I kind of have a love / hate relationship with crossover events on TV shows. Some of how I feel about it can really depend on whether I watch all the shows that the crossover is occurring on. I understand why TV shows do it because they are try to pull in new watchers, but when it happens too much it can be a little frustrating. This leads to the following dilemma: do you just watch the episodes that are on the show that you watch regularly or do you also watch the couple of episodes on the show that you don’t watch regularly? At the same time it is often fun to think about how characters from one show would interact with ones from another show, but that is only if you watch all of the shows that the crossover is happening on. The whole thing is a bit of a conundrum and then there is the question of whether the story is one that actually fits with the overall show or if it feels forced in order to set up the crossover. Now it is not that these episodes are not good, but it can be overdone.
To Watch or Not to Watch
One of the problem with crossover events is that if you do not watch the other show it can be a bit frustrating to watch a show that you would not normally watch. Then if the crossover occurs over more than one show then there really is a decision about how much do you watch? If you just watch what happens on one of the shows then you end up missing part of the story. Then again, you can watch all the other TV shows that the crossover occurs on, but that means potentially watching a bunch of characters that you have no interest in just to see one storyline. At the same time if it is across a bunch of shows that you watch it can be fun to see how the different characters interact with each other.
Types of Crossovers
Now sometimes crossover events can be used to introduced a brand new show or to get people from a different show to watch. Recently this happened on Flash and Arrow to introduce us to some of the characters that were actually meant for Legends of Tomorrow and became almost a lead in to that show itself. Now while it was fun to see all the characters interacting it definitely was a side step for the other shows that did not really move their main storyline forward. It was kind of a fun side jaunt, but it definitely felt like its purpose was to headline a new show and not for the own show’s sake. On the other hand some crossovers are handled beautifully and each show has its own arc, even if there are elements that are continued on the other show they each feel self contained.
Good Story Versus Forced
The big problem that can happen with some crossovers is that they end up feeling forced. On many shows we get invested in the larger story arc that usually continues a little bit episode to episode. On crossovers though those continuing stories can sometimes be put aside for the sake of the crossover. There are so many things that you can be trying to shove together that the episodes seem to stand alone, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but if it is part of a larger overarching plot it can feel a little bit disruptive. Some of the question is whether the story that is being presented is actually good or whether it is meant more as a marketing ploy for one of the shows as an introduction.
Crossover events can be fun and sometimes a good change of pace for a show. At the same time if they are done too much then it can just be frustrating to constantly have to make sure to watch the shows in a specific order in order to see the whole story in the correct order. In today’s world where we often do not watch the show when it airs that can take a little extra effort, especially if you do not realize that it is a crossover episode before it airs. I have definitely done this and when the episode starts you can feel like you are coming in at the middle of something because often you are in one way or another. At the same time I will openly admit I completely geeked out over Barry Allen appearing on Supergirl, even if it did come across more as fan service then a congruent part of the show itself. But it meant we had to catch up on a bunch of Supergirl so that we could watch Flash again… only to find out that doing so wasn’t necessary!