One doesn’t need to look far to notice we live in the Age of the Geek. Superhero blockbusters regularly break box office records while time-honored geek franchises are back in vogue. Meanwhile, many TV reviewers claim we live in the golden age of TV. With so many good shows out there, it becomes almost impossible to keep track of all of them. So what do you get when you cross these two trends? You get plenty of interesting, exciting new sci-fi and fantasy shows.
With every new year come the New Year’s resolutions. While some people try to quit smoking or get in shape, here at Screen Rant we like to keep our goals more manageable. Our New Year’s resolution is to simply check out the 12 Most Anticipated Sci-Fi and Fantasy TV Shows in 2016.
Bonus: The Shannara Chronicles
Amberle (Poppy Drayton) is an elven princess who wants to become one of the seven chosen guardians of the holy tree Ellcrys, which keeps an army of demons imprisoned. Wil (Austin Butler) is a young man who wants to learn the healing arts. Eretria (Ivana Baquero) is a scavenger struggling to survive in the wilderness. When Ellcrys begins to wither, these young people are united by the druid Allanon (Manu Bennett ) to prevent an army of evil from escaping their hellish prison and destroying the world. And it is a strange world indeed, for despite all the magic, it exists on the post-apocalyptic ruins of our own Earth.
Written by Terry Brooks and published in 1977, fantasy novel Sword of Shannara turned into a long-running series of high fantasy novels featuring elves, dwarves, destinies, prophecies, Chosen Ones, mysterious artifacts and other trappings of this genre. This MTV series didn’t make our proper list because it already premiered this year, with the first two episodes airing on January 5, 2016.
After Earth is conquered by an extraterrestrial invasion force, American civilians struggle under the occupation. Penned inside giant walls circling entire cities, the people are ruled by a military government led by domestic collaborators, with mysterious alien conquerors hidden from sight. Will Bowman (Josh Holloway – Lost) is a former Army Ranger and an FBI Special Agent. Now working as a truck driver, Will is actually an operative within the Resistance, working with his wife, Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies – The Walking Dead, Prison Break), to find their missing son.
Colony was created by Ryan J. Condal and Carlton Cuse, who worked as an executive producer on shows such as Lost, The Strain and Bates Motel. In an atypical move for a TV series, Colony premiered online on USA Network’s website on December 21, 2015. However, the ten-episode first season will have its TV premiere on USA network on January 14, 2016.
10. Emerald City
In this darker and edgier version of the classic Land of Oz novels by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy Gale (Adria Arjona) is transported by a tornado to a mystical realm ruled by a powerful Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio – Daredevil) who outlawed all magic except his own. As Dorothy navigates this mysterious and dangerous land, she faces scheming witches and deadly warriors, slowly becoming a hero that the people of Oz need.
Emerald City faced troubles during its development. Due to creative differences between show-runner Josh Friedman and Universal Television, the series was canceled in August of 2014. However, in April of 2015 NBC executives changed their mind and decided to resume the production of Emerald City, but now with the director Tarsem Singh (The Fall, The Cell) at the helm. The first ten-episode season of Emerald City will premiere on NBC in 2016.
9. The Magicians
Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) is a student in a New York high school considering his options before choosing a college. With his friends Julia (Stella Maeve) and James (Michael Cassidy) he discovers that magic exists. Enrolling in the hidden Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, Quentin soon discovers that the world of magic is far darker that he could have possibly imagined. Does this sound like Harry Potter? Perhaps, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Magicians is loosely based upon a trilogy of novels written by the journalist and writer Lev Grossman. The series is produced by – among others – Sera Gamble, who worked as one of the writers and later executive producers for the TV show Supernatural. The Magicians simultaneously premiered on Syfy as a special preview on December 16, 2015. The rest of the season, however, will air from January 25, 2016 onward.
Ever since he was a child, Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) was cursed to see his loved ones succumb to demonic possession. Decades later, Kyle joins forces with Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) to learn why is he being haunted by these supernatural occurrences.
Outcast is based on an ongoing graphic novel by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Paul Azaceta published by Image Comics. Kirkman, who previously created The Walking Dead, envisioned Outcast as an epic horror story. Even before the first issue was published in 2014, Cinemax picked up the rights to produce a show based on it, with Kirkman helping to develop the concept into a TV series. A ten-episode first season is scheduled to debut on Cinemax in 2016.
7. Legends Of Tomorrow
Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill – Doctor Who) is a time traveler from the future assembling a team of modern-day heroes, rogues and vigilantes. Among them: Ray Palmer aka The Atom (Brandon Routh – Superman Returns), an inventor of a power-suit capable of shrinking to the molecular level; Mick Rory aka Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell – Prison Break), an arsonist with a powerful heat gun; Sara Lance aka White Canary (Caity Lotz – Arrow), an assassin-turned-vigilante. They and others of their ilk are on a mission to prevent immortal warlord Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) from conquering our world.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe may rule the box office, but TV shows about DC Comics superheroes have proved themselves popular with the audiences. Legends of Tomorrow brings together characters of shows such as Arrow and The Flash in an epic adventure spanning space and time. Legends Of Tomorrow premieres on The CW on January 21, 2016.
In this alternate history, the Nazis have conquered Great Britain. Winston Churchill was executed, most of the royal family escaped to the colonies and Britain became a Nazi-occupied territory. Nine months after the defeat, police detective Douglas Archer (Sam Riley) is called in to investigate a seemingly ordinary murder. But after Archer discovers that the victim was a physicist involved with the Resistance, the Nazis grow strangely interested in this case. And how exactly is the American journalist Barbara Barga (Kate Bosworth) involved in this mystery?
British writer Len Deighton made a name for himself in 1960s and 1970s with a series of spy novels like The IPCRESS File. His novels were turned into successful spy thrillers, mostly starring Michael Caine as a cynical British spy Harry Palmer. Deighton’s alternate history novel SS-GB was first published in 1978. Now, BBC Films is adapting it into a four-part miniseries with a help of writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who previously worked on six James Bond movies. The SS-GB miniseries should premiere this year.
What does Lucifer, Lord of Hell (Tom Ellis) do when he becomes unhappy with his life? Why, he abandons his throne, opens a night club in LA and becomes a police consultant! While Lucifer assists police detective Chloe Dancer (Lauren German) with her cases, his past follows him in the form of the archangel Amenadiel (D. B. Woodside) who is bent on forcing Lucifer to return to Hell.
Lucifer is loosely based upon the comic book character first appearing in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. Character proved popular enough to get his own comic book published through the DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. Written by Mike Carey, Lucifer ran successfully for 75 issues from 2000 until 2006. The series – which already caused some controversy due to the nature of its main protagonist – is scheduled to premiere on Fox on January 25, 2016.
Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) is a preacher in a small Texas town who gets possessed by a mysterious entity granting him the power to make people obey whatever command he issues them. Morally conflicted about these abilities, Jesse embarks on a road trip across America, accompanied by his ex-girlfriend Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) and his best friend Cassidy (Joe Gilgun), an Irish vampire. Together, they meet weird people, dangerous opponents and numerous obstacles on their quest to, literally, find God.
Preacher is an upcoming TV series based on the controversial and critically praised comic book series by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon. Published by DC Comics imprint Vertigo, Preacher ran for over sixty issues between 1995 and 2000. TV series was developed by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin and should premiere on AMC in mid-2016.
Can you change history? This is the question asked by 11.22.63, a sci-fi thriller series starring James Franco as Jake Epping, a high school teacher who discovers a portal leading to America in 1958. Once there, he intends to prevent the assassination of the president John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Over time, Epping becomes more and more involved with this era, building himself a better life in the 1960s but also growing obsessed with the sad, failed life of Lee Harvey Oswald (Daniel Webber) as the fateful date approaches.
11.22.63 is based on a novel by the celebrated horror writer Stephen King. A step out of his usual genre as well as his habitual New England setting, 11.22.63 explores the America of King’s childhood as well as one of the most dramatic events of the 20th century American history. An eight-part miniseries, 11.22.63 is scheduled to premiere on Hulu on February 15, 2016.
Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) runs Westworld – a western-themed amusement park populated by androids. But when the robots begin to malfunction, this ultimate adult entertainment experience turns into a deadly trap for its visitors.
Written and directed in 1973 by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park), Westworld was a sci-fi thriller that spawned an inferior sequel as well as an unsuccessful TV series. Following the modern trend of darker and edgier remakes, HBO – that ultimate purveyor of grim and gritty entertainment – plans a modern re-imaging of this minor sci-fi classic. The series is penned by Jonathan Nolan who worked with his brother Christopher on Inception, Insterstellar and The Dark Knight trilogy. Cast of Westworld includes, among others, Ed Harris (A History of Violence), James Marsden (X-Men), Thandie Newton (The Pursuit of Happyness) and Evan Rachel Wood (True Blood). Although the exact premiere date isn’t known yet, Westworld is supposed to air sometime in the spring of 2016.
1. Luke Cage
After the critically praised first season of Daredevil and quite possibly even better received first season of Jessica Jones, Netflix doesn’t show signs of stopping: it’s run of street-level superheroics will continue with Luke Cage. Its titular character (played by Mike Colter) was introduced in Jessica Jones as the man with the unbreakable skin and superhuman strength. Luke Cage shows us his origin story as well as his attempts to start a new life for himself in Harlem. So far, it’s only known that the series will premiere in 2016.
It’s also worth mentioning that Netflix has at least two other superhero shows in the pipeline. The series about the martial artist and vigilante Iron Fist is currently in development with no release date yet available. After it airs though, Netflix plans a special crossover miniseries The Defenders that should bring heroes from all of their superhero shows into one team trying to save New York City from a major disaster.
So, what are your sci-fi, fantasy and horror shows you’re looking forward to this year? Share them with us in the comments!