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The Best Sci-Fi TV Shows Of 2022 So Far

Whether it's a galaxy far, far away or the neon glow of Night City, there's a treasure trove of fantastical sci-fi worlds ready to explore for genre fans. The small screen has long been a source of escape, often from our own planet, with shows like Gene Roddenberry's "Star Trek" or the Dalek-battling, time-traveling adventures in "Doctor Who." Thankfully, in the decades since landmark shows like these originally aired, there's been no sign of any slowdown in serialized offerings from the genre. In fact, sci-fi has only flourished in popularity and is often the central landscape for some of the best action, heartbreak, and drama to unfold on-screen. With 2022 rapidly approaching its end, a look at the year in review as far as sci-fi offerings are concerned is most assuredly a bountiful one.

Disney gave us not one, but two "Star Wars" tales that manage to give the Mandalorian and his reformed bounty-hunting pal Boba Fett a well-earned rest. "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" takes the Enterprise on some of its best adventures yet, leaving fans eager for more. There's also been a number of totally original works such as "Severance" from Apple TV+, as well as pre-existing stories adapted for the first time such as Amazon Prime's "The Peripheral." The former delves into a shifty tale of memory manipulation while the latter gives the alternate reality seen in "Ready Player One" a run for its money. Strap in and join us as we dive into some of the most exciting sci-fi television series brought to us in 2022.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

It was only a matter of time before we learned exactly what Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) was up to all those years living as a hermit. It surely had to be more interesting than toiling in the desert wilderness day-in and day-out wailing at sand people to scare them off. Thankfully, Disney saw fit to share Master Kenobi's journey with us following the fall of the Republic at the end of "Revenge of the Sith."

Several years after Obi-Wan goes into hiding, he abandons his familiar name in favor of an ordinary one, Ben. The Empire is hard at work seeking out the last remnants of the dying Jedi Order. Any Jedi that is found is immediately put to death to halt any threat to the Emperor and his claim to power over the galaxy. Obi-Wan lives for one purpose — to ensure Luke Skywalker is safe. Otherwise, he's a broken shell of the man that he once was during the glory days of the Republic. That is, until one precocious little girl by the name of Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) is kidnapped, causing her adoptive parents to demand Obi-Wan's attention to the matter. The series focuses on Obi-Wan's mission to retrieve the young princess. Not only does the series see the return of Ewan McGregor to the role, but it also provides an avenue for Hayden Christensen to return as Anakin Skywalker, better known at this point in the "Stars Wars" timeline as Darth Vader.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" is a series that was just waiting to happen the moment we saw Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) and his crew of the USS Enterprise enter the scene at the beginning of Season 2 of "Star Trek: Discovery." Now, fans are given the opportunity to see the famously underutilized "Star Trek" captain finally get his due. The long-awaited narrative featuring Pike at the helm of the Enterprise, taking place several years before the original "Star Trek," doesn't disappoint.

Much like the episodic nature of the original series, "Strange New Worlds" offers different unique exploratory adventures with each installment. The first season of the series has been well-received by fans, prompting a second season to head into production for broadcast in 2023. If you're a fan of the original series, you'll be delighted to witness the return of iconic characters like Christopher Pike, Spock (Ethan Peck), and Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) among others.

The Orville: New Horizons

If"Strange New Worlds" isn't enough "Star Trek" to satiate you for one season, look no further than "The Orville: New Horizons." This series created by "Family Guy" bigwig Seth MacFarlane originally began as a comedic twist on "Star Trek." While the program titled "The Orville: New Horizons" technically hit the airwaves for the first time in 2022, it's a direct continuation of a series that came out in 2017. Simply titled "The Orville," the narrative follows Captain Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) as he haplessly takes command of the Orville — an interstellar ship focused on exploration. He is forced to work with his ex-wife as his first officer, Commander Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki). The pair divorced after Ed caught her copulating with an alien.

Just like the ships on "Star Trek," the Orville is outfitted with crew members who all have their own set of unique skills. There's medical bay specialist Doctor Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald), pilot Lieutenant Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes), as well as a second officer, the vaguely Klingon-like Lieutenant Commander Bortus (Peter Macon). The show still maintains a humorous atmosphere from time to time but has since evolved into a capable adventure series that often tackles serious issues.

"The Orville" lasted two seasons on Fox. It was originally renewed for a third season to air in 2020. However, due to both complications with COVID-19 as well as Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the show was left in limbo for a time. The series returned in 2022, renamed "The Orville: New Horizons" on Hulu. While viewers can technically think of this as a third season, the new name suggests a refresh that also welcomes newcomers to the series.

Severance

Do you enjoy your average workday? Or is your employment merely a means to an end? What if you could separate your memories of work entirely from your personal life — would you do it? That's basically the premise of "Severance," though these employees are required to undergo the procedure in order to work on the secretive severed floor of Lumon Industries. "Severed" is the term given to those whose memories have been bifurcated between work life and home life. Mark (Adam Scott) is an employee of Lumon Industries who works in the Macrodata Refinement department, aka "MDR." At work, his only living memories are of his time on the job. Outside of work, he's grieving over the death of his spouse.

The strange procedures that occur at Lumon only become all the more intriguing when Mark is approached by a friend he used to work with and has no recollection of ever meeting. The individual informs him that he reversed the severed procedure and has regained his work memories. He tells Mark that he knows sensitive information that is worth bringing into the light. Thus, a thrill ride deep into a rabbit hole begins as the season unfolds.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

You might be thinking this series fits squarely in the drama category, but that's not entirely the truth. "The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey" portrays an ailing elderly man with dementia played by Samuel L. Jackson. The science fiction comes into play when he undergoes a treatment that restores his lost memories. The Apple TV+ miniseries is based on the novel of the same name written by Walter Mosley. Ptolemy Grey is afforded a temporary opportunity to dive into his past before old age and his illness catch up with him. With his nephew, Reggie Lloyd (Omar Benson Miller) having been killed prior to the treatment process, Ptolemy begins to investigate his nephew's untimely demise.

The series might be light on sci-fi, but it leans heavily on noir-style detective work. It's an expertly crafted drama that highlights Ptolemy's familial struggle and his attempts to seek justice. Samuel L. Jackson excels in his performance of a man focused on finding revelation using the little time he has left to do right by his family. There's underlying themes of racial strife, civil rights, and markedly horrid healthcare, especially for the elderly. "Ptolemy Grey" is not a miniseries to sleep on.

The Man Who Fell to Earth

No, we're not talking about the 1976 sci-fi film starring David Bowie as the alien disguised as the human Thomas Jerome Newton. This series is actually a sequel to that film that takes place nearly four decades later. In the original film, Newton seeks to save his own planet from a massive drought by successfully developing a vessel on Earth that can transport water to his home world. In order to do this, he operates under the guise of a human and becomes a successful leader in corporate America. It's necessary for him to obtain the riches needed for a project of the magnitude he planned to undertake. Sadly, his façade is shattered, and he is detained by the government. Later, he manages to escape under mysterious circumstances, but ultimately fails in his mission to save his world.

The TV series depicts Newton as much older and portrayed by actor Bill Nighy. The show is centered around another alien by the name of Faraday (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who lands on Earth with the intent of finishing what Newton started and also prevent Earth's demise. He seeks a scientist named Justin Falls (Naomie Harris) to accomplish this task. Newton enters the picture as a mentor to the new savior and scientist. The series, created by Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman ("Star Trek: Strange New Worlds") is sure to delight fans of the original film. The 1976 Bowie picture certainly isn't required viewing, but it'll make fan service all the more exciting when viewing the new series.

The Imperfects

Netflix already has countless original sci-fi series under its belt. But this year, viewers were treated to a potent sci-fi and drama concoction with small dab of horror. The series focuses on three young adults: Abbi Singh (Rhianna Jagpal), Tilda Webber (Morgan Taylor Campbell), and Juan Ruiz (Iñaki Godoy). There are each turned into monsters by a mad scientist bent on creating the perfect monster. Abbi is a succubus, Juan is a Chupacabra, and Tilda is a banshee; they're basically monsters from myths and legends. For obvious reasons, these alterations upend their lives and ambitions considerably.

Out of anger, they plan to use the abilities the scientist, Dr. Alex Sarkov (Rhys Nicholson) gave them to hunt him down and force him to return them to their normal human states. Of course, nothing goes according to plan in these types of scenarios, does it? In the good doctor's quest to create the perfect monster, he has to deal with his "imperfects" hot on his trail. Hence, the name of the series.

The Peripheral

In a high-tech world, alternate realities are all the rage. But "The Peripheral" isn't just some game played for high stakes like in the virtual setting of "Ready Player One." It's a headset that transports its wearer to the distant future. Based on the 2014 William Gibson novel of the same title, "The Peripheral" stars Chloë Grace Moretz as Flynne Fisher, a young woman who struggles to help make ends meet for her poverty-stricken family in the year 2032. Flynne and her brother, Burton (Jack Reynor) often play VR simulation games as beta testers to earn cash and support their ailing blind mother.

One fateful day, however, Burton introduces her to a new headset that transports her consciousness to London in the year 2070. The difference is this time, it isn't a virtual world — it's the real world in a future yet to occur.

This cyberpunk thriller takes many twists and turns as the sibling duo is set on a path to uncover secrets of the future. There's plenty of bouncing back and forth between the present setting of 2032 and the futuristic 2070 as Flynne and Burton become embroiled in their mysterious connections to the peripheral world of future London.

Station Eleven

You might be wondering, why would anyone living in the vicinity of 2020 produce a series with its landscape founded on a dystopian future where a flu pandemic has killed most of humanity? In the wake of COVID-19, it's easy to be sensitive to entertainment productions that use pandemics as plot devices. But do not be deterred from "Station Eleven," regardless of its premise. While the HBO Max series does feature some heavy material, it often focuses on the light humanity can shine when the will to persist thrives. It's a hopeful story that is more feelgood than it ought to be.

The series begins with a flu virus that ravages the countryside. The series' central character, Kirsten Raymonde (Matilda Lawler) is just 8 years old and performing in a play when tragedy hits home with the death of one of the cast members. Kirsten is brought under the protective wing of an audience member named Jeevan Chaudhary (Himesh Patel). Her parents, unfortunately, are not in the picture. The pair buy a boatload of groceries and quarantine themselves in an apartment. Horrifically, they view a jet airliner plunging into the Chicago skyline as the virus rapidly kills those it infects. The series then depicts life 20 years after these events with Kirsten (now played by Mackenzie Davis) all grown up. In the wake of the apocalypse, humanity has managed to re-unify and forge onward. The series switches between the past and future, giving audiences perspectives from both time periods. Without giving anything of consequence away, let's just say that "Station Eleven" is absolutely worthy of your time.

Andor

Remember the ruffian rebel that stood by Jyn Erso's side as the crew of Rogue One enacted the most crucial heist ever to occur on the Galactic Empire's home turf? Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is a true rebel hero. But even in that film, he never has any qualms about getting his hands dirty along the way to stealing the plans of the Death Star. Now, Disney+ offers us a prequel to that film. 

Andor is more than just a simple examination of the titular character's pre-Rebellion life. The show delves into the conspiring minds of Mon Mothma and her cohorts within the fabric of the Empire's political structure. It's an important look at how the Rebellion begins to flourish under the nose of the Galactic Empire.

Cassian doesn't start out as the agreeable sort. He's roped into working for the rebels; at first, he only views it as work to obtain the funds he desperately needs to go live a life away from the policing of the Empire. This is no real spoiler given that we know he does eventually join the Rebellion, but the story of Andor shows us the growth he experiences as he learns to fight for a cause that is greater than himself. Andor is, perhaps, one of the most thrilling "Star Wars" series simply for the high-stakes espionage at play among the burgeoning rebel threat to the Empire. Most importantly, "Andor" is entirely divorced from the drama of the Skywalker family, giving us a refreshing look at what the future of "Star Wars" stories could be if the creative minds involved move away from defaulting to Skywalkers at the center of almost every story.

Halo

Fans may have not been too thrilled with Master Chief's first big budget live-action adventure, but it notably received high marks from critics. "Halo" doesn't outright adapt the narrative fans are familiar with from the video games. Instead, it takes the pieces of the games and crafts an action drama that gives Master Chief a face and a purpose other than mindlessly following the orders of the UNSC. The film does begin with Chief's first major conflict with the Covenant as well his encounter with a relic that breaks him of his conditioning to follow protocol without a second thought.

The series brings back major characters from the games including Dr. Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone), Cortana (Jen Taylor), Captain Jacob Keyes (Danny Sapani), and Commander Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray) among others. As a sci-fi adventure, "Halo" is a highlight of 2022. But some fans of the video game who expected the series to rigidly adhere to the source material came away disappointed. Everything is about expectations, right? If you haven't seen the series yet, just don't expect a completely faithful adaptation, and you'll surely enjoy TV's "Halo" for the fun sci-fi story that it is.