The fifth season of this post-apocalyptic drama is about 100 juvies from a space station who are dropped to Earth to find out if it is habitable after a nuclear event seemingly wiped out life on the planet. A survival drama, The 100 is morally complex, thrilling and full of suspense, even though it does fall into some cliched tropes.
LOST IN SPACE
The April 2018 show follows the Robinson family which gets selected for Resolute, an interstellar spacecraft that will carry humans to colonise distant planets. As Resolute’s hull is breached by an alien robot, some families aboard the spacecraft escape in smaller ‘Jupiter’ ships and crash-land on a habitable planet where they have to face the elements to survive. While it’s not complex or challenging, the space adventure drama makes for a pleasant watch.
Based on the eponymous novel by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon, which premiered on Netflix in February this year, is an absolute visual delight. Set 250 years in the future, the story is about Takeshi Kovac (Joel Kinnaman) who is put in a new “sleeve”— a body that can host “cortical stacks”, which hold the memories of a person — and given the option of spending time in jail or helping solve a murder. It juggles between pure sci-fi, a whodunnit and a war saga, which can be confusing at times but is nonetheless one of the most engaging sci-fi shows on the streaming site. Kinnaman and Chris Conner, who plays an AI called Poe, deliver standout performances.
One of Netflix’s “most devoured” shows, Travelers focuses on a five-member team from the future, called Travelers, who inhabit the bodies of present-day people on the orders of the Director so that they can prevent catastrophic events. The show is fun and at the same time suspenseful — all in all, immensely enjoyable. The second season finished in December 2017 and the third season is due late 2018.
If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, then this Brazilian dystopian thriller should be right up your alley. Based in a future world where the difference between the haves and the have-nots has become critical, the inhabitants of the Inland slums participate in a competition called The Process, a brutal and often deadly one, where three per cent of the population are chosen for the Offshore, which will give them a chance at a better life. Season 2 is streaming on Netflix now.
Josh Holloway is the head of the Bowman family in a dystopian world ruled by aliens called Hosts, through a militarised regime by the organisation, Transitional Authority. A former FBI agent, Holloway is forced to become a Redhat (the militarised police), while his wife is part of the Resistance. It has an engaging story and has found praise from author Stephen King. The third season has aired in the US and hopefully will be on Netflix soon.
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY
Set around 10 years after the original series timeline, the show follows the crew of USS Discovery, and explores the war between the Klingon empire and the Federation. Not exactly the best Star Trek material, but it gets kudos for casting two women of colour —Sonequa Martin-Green and Michelle Yeoh — in the lead.
A German Netflix Original, the 10-episode show that premiered in December 2017 is as dark as the name suggests, not just tonally but also in the themes it explores. Very reminiscent of Stranger Things, and more so of Twin Peaks, the show has everything you could want — mysterious disappearances that coincide with birds dying grotesquely and flickering lights to family drama, ugly secrets and time travel.
If post-apocalyptic survival horror is your thing, then look no further. This Danish show focuses on the brother-sister duo of Rasmus and Simone who live isolated in a bunker as a mysterious rain infected by a deadly virus turns people into zombies. Six years after the epidemic, they move out into the world on a perilous journey. Not as gruesome and gory as The Walking Dead, this is still grisly and dark enough to satisfy your, er, hunger. The show is streaming on Netflix.
The eight Sensates, who are mentally connected to each other, had been holding sway over our hearts for two seasons till Netflix cancelled the show. But following the fan reaction, we’re being given a two-hour special finale this June. We can’t wait!
We called this show the Game of Thrones of space drama and over two seasons it has only strengthened our view. The show about a power struggle involving Earth and Mars and people caught in between has just started its third season on Syfy in the US and will hopefully be on Netflix later this year. The third season will apparently be the last, but we are sure fans will prevail and give it another lease of life.
If you are not after stellar, deep cinema but a fun time with a fast-paced, action-packed alien-versus-human film, this Lee Pace-starrer is something that you can put on your watch-list. Pace plays a Special Forces soldier in Kenya suffering from amnesia who teams up with a French doctor as they try to survive the alien invasion.
Based loosely on Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, this Alex Garland film is poetic and thought-provoking, and an excellent follow-up to Garland’s directorial debut, the stunning Ex Machina.
An all-women team of four scientists and a paramedic — it’s brilliant how not much fuss is made of the fact that they are women — head into ‘The Shimmer’, a strange phenomenon that is spreading from the crash site of a meteorite. What starts as a science-based science-fiction morphs, like the things inside The Shimmer, into psychological horror with stunning, and often trippy, visuals. It deals with themes of grief, depression, substance abuse, infidelity and mortality and is as compelling as it is unsettling.
A semi-sequel to indie film Skyline, this one focuses on the same alien invasion but from a different perspective. A Los Angeles cop is having to deal with his rebellious son when the alien invasion happens and we see him dive into incredibly dangerous situations to save his child. It is basically an explosive, action-oriented and enjoyable film with some awesome special effects.
Train to Busan director Yeon Sang-ho’s latest is a superhero film. Like every superhero film, there is the hero, the hapless people he needs to save and the antagonists; but unlike every other superhero film, this one is about an average man with average powers and that’s what makes the difference. A film about an estranged dad who accidentally acquires superpowers and dives in to save his daughter — it’s touching, funny and a visual delight.
This Spanish sci-fi romance is about Helena, who has spent her whole life on a spaceship travelling to a planet called Celeste. She has a hunky repairman as an overnight guest, who leaves without any explanation after they have sex. You soon find out that not all is what it seems in Helena’s world.