Television shows often don’t have the luxury of time and attention to detail that film productions do, which can result in the occasional hiccup making its way to air. Common mistakes that tend to plague television shows include:
- Continuity errors,
- Visible crew/equipment,
- Revealing mistakes,
- Factual errors.
Most of the time we don’t even notice these little blunders, but a blatant mistake can completely take the viewer out of the story. With the number of episodes in a television series vastly outweighing that of a feature film, there’s a lot more room for error.
Here are 10 of the biggest mistakes in popular television shows.
1. Supernatural. The long running fantasy horror series has already produced over 250 episodes making it no surprise it has had the odd slip up. The first season saw some minor gaffes including Jensen Ackles’ character calling his co-star by his real name instead of Sam.
However, one of the more prominent oversights was when the duo chased a demon onto a flight and Sam states, “If she’s possessed, she’ll flinch at the name of God. In Latin it’s Christo.” In reality, “Christo” is the name for Christ not God and it’s Greek not Latin.
2. Modern Family. The mockumentary sitcom may have nailed it in the comedy department, but even this Emmy Award winning series has had some muddled moments. In the third season, Phil Dunphy learns how to walk on a tightrope. However, two seasons earlier, he states that he was an expert tightrope walker due to his time spent at trapeze camp.
Another factual error surrounds Mitchell and Cameron’s adoption. While it’s stated a number of times that the two adopted Lily from Vietnam, this is legally impossible because Vietnam’s laws forbid a child to be adopted by a same sex couple.
3. Mad Men. Setting a show in a specific time period opens up a lot of room for mistakes and Mad Men has had a few factual errors slip by. Set in the early 1960’s, many viewers have noticed a number of things that hadn’t been invented yet.
One of the more notable blunders was when Joan mentioned a reservation at the restaurant Le Cirque, a famous New York restaurant that wasn’t opened until 1974.
4. Breaking Bad. The acclaimed series doesn’t have a lot of major mistakes, but a few minor ones managed to slip by. In one scene, Walt breaks into Jesse’s house and steals his stash. However, a crew member is visibly peeking from behind a door.
The show took place in 2007, which opened it up to some timeline inconsistencies. One character mentions the death of Osama Bin Laden who wasn’t killed until 2011.
5. Orange Is The New Black. Netflix’s successful prison drama has had a number of minor continuity hiccups, but one of the more glaring mistakes was in the eighth episode of the fourth season. Tiffany asks a guard where he would time travel to, which he responds by saying 1999 to attend a Judas Priest concert to get close to Rob Halford. However, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens was the lead singer in 1999 not Halford.
Another notable flub was in the first episode when we see Alex’s salt shaker tattoo, which ended up changing positions in later episodes.
6. Big Bang Theory. Fact-checking is a must when the series centers around characters who are supposed to be geniuses.
A few mistakes have managed to slip through production including Sheldon misquoting the rules of Gremlins, which is not in his character.
7. Sons of Anarchy. The popular series has had its fair share of continuity and factual errors that probably went unnoticed by fans. Throughout the series, many officers of the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office are called “Sheriffs,” but they would actually be referred to as “Deputy.”
Another notable mistake is in a scene when Opie breaks into a car in the second season. While his technique with the slim jim is correct, the shot shows that the car is visibly already unlocked.
8. Grey’s Anatomy. A lot of nurses and doctors can’t watch medical shows due to the glaring inaccuracies despite medical advisers often being on set. Grey’s Anatomy has had its fair share of factual errors throughout its many seasons.
When Derek performs CPR on Meredith in the third season finale, he gives one breath and five compressions instead of two and thirty, which is something his character should be well aware of. Also, a doctor would use BVM to ventilate a drowning victim, not mouth to mouth.
9. Supergirl. The show may stay faithful to the superhero’s origins, but even this show has faced a few continuity errors.
One of the more glaring mistakes was in season 2 episode 8 when James and Winn argue in whispers about Kara, which is pretty ill-advised since it’s been established that she has superhuman hearing.
10. Stranger Things. Netflix’s hit series may have nailed 80’s nostalgia, but it felt victim to timeline inconsistency. In the second episode, Chief Hopper is seen with a modern Motorola walkie, which wasn’t invented until at least a decade later.
Another factual error occurs in the season finale when Nancy is shooting the creature for a second time. Nancy fires at least 8 shots from a 6-shot revolver, which is impossible, particularly because she’s not seen reloading.