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When the future doesn't seem all that futuristic and different from what a modern person would be used to, a setting may be stuck in Modern Stasis. Maybe a show that's mostly about family life in the present day has a Flash Forward, Time Skip, or Distant Finale and gets in way over its head. Maybe a science fiction setting bears an uncanny resemblance to the present day despite being set way more than 20 Minutes into the Future. In any case, things change much less than they really ought to.

Often happens during a Distant Finale. Not to be confused with Next Sunday A.D., where the time gap is realistically short, or Space Age Stasis, where the future is futuristic but doesn't change much when the work jumps further into the future. Compare with Medieval Stasis, which is more common in fantasy settings. Contrast with Pac Man Fever, in which the work is set in the present but technology, especially video games, seems to have remained unchanged for decades. The polar opposite of The Singularity. Usually goes hand in hand with Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale, No New Fashions in the Future and Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better. Zeerust is when past depictions of the future looks dated now.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Aquarion Evol supposedly takes place 12,000 years after Genesis of Aquarion, but you'd never know from looking. There's nothing that looks any more advanced than what they had in the first series.
  • Although Cowboy Bebop takes place in a setting where mankind has developed hyperspace gates and terraforming technology, many of the cities built on other planets (especially Mars) feature architecture that would not be out of place in the late 20th century on Earth. Automobiles look pretty much the same as they do now; most of the weapons seen on the show are actually real-world firearms; electronics are dated, by modern standards.
  • Dragon Ball: At one point, the protagonists venture into a pirate hideout that's been abandoned for centuries in search of a dragon ball. The location features mechanical cranes and submarines, and the ball ends up behind an advanced security system featuring a guard robot. Similarly, in a flashback explaining the origins of Demon King Piccolo 300 years ago, he's shown blowing up cities made of skyscrapers. For contrast, the present day in the dragon ball world is closer to 20 Minutes into the Future, having flying cars and capsules that can shrink and carry anything, but otherwise normal amenities of modern life. Still, the disparity is less than it should be for the amount of time elapsed.
  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! takes place in 2051. However, aside from some slightly more advanced technology and some implications that Japan has become more racially diverse, it doesn't seem all that different from any other story set in The New '10s.
  • The setting of My Hero Academia seems only slightly more futuristic than the present day despite being a good four or five generations ahead, at least. What advancements do exist seem to be linked to the training and equipping of heroes. In-Universe, it's theorized that the societal upheaval caused by the sudden appearance of Quirks (the official name for superpowers in this universe) delayed the development of new technologies for a while until people got used to the new status quo and things settled down. There are some who believe that, had Quirks not appeared, humanity would already be in space.
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero is implied to take place in the 2300s however it's not noticeable at all. Technology is more-or-less the same as modern Japan (they even still use smartphones) and fashion is the same.

    Comic Books 
  • The Amory Wars takes place mostly in a, while in the distant past, very futuristic setting with spaceships and interplanetary war, yet most of the early comics appear to be set in what has the distinct appearance and much of the technology of an early 21st century suburb.
  • The comic book Good As Lily from DC's short-lived Minx imprint is very guilty of this. An 18-year-old girl meets herself at age 80, and she acts, talks and dresses just like an 80-year-old woman of today even though she comes from 62 years in the future.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The "Kim tells her story" Framing Device in Edward Scissorhands. If the main plot is set in a stylised version of the mid 1960s, and Kim is around 18, she was born in the late 1940s: therefore the frame, in which Kim is elderly, must take place well into the 21st century, probably in the 2020s or so - certainly long after the film was made in 1990. Yet, if anything, it looks rather old-fashioned even for 1990; it's not really differentiated at all from the main Sixties setting.
  • Intentional in Idiocracy. Technology, fashion and culture haven't advanced for half a millennia because humans have become too stupid to improve anything and barely keep things functioning as they are.
  • In Time takes place in 2169, when genetic engineering has allowed all humans to stop aging at 25. In order to avoid overpopulation, all people must, essentially, work to stay alive. Time literally becomes money. The rich can live forever, while the poor live day-to-day. Those who "time out" suffer a heart attack and collapse dead. Certain wealthy characters are mentioned as being at least a hundred years old. This means that this started, at least, in the mid 21st century. However, nothing much changes in terms of technology, besides genetic engineering. Guns, cars, and the buildings still look the same. The poor still use pay phones. Not a single flying vehicle is shown, though, even regular old airplanes.
  • The simulated world within The Matrix looks exactly like the modern world before the robo-war. This is on purpose. The Architect explains that the original version of the Matrix was different but human minds rejected it. Only by creating a virtual copy of the familiar did it succeed.
  • In Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, the 70 years later Distant Finale of Michele's dream has little technological difference from 1997, aside from the use of a Video Phone.
  • Another Tim Burton film, Batman (1989) (and to a lesser extent, its sequel, Batman Returns) shows Gotham City not changing all that much even after twenty or thirty years have passed. It's mostly the technology and the cultural stuff, but there is also the depressing fact of continued crime and corruption in the city, which only seem to have gotten worse with each decade. (Of course, this is sadly often Truth in Television.)

  • Kenneth Bulmer's The Secret Of ZI takes place nearly 300 years after the Earth was conquered by Human Aliens, but everything seems exactly like the date it was written. Partly justified by the aliens having prohibited all techological advance in order to keep their superiority, but this doesn't account for the total lack of cultural change, even on the most superficial level of slang and fashions. Of course this is because the plot (a resistance movement preparing for an interstellar counter-attack at sublight speeds) requires a delay of centuries, but the author didn't want the distractions of inventing a future world.
  • Played with and justified in the Tomorrow War trilogy by Alexander Zorich, which takes place in the 27th century, when humanity has already colonized several planetary systems. While the culture and society on Earth are suspiciously similar to our present, a mysterious phenomenon known as "retrospective evolution" causes human colonists in remote planetary systems to revert to cultural norms of ancient societies. Two such societies are shown - Concordians, who are emulating Zoroastrian Persians, and Great Muromians, who are emulating pagan East Slavs. In the third book it is revealed that the earthlings were also affected by that phenomenon and were reverted to... the late 20th century.
  • Orson Scott Card:
  • The Napoleon of Notting Hill: The '80s are exactly like the present of circa 1900 (when the book was written). There are a few social changes (all small nations have been annexed by one of a handful of Great Powers, Britain is ruled by something close to a total despotism with the despot appointed at random off an alphabetical list, etc), but there has been zero technological progress. Justified in the foreword where Chesterton explains a game played by humanity called "Cheat The Prophet", in which the common men listen to what the clever men say the next generation will be like, then go and do something else: since the only thing nobody in the 1900s had guessed was that nothing would change, nothing did.
  • In Lensman the protagonist at one point needs to run auxiliary systems on a spacecraft without the use of "atomics". The power source of choice is a large Diesel generator. Not long after that writing, and still today, fuel cells were the primary way to generate electricity from fuel on spacecraft.
  • Earth in the Old Man's War series by John Scalzi. There still seems to be TV, Time Magazine, Newsweek, etc.. The Colonial Union keeps all the very high tech to itself and reminds Earth of this via an orbital elevator that should not exist via the physics they know.
  • Drew Magary's The Postmortal is about the consequences of a single very important discovery: an immortality serum. Over the following decades, this has huge effects on culture, but scarcely anything else seems to get invented during that time. Thematically justified, at least, as it reflects the sense of aimless stagnation people tend to experience after having their ages frozen by the serum. Eventually, the stasis is broken as civilization backslides into barbarism as resources are stretched beyond their limits by overpopulation.
  • The Gbaba, hostile aliens in the Safehold universe, are suspected by the human race (whom they are busy wiping out) to be stuck in this; evidence suggests the Gbaba have seen few, if any, significant advances in technology for centuries or more; one example given are the warships; one captured warship was built at least two thousand years earlier. It is otherwise identical—software, computers, weapons, sensors—to a recently constructed warship.
  • Downplayed in the Novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture written by Gene Roddenberry (or at least with his name as author) talks about how a lot of the people on Earth are “New Humans” who have evolved to be more peaceful, less driven, and mentally calmer. Then you have people like Kirk who still use family names, still are willing to use violence, still have inner demons to drive them on…
    • Subtly referenced in the 2009 reboot, with Pike's description of Kirk possessing an adventurous spirit that Star Fleet has mostly lost ("act first, ask questions later").
  • The Time Machine: Modern (Victorian) society remains the same for hundreds of thousands of years, resulting in humanity evolving into two different species along class lines.
  • In Vladimir Vasilyev's The Big Kiev Technician, it is the year 368,764, but everything looks like it has at the end of the 20th century, except that many cities are now Mega Cities. The world is, inexplicably, also populated by fantasy races like elves and dwarves, although the short-lived humans are still the majority. Nothing has changed in at least 10,000 years (according to records), and most people forgot how things work. Technicians and scientists are the societal elite, as they know the "formulas" for taming and operating machines. Machines themselves are also somehow alive, or at least perceived that way. Nothing in the book explains how things got to this point. The ending of the book signals the End of an Era of stagnation where most of the "tamed" machines shut down in the presence of manufactured ones, starting the age of rediscovery and progress.
    • The short story collection Big Kiev Witcher includes more high-tech things like Spider Bots and deadly security fields that won't harm children or witchers.
  • Wasp (1957): For a planet settled by an interplanetary alien empire from the future, Jaimec's technological level is pretty much on par with 1950s Earth (the novel was written in 1957). It might be a tad justified, because Sirians are stated to be technologically inferior, but still.
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob): While both technology and culture have advanced, Bob is surprised at how little. The technological advancements are purely practical, to the point that no one seems to care about the physics-breaking subspace except as a basic method of propulsion. Some of Bob's basic programming skills are seen as incredible by the scientists working with him. Bob theorizes that FAITH had a hand in keeping things from advancing too much; Dr. Landen mentions that some factions want to eliminate all technology past steam.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica used this, and the flashbacks to the pre-genocide Colonies showed it more prominently as the series went on.
    • Somewhat justified on the ships. BSG itself was a 50 year old military vessel. They deliberately point out that they use old, unnetworked computers because the technology was too vulnerable to Cylon attacks, and robotics was obviously abandoned after the wars. The bare-bones existence on a battleship wouldn't be likely to have many other obvious technologies. Their medical technology doesn't seem any more advanced than ours, but this is 150,000 years ago, and not all technology develops at the same rate.
    • Strangely, its short-lived prequel series Caprica seemed as advanced as the later Colonies were (with technologies we never saw in the original BSG series), but had a completely different visual aesthetic, looking something like a futuristic version of the 1930's/40's. It seems to be implied that after the First Cylon War (which takes place after Caprica), the Colonial government outlawed many of the more advanced-looking technologies we see on the series, such as computer networks.
  • In Dark Shadows, when Barnabas and Julia travel to 1995, there are no noticeable changes in costume or technology.
  • Sometimes, but by no means all the time, happens in Doctor Who.
    • Humans will be wearing typical clothes of today, talking in typical accents of todaynote  and using traditional vehicles and guns, even as far into the future as year 100000000000000 - although it is stated humans have evolved into beings of gas and back and more in this time. Maybe they just happened to be at exactly our level of technology again by that time.
    • Another example is an episode where Great Britain owns a city sized starship in the distant future, propelled by a space whale, and yet features fairly normal early 21st century looking rooms in at least some areas of the ship.
    • On the other hand, episodes set in the future do usually have some futuristic element like energy weapons (that resemble modern guns) and advanced tech...though the humans also tend to wear more or less modern clothes.
    • At least the speech can be somewhat explained- the TARDIS' translation matrix automatically translates anything said or read into the user's language of choice, and some cultures do have unique methods of speaking or acting.
    • Also, the Time Lords themselves. Despite being Sufficiently Advanced Aliens way up the Kardashev Scale, there seems to be radically different Technology Levels on Gallifrey itself. On the one hand you have Magic from Technology, to the point where if they pull out all the stops the Time Lords could destroy the universe if they wanted to. On the other hand, when the Daleks invade Gallifrey in "Day of the Doctor" regular Gallifreyan troops fight back with standard Ray Guns that are no more powerful than what far less advanced civilizations field. Meanwhile, the High Council is plotting an ascension via a paradox that will destroy the entire universe and turn the Time Lords into high-level Energy Beings and the Doctor has strolled into their weapons vault and made off with what is described as a "galaxy eater"... There seems to be no middle ground. Time Lord technology is either extremely mediocre or else so far off the charts that if they use it on you then you shouldn't even bother to write a will because there will be nobody left to ever read it (and it will never have existed in the first place anyway).
    • One possible explanation for the disparity is the sheer length of the war has potentially shredded all the advanced technology, with Gallifrey itself being under sustained siege, meaning that there's potentially nothing else left to fight with. As one of the commanders states, they've used all the weapons in what was once the forbidden weapons vault, until the General corrects him and tells him they haven't used the Moment - the one that the Doctor has just stolen. Given that the Moment is not just a galaxy eating superweapon the size of a small box that could casually wipe out the two most powerful races in the universe, but is also entirely sentient with an atemporal perspective, a conscience, and utterly terrifying raw power, there is an entirely justified fear that it will judge its user. The Doctor's the only person crazy enough to even try using it.
    • It's also worth noting that the Capitol based Time Lords were always a bit snobbish about everyone else, and by this point the High Council (i.e. Rassilon) tended to view everyone else as expendable Cannon Fodder.
  • Forever: When Sarah and Andre meet, everything about the setting suggests that it takes place in the 2010s. However, maybe 40 years later, when Andre is 70 years old and goes to an open house looking for Sarah, nothing seems to have changed.
  • GARO has started to have this. The original 2005 series and other installments featuring it's cast can be generally assumed to be set in the year of release, but as the franchise has continued this has lead to other series set later in the timeline featuring a world identical to the time they were produced. And while the 4th series and it's spin offs were set only some 20-30 years later, the 3rd series and it's spin offs are set unknown years after that, and aside from occasionally featuring advanced technology in one specific area, still seem to be the modern day, and that series spin off, Kami no Kiba Jinga is believed to be set long after even that, and yet technology still remains the same.
  • Mostly true about the Distant Finale of Mad About You, though it is implied that the lowest-common-denominator of pop culture has dropped and the world is on its way to becoming a crapsack.
  • In Stargate Universe, it is revealed that, due to a Timey-Wimey Ball, duplicates of the Destiny crew ended up on a habitable world 2000 years ago and were forced to establish a colony. While they had to do everything from scratch, lacking the necessary tools to construct anything beyond rudimentary housing at first, multiple Time Skips show that the Novus colonists advanced pretty fast and had a decent-sized town (with modern architecture) within 3 generations. Time Skip again to modern day. The Novus society has grown and expanded, but does not look much more advanced than modern-day Earth. Yes, the colonists had to struggle to start, but they had a huge head start with technology and science (admittedly, they do manage to cure several diseases that we still can't), so they should have advanced much further than what we see.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Rifts goes back and forth on this. In the setting a great apocalypse happened in 2099 and the game is set 200-300 years after that (they aren't sure). It is implied that lots of the advanced technology that isn't supplied by aliens or extra-dimensional merchants is actually salvage from the 2099 era military equipment that survived the apocalypse (or reproductions thereof). Which is not this trope, however Rifts also frequently has military equipment from the turn of the 21 century be equally effective (usually with a Hand Wave about replacing the armor plates). The idea that all this equipment that is cutting edge in the writer's modern era would be hopelessly obsolete in 2099 let alone against giant alien mecha is stridently ignored.
    • There are Arleigh Burke and Wasp class Destroyers alongside Ohio Class Submarines in the Coalition Navy. All three are described as being the pinnacle of Warship design before the Apocalypse in 2099, which arguably isn't true *today*.
    • An adventure focuses on a A-10 Warthog that someone has gotten working which worries the powers of the area
    • Weapons dealers sell A-1 Abrams tanks right alongside futuristic hover-tanks with plasma canons (for similar prices).

    Video Games 
  • The industrial revolution in the world of Arc the Lad happened 1000 years prior to the first episode, yet appart from a few gadgets used by the Romalian military, technology never went beyond the level of the late twentieth century.
  • Played With in the Civilization: Beyond Earth backstory. At some point in the future, there was a global catastrophe known as the Great Mistake, which significantly set the entire civilization back in development. As a result, the whole world suffered colossal losses in almost everything, particularly in the technological and cultural aspects, and the Earth was gradually turning into a dying world. The centuries that followed were so hard that they became known as the Second Dark Ages. But, nevertheless, humanity managed to recover, unite in new supranational formations, and, at the cost of incredible efforts, send several colony ships to the stars, hoping to create a prosperous colony and save those who remained on Earth. As implied in the endings of the Purity and Supremacy affinities, that was the last outstanding achievement of humanity on Earth, which, after the departure of the colonists, completely degraded to the state of Scavenger World.
  • In the Command & Conquer: Tiberium universe, whenever civilians appear in FMV cutscenes, they look straight out from whenever the game was made. Especially egregious in Tiberian Twilight which takes place in 2077 but a shot of a street in the final cutscene looks like modern-day Los Angeles. Largely averted in-game though, where GDI cities and settlements have a more 20 Minutes into the Future flavour while the cities that look present-day are crumbling Yellow Zone hellholes whose governments collapsed decades ago.
  • One level of Descent 3 takes place in Seoul, Korea, which seems to be mostly stuck in the 20th/21st century.
  • The setting of the Fallout franchise suggests that pre-war America was culturally trapped in the 1950's right up until the bombs fell. Clothes, furniture and cars are evocative of the era, as are cultural behavior (clear McCarthyism, Red Scare, women being homemakers while their husbands were the breadwinners). It's also disturbingly clear that the government held a lot more control over people, and may have enforced these norms to stay in control.
  • In any of the Front Mission games, aside from how Wanzers are a commonplace weaponry and the world politics consists of multinational blocs, nothing is really different from the present day. Even laser weaponry, Imaginary Number, and B-Device are considered confidential, experimental, and cutting edge in the storyline.
  • Despite Growing Up spanning 18 in-game years, the setting is eternally stuck in The '90s since none of the characters get their hands on new technology.
  • The Halo series, set in the mid-2500s is a rather peculiar example of this. While humanity does have FTL drives, sapient AIs, advanced terraforming, advanced medical tech (including the cure for cancer), Magnetic Weapons, active camouflage, the occasional Powered Armored Super-Soldier, etc, much of their tech still seems to be stuck in the 21st century. While domestic technology isn't explored that much, it's not overly different from what we have now; motor vehicles are fairly similar as modern counterparts (mainly more streamlined with some other under-the-hood differences like being hydrogen-powered), and cities mainly just seem to be more digitally integrated, with flashy roadways and city-wide AIs. Hell, tuxedos are still in fashion!
    • Military weaponry shows the most extreme case of this. Many of the basic firearms are virtually identical to modern day counterparts, with the only visible differences being things like digital readouts on ammo. Non-augmented soldiers use some relatively advanced headgear and armor, but nothing approaching those of the Spartans. Ground vehicles are also similar, with some, like early variants of the Scorpion tank, resembling something from the 20th century (in fact, careful comparison shows that the Scorpion would realistically be outright inferior to most modern main battle tanks in armored warfarenote ). Because of all this, humans are amazed at the Covenant's use of plasma weaponry and shields. More on Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better and Cosmetically-Advanced Prequel.
    • Prequels Halo Wars and Halo: Reach are notable exceptions, featuring a lot of fancy tech that was never in the original trilogy, like plasma tanks and holographic decoys. They're Hand Waved off as being prototypes not quite ready for mass production.
    • The UNSC starts to move away from this from Halo 4 onward, due in part to reverse-engineering alien technology. We now have man-portable railguns, Mini-Mecha, rifle-sized micro-missile launchers, mass production of Powered Armor (including variants for non-augmented troops), etc. The REQ weapon variants in Halo 5: Guardians take this even further, with several being fancy prototypes like laser tanks and energy-shielded jeeps.
  • Perfect Dark, in 2023, is appreciably futuristic, with flying cars and motorbikes, cloaking devices, guns disguised as laptops, laser weapons, teleporters, etc. (save for some of the guns and the computers), but its prequel, which is set a mere 3 years earlier, still has contemporary-style vehicles and architecture, and the nightclubs apparently still use vinyl records, as evident by the Record Needle Scratch when the music stops.
  • San Francisco Rush 2049 has futuristic buildings and a few futuristic cars, but most of the cars are straight out of the 20th century. And there are contemporary gas stations, subway trains, cable cars, windmills, boats, etc.
  • SimCity games (except 2000) run the trope. Your city could be in the year 2300, and yet architecture, fashions, trends, and industry are pretty much the same (yes, even the high-tech industry doesn't get any higher or more improved). SimCity 2000 introduces some futuristic power stations and the giant "arcology" apartment buildings, but their presence doesn't seem to have any effect on the rest of the city.
    • Of course, thanks to customizable tilesets, you can change the architecture from 1950, to 2050 and beyond. This is purely cosmetic though.
  • In every The Sims game except the first, you can play through multiple generations of families, but the world never changes at all. This also applies to the (loose) lore in the games: The Sims 3 is set 50 years before The Sims 2, but technology, architecture and fashion stays more or less the same.
    • As The Sims 3 got more expansion packs, this became even more strange with sings of technological devolution. For instance, a expansion pack of The Sims 3 introduced 2010's smartphones, while The Sims 2 has only early 2000's cellphones.
  • Tropico: Until the "Modern Times" DLC for the fourth game, Tropico existed in a late Cold War era regardless of the in-game date. Averted with 5 and 6, which have an era system that changes available technology and policy between four time periods: Colonial, World Wars, Cold War, and Modern.

  • In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, the world is kind of an odd mesh of modern and medieval trappings, suitable for a fantasy world. Fair enough, but in Abel's story, which begins four hundred years before the main plot... everything, everything, is exactly the same. There is not a single visible difference to the scenery - other than Jyrras's inventions, things that are modern in the main strip are modern, and things that are pre-modern are pre-modern, with identical architecture and fashions.
    • Explained to some extent by the existence of the magical, long-lived Creature races. When you're 7000 years old, a mere four centuries isn't that long. Furthermore, many Creatures are said to dislike technology. Some view it as the recourse of feeble Beings who are too weak to survive without it, while others regard it as a threat to their power and slap anyone who gets too clever down. Jyrras is shown to be keeping a lot of new technology under wraps specifically to avoid this kind of attention.
  • After the end of Scary Go Round in 2009, which has always taken place in the present (with seasonal changes and all), its Spin-Off Bad Machinery did a Time Skip three years into the future. Here, fashions, technology ect. still looking the same is of course justified, because you wouldn't expect the world changing all too much just within three years. In conclusion, this comic probably won't suffer from Zeerust from 2012 on.

    Web Original 
  • Justified in 1983: Doomsday, due to World War III. Even by that timeline's 2012, humanity is at best more or less in The '80s to the point that anyone from before Doomsday would fit right in with little problem.
  • Justified in 17776, as it is explained that technology has greatly advanced in the past dozens of millennia but no one really wants to use it. As Ten notes, advancing technology is meant to make things more efficient and save time, which you don't have to do when everyone has Complete Immortality (and thus infinite time).
  • Bubble takes place in a Domed Hometown on a planet infested with monsters, which apparently isn't Earth, yet present-day tech companies like Amazon and Uber are still around and people like to discuss the latest Game of Thrones. And Bitcoin is still something dudebros who think they're tech-savvy get into, despite crashing to the point where a candy stall charges 5 BTC.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy:
    • Although the future depicted in "Stewie Griffin: the Untold Story" mostly falls under Next Sunday A.D., it does have Time Travel. When Stewie comments on the lack of advancement, his future counterpart remarks "Well of course! It's only been 30 years." Stewie does have one Imagine Spot in which a man is seen having a TV show beamed directly into his head.
    • At the same time, in the episode showing Al Gore win the 2000 Presidential Election, we see the world of The Jetsons in just over a decade.
  • Accidental example in Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet, which is otherwise pretty good at maintaining a 20 Minutes into the Future look and feel; during the Car Chase scenes, any vehicle that isn't relevant to the plot will look very similar to a late 20th or early 21st century design. This is probably because they're a stock 3d model being used because there wasn't the time or budget to do anything more elaborate for a vehicle that'd only be on screen for a couple of seconds.
  • Triple-subverted in an episode of The Simpsons about Lisa being told her "future" by a (phony) carnival fortune-teller. "The world has become a very different place," the fortune-teller says ominously, and then we see what appear to be several robots walking down the sidewalk; however, it turns out they're just actors trying out for the part of the Tin Man in a production of The Wizard of Oz. But then we see that many things are different in the future: the characters wear Space Clothes, soybeans have become a major source of food, and there are indeed many robots about (although they look exactly like humans on the outside, only revealing their robotic nature when they cry and short-circuit).
  • Downplayed and Played for Laughs in Futurama. The show is set in the 31st century, and certainly features lots of science-fictiony technology, including robots and space-ships. However, we are shown time and again that in many ways, the world has not changed all that much. Social mores and society in general seem to have stayed largely the same as they are today, and all the futuristic technology is used mostly to replicate 20th-century life quite closely. Newspaper boys use home-made spaceships to deliver newspapers in "suburbs" built in Asteroid Thickets, the ubiquitous robots not only act Ridiculously Human but even do their jobs in exactly the same way as a human would (and with most of the same inefficiencies), and while a futuristic virtual-reality Internet exists, it's still filled with spam and pop-up ads, and doesn't keep just about everyone from watching ordinary, 2D television (though it's claimed to have a "higher definition than real life.") This all fits with the Rule of Funny: The idea behind Futurama was never to create a realistic vision of the future, but to make recognizable jokes about modern-day life in a fun, science-fictioney setting. Thus, the futurism is never allowed to interfere with making the setting, characters, and their challenges relatable to a modern audience.