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Twenty Minutes into the Past
The Doctor: The past is another country. 1987's just the Isle of Wight

A work that is shot so that it looks like it happened sometime in the years before it was actually filmed, often right around the time that the target audience were kids. It's not a historical piece related to some specific event, person, or story written in that time and thus specifically tied down, but it may have a specific date attached just to increase realism or allow for Establishing Shots so you can imagine the mindset of the characters (for instance, the Cold War mindset is used now in works set in that time period even if the story has nothing to do with it; a similar phenomenon has occurred concerning 9/11). It may be tinged with nostalgia, or maybe the props were just easy to pick up at a secondhand store. In recent times, this can be to avoid the plot-destroying parts of modern life, such as mobile phones and social media like YouTube and Facebook.

Vaguely related to Twenty Minutes into the Future, but without the Applied Phlebotinum. Compare and contrast Next Sunday A.D..

Depending on how much time passes in-universe during the series' run, a show that starts off in the Present Day may become this.


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  • Dave the Barbarian: While the show is initially set in a Theme Park Version of the Middle Ages, Ned Frischman, a character that comes across a time traveling device thanks to a heap of Deus ex Machina, is from the year 1994.
  • Once every few seasons, The Simpsons do an episode of this.
    • They had one from the turn to the '70s, which featured Homer as a teenager, trying to date Marge. It featured bell-bottom pants and a Volkswagen Mini Bus.
    • They had one from the turn to the '80s, which featured Homer & Marge as a young couple with baby Bart. To set the date, Marge had a throw-away line about the latest episode of M.A.S.H.
    • They had one from the '90s that was a 30-minute Affectionate Parody of that decade. It had Homer & Marge in college, with Homer in a generic Garage Band and Marge with a '90s Jennifer Aniston haircut.
    • Of course, being a Long Runner operating on Comic Book Time, The Simpsons features Negative Continuity when it comes to deciding just which era is currently Twenty Minutes In The Past. If one considers a suitable timespan for this trope to be the last two or three decades, say, then a lot of that period by now falls within the period the show has actually been running in Real Life.
    • Examples include "The Way We Was", "That Nineties Show", "The Way We Weren't", "Lisa's First Word", etc.
    • The third act of "The Wettest Stories Ever Told" is a retelling of The Poseidon Adventure set in the not-so-distant past.
    Homer: It was a dark time for mankind, a time when madness and ignorance ruled... the 1970s.
  • Family Guy. In "Meet the Quagmires", Peter and Brian travel back in time so Peter can relive life as an 18-year old.
  • Western Animation/Recess: While made in, and set during the 90s, when the 2000s rolled around, the show stuck around in the 90s.

  • Yume-Hime is set in 2010, but started in 2014. According to the annotes, the date the story starts is actually the date it was first conceived.

Space Age StasisSettingsTwenty Minutes into the Future

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