The peak TV era is upon us, and Hollywood keeps cranking out more and more new scripted series each year — with more than 100 airing, returning and upcoming sci-fi/fantasy shows and at least a dozen more at various stages of development. That's overwhelming for genre fans to keep up with.
We all know about the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery (premiering late summer or early fall) and The Defenders, which will bring together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist (premiering August 18th). But beyond that, here are 10 more shows debuting in the next few months that appear to be worth a look. (Sorted in order of premiere date.)
1. 'Dimension 404'
- Network: Hulu,
- Premiere: April 4th
- What Is It? This sci-fi anthology series explores the wonders and terrors of our digital age.
- Notable Guest Stars: Patton Oswalt, Robert Buckley, Lea Michele
- Why Watch It? This show, which already started last week, jumps on the sci-fi / horror anthology bandwagon and borrows liberally from the granddaddy of genre The Twilight Zone as well as the more recent instant classic Black Mirror. It also approaches its stories with a sense of fun, which makes it that much more enjoyable.
2. 'Mystery Science Theater 3000'
- Network: Netflix
- Premiere: April 14th
- What Is It? The eleventh season of this beloved Z-movie riffing show was funded by a Kickstarter campaign initiated by series creator Joel Hodsgon and will bring us 14 new episodes, including a Christmas special.
- Starring: Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, Patton Oswalt
- Why Watch It? Does that question really need to be answered for this all-time classic sci-fi comedy series? It has a new cast, but creator Joel Hodsgon is still behind the scenes. So, expect plenty more dubious celluloid all-stars for us to laugh at and with as this show finally gets its well-deserved return to television.
- Network: BBC America
- Premiere: April 15th
- What Is It? This #DoctorWho spin-off, focuses on Coal Hill School as the students deal with frequent intrusions from space and time.
- Starring: Greg Austin, Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins, Vivian Oparah
- Why Watch It? This show arrives with the new season of Doctor Who (Peter Capaldi's last as the Doctor) and looks like it is trying to do a YA version of Torchwood. Fans of the parent series should definitely enjoy it, and perhaps it can make a name for itself just like that other DW spin-off did.
4. 'The Handmaid's Tale'
- Network: Hulu
- Premiere: April 26th
- What Is It? This series is based on the book of the same name about a dystopian future where women are forced into a subservient state by the religious dictatorship that has taken over the United States
- Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Samira Wiley, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski
- Why Watch It? This dark tale is quite timely considering the current political environment and looks like it will give Margaret Atwood's book the extended treatment that it deserves. Should definitely be worth a look for those like myself that love dystopian sci-fi.
5. 'American Gods'
- Network: Starz
- Premiere: April 30th
- What Is It? Based on the Neil Gaiman book of the same name, this series follows the gods of old who are living in America and have since grown, well, old and have lost much of their power because people no longer believe in them.
- Starring: Ricky Whittle, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Ian McShane, Gillian Anderson
- Why Watch It? Neil Gaiman's signature novel adapted by small screen auteur Bryan Fuller with Ian McShane playing Mr. Wednesday. Is there anything more I need to say to get you excited about this one?
6. 'Twin Peaks'
- Network: Showtime
- Premiere: May 21st
- What Is It? In this 18-episode limited series, we will return to the world of #TwinPeaks with many of the original actors and David Lynch back at the helm.
- Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl Lee
- Why Watch It? OK, this isn't really science fiction, but the original series had supernatural elements and was widely embraced by genre fans. And who isn't excited about one more visit with the colorful and quirky people that populate the town of Twin Peaks?
7. 'The Mist'
- Network: Spike
- Premiere: June 22nd
- What Is It? This show is based on the #StephenKing novel of the same name about an unknown mist that descends upon a town carries a terrible secret with it.
- Starring: Morgan Spector, Frances Conroy, Alyssa Sutherland, Gus Birney
- Why Watch It? Yet another Stephen King series on television, this one looks like it could deliver a good (extended) spin on the story the Frank Darabont already brought to the big screen. The trailer definitely has plenty of creepy vibes to it.
- Network: CBS
- Premiere: July 12th
- What Is It? An MIT grad student and a tech superstar bring a low-level Pentagon official a staggering discovery that an asteroid is just six months away from colliding with Earth.
- Starring: Charlie Rowe, Jacqueline Byers
- Why Watch It? CBS adds yet another summer sci-fi entry to its slate, and I'm a particular sucker for this sort of end-of-the-world scenario. There's not a lot to go on with this one yet, but I know I will be giving it a look.
9. 'The Tick'
- Network: Amazon
- Premiere: Summer 2017
- What Is It? This live-action reboot of Ben Edlund’s fan-favorite comic book character, #TheTick has a whole new cast but brings back most of the same creative team that worked on the beloved 2001 Fox series.
- Starring: Peter Serafinowicz, Griffin Newman, Valorie Curry, Brendan Hines
- Why Watch It? Spoon!! The Tick is back! Sure, Patrick Warburton is not onboard in the lead role anymore (he is one of the executive producers, though) — and this is a darker take on the character than the much-loved 2001 series — but the pilot was rather enjoyable (you can watch it here), and I am definitely interested to see the direction they will take this one.
10. 'The Inhumans'
- Network: ABC
- Premiere: Sep 26th
- What Is It? Based on the Marvel comic books, this series will focus on the “royal family” of Inhumans lead by Black Bolt.
- Starring: Anson Mount, Serinda Swan, Iwan Rheon. Ken Leung
- Why Watch It? The original Inhumans were always favorites of mine from the comics, and this series focuses on the royal family that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee introduced many years back in the pages of Fantastic Four. The first two episodes of this show will get a special release in IMAX theaters and should deliver plenty of superhero action.
Excited about these and/or other new shows that could hit the schedule this year? Let us know in the comments below.