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The Best Sci-Fi Shows to Binge on Netflix Right Now
Despite the natural contradiction between science and fiction, there is some legitimate hypothesizing behind the predictive nature of the genre. Star Trek’s “communicator” sure does look a lot like an early cell phone. And don’t even get us started on the hell fury that Black Mirror has predicted. (Sure, we haven’t yet invented the Jetsons’ food-o-matic machine yet, but who says you can’t put some gelatin into a 3-D printer, add a little food dye, and call it a meal?)
In many ways, the habit of the writer to “play God” in fiction has become an incidental trend for scientists and technological entrepreneurs throughout our rapidly-advancing history. Luckily, the writers seem to be a step or two ahead, so we have quite the playbook to reference. From new-age technological thrillers that border on social commentary to sci-fi classics that now put our lack of flying cars to shame, here are the best sci-fi shows to watch on Netflix.
The Twilight Zone
Here’s some required viewing before you dive into Jordan Peele’s 2020 reboot (or, any sci-fi series for that matter). This classic anthology series from the early ’60s era features a blend of inter-genre stories all with a few things in common: they’re absolutely eerie, unsettling, and otherworldly. Narrated by creator-writer Rod Serling and featuring performances from the likes of Burt Reynolds and Robert Redford, the “twilight” has as much to do with star power as it does sci-fi.
A new-age anthology series, Black Mirror uses compelling drama to navigate the many ways in which a hyper-digital world can go haywire. You can virtually start off anywhere in the series, but, if you’re looking for a gem to get you hooked, check out the “San Junipero” episode from Season 3. If you’re looking for one to ruin your taste in the genre forever, try “White Christmas.”
Emma Stone and Jonah Hill star in this dark comedy about two strangers who meet one another within a neurological pharmaceutical trial. Both there with different “symptoms,” the patients arrive seeking the same mental solace—but end up facing some more than unwanted side effects.
Cue: Flashbacks of wondering why everyone donned a bloody nose and box of Eggos for Halloween 2016. And, if you’re just jumping on the Stranger Things bandwagon, the mystery-solving has a lot of rabbit holes (and other types of holes) to fall down. Now nearing its fourth season, this acclaimed Netflix original starts off in a small town of Indiana following the mysterious disappearance of a local boy and appearance of an estranged girl with telekinetic powers.
Eight strangers across the world discover themselves to be “sensates,” or, humans with an emotional and mental connection to one another. Praised for its emphasis on representation and social commentary, the series unfolds as the sensates progressively discover each other, the cause of their connection, and, of course, the sinister organization tracking them down.
Based on the cyberpunk noir novel of Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon imagines a futuristic world in which human souls are digitized onto devices called “stacks,” making death seemingly avoidable. However, the means of copying one’s consciousness, or freely moving about bodies, has been seized by the rich. When a soldier’s soul is saved from a prison of stacks, he must repay his wealthy savior by fulfilling one request: to solve his murder.
The Umbrella Academy
Your television prayers have finally been answered: An apocalyptic series about a family of adopted sibling superheroes, based on a comic book series written by My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way. No, really. Come to verify that it’s a real show, and stay for the dysfunctional family-fueled world-saving.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Before you cash in on that CBS All Access subscription to watch Star Trek: Picard, tune into the 80s-90s classic that gave Sir Patrick Stewart his iconic role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. This follow-up to Star Trek: The Original Series takes place in the 24th century aboard the starship, U.S.S. Enterprise, as its crew explores the Milky Way.
After being missing for seven years, a young blind woman mysteriously reemerges, now able to see and calling herself “The OA” (“The Original Angel”). Determined to recover her fellow missing persons from another dimension, she recruits the help of five local strangers.
Based on Dennis Liu’s comic book and short film of the same name, Raising Dion follows a widowed mother who starts to experience new challenges in her parenting journey when her son, Dion, begins to exhibit superhuman powers. Suddenly, her greatest mission in motherhood becomes keeping Dion’s superpowers a secret from those trying to exploit him.
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