Things I Hate About TV: The Crossover
Dear 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.