I’m a huge fan of Science Fiction TV Shows. I’ve watched so many of them and it really is an impossible task to list them ALL of the shows in one article.
The choice of shows is massive nowadays, but you really have to siff through the clutter to find something really good to watch on streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ (if you’re in Australia, Austria, Canada, The Channel Islands, France, Germany, India, Ireland, The Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Spain, Switzerland, the UK or the USA), Amazon Prime or Showmax (if you’re in South Africa). Luckily, I’ve got you covered with some recommendations.
Here are 12 Science Fiction TV Shows that you should watch:
1. The 100 (2014 to present)
This Science Fiction TV show is set ninety-seven years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization. A spaceship housing humanity’s lone survivors sends one hundred juvenile delinquents back to Earth, in hopes of possibly re-populating the planet.
The 100 was created by Jason Rothenberg. The show is based on the young adult science fiction novel series by Kass Morgan. Rothenberg became interested in adapting the story for the screen before the first book in the series was published.
I haven’t watched all the episodes of this series yet, but I’ve really enjoyed the ones that I’ve watched. The storyline isn’t too predictable.
Some interesting facts about The 100
Trigedasleng, the language spoken by the grounders (one of the groups of humans that kept on living on earth after the nuclear war), was created by the same person who created Dothraki, the language spoken in Game of Thrones. South African actor Neil Sandilands appears in 6 episodes of the series.
You can stream The 100 on Netflix or watch it on the CW network in the USA. The show is currently in it’s 7th season.
2. The Mandalorian (2019 to present)
The series takes place in the Star Wars universe and follows the travels of a lone bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic. The Mandalorian was created by Jon Favreau (who directed Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and the 2019 version of The Lion King).
The events of the show play off 5 years after the events of The Return of The Jedi. Fans of the Star Wars franchise will love this show because it looks and feels like the original film trilogy. Some fans have praised Favreau for saving the franchise.
Some interesting facts about The Mandalorian
To avoid spoilers, merchandise for the show was only made available to consumers in early 2020. The Mandalorian is only available to stream legally on Disney+. Disney+ was initially available to a limited number of countries. The result was that the series became the most illegally downloaded production of the year on par with Game of Thrones. The show has already been renewed for a second season.
3. Star Trek: Discovery (2017 to present)
The events of the show take place ten years before Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise. The USS Discovery discovers new worlds and lifeforms as one Starfleet officer learns to understand all things alien.
Star Trek: Discovery was created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman. This series takes place in the prime universe, not the alternate universe, also known as the “Kelvin Timeline”. It is also the first Star Trek television series to be produced by CBS following its acquisition of the rights to the series in 2006. For this reason, the series is only available to stream on CBS All Access in the USA. It’s only broadcast on television in Canada. The rest of the world can stream Star Trek: Discovery on Netflix.
I’ve watched every single episode of this show and I find it to be refreshing and fast-paced (compared to the older TV shows and movies in the franchise). This show should definitely be on your must-watch list of Science Fiction TV Shows.
Some interesting facts about Star Trek: Discovery
It’s the first Star Trek television series since Star Trek: Enterprise (which ended in 2005). The show has been renewed for a third season and will be released sometime in 2020. No official date release date has been announced yet.
4. The Rain (2018 to present)
In this Danish series two young siblings embark on a perilous search for safety after a brutal virus wipes out most of the population. Soon they join a group of young survivors and together set out on a danger-filled quest through abandoned Scandinavia, searching for any sign of life.
You can only stream The Rain on Netflix. It’s their first original Danish series and it was created by Jannik Tai Mosholt, Esben Toft Jacobsen and Christian Potalivo. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 2 seasons and I’m really looking forward to the third season (which is said to be released sometime in 2020).
5. Westworld (2016 to present)
This HBO series is set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past. In the show, humans explore a world in which every human appetite can be indulged without consequence.
Westworld was created by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan. It’s based on the film by Michael Chrichton (which was originally released in 1973). The series is a lot darker than the film. It’s also extremely violent at times. There are a lot of plot twists, which keeps viewers interested in the show. You can stream Westworld on Showmax (in South Africa) or on HBO Go.
Some interesting facts about Westworld
The first season was a massive success, and averaged 11.7 million viewers per episode across multiple platforms, according to HBO, the most ever for a freshman drama. The show is actually the second television spin-off of the original film. There was also a show that was broadcast in 1980 entitled Beyond Westworld.
This show is available to stream on HBO Go or Showmax in South Africa.
6. Rick and Morty (2013 to present)
This Adult-Animated Science Fiction series follows the exploits of a super scientist and his not-so-bright grandson. If you’re a parent, I don’t recommend that you watch this with your toddler. Your inner geek will love this show. To make things interesting, I suggest that you play a drinking game and take a sip every time that Rick has a “brilliant” idea.
Some interesting facts about Rick and Morty
The show as actually inspired by co-creator Justin Roiland’s vulgar take on Back To The Future. The relationship between Rick and Morty has always taken cues from Doc Brown and Marty McFly. Rick and Morty’s opening theme song is quintessential sci-fi, and to achieve the familiar, otherworldly synth vibe of the genre, the creators looked to both Doctor Who and Farscape for inspiration.
7. Stranger Things (2016 to current)
Stranger Things is one of my favourite Science Fiction TV shows. This Netflix original series is a love letter to the 1980s classics that captivated a generation. The events of the show takes place in 1980s Hawkins, Indiana. A young boy vanishes into thin air. As friends, family and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl.
Some interesting facts about Stranger Things
The show was created by The Duffer Brothers. In an homage to 1980s movies, Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is named after the character Arnold Schwarzenegger first goes looking for in the 1987 film Predator. Additionally, the first character killed on screen in the film was named ‘Hawkins’.
You can only stream Stranger Things on Netflix. Season 4 is expected to be released sometime in 2020.
8. Altered Carbon
This original Netflix show is based on the classic cyberpunk noir novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan. It’s an intriguing story of murder, love, sex, and betrayal, set more than 300 years in the future. It’s definitely something that your inner geek needs to embrace.
Altered Carbon plays off in a society that has been transformed by new technology. Consciousness can be digitized; human bodies are interchangeable; death is no longer permanent. Takeshi Kovacs is the lone surviving soldier in a group of elite interstellar warriors who were defeated in an uprising against the new world order.
Some interesting facts about Altered Carbon
Every season 1 episode is named after a classic film noir from the 1940’s or 1950’s. Originally the story was to be produced as a film, but the book’s universe was deemed too dense to be portrayed in under two hours. The whisky glasses used along the series are by Norlan Whisky glasses. They are cited as being the best glasses ever for drinking whisky along with Glencairn glasses.
You can only stream Altered Carbon on Netflix. The third season is expected to be released in 2022.
9. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 – 1994)
This show is definitely one of my favourite Science Fiction TV Shows of all time. It’s set almost 100 years after Captain Kirk’s five-year mission. A new generation of Starfleet officers set off in the U.S.S. Enterprise-D on their own mission to go where no one has gone before.
There are a whopping 7 seasons (184 episodes) of this show that you can watch. Yes, I know that this aired on television in the late 1980s, but it’s still good. It might take you a while to get into it, but you and your inner geek will thank me after you’ve watched all of it. You’ll also see a whole bunch of actors who are famous now, but were not famous back then. Fans of The Big Bang Theory will get to see Will Wheaton in the role that made him famous.
You can stream all episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix.
10. The Expanse (2015 to present)
In this amazing Science Fiction TV show (which is set in the 24th century) a police detective in the asteroid belt, the first officer of an interplanetary ice freighter, and an earth-bound United Nations executive slowly discover a vast conspiracy that threatens the Earth’s rebellious colony on the asteroid belt.
The show was created by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby. It’s based on the series of novels by James S. A. Corey (the joint pen-name of Ty Frank and Daniel Abraham). The show originally broadcast on the SyFy Channel. The network cancelled the series in early 2018 (just before airing its third season). Later that year it was announced by show producers that Amazon had picked up the show for season four. It was also assisted by a fan campaign to save the show. Amazon has already renewed the show for a fifth season.
Some interesting facts about The Expanse
The show, particularly the first season, borrows imagery and story heavily from the Dead Space video games. This includes ships and the virus (amongst other things). Game of Thrones authorGeorge R.R. Martin has gone on record as a devoted fan – he called the show a “kickass space opera.”
You can only stream The Expanse on Amazon Prime.
11. The Handmaid’s Tale (2017 to current)
This Science Fiction / Tragedy web series is set in a near dystopian future. A woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship. The show is based on the novel by Margaret Atwood (which was originally published in 1985). She was greatly inspired by George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, “1984”.
It’s the first show produced by Hulu to win a major award, as well as the first show produced by a subscription streaming site to win an Emmy for Outstanding Series. The Handmaid’s Tale series was created by Bruce Miller. This is actually the second adaptation of the novel. There was a movie adaptation in 1990 (starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Aidan Quinn).
You can stream The Handmaid’s Tale on Showmax (in South Africa) or on Hulu (if it’s available in your country). Good news is that Hulu & MGM are already developing a series based on the sequel to the original novel, The Testaments (which was published in 2019).
12. Legion (2017-2019)
This Science Fiction TV show is all about David Haller. He’s a troubled young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, but after a strange encounter, he discovers special powers that will change his life forever. Legion was created by Noah Hawley (who also created the Fargo TV series).
The show is part of the X-Men cinematic universe as it connects to its future films while acting as a standalone series. However, it’s also hinted that it exists in its own universe and it’s not part of the X-Men universe. Confusing right? Yes, I know it is.
The show is produced by FX Productions in association with Marvel Television. All three seasons were praised for the distinct narrative structure and visual style, as a unique approach to the superhero genre.
Well, there you have it, my list of 12 Must-Watch Science Fiction TV Shows. Which show doesn’t deserve to be on this list? Which show should also be on this list? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Television category on Running Wolf’s Rant.