Teen Drama Crossovers
The teen dramas have had a few memorable crossovers, including as recently as last year.
A television crossover is when the characters from one series appear on another. This is key: It’s not simply about the same actor appearing on two shows. For example, Tiffani Thiessen being on “Saved by the Bell” and “Beverly Hills, 90210” is not a crossover. The universes actually have to collide. So, if Kelly Kapowski appeared on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” that would be a crossover.
Some series have become known for having crossovers somewhat regularly. “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Station 19” usually mix at least once a season, as do the “Chicago” shows — “Chicago P.D.,” “Chicago Fire,” and “Chicago Med.” And on The CW, there have been many crossovers within the so-called “Arrowverse,” of which Greg Berlanti (executive producer, Dawson’s Creek) is a key mastermind.
Without further ado, here are the notable crossovers among the core teen dramas.
Beverly Hills, 90210 & Melrose Place
In 1992, “Melrose Place” premiered on FOX as a spinoff of “Beverly Hills, 90210.” To help establish the new series and attract viewers, the character of Jake, played by Grant Show, was first introduced on “Beverly Hills, 90210” in a guest-starring capacity before being revealed as one of the main characters of “Melrose Place.” Then, to get the “Beverly Hills, 90210” audience to tune into “Melrose Place,” Kelly (Jennie Garth), Steve (Ian Ziering), Donna (Tori Spelling), and David (Brian Austin Green) all appeared in the first few episodes of the new show. Surprisingly, the two series never intertwined again, which I think was a missed opportunity. But in full disclosure, I’ve never actually watched these (or any) “Melrose” episodes.
Beverly Hills, 90210 & 90210
When “90210” launched as a spinoff of “Beverly Hills, 90210” in 2008, it did so with Garth’s Kelly as one of its recurring characters. She appeared in 20 episodes across The CW show’s first two seasons. Shannen Doherty’s Brenda was in seven season 1 episodes and Spelling’s Donna was in two. The “Beverly Hills, 90210” characters of Nat (Joe. E Tata) and Jackie (Ann Gillespie) appeared on “90210” as well. I’ve made my problems with all of this this quite clear.
One Tree Hill & Life Unexpected
The worlds of “One Tree Hill” & “Life Unexpected,” both shows on The CW, mixed in 2010 in a bid to get longtime “OTH” viewers to watch the struggling “LUX” in its second season. The plot saw Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) and Mia (Kate Voegele) traveling to Portland, where “LUX” was set, to perform at a music festival hosted by Kerr Smith’s Ryan (yes, Kerr Smith of “Dawson’s Creek”!). The setup is on the “One Tree Hill” episode, with Haley and Mia then appearing on the “Life Unexpected” installment for the concert. Another teen drama connection, though not a crossover, is Emma Caulfield and Shiri Appleby appearing on “Beverly Hills, 90210” years before they starred on “LUX.” I really enjoyed “Life Unexpected,” which was created by Liz Tigelaar (writer, Dawson’s Creek), and remain disappointed that it was so short-lived.
“Gossip Girl” & the “Gossip Girl” spinoff
In its first season last year, we were treated to three crossover episodes on the “Gossip Girl” spinoff. The first saw Milo, just a baby on the original “Gossip Girl,” as an adolescent on the new show — one apparently as conniving as his mother, Georgina. Michelle Trachtenberg’s character appeared in pictures, with the actress saying on the “XOXO” podcast recently that she hadn’t watched the episode but heard about Georgina’s photographic involvement. In the second instance, Nelly Yuki (Yin Chang) briefly appeared, now a magazine editor years after being best known as one of Blair’s minions. Then, several installments later, Eleanor (Margaret Colin), Cyrus (Wallace Shawn), Dorota (Zuzanna Szadkowski), and Vanya (Aaron Schwartz) reprised their old “GG” roles on the new “GG” for a Hanukkah dinner hosted by Eleanor and Cyrus. Expect little crossovers like this to continue in season 2.
Lastly, while this doesn’t count as a crossover, it’s certainly an interesting example of teen drama worlds colliding, if only in hindsight: Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton shared a scene together with Katie Holmes on “Dawson’s Creek” before Murray and Burton went on to star together in “One Tree Hill,” with both shows filming in Wilmington, North Carolina (where I live). Don’t you just love these connections? I know I do.
Tell me: Which teen drama crossover is your favorite?
I still miss Life Unexpected
I either didn't know about LUX, or have completely forgotten. Have to check this out.