Set ten years after the events of Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, the upcoming Fox drama reintroduces a now-grown-up precog, Dash, as he joins forces with a detective, Lara Vega, to put his gift of seeing future crimes to good use. In a landscape of tailored ads that follow you, neural interfaces that project what you think, and all sorts of hi-tech gadgets, the series showcases a future that is as exciting as it is worrying -- kind of like today's world.
This British anthology series takes everything we worry about our modern society and pushes it to its terrifyingly plausible futures. From blackmailing politicians with viral video humiliation to obsessing over past recorded memories, Black Mirror is the millennial Twilight Zone featuring some of the best actors of today like Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown-Findlay, Fantastic Four's Toby Kebbell, and Mad Men's Jon Hamm.
Created in the '60s, Star Trek still resonates as a vision of an optimistic future filled with bright colored uniforms, diverse crews, and epic space exploration. Not every encounter is a peaceful one (see: Klingons, Romulans, KHAAAN!) but otherwise, the crew of the Starship Enterprise prove that humanity's future can be bright.
At first Fringe faced comparisons to The X Files, but with forays into The Other Side, the sci-fi series distinguished itself as its own dimension-jumping behemoth. And if strange occurrences in parallel universes weren't enough, the bald, sharp-suited Observers eventually show what's in store for the future. Let's just say they have more on their agenda than people watching.
Created by The Simpsons' Matt Groening, Futurama centers on late '90s pizza guy who's accidentally cryogenically frozen until he's awoken in the 31st century. Fry, alongside friends like foul-mouthed robot Bender, encounters the strange elements of this future like the heads of present-day celebrities alive in jars and "highly addictive" Slurm soda. Plus, thanks to the promise of Simpsons crossover potential, the series continues to live on--not unlike a preserved head in a jar.
Over 20 years after the premiere of the original, Star Trek: The Next Generation continues the same optimistic vision of the future contextualized with more modern issues and themes. For instance, technological advances and concerns pop up in the form of android and second officer Data and cybernetic villains the Borg.
Many sci-fi series wouldn't exist without Rod Sterling's sci-fi/horror anthology series. Classic episodes like "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You," "The Eye of the Beholder," and "The Obsolete Man" warn against a future of extreme conformity. Other classics like "The Invaders," "To Serve Man," and "The Lonely" explore the strange, new cultures we could encounter in a future with space travel.
Set in a time after humans have rendered Earth uninhabitable, The 100 proposes how the world looks once humans, or in this case, attractive, young criminals, return to the surface. Earth may have grown lush in nature without major human influence, but it has also grown more dangerous than ever before.
Gonzo sci-fi at its finest, Doctor Who has a long history for showing how great and awful the future could be. A time-traveling police box that's bigger on the inside sounds great! Murderous Cyber Men and Daleks, not so much.
Set in a distant future in which humans have left Earth for dusty, terraformed planets, Firefly brings together a ragtag team of smugglers, refugees, a courtesan, and pastor. Fusing western and space opera settings and themes, the short-lived cult series explored how life and hope can flourish even in a totalitarian galaxy.
Time travel shenanigans run wild in this Vancouver-set Syfy series. A cop from a corporate-controlled, not-so-distant future accidentally travels back in time with a group of terrorists/rebels hell-bent on changing their present. Time soon starts to blur as just as the differences between right and wrong blur, too.
Falling Skies takes the premise of alien invasion and focuses on the aftermath, as humans struggle to survive, regroup, and fight back against the extraterrestrial aggressors. Joining a militia to fight evil aliens sounds cool, but let's just hope this dystopia isn't in our future.
Before fiercely protecting her children on Game of Thrones, Lena Headey was fiercely protecting the future leader of the resistance against the machines, her son John. As the titular iconic sci-fi bad ass, Headey leads this series that expands the mechanized apocalypse of the Terminator movies to include more killer robots than ever before such as Cameron, a reprogrammed 'bot sent to protect John, who happens to look like Summer Glau.
The first season of Extant introduced us to a plausible future in which cars drive themselves, astronauts engage in privately funded missions, and lifelike robot boys still creep us out. While those elements have frightening prospects, the series gets truly scary when astronaut Molly Woods discovers she's pregnant with an alien-human hybrid. Now that's what we would call a #futurefirstworldproblem.