How to Cite a TV Show in MLA – A Guide

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The rules on how to cite a TV show in MLA are different from other style guides’ rules.

Follow the instructions below to learn how to cite a TV show in MLA that you saw via a streaming service. Remember that the key to effective citations is giving credit to the proper persons or organization.

How to Cite a TV Show in MLA – In a Nutshell

  • The MLA format lets you credit any contributor, not the key creators.
  • In-text citations use the contributor’s last name and, if applicable, a time stamp.
  • A forward slash and spaces should separate multiple production companies.

Definition: How to cite a TV show in MLA

To cite a TV episode in MLA format, include:

  • Title
  • Show’s name (in italics)
  • Contributors’ names and roles
  • Season and episode numbers
  • Production or distribution company

In a text citation, quote the episode name. A timestamp can highlight a program’s particular moment.

Below is an example of how to cite a TV show in MLA:

Example: How to cite a TV show in MLA
MLA format
"Episode Title." TV Show Title, created by Creator First Name Last name, Season Number, Episode Number, Production Company or Distribution Company, Year.
MLA Works Cited
"It's Been a Hell of a Ride." Vampire Diaries, created by Brett Matthews, season 8, episode 14, Paramount Pictures Productions, 2017.
MLA in-text citation
("It's Been a Hell of a Ride" 22:34)

How to cite a TV show in MLA: Contributors

MLA is flexible about whom to list as a contributor and where even though TV shows often have several contributors. The choice depends on citation focus.

Specify a person’s role after their name if you want to highlight their contribution.1

Example: Listing Contributors

Vampire Diaries, created by Nina Fiore, music by Bryan Oh, performances by …

In-text citations include only the author of the work. If the Works Cited item starts with the episode or series title, a truncated version is used for the in-text citation.

How to cite a TV show in MLA: Specific formats

Often, it’s enough to state the episode or series without stating the medium. You may add this information if you think it’s relevant.

Discussed below is how to cite a TV show in MLA with different formats:

Streaming services

If you watched the episode on a streaming site such as Netflix or Hulu, include the italicized site’s name and the URL where the episode or series may be found.

Example: How to cite a TV show in MLA
MLA format
"Episode Title." TV Show Title, created by Creator First Name Last name, Season Number, Episode Number, Production Company or Distribution Company, Year. Site Name, URL.
MLA Works Cited entry
"Family." The Witcher, episode 8, Lucasfilm, 2020. Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/watch/80234304.
MLA in-text citation
("Family" 25:15)

DVDs and other home media

If you watched the program on DVD or Blu-ray, add the packaging name, release year, and disc number. If the season is in the title, you can omit it from subsequent references.

Optionally, add the episode’s first airdate after the title.1

Example: How to cite a TV show in MLA
MLA format
"Episode Title." Original broadcast year. DVD Title, created by Creator First Name Last name, Season Number, Episode Number, Production Company, Year, disc Number.
MLA Works Cited entry
"Live Free or Twihard." 2010. Supernatural: Season Six, created by Brett Matthews, episode 5, Universal Pictures, 2010, disc 1.
MLA in-text citation
("Live Free or Twihard" 15:44)

FAQs

To cite a TV episode in MLA format, include:

  • Title
  • Show’s name (in italics)
  • Contributors’ names and roles
  • Season and episode numbers
  • Production or distribution company

In the text, quote the episode’s name.

MLA doesn’t require TV authors. If your reference doesn’t highlight a specific contributor, include the episode or season title in the MLA in-text citation.

Identify the author and role of a highlighted contribution.

If there’s no author, use the source title. In-text MLA titles should be shorter.

In the absence of page numbers, use a chapter number or date in your in-text citation. Without numbered sections, cite the author (or the title) if there are no numbered sections.

“Title of Episode”. Title of Show, contributor role by First Last Name, season, episode, Studio, Year, URL.

Sources

1 Elli, Matt. “How to Cite a TV Show in MLA Format.” Grammarly. Accessed January 4, 2022. https://www.grammarly.com/blog/cite-tv-show-mla/.