Sci-fi has never been the same since The Matrix (1999), a cinematic tour de force that blew the lid off the nineties and established the cyberpunk genre in mainstream consciousness. Although less appreciated than the first film, the sequels carried on the Wachowskis’ legacy with a respectable amount of sophistication.
In addition to its undeniable impact on filmmaking, The Matrix is directly responsible for spawning a plethora of TV shows that follow (and expand on) the trilogy’s formula – representing human voices through their interactions with technology, biology, and society. While nearly all of these series come within the sci-fi bracket, they are best known for analyzing the new forms of relationship that inevitably develop between its characters.
10 Devs Is Worth Watching For Its Captivating Ambiance
Devs is the brainchild of director Alex Garland of Ex Machina (2014) fame. The series blends quantum computing sci-fi with murder mystery, delving into various philosophical concepts from self-determination to moral responsibility.
That said, a few critics found Devs “more preoccupied with their own cleverness… than with the burden of watchability,” suggesting that the show’s fascinating premise failed to meet its own expectations. Devs is definitely worth a watch, though, mainly for its captivating ambiance.
9 Sense8 Explores The Intersections Between Sexuality And Gender
The Wachowskis’ attempt at TV led to Sense8, a richly detailed world that contains a new human species, Homo sensorium – similar to Homo sapiens in every way except telepathically linked through small groups of people.
Sense8‘s main characters come from all over the world, avoiding the common sci-fi pitfall of focusing entirely on the Western hemisphere. More importantly, the series explores the intersections between sexuality and gender with a considerable amount of tact, a truly rare accomplishment.
8 Omniscient Has Been Favorably Compared To Psycho-Pass
Omniscient has been favorably compared with Psycho-Pass, the critically acclaimed cyberpunk anime. This Portuguese-language show is about the dangers of allowing digital companies to take charge of society, whether in terms of social media or under the guise of security.
Like Neo, Nina is trapped in a world she desperately wants to escape from; she’s one of the few people who suspects that The System is not all that it’s made out to be. Omniscient lacks the robust vision of Psycho-Pass, but is satisfying in its own way.
7 Dark’s Strength Lies In The Hearts Of Its Many Characters
Dark‘s three seasons follow the same storyline, but they are each incredibly different from each other. It transforms, with great rigor, from time-travel horror to a delicate analysis of the human condition (and everything we stand for).
Layered with reams of subtext, Dark forces the audience’s brain cells to work at full capacity, which might leave a few viewers befuddled. However, the strength of the series lies not in its sci-fi roots, but the hearts of its many characters.
6 Travelers Is One Of The Better Shows About Time-Travel
The Travelers concept isn’t exactly unprecedented, but its plot, characters, and overall narrative make it one of the better shows about time-travel.
The future decides to send small crews back into the 2010s, which is deemed the decade in which everything (from the environment to political stability) started to grow downhill. Interestingly, the prime mover of most events in Travelers isn’t even human but still manages to be infinitely more empathetic than everyone else.
5 Black Mirror Scrutinizes Technology Through Sociopolitical Optics
Black Mirror is rare in that its legacy is already evident despite its recent entry into popular consciousness. The show scrutinizes technology through sociopolitical optics, offering terrifying outcomes that don’t really seem implausible anymore.
Its unnerving episodes are self-contained stories, but each of them paints a different picture. Black Mirror isn’t all doom and gloom, though, considering “San Junipero” ends on a surprisingly heartwarming note.
4 Better Than Us Unpacks Itself With Precision And Artfulness
Better Than Us, or as it is known in its original Russian, Luchshe Chem Lyudi, revolves around a society of androids specifically designed to replace human workers at basically every job.
One of the main characters, Arisa is a robot programmed according to Asimov’s famous Laws of Robotics, at least until she reveals that they don’t quite apply to her. Her encounter with Georgy, a small-time medical examiner, is when Better Than Us truly starts unraveling itself for the audience.
3 Upload Is An Interesting Take On Consciousness Transfer
Upload is an interesting take on consciousness transfer – people at death’s door are permitted to relocate their consciousness into a “virtual afterlife” of sorts, albeit at great expense.
Nathan’s experiences in Lake View meld almost seamlessly with his relationship with Nora, his assigned customer care executive (who’s still alive). Upload was praised by critics for its “witty writing and winsome cast”, although a few issues were noted regarding the show’s “tonal overload.”
2 Mr. Robot Is Praised For Its Intriguing, Evocative Premise
Rami Malek and Christian Slater are the two focal points of Mr. Robot, a show that pits ambiguous notions like anarchism and hacktivism against the forces of corporate America.
Almost every aspect of this series has been commended by critics (and viewers), from its “intriguing, provocative premise” to its “nihilistic pessimism about the Internet, capitalism, and income inequality.” Mr. Robot refuses to simplify its narrative, forging ahead with the assumption that anyone who wants to understand it will find a way of doing so.
1 Orphan Black Solidifies Its Standing As A Classic Sci-Fi TV Series
Orphan Black is an exploration of the blurred line between what’s real and what’s not, represented by means of cloning technology. The series is simultaneously popular and has a cult following (known as the #CloneClub), explaining its multiple nominations and victories at the Primetime Emmys, Golden Globes, and several other illustrious awards.
In fact, Orphan Black‘s fifth and “final season solidifies its standing as a classic science fiction television show,” firmly embedding the show in the annals of TV history.
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