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Big List of Sci-Fi TV

The future of sci-fi TV is here now, in one comprehensive list.

By Isaac ShapiroPublished 8 years ago 7 min read

2015 was pivotal year for science fiction in television. With shows like Game of Thrones raising the bar for genre entertainment across the board, networks and cable channels are fighting to keep up by launching their own hit series based off any comic or novel they can get their hands on. Thankfully for viewers at home, this has lead to an overwhelming abundance of incredible programs to choose from. In many ways, our respective DVRs and streaming services have become an all you can eat buffet. But just as our stomachs can only fit so much food, there are only so many hours in the day to catch new shows, and with networks pushing out countless hours of content it’s become impossible to keep up with everything. To help keep you fit and focused for the inevitable binge buffet of 2016's sci-fi TV, we’ve picked out some of the most promising shows premiering in 2016 that you should definitely add to your queues.

James S. Corey’s long running series of sci-fi novels make their way to the small screen in the latest space epic from the Syfy channel. Syfy is pushing the boundaries of what to expect from science fiction on television. In The Expanse, humanity has colonized the solar system, but the peace between the citizens of the Asteroid Belt, Earth, and Mars is tenuous at best. Police detective Josephus Miller is given an assignment to track down a missing woman, but this simple case leads him into a much greater conspiracy that threatens the very fabric of peace in the solar system. But what he finds doesn’t just threaten the stability of the solar systems politics, it might affect the future of humanity itself. The best part is that if you get invested in this space opera, you don’t have to worry about it getting canceled. Syfy has already ordered a 13 episode second season to premiere in early 2017.

The writing of Stephen King is the stuff of legend. His numerous novels have been adapted into some of the best movies and mini-series of all time. Now his more sentimental piece of time traveling fiction, 11.22.63, makes its debut on Hulu in their bid to compete against Netflix with high concept original series. In 11.22.63, James Franco plays Jake Epping, a teacher who discovers a way to time travel back to the 1960s. He then makes a plan to stop the Kennedy assassination, but James Franco didn’t see Back to the Future, since every great time traveling story always stresses the importance of not messing with the timeline. But of course, if he did that, then there wouldn’t be any story. Given the fact that 11.22.63 is one of the most beloved novels of Stephen King’s more recent output, it is one of the can’t miss shows of 2016.

While Marvel Studios might be dominating the cinema landscape with their cinematic universe, it’s DC comics that is taking over television. What started with the relatively grounded Arrow has grown into a massive, interconnected multiverse of DC superhero shows all spearheaded by showrunner extraordinaire Greg Berlanti. The second spinoff of Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, features an assorted team of heroes and villains from both the Arrow and Flash TV series, teaming up as they travel through time to take down iconic DC supervillain Vandal Savage. In many ways. Legends of Tomorrow is kind of like the Reese's peanut butter cup of nerd television, taking the chocolaty goodness of Doctor Who’s timey wimey business and smashing it together with the creamy peanut butter of a superhero team-up show. This freedom has allowed the show’s creators to play around with all kinds of things that a normal DC comic book TV series could normally never get away with, like featuring the infamous one-armed Green Arrow from Frank Miller’s seminal Dark Knight Returns on television, making it a must-see for sci-fi and superhero fans alike.

The X-Files was one of the most iconic sci-fi TV series of the 90s. In many respects, its approach to providing a larger, overarching mythology served as a huge influence for future binge-worthy shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica. Thanks to Kumail Nanjiani’s X-Files podcast, the series has seen renewed interest. Enough interest that Fox ordered a miniseries to serve as an additional season, reuniting the original leads of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson to reprise their roles of Mulder and Scully. The series premiered to record-breaking ratings. Even though only six episodes were ordered, it was abundantly clear that many fans knew that the truth was still out there and tuned in to see the miniseries. The success of season 10 means there’s a very good chance we’ll be seeing a season 11, and there isn’t a better time for the world to embrace the weird whimsy of The X-Files, now that it’s returned to a television landscape it helped define.

Garth Ennis’s subversive comic masterpiece has long since been the holy grail for adult comics. Many fans dreamed it might find its way onto HBO. But much like Mad Men was turned down by HBO only to find its way to AMC, the home of The Walking Dead has opened their arms to welcome Preacher into their programming flock. Given the huge success of The Walking Dead, having another huge comic book adaptation in the pipeline makes perfect sense. But it took the combined powers of Seth Rogen and his writing/producing partner Adam Goldberg to finally get Preacher the green light. The story focuses on the titular preacher Jesse Custer, who becomes infused with the spirit of Genesis, a demon/angel hybrid that gives him the word of God. The word of God makes anyone do whatever he says. With his new power, Jesse takes a road trip across America to find God and hold him accountable for abandoning his creation. This series is bound to stir up all kinds of controversy.

Carlton Cruse, the grand master of sci-fi television, works his magic again with fellow Lost alum Josh Holloway in this sci-fi espionage thriller. Colony shows a dystopian future where aliens have conquered the planet. The remaining humans live out in sanctioned ghetto blocks where they are supervised and policed by a paramilitary force, run by humans who have chosen to collaborate with the invaders. The aliens remain completely unseen, allowing their human collaborators to enforce their will upon the remaining survivors. Josh Holloway finds himself turned into a double agent as he’s recruited by the Nazi-like collaborators to infiltrate the resistance while his wife works as a prominent resistance member. Colony is like The Americans crossed with Half-Life 2, making it one of the most electrifying new series to come to TV in quite a while.

The Black Mirror series is like The Twilight Zone for the social media era. Much like how Rod Sterling’s original parables offered social commentary for the 1950s and 1960s, Charlie Booker’s bleakly satirical take on short stories offers a dark vision from a reality that’s alarmingly close our own. The success of Black Mirror on Netflix has made the streaming giant pick up a third season. But while we wait for more twisted tales of how our social media apps are slowly stripping us of our humanity, there’s no better way to prepare than by catching up on this incredible Christmas special that’s perfect for anyone who despises Christmas. If you throw a mug at your TV anytime Jimmy Stewart comes on in It’s A Wonderful Life, then this is the perfect special and a great introduction to the twisted satirical nightmare world of Black Mirror.

The internet was set ablaze when David Lynch announced he was returning to make a new season of Twin Peaks that would premiere on Showtime. But production delays and a limited budget threatened to derail David Lynch’s long-awaited return to television. But thankfully things worked out, the only problem is we’ll have to wait until at least 2017 before we get to see the new series. But while you’re waiting to gorge yourself on more esoteric Lynchian drama, Netflix has the next best thing. Stranger Things, set to debut this year, is a drama set in Indiana in 1980. It follows the mystery of a boy who vanishes into thin air. Forget all about who killed Laura Palmer. With its star-studded cast of Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine, Stranger Things will have everyone wondering what the truth is behind this mysterious disappearance. With Hollywood heavyweight director Shawn Levy producing, binge viewers are guaranteed a thriller like no other.

If you’ve already seen Black Mirror and find yourself clamoring for more British sci-fi dystopian fiction, then Residue is the perfect show to satisfy your craving. Available on Netflix, Residue tells the story of investigative photo-journalist Jennifer Preston as she investigates the origin of a mysterious explosion in an English metropolis that has become to cause a series of unexplained paranormal phenomena, leading to a bigger conspiracy. Directed by Alex Lopez of Misfits and Utopia fame, Residue is a can’t-miss, nail-biting thriller perfect for sci-fi fans who can’t get enough government conspiracies into their media diet.

In many ways, fan fiction has become the new proving ground for writers looking to make their mark in fantasy or science fiction. One only has to look at the astronomical success of Fifty Shades of Grey or the One Direction fan fiction story After, which was optioned to be adapted into a film to see that the previously ostracized fan fiction community has now become a hotbed for producing new intellectual properties. Shadowhunters originally came from Harry Potter fan fiction, but has grown to become an all-encompassing multimedia behemoth. The first novel of the Mortal Instruments series, which the show is based on, was adapted to the big screen, but proved to be a flop. TV might have always been the better choice for this series and now the Freeform (formerly ABC Family) network will bring this universe to life the way it was meant to be seen. Shadowhunters tells the story of Clary Fray who, on her eighteenth birthday, learns she is a Shadowhunter, or a human with angelic blood born with the power to protect humans from demons that stalk and feed upon regular mortals. Clary is thrust into a world where she finds herself fighting and living amongst faeries, warlocks, vampires, and other creatures of myth, all existing within the urban cityscape of New York City. Even if you’re sick of the glut of young adult dystopian sci-fi adaptations this urban fantasy might be the perfect cure.

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About the Creator

Isaac Shapiro

When not scrounging the internet for the best content for Jerrick Media, Isaac can be found giving scritches to feathery friend Captain Crunch.

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    Isaac  ShapiroWritten by Isaac Shapiro

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