The sliding scale of Like Reality Unless Noted charts the degree to which a work of fiction set in what is ostensibly a "modern", Earthly environment departs from Real Life. It starts with the application of the Celebrity Paradox, through to such things as the fictional President and a half-way compromise with the Anonymous Ringer, through to literal Urban Fantasy and the exclusion of certain controversial subjects such as The War on Terror.
Alternate History which explicitly involves non-existent persons as major characters
- Watchmen and its film adaptation (though, in all fairness, the film did an excellent job of being Like Reality Unless Noted, with things such as the V-J day in Times Square photograph, and references to the Kennedy assassination, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Lee Iacocca and Ronald Reagan.)
Urban Fantasy ostensibly set in our timeline
Modern In Setting Only / Next Sunday A.D.
- Battlefield 2
- Command & Conquer: Generals
- Doctor Who
- Death Note
- The DC Universe, despite having lots of superheroes, aliens and magical beings, mostly has had the same history as the real world... until recent times, when Lex Luthor was elected president of the United States. Also, while the events of 9-11 did happen, they paled in comparison with the more massive destruction caused by alien invasions at the time.
Semirealistic: At this level, current events such as The War on Terror, the Darfur conflict or the ArabIsraeli Conflict may be referenced, but more contentious subjects such as present holders of office, diplomatic crises such as Iran's alleged nuclear capability or recent terrorist attacks will be carefully evaded through the use of Anonymous Ringers and Ripped from the Headlines stories. Closer to the softer end of this subcategory, the terrorists will tend to be Western.
- 24 (The PRC is hostile to the Russian Federation and highly belligerent; the Russian Federation has good relations with the United States, and there are at least two fictional nations, Sangala [African] and Kamistan [Arab]. Of course, there is also the existence of CTU and numerous fictional presidents, although CTU was disbanded between season 6 and 7.)
- Alex Rider
- The Bourne Series
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- The Movie of Iron Man.
- JAG, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.
- James Bond (The newer Daniel Craig films and the Timothy Dalton films of the 80's being the most realistic of the series)
- Law & Order
- Marvel Universe (Their American presidents, unlike those of the DC Universe, aren't different, and 9/11 and its impacts upon Earth-616 were the subject of a series.)
- National Treasure
- Spooks (although, judging by the footage used in one episode regarding a U.S. state visit, George W. Bush and Tony Blair were in office at the same time they were in Real Life)
- Works by Tom Clancy
- Transformers Film Series (While the first film skirts around mention of The War on Terror, North Korea and the People's Republic of China are mentioned as a potential source of the unknown hacking threat and a No Celebrities Were Harmed Anonymous Ringer for George W. Bush pops up. Also, in Revenge of the Fallen, Sam briefly mentions the economy being crazy, Barack Obama appears on a television screen and is mentioned in a news broadcast as being escorted to the Mojave Desert.)
- The West Wing, by merit of having the federal government of the United States of America staffed entirely by fictional characters who naturally react differently to events than their Real Life counterparts.
Like Reality Unless Noted: At this level, present-day events will be freely referenced and discussed, with the only real divergence from reality being the fictional storylines and characters involved.
- Boston Legal
- Darfur Is Dying
- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
- Indiana Jones (With the addition of some supernatural elements.)
- Professional Wrestling (Though, in some cases, actors essentially play themselves, edging it closer to Real-Person Fic.)
- Project Reality
- South Park
- The Last King of Scotland
- The Odessa File
- Virtually any work involving World War II, The Korean War or The Vietnam War with fictional storylines and/or main characters
Real-Person Fic: The only divergence will be the fictional events themselves. All or almost all major characters will be historical personalities.