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SERENITY flies into Tommy Westphall's Universe [Sep. 30th, 2005|12:28 pm]
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[crossoverman]
In honour of the release of Joss Whedon's feature directorial debut (and the first feature he's written that hasn't been re-written by others), we've updated The Tommy Westphall Universe to include the TV series that "Serenity" is based on - "Firefly".

First I called it a Non-Tommy Crossover.

Then came more trivial minutiae that links "Firefly" with "Angel". Thanks to oneyearoflove - and my own DVD copies of "Firefly" that confirmed it.

It's a confluence of movie references that speak to the odd and sometimes tenuous connections that Tommy's Mind makes. But fictional companies count as much as fictional people. At least in smashsc and my book.

In the rules we have created to keep the Crossover Grid focused on "ongoing narrative live action television series", we have discounted feature films. But it's worth acknowledging that some features do connect directly to the grid.

The 10 film Star Trek franchise connects to the Tommy Westphall universe through the Trek series who are connected to "The John Larroquette Show" and "Angel" via the fictional Yoyodyne company.

Yoyodyne brings in "Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension".

"Angel" connects directly to the Alien film franchise through the fictional company Weyland-Utani, which also brings in "Firefly" - because their company logo is clearly seen on the heads-up display on the machine gun Mal uses in the opening scene of the pilot.

Thus "Serenity" - which opened in Australia yesterday and the U.S. today - is also directly connected to Tommy Westphall's Mind.

Even if feature films are not yet on the grid...

Other features that link: "The X-Files" film (of course), "The Nanny" crossed over with "This Is Spinal Tap" and it could be argued that the original Buffy feature film tells the back story of Joss Whedon's series - maybe.

"Serenity" has opened to generally favourable and fresh critical reviews. Here's hoping the box office follows suit.

ETA: And, of course, Battlestar Galactica is drawn in because of the cameo of a Firefly-class ship...
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: willdevine
2005-09-29 08:01 pm (UTC)

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Yes, Firefly is linked! This totally makes my day!
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-09-29 11:25 pm (UTC)

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I know, and "Serenity" is here and everything!
From: smashsc
2005-09-29 08:03 pm (UTC)

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Even if feature films are not yet on the grid... (emphasis mine)

OMG partial victory! *loves*

Also, this update fills me with glee. Glee!
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-09-29 11:26 pm (UTC)

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(emphasis mine)

Really? Emphasis yours? ;-)
From: smashsc
2005-09-30 10:49 am (UTC)

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That icon compels me to reply just so I can use my Starbuck's abs icon.

(-:

Also, as of this moment you've seen Serenity more time than me. I will catch up. *nods*
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-09-30 04:39 pm (UTC)

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That icon compels me to reply just so I can use my Starbuck's abs icon.

Bring it on!! :-)


Also, as of this moment you've seen Serenity more time than me. I will catch up. *nods*


I dunno, I'm prepared to watch it a lot!
From: smashsc
2005-09-30 04:41 pm (UTC)

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(-:

I still saw it first. (-:
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-09-30 04:47 pm (UTC)

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Very true. And that'll always make me a little jealous.

But the first time I saw the finished film Joss Whedon was there :-p
From: smashsc
2005-09-30 04:50 pm (UTC)

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You might just win then. Still, I saw it in May. d-:
From: tele_toby
2005-09-29 08:34 pm (UTC)

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~Other features that link: "The X-Files" film (of course), "The Nanny" crossed over with "This Is Spinal Tap" and it could be argued that the original Buffy feature film tells the back story of Joss Whedon's series - maybe.~

Speaking of 'The Nanny'... how do you two feel about connecting the Tommy Westphall to TV variety show sketches?

Specifically, I'm referring to the appearance of Dan Aykroyd as the buttcrack-baring refrigerator repairman in a cameo on 'The Nanny'. It was the same character he played in one of the "Nerds" sketches on 'Saturday Night Live'.

For Toobworld purposes, we'd accept it; but then like the real universe, we're just big and sloppy. But knowing how tightly you protect your concept, I was just curious.....

[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-09-29 11:23 pm (UTC)

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We react badly to sketches :-)
From: tele_toby
2005-09-30 02:22 pm (UTC)

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I think they have an ointment for that..... 8^)
[User Picture]From: wattj
2005-09-30 04:41 am (UTC)

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...and to The Simpsons, apparently, which has crossed over with The X-Files, and This Is Spinal Tap (among others).

If you're allowing feature films connected to the grid only by the /name/ of a fictional corporation (imagine what links you'd get if you allowed links via the name of Real corporations? Or real persons?) why not cartoons? And then... There's that mythical (I say mythical only because I've never seen it...) great crossover episode of... Was it Flaming Carrot? So perhaps comic books should stay out. :)
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-09-30 07:56 am (UTC)

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Well real companies and real people kinda defeat the purpose. Why not real towns and real countries! Then everything is a part of Tommy's Mind. Case closed. No fun.

Cartoons are out because they don't really play by the same rules as live action series - so it's harder to know what to include and what to leave out. The line gets blurred and then you're letting everything in.

Same with comic books.

So live action ongoing narrative TV series remain the sole focus.
[User Picture]From: wattj
2005-09-30 02:49 pm (UTC)

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What about US Robotics? That was a fictional corporation before it was a real corporation...
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-09-30 04:41 pm (UTC)

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Well, I'd like to hear that story! But I'm not sure if we'd use it. We already ruled out "Playpen" because it used to be real.
[User Picture]From: wattj
2005-09-30 10:05 pm (UTC)

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US Robotics was the company that built the robots in Isaac Asimov's stories. Subsequently, someone used the name to make a company which sold modems. No idea what business, if any, they are in now.

I'm not aware of any TV shows which feature either the robots or the modems, it's more of a hypothetical than anything else.
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-09-30 11:57 pm (UTC)

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I'm not aware of any TV shows which feature either the robots or the modems, it's more of a hypothetical than anything else.

I would say that if it enters reality it rules it out.
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-01 09:33 am (UTC)

Hi Honey, I'm Home

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I have to protest "Hi Honey, I'm Home" being included in the Tommy Westphall Universe. As much as I love the sheer number of shows it adds, it just doesn't seem to makes sense to include it. I've never seen this show, but from what I've read about, it seems like a spoof of 50's TV sitcoms. The show seems self-aware -- the characters in this show seem to clearly know that they are in a TV show. To my knowledge, there is no other show in the Tommy Westphall Universe that exhibits this trait. I think if the characters know that they are in a TV show, it defeats the purpose of the Tommyverse. Shouldn't they think that they're real...even though they're actually just part of Tommy's imagination? It just doesn't make sense for them to know that they're in a TV show. Including spoofs is little different from including sketch shows (which are often times also spoofs).

Here is some info from the IMDb to help prove my point:

Honey Neilson: We are the Neilsons from "Hi Honey, I'm Home." We were sent here by the S.R.P.
Mike Duff: S.R.P.?
Honey Neilson: Sitcom Relocation Program.

Above is a quote from an episode of the show. I think the fact that they were sent there by the "Sitcom Relocation Program" should already be a red flag that this show doesn't belong. But if that's not enough to turn you off, here's the lyrics to the theme song, provided by bigdaddyrico8569:

"At the end of my day On the Highway Never do I roam What on earth is sweeter Than to greet her Hi Honey I'm home

That was once our theme song Of a dream song In a monotone Still the small fry fell out When I yelled out Hi Honey I'm home

We were once a sitcom family On your Black and White TV Now we're off the air Been pulled from there And dropped into reality

Life was once much duller They put color In a monochrome Still she yaps all day And spends my money I find the situation funny Doesn't life seem so re runny? Hi Honey I'm Home Hi Honey I'm Home"


If that doesn't put a disgusting taste in your mouth, here's some comments from people who have seen the show:

"I believe the concept was ripped off to some extent in the movie 'Pleasantville' (You know.. teaching 50's sitcom characters 90's morals)." --jimjer

"In retrospect, it seems as if this show, where 50's black-and-white T.V. and modern life meet, could have been the inspriation for concept of the 1998 film 'Pleasantville.'" --ny923

"With ample due respect to the other contributors, this show is ABOUT AS LAME AS IT GETS. I'm watching an episode as I type this and what a burden. It's the one where the TV dad can't find a job in the 'new' world? Just terrible. Somewhere I read that they would have old TV stars on to spice things up. It kind of worked, this episode had nothing to offer until the end when Grandpa Lewis from the Munsters shows up for a weird cameo." --jewoods (jewoods@hotmail.com)

Perhaps you can email that guy if you want more information on the show. Anyway, a show similar to "Pleasantville" doesn't seem to fit into the continuity of the Tommyverse. I hope this was enough to convince you that it doesn't belong.
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-10-01 05:26 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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For a long time </a></b></a>smashsc debated over inclusion of "Hi Honey, I'm Home". But it has been included for a long time now on the agreement that we'd reassess it when we actually were able to see the show ourselves.

At this point, the fact that the show might be bad and the fact that it is self-aware doesn't really preclude it from the Westphall-verse. When it boils down to it, many of the connections in Tommy's Mind are knowing winks to the audience. All crossovers put the audience in a different frame of mind - "oh, that's Helen Hunt from Mad About You in Central Perk!"

Having the characters be self-aware is a little bit different, of course. But given other contradictions in the 'verse - Munch appeared on The X-Files but also mentioned the series on "Homicide" - self-aware characters still make some kind of sense.

The real danger of "Hi Honey, I'm Home" is that by extension at least all sitcoms exist in the Tommy-verse - by sheer fact that any sitcom character could have appeared on the series. The fact it only lasted so short a time is a blessing; and we decided to list on the actual crossovers made with the show.

It's another level of "reality" - just like anything linked to the St Elsewhere/Homicide core via The Bob Newhart Show/Newhart crossover becomes two levels of dreams, "Hi Honey, I'm Home" exists in a metafictional sitcom world.

It works only because the actors appeared as their characters - so somehow the characters exist within their TV series *and* the HHIH world. It's not as if the sitcom is about retired sitcom actors playing around with Ann B Davis - it's about fictional characters interacting with fictional characters.

That they know they are fictional characters is odd, but so is tracking connections in a fictional characters' autistic mind. Unless you're saying I'm not real :-)
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-01 06:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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I think I see where you're coming from. I think despite the inevitable continuity errors, some level of continuity must be maintained (i.e., the reason for not including cartoons or movies). I think I can see how it could fit in continuity (i.e., your Bob Newhart example), although it's a bit odd - all these sitcom characters actually know they're in a sitcom. It'll take me some getting used to. It took me a while to get used to the fact that Law & Order is actually in a little boy's mind. Anyway, I guess it could make sense, in a bizarre sort of way. It's kind of mind-boggling to think about. This whole thing is very philosophical.

P.S. The last IMDb user quote I posted wasn't to make the point that the show was bad ("Hi, Honey" certainly isn't the only bad show in the Tommyverse), but to further point out that the family had moved from another TV "world" (the whole "self-aware" thing again).
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-10-01 09:50 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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all these sitcom characters actually know they're in a sitcom.

It's very odd - which is why I really want to see it!

It's kind of mind-boggling to think about. This whole thing is very philosophical.

Which is the way we like it, mind-boggling and philosophical :-)

("Hi, Honey" certainly isn't the only bad show in the Tommyverse)

Aint that the truth!

Thanks for the input, though. I've done as much online research as I can about "Hi Honey" - but never read the IMDB comments section!
[User Picture]From: hooper_x
2005-10-04 12:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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Having the characters be self-aware is a little bit different, of course. But given other contradictions in the 'verse - Munch appeared on The X-Files but also mentioned the series on "Homicide" - self-aware characters still make some kind of sense.

But there's a fictional "X-Files" TV series IN the X-Files universe, isn't there? I seem to remember there being at least one episode that hinted at such, at least.

-hx, actually saw HHIH back in the day, and it was pretty remarkably self-aware. There was a device called a "Turner-izer" that turned the black-and-white TV characters into color so they could interact with the outside world, for instance... I *personally* don't think I'd allow it, as the entire premise of the show was "fictional characters escaping into the 'real world' and having hijinks", but that's just me.
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-04 03:36 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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Are all of the characters on HHIH self-aware or just the Nielsen's? If all of them are self-aware, then by extension every show connected to HHIH would be self-aware, and every show connected to those shows would be self-aware, and so-on and so-forth all the way down to St. Elsewhere - which would mean that every character in Tommy's mind thinks they're in a TV show.
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-04 03:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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"fictional characters escaping into the 'real world' and having hijinks"

If the characters in HHIH (the very ones that theoretically connect this show to all the others) are "fictional", then are all the other characters in the Tommyverse fictional too? And if so, where is the "real world" (the one referred to in the above quote)?
[User Picture]From: hooper_x
2005-10-04 04:10 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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The "real world" was the one of the show's universe, which would be the Tommyverse. However, this causes a seriously f-ed up anomaly, as the classic characters who appeared on HHIH were aware that they were characters in sitcoms and explicitly, as such, not "real".

-hx, so while Alice was on HHIH, it was as a fictional character aware of her fictionality relative to the rest of the "real world" Tommyverse. Headache city.
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-10-04 06:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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The "real world" was the one of the show's universe, which would be the Tommyverse. However, this causes a seriously f-ed up anomaly, as the classic characters who appeared on HHIH were aware that they were characters in sitcoms and explicitly, as such, not "real".

It's just another layer of fiction, though. Because even in HHIH, the characters aren't really real.

I have just realised something else - Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the delusions of a Buffy Summers in a mental instituion in Los Angeles.

So, who wins? Buffy or Tommy?

[User Picture]From: hooper_x
2005-10-04 09:04 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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Shared hallucination. Call it a push.

-hx
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-05 01:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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So are we to call it the Tommy Westphall/Buffy Summers Universe from now on?
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-10-05 07:21 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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No. Just no.
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-05 07:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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lol. I don't like it either, but if they're sharing the hallucination, I think it's only fair.
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-10-05 07:35 pm (UTC)

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Ah, ha!

I've just been thinking about why it's not a shared universe - because the implication in the Buffy episode "Normal Again" is that there's an equally valid interpretation that Institutionalised!Buffy was actually the figment.

Whereas the implication of the last episode of St Elsewhere is that it's young Tommy's dream all along... and no suggestion that the St Elsewhere Tommy that we knew and loved for seasons had any knowledge of the "real" autistic version.
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-05 08:00 pm (UTC)

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Thank goodness! That other name is just too long to type!
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-05 08:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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So the characters weren't real, but the world they lived in was?
[User Picture]From: hooper_x
2005-10-05 08:29 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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The world they were "reassigned" to was, yes. Kind of like "The Charmings", if you ever saw that one.

-hx
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-05 08:55 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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Nope, never saw that one.

How, and more importantly, why were they reassigned to the real world? Why weren't they reassigned to another network or something?
[User Picture]From: hooper_x
2005-10-05 09:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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I can't remember. I think the implication was that ALL sitcom characters "retire" to the real world, though, and that the Nielsen family's show just wasn't attracting buyers anymore, hence their permanent retirement.

I could be wrong. I saw maybe two-three episodes fifteen years ago, and I was in grade school.

-hx
[User Picture]From: hooper_x
2005-10-04 04:08 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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eeeeee..... Yes. Yes. There was an episode with Alice from The Brady Bunch where she made reference to how she was very busy because they were always on in reruns SOMEWHERE, with the implication that whenever a show was airing, the characters were actually "acting out" the show, I guess.

-hx
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-10-04 07:00 pm (UTC)

Re: Hi Honey, I'm Home

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with the implication that whenever a show was airing, the characters were actually "acting out" the show, I guess.

I like when my head hurts like this. It's a beautiful pain...
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-02 02:26 pm (UTC)

Timeline of the Tommyverse

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Do we have a chronology of the events in the Tommy Westphall Universe? The recent addition of shows that take place in the far future (the Star Treks, Firefly, Battlestar) have made me curious about the events that happen in each show in relationship to each other.
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-10-02 06:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Timeline of the Tommyverse

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Oh, yes, that's what I need - more Tommy-related madness! ;-)

Just quickly:

Enterprise is set approx 150 years in our future
Classic Trek another 150 years beyond that
Next Gen, Deep Space Nine and Voyager another 80-90 years beyond that

Firefly is nominally set 500 years in the future but there are no references to actual years - none that are canonical, that is

Battlestar Galactica is set in an indeterminate time period in another part of the Galaxy.

So they don't really conflict too much - except in Trek there are aliens and in the other two series there are not!
From: oneyearoflove
2005-10-02 07:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Timeline of the Tommyverse

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Perhaps there is a mass alien genocide, so there are no aliens left by the time Firefly takes place.

I think I'm gonna make a timeline of the Tommyverse. Not just the futuristic series, but all of the series, in one all-inclusive timeline. It'll be cool. B-)
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-10-03 04:01 am (UTC)

Re: Timeline of the Tommyverse

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I think I'm gonna make a timeline of the Tommyverse. Not just the futuristic series, but all of the series, in one all-inclusive timeline. It'll be cool. B-)

I look forward to reading it!
[User Picture]From: hooper_x
2005-10-04 12:50 pm (UTC)

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'Buckaroo Banzai' was (technically) already in via Star Trek: TNG, where one of the ships had a quote from Buckaroo Banzai himself on the engine or the bridge or somesuch, establishing Dr. Banzai as a "real" person in the ST universe. I forget the specifics, but it's in the Buckaroo Banzai FAQ, which is readily Googled.

-hx
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2005-10-04 06:56 pm (UTC)

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You are right - wherever you go, there you are. But Buckaroo is connected to Trek via Yoyodyne anyway - which is how Trek and Angel are in the universe (via John Larroquette which also includes Yoyodyne).
From: (Anonymous)
2007-08-14 03:29 pm (UTC)

ST/BSG

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I'm curious what everyone else thinks of this.
As mentioned in the wikipedia page on the miniseries, Battlestar Galactica featured not just a Firefly-class ship, but also an Enterprise. It's a heck of a lot harder to see, so it's no wonder that Poobala didn't notice it, but it's there.

RAF
[User Picture]From: crossoverman
2007-08-14 09:03 pm (UTC)

Re: ST/BSG

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Well we've already got the Star Trek franchise in by other means - and the Firefly ship is pretty significant.
From: (Anonymous)
2007-09-23 09:37 pm (UTC)

Re: ST/BSG

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So, basically, you're saying that you don't try to cover all crossovers? Why did you stretch Mission Impossible to connect to Diagnosis Murder, but this is too hard? For crying out loud, they're right next to each other!

RAF