Forgotten sci-fi shows that deserve a second chance
Since The twilight zone for Westworld, the science fiction genre is constantly evolving and diversifying over time. In this context, there might be some underrated classics that failed to make a lasting impact. However, that doesn’t take away from their futuristic relevance and stylistic influence.
Perhaps the right kind of revival or reboot could improve their popularity with modern audiences. Whether it’s a terminator spin-off or 90s anime, several under-the-radar sci-fi shows deserve another shot to watch and cherish by viewers.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009)
A sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Daythis terminator The television series deals with the mother-son duo of Sarah and John Connor as they struggle to avoid a delayed judgment day while dealing with enemies from the future.
Although it does not boast the highest production value, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles adds to the techno-nightmare realities and stunning action sequences of the terminator franchise. In addition, an important turn by a pre-The iron Throne Lena Headey fame is another reason to revive the show which met an inconclusive end after just two seasons.
Eon Flow (1991-1995)
Marketed as an avant-garde science fiction series, Aeon stream is arguably one of the best-animated sci-fi shows of all time. The biopunk storyline was peppered with satirical shots in a technocratic society as well as stylistic anime-style action sequences. Unfortunately, the show’s reputation was tarnished in the 2000s with a critical film adaptation starring Charlize Theron.
With streaming giants like Amazon Prime and Netflix actively investing in anime shows for adults, Aeon stream deserves a revival with more postmodern visuals and psychedelic imagery.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (2016-2017)
Post by Elijah Wood-the Lord of the Rings career included this bizarrely funny sci-fi adaptation of Douglas Adams’ series of novels of the same name. Starring Samuel Barnett as the titular detective and Wood as his reluctant sidekick, the series deals with their supernatural adventures across the universe.
Since the series is inspired by the works of the same man who wrote a book like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency can be continued to further incorporate Adams’ surreal space humor.
Alexander Senki (1996-1997)
Alexander Senki A.K.A Reign: The Conqueror is another original idea of Aeon stream designer Peter Chung. The Korean-Japanese anime series is essentially a retro-futuristic retelling of the conquests of Alexander the Great. So there’s enough thrill in the 13-episode series for history buffs and sci-fi fans alike.
Today, Alexander Senki is a cult favorite known only to a select few within the anime community. The unique fictional story deserves to gain more viewers in modern times, as the animation has aged quite well as well. A revival of the series can follow an anthology format, reinterpreting the lives of many other historical figures.
A spin-off of the X-Men movies, Legion deals with the surreal adventures of a telepathic mutant, his allies, his enemies and his inner demons. The FX series is filled with aesthetically psychedelic imagery and meta-narratives that challenge the viewer’s intellect.
Clearly not an easy watch, Legion received overwhelmingly positive reviews, but surprisingly missed out on the Emmys. Even among the audience, it hasn’t gained as much popularity as other comic shows in recent times. Even though it ended with its third season, Legion still has plenty of potential to continue the otherworldly journeys of its protagonist. The secondary characters are also interesting enough to generate their own spinoffs.
Future Man (2017-2020)
With Josh Hutcherson in the lead role, future man is a compelling underdog story with 80s sci-fi comedy undertones. The protagonist is a janitor and gambler called upon by time travelers to save humanity from extinction. The show deliberately ticks the boxes of sci-fi cliches for heartwarming comedy that draws on self-aware humor and pop culture references.
However, future man never took off in its three-year run, and perhaps a continuation of the Seth Rogen-produced Hulu original is needed with Hutcherson reprising his role. There might be several time travel shows on TV right now, but what defines future man aside from its reliance on pure, mindless fun instead of sophisticated interdimensional rules.
Set in the sprawling world of DC superheroes and villains, Powerless deals with the lives of normal people who have to deal with large-scale collateral damage on a daily basis. The main characters of this workplace sitcom are researchers for a security agency that specializes in various gadgets to protect laymen from malicious attacks.
The development of these gadgets along with satirical jabs at the superhero genre add to the show’s cleverly written humor. Unfortunately, low ratings forced the TV show to be canceled midway through production. However, with the comic genre being open to more satire these days, Powerless may well have a chance to regain power in the future.
MANTIS may seem campy by today’s superhero television standards, but its over-the-top nature carries a silly charm that can be playfully recreated with a modern adaptation. The show begins with a crippled scientist who uses his knowledge to create a super-powered exoskeleton which he uses as a superhero costume to bring justice.
Although it draws on familiar superhero tropes, MANTIS still serves as a nice break from the usual Marvel and DC shows. Addressing sociopolitical themes around racism and capitalism, the underrated ’90s classic featured the first black superhero, a legacy that was carried on in future shows such as Static shock and Black Lightning.
Counterpart finds JK Simmons playing a mild-mannered spy at a secret agency. As he grapples with the death of his wife, he finds a mysterious portal to another dimension. The desperate desire to revive his wife drives him to explore the alternate dimension only to encounter an evil version of himself. The ensuing chaos creates classic sci-fi drama as portals ignite interdimensional warfare.
Despite Simmons’ growing popularity following his Oscar-winning performance in Whiplash, CounterpartThe two-season run received a slightly lukewarm response from audiences. As many sci-fi fans loved shows such as Dark and wayward pines, it’s safe to say that portals and time travel are still marketable tropes for the genre. So, with the right timing, Counterpart may aim for a larger fanbase with future seasons.
Black Sky (1996-1997)
UFO conspiracy theories can be oddly wild. While X files explored these theories in detail, another 90s show attempted to do the same. dark skies is rooted in the theory that extraterrestrials have controlled human society since the 1940s and therefore “history as we know it is a lie”.
As a couple investigates the inner workings of a secret government organization, dark skies follows their discoveries that lead them to figures like the Beatles and J. Edgar Hoover aiding these alien invaders. Despite its tonal similarities with X files, dark skies could stand on its own had it not been canceled after 20 episodes. With fascination with extraterrestrial theories still on the rise, a dark skies revival could be just as relevant even now.
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