One of the things about episodic television is the need to fill time. You can’t always be fighting monsters, or criminals, or aliens — sometimes you need to resolve certain character elements and hit that number of episodes for the season. In movies, holding the same level of energy or action can quickly become boring (for example, watch Quantum of Solace). The same thing can apply in your game — not enough variety in the flavor of your sessions can lead to action fatigue. How many dungeon crawls can you do? How often can you be walking to a f#$%ing volcano, or fighting the forces of evil.
Sometimes, you want to explore your character. What does he or she do in their down time? How are the handling the emotional strains of an adventurer’s life? — those friends or family lost, the setbacks, the victories..? How’s their love life? Every once in a while, taking a step back and letting the characters unwind, or address other kinds of challenges.
An obvious example of this sort of session is the entire, odious, soul-sucking second season of The Walking Dead. (Guys — the kid’s bloody dead. Get on the road.) There’s the boxing episode of Battlestar Galactica — great idea, middling execution. There’s the horrific, one of the characters is secretly a very talented rock star who gets the opportunity to perform at the talent show to benefit crippled kids. (Seriously — for a horror game, this could be a new terror unleashed!)
So if you’ve been kicking the crap out of monsters for a few months, maybe it’s time to sit around a campfire and talk about your feelings…