This is a list of events that were described or depicted, and dated with reasonable clarity, in either film or television.  They all took place in what was the future at that time, but is now the past, and within my lifetime (so nothing before June 7 1970). There are more notes on the “rules” of the list mentioned below.

January 14, 1972 – The spacecraft Liberty 1 lifted off from Cape Kennedy with astronauts Dodge, Landon, Stewart, and Taylor on board. The ship disappeared, apparently, in a Hasslein Curve. (The Planet of the Apes – 1968)

1974 – The android Battling Maxo arrived in Maynard, Kansas for a scheduled six-round bout. Androids boxing is of course a consequence of the fact that prizefighting was made illegal back in 1968. (The Twilight Zone: Steel – 1963)

1974 – Five women were murdered in Kiev, USSR by someone possessed by the non-corporeal being, Redjac. (Star Trek: Wolf in the Fold – 1967)

March 1975 – The Earth’s population – except Dr Robert Neville – was killed or turned into mutants by biological warfare between Russia and China. (The Omega Man – 1971)

1980 – By this date, the earth was being visited and attacked by aliens from a dying planet who were secretly harvesting humans for their organs.  Fortunately, SHADO (Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defense Organization), was formed to defend us from this threat. (UFO – 1970)

1983 – A disease wiped out all dogs and cats, leaving us with no pets. Apes started to take their place, but when we realized how useful they could be, they became a kind of slave labor force. (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes – 1972)

December 1986 – The lost planet Mondas, a sister planet to earth, drifted back into our solar system. That planet’s inhabitants, the Cybermen, invaded the earth and attempted to drain the earth of all energy. Fortunately, it ended up absorbing too much energy and destroyed itself. (Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet – 1966)

1987 – NASA launched Ranger 3, the last of its deep space probes. Unfortunately, a freak accident blew the ship off course and it wound up in a 500 year orbit. The pilot and sole occupant of the ship, Captain William “Buck” Rogers was presumed lost. (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century – 1979)

1987 – Commander Douglas Stansfield was sent on a space mission to planetary system 141, a journey that would take 20 years each way. (The Twlight Zone: The Long Morrow – 1964)

1991 – Another space expedition, this time to inhospitable desert planet V9-Gamma, was stranded there, under the command of Captain Benteen. (The Twilight Zone: On Thursday We Leave for Home – 1963)

1991 – By the time, America’s culture was based upon ape slave labor. But this is the year that the intelligent, talking ape Caesar led his revolt. (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes – 1972)

January 12, 1992 – the HAL 9000 computer became operational at HAL Laboratories in Urbana, Illinois. (2001: A Space Odyssey – 1968)

1992 – As a result of scientists attempts to enhance human beings through selective breeding and genetic engineering, the seeds for the the Eugenics Wars were layed. Khan Noonien Singh rose to power and held absolute control over more than a quarter of the planet, including parts of Asia to the Middle East. (Star Trek: Space Seed -1967)

1993 – Following Khan’s example, other genetically engineered humans seized power in over 40 nations on the earth.  As a consequence, the Eugenics Wars took place – conflicts between “normal” humans the genetically advanced, or possibly between the various genetically advanced factions.  Whole populations are bombed out of existence during this conflict. (Star Trek:  Space Seed – 1967)

1995 – Project Quantum Leap began when Dr. Sam Beckett activated his time travel invention (pre-empting the possibility of the project being shut down due to budget cuts) and disappeared into the past. (Quantum Leap – 1989)

1995 – The European Moonbase 3 was established under the oversight of the European Space Assembly and the European Aeronautics and Space Administration. (Moonbase-3 – 1973)

1996 – The Eugenics Wars came to an end.  Khan Noonien Singh was the last of the tyrants to be overthrown.  He and 80+ of his followers disappeared. (Star Trek: Space Seed – 1967)

1996 – the Festival of Ghana took place.  During it, some mechanical monsters apparently went crazy and destroyed some Dalek invaders. (Doctor Who: The Chase:  Journey Into Terror – 1965)

1996 – The ozone layer was destroyed and a protective shield was installed instead. (Highlander II: The Quickening – 1991)

1996 – 1997 – Earth’s surface laid waste due to devastating virus – something like 5 billion people were killed. (Twelve Monkeys – 1995)

Friday, August 29, 1997 – The computer system Skynet became self-aware, and launched nuclear weapons against Russia, leading to a nuclear war and the deaths of 3 billion people.  However, thanks to temporal interference a few years earlier, these events were avoided. (Terminator 2:  Judgement Day – 1991)

October 16, 1997 – The Jupiter 2 flying saucer was launched toward a planet near Alpha Centauri, crewed by the Robinson family. However, shortly after it was launched, something went wrong and the ship was lost. There is suspicion that this was a result of interference by one of the other nations who were racing to colonize space. (Lost in Space – 1965)

1999 – A large, black monolith was discovered on the moon, leading to a quarantine of the Moonbase Clavius, the center of American activities on the moon.  At this time, Bell Telephone and Pan-Am Airlines were still operational. (2001:  A Space Odyssey – 1968)

1999 – Voyager VI was launched with a mission to collect all information possible and return that information to the creator.  It was eventually lost, apparently in a black hole. (Star Trek:  The Motion Picture – 1979)

September 13, 1999 – A huge accident led to a massive explosion of nuclear waste that was being stored on the far side of the moon. As s result, the moon was knocked out of orbit and sent hurtling into space. All 311 inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha were presumed lost. (Space: 1999 – 1975)

2000 – By this point, in Texas, handguns were banned and law enforcement was carried out using non-lethal “stun” pistols. After an assassination (and another attempted assassination), the mayor of San Antonio put pressure on law enforcement which led to the development of the Knight 4000, a new super-car designed to help fight crime. (Knight Rider 2000 – 1991)

2001 – The Discovery, a ship under the control of the HAL 9000 computer, was sent on a manned mission to Jupiter. However, the HAL 9000 malfunctions, and four astronauts were killed. The last, Mission Commander David Bowman, disappeared in mysterious circumstances. (2001: A Space Odyssey – 1968)

2002 – The interstellar probe Nomad was launched with the mission of seeking out new life forms in interstellar space. It was designed by Dr. Jackson Roykirk to be capable of logical thought. However, it was damaged by a meteor during its mission. (Star Trek: The Changeling – 1967)

July 24, 2004 – Again, Skynet went online and initiated “Judgement Day” – systematically attacking the pe0ple with killing machines and their own nuclear weapons. (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – 2003)

2005 – A new robot was introduced to the market. Codenamed “Andrew”, it was designed to perform housekeeping and maintenance duties. (Bicentennial Man – 1999)

2009 – The first successful earth-Saturn mission took place. Shaun Geoffrey Christopher (son of air force pilot John Christopher) , was the leader of this mission. (Star Trek: Tomorrow is Yesterday – 1967)

2010 – A joint USA-Russian mission traveled to Jupiter in order to retrieve the Discovery, lost 9 years earlier. These events culminated in the transformation of Jupiter into a second star. (2010 – 1984)

2012 – The 2012 Olympic Games took place in London. Papau New Guinea surprised everyone in the shot put event. A mysterious stranger unexpectedly lights the Olympic torch.   (Doctor Who: Fear Her – 2006)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 – The USA elected a female president. (Back to the Future, Part II – 1989)

2012 – Ecological disasters led to the end of the world, with only a few survivors remaining in South Africa. (2012 – 2009)

That’s it so far.  This list is theoretically a work in progress, so feel free to point out corrections or suggest additions.

Back to the original post.

Other comments:  I have obviously ignored anything other than TV or movies just for the sake of manageability (so no comics, literature, video games, etc.) Obviously fictional things that were shown to take place “in the present” (for example, the alien invasion in V) are ignored, as well as events that were worked into the backstory of plots that were “in the past” from the point of view of the production (such as the arrival of the aliens in Alien Nation).  I ignored events from the UNIT era of Doctor Who because of the ambiguity of the dating.  I’ve also ignored the “modern day” stories from the revival of Doctor Who because you’d really have to be paying attention carefully to realize they were actually set a year in the future – basically they were supposed to read as “present day adventures.”  Similarly, I’m not including the events of District 9:  it’s set one year in the future, but is completely dependent on events which have been inserted into history.  So it seems strange to me to mention the forced relocation of an alien refugee camp without being able to mention their original arrival.

Only “notable” events are mentioned, in that they are all things that the general public might have become aware of (although in some cases, I have fudged this a bit with things that should have been “restricted knowledge.”)

The year the work came out is mentioned after the title, and if the event is particular to a certain episode of a TV series, the episode title and year for that episode is also mentioned.  Otherwise, I’ve just mentioned the year a TV series debuted.

One thought on “It’s been an interesting life (annotated)

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