10 TV Shows That Recycled Their Sets

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With a few exceptions, television productions don’t typically enjoy the massive budgets of their big-screen counterparts, so producers often have to get creative when it comes to finding ways to save money. Which helps explain why a couple episodes of Star Trek look as if they were shot in Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. Here are 10 TV shows that borrowed their sets from other series.

1. THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW ON STAR TREK

In the Star Trek episodes "Miri" and "City on the Edge of Forever,” the exteriors of the fictional town of Mayberry from The Andy Griffith Show were reused. The town set was redressed as a ghost town when the crew of the Enterprise finds a planet inhabited solely by children in “Miri,” then used it again as a New York City backdrop when Kirk and Spock travel back in time to the 1930s for “City on the Edge of Forever.” If you look closely, you can even see the sign for Floyd's Barbershop from The Andy Griffith Show in the background of a Star Trek episode.

2. SCRUBS ON THE OFFICE


The Office's Jim and Pam pay a visit to Scrubs' Sacred Heart Hospital.

Screen grab via NBC/YouTube.

In the season five finale of The Office, Jim and Pam discover that they are going to have a baby. The hospital set used for the episode was the same set used for Scrubs’s Sacred Heart Hospital. Both NBC TV shows filmed at North Hollywood Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, which was a real working hospital until 1998, when it was decommissioned and repurposed as a closed set for Scrubs. Unfortunately, North Hollywood Medical Center was demolished in 2011 and is now the site of a new apartment complex.

You might recognize the North Hollywood Medical Center from a number of other TV shows, too; The Sopranos, Freaks and Geeks, Six Feet Under, and Chuck all used it as a location. It was also the primary filming location for Adult Swim's Childrens Hospital.

3. THE WEST WING ON SMALLVILLE

    In “Hourglass,” a first season episode of Smallville, Lex Luthor has a vision of himself as the President of the United States, sitting in the Oval Office. Instead of building an entirely new set for the shot, producers flew Michael Rosenbaum, who played Luthor, from the set of Smallville in Vancouver to the set of The West Wing in Los Angeles to film the vision.

    4. THE BRADY BUNCH ON MANNIX AND MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE


    Mission: Impossible takes on Chez Brady.

    Image courtesy of YouTube.

      It’s very strange to see the iconic home from The Brady Bunch used for other TV shows, but it happened a few times during the 1970s with some Paramount productions. The Brady Bunch living room, patio, and backyard were recycled for “One for the Lady” and “The Danford File,” two episodes of Mannix, while the family living room was also redressed and redecorated for a violent meeting in the “Double Dead” episode of Mission: Impossible.

      5. ROSEANNE ON MIKE & MOLLY

        If Molly’s home on Mike & Molly looks familiar, that's because it’s the same living room set from Roseanne, only refurbished. Production designers and set dressers transformed the Conners' living room set into something more modern for Mike & Molly.

        6. GILMORE GIRLS ON PRETTY LITTLE LIARS

        Although a few years separate Gilmore Girls and Pretty Little Liars, both young adult dramas filmed on the same Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank, California. A number of the landmarks, buildings, and houses in Gilmore Girls’s Stars Hollow were redressed for Rosewood, the town in which Pretty Little Liars takes place. For example, the high school Rory Gilmore attended before she transferred to the prestigious Chilton Preparatory School was recycled as Rosewood City Hall, and Taylor’s Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe was reused as Lucky Leon's Cupcakes on Pretty Little Liars.

        7. SAVED BY THE BELL ON THAT’S SO RAVEN

        Parts of Saved by The Bell’s Bayside High School set were repurposed for That’s So Raven, where the featured school was also known as Bayside High. Michael Poryes, who worked as a writer on Saved by The Bell and was the creator of That’s So Raven for the Disney Channel, may have had a little something to do with that crossover.

        8. GROWING PAINS ON HANGIN’ WITH MR. COOPER

          For the pilot episode of Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper in 1992, producers reused the Seaver family’s living room set from Growing Pains, which had been canceled earlier that same year. Both TV shows filmed on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California. Alan Thicke, who played Dr. Jason Seaver on Growing Pains, even dropped by to wish Mark Curry good luck while filming the pilot for Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper.

          9. ROBINSONS: LOST IN SPACE ON BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

            Although a network didn’t pick it up for series, the pilot episode for Robinsons: Lost In Space featured sets that would later appear on many episodes of Battlestar Galactica. In 2003, John Woo directed the pilot episode for the reboot of the classic ‘60s sci-fi TV show for The WB. While the pilot never aired and eventually was dropped, producers of Battlestar Galactica bought the spaceship sets for the Jupiter 2 from Lost In Space and reused them for the Battlestar Pegasus set.

            10. DEAD LIKE ME ON STARGATE SG-1


            Mandy Patinkin and Jasmine Guy hang out at Der Waffle Haus in Dead Like Me (2003).

            Photo © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

              The characters on Dead Like Me gather at a diner called Der Waffle Haus. The same diner set was once used in Stargate SG-1. In the eighth season episode “Threads,” Daniel Jackson finds himself in a strange diner that closely resembles Der Waffle Haus. Jackson also sits at the booth where the Dead Like Me characters usually sit, and orders waffles as a nod to Bryan Fuller’s cult TV show.

              tv

              Rewind Time With This Blockbuster-Themed Party Game

              Recapture that '90s vibe with this Blockbuster-themed movie trivia game.
              Recapture that '90s vibe with this Blockbuster-themed movie trivia game.
              Big Potato Games/Hot Topic

              With only one Blockbuster location left in the world, the good old days of wandering video rental store aisles and getting chewed out for late fees are definitely a thing of the past—but like so many relics from the '90s, the pull of nostalgia has ensured that Blockbuster (or at least the brand) won't disappear for good. Now the video store is back in the form of a party game from Big Potato Games that is designed to test the movie knowledge of you and up to 11 friends.

              Marketing itself as “a movie game for anyone who has ever seen a movie,” the Blockbuster party game consists of two parts. In part one, players from each team compete head-to-head to name as many movies as they can that fit under specific categories (e.g., movies with Tom Cruise, famous trilogies, movies with planes). In the second half, two teams face off against each other to test their skills at a game of movie-related charades. The catch? Players can only describe movies in one of three randomly chosen ways: acting out scenes, rattling off a famous quote, or describing the films with one word.

              The real selling point of the whole package is that Big Potato fit all the game cards and buzzer into a box that is virtually identical to the old-school Blockbuster VHS rental cases, right down to its distinct color scheme and shape. All it's missing is the membership card. 

              The Blockbuster board game costs $24 at Hot Topic. That’s a fair price for getting the chance to rewind time.

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              15 Clever Breaking Bad Easter Eggs Hiding in Better Call Saul

              Patrick Fabian, Rhea Seehorn, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael Mando, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tony Dalton in Better Call Saul.
              Patrick Fabian, Rhea Seehorn, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael Mando, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tony Dalton in Better Call Saul.
              James Minchin/AMC

              As evidenced by Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan and his cohorts have an eye for detail that’s nearly unrivaled. If anything, Better Call Saul—which is originally set several years before the events of Breaking Bad—only proves the point. The series, which is about to kick off its fifth season, focuses on Jimmy McGill (soon to become Saul Goodman) and is full of references to its progenitor, some of which are pure fun, and some of which add a deeper meaning to what we already know. Here are 15 clever Breaking Bad Easter eggs hiding in Better Call Saul.

              **Warning: Plenty of spoilers ahead for both series.**

              1. Being Kevin Costner

              In a throwaway moment in Breaking Bad, Saul mentions to Walt that he once convinced a woman he was Kevin Costner (“If you’re committed enough, you can make any story work”), and in the finale of the first season of Better Call Saul, we see the exact moment he was referring to. In case we thought that Saul was just making the story up for the sake of a pep talk, here’s the proof otherwise.

              2. Neighborhood mainstay

              If the diner where Jimmy first meets with the Kettlemans looked familiar to you, it’s for good reason. Loyola’s Diner featured in Breaking Bad as a mainstay of Mike’s—he met with Jesse there, as well as Lydia. It’s also, incidentally, a very real restaurant in Albuquerque. And while we’re on the subject of Mike and food, he’s been shown to be fond of pimento cheese sandwiches in both series.

              3. Address unknown

              David Costabile as Gale Boetticher in 'Breaking Bad'
              Ursula Coyote, AMC

              In Better Call Saul, it’s shown that Jimmy's office is at 160 Juan Tabo Boulevard (which is a real nail salon). Those of you with a head for directions might also recall that that’s the same street that the ill-fated chemist Gale Boetticher lives on, at 6353 Juan Tabo Boulevard. Breaking Bad fans were thrilled when the karaoke-loving chemist appeared in Season 4 of Better Call Saul (with hopefully more to come).

              4. The Ignacio connection

              Michael Mando as Nacho Varga in Better Call Saul
              Michael Mando as Nacho Varga in Better Call Saul.
              Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

              When he’s kidnapped by Walt and Jesse after refusing to help a busted Badger, Saul spits out a variety of nonsense in an attempt to stay alive. He also drops a name: Ignacio. So who is he talking about? As we learn in Better Call Saul, this refers to Nacho, who’s become one of the secondary leads on the show. “Nacho” is a nickname, short for Ignacio, which makes sense as a connection given how closely he’s been working with Jimmy/Saul.

              5. Cheap tricks

              Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in 'Better Call Saul'
              Michele K. Short, AMC/Sony Pictures

              There’s another callback to the first time that Walt, Jesse, and Saul meet. Despite still having his hands tied behind his back, when Saul agrees to help Walt and Jesse, he tells them to each put a dollar in his pocket in order to secure attorney-client privilege. It seems that Saul got that idea from Kim, who, when she decides to help Jimmy after discovering he’s falsified evidence, tells him to give her a dollar for exactly the same reason.

              6. Old afflictions

              Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill and Mel Rodriguez as Marco Pasternak in 'Better Call Saul'
              Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill and Mel Rodriguez as Marco Pasternak in Better Call Saul.
              Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

              In yet another reference to that fateful first meeting, we learn that Saul isn’t bluffing when he tells Walt and Jesse that he has bad knees. He says the same thing when cops apprehend him in the first season of Better Call Saul. As to why he’s got bad knees to begin with, it all comes from his time as “Slippin’ Jimmy,” when he used to stage falls in order to earn a little bit of money.

              7. Car talk

              Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in 'Breaking Bad'
              Ursula Coyote, AMC

              Saul Goodman drives a white 1997 Cadillac DeVille with the vanity plate “LWYRUP.” Jimmy McGill’s ride is much more modest: a yellow Suzuki Esteem with a red door. That said, in the pilot of Better Call Saul, we very briefly see a white Cadillac DeVille—Jimmy parks his car next to it, in a truly blink-and-you-miss-it allusion to what’s to come. (Gus, notably, is driving the same blue Volvo in both shows.)

              8. Home sweet home

              In Better Call Saul, one of the retirement homes that Jimmy visits in his quest to find new clients for his growing elder law business is Casa Tranquila. If it sounds familiar, that's because it's a key location in Breaking Bad as the home of Hector Salamanca, and the place where he kills his longtime nemesis Gus Fring. It’s a nice touch to revisit the location, especially given the fact that Better Call Saul gives us the story as to how Hector wound up in a wheelchair in the first place.

              9. What's your poison?

              There’s also a nice bit of brand continuity with the made-up tequila Zafiro Añejo. Gus poisons a bottle to get back at Don Eladio in Breaking Bad, and we see the same blue bottle pop up in Better Call Saul when Jimmy and Kim scam a cocky stock broker named Ken. Ken, for his part, seems to be reaping a constant stream of bad karma, as he’s also in Breaking Bad as a victim of Heisenberg’s wrath. He swipes Walt’s parking spot—and has his car set on fire for his trouble.

              10. The little piggy

              Though Mike is hard as nails, he’s got a soft spot the size of Texas for his granddaughter Kaylee. He gifts her a pink pig plush in Better Call Saul, which crops up again in Breaking Bad under slightly less cute circumstances. He uses the doll as a distraction when an assassination attempt is made on his life.

              11. Word games

              Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring in 'Breaking Bad'
              Ursula Coyote, AMC

              The first letters of the episode titles of the second season of Better Call Saul are an anagram for “FRING’S BACK.” It’s a granular sort of trick that the creators have pulled off before: four of the episodes of season two of Breaking Bad spell out “Seven Thirty-Seven Down Over ABQ.” In the season finale, a 737 plane does indeed go down over Albuquerque, or ABQ.

              12. Sentimental value

              Given that Saul’s Breaking Bad office has a lot of strange objects in it, it’d be easy to miss the octagonal desk. As it turns out, the offices of Saul Goodman aren’t the desk’s first home: it’s seen in the background of Kim’s office in Better Call Saul. It’s retroactive, sure, but it’s still nice to know that Saul has some mementos around.

              13. Movie night

              Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in 'Better Call Saul'
              Ursula Coyote, AMC/Sony Pictures Television

              There’s also a little sentimental value in the name of Saul’s holding company, Ice Station Zebra Associates, which he uses to help Walt launder money in Breaking Bad. As we discover in Better Call Saul, Ice Station Zebra is Kim’s favorite movie, due to her father’s affection for it. Though Kim is physically absent from Breaking Bad, small details seem to tie back to her all the time.

              14. Set dressing

              Krazy-8, may he rest in peace, also shows up in Better Call Saul. The van that he drives has the logo for Tampico Furniture on it, and he’s wearing a uniform with the logo as well. Tampico is where Walt, as he recalls in Breaking Bad, bought Walter Jr.’s crib. Unfortunately, those fond memories aren’t quite enough to save Krazy-8’s skin.

              15. Beware of bugs

              Before Mike leaves Philly for Albuquerque, a bartender tells him to be mindful of tarantulas. The spider plays a key role in Breaking Bad later on, as a young boy’s pursuit of the bug puts him in Walt’s path—and Todd’s path, by proxy. Determined to make a good impression on Walt, and knowing that there can’t be any witnesses to what they’re doing, Todd shoots the boy in one of the most shocking and cold-blooded moments in the entire series.

              An earlier version of this story ran in 2018.

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