The 10 Greatest Historical Literary Cameos on Time-Traveling TV Shows

Time travel inevitably gets a sizable mention during an old-fashioned game of “Name That TV Trope.” There’s seemingly an endless supply — everything from screwed-up timelines that incorporate fictional elements to the unsettling discovery that you’re your own grandfather (see Futurama). But, bibliophiles that we are, one of our favorite silly pseudo-historical plot devices is when a famous dead author is revived in fictionalized form. Take a look at some of the most memorable time-traveling literary cameos from our favorite TV shows below. Can you think of more?

Mark Twain in Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Time’s Arrow” (Seasons 5 and 6, episodes 26 and 1)

Discounting instances of literary characters appearing thanks to that genius plot device, the holodeck, the two-part “Time’s Arrow” episode probably stands out as the most excellent time-traveling cameo by a fictionalized real-life author in the Star Trek canon. And what better complement to Jean-Luc Picard’s old-world sophistication than the stubborn scientific curiosity and Southern wit of Samuel Clemens?