It's not hyperbole to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed the way that movie franchises are developed. There is more to it than simply throwing a few recognizable characters together, as the creators of the DC Cinematic Universe and the Dark Universe learned the hard way.
The movie industry might currently be obsessed with crossing different franchises over, but the TV industry has been doing it for years. We have seen numerous crossovers between the shows on various networks, which has included both cartoons and live-action programs. Marvel is no exception in this regard, as many of their animated series crossed over, in episodes that date all the way back to the '60s.
There are some TV show crossovers that were subtle, in order to appeal to the nerdiest of fans who would appreciate secret links to other programs, which may have even belonged to other networks. There are also crossovers that happened during brief one-off moments that would have been forgotten in a world without the Internet.
We are here today to look at the subtle ways in which different popular TV shows are linked together. From the potential Tardis/Megazord combination, to the time when the Herald of Galactus went looking for propane and propane accessories.
Here are Fifteen TV Show Universes That Are Linked In Insane Ways!
15 The Power Rangers Could Visit The Doctor's Homeworld
Doctor Who is one of the oldest TV show franchises to be still be running. It took a long time for Doctor Who to find an audience outside of the United Kingdom and become as popular as it is today. Doctor Who was considered a cult show in most countries for a long time, though it still had a vocal fanbase that kept it alive.
It's due to Doctor Who's longevity that many shows have referenced it over the years. One of the most surprising of these references happened in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.
In the episode called "Green Courage," there is a piece of paper that contains written notes. If you look closely at the page, you can see the coordinates to the planet Gallifrey from Doctor Who. This is the homeworld of the Doctor and the other Time Lords, though the Power Rangers likely never went to visit them.
14 Frasier & Friends Are Linked Through Caroline
Frasier and Friends were two of the biggest comedy shows of the '90s. The two universes of Frasier and Friends are actually linked through another show called Caroline in the City. Characters from both Frasier and Friends appeared in Caroline in the City, while Caroline herself appeared in Friends.
In the Friends episode called "The One With The Baby On The Bus," Caroline appears and mistakes Chandler & Joey for being a gay couple. On the same night that this episode premiered, Chandler Bing appeared in a Caroline in the City episode called "Caroline and the Folks."
Niles Crane and Daphne Moon would later appear in an episode of Caroline in the City called "Caroline and the Bad Back," where they can be seen reading Caroline's newspaper strip in their apartment.
13 Mulder & Scully Are On The Trail Of Buster Bluth
Detective John Munch from Homicide: Life on the Street has crossed over with numerous shows. He has also beaten Frasier Crane in terms of the number of total seasons of episodes that he has appeared in. The role of Detective Munch has given Richard Belzer a lot of work over the years and it is through his crossovers that some strange connections can be made.
Detective Munch featured prominently in an episode of The X-Files called "Unusual Suspects." This episode was partly created in order to allow the regular cast to work on the upcoming The X-Files movie, which is why it mainly focused on Detective Munch and The Lone Gunmen.
Detective Munch would also make several appearances in Arrested Development. This included him teaching a scrapbooking class in the episode called "Exit Strategy" in order to try and glean some information about the Bluth Family from Tobias.
12 Ash Caught Batman
Batman Beyond (also known as Batman of the Future outside of North America) never got the love it deserved. It was an awesome show that never reached the same heights of popularity as the other DC cartoons of the era. This didn't stop later shows from crossing over with it, such as Justice League Unlimited.
The most unusual show to cross over with Batman Beyond is Pokémon. This was done through a promo created by Kids WB, which brought Ash Ketchum to the future version of Gotham City.
Ash Ketchum teams up with the old version of Bruce Wayne as they try and determine whether certain characters (like Superman or the Men in Black) can be classed as Pokémon or not. It turns out that Ash had somehow managed to capture Terry McGinnis within a Pokéball and was going to use him in battle.
11 Optimus Prime Is Truly Outrageous
The Transformers franchise has had so many iterations and spinoffs that they hardly need any help in creating a crossover universe. Transformers has officially crossed over with G.I. Joe on a number of occasions, as well as having toylines based on Marvel characters and vehicles from Star Wars.
One of the most unusual Transformers crossovers happened in an episode of Transformers: Super-God Masterforce called "Lightfoot: A Dramatic Encounter." A poster of the singer known as Jem appears in a TV station. Jem is the main character of a show called Jem and the Holograms, which was produced by the same studio that created Transformers.
The reason why Jem's band is so popular may be due to the presence of giant robots that are waging war on Earth. People must be desperate for any sort of distraction from their potential fate of being crushed to death by a robot that can also turn into a stereo.
10 The Office & The Island
The original British version of The Office is considered to be one of the greatest comedy shows ever made. The Office was a hugely popular show, even outside of the United Kingdom, which is likely why it crossed over with Lost.
In the first season episode of Lost called "Homecoming," we see a glimpse of Charlie's life before he became trapped on the island. Charlie had run out of money, so he began a relationship with a girl from a rich family in order to steal something that he can sell so that he can heroin. Charlie's girlfriend mentions that her father was trying to buy a paper company that was based in Slough. This is a reference to the Wernham Hogg paper company that The Office is set in, which is located in the town of Slough.
9 Han Solo Once Battled The Borg
There have been five Star Wars TV shows to date, so it counts.
There were many attempts to revive Star Trek: The Original Series after it had been canceled. The success of the first Star Wars movie prompted Paramount to revive the series as a movie franchise, which helped Star Trek become a major success.
The inhabitants of the Earth of Star Trek also owe a great deal to Star Wars, as the Millennium Falcon once protected the planet from the Borg.
In Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg launch an attack on Earth. A fleet of starships is assembled to destroy the Borg Cube. If you look closely at the battle, you can see that one of the ships attacking the Borg Cube is the Millennium Falcon.
8 The Doctor & The Vampire Slayer
There comes a time when every show faces cancelation. The fans can have a hard time letting go, which is why the series can continue in other formats, such as novels or comic books.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer had an official continuation in the form of a comic book. which was produced and co-written by Joss Whedon. It was in this comic that the tenth iteration of the Doctor appeared alongside Rose Tyler.
Doctor Who also crossed over with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in one of the official novelizations of the series. The Eighth Doctor starred in Camera Obscura, which involved him traveling to Victorian England. It was here that he ran into "William the Bloody Awful Poet" which is a reference to the name given to Spike before he was turned into a vampire.
7 The Murderous Prison Nurse Who Visited Cheers
The TV show called Oz was set in a prison called the Oswald State Correctional Facility. This was an incredibly deadly prison to live in, due to all of the different factions vying for control over the trade of narcotics and contraband, which often resulted in bloodshed.
The staff of the prison in Oz was equally as deadly as the inmates. This included a nurse named Carol Grace, who was secretly a serial killer. Grace used her position to kill several of the inmates.
It is revealed that Carol Grace had previously worked in a hospital called Saint Eligius in Boston. This is the name of the hospital from St. Elsewhere, whose staff were seen frequenting the bar from Cheers. This means that the crazed nurse probably drank alongside Frasier Crane and Sam Malone.
6 The Serenity Cameo
Battlestar Galactica returned to our screens in 2003 in the form of a three-part miniseries that acted as the pilot for a full show. The Battlestar Galactica miniseries was excellent and it prompted Syfy to finance a series that lasted for four seasons.
The producers of Battlestar Galactica must have had supreme confidence in the quality of the miniseries, as they tempted fate by including a reference to another show that had been canceled after only a single season: Firefly.
During the first part of the Battlestar Galactica miniseries, we see Laura Roslin visiting her doctor. The Serenity ship from Firefly is one of the vessels that can be seen flying in the sky outside of the window of the doctor's office.
5 The Powerpuff Girls Vs. The Justice League
Teen Titans Go! is the official continuation of the Teen Titans cartoon. Teen Titans Go! is far more comedic than its predecessor and leans even more heavily on the anime aesthetic.
It might be due to this lighter tone and more cartoonish world that the Teen Titans crossed over with the Powerpuff Girls. It was during the Teen Titans Go! episode called "TTG v PPG" that the two teams crossed paths and competed with each other to see who is the better team.
Teen Titans is actually part of the same continuity as Justice League Unlimited. This is due to Speedy (Green Arrows's former sidekick) appearing in both shows. Speedy was a recurring character in Teen Titans and appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episode called "Patriot Act." Speedy was voiced by the same actor in both shows and wore an almost identical costume.
4 The Raven Of Bayside
Saved by the Bell has its own unusual history in terms of continuity and spinoffs. The show started out as a reboot of a previous series called Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which itself was later refitted into a prequel series that was shown as part of Saved by the Bell reruns. Saved by the Bell would later have two spinoffs; one in which a group of new kids attends Bayside High School and another which followed the original cast during their time at college.
You can add another spinoff to the list, as That's So Raven also takes place in Bayside High School, with the same set being used for both shows. The reason this connection was made was likely due to the fact that the creator of That's So Raven (Michael Poryes) also wrote several episodes of Saved by the Bell early in his career.
3 The Glasses That Link Twin Peaks & Fringe
Twin Peaks ended on a cliffhanger that left fans clamoring for more. The show was canceled and was followed by a movie, which didn't offer many answers as to what happened to Agent Cooper at the end of the show. When The X-Files became a big hit, there were rumors that Twin Peaks would conclude with a crossover between the two shows. A similar event had happened with a show called Millennium, which had its ending on The X-Files. This crossover never came to pass and Twin Peaks was allowed to conclude with a long-awaited third season.
The world of Twin Peaks is also part of the same continuity as Fringe. This is due to an episode of Fringe called "The Firefly" where we see Walter Bishop wearing the same kind of red & blue tinted glasses that were worn by Dr. Jacoby on Twin Peaks. Walter states that the glasses were sent to him by an old friend named Dr. Jacoby.
2 The Company That Links Angel To The Enterprise
Those of you who are familiar with the Star Trek franchise might be surprised to learn that pieces of the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation were actually outsourced. You wouldn't think that the Federation society would have contractors or companies that develop machine parts, but it does.
If you look very closely at some of the close-ups of pieces of the Enterprise, then you will see that they were created by a company called Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems. This is a reference to a movie called The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, which also had its own version of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems.
It seems that Yoyodyne has more humble beginnings than we realized, as Yoyodyne was once a client of the Wolfram & Hart law firm that was seen in Angel.
1 The Power Cosmic Pales In Comparison To Propane
King of the Hill was originally promoted as being a kids show, which was a bad move, as the dry humor of King of the Hill wasn't really made with children in mind.
This is the only explanation we can think of for a promo created by Fox Kids that crossed over King of the Hill with the Silver Surfer cartoon. That's right: Hank Hill has officially encountered Norrin Radd of the planet Zenn-La and tried to convince him that propane is a better energy source for his surfboard than the Power Cosmic. The Silver Surfer didn't say anything during this encounter, as Hank was too busy trying to sell him propane as part of a larger plan to supply gas to the galaxy.
The Silver Surfer should have been glad to have crossed over with King of the Hill, considering how terrible his own cartoon was, as well as all of the awful Fantastic Four shows that existed by the early '90s.
Which of these crossovers surprised you most? Let us know in the comments!