No matter how much we love our favorite bits of popular culture, we know that even the best shows — and the best characters — aren’t perfect. Here are 10 shows and franchises that could learn from each other — and that would produce some of the greatest, wackiest crossovers of all time.
1. Sons of Pawnee: I originally got this idea while talking to Maureen Ryan about who seems to have better stimulants: the Sons, or Leslie Knope. But it makes sense that Charming’s family-oriented motorcycle gang and Pawnee’s relentlessly cheery city government would go great together — if you could figure out which one represents the immovable object and which the irresistible force. First, Pawnee has a ridiculously traumatic history, from massacres to Death By Ice Flow for indecent exposure. SAMCRO’s arrival in town would just continue that noble tradition, and the creators of Pawnee’s public art could make up for the fact that Clay Morrow is pretty terrible at graffiti. The gang could carve Leslie up a new table to commemorate the City Council seat she’ll inevitably win. Gemma and Leslie could collaborate on a Taste of Pawnee. Chris could date Tara, who is literally the best small-town doctor on television. Joan Callamezzo and Tig Traeger can carry on a torrid affair. Now that Ben’s out at City Hall, he could take care of the Sons’ books. And if things went sideways, Ron would make sure that the Parks Department wasn’t short on guns, the Tammys could throw down with the SAMCRO Old Ladies, and Leslie and Tom could do surveillance and plan efficient, stylish counterstrikes.
2. Breaking Bad and Breaking Dawn: One of the most notable things about the Twilight books and movies is how bad Bella Swan’s parents are at their jobs. Renee, her mother, is a flake who basically dumps Bella with her father Charlie so Renee can gallivant around with her younger husband. Charlie has essentially no way to respond to Bella’s severe depression except by hoping she’ll end up with a different guy who can cheer her up. Neither of them is capable of having a real conversation with Bella about the fact that she’s not going to college and is getting married as a teenager, just as they did. Now, Walter White is no great shakes as a father either, whether he’s getting Walter Jr. drunk to the point of vomiting, buying his son a car the family can’t keep, or exposing his infant daughter to the dangers of meth dealing. Skyler White is a world champion self-deceiver, and only a mediocre plotter. But I bet the One Who Knocks, and the woman Who Protects This Family From the Man Who Protects This Family would have things to say about their daughter getting married out of high school to a totally mysterious dude who wrecked her emotionally. And failing that, some chemicals strong enough to blow up a vampire or dissolve him in a bathtub.
3. Doctor Who and Ugly Americans: I’m fond of the Doctor, but man does that guy get himself into a lot of trouble with all his gallivanting around. Clearly, what he and the Daleks need is a social worker with extensive experience in alien mediation and an integrationist approach to sharing a galaxy and a planet. Plus, it might be refreshing for him to have a male companion for once: less sexual tension, more TARDIS mini-fridges and dude-bonding. So the Doctor should totally rescue poor Mark Lilly from his zombie roommate and his terrible Craigslist New York apartment. But even then, there’s the risk that the Doctor and Mark would make a new enemy, one very irritable half-human, half-Devil supervisor at the Department of Integration.
4. Game of Thrones and Revenge: A Lannister always pays his debts. So, it turns out, do the Clarkes. Except they’re way more organized about it. While Cersei Lannister is revenge-fucking her brother to pay back her terrible abusive husband, turning into a drunken sot to get back at the people who doubt her, and continuing a pattern of humiliating her younger brother for the sin of being born; and while said younger brother is grousing about how he wants to rape and kill his older sister while tramping all over Westeros and Essos, Amanda Clarke is getting stuff done. Her training at the hands of a mysterious Japanese man appears to have been much more efficient (and less painful) than Arya Stark’s education in Braavos. And while it’s admittedly easier to wreak havoc on a bunch of unsuspecting rich people in the Hamptons than it is to take down a bunch of paranoid and heavily fortified nobles in Westeros, girlfriend is getting it done. Amanda should really set up an academy somewhere and get the Starks and various and sundry other heavily wronged people ready to kick ass for fun and profit.
5. Glee and Party Down: As graduation approaches for some of the members of New Directions and the Troubletones, their perpetual freakouts about what they’re going to do for the rest of their lives is getting more intense. The Party Down crew could explode all of their illusions, reminding them that even if you make it to the big city, sometimes you end up catering an eccentric array of parties rather than hoofing it on Broadway or the sassy gay friend on a Bravo show. Glee is at its best when its all kinds of dark. And while teenagers may not need their illusions crushed and then milled into a fine, tragic grain, it’s probably worth a reminder that a decent job and a good relationship aren’t failures.