Top 20 science fiction shows you should start watching right now
Wonderful stories, breathtaking special effects, and excellent acting can all be found in the best science fiction television shows. Even on television, the science fiction genre is flourishing. With so many excellent science fiction shows currently airing on television, narrowing it down to a short list of the best sci-fi series was no easy task.
Those who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, when science fiction on television was scarce, must be astounded by the recent explosion in the genre, which has been aided by the popularity of streaming services.
Following the incredible success of the first season, we have included Severance on our list of the best science fiction television series. We can't express how thrilled we are that production on Season 2 has begun! Even though it's been out for a while, we had to include The OA on our list because it tells such a unique science fiction story.
This fantastic story collection demonstrates that television is more than capable of firmly wrestling the sci-fi mantle from the big screen as a result of the trickle-down effect of movie special effects pathfinding work and the freedom given to television writers to explore darker places.
To get you started, here are 20 of the best science fiction TV shows, but keep in mind that science fiction TV often leads to "disagreement" and "debate." Just because there are only 20 items on this list does not mean that more are unavailable. In the comments, tell us which one you think we should add next.
Don't forget to vote yes or no to have your opinion heard.
Having The Expanse is a blessing. One of the show's biggest fans was the deciding factor in keeping the show on the air. It wasn't just any supporter, but rather Amazon's own Jeff Bezos. Since its revival, this show about a human colony in the far reaches of space has only gotten better, increasing the prominence of its political undertones without sacrificing any of the show's engrossing qualities.
The 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica does this terrifyingly well for about 60% of its run, if you're looking for a show that interweaves those dinner party favorite conversations of religion and politics, not least the influence of one on the other. The story then takes an unexpected turn that, depending on your point of view, is either extremely brave or completely bonkers. Also, in true Father Ted fashion, it uses its own unique cuss word to get around TV swearing censors.
With the release of Picard on Amazon Prime, Star Trek: The Next Generation has experienced something of a renaissance. The series, which ran from the 1980s into the 1990s, follows a Starfleet crew in the 24th century. It's a fantastic piece of Star Trek history and a whole lot of fun.
The Mandalorian is the best kind of classic event television. The only consistent element is The Child, a Yoda-like figure that The Mandalorian feels obligated to protect, but otherwise each episode is self-contained. Each episode appears (and likely is) lavishly produced, and it feels like we're being introduced to both new and familiar aspects of the Star Wars universe.
While Babylon 5 may not have had a big budget, it certainly had a lot of great ideas. In addition, it raised questions that were never resolved in court due to its similarities to the spinoff series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It was also audacious in its attempt to depict five years in the life of a five-mile-long space station through its 100 episodes. The first season of this groundbreaking show featured effects created on a computer that many people already had in their homes.
It's remarkable that the original 1994 Stargate movie, which had a difficult production history and decent but unspectacular box office returns, spawned so many successful TV spin-offs. After ten seasons and over two hundred episodes, Stargate SG-1 is still the most well-known. A top executive at MGM, the show's parent company, once compared it to the financial success of the James Bond film franchise on television.
In the 1990s, science fiction magazines' personals pages featured more stories like "Scully seeks Mulder" and "Mulder seeks Scully" than the traditional "Boy meets Girl" stories. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny became overnight sensations thanks to the cultural grenade that was The X-Files. The Lone Gunmen, a spin-off series, was not nearly as successful.
It's not surprising that Jordan Peele, whose film Us drew inspiration from The Twilight Zone, is in charge of the show's reboot. It was created by Rod Serling and first aired in 1959; it featured mostly science fiction stories and was a magnet for authors like Richard Matheson (I Am Legend) and Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), as well as filmmakers like William Friedkin (The Exorcist) and Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street).
Feel free to insert your own Star Trek spin on this. However, DS9 is chosen for the purposes of this article. It can be argued that Deep Space Nine isn't the best Star Trek TV show, but it's certainly the most subtly ambitious. It also features less obviously likeable characters and more morally ambiguous situations than previous Star Trek works. Among the two longest-running science fiction series on Earth, this is a watershed moment.
If the point of science fiction is to speculate on the potential outcomes of current trends in society and technology, then few works achieve this goal with as much unsettling success as Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror. Inspired by the style of the classic anthology series The Twilight Zone, Brooker incorporated lessons from his zombie Big Brother drama Dead Set. The common thread connecting these stories is the role technology plays. Among the many who quickly became hooked was Robert Downey Jr., who has optioned the episode "The Entire History of You" for a film adaptation that has not yet been made.
The first use of pixelization effects in a feature film was in the low-budget 1973 film Westworld, on which HBO's wildly expensive television series is based. The TV show greatly expands on the work of the late Michael Crichton, transforming the story of an out-of-control robot theme park from its original 88-minute movie form. HBO's highest-rated series premiere to date was rewarded with record viewership.
Given the show's near-60-year runtime and numerous successful incarnations, it's safe to say that at some point in that runtime, Doctor Who has had something for everyone. Even more impressive is the fact that the show's 2005 revival, directed by Russell T. Davies, was so well received by viewers when it returned after a near-16-year hiatus.
To say that The Leftovers is one of the best television shows of all time is an understatement. Authors Damon Lindelof and Dave Callahan used all of Lost's best mystery elements while giving them an adult twist. The premise isn't particularly groundbreaking: after a rapture-like event wipes out a large percentage of the world's population, we follow the fate of the survivors. Despite only having three seasons, everything is neatly wrapped up in an impressively grand finale.
James Garland's (Ex Machina, Sunshine) next masterpiece, Devs, is sure to impress. The mysterious goings-on at a Silicon Valley tech firm are the focus of this astute science fiction show. It's visually stunning and packed with conspiracies and strange technology.
The third season of For All Mankind has proven to be excellent science fiction television. This book by Brian K. Vaughan is an alternate history of the space race. Vaughan who did a great job with the new Battlestar Galactica (also on this list). It's a shame that this is an Apple TV Plus exclusive, because more people should be watching it. On the other hand, this is a huge win for Apple, since the show is excellent enough to justify the price of the service.
Despite our initial fears that The Orville would be nothing more than a parody of classic science fiction, Seth MacFarlane's clever writing has transformed the show into something much better. The brilliant Brannon Braga and other Star Trek: The Next Generation writers contribute to The Orville's authenticity.
Blake's 7, created by Terry Nation (who also came up with the Daleks), aired for 52 episodes between 1978 and 1981 and provided a serious alternative to the more humorous science fiction that was permeating mainstream media at the time. Blake 7 is a compelling dark story about a group of rebels fighting against a tyrannical array of rulers, despite the film's obvious budgetary constraints. To Blake's 7's great credit, the show also doesn't appear to have been touched by a focus group.
Severance, a sci-fi series made exclusively for Apple TV, is outstanding in every way. It may seem unnecessary to subscribe to yet another streaming service, but take it from us: It takes place in a world similar to our own, albeit with dystopian features. Employees at Lumen Industries, where a new approach to work has been developed to boost morale and output, are the focus of the show. However, those who volunteered for this novel method of employment begin to worry that something nefarious may be afoot. This TV show is amazing; it has a great plot, great characters, and amazing acting.
There's a good reason why this Netflix original has such a dedicated fan base: it's fantastic. There are no time machines, spaceships, or failed scientific experiments to be found. The OA not only subverts, but also reinvents, common science fiction cliches. The plot of The OA revolves around the mysterious return of a young woman named Prairie Johnson who had been missing for seven years. Before her disappearance, Prairie was blind, but now that she has her sight back, she also has a new skill. That's about all we can say about The OA without spoiling the plot or the enchantment. Although The OA was cancelled after only two seasons, the show's compelling story remains relevant today.
Raised by Wolves is a smart sci-fi film that builds upon themes explored in Ridley Scott's Prometheus, specifically the idea of human beings and androids coexisting. The result is a visually stunning and intellectually engaging television series that was abruptly canceled after only two seasons. Those seasons, however, are not to be missed.
- All other science fiction films are inferior to these.
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