Wondering about the future can be such a scary thing. What will happen in 10 years, 20 or even 50? Would DVD’s still be in circulation, would Coles, Woolworths, even companies like Coca Cola, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter or Disney be multinational global powerhouses, or will another company rise up to the challenge and step in? Will the United States of America still be the country that everyone looks towards for comfort, entertainment, news and security, or will another country, like China or India rise up and take their place? These are legitimate questions, and ought to be asked- by myself, and hopefully others, as we look towards our own personal futures, and the futures of our home countries, and the world, in years and decades to come.
Time and time again, movies and TV shows have given us endless possibilities of what the future may look like. The now-cancelled NBC apocalyptic drama Revolution spoke about a world in the future without electricity, and wondered what life would be like if we were to be all reduced back to coping without the basics we believe we are entitled to- electricity, cars, fridges, phones, email, computers, even access to places through transport. While on a whole, the series suffered from a lack of direction and scrambled writing (which led to its cancellation not too long ago), what the series did ask was the question, of what we would do if we were placed in such a situation without our technological appliances we take for granted. Now I can’t tell you for certain if I will survive and even thrive without the technologies I am surrounded with, but I do hope I can at least know and be prepared (by not being too attached to technology) if something like the show was to occur in the future.
Another TV drama about the future, CW’s The 100 brought us to a place where Earth is now uninhabited because of radiation, with Earth’s population relegated to a space station called ‘The Ark’. The premise of how 100 delinquent teenagers are sent to the ground to see if the Earth is inhabitable, and how they deal with the Earth and other inhabitants of it, is something that makes us all (me at least) think and consider. If global warming and the treat of radiation in the form of the after-effects of nuclear energy become as real as people say; would I have the stomach to leave Earth and live somewhere else (if living somewhere else other than Earth becomes viable and possible)?
Many other television shows depict futures (or presents) that may be hard for the human mind to swallow at this current stage. Falling Skies, a show on TNT, showcases a world where humans wage war against invading aliens, while different races of people and alien learn to live together in a world governed by dictatorship and tyrannical rule in Defiance. Most recently The Last Ship speaks of a deadly virus that has wiped out 80% of the world’s population, with the only hope of an antidote lying with a group of Navy officers and scientists aboard the fictional USS Nathan James; while the Canadian drama Continuum delves into the topic of time travel, where a cop from the time of 2077 travels back to present day to try and unravel a terrorist plot. Person of Interest, showcasing LOST actor Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel (who previously starred as Jesus in the Passion of the Christ), shows a world like our own, except for a Big Brother-esque ‘machine’ that watches our every move and provides social security numbers of people who may either be perpetrators or victims of a crime that is yet to occur; while the more recent BBC America drama Orphan Black gives us a world where cloning of humans is a reality, focusing on a group of clones and how they come to terms with the existence of each other.
With so many storylines about the future in these aforementioned television shows, the concepts about what could happen in years to come continue to be brought to life- the well-known Terminator franchise (where machines take over the world), Back to the Future (specifically No. 2, where we see what it could be like in 2015- a year from now…are we any closer to making hoverboards?), Bicentennial Man and A.I. (both movies where the main character, a machine, wants to be more and more human-like) and Total Recall (the famed Arnold Schwarzenegger drama about a man who remembers a life on Mars) are just a few.
With so many different versions of what could happen in the future, we are all asking the same thing- will what I see and watch become a reality? Will what is depicted on screen (mostly showing dystopia visions) come to pass? How do I as an individual in society fit into the future, in a corporate and family sense? How can I be prepared, if suddenly one of these TV show storylines comes to unexpected life?
Worrying about the future is a fact of life, and while it is good for us to want to know what happens in 3000AD; we ought to remember what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 6:25-27- therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? The future can be a scary thing, and while at times these TV shows and movies can provide us with some great entertainment, to speak about the future and show us scenarios where every option is potentially plausible (I’m not sure about machines wanting to become humans, or even machines taking over the world, or even time travel, but everything else I’m sure is fair game) can maybe do more harm than good.
Before I close this blog post, let us all remember that worrying, whether about now or the future, doesn’t change the outcome. Hopefully these TV shows and movies that show us dystopia visions can give us impetus, resolve, courage and motivation to stand up and make our own difference in our own little worlds, so to make sure the future we live in is the best possible.
What has been your favourite TV show/movie that speaks about possible futures? What would you love to see in the future and what is something you’d hope is not present? Let us know in the comments.