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"You're just like Indiana Jones; a role played by Richard Dreyfuss in our universe!"
Alternate History Artie Ziff, The Simpsons, "Treehouse of Horror XXIII"

This is a fictional counterpart of Richard Nixon, the Used Car Salesman — in Alternate Universes, your favorite books, movies or music might have never been created or may be different, sometimes even beyond recognition.

When the creators actually did the research, this may be based on What Could Have Been. It may also be related to Celebrity Paradox: In the fictional universe, actors who play the main characters usually don't exist, so other people took their other roles.

Or sometimes it's just done for sake of making a funny pun on a popular real-life work's title.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Alan Moore likes playing with this trope. The existence of superheroes in Watchmen and Top 10 leads to superhero comics never gaining popularity; instead, pirate and Slice of Life stories take their place. In particular, the pirate comic that features prominently in Watchmen is meant to represent what Moore himself imagined he'd be writing in this universe instead of Watchmen. (It also plays off a real example of what could've been — right before the formation of the Comics Code, EC Comics attempted to start another trend with Piracy, a new title full of swashbuckling yarns; true to form, Gibbons's fake cover drawn as "Walt Feinberg" for the story, down to the Feldstein-esque signature — and occasional EC artist Joe Orlando's contribution to Issue #5 — are very much in the publisher's typical style.)note 
    • Also in Watchmen, Ozymandias hints that film serials never went out of style in this world. He uses "Republic serial" as shorthand for "corny and cliched", the way we would use "comic book".
  • Block 109: The series, which is a (temporary) Alternate-History Nazi Victory setting, actress Zarah Leander became successful in Nazi Germany just like in Real Life, but she did action propaganda movies like "Ritter Germania Against the Red Beast" instead of the dramatic and Femme Fatale roles she had in real life.
  • Ex Machina: In the series, created by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris, the main character considers hiring Vaughan and Harris to make a graphic novel based on his life, but decides to go with Garth Ennis and Jim Lee instead. Also, one of the first major clues as to where the protagonist's strange powers come from? A reveal that there have been radio transmissions received that feature unreleased/unproduced B-sides of famous musicians.
  • Marvel Universe: This has been something of a longtime Running Gag, mixed with Celebrity Paradox. Marvel Comics exists in-universe and often publishes semi-biographical comics about The Avengers and other heroes, but many of their works bear little resemblance to “reality” (i.e., what you see happen in the real life comics). Some are officially licensed out by the heroes and those are somewhat accurate, but heroes with secret identities can’t file copyrights without exposing themselves, so the ones about them are often made without their consent and completely false, as Marvel doesn’t have to worry about getting sued for defamation or copyright infringement. This has all led to situations where lawyers will occasionally try to use comic books as evidence in court cases about superheroes, which rarely ends well.
    • The real world Marvel Comics once did a special Fifth Week Event where they released some examples of those in-universe comics; some are actually pretty good, while others are laughably bad.
    • For added metafictional fun, the in-universe Marvel Comics has lost the rights to Captain America comics, which are now owned by a small company which gets bought by one of Cap's big fans. Back when Cap’s identity was still a secret, he briefly took a job at said comic company and ended up drawing comics about himself, much to his amusement.
  • Red Dwarf Smegazine: One issue is set in a universe where they're remaking Red Dwarf for an American audience. A parody of the failed Red Dwarf USA pilot but more like an American sitcom.
  • Spider-Man: In Spider-Geddon, when Spider-Gwen is called in, she guesses the emergency might be that they've cancelled Brooklyn Eight-Eight.
  • Wisdom: Rudiments of Wisdom: Austin Powers' mom is biased towards the Welsh in Goldmember, instead of Austin's dad.
  • Wonder Woman Vol. 2: During "The Witch and the Warrior" Wonder Woman's fight with a brainwashed Superman takes them past a billboard advertising the Broadway musical the Phantom of Gotham, complete whith a white mask and red rose on a black background.

    Fan Works 
  • The setting of Dæmorphing has the same works of fiction as the real world in The '90s, but all the characters have daemons.
  • In the Infinity Crisis story "Distant Cousins", several discussions reveal that in the Earth-38 of Supergirl (2015), Greedo shot first and fans are upset it was changed to Han doing so; the later Star Wars sequels actually used the Star Wars Legends continuity but fans likewise upset at it being too much history for casual moviegoers and a "fresh start" would have been better; their version of Game of Thrones had the character of Lady Stoneheart; The Hobbit was a single movie instead of a trilogy; and the fourth Indiana Jones movie had Indy dying in the first ten minutes and being replaced by his long-lost daughter who takes his name.
  • The objective of MediAvengers, especially with the two very different movies covering the same Battle of New York. One is a big action movie directed by Michael Bay with Nicolas Cage as Iron Man (a role he actually had considered in our universe), the other is an indie thriller by David Fincher, ironically casting Edward Norton as Bruce Banner (reversing The Other Darrin Mark Ruffalo).
  • In Multiverse of Madness: Clea Cut, when Peter Parker, Doctor Strange and America Chavez are displaced to Earth-717, when Peter learns that his local counterpart is involved with the local version of Wanda Maximoff, he compares the idea of him being involved with his Wanda like that to how Luke must have felt about kissing Leia on Hoth after Return of the Jedi, but 717-Peter comments that they kissed on more planets than that, suggesting that the Star Wars films have different plots in their respective worlds. Later, when 616-Wanda is manipulated by Clea into dreamwalking into her 717-counterpart, 616-Peter confirms that this is "his" Wanda by quoting from Wicked, as he and Wanda saw the show just before Strange made contact and having already confirmed that Earth-717 doesn't have that show.
  • TL-191: After the End takes diversions from the major events to talk about cultural artefacts from this world. Highlights include:
    • The "Space Opera" genre, which is opera that's set in space, becomes popular in the 1980s, with popular titles such as The Cantina Band, Scum and Villainy and Trade Route Taxation.
    • Swing music experiences a revival in the form of Hollywood Stomp.
  • In the nuclear-powered future of Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space there's an advertised kaiju movie Greenzilla (created by the evils of alternative energy) and a documentary Who Killed The Gasoline Powered Car? A popular weekly serial The Y-Not Files has two stalwart G-Men seeking to debunk the lunatic conspiracy theories spread by the evil Marijuana-Smoking Man. A Beast Man is writing a sci-fi story about a shapeshifting alien disguised as a man who stumbles into a camp of huskies in Antarctica and starts taking them over one by one; it's called Who Grows Hair? There's also a movie starring secret agent Julian Bashir called From Risa With Love.
  • Discussed in What Tomorrow Brings. Ax wonders if the new timeline's version of The Young and the Restless has different plots.
  • In A Saga of Parallel Worlds, the version of Sonic Jam is an original Sonic game that is in color and still controls horribly.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Anno Dracula:
    • Johnny Alucard opens in The '70s with Francis Ford Coppola in Transylvania, shooting a Troubled Production of Dracula that stars Marlon Brando as Dracula and Martin Sheen as Jonathan Harker. Other movies are mentioned throughout the book, often bankrolled by Alucard: Bat*21 and Top Gun are both about the US Army's vampire soldier project; The Rock has a completely different story because Alcatraz is still operational as a vampire prison, and so on. The sixties Batman series is unchanged, although reference is made to the fact it pretends the very real Batman isn't a vampire.
    • In the same story, Orson Welles has been commissioned to direct a movie that starts with Dracula's death and features a reporter investigating the secret behind his final words- "Rose's Blood". The plot kicks off when someone realizes the same guy is producing all these new Dracula movies.
    • Earlier, Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha included a section about the phenomenon of Alternate History novels, popularised by Bram Stoker's famous book where the Count lost. I Am Legend is about Dracula settling in America instead of Britain; Big Brother is about the Communists taking over the UK in Dracula's wake; and A Dance to the Music of Time is a very subtle one; it takes some reading before you realise it's set in a universe where there aren't any vampires at all!
    • Dracula Cha Cha Cha also has a subplot in which an Italian film company is making a version of Jason and the Argonauts starring Kirk Douglas, Orson Welles (as the ship), Fritz Lang (as the voice of God), and Clark Kentnote .
    • Despite the above reference to Batman, in Daikaiju, Adam West is apparently known for playing a character called "the Monk", presumably a version of the villain from "Batman Versus the Vampire" (Detective Comics #s 31-32). In 1992, Michelle Pfeiffer played Bat-Woman in The Monk Returns.
    • Also in Daikaiju, there are multiple movies about Christina Light, Princess Casamassima and ruler of a Japanese Fantastic Ghetto called the Bund since 1899, including one set in World War II playing off the Bund's status as "neutral territory", simply called Casamassima. There's also a brief reference to Nezumi being a fan of the Britcom The Vampire of Dibley.
  • In the Cityverse, there are Cities, the humanized personifications of cities of sufficient population and identity. As such, the destruction of cities is presented as much more horrific than in our world. Cities can also only be killed with fire, so many fictional firebugs have been changed (Fantastic Four's Johnny has lightning powers, for instance). Also, the City of Atlantis still exists, so there's hardly any mystery about the city of Atlantis.
  • In Diane Duane's Star Trek tie-in Dark Mirror, Captain Picard, while impersonating his Mirror Universe counterpart, finds copies of that universe's version of Shakespeare and Homer in his quarters. In the Mirror Iliad, Achilles kills Priam when he comes to plead for the return of Hector's body, while in the mirror version of The Merchant of Venice, Shylock gets to claim his pound of flesh. (Macbeth, on the other hand, is pretty much the same.) There's also a Mirror Bible, but Picard is afraid to even pick that one up.
  • Discworld:
    • Moving Pictures has CMOT Dibbler get the idea for a romance movie he intends to call Blown Away. It also features a movie-in-making where a man in a lion costume is telling another character the movie is about following a yellow sick toad.
    • A recurring theme in the second and third The Science of Discworld books is making sure the right works get written, because otherwise humans don't make it off Roundworld before it's "snowball time". In the second book, humans suffered a lack of imagination because William Shakespeare never existed, and stunted versions of his plays were instead written by Arthur J. Nightingale ("I'm nae listening to them, they've got warts!" - The Short Comedy of Macbeth). In the third, scientific progress was halted to some extent when Charles Darwin wrote Theology of Species. (Or when Charles Darwin never went on the Beagle at all, and his place was taken by Preserved J. Nightingale, who went on to write Watches Abroad.)
    • While talking about the development of life on Earth in The Science of Discworld, they also say that intelligence appears to be a useful enough trick that something would develop it sooner or later, they speculate that if sentient crabs had evolved on the Earth in humans' place, three of them might be writing 'The Science of Dishworld'', about a bowl-shaped world that's carried on the backs of gigantic marine invertebrates.
  • In the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures, Fitz has assembled a collection of parallel universe Beatles records, including "Feel the Love", their Live Aid song.
    • The Past Doctor Adventures novel, Devil Goblins From Neptune mentions that Paul McCartney had left the Beatles and two new members called Billy and Klaus (probably the already Beatles-adjacant Billy Preston and Klaus Voormann) had joined by 1970. Meaning the the band lasted longer in the main Whoniverse as well.
  • In Early Riser, famous works of theater like Romeo and Juliet and Agamemnon have slightly altered plots that reflect the fact that humans hibernate during the winter. Both the Zeffirelli's film adaptation and Baz Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet are mentioned, in the context of how the respective directors handle Romeo's awakening in Spring (expecting to see Juliet beside him but finding the desiccated corpse of his beloved instead). James Bond is also slightly different in that it's titled "Jane Bond".
  • Harry Potter: Dudley Dursley had a Playstation in the summer of 1994, suggesting that in the world of Harry Potter, the Nintendo-Sony partnership went through and their proposed collaborative console was released as planned. (The real explanation actually being that author J.K. Rowling was unaware the Playstation was not released in Europe until September of 1995.)
  • In The Hollow Places, the protagonists are exploring a Portal Crossroad World and find various artifacts from worlds very like our own. One of them is a Bible with different books: they're unsure about whether the Book of Judith belongs (it does, but only in Catholic Bibles), but Lamentations is translated as "Sorrows", there's a Book of Saul and five Letters to the Thessalonians.
  • Idlewild by Mark Lawson has John F. Kennedy surviving his assassination attempt in Dallas and winning a second term as President. Thirty years later, there's a mention of Oliver Stone making a movie titled LBJ, about "The best President we never had".
  • A Tim Pratt short story called "Impossible Dreams" runs with this, with the protagonist discovering a video store from an alternate timeline, with all the differences that come with it (and all the difficulties that come with actually renting, buying and *playing* the movies, since the movie-playing technology in that universe is different and so, for the most part, is the monetary and credit system). Among the many differences include the survival of the full cut of The Magnificent Ambersons (but on the downside, Hearst prevented the release of Citizen Kane), Tom Selleck being Indiana Jones, The Breakfast Club having a sequel, a John Wayne WWII movie about the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands, and a famous female film director named Sara Hansen who doesn't exist in our timeline. The woman who is the store's cashier is just as fascinated at the differences as the protagonist is. There are numerous other differences too. David Lynch directed Return of the Jedi which was even darker than The Empire Strikes Back. Ron Howard directed a film adaptation of Ender's Game. George Raft starred in Casablanca and the film did not include the iconic final line "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Bela Lugosi lived longer and starred in several other Ed Wood films. After the Citizen Kane footage was destroyed, Orson Welles (who was still alive in the mid 2000s) made a film based on Jason and the Argonauts. The Death of Superman, directed by Tim Burton and starring Nicolas Cage, was produced. The same is true of the Harlan Ellison scripted version of the Isaac Asimov classic I, Robot, which won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Conversely, Dr. Strangelove was never made. Based on the evidence of the aforementioned John Wayne film, the protagonist Pete attributes this to the atomic bomb never being dropped on Japan. However, Stanley Kubrick did live long enough to complete A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Pete wanted to see Kubrick's version "without Steven Spielberg's sentimental touch turning the movie into Pinocchio." Total Recall (1990) was written and directed by David Cronenberg rather than Paul Verhoeven. The Terminator starred O.J. Simpson as the title character and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Kyle Reese. Clark Gable did not play Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind but it isn't revealed who did. Jessica Tandy (who originated the role on Broadway) played Blanche DuBois in the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire instead of Vivien Leigh. One of the few films that is the same in both universes is It's a Wonderful Life, which still starred Jimmy Stewart. When it comes to these parallel universe films, Tim Pratt really shows his work.
  • The Last Day of Creation by German author Wolfgang Jeschke. A couple of time-traveling Americans realise they're from entirely different futures (thanks to the meddling caused by their time travel) while discussing the works of Mark Twain.
    "I've read his A Gringo Across the Empire in which he mocks Maximillian the Second, and A Yankee at King Arthur's Court, in which he ridicules the monarchist clique and the sycophantic clergy of the Hapsburg Empire..."
  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick contains an alternate 1960s California controlled by the Japanese after a defeat of the Allies during WWII. There is mention of another alternate reality, apparently revealed to an author who writes a book about such an alternate in which the US does not lose WWII. This is slowly revealed not to be "our" alternate, but one dreamed up by the writer, and of no special significance.
  • In the short story "News from the Front" by Harry Turtledove, a 1942 issue of Variety features an article about the recently announced MGM anti-war film The Road to Nowhere which is designed to protest the United States' involvement in the Second World War. The film's stars were "two famous comedians and a gorgeous girl," namely Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour.
  • Regularly played with in the Nightside series, where many stores offer items from alternate histories. This includes alt-history media works, such as Beatles rap albums, pornographic versions of Agatha Christie mysteries, and Orson Welles' epic Batman movie Citizen Wayne.
  • In Kim Newman's "The Pierce-Arrow Stalled", Fatty Arbuckle never made it to the party that led to Virginia Rappe's death. Among the results, The Hays Code never happens. While a lot of the same movies (at least in title and plot) are being made, they're very different in content.
  • In one of the many parallel universes featured in Outrageous Fortunes: A Novel of Alternate Histories by Steven W. White, Return of the Jedi was still entitled Revenge of the Jedi and George Lucas based much of its action on Kashyyyk rather than Endor and had the Wookies rather than the Ewoks help the rebels destroy the second Death Star. Chewbacca even had a love interest! It seems these were part of Lucas' original plan for the film.
  • Resurrection Day, by Brendan DuBois, is set in a United States that has become a military dictatorship after the Cuban Missile Crisis turned hot. JFK is blamed for having started the war, but at one point an alternate history fiction is mentioned that proposed what would have happened to US history if he'd evaded the crisis. Needless to say, there's no out-of-the-blue event involving him being assassinated by a lone gunman.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Ruled Britannia, some of Shakespeare's plays got different titles, at least. One of his major hits there was Prince of Denmark. He's also noted to be working on Love's Labours Won, whose plot is notably changed to accommodate the Catholic hegemony. The plot centers around two new plays he writes: King Philip, a tribute to the late King of Spain who conquered England, and Boudicca, which sparks a rebellion that drives the Spanish out of England. While he wrote King Philip more or less under orders from the Spanish authorities, he did put his full energies into it, and later asks that it be performed.
    • Incidentally, Shakespeare apparently did write a play called "Love's Labours Won", though it was lost. There's also a Boudicca play from the same period, but it wasn't written by Shakespeare.
  • In the Presence of Mine Enemies by Harry Turtledove, which takes place in a world in which Nazi Germany won World War II, features an alternate history take on The Producers and its Broadway adaptation. There is mention of a new musical in which a theatre owner books a dreadful, tasteless play about Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin as part of a plan to cheat his investors, only for the play to become a smash hit.
  • In the Sandman Slim series, there's a video library where you can hire films from alternate timelines. Not much detail is provided, but it's mentioned that their two most popular titles are a version of Apocalypse Now with Harvey Keitel in the Willard role (in our world, Keitel was fired after a week of shooting and replaced with Martin Sheen) and Buckaroo Banzai Versus the World Crime League, the never-made sequel to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.
  • Small Change. Several references are made to a science fiction novel titled 1974.
  • In A Study in Emerald, the protagonists at one point go to see a series of plays, each of which is a real play slightly altered to be more politically correct for a world where the Great Old Ones have returned; The Comedy of Errors (but with elements of a different play mixed in), The Little Match Girl (but she sells flowers instead and all the Christian bits have been edited out), and a historical play about the day when the Old Ones arrived (which features a “happy” ending where a priest is beaten to death with his own crucifier).
  • In Swellhead, one of the signs that the characters are slipping into an alternate universe is that the hero finds a copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey written by Ray Bradbury.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191, Sam Clemens' daughter reads Louisa May Alcott's After the War Was Lost, Armstrong Grimes mentions Humphrey Bogart starring in a movie called The Maltese Elephant note , and an American actor named "Marion Morrison" becomes famous for playing Theodore Roosevelt on-screen.
  • Thursday Next: Thursday recognises Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Nemo mentions only appearing in one novel, which means that Jules Verne never wrote The Mysterious Island in this world.
  • In the short story "Trans Dimensional Imports" by Sharon N. Farber, two versions of the same physicist in two parallel universes who can only exchange information have been making good money trading and publishing popular books that exist in one universe but not the other. They are discussing attempting to scan black and white movies. It turns out that in the "other" universe, Casablanca was a flop starring Ronald Reagan, who is best known over there as the voice of Charlie on Charlie's Angels.
  • A World of Difference by Harry Turtledove depicts a world in which Mars does not exist. Its place has been taken by Minerva, a larger planet which is closer to the Sun and has a breathable atmosphere. In the 1950s, a low budget science fiction film Invaders from Minerva was produced. The zippers on the costumes worn by the actors playing the Minervans could be clearly seen. The title is a Shout-Out to the 1953 film Invaders from Mars and the description constitutes an Affectionate Parody of 1950s sci-fi films.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, we have Rescuing Private Renfall, a reference and homage to the movie Saving Private Ryan starring James Dean. Dean also starred in The Battle of Chicago, a depiction of an in-universe battle between the US Army and invading Space Lizards paralleling Stalingrad.
  • In Worm the world the story is set in has to contact with an alternate reality, a fact which is introduced when the protagonist watches the alternate versions of Star Wars episodes 1 and 2. Her conclusion is that "they were still pretty disappointing".
  • In The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Orson Welles succeeded in making his film adaptation of Heart of Darkness.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Everyday Chemistry is an album of mashups derived from songs created by the members of The Beatles during their solo career, with the central conceit being that it's actually an album from a parallel universe where they never broke up.
  • Postmodern Jukebox has elements of this, covering modern popular and classic rock tunes in older styles ranging from 20s Swing to 50s Motown with everything in between and a little beyond. Appropriately enough, the mind behind the band, Scott Bradlee, got the idea from his past work on BioShock Infinite.
  • The video for Rex Viper's "Nintendo Power Of Love" has The Angry Video Game Nerd playing the Back To The Future NES game. After getting frustrated, he goes back in time and blows up the LJN Toys factory. In the new timeline he goes to see Back to the Future in the cinema which is now like the terrible game with Marty collecting clocks and throwing them at bees and girls with hula hoops. The Nerd goes back again to stop himself blowing up the factory. The video ends with a Delayed Ripple Effect bringing the game back but making The Nerd and the rest of the band fade out of reality.



    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS Infinite Worlds, set in a world with regular cross-dimensional travel, includes a list of "alternate bestsellers" that were brought home from other Earths. These include a complete Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens, an account of the WWII invasion of Japan by Admiral Robert Heinlein, and a biography of Fidel Castro's years as a pitcher in the American League.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • has a few pop culture-fueled timelines where a lot of movies\TV shows\albums get different. The non-pop-culture focused timelines also often mention how films etc. have changed as a result of the Point of Divergence.
    • Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72:
      • The timeline periodically refers to which films won that year's Academy Awards. At first, they're mostly the same films as our timeline, but as the years go on and changes accumulate, more and more different films appear—often reflecting the different influences from the changes in the global situation.
      • The timeline mentions changes in television: For example, Gene Roddenberry made Star Trek: Phase II, and All in the Family had a different arc based on the increased poverty in this world's version of the United States.
      • Star Wars was never made after George Lucas died in a car crash.
      • According to Roger Ebert, the fourth Dirty Harry movie featured "A washed-up old quarterback who couldn't act," because Clint Eastwood was sick and tired of creating racist propaganda. There's also an in-universe 1984 film.
      • Wall Street changes drastically.
      • Back to the Future is heavily changed by the political climate and various other butterflies-for starters, Biff and George work at the local telephone company, (which is important later) but besides that, everything goes as planned, save for a 1980s "brick box" cell phone hidden in Doc's car, which is a Camaro this time. However, the movie has a very tragic ending- George ends up with the phone, and the timeline's communication technology advances ridiculously fast, making the McFlys incredibly rich-but at the cost of Marty not existing. The filmmakers confirm that it was a dig at the current political climate, especially its historical revisionism.
      • Pale Rider is different, as is The Coca-Cola Kid, which, in the American cut, features the protagonist getting the local eccentric committed to a psychiatric institution and claiming his current assistant is a Communist spy. Someone was trying to write a message about the current political climate there...
    • Look to the West: No media after about the 1760s is the same as our timeline's. Periodically examples of literature, art and music are discussed. One major change is that, because Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart became a military leader rather than a musician, classical music has not had the influence of his works. Architecture is also very different: the alternate French Revolution favored utilitarian buildings rather than neoclassicism like OTL, so neoclassical architecture is less discredited, and increased trade with India and China means there is a fashion in Europe in the 1820s for emulating Oriental styles of architecture. Speculative Fiction, here known as paracthonic romance, has different traditional tropes and genre boundaries. For instance, what OTL would consider hard sci-fi is instead considered a branch of speculative romance (i.e. alternate history) rather than scientific romance (i.e. science fiction).
    • A World of Laughter, a World of Tears: Due to the increasing conservatism of President Disney's America, many filmmakers and musicians flee to Europe, leading to a much different pop-cultural development. Orson Welles encounters Ed Wood, hires and befriends him, and films a version of Faust, which becomes a massive success; the Quarrymen are a jazz-fusion combo; Motown takes off in England...
    • That Wacky Redhead was the original pop culture timeline — it starts with Lucille Ball not selling Desilu Studios to Paramount, and continues with the accumulating changes from there. They naturally start out on television.
    • A Giant Sucking Sound: This timeline focuses a lot on popular culture, specifically how the events of the timeline influence it. Sam Raimi directs the Star Wars prequels, which become critically acclaimed, George Lucas and Christopher Nolan make a film adaptation of Metal Gear Solid, Hayao Miyazaki produces a film of Barefoot Gen, etc.
    • Player Two Start has Nintendo and Sony managing to work out their differences over the Super Nintendo CD addon, leading to, foremost, an altered console war where Sega is still a major player. It also has a side effect of causing major butterflies in the other entertainment fields, namely comics, movies, and children targeted productions.
    • Dirty Laundry: An Alternate 1980s has a focus on music, starting with Don Henley's first album being a flop because that song doesn't get recorded. This goes on to affect not just music but TV and film, including the invention of an entirely new mashup musical genre.
    • A directory for Pop-Culture TLs has been established.
    • Reds!: A Revolutionary Timeline has the Star Wars films be released in numerical order, and the Empire is more overtly fascist. There's also a Franco-British film called American Girls are Easy starring Rosanna Arquette and Neil Gaiman. The Hamilton of this universe is instead about Emma Goldman and the Second American Revolution.
  • The Dom Reviews Lost In Adaptation episode for Twilight ended with Dom saying the movie would be vastly different in a parallel universe where they'd gone with the early concept where the FBI chase the Cullen's in jet skis. He then pulls out a Rick and Morty portal gun to visit this universe, he comes back saying the movie was interesting but in that world humanity is enslaved by koalas so it's not worth the trade off.
  • Team Star Kid's Movies, Musicals and Me is set in a universe where every popular movie ever made has been adapted into a musical, including The Godfather and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-1756, a DVD player that causes any film played in it to be replaced by an episode of Siskel & Ebert reviewing it. If the film hasn't been reviewed on the show, it plays a new episode with the critics reviewing it as they normally would, even if the film came out after their deaths. The device works on non-movies as well, and there are episodes of Siskel and Ebert critiquing television shows, video games, music CD's, books on CD-ROM, and live news broadcasts (including Gene Siskel's memorial service) as if they were theatrically released fiction films. Word of God suggests a distraught Siskel and Ebert fan created it as a gateway to another universe, possibly the afterlife.
    • The Spanish language version of the site features this with SCP-ES-061, (also in English) a VCR that distorts movies and television shows played with it based on What Could Have Been. The effect works on non-fiction works as well, such as the documentary about Carthage winning the Punic Wars.

    Western Animation 
  • Bojack Horseman has many opportunities to explore this, since the characters live in Hollywoo and work in or adjacent to the movie industry. This Hollywoo is in an Alternate Universe where some actors are Funny Animals, meaning some movies differ wildly from the versions we know. And others, inexplicably, are almost exactly the same.
  • An Inside Job (2021) episode has timeline alterations turn the movie Kazaam, starring Shaquille O'Neal, into Shazaam, staring Sinbad, referencing a real Mandela Effect phenomenon with the film.
  • Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty likes to exploit his interdimensional cable and trips to enjoy the many different movie variations he can watch, so much that there's been two episodes dedicated to this as an A or B plot. Lampshaded in "Morty's Mind Blowers" when he apologizes to the audience for not doing a third episode about interdimensional cable instead of letting Morty see all the embarrassing memories he chose to forget.
  • The Steven Universe episode "Steven vs. Amethyst" reveals that the GameCube is called the Dolphin in that world, its real-life codename. The series does this a fair bit, as it's suggested that pop culture in their world is subtly off in a lot of ways.