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Old February 8 2009, 09:08 AM   #1
Extrocomp
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Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

Crossovers are a common occurrence in fiction but for an obsessive fan like myself, they present a problem. How do I know if two different series take place in the same universe or not? Many crossovers are just what-if fight scenarios or cameo appearances that are not meant to be taken seriously.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ers_in_fiction

Some of the time I know instinctively that a crossover is Ďtrueí, (for lack of a better word) if the two series share similar themes. For example, Alien and Predator are both about alien monsters that kill people. A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th are both about supernatural serial killers.

Batman and Superman have had numerous crossovers with Aliens and Predators, the DC universe has encountered the Mortal Kombat universe, Picard has met the X-Men and Star Wars characters appear in the latest Soulcalibur game. But it's obvious that these crossovers are wrong because the different styles clash enormously. I mean can you imagine Superman fighting Aliens? Itís ridiculous.

Other times, itís not so clear. We all know that the Marvel superheroes belong in the same universe. The DC superheroes also belong together in a different universe. But DC and Marvel have had numerous crossovers and yet the crossovers don't imply a shared universe even though both series have a similar theme of a world overpopulated with superheroes.

I've decided that crossovers that happen in a comic book should never be taken seriously because there are so many 'VS' comics that pit characters from widely different realities against each other in very implausible situations. Video game crossovers shouldn't be taken seriously either, considering such series as Marvel vs Capcom, Super Smash Bros and Kingdom Hearts, all of which blend dozens of completely incompatible realities in a huge mess.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercompany_crossover

Besides, not everyone plays video games, especially video games that are limited to one or two consoles. Not everyone collects comics either. A lot more people watch TV and read novels. At least thatís what I think. Am I wrong?

So I decided that if a crossover happens in a film it is Ďtrueí. At least, thatís what I thought until I heard of The X-Files episode Unusual Suspects, which featured Detective John Munch. Munch was a main character on the show Homicide: Life on the Street, later became a main character on Law & Order SVU and appeared occasionally on nearly all the Law & Order shows as well as a number of completely unrelated shows.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Munch

This would suggest a universe with at least 12 TV series, many of which have nothing to do with each other, and more episodes than Star Trek. The X-Files series and Law & Order series have radically different styles. One is a sci-fi show, the other is a police procedural. Thereís no way all these different series belong in the same universe. Especially because in the Homicide episode ĎPartnersí, detective Munch remarks "It's 9 o'clock. They're probably home watching the X-Files."

Therefore, there needs to be at least 2 film crossovers (or 2 novel crossovers) between 2 series for them to exist in the same universe. But that means the Nightmare on Elm Street series and Friday 13th series are separate because there was only one crossover movie. It also means that The X-Files and Millennium are separate because there was only one crossover episode and that clearly isnít right because the X-Files/Millennium crossover was a critical resolution of Millenniumís storyline. Iím aware that the character Jose Chung appears in one episode in both series but does that even count as a crossover?

So how does one decide whether or not two or more series take place in the same reality? Any more ideas?

P.S. Please donít mention the Tommy Westphall universe. Itís an extremely ridiculous idea and Iím concerned that it will lead this discussion in the wrong direction. Besides, only the first season of St. Elsewhere has been released on DVD, and if a show doesnít exist on DVD, it doesnít exist.
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Old February 8 2009, 09:27 AM   #2
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

Man, that's a lot of thought. For me a crossover is true for the crossover and I don't extend it further. So in the DC vs MK game the characters of the two universes exist together for that game and whatever sequels and spin-offs it makes. However, it doesn't mean that the DC characters are part of the Mortal Kombat universe as a whole or vice versa.

Of course, someone will mention that they are all fictional universes...
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Old February 8 2009, 09:52 AM   #3
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

I think a crossover is a true crossover if one of two things happen.

1) The crossover has a substantial effect on both universes, and that effect is taken into account in the writing of future adventures for both universes.

Or...

2) Like the X-Files/Homicide/Law&Order crossover, nothing drastic happens to effect either universe and they go their separate ways. The crossover still happened, and therefore they exist in the same universe, but it did not create any fundamental changes to any of the participating series/characters/whatever.

My favorite crossover: In the second episode of "Chuck," he flashes and starts talking about where Oceanic Flight 815 went down. So clearly "Chuck" and "Lost" are in the same universe, but it doesn't matter at all because the stories are so unrelated.
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Old February 8 2009, 10:05 AM   #4
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

Eh, if any particular crossover is extremely difficult to reconcile with other established facts in either of the shows, movies, comics, etc., you can probably brush it off with the old multiple universes theory. That is, you might see a character that is familiar to you, like John Munch showing up on The X-Files, but that doesn't mean he's necessarily the same John Munch that you've seen from the universe of Homicide and Law and Order; he's a John Munch from an alternate universe, who just happens to also be a Baltimore cop.

Of course, that reasoning can be difficult if the crossover has important and lasting repercussions on both shows/films/whatever. I guess you just have to do the best you can.


Extrocomp wrote: View Post
Iím aware that the character Jose Chung appears in one episode in both series but does that even count as a crossover?
Sure, I don't see why not, especially since he was a memorable guest star in both. Add that to Frank Black's appearance in an X-Files episode, and I think that pretty much states that the two shows are definitely set in the same universe.
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Old February 8 2009, 10:10 AM   #5
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

For some reason a few years back I decided that All in the Family and Star Trek are in the same universe. Maybe it's because of Stretch Cunningham's resemblance to Zephram Cochrane.
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Old February 8 2009, 04:17 PM   #6
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

crossovers are tricky, and annonying TV companys dont spend enough time thinking about the after effects of a crossover, one good example being.

CSI/Without a Trace

not the best crossover ever but it works, and forever put Without a Trace in the CSI verse (along with Cold Case).

So Without a Trace is not set in the CSI verse NY, and what do you know CSI has a spin-off in NY, and the same season as the crossover NY has "the cabbie killer" on CSI NY, bringing the city to a halt and scaring people from taxis, massive amount of news inches/minutes given to the taxi killer, yet he is never mentioned on Without a Trace.
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Old February 8 2009, 04:32 PM   #7
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

they're all made up!

well, you asked for it.

the Marvel and DC universe crossover events usually make a point of explaining that they exist in seperate universes though. or at least Marvel VS DC and JLA/Avengers both did.

so too did the Judge Dredd/Batman crossovers.

character cameos like in Soul Calibur don't count. Darth Maul and Wolverine both appear as unlockable characters in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. that doesn't mean they co-exist.

and just because the Montecito casino appears in Heroes, nu Knight Rider and so on, doesn't mean the shhow set there is in that reality. it just means that there's a casino called the Montecito.
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Old February 8 2009, 04:36 PM   #8
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

Daneel wrote: View Post
Extrocomp wrote: View Post
I’m aware that the character Jose Chung appears in one episode in both series but does that even count as a crossover?
Sure, I don't see why not, especially since he was a memorable guest star in both. Add that to Frank Black's appearance in an X-Files episode, and I think that pretty much states that the two shows are definitely set in the same universe.
Except for that one episode of Millennium where they were watching The X-Files.

captcalhoun wrote: View Post
character cameos like in Soul Calibur don't count. Darth Maul and Wolverine both appear as unlockable characters in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. that doesn't mean they co-exist.
Apparently you missed that deleted scene in Episode One, where Maul challenges Obi-Wan to a skating duel, but Obi calls Wolverine to sub in for him...
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Old February 8 2009, 05:33 PM   #9
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

Well it's like Medical Investigation and Third Watch are within the same universe, as there was an episode of the former that featured Yokas and others of the cast.

Seems that TV shows will do whatever seems to fit at time and not care for long-term consequences.
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Old February 8 2009, 05:50 PM   #10
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

Alias and Lost.... via Driveshaft.
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Old February 8 2009, 05:52 PM   #11
wamdue
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

captcalhoun wrote: View Post
and just because the Montecito casino appears in Heroes, nu Knight Rider and so on, doesn't mean the shhow set there is in that reality. it just means that there's a casino called the Montecito.
yes I gave up on that theory a while back, whats worse is when you add in Star Trek & apparntly Passions.

apparntly Star Trek crossovers over with Team KnightRider at one point, and some of the Las Vegas cast appear on Passions.

TBH I dont mind LasVegas, Passions & Crossing Jordan as characters from Las Vegas actually appeared in the other show, unlike KnightRider & Heroes which was just reusing the set. Actually reuse of the set is forgiveable if they just came up with a new name for the Casiona
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Old February 8 2009, 06:18 PM   #12
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

Well Lost and Alias are the same universe, I think I remember seeing a latter season of Alias and there were a couple of Lost references. I'd crap myself if I actually saw like SD-6's logo on something.
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Old February 8 2009, 06:32 PM   #13
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

if we want to talk logos in the TrekXI forum there are screen shots of the logo from the Cloverfield movie from the Superbowl trailer
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Old February 8 2009, 06:36 PM   #14
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

I'm still waiting for Monk and Psych to crossover. Both shows scream for Adrian and Shawn to team up, with Monk clearly deducing that Shawn's been faking his psychic powers...
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Old February 8 2009, 10:33 PM   #15
Daneel
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Re: Of Crossovers and Fictional Universes

Broccoli wrote: View Post
Daneel wrote: View Post
Extrocomp wrote: View Post
Iím aware that the character Jose Chung appears in one episode in both series but does that even count as a crossover?
Sure, I don't see why not, especially since he was a memorable guest star in both. Add that to Frank Black's appearance in an X-Files episode, and I think that pretty much states that the two shows are definitely set in the same universe.
Except for that one episode of Millennium where they were watching The X-Files.
Really? Huh, I don't remember that, but it's been years since I've watched Millennium. What episode was it?
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