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Under-rated Science-Fiction TV Shows of the 2000s (Part 2)


Because my last list couldn’t possibly include every sci-fi show I wanted (at least not without making it as long as a doctorate thesis), I have decided to make this a series. Read Part 1 here »

Forget about Star Trek: Enterprise and Doll House, this list is only comprised of tv shows that either never received the recognition they deserved while on the air or were canceled before their time. I have included every possible sci-fi trope ranging from time travel and parallel universes to aliens and dinosaurs on this list, so you’re guaranteed to find a new show no matter what floats your boat.

I have only included series that have been completed or canceled. This means you will be able to binge watch any one of these tv shows once you finish reading this article.

Alphas

alphas

Photo courtesy of Syfy

This show follows five genetically enhanced humans, referred to as “Alphas”, led by psychiatrist Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn). Rosen and his team of Alphas operate under the auspices of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and investigate criminal cases involving other suspected Alphas. 

Super abilities on the show ranger from hyperkinesis and heightened senses to super strength and immortality. Every character on Alphas is wonderfully developed; each struggles with their powers in some way or another. Rosen helps the Alphas realize their true potential while reminding them of their humanity and duty to help people around them.

Basically, Alphas is like the X-Men decided to start working for the government in order to take down mutants and secret terrorist organizations. Unfortunately, this show was canceled before it could really show off its sci-fi chops.

Air dates: 2011 – 2012
Seasons: 2
Episodes: 24
Available on: Netflix

Kyle XY

kyle-xy

Photo courtesy of Freeform

Kyle XY follows the story of a boy who awakens in the woods, alone and naked. After being detained by police as a John Doe, the boy is sent to a foster family. The boy has no memories, doesn’t know how to speak, and shows enhanced physicality, senses, and intellect. 

But here’s the kicker, Kyle has no belly button. Is he an alien? Mutant? Lab baby? No body knows, not even Kyle.

The show takes you on a crazy journey as Kyle learns how to function in society and tries to regain his repressed memories. It’s an original twist on the American nuclear family and societal expectations of youth.

Air dates: 2006 – 2009
Seasons: 3
Episodes: 43
Available on: Hulu

John Doe

john-doe

Photo courtesy of FOX

Three years before Kyle XY aired, FOX made a tv show about a mysterious man who wakes up naked on an island off the coast of Seattle, Washington. He has absolutely no memory of who he is or how he got there.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The man makes his way to Seattle where he creates an identity for himself, John Doe (pre-Prison Break star Dominic Purcell). Despite having no memories of his own past, John Doe has access to the sum total of all human knowledge in his brain; from the obscure to the not-so-obscure. Using his knowledge of stock markets, John becomes rich and uses his abilities and money to find clues about his past while helping the Seattle police department solve unusual crimes (because every tv-show savant needs to use their powers for good).

John Doe is a wonderful combination of dark humor and the exploration of self-identity, with the occasional interesting crime mystery thrown into the mix. John Doe is a great show to binge watch during the weekend.

Air dates: 2002 – 2003
Seasons: 1
Episodes: 21
Available on: Hulu

The Invisible Man

the-invisible-man

Photo courtesy of Syfy

Adopting the title from the renowned science fiction novel, The Invisible Man depicts the life of a thief who is recruited by a spy agency. The thief, Darien Fawkes (Vincent Ventresca), is given the power of invisibility via an implant called the “Quicksilver gland”.

Darien thinks he has it made until it is discovered that the Quicksilver gland is sabotaged to make him go crazy without regular doses of “counteragent” to keep him sane. In exchange for the counteragent, Darien begins to do odd jobs for a shady government agency that takes on cases that other U.S. agencies “can’t, won’t, or don’t”.

The science is interesting, the characters are hilarious, and the cases are even weirder than anything The X-Files could dream up. But despite its sci-fi and action elements, The Invisible Man deals with a variety of serious themes such as freedom of choice, determinism, sanity, and the current state bureaucracy.

Air dates: 2000 – 2002
Seasons: 2
Episodes: 46
Available on: Hulu

Torchwood

torchwood

Photo courtesy of BBC Wales

Torchwood is a spin-off series from the 2005 revival of Doctor Who. The show follows the adventures of Captain Jack Harkness (pre-Arrow star John Barrowman) after he leaves the company of the Doctor in Season 1 and becomes immortal. Jack’s team investigates both alien and human crimes while scavenging otherworldly technology in Cardiff, Wales.

Torchwood is darker and grittier than its Doctor Who counterpart. Strong themes like sexuality and morality pave the path for many of the show’s internal conflicts. The dialogue is real and biting and gives Torchwood a film noir feel while perfectly playing into its science fiction roots.

If you like Doctor Who — or, better yet, if you don’t — this show is definitely for you.

Air dates: 2006 – 2011
Seasons: 4
Episodes: 41
Available on: Amazon Prime

Terra Nova

terra-nova

Photo courtesy of FOX

Terra Nova is set in 2149 CE, when overpopulation and declining air quality threatens all life on Earth. Luckily enough, scientists discover a temporal rift permitting humans to travel to a parallel timeline resembling Earth’s Cretaceous Period.

Yay! The human race is saved. But wait… did I mention the dinosaurs? Terra Nova was executive produced by Steven Spielberg, who used his experience from Jurassic Park to bring dinosaurs back to life once again. 

In the show, Elisabeth Shannon (Shelley Conn) is chosen for her medical expertise to join a pilgrimage through the parallel time stream to join the colony “Terra Nova”. Elisabeth brings her two older children, while her husband James, imprisoned for harboring a third child and assaulting an official agent to protect his young daughter, stows away to join them.

Terra Nova emphasizes environmental responsibility without sacrificing its sci-fi roots — which is not easy to do. If you like time travel and dinosaurs, Terra Nova is a must-see.

Air dates: 2011 – 2012
Seasons: 1
Episodes: 13
Available on: Netflix

Read Part 1 »

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