Updated: Sep 20, 2019
To kick off my first Nerdychicken blog post, I figured I would talk about something that is near and dear to my heart – Sci-fi and fantasy TV Shows! Let’s face it; we have come a long way with these genres in TV entertainment from when I was growing up. Back then, in the 70’s, we had what…Buck Rogers, Space 1999, the original Star Trek series re-runs and the Bionic Man? Finally, Star Wars came out and shortly after that came Battlestar Galactica (As cheesy as it looks nowadays, I loved it when I was a kid. The margins of my school books were covered in doodles of battling Colonial Vipers and Cylon Raiders.)
Fast forward to today and it seems like there are hundreds of choices on various networks and streaming services, all vying for your attention. There are literally too many choices to watch them all, unless you hook a Mountain Dew I.V. and a Catheter up to yourself and never leave your living room. Please don’t try this at home folks. Please. Remember – showering and TTRPG time are not optional!
There are so many currently running sci-fi and fantasy series that I love, but what I want to concentrate on today is what is new and exciting in nerdy television entertainment this fall! I’ll leave discussion of the Comic-Con Marvel Hall H announcements for another time.
1. Carnival Row
This little gem is out on Amazon right now and it is an ambitious and thoughtful Victorian era fantasy series. It stars Orlando Bloom as Philo, a detective searching for a serial killer and Cara Delevigne as the faerie Vignette, who is an immigrant in a xenophobic human city. The casting is spot on and these actors provide a magnificent performance in the dark settings of this world. The reviews are in and this show is a definite must watch for fans of this genre. I loved it.
2. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
I’m currently watching this wonderful series that just came out at the end of August from Netflix and the Jim Henson Company. This series is hugely nostalgic for me as I grew up with the original movie, The Dark Crystal, being one of the all-time great fantasy epics of my generation. This series is proving just as awe-inspiring as its progenitor. It is a prequel to the original, and it expands wonderfully on the fantasy universe that Jim Henson revealed to the world back in 1982. Jim Henson's family are collaborating with the original concept artists from the Dark Crystal Movie on this series. So awesome!
The puppetry is absolutely brilliant, as are the sweeping vistas and environments filled with all sorts of vibrant alien life. There are so many celebrities who jumped at the chance to voice characters in this series. To name just a few: Taron Egerton (From Rocketman), Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), Helena Bonham Carter (Almost any Tim Burton Movie), Lena Hedley (Game of Thrones), Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), and many more. I had to stop or my head was going to explode from the sheer talent of this list!
To put it succinctly: Watch this series and lose yourself in your imagination at the sheer magnificence of this fantasy world and its endearing characters.
3. The Boys
Disclaimer: This trailer is NSFW and is definitely mature content.
Okay, so this came out in July, but if you haven't seen this yet, definitely add it to your fall lineup. This series is brilliantly dark, gritty and oh so violent. The premise is fairly straight forward in exploring what the world would really look like if superheroes truly existed.
Corporations would swoop in like vultures to monetize everything about them and you would find these heroes on cereal boxes, billboards, and every imaginable piece of merchandise. Do you really think that these heroes would all be saints, or would they fall victim to their natural human instincts and become corrupt, power hungry demigods? Watch this series to find out. You’ll get to see Karl Urban at his very sleaziest.
4. The Mandalorian
A live action Star Wars television series? Take. My. Money! This series takes place five years after the events in The Return of the Jedi and the fall of the empire. Even as the alliance is trying to form their new republic there are many systems that still hold loyalty to what the empire once represented. The Mandalorian will take place far from the events of the movies and is still 15 years before the new movies.
It stars Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) as the Mandalorian and from the looks of the teaser trailer it should be amazing. The fact that Jon Favreau (Iron Man) is running things makes this even more exciting. Coming out Nov. 12 on the Disney+ streaming service.
5. The Watchmen
The Watchmen comics (by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons for DC Comics) spawned a faithful movie adaptation that came out a decade ago, and left an indelible mark upon the superhero genre with its satirical and very dark, dystopian representation of an often cookie-cutter subject matter. I’m not alone in being a fan of both the comics and the movie and have high hopes for the new series coming out from HBO in October. The Trailer promises us the return of some characters from the movie and many new and interesting ones. This should be a real popcorn chomper.
6. The Witcher
The Witcher, originally the acclaimed fantasy series of novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, has been made into a film, different television series, and tremendously popular video games over the years. The premise is that a mutated monster hunter, The Witcher, named Geralt of Rivia, played by Henry Cavill (Superman), walks the world apart from others, trying to find his place in the world while seeking out and destroying evil. The Teaser doesn’t give away too much of the plot, but with Superman in the show it should be great! : )
7. His Dark Materials
So, a few years ago a movie called the Golden Compass came out and received mixed to lackluster reviews. It was based on the first novel Northern Lights of the much loved book trilogy His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. The movie was certainly alright, but it received a lot of criticism for its watering down of some of the controversy of the book series – namely its criticism of religion and its potential to abuse power.
The Trailer for this new series gives hope that with an on-going series all of the themes and proper development of the story line will have room and time to express themselves as the author intended, and the fans will be expecting. The cast will include James McAvoy (X-Men), Dafne Keen (Logan), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) and Andrew Scott (Sherlock). It looks really impressive and they are touting this as the next great HBO show after Game of Thrones.
Okay, this one is a bit of a personal pick. It looks really cool and I love the creepy horror theme. I remember this from the 1982 movie by Stephen King and George A. Romero and if those two names don’t spike your interest then I don’t know what would. This will be an anthology series just as the movies were, with six episodes with two short horror stories per episode.
This time around it will have Greg Nicotero as producer - who started his career working under Romero on The Day of the Dead back in 1985, and most recently has worked on the Walking Dead series. It will have a different director for each story which I think will make this show even more exciting. It’s a web series coming out on SHUDDER on Sept 26.
The idea and feel of this new series makes it seem a bit like a cross between the X-Files and Supernatural. With Supernatural ending its long run on The CW, we will definitely be in need of a replacement and I am hoping this could be the one. (I’m going to miss those Winchester boys when they go). So, we’ve got Mike Colter (Luke Cage himself) as a priest-in-training and Katja Herbers (Westworld) as a skeptical psychologist who team up to investigate some of the Church’s unexplained mysteries – possessions, hauntings, and the like. Looks like it could have promise. I’ll be checking that out on Sept 26.
10. Star Trek Picard
Well, Picard isn’t coming out until 2020, but I just had to add this one to the list. I, as well as most of the Nerdi-sphere, am eagerly waiting to see Sir Patrick Stewart return to his role as Captain Jean Luc Picard on the small screen. By all indications, this show will be unlike any Star Trek series we have ever seen. The pace will be much slower and encompass so much more depth than the typical Star Trek fare. I can’t wait. Look for this on CBS All Access in early 2020. Engage!
In closing, I know we’ve all got a ton of existing series that we gobble up and binge watch whenever they become available, but maybe we’ll be able to squeeze in a few of these new shows to at least check them out. They’re all deliciously nerdy – and that’s what we’re all here for, right?
Leave a comment and let me know if you agree with these choices or have I left any really important ones out?