I Don’t like Modern Sci-Fi, So Here’s What I’m Excited For

Modern TV gets it wrong more often than not, but I’m always optimistic something unique will slip through.

I Don’t like Modern Sci-Fi, So Here’s What I’m Excited For

It would take a series of detailed and well-researched essays to explain what I don’t like about so many modern science fiction shows, but that’s not what this article is for. This article is about what might be good in the near future.

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The Three-Body Problem

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and taking a workshop from Ken Liu (who translated The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin’s epic trilogy, into English), so this is one I’m particularly interested in. For one thing, this is in incredibly intelligent sci-fi series, drawing deeply from physics, sociology, and Chine history to weave its tale.

China had a tough few years with science fiction. It turns out that cracking down on dissidents and progressive youngsters also cracks up the sort of innovative ideas that society needs to function, go figure. But China has also had a long history of speculative works, drawing heavily from the earliest Western canon and turning it into something unique. The 1910s unfinished novel, Lunar Colony, springs to mind. Despite suppression, Chinese science fiction is a genre that’s refused to die, and it’s been steadily picking up steam both there and abroad.

At a time when rising political tensions between China and the United States make frequent news, it’s more important than ever to take a look at the actual work coming out of the somewhat cloistered country. Science fiction, through its speculative lens, makes it one of the best vehicles for that inspection.

The series broadly concerns the invasion of Earth by an advanced alien civilization. But, the threads of Chinese history and politics, the layers of technological subtlety, and the superbly rendered prose turn this into one of the cleverest books to deal with this theme.

How will Netflix handle this one? Netflix series are a bit hit and miss, but there’s every reason to think that they’re going to treat this work with the respect that it’s due. After all, the new streaming wars are in high gear, so Netlfix needs to pin some serious wins to maintain its dominance.

There’s a Chinese version of this series as well, which is supremely interesting, and I highly recommend checking it out if you don’t mind subtitles.

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Babylon 5

Babylon 5 is one of the greatest television series ever created, and I will die on this godd@amn hill. In 2021, J. Michael Straczynski revealed that talks had begun to bring his incredible 1990s masterpiece (literally the series that sparked off both CGI use in sci-fi TV, and long-form TV narrative arcs) back to the small screen.

Then CW got itself sold, and since then, we’ve been in a terrible limbo. Joe’s written the script, he has the story in his mind… but until I’m watching the damn series I won’t be counting my chickens. Still, it’s supposed to be on track for late 2023. Please, please, please….

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(Image credit: @jcarson_nyack on Twitter)

Look, I hate Amazon as much as the next guy. Jeff Bezos is a ragingly terrible human being, like most people who end up with that much power. Y’all know, too, that I despise everything to do with Rings of Power, so it might come as a surprise to find any Amazon series here at all.

Well, Fallout has long been one of my favorite franchises, so I remain cautiously optimistic despite my distaste for everything that Amazon embodies. At the least, it’s not the fault of the cast/crew/writers who ends up producing their series.

From the production stills, it looks like we’re getting a setting that corresponds with the locations of the plot from the Fallout 3 video game. Fallout’s earlier 2D games were cult hits, but Fallout 3 changed the… name of the game (well, not actually, just figuratively…) but brining a whole new level of emotionality to the stories.

In the meantime, if you want something fun, check out this incredible little fan series.


By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79328026

Jeff Goldblum is the Greek god Zeus. Cool. So, now you’re as hooked as I am. The plot doesn’t matter. Billie Piper’s signed on in a minor role, for you Doctor Who fans.

I’m not… astounded by anything I’ve read about this, and it’s also not even science fiction. Why is it here? Jeff Goldblum… Billie Piper… need I say more?

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Mrs Davis

This one’s been making the rounds, which leaves me skeptical. Anything that other critics like is something I’m wary of. And yet, the premise looks humorous. A devout nun becomes a capitalist AI’s greatest enemy? That seems like a good recipe.

Loki Season 2

The sun as largely set on the Marvel franchise, much as it’s set on the British Empire, but there are still a few shiny bits here and there. Wandavision was one (except for the way it wrapped up, there were some flaws in the later parts of the season). Loki was another. Mostly due to the incredible acting talent of its cast. The story is somewhat plebeian, but I’ll happily watch this cast any day.

Check out this superb fan trailer.

The Ark

Yeah, yeah, yeah… it’s “already out,” and “old news.” So sue me, I’ve been busy! This looks like a nice low-budget science fiction series, and those sometimes turn out to be the best things around. Remember Dark Matter? Remember Firefly? Hell, most of the 1990s science fiction that I love the most was made on shoestring budgets. Sometimes limitations provide the best creativity.

Not that I’m saying that’s what’s happening here. Reviews aren’t stacking up with positive comments about this show. But I’m not like those other people, this might be something I’ll enjoy.

Scavengers Reign

This looks simply gorgeous. No doubt about it, I’d happily watch a whole series of this. Unfortunately, the HBO leadership are a collective bag of d!*ks, so it’s entirely possible that this gem has been silently cut from the lineup. While I wasn’t mourning the loss of some of the other animated series, this one seems like it would be a real shame to lose. The attention to detail with the artwork, the score… it’s not what we’re used to seeing from lamestream US animation these days.


I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. It’s from Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley, and it promises to be a more “open” take on the series, with an apparent Earth setting. I wish I had more information? What I do like is Hawley’s comments that the series has always been a bit about class warfare — if he can pull out the 1970s vibes and bring them into this recreation, it might be something horrifically good.

Dune: The Sisterhood

I never loved Brian Herbert’s work. There, I said it. Frank Herbert, for all his later personal conservative politics, turned out something in the original Dune series that redefined what science fiction meant. His son creates a fair yarn, but misses all the subtlety, and all the deep ruminations that came from Herbert’s brilliant and conflicted mind. Expanding into the vast universe he envisioned might be amazing, or it might really be terrible.

Horizon 2074

The Horizon: Zero Dawn turned out to be one of the more interesting games in recent years, with a potent female-centered storyline, sharp sci-fi plot twists, and an ambient world that breathed both beauty and decay. With the success of other TV series based on games, it makes sense that this one would be brought up to bat (especially because its production would be cheaper than space-based sci-fi shows).

We don’t know when this one will come along, but I can’t wait for it.


I do not know what to think about this. Apple has been trying to set itself up as the producer of slick, intelligent science fiction, and so-far it’s work has been hit-and-miss. We’re used to remakes now, too, but remaking the most defining science fiction film in history is a bit of a power move. We don’t know much about the series yet, beyond that Apple’s moving to produce it, but my interest is definitely there.


James Bond meets the X-Files is how the original comic book was comped, and that is, Ihave to admit, a killer elevator pitch. Matthew Rhys is set to star as an alien being in exile on Earth, and it looks like it might have the right vibes to make it different and exciting.

The Sparrow

Based on Mary Doria Russell’s 1996 novel The Sparrow, is about a group of scientists, led by linguist and Jesuit priest Father Emilio Sandoz, who make first contact with extraterrestrial life. Novel adaptations don’t always fly with me, but I’ll be curious to see where this one goes.

Port of Earth

The Consortium, an alliance of alien traders, arrives at Earth with a business venture: turn your planet into a free port and get all the benefits of our advanced technology in exchange. Based on a comic book series by Zack Kaplan, this one has all the right pieces to be something special. I’m picky about my sci-fi shows, as I’ve mentioned, but for some reason I have a hopeful feeling about Port.

Severance (Season 2)

I don’t include too many running series in this list. Picard made me so depressed that I nearly shattered my laptop screen. But Severance is an exceedingly special animal. In fact, Severance won my favorite series of 2022 award.

Also, it’s directed by Ben Stiller.

Yeah. That made me pause the first time I read it, too.

There are too few series that allow themselves this much subtlety, this much simplicity, and this much stillness. It’s a thinking-person’s series, webbed with dark humor and potently unfolding mysteries. It has superb acting, optical lens effects that bring me back to Kubrick, and a soundtrack to die for. It’s got a powerful knife to the neck of corporatocracy, and has an aesthetic that is compelling for both its presentness and prescientness.

Just… watch it.

Will season two be as good? I don’t know. I hope so. We shall see.

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Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, an independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider subscribing to a paid tier for as low as $2.50 per month!

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