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Thursday, August 2, 2012

81

Little-Known TV Crossover Spinoffs

“The eX-Files” 

Premise: Forced into hiding by an in-agency threat, Agents Doggett and Reyes decide their jobs would be better handled off the radar – WAY off. Reyes convinces her friend Carrie Bradshaw to take over the X-Files by night, maintaining her sex columnist day job as both a cover and a way to get into the minds (and beds) of New York City’s alien hybrids, shape shifters, and worm people. Little does Carrie know that she’s being watched; that high school boyfriend of hers who ended up in a mental institution? He’s got a secret identity of his own. He knows all there is to know about the X-Files, and he’s not about to let them go without a fight. He’s Fox Mulder.

Tagline: “If you thought chasing UFOs was tough before, you haven’t done it in Manolos.”

Reception: Critics and viewers seemed to agree that the show was best left to a brief and deliriously campy run; one such reviewer summed it up thusly: “The first four extraterrestrial-related puns were delicious, airy fun. The next eight were increasingly torturous.”

Trivia: The series’ two-episode run is the first two-episode series in history to be syndicated; the episodes play frequently on TBS, though the editing of the interspecies sex scenes bring the series down to a total of 11 incoherent minutes.

***

“Law and Order: Friends of the Court”

Premise: Out-of-work actor Joey Tribbiani is en route to an audition in a sheriff’s deputy costume when he mistakenly walks into the county courthouse and is unwittingly hired as the new bailiff. Despite a number of comical misunderstandings, Tribbiani becomes well suited to the job, developing close relationships with judges and attorneys alike. Later, Tribbiani, intending to play a practical joke, uses his connections to land his friends (“Friends”) on jury duty for an upcoming trial, for which he has comically neglected to read the briefing report. The trial — a complex and deeply twisted case of a grotesquely violent serial killer — was intended to shape the entire series’ story arc.

Tagline: “Laughing this hard should be a FELONY!”

Reception: Viewers found the juxtaposition between the Friends’ playful flashbacks — funny, shared memories that served to inform decisions made in deliberation — and the grisly witness flashbacks to discoveries of the defendant’s suspected 62 victims to be unsettling and, at times, inappropriate. Reviews were mixed to negative, with critics noting that laughs were “bittersweet” and “never quite frequent enough to forget this is a show that is, at its core, about serial murder.”

Trivia: The show’s opening theme showed the Friends cast dancing in the pouring rain on the courthouse steps. It was meant to be a play on the legal term “arraignment,” but nobody really seemed to get it.

 ***

“911 Can Be Used To Report Both Fires AND Medical Emergencies, After All”

Premise: Facing budget cuts, the newly laid-off staff of County General Hospital (“E.R.”) moves to New York City in search of work, where they are somewhat inexplicably forced to create a makeshift hospital within the Harlem Firehouse (“Rescue Me”). Much of the show’s conflict centered around the difficulties inherent in using one small building as both a firehouse and a makeshift hospital, and the much sexier difficulties inherent in having constant intercourse in a high-intensity work environment where so many lives are at stake and the outfits take almost forever to get off.

Tagline: “Is this an emergency? You bet your f%#*ing ass#$*% it is.”

[Note: producers hoped to draw a younger audience with the tagline’s edgy language; though the line briefly became a meme, viewers 18-25 failed to watch.]

Reception: Critics called the show “unbelievable,” noting that the show “waste[d] an absurd number of scenes depicting the doctors crafting surgical tools and machinery out of items lying around the firehouse.” Critics and viewers alike also lambasted the show’s over-long, weirdly literal title — a title that producers reportedly intended for use as a placeholder, but upon which they were apparently unable to improve. The show’s ratings were dismal from the start, and, despite intensive marketing aimed towards popularizing a shorter, acronym version of the title (“911 CBUTRBFAMEAA,” pronounced “see-butte-herb-fame-ahh” in television spots), they continued to plummet. “911…” was canceled after just seven episodes.

Trivia: Fans of the show found a heroine in the beloved and beleaguered in-house 911 operator, Trudy Banks, played by Alexis Bledel wearing geriatric make-up — a transformation that reportedly took six hours to apply each day on set.

 ***

“The SBU Crew”

Premise: Cast members from TV shows “The O.C.,” “Boy Meets World,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “That’s So Raven,” “Skins,” “Lizzie McGuire,” and, perhaps most famously, “Pepper Ann,” become acquainted (and entwined) as junior transfer students at the fictional Sensual Birches University.

Tagline: “Meet the new kid in school … 27 times over.”

Reception: Critics called the large cast “confusing,” cast members’ widely ranging ages “visually jarring” and the pseudo-collegiate dialogue (“Yo bro-ski, whaddaya say we show these doofuses the way a keg stand is REALLY dunzo?” and “Oh yeezy? Why don’t you Skrill-AX?” are two examples) “overwrought, embarrassing, and frequently offensive.” Nevertheless, viewers tuned in to “The SBU Crew” in record-breaking numbers. Still, the show floundered after two desperately pathetic seasons. Cast member James Franco’s repeated installments of a performance art piece he titled “I Am Not On Set” — in which he convinced other cast members to skip days on set — played a major role in cancellation, creating undue complications for the show’s writing staff. The entire student body was killed off by a “simultaneous mono outbreak” in a tedious yet unexpectedly moving five-hour finale.

Trivia: Copies of I Am Not On Set: The Still Images (a photograph book including images of Franco and Adam Brody wearing humorous false facial hair and Franco and Danielle Fishel in a nude, tearful embrace) are available in select Urban Outfitters stores.

Katie Heaney loves all the TV, and is only just now watching Buffy, if you can believe that. Her nonfiction book (Grand Central Publishing) comes out in 2014!



81 Comments / Post A Comment

wharrgarbl

"though the editing of the interspecies sex scenes bring the series down to a total of 11 incoherent minutes"

Snort-laughing without dignity.

sarah girl

@wharrgarbl "Skrill-AX" got me.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@Sarah H. It's going to become a part of my everyday vocabulary, I can guarantee it.

"Hey, man, just put on some wub-wubs and Skrill-AX."

fabel

For some reason, the thought of Alexis Bledel undergoing a 6-hour application of geriatric makeup was the most amusing part of this. Although "Skrill-AX" was definitely golden.

kickupdust

@MoxyCrimeFighter BEST.

milenakent

This is so heartbreaking. @n

Megasus

I would watch a show like the eX-Files ALL THE TIME

maybe partying will help

Is this where we can talk about Young Americans?

ALSO: super looking forward to Katie's Buffy thoughts!!

Katie Heaney

@maybe partying will help love it, obviously, except for xander, who is the absolute worst (total Nice Guy, I mean, AM I RIGHT)

cuminafterall

@maybe partying will help Never seen it, but there's this line from the Wikipedia page: "There is also the forbidden love of Scout and Bella, who may have the same father."

I have a feeling I would love this show.

maybe partying will help

@cuminafterall

Holy bananaballs, it is SO BAD. I actually watched it when it was on the air that summer, which is weird in hindsight because I wasn't allowed to watch Dawson's Creek. But yeah, it is soapy and ridic to the max. Girl disguising herself as a boy at a boys school! Ian Somerhalder and Kate Bosworth before they were famous! Possible incest!

@Katie Heaney

I have a lot of Xander feels of various kinds.

sarah girl

@maybe partying will help I remember Young Americans! Mostly, I remember Kate Moennig...

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@cuminafterall I am too lazy to look up when Young Americans happened, but if you want a good somewhat-forbidden possibly-half-sibling love story, I know a petite blonde and a wanted fugitive from my jurisdiction whom you should look in to.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me crap, Lamb would never say "whom" but I can't force myself to change it

MoxyCrimeFighter

@Katie Heaney Oh oh oh, I JUST finished watching Buffy for the first time! How far into it are you? The first 3 seasons are aces and I have a GREAT FONDNESS for the musical episode.

And Xander is...problematic.

Carrie Ann

@Katie Heaney How far are you into the series? Like @maybe partying will help, I have a lot of complicated feels about Xander, but I fall on the "love" side at the end of the day. That show is brill.

Katie Heaney

@Carrie Ann only season 2. I'm giving it (xander) time and as much patience as I can muster.

kickupdust

@Katie Heaney Xander does require lotsa patience. I also accidentally (ha!) read some Buffy fanfic that takes him to a super creepy place and I don't think I'll be able to get over it. OZ on the other hand...

melis

YOUNG AMERICANS OH MY GOD I thought I was the only person alive who watched/taped ALL EIGHT EPISODES THAT SUMMER

melis

It was sponsored by Coke! And it was one of the first shows that Television Without Pity (still Mighty Big TV at the time) ever recapped! And it's how I learned who Kate Moennig was, pre-L Word, true confession I pulled the entire photo spread of the cast out of Young Seventeen & Tiger Beaty Magazine that summer and taped it up on the inside of my closet, you guyyyyyyyyyyyyyys.

melis

SAMPLE REAL ACTUAL TITLE EPISODE: Will Bella Scout Her Mom? GUYS. GUYS. GUYS. GUYS. This is so unexpected.

Lucienne

@maybe partying will help I watched YA in about a week in 2005 or something, on one of those aggregate TV links sites? It made the embarrassing production values easier to handle, but Ian Somerhalder's beauty still ~*shone through*~.

Anyway, TVD is def. an upgrade.

melis

TV CONNECTION TIME: Ian Somerhalder's character dated Kate Moennig's character (who was in disguise as a BOYYY) on Young Americans; Kate Moennig's character dated Mia Kirshner's character on The L Word (JENNY SCHECTER) and also possibly killed her?? oh man season 6 was terrible; Mia Kirshner guest starred on season 2 of Ian Somerhalder's show, True Diaries of a Real-Life Vampire's Confessions!!! WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN. I'm sorry I'm like this, guys.

VDRE

@Katie Heaney Right? I totally didn't notice when I watched it as a teen but when I rewatched it recently it really bugged me. Seriously, you didn't take advantage of Buffy when you had the chance? What self control! You're a true hero.

Katie Heaney

@melis wait. wait. you think shane killed jenny??? I've never heard anyone guess shane before but MAYBE I am out of the most intensive loops on this

melis

@Katie Heaney I mean the important thing to remember is that it was the stupidest fucking plot twist of the stupidest fucking season of the worst goddamn character ever to kill a dog for revenge.

wee_ramekin

@melis REPORTING FOR DUTY, DRILL SARGENT! (PS - If you are hot like Tasha, then I'll be "reporting" for much, much more...)

@Katie Heaney I don't think that Shane is a really viable option for Jenny's murderer. I mean, I think that the show maintains that ~*~anyone~*~ could have killed her, but I really doubt that it was Shane. My money's on Bette.

Katie Heaney

@wee_ramekin @melis ok yeah i mean, for SURE, but I also sometimes liked jenny? liked hating her, i mean, but she was funny sometimes, right? and unreasonably pretty, that too. idk who killed her, i always hoped she just fell in and stayed under for poetic reasons

double paw?

@melis i like to think of shane as kate moennig's young americans character all grown up and self-aware/accepting

wee_ramekin

@Katie Heaney Here's the thing about Jenny: she's fucking gorgeous. For those of you following along at home, please see Exhibit A.

Exhibit A

She's also legitimately mentally ill. And the thing about her mental illness is that she gets away with so much of her pathological, lying, manipulative bullshit because she's so pretty. Like, even I was sitting there being like "Well, I guess her breaking up the vet and Stacey Merkin sorta kinda maybe could be considered not crazy..." until I snapped out of it and realized that I was only making excuses for her because she's pretty.

I liked her character in Seasons 1 & 2. After that, she went off the rails into Narcissist Town, and I guess it was interesting to watch in a car-crashy kind of way, but it got to be a bit too much. If they had just killed Jenny in Season 3 instead of Dana (*SOB*), I think that would have been fine.

maybe partying will help

@wee_ramekin

Wait, there's a character whose last name is Merkin on a show about lesbians?

Katie Heaney

@wee_ramekin I mean *I* was making excuses for her because she is a TV character. also there was less and less to take seriously as time went on, I think I gave up. haha. i liked her early on too.

@maybe partying haha YOU BET THERE IS

wee_ramekin

@maybe partying will help VAGINA WIG!!!

@all I'm...I'm just gonna leave this here while I go cry about Dana.

Dana...I...I MISS YOU!!! (*ugly tears*)

Mira

@wee_ramekin DANA. :(

MoxyCrimeFighter

@kickupdust OZZZZZZ! Not to be all hetero-centric and step on how people choose to identify themselves, but it kiiiinda annoyed me when Willow said she was gay because it felt like she forgot about my darling, wonderful Oz! Like, you're gay now, but you were in love with Xander and Oz and Tara and Kennedy, so that's like smack in the middle of being queer, yeah?

Also, I may or may not have read every single issue synopsis for the season 8 comic book after finishing the show and going into withdrawal (which is being nicely cured by the Vampire Diaries).

Katie Heaney

@MoxyCrimeFighter SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! no jk jk jk the show's been over for years it's my fault but also. :(

wee_ramekin

@Katie Heaney You...didn't know that Willow is gay?

GIRL, I've never seen Buffy and also live in Siberia under a rock* and I knew that. Shoot.

[*not actually true]

MoxyCrimeFighter

@Katie Heaney NOOOOOO aggggggh I'm sorrrryyyyy! I didn't even think! I totally didn't consider that you might have been completely unspoiled. You're like a unicorn, and I killed the unicorn :-(.

Katie Heaney

@MoxyCrimeFighter @wee haha nooooo no no no, DO not worry, I knew Willow was gay, I just didn't know QUITE all those relationships, but do not fear. It wasn't such a big unveiling.

wee_ramekin

@MoxyCrimeFighter

♫♪...When the last lion roars
At the last dusky fountain,
And the last eagle flies
Over the last crumbling mountain...
♪♫

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Katie Heaney I just wanna put it out there that I am very pro-Buffy. And pro-musical episode. All the time. ALL THE TIME WITH THE MUSICAL EPISODE. It is sheer perfection. It's also like a delightful little Dr. Horrible teaser.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me
PS This thread is so confusing to keep up on via email update, I think due primarily to the lack of context everyone is giving between whether they are talking about Buffy or L-Word... but it does not help that there are some character name crossovers.

anotherkate

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me ok for some reason I can't seem to reply to the correct comment, but what series with a petite blond and a wanted fugitive are you referring to? For, you know, research...

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@anotherkate Hint: It rhymes with "Feronica Bars" and I am obviously obsessed with it.

Verity

@Katie Heaney You are so lucky to be watching it from the first time! And you have so much good stuff coming up - the end of Season 2 is amazing.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Verity!!! Dude, end of season 2 is my go-to "I would like to cry today" stimulus. (I love that he changed the Mutant Enemy thing at the end. "I need a hug." Appropriate!)

Verity

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me It is devastating, but so great!

Mira

"Copies of I Am Not On Set: The Still Images (a photograph book including images of Franco and Adam Brody wearing humorous false facial hair and Franco and Danielle Fishel in a nude, tearful embrace) are available in select Urban Outfitters stores."

Dying.

Lucienne

@Mira I would buy that book and have reading parties with my friends. So the sooner Franco gets around to making it, the better.

New Hoarder

@Mira I hope copies of the book make it to eBay! I heard that the initial press run of 13 copies in the Missoula UO sold out IMMEDIATELY (in 31 months).

SarahP

You guys, I don't even care, I would totally watch The SBU Crew.

orangeyouglad

Katie Heaney, you just get me.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

If there was a show with Adam Brody and James Franco and Kaya Scodelario and Joe Dempsey and Nicholas Hoult and that adorable kid from Lizzie McGuire who was a potential in Buffy's 7th season.... I would watch that show every day.

SarahP

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me Right?!

Heat Signature

There is a high likelihood that some or all of these spinoffs have been or will be pitched at some point.

Katie Heaney

@Heat Signature GOD I can only hope!

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Heat Signature SBU! Make it happen, Fox! Or not Fox, because then it will be cancelled depressingly early. Make it happen, CW?

Inconceivable!

Pepper Ann, Pepper Ann, much too cool for seventh grade

catalina

@Inconceivable! No one's cooler than Pepper Ann! She's her own biggest fan, Pepper Ann!

wee_ramekin

Katie...you're writing a book?

Congratulations! How actually, genuinely, and legitimately wonderful!

Katie Heaney

@wee_ramekin yes! I wrote a book already, actually! thank you!!

JessicaLovejoy

@Katie Heaney You are lame, you are cool, you are breakin' every rule. <3

Danzig!

I remain the only person in history to like Agent Doggett.

This seems as good a place as any to point out that the @fanfiction_txt twitter account is an endless font of brilliance

Katie Heaney

@Danzig! NO WAY not the only person, I f-ing love Agent Doggett

happy go lucky scamp

I only watched buffy this year and fell very hard.

I'm now starting to panic about what I'm going to do once I've finished watching Angel.

so many feelings

Danzig!

@sparkles They have comics!

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Danzig! Also, Dollhouse and Firefly/Serenity, if you've somehow managed not to see those yet. Just go through the Joss Whedon wheelhouse! And then maybe wait a few months and decide to watch all over again, only this time you alternate Buffy and Angel so that you are watching them matched up by air date. (I have never done this, but have really wanted to.. just don't have the patience!)

Bob Loblaw

@sparkles When I finished Angel, I immediately watched it again and paid more attention to the evolution of Wesley.

But I am a huge nerd, and also had a crush on him.

There are some Angel comic books called "After the Fall" which keep the story going. I read a few of them and *some* of them were good!

And Dollhouse and Firefly are also awesome!

WHEDON FOREVERRRRRRRRRR!!!

Verity

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me Yes, Dollhouse and Firefly are both excellent! How far through Angel are you?

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Sparkles, I think @Verity's addressing that question to you (because I'm all the way though. Like four times over.)

Verity

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me I am - thank you.

happy go lucky scamp

@Verity I'm almost finished season 2.

I love firefly and serenity. Haven't checked out Dollhouse. Probably my next stop.

happy go lucky scamp

@danzig! i've been meaning to check them out...

every so often i'll search "buffy" on etsy just to see what comes up. it's a fun past time

anotherkate

No-one's mentioned the Buffy/Freaks & Geeks connection yet? The girl who played Millie on F&G was also a Potential on the last season of Buffy.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@anotherkate YEAHHHHHHH get it! Also, Dr. Horrible/The Guild! Harriet the Spy! Lizzie McGuire, as I mentioned upthread! (OK but seriously how old must the Millie girl have been by the time she was on Buffy? She was probably like 30 and playing a 17 yr old? Acting is a weird career, man.)

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