John is a fervent writer, gamer, and guitar lover. Former automatic-transmission repairer, welder and hobbyist game developer.
With the popularity of shows like Stranger Things and Black Mirror, the realm of science fiction is probably as popular as it has ever been. Couple that with the myriad of ways a new show can get made in today's world of Netflix and YouTube Red and so on, and you have a perfect storm for the creation of some great sci fi shows.
But they don’t all hit with the success of the aforementioned Stranger Things, so I wanted to share three shows I’ve found that I love but aren’t perhaps as widely known as I feel they should be. If you’re into sci fi TV shows, and you haven’t seen any of these, you should definitely check them out.
The Space One
If you’ve ever lamented the early cancellation of Firefly (and let’s face it, if you’re reading this article you probably have), then Killjoys might be just the show for you. Read on...
Killjoys takes place in a vague future where humanity has moved out into the stars. The show itself takes place in the “J Star Cluster”, and centres mostly on a system called “The Quad”, which consists of a planet and its three moons, all of which are inhabited.
Our protagonists are a crew of RAC (Reclamation Apprehension Coalition) agents. The RAC is essentially an organisation of unionised bounty hunters. These agents are given a special status in society, and are allowed to carry out their contracts even in situations that would get a regular citizen arrested.
The show follows three such RAC agents—Dutch, John, and D’avin—as they carry out contracts, tackle the complexities of politics in The Quad, and slowly unravel a sinister mystery in their very own organisation.
What to Expect
While I likened this to Firefly to begin with, I want to make it clear that it’s not that. Killjoys, while full of humour, is a much darker show that Firefly was. The production on the show is high quality. It’s clear to a keen eye that this show is not working with an unlimited budget, but they make good use of locations and various tricks to make everything feel authentic.
...Well, for the most part. I recall a scene that was supposed to be shot in a huge spaceship but was blatantly filmed in some empty warehouse, but other than that…
The story follows a somewhat typical format for this kind of show, in which each episode has its own story while a larger, show-spanning plot unfolds bit by bit.
As of writing this, Killjoys has finished its third season and is signed on for two more which, it has been said will be the end of the show. So you’ve got three seasons to catch up and two to look forward to. And as the writers now have a definite end date and twenty episodes to play with, hopefully we can look forward to a nice, clean ending.
The Time Travel One
Time travel has become very fashionable in recent years, from intellectual indie flicks to big budget action films. And way back at the start of that trend, was Continuum.
We start off in a dystopian future in which all the nightmare scenarios one could cook up around capitalism have come to fruition. Corporations hold all the power in this bleak world, and people are essentially born into debt to these corporations and spend their lives paying it off.
Cue a group of terrorists intent on shaking up the world order, and to do it, they’re going a bit Terminator. In an attempt to stop the corporations before they get started, they hatch a plan to travel back in time and change the course of history. Things don’t quite go to plan (do they ever?) and they end up arriving quite a few years earlier than intended, and with a stowaway in the shape of Kiera, a police officer and the star of the show.
Now in present day (well, 2012), the terrorists continue their efforts to prevent the corporations from rising to power in the future, while Kiera teams up with the local police force to try and stop them and keep the truth about the time travelers a secret.
What to Expect
First of all, it’s a show about time travel, so expect the occasional attempt to twist your brain into knots with talk of paradoxes. For the most part, however, this show feels a lot like a typical buddy cop outing.
When comparing to other shows to get an idea if you’d like this one, you’d be better gauging it against something like Castle, Elementary, or Unforgettable, as it really is more of a regular detective/cop show with sci fi elements than it is a sci fi show.
As far as tone goes, this is a serious show, not a comedy, so don’t expect much of the humorous back and forth you get from the aforementioned Castle. The writing puts a heavy focus on the struggles of its characters, and the relationships between them.
The show ran for four seasons and ended in 2015. The the fact that the fourth season would be the final one was announced in advance, so I won’t spoil any plot for you, but just know that the writers knew the end was coming. There’s no abrupt stop followed by a rash of unanswered questions here.
The Mysterious One
For a more sinister vibe, I bring you Between, a show about the small town of Pretty Lake, and the ills that befall it.
Pretty Lake is a small town in rural America with all the usual relationships and scandals you’d expect to find in this kind of setting when it is thrust onto the television. Things begin to get interesting when an unknown disease starts killing off the population. The twist? It only takes the lives of people over the age of twenty one!
With the government quarantining the town to prevent the disease spreading, the children, teenagers, and young adults are left to figure things out for themselves, while dealing with all the things that young people have to deal with.
What to Expect
If you’ve ever seen a UK show called Survivors (think Walking Dead with no zombies), and the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Under the Dome, this show is like a cross between the two. Like many shows of the genre, each episode tends to focus on whatever the latest crisis is happening within Pretty Lake while the overall mystery of what the disease is and why it’s there unfolds.
As of writing this article, Between is a bit of an uncertain prospect. Having aired two seasons, there has been no word on a third. The show hasn’t been cancelled (that we know of) but it hasn’t been renewed either. So bear in mind that you might be getting into a show with no closure.
And those are my three somewhat obscure sci fi shows that I think you should check out… if this is your jam. As one last honourable mention, I’d like to throw out a new (at the time of writing) show called Lifeline. It’s a YouTube exclusive show about an insurance company that monitors its clients and can detect their death thirty three days in advance and send agents to prevent it. It’s only just getting started and I don’t know what the future holds for this show so I didn’t include it in the meat of the article, but the start looks promising.
Have you got any suggestions? Know a show that should be on this list? Why not leave a comment below? Now go, enjoy sci fi!
Lifeline - Official Trailer
© 2017 John Bullock
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on January 08, 2018:
John, I definitely will. Science fiction is awesome.
John Bullock (author) from Yorkshire, England on January 08, 2018:
Hi Alexander. If you decide to watch them I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. I'm always on the look out for new shows like this too, so feel free to share any hidden gems you know of! ;)
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on January 07, 2018:
I haven't seen any of these yet! :o
John Bullock (author) from Yorkshire, England on November 28, 2017:
I hope you enjoy them as much as have Kari ;)
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on November 28, 2017:
Perfect timing for me to read this. I have been looking for some new shows to watch. I think I'll try these out. Thanks!