Brought on by the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the latest trend in Hollywood is to up the ante in both film and television with cross-promotional content. Everything is becoming connected in the on-screen world, which means there’s more room for criticism from die-hard fans looking for continuity errors. It also means that the actions of a singular character can have a ripple effect on other characters across multiple movies or television shows.
As new and innovative as big budget projects like the MCU, DCEU and the CW’s Arrowverse may appear, the world of intertwined on-screen characters has long been a working format for popular television shows. Whether it’s a nod at another series or a one-night event connecting several shows, networks have repeatedly found ways to draw in more viewers by bringing worlds together.
For this list, we’ve searched through the endless sitcoms, drama,s and sci-fi fantasies of television history to bring you the biggest and oddest television mashups you don’t remember. Some of these experiments worked out, while a few never even stood a chance at success. So here they are for your entertainment, the 15 Bizarre TV Crossovers You Forgot Existed.
15. Archer/Bob’s Burgers
At first glance, there’s little in common connecting Sterling Archer of the FX animated spy series Archer to Bob Belcher of Fox’s Bob’s Burgers. One is an immature undercover operative with a drinking problem and the other is a family man with a knack for creating tasty hamburger concoctions. But upon closer inspection, viewers will notice a similarity in the two characters’ voices. That’s because the man responsible for bringing both personas to life is the monotone-voiced H. Jon Benjamin.
Opening the fourth season with the episode “Fugue and Riffs,” Archer finds himself with a bad case of amnesia, living a new life as the restaurateur Bob alongside his wife Linda and three kids Tina, Gene, and Louise. When the KGB arrives, Archer’s instincts kick in and he removes the threats with his signature skills. He leaves the family behind to protect them from further harm, but not before leaving an oddball crossover forever embedded in viewers’ memories. Although this crossover is a clever tip of the hat to Benjamin’s characters, it’s still a far-fetched idea that takes a stretch of the imagination to fully connect, making it hard to forget for fans of either series.
14. Blossom/The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
If you’re anything like us, you spend too much time nitpicking television’s endless stream of continuity errors. Look, we get it. Unless they’re constantly consulting the rest of the writing staff, the chances are high that the writers are going to trip over some little facts here and there. Those kinds of mishaps we can forgive, but this mix-up between Blossom and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air has us rolling our eyes at the pure lack of effort from everyone involved.
During the early nineties, Will Smith was hot stuff. With all his success, it was a golden opportunity for NBC to hype up its teenage sitcom Blossom with a Smith appearance. The series got a cameo for the ages when the titular character ran into Smith in an elevator in the episode “I’m with the Band.” The only problem was that Will Smith was playing himself and not the character from his beloved show, which explained why Blossom went crazy after noticing him. Everything would have been fine with the episode if only Blossom’s brother Anthony wasn’t shown dating Will Smith’s on-screen cousin Hilary Banks weeks later in the episode “Wake Up Little Suzy.”
13. Cops/The X-Files
As the protagonists of The X-Files, special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully found themselves in some extremely bizarre episodes over the years. From a Frankenstein-inspired black-and-white story to a disturbing case involving an incestuous family, the monster-of-the-week format was a trend-setting new look at television that engaged viewers for years. With so many new ideas each week, writer Vince Gilligan (of Breaking Bad fame) looked to other sources of inspiration for his next script, and what he produced was one of the wackiest crossovers in existence.
As the longest-running show of Fox, Cops has stayed on the air for a total of twenty-nine seasons documenting patrol officers as they deal with criminals. On the episode “X-Cops,” Mulder and Scully run into one of the camera crews for the documentary series while they’re filming in Los Angeles. As the FBI duo hunt a monster that feeds on people’s fears, they’re chased around by the cameras. The episode even goes so far as to use the on the fly video work to record everything, a style which was sure to confuse fans who thought they may have been watching the wrong show.
12. Adventures of Superman/I Love Lucy
Before Christopher Reeve flew across the big screen in the 1978 theatrical version of Superman, another man donned the signature “S” of Krypton as Metropolis’ mightiest hero. For many, George Reeves was the real Clark Kent, appearing in the movie Superman and the Mole Men as well as the subsequent television series Adventures of Superman. The series would last six years on air, with the final season airing in 1958.
Appearing as the caped hero in I Love Lucy in 1957, Reeves shows up to a birthday party for Lucy’s son Little Ricky on the same day that her friend is throwing a party for her son. As a way of one-upping her friend’s party, she invites Supes. Although the writers try to suggest the version of Superman on screen is really just Reeves dressing up for the youngsters, the ultimate moment of truth comes when the guest star moves a piano with one hand, shocking everyone in attendance. After the episode’s first broadcast, the announcement “Our guest star tonight was George Reeves, star of the Superman series” was completely removed from the show, destroying any leftover questions about who Reeves was meant to be playing at the time.
11. Mad About You/Madman of the People/Friends
In the early ‘90s, NBC was taking over the Thursday night Nielsen ratings with their two hour block of sitcoms. As a way of bringing in even more numbers, the network promoted a crossover extravaganza. Cleverly named “Blackout Thursday,” the one-night event would take the highly successful series Friends and connect it to Mad About You and the Dabney Coleman-starring Madman of the People. Because all three series were conveniently set in New York, it wasn’t a far leap to connect them, and the way the network ultimately handled the situation was a moment of pure marketing genius on their part.
The night kicked off with Mad About You when the character Jamie Buchman messes with the cable hookups on the top of her building, causing a blackout across New York City. Over on Friends, Jamie’s action leads to Chandler being stuck inside an ATM vestibule while the rest of the crew searches for a cat. The night wrapped up with Madman for the People, where Coleman’s character Jack Buckner spends the night in the slammer after being busted for looting. The creators of Seinfeld were also approached to participate in that night’s event, but aired the episode “The Gymnast” instead.
10. Becker/Cosby/Everybody Loves Raymond/The King of Queens
Jumping on the bandwagon of big television networks with over-the-top crossover events, CBS marketed “Shameless Crossover Monday,” but unlike those other events, one of the shows would miss the cut during the first crossover party, only to return the second time around.
For the first night, Ray Barone of Everybody Loves Raymond would get together with Doug Heffernan of The King of Queens. After becoming friends, Doug helps Ray cheat on his driving test, only to have his license suspended. To make matters worse, he’s busted by Ray’s police officer brother for driving unlicensed and is later involved in a car accident with Ray’s dad Frank. Later in the same night, Doug would appear on Raymond and would also pop up on Cosby while making a delivery to the lead character Hilton Lucas.
On the second go-around, Becker got in on the action too. In the King of Queens episode “Where’s Poppa,” Doug gets hit in the head with a baseball, forcing him to go the doctor. He ends up seeing none other that Ted Danson’s Doctor Becker, and while in the waiting room, he notices Hilton Lucas also waiting to be checked on.
9. Diff’rent Strokes/The Fresh Prince of Bel Air/The Jeffersons
Nearly a decade separates the finales of the three shows in this crossover, but that didn’t stop the writers of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air from including some nods to previous African-American characters from family sitcom history.
For George and Weezie of The Jeffersons, the Fresh Prince connection began during the show’s fifth season, in “Will Is From Mars.” In the episode, Will seeks help from a marriage counselor when things turn south with his fiance. Also in attendance during the therapy session is the ‘70s and ‘80s television stars. The scene becomes a barrage of “Yo Momma” jokes that draws parallels between the two couples and notes the inspiration the on-screen pairing had on the hit ’90s series.
George and Weezie appear once again in the show’ series finale, when Uncle Phil puts the family’s Bel Air home up for sale. Also stopping by is Arnold and Mr. Drummond of Diff’rent Strokes fame. The two mention Willis’ absence and Arnold even makes a reference to their own show while delivering the line “What you talkin’ bout, Will?” George and Louis ultimately buy the Banks mansion, however, upgrading from their deluxe apartment in the sky.
8. Brooklyn Nine-Nine/New Girl
Merging two highly rated comedies together for one night, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl crossover got things rolling in the episode “The Night Shift” when Detective Jake Peralta finds himself adjusting to his new hours back at the precinct. Trying to revive the excitement of his job, he recruits Boyle to help him catch a jewelry thief, but Boyle informs him that he needs to be home by sunrise to spend time with his son. When Peralta’s perp runs away, he commandeers a vehicle which happens to be driven by Jessica Day.
Over on New Girl, the cast is in town to attend a celebration at Schmidt’s old high school. When Schmidt gets down in the dumps, Jessica travels to his favorite deli in his mother’s SUV. Along the way, she is stopped by Peralta, and after crashing the car, she finds herself at Brooklyn’s 99th precinct. Meanwhile, Jessica’s friends Nick and Winston find themselves out of money for the subway. Coming up with a plan to perform for the New York passengers to raise enough for a ride, they come across Boyle and his son, who give them enough to get back to Schmidt’s mother’s house.
7. Boy Meets World/Sabrina the Teenage Witch/Teen Angel/You Wish
In the 1997 television season, ABC Family found itself in dire need of a ratings resurgence. Drawing its biggest numbers from its Friday night programming block, the channel decided to solve their crisis by picking up two pilots in hopes of creating a similar sensation like Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
As a way of forcing the two shows into the mainstream, the channel marketed a major crossover event linking four sitcoms with a common plot, beginning with Sabrina. When Sabrina’s talking cat Salem swallows a time ball, he sends her back to the 1960s, but when he runs away he soon encounters the casts of the other shows, changing up the decades of their stories. Boy Meets World was first up on the list, as they would find themselves dealing with a World War II-era setting. Salem later ends up on the I Dream of Genie rip-off You Wish, transforming the series into a bad ‘50s themed sitcom. Last up, the cat travels to the guardian angel-based series Teen Angel, taking the crew to the world of bad ‘70s mustaches and disco outfits. Needless to say, none of the shows ever came together the way ABC would have liked.
6. The Brady Kids/Super Friends
As a way to rake in more cash from the saccharine family sitcom The Brady Bunch, ABC turned to a much younger audience, taking the Brady family out of their California home and adding a wizard bird, a talking dog, and two twin pandas named Ping and Pong.
Adding to the already wild cast of supporting characters, DC Comics allowed a few of their iconic superheroes to be used in the series. First up was Superman, who appeared in the episode “Cindy’s Super Friend.” The gang runs into the Super Friends hero, who helps paint a local bank until the criminal scientist Wily Toulouse La Trick robs it, leaving Superman to save the day.
In the episode “It’s All Greek to Me,” the Bradys time travel to ancient Greece with Wonder Woman. As a way to help Jan with her school project, the group seeks out the father of geometry, Euclid. Instead, Diana Prince takes them on a wild trip through history, where they consider competing in the Olympic Games. Not only was the guest star an odd pairing for the series, but it would also be the first broadcast appearance of the DC heroine.
5. Coach/The Drew Carey Show/Ellen/Grace Under Fire
As part of ABC’s Wednesday night lineup during the ‘90s, the network began promoting “Viva Las Vegas” night. As part of the stunt, the stars from Coach, The Drew Carey Show, Ellen and Grace Under Fire all found themselves in Sin City.
First up was Grace Under Fire, where the titular character flies to Vegas to look into a retirement home for her mother-in-law Jean. While there, she has a run-in with Drew Carey and Coach’s Luther at a nearby gambling table. Over on Coach, Luther arrives in town to hunt down Elvis memorabilia, finding himself in a bidding war with Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. Also making brief appearances were Paige Clark and Spence Kovak from Ellen. For The Drew Carey Show, Drew finds himself conned into marrying a waitress after going out for a few drinks. In the episode, Drew runs into Luther, Paige, and Spence at the craps table. Meanwhile, Grace tries selling him tickets to Cirque du Soleil.
The final show Ellen would have the star of the series staying home in a plot involving her grandmother while Paige takes Spence to Caesars Palace, where he ends up with amnesia and believes he’s a Roman soldier. This is peak-level ’90s, folks.
4. Magnum, P.I./Murder, She Wrote
In 1986, Magnum, P.I. and Murder, She Wrote took part in a two-episode story arc with both leads taking turns appearing on the other’s series. The plot begins when Magnum’s constantly nagging friend Jonathan Higgins is run off the road in an attempted murder. As a major diss to the detective, he hires outside help in the form of Ms. Fletcher. At the end of Magnum’s episode, he gets his man, shooting and killing the would-be killer, who turns out to be a hired assassin.
Now cut to Murder, She Wrote, where the happy-go-lucky conclusion for Magnum isn’t what it was cracked up to be. As it turns out, the detective shot and killed an unarmed man, leading to his arrest. Now it’s Fletcher’s job to help him out. Using her skills, she discovers the true murderer had gotten into hot water over some recently inherited business holdings from her late husband. When an assassin is sent to kill the woman, she takes care of it herself, framing Magnum for the murder. In the end, Magnum was released from prison and viewers were left scratching their heads at the impossible scenario.
3. Family Guy and Sleepy Hollow on Bones
Nothing screams fantasy sci-fi series quite like Fox’s long-running crime procedural Bones. For twelve seasons, forensic anthropologist Temperance “Bones” Brennan has helped the cocky FBI agent Seeley Booth solve murder mysteries with nothing more than the skeletal remains of the dead victims, but to change things up a bit, the cast brought in some odd guests for a crossover appearance.
In the episode “The Critic in the Cabernet”, Seth MacFarlane lends his voice as Stewie Griffin. When agent Booth is approached by Brennan to be a sperm donor for her child, he begins experiencing visions of the Family Guy star, who talks him through the transition. The cameo is purely imagined by Booth, explaining the live-action/animation crossover.
The Sleepy Hollow crossover event was even wackier. Appearing as a two-part event featured on both shows, the Bones duo kick things off when they discover the remains of a two-hundred-year-old headless corpse. This leads them to cross paths with Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills, who believe the body may belong to the Headless Horseman. Although the episode is smoother than one would expect, it’s still a strange combination that few saw coming.
2. Family Matters on Full House/Step By Step
Airing for a decade, Family Matters made strides in the family sitcom department as the second longest-running family-centric series to feature a predominantly African-American cast. But as much as the show is remembered with fondness, there was one character that took over the series, whether you found him funny or terribly annoying.
Steve Urkel — with his thick-rimmed glasses, high suspenders, and multi-colored cardigans — was the epitome of a nerd and the heart of his show. As a way to expand upon his popularity, the minds behind Family Matters decided to put his character on some other popular family sitcoms.
In the Full House episode “Stephanie Gets Framed,” Urkel finds himself in San Francisco, where he helps the middle-aged daughter Stephanie deal with the fact that she’ll have to get glasses, erasing her fears of being treated like a nerd despite his own hyper-dorkiness. On only the second episode of Step By Step, Urkel lands in the middle of a family cookout when his jetpack goes haywire. When daughter Alicia is turned down after asking a boy to the school dance, Urkel once again offers words of encouragement, escorting her to the dance himself.
1. Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation/Power Rangers in Space
Heroes come in many forms. Some wear colorful, skin-gripping spandex suits, while others walk around in a half shell with bandannas on their heads. While it’s not uncommon to see the lives of these heroes intertwine once in awhile, there are some combinations that viewers never expect to see come to light. Luckily for us, sometimes they do, and as a reward for our viewership, we receive things like a Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover.
During the Power Rangers’ sixth season, Power Rangers in Space, the Rangers visit the final frontier on a journey to find their creator, Zordon. In the episode “Shell-Shocked,” the group gets more than they bargained for when the Dark Princess of Space, Astronema, casts a spell over the pizza-loving Ninja Turtles, who con the Rangers into letting them on board the Astro Megaship. All seems to be going according to plan until an electric storm causes the Turtles to escape Astronema’s villainous charm. The two groups eventually join forces as the Rangers assist in returning the Turtles back to New York, but not before the ninja-fighting teens get a chance to explore the far reaches of space on some Galaxy Gliders.
What other bizarre TV crossovers have been lost to the sands of time? Let us know in the comments.