Ravenswood Premiere: What the ABC Family Show Can Learn From TV's Greatest Crossovers


Just in case Pretty Little Liars isn’t enough television drama for you, the ABC Family hit has inspired a spin-off series.

Ravenswood, starring Tyler Blackburn (aka Caleb), premieres October 22. The supernatural mystery will take place within the Pretty Little Liars universe in a town not far from Rosewood.

From the looks of the trailer, Ravenswood promises to be as dark as its predecessor with plenty of action and suspense. As Blackburn reprises his role as Caleb Rivers, he will brave supernatural horrors with four strangers after they discover themselves connected by a curse.

The series, which will premiere following the annual Pretty Little Liars special Halloween episode, will also feature some crossover between the two shows.

Ashley Benson, known as Hanna on Pretty Little Liars, will appear in an upcoming episode of the spin-off, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the fifth episode of Ravenswood, Hanna will be seen talking on the phone to Caleb in a TV crossover moment.

Viewers love crossover between their favorite TV shows, moments like Kramer’s appearance on Mad About You that act as inside jokes with the audience, making the TV world that much richer and more inter-connected.

“At their best, TV crossovers encapsulate that marvelous feeling you get when two pieces of pop culture wink at each other from across the room,” Flavorwire describes. “When they’re done well, crossover episodes are tiny links in the sprawling fictional universe of television.”

It’s understandable that Hanna, who is Caleb’s girlfriend, will appear on Ravenswood, but here’s hoping for some more crossover between the shows.

For some inspiration, here are six great moments in TV crossover history.

1. 'Friends' and 'Mad About You'

While Phoebe had previously referenced her twin who worked as a waitress, a character familiar to Mad About You fans, the crossover wasn’t complete until Ursula appeared in the first season of Friends along with Helen Hunt as Jamie and Anne Ramsay as Lisa. “The One with Two Parts” was a two-episode crossover where Friends met Mad About You, making for some hilarious scenes at Central Perk.

The unusual episode also resulted in a pseudo-crossover that still confuses fans when George Clooney and Noah Wyle guest-starred as doctors. Clooney had previously played a doctor on ER in the mid-1980s, but because the two characters are completely different, the episode is not a true Friends and ER crossover.

2. 'The Beverly Hillbillies,' 'Petticoat Junction,' and 'Green Acres'

These three shows from producer Paul Henning all took place in the same world and featured scenes in the rural town of Hooterville. The Beverly Hillbillies, which ran from 1962 to 1971, was the first, spawning spin-off Petticoat Junction, which was followed by Green Acres. While the three shows were rife with crossover moments, character actor Frank Cady playing Sam Drucker was the only recurring character to appear on all three shows.

3. 'Arrested Development' and 'Law & Order'

In a debatable crossover moment between two shows that have absolutely nothing to do with each other, Richard Belzer reprised his Munch character in an Arrested Development episode. Munch appears in a “scrapbooking” class designed to entrap Tobias Bluth, and introduces himself as the teacher, Professor Munch. 

4. 'Boy Meets World' and 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch'

Melissa Joan Hart appeared in a season five episode of Boy Meets World in a fun ABC sitcom crossover moment. Sabrina comes in at the end of a Halloween episode where Cory’s brother Eric and his roommate fight over a girl who turns out to be a witch.

5. 'Mad About You' and 'Seinfeld'

Mad About You began airing after Seinfeld, making this crossover a natural one for viewers. Both shows take place in New York City, and while they are carried by different types of humor, Seinfeld and Mad About You have a similar neurotic quirkiness that makes the interaction between Kramer and Paul totally believable.

“I’ll mind the past, and you giddy up to the future.”

6. 'Mork & Mindy,' 'Laverne & Shirley,' and 'Happy Days'

Mork & Mindy and Laverne & Shirley were both spin-offs from Happy Days, making this crossover almost inevitable. The pilot episode of Mork & Mindy brought everything together, as Mork was transported to Earth, a trip complete with a surprise greeting from the Fonz and a date with Laverne.