Monster of the Week
Now you're just embarrassing yourself.

T-Bone: Crud! What is that thing?
Razor: Giant monster of the week?
SWAT Kats, "Unlikely Alloys"

Episodes where the characters fight a villain and the whole story is wrapped up at the end, never to be dealt with again. Can be seen as the complete antithesis of a Story Arc, or as a Big Bad arc compressed into one episode. However, through use of a plot element like Arc Words, what appear to be unrelated dealings can be strung together.

The term (a play on Movie of the Week) was originally coined by the writing staff of The Outer Limits (1963), which sought to distinguish itself from its biggest competitor, The Twilight Zone, by promising viewers a new monster every episode. Out of its 49 episodes, only around 8 twisted or outright eschewed the formula.note 

Variations crop up from time to time, though the most generic term is "Villain of the Week." The 4400 and Smallville for example are sometimes discussed in terms of the "Freak of The Week." Mystery of the Week is the detective series version of this trope.

Sometimes, the monsters get ridiculous, especially in fillers, where they are almost always themed after the plot of the episode. Futari wa Pretty Cure had a giant vacuum cleaner early in its run, for example; Digimon Adventure, a walking garbage dump.

This actually is not a bad thing. Monster of the Week (and perhaps Monster Munch) can be used to establish characters or setting. Or perhaps lead to a much bigger Story Arc.

Subtrope of One-Shot Character. Often used in collaboration with Adventure Towns, may or may not be Monogender Monsters. See also Ro Beast, Monster of the Aesop, and Single Specimen Species. Contrast Monster Mash, Rogues Gallery and Villain Exclusivity Clause.

Not to be confused with Shaenon Garrity's The X-Files parody webcomic Monster of the Week., or with the Apocalypse World style Tabletop Game of the same name.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach started out like this, with Ichigo fighting a different hollow each chapter. Though after Rukia got taken back to Soul Society, it became more Story Arc focused.
    • Even during Story Arcs, his duels with Lieutenants, Captains, Arrancars, etc, all count as part of this trope. Duel of the Week, perhaps?
  • With the exception of the series' recurring antagonist Vicious, most Cowboy Bebop episodes centered around a single villain or group of villains that was never heard from again after the end of the episode (some were two-parters).
  • The anime Dai-Guard hangs a lampshade on this one by having scientists predict that the conditions necessary for the alien giant monster invaders to appear will repeat themselves roughly once every week.
  • In the Powerpuff Girls anime adaptation Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, the Powerpuff Girls tended to fight one-shot antagonists created by the black Chemical Z rays when they weren't fighting any of their traditional adversaries. They often only appeared for one episode because their episodes always ended with the monster either being permanently returned to normal by Professor Utonium or having a Heel–Face Turn. The anime's interpretation of Him also created some one-shot villains by exposing random people, plants, and inanimate objects to dark particles he released throughout the city.
  • Every season of Digimon starts out this way as the new characters learn the ropes and the viewers learn the new characters (and in some seasons, new universe).
    • In the case of Digimon Tamers, this is generally held to be what killed the show's American ratings as a true Big Bad was not introduced until the trip to the DigiWorld 24 episodes in.
    • Season 4 states that most all monsters are sub races of Digimon, save a few, from the start.
  • The Jyarei Monsters from Eto Rangers. This is a variant of the trope, however: they disguise themselves as characters of the Novel Worlds, so before the Eto Rangers can do battle they first have to use the Revealing Mirror on the disguised Jyarei to get them to reveal their true form.
  • Figure 17 Tsubasa & Hikaru plays this completely straight, although there is strong continuity as well. By the end of the series the monsters don't even look different from each other — they just get slightly upgraded powers. This does become less prominent as the plot goes on, however, as emphasis shifts toward Tsubasa and Hikaru's relationship, with some episodes not featuring a Maguar at all, and others being dedicated to particularly large and important, multi-episode fights.
  • Fist of the North Star's Kenshiro regularly faced off against villains of the week, often with some weird Nanto or Hokuto derived power that he had to overcome, moreso in the anime than in the manga, and the series varied between these and genuine story arcs.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist played this for the first volume before going into the main plot (which it would keep through the entire series); interestingly it was still only one of the chapters of the first volume that didn't affect the story in any way.
    • Likewise, some early episodes of the 2003 anime adaptation had a version of this: if there's a plot important character in the episode we have not seen before, he is probably the villain of the week. The main exception to this rule is Rose. 'Course, a fair share of these episodes turned out to be important to the plot later.
  • Played straight in GaoGaiGar with the Zonders, though taking things in canon time passage it could more likely be considered the "monster-of-the-half-a-week."
  • Played straight by Genesis of Aquarion, though at first the monsters were just regular Cherubim Soldiers with some kind of new ability that the team had to find a way to overcome by using lessons from earlier in the episode to unlock a new attack.
  • The Getter Robo series did this a lot. The original, G, Go, and to an extent New all used this trope. Even the crossover movies were monsters of the week.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has two types of episode: "Stand-Alone" episodes that deal with a one-shot villain or case, and "Complex" episodes that advance the overall Story Arc of the season.
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, every episode has a fairy turned into a monster that the heroes must stop and purify.
  • InuYasha was this for nearly every episode outside the last anime story arc. Once the manga got past the point of the anime ending, it changed up a little bit.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure arguably boils down to this... except it's "villain for the next month and a half", due to the length of the fights.
    • The series didn't adopt this format until Part 3 began and Stands were introduced, as Parts 1 & 2 were arc-based. Interestingly enough, this format helped the popularity of the series, as the fights were unique and the Stand users diverse.
  • Kekkaishi follows this trope, with a strange new Ayakashi or two attacking the Karasumori site every night. But it's justified through the actual behavior of the Ayakashi, the motives of more dangerous ones, and the steady plans of the Kokuboro.
  • Kinnikuman first began this way, Monster Extermination arc, before it became the Professional Wrestling series it became famous for.
  • Nightmare in Kirby of the Stars would provide King Dedede with a new monster with which to try to kill Kirby every episode. Naturally, Dedede is just too cheap to buy more than one at any one time. He did go into debt buying them. Nightmare actually had to send a monster to collect the debt without him realizing (at first), though it still ended up being defeated. Some of the monsters were from the games, like the Ice Dragon and Mumbies, but others weren't.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha started out like this, then Fate intervened.
    • Even before that she collected some Jewel Seeds off-screen and several per episode.
  • Mai-HiME started out this way with the appearance of the Orphans. Then the various Ancient Conspiracies started executing their plans one after another and nothing was the same anymore.
  • Mazinger Z and its sequels, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer, are considered the 1970s paragon in spite of actually subverting the trope. Dr. Hell often sent two, three or even more Mechanical Beasts at a time as well. And the original manga averted it completely. The monsters gang up on Mazinger more often than not. It also was subverted in Mazinkaiser, where Dr. Hell sends a large number of monsters at once against Z and Great Mazinger, and wins.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam, while extremely arc-based, still managed to introduce a lot of new enemy Mobile Suits in a monster-of-the-week fashion.
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam is THE best example in Gundam, because this was the entire point behind the series, to draw on the monster of the week fanbase, or more specifically the robot of the week fanbase, because that was how most robot shows were done prior to Gundam.
    • SD Gundam Force did something like this during early on. Basically, the Dark Axis' Quirky Miniboss Squad would use a Control Horn on a robot in Neotopia, such as a swan ferry or a train, turning it from a helpful Mobile Citizen into a dangerous menace, and it would be the Gundam Force's job to destroy the Horn. According to the Zako Zako Hour, the Dark Axis (or at least Zapper's squad) were not very good at making new weapons, so they have to steal everything. This stopped after Episode 9 as the Dark Axis began sending in better warriors to attack Neotopia.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion also started like this. From the 13th Angel's attack on, however, even though each monster's still gone at the end of the episode that introduced it, the mental scars its attack leaves behind on the main characters remain... and build up over time. Evangelion's cast is on its last legs by the time the 17th Angel kicks the bucket. Cue The End of Evangelion.
  • For a while in Popcorn Avatar, this is how many of the Asura and their avatars appear in front of Kurando.
  • Integral to the Pretty Cure series. Invariably, they're possessed objects turned rampaging beasts which the heroines fight, defeat and purify, albeit there are cases of animals and even people being possessed. In the first two seasons the villains summoned ghost-like spirits (Zakenna and Uzaina respectively) to create the monsters; in following seasons, the bad guys used different tools to achieve the same results, such as masks (Kowaina), spheres (Hoshina from PC5's sequel GO!GO!), diamond-shaped cards (Nakewameke), wiltering Flower Hearts (Desertrian), corrupted musical notes (Negatone) and clown noses containing a Cure Decor (Akanbe). The Jikochuus are the exception to the rule as they are created with the selfish and petty thoughts of a person's heart without the need of possessing anything.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica starts out like this. The format gets dropped before the halfway mark. One such monster manages to kill off a major character in the third episode.
  • Played with and used straight by RahXephon. The Dolems mainly show up on a one-a-week basis, although some of them survive their initial appearance and go on to reappear later.
  • The majority of Martial Arts and Crafts opponents in Ranma ˝ ended up like this, from the comical and ridiculous (Sentaro Daimonji of the Martial Arts Tea Ceremony School, Picolet Chardin of La Belle France School) to the serious and dramatic (Prince Herb, Ryu Kumon, Saffron). Then the anime took it above and beyond with outlandish rivals of the week who used toys, eggs, calligraphy, or even crepes. Only rivals who had preexisting relationships with the cast, such as Ryouga, Mousse, and Ukyou, were given the chance to stick around and become regular characters.
  • This is the basic structure of RIN-NE so far, albeit longer than most of the examples on this page — most cases take two or three chapters to solve.
  • Rosario + Vampire started as your typical Unwanted Harem monster of the week manga, until it became focused on more serious and involved story arcs. The anime adaption continued to be a fanservice-laden comedy into its second season, much to the chagrin of the fandom.
  • Samurai Pizza Cats. Lampshaded in one episode, where the Big Cheese introduced the robot menace he'd prepared for this episode with "Monster of the week, please enter and sign in."
  • In Sonic X, the first 26 episodes of the first series had Dr. Eggman's randomly-deployed robots, each one with an E-(insert number here) as their serial number, and the first 11 episodes of the first half of the second series had random Metarex encountered by Sonic and co. along their journey to save the universe from the Metarex.
  • For about the first half of Speed Grapher, Suietengu's plan to recapture Kagura is to have his henchmen sic a different Euphoric on Saiga. They never live more than two episodes after being introduced.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann plays this straight. In the first episode, the Lagann is introduced as well as a minor enemy. Next episode introduces some more mecha, including the Gunzan (later Gurren). Third episode introduces the first actually recurring villain, who's more of an anti-hero. By Episode 6, the show actually starts straying becoming more serialized rather than episodic, but maintains its monster of the week standard until Episode 15, where the MOTW is actually the first Big Bad. The second half reversed this, by having the good guys introduce more and more powerful mecha to kick the enemy's ass, most notably after Team Dai-Gurren goes to space.
  • In Umi Monogatari, the first few episodes have Marin and Kanon battling creatures that Sedna summons. This pattern gets abandoned halfway through the series as it focuses on more personal battles.
  • Witch Hunter Robin got a new witch every week for the first half. Then things changed rather abruptly...
  • Phantom Quest Corp. is comedy/horror sitcom style series which follows a case-by-case format (referred to as "Incident Files"). Each of its 4 episodes are its own stand alone adventure, complete with a different villain, or supernatural horror.
  • Early chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh! generally featured a "bully of the week." His role was typically to scam or beat up Yugi's friends, at which point Yugi would challenge him to a Cooking Duel or the local equivalent. Most notably, The Rival Kaiba started out like this, but then...
    • The anime based on the manga, and its spin-offs, have a Duelist of the Week who pops up with a new deck gimmick and quirky personality to challenge the hero. With very, very few exceptions, these characters will be defeated in a single episode and will never appear again. If they're lucky, they'll get a two-part episode before they vanish.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters has different monsters to defeat for each of the five trials to return home.
  • Pokémon, Sailor Moon and others in their genres are well-known for this. This trope is very common in some varieties of anime, and in anime it tends to take an egregious form that, after watching a few episodes, causes the audience to start asking uncomfortable questions like "Well, why don't the bad guys attack all at once instead of one at a time?" Writers usually stoop to handwaving if they deal with the question at all.
    • Sailor Moon is the most famous of this, with the monsters of the week — at least 80% of the time — also being Monogender Monsters, females in this case. None of the monsters ever survive the episodes they were introduced in, with the only two exceptions being Regulus (because Nephrite only used him as a distraction and never summoned him again after that) and Cenicienta (because the episode she appeared in was a two-parter). Parodied in this fanart.
    • Which caused a Dub-Induced Plot Hole in the English Macekre of Tokyo Mew Mew. If there's now an "army" of monsters of the week, why do we only see one at a time?
    • Both parodied and played straight in Magical Project S, which has Pixy Misa summoning a new "Love-Love Monster" in half of the episodes. The show and its characters are quite aware of both the futility of these creations (as the incantation of "Calling Mistakes" suggests) and their formulaic nature (in an episode where Misa introduces a small army of them, Sammy dryly says "I've seen all those already").
    • Pokémon is well-known for this: some Pokémon get to be the monster of the week multiple times. Within the first 24 episodes, Gastly was monster of the week twice: when he was impersonating a statuified woman, and as part of the Lavender Town episode with its evolutions.
    • You could also make a point for Team Rocket's mechs.
    • In Yo-kai Watch, with the yokai. Each episode features several sections, with at least one of those sections featuring an odd situation, Keita finding out it's caused by a yokai, then beating said yokai in some way or another. (Although he doesn't always defeat it. Sometimes the end of the part is played for laughs with a failed resolution, but this is pretty rare).

    Comic Books 
  • In the old The Dandy comic strip, Jack Silver, the villainous Captain Zapp had a device known as a Duplicator, which could create a living, breathing copy of any picture that was fed into it. Every week, he would use the strange creatures the machine produced to commit crimes, before being stopped by Jack Silver and his gadget of the week.
  • Many comics tend to have a story with a one-shot villain every now and then. It would be easier to list comic books and comic strips that DON'T utilize the monster of the week trope.

    Fan Works 


    Live-Action TV 
  • The 4400: Just under half of the episodes were like this. Several episodes would focus on a specific person out of the forty-four hundred people who had disappeared and been returned (and, later on, people who had taken the Promicin shots handed out by Jordan Collier), what sort of supernatural power they had developed, and a problem they had created (either willingly or otherwise) that would be resolved by the end of the episode. As stated above, it could in this case perhaps be more accurately called something like 'Freak of the Week', as the people in focus weren't always deliberately antagonistic.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The show starts off this way, though the Centipede organization and the mysterious Raina reoccur throughout various episodes.
  • Angel started by following this trope, but the format was discarded in favor of an arc-based one. Executive Meddling in season 5 brought it back full circle.
  • The Aquabats! Super Show! gleefully indulges in this, and its monsters run from the fairly standard to the truly bizarre.
  • Babylon 5 had these from time to time, most often in the first two seasons, with Story Arc episodes mixed in and becoming more common as the show continued. By the third season, such episodes became very rare as the plot began to reach critical mass.
  • Big Wolf on Campus: Since it's technically a Monster Mash, that's reasonable enough.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The series interspersed monster of the week episodes with Story Arc episodes, especially toward the beginning of the season. This became less common in later seasons.
    • Vampire Willow was this for two weeks.
    • Eyghon the Sleepwalker, although he becomes much more important in Angel & Faith.
  • Burn Notice episodes usually worked within a dual structure where Mike and his friends helped a Client of the Week fight a Loan Shark/Drug Dealer/Gang Member of the Week while also investigating the larger Myth Arc about Michael's burn notice. Mike almost always completely out-classed the villain of the week, so the larger arc was usually a chance to humble him and show him struggling with an equally matched opponent.
  • El Chapulín Colorado had most of its episode base on a Monster of the Week/Villain of the Week dynamics, although most monsters were a Scooby-Doo Hoax, so probably will be more accurate to say always Villain of the Week.
  • Charmed utilized this, although it became less prevalent in later seasons.
  • Criminal Minds has a new case almost every week (through at least Season 3) — usually dealing with the type of people you could call "monsters."
  • Dark Angel: the second season is a good example of this trope.
  • Dark Shadows often had season-long arcs like this with one supernatural villain.
  • The "To Catch a Predator" segments of Dateline generally featured Pedophiles of the Week.
  • Doctor Who:
    • This show was originally supposed to be an edutainment program... until the Daleks showed up, whereupon it careened irreversibly into monster of the week territory.
    • Notably, the old series was made up of serials, usually three or four parts...making it more like monster of the month. Though, the new series follows this trope straight, while also including more Story Arcs.
    • They even lampshade this trope in "The Eleventh Hour", during Matt Smith's epic speech: "'cause you're not the first to have come here, oh, there have been so many!"
  • Farscape had monsters of the week interspersed with the Story Arc episodes throughout the series.
  • Forever. Although Adam is the Overarching Villain of the series, it's still a cop procedural, with weekly cases and criminals.
  • Forever Knight: Nick Knight generally faces a new criminal every week in his job as a metropolitan police detective. Recurring villains include his vampire sire LaCroix.
  • Fringe starts out as primarily a monster of the week show, but later on they're either in service of or serve as a distraction to the Myth Arc.
  • Grimm: The first half of the first series follows this to a tee. The second half of the series featured more character arcs and ongoing plotlines but it still largely stuck with one case every week, whether certain cases fed into a previous one or not.
  • Haven revolves around the supernatural mystery disaster of the week. The town seems to attract people who are "troubled" and have supernatural abilities.
  • Heroes: This show is normally entirely serialized, but volume three would often put the arc in the background for a one-off evolved human. Examples include the man who could create wormholes and the Haitian's brother.
  • Highlander often had an evil Immortal of the week, due to the need to have a sword duel Once an Episode.
  • Hunter: With the exception of a few double episodes, Rick Hunter and DeeDee McCall will always investigate one case a week involving a criminal who will be either locked up or shot dead by the end of the episode.
  • Irwin Allen: Almost every episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and several other 60s SF shows produced by this man.
  • Kamen Rider, being a Tokusatsu franchise, has this as a staple. The following list includes notable implementations or subversions and aversions to this trope:
    • The first and second monster in the original Kamen Rider series are the Spider Man and Bat Man respectively. note . Many of the newer Kamen Rider series reference them by either basing the first monsters a Rider would face on these animals, or basing important antagonists on them.
    • The 51 Undead in Kamen Rider Blade are actually in conflict with one another to see which will be the dominant species on Earth (the human Undead was the winner of the last such competition, hence us). It can probably be assumed most of them are simply laying low and gathering their strength at the beginning of the series.
    • Multiple shows starting with Kamen Rider Den-O are a slight variation on this, as almost every episode is a two-parter (or more); therefore, almost every monster of the week actually lasts at least two weeks — and that's not counting the ones that were just slightly rebranded and reused, or those revived to serve as the Big Bad's army in the Grand Finale.
    • Averted with Kamen Rider Gaim. The series focuses more on the conflict with the multiple riders, who each deal differently with the series' impending apocalypse, resulting in more Rider vs Rider battles than battles against monsters. Only near the beginning are single monsters treated like a genuine threat. After a short while, the series starts reusing old monsters and treats them like glorified Mooks, serving only as the occasional distraction.
    • Also averted in Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, where there are only about ten to twelve monsters; they just have Resurrective Immortality. This ties into the series theme of comparing death in video games to death in real life. Another factor is that the show leans more heavily into Rider vs. Rider fights, as Gaim did.
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker could be considered the ultimate archetype. It was, in fact, even mockingly dismissed by some as "Kolchak's Monster of the Week" when its transfer from a pair of movies to a TV series ended up not quite panning out.
  • The Animal Planet show Lost Tapes features a different monster tormenting the Point of View character(s) each week.
  • Merlin: This was a big part of the first series, and the Big Bad only appeared in 4 of the 13 episodes. From Series 2 onwards the writers concentrated more on a singular villain (Morgause, Morgana and Agravaine, though occasionally a one-off monster will appear for a Filler episode.
  • Painkiller Jane followed this formula, with the agency facing a different neuro every week.
  • Primeval: Just what will come through the Anomaly this week? Gorgonopsid? Mammoth? Velociraptor? Future predator? Knight in Shining Armor? The show also has a Story Arc that ran parallel, with the heroes battling human villains while still handling the monsters of the week, who filed both sides under "dinner".
  • As mentioned above, The Outer Limits (1963) named and codified the trope, but there were several episodes that eschewed the formula;
    • "The Man Who Was Never Born" turns the formula on it's head by having the monster (Andros, a deformed mutant from a far flung Bad Future) be the protagonist, who seeks to undue the very future he was from.
    • "The Hundred Days of the Dragon" is centered around a Chinese government operative who uses a special drug that can shape shift his face, but no monster is present or implied.
    • "The Borderland" has no monster to speak of; the episode is set around a machine that can reach into another dimension.
    • "Controlled Experiment" likewise has no "monster", with the central characters being two martians with completely human appearances and a time control device on hand, and they aren't evil.
    • "The Inheritors" has no monster in either part of the episode.
    • "The Form of Things Unknown" is another episode with no monster, but a science fiction element (namely, a Time Tilter device).
  • The Prisoner had the No. 2 of the week, who tried the scheme of the Week to attempt to break No. 6. (There were a couple of returning No. 2s with new schemes.)
  • Red Dwarf goes this way after about the third series. To their credit, the crew is pretty Genre Savvy about it, especially in Series 6. For example, Rimmer explains to one monster that everybody they'd met to that point has tried to kill them. It also swings the other direction in Series 7 & 8, having the storylines cover multiple episodes. (Although they are still self-contained.)
  • Revolution: This show goes with the villain Of the week variety. "Chained Heat" had the bounty hunter Jacob. "No Quarter" had Captain Jeremy Baker (who got Demoted to Extra afterward). "The Plague Dogs" had a mad dog-trainer named Ray Kinsey. "Sex and Drugs" had a drug lord named Drexel. "The Children's Crusade" had Lieutenant Slotnick. "Ties That Bind" had Sergeant Will Strausser (who still appeared in a couple more episodes). "Kashmir" had Sergeant Joseph Wheatley. "Ghosts" had Captain Joseph Deckert. "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" had Alec Penner.
  • Smallville:
    • The show has the "meteor freak" of the week, mutants created by Kryptonite. Season 6 also gave us the Phantom Zone escapees-of-the-week. As the series has progressed, it has much more of a Story Arc, but also keeps the Monster of the Week format.
    • It also had an interesting variation starting in Season 4: Hero of the Week. Every season would have about two or three episodes where a superhero or two from the comics would guest star, run amuck, get on Clark's bad side, then ultimately they'd make their peace and help each other out before leaving in a manner that some could interpret as a Poorly Disguised Pilot. The CW's second superhero show Arrow seemed to play with this method when it introduced Huntress: at first she seemed like she was going to be a hero of the week, then her second episode has her declare she'd rather practice revenge, not justice, then her third has her cross the Moral Event Horizon, turning her into a villain-of-the-week.
  • Space: 1999: One of the most common fan complaints about the second season was that it dropped the metaphysical and psychodrama aspects in favour of more monster of the week action-oriented stories.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • In SF author David Gerrold's book about writing the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles", he recounts seeing the first episode broadcast, which featured a creature that sucked all of the salt out of people's bodies, thereby killing them. He hoped Star Trek wasn't going to turn out to be a monster of the week show, which ironically for him, it did.
    • While later series rarely had weekly monsters, Star Trek: The Next Generation and especially Star Trek: Voyager had stellar anomalies of the week that were always solved by a healthy amount of Technobabble.
    • The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation started to become a god-like alien of the week show, but fortunately found sturdier footing in subsequent seasons.
  • Supernatural usually has actual monsters, more so in the first two seasons. This is balanced against the Myth Arc villains, who tend to be demons, rogue angels, and, in Season 7, Leviathans. In the later episodes the writers still bring in a monster of the week every once and a while for a breather.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Practically every series (and by extension, every Power Rangers series). There's no point in listing them all, just click the link to see them. Plenty of lampshading. "Just send them all" has in fact been tried before. If it's a small number the Rangers have a hell of a time with them. If it's a large number, Conservation of Ninjutsu kicks in and they go down as easily as Elite Mooks. Except for the time they had to kill Zordon...
    • Notable Sentai MOTW include Baseball Mask, who managed to show up twice for the 35th anniversary, Can Opener Mask, who actually succeeded in killing a Ranger, and Chinomanako, who managed to become Kamen Rider Diend and nearly cause the end of the World of Shinkenger.
    • Choudenshi Bioman features a rare aversion (almost): instead of traditional monsters of the week, five recurring human sized "beastnoids" fought the team instead, although there was always a giant robot of the week instead of an enlarged normal monster. Given that this meant the giant robot costumes got little use, this approach has only been done in Bioman.
  • Very common in the Tokusatsu genre, especially Kamen Rider, Super Sentai (and by extension, Power Rangers) and the Ultra Series. This isn't terribly surprising, as the action and fights are the main draw of these shows. Indeed, Super Sentai has multiple-stage monster of the week fights, culminating in a robot vs. daikaiju showdown. Below are some notable examples:
    • Power Rangers may well be your average Westerner's introduction to the very concept.
    • Parodied in one episode of Power Rangers Ninja Storm. Lothor tries to send six giant monsters at once against the heroes, only for his device to fail citing a "memory error." His general informs him that they did not pay for the memory upgrade, so they can only enlarge one monster at a time. Lothor curses at this complaining that as future ruler of the world "I need big monsters!'" and settles for enlarging one and making the rest fight while small.
    • Except for Metalder, Jiraiya, and the Rescue Police trilogy, every other Metal Heroes show followed this; even Tokusou Robo Janperson has a "Cyborg of the Week" along with actual monsters.
    • Choujinki Metalder deserves special notice. In the first episode, every monster ever can be seen in the Big Bad's lair. There are four groups of monsters, each with its own general, and each has his or her own rank. Most are just in the background until it's their turn at being MOTW, but there are monsters who live to tell the tale and come back to fight another day multiple times, and some who rise to become major characters even if not "Victorious Saint" (general) rank.
    • Even an adult-oriented Toku like GARO has monster of the week episodes, spliced in with Story Arc episodes. On several occasions did the MOTW turn out to be relevant to the arc.
    • Chou Sei Shin Gransazer actually averts this trope for most of the series. The first 12 episodes has an alien agent put the Gransazers against each other. The next quarter of the show deals with a trio of recurring villains. Only the third quarter of the show has the heroes consistently deal with random monster attacks, which subsequently get replaced by another set of recurring villains in the final arc.
  • Torchwood... At least, the first two series. After the successful switch to "mini-series focused on a single threat" of Children of Earth, RTD decided to drop the MOTW format altogether.
  • Tremors: The Series:
    • In the series, monsters of the week were produced by a chemical compound called "Mix Master" which, once released into the valley, randomly scrambled together the DNA of all living things except humans. This created monstrosities ranging from acid-shooting plants to giant shrimp.
    • And one of them was defeated by the resident monster, El Blanco.
  • Ultraman, especially the original series, followed this trope to the letter, except for the one two-parter that took two episodes to defeat one monster.
  • Warehouse 13 revolves around the Artifact of the Week, which can range from purely a MacGuffin all the way up to an actual Monster.
  • The West Wing does this metaphorically, with political crisis of the week, caused by idiot politician of the week (in fact, many episodes are around one week long).
  • The X-Files: The show alternated weekly monsters and Myth Arc episodes. The X-Files is famous for not quite wrapping up a MOTW and closing with a The End... Or Is It? ending. Unusually, while most fandoms considers MOTWs to be fillers, a large group of X-Files fans considered the weekly monster episodes to be superior to the Myth Arc episodes, especially in later seasons... mostly because the latter were made up as they went along.

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    Web Original 
  • Ash And Cinders often has the trio facing off against different strange perils in between their Fetch Quest to retrieve their stolen half-brother.
  • The web fiction serial Dimension Heroes often has the Dimensional Guardians fighting a new monster in every chapter, though it must be pointed out the fights still help to advance the story arc.
  • DSBT InsaniT has a different monster showing up in every episode with varying threat levels. Koden even references this trope in 'The Camping Webisode'.
  • New York Magician: Not many (as there aren't that many stories, all told), but they definitely have this vibe.
  • Quirky Misadventures Of Soldine The Cyborg: the first three mini-movies follow this format. The fourth one contains Night of the Living Mooks and a Quirky Miniboss Squad, but the fifth one returns to the classic format.

    Western Animation 
  • Every episode of The Adventures of Figaro Pho focuses on a different phobia, usually manifesting said phobia as a character who serves as the villain for the episode.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force usually follows this rule, with the monster somehow spawning out of Shake or Carl's short-sighted actions or out of nowhere. This arguably counts as a parody, as said monsters usually turn out to be more obnoxious than evil. Although the cast usually gets killed or horribly maimed regardless.
  • Unsurprisingly for a show set in a spy agency, most of Archer follows this format. A good chunk of episodes have the format of "ISIS is hired for a mission, and either succeed by the skin of their teeth or bungle it completely" Season 5 and 7 avert this however, having more long-form storytelling.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! has a handful of baddies that only took one episode to defeat.
  • Batman: The Animated Series
    • An episode, "The Underdwellers", spotlighted a villain called the Sewer King who never appeared again. He was sufficiently creepy for a Batman villain, but it's just as well he never returned, since he was really only good for one story (that is, showcasing the evils of child slavery).
    • The same could be said of Baby Doll, as she only ever had 2 appearances, and was limited in both motive and ability compared to other, more menacing Batman villains.
  • Most episodes of Batman Beyond had Terry fighting one-shot villains, though recurring villains such as Inque, Powers, Shriek and others were also fixtures of the show.
  • Ben 10 lives on this. Considering the strange and varied varieties of trouble that tend to occur wherever Ben goes, one feels sorry for this kid's hometown if summer vacation ends.
    • Yeah, it gets toasted.
    • Sometimes inverted in a few seasons, where the Monster of the Week wasn't just what Ben faced, but what he became.
  • Biker Mice from Mars frequently had Lawrence Limburger summon a one-shot antagonist to defeat the Biker Mice or distract them from ruining his schemes. Unusually for this trope, some of the Monsters of the Week would occasionally come back for another episode.
  • The Divinos of Combo Nińos.
  • Courage faces this all of the time in Courage the Cowardly Dog. In one episode, they get together to try and beat the "stupid dog."
  • The Crime Grimes of Creepy Crawlers.
  • Defenders of the Earth features several guest antagonists, the first to appear being Shogoth from "A Demon in His Pocket". A common plot device throughout the series involves Ming trying to use the Monster/Villain of the Week to conquer the Earth and/or eliminate the Defenders.
  • Dino Squad had a somewhat interesting variation on this. While it did have a central villain mutating normal animals into prehistoric creatures, and doing so was part of his master plan to take over the world, he only did so to gather scientific data to improve the mutation process. The mutants were almost never created to facilitate some other evil plan.
  • Godzilla: The Series has a new creature of some sort in every episode. However, most of these monsters are actually pretty good, and they range from a petroleum-eating goo blob, to a swarm of ants big enough to uproot and carry a tree.
  • Dr. Claw of Inspector Gadget had a new special MAD agent almost every week, who would never be seen again after the episode they appeared in. Gadget and the Gadgetinis did the same, but also had some one-time villains with no connection to M.A.D. or Dr. Claw whatsoever.
  • Gravity Falls has this especially in its first season. Later on it focuses more on its Myth Arc.
  • King of the Hill has someone on almost every episode who wants to take advantage of the main characters or just be a jerk to them, and never appear again.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: the titular pair try to find a peaceful place for each monster to live.
  • Martin Morning demonstrates this, with the odd twist of the protagonist being the new monster each episode.
  • Martin Mystery was this kind of show, with the characters being sent each week to investigate a mystery that always ended up being caused by a monster.
  • Megas XLR practically lives off this, along with a fair bit of lampshade hanging. "Cool. Lets go see what kinda monster I get to beat up this week!"
  • Men in Black has the variant of "Alien of the Week", albeit in some few episodes the villain of the week is human.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: The Big Bad Hawkmoth uses magical butterflies called akuma to turn ordinary people suffering from extreme negative emotions into super-villains. He helps them get revenge on whoever wronged them in exchange for them stealing the heroes' Miraculouses for him.
  • Monster Force.
  • The monsters in Moville Mysteries.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic tends to follow this format with the Season Premieres and Finales, while generally keeping to a Slice of Life format for in between (it could almost be called "Monster Of The Season"). In fact, whenever a major villain makes a second appearancenote  said second appearance is about the ponies swinging them to the side of good. A handful of monsters do make an appearance during the Slice of Life episodes (Like the Tatzlwurm from Three's A Crowd or the Chimera from Somepony to Watch Over Me) but they're rarely the focus and usually just roll up to the party late to stir up a bit of extra trouble.
  • Piggsburg Pigs! was, somewhat unexpectedly for a cartoon about Funny Animal main characters, an example of this. Unexpectedly because the monsters that ended up driving every story weren't used for humor themselves. Considering how every episode ends up being about some monster/demon/alien escaping the Forbidden Zone, one would be forgiven for thinking there'd be more done than putting up a few warning signs.
  • When not facing their Rogues Gallery, The Powerpuff Girls mostly just take on different monsters.
  • Nearly every episode of Quack Pack has Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and Donald's nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie face a one-shot antagonist, many of which were mad scientists or thieves.
  • The various ghosts of both The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters fit neatly into this trope. Justified as it is their work description to deal permanently with the ghosts. The ghosts of Filmation's Ghostbusters were more like a Rogues Gallery with one-shot monsters and ghosts being the exception.
  • The User's player characters in ReBoot.
  • Regular Show has established itself as one of these; but you'd probably prefer to call it "Weird Crap of the Week."
  • Scooby-Doo's use of People in Rubber Suits remains among the most well-known and archetypal examples of this trope.
  • Spoofed in Sev Trek: Pus in Boots (an Australian parody of Star Trek: The Next Generation).
    Lt. Barf: "Captain, we are being hailed. I recommend we go to Red Alert!"
    Captain Pinchhard: "We haven't even met them! Isn't that a little premature?"
    Lt. Barf: "Every week we encounter aliens who try to destroy or take over the ship. It would save a lot of time if we assumed the worst now."
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man has Spider-Man fight a supervillain of the week.
    • Though a lot of these were the result of the machinations of one or more of the show's three Big Bads — Tombstone, Doc Ock, or Norman Osborn, rather than isolated encounters. What's really interesting is the show's justification for why there are so many supervillains running around: The Big Bads had them created to keep Spider-Man busy and thus unable to interfere with their standard criminal operations.
  • Speed Buggy had the characters getting entangled with the exploits of various criminals and evil masterminds every episode.
  • While several of the Bang Babies on Static Shock are recurring villains, a lot of them were one-shot antagonists.
  • Steven Universe started out with the focus being on the protagonists fighting random monsters, going after certain artifacts, or dealing with a mess caused by the titular hero, while using that as a backdrop for worldbuilding and character development. This was the dynamic even in the more Slice of Life-oriented episodes. Halfway through the first season, however, it slowly introduced a Myth Arc and ditched the Monster of the Week style altogether; nowadays the Slice of Life episodes tend to be more... Slice of Life.
  • On SWAT Kats, this phenomenon also cropped up as the "Missile of the Week" used to deal with the current problem at hand.
    • Lampshaded by Razor in the episode "Unlikely Alloys" upon seeing Zed.
  • The Mutraddi Beasts of Sym-Bionic Titan.
  • Teen Titans had a couple of villains who were Monsters of the Week (Besides the ones where the Brotherhood of Evil reunites them). Some villains were lucky to have two appearances.
  • Totally Spies! typically operates under this format, though some villains do escape from prison from time to time.
  • The main premise of Transformers: Robots in Disguise is Bumblebee and his team recapturing escaped Decepticons, with almost every episode having a new Decepticon appear as the antagonist.
  • Underdog often fights one of these (usually an alien) when he isn't fighting Simon Bar Sinister or Riff Raff.
  • Discussed in The Venture Bros. by the Pirate Captain at his booth in "The Buddy System." He touts the benefits of being a "small-time diversionary menace," playing off his original role as a parody of a Scooby-Doo villain, as opposed to a career supervillain.
  • Yogi's Gang: Each episode features a different villain or team of villains reveling in or encouraging bad behavior, from vandalism to cheating to air pollution.

Alternative Title(s): Villain Of The Week, Freak Of The Week, Monsters Of The Week, Monster Of The Day