Live-action comic book dramas, classic science-fiction remakes, instant zombie cult hits and all manner of geekdom have taken over TV.
These stories and more have risen from the depths of pop culture over the past decade, heralded by the arrival of a growing amount of premium sci-fi and fantasy television series.
Game of Thrones may be stealing headlines for all the right reasons, but just outside the limelight you’ll find a veritable ‘bat cave’ full of epic superhero dramas, sci-fi mysteries and post-apocalyptic monkey shines.
Here are The New Daily’s top picks for sci-fi and fantasy TV you soon won’t be able to live without. Thank us later.
Yes, that 12 Monkeys. In 1995, Terry Gilliam took us on a surreal ride into an alternate present reality mixed with flash-forwards to a post-apocalyptic nightmare, where humanity is struggling to survive after a global pandemic has forced survivors underground. Phew. This TV series remake of Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys holds true to the original, with tortured time traveller James Cole sent to the present to try and unravel the events leading to humankind’s end. Dark, flawed and twisted.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Spoiler alert: if you were sad to see Agent Phil Coulson die in The Avengers, fear not. He’s back, along with a team of new talent, to head up Marvel’s TV series spin-off Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Investigating supernatural and superhero incidents, the agents of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division uncover a series of mysteries that threaten to shake the agency to its core. Tying in with The Avengers universe, this series is the ultimate payoff for hardcore Marvel fans.
This TV series exploration of the world of comic book antihero John Constantine takes itself a little less seriously than the 2005 Keanu Reeves-helmed movie of the same name. Supernatural detective and exorcist Constantine traverses the US in search of demons, witches and other unnatural phenomena, dispensing pithy one-liners and oozing just enough devil-may-care charm to coax reluctant bystanders into his many investigations.
Taking the stick of irreverence to the fairytale romance trope, Galavant is a hilarious romp through the world of the titular character on his road to redemption. It’s also a musical. That’s right, it’s a musical and it rocks. From the writer behind Tangled, Cars and Crazy, Stupid, Love – and for fans of Alan Rickman’s performance as the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (the only person who knew what movie he was in) – Galavant is the bomb.
A prequel series in the tradition of Frank Miller’s Year One Batman comic book saga, Gotham begins with the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, witnessed, of course, by their young son and future Batman, Bruce. Introducing the men and women who will one day prove Batman’s nemeses, the story follows Jim Gordon as he rises through the ranks of the Gotham City Police Department, taking as many twists as there are bats in the night sky.
A team of scientists race to an Arctic research station when alerted that a deadly virus threatens to escape quarantine and terrorise the planet’s inhabitants. The roller coaster that is Helix then twists and turns with no regard for viewer safety, with more red herrings than beakers on the laboratory shelf. For fans of Battlestar Galactica and The X-Files, it may get a little confusing at times, but the payoffs down the track are worth it.
Marvel’s Agent Carter
One from Marvel again: Hayley Atwell steps back into her role from the first two Captain America films, starring as Agent Peggy Carter – reluctant action hero and spy extraordinaire. Enlisted by Howard Stark (yes, Tony’s dad) and working with a little help from his butler, the delightful Jarvis, Carter embarks on a path to unravel a mystery that will change her life. Tongue-in-cheek in all the right places, Agent Carter is sure to earn a place in your heart.
Lead writer and executive producer Aaron Zelman (Law & Order, Criminal Minds, Damages) weaves a tale examining life for inhabitants of small town Arcadia, Missouri, when their loved ones return from the dead. No, this is no zombie story. Resurrection is an examination of faith, love and human nature: one that explores the complexity of what we want and perceive our reality to be versus what we know cannot be true.
Following three generations and 97 years spent orbiting the earth after a nuclear holocaust wiped out the planet, 100 young p(r)etty criminals are yanked from their prison cells and sent to the planet’s surface to begin re-habitation. With only their skills and wits to keep them alive, The 100 is a cautionary tale of hubris, greed and survival; equal parts Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games.
After being struck by lightning, Barry Allen wakes to discover he now has the power of super speed. That old chestnut. Our hero then turns to a life of crime fighting, taking on a growing list of villains of both the super and garden variety. A superhero origin tale with heart, where the universe is divided between good and evil, Allen’s mother’s words underpin his entire story: it’s better to have a good heart than fast legs.