"Will it stop, Doctor? The Fanwank, will it stop?"
You've already watched the show, but there are just some things you wish you could have unwatched. Live Action TV fandom Discontinuity lies ahead. Proceed with caution.
Note: Do not post examples of personal discontinuity. Examples should only be of groups of fandoms.
Many fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are notorious for this, seeing as how many fan theories of future events were thrown out the window by the premiere of a new season, hence the term Jossed, there are a few moments that just about everybody likes to forget.
Most fans say that Willow's romantic relationships ended after Tara was murdered by Warren, so that Willow seeing Kennedy, the series Scrappy, never happened. Kennedy was widely hated for her unlikeable personality, which was made up entirely of trying to get Willow into bed, her shallow character, and terrible acting.
On a related note, many fans of Willow prefer to ignore Tara's murder all together.
Others ignore the fact that Oz and Willow ever broke up.
Some viewers dismiss all of seasons 6 and 7, except for a few outstanding episodes. Debate rages as to whether it's worth junking stuff like the "Smashed"/"Wrecked"/"Gone" trilogy, "Hell's Bells," "Empty Places," "Doublemeat Palace," and the ridiculously polarizing "Lies My Parents Told Me" if it means losing "Tabula Rasa," "Conversations With Dead People," and the legendary "Once More With Feeling."
This particular break in continuity is particularly easy to rationalize because the show switched networks between the fifth and sixth seasons and, in-universe, Buffy died in the season 5 finale.
Others ignore anything past Season 3, where Buffy's time in high school ended.
Some fans, especially since the begining of the penultimate arc, consider the Season 8 comic-book as non canon. Officially, even if it is a comic, it is canon because it is outlined, and in some parts written, by Joss Whedon himself.
In a related instance, after Angel was revealed to be Twilight, many fans concluded that any of IDW's Angel comics after After The Fall (which was outlined, but not written, by Whedon) were non-canon. IDW says it considers them canon cause they are approved by Mutant Enemy and Fox, despite being inconsistent even blatantly contradictory with the Buffy series.
Various fan groups also choose to ignore parts of the Angel series. Some stop after two seasons and some after three, some after four, etc. There were a lot of storylines that were not recieved well by parts of the fandom.
Some fans of Doctor Who ignore everything after the classic series (the first 26 seasons). Others are fine with the 1996 Made-for-TV Movie, but not the revival series. There are probably a few who insist the movie never happened and Christopher Eccleston is the Eighth Doctor as well, but more common is keeping the whole movie, except that Paul McGann never uttered the words "I'm half-human." These words are blasphemy, as the Emperor of the Daleks pointed out. And as the series 4 finale appears to confirm — there had never been half-human half-Time Lords before. An IDW comic explains away the whole "half-human" thing as being a trick he played on the Master with mind games and a half-working chameleon arch.
One fanzine published an article explaining what really happened in Season 23 (The "Trial of a Time Lord" arc). The version we think we saw on screen, with the confusion as to what really happened in the Flashbacks; the gobbledegook explanation of what the Valeyard's up to; and the bizarre scenes in the Matrix all adding up to an unintentional Mind Screw, was simply a mass hallucination caused by stress over the recent cancellation crisis.
Most of fandom does not view the 30th anniversary special "Dimensions In Time" as Canon because the plot... well, it would be more accurate to say, "What plot?" An Expanded Universe novel also wrote the adventure off as being a nightmare of the Doctor's. The fact an article in the magazine "Doctor Who Adventures" about The Brigadier did not mention him meeting the Sixth Doctor (when mentioning the other Doctors he had met) suggests the BBC has struck it from canon as well. Fans of Eastenders do not consider the special canon either due to the fact some characters who have died were depicted being alive in a future version of Albert Square, and the fact Doctor Who is portrayed as a fictional television program within the show (and vice versa). Word Of God was desperate, almost pleading, for it to be canon, because, to his thinking, bad canon was better than no canon.
"In A Fix With Sontarans", an episode produced for children's programme Jim'll Fix It is not regarded as canon either, possibly due to the fact it was produced for another programme, and at the end of it, a breaking of the fourth wall occurs with Jimmy Savile (the presenter) walking into the TARDIS and declaring Gareth Jenkins (who wrote in saying he wanted to appear in a Doctor Who episode) "fixed". Many Who fans also prefer to push it into discontinuity to avoid any discomforting conversation following the 2012 allegations that Savile was a predatory pedophile.
Depending on how you view this episode, some fans pretend that "Father's Day" never existed because none of the established rules on the space-time continuum that involves reapers ever came back after that episode.
A fair number of Torchwood fans refuse to accept the last episode of series 2, Exit Wounds, which ended with Tosh and Owen dead; others reject the series 3 miniseries Children of Earth, or at least the two episodes in which Ianto dies and Jack Harkness kills his own grandson to save the children who would otherwise be given to the 456.
Some fans just refuse to accept the end of Day Five because it seemed so out of character for Jack to do what he did.* These fans may not be remembering the Season 1 episode "Small Worlds" amongst others which show Jack has always been willing to make the hard calls. A recurring theme of Torchwood is that victories come at a much higher price when TheDoctor isn't around to save the day.
A few fans have the mantra, "We do not talk about season five." Generally, the 5th season finale "Sleeping In Light" is exempted from this, as it was filmed alongside the 4th season but shown later. Also, any mention of units of distance, because Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale.
Also, don't ask about the TNT TV movies, or worse Legend of the Rangers.
Much smaller in scope than an entire season or even an episode, but about half the fanbase doesn't accept Marcus Cole being frozen after the end of season 4, insisting he died, in spite of Word Of God stating otherwise.
Scrubs: Some fans disregard everything after "My Lunch" near the end of season 5, as the next episode introduces Kim and takes the series in a different direction. (Occasionally, the Musical Episode is excepted from this, as is the tone of season 8.)
Most common these days are fans pretending the series ended with the season eight finale, the originally intended series finale. Therefore, season 9, with its mostly new cast, never happened.
Sliders: Some fans ignore everything after season two because there was a new head writer in Season 3, and he dumbed things (including Quinn Mallory) down. Some ignore the Sci Fi Channel episodes: the last FOX episode does have the feel of a reasonable ending (two of the party get home, and those still sliding chose to and are planning to have fun); the first Sci Fi episode, if included, lends Shoot the Shaggy Dog to the proceedings. Some discontinue starting from the beginning of the Kromag arc, because that is when the focus of the series started to shift from Alternate History to horror; without that arc, the writer change at the third season wouldn't be as serious, and the Sci Fi Channel wouldn't have been able to shift the mood of the show so drastically.
Then there is the sizable fan base that regards everything up to the last episode of the fourth season as canon. This is because the original plot of the fourth season was end with the group finding out that Quinn really was from their original starting world and that the entirety of Quinn and co.'s quest "Our world is fucked! Let's get to my real homeworld to make it better," was an elaborate plot by the Kromaggs to get the door to that world open (complete with Colin being a sleeper evil clone of Quinn). This was planned out rather well, but Word Of God states not everyone in production was keene on the idea. David Peckinpah led the charge in dropping this storyline - leading to an episode that had nothing to do with anything and loose ends.
Fans of Roswell were so distressed that Max slept with Tess that they often pretend it didn't happen or say he was mind warped into having sex with her as a form of rape, this is due to character derailment brought on by plot driven writing to continue a third season of the show. As a result this is often seen as a Jump The Shark moment of the series.
Some particularly cranky Star Trek fans disown the later shows, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise, because of general silliness, inconsistency with more fundamental parts of the franchise, or sheer improbability. More fans like to discard large parts of TOS season 3 and TNG Season 1, often as well as the final episode of ENT, and the odd VOY or DS9 episode (see below).
Many (if not all) fans of Voyager throw out the episode "Threshold." Even the writer admits it was bad. More important, the ship could have returned to Earth right after the credits with the technology introduced. (Sure, it turns you into a newt, but you'll get better!note Since the Doctor figured out how to reverse the change.) While not officially removed from canon, the events of the episode are ignored by fans and writers alike, and it did receive a Discontinuity Nod.
Most Star Trek: Enterprise fans, particularly those fond of Trip, dismiss the events of the last episode, a decision made easier by the fact it was presented as a holodeck reconstruction many centuries later. The novel The Good That Men Do is devoted to doing just that by claiming the events we saw were a revisionist history. It's not just the fans, however. Even actors (primarily Connor "Trip" Trinneer) from the series prefer to pretend that episode never happened. But then, it was their own hard work over the last four years that was being insulted by such a terrible finale, so it's no wonder they'd hate it. Even many of those who didn't particularly like Trip consider the two-parter "Terra Prime" (arguably the series' best episodes) the series' true final episodes. (Except possibly for Archer's speech and the narration that combines Archer's, Kirk's, and Picard's versions of the famous "Space... the final frontier" opening. Maybe. If they are feeling particularly generous.)
Even the original series had several episodes (mostly in the third season) that fans consider non-canon. "Spock's Brain" specifically is almost universally condemned to non-existence. However Vulcan biology works, it shouldn't work that way.
This episode is considered discontinuity even in the Star Trek Universe! Janeway in one episode comments that some of Kirk's mission logs, like the one where his First Officer's brain was removed, were obviously him trolling Starfleet Command.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans sometimes throw out Season Seven, as so much of what happens (magic books? Dukat posing as a Bajoran to get in Winn's robes?) is considered significantly lower in quality than the previous six seasons. Other fans might be okay with most of season 7, but would like to pretend that pretty much every Ferengi episode in the series besides The Magnificent Ferengi never happened. Let He Who Is Without Sin... is another episode that many would rather forget.
Many fans of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica Do Not Talk about "Black Market." (Because you know that Apollo would totally abandon his pregnant girlfriend and never mention her again just to go to a hooker to placate his guilt over said incident.) Or "The Woman King." Ever. The writers seem to agree.
And the latter half of the BSG finale may be on its way to joining them.
The consensus among these fans is that the show ended with "Revelations," the last episode of the first half of Season 4. This means no mutiny, no revelation of who the fifth Cylon is, what Starbuck is, what the Head characters are, the backhistory of the Final Five and the humanoid Cylons, that the Earth they find is not "our" Earth, the defeat of the Cylons, the resolution of Cally's murder, and the finding of Earth. That is a lot to toss out.
To the extent that they willfully forget that many of the proposed continuation (as opposed to reboot) ideas would have included 1980 in the backstory.
Some do include the final episode of Galactica 1980, where it explains what happened to Starbuck, in canon. But they immediately toss out any and all window dressing that comes from the rest of the 1980 series.
Highlander: The Series: The death of Richie Ryan at the end of season 5 was so poorly handled that many fans decided to exclude that arc. A season or so before, Duncan's reaming Richie out for coming back to Paris after publicly "dying" in a fiery motorcycle accident. Now, Mac's cheerfully hoisting his former student on the barge like it's no problem. They Just Didn't Care. It didn't help that Richie's death was a result of not just Character Derailment and an Idiot Plot, but also a completely new creature, a demon, added to the Highlander universe despite there being no hints at its existence in any prior episodes. It's no wonder a great many fans instantly chose to deny the whole thing ever happened.
A group of Highlander fans took on the name Clan Denial because they deny Richie's death and the sixth season. Richie's actor Stan Kirsch even gave a shout-out to the group at one of the fan conventions (which can be seen as an extra on the DVDs). That said both Kirsch and the show's head writer have defended the killing off of Richie (who was actually killed off TWICE in the series with his second death occurring during the bad future of the It's a Wonderful Life-series finale).
Some fans ignore not only Richie's death in the Ahriman Arc, but the three episodes comprising the arc ("Archangel," "Avatar" and "Armageddon"). Fans also tend to dismiss most of Season Six as "Season Sux"; not only was the last season rather light on fan favorites like Jim Byrnes and Peter Wingfield, most of the episodes were perceived as auditions for Highlander: The Raven. (To be fair, the showrunners admitted that at least two episodes—"Deadly Exposure" and "Two of Hearts"—were effectively test runs to see if there was a market for a spin-off about a female Immortal.)
Many fans of Profiler prefer to believe that the series concluded with "Reunion," the first episode of season 4, in which the Jack of All Trades storyline (the show's narrative backbone) was finally resolved and lead character Sam Waters (Ally Walker) retired from the VCTF. She was replaced for the remainder of S4 by Rachel Burke (Jamie Luner), who was widely disliked by fans, and the show died a quick death shortly thereafter, though not quick enough.
The seventh season of Red Dwarf, the first one written entirely without the influence of Rob Grant. For instance, Ouroboros, which reintroduced a Kochanski from a parallel universe, who has a baby by Lister, who then convinces her to leave it in a box under the pool table where he was abandoned, as per his backstory, making Lister into his own father. Worst of all, it wasn't funny.
Others refuse to acknowledge anything after the fifth season. They're willing to discard "Gunmen of the Apocalypse," almost universally loved, as the unfortunate cost of abandoning the last three seasons.
Dwarfers are a variable lot. Some die-hards make "Back To Reality" the line of demarcation. Others moderate a little and give Season Six a break (mostly due to "Gunmen Of The Apocalypse" and the ending to "Out Of Time", which works as a somewhat fitting finale for the whole show, even with the To Be Continued tag). More casual fans and a small portion of die-hards are willing to bear the weaker elements of the post-Grant-Naylor-split episodes for moments like The Rimmer Experience and Cassandra. Barely any die-hard fans (and not that many casual fans) accept Back to Earth.
An extreme minority even consider that the show finished after season 2. Following which, the makers were given more creative freedom. This lead to a balancing out of the ratio of sci-fi elements against the previous focus on each character's solitude in a vast and seemingly empty universe.
Almost nobody counts series 8 canon, either, because the tone of the series was so completely different from series 1-5/6. The first five series balanced comedy with moments of genuine pathos— the crew being lost and alone in deep space, developing as characters, and learning to cope with their lives in the face of their plight. Series 8 dropped all of this: it brought the crew of the ship back in an Ass Pull moment and became focused on slapstick, thus losing much of its dry humour from the earlier series. You'd be hard-pressed to find a Dwarfer who really liked series 8.
Chris Barrie's other major sitcom, The Brittas Empire, also comes into this category, with many fans choosing to ignore the last two series, made after the departure of the original writers, Richard Fegen and Andrew Norriss, and the painstaking care gone into the finality of 5th series and Christmas special, all of which had to be dismissed when the BBC decided they just couldn't bury this champion horse, so dragged nearly everybody back to their original existence and retconned the whole show...twice.
Andromeda fans, in ascending order of radicalism, dismiss the final season, the final two seasons, everything after season 2's "Ouroboros" (the last episode before the show's creator was fired), everything after Season 2's "Into the Labyrinth", or everything except the pilot and "An Affirming Flame". Most will tell you there was a Shark Jump somewhere in Season 2 or 3, even if they can't decide where. Definitely before the lackluster Season 4 and putrescent Season 5.
Even the zaniest of fans is willing to admit that The Unconquerable Man — a Season 3 episode showing what would have transpired with Gaheris Rhade at the helm instead of Dylan Hunt — happened. Then again, the two-episode group in that sliding scale is probably dead serious.
Thank Holy Hosannah that the original creator's vision has been published as "Coda". The awesome of Andromeda, it clings to life.
Some people ignore the last two seasons of Stargate SG-1 altogether. Some accept the original movie Stargate and ignore both TV series, like Devlin and Emmerich; the majority of Stargate fans find this absurd, since the movie was clearly the franchise's weakest installment. Some accept the series and ignore the movie, and some accept the series and the movie but ignore all spin-off materials, including the RPG, even though it justifies a lot of Fridge Logic in both the movie and the series.
The movie has enough inconsistencies with the rest of the franchise that some fans view considering it to canonical as not worth it because all the relevant bits were reinforced as canonical by other series, and all the other bits suffered retcons or were just ignored.
There's also the group of fans (albeit a smaller group now that some of the years-long fan feuding has faded) who acknowledge everything but season 6, except three episodes: "Abyss," "The Changeling," and "Full Circle," which were when Daniel Jackson popped in from his stint as a higher being. Unfortunately for them, there was also some weird guy running around and pretending he was on the team for these, but he was put in a wormhole and Daniel got over it, so when fans count the show at all, they count season 7.
There is a group of Fans who argue that there was only one season of Stargate Atlantis. So Ford didn't turn evil and vanish.
More fans generously admit there were three seasons, but no more. Meaning Elizabeth wasn't killed off twice. (The second, despite being able to bring her back). Doctor Beckett was never killed off once holding the Idiot Ball and wasn't replaced by a borderline Mary Sue. Sheppard didn't become dark and angsty. And Teyla actually had something to do.
Some fans of SG-1 and Atlantis are preemptively labelling Stargate Universe non-canon due to a combination of disliking the premise and hating that Atlantis was cancelled despite strong final-season ratings to make way for it. The fact that some of the writers' statements come across as giving the finger to the current crop of fans (to wit, "lemmings") only heightens the effect.
The fact that in its first episode Universe shackles Carter with inexplicable incompetence, having her somehow lose what should've been a Curb-Stomp Battle in her favor by (among other things) not even using her Cool Ship's ridiculously powerful main guns, was seen as validation of the pre-emptive discontinuity.
Explained quite easily in later episodes where the Alliance were smart enough to have a mole who fed them specs on her big guns. Making them next to useless on their improved shields. Hard to curb stomp someone who already knows your specs.
There was an infamous-almost-to-the-point-of-unspeakable animated series called Stargate: Infinity. Even fans with SG-1 and Atlantis action figures have ignored its existence. It was that bad.
Most fans of Sea Quest DSV can only stand the first season. It's curious that the last episode of the first season also acts as a fairly good finale, with the original SeaQuest vessel being destroyed and its crew waiting for a new one to be built. For those who choose to carry on, the second season is retooled to focus on teen hearthrob Lucas Wolenczak. The spin-off/third season SeaQuest 2032 realizes its mistake and banks hard in the opposite direction.
Each season of Sea Quest DSV was so different in premise and feel it could effectively be a different show. As such fans can have a preference for any of the three seasons and try to ignore the other two...
For some, Sesame Street ceased to exist after 2002, when the show went through a revamping to make it more suitable for younger audiences. For others, it was 1998, when Elmo's World debuted.
Many fans of Family Ties will disregard the last three seasons, after Andy was aged a few years - which, quite naturally, contradicts the continuity of the earlier four seasons. Furthermore, much of the fandom had mixed feelings of Season Four. That season introduces Mallory's new boyfriend, Nick - who many find to be annoying. However, that season also introduces Ellen - Alex's girlfriend, who is played by the actress who will later become Michael J. Fox's real life wife.
Depending on who you ask, Millennium ran for one, two or three seasons before getting run into the ground and getting an inconclusive send-off in an episode of The X-Files.
Although the Jean Doumanian-produced 1980-81 season is almost universally condemned, with only the best early bits of Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy to its credit.
Some Supernatural fans will swear to the Holy Flame of Mary that Dean was never tempted to have Angry Sex with the woman (Bela) who nearly had his beloved car impounded, and that Sam never had an erotic dream (in Dream A Little Dream Of Me) with the same woman who shot him in one of those broad shoulders of his, especially as their IQ levels go down by about a hundred points every time she comes near them.
And more than enough people have decided that Dean was never turned into a blushing, unsure-of-himself virgin for a five-second sex joke.
More recently, the season four introduction of angels into the series, a decision that greatly altered the focus and mytharc of the show, and resulted in the character of Sam Winchester not saving his brother from Hell, has led a small, but vocal group of fans to disavow developments beyond the third season finale.
Likewise, a growing portion of the fanbase considers the fifth season finale to be the show's true ending (as Eric Kripke originally intended) and the sixth and seventh seasons to never have happened.
And nobody believes in "Season 7, Time For a Wedding."
The canon spelling of Castiel's nickname is "Cass". Fandom ignores this completely in favor of "Cas".
Fans of Boy Meets World tend to Hand Wave the later seasons. Or the earlier ones, depending on whether they like Topanga as a wild hippie or a sensible career gal.
A lot of LOST fans (even Jack fans) disown the episode Stranger in a Strange Land, which mixes borderline incoherent flashbacks involving possibly psychic tattoo artists in Thailand with a plot on the island where Jack must be examined by Isabel, an apparently powerful Other who gets to decide if he stays or not-apparently above even Ben himself-who... had never been mentioned before or since. Only one line of that episode is worth remembering for the later series. Fire + Water (where Charlie kidnaps Aaron to baptize him) and The Other Woman (where flashbacks show that Ben is in love with Juliet and in the present Daniel and Charlotte go on a quest to a DHARMA station to vent poison gas) are also frequently ignored.
A number of fans seem to have completely forgotten about The Long Con, the one right after Fire + Water, in which Charlie, deciding he needs vengeance on Locke for beating him up (for kidnapping a baby), joins Sawyer in a convoluted scheme that involves Charlie brutalizing the completely innocent Sun. His reason for all this was just to make Locke look bad. Sawyer did it just to be bad basically, and was annoyed people took his stuff, which doesn't fit so well with his usual jerk with a heart of gold personality and has him as a wangsty git using his past as an excuse to be shitty to people beyond the point of tolerance.
Charlie was also stunned that Locke was suspicious of the reasons that Charlie, who had just given up heroin, would have for possessing heroin.
The flashbacks of Whatever the Case May Be, featuring Kate orchestrating an armed bank robbery and then betraying and nonfatally shooting all three robbers just to get a toy airplane, are almost universally disregarded.
The creators are savvy to these complaints and often joke on the podcast about "Stranger in a Strange Land" and Kate's toy airplane. Carlton Cuse once joked that the toy airplane was Kate's reason for returning to the island and that it was inside Hurley's guitar case that he brought on flight 316. Major spoiler sites immediately picked up this comment as a legitimate spoiler.
"Across The Sea" for dropping a metric ton of unanswered questions and goofy mythology (and some goofy acting by child actors) on the audience, long after said audience accepted that there weren't enough episodes left to explain it.
There are also some fans who watched faithfully to the end, but consider the finale, "The End" (and consequently most of the sixth season) discontinuity for making most of the flash-sideways subplots (Sawyer dating Charlotte, the school principal, Jack's son, etc.) absolutely pointless, and ending the series with a group of goofy coincidences designed to get all the main characters in a church.
Fans of Xena: Warrior Princess vary on this. Some choose to ignore the whole 'Rift' arc of Season Three. Others will accept this... but the fifth and/or sixth seasons never happened. Some will acknowledge the whole series, but will disown the two part finale, 'Friend in Need,' and its Redemption Equals Death ending.
Some people wish anything after Series 3 of Absolutely Fabulous didn't happen. Partially because of a dip in quality of the later episodes, partially cause there's some discontinuity of their own. (Nothing that happened in the "Gay" special was acknowledged AT ALL in Series 5. And only bits and pieces of previous series carried over to others.)
Most fans of That '70s Show will testify that the 8th season did not happen. Eric never went to Africa, Hyde never married a stripper or grew a porn 'stache, and Randy never joined the gang in Point Place. Oh, and Jackie definitely never dated Fez.
The feelings most of the Quantum Leap fandom towards the finale can be summed up in six words: Sam. Beckett. Made. It. Home. Dammit! (In other words, they accept everything except the last 5 seconds.)
At least 90% of the fanfiction spawned by the 1980s TV show Beauty and the Beast either ignores Catherine's death at the end of season 2 or explains it away as quickly as possible, preferably as a nightmare. There's even a acronym for this: SND = She's Not Dead.
NewsRadio: The death of Phil Hartman, whose character Bill McNeal was an integral part of the show, and the perceived deficiencies of the Suspiciously Similar Substitute character played by Jon Lovitz (and the eventual Downer Ending of the 5th season) causes a great number of fans of the show to acknowledge only the first four seasons, ending with the wacky Titanic parody (or, if they prefer a Bittersweet Ending, the first episode of the 5th season, which serves as a tribute to Hartman.)
Almost all of the original Dark Angel fandom ignores season 2 or rewrites that season's first episode to remove its most offensive plot device - the virus that makes Max deadly to Logan. New fans watching the show for the actor Jensen Ackles usually do the exact opposite, not bothering with the first season except for Jensen's episode "Pollo Loco"; they get a very different interpretation of the show and its characters.
The West Wing fandom will frequently ignore anything that happened after the season four finale, when Aaron Sorkin, the show's creator and the man who wrote most of the episodes, left. This means "ending" the show on a cliffhanger, but it's either that or a major shift in the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.
Out of those who do acknowledge post-Sorkinism, a large portion refuse to acknowledge Toby's wildly OOC leaking of classified military information, or his subsequent firing. Richard Schiff himself said that Toby would never do something like that. The ignoring rate for this event is very high even compared to widely reviled events in other shows. Very few post-Administration fanfictions are entirely compatible with canon because of this event.
The majority of the fandom is also perfectly happy to ignore Sam's return for the final episodes, as no matter which of the many theories you subscribe to explain his disappearance, his subsequent ''reappearance' and willingness to take on a White House job is a massive Out-of-Character Moment.
There are also Sorkin-era episodes that get this treatment: the post-9/11 Very Special Episode "Isaac and Ishmael" (which is very easy to ignore because we're told at the outset that it's a one-shot and doesn't fit into the series's timeline), and "The Long Goodbye," which is about C.J. going home for a class reunion and confronting the fact that her father's dying of Alzheimer's, wasn't written by Sorkin, has nothing to do with anything and was blatantly conceived as Emmy Bait for Allison Janney (who, while she delivered her usual spectacular performance, certainly didn't need a sappy, teary family episode to display her awesome talent any more than the male cast members did, especially since she was doing just fine cleaning up at the Emmys on her own).
Several throwaway comments, such as Leo's claim that he has known Bartlet for 32 years but was only friends with him for 11, are blatantly and unanimously ignored, especially if they contradict earlier information.
The winner of the California 47th congressional race is still unknown. Sorkin gave strong hints as to the outcome, but left just as many questions unanswered, which left fans with the option of hoping Sam would return (or, alternatively, that his absence would be explained at some point) or patching together a theory from hints in earlier episodes. Sam's Back for the Finale appearance did little to put the issue to rest, as it was largely a callback to a second-season episode.
Recently-introduced Will Bailey had broken free of his Replacement Scrappy hatedom when Sorkin left, allowing the writers to turn him into a completely different character ... and so Will acquired a whole new hatedom from those who continued watching the show. If he shows up in fan fiction, it's almost always as Sorkin wrote him.
The West Wing's discontinuity break between seasons 4 and 5 has such broad consensus that fanfics taking place after season 4 are much more likely to be AU than canon, and frequently written in the same style as fanfics set in the future of uncompleted shows, suggesting that in the minds of many fans, the post-Sorkin era was no more authoritative than fanfic.
Most fans of Guy of Gisbourne on the BBC's Robin Hood would prefer to forget about the early episode that has him abandon his infant son in the woods, lie to the mother about its whereabouts, and then beat the shit out of her when she confronts him with the truth.
Most fans disowned the show after the S2 finale in which Marian was murdered by Gisbourne, and never even bothered to watch S3 which introduced new love interest Kate, had Robin begin a relationship with Gisbourne's (married) sister, revealed that Robin and Guy share a half-brother called Archer and turned Allan-a-Dale's character arc into a Shoot the Shaggy Dog story.
War of the Worlds: the fandom of this series almost universally disacknowledges the second season. New producers were brought in due to low ratings and proceeded to kill off two out of four main characters, change the villains from body-snatching aliens from Mor-Tax to human cloning aliens from Morthrai, and changed the setting from contemporary to cyberpunk with minimal in-continuity explanation.
A lot of fans of Dollhouse are closing their eyes tight and ignoring the last three episodes of Season two. Because if they never happened then Boyd is still out there. Boyd is still the great guy he is and one day, one day will return to Whiskey whose still alive and still waiting for him.
Many fans of The Man From UNCLE, especially but definitely not exclusively slashers, do not acknowledge the 1983 reunion TV movie.
Aside from the people who only consider the Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. books canon, there are people who reject anything after the episode Retribution... namely, the part where Archie Kennedy dies. Fanfiction even tends to be labeled 'LKU' and 'DKU', short for 'Live Kennedy Universe' and 'Dead Kennedy Universe'.
Some Heroes fans like to pretend Volume 2 never happened, and a lot like to ignore Volume 3 completely. They can get a bit irritated when developments from these volumes (like Sylar having Peter's empathy power, or the existence of Claire's flying boyfriend) get brought up in the less controversial Volumes 4 & 5. For folks who pretend Heroes ended after the first season, however, this isn't a problem.
Others like to think Elle (One of the only good characters introduced in Volume 2) was never killed in Volume 3 and Daphne was never killed in Volume 4, so Matt never got back together with Janet
Many My Name Is Earl fans hated season three, which saw Earl go straight from jail, to a hospital bed in a coma. In either case, he's unable to cross items off his list, which is the basic premise of the show and the element that really makes the comedy work by grounding its silliness with some heartwarming moments. Since the entire season was basically Handwaved in the third season finale, which turned Earl's new wife, whose introduction was the upshot of the whole season, into a nun and sent her away, the showrunners themselves made it easy for fans to ignore this season altogether and acknowledge only the first, second and fourth.
There is a large portion of CSI NY fans who pretend that the season 5 finale never happened and Angell is alive and well, Flack didn't murder anyone and Danny didn't get shot in the back. Earlier than that in season 5, there's fans who deny that former coroner Marty Pino was murdering drug users and making heroin from their internal organs, citing Character Derailment in that case. Season 6 has disillusioned a lot of fans who were disappointed in the season 5 finale but decided to stick with the show.
There's also a group that likes to pretend the Danny/Lindsay ship never happened. It's a combo of not liking Lindsay, feeling Danny underwent too much Character Derailment after they got together, and not liking what they saw as a sudden storyline shift after the writers wrote Anna Belknap's pregnancy into the story.
Ask a Gossip Girl fan about the Eyes Wide Shut storyline for Chuck in late season two, and they will most likely pretend not to know what you're talking about. The storyline is universally loathed for being outright stupid, and for having Chuck apparently fall for a hooker named Elle. Since nearly every single fan of the show is a Chuck and Blair shipper, that last part did not sit well.
A lot of fans feel the show ended in mid-season four and that the second half of season four and the entirety of season five never happened. The shortened sixth and final season however seems to have potential of getting fandom interest back.
It's notable that the reason "Forever Red" is such a taboo subject is not due to a lack of quality (some consider it to be a fan's wet-dream come true), but due to numerous continuity issues raised. How did Jason and T.J. get their powers back? How was the Wild Force Rider able to destroy the previously invincible Serpentara all by itself? Why in the ten levels of Hell would the Ascended Fanboy writer throw the episode to the wolves by directly acknowledging the events of his old fanfiction? Does that mean the fanfiction is canon now, despite not being an official product? Quite simply, "Forever Red" raised way so many questions and caused so many debates that it's best just not to think about it.
Time Force (the final season before Disney's takeover. Disney has a firm ideology, and so it changed the people who write the plots, which numerous fans view as being lower in quality than the Saban era.)
Lost Galaxy (the season that followed on directly from "in Space", although it wasn't a part of the same arc.)
in Space (the final season that was part of an ongoing story.)
Zeo (arguably, the last season before Power Rangers jumped the shark with a kidblue ranger).
There's a specific episode in Zeo a lot of fans try to forget. The Christmas Episode is set in the future and shown as flashbacks. The scenes in between show an elderly Tommy telling the story to a little boy. The very end shows that Tommy and Katherine are married and he's been telling the story to his grandson. Since a lot of people still engage in Die for Our Ship for Kimberly and Tommy, and since he didn't mention Katherine in "Forever Red" or Dino Thunder, fans tend to forget that scene ever happened. The other Christmas Episode in season 3 likes to be ignored by many fans too for simply being silly.
The ZeoChristmas Episode was also hilarious for "You see, you don't understand holidays, Mondo blasts you, and this is how the Holocaust happens" Fantastic Aesop.
Amusingly, there's actually an instance of Actor Discontinuity for Power Rangers. In an interview with JesuOtaku and Linkara, Johnny Yong Bosch said that he figured his character, Adam Park, continued to do good even after losing his Ranger powers, as something of a heroic ninja type. Then the 15th anniversary episode "Once a Ranger" had him make an off-hand reference to running a dojo in Angel Grove, which kind of wrecked the idea. Johnny said he personally prefers to ignore the dojo line and stick with his original idea.
Only Fools And Horses: Although the standard of humor is held up quite well, many fans ignore the 2001-03 Christmas trilogy because it completely ruined the perfect ending of the original finale; the 1996 Christmas trilogy, where the Trotters at last achieve their dream of becoming millionaires... apparently only for Del to lose it all on the Far East stock market. (Though they did gain a sizeable portion of it back through Uncle Albert's will in the final, final episode.)
Despite this, the very last episode "Sleepless in Peckham" is considered quite touching, especially when Rodney and Cassandra finally have their daughter, Joan Trotter Jr.
One particular detail that needs highlighting is that the end line of the first 'last episode' was, "This time next year, we could be billionaires," a very nice twist on Del's defining catchphrase. And was spoken as he, Rodney and Albert walked into a gleaming sunset. After 2003, the end line would always be, "D'you know Rodney? That's a bloody good idea." Which doesn't quite have that same ring to it.
Perhaps a real-world case of Be Careful What You Wish For. Its status as Britain's most popular sitcom meant that writer John Sullivan had been asked about a return almost constantly. And to give him some credit, he was trying to keep a sense of perspective. The wider context of the original sunset ending was Del enthusiastically trying to persuade the other two to invest in the market that was said to have crashed - and which had done so not long after the episode originally aired.
Interestingly, Sullivan originally wrote for the 1996 sunset ending to be done as a cartoon, indicating that the characters were no longer in the real world and would not be coming back, but this was rejected. (Though the sequence was eventually done with chromakey special effects.)
A number of Smallville fans hold that the series ended with season five, since afterwards the show became more like "Metropolis" than "Smallville".
Yet another group pretends it end after season eight due to Chloe's Character Derailment and getting dumped to Green Arrow, and the general Dark Age-ness of season nine
Some people disregard Veronica Mars' second and/or third seasons.
Gilmore Girls is generally treated as ending with Season 6, as the creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, left at the end of that season.
Airwolf is generally treated as ending with Season 3, a decision made much easier by the budget getting slashed to the point where the titular Black Helicopter appeared only as a set, Stock Footage from previous series and a badly-Chroma Keyed model. Most of the main cast being McLeaned in the season pilot was the final nail in the coffin.
24 fans usually try to forget about Season 6. Although the first four episodes were awesome, the entire plot with Jack Bauer's father Phillip and being chased by the Chinese was a mistake. Some take it even farther, and state 24 season one was the only canon season.
Several fans usually ignore one of two plot points involving Tony Almeida depending on which one they hated worse (if they don't outright pretend both never happened): Either the deaths of both Tony and his wife in season 5 due to being seen as bar none the show's absolute worst case of dropping a bridge or the subsequent revelation that he was still alive and now a villain in season 7 which involved more than a few Shocking Swerves in order to justify it.
Season 6 is usually the last season many fans consider canon. Season 7 introduced the concept of season long story arcs - generally revolving around a serial killer - and brought more attention to the interpersonal relationships of the characters.
Others will accept season 7 and the first half of season 8 up though Sara's departure. Many refuse to accept Warrick's out-of-character downward spiral and eventual death.
Some fans will watch the show up to Grissom's departure in season 9 and then stop. To some, anything after is almost like a completely different show.
Another group stuck around until season 12, but cut themselves off after Catherine's departure.
Many Forever Knight fans refuse to accept season 3 (the final season). The opening episode of the season eliminates two of the fanbase's favorite characters (Schanke is killed in a plane crash and Janette is Put on a Bus) and replaces them with two characters who are not as well liked. Add in some Plot Derailment and Character Derailment over the season and a Downer Ending...
Others accept some of season 3, but ignore things like the above series finale and the episode "The Human Factor", believing that the way Janette became human didn't gel with the rest of series established canon.
In iCarly, fans of the Sam/Freddie pairing prefer to forget the episode iMeet Fred. Freddie has a perfectly valid opinion about not finding Fred's videos 'that funny'. After an entire episode of being shunned for that opinion, they all confront Fred. Freddie refuses to change his opinion. Sam picks up a modern tennis racquet and drags Freddie off camera, where it sounds like she's beating him with the racquet. When they come back, Freddie looks beaten up, Sam is holding a now broken racquet and he changes his mind under threat of another beating. He apologises, and Sam throws him out of treehouse just to add injury to insult to injury. Freddy and Sam had just recently shared their first kiss a few week prior, so such a beating would seem overly severe in light of their recent history.
There are episodes like that for most of the various fan pairings.
On the other hand, many fans will contest that Ellie and Sean never got together, and Sean and Emma never broke up. For that matter, Emma and Spinner never got married.
With its high cast turnover and meandering plot, Earth: Final Conflict has many potential points of discontinuity. The strongest are Boone's apparent death at the end of the first season and season five (the second off-screen), which some felt was a different show altogether.
The Golden Girls ended for most people with Dorothy's wedding, and the final scene of the three remaining girls crying and hugging each other, and the Bea Arthur-less eighth season of The Golden Palace did not happen.
Alternately, some fans will argue that the movie prequel Fire Walk With Me never happened and prefer to keep Laura's last days ambiguous. The Movie also changed Leeland from a poor soul with demonic possession to a murderous incestuous paedophile. This appears to be David Lynch's Take That at the Cop Out of Leeland's guilt that the series gave us.
There's some disagreement as to where the discontinuity begins on House, with fans divided between the departure of House's original team in season 3, Kutner's suicide in season 5, House and Cuddy's get-together in season 6, and House driving his car through Cuddy's dining room in season 7. Many fans also refuse to acknowledge the episode, Teamwork, in which Cameron professes her love to House and then leaves the show. Which of these factors is the reason for the discontinuity varies from fan to fan.
Some Seinfeld fans discredit the Season 2 episode 'The Jacket', in which Elaine's father appears. This is because the actor playing him was abusive to the cast members and stole a butcher's knife from the set which they took as a threat, especially as he returned to the set late at night a week after the episode had been finished. Thanks to the lack of story arcs in the series, avoiding this episode has no impact on continuity.
Also some discredit the original version of 'The Handicap Spot', as Frank Costanza is played by John Randolph, not Jerry Stiller. Stiller plays him in the syndicated version of the episode and the rest of the show's run, so watching the syndicated version avoids the continuity error. The DVD features both versions.
Many fans choose to completely ignore the third season of the original Land of the Lost where Rick Marshall was (Put On The Bus?), Uncle Jack substituted and the series essentially dropped in quality. The serious, thought provoking sci-fi was replaced by Gilligan's Island antics. Some fans prefer to consider the end of season one to be the real ending. Or pretend that the final season one episode occured at the end of season two.
There are two things most fans of The Shield would like to forget: the second-season flashback episode "Co-Pilot" (which was made solely to pad the season while the makeup crew figured out how to do facial scarring for one of the characters) and a scene where Dutch Wagenbach strangles a cat to death after being told by a serial killer that he didn't know what it was like to see the life drain out of a living creature. The latter example was later officially disregarded in season three when Dutch adopts a stray cat, remarking that it's nice to have an animal companion for a change.
The majority of Mr. Bean fans reject the animated series, due to half the episodes being utterly, utterly ridiculous (far more than the beloved live action version, which has Rowan Atkinson and his excellent physical comedy to make it work), as well as the reveal that Bean himself is in fact a member of a species of aliens who are all identical to him.
This was a gag in the opening credits of the live action version as well, so it probably only became explicitly canon in the animated adaptation.
A sizable portion of the Law & Order fanbase likes to pretend that Law & Order: LA never happened, because once it became clear that the show was failing, the show's writers took desperate measures to try to keep it on the air, including moving Connie Rubirosa out to Los Angeles. Even though the original Law & Order had already ended, some fans (namely the one's whose head canons stated that she and Mike Cutter were living happily ever after) believed that this screwed up canon badly enough to disown LOLA altogether.
Law & Order: SVU fans have splintered into so many groups based on where the show truly ends, it's difficult to count, but prime candidates include when the ADA job position began to have a higher turnover rate than Warner's morgue; somewhere around seasons 7-8 when the ripped from the headlines plots started getting ridiculous and melodramatic to the point that it was called "the darkest comedy on television"; or Stabler's departure.
Similarly, most Law & Order: UK fans disavow anything after the episode "Deal", in which series regular Matt Devlin was shot and killed and insist that he recovered from his wounds and that he and Alesha Philips are living happily ever after as well.
Some All in the Family fans disregard the After ShowArchie Bunker's Place. Family had already ended with a Grand Finale (where Mike and Gloria move out of the house and have a long, tearful goodbye with the rest of the Bunkers, while Archie and Edith decide to adopt Stephanie), but Carroll O'Connor's creative clout and the show's still-high ratings led to four more seasons in a retooled format, which resulted in Edith dying of a stroke between seasons, and Mike and Gloria splitting offscreen.
Some fans of The Avengers will tell you that the series ended when Emma Peel found out that her long-lost husband was still alive. Most of that number, and a few others, also deny the existence of The New Avengers. Oh, and whatever you do, don't mention the movie.
There are Merlin fans who ignore anything after the end of season 2, because of the decision to have Morgana go fully evil. They felt it was too much Character Derailment from earlier on.
It isn't hard to guess there'll be many fans ignoring the series finale after the way it played out. Some started saying it right after it aired.
Quite a few The Brady Bunch fans ignore anything other than the original series.
Skins makes this easy because every two seasons they start with a brand-new cast and storyline anyway, and a lot of fans did stop watching after the first generation ended (and even more stopped after the second). But some draw other lines too, like the fans who refuse to acknowledge the last two episodes of Season 4 because of Freddie's death, or those who completely disregard Season 6 because of all the Character Derailment and Aborted Arcs. The one thing that the majority of the fanbase can agree on, though, is the US remake; most fans of the original don't consider it part of the show's canon.
Downton Abbey Season 3 is this in varying degrees. Many draw the line before Sybil dies in 3x05. Following Matthew's death in the Christmas special, the last few minutes of that episode are very vocally ignored, even moments after it aired.
Some go so far as to end with the S2 Christmas special's gloriously happy ending.
A few fans of Lucas North like to ignore the existence of John Bateman, Vaughn and Maya.
Many fans of TwoandaHalfMen ignore everything after Season 8 after Charlie Sheen left the show. Even Angus T. Jones (who plays Jake) called out the show. It should not be a surprise that his character was written out at the end of the season.
Community: The most notable case for this is several fans only go up to the first three seasons and ignore the fourth one. But it's not like this is anything new; even before that several fans went so far as to only acknowledge everything up to the end of season 2 or even 1 and pretend everything after never existed.
It would be very difficult to say if Police, Camera, Action! has a continuity or not, given that it's a documentary series, but some fans see the episodes "Drink Driving Special" and the Gethin Jones series as being out of canon with the regular Police Camera Action. This is despite the fact the show makes Call Back s in episodes and has had Mythology Gags since 2007.