Entertainment

The Best Flash-Forward TV Episodes of All Time

Pretty Little Liars returns tonight five years into the future and we can’t wait to see the girls of Rosewood take on adulthood. Here are four other shows that absolutely nailed the time jump transition

Whether it’s to work around an IRL pregnancy or simply to switch up a storyline, the time jump can be a risky transition. If it’s not executed well it can leave us feeling cheated (we’re looking at you, Gossip Girl), but when it works it can lead to some pretty awesome new developments for beloved characters. (ICYMI Scandal will be taking a six-month jump into the future when the series returns next month).

But the nail-biter leap that we couldn’t be more anxious about right now is tonight’s return of Pretty Little Liars, which takes place five years into the future. The good news is PLL is already one step ahead of the game thanks to its sneak peek episode that aired in November, which filled in the plot gaps to bring us up to “the future.” We sure hope that one-hour episode was enough to cover five years of missed time with our fave Rosewood gals. But like Spence would say, “Hope is a dirty four-letter word.”

pretty little liars

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Alas, to put all the PLL fans (read: ourselves) at ease, we’ve compiled a list of shows that pulled off the risky time jump episode. If they could do it, we have complete faith that Pretty Little Liars can too.

Parks and Recreation
When it happened: 
Season 6
Why it worked: There’s only so much that can be done with a half-hour sitcom before ideas become stale or repetitive, so doing a three-year time jump gave Parks and Rec room for more creativity, and we say it totally worked! The leap took us into an exciting future where Leslie (Amy Poehler) has achieved total #boss status: she’s got her new dream job, new hair and her too-cute kids. The skip forward also allowed us to avoid the “newborn baby phase,” which, let’s face it, can sometimes be an absolute drag (see: How I Met Your Mother). The new and improved storylines of Parks and Rec made us all LOL until the very end and the show wrapped up on a high note.

(Source: Giphy)

(Source: Giphy)

Desperate Housewives
When it happened: 
Season 5
Why it worked: Lets face it. DH was getting a tad tired nearing the end of its fourth season, so its five-year time jump was a brilliant (and totally necessary) move. It allowed the show to introduce new storylines that wound up buying the series four more seasons. Our favourite? Gaby’s (Eva Longoria) transition from a snobbish housewife (and all around hottie) to an unkempt mom of two.

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(SOURCE: GIPHY)

One Tree Hill
When it happened: Season 5
Why it worked: Four years, six months and two days—this really specific flash forward let us zoom past that awkward high school-to-college transition that’s been proven to send other teen dramas to Boresville. (If only we could go back in time and tell Josh Schwartz to do this with The O.C. and maybe it would’ve lasted a few more seasons…) This jump also let us meet and fall in love with little Jimmy-Jam (a.k.a Nathan and Haley’s adorbs son, Jaime). And, let’s be honest, if the show didn’t jump four plus years we never would have witnessed the utterly inspiring metamorphosis of B. Davis (Sophia Bush). OTH continued to run for four more seasons after the time jump episode, so we can conclude it was a definite hit. Added bonus: the actors FINALLY got to play their real age!

(Source: Giphy)

(Source: Giphy)

Dawson’s Creek
When it happened:
Season 6
Why it worked? This five-year jump was a superb way to wrap up an utterly perfect show… not to mention it gave us all the feels ever. Even though we were totally heartbroken and probably cried an actual river of tears as a result of Jen’s death, the two-part finale gave us something different than your predictable, cookie-cutter ending. Kevin Williamson, we raise a glass to you for having the guts to kill off a beloved lead character (even though we’re still not over it and never will be). Next: The most epic TV love triangle was FINALLY resolved. Sorry, Team Dawson, we’re Team P all the way! Some fans went a little ape when Joey chose Pacey, but come on, the two BFFs that were always meant to be together end up together? How predictable and boring would that be? Joey ended up with her true soul mate, as she should have, which is why we loved this time jump the most.

(SOURCE: GIPHY)

(SOURCE: GIPHY)

 

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