With multiple streaming services competing over the viewing public’s attention, the big tech company Apple has decided to enter the fray with its own called Apple TV+. Following its release a few days ago, it already has many different shows to offer including For All Mankind.
Set in an alternate history where Russia achieved the first lunar landing before America could, the series follows NASA’s attempt at getting the upper-hand following this setback. Currently, only three episodes are available with more coming out. But for those who want to watch something similar in the meantime, here are some suggestions.
For those who enjoy film noir's aesthetic and political conspiracy stories, the BBC miniseries SS-GB is just the right cup of tea. Based on a thriller novel of the same name, it takes place in an alternate version of Britain that’s been invaded by Nazi Germany post-WWII.
The story then follows a Scotland Yard detective, who gets pulled into a plot against the Germans despite having to answer to Nazi Germany’s main security force known as the SS. Although criticisms were made by viewers about not being able to hear the English actors’ dialogue, the show got mostly positive reviews.
9 The First
Even though the Space Race is a unique event in history, a new one has begun in the current century. Only this time, it’s concerned with landing on Mars instead of the Moon. This, in turn, has led to a slew of science-fiction movies about the topic, The Martian among them.
There are even TV shows that cover this possibility, such as The First. A co-production between Hulu and Britain’s Channel 4 network, it’s a fictional story about the first human expedition to Mars. Among the cast is Sean Penn, who plays one of the astronauts chosen for the mission.
Like SS-GB, this show’s plot also concerns a political conspiracy following an alternate version of history. However, the setting and altered events are different. Taking place in Poland, it imagines a world where the Cold War didn’t end following an event akin to 9/11 in Warsaw.
So as a result, the Iron Curtain remained over the countries affected by it with Poland among them. Released on Netflix last year, 1983 was praised for its tight storytelling and dark atmosphere. But it also drew a lot of attention for its parallels to Poland’s current political climate like The Man in the High Castle did for America’s political situation.
While the concept of a multigenerational spaceship isn’t new in science-fiction, Ascension put a unique spin on it by having such a ship launch during the 60s. Thus, we get a time-capsule of sorts as the societal norms of that decade barely change into the show’s setting in the present day. In particular, 2014 when this miniseries premiered.
Yet the ship’s seemingly idyllic society gets interrupted by a murder, which has never happened before. But as an investigation is made, a deeper conspiracy emerges. Now unlike most shows these days, the marketing for Ascension managed to hold off on spoiling its biggest reveals. Thus, viewers stayed invested the whole way.
6 Defying Gravity
The cancellation of a show can be a double-edged sword, depending on the show's quality and/or ratings. Because if either of these elements isn’t met by a network’s expectations, they won’t hesitate to end the show-in-question regardless of the viewers’ opinions.
In cases like Defying Gravity, though, thirteen episodes were produced prior to its release before it got canceled resulting in roughly half of them being broadcasted. Fortunately, the rest can be seen online as it tells the dramatic story of eight astronauts sent on a mission across the entire Solar System.
5 Chernobyl: Zone of Exclusion
Among the various disasters that occurred in history, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant meltdown in the 80s is arguably one of the worst. Yet we’ve become strangely fascinated by this event, as demonstrated by the recent Chernobyl miniseries on HBO.
But before that, there was a Russian show on TNT called Chernobyl: Zone of Exclusion (or Chernobyl: Exclusion Zone) which took a science-fiction approach to the disaster. Consisting of two seasons and an upcoming feature film, it tells the story of five friends who find a time machine in the ghost city of Pripyat. They quickly discover it can take them back to the day before the Chernobyl disaster, resulting in a series of time-altering events.
In spite of the initial positive reviews, Hulu decided to cancel The First after one season. Fortunately, there is a similar show made by National Geographic simply titled Mars that also speculates on the first human-led mission to Mars.
But unlike The First, which was more drama-oriented, Mars takes a semi-documentary approach by interweaving a fictional story with interviews by real scientists. These include famous celebrities like Andy Weir, who wrote The Martian novel, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. With two seasons in total, it’s been critically praised for its “Deep, rich and educational” content according to Forbes magazine.
Following his role as Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones, and then Aquaman in the DC Extended Universe films after that, Jason Momoa’s acting career has certainly taken off. Now he’s got a leading role in See, one of the original shows offered by Apple TV+. Like For All Mankind, it has three episodes already available.
In a dystopian future where humans have lost the ability to see, the leader of a tribal village (played by Momoa) becomes the father of twins gifted with sight. This, in turn, catches the attention of a rival tribe led by a woman who believes that sight is sinful.
2 The Man in the High Castle
Based on a novel by science-fiction author Philip K. Dick, this show is arguably one of Amazon’s most popular flagship titles. Executively produced by Ridley Scott, it takes place in an alternate version of America that lost during World War II.
As a result, it’s been divided into territories with Nazi Germany controlling the East coast and the Empire of Japan presiding over the West coast with a neutral zone between them. Then several characters get involved in finding the mysterious creator of a film reel showing our reality. Despite having an initially controversial ad campaign, the show is a critically acclaimed marvel of modern television.
One of the most interesting aspects of time travel stories is whether a person can truly change the course of history if they knew what was to come. This is especially pertinent when someone tries to prevent something disastrous, as was the case in the novel and Hulu show 11.22.63.
Produced by J. J. Abrams and James Franco, the latter stars in it as an ordinary man who learns how to travel through time to 1960. With this ability, he makes an effort to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on the date the show is named after.