Life After Lost (and 24): Day 4

Whatever your response to the ending of Lost, it probably centered on your approach to the flash-sideways sequences of season 6, both in the way everyone turned out to be connected in some manner, and the fact that it all took place in some form of subconsciousness and imagination.

Those themes show up again in what is also perhaps the pinnacle of TV fan geekery: the Tommy Westphall Universe. This is the theory that because the series St. Elsewhere wound up appearing to be the dream of child character Tommy Westphall, then his imagination must also be responsible for any shows which have storyline links.

The most common starting point of the links is that two St Elsewhere characters, Roxanne Turner and Victor Erlich also appear, as the same characters, in Homicide: Life On The Streets. That makes things interesting straight away as Homicide character John Munch has appeared in no fewer than eight different shows, including The X-Files and The Wire.

At last count, 282 shows can be said to be the work of Tommy Westphall’s mind, running from Degrassi Junior High to Doctor Who.

And to give one example of the connections:

  • Characters in St Elsewhere once visited the bar from Cheers.
  • Frasier from Frasier got his own show. In it, Niles and Daphne read the cartoon which is produced in Caroline and the City
  • Cartoonist Caroline appeared in an episode of Friends
  • Phoebe from Friends has a twin sister named Ursula (also played by Lisa Kudrow) who first appeared in Mad About You
  • In one episode of Mad About You, Paul produces a documentary narrated by Dick Van Dyke Show character Alan Brady
  • Dick Van Dyke Show character Buddy appeared in the Danny Thomas Show
  • The Danny Thomas Show came back as Make Room for Daddy and one episode featured the lead character from Here’s Lucy.
  • An episode of Here’s Lucy featured the lead character from detective show Mannix being held hostage.
  • Mannix featured in an episode of Diagnosis Murder
  • The Diagnosis Murder episode Murder In The Air featured Oceanic Airline Flight 456 (the footage being reused from the movie Executive Decision)
  • Oceanic Airlines flight 815 crashed at the start of Lost.

As for 24, forget it. Jack Bauer doesn’t play nice with others.

For more details on crossover episodes, check out poobala.com.

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4 Responses to Life After Lost (and 24): Day 4

  1. This made me smile. You see the same faces pitching up again and again in American TV shows and it really bugs me when I can't work out where I've seen them before…or I mess up my entire understanding of a storyline because I've given them the character they had in a different show.

    Probably the only good thing to come out of my discovery of internet marketing and starting on the road to becoming a geek is the fact that I no longer have time to watch American imports… well, except for Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, The Good Wife, the back issues of The Wire that I keep hiring from LoveFilm…

    Damn, I haven't actually stopped at all have I? ;)

  2. This made me smile. You see the same faces pitching up again and again in American TV shows and it really bugs me when I can’t work out where I’ve seen them before…or I mess up my entire understanding of a storyline because I’ve given them the character they had in a different show.

    Probably the only good thing to come out of my discovery of internet marketing and starting on the road to becoming a geek is the fact that I no longer have time to watch American imports… well, except for Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, The Good Wife, the back issues of The Wire that I keep hiring from LoveFilm…

    Damn, I haven’t actually stopped at all have I? ;)