Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The methodology of the Television Crossover Universe


This is the final of the anniversary postings, and my favorite of the most recent era of posts.  This was originally written for the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia introduction, but I modified it as an expansion on the methodology that I also talk about in the TVCU's first blog post from January 10, 2011, THE SECRET ORIGIN OF THE TELEVISION CROSSOVER UNIVERSE:  WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT CAME TO BE.  You should read that post, and read this post, as requirements before being able to talk about the TVCU.

I hope you enjoyed revisiting with me my favorite posts, our readers' favorites, our oldest, and our newest, with new added reflective introductions.  Now back to writing the books. I promise, though, starting next week, you will start seeing new TVCU Crew Reviews, Quickies, and new full chronologies and updates of older posts.  You can help me out by letting me know what subjects from film and television, live action or animated, that you would like to see covered that hasn't been tackled yet, and what older posts you want to see updated. (Also, if you have crossover finds for the TVCU, or for the Cartoon Crossover Encyclopedia, feel free to send them my way.  It's always appreciated.)


Connecting the Dots

The Television Crossover Universe exists on the premise that many television and other fictional series coexist within the same shared reality because of valid crossover connections. A series can only be brought in by being connected to something already in. But to do so, I had to start with a center. For this project , I chose I Love Lucy because that series was the first television series that would have crossovers. So with that series being the center, the dot connecting begins. Since that series is in automatically, anything that crosses with the series is then brought into the Television Crossover Universe. Then, everything that crosses with that next group is brought in. And so on and so forth.

Objectivity of Inclusion and Exclusion

My rules for inclusion and exclusion are not based on my likes and dislikes. It is based on whether the dots can be connected back to the center point, I Love Lucy, via valid crosses. I love Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but I have not yet found a valid cross to bring Brooklyn Nine-Nine into the Television Crossover Universe. On the other hand, I am not a fan of Boy Meets World, but I had to mention that Boy Meets World has crosses that bring it in.


This project’s goal is observe and report. Every story happens the way we read or see it. But sometimes more than one story that have valid crosses can contradict each other. For that reason, theories are needed to reconcile those contradictions. To keep to the project goal, most theories are created only using in-story information that can support that theory. However, sometimes I will really stretch things in the blog, such as the Zed Anomaly. I'm considering revising that blog and others to incorporate a stricter set of guidelines as employed in my books, the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia (on sale soon from 18th Wall Productions) and the Cartoon Crossover Encyclopedia (in progress).

Draculas: Soul Clones and Sons of the Dragon

When it comes to Dracula, I do not count every version of Dracula as being part of the same series stemming from Bram Stoker’s novel. There are so many different and contrary versions of Dracula out there. The way I divide up Dracula into series is by the author or the particular film or television series he comes from. Thus, Dracula (novel) refers to the character from Stoker’s novel, and he is different than Dracula (Universal), Tomb of Dracula (Marvel Comics), or the Dracula from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Live Action Television Series). Because they are all separate series, the inclusion of one version of Dracula does not imply the inclusion of all versions of Dracula. Each series has to find its way in separately through valid crosses.

There are two theories based on in-story references from series that have been crossed in that support the idea that each of the Dracula series is not the same character. The first is the soul clone theory. This is a theory I first learned from Chuck Loridans which is utilized in his MONSTAAH website. In the blog post for Dracula, the soul clone theory is discussed in great detail, but essentially, it involves vampires that had been turned by the real Dracula, and also hypnotized and possessed by Dracula, so that they become an amalgamation of their own personality and Dracula’s.

The second theory involved the Sons of the Dragon, a theory of my own, also based on in-story information. In this theory, Satan created emissaries on Earth. These would be vampires, turned directly by Satan rather than another vampire. The word “dracula“ means “son of the dragon” and Satan has often been represented by a dragon. In a way, this would make Draculas the anti-popes. Combining the two theories, Bram Stoker’s Dracula would be a Son of the Dragon, who then went on to create soul clones.

The Frankenstein Family and Their Monsters

I take a similar methodology with Frankenstein. Just as with Dracula, every version of Frankenstein is a separate series. The theory to support it is a bit simpler. The Television Crossover Universe concept is that Victor was only the first of many of the Frankenstein Family to create monsters. Thus, not all Frankensteins are the same, nor are the monsters. This theory comes from an essay by Mark K. Brown, used on the MONSTAAH website, and supported by in-story information.

Animated Series

Some animated series get brought in. There are certain considerations for cartoons. If it involves a world where most of the population are anthropomorphic talking animals, it can’t fit in the same world as Law and Order or All in the Family. Likewise, any cartoon where characters don’t age doesn’t work. In some cases, if the animated series seems to have a valid cross, but has the problems I mentioned, I have placed them in alternate realities within the larger Televisioin Crossover Multiverse. Other times, in the case of aging, I may break down an animated series into parts and only include the relevant crossover portion.

Comic Books and Super-Heroes

There are a lot of valid crosses that connect to comic books, including those with super-heroes. Those crosses, especially from DC and Marvel, have a number of complications. Besides the aging issues mentioned with animated series, there is the issue that comic book universes are worlds where super-heroes are public, as well as alien invasions, monsters, magic, etc. In most television series, the world appears on the surface to be as mundane as the real world (thought slightly more dramatic or humorous), with most people disbelieving in anything paranormal. Another issue is that with certain companies like DC, there have been multiple reboots creating multiple versions of the characters, and with crosses connected to all versions. When it comes to comics stories connected to the Television Crossover Universe, I’ve had to make some restrictions. First, even if super-heroes existed, they must have worked secretly. Also, to take aging into consideration, they would have only operated for ten to twenty years before retiring. Finally, in the case of characters like Superman and Batman, who have several different versions crossed in, I use the concept that the original heroes had sons who carried on the heroic tradition.

Television Crossover Multiverse

Some stories are specifically stated to be alternate realities. Others just don’t fit in the main Television Crossover Universe for continuity reasons. For that reason, some stories with valid crosses end up as divergent timelines, parallel universes, or pocket dimensions.

Reverse Canon Incorporation

When a series in “crossed in”, the entire canon of that series is incorporated into the Television Crossover Universe. But the reverse is not necessarily true. Though I’ve incorporated Law and Order, I doubt NBC will feel that Phineas and Ferb is part of same universe as SVU.

Not Just the Facts, Ma’am

This blog is filled with factual information. However, having said that, as a former ghostwriter for textbooks, I did not want this to be dry and boring. That’s not my style. So as a warning, occasionally I have thrown in a bad joke or offered my biased opinion on a certain story or series.

The Format of the Posts

All posts are uniformly written for clarity of information. Here is the breakdown of the format.

  • Usually, if I have any announcements, whether about the post being read, the TVCU blog in general, or any other projects of the TVCU, I will put those write at the top of the page. Sometimes in blue, except when I forget.
  • Next I will introduce the post, discussing the subject's brief history and my own thoughts on the subject.
  • Then we get to the chronology. The chronology is written from a fictional historical point of view, as in when the stories took place, rather then when they were produced in the real world. The chronologies not only detail all the crossovers of that subject, but will often tie in other important chronological information about the characters of the series. When I update a post, I don't create a new post, but simply just edit the pre-existing one and then share it on social media to let people know it's been updated. For a while, updates were in blue. But I got lazy. If you see blue, it's now meaningless. Updates may not be in blue. Also, when I remember, apocrypha is in red. There are some entries in the chronology that are regarding fan sites, our own fun attempt to incorporate fictional versions of the TVCU Crew into the TVCU. I try very hard to let readers know what is apocrypha.
  • Following the main chronology for the subject is a list of other realities applicable to that series.
  • Finally, at the bottom, I will throw in my final thoughts or make a final attempt to be funny.

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