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September 22, 2014

Things I Hate About TV: The Crossover

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 14th 2006 3:37PM

Richard BelzerDear television viewer:

In an effort to further drain you of all your energy, tonight's episode of Extremely Popular TV Drama will involve a cliffhanger to be resolved next week on an episode of That Other Extremely Popular TV Drama which airs on a different night and time.  We hope you enjoy.

Your friends, The Insane Network Executives.

Am I the only one who hates this? For whatever reason, it really bugs me when TV worlds collide. I just can't deal with the notion that, just maybe, Jack Bauer and Sydney Bristow work down the street from each other. Someone who works on a much higher floor than me thinks this is great idea though. Joel briefly mentioned them in his Festivus post from a few weeks ago, but I've got a whole rant in me.

It's been going on for years though, and while I may be slightly young to recall all the instances, I think I can peg enough to make my point. Law and Order did it relentlessly (well at least twice anyway I think) with Homicide. So much so, that when Law and Order: Special Victims Unit premiered in 1999, Richard Belzer was able to reprise his Homicide Det. John Munch and it made perfect sense. This just doesn't seem right to me. What if I just walked into my neighbor's house and pretended to be their new son? I don't think they'd be like, "Because you've lived next door for so long this makes all the sense in the world!" See what I'm saying?

But it didn't stop there. Belzer also played Munch in episodes of The X-Files, Law and Order: Trial by Jury, and that crappy UPN show The Beat. The only other actors to have played the same character on as many series are George Wendt and John Ratzenberger who've played Norm and Cliff on Cheers, St. Elsewhere, The Tortellis, Wings, Frasier and The Simpsons. I can't take this melting pot of merging shows and connecting storylines. My head hurts.

NBC seems to be the biggest culprit though. They've also pulled off crossovers with ER and Third Watch after Sherry Stringfield returned to the show and more recently with Las Vegas and Crossing Jordan. Giving Jerry O'Connell a spot on one show was bad enough. But as crossover poster boy Belzer demonstrated with his jumps to FOX and UPN, networks aren't boundaries for crossovers. David E. Kelley pulled off a crossover with his shows The Practice and Ally McBeal creating a connection between the ABC and FOX shows. In what may be one of the more logical examples of late, CSI: Miami and CSI: NY connected a few months ago.

I'm sure I'm missing some, but I think I said what I wanted to say. It just seems weird to me when one show suddenly has characters from another show in it. Good for publicity and as a sweeps stunt I suppose, but things like that aren't generally good. They're just made to get your attention.

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dee

i think that anyone that needs to take the time to whine about cross over eps needs a life

i love them personally and i especially love the l&o crossovers

there were a couple of svu/tbj crossovers i thoroughly enjoyed

also the earlier svu l&o crossovers with briscoe and munch

they were brilliant

you know there IS an off switch on your remote

if you don't want to watch it switch it off and stop whining about it and let those that do enjoy a crossover from time to time enjoy it in peace and as we say in australia
pull yer bloody head in mate

Dee
Melbourne Australia

January 15 2006 at 1:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave D

Well crossovers between spinoff shows are a different ball of wax, so a Cheers/Frasier one is pretty logical. Ditto Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman, Hercules/Xena, Buffy/Angel, etc.

Then there's always the Tommy Westphall Multiverse theory:
http://home.vicnet.net.au/~kwgow/crossovers.html

January 14 2006 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich Keller

Bringing up the Magnum/Simon&Simon crossover reminded me of another Magnum crossover with Jessica Fletcher of 'Murder She Wrote' fame. Then, that brought me to another crossover when Erkel visited The Tanner family of 'Full House'.

I too enjoyed the L&O/Homicide crossovers because you got to see the characters in a different light, depending which show they were on. You heard much more about Briscoe's life on Homicide then you did on L&O.

January 14 2006 at 10:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patrick Wynne

"I have worried for awhile now that Alias and Lost would be revealed to be connected, that the whole island would turn out to be some Rambaldi-cult thing."

I don't watch Alias, but I do recall hearing about a party in an episode earlier this season (or maybe late last season?) where that stupid Driveshaft song could be heard playing in the background. So I guess they are already slightly connected.

January 14 2006 at 8:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RAB

In fairness, a Cheers character showing up on Frasier or (shudder) The Tortellis is much like a crossover between Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda...or between All In The Family and Maude or The Jeffersons. It's kind of built into the premise.

Weirdest crossover ever was Betty White showing up as a new character on St. Elsewhere and being "recognized" by a mental patient as Sue Ann Nivens...

January 14 2006 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sean

i like crossovers.. it's funny, i was just thinking about this the other day, if crossovers are meant to bring in higher ratings for both shows, or if the show that is getting crossed over to, is the one with the lower ratings, so the execs are trying to higher ratings/more viewers for that show?

personally i really enjoyed the crossovers with buffy/angel which had many many crossovers- and they were such good episodes..

also to add to the ally mcbeal/the practice..boston public too.. i'm not sure if they crossed over with ally, but i'm near certain it crossed with the practice.

January 14 2006 at 6:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy

These crossovers don't always work: Crossing Jordan (and OK show) with Las Vegas (a really bad show) are examples that come quickly to mind. However, I often enjoy them. The L&O crossovers make sense because they're all part of one huge group of New York police officers and attorneys, but they don't always work. Personally, I think a 24/Alias crossover would be a hoot -- Sydney Bristow could kick Jack Bauer's ass! However, given 24's "real time" format, a crossover could never work. My favorite crossovers were always the Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman episodes. They were always fun and always worked.
If I had to choose a crossover I'd like to see, it would be Desperate Housewives and one of the CSIs -- they could use help solving all those damn murders.

January 14 2006 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jamie

Some have been cool. I recal enjoying the magnum PI-Simon & Simon crossover. But yes, most just smell of a ratings stunt with no particular purpose. The wrap up of Millennium on the X-Files was a major letdown.

I've always thought the times when more than one Star trek was on, the shows could have more involved crossover. i'd also like to see the Hanso Foundation appear on Alias, but for some reason, TV doesn't fulfill fanboy wishes quite that way.

January 14 2006 at 5:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Zero Boss

I liked the L&U/Homicide crossovers. Of course, it helped that Homicide was the best. Show. Ever.

I repeat:

Best.

Show.

EVER.

January 14 2006 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

Don't forget the awful Simpsons/The Critic crossover--that one sucked so much that Matt Groening took his name off the credits for that episode.

January 14 2006 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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