We all have a list of shows that we wanted to check out, but haven’t addressed yet. But what about a list of shows that you to wish could you check that don’t really exist?
Here at TVLine, we’ve always been fascinated by the show-in-a-show trope – the fictional series that exists inside a real show, and generally appear to be of very poor quality (with a few exceptions). These fake TV shows exist either as series that our favorite characters are obsessed with (think of the Futurama serial All my tours, or the Unsafe docudrama Finding LaToya) or as series on which our favorite characters write, produce or appear (such as Joan the Virgin‘s The passions of Santos, a Rogelio De La Vega telenovela which is, well… straight out of a telenovela).
It is a trope that dates back over half a century (one of the earliest examples being Alan Brady’s Show on Dick Van Dyke’s eponymous sitcom on CBS) and continues to exist today on shows such as CBS Ghosts (where two of the deceased recently became addicted to a Island of love-esque dating show) and Hulu’s Only the murders in the building (where Steve Martin’s Charles-Haden Savage once starred in a 1990s police proceeding called Brazzos).
Below, TVLine has pulled together over two dozen shows into a show from the past seven decades that we would be absolutely binge (or at the very least sampled) if these were real series. Scroll down to see if your personal favorites made our list …