The one thing which makes human beings different from other animals is the phenomenon called “consciousness.” With the help of consciousness and language, we think, perceive, read, and reflect on the perennial dilemma of humankind, existential angst. Now, this consciousness is unique to each and every individual, and uniqueness is what gives us our awareness of self. The Netflix original series ‘Travelers,’ created by Brad Wright, deals with this paradox of self when scientists discover a method to transfer human consciousness back in time inside the mind of another host body. Netflix shows have never traversed the path well-traveled, they have always challenged us, questioned us, and pushed us to think beyond the box. ‘Travelers’ is a prominent member in the league which also includes ‘Dark,’ and ‘Sense8,.’
The story of ‘Travelers’ is actually set in a post-apocalyptic world where these consciousness need to be sent back in time. Their purpose is to investigate whether the all-ending apocalypse, which happened already in past, can be avoided with a technological intervention from the present. But when you sit down to watch this show, you will realize that making a technology and jargon-heavy show has never been the aim of the makers. Instead, the crisis these consciousness stumbles upon within their hosts’ life starts taking center stage. They have their own emotions, feelings and desires which are getting overridden by these parasitic entities from the future, causing them a psychological disruptions. This layered approach to storytelling is what makes ‘Travelers’ stand out from other sci-fi shows. So, without further ado, here is the list of best TV series similar to Travelers’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these TV shows like Travelers’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
7. Quantum Leap (1989 – 1993)
Time travel has been a recurring dream of mankind since time immemorial. To revisit one’s past and correct the mistakes is likely something no one will ever deny a shot at. Even in the annals of literature, from the postmodern works to the ancient epics, there have been numerous musings over the concept of time travel or time itself.
The sci-fi series, ‘Quantum Leap’ from NBC gives shape to our desires through its leading character Dr. Sam Beckett who has gathered some of the most brilliant scientific minds around and managed to create a device which helps him break the irreversible nature of time. Using this newfound technology, Dr. Beckett goes on a quest around history, correcting the many wrongs committed by mankind. Now considered as one of the greatest cult TV series ever, ‘Quantum Leap’ received huge acclaim from critics and audience alike. The series finale had 13 million Americans tuning in to bid farewell to Dr. Beckett once last time.
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6. Future Man (2017 – )
When a TV show or a film manages to incorporate seemingly unrelated elements within its narrative and still delivers a solid and compelling experience, then they’ve managed to hit the right notes. This is exactly what you will feel once you start with the Hulu original series ‘Future Man’ starring Josh Hutcherson in the titular role, Josh Futturman.
Besides working as a janitor, Josh spends the rest of his day playing games. It is through these games that he falls into the radar of beings from the future who come to his house and task him with something beyond the scope of his abilities. When a person is tasked with something that is so much beyond his reach, it ends up in a series of hilarious moments. And coupled with time travel, ‘Future Man‘ becomes a hilarious roller-coaster that follows a gamer-cum-janitor across space-time continuum.
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5. Continuum (2012 – 2015)
The concept of dystopia has appeared in several forms in literature, films and television for quite some time now. The dystopia depicted in the ‘Mad Max‘ franchise is marked with barren and desolate landscape where humans act like savages by grouping themselves into barbarian tribes. In his seminal novel ‘1984,’ George Orwell envisions a fascist government practicing historical negation, extreme surveillance and propaganda.
‘Continuum,’ the Showcase original series, brings to us a dystopia where corporations and oligarchs rule the land and use the police force extensively to keep their iron fist tight over the people. To avoid persecution, a group of rebels called Liber8 travel back in time, but mistakenly take along an unassuming policewoman named Kiera Cameron. The sci-fi crime drama is set in both the future and the past, offering us the best of both worlds. Critics too were mightily impressed with the entertaining and intellectual aspects of ‘Continuum’ from start to finish.
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4. Sense8 (2015 – 2018)
After the Liber8, here we introduce you to the Sense8. They’re a group of eight who have the unique ability to reach into each other’s consciousness, memories, thoughts, and feelings. The brilliant director duo Lana and Lily Wachowski are the minds behind some monumental works in cinema, like ‘The Matrix‘ (1998), ‘V For Vendetta‘ (2005) and ‘Cloud Atlas‘ (2012).
‘Sense8’ marks their first foray into the world of television. The ace filmmaking duo teams up with Netflix to come up with a path-breaking visual experience that set the bars high for other shows. The group in question recognize that a sinister organization called the Biologic Preservation Organization is behind them, and while they investigate the source of their ability, they also protect each other from the BPO. Besides being an intriguing sci-fi drama, ‘Sense8‘ brilliantly represents LGBTQ characters throughout its run, thus making a positive statement while being thoroughly entertaining.
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3. 11.22.63 (2016)
No other writer anywhere in the world has had as many of his works translated on the screen as Stephen King. The prolific master of horror has always come up with anew and ingenious plots and concepts which have kept us marveling at his genius for close to half a century now. James Franco was so fascinated after reading King’s ’11/22/63,’ that he himself called the author up to discuss buying the rights to the book. Though unsuccessful in that regard, when the Hulu original series’ producers came to know about his interest, they immediately roped him in to play the lead character.
Franco plays the role of Jake Epping, an English teacher who is bored with the humdrum of his monotonous life. When he suddenly lands an opportunity to travel back and forth in time, his life turns on its head. The man sets out an adventurous journey through time into the past where he would attempt to prevent the assassination of JFK in 1963 at any cost. It is during his mission that Jake finds purpose of his life. While being a sci-fi story at the surface, ‘11.22.63‘ delves down the human psyche to analyze concepts of love, life and finding one’s place in the world. Franco’s captivating screen presence keeps one glued to the screen for the eight-episode length of the series.
2. Doctor Who (1963 – )
There are only a handful of shows made in the history of television programming which have transcended from being just another show to a cultural icon. Such shows has had a deep impact on generations of viewers. ‘Doctor Who‘, without a shadow of a doubt, falls in this illustrious bracket. Doctor Who is an extraterrestrial being, a Time Lord, who has the ability to travel to any point in time using a TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space).
Having taken a liking to the Earth, (s)he usually takes human form in the numerous space-time adventures. ‘Doctor Who’ has spawned spin-off shows, merchandise, films, books, and museums, among others, establishing a franchise rivaled by a select few. As the Doctor can generate with a different look each time, there’s some damage to his mortal body. We have seen various actors play the character over the years. Jodie Whittaker, the current Doctor Who, is the first time a woman has taken on the mantle.
1. Dark (2017 – )
‘Dark’, Netflix’s first original German series, can rank among the most cerebral shows made in recent years. Set in a sleepy town called Winden, the show follows the lives of townspeople. A fascinating element appears at the edge of the town turns their life upside down while linking their lives one another. The concept of time travel here is used not as an adventurous journey, but to delve deeper into the philosophical connotations that come with it.
This is a series you have to watch with rapt attention, as the connections the people of Winden have with each other are truly mind-boggling. Some viewers have even drawn charts to understand how each character is linked with another. But once you’re done watching it, you’ll sit back and marvel at the labyrinthine details which has gone behind creating the entire storyline of ‘Dark.’
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