TV crossover musings (and missed opportunities?).

WARNING: This is an example of a rambling blog post that someone writes when they’re killing time waiting for something else to happen. If you’re fast enough, you still can escape with your lives.

Still here? All righty, then. Beware: All kinds of TV nerdity looms ahead. Apologies in advance.

Today, while out to my local Target in search of a few odds and ends as well as something for lunch, I wandered past the store’s media section and spied a few copies of the NCIS: The Tenth Season DVD set. I was reminded that as we head into the final days of August, season premieres are coming soon and so the previous season’s shows are starting to hit the various home video/on-demand viewing formats.

NCIS_title

I’ve been a fan of NCIS since it was a two-part backdoor pilot episode of JAG, a series which was humming along on its own eighth season when its creator, Donald P. Bellisario, decided it was time to make up another TV show. The dude’s been rather successful in that regard over the years, you know. His name on a series has been a staple of television going back to the 70s, after all. As for this newest attempt, I’d already been a fan of Mark Harmon for years, but he’d dropped off my radar for a time until he did a guest stint for a handful of episodes of The West Wing during that show’s third season. To hear the story, it was that role which brought him to Bellisario’s attention and made the producer decide to cast him as the star of his new series. Lucky us, as it’s ten years later and I can’t imagine the show working with anyone but Harmon as NCIS agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

To be honest, a lot of what makes NCIS work isn’t the stories (though it has its fair share of good ones), but instead the characters and the cast of actors who portray them. Their chemistry is some of the best of any ensemble show, and seems to be the major reason the series not only has survived for ten seasons (getting ready for #11), but also has been a ratings king for most of that time. Indeed, NCIS is one of those rare shows that started out with modest ratings and then continued to increase its viewership with each successive season.

It’s freakin’ weird, yo.

(Shameless Whine: I really, really wanted somebody to land a tie-in license for NCIS novels. I’d have been on that like bacon on…well…anything. I’m pretty sure I could pull off writing Gibbs and the gang, by golly. Alas, it seems never to be.)

Interestingly, and with a few minor exceptions very early on, NCIS blazed its own trail after spinning out of JAG, avoiding any high-profile crossover episodes with its parent series. That was probably for the best, as the two shows are different enough in tone that they really didn’t need to prop up each other. Of course, I’d already been lamenting what I thought was an opportunity that Bellisario missed, by not having JAG need to investigate a case in Hawaii and perhaps requiring the assistance of former Navy SEAL and (retired?) private investigator Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV. It seemed to be a no-brainer, what with Magnum, P.I. also being a Bellisario-created series, right?

Oh, well.

Later, I thought NCIS might try it at some point, but then one episode had Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo refer to Magnum as a TV character and series. NOOOO!!!!!! 

Dang it. So close….

Magnum_P_I_

Of course, my Magnum crossover fetish goes back to the early days of that series. Magnum, P.I. premiered on CBS the season after the original Hawaii Five-O wrapped after twelve years filming on location in the Aloha State. With a full production studio located there, CBS was looking to make use of those facilities so BOOM! Along comes Thomas Magnum. That show made the occasional reference to McGarrett and “Five-O” during its early seasons, but such nods and hat-tips faded as the series went along.

(Squirrel: In one interview I remember reading years ago, author Tom Clancy–at one time, at least–was involved in preliminary discussions to team up Magnum and his Jack Ryan character in some sort of TV project. That never happened, but I remember being stoked by it.)

NCIS cruised merrily along for several years–never granting my wish of some kind of Gibbs/Magnum teamup–before birthing its own spin-off, NCIS: Los Angeles, with a younger, hipper cast doing things their own way out on the left coast. While there were a few early crossovers between the two shows, the newer series has, like its predecessor, seemed content to go its own way.

H50

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Eyeball Network, McGarrett and his gang got rebooted with an all-new version of Hawaii Five-0. No sooner did I hear about that show than I started conjuring the possibility of this new crew needing to avail themselves of that aforementioned former Navy SEAL and (retired?) private investigator. Of course, Tom Selleck was still working for CBS, heading up a new show of his own, Blue Bloods, as well as showing up in the occasional Jesse Stone TV movie. Still, a dude can dream, right? McGarrett and Danno yanking Magnum off a fishing boat and out of retirement for some big case?

SOMEBODY MAKE THIS HAPPEN, RIGHT?

Then, Hawaii Five-0 did a crossover with NCIS: Los Angeles, effectively nullifying that idea, since–as we’ve already established–Magnum is a fictional character in the JAG/NCIS/NCIS:LA-iverse.

Curses! Foiled again.

I mean, it could still happen, of course. It’s TV, so anything’s possible, but you and me and the nerds among us would know all along that such an occurrence–should it come to pass–would be a canon violation, and we just can’t be havin’ any of that shit. Nuh-uh. No way. No how.

Damn.

Still, for TV geeks like us, pondering this sort of thing is fun…even if I did just spend more time and energy on the notion than might be considered healthy.

Of course, I suppose a crossover can’t really be a crossover unless it features the quintessential crossover character, amiright? You know who I’m talking about….

JohnMunch (Click me to learn the Truth.)

Yep. Munch on that.

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About Dayton Ward

Freelance word pusher. Husband. Dad. Trekkie. Rush fan (the band). Tampa Bay Bucs fan. Observer/derider of human behavior. I know where my towel is.
This entry was posted in blog, dvd, nerdity, ramblings. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to TV crossover musings (and missed opportunities?).

  1. JeffDJ says:

    I would have loved to see a ‘Fringe’/’X-Files’ crossover of some kind. An early episode of the former mentioned the FBI’s “X Division” and that’s totally X-Files, right? I can just picture the Fringe team arriving on the scene to examine a grisly corpse and Walter getting all huffy upon finding someone already there “contaminating my crime scene!” That someone would be Dr. Dana Scully in my scenario, called in by Broyles to consult on the case.

    Oh well! It was a great episode in the alternate universe though.

    Like

  2. Lee says:

    Actually, the NCIS episode Power Down (in season seven) established the original Hawaii Five-0 as a television show, and NCIS: Los Angeles still did the crossover. So that Magnum crossover might still be a possibility.

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      I’d forgotten about that! Kind of a fuzzy area with H50, since the reference was to the original rather than reboot. Still, it’s a valid point.

      Another one for us TV canon geeks to froth over. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Of course, I still get twitchy when I see a prominent supporting or guest actor from JAG showing up as a different character on one of the NCIS shows. Of course, they blew that pretty early on when they brought in Sean Murray as McGee, after he’d already guested as another character on JAG.

      See? FROTHING! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Like

      • Lee says:

        I guess using some mental gymnastics, one could say that the original Hawaii 5-0 was a show in the JAGverse (maybe with different character names) and that the people in the new Hawaii 5-0 are inspired by the television show, hence use of the “Book ’em” catchphrase and team name). I know, too much thought into this.

        Like

  3. There was going to be a Quantum Leap/Magnum crossover. Check out # 16, here: http://magnum-mania.com/Trivia/Trivia.html

    Like

  4. Bruce Phillips says:

    And on Homicide, Detective Munch referred to X-Files as a TV show a couple of years before he appeared on it as a character. In television, anything is possible.

    Like

  5. archersangel says:

    the whole “well the mentioned a tv show in an episode of another show so it must be fiction.” thing can mess with your mind.
    what’s a really big mind frack is the fact that in the last episode of st. elsewhere they made it seem like the whole thing was in the mind of an autistic child. so, in theory, any show that those characters visited, or who’s characters visited that show, was also in his mind.
    unless you’re like me, and just dismiss any episode or revelation that doesn’t fit with your own personal canon.

    Like

  6. As to crossovers with Kolchak…one scenario I have in mind that will likely never be contracted for? Kolchak meeting Due South’s Fraser and Vecchio.

    They had their own Weird Cases, right?

    Like

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