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Half-Arc Season

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Sometimes, the writers of the show want a Story Arc's ability to tell a longer story, but also want the flexibility afforded by a more episodic structure. The answer to these is the Half-Arc Season.

Each season has its own Story Arc but the majority of the episodes in the season are one-part standalone episodes. The arc is mostly separated out to the first few episodes of the season (to set it up) and the last few (to resolve it), with a few that push forward the greater storyline while still telling their own story sprinkled about in the middle.

Note that seasons mostly devoted to an arc can still have the occasional standalone in them; it's when the majority of episodes are non-Arc that this trope applies. Usually, this is midway in Season Fluidity. When a Season alternates between two major arcs, the arcs are said to Rotate.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Black Lagoon's layout contained 2-3 episode mini-arcs within both seasons (the Nazi arc, the Roberta arc, and the Triads and Terrorists arc from Season 1, as well as the Vampire Twins and Greenback Jane arcs from Season 2). Season 2, however, also featured the six-episode endgame "Fujiyama Gangster Paradise" which took up the other half of the whole series. The next arc, "El Baile De La Muerte", ended up being so long and continuous that it was adapted into an OVA series instead of a season.
  • Cowboy Bebop is one of the most textbook examples in pop culture and arguably the progenitor of this format. Of the show's 26 episodes, only five comprise the plotline with Vicious, whose debut also kicks off the Myth Arc surrounding Spike's past. True to form, the arc's episodes are spaced out from the beginning ("Ballad of Fallen Angels"), to the middle ("Jupiter Jazz" two-parter), to the end ("The Real Folk Blues" two-part finale).
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex; in this case, the Title Card of each episode would be marked 'Stand Alone' or 'Complex' (Arc-based). The second season went even further, with two arcs running simultaneously - "Individual" episodes tie into the first arc, "Dual" episodes with the second, and "Dividual" episodes were stand-alone.
  • The first ten or so episodes of SD Gundam Force were stand-alone, the first major arc not starting until "The Mystery of Lacroa". The second season was entirely arc-based.
  • The original Sailor Moon anime had about one quarter of the episodes advancing the manga's plotlines. The rest were episodic Monster of the Week filler where the Arc Villains try and fail to advance their agenda. The anime's only fully original storyline, the Makai Tree arc, followed the same format.
  • Approximately the first 15 or chapters/episodes of Soul Eater follow this pattern, mixing together introductions, Monster of the Week episodes, Breather Episodes, and a recurring plot involving Medusa and Crona. From the anniversary party onward, it's pretty strictly serialized.
  • The first season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX more-or-less ran like this. Later seasons had the serialized elements dominating further and further.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow has a format of a main story set in the present, and another from Oliver's five years away, viewed via flashback:
      • Season 1: The flashbacks show Oliver first arriving on the island, and being entangled in the conflict with Edward Fyers' mercenaries. The present day story shows Oliver first returning to Starling City, becoming the Arrow, and slowly uncovering the Undertaking conspiracy.
      • Season 2: The flashbacks show the conflict between Oliver and his friends on the island and Dr. Ivo, which led to Slade's Face–Heel Turn. The present day story is about Oliver trying to move from being a vigilante to a true hero, while facing Brother Blood and Slade.
      • Season 3: The flashbacks show Oliver's time as an ARGUS agent in Hong Kong. The present day story is about Team Arrow being caught in the middle of a war between Malcolm Merlyn and Ra's al Ghul.
    • The flashbacks on The Flash (2014) don't have a half-arc themselves, but the show otherwise follows its parent series, Arrow's format with Barry fighting Monsters of the Week with a slowly building season long plot orchestrated by his mentor figure Harrison Wells.
  • Battlestar Galactica did this though they leaned more towards every episode being part of the arc. The Season finale/premiers and the mid-season two-parters usually had some kind of game-changing event and the episodes after that were mostly stand-alone, exploring the results of those events and their effects on the characters while only prodding the story along.
  • Season Two of Blake's 7 has a story arc that is mentioned in passing during the third episode and kicks off with the fifth and sixth episodes before getting partially sidelined until it becomes the center of attention in the last three episodes.
  • In the third season of Bones, this tactic was employed. The Gormogon arc was often made of awesome, but if you know how it ends it can be deeply unsatisfying, as the arc was cut short by the writer's strike and ended with an Ass Pull of epic proportions.
  • Burn Notice. Generally, a standalone mission takes up most of the screen time while the burn-related investigation gets only a few scenes scattered throughout the episode. Arguably, most episodes move the arc along a little, but as the investigation moves slowly and with a lot of false leads, you could easily miss a few episodes and still figure it out pretty easily. Most of the investigation scenes in the first several seasons boil down to "track down promising lead, only for them to be murdered right before they spill the beans", rinse and repeat. You can get 90% of the Myth Arc plot just by watching the first and last two episodes of each season.
  • Castle, starting in the second season. Individual episodes are almost always independent. Occasionally, however, one will end up touching on the larger issue of Beckett's mother's murder, sometimes very tangentially (X crime is committed in an attempt to get Y to happen so the Big Bad can go after Beckett) or very directly (the case just happens to bring Beckett face to face with her mother's killer).
  • In general, CBS seems to have mandated some version of this for all their drama series. Most of the older ones (The CSIs, Criminal Minds, NCIS) contain the arcs to a single season. Several shows (The Mentalist, NCIS: Los Angeles, Hawaii Five-0) have constructed a single series-long half-arc.
  • Chuck does this. Though the show does try to add plot points for the major arc in every episode, some of them are mostly self-contained.
  • CSI has had several multi-episode arcs, but the one clear-cut example of this trope would be Season 7, in which the Miniature Killer case was the main focus of about half a dozen episodes and was also alluded to in several others. Season 11 might count as well, though some fans think of it as a regular season that got infested by a Plot Tumor.
  • The Doctor Who revival series leans more and more towards this format as time progresses:
    • In Series 1, time and time again Rose and the Ninth Doctor encounter the words "Bad Wolf", but have no idea what they could be referring to. An episode midway through the season then sets the stage for the two-episode season finale where the reason behind the appearance of the Bad Wolf phrase is revealed.
    • In Series 2, a majority of the episodes are standalone, but in the second episode the Doctor and Rose inspire the creation of "the Torchwood Institute", which becomes that season's Arc Word. The Doctor finally meets them in person in the finale, along with the villains from the mid-series two-parter.
    • In Series 3, each of the first ten episodes slyly introduced a Chekhov's Gun that would be fired in the last three: the Timey-Wimey Ball in "Smith and Jones" and "Blink", the chameleon arch in "Human Nature", Dr. Lazarus' experiments in . . . well, "The Lazarus Experiment", Mr. Saxon and the government keeping tabs on Martha in "The Lazarus Experiment" and "42", the Face of Boe's message in "Gridlock", and the power of words in "The Shakespeare Code".
    • In Series 4, all of the episodes seem very episodic, with seemingly unconnected references. Then the finale comes along, and suddenly nearly every episode was part of the story arc. It goes further, bringing in characters and events from all three seasons and the spin-off series, all of which were mostly standalone up until then.
    • Series 5: Silence is mentioned several times, starting in episode one. The Doctor and Amy run forth on their adventures not giving a damn about the mentions of it or anything else. Several times throughout the series we hear about silence, but our focus is drawn more towards the cracks in time. It's not until Series 6 that a religious order opposed to the Doctor called the — (surprise surprise) — Silence — is revealed!
    • Series 6 has said Silence turning out to be behind the apparently final death of the Doctor, and he, Amy, Rory, and River Song trying to figure out if this can be avoided. Events slowly developed through the season include Amy being pregnant and replaced by a flesh clone, and the child turning out to be River herself. Joining this is the wonderful question that cannot be answered: Doctor Who?
    • Series 7 features two largely separate arcs, commonly referred to as 7A and 7B, which aired in consecutive years. 7A is the falling action of the Doctor's relationship with the Ponds, culminating in his being permanently separated from them. After the Doctor is brought out of brooding by Clara, a Victorian woman who is killed in the process of helping him defeat an old enemy in the Christmas Episode, and he realizes he met this woman in the 7A opener, where she also died, he discovers Clara again in The Present Day and takes her on as a companion to figure out how this is possible, especially given that she shows no knowledge of other adventures. This arc leads directly into a pair of specials that resolve all of the dangling plot points of the Eleventh Doctor's tenure and also saves Gallifrey, his long-lost homeworld.
    • Series 8, the Twelfth Doctor's first season, has him struggling with an identity crisis, while Clara struggles both with his much-changed personality and balancing her travels with him with a romantic relationship with a fellow schoolteacher, troubled ex-soldier Danny Pink, all while the mysterious Missy sees all from the Nethersphere, where people go after they die. Each half of the season alternates two arc-light stories with four arc-heavy ones, including the two-part Season Finale.
    • Series 9 is a variation. It is mostly multi-part stories, but the four two-parters that make up its first two-thirds work as standalone adventures, connected by little more than common themes (stories, memories, winning and losing, characters dancing between living and dead, and hybrids) and the Doctor and Clara's increasingly tender relationship. Then, after a one-part Found Footage Deconstruction, what seems like another one-off turns out to be the opening act of a three-part Season Finale that separates the Doctor and Clara for good, has him return to Gallifrey for the first time since the Last Great Time War, and brings back several plot points, concepts, and characters from the two-parters along with the running themes. In particular, the second two-parter ("Under the Lake"/"Before the Flood") turns out to have been heavily Foreshadowing the events of the finale all along.
    • Series 10 starts with five standalone episodes to introduce new companion Bill Potts, each teasing the contents of a mysterious vault the Doctor is guarding on Earth. The fifth has a denouement that leads directly into a Two-Part Trilogy involving The Reveal of its contents and the nature of the oath he took to guard it, the Doctor going blind, the return of recurring villain Missy, and an Alien Invasion by Reality Warpers. After that are two more standalone stories, and then Missy returns for the two-part Season Finale.
    • Seemingly in response to how dense Moffat-era arcs could get, the arc for Series 11 is almost entirely character focused as 13's companions try and understand the Doctor better while she tries to keep them at arms length. The closest thing to an arc resembling prior series is that the man who killed Grahams wife and Ryan's grandmother in the first episode of the series, Tim Shaw, turns up in the last episode of the series and how the characters react to this after their journeys with the Doctor becomes the focus.
    • Series 12, in contrast, almost hilariously splits it's episode count in half for its arc, with the opening two-parter and the final three-parter covering the Timeless Child story while episodes 3-7 have absolutely nothing to do with it barring the mystery of the "Fugitive" Doctor in Fugitive of the Judoon.
    • Series 13, Flux, averts this by being a six-episode miniseries telling one continuous story as opposed to the half-arc every revival series had up to this point.
  • Fringe generally has arc episodes at the beginning of the season, around the half way point (episode 10 and 11), during sweeps (15 and 16) and ending with a big finale. The rest of the episodes are "Freak of the Week" deals.
  • While most Glee episodes are fairly stand-alone, there is the larger arc about the group preparing for competitions (Sectionals, Regionals, Nationals) which strings each season together.
  • Justified: While Seasons 2, 3, and to a lesser degree, 4, are almost entirely serialised, Seasons 1 and 5 follow this pattern. Season 1 has Raylan and Boyd pursuing their own agendas, until Bo's release from prison kicks off the final arc, while Season 5 has Boyd engaged in a serialised storyline, while Raylan deals with villains of the week; their storylines eventually collide in the backhalf of the season.
  • Leverage attempted this with its third season, but due to availability, odd timing, lack of scripts, etc. there was only one truly arc important episode between the premier and the finale, with some small hints thrown in here and there. Word of God states that these were meant to be spread out more, but shooting schedules clustered them into the back third of the season.
  • The first season of Lost Girl is heavily monster-of-the-week, with little tidbits to move the larger mystery of Bo's parentage forward, with the occasional arc-heavy episode.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch, in seasons 2, 3, and 4:
    • In season 2, the running plotline is Sabrina needing to get her "Witches' License", and the character of the Quizmaster is featured only in this season for this specific purpose. However, all the same relationship plots and sitcom hijinks of the first season remain present and most of the main characters have little to no involvement with the "Quizmaster" storyline.
    • Season 3 introduced a mystery plot, as Sabrina had to "solve the family secret" based on a series of elaborate clues and puzzles with no outside assistance. The secret? Every Spellman has a twin. Turns out one of the twins is always good and one is always an Evil Twin, and Sabrina has to prove she isn't the Evil Twin. (She isn't.) Again, Sabrina still has to balance all this against her high school studies, relationship issues with Harvey, her friendship with Valerie, and her rivalry with Libby.
    • Season 4 introduces an apprentice witch named Dreama for Sabrina to mentor, and Harvey's recently-returned childhood friend turning out to have the "witch hunter" gene which makes him instinctively dislike her. Only the "witch hunter" plotline was seen to fruition, and both Dreama and Harvey's friend disappeared after the season ended.
  • Seinfeld had arcs in seasons 4 and 7. The former finds Jerry and George trying to create a TV pilot for NBC, and the latter sees George getting engaged to his ex Susan, then desperately finding ways to break up with her.
  • The last two seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise.
    • A couple of Deep Space Nine episodes in the sixth and seventh seasons played with this trope: it appeared at first that they were standalone episodes not part of the Dominion War arc, but then the Dominion would show up unexpectedly and it would turn out to be part of the arc after all. A good example is "One Little Ship".
  • As an ensemble sitcom Taxi generally features standalone episodes with occasional sequels, but Season 4 has Latka undergoing a multiple personality crisis resolved via the return of Simka, culminating in their Wedding Episode (covering a total of three focus episodes and several B-plots), and Season 5 has Reverend Jim trying to figure out what to do with an inheritance he receives upon the death of his wealthy father, which ends up providing a belated resolution to Louie betraying Jeff in an otherwise standalone episode as well.
  • Tokusatsu shows go with this if they're meant to last a season. The Monster of the Week will still be sent by the Big Bad but otherwise unrelated and the overarching plot will be touched on in the beginning, the end and a few episodes in between. This carries over to Power Rangers as well.
  • Veronica Mars, two ways. Its first two seasons, though technically full arc seasons, had a lot of Mystery Of The Week with little or no movement on the season-arc story. Its third season had two distinct shorter arcs, one six episodes long, with beginning, middle, and end; and the second nine episodes long. The last five episodes of the season are standalone (excepting the last two episodes, which were aired together). The advantage, in a show like VM, is that some of the Mysteries of the Week can actually be key revelations in the arc, but this fact is not obvious until the end of the episode.
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2019) operates on this for the first two seasons by introducing a character goal or conflict in the first episode and then doing a few character-focused episodes before bringing it back in the middle.
    • Season 1 has Baron Afanas demand the main characters take over the United States. The group does this half-heartedly by trying to take over Staten Island until Guillermo accidentally murders him in episode 6. Nandor, Nadja, and Laszlo are subsequently put on trial for his death in the next episode and once they escape their predicament of impending execution, they collectively drop the Baron's imposed duty like a hot potato to go back to their meandering day-to-day lives for the next three episodes. The finale ends with the hook for the next season when Guillermo discovers he is a descendant of Van Helsing.
    • Guillermo defending himself and others with his newfound skills against hostile vampires in the wake of realizing his ancestral heritage as vampire hunter forms the main thread for season 2, with 4 episodes dedicated explicitly to this plot and the occasional reminder dropped while the story focuses on something else in the others.
  • The X-Files was particularly famous for this, and the fandom still rages over whether it was better with the arc or without the arc and debates over what episodes count as arc related (generally, arc related episodes featured characters like The Lone Gunmen, The Cigarette Smoking Man, Deep Throat, Mr. X, and Alex Krycek) but several one-shot episodes featured them as well. The most debated is "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" which was entirely based on the alien arc and showed a scene that was said to have happened before the series started, but added nothing to plot otherwise, and is even hinted at being false at some points.
  • Z Nation: Most of the episodes help to develop at least one character's backstory, but the Myth Arc revolves pretty firmly around Murphy. Of the 13 episodes in the first season, only 6 move his story forward.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Animator vs. Animation: The entirety of the AVM Shorts Season 1 is this as the first few episodes were centered around the main cast learning many different aspects of Minecraft until episode 8 "The Nether" where it kickstarted the first story arc. The second half of Season 1 revolved around our heroes exploring the many new worlds, fighting off many new enemies, and returning back home.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dragon: Jake Long utilizes this for both seasons. Season one is about the development of Jake and Rose's relationship, leading to them gradually discovering that they're mortal enemies, leading to season two being about them trying to find a way to make a relationship work out while also having to secretly work together to stop Rose's mentor, the Huntsman, from committing magical genocide. The show tends to have a heavily plot-based episode followed by a handful of Monster of the Week episodes, while also occasionally throwing in an episode dedicated to a more secondary arc, such as Professor Rotwood's suspicion and later confirmation that Jake is a dragon, Jake's sister Haley beginning her dragon training and gradually realizing how hard it is, Spud trying to win the heart of a snobby cheerleader, and the plotting of the Dark Dragon to overthrow humanity.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender did this in its first and third seasons. Season 2 had only a few self-contained episodes, and they were more important for tying up loose threads left over from the previous season.
  • The second season of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has the Skrull Invasion arc, which takes up the first half of the season. Once that ends, the season has a lot more standalone episodes, with some episodes that ties up previous loose ends thrown into the mix as well.
  • The first season of Batman Beyond is a text book example. The season's Story Arc dealt with Terry's efforts to bring down Derek Powers. This plot began in the two-part premiere "Rebirth" and concluded in the season finale "Ascension", with about three episodes sprinkled in the middle that advanced the narrative in small ways. The rest of the season consisted of standalone episodes that had nothing to do with Powers.
  • Ben 10 (both the classic series and the 2016 reboot) are structured like this, with the majority of the episodes being standalone, but a handful advancing the season arc or the overall Myth Arc surrounding the Omnitrix.
  • Any episode forces on the history of Franz Hopper in Code Lyoko until the final four episodes of Season 2 — "Franz Hopper", "Contact", "The Revelations, and "The Key" where the story becomes the main arc. Seasons 3 and 4 did a similar thing with the gradual destruction of Lyoko's sectors and the infiltration of the other supercomputers respectively.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • The first season had slowly built up Gideon as a major antagonist who wanted to obtain all of the journals and the Mystery Shack itself, but this was spaced between several Monster of the Week episodes that, at most, introduced a Chekhov's Gunman or foreshadowed a development in Season 2.
    • The second season utilized this heavily. Twice. The first half of the season had the mysterious portal that Grunkle Stan was working on in the basement, while the second half of the season dealt with stopping Bill Cipher from getting a dimensional rift that would allow him to take over our dimension. There were more episodes that tied directly in to both of these, but Season 2 still had the occasional episode with a villain that had nothing to do with any of it.
  • I ♡ Arlo: The first season had a short arc where the main characters prepare their home of Seaside by the Seashore for its "Uncondemning" block party to celebrate its authenticity. It culminates in a Final Exam Finale to Arlo's Character Development from the Pilot Movie, where he journeys back to the swamp he grew up in to save Edmée, face down the evil Bog Lady, and learns that no matter where he goes, his old home will always be part of him.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures. Season 2 especially is notorious with this. The stand-alone episodes put together were longer than any of the other seasons.
    • It should be mentioned that, with the exception of the first two seasons (which had the same Big Bad but different plot), all Big Bad villains for every season got their debut in a stand-alone, Tarakudo being the most triumphant as he was just a tattoo in the initial appearance.
  • Kim Possible: The third and fourth seasons. Season 3 had several episodes ("Emotion Sickness", "Bad Boy", "Gorilla Fist") which precipitated the Relationship Upgrade in Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama. Season 4 devoted the subplots of several episodes to forwarding various storylines (Warmonga's planned invasion, Drakken trying to escape from prison, etc.).
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Season One has an arc following the Mane Six preparing for the Grand Galloping Gala in Canterlot, but every episode was also able to stand alone, including the arc episodes. Disregarding the two-part series premiere, the opening and closing episodes also stand as Bookends.
    • Season Three contains the final, critical steps of Twilight Sparkle's journey to becoming an alicorn princess, in addition to traditional slice of life episodes.
    • Season Four's main arc starts with the end of the two-part premiere, which introduced a mysterious box with six locks after Twilight sacrificed the Elements of Harmony, and is resolved in the two-part finale. The keys found over the course of the season are mementos from ponies of the day when they and a mane character learn the same lesson about friendship. The season also has a secondary arc (started in the previous season) leading up to the Equestria Games, which take place just before the finale. As usual, there are plenty of Slice of Life episodes in between the arc episodes.
    • Season Five is mostly episodic but is bookended by two confrontations with the season antagonist Starlight Glimmer. Inbetween, she can be found hiding in the background of several episodes, implying that she's stalking Twilight Sparkle as she plans her revenge.
    • Season Six, despite being mostly slice of life, had a mini-arc (specifically "The Crystalling", "The Times They Are A-Changeling", and "To Where and Back Again") leading up to the redemption of the Changelings.
    • Season Seven's back half prominently features stories of the Pillars of Old Equestria, culminating in their return from Limbo in the season finale.
    • Season Eight's plotline revolves around the School of Friendship, which provides the backdrop for several standalone stories, but also a season-long plotline as Twilight and friends struggle to keep the school running (and as a darker plot revolving around the school begins to take shape).
    • Season Nine revolves around a final plotline where Celestia and Luna announce their retirement and make Twilight their successor, and a legion of villains from the past unite to take over Equestria which they must defeat. This is the background for several standalone episodes across the season, culminating in the Final Battle and Twilight assuming her new position.
  • Happened throughout the three seasons of OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, to different degrees for each:
    • Season 1 (the longest, clocking in at 52 episodes) had the majority of its episodes as standalones that developed the setting and main characters more, and/or gave A Day in the Limelight to many of the more minor characters to flesh them out more. However, there were also quite a few episodes focusing on Boxman (the Big Bad of the season, and one of the biggest villains for the series overall), his obsession with attacking the Plaza, and problems that sometimes caused for him; several others focused on other characters, groups, or backstory elements that would become more important in one of the following seasons (such as Elodie, Professor Venomous, Shadowy Figure, and P.O.I.N.T.).
    • Season 2 (which had 37 eps) still had a little more than half of the episodes as day-in-the-spotlight standalones; however, a large chunk of this season was dedicated to a narrative about P.O.I.N.T., who took center stage in the present after only playing a major role in the backstories of several characters in the first season. This even included a five-episode Story Arc about P.O.I.N.T. Prep, and the double-length season finale featured P.O.I.N.T. as the main antagonist. There were also a few episodes that continued to build on the overall Myth Arc that was resolved in the third season.
    • Season 3 (19 eps) had to wrap up the rest of the series quickly after its sudden cancellation, and as such, had a significantly higher ratio of plot-relevant episodes than the previous two seasons. But even then, only about half of them dealt with the endgame and direct lead up to it, plus a couple more that answered some lingering questions from the previous two seasons about P.O.I.N.T. The other half still consisted of Character Focus episodes that, in this case, highlighted the Character Development of several different people from the first season to this one, but didn't play a direct role in building up the conflict with the Final Boss of the series.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja mostly dealt with Randy's various one-off adventures as the Ninja with a few episodes exploring the lore and history of the Sorcerer. The second season followed this more closely, showcasing an overarching narrative with the retrieval of the Sorcerer Balls and Evil Julian.
  • South Park:
    • Season 6 had most of the episodes deal with Butters and Tweek as Kenny's replacements, and later Cartman being possessed by Kenny's spirit.
    • While they have different plots, most of the "non-issue" episodes in Season 4 tended to revolve around Cartman's various attempts at getting $10 million. In Season 12 it's the boys' gradual discovery of their unpopularity.
    • Season 18 focuses on Randy's Secret Identity as Lorde, hinted at (in that Randy dressed as Lorde) in "Gluten-Free Ebola", confirmed in "The Cissy", and wrapped up in "#REHASH" and "#HAPPYHOLOGRAMS"
    • Season 19, which deals a new, yet accepted, sweep of political correctness.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series in its second, third, and fourth seasons. All of them had their own subtitle with the actual episode titles treated as chapters of it, but all had their share of standalone stories as well.
  • Steven Universe alternates between story arc-based episodes (often several in a row) and more self-contained ones, though some story arcs bleed between seasons (such as the containment of the Cluster and the search for Malachite).
  • Each season of Teen Titans was structured in this manner, with half the episodes being one-off adventures and the other half telling an arc. The entirely arc-based fifth season was the only exception, where a flashback origin story episode was the only one not related to the current world-travelling plot at hand.
  • Transformers: Animated follows this format to an extent, particularly in the first season. Season 2 has some random, AllSpark-related hijinks between important episodes, but they were usually still related to the plot in some way, with the Blue Racer being a prime example.
    • The first season of Beast Wars was similar, with various questions springing up (Tarantulas trying to get a stasis pod, the strange rock formation) to be left unanswered until the end. However, season 2 onwards had a much more serialized plot.
  • The first two seasons of Wakfu each have their own story arc and Big Bad, but most episodes are filler apart from the beginning, middle, and end of each season. Because the third season was shorter, it pared things down to just the single story arc.
  • The second season Wander over Yonder starts out as this—the story arc about Lord Dominator begins in the season intro, yet it mainly stays in the background with a few references in some episodes. However, as the story progresses, it gradually gets brought up more and more until near the end where almost every episode has it as a major plot point.
  • The first season of W.I.T.C.H. has the heroes going through a main standalone plot for each episode combined with scenes of the villains that advance the Myth Arc. The second season was a much more ongoing plot each episode.