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Sci-fi to watch after Dune 2

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There are plenty of other worlds to imagine a life in on the small and silver screen finds CONSTANTINOS PSILLIDES

Dune 2 premiered this week to universal acclaim. Dennis Villeneuve’s soaring epic sci-fi is a triumph of cinema, scoring big at the box office and already generating Oscar buzz for next year. Dune is of course based on the legendary book by Frank Herbert and tells the story of Paul Atreides, the son of a powerful duke who is given control of a barren, desert plant called Arrakis. House Atreides is tasked with mining the spice melange, a substance that is crucial for the galactic empire as it allows space travel. I won’t say anything else about the plot in case you want to watch Dune 1 before going to Dune 2, but suffice it to say that Dune is one of those works of art that acts as a gateway drug (ha!) to the world of sci-fi. So if you left the cinema wanting more complex sci-fi, or more Dennis Villeneuve, we got you covered!

 

Foundation

If complex sci-fi is your thing and you long for a glimpse of what future civilizations might look like, Foundation is your thing. Written by another sci-fi literature legend, Isaac Asimov and adapted for TV by Apple TV+, Foundation takes place thousands of years in the future and tells the story of gifted mathematician Harri Seldon. A genius and celebrity in his field, Seldon invented a new field of mathematics called psychohistory, to analyze past historical events and patterns on a massive scale and through these predict the future of civilizations. Harri now predicts that the collapse of his civilization is imminent and that a Dark Age will follow for thousands of years. Wanting to minimise the damage, he begins to set up a colony of scientists to preserve all scientific knowledge.

 

Bladerunner 2049

If you like Villeneuve’s work you are sure to enjoy Bladerunner 2049, a sequel to the Riddley Scott classic, which has all the Villeneuve trademarks you loved in Dune. Breathtaking visuals, beautiful frames and meaningful character development. Bonus points for Ryan Gosling.

Bladerunner 2049 tells the story of Officer K, a replicant who is hunting other replicants. K stumbles upon a long-hidden conspiracy that threatens to plunge the dystopian society into chaos. Here’s a fun fact: there’s a fan theory that says K from Bladerunner 2049 is an immortal Ken doll who made it out of the Barbie universe. I’m not joking.

 

Arrival

Talking about mind-bending Villeneuve sci-fi films, the 2016 hit movie Arrival tells the story of Louise, a linguist who is called upon to communicate with aliens in one of 12 spaceships that landed on Earth and threw the world into turmoil. What is impressive about Arrival is that Villeneuve takes a worn-down genre and breathes fresh air into it. He crafts an engaging thriller and presents the possibility of aliens visiting our world in an original light.

 

The Expanse

I’ve talked ad nauseam about this series and I’m going to continue ad infinitum. The Expanse tells of a not-so-distant future where humanity has conquered the solar system and broken into three distinct factions. The largest faction is Earth, where countries have been abolished and the whole planet is led by the UN. Earth and her colony on the moon are in a constant state of Cold War with the Martians. Mars was colonised generations ago and that colony has become hyper-militaristic and dedicated to a single purpose: terraforming the planet and making it habitable.

Completing the puzzle are the Belters, humans who spent their whole lives in space stations and have never set foot on any planet. The Belters are looking to become independent from the planets and are not beyond terrorism to achieve that goal.

Detective Miller is called upon to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young woman who is far more than she originally seems, while ice-freighter workers James Holden, Naomi Nagata, Amos Burton and Alex Kamal witness an event that changes their lives. These two stories become intertwined in a plot that threatens to start a universal war that will annihilate everyone.

 

For All Mankind

For All Mankind is one of those amazing series, that not enough people watch. It takes place in an alternate universe, where the Soviet Union beat the US in the space race and landed a man on the moon first. The failure devastates Nasa but galvanises the American government into funnelling more money into the space programme, thus turbo-charging the space race. The series never lets up, it’s exciting, dramatic and packed with action.

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