Whether it’s distant space, here on Earth, or a completely different galaxy, we bring to you some of the most gripping science fiction over the past few decades in our opinion!
Without wasting much time, we’re going to jump into the list. Don’t worry, it’s completely spoiler-free and an ideal list for anyone who is into science fiction, or wants to know where to begin! The list is in no order of importance.
This spectacular pick is a hidden gem to many, but definitely one of the more gripping and dramatic science fiction shows there are. The 2008 TV series follows the story of FBI Agent Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv) who is an agent in the Fringe Division of the bureau, working together with a Harvard mad scientist Walter Bishop (played by the legendary John Noble) and his son Peter Bishop (played by Joshua Jackson), who is designated to take care of his father.
The series is full of unusual crimes, most not within the confines of definitive science, and much speculation makes this show a great watch! ‘Fringe’ was also an old show where many discovered creators JJ Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who have made some good science fiction, mystery and drama series and movies. The series lasted five seasons with a slightly rushed ending, but the drama intertwined with fairly imaginable bends in physics is a must-watch!
As kids, watching ‘The X-Files’ was quite scary! We are introduced to agent Fox Mulder (played by David Duchovny) and Dana Katherine Scully (played by Gillian Anderson), who working for a special branch of the FBI commissioned to work on unexplainable paranormal cases. The show ran for ten seasons, with seven seasons featuring Duchovny and Anderson, after which new characters were introduced in roles of FBI agents. Interestingly, the main characters were also sketched in a way where Scully was more of the skeptic, and Mulder, a believer.
Considered to be another series with a cult following, ‘The X-Files’ received a lot of critical acclaim, becoming the only longest-running science fiction series in US television history. It was also one of the first few series to tickle the skeptic in everyone – from the government to institutionalization – giving reason and questioning how much we really know about the world around us. If you’re knee-deep in science fiction right now, don’t miss this!
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Star Trek Universe
A legacy that Gene Roddenberry left behind has turned into the biggest science fiction franchise on planet Earth! ‘Star Trek’ started off as a science fiction show by the name of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series‘ in 1966. It was futuristic, highly imaginative, and a turning point in everyone’s perception of how we see the future. The franchise proceeded to make their first animated series titled ‘Star Trek: The Animated Series’, allowing for more innovation than any special or visual effects that could be applied to the live-action series.
Many shows and series later, ‘Star Trek’ was revived with two animated series, ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ and ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’, almost 45 years after the first animated series. Along with the fourth season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery‘ currently running, 2022 also brings in a new series called ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’. We will also see the second season of ‘Star Trek: Picard‘ in March 2022.
Star Trek today stands proud, with 800+ episodes spread across 39 television series seasons, and 13 movies! Many directors and writers have become contributors to Star Trek’s legacy, and many older actors have revisited their roles as well.
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‘Stargate’ is a one-of-a-kind military science fiction franchise, also popularly abbreviated SGU, created by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. The franchise follows the adventures of a Stargate, based on the concept of an Einstein-Rosen bridge which could be used to travel through space to distant locations. The story follows a Stargate discovered on Earth, controlled by the government and kept a secret from the public. ‘Stargate’ was also one of the first to boldly suggest that gods seen in ancient mythology were ancient travelers from distant parts of space, and mythology is based on these alien gods!
The franchise began with the ‘Stargate’ movie in 1994, followed by the series, right up to when the franchise almost ended in 2011 with ‘Stargate Universe’. In 2017, a ‘Stargate’ revival was announced with ‘Stargate Origins’. As of 2020, there have been 22 comic book issues too, completing over 350 episodes and running.
Star Wars Universe
‘Star Wars’ is the franchise that almost defined space opera as a science fiction genre – with epic space battles, intense romance, and a melodramatic storyline that dwells in adventures spread out in a galaxy far, far away!
Starting off as a film created by George Lucas in 1977, it was an instant pop culture hit because of how human emotions were so beautifully played out in a science fiction series.
While the epic battle between ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ fans continues, ‘Star Wars’ created a different niche, running into various other films and media. The most recent additions to the legacy are two seasons of ‘The Mandalorian’, ‘The Book of Boba Fett’s first season, and the new anticipated ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series in May 2022.
‘Star Wars’ is also known for its incredible world-building and the way it’s imagined, evolving to the shows today. The franchise has given birth to way more than any other series beyond just the films and series, including over 100 video games, animated series, novels including audio novels, comic books, and much more.
We’ve spoken well about this one before, and it definitely goes down as one of the best science fiction shows we’ve been blessed with! Sadly, the show ended earlier this year, but it ran for a powerful six seasons, based on the book series of the same name by James S.A. Corey, which is the joint pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. The critically-acclaimed series (with a fairly cult following too!) was developed for television by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby.
The Expanse hits hard because it is set in timeline that is a foreseeable future for humanity seeing how things are going right now. The plot follows a story of the Solar System’s divisions, a mysterious extrasolar bio-weapon called the ‘proto-molecule’, and the crew of the Rocinante ship trying to fight for peace in the solar system after the ‘ring gate’ opens up. Factions from the asteroid belt and the moons of Mars and Jupiter form the Outer Planetary Alliance or OPA, with rising rebellion from the ‘Free Navy’ lead by Marco Inaros, turning against those living inside the solar system, and attempting to control the ring gate. Science fiction has never felt more real!
Read more about ‘The Expanse’ here: The Expanse: One of TV’s Best Sci-Fi Shows Ever
Battlestar Galactica Franchise
Glen A. Larson’s ‘Battlestar Galactica‘ began way back as a TV series in 1978, one year after ‘Star Wars’ came out. Along with the science age that ended just a few years before, teamed with the space race at the time, the show spoke of a future in which humans somewhere in the galaxy are at war with their own creation – the Cylons. Currently living as the last Twelve Colonies in space, they battle the android race of Cylons to defend their small population who are also looking for the thirteenth human colony – Earth!
Battlestar Galactica is well-known for its intense visuals, and was one of the first gripping series displaying politics within such an important aspect of important galactic-level decisions! The series was written based on novels by Glen A. Larson, which were initially not extremely well-received, but their rising popularity said otherwise! There were also movies as part of the franchise, and two spin-off series called ‘Caprica’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome’ were released until 2012. In September 2019, NBCUniversal announced the show would air on Peacock’s streaming platform, but there hasn’t been much credible information on the revival of the older series.
We’ve got some amazing science fiction recommendations for you every week, so stay tuned!
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