Why Every TV Series Ever Exists In A Shared Universe

Moving away from the live-action portion of the web of television shows for a moment, we find the world of animation replete with its own shared universes, crossovers, and even firm connections back to live action. Likely due to the relative ease of scheduling and replacing voice actors compared to traditional actors, production studios have flooded the animated world with canonical crossovers and team-ups.

Obvious examples are Disney’s many films and series, the constant combinations of Hanna-Barbera toons, and the shared Cartoon Network continuity which links back to Hanna-Barbera characters. And there are many, many more, including the DC Animated Universe, Marvel’s animated universes, Fox’s animated universes, and the various smaller universes linked by Nickelodeon’s many series. 

In the world of animation, however, one property creates more links than any other — “Scooby-Doo.” Before we dig into that franchise’s unprecedented multitude of crossovers, we have to mention the obvious runner-up — 1988’s “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” When the movie’s story arrives at Toontown, we discover characters from Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes, and even Betty Boop all reside in a shared universe. When these connections are joined by the multitudinous others throughout the decades, it becomes clear that the vast majority of animation is inexorably linked.

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