This question already has an answer here:

What if I want to convey to someone that you can watch this series from any episode; The series is not in continuation, everything is independent. Black Mirror is an example for this.

Is there a word for this?

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Community Feb 20 '17 at 16:04

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • I would disagree that this is a duplicate question. This question asks about a series with completely independent episodes (different characters, plot etc) where the previous question talks about episodes within a linked series (ie, same characters, possibly a series arc) which can stand alone. But I have no idea how to get a topic unflagged, so good luck: maybe repost the question noting that it is not a duplicate and indicating why. – Tony Linde Feb 20 '17 at 16:53

A series with each episode forming an individual plot would be episodic.


1 Containing or consisting of a series of separate parts or events.
‘an episodic narrative’

1.1 Occurring occasionally and at irregular intervals.
‘volcanic activity is highly episodic in nature’

2 (of a programme or story) broadcast or published as a series of instalments. 
‘episodic television is a difficult medium to write for’


  • That is indeed one sense in which 'episodic' is used. To improve your answer, please add a reference to this usage from a dictionary say, preferably adding a caveat that 'episodic' is also used more generally for 'presented in instalments'. // Please now point to the relevant sense, and flag the distractor/s. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 20 '17 at 15:35
  • Heh seems we both edited it simultaneously, does that caveat also apply to TV shows? I can't remember ever seeing it being used in that context when discussing series. – Koen vd H Feb 20 '17 at 15:43
  • I don't think I've ever heard 'episodic' outside behavioural analysis/ medical registers. Note that 'episode' and 'episodic' probably have very different register biases. Consider 'telescope' (n) and 'telescope' (v). – Edwin Ashworth Feb 20 '17 at 15:45
  • I disagree with episodic. Any broadcast that is broken into segments is episodic. For example, Dr. Who is episodic and every episode carries on from the previous. – NibblyPig Feb 20 '17 at 15:48

This is called an anthology series

I'd quibble with Wikipedia's definition

An anthology series is a radio or television series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode or season/series

slightly, in that an anthology series could have recurring characters. Star Trek:TOS was such an anthology.

There is a danger with recurring characters, in that the writers of such series often let those characters' backstories and personal problems develop into a continuity between episodes, sometimes degenerating into a full-blown soap opera. This happened to Star Trek: TNG and the later series.

  • I agree with your interpretation of wikipedia. I would go as far as to say that I think Sherlock Holmes is an anthology too. – NibblyPig Feb 20 '17 at 15:53
  • @NibblyPig Absolutely. – Spencer Feb 20 '17 at 16:00

Often standalone is used to describe an episode that has no connection to a previous or next episode.

Although the dictionary definition can be I.T. related depending on which dictionary you consult, the word is often used outside of its field.

Standalone in Cambridge Dictionary

standalone software or a standalone computer works on its own without being part of a set, or without being connected to other computers

I would say:

The episodes in Star Trek are pretty standalone, compared with Babylon 5.

  • "Odyssey," might do for unrelated although it has a connotation of travel as well. I am voting up "'Standalone," as I think NibblyPig got it right. – Robert Strawn Feb 20 '17 at 16:37

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.