Top 10 Times TV Shows Predicted the Future
It has become a running joke that The Simpsons has accurately predicted a number of events, including our current political situation in America. Over the years there have been an alarming amount of instances of life imitating art, which causes conspiracy theories abound. Do the creators of the shows just have a keen eye? Or do they know something that the rest of us don’t? Some of these predictions are so on point, it makes the latter slightly believable, but you will just have to decide for yourself.
10: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Predicts Google Glass
Sci-fi shows and movies have come to life in a lot of ways over the past few decades as the tech industry has boomed. Some writers were truly ahead of their time when it comes to the technology characters use in those stories (Philip K. Dick’s Paycheck comes to mind, as it featured cell phones despite being released two decades before the device was invented). The eye top computers featured in Star Trek were called Virtual Display Devices. Also referred to as a Virtual Scanner Headset at least once, they were first seen in DS9’s ‘The Ship.’
While they vary in use, the similarities are striking. The Virtual Display Device were substitutes for the standard viewscreen aboard most starships. Today, senior search engineer at Google Amit Singhal says that he draws a lot of inspiration from the technology in the beloved series. Google Glass is like a pair of glasses that you wear, and it will display information similar to a smartphone, entirely hands-free. The device also responds to natural language commands, and the newest version of the product was released as recently as July of 2017.
9: Family Guy Predicts Caitlyn Jenner
Family Guy is the last show anyone would accuse of being politically correct, and despite often being offensive and infuriating (
RIP Brian), it is one of the most popular television series today. When Caitlyn Jenner finally announced herself to the world in 2015, clips from an episode released six years prior titled ‘We Love You, Conrad’ went viral with the claim that Seth MacFarlane had predicted her gender transition.
In the episode, Stewie and Brian are discussing her son Brody Jenner and the details surrounding his birth. Brian says, “Bruce Jenner is a man,” to which Stewie replies, “No, Brian, that’s what the press would have you believe, but he’s not. Bruce Jenner is a woman. An elegant, beautiful, Dutch woman.” MacFarlane didn’t want to comment on the origin of the jokes, but he did express his support for her.
8: Person of Interest Predicts Edward Snowden
Person of Interest is a sci-fi drama that centers around government surveillance, and a particular episode hit closer to home than anyone could have foreseen. In May 2012, the show aired an episode titled ‘No Good Deed’ in which a young analyst named Henry Peck sought out a journalist to finally tell the truth. He wanted the world to know that the government was watching people illegally and on a “massive scale,” and said that they were trying to kill him to cover up their misdeeds.
Just a little more than a year later, the show came to life on the pages of newspapers around the country. Edward Snowden, a young and idealistic NSA whistleblower, came forward to tell us all that he couldn’t “allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom, and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.” He is now held responsible for the largest intelligence leak in history and is exercising his right of asylum in Russia.
7: Second Chance Predicts Colonel Gaddafi’s Death
Second Chance was a sitcom that aired back in the 80’s, and few things of note are remembered about the series. It wasn’t widely popular and only lasted for one season. The show focused on a man who had passed away in the far off year of 2011 and had come back in time to help his younger self make things right. While the show didn’t see much success, they did get two things right: predicting the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and casting Matthew Perry.
The pilot episode features a scene that is set in heaven. Gaddafi, who was historically the worst political power in the world at that time, is said to have died in the year 2011. It was structured like a joke in which St. Peter informs him that he is to live for eternity as a bomb. Eerily, and right on cue, Gaddafi was killed in October of 2011 which was just one month after the pilot episode took place.
6: Scrubs Predicts Where Osama Bin Laden Was Hiding
Scrubs was a refreshing series, and it offered a more down-to-earth feeling that only early 2000’s television did. Just watching a rerun is a nostalgic experience, so it is a bit crazy to think that they played on the trope of all-knowing janitor… Or, in this case, psychic janitor. Played by Neil Flynn, the Janitor who wasn’t named until the season eight finale became a fairly mysterious character in 2011.
In 2007, his character said, “In my opinion, we should be looking for Bin Laden in Pakistan,” in one episode. It isn’t mentioned again, but this offhand comment predicted the hiding spot of the world’s most notorious terrorist several years before he was discovered in Pakistan. He was discovered and subsequently done away with by the brave men of Seal Team 6 in May of 2011. Maybe we should have paid more attention to Glenn Matthews.
5: The Simpsons Predicts Mutant Produce
The Simpsons has been accused of predicting many things over the past few years, but some of the things in the show that have come into reality are incredibly strange (like The Rolling Stones still on tour…). One of those bizarre predictions that seems straight out of a cartoon is mutant produce. In 1999, Homer and the family acquired a farm in the episode ‘E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)’ and Homer poisoned the crops with tobacco which resulted in giant addictive fruits and vegetables.
Almost 15 years later, mutant produce took Japan by storm following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima. It is documented as the worst nuclear incident since Chernobyl and occurred following an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. In 2013, giant tomatoes with tumor-like growths, conjoined corn, and gigantic cabbages started showing up on surrounding farms. While the produce has been deemed safe for consumption, the mutant appearances are quite reminiscent of the results of Homer’s tobacco blunder.
4: The Simpsons Also Predicted Autocorrect (And Helped the Creation of the iPhone?)
While some of the things that The Simpsons has supposedly predicted have had serious implications, this one actually has some substance. Apple had a digital assistant called Newton, which few people remember at all but it was the inaugural pda in its time. Newton featured handwriting recognition, and in the episode ‘Lisa On Ice,’ that recognition is the cause for one of the first ever autocorrect fails. Dolph tries to take a memo on one of these devices and writes, “Beat up Martin,” which his Newton translates to, “Eat up Martha,” damn you autocorrect.
“In the hallways [at Apple] and while we were talking about the keyboard, you would always hear the words ‘Eat Up Martha,'” Nitin Ganatra, former director of engineering for iOS applications remembers. At the time, iPhone naysayers were abundant, including some big names in the tech industry. The one thing left they had to do was get the keyboard right, or the device would be an utter failure. This one joke that aired in 1994 was the fuel that kept the fire burning and led to one of the most top-of-the-line and innovative smartphone’s inception.
3: The Chris Rock Show Predicts O.J. Simpson’s Book
Sketch comedy was very popular in the 90’s, and it was the starting point for many well-known comedians today. Even Jim Carrey got his start on a sketch comedy show called In Living Color. Chris Rock, now mostly recognized as a cartoon zebra, was once one of those up-and-coming comedians. He had a sketch comedy show called The Chris Rock Show that aired on HBO and went on to win him an Emmy.
In his sketch Chris Rock Remembers, he would fondly reminisce about celebrities and notable events that took place in the 90’s, and one of them was so dead on that it is almost chilling. In this particular segment, he is going through some photos and VHS tapes and picks up a video and says “Who could forget the night OJ came by to sell his new instructional video tape ‘I Didn’t Kill My Wife, But If I Did, Here’s How I’d Do It’?” This episode was two years before the tragic murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and more than twenty years before the release of OJ’s book titled ‘If I Did It.’
2: Quantum Leap Predicts Super Bowl XXX Outcome
Quantum Leap was a 90’s show that featured scientist Sam Beckett. He developed a device known as the “Quantum Leap Accelerator” as part of a government funded project. The machine would allow a person to travel back in time within their own lifetime, and when funding for the project is about to be cut, Sam sets out to prove that it worked. He does so by entering the accelerator, where he ended up traveling through time, taking the place of different people throughout history.
In the episode, ‘All-Americans,’ it is 1996 and Sam leaps into a high school football star back in the year 1962. Al, the project observer at Quantum Leap, was absent for a while and when he came back, Sam asked him where he had been. Al informed him that he was busy watching a different game, Super Bowl XXX, where the Steelers were trailing by 3 points. During that very game, there was a time that the Steelers were trailing by three points! They went on to win the game, but we’re left scratching our heads as to how something so specific could’ve been noted in 1990 when the episode aired.
1: The Lone Gunman Predicts 9/11
The Lone Gunman was an X-Files spin-off that only lasted for a few months. Despite the show’s short run, The Lone Gunman still managed to make a legacy for itself, and that’s because its pilot more or less forecasted certain aspects of the terrorist attacks that occurred on the 11th of September, 2001.
The episode in question followed the characters Byers, Frohike, and Langley as they tried to prevent a government-sanctioned attack that was designed to boost gun sales across the country. The attack would involve someone flying a plane into the World Trade Center. The Lone Gunman‘s pilot episode first aired in March of 2001, and there is no way that the episode writers could have known that its viewers would see something similar to what occurred in the pilot, albeit far more terrifying, just six short months later.