Westworld: Top 10 science-fiction shows to try next as season 2 draws to a close

Classics like The X-Files, Doctor Who or Star Trek could be the answer to your pain

Joe Sommerlad
Thursday 21 June 2018 08:56 BST
Westworld: ‘This Is the End’ season finale - trailer

As the second series of HBO's acclaimed science-fiction series Westworld draws to a close, fans are already bracing themselves for the withdrawal symptoms.

But never fear, here's our guide to 10 alternative shows you could try to stave off the cold turkey.

10. Stranger Things (2016-)

Netflix's acclaimed series from the Duffer Brothers, packed with 80s nostalgia and drawing on the teen-centric adventures of early Stephen Spielberg and Stephen King, absolutely lives up to the (considerable) hype.

Seamlessly merging extraterrestrial horror with coming-of-age drama, the tale of a group of friends in Hawkins, Indiana, who encounter shady government spooks, a psychokinetic teen and an interdimensional beastie was a huge hit in 2016.

It spawned a well-received follow-up last year, with further instalments to follow.

9. Futurama (1999-2013)

Matt Groening's animated series faced an impossible task in following The Simpsons but is packed with exquisite design and memorable characters.

Bender, Zapp Brannigan and Doctor Zoidberg are all instant-classics.

The show centres around cryogenically-frozen pizza delivery guy Fry who awakes from hyper-sleep in 2999 and goes to work for the eccentric Professor Farnsworth as a driver for Planet Express.

8. Quantum Leap (1989-1993)

One of the great cult shows, Donald P Bellisario's series tells of time traveller Dr Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), a physicist who passes through history taking the place of key figures to correct the wrongs of the past, his hand guided by Admiral Al Calavacci (Dean Stockwell), Sam's louche adviser, appearing to him as a hologram.

The sort of property absolutely primed for a reboot in the box set era, catch the inspired original five seasons before it gets travestied.

7. Black Mirror (2011-)

Guardian columnist and satirist Charlie Brooker was already well known for his superb Nathan Barley (2004) and Dead Set (2008) on Channel 4 before he pioneered the dystopian anthology series of one-off dramas in 2011.

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Lacie, a character in the Black Mirror episode Nosedive, set in a world where people can rate each other from one to five stars for every interaction they have

Since picked up and expanded by Netflix, Brooker's serial, inspired by The Twilight Zone (1959-64), preys on our worst fears about technology and our current social media obsession, extending modern trends to nightmarish effect and attracting a cutting-edge cast and crew.

"The National Anthem", "The Entire History of You" and "San Junipero" are particularly exceptional.

6. The Prisoner (1967-68)

This surreal 60s oddity starred its co-creator Patrick McGoohan as British secret service agent Number Six, entrapped in a British coastal village (actually Portmeirion, North Wales) that he can't leave while his mysterious captors examine his motivations for attempting to flee the country.

As much a product of its moment as The Avengers (1961-69), the series was remade on AMC in 2009 starring Jim Caviezel and Sir Ian McKellen.

5. Red Dwarf (1988-)

Westworld is one of the many, many sci-fi properties spoofed in the BBC's legendary sitcom, which - along with Douglas Adams - proved it was possible to do comedy in space.

Like Futurama, Red Dwarf tells the tale of the last human being in the galaxy, Liverpudlian curry-eater and career slob Dave Lister (Craig Charles) who survives a radiation leak aboard a mining ship that wipes out the rest of the crew.

Left drifting aimlessly through the galaxy, Lister has only a mutant cat, the hologramatic reincarnation of his dead roommate and an anxious robot butler for company. What could possibly go wrong?

4. The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-)

Hulu's superb adaptation of Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel in which women are enslaved in a neo-puritan patriarchy was the surprise hit of last year.

Starring Elisabeth Moss, the show has already built beyond the confines of the original and is on course for a third season in 2019.

3. The X-Files (1993-)

Chris Carter's sinister, paranoid-to-the-bone series was one of the defining TV shows of the 90s.

Charting the paranormal investigations carried out by FBI agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), The X-Files was another natural successor to The Twilight Zone in conjuring an eerie atmosphere, toying with our primal fears about whether or not we are truly alone in the cosmos.

2. Doctor Who (1963-)

One of the BBC's most beloved and successful ventures of all time, Doctor Who benefits from the inspired central conceit that its protagonist can be reborn again and again in different form, meaning the show never really ages as its lead actor can change with the times.

From William Hartnell to Jodie Whittaker by way of John Pertwee, Tom Baker, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi, the show retains a distinctive British flavour as the Doctor travels through space and time in that trademark Tardis to battle intergalactic evil.

1. Star Trek (1966-)

Arguably the most beloved of all sci-fi series, Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon, spawning multiple spin-off series, 13 films to date, a die-hard fan base and even its own language, Klingon.

William Shatner as Captain Kirk in 1966

The show centres around the crew of the USS Enterprise led by Captain James T Kirk (William Shatner) and his cerebral foil Commander Spock (Leonard Nimoy) as they explore the fringes of the known universe in the 23rd century - where absolutely anything is possible - taking inspiration from classic adventure novels and Westerns en route.

Endlessly iconic and quotable, everyone knows catchphrases like "Beam me up, Scottie" and "It's life Jim, but not as we know it" and that the new security officer in red is highly unlikely to survive the episode.

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