2001: A Space Odyssey is a science fiction story by Arthur C. Clarke and a movie directed by Stanley Kubrick.
- The puzzle solutions page for Jim Henson's Muppets Annual 1980 features an illustration of primates looking at the answers on a large, black monolith. One of them sports an idea bulb over its head with a bone at its feet.
- An animated Sesame Street short features two pre-humans arguing using only the word "me". After this goes on for a bit, Strauss's theme underscores the view of a monolith towering over them. It cracks away to reveal the word "me" carved in stone, settling their argument.
- The music video for "I'm Gonna Always Love You" begins with Baby Piggy encased in an egg-like sphere juxtaposed with the Earth (which she is subsequently slammed into) much like the ending of 2001. The scene is underscored with "Also sprach Zarathustra", famously used in the film.
- The music video for "All Around the World" begins quoting "Also sprach Zarathustra" as a silhouetted monolithic shape rises into frame against a celestial backdrop, eventually turning into the building face of a beach front apartment complex as seen in a Postcards from Traveling Matt segment.
- Chasing each other down the hall in a game of tag, Baby Kermit and Baby Piggy come across a monolith in the Muppet Babies episode "In Search of the Bronzed Beetle". In their imaginations, their attire changes to prehistoric rags and they're joined by the other babies who, together, all ponder over the object in primitive speech. Ultimately, Nanny explains that the artifact is actually Uncle Statler and Uncle Waldorf's steamer trunk.
- In Muppets Tonight episode 211, guest star Andie MacDowell has requested to play a southern belle on the show. Kermit attempts to oblige, but the Muppets Tonight writers keep getting it wrong. When they finally hand in a suitable script, Kermit lets them touch the monolith. As they go crazy, hitting it with bones, "Also sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss plays, an homage to the film.
- The AL-1995 Plus Tax is a reference to HAL 9000, the computer from the film.
- When a giant letter M is introduced in Sesame Street Episode 3641, the Strauss music underscores a dramatic camera reveal of its size. Telly Monster strokes its sides with a reverence similar to that of the apes in relation to the monolith in 2001.
- In Elmo's Reading Basics, the game "Beam Me Up, Up, Up" features the Martians beaming items from Earth to their home planet, followed by scenes of Mars interacting with the new items. In one scene, a group of cavemen Martians interact with the new discoveries, underscored by "Also sprach Zarathustra." This image spoofs the opening scene of the film (one Martian even prominently boasts a bone like one of the early homosapiens).
- When Abby Cadabby bumps into Mr. Snuffleupagus in Sesame Street Episode 4109, her first sight of him (shot wide-angle from her perspective to emphasize his monolithic stature) is underscored by a music cue spoofing "Also sprach Zarathustra."
- During the Pigs in Space sketch from The Muppets Take the Bowl, host Bobby Moynihan warns the crew of The Swinetrek that their content is subject to take down notifications if the audience streams the show online. First Mate Piggy errs on the side of caution by suggesting they stick with music in the public domain. On cue, Thomas Wilkins begins conducting the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in a rendition of "Also sprach Zarathustra" while a monolith is erected behind the crew. The object concerns Captain Hogthrob and fascinates Dr. Julius Strangepork, but Piggy scoffs, "Oh come on, it's just a big, black rectangle!"
- Robert Beatty played Dr. Ralph Halvorsen in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
- Candice Bergen (credited as Olga Mallsnerd) voiced SAL 9000 in 2010: The Year We Made Contact (1984)
- Tom Kane voiced HAL 9000 in a Y2K Apple Computer commercial
- John Lithgow played Dr. Walter Curnow in 2010: The Year We Made Contact (1984)
- Helen Mirren played Tanya Kirbuk in 2010: The Year We Made Contact (1984)