Artifact Title / Live-Action TV

  • As with the musical version of this trope, this can also apply to jargon and terminology within the field as well. Like when people talk about shows "airing" and "being broadcast" on cable networks, or (now) on on-demand streaming services—a term that only makes literal sense for wireless mass television.
  • ITV stands for Independent Television, initially referring to its 'independence' from the publicly funded BBC (ITV was the UK's first commercial TV network). Nowadays of course, there are plenty of other non-BBC networks.
    • Since ITV as it is today was created through a merger of local companies, regional programming still brands itself with names like Meridian and Border, even though their namesake companies ceased to exist more than a decade ago. Thankfully, most of the channels had names tied to the region they broadcast, but the northwest is still called Granada out of tradition.
    • When Channel 4 launched, digital television was not yet born and so every TV set had the same channel attached to every number. This is no longer the case - for example, it's still the 4th numbered channel on Freeview, but not on Sky or other satellite packages.
  • See Network Decay for examples of television networks. For example:
    • The channel MTV (Music Television) hardly ever plays music these days. In fact the initials "MTV" now no longer stand for anything.
    • Likewise, its subsidiary VH-1, which once stood for Video Hits 1, started focusing more on reality tv by the mid-2000's.
    • And HBO stands for "Home Box Office" and its entire purpose was to be a pay-cable channel that aired theatrical films with no edits or cuts, no bleeping of profanity or censoring the nudity. Often the movies being shown could not have been shown on broadcast television simply because they were too new, and had only recently been released on video. There was always some original content (mostly talk shows and comedy programs that aired between the films). Nowadays HBO rarely promotes the theatrical films it gets unless they're blow-away blockbusters (they still take up most of HBO's time, but the days of viewers subscribing only because of their film libraries have long passed), and their streaming services mainly promote their original content, from talk shows, HBO-produced films and comedy specials to sitcoms and hour-long dramas.
    • ABC Family's programming became increasingly less family-friendly as its lifespan went on; the most prominent examples include Greek and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. There was no demand from original founder Pat Robertson that the "Family" part had to stay in the title (contrary to popular belief), meaning Disney basically allowed the channel to suffer from this trope for many years before finally renaming it Freeform in 2016.
    • Animal Planet became this after largely dropping nature documentaries from its lineup in favor of reality shows about people, some of whom worked with animals but many of whom just did things like build elaborate treehouses (and also started showing reruns of Dirty Jobs).
  • Soap operas are called that because the earliest examples were radio serials that were sponsored by soap manufacturers. Modern soap operas aren't—though Guiding Light and As the World Turns were produced by soap and detergent manufacturer Proctor and Gamble's in-house production company up until 2008.
  • And, speaking of football nights (this segue is now an artifact itself, given that it once referred to a European football-night program that, after a rearrangement, is now much lower down on this page), the American form of football has aired on a number of telecasts named after a night of the week, including Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, and Thursday Night Football. Usually these games actually do take place on the named night, but on occasion (especially during holiday times when schedules are different) the network with the rights to one of these nights will air a game on a different night, but still use their own label which names a day of the week not actually applying to the game, such as a Thursday Night Football game shown on the NFL Network on Christmas Day 2016, which was a Sunday.
  • Despite the fact that more than half of all American households now receive cable TV, many UHF stations are still branded primarily by their over-the-air channel number rather than their cable number.
    • This is more likely because the various providers can't agree on which of their channels should carry the respective UHF channel. They still tend to be in the 1-12 range, just mixed up.
    • In broadcast TV, the channel's numbering is the same for digital as it was for analog thanks to virtual channel numbering, even though they had to broadcast on different frequencies before analog was switched off (so, say, channel 9's digital signal may have been broadcast on frequencies allocated to channel 23). After the switch off, most broadcasters switched their station so that the digital signal occupied the same space as the old analog one did, but channels 2 through 6 can't for technical reasons, so they all end up broadcasting on much higher frequencies but keep the old channel numbers.

  • @midnight changed its time to 11:30 PM but kept its title. Occasionally other programs at 11:30 bumped it back to midnight again.
  • ESPN's 30 for 30 is a double example. The series was intended to run 30 episodes to celebrate ESPN's 30th anniversary, featuring stories from the "ESPN era" (from the time of the network's launch in 1979). Following the last of the original 30 documentaries, there were 13 more episodes under the banner ESPN Films Presents, which expanded the timeframe to pre-1979 stories. In 2012, it was decided to revive the 30 for 30 title with a new volume of 30 documentaries. A third volume began in 2015, and is expected to continue well into 2016 - ESPN's 37th year - and beyond.
    • Another example comes from one of ESPN 2's talk shows, Numbers Never* Lie; originally debuting as a panel show with an emphasis on stats and analytics, ESPN then felt that the subject matter was too advanced for most viewers, so it got dumbed down into a vaguely number-themed panel show. Even host Michael Smith felt that the title didn't really fit anymore; ESPN eventually corrected this, having re-named it His & Hers (named after Smith and co-host Jalen Rose's podcast of the same name).
  • An in-universe version on 30 Rock: The TV show Liz writes for was originally called The Girlie Show, a sketch comedy show for women, until Jack added Tracy to the cast and renamed it TGS with Tracy Jordan. Liz and Jenna both keep original Girlie Show memorabilia in their offices.
    • Another artifact: the Girlie Show musical theme from the pilot became Liz's leitmotif.
    • Hilariously, the original Girlie Show sign hanging in Liz's office is progressively become more and more unkempt, with many of the letters now hanging out of place and visible dirty areas.
    • When Liz finds out that TGS has been cancelled (in one of the last episodes of 30 Rock), the sign falls off her wall.
  • 48 Hours (not the movie) began life as a series of documentaries examining certain topics over the course of 48 hours. Eventually it was retooled into a true crime documentary series under the titles 48 Hours Investigates and later 48 Hours Mystery, eventually reverting to the original title of 48 Hours. The original idea of examining a subject over a time span of 48 hours was abandoned as the show followed various true crime murder stories, but for no particular reason "48 Hours" remains in the title.
  • The title of The 100 originally referred to the 100 people sent from an orbiting space station to explore the surface of post-apocalyptic Earth. The title went out the window almost immediately, as their numbers were reduced to 98 before the pilot was half over. It's become even more nonsensical in subsequent seasons, when hundreds more survivors have come to the surface.
  • The 700 Club is a Christian talk show known for its far-right politics, but the title is actually a reference to the ministry's original seven-hundred donors.
  • Discussed, in a Leaning on the Fourth Wall kind of way, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Since S.H.I.E.L.D. is officially disbanded in "Turn, Turn, Turn" and the team erases themselves from the agency's records in "Providence", they start wondering whether they really can still be considered "agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." or if they're "agents of nothing" now.
  • Cable channel AMC has aired various after-shows hosted by comedian Chris Hardwick. The first, which concerns Walking Dead, is called Talking Dead. With such an obvious play on words, there's no ambiguity about what show that title refers to. Next came the Breaking Bad final season after-show, Talking Bad. This makes sense considering it's the same host and format as Talking Dead, but it's not much of a pun on "Breaking Bad". Recently, AMC announced a new show to discuss Better Call Saul — naturally, its title is Talking Saul. It's not that it doesn't make sense — it's a talk show about a show with "Saul" in the title — but it's interesting that continuing the "Talking _______" title format quickly became more important than cleverness or clarity.
  • When Amos N Andy switched from a drama serial to sitcom format — and, later, when it became a TV series — Amos was a peripheral character, and most of the plots revolved around Andy and Kingfish (the latter of whom was voiced on radio by the same actor who played Amos).
  • Series 7 onwards of the UK version of The Apprentice has nothing to do with an apprentice, as the contestants are now competing for £250,000 and Lord Sugar as a business partner.
    • Which mirrors the US version, which since season 7 has been exclusively celebrity versions, with none of the winners becoming a Trump apprentice.
  • Auf Wiedersehen, Pet was so-named because it was about British workers in Germany. Or at least, Season 1 was about British workers in Germany.
  • The title of The Avengers relates to the plot of the first two episodes. As the page mentions, this was the last time in the series any actual avenging took place. (What's more, those episodes are now lost except for the first 20 minutes of the first one). Although, as Steed's first two main female partners were specified as (presumed) widows and Dr. Keel's own fiancée was specifically murdered, we may assume that they were waging general campaigns against crime as a larger "avenging" of their loved ones' killings. And there is the aversion in the American opening narration of the monochrome Emma Peel episodes:
    Extra-ordinary crimes against the people, and the state, have to be avenged by agents extra-ordinary...
  • Blake's 7 no longer had Roj Blake in it after series 2 (except for the final episodes of both later seasons). Also, they only had seven members if you include the sentient/talking ship and separate but also sentient/talking computer.
  • Boy Meets World ended after seven seasons with the title character married: very much no longer a boy.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: as the seasons go by, Buffy fights things that are clearly not vampires with so much more frequency that "Demon Slayer" would be more appropriate. In the show, she's formally just the Slayer. This happened fairly early; the first episode past the two-part pilot was deliberately about something other than vampires to make it clear to the viewers, and Giles outright states in the last scene of the pilot that there will be a variety of threats to deal with.
  • At the beginning of Season 5 of Burn Notice Michael Westen was shown working directly with his former employers and seems to be no longer blacklisted, effectively reverting his Burn Notice that the series was based on. While Michael's personal situation may have changed, the show's Myth Arc became less about his search for the truth and more about the organization that operates by burning spies.
  • The "del Ocho (8)" part of El Chavo del ocho was there merely to promote the fact that the show aired on Canal 8 (Channel 8). At some point, the show moved to Canal 2 and the series title was shortened to "El Chavo", but the character was still mentioned with his "last name" in the show and an In-Universe reason was given that it meant he actually lived in the (never seen) Apartment 8, rather than the barrel he uses as hideout. In syndication, the title is always "El Chavo", yet the show is still most commonly known by the full name.
  • Inverted in the Czech Sitcom called Comeback. The main character, a forgotten 80s pop star and a music shop owner, goes on his comeback tour in the second season.
  • Cougar Town Lampshaded this by giving Season 2's title cards extra phrases on them, such as "still Cougar Town", "badly titled Cougar Town." The title was originally a Double Entendre as the town's high school football team was called the Cougars; this never appeared again after the pilot, until season 3 when Travis tried to kidnap the cougar statue on the college grounds and questions what cougars have to do with the town anyway.
  • CSI: Cyber, the third Spin-Off of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, does not actually involve a CSI department. Instead it focuses on the FBI Cybercrime Division.
  • For its first two series, Dangerfield was about a crime-fighting doctor called Dangerfield. In the third series, he was replaced by somebody who wasn't called Dangerfield but at least he worked at the Dangerfield clinic. In the fourth series, he was directly employed by the police, rather than just helping them, didn't work at the clinic anymore and the title was now completely redundant.
  • Most of the main characters on Desperate Housewives are no longer housewives - Bree and Lynette are career businesswomen (Edie too for that matter), Susan is teaching, and Susan, Bree, and Gabrielle have all spent time unmarried on the show. Only Gabrielle can still really be described as a housewife.
    • In the last few episodes of the show, she got a job, too.
  • The title of Doctor Who originally reflected the fact that the two main characters, Ian and Barbara, had been kidnapped by a mysterious old mad scientist only known to 1960s Britain as "the Doctor" who could have been anyone or anything (it even gets a Title Drop in the first episode when the Doctor asks "Doctor who?"). Naturally, future episodes explored his identity quite a lot more (not least explaining that he is known only as "The Doctor"), but in the process readjusted the title to be a reference to regeneration — it makes sense that a Doctor who can change his entire face and personality from time to time would have a fairly questionable identity. Then, the reboot's Series 7 began using "Doctor Who" as Arc Words, making the Doctor's real name an important MacGuffin.
  • Downton Abbey: In-Universe: the name of the titular estate, we learned in the last season, came from the building having been a monastery in the Middle Ages until Henry VIII seized and sold it. It became a residence for the peerage but kept its original name.
  • Empty Nest, a spin-off of The Golden Girls. The pilot was about a couple whose children had moved out, but the series flipped it to be about a guy whose daughters move back in after his wife dies.
  • The Eurovision Song Contest includes Asian countries, and has sometimes included competitors from Australia.
  • Extras series one was about Ricky Gervais and Ashley Jensen both working as extras in film/TV, but by series 2, Gervais' character had got a job as writer-star of a sitcom and no longer worked as an extra.
  • Family Affairs was a British soap with the gimmick that, instead of focusing on a particular area, like EastEnders or Coronation Street, it focused on a specific family; the Harts and their in-laws the Gates. In its first Re Tool (of many), the entire Hart/Gates family was written out.
  • Fresh Off the Boat is this indirectly. In its use on the show, as a commonnote  term in the Chinese-American community for newly arrived immigrants, it makes sense. However, its real-life usage is artifactual, as it's been a long time since new immigrants from Asia came by boat.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In-Universe, the "Seven Kingdoms" is a reference to the political composition of Westeros before Aegon became the Conqueror (The Riverlands were ruled by the Ironborn, and the Crownlands didn't exist). Following Aegon's conquest, the name remained, but there was really only one kingdom, divided into nine regions.
    • The Histories and Lore segments reveal that the Iron Bank originally stored its assets in an abandoned iron mine. The bank has subsequently branched out massively, but the original mine remains one of its reserve deposits.
  • General Hospital has been flirting with this for the past decade, with less and less action at the Hospital and more surrounding Sonny Corinthos' mob. It is starting to recover, however, punctuated with the revival of the Nurses' Ball.
  • The title of the soap opera Guiding Light originally referred to a lamp in the study of one of its earliest main characters - the Rev. John Ruthledge, local pastor - which served as a sign to the townsfolk that they could come for help when needed. Later on, succeeding preachers carried on Rev. Ruthledge's work, becoming the keepers of the "guiding light". Over time the show left its original locale - a fictional suburb of Chicago known as Five Points - and other families took over the spotlight. By the time the show moved to television in the 1950s, the meaning of the title had largely been forgotten.
    • Once the show lost its initial light, it replaced it with a lighthouse, indicating the light which guides one's path in life.
  • Glee became this halfway through Season 5. Starting in Season 4, the show split its time between the Glee Club in Ohio and the graduates who moved to New York City. Eventually the New York storylines became more prominent, leading to Season 5 where the very Glee Club the show was named after was disbanded, and the last of the original characters graduated from high school. All of the action now takes place in New York focusing on the grads who moved there.
    • Season 6 made the name relevant again when Rachel and Kurt returned as coaches of the newly reinstated glee club. The series finale ends with them moving on again, but with McKinley becoming an arts school and the glee clubs, the original New Directions as well as new glee clubs, becoming permanent fixtures at the school.
  • On Happy Days, there was no Arnold at "Arnold's Drive-In" for the majority of the series' run; it was owned by Al Delvecchio. Previously, it was owned by a man named Matsuo Takahashi, who was nicknamed Arnold because he had purchased Arnold's Drive-In from a man who was named Arnold. Lampshaded on one episode in which the gang learn that Arnold was not his name and Arnold points out how expensive the sign change would be letter by letter.
  • Hey Hey Its Saturday, an Australian variety series that originally aired on Saturdays from 1971 to 1999, aired on Wednesdays when it was revived briefly in 2010.
  • Homeland as of series 4 - still about The War on Terror, but now set in Afghanistan/Pakistan, rather than in a domestic American setting, with new titles to match.
  • The first episode of the Horatio Hornblower television adaptation is titled "The Even Chance", after the first short story in Mr. Midshipman Hornblower. In the original, the title referred to Hornblower's calculation of the best way to duel Simpson, with only one gun loaded, chosen blindly, and fired point-blank. Thus, an "even chance" that would compensate for Horatio's lack of skill. (Captain Keene then arranged for neither gun to be loaded and sent Horatio to the Indy where he'd do better.) In the film, the duel is fought as a standard Ten Paces and Turn affair. While Horatio does refer to it as an even chance, his meaning here is a more open expression of his internal feelings: that he's fine with dying because it would also mean an end to his misery.
  • Recent seasons of the Ice Road Truckers franchise have been set in mountainous tropical regions overseas. Current programs use the "IRT" abbreviation to downplay the fact that the trucks haven't been driving on ice for some time.
  • I Didn't Do It originally had its cast getting into wacky situations and trying to explain their involvement (or lack thereof). This premise was dropped for the second season and now the characters are just off-kilter teenagers.
  • In the early third season of Jane the Virgin, Jane has sex for the first time. Afterward, when the title is displayed, "the Virgin" is crossed out and sometimes replaced with another descriptor.
  • Late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live was in fact aired live when it premiered in 2003, but in 2004 it began taping in the afternoon like all other late-night talk shows. The title of the show was not changed.
  • Kamen Rider is called such because the main character wears a mask ("kamen" being the Japanese word for mask) and rides a motorcycle. Occasionally, there will be riders who lack one of these traits. Kamen Rider Amazon and Kamen Rider Hibiki did not wear a mask, instead physically transforming into their rider forms. Shin Kamen Rider not only lacks a mask for the same reason, but he also never rides his bike in his transformed state. Kamen Rider Drive doesn't have a bike at all, and instead drives a car (though, other Riders introduced later in the series do have bikes.) Even when the riders do have bikes, however, they rarely get used in the later Heisei era unless the plot specifically requires them.
  • The Last Man on Earth. Another man shows up in episode 5 and later more show up. (And a bunch of women too, but they don't count, title-wise.)
  • Late Night with Conan O'Brien featured the recurring comedy skit "In The Year 2000"...even after the year 2000.
  • Later... with Jools Holland, the popular BBC2 music programme, was so named because it was originally given a slot following The Late Show, an arts magazine programme. Later... has an irregular schedule, but is still going strong. The Late Show stopped broadcasting in 1995.
  • When this hits like it did in Laverne & Shirley, which saw Shirley leaving the cast in the final season, it's a pretty sure sign that the show has Jumped the Shark, and it's time to pull the plug.
    • Since the actor who played Lenny was also missing in action for most of the last season, Gary Marshall jokingly considered changing the show's name to Laverne & Squiggy.
  • The "Vancome Lady" on Mad TV (the bigoted lady with the heavy makeup, "tcha, you know what?") is an Artifact Title herself; she is named for the place she worked for in her first appearance (in the first episode of the series), a parody of the Lancome counter, but started hopping from job to job after getting fired from Vancome in that first sketch.
    • Mad TV itself is also an artifact title, since the show's references to the magazine started fading fast after the first few seasons.
  • Malcolm in the Middle somewhat became this in despite the fact Malcolm really did become the middle child at some point, he was hardly the main character in later seasons (as the plot went from the misadventures of a child prodigy to showing what crazy scheme the rest of his family would do that week).
  • Brazilian Soap Opera/Teen Drama Malhação. The title means "working out", which fits the gym which was the initial setting. Then, four years later, it changed to a high school (and it continues to be set on schools, only not the same one).
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. featured two men in the title role after the first couple of episodes.
  • Narrowly averted with Married... with Children. The show's working title was Not The Cosbys, a Take That! to The Cosby Show. Given that Married With Children began three years after The Cosby Show and continued long after Cosby ended, Not The Cosbys would quickly have become irrelevant.
  • The BBC's soccer highlights show, Match of the Day, was so named because it originally only featured one match per Saturday. After only four years it started showing highlights from multiple matches, and it now shows highlights of every Premier League match played that day.
    • The U.S. version of Match of the Day on NBCSN goes even further into the Artifact Title rabbit hole, since the program was adapted from the BBC version after the BBC version began showing portions of every match. Match of the Day II is Match of the Day, but on Sundays - or the occasional Monday - and includes bits of Saturday (or even Friday) matches too. Weekday games, however, have yet to result in incrementing the roman numeral further. And, just to bring things full circle, NBCSN's Match of the Week shows a single match.
  • McLeod's Daughters began its 8 season run with Claire and Tess McLeod being left the family farm by their father Jack. Claire died in Season 3 and Tess left in Season 6, leaving the farm to be run by McLeod's nieces.
    • Jodi was revealed to be Jack's illegitimate daughter later on, but she left in Season 7.
    • The nieces are McLeods since they are the daughters of Jack's younger brother Hugh. So the title is still right in a way.
  • For the 2015 US TV season, Fox premiered a TV show based on the movie Minority Report. However, it's set ten years after the time of that film, in which the "precogs" have been released to live ordinary lives and are not used in anticipating uncommitted crimes. So that means that the title is an artifact, since in both the movie and the Philip K. Dick novel it was based on, the title refers to the idea that one of the three precogs might see a different future, something that can't happen with the changed premise.
  • German family show Die Montagsmaler ("Monday's scribblers"). When Executive Meddling moved their time slot around, they rather kept their Added Alliterative Appeal than to rename. Uhm, "Dienstagsdrudler"?
  • MythBusters started as a show that checked out urban legends and other, well, myths. The show has over time significantly broadened its definition of "myth" to frequently include things nobody reasonably believes are true, such as movie stunts.
  • New Girl: Jessica has been living there for at least a TV season, as The New York Times has noted. She really can't be called "new" anymore.
    • Sidestepped in the first episode after the pilot when a replacement character for one that appeared in the pilot was revealed to have been a flatmate prior to Jessica moving in, so she was still "The New Girl".
  • Las Noches del Futbol from the Monterrey, Mexico-based Multimedios sounds like a soccer fan's dream show (the show's title translates to "Football Nights"), but since its premiere during the 2006 World Cup it slowly and eventually ditched all of the soccer discussion and subjects and has since become a Variety Show hosted by Ernesto Chavana with singing, dancing, a regular segment dealing with the paranormal, and even a Show Within a Show Reality Show involving the family of regular guest/luchador/rap artist Konan Big. The only talk about soccer was limited to the network's sports division cutting in with generic Monday morning training session video from Monterrey and Tigres during sports reports. Eventually Multimedios finally realized the title was a confusing artifact, and in October 2016 moved the title to a new Saturday night show with an actual focus on soccer, while the original show with Ernesto Chavana became Es Show (though the new show also devolved rather quickly into a skit show due to ratings issues).
  • One Tree Hill became "Les Frères Scott" (The Scott Brothers) in France because Lucas and Nathan Scott initially were the main protagonists. It became a bit awkward after Lucas left the series.
  • Paris by Night—a long-running series of Vietnamese-language variety show productions—was originally filmed in Paris; it made sense, as France has a sizable population of Vietnamese expats (because it spends much of its time taking pot shots at the government, Paris by Night is banned in Vietnam itself and is mainly aimed at disapora), and it was effectively a French caberet. However, it's also been produced in other countries, particularly Canada and the United States. Even worse is the fact that it has not been produced in Paris since 2003.
  • Parks and Recreation: as of Season 7, none of the main cast work in the Parks and Recreation Department any more, and only three of them work for the regional parks service. Additionally, only a handful of episodes feature any scenes within either the local or regional Parks offices.
  • Primeval became 'Nick Cutter et les portes du temps' in France. While the "doors of time" are still here, it turns out Anyone Can Die.
    • It got shortened to 'Les portes du temps' for season 4.
  • Prison Break for the second season, at least. The Hebrew title, Escapees/Escaping suits the second season even more than the original title.
    • In Australia, the second season was titled Prison Break: On The Run.
    • Gets even worse in the fourth season, where none of the characters are imprisoned or fugitives until the final telemovie.
    • As if the writers/producers realized the problem too late and got desperate, they implemented two Replacement Artifact devices: in season 3, Michael ends up in another prison, from which he is compelled to escape, and in season 4, Sara is put in prison, and they plot to break her out.
  • The trope is applicable in multiple ways to The Real Housewives franchise. The first series, The Real Housewives of Orange County, was a clear reference to the then-new Desperate Housewives, which was set in Orange County, California. As later iterations were set in other locales, the "Real" became an artifact as there were no corresponding fictional ones in the same area. And, like on the fictional show, many of the ladies featured are divorced, widowed, and/or have careers of their own, making the "Housewives" aspect of the title irrelevant too. Lastly, the show continued long after Desperate Housewives ended its run in 2011, making the title an artifact in three ways.
    • This became clear with the Atlanta series when one of the women got married and the show covered her wedding, leaving non-fans wondering, "Don't you have to be married to be on the show in the first place?"
  • Red Dwarf: The titular spaceship was completely absent in the sixth and almost all of the seventh series of the show and had little importance in series 5 and the Back to Earth special.
  • Revenge starts out as a thriller about a young woman seeking revenge against the people who framed and murdered her father. After Emily more or less succeeds in her mission in the Season 3 finale, the show transitions into a more standard-fare soap opera about life in the Hamptons and the rivalry between Emily and Victoria. Further adding to its artifact status is the revelation in the Season 3 finale that David Clarke, the man Emily spent all this time avenging, has actually been alive the entire series.
  • In later seasons of Sabrina the Teenage Witch Sabrina was no longer a teenager, and was less focused on using magic.
  • The Spanish version of Saturday Night Live was this from the beginning, since it aired on Thursdays. No wonder it got canned so fast. The Brazilian one, on Sunday, had a similar end.
    • Even the real SNL will, from time to time, air clips show specials (or even original-content specials) on Thursdays but still call them "Saturday Night Live primetime specials", lest they be mistaken for clips shows of SNL Financial or something. In 2008 and 2009, the original specials "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday" became a double artifact title, as it aired neither on Saturday nor on the weekend. Traditionally, such specials preserve the SNL style of having an opening segment that ends with somebody saying "Live from New York, it's Saturday night", even though it's Thursday night and the segment could be pre-recorded.
  • Scrubs refers to both the clothing worn in a hospital and the newbies the main cast once were, but that part lost its meaning after the third season. The German version is even worse, being subtitled "Die Anfänger" - The Beginners.
    • With the 9th season, subtitled Med School, a new generation of newbies have been introduced.
  • When Sesame Street was dubbed into German (renamed Sesamstraße) there were complaints that the "street" scenes didn't appeal to German children so they were taken out and replaced with the antics of a boy named Bumfidel and his mother. Since these stories did not take place on a street, the show's title was temporarily rendered incomprehensible. In 1978, a street set and new characters that would be more relevant to German children were introduced.
    • Telly Monster was originally a television-obsessed Flat Character. His personality changed to the neurotic monster he's better known as but his name stuck.
    • In-Universe, the general shop on the street is still named "Hooper's Store", several decades (and three owners) after Mr. Hooper died.
  • The long-lived Spanish sitcom Siete Vidas ("Seven Lives") was named for its premise of "Main character comes back from a 18-year-old coma and has to get used to the current world. Hilarity Ensues." Not only the premise was dropped halfway into the first season, but said main character was eventually Put on a Bus. Word of God later claimed that the title referred to the seven main characters, since there were 7 mains at the time... but afterwards there were seasons with 6 or 8 mains.
    • In Spanish, the stock phrase is that a cat has seven lives, rather than nine as in English. The main character's "resurrection" was compared to what you would expect of a cat. In this fashion, the title logo included a black cat... and continued to do so for the whole 10 seasons it lasted, despite 8 of them airing without the original main character.
    • The writers must love this trope, because it also happened on Siete Vidas's Spin-Off Aida, since the eponymous character was jailed and ceased to appear (her actress had to leave) and thus the reason the show has that name is gone. They attempted to placate this by adding Aida's granddaughter, also called Aida, but she is a very secondary character and has a lot less screentime than her protagonist namesake did.
  • Sleepy Hollow becomes this in Season 4, as the action moves from the titular town to Washington D.C.
  • Smallville was set in Smallville, Kansas for the first five seasons. But the action largely takes place in Metropolis after that. The title could be interpreted as referring to Lois' nickname for Clark, alluding to the main character rather than the former main locale.
  • Soul Train began featuring more than just soul artists by the late 1970s as disco began to assert itself, and as hip hop came into the picture by the late 1980s and soul and R&B largely faded, those artists dominated the show. Yet the title was never changed throughout its entire run.
  • Space: 1999 begins in September 1999, but by the end of the series they must be well into the 2000s.
    • The Moon passes through several space/time warps. In the episode Journey to Where it is established that year on Earth is now 2120.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine takes place in a space station around the planet Bajor. A stable orbit does not quite qualify as a 'trek,' nor, as fans often joke, do the characters do much trekking. (This was one reason the writers gave the crew the starship Defiant.) Even after the introduction of the Defiant, there isn't a lot of trekking going on. The Defiant's main role is to protect the station and the wormhole from The Dominion.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody referred to the the fact that the first series was set in a hotel suite in Boston. When the spinoff, The Suite Life on Deck began (which continued into The Suite Life Movie), with most of the major characters (including Zack and Cody Martin) returning, the events were set on a luxury cruise liner, rather than a hotel, but the "suite life" pun in the title remained.
  • The classic Superman comic story For the Man Who Has Everything is set on Superman's birthday, with the Black Mercy as an ironic "present" from one of his villains. The title is obviously a reference to the phrase "What do you get for the man who has everything?" about gift-giving. The Supergirl adaptation is called "For the Girl Who Has Everything", but it's not Kara's birthday and the Black Mercy is not shown as being a gift, even ironically.
  • On the first season of Survivor, the contestants were referred to as "castaways" since the show was set on a desert island and began with them being "shipwrecked". They've continued to be called "castaways" ever since, even in seasons that take place in locales where the term doesn't fit—such as the African savanna, the Australian Outback, the Amazonian jungle, etc. The whole focus of "surviving" in the wilderness was quickly dropped when it became clear that viewers were more interested in the contestants scheming than doing basic survival tasks.
  • Taggart no longer has a Taggart in it, since the actor playing him (Mark McManus) died. In fact it lasted far longer without its title character than it did with him.
  • Tales of the Gold Monkey only featured a single episode - The Pilot - where the monkey statute was the focus of Jake and Sarah's adventures, and at the end it's found to be made of brass. It's relegated to the background for the remainder of the series's run.
  • In Treme, Ladonna owns a bar named Gigi's and notes in the pilot that no one knows who Gigi may have been, or if the bar was even named after a person. Truth in Television for many New Orleans locales.
  • Partway through its run, the game show Trivia Trap had its rules changed. It originally had teams playing trivia questions and working to omit all the wrong answers while avoiding the "trap" of the right one. Host Bob Eubanks didn't like the format, so it was just changed into a generic Q & A game with no real "traps" to speak of.
  • The Tudors, after the death of Henry's sister, doesn't actually have any other main characters who are members of The House of Tudor (Mary and Elizabeth are there, but the show stops before they actually do anything important). You could argue Henry's wives count, but the show is still mostly only about one Tudor.
    • This is not so much an Artifact Title as a title that never really made sense in the first place. The only Tudor besides Henry ever credited in the title sequence is Mary, and even she only makes it in the final season.
  • The "half" in Two and a Half Men originally referred to Jake, who was just a boy when the series began. Jokes from fans and critics about how this would become an Artifact Title began almost immediately, but they did their best to deflect it for most of the show's run:
    • Jake aged slowly for the first eight seasons (Charlie Sheen's tenure). By Sheen's final year, Jake was 16 when he should have been 18.
    • In Season 9, Charlie was replaced by Man-Child Walden Schmidt, the implication being that Walden was the new "half". However, both Walden and Jake went through significant Character Development during that season and came into their own as men, so the title briefly fell victim to the trope. (though some have made the case that the "half" could refer to the emasculated Alan)
    • When Angus T. Jones left the show, Jake was replaced by Jenny, a 20-year-old lesbian Distaff Counterpart of Charlie, possibly an attempt at keeping the title relevant, with the idea that Jenny's youth and womanizing ways qualified her as half a man. However, by the time the show ended, it was only about Walden and Alan and the title had no real meaning.
  • Speaking of that show, its original title, Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, was changed to just Two Guys and a Girl after the Two Guys quit the Pizza Place, thus averting that artifact. The rest of the title would still be an artifact, as by the end the cast consisted of three guys and two girls.
  • Averted — the hard way — in the NBC sitcom Up All Night. The show was about a couple with a newborn, so the title made sense. In two or three years, when the baby would be a toddler, it would not, unless the child has sleeping problems and/or the couple had another child. (Or maybe if the mom — a TV producer — got a job for an early-morning show. Just saying.) The cancellation of the show rendered the problem moot.
  • The Vampire Diaries went through a phase of this, after it (thankfully) dropped the device of Elena and Stefan reading from their diaries as a narrative lodestone. It then brought the historical journals of the town founders into play, which had the advantage of being able to introduce new plot elements while keeping the title relevant.
    • Though the title of the show was named for the book series it was based on and has largely eclipsed/stepped away from. All kinds of problems with naming the series it seems.
  • Veep becomes this at the end of its third season, when President Hughes resigns and Selina moves up from the vice presidency to the presidency, meaning she's no longer the "veep".
  • The award-winning NBC News magazine Weekend began as a once-a-month program, hosted solo by Lloyd Dobyns, airing late on Saturday. When Saturday Night Live became a hit and NBC started begrudging the one night a month when SNL couldn't air, the magazine was "promoted" to weekly prime-time status... with no definite time slot. New co-anchor Linda Ellerbee found herself introducing one broadcast with "This show is called Weekend. Yes, we know it's Wednesday..."
  • Similar example: the awful final season of Welcome Back, Kotter, which was largely Kotter-free.
  • The Wizards of Waverly Place special "The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex" is actually one. With Jerry already mortal when the series began, Max losing his powers and becoming mortal in the series finale, and David Henrie not reprising his role as Justin, Alex Russo is the only wizard returning for the special.
  • Croatian soap-opera Zabranjena ljubav (translated, Forbidden Love) focused on two twins separated at birth who unfortunately fell in love with each other...and at one point one of the twins dies. The show goes on focusing on the other twin and other characters, until that twin gets left out...and the show still went on.
  • Lampshaded in the finale to How I Met Your Mother where Ted's kids point out that their mother was barely in the story and it was more about his relationship with and feelings for Robin.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ArtifactTitle/LiveActionTv