Peak TV keeps coming at us like a firehose cranked to 11, and I have just posted a rundown of 103 currently airing, returning, and upcoming sci-fi shows here. That’s quite a lot for anybody to keep up with, so I decided to focus on 10 of them that seem to have gone mostly under the radar. These shows don’t get the headlines like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones or The Flash, but they still have their merits and are worth checking out.
Some of these are shows that I have watched and believe that other genre fans will enjoy, and others are ones that I have noticed develop small but loyal fanbases that are trying to get the word out to other viewers. So, consider adding any or all of these to your watch list and also chime in below with other #scifi / fantasy shows that you believe are not getting the attention they deserve in the current uber-competitive television environment.
- Network: Netflix, Season 2 debuts late 2017
- What Is It? This Brazilian-made series (with English subtitles) presents a post-apocalyptic world where people compete to improve their living situation. Only 3% will succeed.
- Starring: João Miguel, Bianca Comparato, Michel Gomes
- Why Watch It? This show definitely owes a debt to Hunger Games, but it doesn’t shoot for quite as grand of a scope (nor is it quite as over-the-top). I actually enjoyed it more than the movies I have seen in that franchise. It is more character focused and offers plenty of moral quandaries, but also has a sense of hope to it. The first season tells a pretty complete story that doesn’t leave you hanging, but sets up a continuation as well. Definitely worth checking out for those who like dystopian sci-fi.
9. 'Channel Zero'
- Network: Syfy, Season 2 debuts October 2017
- What Is It? This season-long anthology series is based on the “Creepy Pasta” stories making their way around the internet. The first six-episode season was based on “Candle Cove” tale and the second will be based on the “No-End House."
- Why Watch It? Syfy took a stab at the season-long horror anthology and actually found a bit of a sleeper hit. The first season was a creepy, moody affair, and that tooth-monster is certainly working its way into plenty of peoples' nightmares. This one has been renewed through its fourth season, and is definitely worth checking out for horror fans.
- Network: Sundance, Season 2 debuts in Summer
- What Is It? In this Australian import, human-like beings from ancient mythology must battle for survival in a world that wants to exploit and destroy them.
- Starring: Hunter Page-Lochard, Rob Collins, Deborah Mailman, Iain Glen
- Why Watch It? This odd series from Down Under brings in some interesting themes like racism and discrimination that are all too relevant to our current environment, especially in the US. The show mixes social science fiction with mythology and succeeds at hitting some nerves from time to time. If you don’t have the Sundance channel (where it airs in the States), you can buy it VOD relatively inexpensively on Amazon, iTunes, etc. (The first season only had six episodes and the second will have the same).
- Network: The CW, Season 3 currently airing at 9 PM EST on Tuesdays
- What Is It? Olivia “Liv” Moore is part zombie and receives flashbacks when she eats the brains of the corpses at the morgue where she works. She uses this knowledge to solve crimes.
- Starring: Rose McIver, David Anders, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli
- Why Watch It? This fun little dramedy series from Rob Thomas (based on the DC / Vertigo comic book of the same name) is now in its third season, but it has never developed much of an audience beyond its loyal fanbase. It’s definitely a very different type of zombie tale than The Walking Dead or Z Nation as it does not take itself as seriously as the former, nor venture into the over-the-top territory of the latter show. It’s definitely worth a look for those who don’t need their genre shows to be too dark, and you can catch up on the first two seasons on Netflix.
6. 'The Last Ship'
- Network: TNT, Season 4 debuts in Summer
- What Is It? After a virus wipes out most of humanity, the USS Nathan James is the last surviving US naval ship and it carries the cure and the hopes for rebuilding civilization.
- Starring: Eric Dane, Marissa Neitling, Adam Baldwin, Charles Parnell
- Why Watch It? This show has actually done quite well in the ratings, but has not garnered much attention from sci-fi fans. Sure, it can be G.I.-Joe-Saves-the-World at times, but it does that well enough without coming off as a straight recruitment film. Plus, it brings some hope to the post-apocalypse world, which gives a nice twist on that well-worn genre. You don’t have to think too much while watching this one, and you will find yourself rooting for the heroes, but sometimes that’s just what you need in your sci-fi.
5. 'The Librarians'
- Network: TNT, Season 4 debuts in Fall
- What Is It? Spinning of from the series of TV movies that starred Noah Wyle, this show follows a group of heroes that stand watch over the Library, which houses many powerful mythical/supernatural artifacts.
- Starring: Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane, Lindy Booth, John Kim, John Larroquette, Noah Wyle
- Why Watch It? Because it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a ton of fun. Think of the first few seasons of Eureka, but with more of a magical/mythical bent. And while this show has actually done well in the ratings, like The Last Ship above, it does not seem to have received much attention from genre fans. The Librarians does have a very loyal and vocal following though, and that could continue to grow if more people discover this show.
4. 'Stan Against Evil'
- Network: IFC, Season 2 debuts in Fall
- What Is It? An aging lawman begrudgingly joins in an alliance with the new sheriff to battle angry demons haunting their small New Hampshire town.
- Starring: John C. McGinley, Janet Varney, Nate Mooney, Deborah Baker Jr.
- Why Watch It? This little-seen horror comedy bowed without much fanfare last Fall but actually did quite well in the ratings (relatively speaking) for its network. John C. McGinley (half of the Bobs from Office Space and also with a gazillion guest-starring roles to his name) does a great job as the lead, and this show should appeal to those currently watching Ash vs. Evil Dead on Starz (and if you didn’t know about that one, Groovy Bruce is back as Ash and the third season bows this coming Fall).
- Network: Freeform, Season 2 debuts June 5th
- What Is It? A woman finds that she has the ability to be “stitched” into the minds of people who have recently died and uses this to investigate their deaths.
- Starring: Emma Ishta, Kyle Harris, Ritesh Rajan, Salli Richardson-Whitfield
- Why Watch It? This sci-fi procedural has not garnered much attention beyond its core fanbase, but that is a very loyal audience who is also very active on the social networks. The show also delivers an interesting twist on the crime drama meets science fiction crossover and it is definitely worth a look for those who like that mix of genres.
- Network: Crackle, Season 2 currently streaming
- What Is It? In this stop-motion superhero parody series, aging hero Titanium Rex (voiced by Bryan Cranston) and his has-been team known as The League of Freedom struggle to stay relevant in a changing world.
- Starring: Bryan Cranston, Heidi Gardner, Tucker Gilmore, Keegan-Michael Key
- Why Watch It? This fun animated series gives us the parody we need to go with the current superhero overload on television and in movies, and you can tell that Cranston is having a blast voicing Titanium Rex. Think of it as Archer meets superheroes, and you will have a pretty good idea what to expect. As with any spoof, it can be hit or miss at times, but when this show is at its best it has me rolling on the floor in laughter.
1. 'Wynonna Earp'
- Network: Syfy, Season 2 debuts June 9th
- What Is It? This supernatural/western show is based on the comic book of the same name about the titular character (a descendant of Wyatt Earp) heading up a special unit known as the Monster Squad.
- Starring: Melanie Scrofano, Tim Rozon, Shamier Anderson, Dominique Provost-Chalkley
- Why Watch It? Think of this as Supernatural with a female lead and more of a western bent (though it does take place in the present day). The show also does not take itself too seriously, which makes it that much more enjoyable. This is another one that has developed a small but vocal fanbase, and I believe their activity on the social nets helped get it a second season. Give it a shot and find out what its loyal fans already know: This show can be a rip-roaring good time!
What other sci-fi and fantasy shows are people missing out on with so many choices these days?