In Babylon Berlin, has one for those who are particularly 20th-century-politics-savvy: The first hint that Greta's Communist friends are not who they say they are is when one of them refers to Dr Benda, Chief of the Political Police, as "the jew". While there was certainly no love lost between Jews and Communists, it didn't hold a candle to the virulent antisemitism of the Nazi movement, which is later revealed to be their actual allegiance.
Dani's House has S4 E9 Pen Pal with Jack's pen pal talking in a very fake Japanese accent. He's faking it - he's Cornish.
Lost has many examples, but the most prominent is in the pilot: Locke and Walt play backgammon and Locke mentions that it's the oldest game in the world and there's two players: one light, one dark. The final season reveals that the series' events revolved around two people, one "light" and one "dark", each having a goal that's part of what's essentially a game they invented in their childhood, and they've been at it for two thousand years.
The first time we see Juliet's face, it's her reflection in a mirror. In season 5 she sacrifices herself believing it will create a Mirror Universe.
Desperate Housewives had one example in the first season: Martha Huber learned that Susan burned down Edie's house, and blackmailed her over it. Seeing as how Mary Alice got a blackmail note and committed suicide over her secret, Martha's behavior toward Susan was a clue about the culprit. Eventually, Paul found out it was her who sent Mary Alice the letter and he killed her over it.
In a truly epic bit of foreshadowing in the season three premiere "Anne", Lily (from "Lie To Me") tells Buffy about how she used to follow around this "loser preacher." Could she mean Caleb in season seven?
"I'm so evil and skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay." — Willow Rosenberg about her vampire doppelganger, a year before she didbecome gay — and three before she almost destroyed the world. It results in something of a terrifying echo, especially if you watch the second season again after knowing what happens. When Willow first utters "Bored now" as a vampire, it actually gives you chills.
This example is particularly hit home by the exchange that takes place immediately after.
Buffy: Willow, just remember—a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was. Angel: (who is a vampire) Well, actually... (Buffy gives him a Death Glare) ...that's a good point!
Word of God says they hadn't planned to make Willow gay as of The Wish let alone even earlier in Phases, but then there's this exchange:
Buffy: What guy could resist your Willow charms?
Willow: At last count? All of them, maybe more.
Similarly, Dawn Summers' arrival was foreshadowed by dream dialogue in two different episodes in season four: In "This Year's Girl," Faith and Buffy are making a bed in Dawn's future room when they have this exchange:
Faith: Little sis coming. I know.
Buffy: So much to do before she gets here.
And in the season finale "Restless", one episode before Dawn's appearance, Tara urged Buffy to "be back before Dawn."
There's also a remark somewhere about "trying on big sister's clothes".
Want to get even creepier? Faith steals Buffy's credit card and reads out the expiration date as May 2001. Now watch The Gift, airing May 23rd 2001.
Xander dresses as a pirate in the season six episode, and then in the seventh season he loses an eye and has to wear an eye patch.
There's a very subtle one during the first season where Buffy is hanging out with her friends and she says bite me. Cue Angel looking all weird at Buffy.
At the end of "The Harvest" Angel appears to be standing next to a sign saying WATCH YOU — appropriate enough for his Mysterious Watcher role. But when he walks away we see the sign actually reads WATCH YOUR STEP, foretelling his Face–Heel Turn into Angelus. Similarly at the end of "After Life" Buffy's other vampire Love Interest, Spike, is standing next to a discarded door with a BEWARE OF DOG sign, hinting at the Destructive Romance to follow.
A very subtle, blink-and-you'll-miss-it example from the 4th season premier, foreshadowing Buffy's mother's death: Buffy tells Willow, "I can't wait until my mom gets the bill for these textbooks; I hope it's a funny aneurysm."
In Season 5's "Crush", while Buffy and Xander are investigating the train massacre, Buffy sits down in one of the seats which has the chalk outline of a body drawn around it, foreshadowing her death in the Season 5 finale.
Word of God is that they originally considered making Xander gay, in which case his meetings with Larry in Phases and Earshot would have been this.
Any dream Buffy has involving Little Miss Muffet.
Anytime Little Miss Muffet is referenced, at all.
In the Season 7 episode "Sleeper", Aimee Mann sings a song called "Pavlov's Bell." During the next episode "Never Leave Me" the Scooby Gang discusses the possibility that Spike is being controlled by means of Pavlovian conditioning.
In Season 7, when we first see Amanda, she mentions having confusing feelings for a boy that bullies her, and the fact that she retaliates quite physical and effectively. Next episode we see her we find out she is a potential slayer, which is fitting considering the obvious parallels with Spuffy and the natural physical prowess of slayers.
In the Season 9 comics there is "Where's Willow?" on the cover of "Apart (Of Me)" part III. Later, she shows up at Giles' house.
The depths of Warren's misogyny were alluded to from his first appearance, where he specifically programmed April to feel pain whenever the two of them weren't together, and then ultimately proceeded to ditch her anyway.
In the episode of Warren's death, Rack tells him that Buffy is the last thing he needs to worry about (Willow being the first), Warren quips "Yeah, let's talk about my skin troubles!" And we all know what happens to him later.
Before the Wishverse, Buffy and Willow discuss how in different circumstances she might have become Faith. Later Wishverse Buffy shows up (who is who Buffy would have been had she not been loved). Turns out without her friends, she's even worse.
Wishverse!Buffy is foreshadowing for Spike's Breaking Speech in "Fool for Love", where he tells Buffy that without her connections to the world (family and friends) she'd be a Death Seeker.
One of Faith's first scenes is with a poster prominently displayed warning about rape. Depending on how you count them she has at least three rape victims to her name.
Giles' conversation with Willow after the latter resurrects Buffy has Willow displaying both a very cavalier attitude towards seriously dark magic as well as arrogance that "only she could do it". She brushes off Giles' warning that plenty of others could do it but "you wouldn't want to meet them" as the others being "the bad guys", and ends the conversation with threatening Giles not to piss her off. All of which foreshadows that she'll be the eventual Big Bad of the series.
Angel had its share as well. "Soul Purpose" in season 5 pops to mind rather quickly. When Fred is doing surgery on Angel in his coma-dream, she looks in and tells him "there's nothing left, just a shell". Although mainly referring to Angel, it was likely also a reference to her becoming a literal shell for Illyria several eps later.
In the same ep, Gunn growls like a cat during another dream scene. In "A Hole In The World" the White Room's cat conduit takes the form of Gunn himself.
Wesley's talk with Gunn about "the pull of conflicting loyalties" serves as both a Call-Back to the choice Wes himself had to make back in season 1 (the Watchers Council or Angel) and as foreshadowing of his conflict with Connor and the team later in season 3.
Wesley getting his throat cut is foreshadowed several times as early as season one. Bad guys always seem to go for the throat when they attack him. This includes a demon-possessed boy shoving the sharp tip of a crucifix into Wesley's neck, a group of rebels almost decapitating him in Pylea, Faith holding a knife to his throat (she actually does cut him, but not very deep), and even Angel himself almost strangling Wesley after being startled awake out of one of Darla's hypnotic dreams.
There's a brilliant but very subtle bit of foreshadowing in Fredless, when Cordelia sarcastically remarks that they face the occasional demon who tries to kill them with pillows. Flash forward to the end of Forgiving, where an enraged Angel tries to smother Wesley with a pillow.
Highlander foreshadowed Richie's immortality in the first ep, after the defeat of Slan.
Connor: He will need watching.
We did find out later that immortals can sense pre-immortality faintly, so it's probably justified.
Charmed's Season 3 finale gives Prue Halliwell the line, "This has to end now or our lives are over!" At the end of the episode, she dies. Permanently. Six episodes prior, the Angel of Death informs her "Don't worry it's not your time, well not just yet anyway".
From the season 2 episode "Morality Bites" when future Phoebe receives a premonition of how she killed a man, she is seen floating up into the air. In season 3 she gains the power of levitation. And in season 6 she gains the power of Empathy, the power she harnesses to kill said man.
In "Heartbreak City", Phoebe reunites two ex-lovers with the power of her words. Almost three years later, Phoebe becomes a successful love advice columnist.
Friends: Some may be a bit far-fetched in retrospect but:
Chandler and Monica's relationship beginning in the Season 4 finale: Several previous episodes hint at the possibility, and often near the end of a season. In the Season 1 finale Chandler offers Monica a Fallback Marriage Pact and she laughs, in the Season 3 finale Chandler offers to be her boyfriend and she laughs...cue the season 4 finale they're having sex, season 6 finale he's proposing and season 7 finale they're getting married.
There are other occasions separate from these that foreshadow their relationship like Chandler calling Monica the most beautiful woman he's ever known [in real life] in a flashback when they almost sleep together. (When they actually sleep together he say's she's the most beautiful woman in most rooms). He also shows a preference to take off her bra over the other girls in Season 3, she gives him sex advice in Season 4 (when they get together he's 'the best she's ever had') and their No Sense of Personal Space habits throughout the first half of the series. As the writers claim they had no plans for Chandler/Monica its tricky to tell if it's Heartwarming in Hindsight or actual foreshadowing.
Ross and Rachel: From the very first episode, although that's pretty obvious as the show (especially during its beginning) is basically about them.
In a 2nd season episode, Ross mentions he likes that name. Two years later, he meets an English girl called Emily, who then becomes his second wife.
Rachel's baby's father: It's a bit suspicious that there's no major interaction between Ross and Rachel during the 7th season's last episodes (i.e. after they slept together and when she realizes she's pregnant) and the 8th season's premiere. Then, on the 8th season's second episode, she mentions the best sex she ever had with him. Guess what's revealed at the end of that same episode?
Even better, especially on rewatch: in TOW Joey's new brain, Joey mentions that Ross hasn't had sex in three and a a half months, to which Rachel reacts with a wink. In the same episode there is an interaction about not sharing secrets. This must have been shortly after the conception.
Dawson's Creek, especially in the third season and regarding the Pacey/Joey/Dawson love triangle. It's mainly foreshadowed in dialogue between Pacey and Jen, with lines such as "the sidekick never gets the girl" or "what does (Joey) have that all men seek her?" (or something to that effect).
Beverly Hills, 90210, third season as well: Dylan seems oddly concerned about Kelly dating a guy he thinks is not good enough for her. Then, when Brenda leaves to Paris, Dylan is seen walking with Kelly. Then guess what happens...
Extensively used in Babylon 5, noted for having a pre-planned five-year arc.
For example, characters often say "Watch your back" to security chief Michael Garibaldi during the first season ( said character is then shot in the back in the first season finale). Almost every company mentioned in the series becomes somehow important in the storyline, even if they are used in throwaway lines in the beginning (Interplanetary Expeditions, ISN, Edgars Industries, etc.)
When Sinclair and Garibaldi return from Babylon 4 he tells disappointed Susan that next time he'll take her. Of course later when they go back through time to steal Babylon 4 he leaves Garibaldi on the station and takes Susan.
When Mr. Morden asks Vir what he wants. The answer is exactly what Londo does to him later in the series.
Or the Technomage's warning to Londo. Only a few episodes later Londo starts the Narn-Centauri war.
Pretty much all of the numerous visions in the show. Even if some aren't exactly what they appear to be...
Londo refers to his three hated wives as "Famine", "Pestilence" and "Death". By exclusion that leaves himself as "War". Guess who ends up escalating the simmering Narn-Centauri conflict.
Virtually all of Arrested Development's major plot twists are repeatedly hinted at long before they take place.
"This party's gonna be off the hook!" -Buster, one year before he loses his hand and gets it replaced by a hook.
That's not nearly as bad as "I never thought I'd miss a hand so much!" in reference to his hand-shaped chair.
Michael: I don't even have a girl, much less a stupid one.
In season 5 of Grey's Anatomy, one story arch involves Derek treating a serial killer on death row, who suggests to Derek that he is no better than a murder, "deciding who lives and dies all the time". He retorts quite vehemently. Just four episodes later, after a pregnant woman died of complications resulting partly from a mistake he made during her initial surgery, once again Derek is accused of being a murderer, by the grieving husband. This time, he has nothing to say in return except for "I'm sorry" repeatedly. Combine the two events, plus his own childhood memory of his father being murdered, it's no wonder he took the accusation so hard.
Rewatch all the Tony elements of NCIS's fourth season in light of the context of the season five premiere. Then kick yourself for not spotting the gradual setup for The Reveal that his relationship with Jeanne Benoit is actually an undercover operation to get at her father, La Grenouille. In particular, the scene early in the season when Tony asks Director Shepard for relationship advice takes on an entirely different and kind of creepy subtext that is not evident the first time around.
Also, Gibbs' furious reaction at the end of the second season premiere takes on a whole new meaning given the third season finale.
When Kate is held hostage by Ari in the first season finale, Gibbs suddenly imagines her dead via headshot for a moment. Exactly one season later in the second season finale, Ari snipes Kate dead, and she falls to the ground in an identical scene to the one Gibbs imagined. This however, actually wasn't preplanned as Kate was only killed because the actress decided to leave, which wasn't known until the 2nd season was already underway, making this an aftershadow of sorts.
The Wire has many cases of foreshadowing, but the two best examples are:
A conversation between three drug dealers in the first season about chess, and how the pawns get "capped quick", while the queen is the best because it's stable and "makes all the moves". By the end of the fourth season, all three of the participants in that conversation had died, because they were, like many of the low-level drug traffickers, simply pawns themselves.
In the third season, detective Bunk Moreland witnesses a group of children pretending to be stick-up artist Omar Little and his group of robbers, with one small boy constantly asking to play as Omar. Two seasons later, that same child, Kenard, would be the one to shoot Omar dead in a convenience store, the result of a surprise attack that was the calling card of the victim.
In Law & Order, just before the season finale where Serena Southerlyn is fired and outs herself as a lesbian, there was an episode where McCoy successfully argues to have gay marriages in the state ruled invalid to remove a claim of Spousal Privilege. Southerlyn's disgusted reaction to homophobic comments in the episode and refusal to even consider helping McCoy could be seen in a new light. Additionally, in the season twelve episode "Girl Most Likely," when the DA's have realized that the dead girl was murdered by her lesbian lover so as to avoid being outed by her, Serena talks about a "friend" who didn't come out until college, in a tone that makes it pretty clear, in hindsight, that the "friend" in question was herself. Plus, in the season thirteen episode "Seer," it's Serena who figures out that their key witness is a lesbian, and actually the killer, who murdered the victim because she rejected her advances. Why was Serena able to see something that everyone else missed? In retrospect, that Serena was a lesbian was actually foreshadowed pretty heavily.
Detective Stabler's exit from the show was heavily foreshadowed for many seasons: This being his angry and violent temper, and his rush to judgement. It got him in trouble in past episodes, but because of his popularity in the department and his faithful partner, Olivia Benson, he was able to keep his job. That is until the Season 12 finale episode "Smoked", where Stabler is forced to shoot a teenage girl who was armed and already shot two other people. Because of his past actions in previous seasons, it was easy for the higher-ups to believe that Stabler once again rushed to judgement and let his violent side get the best of him. He's placed on administrative leave until a full investigation was done, but Stabler decides to turn in his badge to avoid a major scandal.
Supernatural often has episodes which help set up future events in the series. For example, Dean's almost suicidal guilt over not dying in "Faith" happens on a much bigger scale over Season Two where his father dies for him. "Crossroad Blues" also sets up his actions in "All Hell Breaks Loose" where he's so guilty over Sam's death that he sells his soul for him.
Also from "Faith" is the reverend telling Dean that he chose to heal him because Dean has a very important purpose and it isn't over yet. Cue Season 4, when Castiel tells Dean that it's his job to stop the Apocalypse.
Season 2's Houses of the Holy is like a full episode of foreshadowing that not only will angels eventually be introduced, but that Dean will end up rather fond of them (or one). A priest even uses the term "...an angel of the Lord" which is how Castiel introduces himself to Dean in season 4. On the same topic, we find out at various points throughout the series that Dean's mother would often tell Dean as a child that "angels are watching over you". In season 8, Castiel straight up says to Dean's face "I'll watch over you".
Ruby tells Sam that she's a demon and manipulative is in her job description... the finale of the next season has her admit that she's been manipulating Sam all along. See also her quiet rebuttal to Dean that she doesn't believe in the Devil when her game plan was actually to free him because she believes that Lucifer will lead demons to Paradise.
Also, "Nightmare" sets up the end of "No Rest for the Wicked". At the end of "Nightmare", Sam's powers are triggered by seeing Dean die in a vision (he telekinetically moves a dresser out of his way). At the end of No Rest For The Wicked, he watches Dean actually die, and then his power apparently reawakens (Lilith can't kill him).
The supposed heartwarming moment (which now comes off as half-arsed) in "Nightmare" where Sam says that, all things considered, their Dad wasn't that bad (i.e incredibly abusive like Max's Dad) and Dean repeats the line in a strange tone sets up/is paid off by "Something Wicked"/"Dead Man's Blood" where we find out exactly how crappy John can be.
Not to mention Dean's seemingly out-of-character behaviour of hating the food and chucking the wrapper in the backseat in "Simon Said" and the love of the Hollywood/Prison food in "Hollywood Babylon" and "Folsom Prison Blues", which gets paid off in "What Is And What Should Never Be" where he's practically orgasming over his Mom's homemade food.
Several of Bela's seemingly-flippant/catty remarks in Season 3 actually make more sense upon a second viewing, including "We're all going to Hell, Dean. Might as well enjoy the ride", her response to Dean's snarks about her father and how damaged she is, and her theft of the Colt, setting up The Reveal in her final episode that she sold her soul to kill her abusive dad and is trying to get out of it by doing whatever the demons tell her to.
In the 4th season finale, "Lucifer Rising," when Zachariah reveals to Dean that his role as the angels' Chosen One is not to stop Lilith, but to defeat Lucifer, they are standing in front of a painting of the Archangel Michael with his foot on Lucifer's neck. In the 5th season premiere we learn that Dean is the intended vessel for the Archangel Michael.
Demons on the show are known to have telekinesis. In the 9th season, Dean received the Mark of Cain from Cain (now a demon), in order to use the First Blade against Abbaddon. During his fight with her, he was able to use telekinesis to pick up the blade from the floor. Now, guess what he turned into in the season finale?
Day One of Torchwood: Children of Earth had an incredibly blatant and yet easy to miss piece of foreshadowing in this bit of banter by Jack and Ianto:
Ianto: You are going to get us all killed.
Jack: No, you get killed, not me. You die like a dog, like an ugly dog.
Strangely, the much maligned decision to turn an entire season of Dallasinto a dream seems to have had plenty of accidental Foreshadowing. The 'Dream Year' has a strange, slightly surreal air completely at odds with the rest of the show as noted in this article.
In the revival of Dallas several were made to Rebecca being Cliff's daughter.
Starts with Rebecca and Christopher go to meet Cliff in "The Price You Pay", and Rebecca acknowledges Cliff with a long look and stilted greeting to each other when they first meet. This later gets picked up on when it's revealed that Rebecca is Cliff's daughter, and she was in on the plan all along to take Christopher's drilling technology.
Also in the final episode Rebecca is happy when Christopher brings Chinese food which in the original Cliff was noted for having a fondness
House: In Season Three, Wilson's reasoning - he was afraid that House might think he was God and take an even bigger fall later on if he made a mistake - for his ill-advised, badly timed attempt at teaching House humility turns out to be well-founded when House pisses Tritter off in "Fools For Love" and utter disaster ensues.
In one of the many Season Four examples foreshadowing the finale, when the Hospital Inspector tells House that he's heard his name before, House replies that most people have because his name is also a noun. In the finale, the mystery woman's (who is really Amber) amber necklace helps House solve the mystery of who's dying.
Each season finale foreshadowed the Season 5 finale, with increasing obviousness.
Firefly has several foreshadowing moments. It is possible that some of them never were fulfilled, because of the cancellation.
In the pilot there are two. 1) Jayne tells Mal that Dobson tried to bribe him, but didn't accept because "the pay wasn't good enough". In Ariel, it was. 2) Kaylee asks for a new compression coil for the engine, warning that they'll be adrift in space if it breaks. That happens in Out of Gas.
River sometimes repeats "Two by two, hands of blue". The two agents who hunt River have blue gloves.
And in Ariel, though it looks like River's attack on Jayne is just regular River craziness, he IS wearing a Blue Sun t-shirt at the time...
When Simon mentions Early knocking out Book, Early says "that ain't no Shepherd" in Objects in Space. Book also seems to be come kind of Alliance VIP, as shown by their willingness to give him medical aid.
When coupled with the subtle hints in 'Serenity' that Book had at some point been an Alliance Operative like the one in the film (explaining their eagerness in the above point), this could have been a foreshadow of plot points Joss Whedon wished to expand on later in the series. The comic 'Serenity: A Shepherd's Tale' provides another possible version, this time as an Independent mole in the Alliance navy who killed the real Book and took his identity, later becoming a Shepherd out of guilt over his crimes.
In the first episode "Serenity", when the ship is about to be boarded by Reavers, the camera cuts to a scene of Inara taking out a syringe of some description. Later in "Out of Gas", Inara utters the line "I never want to die at all", and in the flashback is noticeably cryptic as to why she wants to work on Serenity rather than a luxury liner. All foreshadowed the fact that Inara had a terminal illness, and was aboard Serenity as a means to see more of the world before her demise. The payoff was never revealed though, due to premature cancellation. Confirmed by Word of God.
A good one in "Trash" when Simon confronts Jayne about his betrayal on Ariel. After Simon leaves, River, in a seemingly funny and Cloud Cuckoo Lander statement, says "Also, I can kill you with my brain". The significance of this statement is revealed in "Objects in Space" where River's intelligence, creativity and strategising comes together to defeat Jubal in a giant Crowning Moment of Awesome.
In the pilot, Nick declares, "Disco sucks! I hate disco!" The show's final episode sees him wholeheartedly embracing disco culture.
In the Halloween episode, the geeks go trick or treating and receive circus peanuts from one house. Bill asks the woman "Do these peanuts actually contain peanuts? Because if they do, I could die." Later in the season, Bill ends up in the hospital and almost dies after a bully tricks him into eating peanuts.
The Heroes Season One episode "Five Years Gone" foreshadows much of Volume Four, "Fugitives".
Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In "The Healer", a voodoo priestess who had implied spirits had put a curse on Detective Logan (she had tricked him into picking up a candle covered with poison ivy oil) says to him after he later arrests her for murder: "You think before was bad, Detective? Just you wait." In Logan's next episode, "To the Bone", Logan shoots an undercover cop, which leads to Captain Deakins being accused of recommending a promotion for a cop in exchange for backing Logan's account of the incident (in fact, Deakins was set up by Frank Adair, a former friend & ex-cop, whom Goren and Eames arrested for murder in "My Good Name".) As a result, Deakins resigns.
Smallville has allusions to the classic Superman almost as often as spoken dialogue, many of which may count as foreshadowing, although it is more or less a Foregone Conclusion. The Smallville wiki has a list of how many times they do this. Right here.
NUMB3RS: "Money for Nothing", the penultimate episode of Season Three, revolves around a charity whose truck is hijacked, leading them to suspect an inside job. The project director vouches for her staff, but Don is still skeptical, commenting, "How well does anyone know who they're working with?" Colby replies, "The way I see it, you got a team, you got to trust 'em. That's just the way it works." Both comments quickly turn out to be prophetic; in the Season Three finale, Don finds out that Colby is supposedly a spy, and in the Season Four premiere, Colby both proves that he can be trusted and places his own trust completely on Don when his mission goes sideways.
While Don's comment is coincidental, Colby's is likely deliberate in-universe. Colby tells Don later that everything up to and including his "exposure" and arrest was planned, meaning he knew what was coming. Whether he suspected he might need Don's help or he just felt guilty about pretending to betray the team is unclear, but either way, he was trying to hint to Don that he could trust him.
More generally, in the same episode, the staff members are suspected of betraying the cause they purport to serve, but they are later proven innocent. This is pretty much exactly what happens to Colby (albeit the details are different).
In the first episode of the second series of Primeval, Cutter says to Stephen: "You think I would have just stood by and watch you get torn to pieces?" which is exactly what happens at the end of the series, except Stephen was behind a door only he could open.
In The X-Files, there are several obvious moments foreshadowing Scully's cancer in season 4. But one quite subtle one is in the episode 'Unruhe' where a crazy guy tries to lobotomise her to remove what he calls 'The Howlers' that are causing her 'unrest'. When he points to where the Howlers are, it's the exact spot where her cancer is.
True Blood has many examples; some apparently innocent and casual statements pronounced by usually secondary characters foreshadow lots of future events. Basically if somebody says something that "could" happen, it will.
One night, Hoyt tells Sookie that he likes her relationship with Bill and even asks if he has a friend of his age he could date. Turns out that Bill does; Jessica. Guess what happens between them.
In season 1's last episode the cast is watching the news where it's announced that vampires marrying humans is now legal in Vermont. Arlene, a secondary character back then, innocently teases Sookie about the fact that she can marry Bill now. Sookie tells her that she wouldn't know what to say if Bill proposed to her. And that's exactly what happens in season 3 when Bill finally does ask Sookie to marry him.
At the start of an episode of Noah's Arc, Chance is giving Noah advice that there's always a time when a man has to choose between his principles and his paycheck. During the next episode, Chance has to choose between helping a lesbian couple and allowing Eddie to keep his career (one of the lesbians is Eddie's boss's wife).
Many assumed that Roseanne had jumped the shark in its final season, as things got sillier and more unbelievable. Then came the Downer Ending that revealed that the entire season, and a lot of the series, was Roseanne's fictionalized (with a heavy dose of Wish Fulfillment) autobiography that she started writing after Dan died of his heart attack. The real foreshadowing, however, is that VERY early on in the series it was shown that Roseanne had wanted to be a writer, but that her plans had been derailed by marrying Dan and having kids.
One example of the subtle variety came from leg 2 of All-Stars, where, upon leaving the Detour at the same time as Eric & Danielle, Rob said that even on Eric's best day, he had no chance of beating them. Rob & Amber were eliminated two legs later, while Eric & Danielle won.
In Season 1 of Gossip Girl, Blair breaks off her apparently casual relationship with Chuck because he manipulated everyone and didn't care if he hurt her in the process of those manipulations. She even says the line "This is why you and I can never work." Two and a half seasons later, when they're in a long-term serious relationship, he manipulates her into prostituting herself for his benefit, causing the most heart-breaking break-up of the series.
"Ua Hala", the second-season finale of the reimagined Hawaii Five-0, begins with a cop being set up for his murder by being lured to what he thinks is a dead body but is actually revealed to be a mannequin. This seems to be a subtle foreshadowing of the end of the episode, where we learn that McGarrett's mother, whom we had been led to believe died before the series, is actually alive.
In a flashback in the third episode, "Mission Creep," Reese has a chance encounter with his former lover Jessica in an airport. In the course of the conversation, he tells her, "In the end, we're all alone and no one is coming to save you." Later in the season, in "Matsa Nyaya" and "Many Happy Returns," we learn that Jessica ended up in an abusive marriage. She made a desperate call to Reese for help, but he was on a mission and couldn't get there, and her husband beat her to death. She died all alone, because no one came to save her.
Also foreshadowed by Reese's opening narration from "Pilot," which he repeats in "Many Happy Returns" as he confronts Jessica's husband Peter.
Subtly reinforced in the second episode, "Ghosts," when Jessica's picture appears on one of the screens showing the people on the Machine's "irrelevant" list (people about to be involved in a violent crime, but not relevant to national security).
The West Wing: An episode opens on a newspaper story about how Josh, the president's deputy chief of staff and main liaison to Congress, is effectively his "101st senator". By the end of the day, he has actually lost his party a senator (a Dixiecrat defects to the Republicans).
Considering that John Spencer's death during the filming of Season 7 was sudden and unexpected, it's remarkable how well, in retrospect, Leo's death from a heart attack on election night appears to have been foreshadowed in the last two seasons. He had even had a heart attack once before.
How I Met Your Mother does a lot of subtle ones. Ted and his fiance Stella have a Nonverbal Miscommunication when Stella's sister informs them that her fiance ran off and she can't get a refund. Ted thinks their conversation is about the lunch. Stella thinks it's about taking the wedding. It's been noted that Lily and Marshall have perfect "couple telepathy", so when Ted and Stella have this miscommunication, it's an indication that they are not meant for each other and Stella ran off with her ex-boyfriend the day of the wedding.
Not to mention that earlier Future!Ted stated that his and Stella's relationship would end badly. He did the same when Present!Ted and Victoria decided to make their long distance relationship work, with Future!Ted commenting that it didn't.
Ted's favourite movie is Annie Hall where the titular character and the protagonist get in a relationship, have it end and decide they are Better as Friends. Sound familiar?
In season 4, Marshall says in 3-5 years, he'll be carving the Thanksgiving turkey with a lightsaber. The stinger for that episode shows him doing that 3-5 years in the future, talking to Lily and his mother. But not his father, who dies two years later before this scene would take place.
The "Bad News" is done in a Fridge Brilliance way. Most of the episode leads the viewers to believe that the "bad news" is that Marshall can't get Lily pregnant. It's all a ruse.
In the pilot episode in the first scene with Ted, Robin and Barney, Ted describes it in his head "like something from an old movie, where the sailor sees the girl across the crowded dance floor, turns to his buddy and says 'See that girl? I'm gonna marry her some day...'" Except he never finishes the sentence in real life because Barney interrupts him. This is clever foreshadowing because Ted doesn't marry Robin. Barney does.
One episode has Robin deciding to forsake dating and focus on her career, to which Future!Ted says "Ironically, that was the day that she met Don." They naturally get together but the real foreshadowing comes when Robin was offered her dream career but turned it down to stay with Don. Ironically, when Don was offered the same job, he chose his career over Robin.
A surprisingly unsubtle one happens surprisingly early in the series, where a season one episode ends with Ted introducing himself to a stripper named Tracy, to which Future Ted remarks "that is how I met your mother" to the absolute shock of his children until he remarks that he's only joking. It doesn't take much logic to conclude that the children know their mother's name and wouldn't react like that if the woman didn't have the same name, taking all the suspense out of the potential mothers as none of them are named Tracy. And the mother's name does in fact turn out to be Tracy.
JAG: In the pilot episode when Harm first arrives on the USS Seahawk both the Skipper and the CAG notices this from the tower and speaks on the phone where they hint at Harm's backstory.
American Horror Story: Asylum has a nice case of literal foreshadowing: take a good look at the poster for Asylum. Dr. Thredson is standing near the back of the room - now, who's standing where his shadow should be?
Sherlock foreshadowed the season 2 finale way back in the very first episode of the series.
Jefferson Hope: I'm not going to kill you, Mr. Holmes. I'm going to talk to you... And you're going to kill yourself.
Which, for all intents and purposes, is basically what Moriarty does to Sherlock, though the latter didn't actually commit suicide.
Sally: One day we're going to be standing around a body, and Sherlock Holmes will be the one who put it there.
In "His Last Vow", she's right.
This belief - which is espoused by almost all of Scotland Yard regarding Sherlock's "psychopathic" tendencies - is what allows Moriarty to pull off his Xanatos Gambit against Sherlock so successfully in the season 2 finale.
Sherlock finding John sitting gloomily in a graveyard in Hound of Baskerville also foreshadows the season finale.
Sherlock is seen standing on a large, tall rock in the same episode several times, foreshadowing how he's going to commit suicide in the next episode.
In "Murdoch at the Opera", the opera company's manager observes that while the dead singer was the understudy to the star, the younger woman was unlikely to go on in the lead role of La Bohème because the diva would sing on her deathbed. At the end of the episode, the diva, who was also the culprit, took poison and sang her final scene in the opera on a bed as she was actually dying.
In "Murdoch on the Corner", a seemingly crazy beggar talks to himself incessantly, and one of his early phrases is "She's the one!" It turns out the culprit is a woman, an apparently kindly pastor's widow.
In Misfits, Nathan's power is first hinted at by his mother's insistence that "nothing anyone says ever hurts [him]". A later episode presents an alternate timeline in which Curtis wasn't around to help the rest of the Misfits escape their first probation worker. The only survivor of the incident is Nathan, who reveals that the police found him half-dead at the scene.
In Breaking Bad, a burned teddy bear pulls double duty, foreshadowing an air traffic disaster and Gus Fring's death.
In a mid season 2 episode, Jesse attempts to surprise Jane with breakfast in bed. When he comes back to find her awake, he says "You wern't supposed to wake up." She responds "Ever, or...?" A few episodes later, she dies asphyxiating on her own vomit while the two sleep off a heroin binge.
In the fifth season, Marie a couple of times while babysitting jokingly says she loves Holly so much she never wants to let her go. When Walt's secret gets out, she tries to abduct Holly for her own good.
In Buyout, Jesse refers to Todd as "Ricky Hitler." We learn later Todd's uncle Jack leads a group of neo-Nazis.
Gilmore Girls has one in season 4 after Luke comes back from the cruise, during which he married his girlfriend Nicole
Luke: There's more.
Lorelai: Oh my God, she's pregnant! You finally reproduced!
Cue Season 6...
The episode Elsewhen of the 1974 Land of the Lost series may have foreshadowed this in the fact that Rani a future version of Holly who judging by appearances looks like she eventually got back home due to the absence of rough edges of any kind...read: she's gorgeous! departs giving Holly some wisdom to "Cherish her loved ones...they won't always be there." This could be simply interpreted An Aesop about the death of loved ones being part of life. With the abrupt and clumsy writing out of Rick Marshall in the first three minutes of the first episode of the third season, it could be interpreted as foreshadowing if you didn't know the circumstances regarding actor Spencer Milligan's decision to leave the show and that Rick was actually Put on a Bus to Hell, making his return pointless now that Uncle Jack showed up.
Stargate SG-1: Season 8's Threads: Daniel's in an Ascension "half-way house" that looks like an American diner. He's reading an Ascended newspaper that headlines his limbo status, focussing on an article about Anubis' future plans. On the same page, a barely visible article headlines "Wraith on the way to Atlantis" and indicates a fleet of more than 9 hive ships are involved. Threads aired one week after the Season 1 finale of Stargate Atlantis where three hive ships are already besieging Atlantis. A month later, Season 2 opens with Atlantis defeating the three ships only to discover a second wave of 12 ships heading straight for them.
In When I'm Sixty-Four, Jim makes a list of all the things he wants to do with the rest of his life: to see the world and to fall in love. He does.
In Night and Day, this often takes the form of spooky or otherwise supernatural episodes. Premonitive consultations with psychics abound, as do individual character visions – for example, while in the catacombs, Josh has a vision of a man with a gloved hand passing a black chrysanthemum to a girl. 'The Black Chrysanthemum' later turns out to be the name of the club where Jane is alive and working as a geisha. (Holly also appears to have an unexplained vision of Jane as a geisha.) Also, an ‘alternative reality’ episode around halfway through the series explores what might have happened if Sam Armstrong and Jane had married – and many of the events that occur in this episode eventually come to pass in the show’s real timeline.
In Servant of the People, one of Vasiliy's favorite phrases that he uses to get attention in crowded and noisy places is "Putin has been overthrown!". Come the first season finale, he receives a phone call from the newly elected President of Russia, and is shocked to learn who they are.
When the TV special The Wiz Live! opens by showing Aunt Em's farmhands at work, the dialogue foreshadows which characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz their respective actors will play when Dorothy goes to Oz: Robert (David Alan Grier, the Cowardly Lion) cowers in fear at Toto, prompting John (Ne-Yo, the Tin Man) to call him a "big, ol' scaredy-cat", to which Robert retorts, "You go ahead and laugh, he can't bite through that brace on your leg." Sticks' (Elijah Kelley, the Scarecrow) lines make him sound like the brains among the farmhands, as he becomes the first to question Dorothy's plans to run away back to her birthplace.
The infamous Amy's Baking Company episode of Kitchen Nightmares. You know things are going to get bad when a stagehand has to intervene in a fight between Samy and an angry customer.
In a late season eight episode of The Big Bang Theory, Amy makes a snarky comment about how Sheldon gets flowers for his mother, but all she gets is a mushroom plant. Given the events of the next episode, which is the finale, where she gets fed up and dumps him just when he was going to propose to her, that scene takes on a whole new light.
Going out for the day, Thomas Cromwell sees his wife at the top of the stairs and turns to speak to her, but she's gone. The night before, his youngest daughter wears her costume angel wings to bed, and he seems both amused and troubled by the sight. It's the last time he sees them alive—they die of the Sweating Sickness while he's gone.
Catherine of Aragon is aghast that Henry believes their daughter Mary would rebel against him, especially when Cromwell says she's been conversing with the ambassador for the Holy Roman ambassador—"What does Henry imagine? Mary, returning with an army, turning him out of his Kingdom?" After Henry VIII and then his son Edward VI die, Mary would return and depose Edward's successor.
At the end of Episode 5, while Cromwell is considering how to get rid of Anne, Wolsey appears as an hallucination and states that it was his failure to give Henry a new wife that killed him. Four years later, Cromwell would be executed for arranging the failed marriage between Henry and Anne of Cleves.note Or rather, his enemies took advantage of Henry's anger to convince him that Cromwell had done it for treasonous motives.
In "Head Games", Devin tells her teammates about the time she hurt her ankle in Connecticut. She hurts her ankle again at the end of the first season.
In "Go Big or Go Home", Devin's mother worries about Devin going away for a short while because she's heard about earthquakes and other disasters on the news. An actual earthquake hits near the end of the episode.
In Forbrydelsen, when Theis comes to work after everyone's learned that his daughter has been killed, his right-hand man and best mate Vagn enters his office and the only thing he says is "Theis, I don't know what to say." After an awkward moment, Theis starts talking about business and Vagn goes back to work. What's significant about this is that Vagn, who is practically a member of Theis's family, doesn't offer Theis a single sympathetic word or gesture. The reason he doesn't, and why he can't think of anything to say, is that he's the killer.
In the same show, before anyone has discovered that Theis's daughter is dead, Theis and Vagn are standing outside the house Theis is renovating for his family and Theis jokes "There's a room for you, too, in the basement." The basement of the house is where Vagn raped Theis's daughter the previous night, before taking her away to kill her.
When talking with Mack, Spencer tells him to not see himself as "one of his father's possessions".
When Tyzonn tells the group that his Mercurian physiology will pass through their organic bodies and allow them to enter a forcefield as long as they hold hands, it stops when Mack tries to get in.
After Mack's cursed by a mystical compass, Andrew and Spencer question how Mack could be affected in the first place.
The Rangers dress in costume for Halloween. Mack's is a robot. Hartford and Spencer pause and look a bit worried when they see...
In an early episode of Power Rangers RPM, Tenaya 7 gets through security because she looks completely human even though she sets off the alarms when scanned. How? Well, they’ve gotten a ton of false positives when scanning people for Venjix tech. Also, one of the Rangers is a super-strong cyborg, able to use the upgrades he’s gotten from the villains’ experimenting on him instead of the tech using him... for now. A big part of the storyline of the series is the fact that “for now” are the operative words. In the final two episodes, we find out that everyone in the city’s been infected by nanites and was being assimilated from the inside out from day one. The villains’ work with Dillon - at the time, seeming to be this random one-off thing - had paid off, and those “false positives” from so long ago were people whose transformations were progressing faster than the others. One of the FIRST people to suddenly go Terminator was the one who’d given the line about the false positives back then.
In Power Rangers Megaforce, a discussion in the first episode about who might inherit the earth from humans, insects, mutants, and robots get mentioned. Guess what the three villain factions of the series turn out to be, in that order.
Star Trek: The Original Series pilot episode "The Cage". While talking with Doctor Boyce, Captain Pike talks about the battle on Rigel Seven and two activities he might partake in after retiring: going on a picnic on Earth or becoming an Orion trader. Each of these is used as the basis for one of the telepathic illusions the Talosians use on him later.
If an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation has its cold open on the holodeck (and it's not a Holodeck Malfunction), the program will indicate the theme for that episode. In "Devil's Due," for example, Data is playing the scene with Scrooge and Marley's ghost—the power of fear and sensory illusion are a big part of the episode's plot. In "Clues," Picard plays one of his Dixon Hill stories with Guinan, and (if the title wasn't a, you know) the rest of the episode is about a shipwide mystery that human nature compels them to solve.
In "The Sound of Her Voice", the penultimate episode of Season 6, O'Brien makes mention of how they've all grown apart and how he dislikes it because "someday we're going to wake up and we're going to find that someone is missing from this circle, and on that day we're going to mourn, and we shouldn't have to mourn alone." Just as he says they're going to "find someone missing", the camera cuts over to Jadzia. The shot then begins cutting between the other characters in the room, but if you watch carefully, it's not until O'Brien begins talking about how the people left behind are going to mourn that this happens, and the first person it cuts to is Bashir. In the Season 6 finale, Jadzia is killed, and Bashir is particularly hard-hit because he had her in his infirmary but couldn't save her.
In retrospect, there are more than a few moments throughout the series that suggest Bashir's genetically-engineered status.
In "Rivals", Bashir says he won the sector championship in racquetball by beating out, among others, a Vulcan, something that would be very difficult for an ordinary human.
In "Armageddon Game", Bashir is able to effectively repair a broken-down transmitter, albeit with verbal guidance from O'Brien, after O'Brien is incapacitated. O'Brien might have been right that Engineering Extension courses in medical school wouldn't cut it for an ordinary human, but for a man with vastly improved memory and intelligence, it just might.
In "Distant Voices", Bashir admits that he deliberately knocked himself out of the running for valedictorian. This makes a lot more sense when you realize that he was afraid of being too perfect and thereby being exposed.
And long before that episode, he’d mentioned the mistake that cost him the valedictorian spot. What was it? He mistook a preganglionic fiber for a postganglionic nerve. If you had no idea what either of those words mean, you might think that’s an easy mistake to make, because, well, one “ganglionic”-related medical... thing... must be a lot like the next, right? Well, if you DO know what they mean, you’d instantly know there’s absolutely no way in hell to make that mistake. It’d be akin to seeing a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records and mistaking it for an actual juke box: Yes, the terms “record player” and “record book” both have the word “record” in them; no, the two objects are not even a little bit similar in appearance or function. Similarly, Bashir’s mistake would be utterly, ridiculously impossible even a first-year medical student in THIS century, let alone a medical expert in the Star Trek universe.
Also in "Distant Voices", the fact that he survives the Lethian's attack (which he later states is "almost always fatal"). Garak was more right than he knew when he suggested that Bashir "survived because [he was] strong".
Speaking of Garak, Julian is awfully enthralled with him pretty much from the first time he lays eyes on him. What is Garak known for? Having secrets. Something Julian can relate to quite a bit more than he lets on.
These are particularly noteworthy because not one of them was intentional. The idea of Bashir being genetically engineered was something that was thought up so much at the last minute that they filmed the immediate preceding episode without the slightest idea of what was to come; the fact that the twist was so perfectly foreshadowed was complete happenstance. (Oh, that “preganglionic nerve” thing? Bashir made an impossible mistake because the writer didn’t know anything about medicine; Most Writers Are Writers, after all. When his wife, who did know, complained once too many times, he had Bashir admit it had been on purpose. The reason he, at the time, seemed to have no reason to sabotage himself like that was because, at the time, the character didn’t - the writer was just making a nod to the missus.)
In Kamen Rider Decade, Eijiro is ironing something, red on one side and black on the other, and makes the comment about another character that we all have a side of ourselves we keep hidden. The scene ends with him tapping Kivala with the hot iron (something that won't be really painful, and something she probably had coming, but a bit harsh for the warm, fatherly figure he's been until now and will be for the rest of the series.) But come The MovieAll Riders vs. Dai-Shocker, Eijiro is revealed as the old-school Big Bad who wore a cape that was black on the outside and red on the inside: Dr. Shinigami.
The Great British Bake Off: In the biscuit episode in series 3, James notes after the first round that everyone relies on luck to some degree, him more than most. In the episode's showstopper challenge, he miraculously turns a gingerbread barn that has fallen apart into a gingerbread derelict barn. It isn't clear if Paul has even noticed it was a patch-up job (he said that it was perfect if intended, and great even if it wasn't), and it wins James Star Baker.
The first season of The Good Place has many clues hinting that the main characters are not in The Good Place, but are instead in The Bad Place, and the architect Michael is secretly evil, that could be dismissed as the trappings of a Sitcom and Michael being new to creating an afterlife.
Eleanor Shellstrop is not a good person and should not be in The Good Place, that's the basis of the show, but it becomes apparent quickly to the audience that her neighbor Tahani should also not be in The Good Place, since while she has a habit of doing extravagant charity work it's clear she is doing it for attention and to show up her older sister and is really an arrogant elitist. And in the third episode Tahani's soulmate is revealed as an idiot and petty criminal, that's three people who all just happen to show up in the wrong afterlife at the same time.
And then, there was all of Michael’s Innocently Insensitve and Brutal Honesty moments. Again easily dismissed at first for sitcom-ness, but everything he said and did put the screws to them ever more tightly.