Serial (radio and television)

serialserial dramaserialsserializedtelevision serialseriesdrama serialDramaTV serialsTV series
In television and radio programming, a serial has a continuing plot that unfolds in a sequential episode-by-episode fashion.wikipedia
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Soap opera

soap operassoapdaytime drama
Worldwide, the soap opera is the most prominent form of serial dramatic programming.
A soap opera is an ongoing drama serial on television or radio, featuring the lives of many characters and their emotional relationships.

Television show

television seriestelevision programseries
In television and radio programming, a serial has a continuing plot that unfolds in a sequential episode-by-episode fashion.
A show with a limited number of episodes may be called a miniseries, serial, or limited series.

Telenovela

telenovelassoap operanovela
Shorter serial programs known as telenovelas (and earlier, radionovelas), originating and often produced in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Latin America, have become popular worldwide.
A telenovela ( or ;,, ) is a type of limited-run television serial drama or soap opera produced primarily in Latin America.

Miniseries

mini-seriestelevision miniseriesmini series
In British television, the term serial is also synonymous with the American term miniseries – a short-run series with one title and plot.
The term "serial" is used in the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth nations, though its meaning doesn't necessary equate to "miniseries" in its usage.

Serial film

film serialserialmovie serial
Serials have existed since the beginning of mass marketed entertainment in the 19th century, beginning with the penny dreadful serial novels, and continuing with the advent of the movie serials of the early 20th century.
In the early days of television in the United States, movie serials were often broadcast, one chapter a day, and in the late 1970s and 1980s, they were often revived on BBC television in the United Kingdom.

One Life to Live

Bo and Nora BuchananOLTLOne Life to Live: The Best of Love
Guiding Light and such other daytime television program serials such as Search for Tomorrow, Love of Life, The Secret Storm, As the World Turns, The Edge of Night, The Doctors, Another World, Dark Shadows, One Life to Live, and All My Children were popular in the Golden and Silver Ages of television and still are today.
Impressed with the ratings success of NBC's Another World, ABC sought out Another World writer Nixon to create a serial for them.

Soap (TV series)

SoapBensonSoap'' (TV series)
In 1977, ABC created another comedy soap (aptly called Soap). Although the show was controversial for its time (with a homosexual character among its cast roster), it was (and still is today) a cult classic.
Similar to a soap opera, the show's story was presented in a serial format and included melodramatic plot elements such as alien abduction, demonic possession, murder, and kidnapping.

Broadcast syndication

syndicatedsyndicationfirst-run syndication
Prior to the advent of DVRs, television networks shunned serials in prime time as they made broadcast programming reruns more difficult and television producers shunned them because they were tougher to go into broadcast syndication years down the road.
In this manner, sitcoms are preferred and more successful because they are less serialized, and can be run non-sequentially, which is more beneficial and less costly for the station.

24 (TV series)

24CTU24 (television)
Heavily serialized dramas include Babylon 5, The Sopranos, Twin Peaks, 24, Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Wire, and Downton Abbey. Despite this, since 2000, every winner of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series has been a Serial Drama: The West Wing (2000–2003), The Sopranos (2004, 2007), Lost (2005), 24 (2006), Mad Men (2008–2011), Homeland (2012), Breaking Bad (2013–2014), Game of Thrones (2015-2016), and The Handmaid's Tale (2017).
24 is a serial drama that stars Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, focusing on the efforts of the fictional Counter Terrorist Unit to protect America from terrorism plots.

Fringe (TV series)

FringeFringe'' (TV series)Fringe: Tales From The Fringe
To a lesser extent, series such as House and Fringe may also feature ongoing story arcs, but episodes are more self-encapsulated and so the series fall into a more conventional drama category.
The series has been described as a hybrid of fantasy, procedural dramas and serials, influenced by film and television shows such as Lost, The X-Files, Altered States, and The Twilight Zone.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffytelevision seriestelevision series of the same name
Series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, Homicide: Life on the Streets, The Good Wife, and The X-Files fall somewhere in-between, featuring a new case each week that is solved by the end of the episode, but also having an overarching mystery that receives focus in many episodes.
Buffy is told in a serialized format, with each episode involving a self-contained story while contributing to a larger storyline, which is broken down into season-long narratives marked by the rise and defeat of a powerful antagonist, commonly referred to as the "Big Bad".

Procedural drama

proceduralcrime dramadetective drama television series
Procedural drama television programs are commonly episodic.
Serial (radio and television)

Radionovela

radionovelas
Shorter serial programs known as telenovelas (and earlier, radionovelas), originating and often produced in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Latin America, have become popular worldwide.
Serial (radio and television)

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

Forever FernwoodLoretta HaggersMary Hartman, Mary Hartman theme
After its cancellation, the format went somewhat dormant until Norman Lear produced Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman in 1976.
In December 1974, Norman Lear and his entertainment company, Tandem Productions, created a pilot for his new serial, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, a satire of the impact of American consumerism.

Vanished

Pilot" (''Vanished'')
To highlight the situation, in the 2006–2007 season, no fewer than five high-concept serials were introduced, including Jericho, Kidnapped, Vanished, The Nine, and Drive, all of which experienced fairly quick cancellation due to low ratings.
Vanished is an American serial drama television series produced by 20th Century Fox.

The Nine (TV series)

The NineBrother's Keeper" (''The Nine'')List of ''The Nine'' episodes
To highlight the situation, in the 2006–2007 season, no fewer than five high-concept serials were introduced, including Jericho, Kidnapped, Vanished, The Nine, and Drive, all of which experienced fairly quick cancellation due to low ratings.
The Nine is an American television serial drama that premiered October 4, 2006, on ABC and aired only one season.

Angel (1999 TV series)

AngelAngel'' (1999 TV series)own spin-off show
Early in their runs, shows such as Lost, Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse and Torchwood put greater emphasis on the "story-of-the-week", but over time story arcs begin to dominate.
Much like Buffy, Angel is told in a serialized format, with each episode involving a self-contained story while contributing to a larger storyline.

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series

Outstanding Drama SeriesEmmy Award for Outstanding Drama Seriesbest drama
Despite this, since 2000, every winner of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series has been a Serial Drama: The West Wing (2000–2003), The Sopranos (2004, 2007), Lost (2005), 24 (2006), Mad Men (2008–2011), Homeland (2012), Breaking Bad (2013–2014), Game of Thrones (2015-2016), and The Handmaid's Tale (2017).
Since 2000, every single winner has been a serial drama: The West Wing (2000–2003), The Sopranos (2004, 2007), Lost (2005), 24 (2006), Mad Men (2008–2011), Homeland (2012), Breaking Bad (2013–2014), Game of Thrones (2015–2016, 2018), and The Handmaid's Tale (2017).

The West Wing

West Wingforeign dignitaries2006 election
Despite this, since 2000, every winner of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series has been a Serial Drama: The West Wing (2000–2003), The Sopranos (2004, 2007), Lost (2005), 24 (2006), Mad Men (2008–2011), Homeland (2012), Breaking Bad (2013–2014), Game of Thrones (2015-2016), and The Handmaid's Tale (2017).
The West Wing is an American serial political drama television series created by Aaron Sorkin that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1999, to May 14, 2006.

Lost (TV series)

Lost#Lost8:15
Early in their runs, shows such as Lost, Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse and Torchwood put greater emphasis on the "story-of-the-week", but over time story arcs begin to dominate. Despite this, since 2000, every winner of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series has been a Serial Drama: The West Wing (2000–2003), The Sopranos (2004, 2007), Lost (2005), 24 (2006), Mad Men (2008–2011), Homeland (2012), Breaking Bad (2013–2014), Game of Thrones (2015-2016), and The Handmaid's Tale (2017).
The novel idea of a story arc spanning several years was inspired by Babylon 5. Because ABC felt that Alias was too serialized, Lindelof and Abrams assured the network in the bible that the show would be self-contained: "We promise ... that [each episode] requires NO knowledge of the episode(s) that preceded it ... there is no 'Ultimate Mystery' which requires solving."

Our Friends in the North

In some cases – such as the costume drama Pride and Prejudice (BBC One, 1995) or the contemporary social drama Our Friends in the North (BBC Two, 1996) – these are stand-alone dramas, and at the conclusion of the last episode, the program itself ends.
Our Friends in the North is a British television drama serial produced by the BBC.

Heroes (U.S. TV series)

Heroes9th Wonders!Heroes (TV series)
Tim Kring, creator of Heroes, has also suggested that his show may move away from serialized storytelling: "I think the show needs to move towards [standalone episodes] in order to survive."
Kring credits Lindelof for giving him ideas on how to pitch the series to the network and advice on the lessons he (Lindelof) learned about working on a serialized drama.

Limited-run series

limited
Limited-run series
Limited-run series are represented in the form of telenovelas in Latin America, and serials in the United Kingdom.

St. Elsewhere

The Last Onesame nameThe Last One" (''St. Elsewhere'')
There were some serial shows such as Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere that did not officially fit into this category, but were nonetheless ratings hits season after season.

Cheers

Bud'moCheers RestaurantsCheers'' (sitcom)
Cheers co-creator Les Charles regrets helping to make serialization common: "[W]e may have been partly responsible for what's going on now, where if you miss the first episode or two, you are lost. You have to wait until you can get the whole thing on DVD and catch up with it. If that blood is on our hands, I feel kind of badly about it. It can be very frustrating."
Cheers was perhaps the first sitcom with a serialized storyline, starting with the third season.