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Villain Exclusivity Clause

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"Y'know the thought occurred to me that we are rather Claw-centric. Have we ever thought of going after ISIS? Drug lords? The people who made the Madea movies?"
The Nostalgia Critic (as Inspector Gadget), Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas review

Some works use the villain as part of The Law of Conservation of Detail: he or she will fulfill almost exactly the same role in every single episode. A single antagonist, always having the same function in the plot.

Take care that:

  1. The example is not a case of Greater-Scope Villain, as the show goes Back to Status Quo at the end of every episode, so the villain's actions have no effect on the rest of the episodes.
  2. The example is not a case of Arc Villain, as the villain appears in all the works, not only during a specific arc.
  3. The villain may or may not be the Big Bad but, if he or she is, always has a more or less active role in the plot and is not The Chessmaster.
  4. The example is not a case of Villain Protagonist, the villain is clearly the antagonist. Albeit sometimes may overlap with Villain-Based Franchise.

Pretty much a Dead Horse Trope nowadays as most shows, even those directed toward children, tend to prefer a Story Arc thus having at the very least an Arc Villain. The original idea, especially among cartoons, was that children lack the attention span to handle complex arcs and plots throughout a season, thus every episode was more or less self-contained with the exception of multiple-part episodes and the mandatory Clip Show. It is still used sometimes among shows for small children. But remember, Tropes Are Not Bad.

The opposite of a Rogues Gallery, when a hero faces a broad variety of villains throughout the series. The other extreme is a Monster of the Week format when a show has no recurring villain and there's one Different in Every Episode. Compare with Once per Episode, Every Episode Ending and Strictly Formula.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: The Series Team Rocket attempts to steal Pikachu or another Pokemon in every episode. Starting from Pokémon the Series: Black & White, they are absent in some episodes, though still exist as the main antagonists.
  • Dr. Hell sends his monsters in an effort to Take Over the World in every episode of Mazinger Z and is Mazinger's job to stop them. Curiously though he never thought in sending them all together at once.

    Films — Animation 
  • In-Universe example; the function of Wreck-It Ralph in every game is to destroy things for The Hero to re-build them. At one point he gets tired of it, which leads to the rest of the plot.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • It will be difficult to find any adaptation of Peter Pan that doesn't has Captain Hook as the main villain, but you'd expect that when they're directly adapting the novel in which he is the main villain. Where it gets interesting is the sequels — Peter Pan and the Only Children, Hook, Return to Never Land, Peter Pan in Scarlet — which always bring him back to be the main villain again even though he died at the end of the novel. The prequel Pan is an odd case: the young Hook is Peter's friend, and remains Peter's friend to the very end (maybe they were saving his fall from grace for a sequel), but on the other hand the villain is a "Pirate King" who fills pretty much exactly the role in the plot that Captain Hook normally would.
  • Harry Potter: Draco Malfoy appears in every single of the seven books as The Bully. Albeit after his Face–Heel Turn he's no longer a villain in the sequel play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien. Sauron appears in The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, though in The Silmarillion he's The Dragon and in The Hobbit he's an offstage cameonote .

    Live-Action TV 
  • Robbie Rotten in LazyTown, have the same role in every episode; trying to have Stephanie and Sportacus expel from the town and/or diminish their influence.
  • Dr. Smith in Lost in Space mix with a case of Just Eat Gilligan. In every episode Smith would endanger the family whether is for greed, cowardy, his obsession for returning to Earth or any other selfish reason.
  • El Ecoloco in Odisea Burbujas follows the Burbujos in every episode trying to promote destruction and pollution whether alterating history or just causing havoc.
  • Colonel Klink in Hogan's Heroes as the commander of a German prisoner’s camp has the same role in every episode. Justified in the fact that the nature of the show needed to have always the same setting.
  • Boss Hogg in The Dukes of Hazzard: every episode has him as the villain trying to do some sort of evil or corrupt scheme and/or frame the Dukes.
  • Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad always had Sam and his team fight viruses brought to life by a rogue AI named Kilokahn.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Addressed in Cartoon Action Hour, meant to mimic the feel of 80's action cartoons, where most had one ultimate villain or villain group, and all the other regular villains were their underlings. Most premade settings for the game opt for this same dynamic with their villains.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • The bulk of Felix the Cat (Joe Oriolo) cartoons follow this premise with The Professor and Rock Bottom; due to the series zigzagging between having Negative Continuity and Broad Strokes, almost every episode deals with the crooks trying to either steal Felix's Magic Bag of Tricks, committing crimes to enrich themselves, or just cause misery to the cat for the hell of it and failing miserably and comically every single time. The series does have a secondary antagonist in the form of Master Cylinder, who was the former pupil of Professor, but he only appears infrequently, and Professor always appears in each episode with him as well, even if he's not on Cylinder's side. There are very, very few episodes in the series that don't star one or the other as the villain, and the ones that don't either star a one off villain or some other source of conflict for Felix.
  • Skeletor as the main villain in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), the Masters of the Universe film, The New Adventures of He-Man and the reboot He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002).
  • M.A.S.K. follows this premise, with two organizations M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M; every episode deals with the former fighting the latter, and in all but a handful of cases the leader of V.E.N.O.M. Miles Mayhem appears.
  • Bionic Six trying to fight Dr. Scarab and his gang more or less in the same fashion in every episode.
  • C.O.P.S. has C.O.P.S. fighting the crimes of C.R.O.O.K.S. in a similar way and the Big Bad The Big Boss always will appear.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: Just try to think one episode without COBRA attempting world domination (unlike the comics that kept third parties like the Iron Grenadiers, the Headhunters and assorted one-shot dictators).
  • Dr. Gangreene uses a different tomato-related plan to Take Over the World in every episode of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!, although this may sound silly, the writers had some very creative ideas and parodies of famous movies including Creature from the Black Lagoon, Grease and Dracula.
  • Clandestino appears as antagonist in every single episode of The Bluffers.
  • Beastly and Shreeky in Care Bears (1980s) trying to end love in every episode.
  • Dr. Dredd and his gang of monsters in Drak Pack.
  • Every episode of The Dreamstone has almost identical plots, Zordrak sending his sympathetic mooks, the Urpneys, to steal the Dreamstone. Odd episodes feature another antagonist, but the Urpneys will still be involved in some way.
  • Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner is based around this premise; as hilarious as the shorts are, they all have the Coyote trying to capture the Roadrunner, and failing.
  • Dr. Claw and his organization appears in all episodes (and related media, including the movies) of Inspector Gadget, always with Gadget's boss informing him of Claw's evil plans to be stopped.
  • Every episode of Jem would show The Misfits causing some kind of property damage, endangering lives or ruining concerts.
  • Floyd and Jolene trying to eat the cubs in all Kissyfur episodes.
  • The Popeye shorts follow the same basic dynamic; Bluto would eventually harass and/or try to molest Olive Oil provoking Popeye's intervention. Sometimes Bluto would go under a different name or even have a different appearance like a clean-shaven lifeguard, but still be the same character with the same voice. This is mostly true of the Famous Studios shorts, the Fleischer shorts were far more dynamic and varied in terms of plot; many of which don’t feature Bluto or an expy of him at all.
  • Murky and Lurky in Rainbow Brite trying to steal colors.
  • Every crime in SilverHawks would have the involvement of Mon*Star.
  • Overlord tries to Take Over the World in every episode of Spiral Zone.
  • The eponymous Star Kids would have to deal with Momo’s food-related schemes in every episode of Star Street: The Adventures of the Star Kids.
  • Texas Pete and his minions are the villains in almost every episode of Superted.
  • Mumm-Ra is the bad guy in almost every episode of ThunderCats (1985).
  • Parodied with Dr. Doofenshmirtz in Phineas and Ferb.
  • Both the 1990s cel-animated version and the 2000 CGI version of Action Man put Dr. X in this position. Pretty much every episode either has Dr. X as the villain, or someone who works for him. His plot is always the same: kill a bunch of people, mutate the survivors into neo-humanity. He would also narrate his darwinian goals Every. Single. Episode.
    • Rival Max Steel had a similar thing going with the evil organization DREAD, led by John Dread, being responsible for most of the villains Max faced; however, the final season saw DREAD dissolve, and some of the villains reappeared now on their own.
    • And in turn, the 2013 reboot has most of the villains being somehow affiliated with the evil alien Ultralinks, including this continuity's version of John Dread (renamed Miles Dredd). The only exception in the first two seasons was Toxzon. After the franchise became exclusive to Latin America once again, more independent villains were introduced.
  • Wild C.A.T.s had all villains working for Helspont, even some who were independent or even rivals in the comics. The only exceptions were Majestic (an hero in the comics) and the Orb, and even in episodes featuring them, Helspont appeared.
  • Stunt Dawgs: The Stunt Scabs are the antagonists of every episode and all cases of Enemy Mine are the result of some rifts among them that cause one of more of them to temporarily team up with the heroes. In spite of it, the next episode shows the Scabs as united as if the rift never happened.
  • Hurricanes: Stavros Garkos is the main villain of most episodes and no antagonist who doesn't work for him appears in more than one episode. Whatever Garkos does in each episode he appears doesn't affect other episodes.
  • Hawk Moth is the only actual villain of Miraculous Ladybug and all the Monsters of the Week are civilians who've been brainwashed by his akumas. No exception so far.
    • One could argue when he starts brainwashing previous victims again starting with the Season 2 finale as previous villains returning.
    • At the end of season two, Hawk Moth acquires a pair of subordinate villains in the form of Mayura and Lila, and adds Chloé to his allies at the end of season three. However, Hawk Moth remains the primary villain, with the others helping him on a case-by-case basis.
  • In Centurions, Cyborg Mad Scientist Doc Terror is the main villain in all but a handful of episodes. Either he initiated whatever Evil Plan the Centurions are currently fighting, or the person who did is working for him.