10 sci-fi/fantasy shows from the 2000s not to be lost in time
One day we will look back on the past two decades or so and say definitively that we have lived through a modern golden age of television. In the realms of science fiction and fantasy in particular, the industry has been very blessed and has used the advantages afforded to it to bring contemporary audiences high-quality programming that anyone could hardly relate to. shut up, like game of thrones, stranger thingsand, of course, all the superhero and comic book stuff that flooded our screens.
However, it behooves us to also acknowledge the contributions of the earlier 2000s to the fantasy genres on television. While many of them may not have had the money, the star power, or the streaming services of the 2010s and beyond, they still deserve our respect, perhaps even for those reasons. A few, like Avatar: The Last Airbenderwill undoubtedly stand the test of time, but there are also several gems we should pay attention to before they fade into obscurity.
Five young delinquents are caught in an electric ice storm and inexplicably develop paranormal abilities that reflect their individual characters. They then have to deal with how these powers affect their lives as well as encounters with other people who have been similarly altered.
This isn’t your typical sci-fi/superhero show, misfits focuses on character-driven drama and wonderfully irreverent humor. The superpower element serves to facilitate storytelling rather than draw attention to itself. Some abilities are pretty basic while others are downright weird, but the majority of them are very creatively used and explored. Check it out for yourself on Hulu.
Basically X files for the new generation, Fringe focuses on a specialized American task force called the Fringe Division, led by FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), as they investigate instances of pseudo-scientific experimentation and phenomena, ranging from bizarre biological terrorist attacks to the discovery of parallel universes.
Initially following a “mystery of the week” formula, the show regularly transcends its procedural conventions to deliver a haunting mythology bolstered by stellar performances from Torv and the rest of the cast, especially John Noble, the show’s secret weapon, which created one of 21st century television’s most memorable and underrated personalities in the brilliant and chaotic Walter Bishop. The fact that noble never received Emmy recognition for his work is absolutely criminal. Dive headlong into the madness now on HBO Max.
grow daisies (2007-09)
Ned (Lee Pace), a baker, has the power to revive the dead, but it comes with certain conditions. A private detective convinces Ned to use his ability to help him solve crimes, which he does with the added help of a colleague who has unrequited feelings for him and his childhood sweetheart whom he resurrected.
The key word that has been used to describe this show is “quirky”. His approach, visuals, and writing are all designed to be wildly eccentric. And in a time when everyone has seemingly seen it all, quirkiness is all the more important in our entertainment. Help keep the spirit of it alive by spreading grow daisies on HBO Max.
Former U.S. Marshal Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) is the reluctant sheriff of a remote town called Eureka, where the world’s greatest minds are free to experiment and innovate as they please. But scientific progress can be messy, leading to unfortunate and catastrophic accidents. Although Carter is no genius, he has the street smarts and practical mind often needed to solve Eureka’s many problems.
Eureka is a show that proves that science isn’t just for intellectuals and can be great fun for everyone. Amidst all the jargon about parabolic calculus, quantum physics, and the like, are intriguing and fun mishaps involving a likable cast of characters. Get swept up in all the craziness on Amazon Prime Video.
Everywhere on the planet, ordinary people are discovering that they possess incredible superhuman abilities. As they struggle to deal with these powers in their daily lives, they will soon realize that they also share a destiny to avert an apocalyptic disaster.
Strictly speaking, this is more of an endorsement for the first season of Hero, since his later seasons are a very mixed bag at best. Either way, this show maintains the legacy of being a loving tribute to old-school superhero/comic book stories, with a distinctive style and great special effects for its time, while keeping the things rooted in relatable human drama. Experience the fight to save the world on Peacock.
American Dragon: Jake Long (2005-07)
Chinese-American teenager Jake Long has more to worry about for a child than homework and girls. He is the sworn guardian of a secret community of magical creatures living in North America with the power to transform into a fire-breathing dragon.
Urban fantasy is an under-explored subgenre of fantasy compared to film and television. american dragon makes great use of its animated format to really showcase a fully integrated world of traditional folklore and modern New York City, with a nice dash of teenage superhero tropes. Immerse yourself in a realm of sassy talking animals, gorgonian cheerleaders and a main protagonist managing dragon puberty on Disney+.
Mega XLR (2004-05)
Coop, a greedy, video game-obsessed young mechanic, discovers a robotic war machine from the future and transforms it into a personal combat robot with hot rod and muscle car touches. Along with his crazed female coward of a best friend and time-traveling freedom fighter, Coop defends Earth from aliens and other threats using his massive battle robot.
There are few Western anime programs that truly revel in their chosen anime’s influence on how Mega XLR Is. Almost nothing about this show is subtle, making for a hilarious, adrenaline-pumping ride that you can buy in its entirety on Apple TV.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003-09)
You know the story: four teenage mutant turtles trained in ninjutsu by their rodent mentor/father figure and residing in the sewers of New York must battle supervillains who regularly threaten their home.
When you think of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles On TV you’re probably imagining the goofy nostalgic classic of the 80s-90s or the cartoons that came out of Nickelodeon in the 2010s, but the 2003 animated series is also worth remembering for presenting a more serious yet still entertaining version of the Turtles. The show pays a glorious homage to the origins of the franchise and, at the same time, is its own thing, full of excitement, flair and scope that you can stream on Paramount+.
Xiaolin Showdown (2003-06)
A quartet of junior monks are tasked with collecting ancient relics of unimaginable power from around the world and protecting them and the rest of humanity from malevolent forces.
Today, people constantly complain about the lack of originality of what we are given to watch. All the more reason to be thankful for shows like Xiaolin Showdown, an explosive extravaganza of martial arts action, oriental mysticism and a deliciously eccentric style contained within a story universe of its own. Look for it now on Amazon Video.
Jackie Chan Adventures (2000-05)
This must have been every kid’s dream back then: a Saturday morning cartoon about the martial arts superstar Jackie Chan. To be more precise, Jackie Chan Adventures focuses on a fictionalized version of Chan that is, instead of an actor, an archaeologist and secret agent who fights various supernatural threats around the world with his family and other allies.
Besides being as action-packed and fun as the best of Jackie ChanA live-action filmography from , this show offers the opportunity to delve into the myths, legends and fables of Asia and other cultures, which have inspired many of the series’ narrative elements. Buy it today on Apple TV.
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