These 5 Science Fiction shows are sure to scratch the itch that Black Mirror left behind.
Wasn’t season 4 of Black Mirror such a delight? Yeah we thought so too. But the downside of a great show is it being over in a Netflix minute. We’ve all been there: stupefied, sitting on the couch while Netflix asks if we’re still alive. The answer is almost always, ‘biologically: yes. Emotionally: flatlining.’ That’s where we come in! Luckily, we have some great Science Fiction substitutes that’ll have you recovering in no time.
Here are some of the best Science Fiction shows you can binge watch right now. But take it slowly this time. We can’t always be there to perform TV CPR on you whenever you go overboard.
5) Electric Dreams (Amazon)
If you’re a fan of Philip K. Dick, Electric Dreams should’ve already been on your radar from jump street. He’s written some of the best Science Fiction that’s been adapted on screen for years. A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau and even Amazon’s other series The Man in the High Castle, just to name a few. His stories are the gift that keeps on giving.
Electric Dreams is no different. Using the same basic format as Black Mirror, Electric Dreams is an anthology series telling a different tale of dystopian futures in each episode. Albeit, it is not as dark or edgy as Black Mirror, but the basic premises for each episode are intriguing. With top tier actors such as Bryan Cranston, Anna Paquin, Terence Howard and Steve Buscemi, they swing for the fences with each installment.
Don’t expect too much exposition with each episode. These were mostly unfinished Philip K. Dick stories after all. They’re mere glimpses without much explanation as to what caused the scenarios to come about in each story. Almost as if we’re being dropped in and out of different dimensions, shifting our points of view without warning. Truly the epitome of Science Fiction.
Stand out Episodes: Human Is, The Father Thing, Crazy Diamond and Real Life.
4) Westworld (HBO)
Westworld is based on a 1973 movie of the same name written and directed by Michael Crichton, who also wrote the Jurassic Park novel. Created for television by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, it takes place in an android filled western amusement theme park where the only limit of what you’d like to do is your imagination. That is, until these androids start ‘waking up’ and murdering the guests of said theme park. Seems like Mr. Crichton didn’t like theme park attendees much.
We explore the park through the eyes of different androids and engineers as we piece together what exactly is really going on. It’s a refreshingly different take on Science Fiction, combining the old west and fantastical future inventions for the sole purpose of our entertainment. It almost feels as if you are going for a ride on a lab created horse to grab a drink at the nearby saloon to listen to your favourite robot play some piano tunes.
Speaking of which, the music is simply awesome in this series. The brilliant Ramin Djawadi of Game of Thrones fame, gives the precise amount of creep and cool to this stylish series. Sometimes, he takes modern songs and turns them into old timey show tunes. Just listen to this version of “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden and then binge season 1 (responsibly) while you wait for season 2.
3) Humans (AMC)
Humans is another bonafide science fiction hit that will leave you wanting more. Written by Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent and based off a Swedish TV show called, ‘Real Humans‘, this show is absolutely must watch. Similar aspects to Westworld but with significant twists.
Set in an alternate universe, people have begun using synthetic human beings to assist with their everyday lives. It’s almost like having an iPhone now as the cool, hip way to go through life. Not everyone is on board with having synths as we follow one family divided by their new synth Mia. Mia is plenty helpful around the house. Maybe a little too helpful with personal issues when one married enables her adult settings.
The acting by the cast is simply stellar and the show makes you do a double take to make sure the actors aren’t really robots. It’s difficult to tell who is human and who is a synth, and that’s the point. The show explores in depth what makes up human elements and what is real. We may find out eventually that there may be no difference at all. cue ominous sci-fi synth keyboards
2) Orphan Black (BBC)
Sarah Manning has a problem. She’s just seen herself commit suicide in front of an oncoming train. Or did she? Is it her long lost sister she’s never met? Or just a hallucination? And with that hook, just like Sarah, we have to find out what the hell is going on in Orphan Black.
Created by John Fawcett and Greame Manson, Orphan Black is a series that’ll make you cancel weekend plans. Tremendous acting by Tatiana Maslany, who unfathomably plays so many characters that she could create a footie team by her lonesome. Her ability to distinguish one woman from the next is flabbergasting. You may even find yourself preferring one of her characters over another forgetting it’s the same actress! That alone is reason enough to pencil this one into your Sci-fi rotation.
But the insidious plot that’s unraveled by Sarah and her sestras aka sisters, is what makes Orphan Black one of a kind. When she discovers that a shady company has been using her genes to make clones of her for decades, stopping them figures to be a life threatening task. You’ll have to make clones of yourself just to be able to go to work and watch this captivating series at the same time. Which isn’t too far off from becoming reality.
1) The Twilight Zone (Netflix)
The G.O.A.T. of Science Fiction. An oldie but a goodie that’s influenced every other the show on this list and withstands the test of time. Rod Serling’s ‘The Twilight Zone’ is a series of timeless cautionary tales which never cease to amaze. If you haven’t yet, give it a go and see if you can escape another dimension with your frame of mind intact.
From literal deals with the devil, to various killer dolls, this series skews time and space as we know it. Every tale hits home in one way or another, even though it was written decades ago. In a time when acting had more of a classical approach, the leads in several tales are truly something to behold. You can even find early performances from now very well known actors: William Shatner, Carol Burnett, Meredith Burgess, Mickey Rooney and even George Takei.
Even though most stories had aliens, robots and the traditional science fiction elements, the best ones were centered around the self/human condition. This is what made the Twilight Zone what it is today and why you can risk binging your life away in a Netflix minute. Also could be the plot of an episode of Jordan Peele’s take of the series coming soon.
So binge responsibly friends! If you like these, you may also want to dive in to The Expanse on SyFy. Sci-Fi fan tested, DigitalFox approved.