My favorite TV show format is definitely Monster of the Week. This is essentially a trope where every episode has a different problem to solve that gets wrapped up nicely and then put away to (usually) never be seen again.
This is different from shows like Breaking Bad where every episode is just one step closer towards completing a seasonal arc and just about every interaction is meaningful.
I didn’t realize that I enjoyed the heck out of this format until I looked back at all the shows I’ve really enjoyed. Now don’t get me wrong, all these shows also contain a large story arc that span the many monster of the week arcs, but that doesn’t mean that they are excluded from the category.
To start, I love X-Files.
If you haven’t heard of X-Files, it is a show about FBI agents Mulder and Scully who go from town to town to investigate paranormal activity. The great thing about this show is the relationship between the two main characters. Mulder is defined by his firm and unwavering faith in the paranormal, while Scully is more stoic in her beliefs and fails to believe unless an adequate scientific reason can be produced.
The next show I would suggest that follows this format is Fringe.
Fringe is roughly a generic copy of X-Files, but is still very good. It follows FBI agent Olivia Dunham and Walter Bishop who work in the FBI’s Fringe division. They also go from town to town to investigate strange occurrences that don’t exactly seem natural. It is very good and the shows overarching plot is actually very good.
Twilight Zone is the epitome of the Monster of the Week format.
Twilight Zone is a TV show where every episode has a different premise, which is usually either dark, or insightful, or both. The episodes usually contain a nice twist as well, such as book-loving who survives the nuclear apocalypse accidentally breaks his reading glasses. If you haven’t ever seen this show I definitely recommend looking up the episodes that are well referenced in pop culture and watching them.
Finally, the show that convinced me to write this post was Supernatural.
This show follows two brothers who roam across the country purging the supernatural entities that they find. What is great about this show is that every episode showcases a different creature of actual folklore or they have an episode about urban legends. It is just really cool to see their versions of vampires and werewolves, and also how they take care of Bloody Mary.