Future past

Love Loki? 7 retro-futurist shows and movies to watch ASAP

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.”

There’s nothing on TV quite like Loki, but its unique look didn’t come out of thin air. The Time Variance Authority office designed is based on a concept called retro-futurism.

The idea is to present the future as imagined at a time in the past. Plenty of other shows and movies have mined retro-futurism for inspiration, presenting alternate histories and stylized futures.

Here are 7 retro futurist shows and movies to watch if you like Loki.

7. The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle presents not just a retro-futurist look at the 1960s, but also one that supposes Germany and Japan won World War II.

6. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow might not be a great film, but it is great retro-futurism for how it emulates the look and feel of a 1930s adventure serial.

5. Metropolis

The 1927 German film Metropolis is a masterpiece in its own right, but it was meant to be earnest look into the future. The 2001 anime retelling plays up the dissonance between its retro aesthetics and futuristic robots.

4. Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy features its own TVA-like time cops called “The Commission,” which exist outside time in a retro-future office.

3. Maniac

This mind-bending, time-hopping black comedy sends its protagonists to imagined versions of different eras, and even the technology in its initial near-future setting has a strong retro-futurist vibe.

2. Blade Runner

Blade Runner’s vision of the future is built on the anxieties of the ‘80s and the ‘60s — when the book it’s based on was written — giving it a built-in retro aesthetic that only becomes more interesting the further we get from its release.

1. Brazil

Brazil takes place partly in a retro-futurist office building devoted to maintaining a totalitarian bureaucratic regime. As dour as that sounds, it still packs in some fantastical dream sequences to rival Loki’s more surreal moments.

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!