It doesn’t come as a surprise: I’m a huge Sci-Fi and Fantasy nerd. And if you’re reading this, you might be too. If so, you definitely know just how amazing it can feel to slip away into an elaborate fantasy world or to immerse yourself in a suspenseful and compelling Sci-Fi plot. In case you’re looking for something new to get lost in, I have a few recommendations. Here are 5 binge-worthy Fantasy and Sci-Fi shows that inspire me—and that you should watch—in no particular order.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
I know I said in no particular order but I would be lying if I said Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood wasn’t at the top of my list. This dark fantasy anime (based on the manga by Hiromu Arakawa) came out in 2009 and is so very dear to my heart that it inspired my first ever tattoo.
Set in the fictional country of Amestris, Fullmetal Alchemist follows the life of the Elric Brothers Ed and Al. The brothers are on a quest to locate the fabled Philosopher’s Stone in an effort to restore their bodies to normal after a tragic alchemic accident. This results in them joining the State Military, where they eventually come to learn of a sinister plot taking place right under the noses of Amestris’ most powerful leaders.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has a compelling—and oftentimes heartbreaking—plot full of adventure, philosophy, and plenty of life lessons. If you do decide to watch, you’ll quickly find yourself drawn in by its memorable characters (villains included), stunning visuals, and an amazing soundtrack all while exploring themes of loss, science (and its ethics), war, family and so much more.
2. Orphan Black
Much like FMA: B, Orphan Black lies more on the science side of things. It’s a Canadian Sci-Fi Thriller about what transpires after a woman, Sarah Manning, steals the identity of her doppelganger, having watched said doppelganger commit suicide. In doing so, however, Sarah discovers that her lookalike was harboring more than a few secrets. Manning soon finds herself thrust into a mysterious and clone-related conspiracy, one that she must get to the bottom of quickly as there’s an assassin hunting her and all her other lookalikes down.
What do I love most about Orphan Black? Two Words: Tatiana Maslany. I mean look at her.
But in all seriousness, Maslany puts on an exceptional performance throughout the entirety of the show, not just having to play a whopping 14 different clones but also at times having to act as those clones pretending to be each other.
Orphan Black is gritty Science Fiction full of twists, suspense, and plenty of humor. And it’s often been regarded as a classic science fiction television show.
Returning to the world of animation, the video game-inspired show Castlevania grabbed my attention from the very first episode and never let go. This popular Netflix series follows Trevor Belmont—the last surviving Belmont—as he tries to stop Dracula’s horde of demons from wreaking havoc on Eastern Europe. Belmont, voiced by Thorin Oakenshield himself (Richard Armitage), is joined by Sypha Belnades, a powerful speaker magician and Alucard, Dracula’s half-human son who plans to fight against his father.
If you’re a fan of gothic horror, lots of action, and beautiful animation then Castlevania is sure to impress.
4. Final Space
Throughout the past year, Final Space has been one of my go-to comfort shows. Referred to as an “adult animated space opera comedy-drama” it follows Gary Goodspeed, an astronaut turned prisoner who meets a friendly (and cute) alien named Mooncake. Gary quickly comes to learn that mooncake is as powerful as he is adorable—wielding enough power to destroy entire planets. He also learns that plenty persons would love to use Mooncake’s power to carry out their own sinister plans.
What I love most about this show is how well it balances the goofy and lighthearted moments with the more serious, sometimes tear-jerker, ones. I also love just how much it reminds me of my favorite video game series (Mass Effect).
If you love intergalactic adventure, the found family trope, or some good laughs, then you should add Final Space to your to-watch list.
(In writing this article, I came to discover that Final Space has been canceled after three seasons due to the upcoming merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery. If you listen closely enough, you can hear the sound of my sobbing.)
5. Sense 8
Whenever I remember the beautiful experience that was the Sci-Fi Drama known as Sense 8, I find myself both overjoyed and heartbroken. I am truly happy that a show like Sense 8 exists. But I’m also disappointed it had to be canceled prematurely. Nevertheless, Sense 8 has everything you’d ever want in a show—a diverse and dynamic cast, Queer and BIPOC representation, beautiful visuals, a fun, eclectic soundtrack, and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout its entire 2 seasons.
Created by The Wachowskis (the brilliant minds behind The Matrix), Sense 8 follows eight strangers from across the globe who wake up one day and realize that all their thoughts and actions are connected. The cluster, as they’re called, makes good use of their newfound psychic connection. But things quickly take a turn for the worse when they realize that they are being hunted.
Sense 8 is a science fiction show, yes. But beneath the surface, it’s also something far greater. It’s a story about being human—about love, empathy, connection, and most importantly about transcending the boundaries of language, culture, race, and sexuality.
A Few Honorable Mentions
Honestly, there are so many shows under the Speculative Fiction genre that I love and enjoy that I simply couldn’t resist naming more than just five. Here are a few other shows you should check out:
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Penny Dreadful
- The Midnight Gospel
- The Witcher
- The Good Place
Have you watched any of these shows yet? What are your favorite speculative fiction shows? Feel free to share!