There’s no denying the fact that the Defenders on Netflix a failed experiment. The entire concept was grand, meant to give people a TV version of the MCU’s Avengers concept. Unfortunately, since the hugely anticipated team-up miniseries was a dud, that lead to a precipitous decline in viewership for the other related Marvel series. Once the streaming giant essentially gave up on future seasons of the Defenders, the spirit behind all the solo efforts fizzled out as well. Now that all 6 series to come out of that original agreement have been cancelled, we can look back and appreciate what an immense endeavor it was from the start. However, instead of lamenting about what could have been or analyzing what went wrong (it was actually a confluence of many things), I prefer to look to the future.
Though Netflix is not a fan of releasing numbers, subscriptions likely increased in anticipation of the superhero crossover. People were initially excited for the Defenders when it was announced. Perhaps that same excitement is what led to its downfall as subscribers were less impressed with the result. But maybe there is a lesson in here for the company. Maybe they tried to go too hard, too fast into their first crossover when they should have gone small. It is a fact that audiences love crossovers and ratings spike with them, so there is no reason why they couldn’t or shouldn’t try it again on a smaller scale. They could draw people to the service who still watch live TV exclusively. Or they could simply cross-pollinate some of their original series to help keep subscribers entrenched in the service.
Here are just a few ideas I have for the next great Netflix crossover:
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina/Riverdale
This one is the most obvious on this list because the two series take place in the same universe and are made by CW. They even have the same showrunner! Though I haven’t seen Riverdale, I have seen Sabrina, and the characters mention the rival high school a handful of times. I’m not familiar enough with the source material to guess what a crossover would look like, but even a proper cameo from Riverdale might suffice, though they kinda did that already. As recently as October, the showrunner spoke favorably about the idea, but questioned whether it would ever happen. Get on it people!
Stranger Things/Big Mouth
I know it seems silly, but stranger things have happened. (See what I did there?) Ahem. This idea was actually inspired by a GQ article I read recently about how the monster in season 3 of Stranger Things is puberty. You what show is entirely about kids going through puberty? Big Mouth! I see no reason why the cast of the former can’t be animated and shoved into the plot of the latter considering the Supernatural/Scooby-Doo crossover was a thing that happened. All the teenagers’ puberty monsters can battle each other or have an orgy or something.
The Crown/Downton Abbey
I know Downton Abbey as a series is over and a film is being released later this year. I also know that The Crown takes place about 40 years after the show. But hear me out on this one. The film will possibly reinvigorate an audience that will have missed the Crawleys, so why not ride that wave of enthusiasm? Characters depicted as children in the show could be fully functioning (and scheming) adults taking care of their parents in their advanced age. It would be a first for historical dramas, which I don’t believe have ever crossed over. We know that not everything in The Crown is completely factual, so the Crawleys meeting the Queen wouldn’t be too out of the ordinary.
Grace and Frankie/Queer Eye
This script practically writes itself! Obviously Grace or Frankie gets into a rut and needs to be saved by the Fab 5. Everyone is supportive, doing personal interviews like they do on Queer Eye, and the makeover is amazing, giving the recipient a new lease on life. Or everything goes wrong and one of the leading ladies causes a huge scene. Honestly, I could see it going either way, but the resulting episode would be must-watch TV. Even better if the effects are felt for the rest of the season.
House of Cards/Orange is the New Black
This one isn’t a serious suggestion, merely bemoaning a missed opportunity for two of Netflix’s first, and at one point best, original series. Orange is the New Black was created with the premise of showing how truly unjust the prison system is. Having a politician from House of Cards show up to tour Wakefield (or whatever prison) could have been a powerful statement. Sadly, both series took a nosedive after a couple seasons. Today, one has already been cancelled while the other will release its final season later this year. C’est la vie.
Santa Clarita Diet/Get Shorty
This one probably couldn’t take place in Get Shorty’s world because it’s more grounded in realism, but it would be so easy in Santa Clarita Diet for a Hollywood film crew, led by gangster cum movie producer Miles Daly, to show up in town for filming. Miles meats Sheila and wants to cast her in the movie. Somehow her secret gets out and Miles wants to use her to complete a job that he has in town. Hilarious horror ensues.