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#1
Old 07-13-2018, 10:42 AM
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TV shows "20 minutes into the future" decades later

This is based on the thread on the Six Million Dollar Man thread.

The premise: shows like 6MDM relied on tech that was cutting edge. You can imagine that the science of bionics in 1974 was advancing, and a lot of the pieces were nearly ready, but it took "a man barely alive" and a ton of black project government money to put it all together. The program only ran as a one-off (Jamie Summers and Barney Miller (no, not the detective) and Max notwithstanding).

But what happened in the intervening decades? You couldn't keep bionics a secret, and why would you? It's too useful. And there's too much money to be made. The whole point was to make it available. They weren't going to make one (or two) spies and leave it at that. Everybody would have access to bionic limbs and eyes and ears. (They just wouldn't all be super powerful. If they were smart.)

But to have the show continue out of the 70s, you are forced to keep the tech stuck in the past. A super powered bionic agent isn't that secret if everybody can buy the parts. And the entire world of 2018 would be different if the 1970s had bionic tech as seen in the show. Aside from no more limbless people and no more para- or quadriplegics, we'd probably have bionic astronauts on the Moon and Mars.

But here we are, 40 years later, only barely closer to the "world's first bionic man".

What other "20 minutes into the future" fictional tech of old has never come to pass? Or what shows had tech that, if it existed, would have made the current world unrecognizable from what it is now?
#2
Old 07-13-2018, 11:30 AM
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Not a TV show, but I remember in Michael Crichton's 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain there was a super-sophisticated medical scanner that could figure out anything that was wrong with you, and after further testing "was going to be in every major hospital inside of five years," or somesuch. Still waiting.

This might be right up your alley: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...hardsIsUseless
#3
Old 07-13-2018, 11:35 AM
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Space:1999? I mean, 19 years later, and the Moon is still here...
#4
Old 07-13-2018, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
What other "20 minutes into the future" fictional tech of old has never come to pass?
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say "all of it."

Thinking back to the 1960s, My Living Doll had a robot that looked and acted human, Get Smart, had a shoe phone (with a rotary dial - the producers never envisioned push buttons?), Lost in Space was launching interstellar missions in 1997, Search had cameras you could hide in a ring with resolution high enough to read a license plate on a speeding car, etc., etc.

As for tech that could have changed the world, I'M STILL WAITING FOR MY FLYING CAR!
#5
Old 07-13-2018, 12:07 PM
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We probably could hide a camera in a ring, if anyone wanted to. But it's a lot easier to hide it in a cell phone, and nobody keeps their phones hidden.
#6
Old 07-13-2018, 01:13 PM
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I was thinking of the "space marines" in Moonraker. The US had at least one shuttle filled with troops armed and ready to go into space combat at a moment's notice. And they had blasters! I thought it was pretty cool at the time. 38 years later, not only do we not have a Space Force, we don't have blasters. Heck, we don't even have a way to get into space, unless we pay someone else!
#7
Old 07-13-2018, 01:17 PM
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As much as I liked Search, one thing that I realized much later is, how do they connect the field cameras and two-way communications back to the base? Those little transmitters can't have any range at all. Nowdays, you could hand-wave and say you are piggybacking on existing cellular networks, but not back then.

Heck, even Steve Austin had that cute little mini walkie-talkie that he could use to talk to Oscar in DC. By the size of it, in real life it had about a mile or two of range.
#8
Old 07-13-2018, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say "all of it."

Get Smart, had a shoe phone (with a rotary dial - the producers never envisioned push buttons?),
Of course they did. The fact that it had a dial was intentional to be humorous.
#9
Old 07-13-2018, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say "all of it."!
The video phones of, for example, The Jetsons, for all intents and purposes, are here.
#10
Old 07-13-2018, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by hajario View Post
Of course they did. The fact that it had a dial was intentional to be humorous.
Always thought it made sense, myself - with buttons you'd risk making a call with every step.
#11
Old 07-13-2018, 01:52 PM
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The phrase "20 minutes into the future" comes from Max Headroom.

All these years later, we still can't program a computer that can hold a realistic conversation, show original thinking, or crack jokes.
#12
Old 07-13-2018, 02:22 PM
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Demolition Man came out in 1994, and the beginning depicted the far future of 1996, when criminals would be flash frozen instead of serving time in prison, and they'd have baking and knitting skills downloaded into their brain during their time on ice. Oh, and they didn't age. So it was basically a "You committed a crime? We'll show you! Get into this time machine to the future!" situation.
#13
Old 07-13-2018, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
The phrase "20 minutes into the future" comes from Max Headroom.

All these years later, we still can't program a computer that can hold a realistic conversation, show original thinking, or crack jokes.
I think it may be because we can't get a network exec that can hold a realistic conversation, show original thinking, or crack jokes.
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#14
Old 07-13-2018, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
Demolition Man came out in 1994, and the beginning depicted the far future of 1996, when criminals would be flash frozen instead of serving time in prison, and they'd have baking and knitting skills downloaded into their brain during their time on ice. Oh, and they didn't age. So it was basically a "You committed a crime? We'll show you! Get into this time machine to the future!" situation.
I'm still waiting for the Restaurant Wars. I'll root for Arby's.
#15
Old 07-13-2018, 02:39 PM
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There was a show called Seven Days where the NSA had a secret time machine reverse engineered from alien technology. It could send someone back only one week, and there was only one guy that was capable of handling the stresses of operating it. So every week something major would happen, often a terrorist attack on the US, and the clock starts running to figure out who did it and how the one guy could stop them before the 7 day clock ran out. The last episode aired in May, 2001. It would have had some splainin to do if it had been reviewed for the next season.
#16
Old 07-13-2018, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Space:1999? I mean, 19 years later, and the Moon is still here...
Yeah, you're in trouble if you give an exact year for your sci-fi to take place. Land of the Giants was set in the far-off future of 1983. (And Deanna Lund just passed away a month or so ago.) I think the original Rollerball is supposed to be taking place this year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say "all of it."

Thinking back to the 1960s, My Living Doll had a robot that looked and acted human, Get Smart, had a shoe phone (with a rotary dial - the producers never envisioned push buttons?), Lost in Space was launching interstellar missions in 1997, Search had cameras you could hide in a ring with resolution high enough to read a license plate on a speeding car, etc., etc.

As for tech that could have changed the world, I'M STILL WAITING FOR MY FLYING CAR!
I read something fascinating about Star Trek: Enterprise when it was being made. In some ways, the show was technologically squeezed between The Original Series and reality. Since it took place before TOS the technology had to be more primitive. So what kind of communicators do the characters have? They have to be worse than the ones that Kirk and Spock used, but better than a 2001 cell phone.
#17
Old 07-13-2018, 03:43 PM
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Were a year away from the original date in Blade Runner and we don't have flying cars, artificial humans, or off-world colonies.
#18
Old 07-13-2018, 04:28 PM
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I read a column years ago in which a guy said okay, he could understand why we didn't have SF tech like in the movies yet like a flying car. But why, he wanted to know, couldn't people have tunics like people often wore in the SF movies? (It was very funny. He said he refused to believe we didn't have the "sewing tech" to make tunics.)
#19
Old 07-13-2018, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
There was a show called Seven Days where the NSA had a secret time machine reverse engineered from alien technology. It could send someone back only one week, and there was only one guy that was capable of handling the stresses of operating it. So every week something major would happen, often a terrorist attack on the US, and the clock starts running to figure out who did it and how the one guy could stop them before the 7 day clock ran out. The last episode aired in May, 2001. It would have had some splainin to do if it had been reviewed for the next season.
That would have been quite the 'splainin'!
#20
Old 07-13-2018, 04:49 PM
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Blue Thunder had a helicopter that could go into "shush" mode. (well, they called it "whisper mode". To-may-to, to-mah-to). If it were possible to shush a helicopter, everyone would use the tech. (I am aware of The Quiet One. It was a one-off, and still was noisier than BT).

And both Airwolf and Blue Thunder were made out of tri-titanium or something, because they both could withstand fire that would disable a tank. And clear tri-titanium at that, because the windows were bulletproof, too.
#21
Old 07-13-2018, 08:12 PM
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"Space 1999" was a little off in having the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 1998

"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" had a flying submarine

"Time Tunnel" both the 1966 series and unsold 2004 pilot had time travel two years away (not to mention moon base, manned flight to Mars in 2000). Other series like "Star Trek" had more extensive space travel, not to mention suspended animation and a third world war in the 1980s (aren't we close to a DS9 episode predicting some kind of mass unemployment with people put into camps for not having jobs?).


"Space 1999" had a couple episodes where they used the computer for a key decision...like who would go back to earth with Christopher Lee and his fellow very tall aliens
#22
Old 07-13-2018, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
I think the original Rollerball is supposed to be taking place this year.
Think we can get them to hold the World Cup final with no substitutions and no time limit?

And motorcycles.
#23
Old 07-14-2018, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
That would have been quite the 'splainin'!
Nah - they'd probably have just copied the Quantum Leap Kennedy episode.
#24
Old 07-14-2018, 12:34 AM
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On the other hand, maybe the sentient car KITT actually did exist. The company that designed it is finally selling off the tech to the car companies, but only a little bit at a time. First, auto parking. Then lane centering. Soon, full auto drive.

This gives people a chance to get used to it. Slowly integrated, and along with tech like Siri and Alexa, now the world is almost ready. People won't get scared when their cars back talk them.
#25
Old 07-14-2018, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
On the other hand, maybe the sentient car KITT actually did exist. The company that designed it is finally selling off the tech to the car companies, but only a little bit at a time. First, auto parking. Then lane centering. Soon, full auto drive.

This gives people a chance to get used to it. Slowly integrated, and along with tech like Siri and Alexa, now the world is almost ready. People won't get scared when their cars back talk them.
I'm sure a lab somewhere is hard at work on Artifical Condescension.
#26
Old 07-14-2018, 05:19 AM
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I've been working around high tech tools and computers my whole life. And not once has a console exploded on me like they do in Star Trek.

How did engineers suddenly get so shitty at designing consoles?

Last edited by Grrr!; 07-14-2018 at 05:21 AM.
#27
Old 07-14-2018, 06:19 AM
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"What happened to the automated fire suppression system?"

"That's the console that is on fire."

My addition:

"Aw jeez"

"That's why we still have fire drills. And why we need trained professionals to staff our starships."

"Ugh. Khan could fly one by himself"

Bortas:"Was not that one the one that crashed into San Francisco, after a firefight with a heavily damaged, less technologically sophisticated space vessel?"
#28
Old 07-14-2018, 08:58 AM
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Stepford Wives. We still don't have robot (actually, they would be called androids) that look and act like real bug busted, perfect wives.

And Rosemary's Baby hasn't shown up. But then, neither has Jesus.
#29
Old 07-14-2018, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
Think we can get them to hold the World Cup final with no substitutions and no time limit?

And motorcycles.
Motorcycles would make every sporting event better. Except maybe motorcycle racing...
#30
Old 07-15-2018, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
Stepford Wives. We still don't have robot (actually, they would be called androids) that look and act like real bug busted, perfect wives.

And Rosemary's Baby hasn't shown up. But then, neither has Jesus.
And, not only do we not have anatomically correct, sexually permissive automatons, I don't hear any signs of people working on gay and lesbian versions, a la 2004 remake. What, we just assume no one wants those versions? Contemporary sexual progressiveness? Not likely yet.
#31
Old 07-15-2018, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
The phrase "20 minutes into the future" comes from Max Headroom.

All these years later, we still can't program a computer that can hold a realistic conversation, show original thinking, or crack jokes.
Listening to NPR the other day and they were talking about someone the current presidential administration has brought in. He used to work for Fox ( shocking I know) on moment to moment ratings. What stories kept viewers, etc.

I actually told my dog, there was nobody else around at the moment, "that's Max Headroom, not how to run the fucking country".
#32
Old 07-15-2018, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Dendarii Dame View Post
I read a column years ago in which a guy said okay, he could understand why we didn't have SF tech like in the movies yet like a flying car. But why, he wanted to know, couldn't people have tunics like people often wore in the SF movies? (It was very funny. He said he refused to believe we didn't have the "sewing tech" to make tunics.)
I googled a bit but came up with nothing; would love to read that piece!
#33
Old 07-15-2018, 01:55 PM
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The thing about tunic technology, of course its available now. Two things are needed however:

Complete environmental control, even in "outside" mall-like spaces, so that tunic is comfortable. They wore tunics in the NextGen episode "Justice" aka Planet of the Frolicking Space Bunnies, but they probably had the god-alien-spacecraft driving the weather.

Also, you need the figure of a 23 year old Jenny Agrutter. Heck, even Michael York wore a bathrobe.
#34
Old 07-15-2018, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
As for tech that could have changed the world, I'M STILL WAITING FOR MY FLYING CAR!
Yes, goddammit! I've even got my freakin' pilot's license here, I'm ready, WHERE'S MY FLYING CAR?!?!
#35
Old 07-15-2018, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
Stepford Wives. We still don't have robot (actually, they would be called androids) that look and act like real bug busted, perfect wives.
If you want to be somewhat old-fashioned about it, they'd be gynoids, as they're robots made in imitation of women, not men, but the word gynoid has, happily, dropped off the face of the Earth.

And modern androids aren't bug-busted because we haven't allowed Cronenberg to design any yet.
#36
Old 07-15-2018, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Arkcon View Post
The thing about tunic technology, of course its available now...
Saw Jerry Seinfeld do standup, back in the day, and he did a schtick on "When are we going to start dressing alike? I've seen the future, all those movies, and at some point, someone says 'Ok, enough fashion. from now on, it's the grey tunic with the silver sash, and grey pants tucked into silver boots. For everyone.'"
#37
Old 07-19-2018, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
Yeah, you're in trouble if you give an exact year for your sci-fi to take place. Land of the Giants was set in the far-off future of 1983. (And Deanna Lund just passed away a month or so ago.) I think the original Rollerball is supposed to be taking place this year.
The future episode where Lisa Simpson got married? the future was in the far off date of 2010. They didn't put firm dates in most of the other future episodes.
#38
Old 07-19-2018, 06:38 PM
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Hover boards.

Hover.

Boards.
#39
Old 07-19-2018, 06:53 PM
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As mentioned before, HAL-class Turing-passed computers -- plus of course nuclear-powered manned interplanetary vessels.

And to no end of heartbreak, no Pan Am space shuttle to the moon connecting at the orbital Hilton. Hell... no Pan Am.
#40
Old 07-19-2018, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
Were a year away from the original date in Blade Runner and we don't have flying cars, artificial humans, or off-world colonies.
You're right of course, but a running joke amongst friends when someone points that out is "Have you been to downtown L.A. lately? On a drizzly evening, except for the flying cars it's EXACTLY like Blade Runner!"

"Cross now, Cross now..."

It's awesome that the Bradbury is just down the street, BTW.

Last edited by Reindeer Flotilla; 07-19-2018 at 10:01 PM.
#41
Old 07-19-2018, 10:16 PM
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"In the year 1987, at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, NASA launched the last of America's deep space probes. The payload, perched on the nose cone of the massive rocket, was a one-man exploration vessel - Ranger 3. Aboard this compact starship, a lone astronaut - Captain William "Buck" Rogers - was to experience cosmic forces beyond all comprehension. An awesome brush with death: in the blink of an eye, his life support systems were frozen by temperatures beyond imagination. Ranger 3 was blown out of its planned trajectory into an orbit a thousand times more vast, an orbit which was to return the ship full circle to his point of origin - its mother Earth - not in 5 months, but in 500 years."

When I was a kid, this was my favorite. I was intrigued because that was going to be the year I graduated High School.
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