ENTERTAINMENT

Fan Theory Proves Almost All TV Shows Exist Within Same Universe

Due to crossovers and shared universes between shows, almost every popular TV show exists within the dream of one character from the '80s.

16/09/2015 10:53 PM AEST | Updated 17/09/2015 3:14 AM AEST
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Although you may have never noticed the connection, there's a compelling case that "Friends," "Breaking Bad," "Seinfeld," "I Love Lucy" and just about every other popular American television show exist within the same universe.

Walter White and Rachel Green are no longer just characters in your pop culture-themed fantasy game of Clue, they're characters that could have bumped into each other on the street. 

But this television-changing theory doesn't stop there. Beyond the theoretical connections, it's possible that the 419 affected shows all exist within the dream of an autistic boy from the show, "St. Elsewhere" -- the notion of which is a hated cliche, yes, but could it be the reality of almost every story arc you've ever loved on American television?

TK TK gifs

The theory is called the "The Tommy Westphall Universe" and hinges on a reveal at the finale of "St. Elsewhere" that the whole show had been in the character Westphall's dream.

Official crossovers between the "St. Elsewhere" universe with other shows, then those shows with other shows, has created an elaborate web of American television.

You can and should thank Keith Gow and Ash Crowe for being the keepers of this theory for over a decade, managing what has become the official website.

Partnering with The Huffington Post, Gow and Crowe published an extensive update  of the "Tommyverse" to their television web of compromised shows, which HuffPost illustrator, Alissa Scheller, put into visual form. 

If you're viewing this list on a mobile device, use this link to the web that allows for zooming. The complete list of shows is at the bottom of the article.

Alissa Scheller

Gow and Crowe have an elaborate system of rules for what shows can and can't be included in the list, which they shared with HuffPost and can now be seen on their site's latest update. The most far-reaching regulation is that they "do not include any show that is not a narrative live-action program with a shared continuity from episode to episode." 

This means cartoons and late-night shows are notably excluded, but it gets far more specific than that. One example: "Episodes where reality shows exist within a fictional sphere are not included (such as the 'X-Files'/'COPS' crossover and the 'Chicago Hope'/'Entertainment Tonight' crossover)."

But despite the elaborate system, the two still doubt their methods from time to time. Crowe told HuffPost that if they were to start over today, they'd exclude fictional products as being the basis for counting a crossover, explaining, "since we started this, there's apparently been a real consolidation in fake-prop companies."

This has led to dozens of shows using the same fake product, so in terms of the chart, "that's become an increasingly complex can of worms," said Crowe.

The original decision to include fictional product crossovers actually comes from the origins of the chart itself. As Gow told HuffPost, "St. Elsewhere" writer Tom Fontana began writing connections between his shows using fictional products and companies. 

Fontana wrote a fictional "Weigert Corporation" as an intergral part of both "St. Elsewhere" and "Oz," and, as Gow tells it, "It was that little connection that spawned a thousand other connections -- references to fictional airlines, companies, nods from one series to another."

Over the years, the two have gotten countless emails from fans who found their own connections between shows, invested in the prospect of destroying all television storylines with one theory. 

Contemporary television writers have even bought in to Gow and Crowe's theory. Gow said, "I've heard from TV writers who deliberately put in references to draw their shows into Tommy's mind. One TV writer wants to put a copy of the grid on her office wall and put 'YOU ARE HERE' on the show she writes for."

So far, the included shows span from "I Love Lucy" in 1951, to today, with 26 listed shows still on the air. 

A few shows are outside of American television such as the British show, "Red Dwarf." According to the duo's notes, the only other non-US shows in the "Tommyverse" are "The 'Degrassi' shows (Canada), 'The Office' (UK), the 'Doctor Who' shows (UK), 'Luther' (UK), 'Jo' (France) and 'Paris Section Criminelle' (France)," which "is the only show not in English in the Tommyverse."

If you notice any other connections, feel free to join in on the madness.

The complete list of shows as provided by Gow and Crowe: 

Search for your own favorite to be ruined ...

  1. 24
  2. 90210
  3. 704 Hauser
  4. Adam-12
  5. Addams Family, The
  6. Adventures of Superman, The
  7. AfterM*A*S*H
  8. ALF
  9. Alias
  10. All in the Family
  11. All My Children
  12. Ally
  13. Ally McBeal
  14. Alphas
  15. American Horror Story: Murder House
  16. Americans, The
  17. Amos Burke – Secret Agent
  18. Andy Barker, P.I.
  19. Andy Griffith Show, The
  20. Angel
  21. Anne Sothern Show, The
  22. Archie Bunker’s Place
  23. Arrested Development
  24. Arrow
  25. Art of Being Nick, The [pilot only]
  26. As the World Turns
  27. Batman
  28. Battlestar Galactica (2003)
  29. Beat, The
  30. Becker
  31. Benson
  32. Better Call Saul
  33. Beverly Hillbillies, The
  34. Beverly Hills 90210
  35. Beverly Hills Buntz
  36. Bewitched
  37. Bill Dana Show, The
  38. Blansky’s Beauties
  39. Blossom
  40. Blue Bloods
  41. Blue Skies
  42. Bob
  43. Bob Cummings Show, The
  44. Bob Newhart Show, The
  45. Bold and the Beautiful, The
  46. Bones
  47. Boston Legal
  48. Boston Public
  49. Boy Meets World
  50. Brady Brides, The
  51. Brady Bunch Variety Hour, The
  52. Brady Bunch, The
  53. Bradys, The
  54. Breaking Bad
  55. Buddies
  56. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  57. Burke’s Law (1963-65)
  58. Burke's Law (1994-95)
  59. Burn Notice
  60. Californication
  61. Call Mr. ‘D’
  62. Can’t Hurry Love
  63. Caprica
  64. Caroline In The City
  65. Castle
  66. Checking In
  67. Cheers
  68. Chelmsford 123
  69. Chicago Fire
  70. Chicago Hope
  71. Chicago Med
  72. Chicago PD
  73. Chuck
  74. City of Angels
  75. City, The
  76. Civil Wars
  77. Clueless
  78. Coach
  79. Code of Vengeance
  80. Cold Case
  81. Columbo
  82. Community
  83. Conviction
  84. Cop Rock
  85. Cosby
  86. Cosby Show, The
  87. Criminal Minds
  88. Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior
  89. Crossing Jordan
  90. CSI: Crime Scene Investigators
  91. CSI: Cyber
  92. CSI: Miami
  93. CSI: New York
  94. D.A., The
  95. Danny Thomas Show, The
  96. Day by Day
  97. DC's Legends of Tomorrow
  98. Dead Like Me
  99. Deadline
  100. Degrassi High
  101. Degrassi Junior High
  102. Degrassi: The Next Generation
  103. Dennis the Menace
  104. Dexter
  105. Dharma & Greg
  106. Diagnosis: Murder
  107. Dick Van Dyke Show, The
  108. Diff’rent Strokes
  109. Different World, A
  110. Doctor Who (1963)
  111. Doctor Who (1996) [pilot only]
  112. Doctor Who (2005)
  113. Donna Reed Show, The
  114. Double Rush
  115. Dragnet
  116. Dragnet 67
  117. Drew Carey Show, The
  118. E/R (1984)
  119. Early Edition
  120. Eerie, Indiana
  121. Eerie: The Other Dimension
  122. Eli Stone
  123. Ellen
  124. Emergency!
  125. ER (1994)
  126. Eureka
  127. Everybody Hates Chris
  128. Everybody Loves Raymond
  129. Facts of Life, The
  130. Family Matters
  131. Family Ties
  132. Famous Teddy Z, The
  133. Fear the Walking Dead
  134. Fighting Nightingales [pilot only]
  135. Finder, The
  136. Firefly
  137. First Monday
  138. Flash, The
  139. FlashForward
  140. Flying Nun, The
  141. Frasier
  142. Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The
  143. Friends
  144. Fringe
  145. Full House
  146. Fuller House
  147. Game, The
  148. Geena Davis Show, The
  149. General Hospital
  150. George & Leo
  151. Get Smart
  152. Get Smart (1995)
  153. Gideon’s Crossing
  154. Gidget
  155. Gilligan’s Island
  156. Girl Meets World
  157. Girlfriends
  158. Glee
  159. Gloria
  160. Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
  161. Goober and the Trucker’s Paradise [pilot only]
  162. Good Times
  163. Grace Under Fire
  164. Green Acres
  165. Green Hornet, The
  166. Hangin’ with Mr Cooper
  167. Hanging In
  168. Happy Days
  169. Harry’s Law
  170. Hart to Hart
  171. Haven
  172. Hawaii Five-O
  173. Hawaii Five-O (2010)
  174. Hazel
  175. Hello, Larry
  176. Here’s Lucy
  177. Heroes
  178. Heroes Reborn
  179. Hi Honey, I’m Home!
  180. High Society
  181. Hill Street Blues
  182. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The
  183. Hogan’s Heroes
  184. Home Improvement
  185. Homicide: Life On The Street
  186. Honey West
  187. Honeymooners, The
  188. Hope And Gloria
  189. Huff
  190. Hughleys, The
  191. I Dream Of Jeannie
  192. I Love Lucy
  193. In Plain Sight
  194. In the House
  195. Ink
  196. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  197. It’s Gary Shandling’s Show
  198. Jackie Gleason Show, The
  199. JAG
  200. Jake 2.0
  201. Jake and the Fatman
  202. Jeffersons, The
  203. Jo
  204. Joanie Loves Chachi
  205. Joey
  206. Joey Bishop Show, The
  207. John Larroquette Show, The
  208. Journeyman
  209. Judging Amy
  210. Julia
  211. Justified
  212. K9 and Company [pilot only]
  213. Karen Sisco
  214. Kids of Degrassi St
  215. Killer Instinct
  216. King Of Queens, The
  217. Kingdom
  218. Kingdom Hospital
  219. Knight Rider
  220. Knight Rider (2008)
  221. L Word, The
  222. L.A. Law
  223. Las Vegas
  224. Laverne & Shirley
  225. Law & Harry McGraw, The
  226. Law & Order
  227. Law & Order: Criminal Intent
  228. Law & Order: LA
  229. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  230. Law & Order: Trial by Jury
  231. Law & Order: UK
  232. LAX
  233. Leave it to Beaver
  234. Lone Gunmen, The
  235. Lost
  236. Lou Grant
  237. Love And War
  238. Love That Bob
  239. Loving
  240. Lucy Show, The
  241. Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The
  242. Luther
  243. M*A*S*H
  244. Mad About You
  245. Madman of the People
  246. Magnum P.I.
  247. Make Room For Daddy
  248. Make Room For Granddaddy
  249. Malcolm in the Middle
  250. Mannix
  251. Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The
  252. Married… with Children
  253. Martial Law
  254. Mary Tyler Moore Show, The
  255. Matlock
  256. Maude
  257. Mayberry R.F.D.
  258. Medical Investigations
  259. Medium
  260. Meego
  261. Melrose Place
  262. Melrose Place (2009)
  263. Method & Red
  264. Miami Vice
  265. Middle, The
  266. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
  267. Millennium
  268. Miss Match
  269. Mission: Impossible (1966)
  270. Mission: Impossible (1988)
  271. Mister Ed
  272. Models Inc
  273. Moesha
  274. Monk
  275. Monkees, The
  276. Moonlight
  277. Moonlighting
  278. Mork & Mindy
  279. Mrs Columbo/Kate Columbo/Kate the Dectective/Kate Loves a Mystery
  280. Munsters Today, The
  281. Munsters, The
  282. Murder, She Wrote
  283. Murphy Brown
  284. My Mother, the Car
  285. N.Y.P.D. Blue
  286. Nanny and the Professor
  287. Nanny, The
  288. Nash Bridges
  289. NCIS
  290. NCIS: LA
  291. NCIS: New Orleans
  292. New Andy Griffith Show, The
  293. New Gidget, The
  294. New Leave it to Beaver, The
  295. New York Undercover
  296. Newhart
  297. Nick And Hillary
  298. Nikki
  299. Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation
  300. Nip/Tuck
  301. Norm
  302. Office, The (UK)
  303. Office, The (US)
  304. Once Upon a Time
  305. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
  306. One Life to Live
  307. Orange is the New Black
  308. Out All Night
  309. Out of the Blue
  310. Oz
  311. Paris Section Criminelle
  312. Parker Lewis Can’t Lose
  313. Parkers, The
  314. Party of Five
  315. Passions
  316. Perfect Strangers
  317. Person of Interest
  318. Petticoat Junction
  319. Phyllis
  320. Picket Fences
  321. Port Charles
  322. Practice, The
  323. Prison Break
  324. Private Secretary
  325. Promised Land
  326. Providence
  327. Public Morals
  328. Pushing Daisies
  329. Quantum Leap
  330. Quincy ME
  331. Reaper
  332. Red Dwarf
  333. Remington Steele
  334. Rhoda
  335. Richard Diamond, Private Dectective
  336. Ropers, The
  337. Running Wilde
  338. Sabrina the Teenage Witch
  339. Sarah Jane Adventures, The
  340. Saving Grace
  341. Scorpion
  342. Secret Life of the American Teenager,The
  343. Seinfeld
  344. Shameless (US Series)
  345. Sierra
  346. Silver Spoons
  347. Simon & Simon
  348. Simple Life, The
  349. Single Guy, The
  350. Six Feet Under
  351. Sleepy Hollow
  352. Soap
  353. Something So Right
  354. Sons Of Thunder
  355. Sordid Lives: The Series
  356. Soul Man
  357. Space: 1999
  358. Space: Above & Beyond
  359. Special Unit 2
  360. Spin City
  361. Sports Night
  362. St. Elsewhere
  363. Star Trek
  364. Star Trek Deep Space Nine
  365. Star Trek Enterprise
  366. Star Trek the Next Generation
  367. Star Trek Voyager
  368. Stargate: Atlantic
  369. Stargate: SG1
  370. Stargate: Universe
  371. Step by Step
  372. Still the Beaver
  373. Strain, The
  374. Strange Luck
  375. Supernatural
  376. Tabitha
  377. Tattingers
  378. Team Knight Rider
  379. Teen Angel
  380. That 70s Show
  381. These Friends Of Mine
  382. Third Watch
  383. Three’s A Crowd
  384. Three’s Company
  385. Thunder Alley
  386. Time of Your Life
  387. Top of the Heap
  388. Torchwood
  389. Tortellis, The
  390. Touched by an Angel
  391. Trapper John, M.D.
  392. Tru Calling
  393. Twin Peaks
  394. Two and a Half Men
  395. Two Guys and a Girl
  396. Two Guys, a Girl and Pizza Place
  397. Unforgettable
  398. United States of Tara, The
  399. Up All Night
  400. Veronica Mars
  401. Vinnie & Bobby
  402. W*A*L*T*E*R [pilot only]
  403. Walker, Texas Ranger
  404. Walking Dead, The
  405. War at Home, The
  406. Warehouse 13
  407. Webster
  408. Weeds
  409. White Shadow, The
  410. Whiz Kids
  411. Wings
  412. Wire, The
  413. Without a Trace
  414. Wonder Woman
  415. Wonderfalls
  416. X-Files, The
  417. You Wish
  418. Young and the Restless, The
  419. Young Marrieds, The

 

Illustration by HuffPost's Alissa Scheller.

CLARIFICATION: This article originally included a quote that incorrectly stated all of the non-American shows in the list. "Red Dwarf" is now included as well.

Also on HuffPost: 

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