The Present Day
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Right now. Look around you. Whatever's going on this very minute.
If things seem to be a little more advanced than you remember them being, then you've probably shifted ahead to Twenty Minutes Into the Future. If things seem really different from how you remember them, you could be in the far future, in an Alternate History (in which case check if the Nazis are still around) or even Trapped in Another World. Adjust yourself to your surroundings accordingly. If you know the year but the technology is out-of-whack to your expectations, Zeerust is probably in effect.
The Present is also strangely important to time travelers. Even characters from the future recognize its importance, even if from their perspective it ought to be the past.
Compare and contrast The Gay Nineties, The Edwardian Era, The Roaring Twenties, The Great Depression, The Fifties, The Sixties, The Seventies, The Eighties, The Nineties, the Turn of the Millennium, and The New Tens.
- Gag Series
- Post Modernism
- Reality Show / Reality TV (not invented in this period, but they exploded in popularity around the Turn of the Millennium)
- Shallow Parody
- The War on Terror
- Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
- 24 (even though it's actually Twenty Minutes Into the Future: everything from season five onwards is set in the next decade, whatever that's called.)
- The West Wing
- Arrested Development References to the Iraq War, George W. Bush, TV shows such as The OC, and other things like the pervasiveness of cell phones and the Internet would definitely place this series in this decade if were watched by someone in the future.
- How I Met Your Mother consists of a series of Whole Episode Flashbacks with the flashbacker retelling the events in the year 2030, and the main plot taking place in The Present Day.
- Several Star Trek series return to the present. A 2004 episode of Star Trek Enterprise took place in 2004 Detroit. The 1986 movie The Voyage Home took place largely in 1986 San Francisco.
- With the exception of SPD and presumably RPM, All Power Rangers seasons take place in the year they air. Power Rangers Time Force is technically set in the year 3000, but most of the action takes place in 2001.
- The shows of the CSI Verse have been known to take place during the actual week that the relevant episode aired.
- Similarly, the Doctor Who Season Fnarg season finale took place in the present day (more or less). It was broadcast on June 26, 2010 and took place partly on June 26, 2010, as well as 1996 and 102 A.D.
- The Bill.
- Community takes place not only in the present day... but in some episodes the exact airdate, or in the same week, much like CSI above.