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Missing Foundation? Here are five sci-fi sagas while we wait for season two

Hari Seldon's digital construct emerges from the Vault in Foundation episode 9
(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Science fiction on the small screen doesn’t come any grander than it does with Apple TV Plus’ Foundation.  

Loosely based on the Foundation series of stories by sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov, the show stars Jared Harris as Hari Seldon, a mathematical genius who has created the Foundation, a group of the greatest living scientists, engineers, and historians – with the aim of stopping an empire from falling into 30,000 years of turmoil. 

He takes his newly assembled team to a planet named Terminus, where they are tasked with preserving an anthology of humanity’s knowledge – the Encyclopedia Galactica – so that, at the end of the dark age, a second Empire may begin. 

The group, unfortunately, comes up against the ruling Cleons, a long line of emperor clones, who fear their grasp on the galaxy may be weakening...

With a budget of over $45 million, the show's scale is vast and its visual effects are stunning. It's hard-edged cerebral science-fiction with political intrigue thrown in. 

Foundation has been a big hit for Apple TV Plus and a second season was swiftly commissioned, which began filming in April. Now, given the size and scale of the show, we don't realistically expect to see it on screen until 2023. So, to help tide you over until then, we thought we'd offer up five science-fiction sagas while you wait for season two...

Altered Carbon

Altered Carbon

(Image credit: Diyah Pera/Netflix)

Another victim of Netflix's trigger-finger with a cancelation after two seasons, Altered Carbon was a grand, hugely ambitious and hugely expensive science-fiction saga and one that is still worth revisiting. 

Largely set in the year 2384, Altered Carbon imagines a future where consciousness is digitized and store in cortical stacks implanted in the spine, these stacks allow humans to survive death by having their memories and consciousness re-sleeved into new bodies.

The story follows Takeshi Kovacs, who is downloaded from an off-world prison and into a combat ready sleeve at the request of a rich aristocrat named Laurens Bancroft. 

Bancroft was killed, and the last automatic backup of his stack was made hours before his death, leaving him with no memory of who killed him and why. The police have ruled his death a suicide, but Bancroft is convinced he was murdered and wants Kovacs to find out the truth.

In the show's first run, Kovacs was played by For All Mankind star Joel Kinnaman, but for the second he was re-sleeved into Anthony Mackie. 

Stunning to look at and with a devilish mystery to follow, Altered Carbon is absolutely worth your time. 

Where Can I Stream it?

Netflix (Worldwide)

Another Life

Another Life on Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Another two season and out on Netflix, Another Life seemed destined for much more, but remains well worth a watch. 

Another Life followed Katee Sackhoff's Niko Breckinridge, an astronaut leading a crew on a mission to explore the genesis of an alien artefact and to try and establish contact with the aliens who sent it. 

Naturally, the mission proves to be rather complicated, and Breckinridge and her crew quickly and frequently find themselves in all kinds of danger. 

Its influences are worn openly, but Another Life is good, classic science-fiction told in a heartfelt manner. 

Where Can I Stream it?

Netflix (Worldwide)

Firefly

Firefly

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

After the huge success of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, Joss Whedon's next move saw him head to the stars for Firefly, a space western that was cruelly cut down after a single season when it first launched, but remains a cult classic. 

Set in the year 2517, the show follow the adventures of the crew onboard Serenity. The crew are space mercenaries, who move from place to place scraping a living in whatever way they can.

After picking up a mysterious package, the crew find themselves to be wanted men and women, forcing them to enter uncharted territories… 

Starring a young Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk and Morena Baccarin, Firefly managed to say more in its 14 episodes than many TV shows do in their entire runs. 

It shares Foundation's grandeur and ambition, and it's lucky for fans of the show that the Apple TV Plus show has been granted a second season. 

Where Can I Stream it?

Hulu (US), Disney Plus (UK)

The Expanse

The Expanse: Season 5

(Image credit: Amazon)

Another science-fiction saga on an epic scale, The Expanse is a lavish adaptation of James S. A. Corey's bestselling novels. 

Set long, long into the future, we're now in a universe where humans have colonized the solar system and Mars has become an independent military power. 

Naturally, there are now rising tensions between Earth and Mars and the two planets now exist in a USSR/US-esque Cold War. In amongst all that, a veteran police detective and a ship's captain and his crew are charged with investigating the case of a missing woman, a case that could place themselves at the center of a conspiracy that threatens the system's fragile state of Cold War...

Originally airing on SyFy, the show was canceled after three seasons, but was then resurrected by Prime Video for three further seasons, the last of which aired at the start of 2022. 

With a devoted fanbase, huge ambitions and a twist turny plot, The Expanse is another winner. 

Where Can I Stream it?

Prime Video (Worldwide)

Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica

(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

One of the cornerstones of modern science-fiction television, Battlestar Galactica is a  four-season, 76-episode epic, but one that still stands up against anything the new wave of science-fiction writers and directors can produce. 

The show is set on a distant star system where a civilization of humans lives on a group of planets known as the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. 

The men and women from Colonies have spent many years at war with the Cylons, an Android race of their own creation. With the unwitting help of a human scientist named Gaius Baltar, the Cylons launch a sudden sneak attack on the Colonies, laying waste to the planets and devastating their populations. 

There is one surviving military capital ship, the Battlestar Galactica, and the crew are now tasked with heading into space in search of a fabled thirteenth colony known as Earth.

Epic, gripping and hugely ambitious, if, by any chance you've not seen Battlestar Galactica, then correct that at the first opportunity. 

Where Can I Stream it?

Peacock (US), NOW TV (UK)

Want to read up some other great Apple TV shows? Our guide is here. 

Tom Goodwyn
Tom Goodwyn

Tom Goodwyn is TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He oversees TechRadar’s coverage of the best TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two children…