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Top 10 Most Important Dates in Fiction

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Nick Spake Dates from Movies and TV that have significance to those stories and are exciting for fans to celebrate here in the real world. WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Dates in Movie and TV History. But what date will take the top spot on our list? Will it be Judgement day from Terminator 2, the day HAL goes online in 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the day Doc Brown bumped his head and discovered the Flux Capacitor and Time Travel in Back to the Future? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Important+Dates+In+Fiction

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Get ready to mark your calendars! Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Important Dates in Fiction.

For this list, we’re taking a look at significant dates from movies and TV shows that will forever stand out in pop culture.

#10: July 4, 1996
“Independence Day” (1996)

In this Roland Emmerich flick, aliens invade earth on July 2, 1996. This results in the destruction of numerous buildings and landmarks, including the White House. Humanity fires back on July 3, although resistance appears futile. Then on the Fourth of July, David Levinson discovers that the alien mothership is no match for a computer virus. Thus, our heroes make one last stand for humankind. It sure is convenient that this final showdown takes place on Independence Day, which U.S. President Thomas J. Whitmore ties into his rousing speech. His inspirational words not only speak to Americans, but the rest of the world as well, ultimately encouraging every person to fight for their freedom on the most patriotic of U.S. holidays.

#9: October 16, 1997
“Lost in Space” (1965-68)

When “Lost in Space” first hit the airwaves in 1965, 1997 probably seemed like a far-off year. Of course, the late ‘90s didn’t exactly turn out as creator Irwin Allen predicted, which only adds to the show’s camp value. Regardless, October 16 will forever hold a special place in the hearts of sci-fi fans. On this day, the Robinson Family left the overpopulated Earth aboard the Jupiter 2. Their mission to colonize in deep space goes awry, though, when the traitorous Dr. Smith sabotages the ship. The Robinsons subsequently become lost in space and the rest is history. Interestingly, 1997 is the same year a feature-length reboot entered production. Of course the less said about that movie, the better.

#8: January 1, 2000
“Futurama” (1999-2013)

As we approached the 21st century, many expected Y2K would mark the beginning of humankind’s downfall. January 1, 2000 was actually a pretty uneventful day… unless you were Philip J. Fry. As the clock strikes midnight, this pizza delivery boy winds up in a cryogenic chamber. When he’s finally unfrozen, Fry discovers that it’s December 31, 2999. At first, this appears to be an accident. It’s eventually revealed, however, that Leela’s pet Nibbler intentionally pushed Fry into the cryonic tube. Fry serves a purpose in the future, being the only person who can defeat the Brainspawn. It’s not like Fry left anyone important behind in the year 2000 anyway… well, except for his dog Seymour.

#7: September 22, 2004
“Lost” (2004-10)

The pilot episode of “Lost” aired on September 22, 2004. Likewise, September 22 is the same day Oceanic Flight 815 departed from Sydney, Australia. Headed for Los Angeles, California, the plane ends up crashing on a deserted island instead. The survivors quickly realize that the island holds countless secrets, commencing one of television’s greatest mysteries. September 22 might seem like a random date, but it’s actually the autumnal equinox. In addition to being the first day of autumn, this is also one of the rare occasions when day and night are practically the same length. It just goes to show that nothing in the puzzling realm of “Lost” is purely a coincidence.

#6: April 5, 2063
“Star Trek: First Contact” (1996)

“Star Trek” is a rare sci-fi franchise that actually offers a bright, hopeful vision of the future for generations to come. This promising future can largely be attributed to Dr. Zefram Cochrane, who invented the warp drive. Cochrane uses this revolutionary technology to successfully achieve light speed, which immediately attracts attention from a Vulcan ship. Humankind thus makes first contact with extraterrestrial life on April 5, 2063. This peaceful encounter is almost prevented when the Borg travel back in time from the 24th century. Fortunately, the Enterprise crew is around to keep the timeline intact.

#5: December 21, 2012
“2012” (2009)

Judging from the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, it was once theorized that doomsday would arrive on December 21, 2012. Obviously, the world didn’t come to a cataclysmic end on this date. However, Mayanism did inspire one of Roland Emmerich’s biggest disaster movies to date. This blockbuster presents us with a worst-case scenario, as the 2012 phenomenon becomes a reality. California collapses into the Pacific Ocean, Yellowstone Caldera erupts, and numerous other catastrophes plague the Earth. The destruction is nothing short of biblical in what can only be described as a modern day version of Noah’s Ark.

#4: June 13, 1979
“Friday the 13th” (1980)

Friday the 13th is often considered the unluckiest day of the month. And if you’ve ever been a camp counselor, chances are this slasher flick only added to your superstitious beliefs. Camp Crystal Lake forever changed when young Jason Voorhees drowned in the summer of 1957. Jason’s homicidal mother exacted revenge on June 13, 1958, resulting in the camp shutting down. When Camp Crystal Lake reopened about two decades later, Jason’s mom returned to treat herself to a killing spree. Although Mrs. Voorhees met her demise, Jason soon resurfaced and followed in his mother’s footsteps. Since then, Jason has practically become the mascot for this infamous day. In other words, Jason is to Friday the 13th what Santa Claus is to Christmas.

#3: January 12, 1992
“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)

Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece is largely about the tools that bring about humankind’s evolution. Humanity reaches a significant turning point on January 12, 1992, as HAL 9000 goes online. Possessing zero room for error, this sentient computer is designed to strive for efficiency. That’s not necessarily a good thing, though. On their mission to Jupiter, the Discovery One crew discovers just how far HAL is willing to go to achieve perfection. Like some of the other movies on this list, “2001” wasn’t 100% accurate in its depiction of the future. Yet, the film’s themes regarding technology ring true even today. After all, who’s to say we won’t create a HAL 9000 of our own in the near future?

#2: August 29, 1997
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

Due to time travel, the precise date of Judgment Day has changed several times throughout the “Terminator” franchise. However, we’re giving precedence to the original Judgment Day: August 29, 1997. On this ill-fated day, the artificial intelligence known as Skynet becomes self-aware at 2:14 am. When the operators attempt to shut the system down, Skynet responds by launching nuclear missiles at Russia. They retaliate by firing back at the United States and its allies, ultimately resulting in the loss of 3 billion lives. This is only the beginning, as the machines rise to power. Humankind’s only hope is resistance leader John Connor. On multiple occasions, though, Skynet attempts to remove John from the equation altogether.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- February 14, 2016

“Ghostbusters II” (1989)

- October 12, 1985

“Watchmen” (2009)

- February 2, 1993

“Groundhog Day” (1993)

#1: November 5, 1955
“Back to the Future” (1985)

This trilogy has no shortage of important dates. On October 21, 2015, Marty McFly arrives 30 years in the future. While we still haven’t gotten “Jaws 19,” this date would go down in history as Back to the Future Day. If we had to single out one particular date, though, it would have to be November 5, 1955. On this day, Dr. Emmett L. Brown came up with the idea for the flux capacitor, which is what makes time travel possible. About thirty years later, he successfully builds a time machine… out of a DeLorean. When Marty finds himself behind the wheel, he travels back to the date Doc Brown initially conceived his invention. Thus ensues a race against time to get Marty back to the future.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the most important date in fiction? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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