Top 10 Time Travel Moments

Top 10 Time Travel Moments


Article by: Geek Girl Zelda

One of my favorite sci-fi “what-ifs” is the idea of time travel. It's been used in storytelling all throughout human history, a concept that has fascinated mankind since time immemorial. I have compiled a list of some of my personal favorite time travel moments. Warning – This article may contain some spoilers, but most of this stuff has been out for so long that it shouldn't matter! Go watch, play or read it anyway!

10. Austin Powers

Top 10 Time Travel Moments

There's lots of time travel in Austin Powers, and every time machine has really fun, campy 60's James Bond-esque style about it. Mike Myers plays both the hero and the villain in the films, however, it's Dr. Evil's first attempt at going back in time (in order to steal Austin Powers mojo) that really makes me laugh.

Still funny.

9. Turtles in Time

Top 10 Time Travel Moments

Turtles in Time was one of my favorite games growing up. Fun in the arcades, fun on the console. Shredder sends the turtles back in time in the hopes of them being lost there forever. The Foot Clan is also everywhen for some reason, even though I'm pretty sure they weren't around at the same time as dinosaurs. Or maybe Shredder is just sending loads of them back in time as well as the Ninja Turtles – Come on Shredder, don't you know you can alter the future by sending hordes of ninjas back in time? Ok, so the plot for the game doesn't make a lot of sense, but as for as classic beat em up games go, there isn't much better. My favorite level was the old Western level (1885 seems like an awesome year for time travel, doesn't it?), although the pirate ship was always a close second. The game also has one of the most memorable soundtracks and sound designs for me. I still yell out “My toe! My toe!” every time I stub my toe, for crying out loud.

But the Shredder battle is what is going on this list, because it takes the game from a kind of generic side scroller to a multi-layered battle scene, which was pretty cool for it's time. I am banishing you to a timewarp!

8. Misfits

Top 10 Time Travel Moments

Misfits is an original British series on Hulu about a bunch of teens and young adults on community service for various misdemeanors. They inherit superpowers from a freak storm – but this isn't your average superhero show. Misfits utilizes superpowers in a very unique and interesting way. The show itself is a rather dark comedy, but there are several very emotional moments throughout the series. Like with a lot of British TV, the characters change often from season to season, and they are not afraid to kill off beloved characters if it will benefit the progression of story and make room to explore new characters. It is something you see done much less often in American TV, and it allows for some very tug-on-the-heartstrings, deep moments that is hard for us to achieve in our shows. (Even when beloved characters are killed off, it is very rare that entire casts change, with only the backdrop of the story and setting remaining the same - I actually find it to be a rather interesting storytelling tool).

Anyway, Simon starts out as a weird, misunderstood, shy archetype. Alisha is the beautiful girl that is totally out of his league. Without having to go into too much backstory, as it was covered over several seasons, he begins to come out of his shell with the help of his powers and his fellow probation friends. Eventually he and Alisha both are visited by a future version of himself; a much more confident, capable, and mature version of himself. Future-Simon saves Alisha's life several times and she begins to fall in love with him, unknown to the Past-Simon. Look, there is a lot of backstory between these 2 and it is hard to explain in a paragraph what makes the relationship between them so intriguing. It's something you have to (and should) watch for yourself. But at the end, Alisha has her throat slit and dies in Simon's arms. Simon, unable to save her due to the circumstances of her death, and his time travel power only working in reverse, goes back in time over and over to relive the short time they had together - stuck in an eternally heartbreaking love story, witnessing her death time and again.

All the videos of this on Youtube were really sappy slideshows cut to really depressing songs. I'm not going to make you sit through any of that, but if you have some free time and a dark sense of humor, I do suggest you check out the entire series on Hulu. It just had it's final episode.

7. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Top 10 Time Travel Moments

Although the second Bill and Ted movie was my favorite between the two, that one didn't technically have much time travel, so we'll go with a scene from the first movie instead. For anyone unfamiliar with the plot of the movie (Clearly you didn't grow up in America in the early 90s), Bill and Ted are meant to become the saviors of the future-world where everyone loves music and wears terrible, foamy neon monstrosities – But they cannot do so without first passing their high school history class. So George Carlin sends a time machine back to help them, and they use it to capture and study historical figures in order to pass their final report. The movie's finale is my favorite part of the film, when Bill and Ted have kidnapped their full cast of folks – Napoleon, Bach, Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Socrates, Billy the Kid and Ghengis Khan. They bring them to the mall because that is where their high school is giving their final exam for some reason (sure, we all did that growing up, right?) - It is a classic fish out of water scenario with all of the historical figures in our modern shopping plaza – hijinks ensue. And all to the excellent soundtrack provided by Bach!

6. Star Trek IV

Top 10 Time Travel Moments

This is a very weird and campy Star Trek movie in an already weird and campy series, but that is what makes it great. The plot of the story is very goofy – a spaceship passes near earth and disables the global power grid with it's signaling and creates catastrophic storms below. Luckily Spock is there to save the day and determines the signaling matches the calls of the now extinct humpback whale. The Starfleet crew decides to go back in time to bring back two of the whales to repopulate and respond to the calls of the space-whales. So they return to the 80s! Many years in the past to them, but present time to when the movie was made, which explains all the heavy-handed whale conservation messages throughout the film. But the real joy of this movie is watching the Starfleet command attempt to navigate themselves through the world of the “present” day – not knowing how to utilize money, or a computer that does not respond to voice commands, or those goddamn kids and their loud rock music.

This clip is probably my favorite, but really, the entire movie is worth a watch. Apparently the punk kid is one of the producers from the movie, who wrote the song himself.

To be fair, most of us would have trouble using a computer from the 80's, too.

5. Red Vs Blue

Top 10 Time Travel Moments

Any Halo or Machinima geek should be familiar with Red Vs Blue – It was one of the original and is still one of the most successful machinima series of all time. The show follows 2 opposing, inept teams – red and blue. There have been 11 seasons of it now, beginning in Halo 2's Blood Gulch and progressing to more recent games, maps and settings. There are several excellent time traveling moments throughout the series, but my favorite happens in episodes 50 and 51, when Church travels back through time to the moment when he is killed by his teammate Caboose driving a tank. The situation is revealed as a predestination paradox, in which he causes not only the events of the first and second seasons, but also the death of his former captain, Captain Butch Flowers. Church has spent the entire show up until this point believing that Caboose was the reason he died, and hating him for it – only to find out he was the “teamkilling fucktard” after all.

It starts at around 5:20 in the first video and continues into the second, but of course the entire Red Vs Blue series is worth a watch, if you have the time. It's one of the most quotable series of all time, in my opinion.

Honorable Mention Moment: When Church creates yet another time travel paradox and self replicates himself over and over by traveling to the past. Sidenote, when he is sent really far back into the past, it switches from Halo 2 graphics to captures from Bungie's first game – Marathon.

This one starts at about 4 minutes in.

4. Chrono Trigger

Top 10 Time Travel Moments

I can't pick one favorite moment from this. The whole friggin' game was a masterpiece that is nearly unparalleled. People who have played it will know what I'm talking about. People who haven't played it – Why the hell not? Stop what you're doing and go play it now! It still holds up.

Here is a video of all the cutscenes from the game, which does not really showcase the incredible storyline and gameplay, but is a cool piece of nostalgia for those of us who haven't played it in awhile.

3. Futurama

Top 10 Time Travel Moments

Time Travel comes up a lot in Futurama and it's my favorite show of all time, so it was hard to pick just one moment. But my favorite time travel episode has to be The Late Philip J Fry, where the Professor invents a time machine that can only go forward in time (and looks exactly like H.G. Wells' Time Machine, one of the grandfathers of all modern time traveling stories). The time machine they invent only goes forward in time, and of course they send themselves too far forward by mistake. They decide the only solution is to continue to move forward in time until they get to a point where the backwards time machine has been invented. Futurama is no stranger to writing heart-wrenching moments in their episodes, and this one is no exception. After spending some time traveling through silly future worlds (to a parody of the song In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans), they come upon the end of the universe. With nothing left to do, Fry, the Professor and Bender crack open a 6 pack of beers and resign themselves to watching the entire universe end. It is making me tear up even writing about it, the thought of using time travel to witness such a thing, to be there for such a moment, is soul-wrenching and beautiful at the same time. Fully expecting to die with the universe, they actually witness a second Big Bang and a rebirth of the entire universe. Now they are able to transport themselves forward through time in order to get back to where they left. Of course, they overshoot it again and have to repeat the entire experience – Derp! This time the universe is a few feet higher than their old one, and the time machine crushes the old version of themselves, thusly solving the Time-Paradox. Suddenly something that was terribly sad moments before is now hilarious. That's Futurama!

Honorable Mention Moment: Roswell That Ends Well – This episode actually won an Emmy Award. The crew is transported back in time accidentally when Fry microwaves an un-microwaveable bag of “Iffy Pop” popcorn. The episode places the Planet Express crew in 1947 Roswell – who knew it was really Zoidberg that our government had cut open! Fry attempts to get his Grandfather and Grandmother to have sex so that he can be born, in an homage to Back To the Future. But through a series of mishaps his Grandfather becomes incinerated in bomb testing, leaving Fry to sleep with his Grandma (because clearly that couldn't have been his Grandma, afterall) and becoming his own Grandpa, like in that really terrible song.

Bet you thought this was going to be a Futurama video.

2. Deep Space 9: Trials and Tribbleations

Top 10 Time Travel Moments

Everyone who is familiar with Star Trek knows of the tribbles – the little ball of fur that reproduces at an alarming rate and infests starships. It was a classic episode from the original series that Deep Space 9 pays tribute to nearly 30 years later. The crew of the Deep Space 9 must travel back in time to the Enterprise to stop the assassination of Captain Kirk by a Klingon using a booby-trapped tribble. 3 million dollars was given to match the filming techniques, sets, and costumes used in TOS, and footage from the original episode was cut seamlessly into the new DS9 scenes. The script was flawlessly written, finding several good moments to splice in new footage and dialogue in a funny and clever way. But the greatest part of this entire episode is the bar fight scene, with both the Enterprise and Deep Space 9 crews in the fray. The episode was nominated for 3 Primetime Emmy awards but unfortunately did not receive any. It even makes reference to Wharf (and all Klingons) looking different in the original series.

This is a side by side comparison of the bar sequence from each series

1. Back to the Future

Top 10 Time Travel Moments

Sure, there are some plot holes in the Back to the Future trilogy. But that doesn't stop it from being one of the most amazing, timeless, memorable series of all time. And no time travel list would be complete without it. There were lots of great moments in the trilogy, but my favorite comes at the very end of the 2nd movie. Doc Brown and the Deloreon have just been struck by lightning and disappear while Marty McFly stands in the rain in the middle of nowhere in disbelief, not knowing what has become of him, whether he's alive or dead. After a few moments, a car drives up to him, and a man in a coat exists, handing him an envelope. He says it has been in the post office since 1885 with instructions to deliver it at this time at this location, to a man meeting Marty's description - that everyone at the post office had a bet on whether or not he would be there. Marty reads the letter as rain continues to pour down on them, to find out (of course) that it's from Doc! The time machine has sent Doc back in time to 1885, where he has been happily living out his life as a blacksmith. Everything about the scene and the resolution is perfect to me, and how damn cool would it be to receive a letter from someone 100 years in the past? Of course, Marty also uses a letter to warn Doc about his impending murder in the movies, as well, so the whole thing kind of comes full circle.

Here's an annoying video someone did splicing the two scenes together, but it was the closest thing Youtube had. Go watch the movie!

Honorable Mention Moment: When Marty McFly drives the Delorean through a painted sign with Indians on horseback only to emerge among the same scene actually being played out in the past.

I mean, what are the chances! (Setup starting at about 1 minute into the video)

Honorable Mentions (That did not make the list):

-When Superman reverses time by flying around the world counterclockwise

-The Family Matters episode where Urkel and Carl Winslow travel back in time, and Carl leaves himself a note about things to invest in. Carl becomes one of the richest men in the world but finds out he never had children and he and his wife are getting a divorce, so of course they travel back in time again to make things right – because Family Matters most. Yeah, I went there.

-Terminator 2, when we (the audience) find out for the first time that the Arnold-style Terminator robot is actually on our side this time. Namely, the moment when he pulls a shotgun out of the box of flowers and begins shooting at the other cyborg, instead of at John Connor like we expected him to. Of course, this takes into account that you have seen the first movie and as yet don't know anything about the sequel :)

-Idiocracy, when he finds out the Time Machine to send him back to his own time was just a carnival ride. Also it's spelled Time Masheen.

-H.G. Wells Time Machine, which was in a large part responsible for everything else on this list.

-Ninja Turtles 3, when the Samurai from Fuedal Japan and the Ninja Turtles change places. My favorite part is when Casey Jones has the Samurai watch hockey, and all they learn from it is how to start hockey fights. Also when April O'Neil makes the fuedal Japanese folks think she is a witch and that she has a bunch of shrunken men in her tape player making the music.

-The Butterfly Effect, when every attempt at time traveling to better the outcome leaves Ashton Kutcher in progressively worse situations. Actually, this movie is pretty dark and I think it was one of Ashton Kutcher's best roles, although a lot of critics disagree with me.

-A Muppet Christmas Carol, when Michael Cane as Scrooge travels back to a time when he was young and in love. The sad breakup musical number during this scene makes me cry every time. Don't judge me!

-The time travel mechanics in Prince of Persia! The video game, not the weird Jake Gyllenhaal movie.

-Jake Gyllenhaal was ok in the time traveling movie Donnie Darko though - although I personally feel like that movie could have explored its concept more clearly, and that crucial resolving of plot and philosophy were lost during editing. Still has some interesting visuals and concepts, though.

-Returner, because what isn't awesome about a Japanese martial arts sci fi alien time traveling thriller?

-Dr Who, because even though I don't watch it, I am putting it in here as a crazy catchall to help satisfy your terrible, terrible nerdrage. You'll have to tell me what one of the best time travel moments was in the comments.

-Same goes for Heroes.

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January 27 2014

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