What to binge next: 10 sci-fi shows to escape into the future

Emmy winner Thandie Newton stars in "Westworld" on HBO. File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI
Emmy winner Thandie Newton stars in "Westworld" on HBO. File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo

May 13 (UPI) -- Many sci-fi writers predicted the distant futures of 2001, 2015 or 2019, but 2020 feels like a world those authors never could have imagined, with people stuck in their homes to avoid a pandemic.

The TV drama derived from possible futures, space travel, far-fetched technology or other sci-fi concepts could be a good escape from the mundane realities of the world. Here are some of the sci-fi series available on streaming platforms that have run at least three seasons.


The Expanse - Prime

Three seasons would have been it for The Expanse on Syfy, but Amazon picked up a fourth season and now streams all four. When humans expanded beyond Earth in the future, that only created more drama between people who populated different planets, ships and even the asteroid belt. Amazon is making a fifth season.


The Outer Limits - Hulu and Prime

The original '60s series only lasted two seasons, but the '90s version lasted seven. Both incarnations are on Hulu and Prime. Each Outer Limits was a standalone story with a new cast, and often a twist ending a la The Twilight Zone. Sci-fi subjects could include aliens, science experiments, time travel, the future or other forward-thinking concepts.

12 Monkeys - Hulu

Based on the hit movie, Syfy elaborated the story over four seasons. James Cole (Aaron Stanford) comes from an apocalyptic future to try to find an antidote for the virus that ravaged the world. Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull) grows to believe them, and they try to work with the erratic Jennifer Goines (Emily Hampshire as a gender-swapped version of Brad Pitt's Jeffrey Goines).

The 100 - Netflix and The CW

In this series, the Earth becomes uninhabitable and a few survivors live on a space station. After a generation of kids grew up in space, their parents sent 100 down to Earth to see if it was possible to restart society. Drama ensued with the 100 kids and tribes who had lived on Earth all along, and with the parents when they returned. The seventh and final season is coming to The CW on May 20.


Black Mirror - Netflix

This British anthology series from Charlie Brooker has an even darker take than The Outer Limits or Twilight Zone. Subjects range from a society in which people live in ad supported cubes, a digital afterlife and a spaceship crew. "Bandersnatch" only could exist on streaming with its interactive options that allow the viewer to choose the outcome. There are five seasons, with no more than six episodes, so it's a shorter total run.

The X-Files - Hulu

For seven seasons, FBI agents Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Mulder (David Duchovny) investigated possible alien sightings. Scully spent two more years investigating with Agent Doggett (Robert Patrick). After two movies, Scully and Mulder returned for two more short seasons of a revival. All 11 seasons are on Hulu.

Westworld - HBO

Remember that old movie in which Yul Brynner was a cowboy robot who malfunctioned and shot the guests? Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy created a very serious version for HBO. The Old West theme park "hosts" (Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden) discovered secrets kept by their creators (Jeffrey Wright, Anthony Hopkins). Guests (Ed Harris, Jimmi Simpson) grew obsessive about the park too. It's still unfolding over three seasons.


Orphan Black - Prime and DirecTV

Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) discovers she's a clone, and keeps meeting new clones as the five seasons continue. Maslany plays every clone distinctly, and they interact thanks to seamless visual effects. It's the Maslany show, but supporting characters like her friend, Felix (Jordan Gavaris), and one clone's husband, Donnie (Kristian Bruun), are memorable, too.

The Twilight Zone - CBS All Access, Hulu, Netflix

Rod Serling created the classic anthology series in 1959 with memorable episodes like "Time Enough At Last," in which one man (Burgess Meredith) hopes to spend the apocalypse reading every book in the library. Or, there's "It's a Good Life," in which adults live in terror of a psychically powered child (Billy Mumy). Netflix has four seasons and Hulu has all five. CBS has all five plus Jordan Peele's modern day reboot.

Star Trek - CBS All Access, Netflix, Prime, Hulu

Gene Roddenberry created the crew of the Starship Enterprise in the 1966 original series, which spun off into many other Star Treks in the '80s, '90s and '00s, and continues with CBS All Access developing even more new series. Trekkers keep exploring new worlds and having new adventures. CBS boasts every Trek series including its exclusives, Discovery and Picard. You also can find the original series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise on Netflix, Prime and Hulu.


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