Best TV factual errors of 2020

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Selena: The Series picture

Opening Act - S1-E4

Factual error: At the beginning, the screen shows that the year is 1988 in Corpus Christi, TX, then the camera pans into Selena and her sister eating tacos when their friend Jake arrives wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks shirt. The Diamondbacks did not exist in 1988. Phoenix was awarded a Major League Baseball expansion team in 1995 and the Diamondbacks made their debut in 1998, 10 years after this scene takes place. (00:00:30)

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The Queen's Gambit picture

Openings - S1-E1

Factual error: The car accident scene takes place in Kentucky but the state troopers are wearing the uniforms of Pennsylvania state troopers evident by the distinctive keystone arm badge.


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Away picture

Negative Return - S1-E2

Factual error: The communication delay for earth-moon communications is around 2.6 seconds. Yet Emma's daughter simply dials a cell phone and is connected to her Mom in space past the moon in less than that. The communication has no time lag. (00:18:45)

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Star Trek: Picard picture

Maps and Legends - S1-E2

Factual error: Picard tells his manservant that Laris and him are more needed at the Chateau than with him in space because there's less than a month left before the harvest. Without being privy to the knowledge of a XXIV century agronomist, grapes at the Chateau are grown with traditional methods in a climate that looks reasonably similar to our own. From the establishing shot at the beginning of this episode and what we could see by his walk in the vineyard in the previous, there are no grapes forming, ripening, not even flowers. Hardly the look of a vineyeard close to harvest. (00:07:00 - 00:36:10)

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Space Force picture

It's Good to Be Back on the Moon - S1-E9

Factual error: The Apollo 11 flag gets knocked over by the Chinese rover...but the flag was blown over by the Eagle's takeoff thrust, witnessed by Buzz Aldrin. This was confirmed years later by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which showed shadows of the flags planted at all six Apollo landing sites, bar Apollo 11's. The other 5 were all planted further from their landing craft precisely for that reason. It's also widely assumed that the flags on the moon would have been bleached white by decades of unfiltered sunlight, not in good condition like the one shown.

Jon Sandys Premium member

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Locke & Key picture

Show generally

Factual error: Despite taking place in Massachusetts and many of the cars having Massachusetts license plates, none of the vehicles has the required annual inspection sticker on the lower part of the passenger side of the windshield.

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Perry Mason picture

Chapter Five - S1-E5

Factual error: Pete uses the term "throwing shade" when talking to Perry Mason in the middle of the episode. As this show is set in 1932, the phrase "throwing shade" did not yet exist (the phrase was first introduced in the 1990s). (00:35:00)

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Suggested correction: The phrase was not first introduced in the 1990's. While it did become popular in the 1980's, the idea of "throwing shade" as an idiom would have been around before then. A variation of the idiom is found in writings from the 1800's, for example "Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen.


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Ratched picture

Show generally

Factual error: The show, which is set in California in 1947, mentions the gas chamber, lethal injection and the electric chair as methods of execution in the state. Two murderers are sentenced to death by lethal injection and one is depicted being instead executed in the electric chair, which the governor states has been brought out of retirement for the occasion. In fact, California adopted the gas chamber as its sole method of execution in 1937 (having previously used hanging). Lethal injection was not used in the United States at all until 1982 and not adopted in California until 1993 (becoming the prime method in 1996). California has never used the electric chair.


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Next picture

FILE #1 - S1-E1

Factual error: Paul tells Shea that he has a condition called Sporadic Fatal Insomnia. Later, Shea finds a fork in a bag labelled Abby. Paul explains that Abby is his daughter, and he wants to test her DNA, because she has a 50-50 chance of contracting the disease. This is false. Sporadic Fatal Insomnia is not hereditary. Fatal Familial Insomnia is genetic and is the inherited form.


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All Creatures Great and Small picture

A Cure for All Ills - S1-E6

Factual error: At the end of the episode, as the veterinarians are leaving the pub, the camera pans up to the sky and you can see the full moon right next to the north star and the big dipper. In the northern hemisphere the moon is always to the south.


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Tough As Nails picture

Facing Fear - S3-E4

Factual error: The teams are at a US Coast Guard base. Two coasties are introduced. One as a chief (correct) and one as a "Captain." He is not a Captain, he is a Lieutenant. The USCG uses naval ranks, so the person with the two bars is a Lieutenant. A Captain is three pay grades above this, and uses eagles as insignia.


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Emily in Paris picture

Masculin Féminin - S1-E2

Factual error: Emily is in Paris when her boyfriend calls from Chicago and wakes her. She asks the time which he says is 7pm, and she says 3am in Paris, which cannot be. Central European Time is 6 hours ahead of NY and 7 from Chicago. 7 pm in Chicago would be 2 AM in Paris.


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30 Coins picture

Telarañas - S1-E1

Factual error: A man enters a bank and begins firing his Glock 9mm pistol. A few of the men he shoots, jump up in the air after the rounds impact their bodies. Bullets hitting a body will never make it jump, or fly in the air. (00:00:01 - 00:01:46)

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Lovecraft Country picture

Show generally

Factual error: In Massachusetts, Atticus, Leti and George are attacked by the local sheriff and his deputies, who are patrolling the county roads. In Massachusetts, sheriffs run the county jails, but they do not (and did not) handle routine policing, which is the responsibility only of municipal police departments.


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