Love sci-fi? Then you’ve probably seen the majority of these TV shows. However, did you realize just how much some of them really changed the genre? While science fiction shows get cancelled all of the time, we think that these five deserve a great deal of praise. We must warn that this article (and some of its links) may contain spoilers…
It may have been placed on the “Friday night death slot” on U.S. television, but that didn’t stop Fringe from gaining a cult following. It follows the Fringe Division, a Joint Federal Task Force that investigates cases relating to fringe science such as transhumanist experiments gone wrong or the possibility of parallel universes. It was able to breathe new life into the sci-fi genre by being unapologetic about its bizarre elements while still keeping up with a philosophical bent. It also, somehow, managed to make us sympathize with the archetypal mad scientist that we know has done terrible things.
- Orphan Black
For a show about a group of clones, there are tons of things that make Orphan Black unique. It details a complex conspiracy theory about the ethics of science and the moral dimensions involved in human cloning. Each clone is played by one actress (Tatiana Maslany) who manages to give a distinct personality to each character, something that takes the show to a whole new level.
This Netflix original show tells the story of a group of strangers who are psychically linked. Under the sci-fi umbrella, it brings together issues of race, sexuality and gender identity, with queer and transgender characters taking center stage unlike any other show of the genre. It is exactly this that makes it a pioneering sci-fi effort of original streaming content.
- Doctor Who
It may have existed since 1963, but when it was reborn in 2005, it was a fantasy mixed with a soap opera. Now, the Doctor’s companions have very little trouble keeping one foot in their present-day existences while the TARDIS allows them to visit strange planets and parallel universes. Alongside its spin-offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, it was also one of the first to have three shows in the same universe, linking continuity but aimed at different audiences. This is an impressive feat for the genre. Doctor Who fans are still learning all about their favorite show via sites such as The Who Shop.
- Black Mirror
The history of science fiction has long dealt with people’s fears of technology, but arguably until Black Mirror, it was unable to bring it to our screens in such a potent and dark way. By presenting a series of dystopian scenarios, it focuses on largely believable advances in technology and how society embraces them gormlessly. In the Black Mirror universe, this leads to nightmarish situations that often leave us disturbed, hanging on the edge of our seats.