A show which has no regular characters or actors (but usually many recurring), with the possible exception of a host or narrator who introduces/closes/comments on shows. Stories tend to limit themselves to a single genre but the earlier anthology shows were more likely to cover several genres than later ones.
A favored format for Horror
and suspense, probably because the absence of continuity allows characters to be killed off unpredictably without violating Status Quo Is God
Compare/contrast to Thematic Series
Anime/Manga examples include:
Comic Book examples include:
- Action Comics
- Detective Comics was not quite the first genre anthology in comic books, but it was the first successful single-genre anthology comic, laying the groundwork for the format that would be most popular through The Golden Age of Comic Books.
- Historically, most British comics have tended to be anthologies. They would contain multiple strips per issue and replace one strip with another fairly often. Whilst comics like The Beano, The Dandy, or 2000AD technically avert this trope by having some strips that have lasted decades, it's played straighter with titles like TV Comic, which chopped and changed according to what was on TV at the time.
- All of the EC Comics series were these covering a few genres, with each issue featuring four stories. The genres covered were primarily horror, science fiction, crime and war. When The Comics Code Authority came clamping down and forced the cancellation of many titles the publisher got desperate and branched out into tamer fare. Bizarre new books started like Psychoanalysis, which focused on patients visiting a psychiatrist, M.D., which showcase the day-to-day lives of doctors and EXTRA!, which followed reporters in their investigations. Needless to say, the new books weren't successful and EC closed down soon after.
- Showcase was a DC comics anthology from the 1950s notable for introducing the Silver Age incarnations of The Flash, Green Lantern, and The Atom and other noteworthy characters like Rip Hunter, the Creeper and the Challengers of the Unknown as well as featuring the very first comic adaptation of a James Bond film.
- Most Marvel Comics titles published in the 1950s were Speculative Fiction, crime, or horror anthologies. Several books such as Uncanny Tales, World of Mystery, World of Suspense, World of Fantasy, Mystery, and Menace didn't make it past the end of the decade. Other titles were better remembered due to later spinning off or being rebranded as superhero titles the following decade when the genre was successfully revived. These include:
- Marvel Fanfare (Superhero)
- House Of Mystery, which started out as a Horror comic, switched genres to Speculative Fiction and mystery fiction in the mid-50's due to backlash against horror comics and the introduction of the Comics Code, added in Superhero fiction during the Silver Age, and returned to a horror setting in the 70's.
Television examples include:
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Crime And Punishment)
- Amazing Stories (Speculative Fiction)
- American Crime Story — a sister show to American Horror Story, about true crime instead of horror.
- American Horror Story (Horror). Could be considered a genre anthology as each season is a self contained story with a start, middle, and end, with no characters/settings in common (though actors sometimes stick around).
- Are You Afraid of the Dark? (Horror)
- Black Mirror (Speculative Fiction Drama)
- Comedy Playhouse (Comedy) (spin offs include Steptoe and Son, Till Death Us Do Part, All Gas And Gaiters, The Liver Birds, Are You Being Served?? and Last of the Summer Wine).
- Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible (Horror Comedy, hosted by Steve Coogan)
- The Dread Testaments (Horror), a webseries found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWp6fvR_zp0
- Faerie Tale Theatre (Fantasy; followed by two spiritual successors)
- Fear Itself (Horror; a Spiritual Successor to the below-mentioned Masters of Horror series)
- the fifth estate (CBC)
- Freddy's Nightmares, a horror anthology in "Crypt" style, hosted by Freddy Krueger of A Nightmare on Elm Street. The stories dealing with Freddy himself were actually rare, but canonical.
- General Electric Theater (Drama) (Hosted by Ronald Reagan)
- George Burns Comedy Week (Comedy)
- Hallmark Hall of Fame (All Genres)
- Hammer House of Horror (Horror)
- The Haunting Hour (Horror)
- Hora Marcada (Horror)
- The Hunger (Horror)
- Inside No. 9 (Horror/Dark Comedy)
- Kraft Suspense Theatre (Drama)
- Masters of Horror (Horror, with each entry made by an acclaimed horror director)
- Metal Hurlant Chronicles (Sci-Fi)
- Murder Most Horrid (Parodying Crime and Punishment Tropes) (Hosted by and starring Dawn French)
- Night Gallery (Horror/Speculative Fiction)
- Night Visions (Horror)
- The Nightmare Room (Horror)
- One Step Beyond and its Revival, The Next Step Beyond (Speculative Fiction)
- The Outer Limits (1963) (Speculative Fiction)
- Paul Merton In Galton And Simpson's... (Comedy staring Paul Merton, updated scripts from Comedy Playhouse and Hancock's Half Hour).
- Perversions Of Science (Speculative Fiction; A Spiritual Successor to Tales from the Crypt which was also based off EC Comics)
- Philco Television Playhouse/Goodyear Television Playhouse/Alcoa Hour (Drama) The name changed to reflect the sponsoring company. From 1948 to 1951, Philco was the sole sponsor. From 1951 to the spring of 1955, Philco and Goodyear alternated weeks as sponsor and the show was titled accordingly. At the end of the 1954-55 season, Philco dropped out as sponsor and Alcoa stepped in. Alcoa and Goodyear continued alternating sponsorship until 1957. The productions were otherwise the same.
- Playhouse 90 (Drama)
- Play For Today/The Wednesday Play (Drama).
- Ray Bradbury Theater (Speculative Fiction)
- Seven Of One (Comedy) (Starring Ronnie Barker, Porridge and Open All Hours were spun off from this series).
- Science Fiction Theater (Speculative Fiction)
- Tales from the Crypt (Horror)
- Tales from the Darkside (Horror)
- Tales Of Tomorrow (Speculative Fiction)
- Tales of the Unexpected (Various, usually Black Comedy with a Twist Ending. Introduced by their author, Roald Dahl)
- The Hitchhiker (Mystery, occasionally Horror)
- Thriller aka Boris Karloff's Thriller (Horror/Crime And Punishment)
- Thriller is also the title of a British series of one-off feature-length dramas, created and either scripted or based on stories by Brian Clemens. Episodes were repackaged for US broadcast as separate TV movies.
- Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories (horror-comedy)
- True Detective (Police Procedural)
- The Twilight Zone (1959) (Speculative Fiction)
- Walt Disney Presents (All Genres)
- Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (All Genres)
Literature examples include:
Too many to count. The genre anthology predated the horror and sci-fi genres. The first publication venues for either of them was genre magazines, and the first hardcovers those stories would grace were collected together as a series of unrelated short stories.
Radio examples include:
Film examples include: