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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.

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.


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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Full House: "Happy Birthday, Babies" and "Michelle Rides Again" were both originally broadcast as hour-long episodes.
  • That '70s Show: The season eight premiere, as well as the last episode were both originally broadcast as hour-long episodes.
  • How I Met Your Mother: The season eight premiere, as well as the final episode were broadcast as hour-long shows.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • The Stargate SG-1 episode "Threads" runs 63 minutes rather the show's usual 45-ish. It's recut to 45 for syndicated airings.
  • 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.
  • "Once More With Feeling", the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It never aired in complete form after the first time.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who
    • Numerous episodes of Doctor Who have been longer than the usual episode length. The final episode of "The Trial of A Time Lord" from the classic series ran slightly longer than 25 minutes. In the new series, where episodes are normally 45 minutes in length, this can happens to episodes introducing the new Doctor, such as the Twelth Doctor's first episode "Deep Breath" and season finales such as "Journey's End", both of which ran for a full hour.
    • 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.
    • Not counting specials, several episodes of new Doctor Who have been extra-length by five or ten 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. On BBC America these have been shown at full-length for their first showings and cut down to an hour afterward.
  • 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.
  • Season 3 of Wizards vs. Aliens opened with its first two episodes joined together, as opposed to being broadcast separately.
  • 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.
  • Cheers ended its hugely successful 11-year run with "One for the Road", a 98-minute episode.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 continues the trend, as it has only six episodes.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • The Christmas Special of The Noddy Shop, "Anything Can Happen At Christmas", is 60 minutes long as opposed to the usual 30 minutes the show runs for.

    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).
  • Most movies that comprise the Kara no Kyoukai 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.
  • 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 season finales are around 30 minutes. The first of which was cut into thirds to save bandwidth.
    • Broly Abridged is the longest TFS movie, clocking in at a half-hour. Originally released in two parts.

    Western Animation 
  • The Disney Afternoon:
    • DuckTales (1987): There were a number of five-part episodes that were originally broadcast as two-hour movies before being split into multiple episodes.
    • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: The five-part pilot was originally aired as a two-hour movie special.
    • Goof Troop: The two-part pilot originally aired as a one-hour special.
  • Family Guy:
    • The three Star Wars parody episodes, plus "And Then There Were Fewer" 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.
  • Starting around 2002, later episodes of VeggieTales began to run for either 40 minutes or even 50 minutes, as opposed to earlier episodes, which ran only 30 minutes.
  • From 1984 to 2003, episodes of the animated Thomas the Tank Engine were four and a half minutes long. After the series Replaced the Theme Tune in 2004, the episodes were extended to being seven minutes long. Since 2009, after the series' transition to using C Gi, as opposed to the live-action scale models of the previous seasons, the episodes are now eight and three-quarter minutes long.
  • Mickey Mouse (2013):
  • 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".
  • 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 one or more unrelated Peanuts shorts to fill out the hour.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • There are some Nicktoons that usually run 11 minutes but then have longer episodes. The special episodes of Rugrats, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Loud House are usually 30 minutes, when the stories are eleven, and the former two shows also had hour-long episodes.
  • Magic Adventures of Mumfie had Mumfie's White Christmas run for 23 minutes when a usual episode is ten minutes long.
  • 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
  • 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".
  • 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, and four in the third (the season finale being two in a row).
  • The Simpsons has had one two-part episode ("Who Shot Mr. Burns?") and one hour-long episode ("The Great Phatsby").
  • DuckTales (2017): The first episode "Woo-oo!" is an hour-long episode; the second half sometimes airs as a half-hour episode titled "Escape To/From Atlantis!".

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