It’s pretty cool to consider that these shows all exist within the same world.
For this list, we’re taking a look at TV episodes and specials that brought two different television universes together for a single story. However, we’ve excluded crossovers between shows that have always been a part of one established universe like “Hercules” and “Xena” or “Buffy” and “Angel.”
#10: “Power Rangers” / “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
In the ‘90s, the Power Rangers and the TMNT were two of the most marketable kid-friendly franchises. And these martial-arts series finally collided in the sixth season “Power Rangers” episode “Shell Shocked,” where the heroes in a half shell are brainwashed by Astronema and turn evil. As you can imagine, they come out of it and partner with the Rangers to battle the manipulative Princess of Evil. Through adult eyes, this crossover might seem bizarre, cheesy, or just dumb. But the 8-year-old in us all can’t help but be sucked in, seeing two of the defining things from our childhoods kicking ass side by side.
#9: “Phineas and Ferb” / Marvel Universe
The episode “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” is one of the most randomly awesome crossovers to come out of Disney since “Kingdom Hearts.” “Phineas and Ferb” and “The Avengers” have little in common other than their all-powerful owner. Nevertheless, this is a truly ‘well assembled’ special with jokes that appeal to “Phineas and Ferb” fans and Marvel fans alike. As the de-powered superheroes partner with Phineas and Ferb to stop the Marvel baddies, highlights include the menacing Red Skull interacting with the bumbling Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Perry the Platypus posing as a Howard the Duck lookalike, and – of course – a hella catchy song.
#8: “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” / “The Fairly OddParents”
Jimmy Neutron’s world is governed by science. Timmy Turner’s world is governed by magic. In “The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour,” these Nickelodeon icons learn that they aren’t as different as we might imagine, with science projects and fairies and mistaken identity as the order of the day. With one series utilizing traditional animation and the other employing computer-generated animation, this TV movie has leeway for a lot of inventive imagery. Seeing Jimmy and Timmy out of their comfort zones particularly makes for some inspired comedy as they attempt to return home and restore order to the tooniverse.
#7: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” / “Diff’rent Strokes” & “The Jeffersons”
The final episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” not only saw the departure of the Banks family, but also the return of some other beloved TV families. With the Bel-Air mansion up for sale; several familiar faces drop by for the Banks’ open house in the episode “I, Done.” Over ten years after going off the air, Arnold Jackson and Mr. Drummond from “Diff’rent Strokes” reappear to check out the home and deliver some classic one-liners. The Banks residence ultimately goes to George and Louise Jefferson, though, who are ready to move on up again.
#6: “Full House” / “Family Matters”
Steve Urkel not only stole the show on “Family Matters,” but also this episode of “Full House.” In San Francisco for a science fair, an unwelcome Urkel visits the Tanner household. It only takes a couple of minutes of cheese talk until Jesse and Danny decide that they’ve had enough. After he teaches Michelle about money matters, Urkel does pass on some insightful advice to Stephanie, who’s insecure about her new glasses…which she never wears again anyway. The only downside: Why didn’t Urkel and Kimmy Gibbler share any scenes? They were totally meant for each other!
#5: “Friends” / “Mad About You”
Before Lisa Kudrow landed her iconic role as Phoebe Buffay on “Friends,” she was best known for playing the ditzy waitress Ursula on “Mad About You.” Since both shows were airing around the same time, the producers decided to make the characters twin sisters. Confusion ensues on the “Friends” episode “The One with Two Parts” as Joey meets and falls for Ursula, and Jamie Buchman and her pal Fran encounter Phoebe. If that’s not enough Must-See TV crossover action for ya, this extended episode also features two cute doctors played by George Clooney and Noah Wyle, who both hit it big that year on “ER.”
#4: “Archer” / “Bob’s Burgers”
Sterling Archer and Bob Belcher are both voiced by H. Jon Benjamin; other than that, these two animated characters couldn’t seem more different. However, in this clever crossover episode of “Archer” called “Fugue and Riffs,” we learn they’re actually one and the same. Suffering from amnesia, Archer opens a burger joint, marries Linda, and helps raise her three bratty kids. When the KGB shows up at Bob’s Burgers, Bob/Archer is sent on a journey for the truth that’s straight out of “The Bourne Identity.” Does he regain his memory and go back to his life as a philandering, deadly super-spy? Only the frying pan knows for sure.
#3: “Family Guy” / “The Simpsons”
There was so much hype leading up to this “Family Guy” episode that it’s not surprising the initial viewer response was mixed, but “The Simpsons Guy” is truly a classic in the making that delivers everything one could want from a “Family Guy”/“Simpsons” crossover. The Griffins’ trip to Springfield provides one great laugh after another, full of awe-inspired animation and ingenious references. The best part is just seeing these classic characters interact, as Bart raises hell with Stewie, James Woods meets James Woods and Homer chicken fights Peter. Oh, and Fred Flintstones calls everybody out as a rip-off.
#2: “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” / “Boy Meets World” / “You Wish” / “Teen Angel”
For the ’97-’98 season, ABC was desperate to carry over the success of “Sabrina” and “Boy Meets World” to its new TGIF shows. That’s how this four-way crossover originated. The story saw Sabrina’s black cat swallow a time-ball in the first show of the night. For the rest of the evening, Salem ran through the other sitcoms, thrusting them into new and exciting eras. “Sabrina” traveled to the ‘60s, “Boy Meets World” went to WWII, “You Wish” was in the ‘50s and “Teen Angel” ended up dancing disco. An ambitious crossover, yes; it’s up to you to decide if it succeeded.
Before we crossover to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
– “Generator Rex” / “Ben 10: Ultimate Alien”
– “Mad About You” / “Seinfeld”
– “The King of Queens” / “Everybody Loves Raymond”
– “Roseanne” / “Absolutely Fabulous”
– “The X-Files” / “Cops”
#1: “The Jetsons” / “The Flintstones”
While Hanna-Barbera wasn’t the first studio to experiment with crossovers, the 1987 TV movie “The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones” certainly popularized the concept. It’s actually surprising Hanna-Barbera took so long to bring television’s definitive prehistoric family and ultimate futuristic family together. They completely delivered, however, in a blast from the future and the past made possible by Elroy Jetson’s time machine. This union of cartoon royalty offers a lot of the creative comedic scenarios both shows were known for, as well as loads of heart. Almost thirty years later, it’s still the crossover to beat all crossovers.