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Extra-Long Episode

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Sometimes, a TV show will have a special episode that lasts longer than usual.

It is especially common for Grand Finales (especially for Long-Runners), and Very Special Episodes to originally be broadcast as these longer episodes. It can also be common (in, say, the USA where programming slots are fairly strict) for both half-hours of an hour-long extended episode to have their own separate plots, so that they can be re-run independently.

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When two episodes are aired back-to-back (often at the start of a new season), and are explicit in this, it does not count. Additionally, having a pilot episode be of an exceptional length is common, and examples of such go under Pilot. Is commonly an element of the Stock Sitcom Grand Finale.

Distinct from a Multi-Part Episode in that there's a single episode, not multiple sequential episodes with a single plotline. Syndication may blur the lines between them by cutting one episode into several. Also related to Made-for-TV Movie, if the TV movie is really a glorified special episode for an established TV series.


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Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Director's Cut version of episodes 21—24 of Neon Genesis Evangelion are several minutes longer than the others. Some scenes were cut out in their Original Airing to trim them down to the normal length, despite their vital role in making the massive Mind Screw that the series was actually make sense.
    • 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time, the final entry in the Rebuild of Evangelion series (as well as the Grand Finale for Evangelion as a whole), has the distinction of being the second longest anime film ever released, clocking in at 155 minutesnote .
  • Season 1 finale of Code Geass (episodes 24-25) were originally aired back-to-back, and split up for reruns.
  • The episodes of the 2014 anime of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (Stardust Crusaders, particularly) has long episodes, up to 29 minutes long.
  • Detective Conan have several of these every year. In particular, the first episode of the year is usually two hours long.
  • The thirteenth and final episode of Made in Abyss was a double episode.
  • The finale of Orange was a double episode.
  • Astra Lost in Space was double length for its first and last episodes.
  • Fate/Zero's first episode was a double-length episode of 45 minutes long. The next Fate TV series, Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], had three double episodes: Episode 0, Episode 1, and Episode 12.
  • The first episode of Re:Zero was double-length. For the rest of the series, the show had many instances where either the OP or ED sequence (or both) was skipped, allowing the studio to squeeze additional time into the episodes, and in some instances even commercial breaks were skipped. This allowed for many episodes to have runtimes that were closer to 26-27 minutes long (vs. the typical 21-23 minutes a normal anime series would get). In what must be some kind of record, the last ten episodes of Season 2 were all over 29 minutes long.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu had a double-length first episode.
  • Sword Art Online: Alicization, started off with a double-length episode.
  • The second season of Sound! Euphonium begins with a double-length episode.
  • Blood Blockade Battlefront ends with a double-length episode.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero starts with a double-length episode.
  • All 8 episodes of Psycho-Pass 3 are 40-45 minutes long.
  • High School D×D New episodes run 27 minutes, three minutes longer than the usual TV anime episode length.
  • Warlords of Sigrdrifa debuted with a 45 minute long episode.
  • Most movies that comprise the The Garden of Sinners adaptation are about an hour long. Episode five and seven, however, are at least twice that, because they are so pivotal to the plot. The former resolves the overarching conflict with the Big Bad of the series, while the latter brings closure to the lead couple's personal arcs.
  • The Detective is Already Dead has a double-length premier episode which rearranges some scenes to emphasize how much Siesta meant to Kimi before her death.

    Asian Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Endgame: Clocking in at a little over three hours long, this is the longest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date (as of its release date of 2019, in comparison to the twenty-two films that came before it) and has the epicness to match. It's even the longest Hollywood superhero film by length, barring extended cuts and more impressively the longest film ever released by Disney.
  • In the DC Extended Universe, Zack Snyder's films are the longest by far. The extended version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice clocks in at three hours and three minutes, and Zack Snyder's Justice League clocks in at a length of 242 minutes — four hours and two minutes.
  • The New Adventures of Tarzan: While most Film Serials of the studio era consisted of individual episodes that were roughly 20 minutes long, the first episode of this serial runs for a full hour. The reason is the first episode was designed to serve as the basis of a stand-alone feature film for movie theaters that preferred to run a feature instead of a serial.
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    Literature 
  • Many of the novels of Charles Dickens and other 19th century authors were published in monthly installments of three or four chapters. These novels ended with an extra-long installment known as a "double number," giving the author space to wrap up all the subplots.

    Live-Action TV 

By Creator:

  • Kurt Sutter became notorious for this during the run of Sons of Anarchy with episodes runtimes being "however much script Kurt wrote" by the end, typically as mush as 40 minutes over its original hour.
    • He has continued this with his series Mayans M.C., with no episode confined to a typical hour timeslot.
    • FX seems to encourage this across its series, with episodes of American Horror Story running typically anywhere from five to 15 minutes over and ditto The Americans.

By Series:

  • Zig-Zagged with the first episode of Alias, originally broadcast 69 minutes commercial free - which works out to about a more standard 90 minute episode when commercials are added in.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210 would have two hour long episodes for its season finales.
  • Black Mirror: Consider that the "episodes" are more like shows and aren't episodic, nor regular outside of the particular series of its broadcast (the year).
    • "Black Museum", at 70 minutes, and "USS Callister", at 75 minutes, are run as feature-length, compared to the standard for the fourth series shows (between 40 minutes and an hour).
    • The third series "series finale" (the last ordered one), "Hated in the Nation", was just short of feature at 89 minutes, compared to the about 60 minute average of series three shows.
    • The 2014 Christmas movie, "White Christmas", came in at 75 minutes (internally split into three parts that depict related story lines).
    • Most of the episodes of the first two series, broadcast with ad breaks on Channel 4, are 45 minutes long, but the second one, "Fifteen Million Merits", is over 60.
  • "Once More With Feeling", the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It never aired in complete form after the first time.
  • Cheers ended its hugely successful 11-year run with "One for the Road", a 98-minute episode.
  • Crocodile Hunter had a 90-minute special, fittingly titled "Steve's Story (Special Edition)", and a 3-hour Grand Finale, "Steve's Last Adventure''.
  • Doctor Who
    • Numerous episodes have been longer than the usual episode length. The final episode of "The Trial of a Time Lord" from the classic series ran for a full half-hour rather than the usual 25 minutes.
    • Conversely, there was a serial in one of Patrick Troughton's seasons where the episodes all ran five minutes shorter than the usual 25 minutes. (It was made at the end of the fifth season's production block, by which point the show had been in production for 46 consecutive weeks. Troughton was already exhausted, and then found out the first episode of the serial was a Bottle Episode only featuring the three regulars, which was too much for him. He made his feelings known to the production team and the scripts were edited down out of sympathy for the lead actor.)
    • Not counting the specials (the final Tenth Doctor stories, the Christmas shows, etc.), several episodes of the new series have been extra-length by five to thirty minutes, most notably the Eleventh Doctor's introduction, "The Eleventh Hour" and every series premiere and finale for the Twelfth Doctor. The longest episode in the revived series is the Twelfth Doctor's introduction "Deep Breath", at 76 minutes raw. While BBC America's usual policy is to show such episodes at full-length for their premieres and cut them down to 45 minutes afterward, "Deep Breath", "Hell Bent" and "The Doctor Falls" are skipped because such edits would make them too hard to follow, which in conjunction with all of his Christmas episodes being skipped leaves many major plot points of Twelve's tenure unresolved in the standard rerun rotation.
    • The longest single episode of Doctor Who to date is not the TV movie as one might assume. It is the 20th anniversary special "The Five Doctors", which clocks in at 90 minutes, just barely beating the movie's 89 minutes.
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman would occasionally have two hour long episodes during sweeps periods (November, February, May).
  • Downton Abbey: regular episodes were 60 minutes (including commercials) but the season premieres and finales were 90 minutes and the Christmas specials were two hours.
  • ERs first and final episodes were two hours long.
  • Friends has several "supersized" 40 minute episodes, which led NBC to create quick Thursday Night Live episodes to fill the remainder of the timeslot. Beginning with the end of the fourth season, they also started turning out hour long episodes for the season finales.
  • Inverted version: the first-season episodes of Fringe all lasted 50 minutes without commercials (rather than the standard 42-43 minutes), and the series switched to a standard episode run time from the second season onward.
  • Full House: "Happy Birthday, Babies" and "Michelle Rides Again" were both originally broadcast as hour-long episodes.
  • The last two episodes of the seventh season of Game of Thrones were extended to run fifteen minutes (+) more compared to the previous hour-long episodes. The eighth season continued the trend, as it had only six episodes.
  • How I Met Your Mother: The season eight premiere, as well as the final episode were broadcast as hour-long shows.
  • The Grand Finale of Late Night with David Letterman ran about 5 minutes longer than usual, ending with Dave Riding into the Sunset on a horse (and implied over to CBS).
  • The Grand Finale of The Late Show with David Letterman ran 12 minutes over its standard 1:03 running time.
  • M*A*S*H's fourth, fifth, sixth, and tenth season premieres were originally hour-long episodes that were later split into half-hour two-parters for reruns; similarly, Season Seven originally had an hour-long Clip Show that was also split into a half-hour two-parter in syndication. Of course, the Grand Finale was a two hour (minus commercials) TV movie.
  • The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour is this for both Match Game and The Hollywood Squares, being an hour-long combination of both series. Even Buzzr considers it this, as when they added the show, they said that it added more Match Game episodes to the network's library.
  • MythBusters: The "Jaws Special" (the first time Jamie and Adam hosted "Shark Week") was two hours long. Subsequent repeats on Discovery have either been split into two one-hour segments or edited down to a single hour.
  • According to Bob Newhart's autobiography, the last episode of Newhart lasted a little longer than 30 minutes because the producers couldn't figure out what to edit without affecting the plot.
  • The Noddy Shop's Christmas Special, "Anything Can Happen At Christmas", is 60 minutes long as opposed to the usual 30 minutes the show runs for.
  • Most Odd Squad episodes are about 11 minutes, but some episodes, especially those important to the story arc, like "Training Day" or "O is Not for Over", are double the length.
  • The Office (US) was frequently having more and more hour-long episodes as the series progressed, though people were starting to complain about the frequency of them, not only because they were just going to be split into half-hour two-parters for syndication anyway, but the hour-long episodes were mostly filler that contributed nothing to the stories.
  • One Foot in the Grave had several: it was a given that the Christmas specials would be extended (the 1994 special One Foot In the Algarve is so long, it's effectively a Made-for-TV Movie). Even "The Man Who Blew Away", which was intended as a regular episode but which aired on Christmas Day, was extended to 40 minutes (the first ten minutes are basically a self-contained mini-episode before the main plot starts). The Grand Finale episode was also extended to 40 minutes, but in addition, every episode in the final series overran its official half-hour slot.
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force had its multi-part episodes, including its opener "Broken Spell" and the three part episode "Dark Wish" originally broadcast as extra long episodes.
  • SEAL Team had the two-part "Siege Protocol" episodes air back-to-back a little over halfway into its third season. It did it again with its fourth season premier with the episodes "God of War" and "Forever War" airing at the same time. In the latter case, those two episodes were supposed to have been the third season's finale until production on the show was forcibly shut down by the state of California as part of its debatable response to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-2020.
  • Seinfeld, like M*A*S*H occasionally did hour-long episodes every once in a while, and they two were split into half-hour two-parters in syndication; two of these were Clip Shows, while another was the Grand Finale. As far as running time goes, all episodes originally ran for 22 minutes (which was standard practice at the time), except for, "The Yada Yada," which originally ran 26 minutes with limited commercials.
  • Since Sesame Street was cut to 30 minutes in 2014, any specials made since that year, including The Magical Wand Chase and The Cookie Thief, could be considered this. Elmo's Playdate is the lone exception, as it runs the same length as a typical episode.
  • Shining Time Station had four hour-long Family Specials.
  • The series finale of Sisters was two hours long.
  • Stargate SG-1: "Threads" runs 63 minutes rather the show's usual 45-ish. It's recut to 45 for syndicated airings.
  • Numerous series from the Star Trek franchise have had two-hour long episodes (as opposed to the usual hour long) that are later re-aired as two part episodes. This generally happens to series openers such as "Encounter At Farpoint" from Star Trek: The Next Generation and series finales such as "What You Leave Behind" from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but has also happened to episodes in the middle of seasons such as "Dark Frontier" from Star Trek: Voyager. The first of these was "The Menagerie", episodes 11 and 12 of the first season of the original series, with the plot of the episode largely being a Framing Tale around the footage of the first pilot, "The Cage".
  • For the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I Survived aired a 90-minute commercial-less episode featuring stories of survivors of the attacks.
  • That '70s Show: The season eight premiere, as well as the last episode were both originally broadcast as hour-long episodes.
  • In each season of Tracy Beaker Returns, the opening two episodes would be broadcast together into an hour long format and then split into two 30 minute episodes on later airings. This has also happened with the show's spin-off The Dumping Ground. Funnily enough, it is the compilation broadcasts that cut material, while the individual episodes are aired intact.
  • The Walking Dead had three 90-minute episodes during the sixth season (the season premiere "First Time Again", episode 4 "Here's Not Here" and the series finale "Last Day On Earth"), when most of their episodes are an hour. Some people speculated that episode 4 was extra-long to help watchers deal with Glenn's apparent death in the previous episode, when actually it ratcheted up tension by not dealing with it at all.
  • Season 3 of Wizards vs. Aliens opened with its first two episodes joined together, as opposed to being broadcast separately.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The January 18, 1994 episode of ECW Hardcore TV ran 90 minutes as opposed to the usual 60 for the NWA ECW Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk vs. "The Franchise" Shane Douglas match, which went to a 45-minute draw. The match was building up to The Night The Line Was Crossed on February 5th, which featured a famous 60-minute draw with Funk, Douglas and Sabu.
  • Most editions of WrestleMania have fallen within 3 and 4 hours in length, but 32 began to flirt with the five-hour mark. And this is excluding pre-shows.

    Web Original 
  • The season 9 finale of Acquisitions Incorporated is over an hour longer than the previous live games had been (3 hours instead of regular 2), probably because the organizers realized that they have run late every time. Before that, the season 8 finale had been 30 minutes longer than the usual episodes, but it wasn't planned to run that long (and was more than likely the final straw that led to the AcqInc regular time slot at PAX being officially extended).
  • Ultra Fast Pony episodes are normally about 5 minutes long. However, season finale episodes always run 10 to 15 minutes long. It's lampshaded, as these episodes are all titled "The Longest [noun]".
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Most episodes are 7 to 10 minutes long, whereas the the first two season finales are around 30 minutes. The third season finale more than doubled that at 67 minutes long, split into three parts.
    • Broly Abridged is the longest TFS movie, clocking in at a half-hour. Originally released in two parts.
  • World War II: Episode 38 - "Blitzkrieg in the West" covering the week of May 18, 1940 is twice as long as a regular episode, slightly over twenty minutes instead of the usual ten.
  • Some More News episodes are normally 20 - 30 minutes long, occasionally 40. The Ben Shapiro episodes and the one devoted to coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests each top an hour, and the one about dystopian movies is two hours and fifteen minutes long.
  • Up From The Depths: Most of the reviews last around five minutes, with a brief summary of the plot, discussion on the film's strong and weak points, then giving it a rating between one and five stars, with a summation of what makes this film interesting to what kind of giant monster movie fan. Other videos going in-depth on certain topics can last twenty minutes or more, and the livestreams last for hours.

    Western Animation 

By Franchise:

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas and other Peanuts specials originally ran in a standard 30-minute timeslot including commercials, then got bits chopped out of them in order to accommodate more advertising. In more recent years they get run in hour long blocks so that the original can run in its entirety in 32-35 minutes, followed by another Peanuts special note  to fill out the hour.

By Network:

By Series:

  • Animaniacs, which was comprised of multiple short segments that ranged anywhere from 30 seconds to ten minutes, had three episodes with one segment that took up the entire show (or, as in the case of the latter episode, an hour-long block): "Spellbound", "The Warners' 65th Anniversary Special" and "Hooray For North Hollywood".
  • One episode of the CBeebies cartoon Boj was 22-minutes long instead of the normal 10-minute runtime.
  • Bump in the Night typically followed the Three Shorts format with every episode consisting of two ten-minute episodes and a Karaoke Café song, but two episodes broke this pattern.
    • "Party Poopers" is a twenty-minute episode with a Karaoke Cafe segment coming afterwards.
    • The Christmas Episode "'Twas the Night Before Bumpy" ran for one hour and four minutes.
  • While most episodes of Courage the Cowardly Dog followed the Two Shorts format, with each short being 11 minutes long, but "The Tower of Dr. Zalost" and "The Mask" were full 22-minute episodes.
  • The second Christmas Episode of Creature Comforts runs 22 minutes, against the 9 minutes of other episodes.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • The premiere episode "Woo-oo!" is 44-minutes as opposed to the show's usual 22-minutes; the episode is sometimes split in reruns, wherein the second half is titled "Escape To/From Atlantis!"
    • The Season 1 finale "The Shadow War!" is also a double-length episode, with its two halves called "The Night of De Spell!" and "The Day of the Ducks!" when aired separately.
    • The season 2 finale "Moonvasion!" is also a two-parter released as an hour long episode. In addition, Word of God states that it, along with the preceding three episodes (Timephoon, Glomtales and The Richest Duck in the World), are all meant to be a homage to the above-mentioned five-part episodes from the original Ducktales.
    • The season 3 episode "Let's Get Dangerous!" is significant for being the first two-parter in the show that isn't a season premier or finale.
    • The Grand Finale "The Last Adventure!" is a three-parter, split into "A Tale of Three Webbys!", "The Lost Library of Isabella Finch!" and "Tale's End!"
  • Family Guy:
    • The three Star Wars parody episodes, plus "And Then There Were Fewer", "Road to the North Pole" and "The Simpsons Guy", were all originally broadcast as hour-long episodes.
    • "Brian and Stewie" was originally broadcast as an hour-long show, with the first half hour being the main feature, and the second half having Brian and Stewie host a compilation of musical clips from the show. In this case, the episode is not split into two halves, as the second half isn't seen in syndication. In fact, the second half only exists because the main feature lasted a little over a half-hour, Seth MacFarlane didn't want anything cut, and FOX wanted the episode to be musical-themed as to coincide with their week-long "FOX Rocks" promotion.
    • The episode "Send in Stewie, Please" ran for 30 minutes without commercial interruptions.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • The episode "A Tale of Two Stans", which introduces Stanford Pines, Grunkle Stan's long-lost twin brother and the author of the Journals, originally ran without commercials for a full half-hour. Rather than cutting it down for rebroadcast, the show is aired in full, with 15-minute episodes of other shows filling out the remaining time.
    • The Grand Finale "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls" (which itself is the last part of a Multi-Part Episode) is an 44-minute-long special. It's split into two episodes in reruns, with the second part titled "Weirdmageddon 4: Somewhere in the Woods".
  • Episodes of Jelly Jamm are typically 10-11 minutes long, but the final episode, "Holding Hands", is instead 23 minutes long.
  • Episodes of Kaeloo are usually seven minutes long, but Episode 105, titled "Let's Play the Very Special Episode", is 26 minutes long.
  • Llan-ar-goll-en has a Christmas Episode ("Ceirw Coll Siôn Corn") that is 26 minutes long, while the other episodes are only 12–14 minutes long approx. This could also a likely explanation for why there are only 51 episodes of the show instead of 52, although the Christmas special doesn't air separated into two parts.
  • Magic Adventures of Mumfie had Mumfie's White Christmas run for 23 minutes when a usual episode is ten minutes long.
  • Mickey Mouse (2013):
  • Milo Murphy's Law typically operates in a Two Shorts format, but Story Arc-heavy episodes tend to be 44 minutes, like "Missing Milo", "Fungus Among Us", and the season two premiere and its severe Spoiler Title, "The Phineas and Ferb Effect". The Christmas Episode and Halloween Episode are both 22 minutes.
  • Some episodes of The New Shmoo ran for approximately a half-hour, whereas others were shorter at 10-11 minutes.
  • There are three episodes of OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes that are double the Quarter Hour Short length of the others, those being "You're in Control" (the Season 1 finale), "Dark Plaza" (the Season 2 finale), and "Let's Fight to the End" (the penultimate episode of Season 3 and of the overall series).
  • Depending on the network, PAW Patrol usually runs as either Two Shorts or as quarter hour shorts. The show has had several 23-minute stories, which is usually done to introduce Sixth Rangers or for spin-offs like Sea Patrol , as well as two hour-long specials, which, interestingly enough, were played in theaters in several countries.
  • Phineas and Ferb typically operates in a Two Shorts format, though a handful of episodes bump it up to 22 minutes, and rarer still are 44-minute specials — "Christmas Vacation", "Summer Belongs To You", "Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel", "Save Summer", "Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars", "Night of the Living Pharmacists", and "Last Day of Summer".
  • The Simpsons has had two two-part episode ("Who Shot Mr. Burns?" and "Warrin' Priests") and one hour-long episode ("The Great Phatsby").
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil occasionally has episodes that last a half-hour instead of the usual quarter-hour—two in the first season, three in the second, four in the third (the season finale being two in a row), and five in the fourth (the last coming at the end of a mostly-continuous nine-episode Story Arc).
  • Steven Universe often has sequential episodes that follow directly into each other, but "Bismuth", "Gem Harvest" and "Reunited" are all double-length (22-minute instead of 11-minute) episodes not broken apart by title cards or end credits. The first even has an anime-style Eye Catch for the commercial break (which the normal episodes are too short to have). The Season 5 finale, "Change Your Mind", would go on to be a quadruple-length episode (forty-four minutes long).
  • Tangled: The Series: The episode "Queen for a Day" runs at 56 minutes, for more than twice as long as the normal 22-minutes-episodes.
  • Teen Titans Go! had five episodes longer than ten minutes: Island Adventures, "BBRae", "The Day the Night Stopped Beginning to Shine and Became Dark Even Though it Was the Day", "Titans Got Talent" and "The Self-Indulgent 200th Episode Spectacular!". While most of these were 30 minutes long, the first and third episodes were an hour in length.

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