Today, it’s not unusual for a TV show to depict a less-than-ideal future. This is especially true for Black Mirror, the show that debuted in 2011 on the UK’s Channel 4 but moved overseas later. I don’t speak for anyone but I sure wouldn’t like some of the Black Mirror episodes become reality anytime soon. Back in the day, TV series tended to be a bit more optimistic than the ones today yet there were still quite a few that depicted visions of the future that were quite disturbing and pressing – like the ones we’ll take a look at today.
Logan’s Run (1977)
Logan’s Run was a spinoff of the 1976 science fiction flick of the same name starring Michael York. The series took its viewers into a future filled with high-tech dome cities and young, energic people everywhere – but there was a twist. In this world, everyone reaching the age of 30 has to submit to mandatory euthanasia. Logan, the protagonist of the series, questions the validity of the system and the obligation to die in his prime and escapes the City of Domes together with his love interest, Jessica. Their run takes them to various locations of future Earth.
The movie and the series are a unique mix of utopia and dystopia, depicting both the dangers of hedonism and youth worship and the horrors of potential government-sponsored euthanasia.
Various “The Outer Limits” Episodes
Just like “Black Mirror”, “The Outer Limits” was an anthology series with quite a few episodes depicting pretty grim visions from the future. Its episodes were pretty daring when it came to the topics they took on, ranging from humanoid robots and alien life forms to nanotechnology and autonomous drones. Many of the episodes in the series (especially the “new” series running between 1995 and 2001) were written by big names in the world of science fiction and fantasy, like George R. R. Martin (the pilot episode of the series, “Sandkings” adapted one of his short stories), Larry Niven, A. E. Van Vogt, and Stephen King.
Last but not least, let us mention a series created by science fiction mastermind J. Michael Straczynski starring Luke Perry, who passed away earlier this year. The series takes place in 2021, 15 years after a plague named “The Big Death” killed almost every human over the age of 13. Perry plays Jeremiah, a youngster hoping to find his father alive in the mysterious “Valhalla Sector”, and travels the world searching for it. He is accompanied by Kurdy (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), another lonely traveler that he meets early in the series. As you might expect, things don’t go smoothly, with various factions trying to take control of the survivors – and this results in often bloody encounters between them.