Nowadays there are more sci-fi shows than ever to watch and more ways in which to watch them. With the help of streaming sites, genre TV is booming. While science fiction has never really gone away (the success of Doctor Who proves that), now it is more popular than ever. Technology helps transport viewers even further into the future or the depths of outer space.
Last year, network television focused on time travel with new shows such as Frequency, Time After Time, and Timeless. Netflix brought us Stranger Things and HBO the much talked about Westworld. Some of these properties, like Syfy’s space opera The Expanse, were based on pre-existing books. But many of the others are original works that use fictional futures to examine and comment on our present.
Which leads us to what comes next. The future slate of shows for the rest of 2017 and beyond are filled with adaptations of beloved works as well as new, boundary pushing ideas. You might know about Brian Fuller and Alex Kurtzman’s highly anticipated Star Trek Discovery, but here are 15 Sci Fi Shows You Didn’t Know Were Coming.
15. Snowpiercer (TNT)
Snowpiercer is a 2013 film directed by Bong Joon Ho based on Jacques Lob’s graphic novel Le Transperceneige. It tells the story of an ice age that ravages the earth, forcing humanity to take shelter on an ever-moving train. The train is separated by classes, with the poorer members of society living in the back of the train farther away from its resources and comforts. The film starred Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Song Kang-ho, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris. TNT is now turning this film into a series.
It is unknown exactly how the film will be adapted for television. So far, Hamilton star Daveed Diggs has been named as the only cast member, as Layton Well, a prisoner living at the very end of the train. Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson is directing the pilot and will also serve as an executive producer of the show alongside showrunner Josh Friedman. Joon Ho will also serve as a producer.
14. The Orville (Fox)
Seth MacFarlane’s latest project, The Orville, is a half-hour comedy that looks to be in the same vein of workplace comedies like Superstore or The Office. This one just happens to be set in space, aboard a ship called the U.S.S. Orville. MacFarlane plays Ed Mercer, the captain of the ragtag crew which also includes Adrianne Padalecki, Scott Grimes, and Penny Johnson Jerald. Iron Man and The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau is directing the pilot episode.
When the trailer for The Orville was released, fans were quick to point out its similarities to the Star Trek inspired parody Galaxy Quest. For the new show to succeed the trick will be balancing MacFarlane’s sense of humor with heart, something Galaxy Quest did extremely well. While The Orville already has a better chance than the new Star Trek simply because of its placement on a recognizable channel rather than another streaming site that requires payment, it has to make sure to not alienate fans by making fun of them.
13. The Mist (Spike)
Spike’s new show The Mist is another book- turned-movie-turned TV series. This one takes on Stephen King’s short story The Mist from his anthology Dark Forces, which was adapted into a film in 2007. It tells the story of Bridgton, Maine in the aftermath of a crime that has shaken the small town when the eerie mist of the title rolls in. Hidden in the mist are supernatural creatures that cut the people of the town off from the rest of the world.
Executive producer Christian Torpe says that the show will be “a reimagining” of the original source material, similar to what has been done with Fargo. While the book focuses on a group of people stuck in a grocery store, the trailers for the new show have already given us a look at groups of people trapped in different locations, giving the story a wider scope. It also hints at a darker tone, which will give this sci-fi show an added element of horror.
The Mist stars Morgan Spector, Alyssa Sutherland, Okezie Morro, Darren Pettie, Dan Butler, Isaiah Washington, Jr., and Frances Conroy.
12. Blood Drive (Syfy)
If you like your science fiction with a side of gore then Syfy’s Blood Drive is the show for you. Set in the “distant future of 1999”, the show features a world where cars run on blood rather than oil (“Have you seen gas prices lately?” a character asks in the trailer). It is a campy and violent in the tradition of Grindhouse cinema that looks best suited for the only the strong of stomach.
Blood Drive features lone honest cop Arthur Bailey (Alan Ritchson) who gets roped into a cross-country death race by a femme fatale named Grace D’Argento (Christina Ochoa), who has an agenda and a desire for blood. The show promises cannibals, cults, and Amazons and more as well as, “The maximum amount of carnage and chaos allowed on cable.”
With stylized visuals and over the top action and gore, Blood Drive looks to separate itself from many other shows available this summer.
11. The Crossing (ABC)
At first glance The Crossing seems like a timely political show. The premise revolves around a group of refugees from a war-torn country seeking asylum in the United States– except these people are from America and the war they are trying to escape from takes place 250 years in the future. Local sheriff Jude Miller (Steve Zahn) and Federal Agent Emma Ren (Sandrine Holt) find themselves at the center of this mystery. They must not only help the 47 survivors, including a woman named Reece (Natalie Martinez), but also discover the truth behind the events and whatever the government may be hiding.
Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie are writing and producing The Crossing. The two have experience with government conspiracy shows with a sci-fi twist, previously having produced short lived The Event on NBC. Hopefully The Crossing will last long enough for viewers to get to the heart of the mystery surrounding the survivors’ return.
10. Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (Amazon)
Philip K. Dick has been influencing science fiction for years. His stories have inspired Total Recall, Blade Runner, and Minority Report – just to name a few. Now his work is crossing over to TV with an anthology series based on his works. Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams is similar to Black Mirror, with each episode focusing on a different short story. There are ten episodes in total, each starring a dynamic cast, including Terrence Howard, Vera Farmiga, Timothy Spall, Richard Madden, Benedict Wong, Tuppence Middleton, and Anna Paquin.
Electric Dreams also looks to bring together a strong creative team alongside its talented cast. Bryan Cranston will appear in the series as well as act as an executive producer. Writers for the series include Ronald D. Moore (Outlander, Battlestar Galactica) and Michael Dinner (Justified), who are also serving as executive producers, as well as Jessica Mecklenburg (Stranger Things) and Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).
9. Lost In Space (Netflix)
Lost in Space is a cult classic science fiction show from the 1960s. It tells of the adventures of the Robinson family. The clan was supposed to go on a five and a half year journey in space, but end up getting thrown off course by the nefarious Dr. Zachary Smith and get, you guessed it, “lost in (deep) space.” Now Netflix is rebooting the show for a more modern audience.
The new Robinson family will feature Toby Stephens as astrophysicist/explorer John Robinson, Molly Parker as aerospace engineer Maureen Robinson, Taylor Russell as the eldest daughter Judy, and Max Jenkins as Will. Parker Posey will be playing the gender-swapped, but probably just as evil Dr. Smith. There is no news regarding how else the reboot will differ from the original, but the show already looks to be heading in the right direction with its added diversity in casting and more female roles.
8. Hard Sun (BBC/Hulu)
Police dramas are nothing new, but they are when they take place at the brink of the end of the world. Hard Sun stars Jim Sturgess as Robert Hicks, a family man and corrupt cop. His partner is Elaine Renko, played by Agyness Deyn– a damaged, but incorruptible officer. The two do not get along or trust the other. However, they must work together to survive day-to-day in a world that is set to collapse in five years time.
It will be interesting to see a show set around events leading up to the end of the world rather than the typical sci-fi show set after the apocalypse has already taken place. A similar idea was explored in the CW show No Tomorrow, but in a much more comedic manner than it seems Hard Sun will be going for.
7. Reverie (NBC)
NBC’s new show Reverie is also taking the idea of the classic cop drama to new, sci-fi heights. The show revolves around Mara Kint (Sarah Shahi), a hostage negotiator and expert on human behavior who leaves her position after experiencing a personal tragedy. However, all that changes when she is brought to consult on a new virtual reality program created by Alexis Barrett (Jessica Lu).
The program, called Reverie, has caused people to fall into a coma after refusing to leave the virtual world. Now it is Mara’s job to save them. Kathryn Morris and Dennis Haysbert also star as members of the Department of Defense, which has an interest in the virtual reality program.
With the growing popularity of VR (and technology in general), Reverie seems to have come at a perfect time. Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows) will direct the pilot and serve as an executive producer for the series alongside writer and creator Mickey Fisher (Extant).
6. Future Man (Hulu)
Science fiction isn’t all doom and gloom. Future Man is a half-hour comedy from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the duo behind Sausage Party, about one man’s journey to save the world. It tells the story of unlikely hero Josh Futterman (Josh Hutcherson, who is also a producer on the series), a janitor and world-ranked gamer. He is recruited by mysterious visitors to travel through time to prevent the extinction of humanity. The show also stars Eliza Coupe, Haley Joel Osment, Keith David, and Ed Begley Jr.
Future Man is the first half-hour series for Rogen and Goldberg who also executive produce Preacher on AMC. They duo are also directing the pilot episode. The series is being written by Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir, the writers behind Sausage Party and The Night Before.
5. Stranger In A Strange Land (Syfy)
Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land, was released in 1961. After over 50 years, Syfy is finally set to turn the classic novel into a series. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human born on Mars and raised by Martians. As a young man he travels to Earth and learns about Western culture including religion and “free love” (it was published in the ’60s). Mike also meets humans, including a nurse named Gillian Boardman and a lawyer and writer named Jubal Harshaw, who are key to his understanding of human culture.
Bradley Fisher (Shutter Island), James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man), William Sherak (The Avengers), Scott Rudin (No Country For Old Men), Garrett Basch (The Night Of), Eli Bush (The Grand Budapest Hotel), and Joe Vecchio will serve as executive producers on Stranger in a Strange Land. Julia Gunn (Witches of East End) will also act as a co-executive producer.
Stranger in a Strange Land is not the only classic novel Syfy is bringing to life. They have also been working on an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World since 2015.
4. The Row (Crackle)
Crackle, the streaming site from Sony Pictures Television, might not be as well-known as Netflix or Hulu, but they are working on increasing their popularity with new programming. Currently in production for the site is a show called The Row. It focuses on death row prisoners who are given a choice: stay in jail and die or go on an experimental space mission with a 1% chance survival rate. The premise of the show sounds like the first season of CW’s The 100, where teenage delinquents were sent to test the atmosphere of a previously uninhabitable Earth.
The Row is created and written produced by Michael Polish who will also direct. He will also serve as executive producer of the series alongside Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns) under their Make Pictures production company.
3. Osmosis (Netflix)
Netflix is no stranger when it comes to international programming. The streaming site has ordered its second French drama behind the gritty police drama Marseille. The new show is Osmosis, an eight-episode romantic drama set in Paris in the near future. It centers around a dating app, called Osmosis, that can find a person’s soulmate with 100% accuracy. The show will explore what happens when technology is allowed inside the deepest parts of a person’s mind and whether or not true love exists- and at what price.
Audrey Fouché is the showrunner for Osmosis, which will be her first project. She previously wrote on The Returned and Borgia. Aude Albano and Claude Chelli will produce the series. Filming for the show will take place entirely in France, further expanding Netflix’s global reach.
2. The First (Hulu)
As humanity comes closer to sending the first astronauts to Mars, science fiction is already there. From Stranger in a Strange Land to The Martian, we have imagined what life on the red planet could be like. Hulu’s new show, The First, continues the trend by telling the story of the first astronauts on a mission to colonize Mars. It will document the lives of ordinary people as they attempt this extraordinary feat, as well as the sacrifices and challenges they face along the way.
The First is created and written by House of Cards creator Beau Willimon. He left the Netflix show after four seasons. Willimon’s move to Hulu could not come at a better time. The streaming site is seeing a surge in original programming, with its adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale earning praise from both fans and critics alike. With Willimon’s help The First could be another show that cements Hulu’s place in streaming.
The First will be available on Hulu in 2018.
1. Altered Carbon (Netflix)
Altered Carbon is a futuristic steampunk novel written by Richard K. Morgan. It is set in the 25th century, in a world where the human mind has become digital and the soul can be transferred from one body to the next. The story follows a warrior named Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) who has been imprisoned for 500 years. He is hired by wealthy aristocrat Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) to investigate his own death because his last backup did not save any memories of the event. If Takeshi can figure out who murdered Laurens, he will gain his freedom.
The show’s cast also includes Kristin Lehman, Hayley Law, Chris Conner, Ato Essandoh, Dichen Lachman, and Renee Elise Goldsberry. Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) is the showrunner on Altered Carbon and will also write and executive produce the ten episode series. The pilot episode is being directed by Miguel Sapochnik (Game of Thrones).
Altered Carbon will be available to stream on Netflix in 2017.
What upcoming sci-fi show are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments!