If the massive success of the Marvel movies is anything to go by, expanding a fictional universe is a way to print so much money you can swim around in it, Scrooge McDuck-style. But that doesn't seem to work as well on television. In fact, sometimes TV crossovers and spinoffs not only suck, they do it so hard they retroactively ruin the original. Like ...
6 Cheers Gave Us Frasier's True Finale Before It Even Began
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Frasier, your mom's favorite excuse to drink wine on a weeknight, ended with Frasier leaving Seattle to follow a woman he'd fallen in love with. It's an optimistic ending ... that's doomed to failure thanks to a Cheers episode that aired 13 years earlier.
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Not to be confused with Kelsey Grammer's life, which is doomed to be an elaborate tragedy.
In "I'm Okay, You're Defective," Frasier's then-wife Lilith pressures him to write a will for the sake of her and their infant son, Frederick. The episode ends with a flash-forward to an elderly Lilith having what's supposed to be her husband's will read to her, although it actually ends up being a report on Sam Malone's sperm count thanks to sitcom shenanigans.
But the point is that, while Frasier may have divorced his wife, moved to another city, pursued a new career, made amends with his long-estranged family, and had numerous new relationships as he looked for love, in the end it's all irrelevant. That one throwaway joke means Frasier is destined to return to Boston and get back together with his ex-wife. It's like a sitcom version of Final Destination, only instead of death, it's an unhappy marriage that you can never escape.
5 A Transformers Episode Implies That G.I. Joe Loses
In the Transformers episode "Only Human," one of the lame, non-robot villains hires a mysterious figure named Old Snake to help him defeat the Autobots. After their plan inevitably fails, Old Snake strolls off while muttering, "They don't make terrorists like they used to." He then reveals himself to be G.I. Joe's Cobra Commander, the kid-friendly Osama bin Laden of the 1980s.
To a kid, that's like the ending of The Usual Suspects. But to our cynical adult minds, his appearance raises a lot of questions about how the timeless battle between Joes and Cobras ended. We're supposed to assume that the Joes destroyed Cobra, because their leader wouldn't be filing a terrorist-1099 if he still had a steady gig. But what was the fate of the Joe team? Giant robots are rampaging across the Earth, and humanity's greatest warriors are nowhere to be seen. Cobra Commander may be an old man with no followers, but he's still active and causing trouble. Did the Joes win their battle, or did the two sides mutually assure their own destruction with Cobra Commander the only man left standing?
Albeit in disguise as a robotic pilgrim detective.
These answers and more can possibly be found in the new G.I. Joe films, but we literally can't pay somebody enough to watch them.