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The title of a new television show is usually the first thing a potential audience learns about said television show, and even the most open-minded viewers among us are occasionally guilty of allowing a poorly-thought-out or ridiculous-sounding name to affect our uninformed opinion.

Every once in a while, a series rises above its silly or misleading title and makes us regret having judged it prematurely. Take The CW's upcoming dramedy Jane the Virgin, for example—when the show was first announced, we rolled our eyes, but now it's one of our most anticipated new shows of the fall.

Below, I've listed a handful of shows whose unfortunate names obscured the magic within. Some went on to achieve greatness despite their terrible monikers, while others did not. Share your own examples in the comments!


Terriers

One of the most obvious examples of a series being hindered by its title is FX's short-lived drama Terriers, which many people wrongfully assumed was about dogs. Spoiler alert: It was actually about two amateur private investigators and their personal lives, and it was one of the most compelling new series of 2010. We're still upset that it didn't live to see Season 2. 


Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I think we can all agree that Buffy is a silly and misleading name for someone whose job is to slay vampires, demons, and forces of darkness. I mean, it was chosen precisely for that reason, but still, BUFFY? Come on.


Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23


While it's true that Krysten Ritter's titular B---- couldn't always be trusted (she was a con artist, after all), it's not like she was a malicious murderer or anything—she was just a fun-loving party girl who made a point of looking out for No. 1. Not only did Don't Trust the B----'s negative name suggest that maybe the show itself couldn't be trusted, it totally undersold the rest of the show's cast, which was largely delightful. Plus, it was too long and those hyphens were super annoying; even the pilot title of Apartment 23 or the original pitch title of Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 would've been an improvement.  


Dirty Sexy Money


Did this primetime soap feature money that was both dirty and sexy? Or was the title just a string of descriptive words for the opulent Darling clan? We still don't know, but the lame title didn't sell this fun and funny series as well as it could have.


Cougar Town


Cougar Town was a terrible title even when it matched the show's premise, and it only got worse as the series progressed. While the Bill Lawrence sitcom definitely started out with "older women dating younger men" storylines, it soon evolved into a cohesive ensemble comedy focused on strong friendships and stable relationships. I mean, even the show itself made fun of its name. 


Trophy Wife

I'm still bummed about Trophy Wife's cancellation, and while there are a handful of reasons as to why the very funny family comedy with a great cast failed at ABC, the show's off-putting name—which wasn't all that far off from Cougar Town's, tbh—certainly didn't help.


Which shows with dumb titles have pleasantly surprised you?


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Buffy is definitely the first show that comes to mind, but I can't believe FIREFLY was excluded from this list. That's a glaring omission imo...
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I was pleasantly surprised my Teen Wolf? I mean, in all fairness, the fact that it was an MTV based series called Teen Wolf made me roll my eyes at first. I'm glad I gave it a chance anyway because it's currently my favorite show.
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Psych, Burn Notice, the Closer, Numb3rs, Monk, all good shows , but had no idea what they were about.

Picket Fences, an addictive David E. Kelley classic (you can still watch on Hulu)

Six Feet Under, strange, quirky, dark but also addictive.

And a favorite show, I still miss... Northern Exposure.


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I went to watch Life on Mars because I thought it is a new sci-fi series. Seriously, I am not kidding.
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I too was surprised that I really enjoyed Trophy Wife (despite the dumb name). I am still bummed it was cancelled. :(
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There is that show on Lifetime Channel called The Lottery i've watched it once i was pleasantly surprised, it's a good show. Unfortunately, i don't have time for it but dog gone it the title is dumb.
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Lame Wolf would be a more appropriate title.
It's the Justin Bieber of television.
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On the side note of Buffy; Angel would be considered a misleading title as well. For those of us who know the happenings and the character from Buffy, someone seeing "Angel" in the television lineup would have thought a series along the lines of "Touched by an Angel" or "Highway to Heaven" involving good feeling, touching stories and not a vampire striking down demons on a gritty California city scene.
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Masters of Sex. A cheap, lurid porn title for the most subtle feminist and character driven show on television. It took me a while to give it a go, just because the title made me want to throw my bra at the screen along with the complete works of Simone de Beauvoir. I WAS SO WRONG!

Same for Buffy. Plus, I held a grudge against that tiny blonde who had kicked Mulder and Scully off the front page of the UK magazines. I thought it was a silly teen show. Again: SO WRONG!
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I thought Buffy the Vampire Slayer, about a girl called Buffy who slayed vampires was pretty appropriate, personally.
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I whole-heartedly concour! This is in contencion for the most clever title of the 1990s.
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Battlestar Galactica has this one for me, even if I did go in with high expectations anyway. Was not dissapointed - one of my favourite shows.
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My daughter Elizabeth goes by Buffy, by her choice. Her older sister gave her the nickname when they were 4 and 2; they're 11 and 9 now. They have recently seen both BtVS AND "Family Affair" (with the second most-famous "Buffy")...and she still likes her nickname.
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That's beautiful. I hope she keeps it.
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Has to be Teen Wolf. They could have given it a different name and still say that the characters were inspired by characters from the 80s movie.
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The vampire diaries. Such a bad name. Sounds so cheesy but it's the total opposite! It's so badass!
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That's the one I was gunna pick. The title made it somewhat embarrassing to say what show you watch, until it finally gained notoriety. Oh and it almost made me not watch it.
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Lol I agree!
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The Big Bang Theory, the title was a turn off untill I watched it then I really liked it.

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So what show airs after Top Chef? The Leftovers. Oh it's not a show about what people take home in their doggy bag, but people being very sad for more than 9 weeks now.

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Well, Left Behind was taken.

The Remnants...a fashion design show featuring fabric cast-offs.

The Remains...a poor man's Bones, which is mostly another CSI.
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Teen Wolf was the first that popped to my mind, as i remember very well thinking it would probably would be a really silly and bad show with a title like that.
Now i'm happy i actually gave it a chance despite my first reaction.
And i still remember when people laughed about Buffy purely due to its name.

Also Smallville was very misleading since only a comic book reader would have known what it meant.
I for sure had no clue and was surprised when i read it was about young superman.
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I think that Superman is so iconic that a lot of people who wouldn't read comics or haven't even watched any of the movies would automatically know.
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I tuned in to this show on IFC expecting to see a folk singer with frizzy hair and a rock star with a sweet mustache...but it had two incredibly funny pretty ladies instead. Not complaining.
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do one with titles that sound like porn movies
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Most definitely Teen Wolf!

And a big thumbs up to Buffy, and Apt 23...I love both of those shows!!

I only recently discovered Apt 23 after it had been canceled - I was SO bummed! Hilarious show, even if I was nervous about it based on the title. :)
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Staff
Veronica Mars
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
The King of Queens
Cops
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Better off Ted. I miss that show so much.
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Men in trees, pushing daisies, weeds, teen wolf, bones, castle, sopranos, the finder, P.B Amazon 1999, Smallville
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trophy wife! i so miss that show!

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The Americans , when I heard the name I thought it was about... well.. Americans. Thought it would be a comedy or something. I was so wrong.
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Well the point is that everyone else is suppose to think they are Americans plus they are working against the Americans so it fits.
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Yes of course, but we're talking about the name purely, without reading anything about the show. Nothing suggests anything about spies.
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It suggests about being American which is the point of these particular spies. And at the same time has the "the" in front of it which makes it something stand-out.
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Suits - not a show about a gentlemen's outfitters
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TEEN WOLF
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Legends has a misleading title. It refers to the characters played by the spies, not great historical figures.

Chaos was about US spies, not Max Smart's enemies or anarchy.

One of the last things people think of when they hear Scorpion is a bunch of smart people.

Castle has nothing to do with royalty or their homes.

The Blacklist has nothing to do with banned writers.

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The backdoor pilot for NCIS: Los Angeles on NCIS (the No. 1 scripted drama on TV for several years now) was titled "Legend," and they explained what it was. So a show about an undercover operative called Legends shouldn't be that confusing to most TV viewers.
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"Bones"..... I didn't see Dr. Mcoy once, nor did I ever hear the phrase "Damnit Jim I'm a doctor not a pool man!".... big let down
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The Good Wife, It is very misleading, I though it was a cheesy romantic legal drama filled with unbelievable love stories, but what i've come to realise is that it is probably one of the best, if not the best legal show there is.

Still, The Good Wife, is a better title than the titles they've considered choosing for the show (The Whole Truth; In the Spotlight; Leave the Bastard)
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The Gentle Touch, CATS Eyes, Rockcliffe's Babies. None of them sound like Police dramas do they?
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I think Terriers is the best example in this list, as its title is truly misleading. I may agree on Trophy Wife, though to some extent, any man looking relatively ordinary (and definitely not ugly) with a wife looking like Malin Akermann would be considered to have a trophy wife ...
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Terriers wasn't entirely misleading as it was just taken incredibly out of context, which hurt it just as much. What added to the confusion was that the dog featured on the actual show was an english bulldog, not the terrier from the promos.
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The Sopranos- not about a group of singers.

Penny Dreadful- I knew it was a supernatural series. But by the early teasers, i thought Penny was a person or monster, that hunted monsters.

24- 24 what? Oh ok.

The Americans- no they are not. Makes sense now though.

Point Pleasant- A supernatural series about the antichrist. It's title and teen soap opera theme, through the first four episodes, led to it's early demise. Shame, because after it shed it's soapy parts, it turned into a decent supernatural thriller.

The Whispers-
Originally titled The Visitors. A show about an alien invasion, but having nothing to do with V. Except that both were/ are being broadcast by ABC. :)

Killjoys- A space based bounty hunter series. But the title, doesn't say that to me.

Dark Skies- Not about storm chasers.

Alphas- Not about the leaders of pack animals.

As others have said, titles like Life on Mars, Teen Wolf, Ashes to Ashes, Angel, and Firefly; really don't tell the casual tv viewer, anything about the shows.
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Penny Dreadful fits perfectly if you're familiar with the original horror serials released across several weeks for a penny each (sort of like the original comic books of their time) but to those unaware of such, it was an incredibly misleading title.

Ashes to Ashes fits in the relative sense of being an older David Bowie song like Life on Mars was, but thats about it.

Teen Wolf isn't so much misleading as it just reminds far too many people of the campy 80s movies with Michael J Fox or Jason Bateman. What was really misleading is that it aired on Mtv.

Firefly, even though a retitling from Serenity, didn't really change the confusion about the show, but then, Fox doomed it any way to look at it.
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Well it should remind you of those movies since it is based on it. Thus the character names are the same. They just enriched the plot.
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Enriched it? They dropped an entire 3-story library of plot onto the original concept, which wouldn't take much as the original was incredibly bland and uninspired (unless you count werewolf extreme van surfing, in which case my point has no validity)
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Which is basically the same thing that happens to any tv show that is based off a movie such as Buffy.
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Ashes to Ashes actually told me about Life on Mars, the previous show.

I finally had an answer as to what happened to Sam Tyler, even ifI really wanted to believe otherwise by the end of his show...
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I haven't seen either yet. But i know the basic premise. I plan to start season 1 of Life on Mars during the holidays, when everything is on break. John Simm is a very good actor.
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Most of these are decent candidates, but Buffy's title doesn't belong here. It's hardly the best tile of all time, but nor is it particularly bad, and the justification offered (that Buffy is a weird name) is pretty weak
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The only reason I would put Buffy on this list has little to do with a silly name, and everything to do with there already being a terrible, terrible movie with the same title. Most people I knew who didn't watch it did so because they couldn't possibly imagine it being good based on the poor quality of the film on which it was based.
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But "Buffy" was a silly name (implying "airhead" and maybe "self-absorbed" at the time). It makes an even sillier title paired with the extreme contrast of "vampire slayer". So silly: yes, misleading: no, pleasant surprise: yes (its popularity).

The series also fits in Kaitlin's "Everything's an Adaptation" article. :-)
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Well, the original movie was quite goofy in its first half, and became an outright parody towards the end, so naming the main character Buffy was quite appropriate.

The main problem is why they chose that movie to be the original source in the first place, given how only the main character's name and her main hobby - killing monsters - were kept in the TV series. Name recognition, I guess, though the movie wasn't particularly successful, if I remember correctly.
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I also have to add (in addition to the corrections about the source material) is that the name/'main hobby' wasn't all that was kept. The show clearly starts as a sequel - basically, after the destruction of how things went in the movie story, Buffy and her mom move to Sunnydale to "start over". They mention it multiple times; one of the characters even does a background check on Buffy and finds out that she burned her last school down (it is a clear reference to the movie).
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The movie wasn't the original source. The original source was concept by Joss Whedon.

The movie, which was made by other people who were not Joss, completely botched the original source (because those other people apparently never looked further than the title, and therefore concluded that the story was supposed to be a parody of monster movies, instead of being a monster movie with a twist).

Then Joss took his story and made it into a TV series, probably out of a desire to see his baby done right.

So, to sum up, the movie and the TV series were both based on the concept by Joss Whedon. The movie was based on the concept badly, and the TV series was based on the concept well. The TV series was most definitely not based on the movie.
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Joss Whedon was the mastermind behind both the movie and the TV series, so it's not really like the movie was necessarily source material.

Whedon has often talked about how much he didn't like the movie, which was stripped of his original tone and intentions by the film's producers, and when he was approached about bringing Buffy back to life as a TV series, he saw it as a chance to create the story the way he originally intended.
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*shudder* I wasn't prepared to hear "mastermind behind the movie". :-) Anyway, it's kind of cool that the movie that came 5 years earlier was actually the [poor] adaptation of the original idea that became the series.
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Teen Wolf... seriously I always judged the show but I finally took the plunge last year and watched it (binged it) and now it's my favourite show. love it! But now trying to convince other people to watch it is so hard, they all pre-judge because of the name!
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Teen Wolf is an interesting case because half the people judge it because they think it's going to be corny like the '80s movie on which it was very, very loosely based. And the other half judge it because it's "about werewolves." Both points frustrate me to no end because it's about more than that, and truly a great coming of age series. I don't know if I am ready to call it this generation's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the similarities are there.
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I have friends who give me crap for watching TW, since they still relate the title to the original (corny) movie, but they don't know what they're missing out on. Good pick.
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Buffy is my favorite show and when it came out I judged it because of the name... I learned my lesson and I wish ppl didn't discount MTV's Teen Wolf because of it's title....
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned "Hell on Wheels"... not a show about motorcycles.

It is actually about the (post civil war) construction of the transcontinental railroad. After each progressive segment was completed, the town housing the workers, (evil carpet baggers, railroad men, government men and all their subplots and story arcs) would move along with it... thus a "hell on wheels."

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Learn something new everyday, I definitely thought it was like a pimp my ride kind of show haha.
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If you think Buffy's misleading, what about a vampire show called Angel?
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That one's in its own category given that it was a spin-off. It doesn't help tell new viewers what the show is about, but the many Buffy fans who followed the character over to his own show, which they assumed would count for most of the viewership, understood it.
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Battlestar Galactica :)
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you are silly
buffy is a perfect title!

and even a more perfect show.

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I think the point of the article is to showcase shows that may have lost potential viewers because of the title.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer," is a good title, in that it is apt, descriptive, and representative of the humor of the series.

However, it is also a misleading title, in that, to the uninitiated (and the point of a title is to hook the uninitiated, after all), it sounds like a farce. It sounds like a cross between Dracula and Clueless. (Which is not a bad genre description, but Buffy is also so much more than that.) And there were probably a lot of potential viewers who were put off by that, who might have loved the show if they'd given it a chance. Or, at the very least, there are probably a lot of people who love the show, but only started watching because of word of mouth... NOT because they were hooked by the title. Which means that, in at least one respect, the title may have failed in its job.
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Cougar Town was really stupid - also because it was never really about older women dating younger boys - maybe for 2 epsiodes - what were they thinking?

Dont trust the B.... aswell, after episode 2 or 3 the two Girls were already Kind of friends. So that whole B**** thing didnt last that long aswell

AND AGAIN: is Jane the vergin really that good? I will watch it now cause u tell me in every article that its good ;)
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The Good Wife. The title only applied for the first few episodes....
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Life on Mars. (US version) That was a fantastic show. I only watched it because I got the wrong DVD and I was glad I did. The name made me think it would be a cheesy comedy but it was a great cop show.
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Really. imo, (uk version) of Life on Mars was the better one.
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Friends is a silly title for a HIT tv show! You wouldn't expect a massive comedy series with 50 million viewers to be named Friends. With THAT been said... I am all for #FriendsReunion
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As bad as Buffy was for a title, I always felt that if anyone unfamiliar with television heard the title of its spin-off, 'Angel', that they would assume it was a series in the vain as Touched By An Angel. The countless hours I've spent scrolling through ceramic angel pictures in search of Angel the series collectables is astounding.
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Boy I literally posted the same idea, too many replies I think lol.
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That's when I started searching "Angel the Series" for everything.
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Never has a character I enjoyed so much—Angel—been saddled with such a terrible name. In a show riddled with tragically named characters—Buffy, Spike, Oz, and even Willow, Xander, and Cordelia when taken cumulatively—as well as tragically unsubtle names—like Faith, Dawn, or Glory—Angel still got the short end of that stick. I didn't think it could get much worse...until they dropped Angelus on us.
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Hmm... One comes in mind. How I met your mother! Correct title should have been 'How I married your aunt Robbin' (-SORRY- IF I spoiled this to anyone)
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Graceland. Who thought that would be a cop show and not an Elvis related show?
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The Mindy Project could have tried a little harder.
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Fringe was an incredibly misleading title. We got this:


But were expecting this:

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hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha,
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pushing daisies - rasing the dead (ftwtf?)
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"Pushing up the daisies" Is a common English idiom that relates to death.

Back in the day, the phrase referenced the flowers that tended to grow in the fertile soil directly above rotting corpses
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Yeah, I'm going to go with everyone else who's commented. That one makes perfect sense. Pushing up daisies is a pretty popular term for being dead and buried.
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Every episode was about talking to the dead. It makes perfect sense for a title.
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this actually makes sense in a macabre way (which really goes along with the show itself)
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