Science fiction is a large church. From the dizzying derring-do of space opera to the brain ruminations of Isaac Asimov and his cohort, to the cynical post-modern worlds of cyberpunk and the New Wave of the 70s, to the scientific romances of the 19e century – it’s a big and sprawling genre.
SBS World Movies knows it, which is why we’re running Sci-Fi Week on Monday, August 31, a cavalcade of mind-boggling masterpieces, including Under the skin, Transcendence, Marjorie prime and more. But science fiction is too big a genre to be limited to a week – SBS has a slew of speculative drama.
it can be difficult to spot commonalities – what is The infinite man has to do with The Handmaid’s Tale, or Twelve monkeys with Wandering queen? Simply, this is all science fiction and if you go for any of them you can be assured that you will have an uplifting time.
Look for them on NITV, SBS World Movies, SBS, and SBS On Demand in August and September.
Children of men
Saturday August 14 at 9:40 p.m. on NITV
United Kingdom / United States / Japan, 2006
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
With : Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine
What is it about? In the not too distant future, with the world ravaged by both the global refugee crisis and a mysterious infertility pandemic, gloomy official and former radical Theo (Clive Owen) is tasked with escorting refugee Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) to a safe place. The twist is that Kee is pregnant, and so she is a pawn that many factions will kill for. Cuarón’s austere and thoughtful dystopian sci-fi is both a thinker and a thriller, forcing us to explore themes of hope in the face of extinction while delivering courageous action pieces, all grounded in nuanced performance. from my Owen.
War of the Worlds
Season 2 premieres Wednesday, August 18, 2021 on SBS and SBS On Demand.
United Kingdom / France, 2020
Tongue: English and French
Created by: Howard overman
With : Gabriel Byrne, Elizabeth McGovern, Lea Drucker
What is it about? Based on the founding novel by sci-fi ancestor HG Wells, War of the Worlds shifts the action to today’s France and Britain and dispenses with the initial alien attack to put us in an immediately post-apocalyptic setting, in which a large number of survivors, including Gabriel Byrne as scientist Bill Ward and Elizabeth McGovern as ex-wife, Helen, must struggle to survive in a world that is quickly becoming so alien than the creatures that invaded it. Dull in tone but epic ambition, this oft-told version of the story eschews the spectacle of grim human drama and is all the better for it.
Season 1 is now airing on SBS on Demand:
Thursday August 19 at 9:30 p.m. on SBS World Movies
United States, 1996
Director: Terry gilliam
With : Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt
What is it about? Returned from a pandemic-ravaged post-apocalyptic future (sounds familiar), Cole (Bruce Willis) to find a sample of the original virus so scientists in his day can devise a cure. Unfortunately, the pressures of time travel are too great for the human mind and he ends up in a mental institution. As Dr Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) slowly comes to believe, deranged but charismatic animal rights activist Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) could be responsible for the annihilation of humanity. Director Terry Gilliam brings his dense visual style and quirky camera to this elliptical tale of fate, fate and disease.
The infinite man
Available on SBS on demand.
Director: Hugh sullivan
With : Josh McConville, Hannah Marshall, Alex Dimitriades
What is it about? Scientist Dean (Josh McConville) has invented a time machine and wants to use it to recreate a darling weekend with his girlfriend, Lana (Hannah Marshall) at a remote motel. Her plans are disrupted both by the appearance of Lana’s rude ex-boyfriend Terry (Alex Dimitriades), and by several versions of Dean himself, time travel being tricky like that. Working on a tight budget, director Hugh Sullivan relies on clever writing and solid performance to bring us a thoughtful sci-fi romantic comedy with more of a twist in the tail.
Available on SBS on demand.
United Kingdom / South Africa, 2012
Director: Pierre Travis
With : Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
What is it about? In the vast urban sprawl of Mega City One, the law is enforced by a ruthless police force called judges. When drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) takes over an entire building, veteran Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and rookie Psychic Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) must make their way through hordes of gangbangers to do justice. Adapted from the dark satirical strip published in the venerable 2000 AD British Comic, it’s a violent and elegant urban nightmare, with Urban absolutely nailing down the iconic character.
Under the skin
Thursday, September 2 at 9:40 p.m. on SBS World Movies.
United Kingdom / Switzerland, 2013
Director: Jonathan glazer
With : Scarlett johansson
What is it about? Scarlett Johansson is our nameless and speechless protagonist, who can be an alien, wandering Scotland and seducing various men whom she… absorbs? Devour? Transport in another dimension? It’s hard to say, and it’s not the only hard thing about Jonathan Glazer’s allegorical and intentionally opaque science fiction. It could be the rape culture, the immigrant experience, or simply not wanting to provide us with a recognizable human perspective on the story it tells. Challenging and unforgettable, this is a film designed to provoke a heated conversation after viewing.
Also stream now on SBS on Demand:
Available on SBS on Demand until August 31, 2021.
United States, 2020
Creator: Jem Garrard
With : Adriyan Rae, Tim Rozon, Alex McGregor
What is it about? In a distant galaxy, the exiled Princess Elida (Adriyan Rae) and her spaceship crew make their living as scavengers and smugglers, until the evil Commander Lazaro (Paul du Toit) shows up to try and extinguish the royal line for good. Pulpy sci-fi adventure in the vein of guardians of the galaxy and Firefly, Vagrant Queen is distinguished by her irrepressible sense of fun, her refusal to let a limited budget thwart her ambitions, and by being resolutely queer and inclusive. It only lasted one season, but what a season.
Seasons 1 – 3 now broadcast SBS on demand.
Created by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
With : Mark Bendavid, Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari, Zoe Palmer.
What is it about? Six aliens wake up aboard the Raza spacecraft with complete amnesia. With no idea who they are they assign themselves numbers instead of names, they try to figure out who they are and find out they have a cargo full of weapons and head to a colony world for one more purpose. unknown. This intriguing and inciting incident adds a unique flavor to what could have been a fairly standard spaceship + crew, offering meditations on identity and morality with standard lasers and androids.
Man of the future
Seasons 1-3 are now airing on SBS on Demand.
United States, 2017-2020
Created by: Howard Overman, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir
With : Josh Hutcherson, Eliza Coupé, Derek Wilson
What is it about? Janitor Josh Futterman (Josh Hutcherson) leads a scoreless life but excels at his favorite video game, when the game’s main characters Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and Wolf (Derek Wilson) appear and tell him it was a test. , having been sent back in time to try and locate the only person who could save the world. Can hardened future warriors make the uncompromising Josh the hero the future needs? Or will the banality of his life drag them all into insignificance and mediocrity? It’s a riff on ’80s sci-fi staple The Last Starfighter, but Future Man riffs on anything he can get his hands on, the result being an insanely metatextual and geeky comedy that revel in showing off his nerd credibility.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Season 4 is now streaming on SBS on Demand.
United States, 2017
Creator: Bruce miller
With : Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski
What is it about? Adapted from the essential novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in Gilead, a near future of the United States transformed into a religious fundamentalist fascist state in part in response to falling fertility rates. Fertile women, called servants, are enslaved. One of them, June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss), is our protagonist, and over the course of four seasons we follow her increasingly painful trials as she attempts to both escape Gilead and find the girl who was stolen from him. Extremely disconcerting vision, The Handmaid’s Tale is nevertheless an essential piece of allegorical SF.
Immerse yourself in season 4:
Want more? Look for these movies in SBS World Movies Sci-Fi Week:
The Fifth Element, Friday August 27 at 9:30 p.m .; Alone in space, Monday August 30 at 9:30 p.m. Marjorie Prime, Wednesday September 1 at 9:30 p.m .; Trancendence, Thursday September 3, 30 at 9:30 p.m.
Explore the SBS On Demand Sci-Fi Movie Collection or dive into these 10 Great Sci-Fi Series, streaming now on SBS On Demand: