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Continuity Snarl / Live-Action TV

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Continuity Snarls in live-action TV.

  • The crew of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have openly revealed that no one from the larger MCU thought to tell them about the plan to move the franchise five years into the future after the Thanos snap. Thus, the show basically becomes a straight-up Alternate Continuity in Season 6 with no attempt to fit with that development.
  • America Unearthed: It happens a lot that the theory of a particular episode, if proven true, would invalidate one or more previous theories. The easiest to explain case would be in the first season when the Holy Grail would go back and forth between being a cup/chalice to the holy bloodline of Christ (like the da Vinci Code).
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  • In the third season of Arrow, Oliver Queen is outed as the Arrow by Ra's Al Ghul and is captured by the Police. They solve this by having his partner Roy wear the Arrow costume and deliver himself to the authorities, claiming that he's the real Arrow. The problem is that in season 1 Roy is saved from a murderer by the Arrow on live TV, which would disprove his false confession, yet apparently no one remembers that by the third season, so his confession is accepted.
  • The Big Bang Theory: The season 1 episode "The Hamburger Prostulate" mentions that Sheldon is allergic to cats, but later episodes mention that he had a cat when he was a kid. "The Plimpton Stimulation" even states that getting a pet was against the "Roommate Agreement" unless it was necessary, like a Seeing Eye Dog. Possibly lampshaded in "The Zazzy Substitution" (Season 4, Ep 3) where Sheldon reacts to his breakup with Amy by getting a cat ... then several more. 25 in all.
  • Blue Bloods:
    • It took a little time to nail down the ages of the Reagan children, and once Erin's was pinpointed (celebrating her 40th birthday in Nov 2015 "The Bullitt Mustang") it presented a minor clash with earlier episodes. In "Innocence" Danny informs her that he and their father stalked her on her "first date" which involved the movie Sleepless in Seattle. Since that movie came out in 1993, Erin would have been 17. Given the oft-referenced fact that Erin had a notorious wild streak in her teenage years, this seems a bit late for her to be having a first date.
    • Frank's pre-show married life and pre-show career (and how they meshed) are sometimes awkwardly filled in. In "The Bullitt Mustang" Frank mentions how he was on a "rookie's salary with mouths to feed". Thus, Frank was married as a rookie cop. But five episodes later, in "Back In The Day" Frank and his old partner reminisce with a few other old timers on their rip-roaring adventures when they were beat cops, including a few skirt-chasing adventures. Neither Danny or Jamie are scandalized by this, as if they're learning about their dad's wild single days, rather than learning that Frank cheated on their mother. Thus, Frank was not married as a rookie cop.
  • Charmed (1998):
    • The series was notorious for its numerous continuity errors, especially in the sixth season, where Chris Perry — a Kid from the Future — appeared to stop the Titans from conquering the world. When he gets his origin episode in season 6, there is no mention about the Titans and his brother Wyatt is the Big Bad in the future. He also orbs into the attic in his debut episode but this shows him going back in time via a portal in the attic wall. Additionally his hair was short when he arrived on the show but the actor grew it long for season 6 — and it's the same in his origin episode.
    • Chris says that Paige died in his debut episode, claiming to have prevented her death. In a season 6 episode, he tells her he goes to her for money in the future.
    • In a season 4 episode Phoebe says that her grandmother was married six times. Later episodes Retcon this to Penny only being married four times and engaged six altogether.
    • Patty and Victor's relationship in the past becomes more convoluted as the show goes on. It's implied in season 1 that Victor left Patty when he found out she was a witch. Numerous time travel and flashback episodes complicate matters even further as Victor and Patty appear to have broken up and reconciled quite a few times. The series finale in particular flashes back to when Phoebe was conceived and Patty and Victor seem to be fine. This contradicts season 1's "That 70s Episode" where Patty and Victor have been separated for a while and Patty doesn't know she's pregnant with Phoebe yet. The story is also initially that Victor left the girls to be raised by Penny. Season 3's "We All Scream for Ice Cream" says that he stuck around for a while after Patty died but then left again.
    • Good luck trying to make any sense out of how being a Whitelighter is supposed to work. First it is treated as a voluntary position you can refuse when offered and later resign if you wish, but later in the series people are forced into being Whitelighters. The psychic connection Whitelighters have to the people they are assigned to protect varies from knowing when they are specifically called upon to literally feeling their pain constantly. A Whitelighter fathering a child with a witch is first treated as unthinkable when Piper and Leo get close. Then it is revealed that the mother of the three Charmed Ones had another child (Paige) with her Whitelighter. Admittedly that was kept a secret, but in the last season yet another half-Whitelighter witch shows up and nobody thinks it is particularly that unusual. Piper's and Leo's first child Wyatt is insanely powerful due to being half witch (or maybe specifically half Charmed) and half Whitelighter, but it is never addressed why the same does not apply to their second child or Paige.
  • Cheers:
    • Frasier Crane famously told his friends that his father was a research scientist and had died years before. This was handwaved in his Spin-Off series Frasier as having been something he said because he was angry at his dad that day, but it was in fact not something that was said once; his characterizations of his father and his identifying himself as an orphan took place consistently over quite some time during his years in Boston.
    • Frasier's mother visits him during his engagement to Diane, and is almost psychotic at the thought of her son marrying a mere barmaid. This doesn't fit in well with Frasier's claims to be an orphan, or her posthumous characterization in Frasier, and raises the question of when, exactly, she died.
  • Degrassi fixed a year issue caused by Seasons 6-9 each being half a school year long. Causing time in series to lag behind the real world. So start of Season 10 it is suddenly current year, 2008 to 2010 over the summer break... But given Emma's birthdate is a fixed point, and her first day at Degrassi is also fixed by the Class reunion of the DJH characters, this makes a lot of interactions between Seasons 7-9 problematic. Specifically between characters like Sav and Holly J with characters like Paige and Spinner.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Some major examples: In what order did the original series' Dalek stories happen? (In particular, when does "The Daleks" take place and why are the Daleks in that story so different from all others seen later?) How many Doctors have there been (watch "The Brain of Morbius", although the novelisation clears it up a bit)? What was Atlantis like, and how did it sink? And how many times did it sink (And yes, this question is more complicated than it first appears)? How do Time Lord family relationships — in particular, the Doctor's — work? What are the Laws of Time and for that matter, are they laws in the scientific or legal sense? And most of that list arises just from the TV series. (And then, add in the novels and the comics and the spin-offs. Unlike, say, Star Trek, these can't be readily dismissed as non-canonnote , though some fans do declare Fanon Discontinuity on some or all of the novels to clear things up.)
    • In the immortal words of Steven Moffat: "It is impossible for a show about a dimension-hopping time traveller to have a canon." — there's a reason why one of the best episode guides for the show is titled The Discontinuity Guide. The Doctor Who Wiki follows this guideline, but does try to indicate which stories are "valid sources". Even if multiple stories disagree about something, as long as they're all valid sources the wiki simply treats each version as a separate account of the events.
    • There's the Cybersnarl created by the incompetent attempts to tie "Attack of the Cybermen" in with "The Tenth Planet", "The Tomb of the Cybermen" and "The Invasion".
    • The most notorious example of this is the "UNIT dating controversy" (yes, we've heard all the slash fiction jokes). At the time that the early-1970s main run of UNIT stories featuring the Third and Fourth Doctors was made, the intention on the part of most of the creators was that they were set 20 Minutes into the Future, with a more active space programme and slightly higher tech generally, although no attempt was made to alter fashion and vehicles. There were few actual in-canon references — the most explicit one is Sarah's claim in "Pyramids of Mars" to come from 1980. However, the later story "Mawdryn Undead" explicitly states that the Brigadier retired before 1977, suggesting that the earlier stories were set at broadcast date. Fans learnt to shudder when the topic of what exact decade(s) the UNIT stories were set in is raised, before the new series demonstrated how much worse it could get. Precisely when the UNIT stories were set may be unclear, but at least we know which order they took place in.
      • The UNIT dating controversy is lampshaded by the Doctor in the new series, who mentions not being entirely sure when precisely he worked for them, narrowing it down to roughly some time in the 70's or 80's. In "The Day of the Doctor" has Kate Stewart (the Brig's daughter) mention that UNIT used a few differing dating methods back then, so even they are a little muddled on the issue as well.
    • The Eighth Doctor's continuity doesn't even try to make sense simultaneously. His only definitively canon stories are his birth in the telemovie and his death in "The Night of the Doctor"; the novels, audio plays and comics made it clear early on that they're not concerned with outright contradicting each other for the sake of telling their own stories. The 40th anniversary audio drama "Zagreus" has the Eighth Doctor see alternate Universes and mention his adventures in other continuities.
      • Though in "The Night of the Doctor" he does mention his Big Finish companions, and Big Finish tries to fit in with New Who.
    • With the new series and spin offs, we don't even know that. Most of this confusion is due to Rose "losing" a year in "Aliens of London", putting most of the first season's contemporary stories in 2006, a year after broadcast. However, despite being consistent with this for the first couple of years, by Series 4, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, they began using the same year as production, even though they were mentioning past events that should have happened next year.
      • When Russell T. Davies stepped down as showrunner for Doctor Who, one of the last things he did was to undo this "year ahead" scenario by setting the Tenth Doctor's final story in December 2009, same as its broadcast. This mostly worked everything out for the next few years.
      • Bringing UNIT into the mix again, "The Power of Three" (aired 2012) takes place over a year, in either 2014-15 or 2015-16. However, "The Day of the Doctor" (aired 2013) is retroactively placed into 2013 by later series. Again, this leads to characters knowing things they shouldn't know yet.
      • The 2014 episode "In the Forest of the Night" vaguely established a two-years-ahead timeframe for modern-day episodes, which was almost immediately ignored by succeeding episodes and spin-off media.
    • There are sound arguments that The Sarah Jane Adventures story "Revenge of the Slitheen" happened after "Smith and Jones", and equally sound arguments it happened first. Evidence that "Revenge of the Slitheen" comes second include a mention in the previous episode (chronologically a week earlier) that it takes place eighteen months after the events of "School Reunion" and the plot of "Revenge" seeming to take place at the beginning of the school year. However, "Turn Left" has the cast of Series 1 of The Sarah Jane Adventures enter the plot of "Smith and Jones" which seems to take place — at the latest — in May due to Doctor Who series 3 having a plot point revolving around an election (British elections take place in May).
    • It was assumed through most of the Moffat era that the aborted "metacrisis" regeneration from the RTD era did not count as a full regeneration towards the thirteen-regeneration limit. In "The Time of the Doctor" it was revealed that it did, which retroactively screwed up a lot of Moffat stories. For example, when the Doctor is poisoned in "Let's Kill Hitler", he says to himself that he'll just regenerate and the TARDIS informs him that he can't... but he was already out of regenerations anyway, so regeneration would never have been an option and he has no reason to lie when he's the only one listening. Some inconsistencies can be handwaved as lack of character knowledge, but it makes no sense that, say, the Silence (a religious order dedicated solely to studying and killing the Doctor) didn't know about his regeneration but the Daleks (who previously had all knowledge of the Doctor erased) do.
      • Also, in "Nightmare in Silver", the Doctor says that he could force a regeneration to get the Cyber Planner out of his head, which is again contradicted by the Eleventh Doctor being at the end of his regeneration limit.
      • One point that can't be handwaved as character knowledge no matter how you slice it is the fact that in "The Angels Take Manhattan", the Doctor uses regeneration energy to heal River Song's broken wrist despite him supposedly having none left. There have been a few attempts in the expanded universe to patch this one up.
    • Doctor Who avoids it more than most decades-long franchises because the show embraces its Narm Charm so much and features Time Travel. It's got no "why do the Klingons look different" situations because Zygons are still red, rubbery, and suction cup-y, and Daleks are still evil pepper shakers of doom — prop quality has advanced but the look hasn't — and no "why did the year 2000 look super futuristic then but now looks like the actual year 2000 did" questions because cracks in time ate that Dalek invasion you don't remember — the malleability of reality in this show means it's part of continuity that continuity is flexible. The TARDIS interior goes from the 60s and 70s idea of futuristic in the 60s and 70s to looking organic because it's a Living Ship in the Russell T Davies seasons to The Alleged Car, Spaceship Edition in the Amy and Rory years to The New '10s' idea of futuristic in the Clara years because it's a Living Ship, Genius Loci, and Eldritch Location that can change anything about its inner dimension on a whim. Some things seem more advanced at an earlier point in their own history for simpler reasons — aesthetics change and in the year 5000 when he'll be made, K9 will look modern again.
  • Friends:
    • As a long-running show there's bound to be one or two things that don't add up, but a pretty bad one occurs in Season 1 that there's little excuse for because it comes about in the space of two episodes right at the start of the show. There's barely any continuity to screw up. One episode centers on Ross moping because it's the anniversary of his first having sex with Carol (and also losing his virginity). Monica is the one who first remembers, which is Squicky but Ross says there were few people he didn't tell. In the very next episode, Monica says the line "Wow, my brother didn't even tell me when he lost his virginity."
    • Chandler and Rachel are shown interacting in Thanksgiving flashbacks to their teen years, and in a flashback to a few months before the series began, and yet in the pilot they're introduced as total strangers. Ross gets a "You remember..." before his name, so Chandler ought to as well.
    • In one of the early episodes, Phoebe is talking to a professional guitar player, Stephanie, and knows the real names of the chords. Several seasons later, when she was teaching Joey how to play a guitar, she appeared not to know the real names, and instead used her own made-up names (like Bear Claw).
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its spinoffs Xena: Warrior Princess and Young Hercules were notorious for this. Some specific examples:
    • "Hercules and the Amazon Women" established Hercules, Iolaus, and their peers as having been conditioned since birth to believe women are inferior and should Stay in the Kitchen. After meeting the Amazons for the first time, Hercules slowly realizes that this line of thinking is wrong and becomes respectful to women for the rest of the series. However, Hercules and his friends met the Amazons and several other Action Girls as teenagers in Young Hercules, and had plenty of respect for women at this time.
    • The god Strife gets killed by a god-slaying weapon in "Armageddon Now: Part 1", and Zeus gets killed in "God Fearing Child", yet Strife appears in "Yes Virginia, There Is A Hercules" (which is set in the modern day), while Zeus is mentioned as being active. Some fans have Handwaved this by suggesting the two may have been resurrected somewhere down the line.
    • In Young Hercules, Jason was a teenager just like Hercules and Iolaus. In the main series, Jason is an old man who eventually dates and marries Hercules' mother Alcmeme and had been an active soldier when Hercules had been conceived.
    • "Ten Little Warlords" claims Ares' sword is the source of his powers. When it is lost, he will lose his powers and whoever claims it will become the new god of war. In the meantime, everyone becomes overly aggressive because there is no god of war to control anger and hate. In other episodes, Ares' powers are internal just like every other god. Also, when he is depowered at other times, people's personalities stay the same.
    • "Hercules in the Underworld" has Hercules venture into the Underworld and meeting Hades for the first time. Hercules did it as a teenager in an episode of Young Hercules.
    • Zeus' twin sons Castor and Pollux appear in Young Hercules, and Castor eventually gets murdered. Castor and Pollux later appear in the Xena episode "Little Problems"... and are portrayed as conjoined twins.
    • "Once a Hero" showed a reunion between the Argonauts. Young Hercules showed the original adventure of the Argonauts. Other than Hercules, Jason, and Iolaus, the crew members all had different names.
  • How I Met Your Mother, a show normally outstanding in its continuity, has a couple of small errors:
    • At Lily and Marshall's wedding, Scooter states that his real name is Bill. But in season 8, it's revealed that his original name is Jeffrey.
    • In the first season, Marshall comments that he's never been in a fight before. However, later seasons reveal that years of brutal fights with his brothers have made him an excellent fighter, and he is able to knock out a large man with one punch.
    • The season 1 Halloween Episode has Robin give a big speech about how she could never play team sports - and would only play tennis - establishing that she has trouble mixing with others. A handful of episodes later has her state that she missed her prom for field hockey nationals. Subsequent episodes referenced her hockey background.
    • In the season 4 episode "Little Minnesota", Robin and Marshall bond over their similar backgrounds (she misses Canada; he misses Minnesota). They spend the whole episode hanging out with each other and going to Canada/Minnesota-themed bars. Despite this, the season 6 episode "The Mermaid Theory" revolves around the fact that Robin and Marshall have never spent any time with just the two of them.
  • iCarly, Zoey 101, and Victorious share a universe, resulting in a Celebrity Paradox. Drake & Josh is a piece of Recursive Canon in that universe, and has Drake Bell the actor (not Drake Parker the character), show up in Zoey 101. Then in "iStart A Fan War", an episode of iCarly, they include a cameo by a pair of Drake & Josh characters. One episode even has Carly and Spencer watching an episode of Drake & Josh, and the Victorious episode "Who Did It To Trina" explicitly states that Drake & Josh is a TV show. Even though the episode before it had Helen, one of the main characters from Drake & Josh appear and reference characters from Drake & Josh.
  • I Dream of Jeannie was infamous for this:
    • In the first series it was explained that Jeannie had been a mortal girl who was turned into a genie (and trapped in a bottle) by an evil djinn who fell in love with her. Starting in the second series, Jeannie was born a genie, and all of her relatives were genies as well, notably her evil sister.
    • A series one episode featured Jeannie losing a potential career as an actress when it was revealed that she could not be filmed. Many later episodes forgot about this, with one episode featuring Jeannie getting targeted by thieves after appearing with an ancient jewel in a photo, and another episode featuring a scandal when Jeannie and Tony are photographed together. The Wedding episode bizarrely brought back the idea, where complications arose when Jeannie got not be photographed for her wedding.
    • Finally, what would happen if Jeannie and Tony got married. In an early episode, it is said that Jeannie would lose her powers if she married a human, but her children could still be genies. When they actually married in the show, Jeannie still kept her powers. On the issue of the children, in the TV movies, it was originally shown that Jeannie's son did inherit his powers, but the second movie portrayed him as a mortal.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider OOOs= appearance in Kamen Rider Doubles movie and their crossover movie Movie War Core has... issues with OOOs TV series continuity. Whilst this would not be a problem for Kamen Rider traditionally (what with each Heisei Rider series until Kamen Rider Decade being self-contained) the fact that Double's canon across all medias is very tight creates OOOs problems. Examples include Gotou becoming Birth (his not getting to be Birth is a major part of his character arc) and OOO's medal count (he switches between forms he never had all the medals for at the same time at any point in the series.)
    • And Giru existing. In the series, Giru is never active. A complete set of ten Core Medals for a dinosaur Greeed exists, and five wind up in Eiji and five wind up in Maki. Also, there were Out Of Character Moments with the OOO crew, as all the details of the series hadn't been finalized when the movie was produced. This results in a movie that is clearly a direct continuation of Double but just as clearly can't be in continuity for OOO.
      • Making it more confusing, every crossover from that point on has references to the previous one. In Movie Wars Core, Eiji (OOO) helps save one of Shotaro (Double)'s friends, prompting Shotaro to say "That's another one I owe you", referring to Eiji's Big Damn Heroes moment from the Double movie. In Movie Wars Megamax, Shotaro mentions repaying this debt, as well as quoting what Eiji said when they first metnote ; on top of that, Eiji recognizes Gentaro (Kamen Rider Fourze) thanks to his Big Damn Heroes moment in the stand-alone OOO movie.
      • One possible explanation for why the continuity of OOO's segment doesn't fit with that of the show is that said segment takes place over time - with the exception of Girunote  and the Out Of Character Moments for the castnote , the rest can be accounted for this waynote . Although it's also worth noting that in the movie, the Toride Vendor is shown being able to fly, an ability it does not have in the shownote .
      • The summer movie for OOO is better, but not by much, although unlike Movie War Core, it's written by the writer of the TV series - it's stated to take place in between episodes 36 and 37, but:
      • Ankh has all of his core medals, but when the movie takes place, Ankh Lost is still around, meaning Ankh can't have all of them.
      • Although Gamel and Mezool are still around, Uva was destroyed in episode 36.
      • Fourze cameos in the movie, but when the movie takes place (June 2011, as evident by Akira Date being Birth) occurs prior to Fourze becoming a Rider.
    • On the topic of Kamen Rider, there's the 3 alternate ending films for Kamen Rider Ryuki, Kamen Rider Faiz, and Kamen Rider Blade. While there's evidence in all 3 as to when they are supposed to take place, all 3 of them have elements that contradict what's happened in the series proper at that point - i.e., Episode Finalnote  has Shinji and Yui meet prior to the series, which is never statednote ; Paradise Lostnote  has the Delta gear destroyed, whereas in the series proper, it's still intact at the time the movie takes placenote ; and Missing Acenote  a), incorrectly states that humanity was the winner of the Battle Royale that occured prior to the series (when it was the Human Undead), and b), by having the Joker Undead be the last Undead to be sealed, technically means that the Albino Joker Undead won the Battle Royale depicted in the series, when it's established that, should that happen, The End of the World as We Know It will happen (yet it's stated that the movie is set 4 years after the TV series); the series itself averted this by having Kazuma turn himself into a Joker Undead and staying away from Hajime/the first Joker Undead, locking the battle in a stalemate.
    • And then there's the summer movie for Kamen Rider Kiva. While the presense of Kiva's Emperor Form but lack of Ixa Rising suggests it takes place some time in between episodes 24 and 27note , it can't take place in that time period, since a), Wataru is shown going to high schoolnote , b), he finds out about the arms monsters and Castle Doran's ability to go back in time, and c), Yuri learns Wataru is Kivanote . Aside from the aforementioned lack of Ixa Rising, Kamen Rider Saga and the Zanvat Sword not appearing in this film at all makes it impossible to take place over time. Much like with the summer movie for OOO, these exist despite the movie having the same writer as the TV series.
  • Don't try to figure out M*A*S*H's timelinenote . Many have tried and it just gave them a headache:
    • To get into the show's worst offenses, when Colonel Potter takes over the camp, it's explicitly stated to be September 19, 1952, but a later episode opened on New Year's Eve, 1950 with Potter and Winchester there. And The Korean War started in late June of 1950, so apparently the show's first five seasons with Colonel Blake and Frank took place over the course of barely more than five months. And early episodes with Blake and Frank tended to give the year as 1951 or 1952. And the September 19, 1952 date doesn't work very well even on its own since it requires that eight seasons take place over the course of ten months.
    • The Boxing Day episode begins on Christmas Day, with some British officers visiting the unit talking about wanting to get back to their own unit for Boxing Day, which doesn't correspond well with events of any of the other Christmas episodes.
    • In a Season 3 episode, Hawkeye talks about the death of Doctor Charles Drew and says it was "last April." Drew Died in April of 1950. That would put this episode some time in 1951.
    • A few episodes later in Season 3, Hawkeye says he's been in Korea for two years. If he got there when the war broke out in June of 1950, which doesn't seem likely since he was drafted, that would make it some time in 1952 at the earliest.
    • In the episode where BJ arrives, Hawkeye states that he had Trapper as his roommate for over a year, and in another he states that Trapper was already at the 4077th when he arrived. That doesn't work with the above statement he's been in Korea for two years when Trapper was still there.
      • Shortly thereafter, Hawkeye mentions that Nixon is Vice-President. Nixon was elected Vice-President in November 1952 along with President Eisenhower, but wouldn't have been inaugurated until January 1953. Even if you make the argument that Nixon is still Vice President-Elect, this puts this season 4 episode in late 1952. Seeing how many later episodes reference Truman as president and one episode lasting a year, there's no way to reconcile this episode's status as early in BJ's tenure since it's devoted to his writing a letter to his wife telling her about his relatively new situation.
    • It gets worse if you try to reconcile the series with the actual course of the Korean War. Every episode seems to take place at a point in the war when Korea is divided about evenly between communist and allied forces. Seoul is consistently under allied control and the 4077th is regularly said to be located near Uijeongbu. This makes it unlikely that many episodes take during the first year of the war, when the front lines were moving rapidly. Instead, the whole series appears to take place during the final two years of the war, in which there was a WWI-style stalemate in the center in the Korea.
  • Misfits took the odd step of dating its final episode as taking place exactly a year after its first. This removed the implausibility of people keeping their crazy powers a secret for years at a time, but made it impossible for the show's 37 episodes to fit into that time period. Most episodes take place over a few days or weeks and most of the season premieres imply that months have passed while the show has been off air.
  • There have been three seasons of Power Rangers that have shown variations on the future: Power Rangers S.P.D. (2025), Power Rangers Time Force (3000), and Power Rangers RPM (undefined; somewhere between Next Sunday A.D. and 20 Minutes into the Future). Trying to fit them together can be problematic, especially since the various showrunners are unclear on whether or not RPM is an Alternate Continuity. (Of course, it's not too hard to weld together the three seasons, since Time Force shows wastelands that could have been created in RPM. The biggest bone of contention about SPD revolves around the amount of aliens living on Earth which had disappeared before the chronologically later seasons. It's not a huge stretch to assume that by the time of RPM and Time Force, the aliens have become Human Aliens by either adapting to Earth's atmosphere or integrating with humans.)
    • The Power Rangers Samurai team-up "Clash of the Red Rangers" officially shoved RPM into an Alternate Continuity by saying RPM took place in another dimension.
    • In "Alpha's Magical Christmas", a direct-to-video musical released during the second season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has many continuity errors such as the team already being acquainted with Rocky, Adam and Aisha, even though Tommy is still wearing his Green Ranger costume and not the White Ranger one, while Jason, Zack and Trini are "at the Peace Conference", even though they're still Rangers.
    • Here's another one for you: When did Power Rangers first start showing up on earth? In Dino Thunder, Tommy claims that the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers were the first, but then you have seasons like Wild Force and Mystic Force where the organizations the Rangers belong to have existed for decades or even millennia. And even if you argue that those organizations may not have had actual Rangers until their respective seasons began, Power Rangers Samurai outright states that the Samurai Ranger powers have been in use and passed down throughout family lines for centuries. We see flashbacks to the earliest Samurai Rangers in ancient Japan with the exact same Magitek as they present ones use; the only difference is previous teams seem to use the Shinkenger version of the morphers.
    • Dino Thunder does its best to try and tie together all the previous series by being the first since Lost Galaxy to acknowledge that they all exist in the same universe, but creates more inconsistencies, in addition to the above mentioned, Tommy himself is one. First off he is shown working for Doctor Anton Mercer a few years prior. However this contrasts with his previous appearance in the Wild Force episode "Forever Red" where he owns the local hangout and is implied to have a bit of money which seems quite different to assisting a dinosaur professor.
    • Power Rangers Dino Charge seemingly inflated the Snarl Up to Eleven with their second finale, with its Time Travel Plot resulting in only one change: the dinosaurs never went extinct and live with Humans in the modern age. This would have created serious continuity problems had it taken place in the same universe as the prime timeline; luckily, the second season of Power Rangers Ninja Steel included the 25th anniversary episode Dimensions in Danger, which stated that like RPM, Dino Charge took place in a separate dimension.
  • Pretty Little Liars ran into this, especially where Jenna and Toby are concerned. This is probably the result of initially following their book characterizations, then pulling a Wham Episode regarding them and developing them into their own characters butkeeping their new characters for flashbacks where they should be their old selves. Jenna isn't too bad since she's made out to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing in the early books, but Toby goes from a creepy loner Emo Teen pre-character development to having always been an Iron Woobie with no hints of creepiness.
  • Reboot The Guardian Code: Thanks to a Troubled Production and a producer who admitted internally that he'd never watched more than a couple episodes of the first season of the cartoon, attempts to place the two shows in continuity with each other ran smack dab into this issue by the time the first-season finale rolled around.
    • The four main characters learn that the original Mainframe server has seemingly been rebooted, which has set all of the characters inside back to their original factory defaults. Not only does this result in nearly the entire population of the original Mainframe (including Fong, Hack & Slash, Mouse, Mike the TV and all of the other Sprites) being absent for no reason, but Bob is also present on the server, despite the original pilot episode of the cartoon establishing that he is a Guardian who travelled to Mainframe and wasn't present when it was initially formed.
    • Additionally, the characters are greatly changed from their first appearances in the series. Bob is missing most of the personality he had in the original pilot episode when he is re-introduced, and his opening lines are the speech given at the beginning of each episode of the cartoon. Hexadecimal inexplicably has the ability to have facial expressions (something she was expressly given then had taken away in the My Two Bobs season). Conversely, Dot Matrix (an Action Girl and savvy businesswoman in the cartoon) hides behind her kid brother when Megabyte threatens the group.
    • The User (a Basement-Dweller fanboy who is obsessed with Mainframe) is revealed to have collected merchandise suggesting that events from later on in Mainframe's timeline canonically happened (including the events of Seasons 3 and 4), but have somehow become a Show Within a Show that was marketed to great success.
    • It is claimed by the User that he's finally going to win a Game for the first time in 20 years. This disregards multiple instances where the User won games in the cartoon, including one that occurs in the first ten minutes of the pilot (Hack & Slash bar Bob from entering a game, causing all the Sprites inside to perish when the User wins), along with a very notable case at the end of Season 3 as well as several instances that occur off-screen throughout Season 4.
    • The sequence with the User accessing Mainframe again suggests that the system is actually some type of online server that has reactivated — except it throws continuity under the bus within the same episode by showing that Mainframe is already running on a server locating within Room 01 in the school. Additionally, this is a marked change from the original cartoon, where the entire show is implied to have been running solely on the User's computer — the finale of the original run was caused by Enzo, Bob and the other Sprites allowing so much damage to happen to the computer (due to botched Games and the null errors it generated) that the User was forced to reboot the operating system to get it back to working order.
  • RoboCop: The Series sees this with regards to when in its timeline Alex Murphy was turned into the titular cyborg. The pilot states that RoboCop and Pudface Morgan had the encounter that disfigured Morgan five years ago. However, in the episode "Zone Five", it was stated that Murphy was killed (the very thing that allowed OCP to use him to make RoboCop) three years ago.
  • Smallville:
    • Moira Sullivan, mother of Chloe Sullivan, is nothing more than a walking Continuity Snarl. Her past varies slightly every time in her few appearances, the difference usually including the time when she left Chloe.
    • When Christopher Reeve died, it was decided the Recurring Character he played, Dr. Virgil Swann, had died with him and Swann's death was revealed in a mid-Season Four episode. Three years later. Swann's daughter showed up and claimed her father had actually been poisoned by Lionel Luthor. The problem is that early in Season Four, Lionel had gone through a conversion period into a sincere good guy. He was even a bit of a goody-two-shoes. While this "goody-two-shoes" phase didn't last, it started long before the episode that revealed Swann's death, and didn't end till shortly afterwards (and the same episode that revealed Swann's death also established he'd been alive a week earlier). It doesn't seem likely Lionel would've had Swann killed during this period.
  • As mentioned above, Star Trek also suffers from this, despite efforts from the writers to avoid this.
    • A particularly embarrassing debate is the question of why Klingons look completely different in the original series to the rest. And a Klingon easily passing himself off as human was a plot point in one episode, so it can't be excused as Special Effect Failure. It was lampshaded in one Deep Space Nine episode, but deliberately wasn't explained (the DS9 writers stated they realised any explanation, especially a virus-based one (which they had considered but abandoned) would be underwhelming, forced and ridiculous so decided to acknowledge it in a humorous way but not insult the fanbase with a horrible technobabble solution). Enterprise made it worse, with their ridged Klingons (so they had them, then lost them, then got them back?) and decided to create an explanation in the fourth season, which is when it truly remembers "we're a prequel series" and starts to tell the story of how the TOS-era Trek Verse came to be. The TOS Klingons are the descendants of several Klingon colonies that got infected by a virus that caused a genetic mutation that made them look more human. Said virus was created by a Klingon scientist hoping to enhance Klingon soldiers using DNA from genetically engineered humans, after said genetically engineered humans 1) kicked their asses, 2) stole one of their ships, and 3) flew circles around the Earth Starfleet's flagship. Apparently, reconstructive surgery in the Enterprise episode suggests that individual gene therapy became possible between ENT and Deep Space Nine, thus explaining Kang, Kor, and Koloth's sudden appearances of ridges in the latter, and also the appearance of ridged Klingons in Star Trek Into Darkness. The video game Star Trek Online tries to fix this by explaining that B'Vat, a war-hungry Klingon from the 25th Century kidnapped Miral Paris, daughter of B'Elanna and Tom Paris and Messianic Archetype the Kuvah'magh, brought her to the 23rd Century and used her DNA to fix them.
    • The change in their MO from "The Russiansnote  IN SPACE!" to Proud Warrior Race Guys is hinted at in one recently-affected Klingon mentioning having felt fear for the first time since childhood. Apparently they got more underhanded because their personalities were also altered to be more human.
    • The Romulans have actually been snarled for longer than the Klingons. Originally, Romulans were indistinguishable from Vulcans, until TNG re-introduced them and added v-shaped brow ridges, then flip-flopped by having Spock able to pass as a Romulan despite having no ridges. Then there are Romulan spies masquerading as Vulcans and vice versa, with brow ridges apparently having no bearing on easy identification. Enterprise didn't explain how they went from ridged in TFE to not in TOS to ridged again (sorta) in TNG. Then the new movie makes it worse still: Nero and company are not ridged! And no, Alternate Universe doesn't explain things, because it's post-TNG Romulans from the prime universe who changed history. They are very much the same Romulans that existed alongside Picard et al.
    • In the prequel comic to Star Trek (2009), Star Trek: Countdown, it's stated that Nero's crew ritualistically disfigured themselves as a demonstration of mourning for their lost homeworld. You can see in the very first scene with Nero that he has both pointed ears intact, while later in the movie one ear has had the point cut off. The same scene also has much more prominent brow ridges on Nero's face than later in the movie, so it's likely that distorting their ridges was another part of the mourning, along with the tattoos.
      • The loss of the ear came in a Deleted Scene, where Kirk Sr.'s ramming of the Narada disabled the craft and allowed Klingons to capture the Romulan crew. The disfigured ear was the result of some, uhh, Enhanced Interrogation Techniques on the part of the Klingon captors. (This scene also explains why Nero laid low for 20+ years.)
    • Furthermore, the tattoos sported by Nero's crew are given an explanation: Romulan tradition states that when a family member passes away, they apply dyes to their skins, and mourn. When the patterns fade, they move on with their lives. Nero's crew tattooed the symbols onto their bodies, so that they would never move on from the loss of Romulus.
    • And then there's the Eugenics Wars. In the 1967 episode "Space Seed", it's established that the Earth was devastated in the 1990s by a great war fought against (or possibly between) genetically-engineered supermen. Trouble is, Star Trek was still going strong by the time the actual '90s rolled around. And some episodes made in that time and afterwards seem to suggest that the '90s happened like they did in Real Life. But the Eugenics Wars are still canon and an important part of Star Trek's Back Story as they are the origin of iconic villain Khan, as well as being the cause of a centuries-long taboo on genetic augmentation of humans that is a major plot point on Deep Space 9. This has never really been officially resolved, although author Greg Cox wrote a series of Star Trek novels covering the Eugenics Wars, depicting them as part of a Secret History and trying to match it all up with real history.
      • This is thrown out the window by a comic series that has the Reboot!Khan explaining his origins. In his version of history, the Augments did indeed stage a takeover in the 90s, which took all of two weeks. They then started fighting with one another, allowing humans to band together and throw them off. Khan's people are the only ones that made it out thanks to him devoting most of his time to research (he had the SS Botany Bay built to explore the Solar System). Marcus then found the ship, had Khan thawed out, reshuffled his face, and gave him Laser-Guided Amnesia to make him think he really was a Section 31 agent named John Harrison. "Harrison" proceeds to upgrade the Vengeance and re-invents Scotty's long-range transporter, before heading over to blow up Praxis.
    • Another such snarl was created by a throwaway line from The Next Generation where Data points out that Andorian marriages have four individuals in them. One series of tie-in books took this to mean that Andorians have four sexes, with other books taking it to mean that the Andorians practiced complex marriage with two males and two females. Canon had been ambiguous on the issue for years, but eventually went with the complex marriage interpretation by the time of Enterprise.
    • The first appearance of the Borg in "Q Who" established them as something completely alien to the Federation, and it's even stated that they wouldn't have discovered humanity for a while longer if Q hadn't introduced Picard to them. Fast forward to the introduction of Seven of Nine on Voyager, whose backstory is that she was captured by the Borg as a child when her parents were on a trip looking for them, long before "Q Who." If you really want, you can say the Borg's time travel in the First Contact film created some timey-wimeyness that changed all this, but it's probably more trouble than it's worth.
      • Also on Voyager, a couple of formerly-human Borg are said to have been assimilated at Wolf 359. How this could have happened is unclear, since there was one Borg cube there that was completely destroyed in Earth orbit, and if anyone from the fleet at Wolf 359 had been assimilated they would presumably have been killed then.
      • Then there's the Enterprise episode that has two drones from the Queen's Sphere survive the crash, assimilate a bunch of scientists, hijack a transport ship and start heading towards the Delta Quadrant. After the Enterprise destroys it, Phlox reveals that they managed to send a message. Archer figures the subspace message would take about 200 years to reach the Delta Quadrant, putting it in TNG timeframe. The only attempt to keep the continuity intact is that the Borg inexplicably refuse to give their name, even changing their catch phrase to exclude it.
    • Ron Moore discusses the issue in the commentary for First Contact, talking about what a pain it was to retcon the Borg Queen into "The Best of Both Worlds", and suggesting that whoever takes over Trek next should probably just jettison the decades of continuity and start over.
    • Meanwhile, in Star Trek fan fiction, the hugely sprawling Kraith series by Jacqueline Lichtenberg began to experience this, as Lichtenberg almost immediately let other writers "play" in her universe. In an attempt to avoid snarl, a writers' guide and a quality control workshop were established — keep in mind this is for a fan fiction series!, unfortunately leading to Continuity Lockout.
  • In The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Maddie asks London's help to pass gym when she realizes that, despite her pampered lifestyle, the rich girl is in great shape. In the sequel show, Suite Life on Deck, London suddenly needs Zack's help to pass gym.
  • Super Sentai is no stranger to this. At first, its different series didn't try to be in continuity, but teamup episodes do. As they get bigger and bigger, there's now one continuity that seems to contain every franchise ever owned by Toei Company and every franchise Shotaro Ishinomori ever had a hand in. Even so, they don't even try to make them fit now that such crossovers are a thing! For example:
    • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger comes after Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger met members of every team ever at least once. It still comes up with a new take on how Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs that's totally incompatible with all othersnote .
    • When Kamen Rider Decade meets Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, it's as the next Alternate Universe in line as Decade continues his journey through the worlds. It's said more than once that this world has never had Kamen Riders. When Kamen Rider Gaim meets Ressha Sentai ToQger, the city Gaim takes place in is just the next stop on the TOQ trains' path. When Kamen Rider Drive meets Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, they're separate dimensions again, and not only that, the Ninningers stuck in the world of Drive can only remain for a short time before ceasing to exist - a problem that never appeared in any other crossover.
    • Any movie with "War" in the name will have the different Riders and Sentai able to just happen across each other as if they were just in the neighborhood. Even if due to the existence of Decade, Den-O, and Timeranger, time travel and dimension travel are acknowledged, it's never used to say that these are characters with their own self-contained timelines who normally cannot meet. Worldwide invasions will the same Mooks landing outside the school in Fourze and the base in Go-Busters at the same time before anyone knew what was going on to try crossing dimensions or any such thing.
    • Speaking of time travel, some alternate timelines do not get fixed, even as the individual series involved air just as normal next week. Most notably, if the "Let's Go Kamen Riders" movie counts, the world was ruled by a coalition of villains from The '70s to the present day, when all the Kamen Riders who should never have come to be in that timeline were pulled from throughout The Multiverse to clean up. Naturally, OOO continues to tell its story without any sign of having transformed into a former Villain World that was only just brought Back from the Brink yesterday. (You really have to wonder what this means for Mitsuru and Naoki, two kids from the original Kamen Rider who were very important to the film. If the movie doesn't happen, they technically shouldn't have been there... it's best not to think about these things.)
  • On Supernatural, Jack is the son of Lucifer, conceived when the fallen angel possessed President-elect Jefferson Rooney and impregnated presidential aide Kelly Kline. This wouldn't be an issue if the show were in the habit of using fictional Presidents, but previously they had always been the same as in Real Life. And since then President Donald Trump has been referred to, meaning that the Rooney Administration existed only as a transition team on the ground for some reason in late 2016.
  • While The Thick of It maintains unusually high amounts of continuity for a Brit Com, details of Malcolm Tucker's home life are somewhat inconsistent. "Spinners and Losers" reveals he has a niece, but Series 3 shows him spending his birthday alone in his office. The Series Finale, in addition, has him state he has no children, which is potentially contradicted that same episode, when a young boy is seen looking out of the window of his home.
  • Young Sheldon contradicts many things from it's parent show The Big Bang Theory. The widely accepted Fanon is that Sheldon, being the type of person he is, is an Unreliable Narrator and exaggerated or outright lied about certain people in his past:
    • The Cooper house in Young Sheldon is different in the inside and outside compared to the Cooper house in The Big Bang Theory. There has been no mention in the latter show about Sheldon and his family moving after the age of 9, though nothing outright contradicts it either.
    • In "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary", Sheldon says that his childhood bully Billy Sparks lived down the street from him, yet in this show, they appear to be next-door neighbors. And Billy Sparks himself is quite friendly towards everyone, Sheldon included, it's his younger sister Bobbi that's the actual bully. It's possible that Sheldon was too embarrassed to admit to his friends in Pasadena that he was bullied by a girl, and claimed it was Billy instead.
    • The most glaring continuity snarl of all is the characterization of Sheldon's father, George Cooper, Sr. In The Big Bang Theory, George is repeatedly described by both Sheldon and his mother Mary as an idiotic, misogynistic, drunken, abusive, redneck. Yet in Young Sheldon, he's just a regular good ol' boy who treats his family well aside from the occasional squabble. And while George is fond of Lone Star beer (he's said to have drank hard liquor in Big Bang), he drinks responsibly and is never shown drunk. It's strongly implied that George's personality was exaggerated in Big Bang due to Sheldon and Mary holding resentment over George having cheated on Mary shortly before his death, and since the narrator Sheldon is farther along in life than his Big Bang counterpart (he's explicitly stated to have children in the season 1 finale of Young Sheldon and is childless for the entirety of Big Bang), he's Older and Wiser and is able to remember his father the way he really was.
    • Sheldon says in The Big Bang Theory that he went to college after finishing fifth grade at age 11. Young Sheldon has Sheldon attending high school at age 9. Though this snarl also came up in Big Bang before Young Sheldon even aired.


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