Like our readers, we enjoy a great science fiction show. When done right, a great sci-fi show can be engaging, filled to the brim with memorable characters and their relationships with technology.
Since its inception, the sci-fi genre has had a special place in our hearts, inspiring us in ways more than you think. Science fiction's relationship with our real-world is cyclical. Notable scientists have described how science fiction, books, film, or even shows inspired their scientific pursuits. Science seems to predict future technologies.
The invention of video calling, the tablet, 3D printing, electric cars, bionic limbs, and even the World Wide Web all seem to have gotten their inspiration from the science fiction genre. As mentioned, the MIT article "When science fiction inspires real technology," "Many researchers acknowledge the role that science fiction has played in triggering their interest in science and inspiring breakthroughs. Indeed, there are many examples of fictional technologies that have later emerged in the real world."
In fact, researchers at Cornell University have even tried to quantify this relationship in a recent study to understand better "the complex relationship between the way humans imagine the impact of technology and the way it actually occurs in reality."
Perhaps your engineering pursuits were inspired by specific films or shows within the science fiction genre. If you are looking for a new show to sink your teeth into or are looking for a bit of inspiration, you are in luck today. We will look at some of our favorite science fiction shows, both classics, and modern hits. Who knows? The next show that you watch could inspire your career path.
1. The Mandalorian
Let's start with one of the more modern entries. When Jon Favreau's Star Wars spin-off series appeared on Disney+, it was an instant hit. Yet, it was not just because of the story or old Hollywood Western charm of the set pieces. It all has to do with the most adorable creature in the universe, Baby Yoda.
The memes and action figures that this showed spawned were equally hilarious and adorable. The historical Star Wars callbacks, excellent set design, and world-building are great in the show. Nevertheless, if you ask us, the show does have some glaring flaws, but the story keeps you engaged and feels more like Star Wars than some of the most recent films.
2. Doctor Who
Doctor Who is just one of the legendary shows that have been around forever, capturing the attention of three generations of audiences. Since 1963, the British staple centers around a charming alien who travels through time and space in a simple blue box to try to save the day.
This formula has not changed, but the Doctor Whos have over the years. Currently, the Doctor Who title is held by Jodie Whittaker, the first female version of the doc. This science-fiction show is both silly, heartfelt, and profound. You are going to have a great time watching this science fiction show.
3. Star Trek
Running from 1966-1969, Star Trek has gone on to inspire an entire generation of engineers and scientists. Everything from the show's memorable cast to the storytelling is just thrilling in both the worst and best ways. The Gene Roddenberry show easily has to be one of the most influential science fiction shows in history.
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A lot of your favorite science fiction shows have taken direct inspiration from Star Trek. The optimism and zeal of exploration of Star Trek still holds true today as we prepare for the next era in space travel.
We love anime at Interesting Engineering. Some of our favorite science fiction films are Ghost in the Shell and Akira. So, it makes sense that we would have a couple of anime science fiction shows stored away for a rainy day. The story centers around our gun-slinging protagonist Vash the Stampede, in a post-apocalyptic American-Western like a wasteland.
The show juxtaposes elements of classic spaghetti westerns with futuristic technology. The show is hilarious and very insightful, tackling themes like renewable energy, human nature, and our relationship with technology. If you are a fan of Cowboy Bebop, you will love Trigun.
If you like the X-Files, you might like Fringe. Running from 2008 -2013, the tv show started like a spin-off of the cult classic X-Files. It centers around an FBI agent who, through a series of events, ended up exploring a range of scientific phenomena.
Eventually, the show matured into its own, featuring universes, wild interpretations of physics, biology, and chemistry, and 4-dimensional beings. The show starts off slow but eventually picks up and is simply a great show to watch if you love science.
Lost is loved for its premise and notorious for its ending. We won't spoil it for you. But, there is a good chance you might not like it. Regardless, Lost is one of those science fiction shows that has become a staple of pop culture. Lost was one of those shows that consistently sparked debate across the internet.
While watching Lost, you might come across time-hopping super islands, teleporting polar pears, and odd robotic machines. Lost is one of the shows that you should binge if you haven't already as it has influenced a lot of shows and continues to do so.
7. Black Mirror
When Black Mirror appeared on Netflix, it became an instant hit. Like a modern-day Twilight Zone, this is one of those TV shows that centers primarily on humanity's relationship with technology, tackling things like social media, robotics, the military, and even gaming.
The show can get very dark but does have some bright spots. It is an anthology series, so each episode tackles a different subject. What makes Black Mirror so great and so scary is that the themes and ideas presented on the Netflix show parallel our modern times.
8. Stranger Things
If you took a classic Spielberg movie and threw in a little Stephen King, this is what you would get. Another major hit on Netflix, Stranger Things, re-injected a dizzying but fun amount of 80's genre nostalgia into the pop culture while telling a story that feels original enough to keep you engaged.
People of all ages love Stranger Things. You get a healthy dose of traditional 80s horror, Lovecraftian monstrosities, and of course, psychic experiments. It is also great that the show has one of our favorite soundtracks of all time. If you have not watched it already, do it. You will not be disappointed.
Firefly is one of those classics that was cut short. However, this didn't prevent the show from becoming a cult classic. Led by Joss Whedon, the space adventure with Western Elements pushed the limits of primetime television.
Though the show was eventually canceled after just one season, the story would go on to be continued on the big screen with the hit movie Serenity in 2005.
This TV show is just awesome, very dense at times, but awesome. Westworld tackles a lot of existential concepts like "what it means to be human?". Based on Michael Crichton's classic 1973 film, the show is mind-bending and centers around artificial intelligence, a popular emerging technology if you have not noticed.
Though creating sentient beings that rebel against their creators is nothing new, the setting, characters, and action pieces are good enough to keep everything refreshing.
11. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered one of the greatest anime/science fiction anime of all time. In 2015, after a global cataclysm known as the Second Impact, the awkward teenager Shinji Ikari is summoned to the futuristic city of Tokyo-3 by his estranged father, Gendo Ikari, director of the special paramilitary force Nerv.
Here he is asked to pilot Nerv's giant Evangelion bio-machines to fight off "angels," alien creatures constantly attacking humanity. Just like many of the other shows on this list, Neon Genesis Evangelion has a cult following. The show is highly philosophical, tackling themes like isolation and loneliness. You will cry watching this show.
12. Battlestar Galactica
We are focusing on reboots. Running from 2004-2009, Battlestar Galactica grew to become one of the most popular shows on modern television. The reinvigorated show continued on with its heavy themes like how societies are born and die, fascism, and whether the human race is worth saving at all. This is one of those reboots that just did everything right.
13. The 100
The 100 is one of those shows that takes a lot of inspiration from Lost and Battlestar Galactica. And, we mean this in the best possible way. Loosely based on a series of YA novels by Kass Morgan, the show centers around a familiar premise, what would happen if humans had to start over again on a new planet. The show evolves from feeling like Lord of the Flies into an epic science fiction show that deals with a lot of relevant ethical questions.
14. Cowboy Bebop
It is just good. What else can we say? Cowboy Bebop is a timeless anime that you can watch almost anytime and anywhere. The genre splitting story focuses on Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, and Radical Ed: a crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts as they hunt down the solar system's most dangerous people in the galaxy. The show is both mature and hilarious. The main protagonist Spike Spiegel is what you get if you mixed Bruce Lee with Clint Eastwood.
The FX mini-series has made waves this year for pushing the science fiction genre forward into the uncharted existential territory. Devs focus on a young software engineer named Lily Chan who works for Amaya, a cutting-edge tech company based in Silicon Valley. A series of events open the doors to uncovering a technology-based conspiracy that could change the world. This show is easily one of our favorites.
What is your favorite science fiction show of all time? Did this show impact your career choice? For more great science fiction recommendations or some simple engineering inspiration, be sure to stop by here.