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Best Sci-Fi TV Shows of 2016

It was an awesome year for sci-fi TV shows. The whole genre is evolving and finally understanding that story is as important as the special effects.

By Frank WhitePublished 7 years ago 11 min read

My priorities are simple. My family/friends first, then my business. Then science fiction. Quite frankly, as I look back on my life, I realize that before I had my own family or a business, sci-fi was all i had. From Buck Roger's and Space 1999, I have watched almost every sci-fi TV show ever. I have seen every episode of Star Trek for each of the series. I never stopped watching Sliders, and when the Syfy channel began it was a big day in my life. I am a sci-fi geek, and this year was an awesome year for sci-fi TV. Again, I watched every episode of every series. And yes, I still try to make time for family, friends, and business.

Featuring stand-alone dramas—sharp, suspenseful, satirical tales that explore techno-paranoia—Black Mirror is a contemporary reworking of The Twilight Zone with stories that tap into the collective unease about the modern world. Each story features its own cast of unique characters, including stars like Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help), Alice Eve, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Cullen and Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones). Joe Wright, Dan Trachtenberg, and James Watkins are among the featured directors.

Black Mirror Is the Best Sci-Fi on TV

Pound for pound, Black Mirror is the best sci-fi on TV. Scary in an uncomfortable way. It has really evolved as a show but I highly recommend watching it out of order. It is more effective when episodes are viewed randomly.

When a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, planning to use it to change past events to destroy America in the present, the only hope is a team of unexpected heroes composed of a scientist, a soldier, and a history professor. The trio must use the stolen machine's prototype to journey back in time to critical events, being careful not to affect history themselves, while working to stay one step ahead of the villain who would unravel the timeline and understand the mystery driving his mission before it's too late.

The Kind of Thing I Watch When I Am Tired of Dark Dystopian Futures

Normally I wouldn't like network sci-fi TV like Timeless, but this show is just plain fun. The kind of thing I watch when I am tired of dark dystopian futures.

Hundreds of years in the future, things are different than what we are used to after humans have colonized the solar system and Mars has become an independent military power. Rising tensions between Earth and Mars have put them on the brink of war. Against this backdrop, a hardened detective and a rogue ship's captain come together to investigate the case of a missing young woman. The investigation leads them on a race across the solar system that could expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.

The Expanse is a Real Sci-Fi Saga

The Expanse is a real sci-fi saga, the problem is you really need to pay attention to the changing politics of the show. In an era where politics has evolved into another medium for entertaining the masses, this show rules.

Eight strangers around the globe find themselves connected—first by a violent vision, then by their shared ability to connect with one another's thoughts and actions, and finally by the urgent need to find out what happened and why. Their need to know goes beyond simple curiosity—as they pursue answers, a mysterious organization hunts them down, intent on destroying them. The intense thriller is the first foray into television (or, more accurately, Netflix) for renowned filmmakers Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski (The Matrix Reloaded), who created the series with J. Michael Straczynski (Thor). The international cast includes veteran actors known to US audiences, like Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill) and Naveen Andrews (Lost), and others well-known in their home countries, like German actor Max Riemelt and Doona Bae of South Korea. In keeping with the global premise of the series, shooting takes place all over the world, including London, Reykjavik, Nairobi, and Mumbai.

Sense8 Is a Pansexual Sci-Fi Exploration

So cool. Sense8 is a pansexual sci-fi exploration of biochemistry evolution leading to a mind connection between eight people. They can actually use each others unique skill set. It's like having eight brains in one, but not.

In one of the longest-running science fiction series in network TV history, FBI special agents investigate unexplained, mind-bending cases known as "X-Files." Though the government is convinced that the outlandish reports are false, conspiracy theorist Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and realist Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), for most of the series, stop at nothing to prove that "the truth is out there." Series creator Chris Carter also serves as executive producer of the thrilling pop-culture phenomenon.

The X-Files Never Gets Old

I am going to be pretty upset if they don't follow it up with another season. The X-Files never gets old.

Executive producer M. Night Shyamalan brings Blake Crouch's best-selling trilogy of novels, Pines, to life in this psychological, mind-bending thriller about a mysterious small town in Idaho called Wayward Pines. Visitors and natives of the unusual town struggle to understand the complex origins of Wayward Pines, what the town really is—and if there is a way to get out. As explosive and shocking events unfold, it becomes clear that a civil war is emerging, and that the human race is in danger.

Wayward Pines Is Still Such a Weird Mixture of Sci-Fi and Politics

Took a totally different turn in the second season. Lost some of the surprise, but inevitably had to. Wayward Pines is still such a weird mixture of sci-fi and politics, that again in the current political environment, it seems real relevant.

Detective Raimy Sullivan has carried around pain and resentment over her father's death for 20 years, believing NYPD Officer Frank Sullivan was corrupted during an undercover sting and got himself killed. Everything changes when she hears his voice coming from his old ham radio, somehow transmitting from 1996. Raimy tells Frank about his murder, allowing him to survive the event, but the change has tragic consequences on the present, and the two detectives must find a way to rewrite the past without destroying everyone they care about.

Frequency Is a Lot of Fun

A good adaption of a movie to television series. Similar to Limitless, which I almost put on this list, but it just didn't seem like authentic sci-fi. But Frequency is a lot of fun.

Sarah is a street-wise woman with a troubled past as an English orphan who bounced around foster homes before being taken in by Mrs. S, who uprooted her and her foster brother, Felix, to North America. She has made bad decisions in her life but always strives to do right by daughter Kira. When Sarah witnesses the suicide of a woman, Beth (who looks like her) she decides to steal Beth's identity—boyfriend and money included—in an attempt to begin a new life for herself and Kira, with whom Sarah hopes to reunite. But assuming Beth's life—Sarah eventually learns that Beth was her clone—doesn't go as smoothly as she anticipates because Beth was a cop caught in the middle of a deadly conspiracy, making Sarah the new target. Sarah must fight to stay alive while trying to escape from the complex web. As more threads appear, Sarah is pulled deeper, and Felix becomes her one true confidant.

I Can't Tell Anymore If It's an Addiction or It Really Is as Good as It Seems

I have been watching Orphan Black for so long that I can't tell anymore if it's an addiction or it really is as good as it seems. One thing for sure is I have never seen one person play herself but as different versions of herself over and over again. If you like the way that sounds, start binging on Orphan Black right away.

In the not-too-distant future, Los Angeles has been invaded and occupied by outside forces, causing a rift between the city's residents; Some have collaborated with the occupation, while others are rebelling and suffering the consequences that come with that choice. Former FBI agent Will Bowman and his wife, Katie, must consider their familial obligations when making their decision because they were separated from their son, Bram, during the invasion. Proxy Snyder, a cunning and powerful leader within the occupational government, offers Will the opportunity to get Bram back if he works with the invading faction. Will's decision doesn't sit well with Katie, but the couple risk their lives—and their relationship—to protect their family.

Colony's Compelling Story Line Keeps Me Tuned In

Once again we are dealing with what appears to be an alien takeover of the planet steeped in class warfare and politics. Yep, all that stuff is spun together to tell one family's story of deception and intrigue. Colony's compelling story line keeps me tuned in.

A trio of bounty hunters, known as Killjoys, chases deadly warrants through the Quad, a distant area that is near the start of a violent class war among multiple planets. Gorgeous but deadly Dutch is a top-level Killjoy who has a unique gift for earning people's trust, regardless of their class. The much-loved Killjoy harbors a dark secret. Kindhearted John is a peacemaker who prefers not to fight. Handsome, loyal former soldier D'avin is experienced in hand-to-hand combat, which makes him a valuable asset to the team.

Killjoys Is Like a Sci-Fi Drug

Killjoys is like a sci-fi drug, I can't get enough of it. I do kind of have a crush on Hannah John-Kamen.

When crew members working on a derelict spaceship awaken from stasis, they have no memory of who they are or how they got onto the vessel. The only clues to their identities are weaponry and a destination—a remote mining colony soon to become a war zone. They must band together to fight off the threats they face on a voyage filled with vengeance, betrayal, and secrets that make survival a question mark for all on board the ship. In the wake of a betrayal, the crew is split up. Some are imprisoned, while others are sent away to start a new life. The sci-fi series is based on the graphic novel of the same name.

One of the Great Surprises on Syfy

One of the great surprises on Syfy. Dark Matter feels campy at times, but because it takes itself so seriously, you can't help but buy in. It also has an elevated level of graphic violence one does not often see on TV.

An unassuming divorced English teacher stumbles upon a time portal that allows him to time travel to September 9, 1958, and goes on a quest to try and prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

I Watched 11.22.63 Over a Weekend. The Whole Series.

I watched 11.22.63 over a weekend. The whole series. Nothing beats seeing a perfect sci-fi story, told which such dexterity as to close every time loop conflict that I could throw at it.

Doctor Who is a classic science-fiction series with a cult following. The Doctor is called a "Time Lord," a time-traveling scientist from a far off planet, who travels through time and space in a shop known by the acronym TARDIS. A TARDIS is a machine that is larger on the inside than the outside and is supposed to change its appearance based on its surroundings. The Doctor is also able to evolve his biology, so he appears as many different people throughout the series. The Doctor loves Earth, so he makes many trips here to save the planet, or to enlist earthlings' to help him with tasks in the galaxy.

The Doctor Is In

It's the Doctor, what else is there to say about Doctor Who?

Westworld isn't your typical amusement park. Intended for rich vacationers, the futuristic park—which is looked after by robotic "hosts"—allows its visitors to live out their fantasies through artificial consciousness. No matter how illicit the fantasy may be, there are no consequences for the park's guests, allowing for any wish to be indulged. Westworld—which is based on the 1973 Michael Crichton movie of the same name—features an all-star cast that includes Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and Golden Globe winner Ed Harris.

 I Still Remember Seeing the Movie when I Was a Kid.

I am in love with Westworld. I still remember seeing the movie when I was a kid. The TV show is a whole different thing all together. It really is meant for the high brow sci-fi fans in the crowd. I don't consider myself a part of that group, I am far from a sci-fi intellect. But I do enjoy having my perceptions of the future visualized. The real question here is how long will HBO commit to what is obviously a massive endeavor.

This thrilling Netflix-original drama stars award-winning actress Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, who lives in a small Indiana town in 1983—inspired by a time when tales of science fiction captivated audiences. When Joyce's twelve-year-old son, Will, goes missing, she launches a terrifying investigation into his disappearance with local authorities. As they search for answers, they unravel a series of extraordinary mysteries involving secret government experiments, unnerving supernatural forces, and a very unusual little girl.

Stranger Things Is Pure and Perfect Entertainment

Finally something you can watch with the kids, if you want to explain why the corpse of a little kid is not real. The kid is actually stuck in a nightmare that looks like a Guillermo del Toro designed hell. Stranger Things is pure entertainment. The 1980s vibe is just part of what is a sci-fi story that grabs you from the first episode.
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About the Creator

Frank White

New Yorker in his forties. His counsel is sought by many, offered to few. Traveled the world in search of answers, but found more questions.

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