines and revisiting series other than G1.
- The Bohrok-Kal, 2003's winter setline from BIONICLE. They were noting more than Palette Swaps of the previous year's enemy sets and their story was essentially a half year-long extension of 2002's Bohrok Saga (though it wasn't exactly filler). The line was probably produced to give LEGO enough time to prepare for the movie and the tie-in toys released later that year, although it reportedly affected their profits pretty badly — however that was partly because no regular-sized hero sets were released that year and other LEGO lines also performed poorly at that time.
- Final Fantasy XII has about 30 hours worth of story and 200 hours of sidequests that consist of plotless monster hunting. There's also the miles and miles of plains you have to walk through to get from A to B. The walk from Nalbina to Archades takes the cake though — nearly 5 hours of walking and no plot bar two exposition scenes clocking in at 10 minutes. And three easy ways to cross the distance in no time flat are unavailable to you: buying a ticket on an airship, using Balthier's airship, and having someone who has been to Arcadia before (e.g. Balthier) use a teleport stone.
- In Xenoblade, half the sidequests are plotless monster hunting—the other half is world building.
- Tales of Symphonia has the infamous and distracting hunt for the Ymir Fruit in Ymir Forest, a fruit that is said to be able to cure every disease. The fruit is needed to heal an elf woman which is never seen in game, and which has no impact on the plot. The player has to solve the puzzle regardless, since the sick woman's child blocks the way to the protagonist's destination. Just so you understand why is this is irritating, the puzzle is really dumb, hard, frustrating and technically unnecessary, as the characters could circumvent having to do it if they used their brains.
- Mega Man Battle Network:
- 4 is a Filler Game. It's a little hard to detail exactly why as nothing much happens, but it's a Tournament Arc Game that you have to finish three times if you want to collect everything, and a paper-thin plot that is resolved within the span of 30 minutes.
- 5, to a certain extent, but it is much more coherent than 4, the real filler being the quest to get each new member of your unit, having to go through puzzles to fix whatever problem was caused, and always ending in a fight with their navi, the main plot is held together otherwise.
- Metal Gear Solid Mobile is a mobile phone spinoff set between the events of MGS and MGS2 that turns out to be a VR mission engineered by members of the Patriots.
- With the development of the Guild Wars world, particularly in the Factions and Nightfall campaign, almost the entire Prophecies campaign can be seen as this (particularly as, as is finally revealed in Nightfall, the major events the player witnesses and takes parts in in Prophecies were part of an elaborate plan by Abaddon, the former - and deposed - god of death, to worm his way back into the mortal realm from the Realm of Torment.
- Fate/hollow ataraxia is actually large made of filler. However the filler is often highly entertaining and some see it as the point of the story to begin with.
- Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has Ellicor II. Being here eats up about half of the game and it has almost NO relevance to the plot, so much so that the filler is it's own plot and they have to actually bring the plot to the planet, I.E. aliens invading during a filler plot important war because the protagonist is taking too long to leave and continue the plot. Most plot points actually go unsolved.
- Kingdom Hearts.
- Almost every Disney world ever in every game, but subverted in the second, when the Big Bad's Dragons or the Butt Monkey villain show up to summon the Monster of the Week, or in some the cases of the Dragons, become Those Bosses.
- In 2, however, Atlantica, the second trips to Olympus Coliseum, Agrabah, Halloween Town and Pridelands, and the third trip to Hollow Bastion/second to Space Paranoids are this.
- In the first game, the Disney worlds, excluding Hundred Acre Wood, are all plot-relevant. You either attempt to save a Princess of Heart and/or take out a villain who is conspiring to use the Heartless. Individual boss battles, however, often consist of fighting a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere.
- Borderlands 2:
- The game opens up the option for the player to travel to Lynchwood. You do not need to travel to this area ever to complete the story, and mostly acts as a large Shout-Out to playing in an old western against the girlfriend of this game's Big Bad, Handsome Jack.
- There's also Caustic Caverns, a run-down mining operation facility that can be accessed after the city of Sanctuary is forced to go airborne. Similar to Lynchwood, you don't have to go here except to witness some world-building.
- In Killer7, the Alter Ego chapter has very little relation to anything else that happens in the plot. It offers some world-building, but it's in relation to topics that are never brought up again and is only notable for having a Shout-Out to Suda 51's Japan-only game, Moonlight Syndrome, and Mask de Smith getting a new power-up.
- Unlike the other webisodes of Lobo Webseries, the webisode Lobo For President was released between two webisodes of the same story arc but with a standalone story line.
- Parodied in Four Swords Misadventures. When Red and Green Link were fighting over Zelda (It Makes Sense in Context), it flashes back to a conversation between Red and Green in Naruto-style, with Purple and Blue, Mystery Theatre 3000-style, critiquing the use of filler time and taking away from the action.
- The fact that episode 9 of Inanimate Insanity II is filler is constantly lampshaded by MePhone and Fan, up to the point where the words "NOT FILLER" were flashing in big bold letters.
- Kevin & Kell suffered from this when it was syndicated in Atlanta's newspapers; Since then, it's gone from a funny-but-plot-heavy comic to a primarily Gag-A-Day comic with the occasional story lasting more than one day.
- Homestuck had an 'Intermission Arc' which focused on the Alternate Universe Evil Counterparts to the Problem Sleuth team: the Midnight Crew. It's a subversion: The Midnight Crew is actually agents from another game played by another race, and are actually are larger part of the plot then originally hinted at.
- Hussie's self-insert segments can be seen as this, as they come out of nowhere and have no real influence on the plot. He at one point addresses these concerns, and admit that his reach of influence into the story will only amount to one yard. Exactly one yard. After John and Jade escape the Scratch by literally Breaking the Fourth Wall, Hussie posits that they will travel exactly one yard before entering the session they created. Oh, and it takes them three years.
- Played straight at times; sometimes the story pace slows to a crawl and nothing in particular happens of import for a couple weeks at a time. One arc lasted almost 2 months before the pace picked back up.
- 8-Bit Theater had at least one filler arc, with a couple more which could possibly be considered filler: Unarguably, nothing comes of an arc in which the Warriors of Light take over the town of Gaia. The frozen wasteland arc introduced the doomsday cultists, who did reappear, but did little to further the overall plot, and the Onrac arc was little more than a Shaggy Dog Story for the city in question, though it did set the Warriors of Light on the route to their next destination.
- Dragon Ball Multiverse:
- Despite giving the backstories of many universes, the Special Chapters in general get a lot of flack for NOT being about the tournament. To add fuel to the fire, the varied art styles are often different from the tournament chapters.
- Some pages of chapter 24 have been accused of this. What's worst, many feel that those pages would have been better spent on the extremely short 17 vs Goku fight.
- Story-wise, BIONICLE's Mata Nui Online Game II is set after the Bohrok Kal saga but before the Mask of Light saga, and basically details Hahli's journey from a flax-maker's assistant to becoming a sports champion. Unlike the original MNOG, which told vital parts of the plot and spanned multiple comics' and books' worth of storyline, MNOG II consists almost entirely world-building and was essentially meant to make Hahli's rise to an important supporting character seem less sudden. Game-wise, it's actually much more involved and time-consuming than the original.
- The majority of Nostalgia Critic episodes are over twenty minutes with some sketch comedy, character stuff and done with a fair amount of energy (even when the Critic's depressed). But there are a few that Doug has admitted to rushing because he gave in to fan demands and just wanted to get out the way.
- Shinryuu82 did several filler videos in-between chapters of his Live A Live playthrough during the Audience Participation voting phases, showcasing some of the more bizarre Mega Man themed ROM hacks and pirate games.
- The Irate Gamer made a video in which he compares various "Toys to Life" lines (i.e. Skylanders, Disney Infinity, amiibo, and LEGO Dimensions). It is 18 minutes long, but he spends half of the video ranting about how much the gameplay in Skylanders had changed since the first game in the series.
- All of the ridiculously long and elaborately destructive fights between Peter and the Giant Chicken in Family Guy. While their wanton destruction is entertaining for a while, most of the time it goes on so long so the fights themselves become boring.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
Aang: Look, it's the Great Divide! The biggest canyon in the Earth Kingdom!Sokka: Ehh... Let's keep flying.
- The series has a few episodes per season, which includes both "The Runaway" (one of the more popular episodes of the series) and "The Great Divide" (generally the least liked episode of the series). Lampshaded in a recap parody towards the end of season three:
Sokka: Come on, a day at the theater! This is the kind of wacky time-wasting nonsense I've been missing.
- And this is the actual introduction to the recap episode
Specifically, "The Great Divide" and "The Painted Lady" stand out as the only two episodes of the show that can be removed completely without disrupting the show's flow in the slightest. "The Runaway" at least has important character development for Katara and Toph, as well as continuing the Combustion Man subplot.
- "The Fortuneteller" is just one long Ship Tease and nothing else.
- "Tales from Ba Sing Se", though a filler episode, gives Iroh a real Tear Jerker back story, as well as showing exactly why Appa hasn't met up with the rest of the Gaang...
- The Clear My Name episode "Avatar Day" infringed on the Sequel Hook "The Swamp" set up for "The Blind Bandit". It foreshadowed the return of Suki and the B Plot had Zuko seperate, but the former wasn't necessary, and the latter could've been stuffed into the previous episode.
- Code Lyoko:
- Most of Season 4 and parts of Season 3. Ironically, Season 1 was a Monster of the Week kind of show, but it started out that way, and thus, the idea of filler wasn't a consideration until after such time as the series grew a beard, so to speak, and shifted to a Story Arc format for Season 2 and the Prequel episodes. So, it's debatable if the so-called filler was really just a return to form.
- Also, due to Season 1's Monster of the Week format, you could actually watch most of the episodes in any order, with the exception of the season finale, as the last episode of that season starts off from where the previous one left off, making it a two-parter.
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series:
- The series has two filler episodes in the first season. One is called "Bad Stitch", where Dr. Hamsterviel masquerades as a behavioral correction doctor in an attempt to capture Stitch, who is in trouble with Nani for his destructive behavior and is forced by Lilo to change his behavior. The other is "The Asteroid", where a huge meteor is coming towards Earth, and it's up to Stitch and the other nearby experiments to go and destroy it, only to find that a creature lives on it.
- The second season has twice as many as the previous one, all of them being Crossovers with other Disney cartoons. The episodes are "Morpholomew", "Spats", "Lax", and "Rufus", crossovers with American Dragon: Jake Long, The Proud Family, Recess, and Kim Possible respectively.
- Total Drama Island has a pretty blatant example in the form of "Camp Castaways", in which the Final Four end up trapped on a "deserted island" (actually Chris's secret production camp). Although the foursome seem to bond a bit over the course of the episode, this is completely disregarded at the end when they all agree to pretend it never happened.
- DuckTales: "The Duck Who Would Be King", the second episode of the "Time is Money"-five parter, can easily be left out without disturbing the course of the story. At the end of the first episode, the protagonists attempt to return to the present after traveling to prehistoric times. At the start of the second episode they accidentally arrive in another ancient time period and have an adventure unrelated to the main plot of the story arc. They leave this time period again at the end of the episode. At the start of the third episode, they finally arrive back in the present. None of the events from the second episode are ever mentioned again in the rest of the story arc, and episodes one and three perfectly connect to each other even without episode two in between.
- Scooby-Doo: In the 1970 episode "Jeepers, It's The Creeper", Scooby is disguised as a chicken in a chicken coop as he and Shaggy and trying to escape the Creeper. Scooby accidentally hatches an egg, and the subsequent baby chick tags along with our heroes, thinking Scooby is its mother. Its only tie-in with the episode is at the end, when Scooby passes another nest and several eggs hatch, the chicks thinking Scooby is their mother. In the very same episode, they stop by the cave of a hermit and he offers Shaggy to eat his Squirrel Stew. The gang suspects he's the Creeper, but make a run for it when they believe he's attempting to poison Shaggy. The scene had nothing to do with the rest of the episode and is never spoken of again.
- The two episodes of Daria not seen as canonical or even all that good by fans: the one where everyone bursts into a sing-and-dance routine about an impending hurricane, the other when the supernatural spirits of various public holidays intrude into reality. If these were devised as last-minute filler to get the number of episodes up to a series-friendly 26, it explains much.
- Beavis and Butthead is notorious. Each episode had at least three (in the earliest episodes, even up to five) real-life music videos of the time in which the duo would add commentary and mock or praise. This simply serves as filler - when full episodes of the show are uploaded onto the internet, these videos are removed, resulting in roughly 5-9 minute episodes.
- In newspapering, fillers are sometimes used to, appropriately, fill space. These might take one of several forms:
- Famous quotes, fun facts or quick stories that are generally humorous in nature.
- Filler advertisements. Often, these will be "house ads," or advertisements created by an editor or advertising department selling the newspaper. Other times, stock ads — often, these are public service ads from the Ad Council — may be used.
- Clip art or graphics that might apply to the season or an upcoming holiday, but otherwise serve little purpose.
While these were more common in the era before computer pagination of pages (which allow page designers to adjust the leading or length of a story to fit a specific space), sometimes after everything has been adjusted and there is still enough white space remaining, the editor will turn to using filler. The result is a cleanly-designed page that the reader can rarely notice the difference.
- In radio, in the era where virtually every radio station had network news at the top of the hour and was available only by live feed, many stations used instrumental songs to fill time remaining between the end of the last song and when the network news began. Stations often had a library of a few dozen generic-sounding records, each sounding somewhat like the genre they played, which were used to fill out the remaining hour, often if there wasn't a current song or recurrent that was short enough to fit the remaining time without cutting it off early. The jockey sometimes read announcements or previewed the next hour, but if he chose not to talk, the song would allow the jockey to avoid broadcasting "dead air" (silence).
- WPFM, an album-rock station in Panama City FL, broke for ABC news at the top of an hour in a 1977 broadcast. Afterwards, there was dead air for some three minutes before soft violin music started playing. Immediately, the DJ at the station finally returned to local and quipped "You learn something new every day. Today it's 'don't go to the bathroom during ABC news'."
- British ex-pirate station Radio Caroline has a clip of waves washing up and down and seagulls calling (a reference to its early days broadcasting from just outside UK territorial waters) that appears to serve the same purpose, as well as possibly covering for when the equipment is acting up.
- The Brewing Network: From 2012 onwards Brew Strong was criticized for having too many Q&A episodes, as well as having a "Going Pro" series that went for 12 episodes. Jamil justified the number of Q&A episodes by saying they receive lots of questions and they needed to get them out of the way. Listeners who didn't mind argued that Jamil, hosting two shows and running a brewery, had less time to prepare the more detailed and in depth style of show. Some critics of The Session consider the banter to be this and prefer the shows that get directly to brewing information.