To cite a TV show or movie you watched on a streaming service, follow the guidelines below. Remember, the key to making good citations is to give credit to the right people/organization. You can apply these formulas to any TV or movie content you watch on any streaming service, including Netflix, Google Play, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.
When citing a specific episode:
“Grief Counseling.” The Office, season 3, episode 4, NBC, 12 Oct. 2006. Netflix, www.netflix.com/watch/798356483?
When citing an entire TV series:
Daniels, Greg and Roger Nygard, creators. The Office. Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, 2006. Netflix, http://www.netflix.com/watch/798356483?
Films or Movies
Films should be listed alphabetically by their title. Include the name of the director, the film studio or distributor, and the release year. If relevant, list performer names after the director’s name.
Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Bill Condon, performances by Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, and Josh Gad, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2017. Netflix, http://www.netflix.com/watch/798356483?
*These examples are in MLA 8 format.
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How to Cite a TV Episode
Three Methods:Citing a TV Episode in MLACiting a TV Episode in ChicagoCiting a T.V. Episode in American Psychology Association Style (APA)Community Q&A
When writing a research paper, you will be using other people's ideas. As you use them, you must tell your reader where those ideas originated, because otherwise you are committing plagiarism, which means stealing others ideas without giving them credit. You will most likely use standard sources like books and journal articles for most of your essay writing. Sometimes, however, you may use more unusual sources, like TV episodes. Many style guidelines exist, all of which tell you how to cite sources properly. From the Modern Language Association's (MLA) style guidelines to Chicago style, each one is a little bit different. Usually, you're school will tell you what guidelines they want you to use. Below, you'll find how to cite a TV episode in MLA, Chicago, and APA style. Note that a TV show can be described as broadcast (meaning you watched it while it aired on TV), or from a format (like a DVD or VHS).
1Citing a TV Episode in MLA
Note that MLA differentiates between broadcast and recorded TV shows. In MLA, the guidelines have a division between a broadcast television episode and one that is recorded. However, they both begin the same way and only change after you write the name of the series.
2Start with the title of the episode. Put quotation marks around it because it is a short work. You will use the title to alphabetize it in the reference page. Use a period before the last quotation mark. Next, put the show title in italics:
- "'The Wind in the Tree.' Fashion for Winners." If it is a recorded episode, use the title of the disc or DVD set: "'The Wind in the Tree.' Fashion for Winners: The Second Season."
3Create the rest of the citation for a broadcast episode. In the broadcast citation, you next write the station (with a period) plus the call letters of the station, a comma, and the location. Then, you'll include the date it aired, plus the fact that it was on television:
- "'The Wind in the Tree.' Fashion for Winners. Fox. WBT, Okemah. 15 Jan. 2009. Television."
4Finish up the citation for the recorded episode. For a recorded program, you'll next include the distributor and the date it was published. Also, you add what you viewed it on after a period following the date:
- "'The Wind in the Tree.' Fashion for Winners: The Second Season. Jon and George Movies, 2011. DVD."
- If you want, you can also include information about the director, actors, and so on, with the addition of abbreviations in front of their names. You place these names between the title of the series and the distributor's name: "'The Wind in the Tree.' Fashion for Winners: The Second Season. Dir. Jessie Job. Jon and George Movies, 2011. DVD."
5Create an in-text citation. For the in-text citation, all you'll need is a shortened form of the title in parenthesis, unless the title is short already:
- "In the series Fashion for Winners, George talked about his love of beads ("The Wind in the Tree").
2Citing a TV Episode in Chicago
1Create a footnote. For an in-text citation in Chicago, you make a footnote. You click at the end of the sentence after the period and insert a footnote. It creates a superscript number at the end of the sentence with a corresponding number at the bottom of the page.
- Most document-editing software will automatically number footnotes for you.
2Begin your citation with the title of the episode. Once you've created the footnote, click to start typing in the footnote. For an episode on a DVD, begin with the title of the episode in quotation marks:
- For example,"'The Wind in the Tree,'" Note the comma at the end of this title.
3Put the title of the show next and format next. As in MLA, follow that with the title of the show. Use the name of the DVD. Next, add in the format, followed by a comma. The format is the thing you are getting the TV episode from, be it a DVD or a VHS.
- "'The Wind in the Tree,' Fashion for Winners: The Second Season, DVD,"
4Add the name of the director. After the format, include the director, with the words, "directed by":
- "'The Wind in the Tree,' Fashion for Winners: The Second Season, DVD, directed by Jessie Job"
5Write the publication information. Now, you will put the year the show originally aired, followed by a semi-colon, the city or country (of the distributor), and a colon. Next, include the studio/distributor, followed by a comma and the year the video was released. Add a period, and close the parenthesis:
- "'The Wind in the Tree,' Fashion for Winners: The Second Season, DVD, directed by Jessie Job (2009; Oklahoma City: Jon and George Movies, 2011.)"
6Convert your footnotes to a reference page. To convert this footnote to a reference, you are basically going to change most of the commas to periods, remove the parenthesis, and capitalize "directed." Also, do not cite the episode:
- "Fashion for Winners: The Second Season. DVD. Directed by Jessie Job. 2009. Oklahoma City: Jon and George Movies, 2011."
7Know that there are some changes you must make for a citation about a broadcast episode. For a footnote for a broadcast episode, you begin the same way, though you just use the name of the series. Also, begin with the name of the show, followed by the episode. Next, add in the station, followed by a comma and the air date. Finally, add in the director or writer:
- "Fashion for Winners, 'The Wind in the Tree,' Fox, January 15, 2009, directed by Jessie Job."
8Convert broadcast episode citations to references. To convert this to a reference, change the commas to periods again, take out the episode name and air date, and capitalize "directed":
- "Fashion for Winners. 'The Wind in the Tree.' Fox. Directed by Jessie Job."
3Citing a T.V. Episode in American Psychology Association Style (APA)
1Create an in-text citation. For an in-text citation, place the writer and director followed by the date in parenthesis if introducing the author at the beginning of the sentence:
- "As Job and Rip (2009) wrote in the episode…."
- Alternatively, add all of the info at the end of the sentence in parenthesis: "Scarves are cool (Job and Rip 2009)."
2Begin a reference entry for a TV show you saw on a DVD. For a reference on a DVD, begin with the last name of the writer, followed by a comma and the writer's initials. Next, add the director, last name first, followed by the director's initials. Place the year in parenthesis next. Use the date of release, followed by a period:
- "Rip, R. (Writer), & Job, J. (Director). (2011)."
3Add the title of the episode. Write down the title of the episode, followed with the words "Television series episode" in brackets and a period:
- "Rip, R. (Writer), & Job, J. (Director). (2011). The wind in the tree [Television series episode]." Note that APA uses sentence case for titles, meaning only the first word is capitalized.
4Finalize the reference entry. Next, add the producer, followed by "Producer" in parenthesis. The series title goes after the comma. Place the city and state of origin after the period. Finally, add in a colon and the studio or distributor:
- "Rip, R. (Writer), & Job, J. (Director). (2011). The wind in the tree [Television series episode]. H. Smith (Producer), Fashion for Winners. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Jon and George Movies."
5Cite a broadcast episode. For a broadcast episode, begin with the producer's last name, followed by his or her first initials and "Producer" in parenthesis. Add the air date next in parenthesis. Next, put the title of the episode in quotation marks:
- "Smith, H. (Producer). (2009, January 15). 'The wind in the tree.'"
6Finalize your broadcast episode entry. Place the name of the series behind the name of the episode, followed by "Television broadcast" in brackets. Add the local city, a comma, and the state, followed by the station:
- "Television broadcast" in brackets: "Smith, H. (Producer). (2009, January 15). 'The wind in the tree.' Fashion for winners [Television broadcast]. Okemah, Oklahoma. Fox."
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- The formats listed are the primary formats used for academic citations. A few others, such as American Sociological Association (ASA), are also common. However, ASA does not have a specific format for a television episode.
- For other ways to cite sources, you can check out each of the style guidelines in print form for more information: The Chicago Manual of Style, The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, or American Sociological Association (ASA) Style Guide.