troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
X
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
The Future Will Be Better
"Hi, welcome to the future. San Dimas, California, 2688. And I'm telling you, it's great here! The air is clean, the water's clean, even the dirt... it's clean! Bowling averages are way up, mini-golf scores are way down. And we have more excellent water slides than any other planet we communicate with. I'm telling you, this place is great!"

A trope Older than You Think, that of a story that informs us the future will not be full of doomsday scenarios or nightmarish dystopias, but in fact the time when all troubles will be behind us. Or, at the very least, the future will hold less burdens than that of the past.

It could also be more personalized, where the characters we've been following (or at least some of them) can at least look forwards to a better tomorrow.

This is somewhat of a generational/cyclical trope in some ways: Science Fiction in the optimistic post-WWII era in the U.S. featured easy travel to other planets, flying cars, the triumph of democracy and universally-recognized human rights, etc. Around the late '60s and '70s, dystopic scenarios became increasingly common, however usually there was a hero who successfully undermined the dictators or exposed the dark secret that deceived the people, and the dystopia was overcome (Logans Run, Soylent Green possibly with the hero's publicly-proclaimed end reveal; later, The Running Man). Around the '80s and '90s dystopian Crapsack Worlds would often stay dystopian Crapsack Worlds, with the drama centering more on heroes (or Anti Heroes) dealing with life as best they can and maybe accomplishing some bit of good in the process.

This trope is especially popular in religions. Most of them promise some sort of salvation or enlightenment for their followers if they just keep on believing in the Second Coming or whatever positive future might be coming.

Politicians also love to promise a better future when they get elected. No Real Life examples are needed.

Compare I Want My Jetpack and World Half Full, where someone longs for this to be true and where a person or group of people try to invoke this respectively. Grass Is Greener likewise can deal with characters and their delusion that that place or time that isn't now and here is always going to be better when they get there.

Contrast Older Is Better and Nostalgia Filter. Also related to Society Marches On.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • "Fate" in Magi: Labyrinth Of Magic is a force that moves the world towards a better future for people in general. However, individual people can really get screwed over by Fate and suffer horribly. The main bad guys like to track these people down and give them the ability to fight Fate—to the detriment of everyone around them.

     Comic Books 
  • Transmetropolitan's Spider Jerusalem, despite being a violently cynical misanthrope, genuinely believes this. He just wishes that it would happen FASTER.
    Spider: The future is an inherently good thing. And we move into it one winter at a time. Things get better one winter at a time. If you're going to celebrate anything, then have a drink on this: The world is, generally and on balance, a better place to live this year than it was last year.

     Literature 
  • Many fairy tales revolve around poor people whose lives turn out better afterwards.
  • In The Pendragon Adventure books the original version of Third Earth, which is Earth in the 51st century, is practically perfect. It's an idealistic paradise where the humans are entirely happy, and all of knowledge and history is easily available. However, it becomes much worse once the timeline is changed.
  • Andromeda Nebula is the paramount example of this in the Soviet Science Fiction literature, and it also started an enduring trend that many later novels followed, e.g. Noon: 22nd Century. Sadly, the process of Deconstruction began upon this trope almost as soon as it became popular.
  • From the New World: After the Crapsaccharine World's society goes to bust, Saki and Satoru know that their future will be better for their child.
  • Discussed in part three of Monday Begins on Saturday: Privalov time travels into the fictional future of mankind, as imagined by his contemporary sci-fi writers, and finds it split by a giant wall in two halves: the "World of Humane Imagination" (falling squarely under this trope) and the Grim Dark "World of Fear of the Future".
  • Averted in the third book of The Indian in the Cupboard, when Patrick, a boy from the modern day, tells Ruby Lou, a cowgirl from the Wild West, about the future. He tells her all about the great improvements in medicine, long distance communication, automobiles... but then she asks if there are any drawbacks and he admits the future has its own share of problems: pollution, overpopulation, and nuclear weapons.

     Live-Action TV 
  • A central premise of the Star Trek franchise is that technology and science makes life better. This is among the reasons Star Trek: Insurrection is a bit of a Base Breaker, as it leans more towards Ludd Was Right.
    • Although technically Star Trek is more "the future will get worse before it gets much better", as seen in Star Trek: First Contact.
  • In season 4 of Fringe, Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham are always looking forward to their perfect future in which they will raise their daughter and life will be peachy keen. Those who have seen season 5 know their future is quite the opposite...

     Music 
  • See also Pep Talk Song
  • "The Future" by Sparks. In the future fun is fun / In the future lots of sun...
  • The "Carousel of Progress" at Disney World has the song "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" (which was also covered by They Might Be Giants for Meet the Robinsons).
  • The Donald Fagen song "I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)" was named for the International Geophysical Year, a series of international collaborations of scientists from many disciplines that ran from 1957-58. The song captures the Postwar optimism reflected in those times and the promise of wondrous technological marvels to come:
    The future looks bright
    On that train all graphite and glitter
    Undersea by rail
    Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
    Well by seventy-six we'll be A.O.K.

    What a beautiful world this will be
    What a glorious time to be free
  • The song "The White Cliffs Of Dover" by Vera Lynn was written and recorded during the Second World War, when Lynn's assuration that "tomorrow, when the world is free/ just you wait and see" gave many Britons hope that the hardships of the war would be over one day.
  • "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance" by Frank Zappa from We're Only in It for the Money sings that there will come "a time when everybody who is lonely will be free to sing and dance and love/ there will come a time when every evil that we know will be an evil that we can rise above" and "even take their clothes off when they dance."
  • "The Miracle" by Queen concludes with the lines: "One day you'll see/ a time will come/ when we will all be friends."
  • "One Day I'll Fly Away" by Gillian Welch also lifts the hope that despite all the miseries of today there will come a time when the protagonist will be able to escape from it.
  • "We Shall Overcome" by Pete Seeger is perhaps the greatest example of this trope. Originally used for the Afro-American civil rights movement it has now become "the" rallying song to unite activists for a common cause.
  • "Tomorrow Is Mine" from the film Cabaret expresses faith that the future will belong to the protagonist.
  • Bob Marley also wrote a lot of songs giving hope for a better future, "No Woman, No Cry" from Natty Dread, being the most famous example, where he comforts a woman with the assuration that "everything is going to be alright". On the Live Album Live this moment is even greater, because you hear the crowd cheer when he sings that line. "Hallelujah Time", "Get Up Stand Up", "Small Axe" and "Put It On" from Burnin' are songs that fall under this trope too. Positive Vibration on Rastaman Vibration also has a positive message.
  • Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin' sings about a society all kinds of inevitable upcoming social changes in society occur, but it's sang in a comforting and enthusiastic manner, so that the listener can hardly wait until they happen.
  • John Lennon's "Mind Games" from Mind Games shows that despite man's mind games "love is the answer and you got to let it grow."

     Theater 
  • The end of Uncle Vanya has Sonya delivering a monologue to her Uncle about how though their life sucks now, it will be better in Heaven, and they will finally get to rest.

     Visual Novels 

     Web Originals 
  • The It Gets Better Project is a series of web videos by LGBT and "straight but not narrow" adults aimed at LGBT youth to promote the message that life will get better, even if it's really tough now. The project is aimed at cutting the suicide rate for LGBT young people.

Feudal FutureWe Will Not Use an Index in the FutureWe Will Have Perfect Health in the Future
Future SlangTime Travel TropesGet Back to the Future
For Science!Romanticism Versus EnlightenmentGood Republic, Evil Empire

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
22636
33