Prague TV Tower: Facebook / Oblaca restaurant. Atlas screengrab: Netflix

Prague’s TV Tower goes to L.A. in new Netflix sci-fi film starring Jennifer Lopez

Prague has become a production location for major science fiction projects in recent years, with Apple TV+’s Foundation filming its second and third seasons in the Czech capital and Amazon’s highly-anticipated Blade Runner 2099 coming later this summer. Now, pieces of Prague are even showing up in productions made in Hollywood.

In the new Netflix film Atlas, which stars Jennifer Lopez as a data analyst hunting down a genocidal AI android, a structure remarkably similar to Prague’s TV Tower can be seen in the skyline of the film’s future Los Angeles. It’s not an exact replica – David Černý’s iconic Babies are missing, for one – but the building is undeniably based on the real-life Prague landmark.

Screengrab from Atlas. Netlix
Screengrab from Atlas via Netflix

How did Prague’s TV Tower wind up in L.A.? In the world of Atlas, perhaps the same kind of elevated architecture that was once used for transmitting television signals is now useful for interstellar travel, and architects took heavy inspiration from the Czech landmark when building the new Los Angeles structure.

In reality, a VFX artist working on Atlas may have taken inspiration from real-life skyscrapers in the creation of the skyline for a futuristic Los Angeles. Or fitting with the AI themes of the movie, perhaps an algorithm produced something that looks remarkably similar to the Prague TV Tower when asked for a futuristic L.A. concept.

Prague’s TV Tower, officially named the Žižkov Television Tower after the Prague 3 neighborhood it dominates, was designed by architect Václav Aulický and structural engineer Jiří Kozák and built between 1985 and 1992. It features a triangular base formed by three steel columns that support nine pods and three decks for transmitting equipment.

The highest of the tower’s columns extends significantly above the others, adding to the structure’s unique, rocket-like appearance. The observatory, situated at 93 meters, offers panoramic views of Prague, while other pods house a restaurant, café bar, and even a luxury hotel room added in 2013.

Initial reception to the Žižkov Television Tower wasn’t kind, with many criticizing the jarring addition to Prague’s skyline. David Černý’s Babies first started crawling up the tower in 2000 before becoming a permanent addition in 2001. In recent years, general perception of the tower has warmed, with many locals identifying it as a symbol of modern Prague. Still, it was voted the second-ugliest building in the world in a 2009 poll.

Reception of Atlas on Netflix has also been chilly, and the movie currently has a 19 percent rating on the Tomatometer despite topping the platform’s streaming charts since its release last Friday. The Prague Reporter concurs, and can recommend checking out the Prague TV Tower in early establishing shots before checking out of the movie entirely.

Lead photo: Prague TV Tower via Facebook / Oblaca restaurant, Atlas screengrab via Netflix


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

One Response

  1. Nothing to be proud of… It’s an completely unnecessary tower from the pre Internet days, and an ugly stain on the Prague skyline.

    Obviously they left in in “Atlas” just to match the gloomy futuristic look.(Luckily the sickening babies don’t show).

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