Looking for the name of a short sci-fi program where people lived in a small community under the watchful eye of the government, everyone has everything they could ever want, however, a man and woman find out the truth that everything is fake.

I remember the last scene of their friends living room showed them living happily watching the big screen TV,nice place with furniture etc but in reality it was all fake and they had no clue about it. The scene changed and showed white boxes all over the room replacing everything, they were all marked "big screen tv", "couch" "table" "lamp" etc

The man and woman turned and left. It showed an aerial outside view of the community as they walked away as a narration started about being complacent and how things are not always as they seem.

Kinda like a twilight zone or something like that 🤔

  • I'm pretty sure this isn't it, but there are some similarities to John Carpenter's They Live. (But in that movie it's only adverts and packaging and so on that are replaced by white signs with black text, not objects.)
    – N. Virgo
    May 31, 2023 at 5:53

1 Answer 1


As per What TV movie has a man seeing glimpses of dystopia in his utopian world?, there's a decent chance this is the 2000 TV film, Virtual Nightmare. To borrow from Valorum's answer, linked above:

The film ultimately ends with the protagonist (and his sexy librarian friend) seeing through to the final layer, a drab dystopia in the desert with boxes for props and trees in the distance. They meet the "sys-op", an elderly man in charge of controlling the machine which is responsible for tricking the users into seeing the various illusory worlds.

The initial level of revelation of reality shows code displaying what objects ought to be.

Image showing virtual object markers with hex codes

Later, he sees a "truer" version with barcodes, and I've seen a few references to someone watching TV, and the main character seeing that they are instead staring at a wall with a barcode.

Image of a "flag" with a barcode indicating what it ought to be

I haven't actually watched the film all the way through (although it's not hard to find on YouTube), but my understanding is that he finds that that, too, is not quite reality.

  • 2
    This film is one of the great 'forgotten about' films. It came out almost alongside The Matrix and loads of people seem to half-remember it, but without being able to name it
    – Valorum
    May 30, 2023 at 18:40
  • @Valorum Part of the problem is so few TV movies ever get an official release on home media, so unless it's picked up for streaming, it's just pirated recordings...
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 30, 2023 at 20:24

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