Sometimes, the next episode begins with a retrospection of the last episode to remind viewers where the story stands. What is this called? Is there an industry term?

I am asking because I later want to ask another question about this and I want to know how I can refer this element.

1 Answer 1


It's called a recap sequence, though many would call it a 'catch-up', or 'Previously…'

The term 'catch-up' these days could be slightly confusing, since the proliferation of streaming services where you can watch any previous episode.

Previously on… comes from the opening of each episode of the TV show 24, where the recap was always announced as "Previously on 24". This has now become ubiquitous.

  • 1
    ER did "previously on" half a decade before 24 was even broadcast: youtube.com/watch?v=LbevxO0owQ8
    – BCdotWEB
    Aug 5, 2022 at 13:45
  • 2
    Matter of fact, this list contains several other shows from before 24 who did this as well: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PreviouslyOn e.g. Homicide: Life on the Street, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, a couple of Miami Vice episodes (1980s!), ...
    – BCdotWEB
    Aug 5, 2022 at 13:53
  • Interesting. Did they use those exact words? I've tried looking at old episode of Buffy & there's no recap at all on the ones I could find. The other shows I've never seen, so don't even have any memory to cast back on.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 6, 2022 at 9:41
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    Buffy: youtube.com/watch?v=oX1SJYXhsXg (recaps were stripped from DVD releases etc. because they often spoiled surprises in the episodes) / Miami Vice: imgur.com/a/3SaBmpN (not a video, but an excerpt from a book).
    – BCdotWEB
    Aug 6, 2022 at 10:32

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