Want to know what the future holds for us? Turns out, you need to look no further than your nearest TV screen. While TV and movie writers are supposed to entertain us, and help us forget about the troubles of the day, they sometimes - most times, without even meaning to - happen to miraculously see into the future and give us a shockingly accurate prediction about what we can expect from it. Here is a list of the best scripted predictions, that turned out to be freakishly correct:
1. 2013: Arrested Development Predicts the US-Mexico Border Wall
Season 4 of the cult show saw George and Lucile Bluth trying to profit from a government contract to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, to “keep Mexicans out of America.”
Some Arrested Development cast members have joked about President Donald Trump taking inspiration from the show for his 2016 campaign promises.
2. 2010: Tangled Predicts Covid-19
In the Disney animated film, Rapunzel basically practiced social distancing in a tower - away from the village of Corona.
Being locked up for 18 years, Rapunzel was spending her time doing things like cleaning, reading and cooking - not so different than our reality in the current, surreal Covid-19 days.
3. 2001: 24 Predicts the First African-American President
The hit series presented president David Palmer, a successful president who fought terrorism together with the show's protagonist, Jack Bauer.
Political analysts have claimed that Palmer's character allowed viewers to become more comfortable with the idea of a black president, and argued that the "Palmer effect" has helped the Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
4. 2000: The Simpsons predicts President Donald Trump
In the episode Bart to the Future, a peek into the future reveals that Lisa is now the American president, with her predecessor being Donald Trump.
“As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump...” she tells her staff, before being told by her Secretary of State that America is broke.
5. 2013: 30 Rock calls Out Harvey Weinstein
In 2017 the New York Times reported that more than a dozen women accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting them, and started the Weinstein sexual abuse scandal that ended up with his conviction.
Four years before that exposé, however, it was 30 Rock that was first to publically call out Weinstein's predatory behavior. "I'm not of afraid of anyone in show business," Jenna Maroney tells Tracy Morgan's character, "I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions…out of five."
6. 2015: Legends of Chamberlain Heights Predicts Kobe Bryant’s Death
In January, the world was shocked to learn that NBA legend Kobe Bryan, his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven other people, all died in a helicopter crash in California.
Shockingly still, five years before the tragic incident, the animated comedy series The Legends of Chamberlain Heights showed Bryant's character in a helicopter crash.
7. 1973: The Six Million Dollar Man Predicts Bionic Body Parts
The Sci-fi show featured Steve Austin, an astronaut who after a horrific accident undergoes a government-sanctioned surgery that rebuilds some of his body with robotic parts, making him 'cyborglike'.
While robotic arms have been around for years, a robotic prosthetic is still a new, exciting development. In 2018 an American man made headlines when he received a modular prosthetic arm to replace an arm he lost and - similar to The Six Million Dollar Man - was able to control his new, robotic arm thanks to a rerouting of the nervous system.
8. 1968: The Year of the Sex Olympics Predicts Reality TV
The futuristic mini-series takes place in a heavily regulated society in which the minority - the ruling High Drives, who control the government and the media - keep the poor and powerless masses obedient through a constant diet of televised pornography.
At one point the High Drives come up with a new concept: a reality show starring "real people" stranded on a deserted island, who must survive there, together, without the luxuries of modern life.
9. 1996: The Cable Guy Predicts Smart TV
"Soon every American home will integrate their television, phone and computer," yelled Jim Carrey's creepy character in Cable Guy. "You'll be able to visit the Louvre on one channel or watch female wrestling on another. You can do your shopping at home, or play Mortal Kombat with a friend from Vietnam".
In 1996 Carrey sounded a bit crazy, but as it turns out, he was absolutely right in his prediction.
10. 1965: The Thunderbirds Predicts Skype
The classic British sci-fi show series follows an international rescue team that uses advanced technologies to help them on their mission.
One of the futuristic devices used by the team was a video phone, s device that worked like a phone but had a screen that let you see the person you were calling - just like present-day Skype or face time.
11. 2003: Friends Predicts Facebook
A year before Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg created "The Facebook", Ross and Chandler were talking on Friends about a new "alumni website for college".
"It’s cool! You can post messages for people, let everyone know what you’re up to", explains Ross to Chandler, to which he replies: “Oh great, a faster way to tell people that I’m unemployed and childless.”
12. 1967: Star Trek Predicts the 1969 Moon landing
Two years before Apollo 11 first landed humans on the moon, an episode of the popular sci-fi series featured a time-travel story, in which the Enterprise starship travels to 1969 and picks up a Nasa transmission that describes an astronaut preparing for mankind's first moon landing.
The episode, titled Tomorrow is Yesterday, is still considered to be one of Star Trek's best episodes
13. 1984: The Terminator Predicts Military drones
James Cameron' sci-fi blockbuster featured terrifying aerial Hunter-Killer drones that hovered above, deployed by Skynet, the movie's antagonist
In the early 80s, reconnaissance drones were already in use, but it was only more than a decade after the movie came out that combat drones were first being used by the US army, opening up new possibilities for warfare - just like seen in Terminator.
14. 1997: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Predicts Google Glass
One of Star Trek's many sequels, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, was also in the successful predictions business: the episode Rocks and Shoals features a head-mounted visual display device that lets the crew see things outside of their immediate surroundings.
In 2013, Google introduced Google Glass, a head-mounted augmented reality display, similar to the device introduced on the show.
15. 1998: The Simpsons Predicts the Mass of the Higgs Boson
In The Wizzard of Evergreen Terrace, Homer decided he wants to become an inventor, and we see him standing at a chalkboard trying to solve a complex equation. Turns out, he is very close to discovering the mass of the Higgs Boson particle, which scientists have spent decades trying to discover and finally did only in 2012.
It's quite astonishing that Homer Simpson, of all "people", came up with this equation years before the CERN physicists.
16. 1987: Second Chance Predicts Colonel Gaddafi’s Death
In the opening scene for the one-season sitcom, which was also Matthew Perry's first TV role, Lybian Ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is shown being judged after his death, with the date of death given as July 29, 2011.
The show got Gaddafi year of death - 24 years later - right, but did get the day wrong (he was killed on October 20, 2011).
17. 2006: Scrubs Predicts the Whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden
When this Scrubs episode aired an international manhunt after the al-Qaeda leader was already taking place, with no clues as to his hiding place. However, when the janitor and JD talk about the Iraq war, the janitor says that US forces should be looking for Bin Laden in Pakistan.
In 2011 the ten-year manhunt was over and the arch-terrorist was killed after Navy SEALS raided his compound in northern Pakistan. Turns out, the janitor was right all along.
18. 1990: Quantum Leap Predicts the Super Bowl XXX Game
In the cult time-travel show, Al is telling Scott about the 1996 Super Bowl XXX game that he watched, and tells him in suspense that the Steelers were down by 3 points.
Six years later, the real Super Bowl XXX took place, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were trailing by 3 against the Dallas Cowboys, at the critical turning point late in the 4th quarter (20–17).
19. 2001: The Lone Gunmen Predicts the 9/11 Attacks
In the show's pilot episode, which aired on March 2001 - six months before the 9/11 attacks, the government conspires to hijack a plane departing Boston, crash it into the World Trade Center, and let anti-American terrorist groups take credit,
Chillingly, the two planes that crashed into the twin towers on 9/11 both took off from Logan International Airport in Boston.
20. 2015: Parks And Recreation Predicts the Cubs' World Series Win
The show’s final season shows Tom and Andy visiting Lucy in Chicago in "the future" - in the summer of 2017 - where she mentions that “everyone’s in a really great mood now because of the Cubs winning the Series.”
By the show's timeline, that means the Cubs won in 2016 - the year in which they in fact ended a 108-year-long championship drought and won the world series.
21. 1969: Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Predicts the Fall of the Berlin Wall
The successful sketch comedy featured a recurring "News of the Future" segment, mocking current political events. On one of those segments, which aired in the height of the cold war, Dan Rowan made this prediction: "20 years from now, 1989...There was dancing in the streets today as East Germany finally tore down the Berlin Wall."
Even though the fall of the Berlin wall was almost unimaginable in 1969, the wall indeed crumbled 20 years later, in November 1989.
22. 2015: Mr. Robot Predicts the Ashley Madison Hack
In the season 1 finale, one of the characters complains that his membership at Ashley Madison, a site connecting married people who want to start an affair, might have been hacked.
Even though the episode was aired a few weeks after the real Ashley Madison data breach scandal came to light, the story was in fact in the original script - produced and shot before the real-life hack.
23. 1969: Monty Python Predicts Furry Fandom
The second episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus featured a sketch entitled The Mouse Problem, which describes a growing social issue where men dress up as mice as a sexual fetish, go to parties, squeak, eat cheese, and so on and so forth.
Nowadays, the furry fandom is a growing subculture in which people dress up as anthropomorphic animals, and many "furry conventions" are held in North America and Europe.
24. 2002: Minority Report Predicts Personalized Advertising
In a memorable scene in the movie, Tom Cruise's character walks through a mall, being bombarded with ads that mention him by name - implying they’ve been targeted specifically to him.
Today, this sort of advertising is everywhere in the online world, with advanced tools analyzing users' behavior, using internet cookies to follow their every step, and exposing them to personally tailored ads. We can only imagine that similar offline technologies will soon follow.
25. 1949: Merrie Melodies Predicts the Collapse of the Twin Towers
This might be a bit of a far-reaching one, but many people on the internet are convinced that the Worner Bros. animated series somehow predicted the 9/11 attacks. In Often an Orphan, Charlie Dog is talking about how he doesn't want to go back to the city.
At some point in his monologue, he points his finger to the sky and screams: "It's the towers! They're falling!".
26. 1962: The Jetsons Predicts Cleaning Robots
The popular cartoon told the story of the Jetson family who lives in a utopian future, and accordingly featured some futuristic devices.
In the cleaning department, the show has featured both a Housekeeping robot Rosie, and a tiny robotic vacuum cleaner, that basically looks a lot like our modern-day popular Roomba.
27. 2007: Family Guy Predicts the Death of Antonin Scalia
The time-travel episode Meet the Quagmires references Dick Cheney’s real-life hunting incident, in which he accidentally shot a fellow quail hunter - in the episode, Death declares that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been shot dead by Cheney in a hunting accident.
This was almost a decade before 79-year-old Scalia was found dead at a Texas ranch in 2016, after spending the day quail hunting.
28. 1993: Demolition Man Predicts the Imprisonment of Scott Peterson
In the scene that shows a list of all 'crypto-prisoners' in Los Angeles - basically the future version of death row, reserved for the worst of the worst - just above the name of Wesley Snipes' character is the name 'Scott Peterson'.
In 2004, the real Scott Peterson murder case shocked the world when it was revealed that Peterson killed his wife and unborn child. He was convicted and is currently on death row in California.
29. 2002: Die Another Day Predicts Active Camouflage
Die Another Day is considered to be one of the worst Bond movies, and one of the main points of criticism was Pierce Brosnan's invisible car, which was accepted as a bizarre and unrealistic gadget.
However, it seems like a camouflaged car is no longer such a far-fetched idea. In recent years, several militaries have been working on an "active camouflage" system for their tanks, and in 2011, BAE Systems announced their Adaptiv infrared camouflage technology.
30. 1997: The Chris Rock Show Predicts OJ Simpson's Book
in 2006 OJ Simpson gave an interview discussing the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend Ron Goldman. A year later that interview was turned into a now-infamous book, titled If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.
In the pilot episode of The Chris Rock Show, Rock made the following joke, that a few years later turned out to be very realistic: “Hey, who can forget the time O.J. came by to sell his instructional videotape, 'I Didn’t Kill My Wife, But If I Did, Here’s How I’d Do It'?”
31. 1990: Dick Tracy Predicts Smartwatches
In 2015, Apple came out with their invention of the Apple Watch - a smartwatch that operates as a small wearable computing device worn on a user's wrist. However, the idea of wearing a smartwatch was first seen years before - on none other than Dick Tracy.
The watch made its first appearance on the 1940s comic strip, and was featured on the screen for the first time in the 1990 movie.
32. 2011: Black Mirror Predicts Piggate
In the episode The National Anthem, the British prime minister is required to have sexual intercourse with a pig in order to save a member of the royal family.
Interestingly enough, in 2015 "piggate" broke after an unauthorized biography of former British prime minister David Cameron claimed that as a university student, Cameron participated in an initiation ceremony in which he had to put his private parts into a dead pig's mouth.
33. 2016: Black Mirror Predicts Insect-size Autonomous Drones
The Season 3 finale, Hated in the Nation, is a murder mystery linked to social media, and featuring Autonomous Drone Insects that resemble bees.
In 2018 European engineers say they’ve built the world’s smallest autonomous rotor drone - tiny drones with tiny brains, who are smart enough to fly themselves - research that offers a fascinating peek into the future of nano-drones.
34. 2005: Spooks Predicts the London 7/7 Attacks
The British spy drama followed the counter-terrorism division of the MI5 in its battle to stop terrorists trying to operate in the UK and abroad. In June 2005, the show filmed an episode about a failed terrorist attempt to attack the London public transportation system.
A month later a similar plan was set in motion in real life - but this time it, sadly succeeded. 52 people were killed in the 7/7 London bombings, which targeted London commuters. The Spooks episode ultimately aired with a disclaimer at the beginning.
35. 2008: Breaking Bad Predicts a Chemistry Teacher Making Drugs
In Breaking Bad, Walter White was a naive chemistry teacher who turned to making methamphetamine as a last resort, in order to save some money to secure his family's future.
In 2014, a year after the show's final episode aired, an Oregon-based chemistry teacher was charged with manufacturing and delivering meth, and was naturally soon called 'a real-life Walter White'.
36. 1990: Total Recall Predicts Self Driving Cars
One of the hit movie's stars was Johnny Cab, an automated taxi service that featured a self-driving car plus a "chauffer" dressed in a 1950’s style, that drove Schwarzenegger's character around the city.
Kinda like a combination between Google's autonomous car and Uber's business model.
37. 2009: Family Guy Predicts Bruce Jenner’s Gender Transition
In the episode titled We Love You, Conrad, Brian and Stewie talk about former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner. “Bruce Jenner is a man", says Brian, 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.” This dialogue aired 6 years before Jenner came out as a trans woman.
38. 2011: Person of Interest Predicts the Edward Snowden Case
In the post 9/11 world depicted in the show, all citizens are being followed by a computer surveillance system designed to root out terrorists. In the show's second season, it followed an NSA whistleblower who decides to reveal the ways the US government is following its citizens.
In real life, NSA employee Edward Snowden came to international attention more than a year later, when he started leaking classified information that proved the government is spying on American citizens.
39. 2011: Contagion Predicts the Covid-19 Pandemic
Contagion follows the global spread of a new virus originating in China, transmitted through touch or when sick humans touch surfaces. It shows its rapid spread, terrible consequences, and the teams of scientists trying to fight it.
Almost a decade later, the coronavirus pandemic is now gripping the world - with eerie similarities. We can only hope that our saga will soon finish with a vaccine, like the Contagion pandemic ultimately did.
40. 1982: Blade Runner Predicts Digital Billboards
In Blade Runner, Los Angeles is a city that never sleeps, its skies being constantly lit with enormous electronic billboards.
Nowadays, one needs to look no further than places like New York's Times Square, or London's Piccadilly Circus, to witness that the movie's visual prediction came absolutely true.
41. 1962: The Jetsons Predicts a Flat-Screen TV
The 2062 futuristic world of the Jetsons also included a flat-screen tv, with mom Jane Jeston working out with a virtual fitness instructor in front of the front screen.
The introduction of the flat screen was one of many future-predictions that the show got right, and to be more specific, working out alone in front of it is not so different than the reality of many of us during the Covid quarantine.
42. 1995: The Net Predicts Online Identity Theft
The idea of an identity theft probably seemed pretty surreal for the moviegoers who watched the movie in the 1990s, but today we have become much more aware of all the grave possible outcomes of sharing information online.
As it turns out, Sandra Bullock was the first to warn us of data breaches (and also to prepare us to a world in which we can order a pizza without leaving our house or talking to another human being).