Battlestar Galactica

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2004's reboot of 'Battlestar Galactica' is available to stream on

I'm sorry to tell everyone, but Star Wars isn't "science fiction." The Skywalker saga, at its core, is space fantasy. "The Mandalorian" is a space western, and "Solo" is a heist movie in space.

The reason that these distinctions are important is that science fiction has a key element that none of the Star Wars properties really have and that is the exploration of science or the application of that science in the form of technology.

The force, which by all accounts is a "hokey religion," is the main driving essence in most of the Skywalker Saga and how the characters are connected to it.

In the best sci-fi stories, science is at the forefront, and how that science affects people, society or a whole civilization is the core of what true science fiction is. The best example is "Jurassic Park:"

The science — DNA manipulation and cloning

The technological application — a dinosaur theme park

The effects — dinosaurs eat people

Using this categorization, here are the best science fiction series streaming on the internet, and none of them are owned by Star Wars.

1. 'Battlestar Galactica' (2004 reboot) / 'Caprica'

I will be honest and say I never saw the original run of BSG, but it's 2004 reboot was my introduction into true science fiction. Filled with wonderful, fully realized characters and little-to-no filler, "Battlestar Galactica" shows us the longterm repercussions of the creation of artificial intelligence. Combined with plot and character twists, over the course of four seasons, the series shows us how easily humans can make mistakes, and moreover, how we can right them.

A prequel series was created after BSG went off the air. This story tells us of the origin of the first AI, how and why it was created and how it became the enemy of humanity. Where "Battlestar Galactica" is science fiction set in the backdrop of war, "Caprica" is set in the backdrop of political noir. 

Both are must-watches for fans of the genre.

Available on:

2. 'Altered Carbon'

Currently in its second season, "Altered Carbon" jets us into a dystopian future where with enough money — and an extra body on hand — instead of dying, our consciousness is transferred from one body to another. This technology has given rise to the extremely superrich, mega-corporations, and for some, immortality in your favorite body.

The series explores the nature of humanity's fear of death, the reality of self and the understanding of what is "real."  But while that is at its core, the series also manages to dive into bureaucratic corruption, rampant and unregulated capitalism, and the ever-uplifting topics of classism and wealth inequality.

Available on: Netflix

3. 'Star Trek: Discovery' 

While I can quote the majority of original Star Wars trilogy, and spout plot connections from characters in any series of the Star Wars universe, and can bemoan the exclusion of four decades of novels, short stories and graphic novels from the universe's canon with the best of them, I will admit: I have never really been a Star Trek fan.

I've seen all the movies and enjoyed them enough, but I have only dabbled in the TV shows.

Until I saw "Star Trek: Discovery."

"Discovery" is a quintessential science fiction series. Rife with scientific facts, theories and exploration.  Even one of the characters is named for a mycologist and consultant on the show, due to his in-depth knowledge on fungal networks that play a huge part in the major plot of the series.

Filled with a diverse cast, strong characters, the show weaves plots dabbling in scientific topics that will dare you to explore more on your own.

Available on: CBS

4. 'Westworld'

Another exploration into the concepts and repercussions of artificial intelligence, "Westworld" puts the AI robots into the setting of a Wild West theme park. Guests explore the world set before them with the assurance that they can say and do as they please to the extremely human-like robots without any sort of recompense. 

Or so they thought.

While the first season is set in the style of a western, the following seasons are certainly not. Secrets are revealed and characters emerge as a true sci-fi future unfolds before us over the course of three seasons.

Available on: HBO/HBO NOW

5. 'Black Mirror'

All you need to know about "Black Mirror" is that each episode is a short story about how a piece of technology, no matter its original purpose, can be manipulated to create a hellscape for humanity. Nothing is ever as it seems and most times its more horrible than you thought. 

Every piece of tech has some similarity to technology today, and each episode leaves you in a strange pit of understanding and dispair that makes you feel both enlightened and very, very sad.

But the show is good. Watch it.

Available on: Netflix

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