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Looking for sister series that are comic and dramatic, respectively.
July 12, 2013 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Portal and Half Life take place in the same creative universe, with Portal taking on a more humorous tone, while Half Life is more like an action movie. I really like this approach to a creative universe. Are there any other pairs/groups of media that take two different tones around one world?

I'm looking for stories with a somewhat consistent canon (IE one media acknowledges major events in the other), but it doesn't need to be super-strict.

Another example I can think of other than Portal/Half Life is Doctor Who/Torchwood (I don't really like Torchwood, though).

I'm guessing this probably exists in a lot of comic book universes, but I never really read many things in that medium other than graphic novels that were more like memoirs, like Persepolis and Same Difference.
posted by mccarty.tim to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Off the top of my head the drama Lou Grant spun off of the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
posted by bookwo3107 at 9:11 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This absolutely exists in comic books, and the best example is probably Deadpool. He knows he's a comic book character and breaks the fourth wall constantly.
posted by tau_ceti at 9:16 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen? The latter wasn't exactly a comedy, but it was much lighter than the original.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:20 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd say that initially, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and spinoff series Angel fit this bill, with Buffy being more of a fun genre-busting high school horror show and Angel being a hardboiled detective show with vampires. Buffy changed its tone a lot when the characters left high school, though.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:20 AM on July 12, 2013


Vince Gilligan has said that there's a spinoff of Breaking Bad in the works which will focus on Saul Goodman and be closer to a comedy. So it's more of a preemptive answer to your question, but there it is.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:26 AM on July 12, 2013


This absolutely exists in comic books, and the best example is probably Deadpool. He knows he's a comic book character and breaks the fourth wall constantly.

There's also Nextwave, which isn't really canon, but does collect a number of characters from the main Marvel universe and put them in wacky situations.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:29 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the Silmarillion are three stories that take place in the same universe but have very different styles.
posted by grouse at 9:36 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know nothing about either, but from my brother forcing me to watch some bizarre "comedy" thing, I think Halo and Red vs. Blue fit this model.

There was also that time that The Practice (the darker show) and Ally McBeal (the wackier) crossed over, and Dylan McDermott's character was all "why are you all so weird? why is everything so brightly colored??"
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:51 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


John Scalzi goes for a variety of tones in the various books in his Old Man's War universe. Not explicitly "comedy" and "drama" but the mixtures of the two are decidedly different in different books and stories.
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:52 AM on July 12, 2013


Bryan Fuller does this all the time in his TV shows. The best example of this is a one-time character from his light-hearted show "Wonderfalls" reappearing as a victim of a serial killer in the grim, serious "Hannibal".
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:52 AM on July 12, 2013


Connie Willis's time-traveling historians. To Say Nothing of the Dog is (mostly) a light-hearted comedy, while Doomsday Book, Blackout, and All Clear are shattering.

Kage Baker's The Company novels and short stories also come to mind -- many of the novels are very serious and can be dark, while the short stories are often comedic, as is Sky Coyote, one of the novels.
posted by pie ninja at 9:54 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Last Picture Show and Texasville come to mind. Last is very serious while the much later sequel is much lighter in tone (and not very good).
posted by octothorpe at 10:05 AM on July 12, 2013




Magical Pokémon Journey is the shōjo manga that turns the cuteness and humor of Pokémon up so high it makes the other manga and the TV show look like serious dramas.

It's not a drama-comedy split, but Steven Brust has written separate series in the same fantasy world using distinct genre conventions: there's the sort of crime-novel-ish Vlad Taltos series, the Dumas-inspired Khaavren Romances, and the standalone Brokedown Palace with its own style.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:15 AM on July 12, 2013


There was also that time that The Practice (the darker show) and Ally McBeal (the wackier) crossed over, and Dylan McDermott's character was all "why are you all so weird? why is everything so brightly colored??"

It's funny you mention The Practice, because Boston Legal, which dealt with serious stuff sometimes but was pretty silly as a whole, is a spinoff of it! There's not a TON of crossover, but if I recall correctly, there is some crossover of characters occasionally.
posted by itsamermaid at 10:19 AM on July 12, 2013


"Trapper John, M.D." was a drama that spun off from the comedy "M*A*S*H."
posted by jbickers at 10:32 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The anime franchise Full Metal Panic! had a serious installment, followed by a comic installment, followed by a serious installment. Bonus points for having the same characters and being in chronological order?
posted by fifthrider at 10:47 AM on July 12, 2013


This kind of thing happens all the time in anime. Right now they're broadcasting the show "Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya", which takes one of the characters from "Fate/Stay Night" and turns her into a magical girl.

There was "Magical Girl Pretty Sammy", which turned a character from "Tenchi Muyo" into a magical girl.

"Nurse Witch Komugi" was a spinoff from "Soultaker". (Which was a real change of mood, believe me.)

"Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha" was a spinoff from "Triangle Heart". (And with three series and two movies, so far, it was a lot more successful than the parent franchise.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:08 AM on July 12, 2013


Speaking of Fate, there's also Carnival Phantasm, a spin-off series devoted to parodying it and related Type-Moon franchises.
posted by fifthrider at 11:17 AM on July 12, 2013


"Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha" was a spinoff from "Triangle Heart".

An especially impressive example, considering that the former is a battle-shonen series with lesbian undertones aimed at middle school girls and young adult males, and the latter is a porno.
posted by fifthrider at 11:19 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


The characters in Eureka crossover with the characters in Warehouse 13 occasionally. And I think I remember the Friday night sitcoms on NBC(?) would sometimes do this back in the 90s.
posted by Weeping_angel at 11:32 AM on July 12, 2013


Oh, sorry, those are both comedic.
posted by Weeping_angel at 11:33 AM on July 12, 2013


Depending on the rigor with which you view the Westphalliverse, it can be argued that basically every TV series ever takes place in the same (imaginary) universe.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:08 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


TVTropes: Alternate Continuity
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:36 PM on July 12, 2013


The Stargate Universe series was grimdark, while the original series and SG:Atlantis were more light-hearted and campy. I liked both, and though SG:U could actually wind up being the best of the bunch. Unfortunately most fans seemed to disagree.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 12:44 PM on July 12, 2013


Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
posted by MsMolly at 4:39 PM on July 12, 2013


A lot of John Hughes' movies are set in the fictional town of Shermer, Illinois, and according to Hughes the characters from his movies were neighbors and schoolmates. So the kids in The Breakfast Club were going to the same school as the Weird Science geeks.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:49 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Home Fries and Breaking Bad. The Burger Matic mascot also makes a brief appearance at the super hero tryouts in Mystery Men.
posted by chrisulonic at 5:11 PM on July 12, 2013


I'd say that initially, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and spinoff series Angel fit this bill, with Buffy being more of a fun genre-busting high school horror show and Angel being a hardboiled detective show with vampires.

I think a lot of spin-off or expanded universe TV series fit this bill. For example, Star Trek was an action/adventure show, whereas Star Trek: TNG is more of a workplace drama. I mean, I guess it's not the case for 70's sitcoms which endlessly spun off to other virtually identical 70s sitcoms, or "CSI: [Other City]". But for more complex/interesting/recent spinoffs/sequels/shared universes, totally, yeah.
posted by Sara C. at 7:00 PM on July 12, 2013


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