In the world of indie sci-fi, it’s not surprising to come across both short films and full-length features. Short films like BEYOND and FTL remind us of what’s possible in creating sci-fi that looks great on an indie budget.
But there’s another way to get your sci-fi fix indie-style, especially if you’re willing to explore the oddball, humorous, and eclectic sci-fi web series on the Interwebs. Of course, indie web series aren’t often going to have the level of prime VFX you find in films. But they do provide some unexpected twists and mashups that make a great break from those FX-heavy sci-fi stories.
To help you explore the world of sci-fi web series, we’ve compiled a list of 5 don’t-miss series to explore. Have fun!
5. NEIBAUER: MEMENTO ERGO SUM
There’s something delightful about seeing sci-fi cyberpunk noir filmed like actual old-school film noir. Sure, it’s not going to have the visual look and feel of ALTERED CARBON, but a quirky little show like NEIBAUER has something that’s hard to come by — great throwaway lines and some campy performances alongside black-and-white filming that’s refreshingly cool in contrast to today’s flashy bazaar style of filmmaking.
It’s not surprising to see a web series set in outer space, with a character waking up adrift with no memory after her time in cryo. It’s a bit of a trope, after all. CONTINUUM does it in a way that nicely raises questions about what’s happening, without throwing too much at the viewer in Episode 1. You find yourself asking some questions and wanting to know more — which, really, is what episodic stories are all about, right?
We had to throw at least one visually outstanding, FX laden web series on this list for good measure — and we chose ADAM by Oats Studios (a Neill Blomkamp production). If you haven’t seen this one yet, it’s well worth digging into. The setting is drenched in an otherworldy reality, because the worldbuilding is so well done. The story is intriguing and leaves viewers longing for more.
2. OTHER SPACE
This short series by Paul Feig is a hilarious romp through space opera. It has a nifty set design, attractive costumes, and not too shabby VFX. But at its heart, OTHER SPACE is about how people handle their unrequited dreams and their rivalries to come together and thrive. The acting is decent, and there are plenty of laugh lines delivered with deadpan appropriateness.
1. NINA UNLOCKED
If you’re a long-time Recursor fan, you probably have explored NINA UNLOCKED already. But for those of you who are newer and haven’t explored all our site yet, you’ll want to check NINA out. With a mix of solid VFX, excellent costuming, and droll acting by YouTuber Lana McKissak, NINA UNLOCKED brings AI sensibilities to the world of today’s science and entertainment, allowing viewers insights into what’s happening today in a way that’s refreshing and funny.