Science fiction has a rich history in countless cultures, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. And Netflix has been getting in on the action for a while now. Here are our five picks for international sci-fi shows you should definitely check out on the streaming platform.
Omniscient, orig. Onisciente (Brazil)
Omniscient — which debuted on Netflix in January — is a near-future sci-fi series that takes place in a world where everyone is monitored by tiny, insect-like drones. The tech captures every moment for a massive AI so it can immediately detect when crimes occur. A young technician named Nina (Carla Salle) learns that someone close to her was murdered — only it wasn’t caught on camera. As she investigates the mystery, Nina discovers the horrible truth behind the tech and chooses to fight back to bring the system down.
The 2019 surprise hit Osmosis is about a pair of siblings (played by Agathe Bonitzer and Hugo Becker) who’ve built a program that finds people’s soulmates by mapping their brains with nanobots. But finding the algorithm for true love comes at a price, as it forces people to confront who they are and who they’d actually like to be. Unlike Black Mirror’s “Hang the DJ,” Osmosis is less about how technology impacts people than it is about human nature itself.
For fans of: Black Mirror, TiMER.
Leila — released July 2019 — is based on a 2017 dystopian novel set in the fictional world of Aryavarta where religious and ethnic groups have been segregated into sectors. Because her interfaith marriage has been outlawed, a woman named Shalini (Huma Qureshi) is separated from her family and forced into a re-education centre. She’s determined to be reunited with her daughter, Leila, and goes to great lengths to find her again. It’s a bleak but powerful commentary on segregation in India, as well as the dangers of using modern technology for the purpose of eugenics.
For fans of: The Handmaid’s Tale, Children of Men.
How can we even describe Dark? The short answer is: Don’t even try, just watch. Taking place over several decades, the show is about four families whose lives and secrets are intertwined — and not just because their village sits on top of a time travel wormhole. It’s the kind of show you need to take notes for — heck, maybe a whole conspiracy board — but it’s worth it. The third and final season of Dark is set for release on July 27.
Oh, you thought Netflix’s Dark was content with 40 years of convoluted, interwoven time travel narratives? Why not add a second reality to that? In the first full trailer for the final season of German series Dark, the village of Winden starts seeing double — as it turns out, time travel...Read more
For fans of: Memento, Tenet (presumably), any Christopher Nolan movie.
My Holo Love, orig. Na Hollo Geudae (South Korea)
This sci-fi limited series was actually inspired by the Spike Jonze film Her. It’s an action-packed romantic adventure that centres around Han So-yeon (Ko Sung-hee), a young woman with face blindness, who winds up in control of the world’s first holographic AI assistant named Holo (Yoon Hyun-min). She and Holo fall in love, but another man complicates things: Holo’s creator, played by Yoon Hyun-min in a dual role. He may have made Holo in his image, but the two could not be more different. Except they have one thing in common — they’re both falling in love.
For fans of: Her, Electric Dreams.