We’re all familiar with fantasy/sci-fi hits like Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, but here’s some lesser known but still stellar examples of the genre that may interest you…
Written by Maisie Williams
Available on: DVD
Before NBC’s Hannibal graced our screens, creator Bryan Fuller brought us the wonderfully quirky and heart-warming Pushing Daisies. This short series follows the adventures of Ned, a humble pie maker who also has the uncanny ability to bring back the dead for a limited period of time by just a simple touch. However, if he were to touch the recently revived once again they would drop dead. This becomes a problem when Ned revives his childhood sweetheart. What follows is a charming blossoming romance between the two set in a kooky world of maddening colours and an undetermined time period. A weird yet enjoyable slice of reinvented science fiction.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Available on: Netflix
Based on the best-selling children’s book series by Lemony Snicket, Series adapts the story of the three Baudelaire siblings as they become orphans. Surprisingly dark in tone for a set of children’s novels, Unfortunate Events follows the miserable tale of Violet, Klaus and Sunny as they try to discover the mystery of their parents’ sudden deaths, as well as trying to avoid capture from the nefarious Count Olaf. Set in a world with deliberately overly bright colours, the aesthetics of the show are noticeably different from the steampunk feel of the movie adaptation of the early 2000s. The first series adapts the first four books of the thirteen-part series, and the show has already been renewed for both a second and third series.
Available on: Netflix
3% is a Netflix original Brazilian short series, but don’t let the potential language barrier put you off from watching this thought-provoking sci-fi series. Set in a near-future dystopia, a group of 20-year olds head to The Process to partake in an annual series of both mental and physical tasks to see which among them will qualify to leave poverty behind and make it to The Offshore, an island of wealth and prosperity for those who have the merit to be there. This eight-episode series follows four contestants as they navigate their way through the series of tasks and try to avoid elimination. As well as providing social commentary the show also has a diverse cast and strong female leads.
Available on: DVD and Netflix
Staring the now familiar faces of Aidan Turner (Poldark) and Russell Tovey (Doctor Who, Sherlock) this BBC Three drama sees them, alongside Lenora Crinchlow, play a vampire, werewolf and a ghost respectively, all sharing a house in Bristol – because why not? This charming series explores what it means to be human on both grand and mundane levels. Hilarious in places with its dry British humour, the show also includes strong emotional beats, cute romances and a surprising amount of gore as it toys with the horror genre in places. Despite a cast reshuffle between seasons 4 and 5 the main characters, whoever they are, are always realistic and likeable. The series also ended on a conclusive note, so you can enjoy all five seasons of this story from beginning to end.
Available on: DVD and 4oD
Another brilliant British original from recent years gone by is E4’s Misfits. An interesting (to say the least) British adaptation of the age old American superhero origin stories, Misfits’ main characters are a group of young people on community service for minor criminal offences. Whilst out litter picking on one of their first days, the five main characters get struck by lightning during a freak storm and sequentially each end up with their own distinct superpower. The show explores how each of these characters comes to terms with their powers and how they choose to use them, as well as facing down superpowered adversaries who were also gifted during the storm. Admittedly the show losses its direction after season 3, as well as the majority of its original cast members so I’d recommend avoiding the last 2 seasons if you don’t want to see this show you may come to love, flaws included, go into the gutter.
In the Flesh
Available on: DVD and BBC iPlayer
A refreshing retake on the zombie genre, this short lived but wonderful BBC3 series follows the undead who were rehabilitated from their flesh-eating urges and are reintroduced back into society. These two seasons follow the main character Kieren, who took his life after the death of his best friend, as well as a small group of those who go back to living in their tight-knit village community and explores how society now treats them. Tackling hard hitting real life issues such as xenophobia, sexuality and suicide, it is understandable why so many praised this series and were devastated by its cancellation when BBC3 cut its production budgets to move online.
What other underappreciated shows do you recommend to sci-fi/fantasy fans? Let us know below!