Hard Sci-Fi To Stream in 2020 and Beyond

“Serious” science fiction had a well-established place in the world of cinema for decades.

First, we saw the Earth stand still when an alien named Klaatu steps out of his flying saucer in the middle of Washington, D.C. Then, we’ve joined Dave Bowman on the greatest journey humanity can imagine. Next, we watch as an alien discovered on a distant moon slaughtered the crew of a long-haul spaceship, then we join an ex-cop on his quest to track down and eliminate replicants in a futuristic Los Angeles.

“Serious” science fiction had a well-established place in the world of cinema for decades. Unfortunately, Star Wars came along, changing the definition of the movie genre from thought-provoking fiction to fantasy involving spaceships and laser guns. Hard science fiction all but disappeared from the screens – with a few notable exceptions, of course. For a while, only certain episodes of certain popular series gave hard sci-fi fans what they needed, exploring tough questions like ethics or the nature of humanity itself. Slowly but steadily, it seems, filmmakers and producers have realized that there is a need for more than just spectacular explosions and spaceships hurling across the galaxy. The post-2000 cinema gave us films like “Prometheus”, “The Martian”, and series like “The Expanse”, and “Westworld”. And looking at the lineup of streaming services, us sci-fi fans can feel like hitting a jackpot: there are many serious science fiction shows either already available or coming soon.

Raised by Wolves (HBO Max, Crave)

For a long while, all we knew about the series “Raised by Wolves” produced by science fiction veteran Ridley Scott that it’s about androids raising children on a distant planet after the destruction of Earth. The pilot of the series, though – directed by Scott himself – revealed that the story goes way deeper than it seems at first. The conflict that destroys our homeworld is not between countries but ideologies, as Mother’s stories reveal.

The show is flawlessly executed – the visuals, the acting, and the way the story evolves is promising, to say the least.

Brave New World (Peacock, Showcase)

A world without poverty and disease. A world without violence and jealousy. A world where everyone has a place, where nobody lacks anything, where every person has a purpose. Sounds great, right? Then, how about a world without privacy, without emotion, where everyone is constantly on drugs?

This is the world imagined by Aldous Huxley (and reimagined by Grant Morrison, Brian Taylor, David Wiener) in the 2020 series “Brave New World”. Huxley’s classic utopia (dystopia?) has been reimagined to be relevant today, taking on politics, ideologies, and the hypocrisy that’s all around us today.

Foundation (Apple TV+)

Finally, here’s an upcoming series that may or may not be the next big hard sci-fi masterpiece: “Foundation”. Isaac Asimov’s magnum opus has resisted a screen adaptation until now because it is a pretty tough one to crack. It is a complex story spanning thousands of years, involving a mathematician that takes on the toughest job ever: predicting the future using science.

Inspired by the works of the sci-fi icon, the series is written by David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman, with the former also serving as an executive producer. The role of Hari Seldon is played by the inimitable Jared Harris. Work on the show has been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic, so we can only expect the series to hit streaming next year. Still, it is one to look forward to (even if with a bit of fear).