TV's Greatest Alternate-Reality Episodes

By Michelle Rafferty

What if Buffy never came to Sunnydale? What if the friends on Friends were never friends?

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What if Buffy never came to Sunnydale? Or Ryan Atwood to Newport Beach? Or even Clark Kent to Earth? The "What if?" question has become a staple television plot device, usually executed in the form of an "alternate reality" episode somewhere between the middle and end of a popular series. So it's about right that Grey's Anatomy, now halfway through its eighth season, has decided to take a stab at the question: what if Meredith's mom never had Alzheimer's?

Here's what we've gathered from the previews: Meredith wears pink cardigans, Cristina has bangs, and Derek is now known as "McDreary." We can't wait to see what fun, wacky ways the alternate versions of the Seattle Grace staff collide. In the meantime, we invite you to click through our roundup of TV's best "What if?" episodes.

This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

Image credit: NBC

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/02/tvs-greatest-alternate-reality-episodes/252515/