This is based on the thread on the Six Million Dollar Man thread.
The premise: shows like 6MDM relied on tech that was cutting edge. You can imagine that the science of bionics in 1974 was advancing, and a lot of the pieces were nearly ready, but it took “a man barely alive” and a ton of black project government money to put it all together. The program only ran as a one-off (Jamie Summers and Barney Miller (no, not the detective) and Max notwithstanding).
But what happened in the intervening decades? You couldn’t keep bionics a secret, and why would you? It’s too useful. And there’s too much money to be made. The whole point was to make it available. They weren’t going to make one (or two) spies and leave it at that. Everybody would have access to bionic limbs and eyes and ears. (They just wouldn’t all be super powerful. If they were smart.)
But to have the show continue out of the 70s, you are forced to keep the tech stuck in the past. A super powered bionic agent isn’t that secret if everybody can buy the parts. And the entire world of 2018 would be different if the 1970s had bionic tech as seen in the show. Aside from no more limbless people and no more para- or quadriplegics, we’d probably have bionic astronauts on the Moon and Mars.
But here we are, 40 years later, only barely closer to the “world’s first bionic man”.
What other “20 minutes into the future” fictional tech of old has never come to pass? Or what shows had tech that, if it existed, would have made the current world unrecognizable from what it is now?