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Jaller: [dramatic voiceover] Previously on Lincoln Heights...
Axonn: Look, the thing was like three minutes long. Just watch it.

Previously, on This Very Wiki...

A clip montage at the beginning of an episode with a voiceover, or a slide, saying "Previously on (show name)", or a variation "Last time on (show name)", that serves to get the viewer up to speed on the parts of the arc relevant to the episode in question. The majority of Arc-based series use these. Outside of those, usually only used if it's the beginning of a continuing part of a multi-parter. It's also known as "The Previously", or just the recap.

On shows that make regular use of them, it's common for responsibility for the voiceover to rotate through the main cast members, generally without much regard to the content of the episode.

The viewer may sometimes wonder whether the writers of a series threw in a line of dialogue or a scene that succinctly sums up what's going on with an eye towards (or for the sole purpose of) including it in the next episode's "Previously..." Furthermore, the Previously clip montage occasionally includes footage that didn't make it into the final cut of the earlier episode (thus lying to the viewer when it claims that it was previously featured on the show).

This device can tip off the audience to important elements of the coming episode. In a competitive reality show, for example, a character featured heavily in Previously On may be getting the boot. In a drama or other arc-heavy series, if you see something in Previously On that didn't seem important previously, it will become important. See Chekhov's Gun.

By contrast, some anime series will begin an episode by recapping scenes from the previous episode, but these may be intercut with new scenes.

When used in video games, it gives a clue to the answer to "Now, Where Was I Going Again?"

Many, many examples can be seen here

Contrast with On the Next. Accompanied by a To Be Continued on the previous episode. Compare Title Montage, for open credits made up of scenes from early or previous episodes.


    open/close all folders 

  • Episodes of earlier Flower Angel seasons often begin with a quick recap of the previous episode's events. Starting in Season 3, the series protagonist Xia An'an is usually the one who relates the events being recapped.
  • Happy Heroes episodes with more than one part generally have a "previously..." clip at the beginning of any episode in the multi-part arc beyond the first of the bunch, showing various clips of the previous part to give viewers an idea as to what happened before.
  • Whenever a Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf episode is a continuation of a previous episode, it will contain a clip summing up the earlier part's events in about 20 seconds and explain how it leads into the current episode.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot and Marple, this trope is present in the cases that last two or more chapters, like adaptations of Agatha Christie's novels. Maybelle does a recap of what has happened until the moment about the case.
  • Because the twenty-seventh chapter of Asteroid in Love kind-of ends at a cliffhanger, as Misa proposes an audacious solution to tackle Ao's impending departure due to her father's job transfer, the first strip of the following chapter starts with a recap of Misa suggestion... This starts off normal, since the voiceover sounds like what Mira would say in this situation. At the fourth frame of strip, however, it turns out Moe is the one holding the voiceover microphone, and she starts talking Perverted Sniffing her crush Misa...
    Mira: Suzu-chan! Can you stop with the one-sided narration already!?
  • Most episodes of Attack on Titan start with recap sequences. During longer arcs, such as the Female Titan arc, the recaps are often fairly similar from episode to episode and at one point in said arc there's a recap sequence three minutes long. Not quite on par with Dragon Ball Z but that's still pretty damn long.
  • The makers of Bleach has realised that this is a brilliant way of keeping production costs down: once the main theme finishes, viewers are treated to a lengthy expository narration explaining the plot so far. This usually takes up over 10% of the episode.
    • One fansub group, providing subtitles for Episode 227, inserted a comment asking if this was Episode 226 after over five minutes of the previous episode was shown.
    • Episode 190, having come back from an awkwardly inserted filler arc, is well over 50% a general recap of the current story arc, and then a more detailed recap of Ichigo's fights before then. Made slightly more jarring as the series became widescreen starting with the filler arc, thus borders are added to the sides of the screen for the recap footage.
  • In multi-part episodes of Case Closed, the couple of minutes before the title card for all episodes after the first one is used for showing what happened in previous episodes. This is often redundant because Conan will provide his own recap in Inner Monologue every so often. (In one episode, "The Alibi of the Black Dress", Conan recapped twice in the first episode (including a fairly lengthy one right before the end) and again in part two, in addition to the "Previously On" segment!) This may be done as a time-filling method when a manga-based case is too long for one part but not long enough for two.
  • There are two episodes (8.5 and 17.5) dedicated to this entirely in Code Geass. The staff openly admits they were done to buy time (the production was behind schedule) and both of them were left out of the official DVD releases. Other than that, C.C. usually assumes the role of recap narrator during the segments found at the beginning of several episodes.
  • Digimon did this during its whole run. The dubbed version had two of them were recapped by a character from the previous season (Davis for Tamers, and Rika for Frontier until Melissa Fahn got a case of Real Life Writes the Plot), the other four had each episode recapped by one of the characters, usually being someone who had a prominent role in the episode being recapped.
    • The original version had this in every season, always done by the Narrator (Hiroaki Hirata as a timeskipped Takeru for Adventure and Adventure 02, Masako Nozawa not using her Guilmon voice for Tamers, Masami Kikuchi for Frontier, and unnamed voice actors for Savers and Xros Wars. Interesting fact is that the BGM used for the recaps in Adventure was very calm and serene, which later would contrast a lot with the events that happened (can you picture recaps of the darker episodes of the Vamdemon/Myotismon arc with calm music? It's like that).
  • This is used by many long-running series as a cost-cutting measure. Dragon Ball Z was particularly infamous for this, as it opened each episode with long recaps which typically lasted five minutes or more, and would sometimes replay entire sequences from previous episodes. The recaps even had their own theme music which played over them.
  • Durarara!! has a 20-second recap of information relevant to the episode mixed into the opening theme of most episodes. These usually give a decent idea of which characters will have an impact on the events, and sometimes foreshadow Chekhov's Gun moments.
  • The first season of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood does this in most episodes, just after the Title Sequence.
  • Nearly every episode of Futari wa Pretty Cure had a scene near the beginning in which Nagisa recalled the events of the previous episode, even though there was usually no plot connection of any importance. Interestingly, the actual cliffhangers avoided this in favor of a straight montage before the opening credits.
  • Fushigi Yuugi's Previously On clip features Taiitsukun as the narrator. To spice things up, make a drinking game of how many times the word "beloved" is mentioned in the clips.
  • The Count opens each episode of Gankutsuou by recapping the previous events in the broadest and most flowery of terms. What's most interesting is that he speaks in French for these bits.
    • That's not the Count - that's the spirit of Gankutsuou inside him. It should be a hint that he refers to the Count as "my friend".
  • GUN×SWORD handles this pretty well, all things considered. It helps that the narrator changes his lead-in to the recap every few episodes.
  • His and Her Circumstances egregiously recapped the entire plot in every episode. By the end of the series, episodes were half recap.
  • The Love Live! franchise has a "Zenkai no Love Live!" segment play before the start of each episode in which the events of the previous episode are discussed by the main character (Honoka Kousaka or Chika Takami). In one instance, Honoka gave a musical recap of the previous season.
  • Spoofed on Martian Successor Nadesico, with Deadpan Snarker Ruri commenting on the events of the previous episode without actually recapping anything.
  • Each episode of My Hero Academia starts with a sequence recapping the previous episode, sometimes taking up to two minutes.
  • Each episode of The Mysterious Cities of Gold starts with a recap of the previous episode.
  • 50% of a certain episode of Naruto consisted of recapping the previous episode's events.
  • One Piece likes to do this during its story arcs. Currently it starts off each episode with a sepia-toned recap of the show's main premise, followed by ANOTHER recap of the current storyline. Lately these have been shortened considerably, though. It also sometimes shows a map showing where each group of characters is.
    • The premise recap used to be part of the opening sequence. Eventually the creators got tired of having narration before the theme song so they just moved it to right after the intro.
  • Early Pokémon: The Series episodes did this, summarizing Ash's journey up until then.
  • Reborn! (2004) can be particularly problematic with this. For some of the episodes in the Future Arc it gets to the point where there is so much recap of the previous episode (and a general summary of the arc) that, given the space also taken by credits and omake, there amounts to around ten minutes of new material.
  • Similarly, the recap sequences in Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 get steadily longer and longer until the final episode has one that's three minutes long. The difference is that Sailor Moon Crystal's recaps only covered the previous episode.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei spoofed this in the third season. Absolutely none of it is actually canon, and is almost complete nonsense, made even more ridiculous with the silly voices used.
  • Shugo Chara!: the "Shugo Chara Dokki Doki" segments on "Shugo Chara Party" have their own opening theme song. A brief compilation of clips from the previous episode play while the theme song is still going (i.e., it's part of the Dokki Doki opening). Then when the opening is done, the episode starts like usual.
  • Slayers, addressing recap to someone absent at the scene if at all possible. Or with jokes like Unreliable Narrator describing events differently from the video recap and immediately lampshading it with her charming childish sincerity:
    Lina: Yeah, I know. But it's not a total lie, okay?
  • For episode 2-5 of Smile Pretty Cure!, Miyuki tells the viewers the story of the show from where the last episode left off.
    • Recaps by the main characters are used at the beginning of Pretty Cure episodes beginning with KiraKira★Pretty Cure à la Mode. However, Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure doesn't do this and instead has Hikaru say "I'm Hikaru Hoshina, an eighth grader who loves space! Today I'll become Pretty Cure again and draw what I want with my own imagination!" in every episode introduction, which even extends to the live shows based on the series.
  • Many, but not all, episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! began this way. Notably, the third episode had Yami Yugi saying "Last time on Yu-Gi-Oh!" and the recap for "Trial by Red-Eyes" that aired at the start of "Evil Spirit of the Ring" skipped over most of the episode to get to the part where Bakura shows up.
  • "Now let's get up to speed with Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s!"

    Comic Books 
  • Ant-Man:
    • The Irredeemable Ant Man had the recap page hosted by a talking ant. The World War Hulk tie-in has it hijacked by a Hulk Ant, who claims he doesn't get a lot of work. The final issue has the poor ant dying (because the series was ending). In homage, the second issue of Ant-Man (2022), which is set in the Irredeemable era, similarly has ant hosting the recap page.
    • The final issue of Ant-Man (2022) has a "previously on" covering the previous three issues, and fictional Marvel comic stories from the future detailing an epic crossover which led to the Bad Future depicted therein.
  • Cable & Deadpool: The series had special recap pages where the characters summarized the lead-up action from sometimes even four issues back. The main characters on the page were Cable and Deadpool, with the secondary characters sometimes taking over (mostly to explain who they were so you wouldn't need to read other Marvel books to know). towards the end of the second volume it turned into a sort of talk show hosted by Deadpool, and around the middle of the third the page was replaced by Bob (Agent of Hydra)'s blog. The recaps are all in the collected edition, too (which is why they're referenced by volume, not issue).
  • Convergence: The event had a series of two page text-features in the first issues of its tie-in miniseries, explaining to readers the histories of previous-continuity characters, and where they'd been the last time we saw them - which was between four and 30 years previously. For some reason, they came after the story.
  • Gotham Central: The comic eventually started using "Previously in..." recap pages with collages of panels from previous issues (which were sometimes modified for clarity).
  • In the late 70s, Marvel got hold of the Hanna-Barbera properties and would add, for example, a two-page teaser for a Dynomutt story to an issue of Scooby-Doo. The story would pick up in the ensuing issue of Dynomutt with a recap of the teaser. Issues of Dynomutt would reciprocate with teasers for forthcoming Scooby stories.
  • The Incredible Hercules: The series was infamous for its hilarious recap pages that included characters' pictures and were sometimes 'narrated' by the characters themselves (most commonly, Amadeus Cho). This came to a head with the final issue, which summarized the essence of the plot of every single previous issue in one sentence or less. Like the Cable & Deadpool example above, they were kept for the trade paperbacks.
  • Hellcat: The miniseries Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! had in the four issues that used a recap a comedic take on something out of a women's magazine: a quiz, a horoscope, a tabloid-like page and an advice page.
  • Invader Zim (Oni): The comics feature Recap Kid, a character who appears at the start of each issue to tell the reader what happened last time.
  • The Mighty Thor: When Journey into Mystery focused around Kid Loki and was written by Kieron Gillen one of the highlights was its recap pages which would often feature characters breaking the fourth wall and relating what had happened in recent issues to the audience in a humorous way.
  • Loki: Sometimes the recaps of Loki: Agent of Asgard would break the fourth wall. In the final issue, it stops what it's doing to plug the concurrently published Silver Surfer series, noting that while it doesn't cross over with the series, it's still worth a look.
  • Mutant Beach Party: The second part starts with one of these, before the narrator remembers they don't do recaps in X-Men titles.
  • Spider-Man: Untold Tales of Spider-Man featured new stories of the web-swinging hero set among the original stories by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. To help readers without encyclopedic knowledge of Spider-Man history, most issues include a one-page summary of recent events in both the original and new stories.
  • Superman: Brian Michael Bendis's Action Comics started out with each issue beginning with a splash page of a Daily Planet staffer's desk or computer screen, with various notes and memos showing the story so far. This was later replaced with the Daily Planet "Chirper" feed.

    Fan Works 
  • Script Fic Calvin & Hobbes: The Series uses this in "The Black Turning Funnel Part 2".
  • The Parody Fic Captain Proton and the Planet of Lesbians starts with the cliffhanger to a non-existent previous episode showing the President of Earth being attacked by a Death Ray from Venus. The story involves our hero setting off for Venus to find out why.
  • Friendship Is Magic: The Adventures of Spike did this for the first few chapters, until readers complained about it being distracting and it was dropped. The first chapter of the "Spike of (Saddle) Arabia" Arc starts with a recap of the entire story so far, due to it being where the story really gets underway (and because it was posted after a long hiatus).
  • Due to being formatted to emulate an actual show, every chapter of The New Adventures of Invader Zim (except for a couple where the author forgot to include them) opens with a brief recap of the previous one.
  • Parodied at the beginning of the Last Part of Twillight Sparkle's awesome adventure, which quotes a large collection of earlier bits from the story which are all completely meaningless out of context. In addition, it actually has one scene which actually wasn't in the story before: Luna killing Twilight's brother.
  • Ma'at: Chapter 3 starts with:
    From Chapter 2:

    The candle-lit room vanished, and Dani felt an instant of disorientation. Suddenly, she was outdoors again, with the warm sun on her back. She was on a ridge, facing down a long slope that ended in what appeared to be a large bay, flanked on her left by mountains; much closer to her, perhaps half a mile away down the slope, was a small city.
  • Pokémon: The Lost Child has one of these on each chapter recapping to the reader what happened in the previous chapter.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Lets Play 

  • Colin Thiele's Aftershock opens with a condensed version of Tracy's actions in the last chapters of Shatterbelt, ending at the same moment.
  • Every one of the main titles of the Animorphs series had a brief recap of the series premise and elements of the series that a first time reader might need to understand to know about the plot. Usually, this was within the first chapter, but it could easily be stretched over a few chapters to include basic character descriptions.
  • The Bad Mermaids books On the Rocks and On Thin Ice open with summaries of the previous book.
  • Every The Dark Tower novel begins with a recap of everything relevant that happened in the previous books.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End: Greg claims that the story of him and his family now living in his grandmother's basement is a long one, so he just shows an image of a crane dropping a hot tub through the roof of their house, which happened at the end of Wrecking Ball.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation:
  • The early Harry Potter books open with a recap of what happened in previous books, usually masked as Harry reminiscing about his past in Hogwarts. Beginning with Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling stopped doing it because she felt that if people decided to start with the fifth book without reading the others first they deserved to get confused.
  • H. P. Lovecraft's Herbert West–Reanimator magazine serial was published with this; the author hated having to do a book report on the previous chapters. In fact, he never would have written it if he didn't need the money.
    • Any Pulp Magazine serial of the time would have a long recap of the story to date, to ensure the reader was filled in if they happened to miss the last edition.
  • Lords and Ladies opens with an Author's Note saying that while you can normally read Discworld novels in any order, for this one it would help if you had a brief summary of previous Witches books.
  • Each volume of The Lord of the Rings begins with a "Synopsis" of everything that happened in the previous volumes.
  • The Mermaid Chronicles: Each book begins with a summary of the previous one.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Odyssey begins with a brief recap of The Iliad.
  • The Wheel of Time novels have this by necessity. First chapters of each book reintroduce most recurring characters active in the current novel, describe the situations they are in, how they got there and what are they doing now. About 30% of the sixth novel are such recaps.
  • Dolphin Trilogy: Daughters of the Dolphin begins with a summary of Dolphin Boy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In every season of 24 after the first, every episode except the first in the season opens with a "Previously On 24" segment that replays clips from previous episodes, along with name title for important characters. (Rarely is every active CTU employee introduced with a name title; instead, one member will be singled out with the title "Counter Terrorist Unit".) Season One instead opened with Jack Bauer giving a brief narration of the recent events, concluding each with "I am federal agent Jack Bauer, and this is the longest day of my life."
    • Previously On did happen in the first season, but the DVDs have them cut out.
    • The UK DVDs have all these intact, including the final episode of Season Seven which didn't have one on its original airing.
    • The Surrealist's 24 Dreaming generates nonsensical parodies of this spiel.
  • 30 Rock had some fun with this one in one episode. It began with an exchange from the end of the previous episode, altered accordingly.
    Liz: Do you know what this means?
    Tracy: No, I need a Previously On!
    Kenneth: [narrating] Previously, on 30 Rock...
    • In an earlier episode:
      Kenneth (narrating): Previously, on 30 Rock...
      Jack: [making funny sound effects]
      Kenneth: [narrating] Oh golly, not that!
      [cut to real Previously On]
  • The 4400 being a very plot driven show had this every episode. As the show went on, and each episode tried to list EVERY relevant event, they started getting comedically long, as episodes from several seasons ago would be recapped.
  • Alias would often show relevant scenes from 2 or 3 seasons prior, instead of the more common practice of just showing the scenes from the previous episode.
  • 'Allo 'Allo!, being one of only a few sitcoms which have an extended story arc, regularly had Rene, the central character, give a recap of where this episode is starting from. He generally began, [looks at the audience] "You might be wondering why I'm . . . Well, it's because . . ."
  • Every episode of Andi Mack starts with this, recapping the episode that came before today's episode.
  • Each episode of the UK version of The Apprentice starts with a recap of the previous episode, accompanied by a Hurricane of Puns from the narrator.
  • Used in The Aquabats! Super Show!, and simultaneously parodied by weaving non sequitur clips into the recaps. In the case of the first episode, scenes from the pilot were used.
  • The Arrowverse has this at the start of almost every episode, after the opening narration. If you listen carefully, you'll hear that "Previously on [show name]" is said by one of the cast members, sometimes a different one each episode. The season premieres often begin with "Last season on [show name]".
    • Legends of Tomorrow uses a format where one character gives a brief narration, ending with some version of "Don't call us heroes. We're legends." Which veers into parody when it's Mick's turn:
      "Seriously, you idiots haven't figured this out by now? It all started when we blew up the time pigs — The Time Masters. Now history's all screwed up and it's up to us to unscrew it up, but half the time we screw things up even worse. So don't call us heroes, we're something else. We're legends. [beat] Who Writes This Crap?!, anyway?"
  • Austin & Ally has this at the beginning of both "Partners & Parachutes" and "Last Dances & Last Chances". Trish said the "previously on" line for the former and Austin said the line on the latter. Despite the penultimate episode ending on a To Be Continued, there was no "previously on" on the final episode because the first scene begins with the last scene from the previous episode but leads to a "Four years later" scene, kick starting the episode's events.
  • The Barrier does this with every single episode after the first. It's very much needed because things can change quite fast and the specific previous events needed to understand the episode can vary greatly. For instance, an episode making a major reveal about a secondary character will make sure the recap includes everything important the audience already knows about that character, while the recaps of other episodes will just barely remind the audience that that same character is in the series.
  • Seasons 1 and 2 of Batman were done in a 2-part format. Early parts-two started with the narrator recapping the prior episode in 5-10 second bursts for about a minute, kind of an adaptation of how a comic book would use it. Later on in Season 2, it would just be a shot of the Death Trap de jour in action, though in several cases, the fact that said trap will fail somehow is spoilered by the narrator's closing:
    The [superlative] ([action]) is yet to come!
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Every episode has a short segment on past events, with a tendency to contain redubbed or never-before-aired scenes. These recaps often descend into spoiler territory since, whenever a major character dies, the Previouslys are about them and they do the voiceover. (And, just to frak with your head, the opening credits contain Blipverts of the coming episodes which are even worse than the ever-spoiling commercials.)
  • Back at the beginning of time (or possibly the Seventies), The BBC would get viewers up to speed on their classic serials by showing still images, while the Continuity Announcement intoned the story so far in a monotone.
  • The Big Showdown: This ABC game show added a montage at some point during its run, showing past contestants rolling the bonus round's dice and winning $5,000.
  • For about half a season on Bones they'd give a Previously On in the middle of the show, recapping the first half for those tuning in late.
  • Boston Legal did this every episode, with the words being spoken by any given main character (Alan Shore or Denny Crane being two frequent ones).
  • BrainDead (2016): Jonathan Coulton sings an upbeat recap of the events up to the episode being aired, while accompanying footage is played. The lyrics change from episode to episode. To keep the recaps interesting, they are changed up from time to time.
    • In episode 8, the recap is a commercial for "Space Bugs", as if the Space Bugs were a prescription medicine, a la Viagra, rattling off a list of side effects.
      Some people with Space Bugs in their heads experience stumbling, loss of balance, or loss of hearing in one ear. This is normal, since part of your brain needs to come out somewhere. Some people with Space Bugs report an aversion to sex and also alcohol, plus an interest in vegetables, vegetable juices and the curative properties of juicing in general.
    • In episode 11, Coulton attempts to recap the previous episode, but finds it's too stressful, so instead, he recaps the first episode of Gunsmoke.
  • The Broad City episode "Jews on a Plane" opens with a recap of the previous episode, "Getting There."
  • Brilliantly exploited in the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to appear on The WB (at the end of season five): clips or images from nearly all 99 previous episodes appear in an accelerating, rapid fire montage.
    • This was then followed up with an extended "Previously" for the sixth season's premiere, summarizing all previous seasons for the benefit of UPN viewers who had never seen the show before.
      • The previously was used on several occasions to introduce important elements from Angel for the benefit of Buffy viewers who didn't watch the spin-off series. These were variously prefaced with Giles's narration: "Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer [...] and on Angel", with clips after each program title; or simply with "Previously".
    • Buffy was also guilty of spoiling their own surprises with their previouslies. Ah, here I am, sitting down to watch my favorite show... yes, previously on Buffy there was that scene with this season's Big Bad... yep, and that emotional moment between Buffy and her beau of the moment... and hey, look, a clip of Faith from four years ago. Gee, I wonder what's going to happen in this episode?
      • Joss Whedon seemed to be aware of this problem, which is why he had almost all the previouslies removed from the American DVD release of the show, though they remained in other versions. In several episodes you can hear the last second of the musical sting as it transitions from the recap into the proper episode, though.
      • Buffy also had one of the shortest previously ons, consisting of the short line "You're fired" before starting the episode "The Zeppo."
      • They aren't removed from Netflix Instant Stream (Though every episode is there).
      • There's a particularly lengthy one at the start of the two-part season six finale, which as a one-off is spoken by Xander rather than Giles... to hide the fact that Giles comes back at the end of the episode.
      • Angel used previouslies to the same effect, and the DVD's have the mixed blessing of not including any of them. On the one hand, Wesley's voice-over just sounded cool, and losing the recaps cuts down on the broadcast nostalgia factor. On the other hand, the DVD viewer's spared ten straight episodes all prefaced by a flashback to Connor and Cordelia's intimate moment...
  • Cleverly incorporated into the fifth season premiere of Castle; the last two "previously" clips were Beckett and Castle kissing passionately, followed by the man who tried to kill Beckett in the fourth season finale promising to finish the job. Cuts immediately to Castle bolting up in bed as though he was having a Catapult Nightmare of Beckett's would-be killer.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (BBC): Downplayed. While it never happens that the previous episode is recapped, some dialogue is inserted which is clearly there to remind the viewer of an important plot point from a previous episode. Examples are:
    • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: When Edmund sees the two hills in the distance, the Witch's voice is heard telling him that her house is between those hills.
    • The Silver Chair: The signs are occasionally recapped. In the third episode, Jill recites the signs as a voiceover. In the fourth episode, Aslan appears briefly to recap the second and third signs. In the fifth episode, Puddleglum suggests playing a game of remembering the signs, as the final sign is especially significant in this episode.
  • "Hi, I'm Chuck. Here's a few things you might need to know..."
    • Or maybe you just forgot.
  • With Cobra Kai being a sequel to The Karate Kid, the first episode begins by showing the final round from the original movie.
  • An episode of Code Name: Eternity, which aired in a completely convoluted order, had a Previously On segment containing clips from episodes that hadn't aired yet.
  • The online trailers for season 6 of Community used a "Previously on..." format to give a brief recap of each of the previous seasons. Except for season 4, for which they just showed a brief clip of gas leaking out of a vent.*
  • CSI had a "Previously on CSI..." sequence for the first three episodes, until they realized how pointless it was for an episodic Forensic Drama and dropped it.
    • The show was pretty heavy on Character Arcs in its first episodes (mainly surrounding the murdered rookie and Warrick's gambling problems), which were why they were necessary. CSI, NCIS, and other procedurals that have season-long story arcs in addition to the Killer of the Week plots will use this when the episode is about to jump full speed into those arcs. Two-part episodes will also use it (or alternately, a season opener that needs to refresh everyone's memory as to what happened in last season's finale). It was also used in crossovers, to recap the events on the other member of the franchise.
  • Doctor Who uses these in its new series multi-episode stories, usually leading up to a recap of the previous cliffhanger to segue into the title sequence. They are also used when previous events of a story arc need to be recapped.
    • In the classic series, later parts of a serial would show the last minute or so of the previous episode, something New Who supremo Steven Moffat never understood: "It doesn't tell you anything!" The late 1970s U.S. syndication of the show initially added proper recaps for this reason; some of these bumpers have since appeared as bonus features on the DVD releases.
    • The first episode of "Castrovalva" is the only classic series episode to have a Previously On segment to the previous serial, recapping the ending of "Logopolis" before segueing into the title sequence.
    • "The Sound of Drums", despite being the middle episode of the new series' first three-parter, does not have a Previously On segment, instead beginning with our heroes landing in a London alleyway.
    • Averted, quite dramatically, in "Heaven Sent", even though its events follow on from those of the previous episode "Face the Raven". The episode starts with an ominous voiceover monologue from the Doctor as he is Trapped in Another World, whereupon he has a flashback to THE key event of the previous episode and declares vengeance against his unseen enemy. The Series 9 finale that follows, "Hell Bent", does open with a Previously On segment that recaps both "Face the Raven" and "Heaven Sent".
    • Taken Up to Eleven in "Twice Upon a Time", with perhaps the biggest gap in history between the "previously on" and the episode it's referencing.
      Previously, on Doctor Who:
      709 episodes ago:
    • The 1986 season of the show was one long story — the fourteen-part "The Trial of a Time Lord". Realising that a fourteen-part story would be difficult to follow in an age where a home video recorder was still seen as a luxury, producer John Nathan-Turner wrote brief summaries of the story so far for the Continuity Announcement to read out before each episode, accompanied by still images from previous episodes. This tactic was also used for several later 80s stories.
  • Doom Patrol initially had its episodes begin with recaps bringing the viewer up to speed on what happened previously, but dispensed with them halfway through the series' run, presumably because the production company caught on that since the show was made for streaming and most audiences would binge-watch every episode that they could, there was little point in doing recaps at the episodes' beginnings anyway.
  • Eli Stone has a neat variation on this. We hear Eli narrating clips from past episodes, and then it turns out he's actually telling the story to someone to explain some weird thing that he's doing, like trying to bring a coffee can out of China. For this to work you have to completely ignore that for the rest of the show, he does everything he can to keep a lot of what happens secret.
  • ER essentially lived off of this trope, beginning every episode with the famous, "Previously on ER," which brought the audience up-to-speed on the different arcs that would be addressed in the episode.
  • In The Fades, Mac recaps the plot in a somewhat rambly manner, ending with the line "Now, where's my (Various film) box-set. Nanu-Nanu.
  • Similarly, the final Farscape has a blipvert showing a scene from every prior episode. Also, most (if not all) of the episodes in Seasons 3 and 4 (when Farscape fully transitioned from being episodic to continuous) begin with one of these.
    • Farscape noticeably had scenes in a Previously On which hadn't actually been aired before, as that subplot of an episode was cut for time. Given what that subplot was (Grayza taking command from Scorpius and Braca apparently selling him out) it was rather important, and somewhat confusing for viewers.
  • Fargo episodes after the first open with a montage of previous events, announced by a cast member. To acknowledge the occasionally strange, antiquated vocabulary used in the show, sometimes the announcer will say, "Erstwhile, on Fargo..."
  • Game of Thrones loves this trope. While the first few episodes only recapped the immediate previous episode, as the series went on and Four Lines, All Waiting became common, the recaps covered many plot points often going back several seasons, with these segments often lasting minutes at a time, which helps a little with Continuity Lockout caused by having so many characters and plotlines. It was also used as a Spoiler Opening as specified above: in the second-to-last episode, when a character turned out to be Evil All Along, the Previously On segment managed to set this up — mostly by eliding any of that character's actions which contradicted the twist.
  • Get Smart did this for their later multi-part episodes. The one for the second part of Season 5 two-parter "And Baby Makes Four" lasted about 5 minutes. By contrast, for the 2nd and 3rd parts of its 3 parter at the end of Season 1 they mainly just replayed the last scenes of the prior episode (which were legitimate Cliffhangers).
  • Glee refers only to plot points that will be relevant for the current episode rather than what happened in the exact last episode, often from much earlier in the season
    • "And that's what you missed on..." (cue Swingle Singers)
    • By the fourth season, the "Previously On" narrator would break the fourth wall or make snide comments about the characters or certain plot points.
  • The Golden Girls instead used the variation "On the last episode of..." whenever they did a two-parter. For whatever reason, it was always Betty White/Rose who was called upon to deliver the line.
  • Gossip Girl does this every episode, but the writers are rather ingenious in that seemingly innocuous lines or events that happen will more often than not get their payoffs or seem at all important until whole seasons later. Gossip Girl will remind you of details that happened in the 1st season in the 4th season where those events will lead to important things that happen. When a random short segment from season 2 that you've forgotten all about appears in a 4th season opener, you know something's about to go down.
    • One particular case where a seemingly throw away line paid off a season later was Jenny mentioning off hand towards the end of the 3rd season that Serena and Damien knew each other from boarding school, and something happened with one of her teachers. (Paraphrase). It's disregarded and never mentioned for the rest of the season, until it becomes the ENTIRE central plot of the first half of season 4.
  • Green Wing begins every episode by showing the whole previous episode in split screen, speeding through the hour-long episode in about one minute, briefly slowing down for the important moments and alternating sides of the screen to do so. The first episode was a variant, since the opening sequence had the same style, but did more or less an introduction to each character instead.
  • The Guest Book did this in an interesting way. The second and subsequent episodes start with a segment in the break room of an electronics store where one employee tries to get his co-worker to start watching the show. He then gives a description of the story so far. The co-worker then comes up with a lame excuse not to start watching. In the first season finale, the co-worker reveals that he did watch the show the previous week, but it wasn't for him.
  • Hell's Kitchen tends to do recaps at the start of each episode, usually ending in "(eliminated chef’s name) dream of becoming head chef of (restaurant the winner will work at) went up in flames", accompanied by Gordon hanging the chef’s jacket in his office and burning their picture.
  • Heroes uses the same method, showing scenes as far back as is necessary to bring the audience up to date on whichever of the many plot lines will be updated in the upcoming episode. In some cases, this involves a series of short clips that span the majority of the season.
    • Toyed around with in one episode; a clip during the Previously On had not actually been shown in a prior episode, but had in fact occurred between the previous episode and the current one.
  • The Trope Namer was the Steven Bochco cop drama Hill Street Blues which became for first show to ever use the phrase "Previously On" in this context midway through its second season in 1982. The phrase was chosen to make the show more comprehensible to new viewers while assuring existing viewers that the episode was not a rerun. It was also used on his later show L.A. Law.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street used these a lot, a particular instance consisting of a recap of a Law & Order episode setting up a Crossover, announced as "Previously on Law & Order", followed by the standard end, "Tonight on Homicide: Life on the Street", being particularly meaningful in that case.
  • How I Met Your Mother normally doesn't use this, with one exception for the episode "Nothing Good Ever Happens After 2 A.M.", which had a more serious tone than most other episodes.
  • The Imperfects: Requested by Dr. Sarkov in Episode 7.
    Sarkov: Nate might look like a monster, but something human is driving him.
    Juan: Oh, yeah, like you'd know.
    Sarkov: Yes. Like I would know.
    Tilda: We did kill Melanie and Qamara.
    Sarkov: Wait, can I get like a "previously on"?
  • Jane the Virgin begins every episode after the first with a series of clips narrated by the Lemony Narrator, who points out plot developments and character beats that will be relevant to the coming episode. It usually segues into the beginning of the current episode with "Which brings us here, now.".
  • Jejak Suara Adzan: Every episode after the first one begins with a clip montage of the previous one.
  • Kamen Rider OOO begins the episode with "These three things have happened last week...!" then it recaps 3 important key happenings to the previous episode that would lead to today's episode.
    • Kamen Rider has been doing this for most of their shows, though shows from Decade onward have took on the more traditional "Previously On" segment.
    • Similar to OOO above, Kamen Rider Ghost begins the episode with Takeru's narration about when he was attacked and killed by a Gamma on his 18th birthday and he became the titular hero so he could gather all heroic Eyecons and come back to life. This was followed by a short recap of important events that happened in the previous episode and ended with the days left until Takeru's permanent death.
    • Each episode of Kamen Rider Build begins with Sento recaping the events of the last least that's how he wanted it. However, the other characters keep interrupting his recap, even stealing the role from him from time to time, much to Sento's chagrin. Eventually, he just starts rolling with it for the most part. More serious episodes either omit the comedic recap for something else or have Sento read the recap completely seriously, especially in the last few episodes which cover the Final Battle. The final episode reveals that the recaps, at least the very first, are Sento narrating for a TV show he wrote about his adventures.
  • Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger always starts with Secchan stating this trope segment from episode 2 onwards, with Secchan saying "Zenkai (前回) no Zenkaiger wa". Each has their variation and gag, like Secchan looking away before facing the audience, flying around haphazardly, or even busting in a seemingly empty room just to say his catchphrase.
  • Knightmare had these with Treguard providing a poem detailing how the quest was going and any deaths that had occurred in the previous episode. They were hilarious.
  • Legion (2017), being a Mind Screw show set in an Ambiguous Time Period with entire episodes set entirely within a Journey to the Center of the Mind, uses "Apparently, on Legion" and "Ostensibly on Legion".
  • Lexx only used these in the third season.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Except for the pilot, every episode begins with a summary of previous episodes.
  • Lost opens with one of these every episode, as well, in order to remind people about events that occurred four episodes prior, but which hadn't been mentioned since then; the number of episodes skipped back across has been increasing since the end of the second season, as we began alternating between different sides of the island, occasionally even skipping back to a previous season. "Previously on Lost" has become one of the iconic phrases from the show.
    • Almost every episode. On rare occasion, it will open with an action sequence.
    • Ditched towards the end of the show's run, as the story was so convoluted that the showrunners simply opted for Continuity Lockout, figuring anyone who stuck with the show that long was up to speed on what was happening. (They did throw everyone a bone by offering the entire series online for free viewing.)
    • With watching most shows on DVD, watching the Previously On segment can seem redundant because they usually just concentrate on the last episode. With Lost, though, the segment is really more of a "These are the story lines we are concentrating on in this episode" than just a recap of the immediately previous episode.
  • Up to Season 3, Lucifer usually had "previously on" segments featuring clips from previous episodes relevant to the current episode. The only exceptions have been "Off the Record" (a Lower-Deck Episode that focuses on an erstwhile new character), "City of Angels?" (due to it taking place prior to the rest of the series) and "Boo Normal" and "Once Upon a Time" (two episodes that were originally meant for a potential Season 4 until Fox decided to cancel the show after Season 3). The show did away with this when it moved to Netflix from Season 4 onwards, since all episodes of a season were dumped on the same day, so there's technically no catching up.
  • Malcolm in the Middle had one episode starting with Hal mentioning a previous story arc about how he lost his former job when his company made a scapegoat out of him and he almost was convicted. Similar to what happened in the Eli Stone example, he wasn't telling the viewers. He was trying to convince a girl scout not to charge him for some cookies.
  • Miami Vice:
    • "Down for the Count (Part II)" opens this way.
    • "Rock and a Hard Place" opens with a recap of "Like a Hurricane," three episodes ago.
    • Finally, "Deliver Us From Evil" opens with a recap of "Forgive Us Our Debts," from the previous season.
  • Midnight Caller: "A Snitch in Time (Part 2)" starts with one.
  • Every episode of Mimpi Metropolitan (except for the first one) starts with a clip montage of the previous episode and sometimes clips from earlier episodes that are going to be relevant.
  • Moonlighting: In a standard bit of Breaking the Fourth Wall, "Sam & Dave" begins with real-life TV critic Jeff Jarvis explaining how if you missed last week's episode "because you figured 'it's just another rerun'", he has "a tape of last week's episode" and will show "all the good parts. It won't take long." Then he narrates between recap scenes. The next episode has narration by Vox Pops. Following that is a recap in a fake Movietone News broadcast.
  • Nikita, for the first half of the first season, worked important information from previous episodes into Nikita's Opening Narration. Eventually, this got to be a bit unwieldy so they switched to more conventional previouslies.
  • NUMB3RS loves this trope. Especially notable since their two-part episodes very rarely end on obvious cliffhangers; the recap is often the first indication that the earlier episode's plot is going to come back in some way (though the level of significance of the previous episode varies).
    • NUMB3RS would also have non-consecutive sequels, with the most obvious being "Arrow of Time" (a Season 5 sequel to a Season 3 episode).
    • Subverted in "The Janus List", which is a fairly direct sequel to "The Mole" but doesn't use the recap, likely because the connection is not immediately obvious and alerting viewers to it would spoil The Reveal.(Clips from both "The Mole" and "The Janus List" were used in the recap in "Trust Metric", the final episode in the arc.)
  • The O.C. would sometimes go a few seasons back for a Previously On, an indicator that a character would be returning or something that character did would be causing trouble.
  • The first episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi begins with a four-minute-long recap of the entire Star Wars prequel trilogy.
  • Person of Interest: Recapped scenes (and flashbacks) are shown as if from the perspective of The Machine (through security cameras). This makes the segment recapping the previous events appear to be The Machine reviewing past events. What's unusual about this is that there have been some instances where the previouslies don't match The Machine's POV shots that were shown in the episodes its recapping. For example, in the episode following Control's unmasking, the recap doesn't give her the red "threat" box that she should have, and in the season two premiere, recaps showing "Caroline Turing" show her with a white "neutral" square as opposed to the yellow square she had for the entire season one finale.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Ironically, the show was severely episodic during the early seasons, meaning it didn't really need a recap. When things got more and more plot heavy by seasons 4 to 6, the recap segment got dropped; it's only pulled back out during two or three ep arcs.
    • Power Rangers in Space: The very first episode had a recap from the last episode of the previous season, Power Rangers Turbo, but made it seem like it was already Power Rangers in Space back then. These segments were dropped when episodes were released on Netflix.
  • Press Your Luck: Clips showed contestants hitting big ticket items ("Stop at ... A CAR!!!") or Whammies, along with appropriate contestant reaction and, in the case of hitting a Whammy, the Whammy clip; and final spins which resulted in a champion being determined (wherein the winning contestant would be shown celebrating).
  • Prison Break was one of many shows guilty of giving away a character's reappearance, which is something the show liked to do with characters from its past it hadn't killed and some it had.
  • Probe's "Computer Logic, Part 2": After the opening credits, Part 2 features scenes from the first half of the Premiere, such as the Dramatic Chase Opening, the coroner's request for help, and The Summation of how Mrs Stevens was murdered.
  • Pyramid: Starting sometime in the late summer of 1973 (of the original $10,000 Pyramid), and continuing throughout the rest of the original CBS-ABC run, clips of previous big Winner's Circle wins and the contestants celebrating with their celebrity partner were shown prior to the Opening Narration. In 1975, one of the best known "previously on" clips showed William Shattner's "solo" Winners Circle. The practice was used on the syndicated $25,000 Pyramid hosted by Bill Cullen, and – starting in 1983 – again on the CBS daytime $25,000 Pyramid with Dick Clark.
  • Roswell: Half of the second season uses the device of having Maria explain recent events to the audience directly, illustrated with clips and chalkboard diagrams.
  • Royal Pains recaps the first episode in all of the more recent ones.
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager has these every episode. The seasons are split in half(one in summer and one in winter) and the premiere episode of one half will have a previously showing highlights of the entire previous half instead of just the last episode.
  • The Shield did this very well, condensing enough of the relevant main character and sub-character story arcs in such a way that you could understand what was going on in the episode even if you didn't get everything from not having seen them.
  • This is how Smallville episodes that were part of a Story Arc or featured a returning character started.
    • Smallville had the habit of only using these segments during the season premiere, the last episode before and the first episode after the mid-season hiatus, and the season finale. Further more for the first and last episode of the season, the clips would always be finished off by a fade to black and the announce proudly proclaiming "And now, the Season Premiere/Finale of Smallville..." This led to a minor fan speculation that the 10th season Finale (the final episode of the series' 10 year run) would finish off with the phrase "And now, the conclusion of Smallville..." Sadly, it did not.
  • Stargate SG-1 does something similar, showing scenes from several episodes in the previous seasons that are relevant to the new episode's plot.
    • The DVD of Ark of Truth has a feature called "The Road Taken- Prelude to Stargate Ark of Truth" that sums up the entire Ori story arc by Previously On-ing.
  • Stargate Atlantis uses these, including one instance of spoiling the reveal that the guest star was an ascended Ancient by mentioning ascension in the Previously On.
  • Star Trek:
    • Famously, the original Star Trek handled its only Previously ("The Menagerie, Part II") by shooting stark new footage of the principals lined up in profile against a black background as Kirk muses about the events leading up to Spock's court martial for mutiny in his Captain's Log.
    • During its several long arcs, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine would sometimes have a "Last Time/Previously on DS9" that would cover the previous month or more of episodes.
    • "Last Time on Star Trek: The Next Generation/Star Trek: Voyager... *selected clips from the first part of the episode* ... And now the conclusion"
    • Star Trek: Enterprise did this a lot during the Xindi arc of Season 3, as well as the smaller two- or three-episode stories of Season 4. This series also did away with Majel Barrett doing the "Previously on" line, instead having characters from the show (usually Archer or T'Pol) do so. This has been carried over into subsequent shows.
    • Star Trek: Discovery:
      • This gets an interesting twist in the last episode of season 1, "Will You Take My Hand?", with the Klingon L'Rell delivering the "Previously on Star Trek: Discovery" line in Klingonese. She does it again in the season 2 episode "Point of Light."
        "Hov leng: DISqa'vI'rIy lut 'ay' vorgh"
      • For the season 2 premiere episode "Brother," the exact verbiage is, "Last season on Star Trek: Discovery," followed by a recap of season 1.
      • Similarly, the season 3 premiere episode "That Hope Is You, Part I" started with "Last season..." and a recap of season 2.
      • The season 4 premiere firmly establishes this as the opening line for each season.
      • The episode "Light and Shadows" ends with Michael and Spock heading for Talos IV, the planet from the original Star Trek pilot, "The Cage" (Discovery being set between that and the Original Series proper). The next episode "If Memory Serves", starts with "Previously on Star Trek" and clips from the pilot.
    • The season 2 premiere of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds carries on the "Last season..." precedent from Discovery, and even adds a few clips from DISCO's first two seasons in addition to its own first season.
  • To avoid the overwrought voiceover style typical of this trope, the Supernatural simply shows the words "Then" and "Now" to indicate where the recap begins and ends.
    • And in an important episode, the previous events are always set to one of the greatest hits of mullet rock. For example, every season finale uses "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas as its background.
  • Surface: The series used a montage that was far too long and had a deep-voiced voiceover guy who sounded like he'd just smoked five packets of cigarettes and eaten a roll of sandpaper.
  • The fourth season of That Mitchell and Webb Look starts with a "Previously On" segment that's played dead straight — except that, since it's a sketch comedy show, none of the clips shown have any actual bearing on the episode.
  • Top Gear: The show had its first ever two-part episode in Series 19, and in keeping with the grand tradition of the Mundane Made Awesome openings the show usually does, it has such epic scenes as Clarkson finding a bone in his kebab, Hammond buying an iron and a kettle, and May adjusting the cot in the back of his car.
  • Treasure Hunt US: On occasion during the 1973 and 1981 versions, if the games ran short and there was still time, host Geoff Edwards would fill the segment by showing clips of past big wins (i.e., the grand prize being found and won) … and sometimes even a clip or two of the contestant finding the check … but they didn't win it because they elected to take the cash buyout beforehand. In addition, Edwards sometimes replayed a big win that just happened after a commercial break, just in case viewers missed it or wanted to see it again.
  • Used in every episode of Twin Peaks, where the convoluted plot-lines made it vitally necessary. (Particularly because ABC kept switching the show's time slot around, which made it extremely difficult to keep up with the series, and eventually lead to its downfall.)
  • Veronica Mars: Used these to good effect—usually the Previouslys would help with something that had emotional pay-off that episode instead of making it blatantly obvious what clue in the A Plot was going to be revealed next.
  • Walt Disney Presents: At times when the show would present a serialized story over two or more weeks, Walt would bring us up to speed on what had happened the previous week before the story would continue.
  • "Previously on The West Wing", preceded by a distinctive drumroll, would appear at the beginning of every single episode of the show except the pilot. When the show was between major story arcs and there was nothing from previous episodes that really needed to be shown, the clips in the "Previously On" sequence would just be of the main characters saying their names and job descriptions.
  • WandaVision: Every episode after the first begins with Wanda saying "Previously on WandaVision", followed by a recap of scenes from previous episodes relevant to the plot of the current one. Notably, the enthusiasm with which Wanda says the line decreases with every episode, from a cheery voice in Episode 2 down to a flat deadpan by Episode 7.
    • Also, Episode 8, where Wanda is forced to review important events in her life, is literally titled "Previously On" after this trope (as all episodes are named after TV stock phrases).
    • Wanda even has the ability to manipulate the "previously ons," as in the episode 5 "Previously on," she changes the line she says to Vision after booting Monica out of the Hex.
      Vision: Where's Geraldine?
      Wanda (in episode aired): Oh, she left, honey. She had to rush home.
      Wanda (in previously on): She's gone. She didn't belong here.
  • The White Queen has a recap at the beginning of each episode (except for the premiere, of course), and rather than summarize everything that happened a week ago, it focuses on specific plot threads that are relevant to the story coming up.
  • Wipeout (1988): Around the middle of the run, they added a montage showing people running (quite literally) and winning the bonus game.
  • The Wire uses this, notably the DVDs do not make it a "standard" part of the episode but something you select separately on the same menu you choose to play the episode on.

  • The Adventure Zone: Every episode (besides the first or certain specials that exist outside of continuity) starts with clips from previous episodes. It isn't always the immediately previous episode; sometimes they bring up clips of important plot points from a couple story arcs back if they're about to be discussed in the upcoming episode.
  • Almost every game on Cool Kids Table has one, though onThe Fallen Gods Alan takes the role of an unnamed bard telling the tale to the audience over a fire rather than the usual bombastic voice in other Previously Ons.
  • Dice Funk: Every episode starts with this, including a pitch-shifted intonation of "Last time, on Dice Funk!"

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Many Professional Wrestling programs, including Raw, Smackdown and pay-per-views, make extensive use of video recaps of feuds and storylines that have led to main-event matches. WWE, in particular, produces extremely dramatic packages, with big symphonic music stings and a deep-voiced Opening Narration that talks about power, money, greed, glory, history, or whatever the overriding theme of the past month has been.
    • Some of the earliest "previously on" examples were used at WrestleMania 2, when a clip of a match between Hulk Hogan and the Magnificent Muraco – with King Kong Bundy running in and seriously injuring Hogan was shown. WrestleMania III expanded this use, with clips highlighting several feuds: Randy Savage vs. Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat, Roddy Piper vs. Adrian Adonis and friends-turned-enemies Hogan vs. André the Giant.
    • While most of the ones in use today make use of elements described in the opening paragraph, the WWF (and many of its competitors of the time, including the AWA and World Championship Wrestling), have used "last time" clips for many years, usually to catch viewers up on a major feud starting on the previous episode or to progressively build an ongoing one (by showing a series of clips). Prior to the 2000s, the announcers simply narrated the clips and provided (often face-leaning) commentary. The WWF's syndicated programs of the 1980s – Superstars of Wrestling and Wrestling Challenge – also made extensive use of "last time" video, often with new comments added in from the involved wrestlers, and sometimes extensive portions of a match (especially if it involved a title change or was designated as having something important to do with advancing the feud) would be played as well.

  • Early on in radio countdown program American Top 40, host Casey Kasem played back the top 3 songs of the previous week in the first segment of the program. Throughout the 1980s, the number of top 3 songs would vary – sometimes, just the No. 1 song of the previous week would be played; and by the end of Kasem's run and into the Shadoe Stevens-era, the host would simply announce the No. 1 song from last week.
  • Picking up on AT40, American Country Countdown began a recap of the previous week's chart at the beginning of shows starting in 1986, with the past week's No. 1 song played. Currently, with Kix Brooks as host, snippets of the top 3 songs of the past week were played, from Nos. 3 to 1, during the opening segment.
    • Ex-ACC host Bob Kingsley began using a similar recap feature on Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40. He originally played back the past week's No. 1 song, but soon switched to snippets of the previous week's Top 5.
  • Radio drama serials are known to do this at the beginning of each episode.


    Video Games 
  • Alan Wake has this trope. It is divided into "episodes", each of which (except the first one, obviously) begins with a "Previously on Alan Wake" segment that plays the trope straight.
  • Used in Alone in the Dark (2008), when a player chooses to continue a playthrough or restart from a previous point after leaving. The game was set out in episodic form, so this trope is quite fitting.
  • Previously On Blur: Keep the records of what you have unlocked as well as what you're going to unlock soon. Talk about great appetizer...
  • The prologue of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night acts as a Previously On for Rondo of Blood, as it is a remake of the final stage of Rondo, showing how Richter defeated Dracula.
  • Cyber Chaser: Counterthrust begins with a "Previously on Cyber Chaser" montage which shows three stills related to the previous game's plot.
  • Beating Devil May Cry 4 unlocks a "History of DMC" video that briefly recaps the previous three games, though they are arranged in release order; there's only a little hint that the series has an Anachronic Order or that Devil May Cry 3 is a prequel. In between the plot summaries, there are also short bios for the major characters of each game.
  • Devil May Cry 5 contains a "History of DMC" short video that does a quick recap of the relevant events of the animated series and previous 4 classic continuity games for players who are jumping into the franchise for the first time.
  • Driver: San Francisco does a Previously On every time you load your current game. It recaps the most recent events leading up to where you last saved.
  • Following the launch of A Realm Reborn, Final Fantasy XIV featured an optional video that recaps the events of the 1.0 storyline, catching players up on the events leading up to the Seventh Umbral Calamity.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 does this every time the game is loaded, recapping recent events in the game with a brief clip show.
  • At the very beginning of Halo 4, you can find an interactive terminal which will read John-117's service record, which functions as a concise recap of the original Halo trilogy.
  • Kingdom Hearts III has an interesting example. The Caribbean world adapts the events of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, skipping over the second film after Kingdom Hearts II adapted the first in its Port Royal world. Because of this, the world starts with a chorus of pirates singing a variation of "A Pirate's Life For Me" that recaps the events of Dead Man's Chest.
  • Metal Gear Solid features a "mission log" which you can read each time you load the game. It includes a two-page text recap of recent events within the game's plot. Although most players understandably skip it (it's pointless unless you accidentally skipped a cutscene or are playing someone else's save) each recap features an easter egg: unique artwork from the game's creators.
  • Metroid: Other M gives a summary every time you load a file, to help pass the time during Loads and Loads of Loading.
  • Monster Hunter games have a Hunter's Journal in the player's Guild Card. It shows a feed of the most recent quests and milestones you've done. While it's intended to be shown to other players, you can also use it for yourself if you need to remember what you were farming when you last played the game weeks/months/years ago.
  • Pirate101 has Broochbeard and the player's companions remind the player what they were doing when they log in if it had been a while since the last time the player logged in.
  • Pokémon games did this in Gen III and IV. Gen III's FireRed and LeafGreen show you the last four notable thing you did in the game whenever you start the game. Gen IV's Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum introduced the Journal key item, which simply lists these actions, and will automatically open if you haven't played the game for a few days.
  • Resident Evil: Revelations directly invokes this with its episodic stage structure. They even have a montage reel that plays when you resume a campain, even from a checkpoint in the middle of an episode.
  • Like the Driver example above, Return to Monkey Island also has an optional "Previously On" feature that recaps the game up to the player's save point.
  • The loading screens for Saints Row 2 show three stills from the last post-mission cutscene you watched, with the customizable Boss represented by a bald, muscular man in a sleeveless shirt. When you're starting a new game, the stills are of the boat explosion that ended the first game.
  • Several games in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise (Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow the Hedgehog) feature recaps upon loading a new "story", as the Adventure games have multiple separate storylines, and Shadow has a path system that changes the story based on gameplay. These tend to be scrolling blocks of text with a voiceover by the relevant character; Shadow included images from the level select.
  • StarCraft II, with the release of Legacy of the Void, saw the engine being made modular, and each expansion pack as well as the main game are now "Episodes" which can be purchased and played without owning the base game. To help players who're not playing in sequence understand the story, a cinematic called "The story so far" is added to each of the episodes.
  • The final episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, "8-Bit is Enough," starts with a brief recap of the ending of the previous episode, which then immediately segues into the start of the current episode.
  • Many of the Tales Series games have a similar "Synopsis" function which can be accessed from the camp menu. While it's nice to see what the creators say about their own work, its real value is in averting the Now, Where Was I Going Again? issue.
  • Tekken 4 begins by showing a flashback to Heihachi throwing Kazuya into a volcano at the end of Tekken 2.
  • Time Gentlemen, Please! begins this way, with a Previously, On Ben There, Dan That! intro. It's also a bit of a parody as well, in that the intro makes the events of the previous game seem far more badass and action-packed than they actually were.
  • The second volume of Twilight Syndrome opens with a recap of the first volume in this style, as the beginning of the story proper picks up right from the Cliffhanger the first volume ended on.
  • Until Dawn uses this between 'episodes' of the game.
  • Vermillion Watch: The second (Fleshbound) through fifth (London Howling) games in the series start with a "previously on" video montage from the prior games.
  • Used between episodes of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, both by Telltale Games. In addition to showing what's already happened, it highlights some of the key choices that the player has made up to that point in the story.
  • Xenosaga, Rogue Galaxy and the Professor Layton games will have a small "The Story So Far" that shows up while the game loads from your save. It's nice because it reminds you what you need to do next.
  • Since Yakuza 0 switches between its protagonists Kiryu and Majima every two chapters, optional recaps are provided every time the story switches, to get the player back up to speed.
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two opens with a montage of scenes from Episode One. This only occurs on the first playthrough.

    Visual Novels 
  • Each episode of Daughter for Dessert after the first begins with a narrated montage of the events of the previous one. It’s tailored to the choices the player made in the previous chapter.
  • Each episode of Double Homework after the first begins with Johanna and Tamara (or occasionally another character, or just one of the pair) narrating a summary of the previous episode’s events. It reflects the choices made by the player.

    Web Animation 

  • The start of the multi-part El Goonish Shive storyline, "New And Old Flames", featured redrawn panels from the previous six years of the comic, ending with "And now, the continuation." May count as a Spoiler Opening although there have been several clues in the sketchbook hinting at certain characters and plot threads being revisited.
  • At the beginning of every part of Penny Blackfeather Nathaniel treats us to a pithy recap of the plot so far.

    Web Original 
  • Atop the Fourth Wall plays this straight for recurring books - limited series or story arcs that Linkara may hit on once or twice a year until it's finished, but usually not back-to-back (as some of these series are especially painful). The recap usually follows his typical greeting and precedes the opening credits. For back-to-back reviews, he'd typically do a parody Previously On segment (see that section below), though that's been dropped in the last few years in favor of the more traditional straight recaps.

  • Used and parodied in Dina Marino, where regular recaps are done in each episode but occasionally some never before seen clip is added to the mix.

  • When The Nostalgia Critic starting juggling more story arcs, more of these appear, either with footage from previous reviews or Critic recapping what's happened.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Tintin (1991) begins each Previously On segment with the phrase "It all started when..." — since each episode was a two-parter, it happens a lot.
  • The third (and final) season premiere of Animaniacs (2020) begins with this, in which consists of the major parts taken from the second season finale "23 and WB" and occasional cutaways of Yakko spitting his coffee, ultimately culminating in the coffee mug doing a spit-take with Yakko.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Used conspicuously, in that only a handful of episodes in their initial airings used a Previously On sequence. When the series was stripped and reruns began playing on weekdays, all episodes (save the first) contained the sequence. It was later revealed by a staff member that Nick makes them do that, so that viewers can enjoy an episode without having to have seen each episode that came before it. However, most fans disagree with the practice, because clips have been known to spoil vital aspects of the episode.
    • While the first season DVD releases may be free of these, the same cannot be said for the second season, which has a Previously On segment before every single episode.
    • An extreme case with the Grand Finale, which has one that lasts two whole minutes. This is even worse on the DVD: instead of being all at the beginning in one part, it split them up among the episodes, both making it even more interruptive pain in the ass as well removing the awesome music that played in the TV version. This was partially undone, when the series was released on Blu-ray, with most multi-part episodes and the Fina being re-edited into their original formatted specials. This meant each special only aired a single recap.
    • What makes it subtly brilliant is that the person (Roku) who always says "Previously, on Avatar" is the previous Avatar. Except for some dubs in other countries, where that person would be Iroh.
    • Jack De Sena (voice of Sokka) is on record as being proud of the series having complex-enough story-telling to need them.
    • The Legend of Korra has a Previously On sequence. Hilariously, it's done in the style of an old serial movie, complete with grainy, sepia-toned footage and a stereotypical "newsreel" announcer (who is also the in-universe pro-bending announcer). This is replaced for one episode by Tarrlok recapping the events in a press conference after Shiro Shinobi, the announcer, was electrocuted in the previous episode. He's back by the next one, though.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: The show managed to go pretty far into the first season without these, but Disney XD added some to episodes 20 onward. Episodes that do not come from season two had their recaps removed for digital distribution and home video release.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Done in each of the four two-parter episodes, but especially interesting in "Two Futures". Part Two opens with a conversation between Wheeler and Gaia, recapping the second half of Part One. Wheeler tries to justify his actions, while Gaia patiently explains their consequences.
    Wheeler: But how did it get so bad? Why didn't anyone stop it?
    Gaia: I told you, Wheeler – because you changed history.
  • Cartoon Network had characters in a story placed during the time Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil. In that story, Chicken was Pedro's brother and wanted to reach Brazil first. Johnny Bravo was in charge of recaps every time and Chicken always had to tell him he was recapping the wrong cartoon but Johnny eventually got the right recap after that.
  • "Previously, on a Very Special Episode of Clone High..."
  • Series 2 through 4 of Danger Mouse pretty much required this. Originally each episode was five minutes long, and was part of a storyline that would last five episodes. Therefore each episode had to begin with a recounting of what had happened up to that point. When the series was released on DVD, these were not edited out, and pretty much made the show unwatchable.
  • Played with in Dexter's Laboratory, the show's Three Shorts format allowed "Dexter's Rival" to play in its entirety before "Mandarker" (albeit with another cartoon in between).
  • DuckTales (1987):
    • Used in the "Time Is Money" and "Super Ducktales" five-part stories in the second season. Also used for "The Golden Goose", the two-part Grand Finale.
    • Averted in the first season's multipart episodes. The first five episodes, the multipart "Treasure of the Golden Suns" typically has a character give a short bit of exposition as an introduction to the episode's plot. Likewise with the four part "Cash as Catch Can".
  • The Fairly OddParents!: "The Big Superhero Wish" had a recap of "The Crimson Chin Meets Mighty Mom and Dyno Dad". Sure, there was some comedy factor (given the show, that was expected) like getting random parts of the previous episode before getting the part relevant for the plot but it was played straight.
  • Futurama: The syndicated "season 5" of the show is actually composed of the four films of the series, cut into four episode-sized chunks each. The continuations of each movie each have a special "Previously on" bumper added to their beginning, all with a quick bonus gag from one of the main or recurring characters of the show.
  • Beginning with its second season, Gargoyles used this for every episode, to bring the viewer up to speed on the back-stories of the characters involved in the episode. The announcement was typically made by the regular cast members (with Jeff Bennett doing the honors in both Brooklyn's and Owen's voices).
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero also does this with "In our last episode...". Thought "The Traitor, Part 2" had a more interesting variation, where it opens up with Hector Ramirez anchoring his news program, and his topic is of Dusty Rudat, the Joe accused of treason who had escaped custody and was now presumed to have joined Cobra (he's actually playing Fake Defector).
  • Gravity Falls: Reruns of the double-length Grand Finale are usually divided into two parts, "Take Back the Falls" and "Somewhere in the Woods". The latter episode has the usual Cold Open replaced by Soos summing up the events of the first half of the finale.
    Soos: Previously on Gravity Falls, the Mystery Shack crew banded together to try and stop Bill, and there was some mad action! Bill needed Ford to take over the world, but we rescued him and he showed us Bill's secret weakness. 'Til the Stan bros messed it all up, which kinda brings us up to date. I'm Soos, and I'm on the edge of my seat!
  • In Hey Arnold!, reruns of the produced double-length Grand Finale (as well as in the DVD version) are usually divided into two parts ("The Journal: Part One" and "The Journal: Part Two"). The latter episode has Grandpa Phil saying the show's title, introducing himself to the viewers, and then recapping the major events of the first half of the produced finale.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures uses this on occasion. Sometimes it can be from an episode from a season or two ago, such as the Season 4 opener flashing back to Jade becoming Queen of the Shadowkhan and Daolon Wong summoning them, to explain plotpoints in the episode, such as Tarakudo recognizing Jade.
  • Justice League featured "Previously On" for the second and third episode of multi-parters. Unlimited was mostly stand alone episodes, but did have "Previously On" segments during multi-part episodes.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012) used "Previously On" segments for its two-part episodes, which were clips from the first part played over a lower, more dramatic version of the opening theme.
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse features this trope on a few specials when they are split into two parts in Disney+. For instance, Clarabelle provides the recap for the first part of "Road Rally", Toodles narrates the first part of "Space Adventure" (along with the words To Be Continued at the end of part one), Minnie summarizes the first part of the specials "Minnie's Winter Bow Show!", "Mickey's Monster Musical" and "The Wizard of Dizz!", Mickey recaps the first part of "Super Adventure!", and Goofy summarizes the first part of the Treasure Hunt Episode "Mickey's Pirate Adventure" and the Grand Finale "A Goofy Fairy Tale".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has the second part of its occasional two-parter episodes open with these, (which also provides the page image). However, these episodes are almost always aired in tandem anyway, resulting in To Be Continued... Right Now.
  • "Previously, on Ninjago."
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Just Desserts" is a sequel to "Supper Villain", which came 16/8 episodes prior. It opens with a recap of "Supper Villain" that begins "Last week, in the city of Townsville..." Every quarter-hour episode of The Powerpuff Girls is paired with another in a half-hour segment. "Just Desserts" is the 16th episode after "Supper Villain" and they are both the second episode in their respective segments (Does this make sense?)
  • ReBoot used this once in the first season for a two-part episode. A variant was used in the first episode of season 3, where the opening sequence used clips (only video, no audio besides opening music) from the previous episode. Suspiciously absent afterward, despite the season long plot.
  • The Recess episode "The Madness of King Bob" opens this way, as it's a Sequel Episode to "The Big Prank".
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle virtually defines this.
  • The Ruff & Reddy Show employed this as it consisted of four 13-part story arcs per season, spread out over three seasons.
  • Season two of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated does this.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series has this most of the time - particularly if the episode immediately leads to another, or is related to an older episode. It has few episodes that don't have this, usually because they are stand-alone.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks doesn't typically do this, instead recapping previous episodes through exposition, but two episodes so far have had recap reels. "A Mathematically Perfect Redemption" gave a character A Day in the Limelight immediately after a long absence, meaning that character had to be reintroduced. "Old Friends, New Planets" is both the second half of a two-part Drama Bomb Finale and the culmination of a season-long Story Arc, and opens with a flashback to boot, meaning there was likely no time for meaningful exposition.
  • Done in every episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with narration in the style of an old newsreel that overall serves as an audio version of the text crawl from the movies. What makes this unique is that these are previously in the war, not necessarily previously on the show, setting up the episode's plot regardless of whether it's a continuation of a previous episode or not. Even when it does recap a prior episode for a multi-parter, it sometimes includes events that weren't actually in that episode but happened during a Time Skip since then.
  • A variation happens in Steven Universe episode "Reunited". The episode itself opens with the song "For Just One Day Let's Only Think About Love", wherein various characters lament on several lingering plot threads from throughout the show's run, while Steven tries to get them to worry less on those and focus on celebrating the wedding happening that day. Naturally, all the plot points brought up become relevant again in the episode's second half.
  • This happens on every episode on Total Drama as a parody of reality shows.
  • Xiaolin Showdown has four episodes which begin with a "Previously on..." sequence.
    • "In The Flesh" recaps the events of "Mala Mala Jong" in order to show how Raimundo's failure at reaching Apprentice levels and overall lack of respect he felt during the previous episode caused him to side with Wuya in this episode.
    • The three-parter episodes where Chase Young successfully brings Omi to the Heylin side are "Judging Omi", "Saving Omi" and "Finding Omi". The latter two begin with a "Previously on Xiaolin Showdown..." sequence.
    • "Time After Time part 2" recaps the events of "Time After Time part 1", but the scenes where Hannibal Bean gives Chase Young the Lao Mang Soup are taken from "The Lifes And Times Of Hannibal Roy Bean".
  • "Previously, on X-Men..."
  • X-Men: Evolution started doing this around the third season, when it actually got a serious serial plot.
  • Winx Club uses this in every episode, and bookends such with On the Next.

    Real Life 
  • A standard feature of academia, where the lecturer often briefly recaps the material covered last lesson. (Previously, on Number Theory: "But if that construction is valid, the group homomorphism from z/zn to the product of the z/zp groups we defined earlier must be an isomorphism!" "That's Impossible!" (...) "Run! Run away, Fermat! Run to your notebook margins, if you can find enough room to hide in there! I will yet kill you, and your little theorem, too!" And now Number Theory continues.)


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo had a recap of the previous episode in the series premiere, though as Beauty points out the narrator is reading the wrong script. Sadly, the joke was removed from the TV showing of the English dub.
    • As the series progresses, the recaps become more nonsensical, changing lines, going off-script, and including new scenes. This does not go unnoticed.
  • Puni Puni☆Poemi starts out with a recap of previous episodes that were never produced - which also gives the impression that the show is a lot more serious than it is.
  • Ruri Hoshino takes these opportunities to display her finest snark. Played with in an episode when it's revealed she's secretly the princess of Not Switzerland, and the entire episode is silly and embarrassing for all parties involved. Ruri hurriedly rushes through the beginning of the next episode.
  • Parodied in Zan: Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. Every episode of the third seasons opens on a "previously on" presented in storybook format. Except that none of the stories being presented happened, and don't make a whole lot of sense.

    Fan Works 
  • Ask King Sombra occasionally has these in the beginning of chapters, although these are Played for Laughs, such as heavily exaggerating previous events and (like in the page quote) flat out telling readers to read the previous chapters.
  • In EvAbridged where the events shown in the recap are basically a bizarro version of the first episode, with Misato declaring Shinji to be "the manliest hero I have ever seen.... and definitely not a pussy" and Gendo states that he is Shinji's "loving father who is always proud of you". It all turns out to be Shinji dreaming.
  • Following the prologue, Power Games has a recap of the first installment done by six-year-olds who keep wandering off topic.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. When the climatic end of Chapter 16 is repeated, the hero has to explain to his sidekick that they're not caught in a "Groundhog Day" Loop; it's just a recap of last week's Cliffhanger.
  • Sometimes, when the creators of Sailor Moon Abridged decided to skip some Sailor Moon episodes, Serena would detail events of the skipped story by telling viewers what happened "last time on Sailor Moon", occasionally giving her own details and leaving out major points (eg, her recap of the episode where she and Darien met an artist went into no detail at all about the artist).
    • For one recap, Serena simply said "a lot of stupid stuff happened" in the skipped episode, and she doesn't find it worth talking about.
    • Played straight in some episodes, as well as The Movie.
  • Twillight Sparkle's awesome adventure has a "recap" that mostly consists of dialogue from previous chapters, chosen completely at random and presented without any context—thus, completely useless as a recap.
  • Used in Ultra Fast Pony.
    • Episode two begins with the nonsensical "Meanwhile, in the previous episode..." and the montage consists entirely of backstory exposition that should have been in the prior episode, but wasn't.
    • In "Stay Tuned", the "Previously on" is about five minutes long, and while the episode proper is about ten seconds long.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    • Episode 7 features a full-on parody of a Soap Opera with pregnancies, breakups, etc, and only one actual quote from the previous episode.
    • Episode 9:
    • Episode 11:
      Yami: [narrating] Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer... Just kidding, it's only Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • Episode 28:
      Yami: [narrating] Previously on Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series...
      [cuts to Kaiba on a helicopter with his finger raised towards the sky]
      Kaiba: Don't forget to register and pick up your Duel Disk because exactly one week from tod— [his finger hits the helicopter's rotorblades and is cut off] AHH! MY FINGER! It came clean off! Somebody call an ambulance!
    • Episode 37:
      Bakura: [narrating] Previously, on Zorc and Pals.
    • Episode 62:
      Tristan: [narrating] Previously, on drooling monsters...
      Joey: [narrating] Duel Monsters, ya nimrod!
    • Kaiba's Real Father — Conclusion:
      Narrator: Previously, on this...
      {cuts to Kaiba and Mokuba]
      Kaiba: I have to find my real father.
      Mokuba: Yeah!
      Kaiba: And then kill him!
      Mokuba: Yeah!... Wait, what?
    • Cr@psule Monsters:
      Narrator: Previously, on crap.
    • In the third Cr@psule Monsters episode, the narrator says "Previously, on Deep Space Nine".
    • There was another episode that was a gag dub of a "previously on" segment from Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Done for laughs in Russian movie The Diamond Arm. The movie is declared as "a story in two parts with a prologue and an epilogue". The "second part" is 10 minutes long, takes part immediately after the end of the first one and is preceded with a "brief summary of the first part"...that is completely unintelligible and scrolls over the screen in a second. The "second part" even has a name, "The Bone Leg."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The final episode of The Adventures of Lano and Woodley , "I Love You Baby Pt. 2" opens with a Previously On featuring things that never actually happened, such as Col becoming an international jewel thief. The two main characters break into this to explain that it was intended to scare the crap out of viewers who would think "Wait, what? Did I miss all this?!"
  • For several seasons during Tom Bergeron's tenure as host, each episode of America's Funniest Home Videos opened with Bergeron intoning "Previously on AFV...", followed by a montage of especially goofy clips from the actual previous episode. (As of the 2012-13 season, the show's gone back to previewing clips of the current episode as the cold opening.)
  • Parodied (like everything else) on Angie Tribeca; the episode "Inside Man" ends with a montage recapping the episode that just finished.
  • The Aquabats! Super Show! opens each episode (including the first) with a montage of random clips, some from the previous episode and some new ones straight out of nowhere.
  • Arrested Development often started with "previously on Arrested Development" of scenes that weren't in the previous episode.
  • Believe Nothing started each episode with a "Previously On" showing outrageous events that never happened on the show, but did set up the plot of the current episode.
  • Cheers:
    • It once had an amusing recap, narrated in a rambling fashion by Coach, who forgot significant plot details, became confused to the point of trying to give the audience directions to his daughter's house and eventually had to start over.
    • Another recap featured Cliff explaining what happened in an episode that happened to be Frasier's first appearance, while showing a slideshow of his (Cliff, that is) vacation in Florida.
  • In Season 2 of Danger 5, each Previously On montage includes a scene that wasn't shown in the previous episode.
  • In the Father Ted episode "Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse", a 'previously on' scene is shot to mimic those of NYPD Blue, complete with gruff American voiceover and shaky camerawork. The recap scenes were reshot, since the previous episode, "Escape From Victory", was shot in the standard three camera style.
  • The 11th season premiere of Frasier, opened with one of the show's distinctive Act Break title cards reading "Previously", showed the Previously On segment, and then put up another title card reading "Subsequently", before showing the episode proper.
  • One episode of Friends started with Joey sitting down explaining the previous episodes to the audience. As he explained each characters subplot he'd end up saying "I don't really know what happened there" and "I don't really know what happened there either". He finished with "Y'know what, hold on, let me go get Chandler."
  • Hail to the Chief, as Spiritual Successor to Soap, has the same sort of long-winded and confusing summary of the previous episode, ending with "Confused? You won't be after this episode of Hail to the Chief."
  • In the middle of episode 33 of Monty Python's Flying Circus, a narrator played by Terry Jones comes on to recap all the nonsense that happened earlier in the episode. Hilarity Ensues when he gets to this part:
    "And then a man told us about what had happened on the show so far, and a great hammer came and hit him on the head... I don't remember that."
  • The Pigs In Space announcer on The Muppet Show would usually introduce the set-up of this week's episode by claiming it was a continuation of the previous episode. Which it wasn't.
    "As you may recall, in the last episode of Pigs In Space the Swinetrek was caught in a deadly asteroid field. If you don't recall that, I'm not going to remind you."
    • Used for a Bait-and-Switch Comment when announcer goes: "The last time we saw the spaceship Swinetrek...we hoped it would be the last time! But, it's back."
  • My Name Is Earl:
    • They started the second of a two parter with a parody of Prison Break's "previouslies", because the plot of the episode was Earl and Randy on a manhunt for an escaped convict.
    • In the first episode after the 2007 writers strike, a network executive comes on and gives a recap of where they left off before they had had to shut down production.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
  • Red Dwarf. In "Tikka To Ride", Lister tries to explain the Timey-Wimey Ball that enabled them to survive the Season 6 cliffhanger ending, and blows up the camera.
  • Parodied on Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld occasionally, with clips that have absolutely nothing to do with the show.
  • She-Hulk: Attorney at Law: Partway through "The Retreat", Jennifer Walters sees a guy who tried to attack her in an earlier episode. Jen realises the audience may not remember him so she demands a new "Previously On" to remind us who he is.
  • Used on every episode of the classic soap opera parody Soap. It would sum up, quickly and comically, what happened in the previous episode and ask "Confused? Well, you won't be after this episode of Soap." It would also have a "next time on Soap" at the end as well that didn't spoil the next episode but merely hinted at which storylines would be seen in the next episode.
  • On Stargate SG-1 in episode 200, "200". The "Previously On" sequence begins with several real scenes, but then a scene featuring a meeting with the Furlings, who are notable only for their absence. After being treated to a planetary explosion, we cut to Sam Carter saying, "But that never happened!" while reading a script.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. The episode "Bride of Chaotica!" starts with a cliffhanger recap of The Adventures of Captain Proton a holodeck program in the style of a 1930's Republic Film Serial. We then cut to Tom Paris and Harry Kim watching the recap on the imagizer, and complaining that the scene of their rocketship bursting into flame never actually happened.
  • The first episode in season 4 of That Mitchell and Webb Look begins with a Previously On clip showing a number of dramatic looking scenes from this sketch show with no continuity whatsoever.

  • Parodied on Armando Ianuccis Charm Offensive, in an edition where random members of the audience gave their names and job titles and had Previously On sequences performed for them, with copious helpings of snark.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • AMV Hell 4 opens up with the entirety of AMV Hell 3, albeit sped up a bunch. AMV Hell 3 was about an hour and a half long and has nothing at all to do with AMV Hell 4.
  • Bonus Stage does this in Episode 58 and Episode 84. The former is a dramatized but true recap, while the latter is a parody referencing other cartoons such as Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law and screwed-up versions of earlier episodes of the series.
  • Matt Wilson parodies this again in Deadly Space Action!, where one episode begins with a normal Previously On, until the end of it, where a Wham Line is said that definitely happened.
    Saige: There's a werewolf on the ship!
  • Ducktalez 7 begins with a recap of events from the previous episodes, mixed with footage from Inception and Harry Potter that never actually appeared in the episodes.
    Previously On Ducktalez
    Vegeta: My name is Vegeta! Prepare to die, Scrooge McDuck!
  • EVTV Weather uses purposefully silly variations of the words "Previously on..." at the beginning of each episode.
  • Used hilariously in Happy Tree Friends. One episode began with a 2-minute Previously On that was actually just a montage of various deaths from previous episodes. When the episode actually starts, it's just Lumpy knitting for ten seconds, then a 2-minute On the Next that was, again, just a montage of previous deaths.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In the Strong Bad Email "fingers", there's a Batman-style montage of lots of emails asking the one question Strong Bad hates to hear ("How do you type with boxing gloves on?"), complete with narration: "Frustration of frustrations! It's all they ever ask! Will they never cease?! Stay tuned to find out!"
    • The later 'toon "DNA Evidence" played this trope straight (albeit with Homestar managing to mispronounce "previously"): all the instances shown where the phrase "DNA evidence" was mentioned actually appeared previous Strong Bad Emails.
  • While every other episode plays this straight, episode 12 of Inanimate Insanity has MePhone interrupting the recap and pushing it off a cliff to make the episode more like episode 1. The narration calls him out on it when recapping this episode.
  • "Last week, on Red vs. Blue..." "Uh, there wasn't an episode last week, we were at E3." I mean the week before last..."
    • Red vs. Blue parodied this a couple of other times as well on their DVD extras. The season 2 DVD includes a feature in which Caboose relates the events of season 1 in a characteristically inaccurate and moronic fashion. The season 5 DVD contains a feature that claims to be a recap of seasons 1-4, but it's really just a rapid-fire compilation of every curse word spoken on the series up to that point.
  • The Robotbox and Cactus episode "Some Journey" follows up on the episode "Some Death"... but the only thing in the pre-opening recap is ghost Cactus saying "I'm dead!" "Some Fate" then follows "Some Journey" in a similar fashion, with the only scene in the recap being the Bridgemaster saying "no".
  • Space Tree does it three times. Two of them reference the same events, and have the same dialogue, but one is poorly-drawn with equally bad voices and the other is done in an over-the-top way, depicting the characters as muscular and talking dramatically. The last one does it in the same way, but the character narrating says "Previously on Internet Cartoon Website...", mispronouncing previously as pre-vy-ous-lee. This one reuses animation from the first episode (but the dialogue is about the previous episode).
  • The Unbiased History of Rome started off the episode on the Severan Dynasty with a "Previously On" segment, where instead of portraying Commodus as a pathetic megalomaniac whose rule ended the era of the Five Good Emperors with a whimper while mixing in a retelling of Gladiator, he was portrayed as a Chad who was a stud in the gladiatorial ring before being strangled in his bath after a poisoning attempt was literally vomited outnote . And then:
    Dovahhatty: (chuckles) Just fucking kidding! (holds up a book with the poster of Gladiator as a cover) The historian Ridley Scott already debunked all this garbage!

  • This Dinosaur Comics strip, which summarises six previous strips in a panel each.
  • Parodied in a recap comic of A Little Hint of Blue, which summarizes the events of the last six chapters in comedic ways, like Viney casually snapping Boscha's neck so Skara can get some Character Development, Fled explaining that the reason why he can't be with Skara is because he's only a background character, and Skara showing Viney a picture of their future daughter as she confesses to her.
  • The The Order of the Stick compilations (aside from the first, obviously) have a few pages where one of the cast members explains what happened in the previous books, in their own idiosyncratic styles. Elan uses finger puppets, V uses a very prepared chalkboard, and Belkar's is presented a la Masterpiece Theatre, with Belkar mostly inserting himself into other famous stories rather than recapping events.
  • Both parodied and used straight in this Shortpacked!, which is just a random collection of dramatic images from the past (some of which are Imagine Spots, and one of which never happened in any form) before Mike gives the necessary past information in a massive Wall of Text in the last panel.
  • Sluggy Freelance, a story-based comic which has been going for 13 years, has to use recaps every so often, and has taken to making them more palatable by couching them in fourth-wall-breaking parody.
    • Parodied in a Previously On segment for "Stick Figures In Spaaaaaace!", in which all of the panels shown are picked at random, and while they technically happened previously, they do nothing to actually explain what's going on.
  • The webcomic Terror Island parodied this by using its alliterative method of flashbacks.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: Used on "Dalmatian Vacation", the three-parter, narrated by Lucky.
  • The first episode of The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police did a recap of fantastical stuff that never happened in the show.
  • The second half of The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Origins" opens with a rapid-fire Clip Show of scenes from previous episodes (which have nothing to do with the actual episode), followed by a narrator rattling off a hasty recap of events over a still image.
  • American Dad! spoofed this in "Merlot Down Dirty Shame". The episode opens with a Previously On... segment showing Stan and Roger trapped in an elevator, which causes them to bond and become friends. Over the course of the episode Roger manages to completely screw things up, ending with him burying Stan alive. This is followed by a On the Next segment where a dirt-covered Stan beats the everloving shit out of Roger (who's wearing a cat costume).
  • Animaniacs gets in on this, with the first episode after its Channel Hop to Kids' WB! opening with 'Previously on Animaniacs:', followed by parodies of famous action and suspense scenes with a cliffhanger ending...sort of.
    • It also spoofed previouslies during its only actual two-parter:
      Skippy: Previously on Animaniacs...
      The Warners: We wanna make a movie!
      Mr. Plotz: You can't make a movie.
      The Warners: We wanna make a movie!
      Mr. Plotz: You can't make a movie.
      The Warners: We wanna make a movie!
      Mr. Plotz: You can't make a movie.
      Skippy: That was pretty much it. For a full half-hour. And now, part two!
      The Warners: We still wanna make a movie!
      Mr. Plotz: You can't make a movie.
      The Warners: We still wanna make a movie!
      Mr. Plotz: You can't make a movie.
      The Warners: We still wanna make a movie!
      Mr. Plotz: You can't make a movie.
      Skippy: So much for part two. Spew!
  • In the Back at the Barnyard half-hour episode "Treasure Hunt", the second part began with this trope, which consists of the characters saying each other's names in a Rocky Horror Picture Show-esque fashion, followed by a few of them screaming. When the episode continues after that, Pig goes Breaking the Fourth Wall by asking what happened in part one. In the end, there was an On the Next segment which consists of a Clip Show of Peck getting injured in various ways and when it cuts back to the characters, Peck ends up Leaning on the Fourth Wall by asking what will happen next week.
  • Cartoon Network's circa 2008 Big Baby shorts all open with "Previously on Big Baby" followed by a random scene of the eponymous giant baby in some life-threatening situation.
  • In the Clarence mini-series "Clarence's Stormy Sleepover", Clarence himself does the "Previously on" narration for each episode, which evidences his own unique take on the events. When recapping the events of "Doofus and McNobrain", he can't help laughing about Belson filling the detention room with 50 bags of manure.
  • In the first episode of Clerks: The Animated Series, a voice says, "Previously on Clerks", and then it cuts to a test pattern. The end of the episode also featured an On the Next with the same gag, implying that the makers expected to get canceled after one episode. They were wrong; they got canceled after two episodes (although that first episode didn't even air during the original ABC run).
  • Clone High, which uses it at the start of every episode, even though the only thing that the current and previous ep usually have in common is the Abe clone's girl problems.
  • Drawn Together was know to do this from time to time, often playing up alot of the typical "Previously On" subjects.
  • Family Guy:
    • "Brian Does Hollywood", the second half of a two-part episode, opens with a montage consisting of the characters reenacting common cliffhanger scenes, including a Red Wire Blue Wire scene. Only the final line in the montage has any relevance to the actual storyline, and it wasn't really a line from the previous episode.
    • Not quite a parody, but "Lois Kills Stewie" opened with Tom Tucker and Ollie Williams recapping the previous episode, "Stewie Kills Lois", as if it were a news story. Sort of.
    • "Petey IV" opens with a recap in the style of Survivor, even narrated by Jeff Probst himself.
    • "Dead Dog Walking" opens with a cut to a scene from "Death Has a Shadow" (the pilot episode), then a scene from one of the Star Wars parody episodes, before finally getting to the ending of "Married with Cancer" with Brian marrying Jess and soon regretting it.
  • Freakazoid! also parodied the trope, once during an Affectionate Parody of Gargoyles featuring lawn gnomes.
  • Frisky Dingo.
    • Subverted:
      Killface: We don't have a lot of time for exposition, so if you can't remember what happened between then and now... try iTunes?
    • The next episode also has a Previously On segment with some scenes that we didn't see in the last episode, as well as some scenes we did see, but with different dialogue.
  • The second part of the Grojband episode "Dreamreaver" begins with Corey recapping what happened in part one, only for Laney to interrupt him and say "We don't have time for that, Core".
  • Some Mighty Mouse cartoons that featured Pearl Pureheart and Oil Can Harry ("A Swiss Miss" and "Sunny Italy" among them) spoofed this. The cartoon would start with an "in our last episode" recap when there was no previous episode with the incident shown to start with. The Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "In Again, Out Again" used this as well.
  • Tinkered with on The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. On its original CBS run and when it first played in syndication, each episode was followed by the start of a new episode that ended after a minute with a cliffhanger and a To Be Continued title card. A week later, the episode resumes with a Previously On recap of the previous week's teaser.
  • A 'previously on' in Rick and Morty starts out straight, but then they jump to clips of scenes that didn't happen yet (Summer getting pregnant, Jerry's funeral, Rick marrying Morty...). It doesn't take long for Rick to notice, and realizes he and Morty are having their life forces drained by a meta creature named Previous Leon.
  • As noted above, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated plays this straight during season 2. However, in the episode "The Gathering Gloom", it just shows a montage of every time Shaggy and Scooby have stuffed themselves during the entire series.
  • The Simpsons:
    • A Parody Episode of 24 opens with "Previously on The Simpsons...", complete with 24-style character descriptions. Obviously, since the previous episode hadn't been a parody of 24, none of the events shown (such as Principal Skinner assigning Lisa to the Counter Truancy Unit) had ever been seen before. They did serve to set up the plot of the episode, though.
    • One season ended with the question of whether Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel would continue their budding relationship after Ned was freaked out by her sexual history. Instead of a Previously, the resolving episode opens with Comic Book Guy informing us that he doesn't care what happens, because "I spent my summer on a more worthwhile endeavor: savaging Mr. Popper's Penguins online."
  • South Park:
    • Subverted in the opening to "Probably", the Cross Referenced "Part Two" of "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?", which intersperses footage from the previous episode with a recreation of the famous "Jumping the Shark" scene from Happy Days, only in this instance Fonzie doesn't make it and gets eaten by said sharks. It's up to the viewer whether this is simply Played for Laughs or a defiant statement from the creators.
    • A mild subversion in the "Imaginationland" South Park episodes. The screen says "Previously, on Imaginationland" while Cartman says "Previously, on Battlestar Galactica."
    • Subverted in "201", where instead of a recap of everything that happened in the previous episode, there's a story of Mitch Connor (from "Fat Butt and Pancake Head")'s experience in Saigon.
    • Parodied in "The Return of Chef" (which wasn't a two-parter) by showing scenes of Chef leaving the town to join the Super Adventure Club in this manner, followed by the narrator opening the actual episode by saying, "And now, Part 2 of 'Life Without Chef'."
    • "Good Times With Weapons" featured one when returning from commercial with an announcer discussing how "the legendary battle of Tokutawain" earlier in the episode began and how the ninjas were forced to work together or else they would all be grounded.
  • The Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "Jacksonville" opens with a recap of events that did not happen in the previous episode, "Glen Campbell". Among these are Space Ghost and Zorak in a jungle, shocked upon hearing of a stolen treasure map, Space Ghost confronting two Moltars, and Zorak revealing that he is pregnant.
  • The last episode of The Super Hero Squad Show opens with several scenes that have nothing to do with the episode before it, which the Mayor blames on his DVR acting up.
  • The Teen Titans Go! episode "Operation Dude Rescue Part 2" has Starfire and Raven recapping the events of the first part by displaying various unconnected scenes from the previous episode, with absolutely no context between them, and not actually showing the main plot of the episode, that of the Brain capturing Robin, Cyborg and Beast Boy and Starfire and Raven putting together a group of girls to rescue them. When Raven points this out to Starfire, she just shrugs.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • "Escape to the House of Mummies Part II" has a "previously on" segment detailing a fictional episode and an On the Next segment for another non-existent episode. The "clips" in these segments imply various wild plot elements that are not entirely unbelievable in comparison with other episodes, making the joke somewhat ambiguous.
    • However, "Showdown at Cremation Creek Part II" was the second part of a genuine two-parter. Its Previously On segment replayed the entire previous episode, but it was severely sped up so the whole thing went by in about ten seconds. Only the very last line was played normally.

Aversions (episodes expected to follow this trope but don't)

    open/close all folders 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Evil Dead 2: The first film in the series was an extremely low-budget indie film that the filmmakers didn't expect many people to be familiar with when watching the sequel. Rather than begin the film with a "previously on" montage, the first act serves as an accelerated, simplified version of the entire first film. Once the second act kicks in, the film becomes a sequel. The third film in the series, Army of Darkness, does use the trope, with a quick flashback montage narrated by the protagonist that summarizes what came before.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Despite being one of the first heavily story-arc-driven shows on American TV, Babylon 5 notably did not use "Previously On" sequences except in the case of outright two-partersnote . Instead, episodes tended to begin with As You Know dialogue between characters.
    • At points where scenes from previous episodes were necessary to understand what was happening, the relevant clip would be shown as a brief cutaway flashback in black-and-white. This served the normal purpose of a recap while still avoiding a Spoiler Opening. However, these were used very sparingly.
    • The fifth season's opening credits did function as a sort-of "Previously On", consisting of a montage of quotes and clips from all four previous seasons in chronological order, but it was not comprehensive.
  • Many shows omit them on DVD and Netflix releases, as viewers can binge-watch episodes to catch up on the plot arcs anyway.
  • Netflix also has a built-in feature where viewers watching more than one episode at a time can set it to automatically skip the opening montage and opening credits of shows that start this way, since after all it is rather pointless to recap the episode you just watched a minute ago.

    Web Animation 
  • Animator vs. Animation: Despite most of its entries having story arcs and the fact that series goes through a Series Hiatus, all of Alan Becker's videos don't use any recaps with the only ever exception being episode 9 of the AVM Shorts, "Villagers".

    Western Animation 
  • As mentioned in one of the folders above, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes did not have any recaps during most of its first season, not even for episodes that had two or three parts.
  • The syndicated versions of the Futurama Direct to Video Movies (aka Season 5) have no previouslies, regardless of whether they're shown sequentially or not. This can be confusing in situations such as the latter half of "Bender's Game", which takes place in an alternate reality whose plot is driven by the context of earlier "episodes", especially the MacGuffin's purpose.
  • A couple of Mighty Mouse cartoons and at least one Heckle and Jeckle cartoon opens with the resumption of what is ostensibly the continuation of a serial, but there was no previous episode leading to the situation seen.

And now the conclusion...

Alternative Title(s): The Previously, The Story So Far


The Road So Far

Recap of Supernatural up to the Season 8 finale

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / PreviouslyOn

Media sources: