Game Shows: Not immune to this trope in the very least. On many occasions, a contestant will give an answer that was obviously correct ... but for some unexplained reason, the question writer will have provided the wrong answer ... or in the very least, not provided adequate alternate answers that could also be considered correct. More than once, this affects the outcome of the game, and when it does, the losing contestant will often be invited back to play again in the future.
Hollywood Squares: Peter Marshall, in his autobiography and retrospective of the original series, recalled a question asked in the early 1970s about how iconic actor John Wayne supposedly demanded his children refer to him as "sir." Wayne saw the episode and was not amused, to say the least. He wrote Marshall personally and demanded a retraction be aired on the next possible program – he said he never made any such demand of his children – or else. The question writer conceded to "the Duke's" request. Marshall, by the way, still has the letter framed in his living room.
Jeopardy!: A 1987 episode, where one of the categories was about defunct newspapers, referred to the recently stopped publication the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. When the episode was produced, the newspaper indeed was not publishing ... but by the time the show aired, a new owner had been found and production had resumed. The publisher was very angry when he saw the episode and, in not too kind words, demanded a retraction be aired on the show immediately. The newspaper in question had also published a long, rambling editorial, misspelling Trebek's name in a large-font, front-page headline and throughout the copy. The show's question writers complied and indeed it was selected (in a show later during the 1987-1988 season). But as it turned out, the Globe-Democrat's return was short-lived, and by the time the new episode aired, the newspaper had once again ceased publication, this time for good.
Even Jeopardy! fact checkers are only human, but that said, they're pretty good at catching mistakes albeit too late. It's not infrequent for corrections to be found and made during the episode, usually after commercial breaks (with scores compensated accordingly). Several contestants have even been brought back due to judgment calls that the producers feel affected the outcome.
Million Dollar Money Drop: This FOX game show goofed up a "which came first?" question and said Post-it Notes were introduced in 1980 (after the Sony Walkman in '79), despite being test marketed under a different name in 1977. Due to the mechanics of the show, the affected contestants lost an $800,000 wager that Post-its were the right answer. But then, everyone else, even the contestants themselves said that the network should give them the $800,000, despite the fact that it was only a bet, and even if this hadn't happened, the last question still killed them anyway!
1 vs. 100: A question asked what Rod Stewart song was recently found to have been covered by the Beatles. The answer was "Maggie May"... but this is incredibly wrong. The Beatles' "Maggie May" was a cover of a traditional song, and has no relation to the Rod Stewart song, which was actually written AFTER the Beatles' song was released. To top it off, this 'recent discovery' certainly wasn't - the song is found on the 1970 album "Let It Be."
Press Your Luck: A 1985 episode featured the question: "Which well-known cartoon character is famous for uttering the immortal words 'Sufferin Succotash!'?" The correct answer: Daffy Duck. At least that's how it was given during the question round. By the end of the episode, the error was discovered and Mel Blanc, posing as an angry Sylvester, pointed out the gaffe. The three contestants were invited back on the following episode.
While regular viewers sometimes mistakenly refer to the final contest of the show as the "Showcase Showdown" — it's simply called the "Showcase"; the "Showcase Showdown" is where three contestants from one half of the show spin the Big Wheel to see who gets to the "Showcase" round (Drew Carey pointed out this mistake on the show at one point) — authors of the "Encyclopedia Of TV Game Shows" referred to the round as "Showcase Showdown."
Another history of game shows, written by the USA Today's Jefferson Graham, frequently fudged the years the original Bill Cullen-hosted version lasted, variously giving the debut year as 1954 and 1957 (it was 1956) and year it was canceled (often, 1963, which is when the NBC primetime version ended; the show ran until 1965 on ABC daytime).
And then, of course – although it was spoken – you have host Bob Barker constantly referring to awesome or notably bad playings as "the first time that's ever happened," usually to draw laughs.
The $10,000 Pyramid: In the March 24-30, 1973 issue of TV Guide, the synopsis for the debut of the original CBS series read that contestants were to identify 10 subjects in 60 seconds. That's how creator Bob Stewart first intended the Winner's Circle ... until he found out two nights before taping the pilot that it was not possible to get 10 subjects in 60 seconds. The board was reduced to six subjects with a 2x4 plank covering the bottom four windows. This was obviously not passed on to TV Guide – although to be fair, it was possible that the program description went to press before the last-minute change was made.
Wheel of Fortune: Has been subject to many erroneous claims, most notably involving its hosts. Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford were the original host and hostess when the show hit the air in January 1975, with Woolery leaving after the Dec. 25, 1981 show (replaced by Pat Sajak) and Stafford departing after the Oct. 22, 1982 program (after several weeks of substitutes, Vanna White came aboard). One of the most egregious mistakes came from Robin Leach, of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, who wrote an article in 2010 celebrating Wheel of Fortune, claiming the series began in 1981 on NBC with Pat Sajak and Vanna White. Other sources have listed Woolery as host into 1982, while still others have suggested that Woolery and Stafford departed at the same time (there were 10 months of shows featuring the Sajak-Stafford tandem).
Also, there's the matter that the daytime version was on NBC from 1975 to 1989, Channel Hopped to CBS that year, then hopped back in 1991 before ending that same year. The nighttime version, which is syndicated, has run non-stop since its 1983 debut. Many sources treat the entire show as if it began in 1983, perhaps exacerbated by its own constant references to whatever nighttime season it's on.
The September 17, 2013 episode quickly became infamous online due to a contestant botching the puzzle CORNER CURIO CABINET right after picking up the Million Dollar Wedge. In addition to those arguing that he was "robbed" despite clearly mispronouncing the answer, still others think that said wedge awards its prize immediately. It's actually part of a series of steps to get the million — you have to pick up the wedge, solve the round you pick it up in, hold onto it for the rest of the game without hitting Bankrupt, win the game by having the highest score at the end, hit the $1,000,000 envelope on the smaller wheel in the Bonus Round, and solve the bonus puzzle. Even if he had gotten that round right, he still wouldn't have won the game regardless.
The exact same misinformation rose again after a contestant on the April 11, 2014 episode mispronounced the fully-revealed puzzle MYTHOLOGICAL HERO ACHILLES while holding the wedge. While the outcries of "robbing" were to a much lesser extent, many media outlets still stated or implied that he lost a million dollars at that moment. The contestant still made it to the Bonus Round (which he lost) and landed on a $30,000 envelope with the Bonus Wheel, so the loss of the Million Dollar Wedge didn't make a difference.
"Sale of the Century". The answer written down on the little card was "Crosby, Stills & Nash"; the answer given by the contestant had a rogue Australian twang to it: "Crosby, Steels & Nash" wasn't counted as correct.
CNN Money (or Fortune Magazine, it's hard to tell) did a review for the 3DS, to which there were glaring issues. Those involved specifically to this trope were complaining about the 3DS using cartridges, "which weren't used on since the last Game Boy" and "to add insult to injury, it comes with a stylus, which we've last seen on BlackBerry devices in the early 2000s". Both cartridges and styluses were last used on the handheld's immediate predecessor, the Nintendo DS, which was first released in late 2004 and was relevant for a good 7 or 8 years afterwards; the writer appears to have fallen victim to "The last time I saw cartridges/styluses was on the now-dead Game Boy Advance/in the early 2000s, therefore they no longer exist" syndrome.
Otherwise the reviewer's credibility for reviewing the device was he was a "hardcore gamer that grew up on Halo".
And Apple's iPod, iPad, and iPhone were seen as direct competition (although technically they are capable of playing video games, they aren't marketed as portable gaming consoles).
At the 64th Golden Globe Awards, Tim Allen announced that Alec Baldwin had won the "Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy" for his role in Third Rock. Pretty incredible, considering Baldwin never appeared on that show and it had been canceled for years. Either that, or Allen meant to say 30 Rock.
This one sounds like a teleprompter-reading error: "30 Rock" read as "Third Rock".
Even some online episode guides get mixed up about Angel's first two episodes, "City of" and "Lonely Hearts", listing them as "City of Lonely Hearts, Part One" and "City of Lonely Hearts, Part Two". For the record, "City of" is a contraction of L.A.'s common nickname (because his name is Angel, get it?) and has nothing to do with the following episode title, "Lonely Hearts".
A similar case occurs with the Spanish titles of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The final episodes of the season six, "Two to go" and "Grave", were mixed in "Dos para la tumba", parts 1 & 2 ("Two for the grave").
During the first re-run airing of the show on TNT, the promo for Season 2 Episode 1 featured a voiceover saying that "Sherman's In Charge!" (the incoming character's name is "Sheridan")
Based on the DVD slipcover descriptions for season 1, Netflix apparently thinks Babylon 5 is a starship, not a space station.
Yeah, ditto for the Deep Space 9 DVD's a few years back.
The Sun accused The BBC of anti-Conservative bias (they support the Conservative Party) in a children's show, specifically The Basil Brush Show. An episode involved a character named Dave cheating in an attempt to win a school election and using a blue rosette (traditionally worn by Conservatives at elections). This was viewed as an attack on the Conservative leader, David Cameron. They would have had a good argument - if not for the fact that the episode was a repeat (a fact mentioned by the paper's own TV guide) and their screenshot proves its age by showing the character in question as a child. Whether they were saying it was originally filmed as a Take That at Mr. Cameron or just that the Beeb took advantage of the coincidence isn't certain.
Something somewhere on the net said that Richard Hatch played Lee Adama in the 70's Battlestar Galactica series. BUZZ! In the original series, the character had no name other than Apollo. Only in the reimagined series is his name Lee Adama with the callsign Apollo.
A rather unusual situation developed in the early days of the reimagined Galactica. Some of the fans of the original series were so mad about the remake, that they turned their entire boards' attention to Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch. This began a cycle of, every episode, a single individual who'd watched the show just to bash it posting a brief summary of the events, and the various people who hadn't watched the show complaining about "plot holes" that didn't exist in the original material. Examples included: people not realizing Baltar was crazy even though he "frequently masturbated in public" (this was based on a single incident in which Starbuck walked in on him in his lab), Starbuck was able to make it back to Caprica in a single jump at the end of season 1 (technically true, but she did it with Cylon technology), and the Colonists just stopped on a random planet and started a new colony with the Cylons still chasing them (in-series it was made clear that the Cylons could not detect them while they were on that planet).
Whoever wrote the Dutch and French episode descriptions featured in the collector's edition DVD boxes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer probably only glanced at the English ones. "The Prom" is supposedly about hellhounds that have escape from Oz's chemistry laboratory. In reality it's about hellhounds who are released by a guy Oz has chemistry class with. Big difference.
Several morning news shows took a segment of The Colbert Report where Stephen Colbert asked Democratic Congressional candidate Robert Wexler (running unopposed in his district) campaign-killing questions ("Fill in the blank: I enjoy cocaine because...") seriously, comparing it to an earlier segment where Colbert exposed a candidate who decried the separation of church and state and yet couldn't name all of the Ten Commandments and asking, "Why do politicians keep going on The Colbert Report when it makes them look foolish?" Needless to say, Colbert took them down a notch.
Wonderfully deconstructed in one episode where Stephen quoted a scientist working on the Large Hadron Collider as saying: "What did they say in Star Wars? We’re going where no man has ever been? Well, that’s where we’re going." Stephen Colbert protests that it's fairly obvious that it came from Star Trek, and that the quote is "boldly go where no man has gone before". He then says that we need more nerds as scientists.
Let's not leave out the nerdiest call-out of all time. Some CNN reporters needed a stock image of Satan as the backdrop for their coverage of the 06/06/06 "hysteria." They used an illustration of the Balrog from a 1977 Lord of the Rings calendar, prompting Stephen to explain, "Devils and Balrogs are totally different. Devils are angels who refused to serve God and instead followed Satan into hell. Balrogs are Maiar who refused to serve Eru and instead followed Morgoth into Thangorodrim. Get your facts straight, CNN!" The best part? Stephen noticed it himself. He just happened to recognize the illustration because he has the calendar (It's a highly collectible calendar).
TV Guide seems to enjoy mixing up actors' names and characters' names. One example- calling Joe Mantegna's Criminal Minds character David Rossi "Joe Rossi" in a spoiler article.
Ray Langston got this as well from time to time, with people mistaking him for Gil Grissom's replacement. Lawerence Fishburne replaced William Petersen as the star, but Langston came in as a CSI 1, with Catherine replacing Grissom as supervisor until Ted Danson's character took over the position.
Hilariously subverted in an episode of The Daily Show. Jon Stewart talks about how reporters claim that Hillary Clinton has bones of steel. Jon then remarks that this is like comic book character, Wolverine. Suddenly, a nerd comes out of the studio and informs Jon that Wolverine's bones are made of adamantium, not steel. (Actually they're bone coated in adamantium. The adamantium was added later)
Something similar happened on the MTV Movie Awards a few years back. Hugh Jackman and Famke Janssen were about to announce an award when a 'nerd' in the audience stands up to yell at them about turning the adult male character Banshee into a little girl in X2. Jackman and Janssen quickly reply that the character is obviously his daughter, Siryn, putting the nerd in his place.
Jon Stewart got this done to him as well — Tucker Carlson was complaining about the host of the Daily Show, whom he referred to as "Jon Daily." Maybe he was thinking of the host of What's My Line?
Unfortunately played straight when Wyatt Cenac used Professional Wrestling as an analogy for Congressional filibustering, and referred to Shawn Michaels as being the good guy, and The Undertaker as the bad guy, as they were midway through an epic Wrestlemania feud at the time. In fact, they were both "good guys". Michaels was technically the heel (bad guy) of the two, though.
An August 2013 episode had John Oliver blow up when CNN made the outrageous assumption that billionaire Elon Musk was the inspiration for Tony Stark, when the Iron Man comic was made in 1965 and Musk was born 6 years later.
Although, it should be noted that Elon Musk, while not the inspiration for Iron Man in general, was actually the main inspiration for Tony Stark's portrayal in the movies. It is likely that CNN were referencing the character as a whole, but the Daily Show wasn't quite right either.
In April 2014, Jon tried to spoof the corruption of NY congressman Michael Grimm in the style of Goodfellas, yet they used the theme from The Godfather, which he immediately pointed out.
Degrassi The Next Generation gets a lot of flak from fundamentalist Christians, because its main character, Marco del Rossi, is gay. Or now its main character, Riley Stavros, is gay. The show has Loads and Loads of Characters, but for the whole time Marco was on the show, Emma was the main character, and for almost all of Riley's tenure, the main focal characters were Holly J and Clare.
Back in 2005, just after the first season of the revived version of Doctor Who began, there was an article talking about the Doctor and Rose battling against the evil Moxx of "Balroom" (actually Balhoon) and the dastardly Face of Boe. Both of these were actually friendly party guests.
There was an interview with Eccleston of the "pre-recorded then bits shown from it over someone else talking" kind, and after he answered a question about the Moxx makeup/effects, it cut back to the live anchor who said something to the effect of "Christopher Eccleston there, the new Doctor Who talking about one of the fantastic new villains in the show." He then went on to imply the Moxx was a very important character and would appear in several episodes. In reality, he is not only, as stated above, a friendly party guest, but he has about three lines, in one episode.
This used to be even worse. Most DVDs of Doctor Who serials from the '70s and '80s have continuity announcements (taped or audio-recorded by fans) as extras, which, more often than not, have something wrong with them. These range from mispronunciations of fictional aliens and planets to announcements that seem to be describing a totally different series. Also, many fans remember an announcer pronouncing the show's abbreviated title (Dr. Who) as a single word (Drrhuu?), but no tape has surfaced yet to prove that it ever happened.
There was a Scottish BBC continuity announcer who during the end credits for the new series' first season pronounced the show's name as "Doctor Woo" repeatedly.
The Daleks are not robots, they're basically small tanks operated by the mutated Kaled creatures (cyborgs, in other words). Thankfully the frequent appearance of Kaled mutants in new series seems to have stopped this. No less a source than the Oxford English Dictionary gets this one wrong, or at least one edition of it did.
Thanks to the movie adaptations starring Peter Cushing, there are still people out there who insist on referring to the Doctor as "Doctor Who". The credits of the First through Fourth, and the Ninth Doctors' stories have implied this as well. The only reason it stopped was because Tenth Doctor David Tennantis a fan and personally saw that it was corrected (and presumably this was also the case with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, a Promoted Fanboy as well).
The Time-Life syndicated series as aired on WOR in New York in the late 70s/early 80s featured narration recaps at the start of each serialized episode, and the narrator also refers to the character as "Doctor Who."
There's been at least one BBC quiz programme where the question was about the main character of the show and the answer was 'Doctor Who'.
The November 2010 issue of The Atlantic Monthly makes itself a statistic by referring to "the character known as Doctor Who."
In fairness to all those above, it should be noted that the actors, writers, producers of the series over the years have often referred to the character by the name "Doctor Who", as seen also in the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time. And the long-running comic strip - which debuted in 1964 well before the Cushing film, referred to the character as Dr. Who consistently until the late 1970s.
Tabloid newspapers such as The Sun have regularly credited Russell T Davies as the 'creator' of Doctor Who, which would be an incredible feat when one realises that the series premiered seven months after Davies was born (He did revive the series after a hiatus of 15 years, but that's neither here nor there). Steven Moffat, his successor, has also been erroneously credited with creating the series.
Tabloids have a habit of giving out plot details months before broadcast, only to have the facts completely wrong. This means it's guesswork at best. One paper claimed that the Master would kill the Doctor in the 2009 Christmas special, "Beautiful Chaos". (Which is actually the name of a novel.)
And they did it again. Months before Series 6 aired and just when it was claimed that the series would be in two sections, at least one paper proudly announced their discovery that Amy would die halfway through the series, implying that this was the massive mid-series plot twist. While a fake Amy does die, the real one doesn't, and that's not the plot twist.
Though that does sound like Series 7...
A non-fiction book about Science Fiction movies and television shows, published in the '70s, describes the character of the Doctor as a wacky scientist. Presumably, the authors had only heard of the two Peter Cushing films where he was indeed a human scientist, but you'd think the authors of a book about science fiction would have done quite a sight more research than that.
Well, he is a wacky scientist, among many, many other things more important to his character.
A documentary about science fiction credited the creation of the series to Terry Nation. Nation created the Daleks, not the series.
The BBC made that mistake. In Nation's obituary, no less. It's also listed in at least one edition of Trivial Pursuit. Doctor Who is actually one of a few shows that was created by a committee of people, and not one sole person, and Nation was not a member of the committee. If you want to be really technical, the single person that could be best described as the "creator" of the show out of that committee is Sydney Newman.
A number of reference books also credit Nation.
Picking up the false description of the Face of Boe as a villain, here is an actual article, for the 2007 series, describing the "evil Boe" as the Doctor's "arch-enemy." Not only was the character never a villain, but by this appearance, the character is a friend of the Doctor's and they've met amicably several times. He even travelled with the Doctor during the latter's Ninth incarnation, when he was still an omnisexual time agent and con man that was first met by the Doctor in World War IILondon, and led Torchwood Institure.
Pretty much every returning alien tends to be described as a bad guy by tabloids, irrespective of whether they were good, bad or neutral in their original appearance. Ood Sigma was another example from the same newspaper, who described him as "The Doctor's old enemy, Ood Sigma" when reporting on "The End of Time". It should go without saying, but Ood Sigma was not a villain in his original appearance, and in fact the only non-hostile Ood in the episode.
Tabloids also forget that a returning alien is actually returning. In the run-up to "A Good Man Goes to War", Dorium (a character with only a few minutes on screen who was part of the Doctor's "army") was made out to be a new alien and, as is traditional, the villain of the episode.
The descriptive text on the VHS boxes often seemed like they were written by someone who hadn't watched that serial (or Doctor Who in general). Some examples: The box for "Terminus" calls Terminus a planet when it's actually a space station. The box for "The Robots of Death" says it's about robot trying to enslave the Universe when it's actually about a murderer using the robot servants of his intended victims to kill them. The box for "The Rescue" ends with "...a rescue ship is on its way from Earth intent on revenge and time is running out for the planet." There's not a single part of that that's right.
The American version of the "E-Space Trilogy" VHS box set refers to the Doctor's companion Romana as "Ramona."
Previewing the first episode of the new series, the US TV Guide described the 9th Doctor as a "cockney dude". The 9th Doctor is emphatically not cockney (which geographically refers to an area in London) — repeated reference is made to him sounding "northern" in the series itself and he speaks with Christopher Eccleston's natural Salford accent.
A UK newspaper, the Metro, ran a review of a series 6 episode on their website that confused Amy with Rose (with a giant "Rose is pregnant!" headline), called Rory "Ross" and referred to the Doctor as a human.
Even in 2013, some media continue to refer to the revival of the series as a "reimagining" or a "remake" when these terms are completely wrong, as the current series is a direct continuation of the original. The only correct "re-" terms in this context are "revival" and "reboot".
Any writer referring to "poor" or "low-budget" special effects when referring to any Doctor Who episode produced since 2005 has clearly not watched any Doctor Who episode produced since 2005.
Internet news announcing Dollhouse said it starred Eliza Dushku as "a DNA-altered woman". Er, no. Dolls are normal people who signed a contract with the Dollhouse and got replaceable personalities. This report gives the impression that the show's a Dark Angel clone... if you'll pardon the pun.
And now the comic book synopses are talking about a "mind-altering virus". Er, no. It was mind-altering technology that went viral! There is a world of difference!
One commercial for a Brazillian cable TV channel showed clips of Nickelodeon's Drake & Josh saying it was a Disney Channel show.
In a review for Farscape, the reviewer inexplicably claimed that the show was set 500 years in the future. In fact, Farscape is set in the time in which it was made — just in a distant part of the universe.
On the back cover for the Farscape Peacekeeper Wars DVD (at least one version of it) almost every detail is wrong.
It claims the evil Scarran Empire has engaged a full scale war against the Peacekeeper Alliance. There is no Peacekeeper Alliance (they're just called the Peacekeepers) and the war was started by a preemptive attack by Scorpius (a member of the Peacekeepers, who are by the way frequent antagonists).
It claims their only hope is to reassemble John Crichton; once sucked through a wormhole into the Peacekeeper Galaxy. They don't attempt to reassemble him (only finding out when he has been reassembled) and there is no Peacekeeper Galaxy (the show being set in the Milkyway).
They say Crichton's task is to recreate the invaluable wormhole weapon and flush the entire Peacekeeper race to safety before the last war of an era begins an end to the universe....Yeah, I'm not even sure how to touch that. Crichton was trying to avoid using wormhole weapons, one hadn't been built before so there was nothing to rebuild, no one ever suggested flushing the Peacekeeper race to safety (and how that would be possible is never made clear) and there was never any suggestion the war would end the universe.
For the Friends series finale, newspaper La Presse published an article on the series, complete with a photo of the main characters captioned: "The 7 friends".
An infamous review of Game of Thrones seemed to believe that Tyrion Lannister was a Tolkien-style dwarf, rather than a human with dwarfism.
Another review, or possibly the same review, described "a warrior race with an Elvish-style language", implying that the Dothraki were a race of non-human Elf-like warriors, when in fact they are simply a nomadic tribal race of humans, comparable to a number of nomadic human tribes from our own past, such as Mongolians and Aboriginals. Somehow the mere fact that the spoke a made-up language was enough for the reviewer to dismiss them as yet another race of fanciful creatures.
It's not unusual for anti-gay pundits to claim that acceptance of homosexuality will lead to incest, pedophilia, and so on, but one such pundit has cited Game Of Thrones and how Jamie and Cersei's twincest is "celebrated" and "promoted" as a result of the current push for gay rights. Simply checking the show's wiki will tell you that Jamie and Cersei's secret affair is treated as no less than scandalous, to the point that an entire war broke out when rumors leaked that Cersei's children weren't fathered by the late King Robert. Plus, her eldest son Joffery's insanity is implied to be caused by inbreeding, and Jamie has raped Cersei at least once. Their relationship is not the least bit healthy, much less "celebrated" or "promoted."
It's shocking how many PROFESSIONAL REVIEWERS mistake the second half of Glee's first season as the second season. To be fair, there was a DVD released after the first half, but still. Is it really that hard to fact-check?
And this was despite most media bloggers regularly referring to the nine Season 1 episodes after the long break "the back nine" AND the DVD sets released as "Season 1: Road to Sectionals" (minus the last nine episodes and less expensive) and "The Complete First Season."
Speaking of Glee, a fluff piece on Dianna Agron mentioned that she plays "ditzy cheerleader Quinn" on the show. Anyone who watches Glee knows that Quinn is a straight-A student and one of the most cunning, manipulative characters on the show. The writer might have mistaken her for fellow Cheerio and actual Dumb Blonde Brittany, though you'd think someone writing an article about an actress would know what she looks like. Or they only saw stills of the show and assumed she was The Ditz just because she's blonde and a cheerleader.
A major entertainment magazine did a full special issue (complete with several fold-out, full-size posters) to promote Season 2, where they refer to established Perky Goth Tina as Steam Punk. Ironically, in a later season, after going through some emotional turmoil, Tina does embrace steampunk as her new look - which is promptly dropped before the episode even ends.
There is a biography of Robin Williams by Andy Dougan. In the chapter about Mork's first appearance on Happy Days, Dougan describes the episode... or so he thinks. What he actually describes is the fake flashback created for the first Mork and Mindy episode to tie it to its parent series. Mind you, this was long before the actual episode could be seen by anyone by simply searching Youtube... but you'd think a biographer would do the research.
Just goes to show that even a show's own materials can do this: when Law & Order: Special Victims Unit got picked up by USA, the USA website wrote full-on episode guides... sometimes with stuff that never happened in the episode. For instance, the recap for the episode "Taken" (where Olivia's mom dies in a fall down the stairs) had a description based on an unwritten plotline — namely, Olivia finds out her mom never was raped and told the story to cover up a fling with her college professor, who Olivia meets. There's a reason the folks at Television Without Pity called them "the Crack Monkeys."
A Newsweek 2010 article listing the top 10 cultural predictions of 2010. Number 4 predicted that the characters of LOST, when inevitably facing rescue from the island in the final episode, will choose to stay instead. This is problematic since many have chosen to stay years before the finale, and a handful that left the island at the end of season 4 had to return.
Most Lost news articles sound like they were written in 2005. Outdated phrases like "deserted island" (which is outdated as soon as Rousseau and the Others are revealed in season 1) and "rescue" (see above) are common, but more irritating is the habit of mentioning "unsolved mysteries" that were answered years ago (as of the conclusion, some aren't, but they aren't the ones that are always brought up) to try and paint the show as needlessly complicated.
A baffling one is people still complaining about the polar bears, whose origin was answered early in season 3 and referenced again in season 6.
YMMV, most complainers were probably interested not in the HOW the polar bears got to the island, obviously it required some outside force, but the WHY the polar bears were on the island.
JJ Abrams stopped working on the show around the ninth episode. He came back to co-write the third season premiere, but has done nothing on the show since and only has a producer credit because he created the show. He's nowhere to be seen in production meetings and may not even have watched Lost. And yet every other article attributes everything on the show to him, despite how visible the people really in charge of the show are.
One comic basically said that the fifth season provided no answers until Abrams (busy with Fringe and movie projects) called up Jeffrey Lieber (the writer of the original script-which only has the setting of a island in common, and who has never done any work on the show despite a inexplicable 60% creator credit that even he doesn't believe he deserves) to tell him to explain DHARMA.
Bryan Fuller faces a similar problem with Dead Like Me, having stopped work on the series early in the first season. The real creative forces behind the later stuff are Stephan Godchaux and John Masius, but unfortunately if fans know them at all it's because the one place their names are front and center are the writing credits for the much-reviled TV movie.
When SyFy picked up Merlin, the character descriptions on their website seemed to bear no relation to the show: "If there's one thing Gwen might wish for, it's that she could be just a little bit prettier. With her wonky teeth, uncooperative hair and glasses, not even the most charitable person could call her beautiful."
A description that also ignores the fact that Angel Coulby is adorable.
Another article stated that Anthony Head was the voice of the Dragon. In reality, Head played King Uther (until season 4) and the Dragon is voiced by John Hurt.
To those who are not Toku fans but know Power Rangers, they will immediately point out that any non-Super Sentai tokusatsu hero is a "Power Ranger".
Even pre-Zyuranger sentai gets labeled as Power Rangers; though at least those are different parts of the same franchise. This most often seems to apply to Kousoku Sentai Turboranger, which might be because there is such a thing as Power Rangers Turbo.
During the murder trial of Skylar Deleon, much was made in the news of him having been a "star" of Power Rangers, thus leading many to believe he actually played one of the Rangers. He was a guest star. In one episode.
Taken to ridiculous levels with Engine-Oh G12. Acouplesites saw this clip, and this clip alone, and thought it was a Transformers-ripoff series named "Engine-Oh G12". It took a lot of fan correction to get them to finally change their coverage. Not to mention the amount of comments talking about a Power Rangers ripoff — one commenter says it wouldn't ever fly in America. [cough]
One continuity announcer for Channel 5 in the UK: "It's time for your Magazord wake-up call."
And when Megaforce premiered, it took 4 episodes for them to list the show by its title in the TV guide, rather than by individual episode title.
An announcer on coverage of the 2013 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade referred to the Super Megaforce Rangers by the names of the Samurai Rangers. For example, the pink ranger was referred to as Mia instead of Emma. Also, they referred to the gold ranger as a tech guy. This matches Samurai, but Super Megaforce has a silver ranger instead.
DON'T buy the Power Rangers edition of Trivial Pursuit. It wouldn't be an understatement to say that more than half the questions are wrong.
The Netflix summary for season one of Stargate Atlantis says that the characters are "on an alien-formed base located in Antarctica, wherein lies the lost civilization of Atlantis. What's more, they've also discovered a parallel world of sorts in a galaxy known as Pegasus." Which is very untrue, as demonstrated by the first episode. Antarctica only contains an Ancient outpost (which probably shows up more in SG-1 anyway) with a Stargate that the characters go through to get to the lost city of Atlantis. Furthermore, Atlantis is in the Pegasus galaxy, which isn't any sort of parallel world, and not one episode in the first season deals with parallel universes at all.
The original TV Guide news when the show was in development said they discovered "a new universe".
Stargate SG-1 had infamously bad descriptions and summaries on their season DVD box sets, at least up until the Season Seven release. These (official) summaries on their (licensed) DVD's get the military classifications of equipment incorrect, misrepresent the plots of the story and even describe the show as taking place on a ship which is crewed by the primary cast. These instances did not relate to misspelling the alien names for weapons or confusing individual ship-based episodes with the entire series, but included misnaming the F-303 fighter and describing a Bottle Episode which took place entirely within a mountain base as threatening "the ship."
The summaries in french also constantly refer to "the crew of the SG-1", and a summary for the original movie describes the Stargate as sending people to other dimensions (it's actually other planets).
All 10 seasons were sold together in a box featuring a picture of the stargate... with only eight chevrons.
Another described SG-1 as exclusively a "rescue team", and refer to it as the longest running sci-fi show ever. Though at the time the box set was produced, it was the longest running American sci-fi show, others have run much longer.
Crackedcalled Daniel Jackson an absolutely terrible archaeologist for destroying artifacts of ancient civilizations. They apparently missed the part where A) many of those civilizations are still active and want to kill him and B) Daniel was regularly the person trying to prevent the destruction of the information and/or artifacts and advocating for learning more about the cultures than whether or not they were hostile or had useful goodies.
The TV Guide had the habit of describing every episode of the original Star Trek as "The Enterprise is in danger while Kirk, Spock and McCoy are on an away mission." Granted, this isn't actually all that inaccurate for most of the episodes.
And TOS sent "landing parties," not "away missions."
Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh's Network and Cable TV Guide, which gives full plot descriptions for each television series, described the events of Star Trek: Voyager's second season as Seska leading an insurrection (true) and "wooing Chakotay in the process (not true; the two of them had a relationship while they were still in the Maquis, but broke it off), but that she later turned out to be a genetically modified Kazon. It also describes Kazons as "a warrior race." First, Seska was a genetically modified Cardassian, which makes sense as she is from the Alpha Quadrant, as are Cardassians. Kazons are a Delta Quadrant race that had never heard of Voyager or the Federation in general, so how could they have planted Seska within the Maquis? Also, they're not a mere "warrior race", but a race specifically modeled off of urban street gangs.
A paper treated the two-hour pilot of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the ninth Star Trek movie. Therefore, it was described like that: "Star Trek 9: Deep Space". There's also a matter of many papers thinking that "Star Trek" is the name of the "titular" ship(s)...
At the time said pilot was first aired in 1993, only six Star Trek movies existed.
"Sisko" means "sister" in Finnish, and this being a bilingual country, many episode descriptions of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in Swedish language spoke of "the sister" needing to do this or that.
A local news anchor giving a review of one of the Next Generation movies described the crew with the phrase "...and the alien Data", even giving the alternate, but inaccurate pronunciation of "Data".
Dr. Pulaski: Thank you, Data (pronounced "Dah-Tuh")
Data: Data. (pronounced "Day-Tuh")
Dr. Pulaski: What's the difference?
Data: One is my name. The other is not.
The mispronunciation (and maybe the inaccurate adjective) might be the result of the news anchor reading from a teleprompter. In any case, the person clearly wasn't familiar with the series.
A British newspaper once described the Next Generation episode "Tin Man" thusly in their weekly TV guide: "The Enterprise races to a meeting with the Sentiens." While the living spaceship Gumtuu/"Tin Man" was a sentience, the author clearly had no idea what the word meant and thought it applied to a specific alien race. (Possibly also a phonetic issue.)
This review of a production of Antony And Cleopatra starring Kate Mulgrew improperly gives Mulgrew's Star Trek: Voyager character, Captain Janeway, the first name of Elizabeth. Egregious for three reasons: 1) this is the New York Friggin' Times, 2) Star Trek is incredibly well documented by fanboys and putting "Janeway" in the search box would have instantly brought up the correct answer, and 3) Mulgrew is a prime example of The Danza, and Janeway's first name is also Kathryn.
Mitigated somewhat in that Captain Janeway's first name was Elizabeth at one point in pre-production; they could simply have been using an old source. But as mentioned, it's a flimsy excuse; a single Google would've provided the right answer.
A more egregious example of the above was the character of Miles Edward O'Brien being referred to as Michael Robert O'Brian... on a caption at the "Star Trek: The Exhibition" exhibit at London's Science Museum in 1995.
It's not uncommon for a Supernatural episode description in the news to refer to the Monster of the Week as a "demon". Demons are only one specific type of creature in Supernatural: they appear as black smoke when bodiless and they possess people, manifesting black eyes (occasionally red or white) when provoked. Monsters in general ≠ demons, unlike in, say, Buffy and Angel.
The Supernatural Wiki had episode 8 of Season Seven listed as "Time for a Wedding", under an editor's pet theory that the title "Season 7, Time for a Wedding!" was a typo in the CW press release. This is despite the fact that the title "Season 7, Time for a Wedding!" appears onscreen in the episode itself after the funny wedding cake animation is over, confirming it as the correct title. Attempts to point out the mistake were actually met with hostility.
In-universe example in That '70s Show when Jackie wanted to go to a Led Zeppelin concert, saying that she thinks "Led is hot."
Whenever Michael Brea (the guy who infamously killed his mother with a sword) is mentioned in news articles, it mentions that he was an actor on Ugly Betty. In reality he was an extra in a single scene
One newspaper called Colin Mochrie the host of the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. In one of the episodes of the US series, host Drew Carey brought in a copy of the newspaper and read the section of the article that made the glaring mistake.
In an American game of "Press Conference", Colin was Batman announcing he's out of the closet. Brad Sherwood, who was playing a reporter, tried to clue him in on his identity by saying "I Marvel at everything you have been doing up until this point." Drew pointed out afterwards that Batman belongs to DC Comics, not Marvel.
A minor example occasionally still pops up up in the synopsis of the season 1 Highlander episode "Bad Day in Building A". The synopsis usually says the characters went to the courthouse to take care of Richie's parking tickets, but they were all Tessa's tickets. A gag was even made of her getting one or two more on her car due to where it was parked outside the courthouse during the episode.
After Top Gear gave a horrible beating to a Italian car, the CEO of the company that made it demanded that the company pull all advertisement on the "channel that Top Gear is on," in retaliation. Top Gear airs on the advertisement free BBC.
On an episode of America's Next Top Model where the girls go to Africa, one of the girls see Gazelle, and she says "Those killed Mufasa!", in reference to The Lion King. She is wrong because Mufasa was killed during a wildebeest stampede, while gazelles could be seen during the "Circle of Life" sequence earlier on.
In the NCIS Episode Tribes, Gibbs and Ziva meet the resident imam in his mosque, and Ziva even mentions being aware of the importance of taking sensitivities into account, yet both they and the approaching imam can be heard wearing shoes.
This otherwise okay review of Dinosaur Revolution seems to have misinterpreted the show's title as "Bad to the Bone: The Dinosaur Revolution". This probably came from one of the Discovery Channel's press releases, where "Bad to the Bone" was actually the title of the press release itself. Various reviews of the show's theatrical re-release, Dinotasia, also claim that this version is made up of content that was cut from Dinosaur Revolution — in reality, apart from having a couple of seconds of added footage, Dinotasia is in fact a drastically shortenedRe Cut of the original TV show.
One of CTV's episode descriptions for Corner Gas says that "Brent tries to prove his prodigal cousin is a nerd." Anyone who's seen the first five minutes of the episode in question knows that Brent's cousin Carl isn't a nerd, he's a jerk, and Brent is the only one who sees that; the episode is about Brent trying to prove it once and for all.
Another example from a different episode: "No one wants Eric on their charades team". This might be because there is no character named Eric. The charades thing refers to Oscar(note: Played by Eric Peterson, so somewhat excusable), and he is only unwanted right at the beginning, until he shows how good he is. Then everyone wants him on their team
This article about the spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland talks about the Red Queen being a "playing card" (when everyone knows it's a chesspiece) and appears to say that she is named Iracebeth in the original novel, which is of course a name from Tim Burton's film adaptation. Through the Looking Glass doesn't give the Red Queen a name, and in Once she's named Anastasia.
A review of the pilot episode of The New Normal in Chicago's Redeye magazine not only refers to Nana as Goldie's mother (she's her grandmother), it also states that Gwyneth Paltrow has a cameo as a potential surrogate for Bryan and David's baby - she's actually the egg donor. This is significant, since the entire point of her cameo is to show Bryan and David freaking out over the fact that their baby might look like Gwyneth Paltrow, which wouldn't be the case if she was just the surrogate.
Half this, half Complaining About Shows The Complainer Has Not Watched Since First Grade: Two Words. "Veggie. Monster". Oh, sweet mother of Jim Henson, "Veggie Monster". Basically, Sesame Street did a song informing Cookie Monster and the viewers that cookies are OK to eat, but that it's important to balance your diet. This wasn't the first time this had happened, or the second, and Cookie Monster has continued to live up to his name after the fact - but apparently, some news station or panicky Internet user latched onto it, and the rest is history
Occasionally, some shows (Notably Robot Chicken) will still refer to Mr. Snuffleupagus as Big Bird's imaginary friend, despite the fact that it's been revealed that Snuffy is real and has frequently interacted with the main cast since 1985.
Absolutely much like the above example, KidComs (and children's programming in general) will very frequently fall victim to this trope. Children's programming has always been a hot topic, particularly live-action programming in the 21st century that features young girls particularly dressing and acting in ways that many parents (or journalists) find objectionable. However, said journalists rarely actually watch these shows - cue Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows being confused for each other and spontaneously swapping networks. Take thesetwo articles - whatever the validity of their argument, their points are not helped with some very basic factual errors. Misspelling series names (iCarly is simply Carly, JESSIE is JESSE - and to boot, a screenshot from that show is attributed to Wizards of Waverly Place), much attention has been given over to shows that have been canceled, etc. Much of this would have been avoided if only they visited the shows' IMDb pages.
An article in The Straits Times about the 2012 Fall television lineup mentions Arrow, giving the name of the main character as "Oliver Green". It's actually "Oliver Queen".
The Bustle article "5 Nickelodeon Gameshow Classics That Ryan Seacrest's New Series Must Live Up To" actually lists The Chamber as the first show, describing its premise and asking "Was this Nickelodeon or Fear Factor?" Neither. The Chamber is a FOX show that never had a single child contestant. The picture used even had a FOX logo in the corner! Turns out at the time, The Chamber's Wikipedia article had been vandalized by a troll, and the author took the lies at face value.
Tellingly, the entry has since been removed, and the title has been changed to "4 Nickelodeon Gameshow Classics..." as well.
In 2013 when the first trailer was released for the science series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, there were some vocal critics upset at the idea of documentary series featuring fantasy elements (in this case, a spaceship), with some suggesting this just isn't done. These critics are clearly not aware that Spacetime Odyssey is an updating/remake of the 1980s series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage and that the so-called Spaceship of the Imagination was a core part of that classic series. Not to mention the fact Discovery Channel (among others) have been producing documentary-science fiction hybrids for more than a decade.
When MSNBC reported the passing of Ann B. Davis, famous for playing Alice the maid on The Brady Bunch TV series, they goofed by using a photo from the 1995 film version, which featured Henriette Mantel in the role.