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An anthology series is a radio, television, or film series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode, season, segment or short.[1] These usually have a different cast each episode, but several series in the past, such as Four Star Playhouse, employed a permanent troupe of character actors who would appear in a different drama each week.[2] Some anthology series, such as Studio One, began on radio and then expanded to television.[3]

EtymologyEdit

From Ancient Greek ἀνθολογία (anthología, “flower-gathering”), from ἀνθολογέω (anthologéō, “I gather flowers”), from ἄνθος (ánthos, “flower”) + λέγω (légō, “I gather, pick up, collect”), coined by Meleager of Gadara circa 60 BCE, originally as Στέφανος (στέφανος (stéphanos, “garland”)) to describe a collection of poetry, later retitled anthology – see Greek Anthology. Anthologiai were collections of small Greek poems and epigrams, because in Greek culture the flower symbolized the finer sentiments that only poetry can express.

RadioEdit

Many popular old-time radio programs were anthology series. On some series, such as Inner Sanctum Mysteries, the only constant was the host, who introduced and concluded each dramatic presentation. One of the earliest such programs was The Collier Hour, broadcast on the NBC Blue Network from 1927 to 1932.[4] As radio's first major dramatic anthology, it adapted stories and serials from Collier's Weekly in a calculated move to increase subscriptions and compete with The Saturday Evening Post. Airing on the Wednesday prior to each week's distribution of the magazine, the program soon moved to Sundays in order to avoid spoilers with dramatizations of stories simultaneously appearing in the magazine.[4]

DramaEdit

Genre seriesEdit

Radio anthology series provided a format for science fiction, horror, suspense, and mystery genres (all produced in the USA, unless noted):

 
Nelson Olmsted of NBC's Sleep No More fantasy series.

The final episode of Suspense was broadcast on September 30, 1962, a date that has traditionally been seen as marking the end of the old-time radio era.[6] However, genre series produced since 1962 include:

TelevisionEdit

In the history of television, live anthology dramas were especially popular during the Golden Age of Television of the 1950s with series such as The United States Steel Hour and The Philco Television Playhouse.[7][8]

Dick Powell came up with an idea for an anthology series, Four Star Playhouse, with a rotation of established stars every week, four stars in all. The stars would own the studio and the program, as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had done successfully with Desilu studio. Powell had intended for the program to feature himself, Charles Boyer, Joel McCrea, and Rosalind Russell. When Russell and McCrea backed out, David Niven came on board as the third star. The fourth star was initially a guest star. CBS liked the idea, and Four Star Playhouse made its debut in fall of 1952.[2] It ran on alternate weeks only during the first season, alternating with Amos 'n' Andy. It was successful enough to be renewed and became a weekly program from the second season until the end of its run in 1956. Ida Lupino was brought on board as the de facto fourth star, though unlike Powell, Boyer, and Niven, she owned no stock in the company.

American television networks would sometimes run summer anthology series which consisted of unsold television pilots.[9] Beginning in 1971, the long-run Masterpiece Theatre drama anthology series brought British productions to American television.

In 2011, American Horror Story debuted a new type of anthology format in the U.S. Each season, rather than each episode, is a standalone story. Several actors have appeared in the various seasons, but playing different roles—in an echo of the Four Star Playhouse format.[10]

The success of American Horror Story has spawned other season-long anthologies such as American Crime Story and Feud.[11]

American dramaEdit

British dramaEdit

Canadian dramaEdit

Indian dramaEdit

Pakistani dramaEdit

AnimationEdit

Children and familyEdit

ComediesEdit

Crime dramasEdit

EducationalEdit

HistoricalEdit

MedicalEdit

MilitaryEdit

Mystery and suspenseEdit

ReligiousEdit

Science fiction and horrorEdit

Title Started Ended Seasons Episodes Notes
Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond 1959 1961 3 96 -
Amazing Stories 1985 1987 2 45 -
American Horror Story 2011 Present 8 94 -
Are You Afraid of the Dark? 1990 2000 7 91 -
Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction 1997 2002 4 45 -
Black Mirror 2011 Present 5 22 -
Channel Zero 2016 2018 4 24 -
Chiller 1995 1995 1 5 -
Darknet 2013 2014 1 6 -
Dark Realm 2001 2001 1 13 -
Deadtime Stories 2012 2013 1 11 -
Dimension 404 2017 2017 1 6 -
Electric Dreams 2017 Present 1 10 -
Exposure 2000 2002 2 42 -
Fantasy Island 1977 1984 7 152 Includes 2 Movies
Fear and Fancy 1953 1953 1 15 -
Fear Itself 2008 2008 1 13 -
The Fearing Mind 2000 2000 1 12 -
Freddy's Nightmares – A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series 1988 1990 2 44 -
Friday the 13th: The Series 1987 1990 3 71 -
Ghost Stories 1997 1998 1 44 -
Ghost Story 1972 1973 1 22 23 total includes 1 Pilot
Goosebumps 1995 1998 4 74 -
Great Ghost Tales 1961 1961 1 12 -
A Haunting 2005 Present 10 105 Stopped in 2007 and returned in 2012
Historias para no dormir 1966 1982 3 29 -
The Incredible Hulk 1977 1982 -
Inside No 9 2014 Present 4 25 -
Into the Dark 2018 Present 1 11 -
Journey to the Unknown 1968 1969 1 17 -
Lee Martin's The Midnight Hour 2008 2015 -
Lights Out 1946 1952 -
Lore 2017 2018 2 12 -
Masters of Horror 2005 2007 2 26 -
Masters of Science Fiction 2007 2007 1 6 -
Métal Hurlant Chronicles 2012 2014 2 12 -
Monsters 1988 1991 3 72 -
Mystery and Imagination 1966 1970 5 24 -
Night Gallery 1970 1973 3 43 -
Night Visions 2001 2001 1 13 -
The Nightmare Room 2001 2002 1 13 -
Nightmare Cafe 1992 1992 1 6 -
Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King 2006 2006 1 8 -
Out of the Unknown 1965 1971 4 49 -
Out of This World 1962 1962 1 13 -
Out There 1951 1952 1 12 -
The Outer Limits 1963 1965 2 49 -
The Outer Limits 1995 2002 7 154 -
Perversions of Science 1997 1997 1 10 -
Play for Tomorrow 1981 1981 1 6 -
Quantum Leap 1989 1993 5 97 -
Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected 1977 1977 1 8 -
The Ray Bradbury Theater 1985 1992 6 65 -
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour 2010 2014 4 76 -
Room 104 2017 Present 2 24 -
Science Fiction Theatre 1955 1957 2 78 -
Scream 2015 Present 3 30 -
Slasher 2016 Present 3 24 -
Strange Stories 1956 1956 - - -
Tales from the Darkside 1984 1988 4 89 Plus 1 Pilot
Tales from the Crypt 1989 1996 7 93 -
Tales of Mystery 1961 1963 3 29 -
Tales of Mystery and Imagination 1995 1995 1 13 -
Tales of the Unexpected 1979 1988 9 112 -
Tales of Tomorrow 1951 1953 2 85 -
Thriller 1960 1962 2 67 -
Trapped 1950 1951 - - -
The Twilight Zone 1959 1964 5 156 -
The Twilight Zone 1985 1989 3 65 -
The Twilight Zone 2002 2003 1 43 -
The Twilight Zone 2019 Present 1 10 -
The Unexpected 1952 1952 - - -
Urban Gothic 2000 2001 2 22 -
The Veil 1958 1958 1 11 -
Way Out 1961 1961 1 14 -
Welcome to Paradox 1998 1998 1 13 -

WesternsEdit

Title Started Ended Seasons Episodes Notes
Dead Man's Gun 1997 1999 2 44 -
Death Valley Days 1952 1970 18 452 -
Frontier 1955 1956 1 31 -
Frontier Theatre 1950 1950 - - No episodes are known to have survived.
Zane Grey Theater 1956 1961 5 149 -
Cheyenne 1957 1962 7 107 -

FilmEdit

Anthology film series are rare compared to their TV and radio counterparts. There have been several attempts within the horror genre to have a franchise with an anthology format, such as with the Halloween franchise where the third film, Halloween: Season of the Witch, was meant to be the beginning of a series of anthology horror films, but due to negative reception that plan was shelved.

Drama seriesEdit

Title Started Ended Instalments Notes
Cities of Love 2006 N/A 5 [12]

GenreEdit

Title Started Ended Instalments Notes
Carry On... 1958 1992 31 Comedy series which used the same roster of comedic actors and comedians
Shinobi no Mono 1962 1970 9 Composed of five unrelated stories/characters. Story 1 (films #1-3), story 2 (films #4-5, 7), story 3 (film #6), story 4 (film #8), story 5 (film #9).
The Bloodthirsty Trilogy 1970 1974 3
The Ninja Trilogy 1981 1984 3 Composed of Enter the Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja, and Ninja III: The Domination.[13]
Shake, Rattle & Roll 1984 N/A 15
Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 1987 1988 10 The series of syndicated animated television films produced by Hanna-Barbera.
Cloverfield 2008 N/A 3
Marvel Cinematic Universe films 2008 N/A 22 [14][15][16][17]
DC Extended Universe 2013 N/A 7
A Star Wars Story 2016 2017 2

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Anthology series changing television". UWIRE Text: 1. 23 October 2015 – via General OneFile.
  2. ^ a b "Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  3. ^ Sterling, Rob (2015). "About Writing for Television". Patterns. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1505707465.
  4. ^ a b Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 163–164. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  5. ^ Page 20: Widner, James F & Frierson III, Meade. Science Fiction on Radio: A Revised Look At 1950–1975. Birmingham, Alabama: A.F.A.B. Publishing.
  6. ^ Chimes, Art. "Last Radio Drama". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  7. ^ Kraszewski, Jon (Fall 2006). "Adapting Scripts in the 1950s: The Economic and Political Incentives for Television Anthology Writers". Journal of Film and Video. 58 (3): 3–21. JSTOR 20688526.
  8. ^ Simon, Ron (2013). Riggs, Thomas (ed.). "Philco Television Playhouse". St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture (2nd ed.). St. James Press. 4: 144–145.
  9. ^ Ray Bradbury on Film and TV: Starlight Summer Theater (1954) Archived October 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ American Horror Story, retrieved 2019-04-19
  11. ^ Malone, Michael (2 May 2016). "Anthology format gets a 'true' rebirth: AMC is the latest of many nets modeling shows after True Detective and Fargo". Broadcasting & Cable. 146 (17): 24 – via Academic OneFile.
  12. ^ "'Berlin, I Love You' Trailer: Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren Star in Fourth 'Cities' Anthology Film". /Film. 2019-01-20. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  13. ^ "The Ninja Trilogy Blu-ray from Eureka Video". Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  14. ^ "A big Thursday opening for 'Avengers' sets the stage for a record weekend | The Spokesman-Review". www.spokesman.com. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  15. ^ "Avengers: Endgame – How Marvel conquered Hollywood". web.archive.org. 2019-05-09. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  16. ^ "The MCU's Avengers movies are unique – because they genuinely work like superhero comics". web.archive.org. 2019-05-09. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  17. ^ "Neaux Reel Idea: Avengers: Endgame Review (Spoiler Free)". Big Easy Magazine. 2019-04-26. Retrieved 2019-05-12.

External linksEdit