I'm looking for a TV show that I vaguely remember, so the details may be off.

It's about a man that creates a virtual reality machine. He has a subject enter the machine. The subject falls in love, has kids and the years go by when suddenly the man stops the machine and tells the subject he has only been in the machine for a few minutes.

This may be a 'Outer Limits' or 'Twilight Zone' type show.

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    Are you sure it was a man? There was a twilight zone episode called "Dreams for sale" that had a female protagonist but a similar plot – Valorum Feb 9 '14 at 1:44

Could it be the Twilight Zone episode 'Dreams for Sale'? The main character is a woman and she is having a picnic with her dream family (from what I remember) and then at the end she wakes up and she's in a machine and she has only been in there for a few minutes.

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Based on what you've said, it could this episode of The Outer Limits;

Bits of Love : *After a nuclear holocaust, Aiden Hunter creates a virtual reality environment and populates it with hot women. The controlling artificial intelligence personality of the computer system is Emma, who appears as an attractive female. Eventually, Aiden tires of creating ideal women and decides to seduce Emma but afterwards he treats her like the many other disposable simulated females he created.

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Emma is more than a simple computer program and begins to make life difficult for him. She alters her appearance to seem pregnant and begins to control the other holograms to create her own world.

When Aiden attempts to reset the system, Emma retaliates by creating a holographic Aiden, along with his family and friends. Aiden finds himself completely alone and, in effect, a ghost unable to interact with the new "real world."*

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    That wasn't it, but I do love that episode ! – Tony Feb 9 '14 at 1:24
  • It's also the theme to the acclaimed Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Inner Light," though I assume that the show/character is far too recognizable to be the answer. – Joelogon Feb 9 '14 at 5:26
  • People forget how good the 90's Outer Limits was... that show was often on point like the classic Twilight Zone was! – 22nd Century Fza Feb 9 '14 at 5:42

The Sentence from the 90's Outer Limits has a virtual reality machine used as a virtual prison, where people can go in for just a few minutes, and spend years in a prison cell while in.

  • Aside from the virtual reality aspect, this doesn't really fit any of the plot points described. The virtual world created is a hell-world, not a family paradise. – Valorum Feb 9 '14 at 18:49
  • The OP said he only vaguely remembered, so the details may be off. So I guessed the "falls in love, has kids" bit were the details which were off. Apart from that, this fits the question to a tee. – Mr Lister Feb 9 '14 at 18:52
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    I find it difficult to believe he'd mistake "falls in love, has kids and the years go by" for "suffering abuse and loneliness in a hellish environment where he faces a malfunctioning penal system and torture" – Valorum Feb 9 '14 at 18:56

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