The sci-fi genre covers a wide range of stories set in various strange worlds. Some science fiction is set in a far-flung future or in a distant galaxy, while other sci-fi stories occupy worlds that feel much more obviously like our own. There disparate settings can offer some insights into the world we actually live in and can be the basis for truly fascinating stories.
Netflix’s The Kitchen, which is set in a future world where all public housing has been eliminated, definitely exists in a pretty grounded version of reality. Like all of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix, though, it also has plenty to say about how we live today. If you’ve watched and enjoyed the movie, these are three sci-fi shows that may scratch that same itch.
Black Mirror (2011 – present)
Perhaps the more obvious pick for this list, Black Mirror is an anthology series in which each episode imagines a different technology-related horror that may be in our not-too-distant future. Episodes can focus on everything from our obsession with ratings and reviews to what it would be like to live with a clone of a former partner.
While the episodes vary in quality, Black Mirror at its best can be a deeply chilling vision of a future that no one watching would ever want to live in, or a slightly more hopeful one where technology can help us better understand what we want in life.
Black Mirror is streaming on Netflix.
Years and Years (2019)
This limited series imagines the worst-case scenario for what the future could look like. Set in the U.K., it starts in 2019 and zooms through the next decade as right-wing leaders take over in both the U.S. and U.K. It has a particular focus on the way climate change is likely to create a flurry of refugees for much of Europe.
Although Years and Years spends much of its time concentrating on the worst things that could happen, it’s focus on a single family makes the show remarkably humanizing, as does its emphasis on the way even small individual acts can shape the future.
Years and Years is streaming on Max.
For All Mankind (2019 – present)
A much more optimistic series on the whole, For All Mankind is a futuristic show that is actually set in an alternate past. The series imagines a world where the Soviets manage to land on the moon first, and spins forward over decades from that simple change in history.
Although it’s really a show about space, For All Mankind is also a reminder about the power that wonder can have in our collective consciousness, and about the ways that really good science can build a better world. Things aren’t perfect in the world of For All Mankind, but it’s a world you’ll find yourself thoroughly enveloped by anyway.
For All Mankind is streaming on Apple TV+. Stream the first episode for free here.