The classic ‘crossover’ is that of the genre actor to ‘mainstream’ entertainment. Think Harrison Ford, from Star Wars to superstardom, or on a slightly obscure note, think of actor Paul McCrane, who starred as the memorable tumour-eating ambulance driver Leonard Morris Betts in The X-Files (and came to a rather sticky end in Robocop)and went on to become curmudgeonly chief surgeon Dr Robert Romano in ER (as well as Keifer Sutherland’s ill fated brother in 24).
Scoundrel, Adventurer, Lawyer (likes Ritz)
Sci Fi fans love the thrill of spotting, recognising and placing the actors that you’ve seen on one Sci Fi show acting on another Sci Fi show. It’s not that uncommon, and there are many actors who’ve made a reputation (and a very decent living) playing entirely within the Sci Fi or Fantasy genres. With the massive amounts of Sci Fi production in Canada in recent years, it’s also great fun to spot the extras and bit-parters who, for example, walk from The X-Files to Stargate:SG1 to Stargate:Atlantis and pop up in every other Sci Fi big screen movie shot in Toronto.
had a bad time in Robocop, but went on to become a doctor in ER.
THE SPIN-OFF CROSSOVER
There are several ways to ‘crossover’. First off there is the spin off. Lucy Lawless and David Boreanaz are classic examples. Both played characters on shows that became so popular they had their own series made for them. Lawless appeared as Xena, the Warrior Princess in eight episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and then went on to play the title character in her own show for 133 episodes.
More confident with edged weapons in Xena than Hercules.
Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will have no trouble telling you that David Boreanaz plays Angel, the brooding Vampire cursed with a soul (but blessed with extreme hotness) who falls in love with Buffy. Their relationship was quite tumultuous. They both died and he ended up in L.A. running a detective agency. Thus Angel was born. Charisma Carpenter, who played the bitchy but loveable Cordelia Chase, crossed over with him, as did several other characters.
Buffy the Vampire Kisser, Angel the Vampire Detective.
‘THE KEEP WORKING FOR ME’ CROSSOVER
The other crossover is the ‘saw you/employed you in that one, let’s put you in this one’. Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy, Angel and the excellent Firefly, has employed several actors across his shows, and they’ve continued on career paths with excellent Sci Fi pedigrees. Nathan Fillion, the goofy macho actor who plays Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly, and the big screen version Serenity, first worked for Whedon as the evil preacher Caleb in five episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But he’s also managed to get a few gigs for himself, in Sci FI and beyond, appearing as the somewhat confused Minnesota Ryan in Saving Private Ryan, incompetent Sheriff Bill Pardy in cult classic Slither and now appearing in Desperate Housewives.
Preacher, Pirate, Nudist.
Amanda Tapping has crossed over from her ten season stint at Stargate:SG1 as Samantha Carter to a leading role in Season 4 of Stargate:Atlantis.
THE QUEEN OF CROSSOVER – GINA TORRES
Another Whedon favourite, and arguably the Queen of Crossover, is Gina Torres. She’s appeared in M.A.N.T.I.S, Dark Angel, Xena: Warrior Princess (as Cleopatra), Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (as Nebula), Helen ‘Hel’ Carter in Cleopatra 2525, the mesmerising yet evil Jasmine in Angel, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions, the lethal and loyal soldier Zoe Washburne in Firefly and Serenity, 24, and the dangerously attractive assassin for hire, Anna Espinosa, in Alias.
As Cleopatra, in Cleopatra 2525, seductive Jasmine in Angel, kickass Zoe Washburne in Firefly.
One other interesting crossover style is the ‘dynamic duo’, where two actors from one show venture onto another. That’s not that uncommon for actors working in say, the Whedonverse (Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Serenity and eventually... Wonder Woman), but it is extremely uncommon for two actors to go from one completely unrelated show to another.
TWINS OF CROSSOVER!
For those pioneers, we must look to Australia, which gave the world the innovative and imaginative Farscape. Ben Browder plays John Crichton, a present day astronaut flung to the far side of the galaxy and thrown onto a giant living ship populated by renegades. One of the slightly less alien members of the crew, Aeryn Sun, is played by Claudia Black.
Ben Browder and Claudia Black:
steaming up Farscape, still friendly on Stargate: SG1.
The Sydney born actress made the leap first – to Stargate:SG1, where she played the recurring character of Vala Mal Doran, whose character eventually became one of the key members of the SG1 team. She was followed a year later by Browder, who took the role of Cameron Mitchell, doing a fine job of taking over from iconic Richard Dean Anderson as leader of SG1. Their characters continue on in the late seasons of Stargate:SG1 and the Sci Fi Channel Movies, Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum.
Who is your Favourite Crossover Star?