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Sakura: So, did we even do anything this episode?
Kakashi: Sakura, welcome to the wonderful world... of filler.
Everyone: Nooooo!

Filler episodes are entries in a generally continuous serial that are unrelated to the main plot, don't significantly alter the relations between the characters, and generally serve only to take up space. This could be considered Padding (the addition of scenes to lengthen a story) applied to a whole franchise by creating brand new episodes.

The term is most widely used in anime fandoms, where filler more precisely refers to anything that isn't in the original source material, as the vast majority of anime aren't wholly original works but rather adaptations of existing material. Ongoing existing material. Combine this with the fact that season breaks used to be — and still are — uncommon for Japanese children's programming, and you have a recipe for many popular shows (especially Shōnen anime) needing to create filler content just so they won't have to deal with overtaking the manga. This can and has included dozens of episodes of filler storylines that will never be referenced or discussed ever again. See Overtook the Manga or Adaptation Expansion for examples specifically relating to that. The practice is no longer especially common due to the rise of the 12-Episode Anime and other factors.

Filler has a few defining aspects, but the biggest is lack of series momentum, meaning the episode can be safely ignored without the audience missing out on any important information to the series. And if there is any pertinent new info, it tends to be a single plot point that can be adequately summed up in a short sentence with zero elaboration (e.g., "Alice got a new power" or "Bob got a new costume" or "Charlie's first appearance") because the details are inconsequential. These are referred to in anime fandoms as "single upgrade filler", as only purpose of the episode is to give a character an upgrade and nothing else. But at their most extreme, absolutely nothing that happens in a filler episode will affect things going forward, even if it seems like a character developed or grew in some manner.

The Wacky Wayside Tribe is a common form of filler in quest narratives. When the show splits to follow two or more characters, and one of them is engaged in filler-type activities while the others are doing important things, it's Trapped by Mountain Lions. A Lower-Deck Episode can end up as filler if badly done. When the filler is just flat-out bizarre, it's a Bizarro Episode. If you need filler badly enough, clips of previous episodes can be hacked together into a Recap Episode.

Remember, Tropes Are Not Bad: Just as a plot-related episode can be unenjoyable if handled badly, a filler episode can be great fun if done well.

Compare Fake Longevity, Gaiden Game, Fetch Quest and Side Quest, the video game equivalents. For filler in Web Comics, see Filler Strips. For filler in Music albums, see Album Filler.

Compare Standalone Episode, Breather Episode and Out-of-Genre Experience. When the news media is forced to resort to this, it's Silly Season or Sweeps.

Contrast Not So Episodic.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi contains a tremendous amount of filler compared to the first series; which is unusual, since it's actually shorter. Annoyingly, no single episode can be just skipped over, since the creators almost invariably throw in a scene or two of story or character development just to keep it from being entirely irrelevant, to the point that removing all the filler from episodes 2 through 9 would leave about one and a half episodes of relevant material.
  • Attack on Titan: Despite compressing quite a bit of manga into 25 episodes, some anime-original content is employed to maintain the pace of each episode, such as more character interaction within the 104th's top ten members. One specific example is the Dieter sidestory, which happens as they Survey Corps heads back from the 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls.
  • Black Clover:
    • Episodes 29 and 66 serve as Recap Episodes.
    • Episode 68, which shows off the friendship between the Clover Kingdom's squad leaders, Yami and Jack.
    • Episode 82, a majority of the episode is spent on Charmy in a Dream Sequence that has her interacting with Black Clover characters in chibi-form.
    • The series goes into anime-original content following the Reincarnation Arc due to coming dangerously close to Overtook the Manga. The author, Yūki Tabata, provided the anime a moment of relief by establishing a 6-month Time Skip following said arc, which the cast trained themselves up during those months off-screen so that they can take on the enemies of the Spade Kingdom in the next Story Arc. This allowed for the anime producers to create anime original content within the 6-month window to do anything they want as long as some of it focuses on Asta and company training their abilities. This filler saga takes place from Episodes 123 to 157. However, episodes 126 to 129 are an exception as they adapted the remaining manga content that happens before the Time Skip.
  • Bleach: Due to the anime catching up to the manga on a regular basis, season-long filler arcs were created. Individual filler episodes randomly occur through canon arcs, including canon scenes that might only consist of a few panels being expanded into an entire filler episode.
    • The Bount Arc was the first filler arc, occurring immediately after the end of the Soul Society arc. It introduced a group of characters who were enemies of Soul Society but struggled with keeping Ichigo and Uryuu's power issues as close to canon as possible while making them still able to function in the storyline.
    • When Hitsugaya's Advance Squad was based in Karakura Town for a month at the beginning of the Arrancar Arc, the anime team decided to create a mini-arc of filler episodes detailing what these shinigami were up to.
    • The Captain Amagai Arc occurred in the middle of the Arrancar Arc, lampshaded in the episode tag scenes by having the characters (usually Ichigo) joke about the unfortunate timing of the arc and having the canon characters behaving like actors taking a set break. This arc focused on a new captain for the third division as well as a power struggle plotline within a high-ranking noble family.
    • The Karakurizer stand-alone filler episodes (213, 214, 228 and 287) are based on a series of manga omakes (about life in Karakura when the main cast is off fighting battles) expanded into a mini-plotline but also crash head-first into self-parody.
    • The Zanpakutou Unknown Tales Arc was a plotline where an enemy turned the zanpakutou against their shinigami owners while struggling with one captain also defecting, combining an action story with a mystery story as both the enemy's and the defector's motivations were slowly revealed.
    • The Beast Swords mini-arc immediately followed the Zanpakutou arc, tying up some loose ends and using the zanpakutou characters for mostly comedy or slice-of-life stories.
    • The Gotei 13 Invasion Army Arc occurred after the end of the Arrancar Arc and, like the Bount Arc, had to struggle between keeping Ichigo's power level relevant to the canon while making him useable for the arc. This story centred around a mysterious Damsel in Distress and her equally mysterious enemy who had the power of creating a clone army of the captains and lieutenants to serve him.
  • Case Closed has many anime-original cases totaling over 250 episodes that were never originally in the manga. In addition, the manga itself has a plethora of cases that have nothing to do with Character Development, or have any relation whatsoever to the continued Myth Arc revolving around the Black Organization. In the end, they act as canon filler which explains why the manga has been able to last for 1000+ CHAPTERS!
  • The second half of the A Certain Scientific Railgun anime is filler, containing material not covered by the original manga (or the original original novels), focusing largely on minor characters and had little to no action. It did manage to wrap up the Kayama plot from the manga, though, and it's all written by the original author, so it's canon.
    • The second season, Railgun S, follows suit where the first 16 episodes adapt the manga's version of the Sister arc, but then closes out with an anime-original arc surrounding the Febri character to which many agree to have been Railgun's weakest overall episodes. As a result, this has left some people considering Railgun S to have ended at episode 16. Also within the adapted Sister arc, a majority of the 7th episode serves as a Filler break in the middle of Mikoto's storyline. This episode instead mostly focuses on Kuroko going through her daily student work routine, and her worrying about Mikoto knowing that the latter's doing something dangerous that Mikoto doesn't want Kuroko to know about.
  • Any "Chii and [insert name here] Talk" episode in Chobits. They were considered so pointless and unnecessary to the plot that they were completely excised from the first North American DVD release, and only released as a bonus disc after fans complained.
  • Code Geass had two Clip Show episodes that the staff openly referred to as Filler; they weren't even included in the DVD release. However, many fans consider any episode that doesn't directly correlate to the war between the Black Knights and Britannia to be Filler, resulting in a lot of hate for the Breather Episodes that focus on Ashford Academy. The writers possibly fired back in the final School Festival episode, where Milly remarks (paraphrased) "There's nothing wrong with the little filler moments in life" — and in the English dub, she outright uses the word "filler".
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the TV edition of the Mugen Train arc brings a whole new episode serving as a prelude to Kyojuro eventually boarding the titular train, unlike previous additions to the anime which were expansions of what the manga had hinted at, the episode is fully original content where no real meaningful advancements to the plot took place; the episode starts with Kyojuro being informed about the Mugen Train so he could end a potential demonic activity, but the episode introduces another demon killer also assaulting another train, Kyojuro makes quick work of the demon and then proceeds to ride the Mugen Train as planned.
  • Den-noh Coil is mainly the story of Isako and her connection to the weird phenomena in the virtual world. This makes the episodes in which she doesn't even appear feel rather pointless.
    • The filler episodes do feature Yasako, the other main character, and her friends exploring the nature of illegals, however, which gives them a point. It could be said that Yasako is the protagonist through whose eyes the action is seen, making her understanding of the milieu more important than Isako's arc.
  • Digimon was normally surprisingly good at averting this, unusual for a Merchandise-Driven anime of such length per series, but Digimon Frontier had a little bit of a problem with it. Then came Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Who Leapt Through Time, where almost literally the entire series is filler: in twenty-five episodes, there have been only the vaguest hints of greater things going on but have been largely ignored in favor of pointless filler. The practical upshot was to leave them with just three episodes to introduce, carry out and conclude an actual plot. After the excellent high that was its immediate predecessor, especially in regard to its lack of filler, no-one was amused.
    • Being the previous contender for the most episodic installment, 02 was surprisingly good at averting this — but episodes 12 and 15, which featured romps through a Digital western and Little Edo town respectively, did nothing to advance the plot or characterization.
    • The early Digimon Tamers episodes before the Deva digimon appear follow a Monster of the Week format.
    • Like Tamers, Digimon Data Squad also has a slow start with its first 10ish episodes following the Monster of the Week format. The plot only truly starts when Merukimon enters the picture.
    • Digimon Ghost Game decided to shift focus from a show focusing on plot, to a Monster of the Week show. As a result, the vast majority of its 68 episodes fall under filler. Fans grew more and more tired of the format as the series went on. Like the previous Hunters series, Ghost Game ended with a rushed three episode plot line that left fans unsatisfied.
  • Some of the later episodes of the 1979 and 2005 anime of Doraemon were made specifically for the anime. There are also some later episodes that adapted a particular chapter from the manga a second time, with updated character designs, animation, and slightly different scenes.
  • Dragon Ball, already famous for its padding, has a significant amount of filler too! The relaunched series, Dragon Ball Z Kai, eliminates much of this in Dragon Ball Z, managing to cut down the episode count to half of what it once was... and it still kept a significant amount of filler, indicating that around two thirds of the DBZ anime was either filler or padding. Several of these episodes also contradict events that show up later, such as the origin of the Dragon Balls, who built Android 8, and that Planet Vegeta had a Kami equivalent. But while the padding and one-off Filler Episodes are almost unanimously hated, the full Filler Arcs are appreciated by more than a few fans:
    • The Worldly and Heavenly Training Arcs in Dragon Ball are often appreciated for their smaller and episodic nature, compared to the high-stakes main storylines that span continuous episodes.
    • The Saiyan Training Arc was the first Filler Arc in Z, and is often lauded for giving Gohan some much-needed character development in his early years as he learns to live off the land and face the realities of the world.
    • The Garlic Jr. Arc is the only Filler Arc to have mixed opinions, but it at least didn't contradict the main storyline; the film it's a follow-up to was the one which contradicted canon events.
    • Most infamous is "The Driving Episode" in the lead-up to the arrival of the Androids, considered one of the single funniest episodes in the series due to its sheer and utter absurdity (Goku and Piccolo attempting to get drivers' licenses).
    • The Other World Tournament, where Goku fought deceased warriors from throughout the galaxy's history after Cell blew up Goku, is a fun excursion that expands the fighting community from across the galaxy.
    • The Great Saiyaman arc, in which Gohan is a dorky superhero (which did happen in the manga, but was greatly expanded for the anime), is again appreciated for an episodic structure that gives more screentime to Videl and Gohan.
    • The amount of filler episodes in Dragon Ball Z can be extremely apparent if one compares the position of the episodes in the original show when to the Abridged version. Because a single Abridged episode normally covers multiple episodes from Z in a sixth of the time (with the exception of episode 44, which only covers a single Z episode) while skipping most of the filler arcs (like the Garlic Jr. arc, which is done in only one episode), Abridged was able to condense the first 186 episodes of Z into 59 episodes.
  • In Fairy Tail, episodes 19 and 50. All in all though, the anime has a simple solution when it gets near the manga; just go on a hiatus, which it has done twice.
    • All filler before the 7-year-timeskip was all either cut material Hiro Mashima chose not to use or to serve as Adaptation Expansion; the lone exception being the four-part Daphne filler in which Natsu is forced into a mechanical Dragon because Gray wanted him to remember a promise he made in the past.
    • And after the 7-year timeskip, two entire filler arcs were introduced, one preceding the Grand Magic Games and the other right after it. They were notable for introducing a Reborn Oracion Seis, the Earthland counterparts of notable Edolas characters (for the first), Super Powered Evil Sides of the Celestial Spirits, and additional screen time for the likes of Yukino, Princess Hisui, and Arcadios (for the second). Also notable in that at least the first one was made canon by Mashima while the second one received several CallBacks in the sequel manga, particularly Lucy casting the anime-original Gottfried spell with the aid of two magic copies of Yukino and Hisui, just as it was done in the filler arc with the real ones.
  • The first season (the first 22 episodes) of the Fist of the North Star anime adapts the first three volumes of the manga (chapters 1-25), but had the order of events rearranged so that the final fight between Kenshiro and his initial nemesis Shin, which ends as early as Chapter 10 in the manga, is moved to Episode 22. Because of this, the Golan Colonel and Jackal, who were independent villains that showed up after Shin dies in the manga, were rewritten to be lackeys working for him in the anime and there's a long period during Season 1 (from episodes 14 through 21) that is basically just Kenshiro fighting against a series of anime-only villains, some with rather absurd fighting style even by the manga's standards (such as one Nanto Seiken practictioner whose style specializes in sending out his henchmen as human cannonballs). On the other hand, this also meant that Shin, who was killed off rather quickly in the manga, got a lot more screentime in the anime, and even manages to have his own moment of glory when he single-handedly thwarts a mutiny led by one of his own generals.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) is an interesting subversion, as the few anime-original episodes at the start that would have been filler ended up being vital to the plot instead; the show runners decided (with encouragement from Hiromu Arakawa) to take the anime in a completely original direction rather than constantly padding things out to avoid overtaking the manga. Thus, as the anime went into a different plotline from the manga, those filler episodes were welded into the new Myth Arc to fill in for any later developments the manga would have.
    • Years later, after the manga had ended, the series would receive a second, Truer to the Text adaptation in the form of Brotherhood, which is almost completely an aversion: characters and events introduced in the original's filler episodes (like the introduction of Barry the Chopper and the Elrics removing a corrupt official of a mining town from power) are only quickly referenced, letting the main Story Arc progress in every episode. The sole time Brotherhood truly plays it straight is an unusual case of it being the first episode, which contains an original story with several Establishing Character Moments that would later appear in the original form, as well as a heck lot of Foreshadowing.
  • Gintama: Despite the very difficult genre of the anime, the staff did a pretty good job with the fillers, making them as amusing as ever. There was actually an episode in which Gin-san explains to the others what the staff could do in the case of the anime catching up with the manga, and one of the solutions was to make a filler. However, he also lists the cons of this — the anime could veer off its original plot because of this, and make it impossible to naturally come back without getting some complaints from the viewers. So what the Gintama staff chose to do was do reruns...if only because they didn't want their spot on the broadcasting schedule taken by another show, or their popularity diminishing in their absence and taken over by new anime, specifically Kuroko's Basketball.
  • The Haruhi Suzumiya "Endless Eight" arc. The beginning and end have slight differences to begin and resolve the story, but the other six are almost the exact same things happening over and over again albeit completely re-animated and re-voiced. Other stories of similar length were handled in 1-2 episodes. There is an "ordinary" filler episode also. "Someday in the Rain" is an episode original to the anime, although it was written by Nagaru Tanigawa, author of the original light novels. The series seems to be a case of Pragmatic Adaptation. The anime seasons cover everything (chronologically) that happens before Disappearance, which was The Movie.
  • While it's hard to have filler in manga, issue 387 of Hayate the Combat Butler deserves special mention. It basically interrupts the ongoing plot to start a new thread about Saki worrying about Wataru and bugging Hayate about it...and then weaves them together such that none of them go anywhere. It also gets lampshaded mercilessly, starting with the title This is the kind of manga you are reading.
  • Heaven's Lost Property is a rare example of a manga with filler. There's no other way to call interrupting the main arc for some random perverted wacky hijinks of Tomoki (And maybe one or two pages with plot at the end). The worst part? It's a monthly manga. Thankfully the plot's great... when the author gets to it.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Yakusamashi-hen, the first arc of the second season. This is a subversion, however, in that the creator specifically asked for this arc to be inserted into the start of the season, because of details left out of the anime's first season, which would create some plot holes if not covered. The arc itself is composed of some scenes left out of earlier arcs (e.g. the game of zombie tag) and the events of a PS2-only arc, with Satoko replacing Mion as the protagonist and the plot-hole preventing details worked in.
  • Hunter × Hunter: The 1999 anime had this since the manga wasn't very far into its run. Most notably, the main characters are introduced via Debut Queue, and there's a lot of expansion during the Hunter Exams, including an original bit between the tower and island sections where the candidates have to work together to fix their ship to reach the island. The 2011 anime averted this since the manga had gotten pretty far and didn't even bother to continue once they had covered all of the manga's completed arcs, opting for just a And the Adventure Continues ending.
  • The third season of the Ikki Tousen anime, Great Guardians, has no basis in the original manga and has little bearing on the overall plot. The slightly slower pace and bigger emphasis on character interaction still make it a fairly enjoyable watch though.
  • Inuyasha was infamous for this. Although many of the earlier seasons were mostly storyline-based with filler thrown in here and there (because the manga was well ahead of the anime) many fans noted a deterioration starting during the fourth season before the Band of Seven Arc; after this arc, the anime was more or less caught up with the manga, causing copious amounts of filler to be created in order to compensate. This led to the show's premature ending, necessitating a short revival (The Final Act) several years later, after the manga finally ended.
  • The second season of Is This A Zombie? was mostly filler, due to the plot's magical chainsaw being broken. While it was rather entertaining, only about three episodes were actually important to the plot, with all the other episodes being retconned. What's interesting is that if it weren't retconned, the character development it would have provided from what happened during the arc would've arguably made things better.
  • The television adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure completely averts this trope as a result of no TV series adaptation being made prior to the 2012 seriesnote , with the manga starting publication in 1987. By the time the animated series started, the manga had begun Part 8 about a year prior. Barring David Productions foregoing season breaks and skipping plotlines, or series mangaka Hirohiko Araki putting the series on hiatus, the series will likely continue to avert this trope for another decade.
  • Kinnikuman and Ultimate Muscle both had filler arcs that got them cancelled. Both of them got revived later, but Nisei was canned again and got its Conclusion in Another Medium.
  • Being only 49 episodes long, the fillers in Macross 7 are incredibly hard to deal with since you can't totally avoid any episode without missing out some important events. In the first half of the show, you can count around 10 battles with nearly identical situation, the villains repeatedly announce their objectives (more Spiritia!) but ultimately retreat while accomplishing nothing, boring Stock Footage and the same songs being performed over and over. But mixed among those sequences are bits and bits of important information, making the show an obvious result from Executive Meddling to make the show longer than it should be.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth anime in the first season has a lot of filler episodes. This, however, proves to be very important when it comes to Character Development. It also borrows several elements used in the manga too. And then on the second season there's everything involving Nova.
  • Maison Ikkoku had an episode concerning one of the Cloudcuckoolander neighbours of the protagonist giving him a mysterious egg, and he frets the whole episode looking after it, not knowing if he should eat it, keep it in his fridge or try to hatch it... yet MI has the least filler of any Rumiko Takahashi series.
  • MÄR 's anime was infamous for this despite the fact the manga was way ahead when they started it having individual episodes dedicated to events outside the War Games or focus on side characters. As well as a few arcs (particularly the Zonnen, Real World, and Ghost Chess Pieces arc) and expansion of material from the manga. Some fans do like some of the added material as the manga did tend to rush things and gave some more much needed character development to some characters. Even the final battle was expanded upon as well. But some detractors note it does needlessly slow down the plot however.
  • The anime adaptation of Mega Man Star Force began with a series of episodes introducing each of the invading FM-ians, while also gradually developing the main characters and their relationships. After the introduction of the Star Force, however, the series' plot and character development mostly took a backseat to the FM-ians' comedic efforts to gather "Minus Energy" to restore Andromeda for the remainder of the series, only returning to the forefront come the finale. The Tribe sequel series, having a smaller episode count, averts this for the most part, with each episode directly tying into the overarching plot in some manner.
  • Midori Days has an excess of filler irrelevant to the main plot in the manga's later chapters. The anime had less filler.
  • The My Hero Academia series has stayed true to the source material, with some scenes serving as Adaptation Expansion for moments that were rushed or skipped over in the manga. That said, there are several exceptions that are considered to be pure filler:
    • Season 2's 19th episode shows off the internships of the Class 1-A students while the main character spends the episode resting in the hospital after a hard-fought battle. Asui's internship in particular gets a lot of focus in this episode.
    • Season 3's 1st episode is a Recap Episode for the series, with Class 1-A hanging out at the pool.
    • Also from Season 3, the 16th and 17th episodes extended parts of the Hero Licence Exam's first task by including a couple anime-only school teams that face off against Class 1-A. These filler matches include a ninja group from Seijin High School facing off against Todoroki, and the Yaoyorozu/Shoji/Asui/Jiro team facing off in a battle of wits against Saiko Intelli's all-girl team from Seiai Academy.
    • Also from Season 3 is the 20th episode, which is a special episode completely disconnected from the currently ongoing Hero Licence Exam arc. The episode in question serves as a prologue to the My Hero Academia film, Two Heroes.
    • Like the previous season, Season 4 starts with a Recap Episode. A reporter named Taneo Tokuba arrives at U.A. supposedly doing a story on Class 1-A's life at the dorms. In actuality, he's looking for the student that All Might chose to be his successor.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, despite being only 39 episodes, wound up having a filler arc added in the middle of production. These were the "Island/Africa arcs" (episodes 23-34) in which the entire quality of the production, from the animation to the storyline, sank like a stone. They were commissioned only because the show's ratings were very high and imposed on the production team against their will. Hideaki Anno actually had nothing to do with their production because he was so taxed with just fulfilling his original duties, and in later interviews expressed that if he could redo the series he would only keep parts of two of the filler episodes at most because the arc was so unimportant to the story.
  • Naruto's anime first went into filler for over a year (80 weeks to be precise) after it Overtook the Manga. Studio Pierrot initially took steps for Shippuuden to have minimal filler so as not to break things up too badly, but results have been varied:
    • Many episodes (especially the first couple of arcs, where it was every episode) were adaptations of a single manga chapter. However, many individual chapters of the manga contained long stretches of not much happening. This didn't change in the anime, and led to episodes where characters did practically nothing, including an egregious one where Naruto, Yamato and Sakura stood around for 20 minutes talking about how they needed to get moving and catch up to Orochimaru.
    • Notable about the Shippuuden fillers is when they add to canon. Rather than a long series of Monster of the Week episodes evenly mixed with random variations of Defeat Means Friendship (as the original TV series did), the Ninja Guardians arc details a full-on storyline with an expanded backstory. Some arcs (such as the 3-Tailed-Beasts arc) focus on giving one last chance for screentime to many of the characters who would later die or otherwise be lost from the limelight.
    • However, Studio Pierrot quickly reverted to their old ways following the Pain arc, with entire seasons of episodic plots and past arcs (even in one particular case a flashback account that trails off into portraying other's lives at the time). In the climatic War Arc, the pacing was significantly bogged down by episode-long flashbacks, some of which retell already-established events from a slightly different angle.
    • The issue of fillers came to a head in the Infinite Tsukuyomi filler arc, where a few pages in the manga illustrating a Lotus-Eater Machine were expanded into multiple episodes' worth of filler, resulting in 2015 having only eight canonical episodes. This, despite the original manga having ended and the anime technically having only a few chapters' worth of material to adapt, leading to dissatisfaction among fans.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion didn't have very many of these (due to its being only 26 episodes long), but the most notable was Episode 7, "A Human Work". It contains no Angels, has no real bearing on the story, has little to no character development (other than Shinji's anger over Misato's slobbiness, leading to Shinji's being assured by Toji and Kensuke that knowing how slobby she is compared to her beautiful real-world persona makes them "a family"), and serves only to fill in the space between the battle with Ramiel and Asuka's introduction to the story. Though it is worth noting that despite the episodes aforementioned lack of content it does add a bit of world building and drops some large hints at NERV's more seedy involvements in the overall events of the series.
  • Nisekoi is a rom-com series that lasted for 229 chapters. However, there are so many one-off Padding chapters throughout the middle portions of the story that a good half of the chapters could be cut out without messing with the overall narrative.
  • The first anime season for Noragami ends with a short filler arc in which the main character, Yato, squares off with the God of Calamity, Rabou, in order to give the adaptation some form of a seasonal finale.
  • Compared to most shows of shorter length (nearly twenty years and counting!) One Piece has had relatively few filler arcs, due in part to how jam-packed with details Eiichiro Oda's stories tend to be (making it easy for writers to do adaptation expansion) The filler arcs which are present are a mixed bag; fans generally hate the Warship Island/Apis arc, but many consider the G8 arc to be good enough to stand with the best of the canon material. The Ice Hunter arc got high marks as well, perhaps because it was outlined by Oda himself.
    • The Davy Back Fight arc is a rare canon filler arc, as Oda has said it was not intended to have any real connection to the overarching plotlines of the series. Indeed, the primary purpose of the arc was to consume time, giving Robin more time with the crew before the Enies Lobby arc, where the plot is driven by her connection and attachment to the other Straw Hats and vice versa.
    • Some of the filler arcs are based on storylines which Oda planned for the manga but were later cut to keep the plot moving. The One Piece Film: Strong World movie also began life this way.
    • After a point, One Piece has come to abandon filler completely, instead working on keeping a 1-Chapter-To-1-Episode-Ratio to prevent Overtook the Manga (a good thing too, as everything from the Sabaody Arc to the present day storyline have left no opportunities for filler arcs), getting by using ideas Oda came up with but couldn't implement due to pacing issues.
      • Case in point for Adaptation Expansion: after the events of Sabaody, the fates of the remainder of the Straw Hat Crew was given a single chapter of the manga. From that chapter, the writing staff created four episodes, covering the fates of two members in each. This was aired in-between Amazon Lily and Impel Down, due to fitting with travel time. In-between Impel Down and Marineford, the writers created another four episodes that touched upon the cover-stories that were put into the Manga during Marineford.
      • While One Piece is good-and-all at being free of Filler, that doesn't mean that the anime is epic 24/7. It's subject to some pretty excruciating padding as it attempts to stretch the chapters out. During Robin's heartfelt plea to live, the subsequent episodes had a string of non-action sequences where each Straw Hat had a chance to go over their backstories before moving on with the plot.
      • Eventually the Padding became so excessive that the fans actually started advocating for filler arcs, suggesting that instead of making entirely new material, Toei should just adapt the cover stories like what they did with the Straw Hat Separation Serial cover story after the Impel Down and Marineford arcs. Since those are canon, there's no way they'd detract from the anime's continuity. The chapter-episode ratio meant that the plot would drag on TV, thus the advocacy for filler, so that way Toei could adapt more chapters per episode. Though rumor has it Toei stopped adapting the cover stories after the Coby and Helmeppo one because episodes that didn't feature the Straw Hats got lower ratings.
  • Pokémon: The Series only starts a new game-based arc on the day the games in question are released, in Japan at least. This has led to lots of filler episodes. It should be noted that Pokémon does not have true filler, as there is no original story it is being adapted from. Thus, what the fanbase usually classifies as filler are one-off episodes that don't further any Character Development or ongoing storyline. Early on, many filler episodes were simply the result of a carnival being in the town juuuust as Ash and co. arrived, or it was due to them getting lost because no-one could read the map properly. Sometimes, the gang would come across a town that wasn't even present in the games, which is reasonable, as it expands the world far beyond the original games due to the hardware limits. However, episodes where the gang gets wrapped up in helping a Character/Pokémon-of-the-Day solve whatever problem they're currently dealing with is what usually gets called out as the defining example of a true Pokémon filler episode. Even more so when that problem is just the Team Rocket trio causing trouble again.
    • Pokémon: The Original Series was supposed to have only one season, given it ends where the game did so (though with some changes — instead of battling an "Elite Four", the main character is put in an elimination tournament — which he went far but lost, starting a tradition). When it had to continue with the next game still a year away, a whole filler arc was made with the Orange Islands.
    • The Johto arc that followed is a bit of a Broken Base due to the many filler episodes and poor pacing since it had no B-Plot to fall back due to the GS Ball subplot being aborted, so no recurring plot element before the next region. According to math, Johto comprises 50% filler (in comparison, the Sinnoh arc is only 20% filler despite being much longer overall). The Hoenn arc, however, was considered an improvement, as May's quest was given the same importance as Ash's and thus there were able to get two storylines worth of episodes and need less filler. The Battle Frontier arc was a mixed bag, due to uneven placement of the filler episodes.
    • A recurring variant of filler episode is to just mash up a bunch of clips from major battles into one thirty-minute long video, add music, and call it a day. The dub skips over these entirely.
    • The writers did something different with Pokémon the Series: Black & White. Most of the episodes were devoted to the "task at hand" (whether that task be Ash's Gym Badges, then the Meloetta plot, then the Tournament Arc, then Team Plasma). There were few fillers in these arcs, with the majority of those being Upgrade Fillers and character episodes. Since the Team Plasma arc ended six months before the release of the next (game) series, the period in between was devoted to various stand-alone plots that could not fit into these arcs.
      Too Long Didnt Read version: The Unova episodes saved most of their unrelated filler for after all the arcs were resolved, creating an "arc" of fillers.
    • By around Pokémon the Series: XY, Bait-and-Switch filler episodes started to appear, where the previews promised a major change (whether a Pokémon evolves, a cast member catches a new Pokémon, or what have you), but then the episode aired, and nothing important happened in it, reveling the episode to have been a filler all along. A noticeable example is the XYZ episode that fans convinced themseves implied Ash would catch a Shiny Phantump.
  • Reborn! (2004) is more subject to Padding, but it does have two full-fledged filler arcs during the adaptation of the Future Arc. The first of which is for the Vongola Guardians to receive the flame of their respective Arcobaleno babies and a second arc which is to gain the flames of acceptance from their respective Vongola ancestors so that they'll be able to open up their box-weapons. As a result, the Future Arc was twice as long as the Varia, Kokuyo Land, Daily Life arcs combined.
  • In an example of how Filler can go dangerously wrong, Rurouni Kenshin was actually cancelled due to the extremely low quality of its filler arcs, and given a Gecko Ending or, more precisely, No Ending. Filler after the Kyoto Arc started nice, but went downhill. The first one (the "Christian Arc"), while having some holdings of the Idiot Ball and a disappointing amount of fighting, still had interesting characters, an unexplored element of Japan's history, and the animation was still as nice as ever. Then came the Daigoro Arc, which had too much padding, but still some interesting moments (it was based on an official RK novella). After that, the Black Knights arc: an interesting idea (European knights in Japan), but badly explored, as the story took too long to ever go anywhere and the battles were very, very static. And for the final blow there came the Feng Shui Arc, which had a ridiculously hard-to-follow plot, bland new characters, random unexplained events and practically zero action. Naturally, the show was cancelled after it.
  • Sailor Moon has several fan-made lists flowing around the internet called "Sailor Moon Essential Episodes". Of the original 200 episode anime, more than 50 episodes can be considered completely irrelevant filler, with an additional 50 being single plot point or power upgrade curiosities. In a bizarre twist, the complete lack of filler episodes in Sailor Moon Crystal has completely thrown fans for a loop, with many people noting that it could've used some filler to explore the characters and their relationships to each other.
    • The entire Doom Tree arc was filler. Naoko Takeuchi only intended for Sailor Moon to be a one-arc series and was taken aback by its popularity. When asked to continue the series, she did. However, the anime had no material to go off of, resulting in this arc to be created in order for the manga to establish a clear storyline for the second season. Fan response has been mixed; some people see it as a useless waste of time and ignore it while for others, it's one of their favorite story arcs.
    • Most of the filler episodes at least justify their existence by featuring villain activity, often providing some characterization for the villains in the process. However, there's a couple of stories that aren't related to the villains at all, like the first season episode featuring a psychic girl, and the second season episode with dinosaurs, etc.
    • One of the most egregious second season episodes comes where Chibi-usa tries to return home to the future and this backfires. At the end of the episode Minako asks her what she was trying to do so they could possibly help her. Mamoru simply says that Chibi-usa must have a good reason for not telling them and nothing more is said. So it seems the "good reason" was so that the season's plot didn't move along at all.
  • In something of an inversion, Slayers had at least three or four per season, but they are usually the funniest episodes.
  • Gensomaden Saiyuki is very heavy on filler, with only really 38 episodes out of the 101 of the original three series being adapted from the manga, and some of those being a 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist style reinterpretation of a manga storyline. Oddly, the series are so filler heavy that the Saiyuki Reload anime starts by adapting the stuff left out from the original anime, and the Reload Gunlock anime starts by adapting stuff from the Reload manga the anime didn't get to. At least partially, this was because the manga was prone to long storylines that the various anime were too early to adapt properly.
  • The anime adaptation of Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee adds several filler episodes between when Lag joins the Letter Bees and the Honey Waters arc, to the point at which about a third of the first season is filler. Since a significant portion of the manga consists of short stories about single deliveries that don't always affect the ovearching plot, the filler arcs aren't as noticeable as in some series. The second season forgoes filler episodes and instead diverges from the plotline of the manga and adds a
  • Sword Art Online's Animated Adaptation of the Alicization arc, despite being heavily compressed, also adds a number of scenes to tie it in with the movie Ordinal Scale. Most notably, the battle against PoH is extended by two episodes, both of which include multiple unprecedented events and have their effects immediately undone afterwards. In the first episode he fights Asuna (who spontaneously develops the ability to grow angel wings and summon Yuuki's ghost to fight alongside her). In the second he fights and kills Eiji from Ordinal Scale (who manages to overcome the brain condition that prevents him from controlling VR avatars through willpower) and his AI companion YUNA (whose appearance relies on context from two separate limited-edition short stories which never released outside Japan). While PoH did fight Asuna in the books (in a much shorter sequence where Asuna "feeling Yuuki's presence" was played more ambiguously), this scene had already been used in a different context in Ordinal Scale, necessitating a Serial Escalation rewrite.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is essentially devoid of filler save for one questionable episode: Episode 16: Entire Polysynthesis. It's the equivalent of a clip show detailing the last 15 episodes to help make the transition of a 7-year Time Skip. However, it has virtually no new material, accompanied by live-action scenes of a writer's hands drawing title cards and commentary statements. The eyecatches themselves are made from those of the past episodes put back-to-back, 4x4, and in chronological order, with the anime title filling the last empty square. Oddly enough, its presence makes the show end on 27 episodes, cluing the viewer in that like a normal seasonal anime, 26 full episodes were produced, but this one was tossed in for good measure.
  • Tenkai Knights usually pretty good at avoiding this, but then came the Beast King Saga. For starters, it lasts several episodes, and seemingly has NO impact on the rest of the story, other than seeing Beag's Earth form. It also artificially increases its length by having Scorpidon keep changing the rules so he can force everyone to start over. By the 3rd episode even the knights are begging for this to end already. It gets to the point where The Knights and Villius get fed up with them and decide to just beat the stuffing out of them, which ends with Scorpidon finally letting them go.
  • The Twin Star Exorcists anime adaptation is a huge offender of filler. For the first 20 episodes, canon material is vastly extended with filler moments that were never originally in the manga up to the end of the fight against Yuto Ijika. However, the episodes after episode 20 are complete anime-original content.
  • The 1981 Animated Adaptation of Urusei Yatsura has zigzagging relationship with this trope. Most of its content is technically faithful to the manga, though many episodes either add new scenes, meld together plots from multiple manga chapters, or both, due to the increased runtime. But 21 of the 194 episodes (not counting the two "special" episodes 21.5 and 193.5) are pure filler content.
    • Episode 21.5 combines a Recap Episode in its first half with a second half that adapts the three-part Kyoto schooltrip arc from the manga.
    • Episode 193.5 is a countdown of the fan-voted top ten episodes of the anime.
    • Of the twelve OVAs, the first two are clipshows, with the following ten adapting manga stories that came out after the anime concluded.
    • In contrast, of the six movies, all but the penultimate movie are anime-exclusive content. The first four movies are set during the events of the series, with the fifth movie being an adaptation of the manga's final arc and the sixth movie being an anime-exclusive story with no framework.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun has a few examples.
    • Season 1's 23rd episode (the last of the season) is basically half-Filler; combining anime-original content with the one-off Cooking Duel chapter that has Azz and Clara trying to cheer up Iruma with their cooking. This was done to craft together an episode that acts as a finale for the season.
    • Season 2's 5th episode is almost all anime-original content of Iruma and his two closest friends, Azz and Clara, celebrating his return home from school after having to stay there for weeks working for the student council. It's primarily the last few minutes (Arikured transforming Iruma into his Wicked Phase) that adapted manga material.
    • Season 2's 19th episode is another half-Filler episode as it had to fill up time to make up for the fact that Iruma and Azz visiting Clara's home was only a one-off chapter. There's many moments of Adaptation Expansion, but the primary anime original content was the group going to a cave to face a Shabbu-Shabbu monster for food ingredients.
  • Zigzagged with Yu-Gi-Oh!, as while it include several stand-alone episodes and three arcs that are not present in the manga (Virtual World, Doma/Waking the Dragons, and the KC Grand Prix), the anime is set in a different continuity from the manga, with Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Yu Gi Oh 5 D’s taking place within the anime’s continuity.
    • The Virtual World Arc diverting the focus from the current arc was lampshaded rather hilariously in the dub by Kaiba:
      Kaiba: Alright, that little detour was a complete waste of my time and effort, so let's move on and pretend all that nonsense never happened. It's time to continue the Battle City Finals.
    • Season 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX had 52 episodes. A good quarter or more consisted of Duelist of the Week episodes with no relevance to the overarching plot, instead relying on Excuse Subplots (the Genex Tournament, Crowler and Bonaparte trying to groom a student into a celebrity duelist) to set up duels.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds has more of a universally agreed-upon list of filler, especially in the second season, for about a good chunk of a year, with little development on the plot. The Crashtown Arc however, despite lasting nine episodes, (subverts this as it focuses on the fate of a former-Dark Signer: Kiryu)
    • The match against Team Taiyou in the WRPG is also considered this since no cards were released from their decksnote . Even more so when they are not involved in the World Championship 2011 game. 4Kids actually skipped over dubbing this arc because it added little to the overall plot, aside from Jack’s exhibition duel with Team Ragnarok’s Dragan.
      • 4Kids also skipped over episode 130 due to it being a Clip Show that did nothing to advance the plot (unlike previous clip shows which at least did reveal new info and more character development)
  • YuYu Hakusho:
    • The anime has Episode 3, where Yusuke, as a ghost, helps Kuwabara in his dealings with a nasty teacher threatening one of his friends. Aside from a dub-added line, none of the events in this episode are alluded to again, and the next episode's Recap doesn't mention it at all — a viewer could skip from Episode 2 to Episode 4 without feeling like anything's missing.
    • The manga's starting chapters weren't action heavy, focusing on Yusuke just milling around as a ghost and having a few adventures before finally being brought back to life. The anime cut this down significantly to at least four episodes before that happens. In fact that minor girl character wasn't a afterlife official in the manga, she was just a ghost girl that Yusuke had to calm down and hung around for a bit before finally departing for the afterlife.

    Asian Animation 
  • The BoBoiBoy episode "Fan Mail" takes a break from the story to recap and clarify what's already happened and hint at what's to come. Additionally, the following episode recaps the episode before this one when the heroes escaped the Dream World.

    Comic Books 
  • When Marv Wolfman was editor-in-chief of Marvel in the 1970s, he implemented a policy where Marvel would prepare fill-in issues depicting a crossover between several running series such as for Captain America, Iron Man, the Avengers and the Hulk. If any of those series was running late, the crossover issue could serve as a fill-in to avoid that month's issue being late.
  • X-Men comics has had several:
    • Uncanny X-Men #228: a filler issue designed to wrap up loose ends from Dazzler's ongoing book via flashback tale, made worse by the fact that the issue beforehand was the last part of the "Fall of the Mutants" storyline, which set up a new status quo for the X-Men.
    • Uncanny X-Men #512: Matt Fraction does a one-off time travel/steampunk storyline which has the illusion of being important in the grand scheme of things via revealing what the Celestial in San Francisco was guarding, but never comes to anything and makes the issue just Fraction indulging in his own writing fetishes.
    • Used with Roy Thomas's run in the 1960s, especially during the Factor Three storyline. Thomas uses the lengthy storyline to flesh out details (such as the X-Men struggling with reaching the bad guys' lair without Xavier's resources) that most writers would have glossed over.
  • Subverted with The Avengers tie-in issues for Secret Invasion, as the tie-ins essentially serve the purpose of filling in a TON of plot holes from the whole Skrull invasion storyline.
  • The first four issues of Peter David's Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man series were forced crossover issues with The Other, leading to David joking that fans should just avoid those issues as filler and even had the first official TPB for his run called "Derailed", as a joke about how issue #5 was the real first issue of the series.
  • The infamous Titans Hunt storyline in New Titans was infamous for this. There are two filler issues tossed into the storyline (#80 and #81) which exist mainly to shill the newly introduced Team Titans (even going as far as to plaster the word "Teen" over the "New" in the comic's title) and to serve as a "War of the Gods" crossover issue. The latter is ironic: at the time, the Titans were largely off-limits for big storylines (the book was only sold at comic shops at the time), though in this case the plotline kind of had to be addressed as Donna Troy played a major role in War of the Gods and her involvement had to be addressed.
  • Filler issues in comic books often exist because of plans changing at the last minute. Teen Titans had a crossover with Outsiders with another crossover planned soon after. DC decided to just make the second crossover a separate miniseries, resulting in a two-issue filler arc in each book.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac has Filler Bunny, a cute little bunny rabbit who was created to be tortured by cruel scientists for the purpose of filling pages when Vasquez can't come up with enough material.
  • Book 5 and 6 of Les Légendaires count as this: not only do they have little, if anything, to do with what was the main plot at this point, but most of the events of those books are retconned in-story thanks to Jadina's time reset. The main villain of those books, Captain Ceyderom, is the least important of all the major villains and the only one to not appear again after this arc. On the other hand, Prince Halan, who is also introduced in this book, appears again later, and themes such as Jadina's Arranged Marriage are further explored later.
  • Nicely subverted in IDW's Transformers ongoing. Issues #9-#12 feel like a short filler storyline that develops a few minor subplots (like the fate of Thundercracker) and leads into the next storyline (which develops the main Myth Arc) but is otherwise unimportant. However later on, issue #29 reveals that the events of that storyline may have been more important then they seemed...
  • Issues 8-12 of the Marvel Knights run of The Punisher, as they were the only issues not written by Garth Ennis during the run. Issue #8 was a one-shot where Frank travels back in time to kill Al Capone though it all turns out to be a dream and issues 9-12 featured the "Taxi Wars" arc, which was considerably sillier (as well as Lighter and Softer) and more over-the-top then any of the other stories in the Marvel Knights run as it centers around a villain called "The Medallion" who wants control of all taxi cabs in New York. These were also the only issues of the Knights run to not be reprinted in any form(at least not in the U.S.; the Taxi Wars arc was released in paperback form in the U.K.)
  • The premiere issue of All-Star Western's Silver Age relaunch is itself filler. The book's editor, Dick Giordano, intended for the comic to have all-original stories about two brand new characters, the Outlaw and El Diablo. However, as the deadline neared, the new content wasn't ready in time, so Giordano had no choice but to reprint two Pow-Wow Smith stories instead (specifically "Gun-Duel at Copper Creek" and "The Return of the Fadeaway Outlaw"), and the only new material was a prose story by Gerry Conway called "Dust Under the Whispering Sun..." In short, the advertised first issue of the series ended up becoming the second issue.
  • The BIONICLE comics couldn't cover plots told in the Direct to Video movies, so to fill up the quota, filler issues were produced for those years. The 2003 one is about the characters reminiscing about off-screen fights, the 2004 one is Vakama experiencing a bizarre vision and his team having to fight a Kaiju that appears out of nowhere, and from 2005, many comics can be seen as filler since the novels and the tie-in movie carried the main story of that year.

    Fan Works 
  • Kyon: Big Damn Hero has an unsubtly named Filler Arc. It's not actually filler.
  • Gensokyo's Heart has the aptly-named Intermission Chapters in between arcs. They're all big bags of exposition and recaps disguised as story. They also all have a brief scene at the end to introduce the next arc (the first Intermission ended with Remilia deciding to invite Abathur to the SDM, setting up the SDM arc).
  • As far as the Star Wars Machete order is concerned, The Phantom Menace can be freely skipped. Most characters introduced in Menace are either Killed Off for Real by the end of it or have no impact on the series, and the characters who are important to the series have better Establishing Character Moments in later films. The creator of the order does admit that this makes the few Continuity Nods Menace gets from the other prequels confusing, especially when Anakin returns to Tatooine in Attack of the Clones and his mother being a slave and his relationship with C-3PO come out of seemingly nowhere.
    "Search your feelings, you know it to be true! Episode I doesn't matter at all. You can start the prequels with Episode II and miss absolutely nothing."
  • One criticism of The Stalking Zuko Series is that many chapters have relatively little to do with Zuko and Katara. In particular, a large portion of Not Stalking Zuko has the Gaang hanging out on Ember Island, between "The Southern Raiders" and the Grand Finale two episodes later.
  • One of the common criticisms that (unfortunate) readers have for Faith of the Heart is that the arcs take too long and serve little to no purpose for the overall plot. What makes this worse is that the heroes and some of the villains do absolutely nothing but spout endless chunks of dialogue at each other for no reason.
  • Chapter 8 of Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Fifth Path is fully admitted to being filler (or a "glorified support" as the Author calls it), only existing to avoid having the characters figure out the Holy Mausoleum plot off screen and contributing nothing of actual substance.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: During the first three phases, the franchise develops a macro-story known as "The Infinity Saga" which sets up Thanos' quest for the Infinity Stones. Because of the nature of Marvel Studios' production schedule, screenwriters and directors have to make an effort to contribute to the main plot that all these movies shared, but without showing spoilers before time. It was expected that every movie contributes to the shared universe in a bigger or smaller scale at least with a post-credit scene. Here are a few exceptions:
    • The Incredible Hulk (2008): Despite the film having a meeting between General Ross and Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative, and some references to the events of this film in later films, it is largely ignored, at least until Phase 4 gave Abomination a cameo appearance in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, followed by a recurring role in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The Leader (whose origin is only implied in Hulk) is likewise scheduled to appear in Captain America: New World Order in Phase 5.
    • Iron Man 3: No Avengers, no S.H.I.E.L.D and almost any character development that Tony could have from the previous films is omitted (although it does show that the Battle of New York is giving him PTSD flashbacks). That was one of the biggest complaints fans have with this entry in the franchise, including a Bruce Banner cameo that is only Played for Laughs. That being said, revelations concerning the Mandarin’s identity are revisited in the short All Hail the King, with his true identity being revealed in Shang-Chi.
    • Ant-Man: With the exception of a cameo by the Falcon that later serves to set up Scott's involvement in Captain America: Civil War, the plot is irrelevant for the MCU's plot as a whole.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming: The story of the movie is irrelevant and is almost forgotten in the following films.
    • Black Panther (2018): Again, nothing is explored concerning the Infinity Stones, instead being a self-contained story in Wakanda. Bucky Barnes' cameo in the post-credit scene arguably ties the film more closely to the larger world, but still does not reveal anything new.
  • Horror movie film series tend to suffer from this a lot, specially when Sequelitis is involved:
  • Star Wars examples:
    • Revenge of the Sith has this with pretty much any scene that shows off the Battle of Kashyyyk. Protecting the Wookie planet from a droid invasion serves no purpose to the overall story except to keep Yoda preoccupied while the more important events are going down elsewhere.
    • The Last Jedi has Finn and Rose's adventure on Canto Bight. The whole point of going to this planet was to recruit a Master Codebreaker named DJ, yet Finn and Rose get side-tracked by deciding to teach a bunch of random "evil rich folk" a lesson by releasing a bunch of horse-like Fathier creatures upon them. This ends up serving no purpose as the stunt they pulled on the rich people never has any effect on the overall story afterwards, and DJ isn't connected to this in any way as he's just a guy that Finn and Rose stumble across in a jail cell.
  • Ax 'Em:
    • The "step show/insult contest" sequence takes up a good 7-8 minutes of screentime and has nothing to do with the rest of the plot.
    • There is an extended sequence where the group is talking and eating. Granted, it's split with other scenes such as Brian's death, Rock trying to screw a female, and Tony taking a pee break, but it's still infuriating because the movie stops dead for a bit.

  • A little under half of the Animorphs series consisted of filler episodes; they became particularly infamous and prevalent once the ghostwriters kicked in. In particular, nothing between Visser and book 45 — a ten-book period — contributed anything to the overarching plot, with the exception of the fourth Megamorphs.
  • The Level 3 BIONICLE reading books were specifically developed to tell unimportant side-stories, so as to spare the fans from having to read "kiddy stuff". They of course still bought them, some even preferring them to the author's main-story writing.
  • Glen Cook's The Black Company series consists of nine sequential novels and one spinoff. That spinoff was released between the only two books that don't have a Time Skip between them, and the first of the two ended on a cliffhanger. It's not entirely filler, though; it follows the characters that didn't stay with the main party as they wrap up the remaining plot threads of the first arc, and it also has the payoffs for mysteries from the previous main book.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: The novella A Court of Frost and Starlight is largely a low-stakes, lighthearted slice-of-life story that doesn't significantly advance the plot or characters; you can skip this one and go straight to A Court of Silver Flames with little trouble.
  • Dark Angel, the fourth book in the Night World series. Although it features an appearance from Ash Redfern (who had previously had prominent roles in Secret Vampire and Daughters of Darkness), it's the one book in the Night World series that can be skipped without doing much damage to one's understanding of the over-arching story, as it's largely detached from wider Night World society and is even more self-contained than the other stories, to the point it could almost be read as a standalone novel (the other books tend to contain more references and crossovers to the other installments). It does better explain the lost Harman babies backstory and subplot, though, which becomes more significant later in the series.
  • Roger Zelazny's Damnation Alley started off as a novella. When asked to write a novel-length version of the story, the additional material is mostly a completely unrelated sub-plot.
  • The Horse and His Boy from The Chronicles of Narnia could be considered an example. It only features main characters from other books in cameo appearances, and has no effect on the continuity of the series aside from a small appearance by two characters in the final book.
  • Left Behind was originally intended to be a 9-novel series, but the books were selling so well they expanded it to 12. This becomes painful in the middle of the series.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings has a lot of this, mainly in the first book, as Frodo sits on the Ring for years before Gandalf returns. Not to mention the one-man Wacky Wayside Tribe that is Tom Bombadil, where Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin stay for a while, adding nothing to the plot, and then move on. Probably more intentional than other examples, as Tolkien was writing the novel as a mythological epic, a genre that tends to include a string of events connected solely by the central characters and the backdrop of their quest.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens with American Ninja Warrior, where competitors get a minute or two talking about their training and motivations despite some of them failing to complete the qualifying course. Sometimes on the first step of the first obstacle.
  • Breaking Bad: The Bottle Episode "Fly" is the only episode which could be considered stand-alone, revolving around Walt and Jesse chasing a housefly around the meth lab. While it technically does not advance the plot in any way significant, it acts as a impactful character analysis of Walter and his actions as he reflects on the various misdeeds that led up to this moment in a fatigue-induced monologue.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Serials running for six or more episodes often include so much padding, so many contrivances, and such irrelevant storylines that they can get hard to watch. In the Second and Third Doctor's eras, the six-parter was the standard format. However, the four-part serials were essentially if you took the six-parters and squeezed out the filler. These four-parters seemed more fluid, and it became noticeable enough to warrant a change in format. Production criticisms suggested the six-part serials could have the air let out of them, because they featured a lot of instances where the Doctor and his companion would get captured Once per Episode to kill time — sometimes reaching eight captures in one story. This was reduced in later seasons (starting with the Fourth Doctor), with a more manageable four episodes per serial with occasional six-parters.
    • In particular, the First Doctor serial "The Daleks' Master Plan", a massive 12-parter (plus a prologue episode broadcast weeks earlier and notable for not featuring any of the main cast), had a Christmas Episode intentionally meant as filler (since it was thought nobody would be watching, and viewers would be lost if the plot advanced in their absence, but Christmas Day fell on a Saturday and they decided to put out a new episode as per usual). The Doctor even broke the fourth wall to wish viewers a "happy Christmas".
    • The revival's Christmas Episodes (Tenth through Twelfth Doctors) were either absolutely vital to the ongoing story or filler that's often significantly Lighter and Softer.
      • The Tenth Doctor's fourth Christmas special of five, "The Next Doctor", is the only one that really qualifies as filler, having no real connection to any ongoing plot threads other than the Doctor telling Jackson Lake that he's decided to stop taking companions. It's slightly more relevant than the below-mentioned Yet Another Christmas Carol, however, by having its events explicitly referenced in "Flesh and Stone".
      • The Eleventh Doctor has two filler specials followed by two vital ones. His first Christmas special, "A Christmas Carol", stands as the least essential of all of the series' Christmas specials, containing no references to any ongoing plot threads and not having been explicitly referenced in any future episodes.
      • Of the Twelfth Doctor's specials, only "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" is filler, because the series was in the midst of an unusually long break between seasons so there was no point in doing anything continuity-heavy. Even then, the special establishes that River Song's former associate Nardole is now hanging with the Doctor.
    • Series 12 suffers from this, alternating gigantic Wham Episodes "Spyfall", "Fugitive of the Judoon" and the closing three-parter with standard crisis-of-the-week episodes in which the events of those are barely nodded at if at all, even though they should be paramount on the characters' minds. While "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror" and "Praxeus" could be excused as Breather Episode with their hopeful endings in the midst of the angst, "Orphan 55" is harder to defend, not least because it shares a near-identical Green Aesop with the later "Praxeus". "Can You Hear Me?" verges on this, saved only by filling in some Character Development and Backstory...that is almost completely superfluous to the main plot, resolved with about 10 minutes of the episode to go.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: The most common "filler" trope was the "Hazzard County Speed Trap", where a famous country singer of the day performed at the Boar's Nest. (In-universe, Boss Hogg would set up a speed trap for a tour bus, transporting a popular country music star to his next gig, and to "work off the fine", they'd have to perform at no charge at the Boar's Nest.)
  • Falling Skies dips its toes into this every so often from the start, but it really starts to hit its peak from Season 3 onward. First came the multi-episode stretch spent wandering around looking for Anne Glass, necessitated by Moon Bloodgood's pregnancy. The latter half of Season 4 also contains a great deal of this, especially after Lexi leaves and the town gets blown up by the Espheni. The crowner, though, has to be the fifth and final season, which ultimately piddles around digging up old conflicts, introducing brand new characters, and giving a two-parter to a newly-introduced military base where nothing of real consequence happens two episodes before the finale; the season's ostensible point of wrapping up the war against the Espheni does not become relevant until the series finale.
  • It was pretty common in the first two seasons of Farscape to alternate between arc-oriented stories and monster-of-the-week filler episodes. The plot was fairly ill-defined and the characters needed fleshing out anyway, so it was quite bearable. Still, these episodes were safe to ignore until the third season or so, when old filler characters started to play crucial roles in the main stories. New material that seemed like filler was also harder to dismiss. Especially when what had seemed like a textbook filler-psychopath-of-the-week twinned the main character, changing the course of that season and throwing a monkey-wrench the size of a Command Carrier into John and Aeryn's relationship.
  • It rarely happens in Fringe, where despite there almost always having a Monster of the Week focus, most of the episodes advance the plot in some way. There was one episode in the second season that was filler, however, that showed Charlie Francis alive. Keep in mind, the character had already died in the show, but apart from that, it felt like a normal episode, but with no progression of the main plot otherwise. This was due to it being filmed for the first season but the network aired it as a bonus episode in season two. It is likely for this reason there was no overarching story tie-in.
  • Lampooned in Garth Marenghis Darkplace: Dean Learner states that so many slow-motion sequences were used because the episodes often ran several minutes short and they had to be bulked out somehow. They tried to avoid doing it over dialogue, but anything else was considered. (Although it seems like part of the reason the episodes kept running short was that the actors, most especially Dean Learner himself, rushed through their lines.)
  • Kamen Rider Gaim has a tightly-plotted story arc that covers the whole series and averts the usual Monster of the Week (or even of the Fortnight) setup most Kamen Rider shows have. However, there are three episodes where the plot grinds to a screeching halt so they can advertise an upcoming movie (Kamen Rider Taisen, The Golden Fruits Cup, and Kikaider REBOOT); naturally, showrunner Gen Urobuchi had absolutely nothing to do with these episodes. There's even a Lampshade Hanging in the first example where Kaito complains about Kouta dicking around when there are more important things to worry about.
  • Lost: Third season episode "Stranger in a Strange Land" is widely considered the worst of the series for being filler. The on-island scenes are almost entirely skippable and the flashbacks showing how Jack got one of his tattoos were criticised for taking time away from more interesting backstories. The negative reaction to the episode has been cited as the reason ABC agreed to set an end date for the series, so the writers wouldn't have to resort to this again.
  • On Murphy Brown, there was an episode where Murphy was slated to interview Aretha Franklin — and wanted most of the show's airtime for the interview, leading to the others' stories getting cut short. Then Aretha is running late, leading to them having to stretch and pad everything to fill up the hour.
  • The Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Game Show" was produced during contract disputes between the supporting cast and the producers. Therefore, it is unique in that of the main cast members, only Tony Shalhoub appears, and the role of the assistant doesn't go to Sharona, but rather to Monk's upstairs neighbor Kevin Dorfman.
  • Improv-heavy Outnumbered's solution to an episode coming up short seems to be having little Karen act out a Reality Show with plushies, and cutting that into the episode as necessary.
  • The Prisoner (1967) was originally intended to be a seven episode miniseries. The network wanted more, and so ten standalone episodes were created and intermixed with the main Story Arc. Less noticeable than in other series with a high filler percentage, as most of the filler episodes are still good.
  • Retro Game Master: Arino ends up clearing Ninja Spirit in two hours. One of the producers gives him a phone call telling him they don't have enough footage for a whole episode and that he should occupy the audience for a few more minutes. So we get a scene of the cast having lunch.
  • One particularly obvious example of this on Saturday Night Live was the 1985-86 season's Christmas episode hosted by Teri Garr. The centerpiece of the episode was meant to be a 'made-for-TV movie' spoof called "The Big Tree", which was split across a commercial break due to its length. However, the entire second half of the sketch was cut (most likely after 10 PM dress rehearsal) after the audience failed to respond, so the live episode has painful patches of filler. Segments such as Teri's monologue and Don Novello's 'Mr X.' commentary on Weekend Update are clearly padded out to be much, much longer than they should've been; and a sketch about a tropical island further drags out the episode by using a number of overlong stock-footage clips.
    • Any time Saturday Night Live airs a "Vintage SNL" on Saturdays at 10 PM, that's because NBC had absolutely nothing else they could stick in that time slot.
  • SCTV had "The Great White North," sketches with Bob & Doug McKenzie for this sole purpose in response to Executive Meddling for a "identifiable Canadian material" on a Canadian show. As it happened, they quickly became the most popular part of the show.
  • Sons of Anarchy Season 2 has the first couple of episodes seem to set the stage for the rest of the series...until it becomes apparent that the resolution to this begins about three episodes from the end. The remaining episodes generally expand on subplots and have many, many instances of Just Shoot Him.
  • The "Mirror Universe" episodes of the various Star Trek television series fell into this. Placing the action in an alternate universe allowed the writers to create new stories without affecting the main "timeline" in any shape or form, could result in alternate (or darker) versions of already-established characters (which was a great acting opportunity for the main cast because they got to try a different spin on their role), had massive battle sequences with real consequences and casualties...and were always forgotten about as soon as the episode was over. This was later averted with Star Trek (2009), which is intended to be a long-term relaunch of the franchise in an alternate universe.
    • Star Trek: Discovery subverts this too, as the Mirror Universe plays a vital role in its overarching plot.
  • Super Sentai and Power Rangers:
    • Both series mostly follow the "half arc, half filler" formula, but each Sentai series has to run for a whole year's 48-52 episodes, whereas Power Rangers are usually much shorter. While some fans prefer the higher story-density of PR's shorter seasons, others miss the fleshing out of the characters (the girls in particular) that the additional fillers episodes allow the writers to indulge in in Sentai.
    • Early seasons of Power Rangers, which aired on weekdays, were stuffed with filler, the first season in particular having run for a whopping sixty episodes and abstained from doing story arcs that didn't focus on the green ranger (For example, those Power Eggs in the episode with the chicken monster? They were originally the last two dinosaur eggs, a subplot that ran all the way to the end of the series in the Sentai.) The third season still had plenty of filler, but was the first to use continuing plotlines, namely the 9-episode arc to introduce Kat as Kimberly's replacement, and the 11-episode arc with the child rangers looking for the Zeo Crystal and being temporarily replaced by the proper Sentai team labeled as Alien Rangers.
    • Power Rangers also has another set of filler episodes: usually near the end of the season, the episodes will start to use much more footage from the source material than previously — Lost Galaxy is a prime example of this, having done it twice with the Lights of Orion arc and the entire arc concerning the Lost Galaxy — in order to save money for the finale episodes.
  • During production of Ted Lasso's second season, Apple TV+ made the last minute decision to expand the season's episode order from 10 (just like the first season) to 12. Since the creators already had a 10 episode season arc meticulously planned out, they decided to create two additional episodes that were largely detached from it. Those episodes were the show's Christmas Episode "Carol of the Bells" and "Beard After Hours", a more experimental episode focusing on supporting character Coach Beard.
  • Swedish children's sci-fi comedy show Vintergatan, both 5A and 5B, had children getting to call the characters and help them with personal things. These conversations could get very, very, very annoying. Even more frustrating in the sequel, which only had ten episodes instead of around forty or fifty — conversations on the ship between one certain alien and one certain human, mostly showing off their Odd Couple-sort of relationship, and serving absolutely no purpose, aside from minor Character Development — which was forced by the plot later on anyway.
  • A few seasons into The X-Files, the show settled into a mixture of "mythology" episodes and "Monster of the Week" episodes. If you were watching for the myth arc, the Monster of the Week episodes were filler.

  • Transformers: Classics was a toyline specifically created to bridge the gap between Transformers: Cybertron and the Transformers Film Series, and consisted of radical modern updates of the original Transformers: Generation 1 characters. Re-releasing old favorites with modern-day engineering proved to be a very popular idea with the fans, and the line has since seen several successors, often running alongside the cartoon or movie-backed toy-lines and revisiting series other than G1.
  • The Bohrok-Kal, 2003's winter setline from BIONICLE. They were nothing more than Palette Swaps of the previous year's enemy sets and their story was essentially a half year-long extension of 2002's Bohrok Saga (though it wasn't exactly filler). The line was probably produced to give LEGO enough time to prepare for the movie and the tie-in toys released later that year, although it reportedly affected their profits pretty badly — however that was partly because no regular-sized hero sets were released that year and other LEGO lines also performed poorly at that time.

    Video Games 
  • Borderlands 2: Multiple:
    • The game opens up the option for the player to travel to Lynchwood. You do not need to travel to this area ever to complete the story, and mostly acts as a large Shout-Out to playing in an old western against the girlfriend of this game's Big Bad, Handsome Jack.
    • There's also Caustic Caverns, a run-down mining operation facility that can be accessed after the city of Sanctuary is forced to go airborne. Similar to Lynchwood, you don't have to go here except to witness some world-building.
  • Destiny 2: The Lightfall expansion is largely seen as this due to the expansion's narrative effectively having zero bearing on the plot at all, save for the opening and ending cutscenes, which many have pointed out could be pasted together without the in-between gameplay and still make as much sense. It's especially noticeable considering the quality of the prior Witch-Queen.
  • Fate Series:
    • Fate/hollow ataraxia is actually large made of filler. However the filler is often highly entertaining and some see it as the point of the story to begin with.
    • Fate/Grand Order:
      • Due to some weird early design choices, most of the plot tends to be interrupted by an out-of-nowhere battle, most infamously involving wyverns. Thankfully, around the release of Camelot, they started to cut down on these, with the 0 AP nodes substituting them in exchange for more story.
      • Paper Moon is this compared to other chapters. Aside from introducing some new characters such as Cerejeira Elron, alongside some explanation of how the Alter Ego class works, the only thing that moved forwards is Chaldea's Foundation of Humanity Rank being upped to D, and most of the explanations were found in earlier installments such as Fate/EXTRA.
  • Final Fantasy XII has about 30 hours worth of story and 200 hours of sidequests that consist of plotless monster hunting.
  • Gears of War has several examples.
    • Gears of War 3 spends a portion of its campaign on a long Fetch Quest masquerading as the main quest-line where the player has to search for some Imulsion fuel in order to work a submarine that will get Delta Squad to their main destination. Said objective lasts 6 chapters searching for fuel within the cities of Mercy and Char. There's some neat world-building here, like Mercy being Dom's home, or how Char is a destroyed city that was victim to the Hammer of Dawn satellite strikes, but in the end, the main story throughout these chapters is just a search for fuel. The kicker that makes this true filler material is that by the end of the search, the naval shipyard where the submarine is stationed had some leftover fuel anyway. Thus, making the fuel search through the previous chapters completely pointless.
    • Gears of War 5 is the first of the series that plays around with the idea of open world exploration during its 2nd and 3rd Acts. The player can explore around the open landscapes of Act II's frozen mountain, and Act III's desert, using a sail-powered snowmobile known as the Skiff to search for any notable locations that Side Quests can be completed at. The rewards from these optional quests are primarily for extra parts or abilities that can be used to further power-up the team's support robot, Jack.
  • In Killer7, the Alter Ego chapter has very little relation to anything else that happens in the plot. It offers some world-building, but it's in relation to topics that are never brought up again and is only notable for having a Shout-Out to Suda51's Japan-only game, Moonlight Syndrome, and Mask de Smith getting a new power-up.
  • Prevalent in Kingdom Hearts:
  • Mega Man Battle Network:
    • 4 is a Filler Game. It's a little hard to detail exactly why as nothing much happens, but it's a Tournament Arc Game that you have to finish three times if you want to collect everything, and a paper-thin plot that is resolved within the span of 30 minutes.
    • 5, to a certain extent, but it is much more coherent than 4, the real filler being the quest to get each new member of your unit, having to go through puzzles to fix whatever problem was caused, and always ending in a fight with their navi, the main plot is held together otherwise.
  • Metal Gear Solid Mobile is a mobile phone spinoff set between the events of MGS and MGS2 that turns out to be a VR mission engineered by members of the Patriots.
  • Road 96: When the player chooses a travel method, the game randomly selects one sequence from the available pool for that method. The majority of unique sequences are story-based and can only be experienced once per playthrough. Each method also has a few filler sequences with no story events which can be experienced repeatedly, which can become very noticeable in long games.
  • Shenmue III: The game has been criticized for being almost entirely filler. Nearly everything that happens until the end is meandering with minimal impact on the overall plot of the series, as it ends in a Hopeless Boss Fight with the protagonists no better off than they were nearly two decades before, on another Sequel Hook.
  • In Starcraft I, the Brood War expansion campaigns have two missions that could be left out, and nothing would feel out of place. First, the BW Protoss campaign has Mission 5 where the Protoss are randomly fighting a UED blockade above planet Braxis for one mission, which doesn't add anything since the UED doesn't chase after the Protoss afterwards. Second, the BW Zerg campaign has Mission 6 where Kerrigan's Zerg is basically just chilling out on planet Tarsonis until the UED decides to send a one-off attack at them.
  • The campaigns of Starcraft II are a huge offender of this.
    • For Wings of Liberty, the main artifact storyline spans from the Mar Sara arc with Raynor starting his search for the artifact fragments, to a couple artifact fragment search missions during the middle portions, and then finishes with the final Char arc where the combined Artifact is used to cleanse Kerrigan of her infestation. However, the middle portions of the campaign between Mar Sara and Char has three Padding arcs that can be cut out completely, and nothing would seem out-of-place. These three filler arcs include:
    1. Helping Hanson deal with a Zerg infestation amongst the Dominion colony worlds.
    2. Helping Tosh's rogue Ghost faction create Spectres.
    3. Supporting Matt's rebellion against the Dominion by starting a revolt on the Dominion capital world, Korhal, which ended up not going anywhere in the long run.
    • For Heart of the Swarm, the three mission Kal'dir arc could be cut out without missing anything major since the campaign's main story is for Kerrigan to restrengthen her Zerg Swarm to take down Arcturus Mengsk of the Terran Dominion. However, the Kal'dir missions has Kerrigan off fighting a Protoss research colony during her search for more broods, and the only reason she continues to fight them is due to a vague threat that may result in the Kal'dir Protoss calling for reinforcements to hunt down Kerrigan. Even the Cliffhanger where Kerrigan leaves her broodmother, Niadra, behind after killing the last of the Kal'dir Protoss does not have a resolution in the next game, Legacy of the Void.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has Ellicor II. Being here eats up about half of the game and it has almost NO relevance to the plot, so much so that the filler is its own plot and they have to actually bring the plot to the planet, I.E. aliens invading during a filler plot important war because the protagonist is taking too long to leave and continue the plot. Most plot points actually go unsolved.
  • Tales of Symphonia has the infamous and distracting hunt for the Ymir Fruit in Ymir Forest, a fruit that is said to be able to cure every disease. The fruit is needed to heal an elf woman which is never seen in game, and which has no impact on the plot. The player has to solve the puzzle regardless, since the sick woman's child blocks the way to the protagonist's destination. Just so you understand why is this is irritating, the puzzle is really dumb, hard, frustrating and technically unnecessary, as the characters could circumvent having to do it if they used their brains.
  • During Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Nate randomly gets captured by pirates. Four levels and a sunken cruise ship later, he's literally right back where he started; the game would lose nothing if the subplot was cut. To make matters worse, the pirate captain claims to have captured Sully, and after shooting up the pirate crew trying to rescue him, Nate discovers that the captain was lying because... because.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, half the sidequests are plotless monster hunting — the other half is world building.
  • With the development of the Guild Wars world, particularly in the Factions and Nightfall campaign, almost the entire Prophecies campaign can be seen as this (particularly as, as is finally revealed in Nightfall, the major events the player witnesses and takes parts in in Prophecies were part of an elaborate plan by Abaddon, the former — and deposed — god of death, to worm his way back into the mortal realm from the Realm of Torment.
  • In The Walking Dead, a 3 part miniseries of episodic games titled Michonne was released in order to tide fans of the game series over while the company intended to work on the third game of the game's true protagonist Clementine. In short, the miniseries was meant to explain the backstory of the comic book character Michonne and what she's been up to while away from her group and the developers admitted that this game is a standalone story arc that wouldn't link to the next game at all.
  • Generally speaking, each game in the Ace Attorney series has one or two cases that are fairly self-contained and have very little relevance to that game's story arc. The best example of this is "Turnabout Storyteller", the fourth case of Spirit of Justice, which has absolutely no connection to the rest of the game and has been confirmed by Word of God to have been conceived as a Breather Episode between the plot-heavy third and fifth cases.

    Web Animation 
  • Unlike the other webisodes of Lobo (Webseries), the webisode Lobo For President was released between two webisodes of the same story arc but with a standalone story line.
  • Parodied in Four Swords Misadventures. When Red and Green Link were fighting over Zelda (It Makes Sense in Context), it flashes back to a conversation between Red and Green in Naruto-style, with Purple and Blue, MST3K-style, critiquing the use of filler time and taking away from the action.
  • The fact that episode 9 of Inanimate Insanity II is filler is constantly lampshaded by MePhone and Fan, up to the point where the words "NOT FILLER" were flashing in big bold letters.

  • Kevin & Kell suffered from this when it was syndicated in Atlanta's newspapers; Since then, it's gone from a funny-but-plot-heavy comic to a primarily Gag-A-Day comic with the occasional story lasting more than one day.
  • Homestuck:
    • There is an 'Intermission Arc' which focuses on the Alternate Universe Evil Counterparts to the Problem Sleuth team: the Midnight Crew. It's a subversion: The Midnight Crew is actually agents from another game played by another race, and are actually are larger part of the plot then originally hinted at.
    • Hussie's self-insert segments can be seen as this, as they come out of nowhere and have no real influence on the plot. He at one point addresses these concerns, and admit that his reach of influence into the story will only amount to one yard. Exactly one yard. After John and Jade escape the Scratch by literally Breaking the Fourth Wall, Hussie posits that they will travel exactly one yard before entering the session they created. He then proceeds to move some things around in the space they're traveling through. From his point of view, it takes three seconds, but for them the journey takes three years.
    • Played straight at times; sometimes the story pace slows to a crawl and nothing in particular happens of import for a couple weeks at a time. One arc lasted almost 2 months before the pace picked back up.
  • 8-Bit Theater had at least one filler arc, with a couple more which could possibly be considered filler: Unarguably, nothing comes of an arc in which the Warriors of Light take over the town of Gaia. The frozen wasteland arc introduced the doomsday cultists, who did reappear, but did little to further the overall plot, and the Onrac arc was little more than a "Shaggy Dog" Story for the city in question, though it did set the Warriors of Light on the route to their next destination.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse:
    • Despite giving the backstories of many universes, the Special Chapters in general get a lot of flack for NOT being about the tournament. To add fuel to the fire, the varied art styles are often different from the tournament chapters.
    • Some pages of chapter 24 have been accused of this. What's worst, many feel that those pages would have been better spent on the extremely short 17 vs Goku fight.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the sketchbook section of the site serves as this and used to be called the filler section.

    Web Games 
  • Story-wise, BIONICLE's Mata Nui Online Game II is set after the Bohrok Kal saga but before the Mask of Light saga, and basically details Hahli's journey from a flax-maker's assistant to becoming a sports champion. Unlike the original MNOG, which told vital parts of the plot and spanned multiple comics' and books' worth of storyline, MNOG II consists almost entirely world-building and was essentially meant to make Hahli's rise to an important supporting character seem less sudden. Game-wise, it's actually much more involved and time-consuming than the original.

    Web Original 
  • The majority of The Nostalgia Critic episodes are over twenty minutes with some sketch comedy, character stuff and done with a fair amount of energy (even when the Critic's depressed). But there are a few that Doug has admitted to rushing because he gave in to fan demands and just wanted to get out the way.
  • Shinryuu82 did several filler videos in-between chapters of his Live A Live playthrough during the Audience Participation voting phases, showcasing some of the more bizarre Mega Man themed ROM hacks and pirate games.
  • The Irate Gamer made a video in which he compares various "Toys to Life" lines (i.e. Skylanders, Disney Infinity, amiibo, and LEGO Dimensions). It is 18 minutes long, but he spends half of the video ranting about how much the gameplay in Skylanders had changed since the first game in the series.
  • Parodied in "Steamed Hams but it's edited like Dragon Ball Z." The original clip is 2:49, but the edit inflates it 4:32 despite actually cutting some stuff out. This is mostly through having characters take weirdly long pauses, hanging on shots where nothing's happening, cutting to extended, unrelated scenes of Bart and Milhouse every so often, and adding a lengthy preview of the next episode.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
      • The series has a few episodes per season, which includes both "The Runaway" (one of the more popular episodes of the series) and "The Great Divide" (generally the least liked episode of the series). Lampshaded in a recap parody towards the end of Season 3:
        Aang: Look, it's the Great Divide! The biggest canyon in the Earth Kingdom!
        Sokka: Ehh... Let's keep flying.
      • And this is the actual introduction to the recap episode:
        Sokka: Come on, a day at the theater! This is the kind of wacky time-wasting nonsense I've been missing.
      • Specifically, "The Great Divide" and "The Painted Lady" stand out as the only two episodes of the show that can be removed completely without disrupting the show's flow in the slightest. "The Runaway" at least has important character development for Katara and Toph, as well as continuing the Combustion Man subplot.
      • "The Fortuneteller" is mostly one long Ship Tease, with little of actual consequence happening .
      • "Tales from Ba Sing Se", though a filler episode, gives Iroh a real Tear Jerker back story, as well as showing exactly why Appa hasn't met up with the rest of the Gaang.... There is a fairly minor development in that Aang is shown to have reached a point where he can bend two elements at once (since Aang's skill progression is one of the focal points of the show) but that's it.
      • The Clear My Name episode "Avatar Day" infringed on the Sequel Hook "The Swamp" set up for "The Blind Bandit". It foreshadowed the return of Suki and the B Plot had Zuko on his own, but the former wasn't necessary, and the latter could've been stuffed into the previous episode.
    • The Sequel Series The Legend of Korra did away with it completely as it has nine fewer episodes across one more season. There are only really two filler episodes across the whole show, Season 1’s “The Spirit Of Competition” and Season 4’s “Remembrances” . The latter wasn’t intended to be as the network slashed the season’s budget by not quite the amount of an episode and the creative team decided to slap together a Clip Show rather than lay off a significant chunk of their team a few weeks early without much warning.
  • Code Lyoko:
    • Most of Season 4 and parts of Season 3. Ironically, Season 1 was a Monster of the Week kind of show, but it started out that way, and thus, the idea of filler wasn't a consideration until after such time as the series grew a beard, so to speak, and shifted to a Story Arc format for Season 2 and the Prequel episodes. So, it's debatable if the so-called filler was really just a return to form.
    • Also, due to Season 1's Monster of the Week format, you could actually watch most of the episodes in any order, with the exception of the season finale, as the last episode of that season starts off from where the previous one left off, making it a two-parter.
  • The two episodes of Daria not seen as canonical or even all that good by fans: the one where everyone bursts into a sing-and-dance routine about an impending hurricane, the other when the supernatural spirits of various public holidays intrude into reality. If these were devised as last-minute filler to get the number of episodes up to a series-friendly 26, it explains much.
  • DuckTales (1987): "The Duck Who Would Be King", the second episode of the "Time is Money"-five parter, can easily be left out without disturbing the course of the story. At the end of the first episode, the protagonists attempt to return to the present after traveling to prehistoric times. At the start of the second episode they accidentally arrive in another ancient time period and have an adventure unrelated to the main plot of the story arc. They leave this time period again at the end of the episode. At the start of the third episode, they finally arrive back in the present. None of the events from the second episode are ever mentioned again in the rest of the story arc, and episodes one and three perfectly connect to each other even without episode two in between. Part 3's recap even excludes Part 2.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • The second season episode "Little Gift Shop Of Horrors" has a Three Shorts format with the Framing Device of Stan telling a lost traveler "Tales Designed To Sell My Merchandise". Due to how absurd (even by the show’s standards) the stories are and the ending where after failing to sell anything, Stan tricks the tourist into drinking a sleep potion and turns them into a tourist attraction, the crew doesn’t consider it canon, even with the cipher at the end translating "Non Canon". In Gravity Falls: Journal 3, Ford has an encounter with The Hand Witch from one of the shorts, implying the events of the stories might not entirely be non canon.
    • "Roadside Attraction" is a Monster of the Week adventure in the middle of the otherwise highly serial second half of Season 2, and the only episode in Season 2-B to involve neither Bill nor the Author. It does not advance the main story forward, and aside from Dipper trying to get over Wendy turning him down, it could fit right in with the more episodic Season 1. Alex Hirsch confirmed it was a one-off, specifically a Breather Episode before the final part of the series. Journal 3, which goes over most of the series, leaves this episode out entirely.
  • The second season of Jackie Chan Adventures has a surplus of 26 filler episodes which combined with the 13 story arc episodes (the typical number of episodes per season) totals 39 episodes. In addition, 3 of those fillers are set in the first season. Some of the other filler episodes were used to introduce characters who would appear in larger roles later on, among them Dao Lon Wong, the Arc Villain for Season 3. The remaining seasons only contain 3-5 fillers.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series:
    • The series has two filler episodes in the first season. One is called "The Asteroid", where a huge meteor is coming towards Earth, and it's up to Stitch and the other nearby experiments to go and destroy it, only to find that a creature lives on it. The other is "Bad Stitch", where Dr. Hämsterviel masquerades as a behavioral correction doctor in an attempt to capture Stitch, who is in trouble with Nani for his destructive behavior and is forced by Lilo to change it. Notably, "Bad Stitch" is the only episode to introduce no new experiments, not even indirectly from Jumba's experiment database.
    • The second season has twice as many as the previous one, all of them being Crossovers with other Disney cartoons. The episodes are "Morpholomew", "Spats", "Rufus", and "Lax", crossovers with American Dragon: Jake Long, The Proud Family, Kim Possible, and Recess, respectively.
  • The first half of Ninjago's second season consists of highly episodic adventures where the Ninja foil Garmadon's latest scheme, as the writing team had to stall for time until they were told about the new villains. Tellingly, this half of the season doesn't have any tie-in Lego sets and the only episode that furthers the Myth Arc about the prophecy of the Green Ninja is the one where Lloyd receives a Plot-Relevant Age-Up.
  • Steven Universe: According to its producers, the show has no filler episodes, noting that even the episodes that don’t directly contribute to the overall Myth Arc still contain elements of character development and worldbuilding. Nevertheless, most fans agree that a good chunk of the stories focusing on Beach City residents, which often serve as breather episodes, can be skipped without missing anything important. "Onion Trade" and "Restaurant Wars" are some of the best examples of this, with even the Gem technology involved with the former's plot never being brought up again. There is also "Flood Order", wherein only 10 episodes of Season 1A are deemed as necessary viewing for incoming fans who want to start from the beginning.
    • "Say Uncle", an April Fool's Day crossover with Uncle Grandpa that is explicitly stated in-universe to be non-canon. Though true to the producers' word, it still was important in that it confirmed to the audience that Steven's powers are emotion-based and is the first time Steven is able to use his shield on command. It also had one of the earliest hints that Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond were the same person, as Uncle Grandpa tells Steven to polish his gem twice a year, something that Quartzes do not require but Diamonds do.
  • Total Drama Island has a pretty blatant example in the form of "Camp Castaways", in which the Final Four end up trapped on a "deserted island" (actually Chris' secret production camp). Although the foursome seem to bond a bit over the course of the episode, this is completely disregarded at the end when they all agree to pretend it never happened. The only real nods this episode gets from future episodes are cameo appearances from Owen's Companion Cube, Mr. Coconut.
  • In Young Justice, every episode is connected to the Story Arc with the exception of the first season's Halloween Episode, "Secrets". The A-plot involves Artemis and Zatanna facing a villain who has no ties with the Light, while the B-plot has the rest of the team partying. The only thing slightly relevant in the long run is Artemis learning about Connor and M'gann's relationship.

    Real Life 
  • In newspapering (along with the Yellow Pages), fillers are sometimes used to, appropriately, fill space. These might take one of several forms:
    • Famous quotes, fun facts or quick stories that are generally humorous in nature.
    • Filler advertisements. Often, these will be "house ads," or advertisements created by an editor or advertising department selling the publication. Other times, stock ads — often, these are public service ads from the Ad Council — may be used.
    • Clip art or graphics that might apply to the season or an upcoming holiday, but otherwise serve little purpose.
      While these were more common in the era before computer pagination of pages (which allow page designers to adjust the leading or length of a story to fit a specific space), sometimes after everything has been adjusted and there is still enough white space remaining, the editor will turn to using filler. The result is a cleanly-designed page that the reader can rarely notice the difference.
  • In radio, in the era where virtually every radio station had network news at the top of the hour and was available only by live feed, many stations used instrumental songs to fill time remaining between the end of the last song and when the network news began (or in cases where sports play-by-play ended and cutting to the regularly scheduled pre-recorded program in progress made no sense since there was no hook to catch the listener up on the ongoing discussion, or there was little time to discuss something for a live show). Stations often had a library of a few dozen generic-sounding records, each sounding somewhat like the genre they played, which were used to fill out the remaining hour, often if there wasn't a current song or recurrent that was short enough to fit the remaining time without cutting it off early. The jockey sometimes read announcements or previewed the next hour, but if he chose not to talk, the song would allow the jockey to avoid broadcasting "dead air" (silence).
  • WPFM, an album-rock station in Panama City FL, broke for ABC news at the top of an hour in a 1977 broadcast. Afterwards, there was dead air for some three minutes before soft violin music started playing. Immediately, the DJ at the station finally returned to local and quipped "You learn something new every day. Today it's 'don't go to the bathroom during ABC news'."
  • British ex-pirate station Radio Caroline has a clip of waves washing up and down and seagulls calling (a reference to its early days broadcasting from just outside UK territorial waters) that appears to serve the same purpose, as well as possibly covering for when the equipment is acting up.
  • The Brewing Network: From 2012 onwards Brew Strong was criticized for having too many Q&A episodes, as well as having a "Going Pro" series that went for 12 episodes. Jamil justified the number of Q&A episodes by saying they receive lots of questions and they needed to get them out of the way. Listeners who didn't mind argued that Jamil, hosting two shows and running a brewery, had less time to prepare the more detailed and in depth style of show. Some critics of The Session consider the banter to be this and prefer the shows that get directly to brewing information.
  • Older Than Dirt: After finishing the important scenes decorating a pharaoh's tomb, it was fairly common practice for ancient Egyptian painters and engravers to straight-up invent new gods out of whole cloth to populate purely decorative scenes on the remaining walls.

Alternative Title(s): Filler Arc


My Little Pony (2022) Comics

How well does it match the trope?

2.75 (8 votes)

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Main / Filler

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