The poor man's Time Travel — unfortunately, it's one-way, unless time is cyclical.
Cryonics, as Applied Phlebotinum, is a mechanism by which a person can be frozen, halting the aging process and giving them a non-stop ticket on the Suspended Animation Express to the future. Once they get to the future, they can be thawed out and reanimated.
The result is that we get a Fish Out of Temporal Water setup wherein a human — usually the audience's approximate contemporary — is thrust into The Future and has to deal. This can get especially thorny if their home or civilization has since been destroyed and forgotten, or changed beyond recognition, making them a Living Relic.
It also works with the past, as many works have played with the idea of turning a prehistoric caveman or a viking loose in modern society. In this case, of course, the freezing has to be by natural means which stretches the credibility of Harmless Freezing even further. (This is more the realm of cartoons and soft science fiction that can get away with it easier)
Invariably, cryonics, the study of preserving humans or other organisms at low temperature, is confused with cryogenics, the creation of very low temperatures and the study of how materials work in those conditions. Honestly, just because a word has '-gen-' in it doesn't mean it has anything to do with biology....
Cryonics Failure, where something goes horribly wrong that kills some or all sleepers, is a potential danger.
The Human Popsicle usually takes one of three forms:
Some mysterious phenomenon unexpectedly freezes our hero until he is found centuries later. Sometimes it's the fault of Green Rocks or overt magic (or both!), other times it's just because they got frozen inside a block of normal ice.
Our hero uses a "Sleeper Ship" — a (typically) slower-than-light spacecraft which puts the occupants "on ice" (either literally or a Convenient Coma that slows aging) to allow them to survive the travel times between stars. The ship gets knocked off course, or encounters a Negative Space Wedgie, and isn't found again until far into the future. Alternatively, in the hundreds of years the trip takes, humans manage to invent faster-than-light travel, and colonize the destination world long before the sleeper ship arrives. Bonus points if they flat out forget about the sleeper ship. Cue the proud colonists coming out of cryosleep only to find themselves snarled in space traffic. This is a use of cryonics that real scientists are actually interested in, but wouldn't dare take a stab at until all the kinks are worked out.
A variation on the sleeper ship, in more realistic Speculative Fiction settings, is to put the hibernators on a spaceship and accelerate it to close to light-speed, letting Einsteinian physics slow down their personal timeframe with respect to the rest of us. The ship can thus reach faraway planets within the crew's lifetime, though the crew will still experience it as a one-way trip to the future. This and the above are often used to Fling a Light into the Future.
The ability to freeze and later revive some simple organisms—including human embryos—currently exists and has for some time (one motivation of cryonics is that some animals have an innate ability to survive a similar naturally induced state), but there are many technical problems with applying this to a fully grown humannote Namely, not all of your organs "freeze" at the same temperature, some react well to freezing while others react poorly, and unfreezing someone is an iffy proposition at best, usually resulting in significant organ damage. And as mentioned above, people cannot legally be cryonically suspended until they are pronounced clinically dead (or aren't legally alive yet, like the aforementioned embryos), which could cause problems if brain damage occurs due to anoxia. For the sake of television, we just assume that whoever does the thawing has the technology to overcome this. Sometimes this problem is Hand Waved by claiming that what's actually going on is some sort of localized time stop (Time Stands Still, except inside out), although all other aspects of the trope remain the same.
In science fiction, cryonics is often either used for something that makes little practical sense or forgotten entirely when it could potentially save the life of a person killed in an accident. An example of the former is using cryonic freezing for incarcerated criminals. The various rationales that justify range from relative safety and cheapness compared to feeding, housing, and guarding prisoners on the taxpayers expense to being an alternative to the death penalty. However, it undermines the punishment aspect of incarceration. Being able to sleep through your long sentence and not have to endure the daily ugly aspects of prison life is not much of a deterrent to criminal behavior. And since one does not age in cryonic prison, life sentences are pointless and the prisoner has served time without having lost a significant portion of his lifespan. He may even outlive his original jailers or former victims. Today, prison sentences of over a hundred years are given only to ensure that the felon will never be eligible for parole in his lifetime. With cryonics, this prisoner will effectively be awakened in an era that he would not have lived to see otherwise. In many stories that heavily rely on the death of Red Shirt characters to amplify drama and suspense, it never occurs to anyone to place these dead minor characters into cryogenic suspension so that their lives may be saved later. And this is almost always in future worlds that should have cryogenic suspension and the medical knowledge to reverse clinical death in cases of injuries or accidents.
If you happen upon someone else who has been frozen, read all the manuals before thawing them out: nine times out of ten, they will turn out to be psychopathic murderers (just ask the crew of Red Dwarf).
This is not to be confused with Ajax'splans for you with a bat. Or meat popsicles. Often overlaps with Really 700 Years Old, but the people from this trope rarely experience the time in-between freezing and thawing.
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Anime & Manga
In One Piece, Nico Robin and Monkey D. Luffy were shockfrozen solid by Marine Admiral Aokiji. Unlike other cases of this trope, though, their conditions were treated seriously, and there was panic on how they were defrosted.
Aeka and Sasami from Tenchi Muyo! put themselves in suspended animation in the OVA universe while searching for Yosho, despite not needing to worry about dying of old age on the trip. According to Word of God, Aeka did it because she's a bit beauty-obsessed. Sasami... did it because the trip is boring. There's also the fact that they had no idea how long the trip would actually be, since they didn't have any clues as to where Yosho had gone. They just froze themselves and gave their automated guardians orders to wake them if they found a clue.
Yagyu Freesia in Jubei-chan fell into a glacier during a fight in Russia. Centuries later, Global Warming frees her. It's implied that she has an elemental affinity to ice, which explains how she survived.
In Trigun, flashback sequences show a fleet of ships that left Earth looking for a new planet with a healthy sample of the human population frozen on board. These people eventually reproduce to colonize the entire old-west-style setting of the series.
"Iceman" in Utawarerumono. Frozen by a god, so don't try this at home.
Aquarius Camus defeat his pupil (or student's pupil, in the anime) Cygnus Hyoga and literally creates an ice coffin for him so he can preserve the body for years, until Hyoga is ready to fight again. It takes a Golden Cloth's weapons and Shun almost dying to de-frost him and bring him back to the Sanctuary arc.
Before that, said pupil of Camus, the Crystal Saint, was buried in an ice tomb by Hyoga himself after their fight, which ended up with Crystal's Tear Jerker of a death scene. Also, Hyoga's mother Natasha has been "sorta" buried in a similar environment a.k.a. a sunk ship under heavy ice layers and incredibly cold water placed in Siberia.
Armored Trooper VOTOMS has this as a means of getting injured soldiers off the front line and to proper medical care reasonably safely - "reasonably", because they're still referred to as coffins in-show.
More specifically, Chiroco and Fyana elect to do this at the end of the TV series, ostensibly in order to wake up in a peaceful world, one that doesn't need a Perfect Soldier or the son of God. But then they're thawed out accidentally 20-plus years later, and it turns out that Fyana was dying - Chirico just wanted to spend the time with her. Notably, the series averts Fish Out of Temporal Water - a Scopedog is a Scopedog, and Chirico's still a damn good/lucky pilot.
In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, a Mad Scientist who's about to be executed for treason is actually put into this state to have his Hot-Blooded younger son and said son's Hot Scientist partner capture the Devil Gundam that he created. In reality, it's all a lie. The scientist never was a madman, but was framed by the son's boss and was frozen both to keep him from spilling the beans and use the old man to force his kid to work for the government.
The Mobile Suit Gundam Wing sequel novel Frozen Teardrop introduces cryogenic stasis pods invented by Doctor J (the creator of Wing Gundam). They also have the side-effect of causing memory damage, which means the subject must have data fed into their brains to fill in the gaps. Relena had to be frozen because someone hooked her to a Dead Man Switch that would kill three billion people and her friends needed time to find a solution. Heero was imprisoned some time later after going berserk for yet-unspecified reasons. The novel kicks off 30 years later when the Preventer group thaws Heero and orders him to kill Relena, who was apparently brainwashed into aFace-Heel Turn.
Used in the 2001 version of Cyborg 009 on the first four cyborgs, in order to keep Albert Heinrich/004's attempt to cross the Berlin Wall intact. While logically all four of them should have suffered considerable culture shock, Albert gets the most specific and frequent comments on how much has changed in forty years. Ivan/001 was an infant before being placed in suspended animation, and was still an infant going out: he wasn't old enough to know what the world was like before he became a cyborg to be able to make such comments after the process.
Francoise/003 does make similar comments in her A Day in the Limelight episode, however. She stops angsting about it soon, and it makes sense since the Aesop of said chapter is about not clinging to the past and a former life. Jet/002 simply seems to not give a crap anymore.
Yuji Kaido from Blue Gender was frozen due to his having an incurable virus, with promises to be unfrozen when a cure was found. Yes, he gets unfrozen, but ends up in a none too bright future...
Beruche from the anime tries to commit suicide by encasing herself in ice after losing to Sailor Mercury. Her Heel Face Turned sister Cooan talks her out of it, though
A straighter example is that the entire planet was frozen for several decades before the formation of Crystal Tokyo. Who or what did the freezing wasn't really explained.
In Katekyo Hitman Reborn! the Evil Prince Xanxus spends eight years as a Human Popsicle after trying to murder his foster father, who used a secret technique to freeze him. He is eventually thawed out, however he has not aged at all and is left with terrible burn scars.
In King of Thorn, 160 people infected with a deadly virus are put into suspended animation until a cure can be found. But when they wake up an unknown amount of time later, the facility has been overgrown by thorny vines and overrun with monsters... and there's no sign a cure was ever discovered.
In Fullmetal Alchemist, the Briggs Corp temporarily incapacitate the homunculus Sloth by getting it into the cold outside of the fortress, and dousing it with the fuel they use for their tanks. The fuel has a very low melting and boiling point, to keep it from freezing up in the frigid conditions, so when it's poured on Sloth, it quickly evaporates, robbing his body of heat. So it's kind of like the reverse of the usual method (encased in a block of ice) but with the usual result (total bodily shutdown). It should be noted that the only reason he came back, as well as why the heroes resorted to freezing him, is that homunculi are nigh invulnerable.
In F-Zero Falcon Densetsu, this was the backstory to Ryu — a policeman from the present, horribly wounded in a car chase against Zoda (yes that Zoda, and it is just to give him a reason to race), frozen and restored to health in the future to race in F-Zero.
Broly, due to his injuries from his defeat against Goku in the Dragon Ball Movie 10, went into a seven year coma. Consequentially, the crater from his arrival on Earth became a lake and froze during this time.
Lorelei from Pokémon Special can turn anyone into a popsicle via the voodoo dolls formed from her Jynx's Ice Beam. Red was frozen for two months and when he escaped, he suffered painful frostbite for a year before finding a cure. Lorelei also tried to freeze Sird, but Sird managed to escape before being encased entirely. However, she is still suffering from the side effects and doesn't know the cure.
One of the immortals of Baccano!! spent around 250 years, from the early 1700s to sometime during the Cold War, trapped in a crevasse in the Arctic Circle.
Yakumo from Shinzo spends 300 years in Cold Sleep.
The characters in 7 Seeds were put into cryostasis shortly before an asteroid was scheduled to hit the planet, with the machinery set up so that they would wake when it was possible for humans to live on the surface again.
Subverted in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman episode ''Gatchaman, 20 Years Later''. G-1 and the scientist he was protecting appear to have been frozen for twenty years in arctic ice after a forced landing. But it's still the present day. It was just Katse's overly-elaborate plot to get the scientist's equations for a new procedure that can either be used to provide a renewable energy source -or cause an extinction-event-level kaboom.
In later issues of the Area 88 manga that did not make it stateside, Julianna discovers Soria (Saki's mother and Abdael's wife) in a cryogenic chamber underneath her tomb. Years before, Soria was near death due to blood cancer, so Abdael had her cryogenically preserved until a cure could be found. The Asranian public was told that she died giving birth to Rishar. Julianna and her Project 4 henchmen removed the cryogenic chamber, burned the tomb, then took Soria overseas and had her revived.
Academy City in A Certain Magical Index has perfected this technology, but not for the usual reasons. Their combat aircraft are capable of such incredible maneuverability that the G-forces involved would kill a human pilot, so pilots are frozen, put on life support, and control the aircraft with their minds.
Captain America fell into the Arctic Ocean at the end of WWII and was miraculously preserved until the present day (originally, the early 1960s). His survival was attributed to the Super Serum coursing through his veins.
Ditto for William Burnside and Jack Monroe, the Cap and Buckyof the 50's. Jack later went on to become the hero Nomad after being unfrozen, and was even the real Captain America's partner for a little while.
Speaking of Bucky, he also fell into the Arctic Ocean and was recovered by the Soviets. While he was clinically dead when they recovered him, because the freezing water preserved his body at or near death, they succeeded in resuscitating him. They subsequently brainwashed him into being their assassin, the Winter Soldier, and started freezing him between missions in the 1950s, both to keep him under control and to preserve his youth and strength for future missions.
The science fiction comic Transmetropolitan deconstructs this trope with the concept of "revivals"; people from the 20th century and beyond who had their bodies cryogenically frozen shortly after death in the hopes they would be revived with new bodies later on. In the current day of the comic (whenever that is), although they have the resources to defrost and restore anyone frozen, the sad fact is no one has any need of people from the past. Revivals are mentally unequipped to deal with future life, which means that they become yet another underprivileged minority who spend most of their time staring in horror at everything, and nobody cares about them.
Spider: [Mary] could have told the future what it'd be like to meet Che Guevara in that old Cuban schoolhouse. She could have told them about the last Queen and Albert Einstein and a million other true stories besides. But the future didn't want to know. It honored the contracts with the past; revived them, gave them their money back, gave them the hostels. Put them away with a new, unspoken, contract: Don't bother us. We're not interested.
The Phantom Zone in Superman comics prevents aging for those inside. One character, Mon-El, was put in there in the Present Day after he got lead poisoning, and survived until the 30th century, when a cure could be found.
In ElfQuest the bug-like Preservers can freeze time for living beings by encasing them in cocoons made out of "wrapstuff", and a bunch of the characters use this method for waiting out ten thousand years when they need to catch up with a group of time travelers.
The Guardians of the Galaxy character Vance Astro spent 1,000 years in suspended animation for a slower-than-light trip to Alpha Centauri... Only to find Earthmen had invented hyperdrive and beaten him there by several centuries.note However, they did throw him a welcoming party. As a bonus bummer, the long time he spent in the tube has damaged his body so that he needed a full-body life-support suit to survive.
In Gold Digger, the character of Ancient Gina has used stasis and similar methods to survive since before the current universe started! She looks pretty good for her age.
In the original Squadron Supreme limited series, the Squadron creates hibernaculums as an alternative to eliminating disease. People near death would be kept in suspended animation, presumably to be revived in the future once a cure to their ailment is found.
According to his self-titled comic book, Jon Juan was frozen in ice for centuries.
Iron Man: After suffering massive neurological damage, Tony Stark faked his death and preserved his body via cryogenics.
An old comic started with Hitler having a man with wild long hair and dirty torn clothes raving about how it was all happening again, and how Hitler need to stop it. Hitler had him executed, and somewhat casually wondered where he had come from. His aides told him the Allies were nearly there, so he went down into his bunker, where a scientist was finishing work on a stasis chamber. Hitler killed the scientist so that he would not speak of the project and entered the chamber. Several hundred years later, he awakens with tattered clothes and wild unkempt hair. After making his way through the fortress, he finds a Hitleresque man, and the same scene from the beginning repeats almost exactly.
In Garfield: His 9 Lives, a comic exploring Garfield's other 8 lives, his second life was as a Viking cat who got frozen in a block of ice with the rest of his Viking crew. They eventually drifted down to modern St. Paul, Minnesota and wreak havoc.
X-Men villain Omega Red, who was cryogenically frozen after his superiors decided he was too dangerous to control.
In the story "Cave Man", in issue #19 of Tales from the Crypt, a museum sub-curator who was jealous that his own exhibit was being ignored in favor of a recently-discovered frozen specimen of Neanderthal Man thawed out the body, with fairly predictable results.
This was used by Brainiac 5 to defeat Superboy-Prime. After Superboy died, Brainiac had Star Boy go back to the past, one year after Conner died and take him to the Fortress of Solitude, placing him in a healing chamber, where he would stay for a thousand years. After snagging a piece of the balding Lex Luthor's hair, they went to the Fortress in their time and revived Conner just in time to battle Superboy-Prime at full power.
The Monster in The Frankenstein Monster is twice found encased in ice, first in 1898 and then 1970s which leads to his introduction to the modern times.
In Frank And Ernest, Frank wanted this once — not long — to sleep through election years.
The original, earliest versions of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century got Buck into said century via the device of strange gasses in an abandoned mine which put him into suspended animation for nearly five hundred years. The Buster Crabbe serial used an experimental gas aboard his airship. The 1970s TV show froze him solid in space.
Pruneface in Dick Tracy. Almost frozen to death in his original appearance in 1942, writer Max Allan Collins later revealed that he had been used in a cyrogenics experiment: allowing him to be thawed out in 1983.
A strip from The Far Side depicts a recently thawed out caveman signing copies of his memoir "It Was Very Cold and I Couldn't Move".
In planning for her mission to Mars in Safe Havens, Samantha thinks she has a much safer solution than freezing people- turning the crew into bears and letting them naturally hibernate. Given that she's a geneticist with a penchant for turning herself and her associates into various animals, this is not nearly as implausible as it sounds.
In Human Curiosity, it's revealed that the HCS has been "killing" nations by disabling their healing powers, injecting them with deadly poisons, and freezing them into a stasis. There's no way to wake them up without the poison taking effect and killing them. In Human Curiosity: The Bonus Chapters, it's revealed that the scientists only bothered with stasis instead of outright killing them because they feared that destroying the nations completely might hurt the people in the countries represented.
The backstory of Mass Effect Human Revolution is that David Sarif had himself and key Sarif Industries personnel, including Adam Jensen, cryonically preserved in the hope of riding out growing anti-augmentation sentiment and seeing a less bigoted future. It's only in Mass Effect's time that the Sarif Cache is found, and only Adam is successfully revivable... and unfortunately for him, the anti-aug sentiment is as strong as ever.
Ice Age and the sequel several times: once with the creatures (dinosaur, sloth-creatures, flying saucer) in the wall of the cave, and the other with Scrat right at the end. In the second film, two carnivorous water-dwelling creatures are thawed from the melting ice.
In Eight Crazy Nights after Davey shoves Whitey into a port-a-potty then kicks him down a hill, he comes out covered in feces and Davey sprays him off and he freezes into a block of ice, Davey comments:
Davey: See you later poopsicle!
Films — Live-Action
A plot point that shows up several times in Alien series. Most ships freeze their human crew/cargo, with the ships being run by artificial persons (aka androids).
In the first movie, the stasis effect was how the android planned to get a crewmember infected with an alien larva back home: the alien won't hatch in stasis, and the other cryopods can easily be sabotaged to eliminate all other witnesses.
In the second movie, we find that Ripley's escape crypod had been drifting for over half a century: she is now a woman without a place, as her family has all died of old age long before (setting up her adoption of Newt).
In the third movie, the Sulaco is attempting to return home via autopilot (as the few surviving humans are in the freezer and the AP, Bishop, is damaged): thus, nobody is available to kill a facehugger that managed to get aboard and causes more damage.
Space travel in The Chronicles of Riddick setting requires suspended animation, seemingly induced by replacing the blood with blue slime.
2001: A Space Odyssey: The trip is one of months, not centuries, but suspended animation is used to avoid the problem of having to pack several months' worth of food, and to help keep secret the real purpose of the mission. In 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Floyd tells his son it's "so we won't go cuckoo."
Star Wars features Han Solo frozen in carbonite as a method of incarceration. And decoration! Though as a slight variation, the characters make it clear that they aren't entirely sure the carbonite freezing is something a human can survive. Darth Vader was essentially using Han as a guinea pig to see if it would work later for Luke.
Similarly, both the hero and villain of Demolition Man are freeze-incarcerated, because they are too violent and a threat to society.
Pretty much the entire plot of Encino Man, starring Pauly Shore and Brendan Fraser. Fraser's character is a caveman thawed in modern times by two high school students.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery: Suspended animation as a kind of Time Travel — Dr. Evil only wanted to survive his space exile, and Powers, to be there when his nemesis returned. But look what it did to Mr. Bigglesworth!
This wasn't a Cryonics Failure. Mr. Bigglesworth lost his fur to "feline complications due to the reanimation process," according to Mustafa.
In the film version of Minority Report, it appears that potential murderers are kept in some form of suspended animation, although this is never made explicit.
Forever Young: The protagonist volunteers for a suspended animation experiment that's supposed to last a year, but is forgotten about until 53 years later. Upon revival he is still young, but ages rapidly to his "real" age by the end of the film. And that's supposed to be a happy ending? Maybe bittersweet: he did it because his girlfriend was in a coma and believed to be as good as dead from being hit by a car. He meets her, alive, in the end.
Jason X: Having failed to execute Jason Voorhees, near-future humans somewhat successfully freeze him, leaving the problem for far-future humans to solve.
Idiocracy: Military suspended animation experiment, supposed to only last a year, takes two totally average people 500 years into the future, where they find they're anything but average....
Genesis II (1973), in which a NASA scientist taking part in an suspended animation experiment ends up sleeping a lot longer than he expected.
Sherlock Holmes in The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1987) and Sherlock Holmes Returns (1993).
The four astronauts in Planet of the Apes (1968) are in hibernation during their deep space travel, although one of the men develops some grey hair and the only female astronaut dies due to a malfunction. A time dilation effect causes them to be catapulted thousands of years into the future on top of that.
Woody Allen's character Miles Monroe in Sleeper. He gets frozen in the 20th century, and thawed 200 years later — wrapped in tin foil for freshness.
This becomes an important plot convenience in the strange French movie Immortel; Horus (from ancient Egyptian mythology) is condemned to death by his peers, but is given seven days of parole on Earth before the sentence, and seeks to sire an heir with one of the few women capable of procreating with gods, who happens to have just arrived to New York. In order to do that, he needs to possess someone, but learns too late that in the future, gene splicing is all the rage, and most of the humans he's able to find are too "altered" to properly hold his essence (read: they spontaneously combust). The plot convenience comes in when he finds a cryogenically-frozen convict that was accidentally unthawed before his sentence was up; since the Human Popsicle was put into cold storage before genetic engineering became a fad, his body is unaltered, and thus the perfect host for the god.
In the French comedy Hibernatus, starring Louis de Funčs, a major character is frozen in ice and glycerin (allowing him not to die) when on a scientific mission in Antarctica in the early 20th century. He is discovered in present time (The Seventies). A small town is changed back to what it was in 1905 in order to preserve him from the shock of discovering his hibernation... Hilarity Ensues.
In Adorable Snow's Woman, pilot lady Lucie de Saint Pierre survived an airplane crash in mountains in the Roaring Twenties, and woke up in 2002. The family that is in her house by now have to act as they were her new servants.
Outland. It takes a year to travel from the mining colony on Io (a moon of Jupiter) back to Earth, so the travellers are put into cold sleep. At the end of the movie the hero tells his wife that he's looking forward to sleeping with her for an entire year.
This is how the creatures from The Thing (1982) were found by human explorers, both in the films and the original short story. One character in John Carpenter's version speculates that, facing defeat, the Thing might simply return to the ice and await the next group of suckers to uncover it.
In A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, The Swintons' son Martin has been placed in suspended animation until a cure can be found for his rare disease.
In Event Horizon, the crew of the rescue ships are kept in pods during the trip. Par for the course for this Crapsack World: it isn't a pleasant experience. The reason for the pods is the lack of Inertial Dampening. When the ship accelerates, any human not in a fluid-filled pod will be squished into fine red paste.
In Vanilla Sky the main character is horribly disfigured in a car crash. After that, things get weird. It turns out that after the accident he committed suicide and had himself frozen until they had the technology to revive him and fix his face. While he was "sleeping", he was supposed to be in a state of lucid dreaming where his life was perfect. But his subconscious felt guilty so instead he was living in his own personal hell.
Moon (2009). A hibernation chamber is used by the solitary moonbase operator for the three day trip back to Earth. It turns out to be an incineration chamber, as each operator is a clone who gets destroyed after Clone Degeneration sets in, and replaced by another clone with Fake Memories.
In Avatar, this is used for everyone going to Pandora, because it is a six-year trip. Ships carry three flight crews, each on ice for four years to avoid Space Madness. According to the Avatar Wiki, it's also done to conserve consumables like air and food. If the cryogenic system fails in mid-flight, the passengers are euthanized so that they don't starve to death.
A Walt Disney-esque character in Able Edwards (the first feature film shot entirely in front of a greenscreen) is unfrozen in the future...only to be unsalvageable because of damage sustained by being frozen. They can clone him though.
Pandorum. The crew of a colony ship wake up to find everything has gone to hell while they were asleep (or are they?) just suffering from the Space Madness which is a known side-effect of hypersleep?
In a very early and short-term example, The Three Stooges flee trouble in an ice cream truck — a couple of hours later Moe and Larry pull Curly from the back, who is frozen solid. They thaw him out over an open fire on a rotating spit.
Moe: Twenty minutes to a pound. (chuckles) We'll be here a month!
Not a part of this trope but the name is mentioned in Mr. Deeds by a reporter in reference to Preston Blake freezing atop a mountain.
Late For Dinner is about a man and his mentally challenged friend from the sixties accidentally being cryogenically frozen and waking up in the nineties. Played pretty seriously.
Shortly after "waking up", they go to a nearby hospital, still unsure what happened. One of them tells a black doctor how strange it is for a black man to be allowed to practice medicine.
A fundamental part of deep-space travel in Alien Cargo.
In Rocket Man chambers are again used to conserve food and air on both the trip to Mars and the return trip. However, the protagonist is impeded from entering his both times.
In Chiller, after being unfrozen Miles Creighton was changed (he became a cold-blooded killer).
In Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America is heavily implied, although never outright stated, to have underwent this trope. The reason behind it is revealed to be due to his deliberately crashing Red Skull's flying-wing bomber, the Valkyrie, in the Arctic to save American lives, as he can't land safely in New York City without doing significant damage to the city.
Later on, in The Avengers, Iron Man refers to him as a "Capsicle". A brief flashback sequence also shows a clearly-frozen Cap being examined by scientists.
Seivarden in Ancillary Justice spent the thousand years before the events of the book as one. After his ship was destroyed and his escape pod was lost and went adrift in space. When he's revived he finds the language has changed to the point he can't understand anyone, all of his implants that could have helped alleviate that problem are so out of date they can't interact with modern computers, and to top it all off he learns that his formerly highly-placed House hasn't existed for the last few centuries.
In Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, the titular vessel is assumed by some characters to be a sleeper ship, though later novels reveal it to be something entirely different.
In 3001: The Final Odyssey, the last sequel to Clarke's 2001, an astronaut who seemed to have been killed by HAL in the original novel is found and revived after floating frozen in space in a damaged suit for a thousand years. This leads to a Fish Out of Temporal Water plot for the first part of the book.
The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein starts out being based around this trope. Until the protagonist sees a bunch of things in the future he woke up in that can only be explained by his eventually gaining access to conventional Time Travel.
Quite a few in The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, from those in Boreas' fortress and the Hunters for a short time during the battle at the Wolf House. Midas' "house guests" probably count, too.
Undertow by Elizabeth Bear had galactic society that used Schrodinger's Uncertainty Principle to teleport goods and information instantly between planets. However, living creatures like humans that went through the process wound up dead on the other side due to collapsing the wave function. As such, transporting people from planet to planet requires slower-than-light ships and cryogenics.
The short story "Doing Lennon" by Gregory Benford features a man who has himself cryogenically frozen in order to impersonate John Lennon in the future.
In Fiasco, the 1986 hard Science Fiction novel by Polish science-fiction writer and philosopher Stanislaw Lem, the novel opens with a young mecha pilot on the Saturn moon Titan who is part of a group of groundwalker pilots who suffer a disastrous accident. Stuck in their damaged giant robotical suits without hope for help arriving in time, the pilots choose to activate the emergency Vitrification procedure instead of waiting to die from lack of oxygen or being crushed alive by ice, in the hope that they'll be found eventually and revived later. At the time of their death, there is no medical procedure to reverse the side-effects of Vitrification. The automated procedure means they must open their space suits to make sure no body heat is retained unevenly, then preserving fluid is injected into their skulls while the cockpit opens and their bodies are instantly shock-frozen. Many decades later, re-opened mining operations on Titan find the remains of the walkers and their pilots. Medicine has progressed sufficiently for doctors to repair most cellular damage done by shock-freezing of tissue, but the three recovered corpses are so damaged and crushed that the doctors are forced to use all three bodies and cloned tissue to reconstruct one person from three, as only one brain could be revived at all. The resulting survivor has no memories of who he is, and all available identification records from the past are sketchy at best.
The science-fiction novel The Centurions Empire is unusual in that the narration starts in Roman times and later progresses through several centuries into the high-tech future of the late 21st century. A Roman soldier dies in winter in the Alps and is frozen inside a glacier and preserved. In the course of the novel, he wakes up several times and goes into "sleep" again. It is revealed that there's a whole centuries-old secret society who has found the secret of "immortality" by inventing a low-tech cryogenic suspension, using only natural ice and drugs. At least one character in the novel does not survive, because he selected a part of a glacier that was still flowing, and his sleeping body was crushed by the moving ice masses.
Nancy Etchemendy's collection of short stories, titled Cat in Glass, includes Shore Leave Blacks, the tale of a woman who left her family to join a crew that makes long space voyages to and from Earth. The resulting time dilation leaves her completely out of synch with the culture on Earth — a woman physically and mentally in her thirties who culturally is in her nineties. As she gets laughed at and stared at and even shunned for not knowing basic technologies, you get a good idea of why these spacefarers don't like shore leave. But she's steeled herself to get through the pain in order to attend a family reunion and possibly meet her son, who is likely in his seventies. Or possibly dead. And even if he's alive, he's not likely to appreciate the factors that led her to abandon him and head for the stars. She finally makes it to her old hometown, in the middle of nowhere, only to discover that her son is still relative to her in age, having joined a similar space program as soon as he was old enough — and so he completely understands what she's been going through.
Short stories and novels involving "corpsicles", his name for Human Popsicles. Most of the time their legal rights are severely curtailed, since they usually have run out of the money that was paying to keep them frozen and lack any kind of relevant work skills.
... and his early short story Wait It Out, where the protagonist achieves the same effect by stripping naked on the surface of Pluto.
The Legacy of Heorot and Beowulf's Children (co-written with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes), with a crew of interstellar colonists who discover too late the drawbacks of the freezing process they used.
Lisanne Norman's human colonists travel in cryonics to get to their first extra-solar colony world. It performs poorly with a large number of colonists dying before planetfall.
The relativistic version was used several times, most notably to bring Mazer Rackham forward decades so he could teach the one who would command the IF's fleet. Oh, and Ender's quip at the end of the first book that he wants to live "forever" and so decides to travel the stars. (Though as Valentine points out, physics don't work that way.)
Orson Scott Card does more with the idea in another book, The Worthing Saga, where he projects the decay of a society through the fact that the richest people can afford to undergo routine stasis and "live" practically forever while poorer people live regular lives that are literally a fraction as long.
The other books in the extended Enderverse also continue this theme, sometimes with interesting results. For example, in the beginning of the sequel, Speaker for the Dead, Ender moves on to another planet while his older sister, Valentine, stays behind. The result is a trip that takes only about two weeks for Ender, but takes over twenty years real-time. Which means that once he arrives, Ender is still in his late twenties, while "Val" is in her early fifties.
Rob Grant's Colony, an SF satire, involves a man who accidentally gets stuck on board a space-going colony ship. He's knocked out, and awakens several generations later as a disembodied head in liquid, given a mechanical body which works very badly, and is subject to the horrifying revelation that the subsequent generations have resulted in a set of humanity almost entirely populated by morons.
In Honor Harrington, for the first millennium or so of space travel sleeper ships are the only safe way to move around between the stars at sublight speeds, with hyperspace used almost entirely by high-risk scouting missions with correspondingly high fatality rates. Later advances in hyperspace travel make running into grav waves much less likely, making it safe enough for use in colonization efforts. The original Manticoran colonists put all their life savings in a series of trust funds and traveled to their new homeworld on a slower-than-light sleeper ship, knowing that within the 600 years or so it would take for them to get there, A) someone probably would have invented a safer form of FTL travel, and B) the managed trust would make it so they could buy what else they may need. The trust managers invested well over the years and when they arrived there was a small colony full of technical experts waiting for them, including the bare bones of what would be their space navy.
In Project NRI, everyone wakes up from cryogenic sleep inside Niege Research Institute.
This Mortal Mountain is about a party of mountain climbers attempting to climb a forty-mile-high mountain on a colonized planet. Their progress is impeded by a series of what appear to be glowing creatures (an angel, a bird, snakes, a bull, a dragon) telling them to "go back" and trying to make them fall. It turns out that these are holographic projections generated by a computer programmed to prevent anyone from entering a cave in the mountain. In the cave is the last survivor of the first expedition to colonize the planet, who has been cryogenically preserved to allow her to survive the disease that killed all the other colonists from the first expedition.
The Graveyard Heart is about a group of people who spend a year in cryogenic preservation, then come out of it for a single day, and keep repeating this cycle.
Isle Of The Dead is about a 20th-century Earthman who signs up as one of the first space explorers before humans have light speed. Everything has to be in sleeper ships and it takes 40-80 years to get to the planet. He does this several times. When FTL travel is made practical, it causes colossal changes throughout the galaxy, let alone Earth. Our hero is now the oldest living human, feels he doesn't belong anywhere, and goes to the longest-lived race in the galaxy to see how they live their thousand-year lives — and thereby hangs the tale.
In Doorways in the Sand, Fred Cassidy's uncle Albert had himself frozen to wait until technology improves enough to bring him back and cure his diseases/old age.
In Lord of Light, the fact that the colonists were all shipped through interstellar space as human popsicles is offered as the explanation for why they didn't develop mutant super-powers when the ship's crew did.
The Far Arena features a Roman gladiator coming to the modern day. Among other things he freaks out about finding crucifixes around people necks, effortlessly butchers a top fencer in a duel, and reveals a huge amount about Roman life to researchers.
Joe Haldeman used the relativistic version in The Forever War in order to create an allegory for how the returnees from war (in his case, The Vietnam War) were alienated from everyone else back home when they returned. In the end Marygay and several other veterans also use relativistic speeds to achieve a sort of stasis as they wait for loved ones to return home.
In the Hyperion Cantos, Martin Silenus is frozen and put on a spaceship by his parents so he won't have to face the family's collapse. When he wakes up Martin's mind still works but he can only voice six words due to brain damage (all of them offensive) and is faced with several generations' worth of debt. Too bad when your career of choice is "poet" — though it turns out that this and his life on a Crapsack World were needed to teach him to be a proper genius.
In Vorkosigan Saga, cryo-freeze is often used for badly wounded soldiers, until they can reach the high grade medical help needed to restore them. Miles spends much of one book in a misplaced cryo-capsule, while his friends search for him.
In the latest novel, Cryoburn Miles is on a planet whose entire culture, and economy revolves around cryogenics. Nearly everyone on the planet gets themselves frozen, before they die, in the hope that they can be thawed out once there's a cure for whatever's killing them (including old age.) The cryogenic corporations get the proxy votes of everyone they've got in storage, so they are now in complete control of the planet (since the frozen outnumber the living by quite a margin.)
Also, it's implied that the settlement of Beta Colony, one of the first planets colonized off of Earth, was done using this method at sublight speed, as there were either no wormholes leading to the system, or the wormhole technology hadn't been invented yet.
Probably based on the H. G. Wells classic "The Sleeper Wakes," which has a similar premise. He wakes up just in time to experience a popular revolt against his own business empire.
Found in the Remnants series by K.A. Applegate. In an attempt to survive the impending destruction of Earth, people get onto a large spaceship and shoot blindly into space. In order to live as long as it takes to find a habitable planet, they enter a stasis of some sort. However, in a few characters' cases, it doesn't work out as planned. Specifically: Two-thirds of the passengers die outright from Cryonics Failure. One character remains conscious while frozen, thus being paralyzed and deprived of sensory input for five hundred years, which causes temporary catatonia and permanent brain-rearrangement upon revival. Another character, who was pregnant, gestates extremely slowly and gives birth, while still in stasis, to a terrifying mutant baby with no eyes and a Psychic Link to its mother, among other things. It, too, grows extremely slowly while in stasis, ending up around two-ish physically when everyone gets unfrozen.
Tek Wars uses it as a form of punishment; this carried over into the TV series.
Sleeper units in Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky are the only way for slow-zone spacers to survive the decades and centuries between ports. At one point, the young Pham Nuwen avoids using one out of fear and spends a couple of years studying instead.
In I Was a Teenage Popsicle by Bev Katz Rosenbaum, the main character, Floe, is defrosted 10 years after she was frozen. She was frozen at the age of 16 because of an incurable disease that killed her. When she wakes up, she finds out everything has changed. Her parents were frozen shortly after she was, so she is forced to live with her sister, who was younger than her.
Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series has the Race (and, once they master space flight) humans using cold sleep to travel between their respective homeworlds due to the distances involved. For humans, the process hasn't been perfected, and in the final book their ambassador (Henry Kissinger) dies sometime during the trip and this is only learned when they try and fail to revive him. Of course, it becomes a moot point when humans develop FTL travel near the end of the novel.
Peter Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy has Zero-Tau pods which are used to keep people in stasis, notably in colony ships. Since thousands of people are transported in each ship, the resources to feed and house the colonists for the voyage (even though it is rather short) would be beyond the ship's capacity. They are put in Zero-Tau pods, along with everything they take with them, namely embryos of farm animals and crop seeds. As added horrors: the Returned do not go to sleep in a Zero-Tau pod and essentially become conscious prisoners in the frozen body. Few of them can last for very long before they flee back into their dimension, driven half insane by the experience. Zero-Tau pods become the tradition exorcism measure.
In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series, protagonist John Geary's ship is sneak-attacked by Syndicate Worlds warships and destroyed after a desperate battle. His hibernation escape pod's beacon is damaged, leaving him stranded among the ship's debris for over a century. When he's finally picked up, he discovers that the war started by the sneak attack has run continuously ever since. Worse yet, his heroic last stand has become the stuff of legends, and "Black Jack" Geary is now something of a semi-mythical folk hero. Worst of all, the terrible casualty rate has killed off skilled fleet officers faster than they could train the next generation, and as a result the tactics of the day mainly consist of charging wildly at the enemy and relying on Heroic Spirit. Enter John Geary, a fairly average fleet officer from 100 years ago, which makes him effectively a tactical genius now...
Bridesicle, a short story by Will McIntosh. A woman 'killed' in a car accident has her body preserved in suspended animation, only to find that her only help of getting 'revived' is if a man wealthy enough to afford the expensive operation chooses her from among tens of thousands of preserved women as his wife.
In Garth Nix's Sabriel, Sabriel finds a man who was preserved for two hundred years in the form of a statue, in order to protect him.
In Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony, the demon warlock Quan deliberately petrified himself to survive an accident while casting a time spell. As a statue, he takes The Slow Path to the present, waiting for ten thousand years (apparently fully conscious) to be unpetrified. Astonishingly, he is entirely sane after being revived.
In the earlier Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, Artemis uses the refrigerator in a restaurant to preserve a mortally wounded Butler until fairy help can arrive
The passengers on the last live ship on Brontitall (in the radio series Frogstar B in the novels) are put in suspended animation because the ship's robot crew refuse to take off without a supply of lemon-soaked paper napkins. The planet is dead and no napkins are coming, so nine hundred years later the passengers are still waiting. And also regularly woken up so they can be served coffee. And aging noticeably from their brief periods awake. Don't forget, insane from horror.
The Golgafrinchan ship heading toward prehistoric Earth that Arthur and Ford end up on carry millions of frozen marketing execs, hair specialists, telephone sanitisers and the like. Apparently they're regularly taken out of stasis for exercise routines — perhaps being frozen for too long is bad for health? Also, the crew isn't frozen — the Captain has been in his bath since takeoff.
In The Pentagon War, humans use "submetabolic sleep" technology to endure the years-long trips between star systems. Alpha Centaurians are cold blooded creatures who naturally hibernate when the temperature falls below 5 degrees C, so the only cryonic technology they need for interstellar voyages are refrigerators.
Rene Barjavel's The Ice People (original title La Nuit de Temps — can be translated as Winter Night or The Night of Time, appropriately) has present-day explorers discovering the frozen remnants of an advanced civilization thousands of feet below the Antarctic ice. Two people are found frozen in a special chamber. The team can revive them, but only one at a time. They decide to begin with the woman because she looks healthier . . .
In Andrey Livadniy's The History of the Galaxy series, all early extrasolar colony ships had the crew/colonists placed in cryogenic chambers for the duration of the journey. Not all woke up on arrival. If the system failed to activate the revival process in a reasonable time frame, the Hugo BD 12 androids would switch to "colony survival" mode and take any steps necessary to that end, including manual activation of the waking up process. Most ships also include stasis chambers for emergencies, including escape pods.
The novel Black Moon has two characters and an android becoming these during a space battle. They are in hydroponics when the ship is hit, causing them to be doused in water and frozen when the compartment is exposed to space. Decades later, a Corrupt Corporate Executive revives them for use in an experiment. The same novel also has the same executive discover frozen bodies of previously-unknown aquatic aliens, who have been that way for 3 million years. They don't survive the defrosting process.
The Revelation Space novels are full of Human Popsicles, as they deal with a universe in which slower-than-light interstellar travel is common. Notably, they make some attempt to deal realistically with the health dangers of cryogenics, beyond outright failure. The preferred method of cryonics is called reefersleep, and it involves keeping the body close to absolute zero so not only is all biological activity arrested, but also electromagnetic activity from any neural implants they may have.
In the short story Glacial, a scientist puts himself into cryo-stasis using a (at the story's time) very archaic method, with no way to revive himself and no one else around to revive him. Luckily, he does get discovered and revived.
Spider Robinson's short story "Rubber Soul" involved John Lennon being placed in suspension literally seconds after Chapman shot him so his body could heal from the bullet wound, and reuniting with his son Julian and bandmate Paul McCartney after being thawed. While the names are never given, enough clues, references and Stealth Puns are given to reveal their identities. One notable stealth pun was the revelation that Lennon was frozen for 24 years. He died at the age of 40. "Will you still need me, will you still feed me..."
Carrera's Legions: Colonists to Terra Nova were kept in cryogenics to cut down on consumables needed for the trip between the rift and the home planets of either star system, and make them easier to handle, particularly those who weren't making the trip voluntarily.
The short story Revival Meeting has a man revived in the future, cured of the illness he had been suffering from. It transpires that the man's stock investments all failed, so he is penniless, but the visitor who explains this to him has paid for the revival process. It turns out that the visitor needs a heart transplant and the patient is to be the donor.
Allen Steele's novel Coyote features a sleeper ship with a saboteur aboard whose job it is to wake up a few weeks after the beginning of the mission and destroy the ship. The saboteur loses his nerve and changes places with a member of the crew who was supposed to stay asleep for the entire journey. This crewmember remains awake and lives out the rest of his life alone for several decades aboard the ship when the AI running the ship is unable to return him to sleep. The crewmember does leave a note for the captain explaining the situation and outing the saboteur, however.
Also by Allen Steele, A King of Infinite Space plays the Type 3 trope absolutely straight. An obnoxious 1980s rich kid is killed in a car crash. His head is deep-frozen and he is revived into a cloned body centuries in the future, on an asteroid named for Jerry Garcia. He doesn't like the society he finds himself in...
James White's The Dream Millennium has an unsettling variation: the colonists aboard the sleeper ship have nightmares in which they experience increasingly violent deaths, while in hibernation. And it's a long voyage...
Used to allow settling of Epsilon Erdani II in Helm by survivors of the destruction of Earth's ecosphere.
In Poul Anderson's "The Burning Bridge", many colonists are kept in this for the interstellar trip — they rotate.
Used in 'Dragonsdawn, with necessary crew rotating in five-year shifts.
In Runemarks, there are seven of them, the Seven Sleepers, hidden under the mountains of the same name.
In Laurence Manning's novel "The Man Who Awoke" a millionaire puts himself into suspended animation (through ridiculously easy means) and awakes in the year 5000. What is amazing about this book - written in 1933 - is that the people of the future are angry at their long distant ancestors who used up all the metal and oil, leaving them nothing. They had to rebuild society on a wood and wood alcohol based technology. The sleeper escapes by going back into suspended animation, reawakening at intervals of thousands of years to find mankind evolving, for better or worse, eventually achieving immortality. Eventually the sleeper joins a movement trying to contact a higher consciousness of which individual humans are cells.
The Souls from The Host go into suspended animation when traveling between worlds, since the trip can take up to a century.
Khan, one of the best remembered villains from the original series, was found aboard a 20th century sleeper ship in the episode "Space Seed". A Klingon sleeper ship also appeared in a Next Generation episode (here, unusually, the goal seemed to be not to allow a long trip, but to ensure there would still be Klingons around in case a war went badly).
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Humans from the 20th century who were cryogenically frozen to survive illness appeared in the episode "The Neutral Zone" (Season 1 finale).
Scotty from the original series uses a variation, as revealed in the Next Generation episode "Relics". By storing himself in the transporter's pattern buffer he skipped the intervening years until rescue by essentially not existing.
Similarly to "The Neutral Zone", Star Trek: Voyager: "The 37s" features characters from the early twentieth century in suspended animation (this time by the aliens who'd abducted them, rather than human technology). One of them turns out to be Amelia Earhart.
In a second season episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the crew find a few aliens that are in a stasis chamber years after they should have left. Janeway, being who she is, feels they must investigate.
Stargate SG-1: A number of races possess stasis pods, which can preserve a humanoid for many thousands of years. Stargate Atlantis twice touched on the fact that this form of stasis does not completely halt aging, but merely slows it down; all the frozen characters they encounter, having spent 10,000 years in stasis, have aged well past their natural lifespan and would die of old age within hours (at best) of defrosting. The same happens later with Merlin (yes, that Merlin) in an SG-1 episode.
Subverted in one two-parter episode of SG-1, when the team wake up and are told they have been in stasis, only to find it was a trick by Hathor to learn the secrets of the SGC.
Another episode has them finding a women frozen in ice in Antarctica, supposedly predating humans on Earth. She woke up when thawed. She was an Ancient, not a human, which discounts time-travel.
Lister spends three million years into the future in a "stasis booth" (a bit more complicated, as it actually froze him in time). Stasis units are used or mentioned several more times in the series, along with "Deep Sleep" units, which appear to induce some form of hibernation. In series seven, a body is found literally encased in ice, although this is apparently done by a virus in the body, with no technological assistance (no explanation is given as to how the virus does this). And in something of a subversion, the body itself didn't get preserved very well, either.
In another, they find a genuinely frozen corpsicle that originated from a prison facility. The odds of the contents are split evenly between an attractive female warden or an omnicidal mass-murderer. It turns out to be the murderer.
Knight Rider: "Knight Rider 2000"'s central premise was that, by the year 2000, criminals would be cryogenically suspended for the duration of their prison terms.
Humanity froze itself to wait out an environmental catastrophe in the serial The Ark In Space.
The Cybermen froze themselves to conserve resources in The Tomb of the Cybermen.
One other example includes Davros in Destiny of the Daleks, where he is cryogenically frozen by the Doctor until the next Dalek story..
"A Christmas Carol" has the Eleventh Doctor end up on a world where a greedy family lends money to people in return for a family member put on ice as collateral. The large part of the episode involves the Doctor and a kid unfreezing a beautiful woman every Christmas Eve for a day, until the kid grows up and falls for her. Unfortunately, she is terminally ill with only a few days left to live as shown by the counter on her pod.
In Torchwood, various characters are frozen/unfrozen in the Torchwood Hub, including someone who was dead for half the season. Presumably, those still frozen (including Jack's brother) are dead now that the Hub is destroyed as of Children of Earth.
Once featured is a stasis process which turn the future rulers of a particular planet into metal statues; during this time, they're still aware of everything occurring around them, so that when they're eventually revived, they'll have seen and heard enough of the politics going on in the building to function as effective monarchs. The statue stasis is specifically mentioned to be only safe for Sebaceans. Crichton barely survives the process the first time and would likely have died if attempted again; even the first time causes him so much pain that his statue doesn't look very "kingly," what with kneeling on the floor and screaming in agony. Interestingly, after his statue is beheaded by a Scarran, a Peacekeeper agent glues it back on, allowing him to be "revived" with few difficulties beyond those caused by his incompatibility.
The second-season finale featured a massive cryogenics facility beneath Diagnosan Tocot's surgery, where Tocot and Grunchlk store the bodies of all the patients that didn't survive their treatments. Most of them are pretty much beyond saving, and are only kept around as donors for luckier patients; unfortunately, because they're frozen before they actually die, the souls of the "donors" remain trapped in their bodies. However, one or two of the frozen residents turn out to be perfectly healthy- among them being Jool and a very irritated Scarran agent.
Firefly: When we first meet River, she appears to have been preserved in this way. However, that was for medical purposes, and she was presumably only frozen for a short period of time. Also, the Alliance was looking for a brother and a sister together, not one man with a crate.
Meanwhile in Angel, this is how Vampire Hunter Daniel Holtz came to the present: frozen inside a statue by the demon Sahjhan.
In "The Rip Van Winkle Caper", a criminal gang steals a million dollars in gold bars, then go into suspended animation for 100 years so they can spend the loot after the statute of limitations runs out. Unfortunately the gang ends up fighting amongst themselves and the sole survivor, just before his death due to exposure in the desert, finds out that gold is now manufactured, making it worthless as money.
In "The Long Morrow", an astronaut is placed in suspended animation for a long trip to another star system. A girl who fell in love with him just before he left also puts herself on ice to wait for him. Too bad he took himself off ice while in space so that he wouldn't be younger than her.
Adam Adamant Lives The title character is frozen in a block of ice in 1902 and thawed in 1966. Not only does an ordinary London hospital manage to thaw him with complete success, but his clothes don't even get wet in the process. Even the matches in his pocket still work just fine.
In Cleopatra 2525, the main character is a stripper put in suspended animation for 500 years after a failed boob job (yes, really). And in the final Cliff Hanger episode, it was revealed that so was the Big Bad. Well, minus the boob job. It wouldn't look good on him.
The 1960s British kids' puppet show Space Patrol (known as Planet Patrol in the US) had spaceships with "freezer cabinets" because, realistically, journeying around the Solar System took weeks or months.
The 1967 show The Second Hundred Years starring Monte Markham as the prospector who had been frozen in a glacier for decades.. AND ALSO his identical-looking, identical-age grandson. This trope was the entire concept of the show.
Played straight in an episode of Sea Quest DS, "Games", where a notorious war criminal is kept in a cryogenic freezer - until the freezer malfunctions, at which point everyone realizes that the killer pulled a Dead Person Impersonation by killing the prison warden and putting him in the freezer instead.
The NewsRadio "what if" episode "Space" takes place in the far future and Joe has to be revived from suspended animation to fix the reactor core. When he can't, the staff has to go into stasis (except Matthew and Bill) until the problem can be solved. Unfortunately, Matthew kicks out the plug on the stasis machines and kills them instantly.
Used to hold injured or ill individuals until they could reach more advanced medical help. This includes a few dozen Shadow-modified telepaths the crew recovers. The cryo tech is later used to sneak the telepaths past bioscanners.
An episode also involved a ship sent from Earth shortly before First Contact (and use of FTL) with a married couple in stasis chambers. Unfortunately, only the woman survives. Her husband is dead, but not due to a malfunction. Actually, he is "eaten" by an Eldritch Abomination that hitched a ride on the ship.
Wiseguy. Mark Volchek runs the town of Lynchboro, Seattle as a personal fiefdom. The OCB is sent in to investigate him, only to find that his big plan is merely to build a cyrogenic storage hospital for the entire town in order to sate his own phobia of death.
Barnabas Collins, on both versions of Dark Shadows, spent well over a century chained up in his coffin. Granted, as a vampire he could've lasted that long anyway, but due to this long siesta he had to play catch-up when freed, much like a regular Human Popsicle.
Saturday Night Live - the "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" character plays to the jury's sympathies by claiming this or that modern phenomenon 'frightens and confuses' him.
In Eureka Fargo's grandfather is woken from (accidental) cryogenic freezing. For the entire episode he's trying to figure out the 'new world' as 50 years have gone past.
Not in the new timeline, though. It's mentioned that Fargo became the head of GD in the new reality thanks to his grandfather's influence.
Xena and Gabrielle of Xena: Warrior Princess were accidentally frozen and slept for over twenty years by Ares. They stayed there.
"Bronzing" in Warehouse 13 is functionally equivalent, except the victim remains conscious.
VR 5: We learn in one of the final episodes that a character killed early on was cryonically preserved.
General Hospital built a storyline about archvillainess Helena Cassadine's mysterious experiments in a subterranean lab beneath the hospital. It turned out she had cryogenically frozen her elder son, Stavros, after his death twenty years earlier, and was preparing to "defrost" him
In the pilot episode of Better Off Ted, Phil the scientist is put in a cryogenic tube for three days. Ted says that "We froze him. Like a human leftover."
One episode of Castle has a Victim of the Week who had a monitoring system to alert a cryogenics company to collect him for freezing upon his death. This causes several problems for Castle and Beckett when the company in question abscond with the body before the police arrive.
The main premise of The Last Train, where a meteor strike is about to hit the earth causing bringing about the end of civilisation as we know it so the nations top scientists are stored as human popsicles in an underground laboratory whilst the general public is kept ignorant. The main characters are all random strangers travelling on the same train who get also get made into human popsicles when a junior scientist traveling on the same train realises she won't make it to the facility in time and activates one of the freezing devices. She initially has a hard time convincing the others of what really happened when they all thaw out.
On Fringe, the amber chemical that is used to contain interdimensional rifts sometimes traps people within it when it solidifies. The government declares people who gets ambered legally dead, but the episode "Amber 31422" reveals that the people trapped inside are in suspended animation and one person is successfully revived. In "Letters of Transit" late in the fourth season, Walter and later Peter and Astrid are revived from amber in the year 2036 after being 'frozen' for 21 years.
An episode of Lexx has a group of teenagers convince their unpopular friend to steal his father's spaceship and go for a ride. Apparently, space travel using this method requires suspended animation, so they program the timer for a year. Unfortunately for them, they mess up the programming, and the timer is never activated. They're picked up centuries later by the titular Living Ship. One of the teens accidentally lets the undead assassin Kai loose with instructions to "kill everyone". Naturally, Kai slaughters all the teens in the most graphic way possible.
Alice Cooper's "Refrigerator Heaven", wherein the POV character gets frozen until they find a cure for cancer.
I'm freezing, I'm frozen, I'm icicle blue So-o-o cold!
The song was referenced by name in Alice's later song "Cold Ethyl":
If I live till 97 You'll still be waiting in refrigerator heaven...
The narrator of James Taylor's "The Frozen Man" was subjected to an accidental version of this when he fell overboard.
My brothers and the others were lost at sea. I alone am returned to tell thee. Hidden in ice for a century To walk the world again.
In the filksong "Compound Interest" by Duane Elms and Bill Roper, the singer and his fellow astronauts not only put money away for the future like the Manticoran colonists above, but arranged for the interest after 500 years to be applied to developing FTL — as their sole property — making them richer than filthy rich when they came out of freeze 500 years after that.
Ten years from when we set the quest they found the hyperdrive, And man spread to a million worlds, and we own all but five; [italics added] For we control all commerce, any trade must be our trust, And any ship that moves must lease the hyperdrive from us!
Actually this song is a spoof of a much darker version, where the astronauts found themselves useless when they arrived at their destination because Time Marches On.
Ten years we had been on our way when they found the hyperdrive, and man spread to a thousand stars while we were half alive, and still they could not stop our ship to save us from our fate, And so we have arrived here, but 900 years too late!
The Filksong Cold Dreams By Julia Ecklar is about a Human Popsicle that will never awake, because the ship's drive system failed so it will never reach its destination.
Queen's filk-song "'39" is about a group of colonists who set out on a spaceship to find a new Earth-type world, and return after a year of ship time to find that a hundred years have passed on Earth.
Denis Leary, in the song "Asshole", claims that John Wayne didn't die, but was frozen until a cure for his cancer could be found.
Twice in the music video for "Harmony" by Erasure.
The Monkees’ 1987 music video for the single “Heart and Soul” features Davy, Micky and Peter frozen in big blocks of ice in what is meant to be the year “1967.” Fast-forward 20 years via Exploding Calendar, and it's now 1987. A group of random hairdryers suddenly melts the ice away, freeing the threesome from their frozen state. The newly unfrozen Monkees (strangely 20 years older) then venture off and romp into the "totally 80’s" world, while still believing it is the 1960’s.
Tom Smith's Hyperspace Cryogenic Insomnia Blues is about an astronaut on a space ship who's crew is all in cryogenic chambers and frozen for the duration of their flight. Only his isn't working, and he is trapped inside until they reach their destination... ten years from now.
The song "Staci Statis" by Zombina And The Skeletones is a love song about a woman who is cryogenically frozen somewhere in space.
The original plan for WWE wrestler John Heidenreich's character was that he was a Nazi supersoldier who had been frozen since 1939. This idea was nixed in favor of making him a psychopath who wrote dreadful angsty poetry, talked to his "inner child" known as Little Johnny, tried to make friends with audience members, and supposedly kidnapped and anally violated announcer Michael Cole. Only in wrestling could the Nazi thing be more tasteful than the things they actually had him do.
Another wrestling example is Wrestling Society X's Matt Classic (actually Colt Cabana in a mask), a wrestler who was supposedly in a coma (without aging!) for 40 years and uses old-fashioned, 1960s style moves such as the airplane spin, judo chop, and full body slam.
The Firesign Theater did an interview with Mrs. Foster, a woman who was going to cryogenically freeze her husband. It turns out he's not dead, not even sick - he's just fine, in fact. Mr. Foster (Call me Frosty!) joins in the conversation.
"Low berths" are common on ships in Traveller, there's a significant chance of accidents however.
Played with in GURPSTranshuman Space, people who are frozen are dead, but sometimes the brain is intact enough to extract a Virtual Ghost. There is also nanostasis, which is much safer and routinely used for interplanetary travel.
In Eclipse Phase "blank" morphs are stored on ice in "Body Banks". Cryonics was also used frequently in the early days of space travel, before Egocasting became common.
The Morrow Project. The members of the title organization had their temperatures lowered to the freezing point and were put in "freeze tubes" so they'd survive an expected nuclear war. The personnel of their main base were killed shortly after the war and the frozen team members remained in that state for 150 years until a malfunctioning computer finally sent the revival code.
Parodied in one Australian play where the crew of a Generation Ship fall into barbarity and think that the Human Popsicles are the equivalent of frozen food. When the last remaining colonist wakes up early, he's not too impressed.
"You mean to tell me you've eaten all the great scientists and engineers who were going to build this new world? Didn't anyone protest?" "Of course they did. But we ate them anyway!"
The two main characters in Crystalis emerge from suspended animation.
The opening sequence in Freelancer shows five "Sleeper Ships" pounding their way through the Coalition blockade and heading towards the Sirius sector. Only four actually make it to Sirius, as far as everyone knows. The fifth ship actually makes it, however goes off course. Its inhabitants end up becoming the two main Pirate factions within the game.
In Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, the Human colonies in Planet come from a big spaceship, the U.N.S. Unity, sent by the United Nations to build a colony in another planet, filled with thousands of cryogenically frozen people.
Crew for new ships in Homeworld are awakened from the massive bays of frozen colonists onboard the mothership. How many there are in total depends on how many you save in the second mission, up to 600,000. The manual mentions that the technology was developed based on certain Kharakian creatures that are able to hibernate for long periods of time. Maybe we should study bears.
In the Half-Life series, stasis used as a plot device when long passage of time is needed, as the game follows the philosophy that everything the main character experiences must also be experienced by the player, and it wouldn't be too popular with either gamers or programmers if they had to go through several years of mundane experiences. So far, stasis has been used three times throughout the series: Once in the twenty-or so years between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, once to depict the passage of a week in the middle of Half-Life 2, and a much shorter stay of less than a day between Half-Life 2 and Episode One. The "week" example was half stasis, half Time Travel.
The four prison/colony ships carrying the Terrans held them in cryo until landing. It's implied that the UED fleet that follows in Brood Wars used the same tech.
Many Sci-Fi-Games tend to use the more advanced and less explained variant called Stasis. In Starcraft for example it is used as a prison and offensive/defensive technique. Interestingly enough: ships in a stasis field are still able to float.
In Mass Effect, the Protheans use pods in order to survive the Reaper invasion. Alas, they forgot to stock on batteries. At least one survived, as Mass Effect 3 has an optional Prothean party member first encountered in stasis.
All of the Hero storylines so far in MapleStory (minus the Evan storyline) involve this; for the Mercedes storyline, the entire elven hometown is like this, due to its ruler being cursed. The Demon Slayer is also sealed , but in rock, not ice.
In Day Of The Tentacle, the Chron-O-Johns are incapable of transporting organic matter, which means that a hamster from the present day gets the popsicle treatment to be used in the future. Restoring the hamster requires nothing more than a microwave and a sweater that's been forced to take The Slow Path by spending two hundred years in a tumble dryer. Although the microwave is of (presumably) more advanced tentacle manufacture, and may operate differently. Laverne even lampshades this, pointing out that under normal circumstances, putting a hamster in the microwave leads to horrible consequences, and children who do that are taken away. Her monologue is also a reference to the game's predecessor, Maniac Mansion, where putting a hamster in the microwave causes it to explode. No cryogenics involved in that game, though.
Raz in Over Blood wakes up from being one at the start of the game... why he was there is the mystery.
Played straight with Jean Bison in Sly 2: Band Of Thieves. In the epilogue, he ends up frozen once again while saving some baby penguins.
Nina and Anna Williams from the Tekken series were frozen for the twenty years between Tekken 2 and Tekken 3. Nina's resulting amnesia has since been a consistent part of her character, but neither woman is portrayed as ever having any trouble adjusting to having missed the past twenty years. Indeed, the real point was presumably to preserve these two characters in their early twenties while introducing adult children of characters from the previous games. Not to mention this would keep them young and sexy. There are no female fighters on any roster that are over the age of 25 physically. Yet we have an old man who is over 100 and still fighting.
In Project Eden has a character frozen in time for 15 years, he manages to get though the situation (His release) with apparently minimum confusion and headaches despite the fact that one of his daughters is now an adult (and part of a futuristic police force)and the other daughter has gone mad and started making monstrous freaks and selling drugs.
In Street Fighter III, Remy's ending shows him checking on his deceased older sister, who is encased in ice.
Samus' gunship in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption includes a cryostasis pod built into the pilot's chair, presumably because of space restrictions on the amount of oxygen, food, water, etc. the ship can carry. The Federation also uses cold stasis to transport nasties like Metroids, Phazon and the like, with predictable results.
In a late part of the game Space Quest 5, Roger Wilco is forced to freeze his love interest to protect her from a mutagen that is slowly turning everyone in the story into melty-faced mutants. Being a Sierra adventure game, there's plenty of ways to screw up the freezing process, which kills her and Roger via temporal paradox. (His future son, born by her, saved his life in the previous game.)
Space Quest 2 ends with Roger putting into cryo sleep when his escape pod's life support is almost depleted leaving the pod floating in space until Space Quest 3 begins.
The entire world gets popsicle'd during the grand finale of Ouendan 2. The bad ending has the eponymous cheerleaders encased in ice... and looking cheerful for the first and only time in the entire game... for some reason.
Used in the space horror chapter of Live A Live as a Good Morning, Crono for the main characters. The cryo pods are used later on in the story to freeze the wounded crew members until they can get to an earth hospital. Unsurprisingly, things go Very Wrong.
Final Fantasy VIII features the sorceress Adel, who was frozen and put into space years before the game began.
Crystal stasis in Final Fantasy XIII functions like cryonics, complete with transforming into an ice-like statue. ...Wait, what? You mean that's not how it works in real life? Oh...
Similarly, in Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth's true body was discovered to be in stasis within a mako cocoon in a manner similar to cryogenics.
The player character in Infocom's Suspended is one of these. Unlike most examples, he is still partially conscious (his mind is used to control most of society's required tech), and is totally woken up (but still frozen) when a major crisis occurs.
Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta has plenty of those, an original Samurai, a cowboy, 20th century army medic & more — all frozen, and some don't defrost that well. RIP, Mr. Astronaut...
Bug! has the Abominable Snowbug boss, first seen trapped in a large block of ice (presumably frozen during the ice age). He breaks out as soon as Bug walks a few steps.
Stasis is available in Dead Space 2, both in ice and time stop versions. There are frozen dead bodies of Unitologies and stasis beds to preserve critical patients. There is also the suggestion that Isaac has been in and out of stasis during the two years after the events of Dead Space.
In Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, four graduate students are missing in a weird blizzard, and when you find them, they've each been turned into one of these. It's an abbreviated form of the trope, though, since they're only in that condition for a few days at most.
In a similar situation in Mystery Trackers 3: Black Isle, a character spent a couple days or so in a frozen state after running afoul of the villain's mental abilities. A plain old heat lamp thawed him out just fine.
X-COM: Terror From the Deep gives us alien popsicles. Most of the aliens were kept in cryogenic sleep chambers for thousands of years. You can even find some of these in Alien Colonies and Artifact Sites.
Snowball, the 1983 text adventure game from Level 9 Computing, starts with the POV character thawing out.
The in-development game 0x10c begins with the player character awakening from stasis, billions of years too late.
Alien Legacy starts with the seedship UNS Calypso arriving to the Beta Caeli system after traveling for many thousands of years (according to some calculations). The crew has been on ice this whole time. You start with only a small portion of the colonists with the remaining ones still frozen due to lack of livable space and resources. As you build up your planetside colonies and ship colonists from the Calypso, more are awoken. A random even may happen that will kill the still-frozen colonists due to a malfunction if you're too slow in waking them up. Imagine the colonists' surprise when they found out that another seedship (launched 16 years later) beat them to the punch by 21 years thanks to advances in fusion.
Flashback ends with the protagonist escaping the destruction of the alien base on a small spaceship. Since he has no idea where he is in relation to Earth, he puts himself in cryosleep until his ship is found. The sequel Fade to Black starts with him being found and woken up half a century later by the same aliens.
Pokémon Black 2 and White 2: Ghetsis tries to do this to the PC so he or she will be forced to watch Ghetsis Take Over the World. The PC is saved at the last minute by N pulling a Big Damn Heroes. Still, this is one of the darkest and most ruthless things ever pulled in a Pokemon game, barring the second Mystery Dungeon story.
BioForge: The surviving remnants of the Phyxx alien race are cryogenically frozen within their base.
Civilization: Call to Power: Cryogenic freezing chambers eventually become an option once you research the appropriate technologies. In addition to their normal benefit of boosting gold output, they also provide citizens of a Theocratic government a happiness boost as your televangelists claim they allow you to experience heaven and return. Derive from that what you will.
Cryostasis is used extensively in WildStar, primarily to preserve precious resources by freezing non-essential personnel. Admiral Serrick Brightland, patriarch of the Exiles faction, is also on ice till they can find a way to heal his grievous injuries.
Noriko and Gunbuster are thawed out of a block of ice Third Super Robot Wars Z: Jigoku-hen. It's suggested that she's a survivor of the previous civilization (of fire; The current civilization is that of the sun) which was destroyed 12000 years ago. Kazumi is missing but probably somewhere in this world too. Her last memories are of detonating the BM3, and when she looks at a photo of Kazumi, it's of her with short hair.
The third version is used in Eternal Journey: New Atlantis. The game starts Twenty Minutes into the Future when archaeologists discover the ruins of an Atlantean temple on the ocean floor. The protagonist is a female archaeologist who travels with her husband Michael, a deep-sea diver, to the site. Michael installs a pressure dome to allow her to study the temple without scuba-diving. However, after she recovers a strange locket, a beam of light shoots into the sky, breaking the dome and flooding the site. The protagonist suffers irreparable damage to her brain and is placed in cryo-stasis. She is found and revived two centuries later. Earth has become a Crapsack World due to increased solar activity, but an extensive system of alien ruins is found on Mars very similar to the Atlantean ruins. Naturally, by the time she arrives to the base, something horrible has happened, and she has to figure out what. In the end, the diver whose path she's following turns out to be Michael, who has suffered brain damage attempting to rescue her from under the water and was likewise frozen. They were revived independently from one another, and each thought the other one was long dead. They flee Mars in an alien starship that takes them to a habitable world. Presumably, this new world is humankind's salvation.
Out There starts with the protagonist waking up from cryosleep to discover that he is not, in fact, near Jupiter, as expected but in a remote star system. Luckily, there's some sort of alien device in space that gives you the plans for a space folder. To build it, you need silicon, and the only way to get it at this point is to dismantle your cryochamber. If you run out of fuel and/or oxygen without anything onboard to replenish them, then you get a Non-Standard Game Over with a message that your Player Character is entering a stasis chamber... even if your ship doesn't have one.
Visual Novel Ever17 does this, involving an extremely elaborate plan to give the game a happy ending. The main character ends up waking up from Cryogenic storage to find he has two teenaged children almost as old as him, the result of a brief fling he had just before he got frozen. He takes this surprisingly well considering (they are very cute kids). He's also in denial.
In Virtue's Last Reward, this happens to Clover, Alice, and Phi, who were put into cryogenic stasis for 45 years so that they could participate in the third Nonary Game in 2074. This also happens to the real K in Phi's ending - since Sigma and Phi were able to go back into the past and save Akane, she put K into a stasis pod so that she could use his armor to play the Nonary Game while pretending to be him.
In Freefall, almost all space travel beyond one's current star system is done in "cold sleep". FTL travel is very expensive and takes weeks to months, and there's not enough space for life support systems.
It's also at least hinted that the DAVE (Dangerous And Very Expensive) FTL drive actually reverses relativity, so that the trip appears to take longer from the point of view of the travellers, making cold sleep essential.
In Schlock Mercenary, the (real) Gav Bleuel put himself into suspended animation in the 21st century, and is later awoken (after being found in a disused storage locker) in the 31st, where he is accidentally duplicated nearly a billion times and becomes the largest single ethnic group in the galaxy.
Tessa was once put in a walk-in freezer after some guys mistook her for a corpse, thanks to the same implants that enabled her to survive.
In Madness In A Box, there's Gertie — originally the daughter of a pirate, and now being cared for by a psychiatrist. She's reckless, rowdy, and terrified of modern technology. Especially noisy technology, like vacuum cleaners and washing machines.
Averted with Caveman of The Time... Guys, who is in the modern era because he befriended Dr. Chronos on the latter's first time... adventure. When Doc needed an intern, Caveman was his first choice for the job.
In the first Rooster Teeth Short, Burnie and Geoff attempt to send Shannon to the future via this method. In the last episode, Shannon returned and convinced them, as well as Matt and Joel, to travel to the future via the same method to help save the human race by adding to the gene pool. Although it actually turns out Shannon's planning to send them to Antarctica instead for revenge.
Bianca Holloway in The Gungan Council was frozen for thousands of years before Darth Apparatus revived her.
Yvon of the Yukon features an 18th century French sea-captain who becomes frozen into an iceberg and revived in modern times
Futurama: Fry is thrust into the year 3000 when he falls into a cryonic pod. We later find that his girlfriend, Pauly Shore, "Weird Al" Yankovic, and That Guy had all undertaken the same process (the last of which was frozen to survive terminal boneitis — his only regret is failing to get it cured while he had the chance.).
Of course, we later learn it wasn't an accident that Fry was frozen. The Nibblonians would need Fry in the 31st century in order to defeat the Brain Spawn, but without freezing him Fry would be dead long before he was needed.
In Gargoyles, Goliath and the other survivors of Clan Wyvern were placed into stone sleep "until the castle rises above the clouds" and reviving atop the tallest skyscraper in the world about 1000 years later.
Batman: The Animated Series: Mr. Freeze himself was not cryonically preserved, but his condition and powers resulted from an 'accident' while cryonically preserving his wife.
Parodied in the episode "Prehistoric Ice Man", in which a man is discovered frozen in ice, is successfully thawed... and turns out to be from the unthinkably ancient year 1996. For those of you who haven't seen the episode, it's from 1998. Further parody and Rule of Funny is invoked when the man returns home... only to find that his wife moved on and found a new husband which she has a biological child with that's 13 years old.
Later, in the tenth season episode "Go God Go", Cartman tries to freeze himself in the snow on a mountain top to avoid having to wait the last three weeks for a new video game console. An avalanche covers him and he isn't found and unfrozen for 500 years, awakening in a Buck Rogers parody. He is eventually sent back in time, but several weeks before the episode starts, forcing him to have to wait even longer for the video game console.
Avoided in an episode of Justice League Unlimited, where the ship and body of The Viking Prince, frozen in a glacier for a thousand years, were the MacGuffin... but it was the genetic material of the dead body they were interested in, with the possibility of the Prince's survival never even being raised.
Omi uses the "Orb of Tornami" with his particular ice incantation to freeze himself into the future twice in Xiaolin Showdown. This makes him, technically speaking, the oldest character to appear in the series, and also the youngest looking. In a show where the most powerful goodies and baddies never age, that's an achievement.
In the episode "Radio Bart" Bart uses a walkie-talkie to imitate a child trapped in the bottom of a well. When nobody can offer a solution to rescue the boy, Prof. Frink suggests that the town use cryonics to freeze him so he can be rescued in the future. Poking fun at the trope while combining it with patented SimpsonsBystander Syndrome humor.
Jasper Beardley tries to cryonically freeze himself to see the future in the Kwik-E-Mart's freezer section. He woke up after just a couple days, but still thought it was the future when he saw the store was selling Moon Pies. (Well... technically he's right)
Another episode took place twenty years in the future, and revealed that Mr. Burns had been frozen by Smithers, and he would only be thawed "the second they discover a cure for... seventeen stab wounds in the back."
Smithers: How are we doing, boys? Professor Frink: Well, we're up to fifteen!
Mr. Burns' lost teddy bear also ends up frozen in the Arctic for some 40 years.
Another future episode when Homer puts Grampa in a cryonics facility to prevent a disease from killing him. The cure was discovered, but he kept him frozen because it's cheaper than a nursing home and Grampa has constantly been rude to him.
Sponge Bob Square Pants had an episode with Squidward being locked in the Krusty Krab freezer and not let out for 2000 years; he ended up in a parody of the Shiny Future (literally everything was chrome) filled with SpongeBob clones, and ended up in a fetal position screaming "Future!" Lucky for him, by this point in time people have perfected time-travel, and Future-SpongeBob directs him to a time machine that will take him back to his own time — but not before accidentally leading him into the can-opener.
Narrowly avoided in Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century: Lestrade is convinced that Moriarty somehow survived his "death" at Reichenbach Falls as a Human Popsicle, but Holmes eventually finds a very dead Moriarty still entombed in the ice — but a tiny drill-hole into the ice prompts Holmes to deduce that their adversary is actually a clone of Moriarty. Of course, Holmes's insistence that the new Moriarty could not have been the same man, reanimated, is a bit odd in light of the fact that Holmes himself was transported to the world of the future when his own well-preserved corpse, which had been packed in honey (a reference to Holmes's retirement as a beekeeper) after his eventual death, was reanimated and rejuvenated by a bunch of Applied Phlebotinum. Probably because he was there, to make very, very sure Moriarty was Deader than Dead, not Only Mostly Dead. (And did the deed himself.)
Duck Dodgers' title hero, according to the theme song and certain episodes, was one of these. The members of Megadeth were apparently frozen as well.
ThunderCats: The ThunderCats used a hibernation system to make the long trip to Third Earth. Though we are told that this slowed but did not stop their aging, Lion-O's capsule malfunctioned, and didn't inhibit his aging, making him a child in an adult body.
Skyfire in the cartoon version of The Transformers got the "frozen in ice" version, while all the Transformers aboard Ark and Nemesis were the "suspended animation" variety and survived thanks to their millennia-long lifespans. The Ark and Nemesis crews were knocked into a coma-like stasis lock after both ships crashed... and didn't awaken until the volcano the Autobot ship crashed into erupted and jarred the ship's computer active, four million years later. This is also an example of the trope working in reverse, as the crash happened shortly before Earth's post-dinosaur Ice Age.
The stories from Cro are told by a former Mammoth popsicle, who is somehow able to not only talk, but talk perfect late-20th-century American English.
The premise of Yvon of the Yukon is that Yvon was a French explorer of the new world, who got lost and ended up in the Yukon, where he fell overboard and was frozen for 300 years, to be released when a dog pees on him.
On Jimmy Two-Shoes, this is the eventual fate of every member of the Henious family. As Lucius VI put it, "Every time there's an argument, someone gets frozen."
Bump in the Night used this trope not with ice but with fear. In one episode, Bumpy and Squishy wanted Molly to play Hide & Go Freak with them, and they managed to scare her so much that she went stiff. She was faking it.
Family Guy: On a trip to the future, Stewie finds out that they unfroze Walt Disney... only to have him freeze himself again after learning the Jews are still around.
Stewie also once did it to himself in order to get back from the 16th century after a time travel mishap.
Longshot's Cryocrypt in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. A bit of an audience sucker punch in that two of the Rangers have family who are locked away in it. "Lord of the Sands" also mentions that early human colonies used Sleeper Ships.
In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, "Modern Primitives", Billy finds Fred Flintstone frozen in his backyard. Afraid of the modern world, Fred froze himself with ice cream. When unfrozen again, he found out Billy accidentally got himself frozen trying to have some of the ice cream.
In Robotix, the inhabitants of the planet Skalorr froze themselves underground to survive a catastrophe. Afterward, their central computer determined the world had been rendered uninhabitable. Rather than leave them all frozen forever, it transferred the minds of a few of them into the titular giant robots. They weren't expecting this, and were not pleased when the woke up in their new bodies.
In The Godzilla Power Hour, the Calico finds a World War I German sub frozen in ice. They have Godzilla thaw it out with his flame breath so they can study it. They are understandably surprised when the crew wakes up, thinking the war is still going on, and attacks them.
In Superman: The Animated Series, Supergirl aka Kara Zor-El and the rest of her family entered cryogenic stasis in an attempt to weather the devastation of their planet wrought by the nearby Krypton's destruction. Sadly, when Superman found them, Kara's pod was the only one still working. The other pods were damaged and had long ceased functioning, their occupants long dead.
Gravity Falls has Quentin Trembley, the 8 1/2 President of the United States who tries to preserve himself in peanut brittle for 150 years. And it worked, too.
In the third JimmyTimmyPower Hour, A.J. hated so much the idea of being Surrounded by Idiots (it came to the point he got an award declaring him "only genius in town" and said award described Dimmsdale as "City of Idiots") he froze himself. He was thawed out soon after by Chester but spent a good deal of the episode thinking he was in a distant future and his brain was making him hallucinate about the time he left behind. So much for the only genius in town.
Master Shake of Aqua Teen Hunger Force proposes that the he and his teammates freeze themselves in cryochambers for nine years under the assumption that crime will be so rampant in the future that they will have a much easier time finding work as detectives. Only Shake winds up going through with the plan and he finds that opposite has happened.
In another, Carl has been infected by a virus that's slowly turning him into a clown. When Frylock can't come up with a cure, he freezes Carl solid and decides to just wait for medical science to advance to the point where he will be curable. A flash-forward into the future then shows Frylock and Shake as senile senior citizens who've completely forgotten about Carl and have been using his still-frozen body as a coat rack. At least until it tips over and breaks.
Not exactly with ice, but in one episode of Oggy and the Cockroaches, Oggy discovers a gun that can freeze people, which he uses it on the cockroaches. When the cockroaches were thawed out, they find themselves in the future, where Oggy and Jack became elderly. Later, at the end, they use it on Oggy and Jack, who then woke up even further into the future, where the cockroaches were old too.
The common wood frog has freeze tolerance: it survives freezing temperatures with ice nucleators regulating ice formation as well as massive amounts of glucose as a natural anti-freeze. Though the frog is frozen, the glucose helps prevent "freezer burn" - cellular damage caused by ice - that would essentially kill anything. When warm weather returns, it is dependent on a chemical reaction that should restart its heart, thus recirculating fluids and returning the frog to life.
Tardigrades, small invertebrates approximately one millimeter in length, can enter a dehydrated state and survive without food or water for over ten years. As for the "frozen" half of being a popsicle, they can be chilled to 1 Kelvin (that is, one degree above absolute zero) for a few minutes and survive. And this doesn't even touch on their other abilities, such as surviving being put in the vacuum of space and directly exposed to the Sun.
The well-funded work in cryobiology is mostly in preservation of organs for transplant. Recent successful transplant of frozen pig's liver means that some major breakthrough apparently has been achieved.
Related: a number of ocean fish which live in the Antarctic region have a natural antifreeze in their cells. The fish themselves remain conscious (at least, as conscious as normal fish), but the antifreeze they use is both the subject of actual research for coldsleep and a frequent explanation for it in science fiction.
Cryonic suspension is a service you can buy right now! The catch: Nobody knows how to freeze and thaw a person without killing them, so you have to be legally dead before it can be done to you. And it's somewhat expensive; it'll cost you or your life insurance company tens of thousands of dollars. On the plus side, the technology, and indeed science, to revive you might exist someday. Is being Only Mostly Dead instead of dead for good worth it? Your call.
Often overlooked is the fact that it's not a fountain of youth. If you are frozen after dying of old age and happen to get revived, you are still old. It's just a matter of time before you succumb to other natural causes that haven't been cured yet.
Minus the coming-back-to-life part, nature has created some very well-preserved mummies of early humans and hominids this way. Not the least of which is Ötzi the Iceman, who was frozen in the Alps over five thousand years ago.
The Alpine Weta from New Zealand anybody? (Where do you think Weta Digital got their name?) freezes into a block of ice, comes the spring...
This happened to Jean Hilliard of North Dakota. She was frozen stiff, but was as good as new when she thawed out.
A famously bizarre Urban Legend states that Walt Disney was frozen and placed under the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Besides Pirates of the Caribbean, it can be the castle and Matterhorn which are popular locations people claim he's in. He was actually cremated (which, if you think about it, is the opposite of this trope).
While you can't exactly go on forever, if you do happen to find yourself drowning in ice cold water, the temperature allows your brain to be deprived of oxygen longer. There have been cases of victims being underwater for almost a half hour and revived. There's a saying to this effect, namely that nobody is dead until they're warm and dead.
The world's largest virus, Pithovirus sibericum, was found in a 34,000-year-old ice core harvested from permafrost in Siberia. Thankfully, it only infects amoebae.