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How to Cite a TV Show in MLA Style

Citing TV shows in MLA style requires specific elements: series title, episode title (if applicable), creator(s), network, and original air date. For streaming services, include the platform name and URL. These details apply to both in-text citations and Works Cited entries.

Essential Components of a TV Show Citation in MLA

Core Elements

When citing a TV show in MLA, certain core elements must be included. These elements provide the foundational details needed to identify the source:

  • Title: The title of the episode, enclosed in quotation marks.
  • Contributors: Names of directors, writers, or performers relevant to your discussion.
  • Season and Episode: The specific season and episode numbers, formatted as “season number, episode number.”

For example:

“Title of Episode.” Title of Series, created by Creator’s Name, season number, episode number, Production Company, Year of Release.

Optional Elements

Depending on the context and availability, you may also include:

  • Network: The network that aired the show.
  • Date: The air date of the episode.
  • URL: If the show is accessed online, the URL can be provided.

For instance:

“Pilot.” Breaking Bad, created by Vince Gilligan, season 1, episode 1, AMC, 2008.

Citing Different Types of TV Shows

How to Cite a Single Episode

Citing a single episode involves including all the core elements and optional elements if relevant. For example:

“Winter Is Coming.” Game of Thrones, directed by Tim Van Patten, written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, season 1, episode 1, HBO, 2011.

How to Cite an Entire Series

When citing an entire series, focus on the overall creators and production details:

Friends, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, Warner Bros. Television, 1994-2004.

Special Cases: Web-Based TV Shows

For web-based TV shows, the citation might look slightly different due to the inclusion of streaming platforms:

“Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers.” Stranger Things, created by The Duffer Brothers, season 1, episode 1, Netflix, 2016, www.netflix.com.

In-Text Citations for TV Shows

Parenthetical Citations for TV Shows

In-text citations for TV shows in MLA typically include the title of the episode and season/episode numbers in parentheses:

(“Winter Is Coming,” season 1, episode 1).

Integrating TV Show Citations into Your Text

Integrating citations smoothly into your text ensures readability. For example:

In the pilot episode of Breaking Bad, we see Walter White’s transformation begin (“Pilot,” season 1, episode 1).

Examples of TV Show Citations in MLA

Detailed Examples for Single Episodes

Here are more detailed examples:

“The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate.” Friends, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, season 1, episode 1, NBC, 1994.

Examples for Citing Entire Series

When citing an entire series:

The Office, created by Greg Daniels, NBC, 2005-2013.

Example Citations for Streaming Services

For streaming services:

“The Mandalorian.” The Mandalorian, created by Jon Favreau, season 1, episode 1, Disney+, 2019, www.disneyplus.com.

Helpful Resources for MLA Citations

For accurate citations, you can take help from WriterBuddy’s MLA TV Show Citation tool. This tool simplifies the citation process and ensures that all necessary elements are included.

FAQs

How do I cite a single episode of a TV show in MLA style?

To cite a single episode, include the episode title, series title, contributors, season and episode numbers, network, and year of release. For example:
“Winter Is Coming.” Game of Thrones, directed by Tim Van Patten, written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, season 1, episode 1, HBO, 2011.

Can I include a URL when citing a TV show accessed online?

Yes, if the TV show is accessed via a streaming service, include the URL at the end of your citation. For instance: “Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers.” Stranger Things, created by The Duffer Brothers, season 1, episode 1, Netflix, 2016, www.netflix.com.

What should I do if I need to cite an entire TV series?

When citing an entire TV series, focus on the overall creators and production details. Example:
Friends, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, Warner Bros. Television, 1994-2004.

How do I integrate TV show citations into my text using MLA style?

Use parenthetical citations that include the episode title and season/episode numbers. For example: In the pilot episode of Breaking Bad, we see Walter White’s transformation begin (“Pilot,” season 1, episode 1).

Conclusion

MLA citations for TV shows include the series title, episode title (if relevant), creator(s), network, and original air date. For streaming shows, add the platform and URL. Use the series title for in-text citations. Create a full entry in your Works Cited list. Always check current MLA guidelines for the most up-to-date rules.

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