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Countdown To Looking Glass is a 1984 Canadian Mockumentary, Alternate History, and Speculative Fiction Film starring Scott Glenn and Helen Shaver among others, centered around the events that lead up to a nuclear war between the USA and the Soviet Union, as depicted in a series of evening newscasts that becomes a 24 Hour News Network.
Notable for its realism at the time (though not so much anymore) and for occasionally being Harsher in Hindsight. One of the less famous of the nuclear war movies of the 1980s along with Threads, The Day After, and World War III. Notable along with Threads for being on the "hard" end of the Speculative Fiction spectrum in that, at the time, such an attack could have happened exactly as it depicted *and* that it even bears some relevance in the present.
It is available in its entirety on Youtube.
Tropes included in Countdown to Looking Glass are:
- Alphabet News Network
- Alternate History
- Apocalypse How: Class 1-2 begins at the end.
- Apocalyptic Log: As it is being written.
- California Doubling: More like Canada Doubling. The entire production was made in Canada but was supposed to be occurring in the US. This becomes very, very obvious at points.
- Cold War
- Dead Line News / Red Shirt Reporter: Michael Boyle, aboard the USS Nimitz in the end when the nuclear war begins. Even were the war to have stopped then and there, the initial radiation from the first blast would have been deadly at that range...
- Downer Ending: Once you go nuclear, you can't go back...
- Emergency Broadcast: At the end of the film, the Emergency Broadcast System is activated with an EAN.
- Emergency Presidential Address: Of the "not the President, we're all screwed" variety.
- Everybody Smokes: That said, for being set in the 1980s and during the Cold War becoming very, very hot it is a Justified Trope.
- Harsher in Hindsight: A global financial crisis and a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia start the hostilities.
- Hope Spot: Several times. Unfortunately, neither reason nor an Intrepid Reporter can stop the race to war...
- Honor Before Reason: Because one source just wasn't enough to go forward with a story that could have saved the world.
- Hot Scoop: Dorian Waldorf.
- Just Before the End
- Mass "Oh Crap": Implied as the story goes on with reports of evacuations and of mass protests in Hiroshima and at the UN...
- Newscaster Cameo: Eric Sevareid. Newt Gingrich also appeared.
- Nuke'Em: What the US and the Russians eventually see as the only option...
- Oh Crap: A chain reaction Oh Crap at that: Mick / Michael sees the explosion of the first nuclear bomb of World War 3 behind him, and when the video relays this to the studio, before he has time to speak, the anchor Don has his Oh Crap moment.
- This Just In
- 24-Hour News Networks: What "CVN" becomes.
- Watch the World Die: The reporters, who know all too well how this will end.
- We Interrupt This Program
- Worst News Judgment Ever: The higher-ups at CVN are more interested in Honor Before Reason with a large dose of sexism than in listening to their best reporter and saving the world from nuclear war.