January 2nd is unofficially celebrated by millions of science fiction fans across the globe as National Science Fiction Day; an event which started in the United States and has since spread worldwide thanks to the power of social media. Taking place on the same day as sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov's birthdate, it's a great time to sit back and reflect on some of the most prolific sci-fi releases of the past few decades.
To mark the occasion, we've decided to take a look at seven of the best sci-fi shows available to Netflix subscribers. If you haven't seen some of the series that have made it onto this list, what are you waiting for? Get binging!
7. V Wars
Adapted from the comics of the same name by Jonathan Maberry and Alan Robinson, V Wars puts The Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder front-and-centre in the lead role of Dr. Luther Swann; a man forced to battle against one of his best friends and countless others when an ancient disease is unleashed, turning much of the population into vampires.
The vampire story has been done time and again, but V Wars manages to turn the genre on its head entirely and bring a new, exciting flair to proceedings. Somerhalder has worked hard on what is a real passion project for him, delivering one of the most stunning performances of his career and excelling behind-the-scenes as a producer and, for one episode, director.
Fingers crossed that Netflix give V Wars a second season, because we've just got to see what happens next!
6. The Umbrella Academy
Returning soon for its second season, superhero series The Umbrella Academy is another work of art adapted from a comic book series of the same name, created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá. A truly ensemble cast - featuring Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Cameron Britton and Mary J. Blige - comes together to form one of the most unique and compelling groups in television.
The story revolves around a family of adopted sibling superheroes, who must unite despite their differences if they're to solve the mystery of their father's death, and the small matter of the looming apocalypse. Personalities clash and the siblings fight, as so often is the case in a big family, but here the stakes are higher than ever.
Though Sense8 has now reached its untimely conclusion, it's still absolutely worth a watch after fan pressure ensured it was given the send-off it deserved, with a two-and-a-half-hour series finale. Netflix had cancelled the series after the second season dropped, despite allowing the story to end with a cliffhanger that set up an expected third outing.
It may not have lasted as long as we would have liked, but the effort put in by a top team of cast and crew meant that we were entertained at every opportunity. The plot here followed a group of eight strangers from around the world, who suddenly discovered they were in touch with one another due to being "sensates". This meant they were linked both mentally and emotionally, feeling one another's pain and pleasure at various points, allowing writers to explore topics such as sexuality, identity, gender and religion that are often kept far away from the sci-fi genre.
This German sci-fi thriller was co-created by Baron bo Odar and Jantje Friese, and first came to Netflix in December 2017. Dark will be concluding with a third and final season, which is currently in development, and has taken audiences by storm thanks to its slow burn mish-mash of compelling storylines.
The show follows the aftermath of a youngster's disappearance, which leads to the exposure of secrets contained within four estranged families, all of whom must come together if they're to unravel the sinister truth behind a time travel conspiracy that has spanned three generations.
3. Altered Carbon
Created by Laeta Kalogridis and based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon takes place in a world where consciousness can be transferred from one body to another, allowing memories and one person's reality to be carried on infinitely into the future. It's a wild concept, but one that immediately grabs the viewer by the scruff of the neck, refusing to let up until the season's final moments.
Takeshi Kovacs (played expertly in Season 1 by Joel Kinnaman) is a former soldier turned investigator, and is tasked with solving a murder in order to enjoy a brand new shot at life.
2. Black Mirror
Charlie Brooker is without a doubt one of the most talented TV writers on the planet. His ability, alongside mastermind fellow showrunner Annabel Jones, to tap into our love for technology, but fear about what it may turn into in the very near future, allowed the pair to come up with some truly groundbreaking television moments in his hit series, Black Mirror.
The show was taken over by Netflix from the third season onwards, after debuting its first two collections on Channel 4. The new budget and team offered to the writing duo meant they were able to go to places no other showrunner had ever dared. Every episode is confronting and worth a rewatch.
1. Stranger Things
It's hard to talk about Stranger Things without repeating what somebody else has already said. The show has gained fans at a rapid pace across the globe, thanks to its incredible writing and the performances given by an all-star ensemble cast. Ross and Matt Duffer have enveloped their audience in 80s goodness, delivering references to an era that is heralded as one of history's best. It's not just the mullets and bold styles that keeps us coming back for more, though.
The series follows a group of kids, one of whom goes missing and finds themselves in a place called the Upside Down. With supernatural events taking place in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, it's up to the residents there to fight against the forces of evil that are looking to pull them all into the abyss, all with the help of a young girl with psychokinetic abilities.
Wild from its opening moments, Stranger Things is THE sci-fi show of the generation. It's going to be very interesting to see where creators Matt and Ross Duffer - aka The Duffer Brothers - take the series next.
Tagged in Netflix