Thanks to the MCU, Star Wars, and other properties that continue to bring together characters from multiple shows and movies, TV crossovers don’t seem as mind-blowing or exciting as they once did. It was not that long ago, though, that it felt truly special to see our favorite television characters pop up in an episode or two of another’s show. In crossing over TV series, creators can expand their fictional worlds and show their protagonists in a new context. It’s great to see how characters interact with one another and what ramifications, if any, might occur in either series thanks to the meeting.
By bringing together audiences from multiple shows, too, crossovers can easily spell success for creators and introduce fans to new characters and shows they may love just as much as the ones already in their TV rotation. Whether it’s just a simple meeting of the minds or something larger, here are some of the best TV crossover episodes of all time.
Update January 23, 2024: This article has been updated with even more great television crossovers.
15 “That’s So Suite Life of Hannah Montana” – That’s So Raven / The Suite Life of Zack and Cody / Hannah Montana
Disney had a chokehold on ten-year-old minds everywhere in 2006 with the success of original programs like That’s So Raven, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and, of course, Hannah Montana. What better way, then, to appease these frothing masses than to bring the three series together for a mega-crossover that spanned three episodes—one from each show? The crossover begins with Raven checking in at the Tipton Hotel for a photoshoot, but when a mess-up leaves the young psychic without a model or photographer, she enlists Zack and Cody to stand in. Meanwhile, Miley Stewart—aka pop-star Hannah Montana—is also staying at the Tipton, where she befriends the hotel’s candy counter employee, Maddie.
A Disney Crossover of Epic Proportions
Nothing particularly life-changing happens to the characters in the That’s So Raven/Zack and Cody/Hannah Montana crossover episodes, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. After years of watching all these characters have their own separate adventures in consecutive time slots, it’s no wonder that kids wanted to know how they might interact should they ever meet. The three-part crossover accumulated a sizable audience, garnering around seven million viewers on its premiere, as well as a DVD with never-before-seen bonus episodes and series trivia.
14 The Jimmy/Timmy Power Hour – The Fairly Odd Parents / The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Jimmy Neutron, the titular boy genius of Nickelodeon’s sci-fi classic cartoon The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and Timmy Turner, the wacky, wish-fueled kid from the fantastical comedy The Fairly Odd Parents, came together in 2004 for the crossover event The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour. The two characters, whose only commonalities are their age and similar names, switch worlds when Timmy wishes to be sent to the best lab in any universe so that he can “borrow” a winning science fair project. Timmy, of course, causes chaos with his stupidity, and Jimmy must defeat the fairy-obsessed Mr. Crocker back in Dimmsdale to secure a way back home to save the day.
The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour Reanimated Two of Nickelodeon’s Stars
While neither Jimmy nor Timmy could ever eclipse Spongebob’s popularity, both The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron and The Fairly Odd Parents were hits with kids who wished they had the power—scientifically or magically—to live an exciting and adventurous life. Bringing together these two characters might seem a bit silly considering how different they are, but the dynamic works, as Jimmy is forced to contend with the existence of magic, and Timmy must concede that science can be cool. A big selling point, though, is the fact that each character is redesigned to match the worlds they’re in: for the first time, we see Timmy in what he calls “bulgy” 3D and Jimmy in a simpler, 2D style. It’s fun and funny, enough so that Nickelodeon rounded out the trilogy in 2006 with the sequels When Nerds Collide and The Jerkinators.
13 “Stephanie Gets Framed” – Family Matters / Full House
Family Matters wasn’t supposed to be the Steve Urkel show, and yet Jaleel White’s performance was so popular that he couldn’t even be contained to one series. In 1991, ABC took Steve to San Francisco to meet with more of the network’s stars: the Tanner family from Full House. In the episode “Stephanie Gets Framed,” the middle Tanner girl is in a panic after she’s prescribed glasses. Fearing that glasses will make her look like a geek, Stephanie is reassured by Steve that her new eyewear isn’t the end of the world. As he says: “Hold your head up high…otherwise those suckers will slide right off your nose.”
Steve Urkel Brings Some Minor Chaos to the World of Full House
All things considered, Steve’s appearance in “Stephanie Gets Framed” is minimal. He comes in, annoys Danny and Jesse, and gives Stephanie some misguided advice before heading back to Chicago (or maybe just the adjacent soundstage at ABC). Still, Urkel is a beloved character, and his appearance on Full House is yet another instance of him being the annoying-yet-lovable goofball that fans enjoy. Plus, Steve’s visit to the Tanner family implies that the two shows share their fictional universe not just with each other, but with Perfect Strangers and later Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper and Step by Step as well. For some, this means that Steve introduced time travel to the Tanner family, thus closing up many pesky plot holes in Full House.
12 “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” – Phineas and Ferb / The Marvel Universe
In the Phineas and Ferb crossover “Mission Marvel,” an errant ray from Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s “Power Drain-inator” leaves several of Earth’s mightiest heroes powerless, their villains now free to wreak havoc as they please. Tracking the ray to Phineas and Ferb, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, and the Hulk discover the true cause of their lost power and team up with the boys and their friends to get them back. Meanwhile, Venom, Red Skull, Whiplash, and M.O.D.O.K. track down Dr. Doofenshmirtz to congratulate him on his evil genius.
“Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” is a Fun Crossover for All Ages
Though the Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel back in 2009, it wasn’t until 2013 that the comic book heroes appeared in an animated crossover with a Disney show. The heroes from both Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spider-Man aesthetically fit in well with the Phineas and Ferb style, and their returning voice actors (including Drake Bell from Ultimate Spider-Man as Spider-Man and Adrian Pasdar from Avengers: Assemble as Iron Man) sell the idea that these are the same versions of the characters we’ve seen before. As usual, the villains steal the show: it’s hilarious to see these world-class threats reduced to Doofenshmirtz’s “evil buddies,” committing such heinous crimes as knocking over trash cans and stealing hot dogs from a street cart.
11 “Fugue and Riffs” – Archer / Bob’s Burgers
The Archer season four premiere begins in a surprising place, if not a familiar one. Everyone’s favorite incompetent and skilled spy, Sterling Archer, has taken the place of another Fox mainstay: Bob Belcher from Bob’s Burgers. The episode begins on a rainy evening with Archer/Bob working the grill and making some spy-themed food puns before Russian agents come to dispatch him. Archer’s ISIS training kicks in, though, and we’re treated to a History of Violence-style scene of the spy quickly taking the agents out before asking his family to take out “the purple stuff” to clean up all the blood.
“Fugue and Riffs” Brings Together Two Wildly Different Characters with the Same Voice
It’s always exciting to see animated characters illustrated differently from their usual appearance. “Fugue and Riffs” didn’t just bring Bob’s Burgers characters into the show, but it also showed those characters in a new style. The main joke of this bit, too, is great, at once poking fun at actor H. Jon Benjamin’s particularly recognizable voice while still demonstrating his talent. Because Archer and Bob do have the “same” voice, but the characterization of that voice is completely different—gone are Bob’s whines and voice cracks, replaced with Archer’s overconfident brashness. Short as it may be, this little Archer/Bob’s Burgers crossover is a fun and funny reminder of the talent behind the scenes.
10 “Those Old Scientest” – Star Trek: Strange New Worlds / Star Trek: Lower Decks
The latest crossover on this list is from two very different entries in the Star Trek franchise. In “Those Old Scinetest,” the animated characters from Star Trek: Lower Decks find themselves transported back in time to the events of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and even get a live-action makeover. The culture and time clash between the two sets of characters emerge while the crew of the Enterpise needs to return the time travels to their original points in time.
Boldly Going Where No One Has Gone Before
Featuring Star Trek: Lower Decks characters in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was an exciting but also strange proposition. Lower Decks is not only an animated series but one with a much more comedic tone, similar to other adult animated series like Rick and Morty or Big Mouth. Strange New Worlds, on the other hand, is a live-action series that is more in tune with the classic Star Trek series. While the leap to 2D and animated is not out of the normal, as Star Wars frequently features crossovers between animated characters and live-action, this special incorporates both visual styles in the same episode. Even the characters from Strange New Worlds get a new cartoon makeover at the end. The result is a funny episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds that also serves as a great entry point for fans to learn more about Star Trek: Lower Decks.
9 “The Simpsons Guy” – Family Guy / The Simpsons
“The Simpsons Guy” is the first episode of Family Guy’s 13th season, where two of the most notable families in television history come together for an episode that drew over 8 million viewers. Once the Griffins’ car is stolen, they meet the Simpsons and agree to stay with them. But while each Family Guy character seems to get along with their The Simpsons counterpart, it isn’t long before Peter and Homer butt heads.
Two Titans of Fox Meet
After years of being compared to one another and, at times, feeling like enemies, it was an epic moment to see these series come together in an official Fox crossover. The episode also has plenty of fun mocking the complaint of Family Guy being a knockoff of The Simpsons, with the main conflict being drawn into a court case with how often Family Guy appears to copy The Simpsons. The episode was written by Patrick Meighan, a Family Guy staff writer, so while it does have the Simpsons characters, it lacks the humor typically seen in the show about the yellow family. Still, the episode works especially for those who just want to kick back and see their favorite families assemble (and their favorite animated TV dads knock the wind out of each other).
8 “The Resurrection in the Remains” and “Dead Men Tell No Tales” – Bones / Sleepy Hollow
In October 2015, arguably one of the craziest television crossovers happened. The long-running, grounded procedural show Bones was brought into a much larger world when Icabod Crane and Agent Abbie Mills from the supernatural series Sleepy Hollow show up. Sleepy Hollow was a series that focused on an 18th-century man from Revolutionary America who finds himself in the present day fighting supernatural forces, so it was an odd pairing to pair with a standard procedural like Bones, but it worked. “The Resurrection in the Remains” was a Bones episode that saw Icabod and Abbie Mills make their way to Washington to investigate a supposed case with supernatural elements, only for it to not be. The supernatural elements then come into place in the Sleepy Hollow episode “Dead Men Tell No Tales”.
These Two Shows Work Well Together
The genius of the crossover, which aired back-to-back on October 29, 2015, just in time for Halloween, was how the series mixed the two shows together. Ichabod and Abbie Milles show up in the world of Bones, but there is nothing supernatural on that show to break its conventions. Even Icabod is just seen as an odd anomaly by the Bones characters. Yet for the Sleepy Hollow part of the crossover, none of the Bones characters actually make it to Sleepy Hollow. They communicate with them through a computer screen, allowing them to remain in the dark about anything supernatural. While the Sleepy Hollow characters appear in Bones more than the Bones cast appears in Sleepy Hollow, this was a crossover that sounded insane on paper but actually worked.
7 “World’s Finest” – The New Batman Adventures / Superman: The Animated Series
Before Justice League and Justice League Unlimited regularly brought together DC’s greatest heroes, there were only occasional meetups between Batman and Superman in their respective shows. “World’s Finest” sees Batman heading to Metropolis to track down the Joker, who has just stolen an enormous piece of Kryptonite. Out of money, the Clown Prince of Crime convinces Lex Luthor to offer him one billion dollars in exchange for the death of Superman. The two heroes butt heads at first, but they must eventually team up to take down these two titans of injustice and save the day.
Animated Worlds Collided for the First Time in “World’s Finest”
Superhero crossovers nowadays are kind of a dime a dozen, but seeing Batman from The New Batman Adventures brought into Superman: The Animated Series and thus bringing about the beginning of the DC Animated Universe truly feels special, even today. The two heroes have great chemistry together, made even more fun by the fact that this is their first meeting in this universe. They’re younger, less battle-hardened versions of the men we would come to see in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. It’s also a joy to see the Joker’s chemistry with Lex, as well as the great fights between their two “hench-women,” Harley Quinn and Mercy.
6 “Scoobynatural” – Scooby-Doo / Supernatural
After Sam and Dean Winchester stop a possessed, stuffed dinosaur from destroying a pawn shop, the Supernatural brothers are gifted a TV as thanks. After setting it up, though, the two are sucked into the television, landing in the world of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! But something isn’t quite right, and it’s soon revealed that the real supernatural has followed Sam and Dean into this world of masked men and hoaxes.
“Scoobynatural” is a Meta Celebration of Scooby-Doo and Supernatural
Crossover episodes aren’t exactly uncommon, and Scooby-Doo crossovers are almost literally a dime a dozen. But Sam and Dean’s rendezvous with the Scooby gang is different; it is a Supernatural episode, after all, so the mysterious phantom is not someone in a rubber suit. The episode introduces the gang to the real supernatural, which none of the classic characters seem ready to handle, and Dean gets the chance to pine after his childhood crush in the flesh (or ink and paint). The modern Scooby voice actors reprise their roles, and it’s great to see Dean, Sam, and Castiel in the second dimension. The episode was celebrated by critics and fans alike for its expert blending of these two disparate properties, making it a favorite out of Supernatural’s many episodes.
5 “The One With Two Parts” – Friends / Mad About You
Before she became well-known as fan-favorite Phoebe Buffay on Friends, Lisa Kudrow played inept waitress Ursula on Mad About You. Given that both shows take place in New York and that they shared screen time during NBC’s Thursday night “Must See TV” block, the network decided they needed to explain Kudrow’s dual appearances. The solution? Make Ursula and Phoebe twin sisters, of course! The two first cross paths in Friends after Chandler and Joey visit Paul and Jamie’s favorite diner, where Ursula catches Joey’s eye.
Ursula Makes Us Love Phoebe on Friends Even More
Ursula in Mad About You is inept and obnoxious, but seeing her relationship with her sister in Friends proves that she can be downright cruel. “The One With Two Parts” demonstrates Ursula’s callousness early and in contrast to Phoebe’s kindness when the former dates and then abandons Joey. Later episodes with Ursula reveal some of the terrible things she’s done to her sister—including posing as Phoebe during her porn career, selling Phoebe’s birth certificate, and failing to share vital information with Phoebe about their birth mother—clearly positioning her as an antagonist that the strange but loveable Phoebe is forced to suffer under. When Fran and Jamie visit Central Perk in “The One With Two Parts,” they conclude that Phoebe is “definitely her,” but we know that couldn’t be further from the truth, and that this ditsy blonde is a compassionate person who’d do anything for the ones she loves.
4 “Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself” and “Lahey vs. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” – Scandal / How To Get Away With Murder
After Olivia Pope’s fall from grace and dismissal from the White House partway through season seven of Scandal, she begins guest lecturing at a nearby university. There, she’s approached by criminal defense attorney Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder, who wants Olivia’s help bringing a class action suit about the incarceration of Black people to the Supreme Court. The two work together surprisingly well, especially after both has had the chance to read up on the other’s past.
Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder Compliment Each Other Perfectly
Before this highly-anticipated Shondaland crossover happened, none of the shows in Shonda Rhimes’ repertoire had ever been confirmed to share a universe before. With two larger-than-life personalities at the helms of their respective shows, fans weren’t sure if “Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself” and “Lahey vs. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” would do Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating justice. But powerhouse actresses Kerry Washington and Viola Davis have amazing chemistry together, and seeing the two characters fighting the real-world injustice that is systemic racism injected new life into both shows. It’s especially awesome that the crossover weaves into Scandal’s final season’s storyline so well, giving Olivia a chance to begin her process of redemption and reteam with characters like Fitz and Quinn. Fans thought so too, with the two-parter earning around 7 million views in its initial airing.
3 “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End” – Doctor Who / Torchwood / The Sarah Jane Adventures
In 2008, Doctor Who pulled off its biggest crossover to date. The two-part series four finales, “Stolen Earth” and “Journeys End,” not only united The Doctor and his three major companions, Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, and Donna Noble, but also brought together characters from spin-off series Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. The episode saw Earth, along with 26 other planets, stolen by the Daleks and their creator, Davros, to create an anti-matter bomb that will wipe out all life in the universe. The Doctor and his companions and friends from across the series revival must unite to save the day.
Doctor Who Pays Off Years of Stories
The two-part series four finale, in many ways, was what Doctor Who had been building since it returned in 2005. Various plotlines from the series are called back (including a fun reference to Eve Myles being a character in Doctor Who before she became a lead on Torchwood) while also allowing various characters who had not crossed paths before to finale come face to face. Sarah Jane got to meet Captain Jack Harkness, Martha and Rose finally got to share the screen together, and both the Torchwood team and Sarah Jane Adventures team get to contribute. Seeing the Doctor and all of his friends flying in the Tardis together was an epic event.
2 “X-Cops” – The X-Files / Cops
It might seem odd for a sci-fi series to crossover with a reality show, and yet the pairing of The X-Files and Cops in the former’s seventh season is too perfect to pass up. It begins like a normal Cops episode, with a rookie LA County deputy responding to a distress call in a rundown district called Willow Park. But someone, or something, attacks, and it isn’t long before Agents Mulder and Scully are on the scene to investigate the case, having reason to believe that it’s somehow tied to the full moon. The episode follows the two FBI Agents as they track the bloody chain of victims in the hope that it will lead them to their monster of the week before the sun comes up.
“X-Cops” Brings The X-Files into the Real World
The X-Files’ conceit is that there are strange, supernatural happenings always surrounding us, that we just can’t see them. The series crossing over with a reality show like Cops—which at least ostensibly illustrates real-life crime—is brilliant because it makes that conceit feel that much more tangible: these creatures and phenomena are real, and now caught live on tape. The Cops cameras lend this episode of The X-Files a documentary feel that is not dissimilar to found footage films ala The Blair Witch Project—in fact, X-Files writer Vince Gilligan credits that film with inspiring the way the monster is depicted in the episode. “X-Cops” is one of those later-season X-Files episodes that isn’t afraid to experiment with form and style, and it stands out among TV crossovers because of that.
1 “Crisis on Infinite Earths” – Arrow /The Flash /Supergirl /Batwoman /Legends of Tomorrow /Black Lightning /Smallville /Lucifer / Birds of Prey and more.
Easily the most epic television crossover event in history is the CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. The five-episode television event was an adaption of the iconic DC Comic of the same name that sees various heroes from across the DC Multiverse unite to stop the Anti-Monitor from destroying every universe in the multiverse. The event series was primarily between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Batwoman, and Legends of Tomorrow, but a special episode of Black Lightning aired between parts two and three of the event that set up his arrival in the third episode. The special also brought in many faces from DC’s long history, including John Shipp as the 1990s version of The Flash, Tom Welling and Erica Durance from Smallville, Burt Ward from the 1966’s Batman, Tom Ellis from Lucifer, Ashley Scott from Birds of Prey, and even Brandon Routh from Superman Returns and the late great Kevin Conroy from Batman: The Animated Series finally getting the chance to play a live-action Batman. Even the DCEU Flash Ezra Miller appeared in a cameo role.
The Ultimate Crossover
While the Arrowverse had been doing crossovers for years and had many great epic adventures like “Invasion” and “Crisis on Earth X”, this was easily their biggest crossover to date. Adapting DC’s biggest storyline meant the creatives had to go all out, and they certainly did, as they spared no expense. Spreading various cameos and hints at the DC Multiverse across multiple episodes made the event seem bigger and also acted as a love letter to DC’s rich history in adaptation. Nothing was off the table and it meant that everything, even if it seemed critically reviled, was welcome. The special also served as the last big crossover event as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of the Batwoman/Superman & Lois crossover they had planned. Then series like Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman were canceled, while Supergirl and Black Lightning ended. The Arrowverse is now over and while it will be remembered for many things, Crisis on Infinite Earths is a highlight of the series.