Well, it's Groundhog Day… again.

The Best Time Loops & Why Time Loops Aren’t Time Travel

In the spirit of Groundhog Day, I’d like to share my personal ranking of the best time loop movies/TV shows:

  1. Groundhog Day
  2. Russian Doll
  3. Cause and Effect (ST:TNG episode)
  4. Edge of Tomorrow
  5. Palm Springs
  6. Source Code
  7. Happy Death Day

Now, before you comment “why isn’t Tenet / Primer / [whatever other movie] on your list?!?” allow me a moment explain the difference between what I consider a “time loop” story and a “time travel” story. Although time loop stories do involve time travel, in my opinion they are a distinctly different genre.

  • Time travel: One or more people travel forward or backward through time, usually intentionally. Multiple instances of the person or people traveling through time may exist simultaneously.
  • Time loop: One or more people repeat a relatively fixed period of time over and over, usually against their will. Through any given loop there is only one instance of the person or people repeating the time period.

Even if a story covers the same period of time over and over like in Primer or Tenet, if there are multiple instances of the characters existing simultaneously, that’s a time travel story. And yes, I’ve seen the articles about Christopher Nolan’s claim that Tenet is “not a time-travel film.” He’s wrong. It obviously is. The characters are travelling back and forth through time. What would you call that if not time travel? ?

I also want to mention a couple of great video games that use the time loop mechanic: Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Outer Wilds . I’ve played these each just a bit, but sadly I haven’t had the time to finish either one. There’s also a 1986 novel called Replay by author Ken Grimwood that I’ve read and enjoyed.

Are there other great time loop movies, shows, or video games that I’ve missed? Let me know! I’m always on the lookout for great content in the genre.

Sharknado: Has the “Shark Genre” Reached its Logical Conclusion? NOPE.

Today on a group chat at work, the topic of “Sharknado” came up. Because of course it did. In said chat, someone linked to an article in which the writer of “Sharknado” claims that “the shark genre has reached its natural and logical conclusion.” I believe that we proved his thesis wrong.

For reference, here is the “Sharknado” trailer:


RT: NPR: ‘Sharknado’ Dares To Ask: Is It Going To Rain Giant Man-Eating Sharks?

YO: I feel like I should revive our shark air-swimmer.

NG: Sharknado was all the rage lat night on Twitter. 9/10 tweets were about it

FN: OMG. Seriously, EVERYONE I follow on Twitter was going nuts about Sharknado.

OS: Fin’s name should have been Foo. Then Foo could have owned a bar, and been friends with Baz.

FN: The company that makes these movies is called The Asylum. They were also responsible for the “Megashark vs.” series and other recent super low budget classics. There was one with a mega piranha. Here’s a 2010 article about The Asylum.

OS: The low-budget big action knock-off is such a funny niche. I’ve been watching a lot of Rifftrax recently of mid-80s straight-to-video knockoffs. There’s always the one or two big-name actors who are slumming or fallen on hard times, the incomprehensible plot, and the strangely professional cinematography and sometimes stunts.


FN: Last sharknado bit from me for today (I have so much work I’m avoiding!): io9 did an excellent interview with the writer.

GR: Ha ha, awesome: “Honestly, I don’t understand why people are so perplexed by this concept. The logic is undeniable.”

TO: That interview is hilarious.

TO: “Has the shark disaster movie run its course, or are we just ramping up? It’s called Sharknado. I think the shark genre has reached its natural and logical conclusion.”

NO: In other words, have shark movies… jumped the shark?

YO: What about sharks in space?

YO: “Freddy vs. Shark”?

OS: “Sharks on a Plane”?

XW: Zombie laser sharks in space. On fire.

OS: Tsusharkmi

GR: What if the Yellowstone Caldera were full of… SHARKS?!? “Megasharkano,” in theaters 2014.

OS: (clap)

RF: “Shark Impact” – Asteroid containing space-sharks on course to destroy Earth. …or would that be “Shark-ageddon”?


OS: Megalogeddadon

RF: Ooh, nice.

RF: I guess for the logic to be undeniable, it would have to be a comet containing frozen space sharks

RF: +1 if the sharks are sentient/intelligent. Then you could pull in the “Independence Day” trope.

ET: RE: intelligent sharks — Deep Blue Sea

RF: @ET good point; the movie should also feature the star power of LL Cool J.

TO: Microscopic sharks (ala Fantastic Voyage; 1966) attacking the body from within!

GR: Megashark vs. Microsharks!

TO: Megashark thinks it killed microshark by eating it, microshark kills megashark from within, microshark dies due to a lifeless host. A shakespearean shark tragedy!

GR: You know what guys let’s just forget this real estate thing and pivot Redfin into a shark disaster movie company.

YO: We can keep the company name.

RF: Can we work zombie sharks into this?

QS: @GR How do you know that this ISN’T a shark disaster movie?

QS: Oh, hang on, guys. I’ll be right back…

RF: Somebody’s at the door!

RF: (Landshark!)

RF: Man, the internets are sadly devoid of any SNL Landshark skits. Wow; first aired in 1975. Now I feel *really* old.

NO: You know what Twilight needed? Hunky teenage sharks.

Vampire Sharks

QS: [Vampire Sharks]

NO: Would vampire sharks work together with vampire ents?

QS: I found this trailer when googling Vampire Sharks. It has, ah, homegrown charm.

RF: How about weresharks?

RF: That would be an unfortunate affliction to have you if you were landlocked during a full moon.

FYI: I anonymized the chat participants and cleaned things up a bit for readability.