Mash-ups are for life, not just for a Glee episode. They’ve also been around for ages and are just as prevalent in movies, books and TV shows. Marvel and DC creative teams would regularly, secretly, hint their characters were in the same universe during the 1970s; Pixar loves hiding the Pizza Planet truck in all its recent movies and the Fringe Division are on record, on the show no less, as dealing with files that used to have the prefix “X”.
Dooo dooo dooo dooo dooo doooooooo…
So this week, we’re talking mash-ups y’all. Specifically:
If you could take any two genre fiction universes and combine them, which would you choose and why?
Troo Topham: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic , and Warhammer 40,000 . Let's see what wins out? The cupcakes of Pinkie Pie, or the Grimdark of the Emperor! I can't see Grey Knights slaughtering Sisters Of Battle when Rainbow Dash could defeat all those Chaos minions on her own just by being 20% cooler! Hug all the Xenos!
Stacey Whittle: No, no, no, no, NO I say to mash-ups, crossovers or any genre fiction combination. I hate it. I hate it musically – there is not a single mash-up of any song that exists that is better than the original songs they started as, a fact my other half seems desperate to disprove, forcing me on a regular basis to sit through some vile and nasty synthesised and over-drumbeated rubbish which will undoubtedly infuriate and headache-ify me.
Any genre TV programme, book, comic anything involves world-building, and some world-building is delicate and elaborate and you can't just dump another character from another exquisitely built universe into this universe and expect it to work. In my opinion it just doesn't. Either the character out of place ends up being entirely out of place or the delicate, webbing of the world building seems wrong. I cannot think of a single example of a crossover that has worked – and this is the important part – for me. For me!
The only thing that I can think of that did work for me was the Buffy / Angel crossover episodes “Fool For Love” and “Darla”, but this was less of a crossover and more of an episode continuation and it was set in the same universe which made everything make sense. But, remember those episodes that Angel turned up in Buffy in seasons four and five and how out of place he seemed and different to the Angel we saw emerging in his own series? There was a reason for that – he was out of place. He didn't belong there anymore and we knew it and he knew it and it was time to let go. Man, I'm welling up. Don't you miss Buffy ? Anyway, yes this is the only time it worked for me because it didn't work – do you see what I mean?
In summary, I don't like em so my favourite would be please, please don't do it!*
*Although, I still haven't seen Avengers Assemble for babysitting/cinema going reasons and the viewing of that film may well change my mind and I reserve the right entirely to back pedal my way out of this opinion anytime I like!
Lee Harris: I'm not usually one for universe crossover stories. They're usually pretty weak, as the owners of both universes fight to ensure that their creations aren't inconvenienced too much; God forbid that Spider-Man should get a kicking from Animal Man, for instance, or that Superman gets knocked out by Apollo. The DC v Marvel clashes have – without exception – been insipid and not worth the cover price. The only decent ones in memory are the Judge Dredd vs Batman one-offs and the Planetary vs Batman issue. Hmmm... I see a pattern forming.
Okay Batman vs Glee . Let's see them sing their way out of that one!
Laura McConnell: As tempting as it is to have the Scarrans and the Klingons duke it out for pure cage-fighting thrills, I'm going with something a bit different. I'd have MacGyver in the Stargate universe. Yes, it's been done to death in fan fiction and a lot of other ways, but I can't help it. Trapping Mac on an alien planet with little to no resources with which to fix the Stargate and find his way back? I'm all over that. And yes, MacGyver isn't exactly a genre show, but did you see some of his inventions? Far-fetched enough to be fantasy in my world. Besides, no offence to Jack O'Neill, but Sam Carter and MacGyver working together is hotter than a thousand suns.
Steven Ellis: So many possibilities... So many different franchises and characters you could pour into the melting pot. I kept thinking about it and thinking about it and I always came back to the same thing. I want to see a huge battle between the Ewoks from Star Wars: The Return Of The Jedi and James Cameron's Na'vi from Avatar . Both groups are fierce warriors. Both groups are in touch with nature and are completely at home in the jungle. Both groups are similar technologically speaking and both groups get unfair press. The Ewoks are often called teddy bears and the Na'vi are called giant Smurfs by the more dismissive voices out there. Well, I think a no-holds-barred, throw-down fight between the two groups would prove just how tough they both really are. As long as Eywa didn't join in and the Ewoks didn't call for Rebel back up...
I can just imagine it; a vicious, bloody-thirsty battle through trees and jungles. With bows and arrows and knives and spears. The Na'vi with their Pa'li horses and their flying Ikran dragons and the Ewoks with all the heavy weapons their tree based engineering ingenuity can come up with. I reckon it could be a pretty epic fight and I'd love to see it.
And win or lose, I'd love to have a battle so violent and so bloody that nobody ever called Ewoks “cute Teddy bears” again.
So. Place your bets... Na'vi or Ewok? Who you gonna side with?
Alasdair: Ethan Hunt and his IMF unit are still adjusting to their new-found status within the agency when something impossible happens; Ethan’s body is pulled out of a river in Moscow. Reluctant to return, especially after being blamed for making quite a large portion of the Kremlin explode, Ethan nonetheless infiltrates the country to attempt to find out why someone has been surgically altered to look like him and then murdered.
Except, they haven’t. The man on the slab is identical in every single way to Ethan, down to the cells. He’s a clone, and suddenly the IMF team find themselves in a whole new world of trouble. Another Ethan clone, with grey hair, is shown killing a member of the Russian government in a nightclub and as the country is locked down, the IMF agents are disavowed by a government no longer entirely sure they’re human. Hunted, alone and running out of time, the unit are rescued by Roy Miller, another Ethan clone and June Havens, his partner. The pair explain that Ethan, all of them, were one third of a project in the late 1960s to create a genetically superior spy. The other two thirds involved a child being given physical alterations in vitro (Hanna) and a behavioural modification and enhancement program that would go on to be called Treadstone ( The Long Kiss Goodnight and then the Bourne movies). There is one survivor from the scientific team responsible, a man who can provide the team with the identity of who’s hunting them, which one of the surviving Ethans is the original and how many are left. There’s just one problem; his name is Walter Bishop…
Which is more than two I know, but, come on! Multiple Tom Cruises! Walter!
So there you go, ladies and gentlemen, mash ups galore! Next week, we’re steering away from the wonderful world of the meta fictional but staying musical with this perfectly pitched little concerto of a question.
What in your opinion is the greatest piece of science fiction theme music ever produced?
Tune your instruments, and we’ll see you in seven.