The days of television being seen as the smaller, cheaper version of films is long over, with some of the best TV shows and their rabid fan bases putting blockbuster movies to shame. But when the people behind the scenes of a TV show are just as dedicated to big screen properties and storytellers as any other fan, some awesome easter eggs or references can be snuck in.
Here are Screenrant’s 10 Movies Hidden in Popular TV Shows.
Breaking Bad’s Crime & Western Throwbacks
The series creator Vince Gilligan never denied any claims that he was a fan of Quentin Tarantino, so fans were looking for influences from the first episode. It didn’t take long, either. The main characters, Walter White and Jesse Pinkman were seen as an obvious riff on two stars of the movie Reservoir Dogs: Harvey Keitel’s ‘Mr. White’ and Steve Buscemi’s ‘Mr. Pink.’ It took four seasons for the similarity to pay off, when Jesse and Walt wind up coming to blows, recreating the famous scene between their Reservoir counterparts.
Tarantino wasn’t the only director Vince Gilligan referenced in his hit series, since the New Mexico setting of Breaking Bad couldn’t help but take the creator back to his love of westerns. Specifically, the films of director Budd Boetticher. So when it came time to introduce a replacement for Jesse, Gilligan named the karaoke-loving cooker after his inspiration. Gale Boetticher didn’t get a very happy ending, but at least his origins came from a happy place.
Firefly & Star Wars
Even if the actual science behind freezing somebody in “carbonite” was never really explained, there’s one thing we DO know: when George Lucas had Han Solo frozen in a block of the substance in The Empire Strikes Back, he created one iconic prop. Joss Whedon was more than a casual fan of the galaxy far, far away, and found a clever means of showing his love when making his own space adventure, Firefly. The presence of a miniature Han in the crew’s quarters may break the fiction, but the model can apparently be seen in every episode, for those fans who actually manage to spot it.
The Clone Wars & Indiana Jones
The animated series set between the second and third Star Wars films covered a lot of ground, but they found time to squeeze in some easter eggs for director George Lucas along the way. When Ahsoka does battle with a group of kidnappers hunting their victims for sport in “Wookie Hunt,” viewers can spot one of the infamous crystal skulls from the fourth Indiana Jones movie. But for Star Wars fans who prefer the archaeologist’s early adventures, another episode also saw Separatists looting an alien stronghold in “Liberty on Ryloth,” with an unmistakable Ark of the Covenant, lifted directly from Raiders of the Lost Ark, among the treasures.
Game of Thrones & Monty Python and the Holy Grail
When the mother of dragons marches on the city of Meereen in the fourth season of Game of Thrones, an unforgettable fight takes place. But before soldiers clash steel, one of the city’s soldiers emerges to insult the would-be queen using some choice language – but the translation offered isn’t totally accurate. Once the scene aired, the show’s linguist (responsible for creating the fictional languages) was bombarded by fans asking if they had misheard. But they hadn’t: the speech is lifted word for word from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries!”).
The New Batman Adventures & Batman Forever
Batman fans will always remember Joel Schumacher as the director who took the superhero’s films from cool to crazy, adding nipples on the Batsuit, and turning the Batmobile into a glowing eyesore in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Batman’s animated universe stayed far more faithful, and apparently, the writers behind Batman’s New Adventures weren’t thrilled with Schumacher’s version either. One episode of the series – “Legends of the Dark Knight” – brings each of Batman’s comic identities to life, as a group of kids disagree over the stories they’ve heard.
Once versions of the 1960s Adam West TV series and Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” are played out, another kid gives his own pitch. ‘Joel’s description of a muscley rubber Batsuit and outrageous Batmobile take a playful shot at the later films, with the “ShoeMaker” sign driving the point home. Who says the company can’t laugh at itself?
The Walking Dead & Creepshow
The zombies of The Walking Dead owe plenty of thanks to special effects wizard Greg Nicotero, whose role behind the scenes has only grown since the show debuted. That doesn’t just mean easter eggs or references to classic zombie films like George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (on which Nicotero cut his teeth), but nods to classic horror in every shape and size. Take, for instance, the season 5 premiere: when Rick and the gang pick their way through a collection of wooden crates, the mailing information on one is shown quite clearly: “SHIP TO HORLICKS UNIVERSITY, VIA JULIA CARPENTER.” To find out what’s in the box, viewers just need to re-watch Romero’s Creepshow, where it first appeared. But they may regret that they did.
Arrested Development & Clue
Fans will never forget that odd disguises or surprise reveals of ‘Gene Parmesan’ (Martin Mull), the Bluth family’s go-to private investigator. But when Arrested Development took to Netflix for season 4, they crafted another weird joke around actor Martin Mull. Throughout the season, the family members took to eating a unique dish, mixing parmesan cheese with plain old yellow mustard. Nobody seems to enjoy it… but they might, once they get the joke. Martin Mull may be best known for his TV roles, but he also appeared in the big screen version of Clue, based on famous the board game. In what role? Colonel Mustard. The show goes a step farther, having Mull purchase a knife in a store located next to a “ball room,” in case the joke passed anyone by.
Supernatural & Boogeyman
The CW series is known for its meta and self-referential episodes, including one in which the Winchester Brothers travelled to an alternate world where their life was a strange TV show. But the nods to horror movies are where the real gold can be found, so when the brothers investigated a haunted movie set in “Hollywood Babylon,” the writers went all out. For starters, acknowledging real-world WB horror movies like feardotcom and Ghost Ship. But the best reference was to a horror movie that’s… not exactly a classic: Boogeyman. Taking a shot at the Emily Deschanel and Lucy Lawless movie about a monster in the closet is harmless – until you realize that its “terrible script” was written by Eric Kripke, the creator and writer of Supernatural. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t write the script for this episode.
House of Cards & Alien 3
In the world of finicky, ruthless directors, David Fincher is on his own level. You can’t argue with his results, having delivered movies like Se7en, Gone Girl and Fight Club, but his movie career got off to a terrible start. His first film, Alien 3 was a disaster behind the scenes, and Fincher’s demands of his cast and crew only made things worse. Years later he would tell a story of one line producer who told him to go easier on those around him, and try to be more of a ‘people person.’ He replied by saying that he loved people, but hinted that he saw them as things to be managed.
The words were so chilling to writer Beau Willimon, that when it came time to write the script for the Netflix series House of Cards – whose directorial style Fincher would establish, and executive produce – he put the director’s exact words into the mouth of its calculating main character, Frank Underwood: “You know what I like about people? They stack so well.” Apparently movie-making and politics aren’t so different after all.
So what do you think of our list? Did we miss any movie easter eggs, references or inside jokes in some of your favorite TV shows? Let us know in our comment section and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel for more videos like this one.