How Did These 23 TV Shows Predict The Future So Accurately?

TV writers’ main task is to entertain their audience with their fictional stories. Sometimes, the stories that they write are pure fantasy, while others, they are meant to be a reflection of the real world. But one thing is for sure: TV writers’ goal is not to achieve a complete replica of reality, much less to predict what will happen in the future. In spite of this, many fictional TV shows have surprised us with their eerie premonitory powers. Here’s a list of 25 times in which famous TV shows predicted the future. Don’t miss #14, #7 and #4!

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#23. Star Trek Predicts The Arrival Of Man To The Moon

If you’re a Boomer, you have probably watched Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry was the mastermind behind this sci-fi TV show, which follows de life of Captain James Kirk and his crew as they explore the galaxy on their large interstellar spacecraft, the Starship Enterprise. But apart from its original storyline, did you know that the show predicted the future?

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Ever since the Cold War broke out, setting foot on the moon became one of humankind’s greatest ambitions. As we all know, this eventually took place in 1969, but what very few are aware of is that Star Trek predicted this two years before. In an episode titled Tomorrow Is Yesterday, released in 1967 but fictionally set in the 23rd century, the Starship Enterprise travels back in time to 1969, when they pick up a radio transmission from NASA. They secretly learn that a team of astronauts was supposedly getting ready to blast off from Cape Kennedy on a mission to the moon, which is indeed what happened that very same year.

#22. The Simpsons Predicts Trump’s Presidency

In 2016, the world was left in awe when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States after his surprising victory over the Democrat candidate Hilary Clinton. But did you know that the iconic animated TV show The Simpsons predicted Trump’s presidency over a decade before?

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In a 2000 episode called Bart to the FutureBart travels in time and gets to see into his future, and learns that his younger sister Lisa would eventually become the first female president in America. But guess what? Lisa’s predecessor would be nothing less than Donald TrumpBack when this episode was released, Trump was just a millionaire real estate developer, so how did they even come up with such an idea? According to the show’s creators, they were just trying to picture a dystopian future.

#21. Parks And Recreation Predicts The Cubs’ World Series

When Tom (Aziz Ansari) and Andy (Chris Pratt) visit Chicago in the last season of Parks and Recreation, the Cubs win a World Series. It was a really bold bet made by the co-creator of the sitcom, Michael Schur. For those who are not familiar with the history of professional baseball in America, the Cubs were always famous for not having won the World Series ever since 1907.

Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Park District

But here’s the thing: this episode was released in 2015, and one year later, the Cubs won their third World Series, 108 years after their previous win. When asked about this by  Washington Post, the show’s writer, Schur, said the following:

As soon as we decided to throw the last season of Parks and Recreation into the future, we sort of started calculating what the world might be like. We talked about aspects of America that we could sort of casually mention that we thought would be funny“.

#20. Max Headroom Predicts Internet Advertising

Max Headroom is an iconic 80s sci-fi show famous for its dystopian and futuristic storylines. But the fact that it managed to predict so many aspects of the modern digital age, and over a decade before Internet was even created, is something beyond belief.

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In a few of its episodes, this show accurately predicted the contemporary concept of Internet advertising. The writers gave hints about a future in which people would be constantly bombarded by advertising with the help of virtual platforms such as 4Chan. Now that, my friend, is what I call creativity.

#19. The Six Million Dollar Man Predicted Bionic Limbs

Nowadays, we live in a world in which prosthetic technologies are nearly capable of rebuilding a human body. However, when the famous TV show The Six Million Dollar Man was aired in the 70s, this was far from true.

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If you’ve watched the series, then you probably remember Lee Majors’ brilliant portrayal of the bionic man and his bionic limbs. But back then, little did people imagine that bionic limbs would be a reality 50 years later! In fact, did you know that bionic eyes will be available to the public really soon?

#18. The Thunderbirds Predicted Skype

As you can see, many of the last century’s greatest science-fiction shows had curiously premonitory storylines, and The Thunderbirds is no exception. Aired throughout the 60s, the writers of the show foresaw video conferencing services like Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts. But how?

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Some characters of the series used a complex communication device that worked like a phone, except that they could see the face of the person they were calling on a TV screen. Sure, this sounded absurd nearly 60 years ago, but today, how else would we chat with our friends while they’re on vacation other than Skype?

#17. Friends Predicted Facebook

Could anyone ever argue with the fact that Friends is the best sitcom ever? Well, not only have the writers of the show made us laugh for ten years straight, but they have also predicted one of the most popular social media ever: Facebook.

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Do you remember The One With the Memorial Service? In this episode, Ross and Chandler get in touch with their former high-school mates through a new website, which according to Ross, allowed people to “post messages for people, [and]let everyone know what you’re up to“. That’s pretty much what Facebook is about, right? Well, one year after this episode – which was aired in 2003 – Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook. Surprised?

#16. Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In Predicted The Fall Of The Berlin Wall

Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was a satirical comedy show that ran from 1968 to 1972. But funnily enough, in one of the show’s recurring segments known as “News of the Future”, the actors predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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20 years before this historic event, one of the actors of the show said, joking around: “There was dancing in the streets today as East Germany finally tore down the Berlin Wall“. However, not only did they guess that the Berlin Wall would fall, but they guessed the year in which it would happen: 1989!

#15. Black Mirror

Black Mirror is one of the most fascinating yet frightening sci-fi shows of the 21st century. It’s meant to be a fictional representation of how technology impacts on modern life, but surprisingly, the show has made quite accurate predictions. Hackers blackmailing their victims and contact lenses with cameras inside them are just a few examples of things that the show predicted in some of its episodes.

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But the most disturbing prediction can be seen in the last episode of season 3, which features drone insects that pollinate flowers in a world where bees have become extinct. This episode was aired in 2016, but a couple of years later, companies such as Prox Dynamics have actually managed to shrink robots to the size of hummingbirds, and scientists have been trying to create drones that replicate bugs’ swarm activity.

#14. Arrested Development Predicted The Trump Wall

Arrested Development is a bizarre comedy show about a dysfunctional family and the adventures that they embark on. Even though the plot of the show is a bit absurd, many of the jokes are actually strongly rooted in reality. Our current political landscape, without going any further, can be reflected in one of the scenes from season 4, aired in 2013.

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George Bluth is the patriarch of a republican and classist family. In Season 4, this character decides to sign a contract with the government to build a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico to “keep Mexicans out of America.” Now, does that ring a bell? It should!

#13. The Jetsons Predicted Flat-Screen TVs

Hey, millennials! Are you familiar with The Jetsons? This iconic animated film from the 60s revolves around the adventures of a family who lives in a distant future. If you ask any X-Gen, they can assure you that no matter how futuristic the show was, they sure did predict several modern inventions. Amongst them, they predicted the flat-screen TV.

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When the animated series first aired, the television set that the Jetsons owned looked quite different from those conventional TVs that existed at the time. Back then, TV sets were bulky boxes that took up a whole lot of space, so you had to be a strategist to find a place where they could fit. But look at the TV that appears in the picture above: it looks just like the ones sold in the 21st century!

#12. Quantum Leap Predicted Super Bowl XXX

Here comes another sport-related prediction! We’ve already seen that Parks And Recreation predicted the winner of 2016’s Super Bowl (check out # 21), but this one here is even more accurate. Because one thing is to guess who the champion is, but guessing the exact score of a match is beyond believable!

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During an episode aired in 1990, the lead character of Quantum Leap, a scientist capable of time travel, traveled to the future to 1996. After traveling forward in time, he attends the Super Bowl and mentions that the Pittsburgh Steelers were “three points away.” Six years later, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost the Superbowl by three points to the Cowboys, 20-17. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

#11. Breaking Bad Predicted A Chemistry Teacher Making Drugs

In the crime-drama TV show Breaking Bad, chemistry professor Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) addresses his economic problems by manufacturing illicit substances. Chemistry teachers, don’t repeat it at home! But guess what?

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Believe it or not, a college chemistry teacher from Portland, Oregon was arrested for this same reason. Just like in the show, this man ran his own lab. The police said he even knew how to re-crystallize methamphetamine. You can imagine that it didn’t take long for local news reports and people on social media started comparing both cases.

#10. Scrubs Predicted The Whereabouts Of Bin Laden

You probably remember when the news came out that Osama Bin Laden had been spotted and killed in his compound in Pakistan, back in 2011. However, five years before, in 2006, an episode of the medical comedy show Scrubs accurately predicted Bin Laden’s hiding place.

Photo: Courtesy of NY Daily News

In an episode, Zach Braff’s character becomes interested in learning about the Iraq War. He talks to the concierge about this, who shows himself as an expert on the subject, and says: “We should be looking for Bin Laden in Pakistan.” Years later, out of all the 195 countries, that is where Bin Laden appeared. Coincidence? I have my doubts.

#9. Family Guy Predicts The Death Of Scalia

Family Guy and black humor go hand by hand, right?. Well, such is so that in the episode Meet the Quagmires, aired in 2007, Grim Reaper reveals that Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia had been accidentally killed during a hunting trip with Dick Cheney.

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But what happened in real life? The unfortunate event took place in 2016 when Scalia was at a ranch in Texas after a day of quail hunting, the main difference being that Dick Cheney wasn’t there. The mere fact that it happened during a hunting trip makes the Family Guy episode particularly chilling and prophetic.

#8. Scandal Predicts The Edward Snowden Saga

What do we have here? In an episode of the famous political thriller Scandal, Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) helps an NSA agent with stolen information, proving that the government had been illegally spying on American citizens. One would like to think that this would never happen in real life, right?

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Well, I’ve got some bad news for you. In 2014, one year after the release of this episode, news agencies around the whole world were talking about Edward Snowden, a former CIA agent who leaked classified data that proved the American government was spying on American citizens.

#7. The Lone Gunmen Predicted 9/11

The Lone Gunmen is an X-Files spin-off aired from March to June 2001. Combining science fiction and conspiracy fiction, the show’s 13 episodes tell stories about supernatural creatures and government conspiracies aiming to hide the existence of aliens. But the show’s very first episode, aired on March 2001, includes a frightening premonition.

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According to the plot of the episode, the American government conspires to hijack a Boeing 727 and crash it against the World Trade Center. Obviously, nobody would ever think that such a tragedy could ever happen, but six months later, the September 11th terrorist attack took place.

#6. Mr. Robot Predicted The Ashley Madison Hack

Mr. Robot is a drama thriller TV show starring Academy Award winner Rami Malek, who plays the role of a cybersecurity engineer and hacker. He teams up with an anarchist that goes by the name of Mr. Robot, and together they systematically hack the portals of large banks and important economic conglomerates. But it happens to be that in one of the chapters, they made an eerie prediction.

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In the season 1 finale, one of the characters named Lenny complains that his profile at Ashely Madison – an app that connects married people looking for an affair – had been hacked. But one week before the episode was aired, Ashely Madison was actually hacked, and many users’ information was leaked online. Reportedly, Sam Esmail, the creator of the show, stated that the Ashely Madison storyline was part of his original script, months before the real-life incident.

#5. Monty Python Predicted Furries

Monthy Python is a British comedy show, in which John Cleese and the rest of the cast really seemed to enjoy making a fool of themselves in order to entertain the audience. They usually recreated ridiculous situations that would never happen in real life. However, as crazy as it sounds, in one of the episodes, these guys predicted Furries.

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In an episode called The Mouse Problem, they explored a fictional phenomenon in which men dressed up as mice and attended parties to eat cheese and squeak, acting like real mice. Of course, this seemed absolutely absurd back in 1969, the year when this episode was released. However, a few decades later, the “furry” subculture was born, and there are nearly 40 conventions for furries spread throughout the world.

#4. The Simpsons Predicted Horse Meat

Yes, Matt Groening’s long-running family satire deserved to have a spot in our top 5. There was a particularly strange episode aired in 1994 in which Lunchlady Doris, the cafeteria chef at Springfield Elementary, included horse meat on the children’s menu. Obviously, even the thought of it is disgusting, and one would think that nobody in their right judgment would ever cook a meal out of horse meat… or would they?

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In 2013, the world was shaken when people discovered that many products sold across Europe, such as frozen hamburgers, contained up to 29% of horse meat. Clearly, this is 29% more horse than what anyone would like in a burger!

#3. The Year Of The Sex Olympics Predicted Reality-TV

To be honest, I always thought that reality TV was inspired by George Orwell’s political dystopian fiction novel 1984. However, the British sci-fi comedy show, The Year of the SexOlympics, also seems to have predicted this type of show.

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This 60s show was set in a dystopian future in which the world was run and dominated by television. In one of the episodes, the ruling class came up with a new program which starred real people who were stranded on an island and forced to survive without the luxuries of modern life. Does this ring a bell? Well, it most definitely should, because three decades later, this idea would materialize in reality TV shows such as Survivor.

#2. Star Trek Predicted Google Glass

Here we go again. We have already seen how the sci-fi 60s TV show Star Trek predicted the landing of the man on the moon (check out #23). But that was not the only time in which the creators and screenwriters’ creativity predicted future events. Believe it or not, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine predicted Google Glass.

Photo: Courtesy of The Mary Sue

In 1997, in the episode Rocks and Shoals, the characters become familiar with a “virtual display device” through which they see things outside their immediate location. This may well be considered as an ad for Google Glass, which was released in 2013 and serves this exact same purpose.

#1. 24 Predicted The First African-American President

In 2008, the Democrat candidate Barack Obama left a mark in history, becoming the first African-American president in the history of the U.S. However, the political drama series 24 seems to have predicted this. When the show premiered in 2001, it included an African-American presidential candidate named David Palmer (played by Dennis Haysbert), who eventually won the election.

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When Obama was elected, some described it as a “Palmer effect”, and according to British political journalist Nick Bryant, this fictional character “helped create a climate of public acceptance for the notion of a black president”.

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