The turn of the new year means new sci-fi TV is on the horizon. Whether these series are a continuation of an existing one or brand-new territory, 2019 has a lot in store and there is a lot to be excited about. Two Star Trek shows and a Star Wars live-action show should keep you busy, along with some adaptations of popular novels.
Prepare yourself—and your couch—for lots of TV viewing.
Release: January 14
Based on the of the same name by Justin Cronin and executive-produced by Ridley Scott, this show focuses on Project NOAH, a classified medical facility where scientists are experimenting with a risky virus that can either lead to the cure for all disease or could potentially wipe out the human race.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar is tasked with bringing the young chosen test subject to the project, but obstacles stand in their way—including a new race of beings confined within the walls of the facility that advance toward escape and apocalypse. What could go wrong with a secret government plot and an unpredictable bevy of mutants?
Star Trek: Discovery, Season 2
Release: January 17
Returning to CBS All Access, season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery finds the crew joining forces with USS Enterprise’s commanding officer, Captain Christopher Pike, to investigate seven unknown red signals and the appearance of a being called the Red Angel. The crew will have to work together to uncover the mysteries and their origins, and Michael Burnham will be forced to face her past with the return of her brother, Spock.
Executive producer Alex Kurtzman was quick to tell fans that “the show is called Discovery. It’s not Enterprise. So yes, the Enterprise will play a part … but it will absolutely not overshadow Discovery.” Fans will notice the premiere date has some franchise significance—the date reads as 17.01 in European style, which translates to the registry number of the Enterprise, NCC-1701.
Release: Early 2019
Based off the by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, the world is going to end on a Saturday, but more specifically, next Saturday before dinner. The armies of Good and Evil are assembling and everything appears to be going according to the Divine Plan, aside from a fussy angel and a risk-taking demon who are not too excited about the coming Rapture. And the Antichrist is nowhere to be found.
After years of teasing, Gaiman has written each episode of the six-part miniseries on Amazon, with David Tennant and Michael Sheen set to star. Gaiman said, “It became many people’s favorite book. Three decades later, it’s going to make it to the screen.”
Nightflyers, Season 2
Release: Early 2019
Adapted from a written long before George R.R. Martin was a household name, Season 1 of Nightflyers posed a major question for viewers: Does humanity deserve to be saved? He wrote it to show that science fiction and horror weren’t opposites, taking a quirky ship named Nightflyer, filling it with nine expeditionary scientists, and adding in alien lifeforms possessing the knowledge to save humanity from extinction.
Not much is known about Season 2, but showrunner Jeff Buhler says “We have some opportunities to dig a bit deeper into this world.”
The Expanse, Season 4
Release: Early- to Mid-2019
After three seasons on Syfy, the series was canceled in May of last year, with Amazon picking it up shortly after. Based on , the fourth season will explore the new worlds unleashed when the gates were opened in the Season 3 finale. Showrunner Naren Shankar said, “We are going to tell that story … sure, but we’re not leaving Earth and Mars and the Belt behind. They’re part of the story, and both fans of the books and fans of the show are going to see something really interesting and new in Season 4.” Season 4 will follow the events of the fourth book, , and will have only ten episodes (three fewer than previous seasons).
No release date has been set, but Cas Anvar, who plays Alex, revealed at San Diego Comic-Con last year that shooting began in September.
Cosmos: Possible Worlds
Release: March 4
Neil deGrasse Tyson will return as the host of the third season of Cosmos on National Geographic, set to premiere at the beginning of March. Ann Druyan will return in her roles as executive producer, writer, and director, along with Seth MacFarlane, Brannon Braga, and Jason Clark in various capacities. The 13-part series will explore previously uncharted realms and those we may inhabit one day, transporting audiences to the farthest reaches of the universe.
Nat Geo will publish a companion book written by Ann Druyan with the same title as the series, the long-awaited follow-up to Carl Sagan’s . Druyan’s book will be on sale February 19, 2019, or you can .
Stranger Things, Season 3
Release: July 4, 2019
By now, you’ve inevitably heard of Netflix’s Stranger Things, so it should be no surprise it’s coming back for a third season. All of the original cast is set for the new episodes, and two additions from Season 2 will also reappear. Maya Thurman-Hawke will be Robin, a newbie who uncovers a dark secret in Hawkins, Indiana; among other new additions is Princess Bride actor Cary Elwes as Mayor Kline.
The behind-the-scenes book confirmed that this season will be set in 1985, less than a year after Season 2’s events. Ross Duffer, who along with twin brother Matt is responsible for creating and maintaining the show, told that “they’ve shut the door on the Mind Flayer, but not only is it still there in the Upside Down, it’s very much aware of the kids, and particularly Eleven … Now it knows that she’s out there.”
Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Release: Late 2019
According to executive producer Jon Favreau, this live-action Star Wars series will follow “the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic …” Coming to the Disney-Plus streaming service—which hasn’t been released yet—at an undetermined date, last December Lucasfilm revealed that Pedro Pascal had been cast in the title role, with Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, Nick Nolte, Gina Carano, and others as supporting cast.
The show will be set seven years after Return of the Jedi and it’s possible that its ten episodes will enjoy a $100 million budget. This will be among the first projects for ILM TV, a new TV division of Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic.
Star Trek Untitled Captain Picard Project
Release: Late 2019
Announced by the captain himself at a convention last August, the untitled Picard project will be the story of the next chapter of his life, or after the events of The Next Generation. CBS All Access hasn’t released any details about the show, but at the time Alex Kurtzman, who will lead the project, said, “we can’t wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honor generations both new and old.”
Patrick Stewart added that he is “excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out a new life for him, when I thought that life was over.”
His Dark Materials
Release: Late 2019
The BBC greenlit this adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy—The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass—in 2015 with an eight-episode season, but production didn’t begin until last fall. The series is set in an alternate world, similar to ours, except that human souls manifest externally as animals that shapeshift until puberty when they settle into a final form.
The first book centers around Lyra Belacqua, who sets off for the Arctic to rescue a kidnapped friend and finds herself in a conspiracy involving a particle called Dust. James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Ruth Wilson are set to star, and HBO has joined the project as a coproducer. While the adaptation hasn’t aired yet, the network has already renewed the series for a second season.
The Twilight Zone
CBS All Access is unveiling its Twilight Zone reboot sometime this year, fingers crossed. Originally running from 1959 to 1964, Rod Serling was responsible for terrifying and delighting the minds of generations previous. After his success with Get Out and the forthcoming Us, Jordan Peele is executive producing the series and narrating and hosting it as well.
Fans are excited to see Greg Kinnear and Steven Yuen in an episode titled “The Traveler,” John Cho, Allison Tolman, and Jacob Tremblay in “The Wunderkind,” Adam Scott in a reimagined version of the original’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” and Sanaa Lathan in “Rewind,” likely based on the episode from the revival of the series in 2000. Kumail Nanjiani will star in his own episode, written by Alex Rubens.
Black Mirror, Season 5
A few months after Season 4 dropped, a fifth season was ordered with a premiere date on December 28, 2018. The stand-alone choose-your-own-adventure movie Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was instead released, and it's definitely not part of Season 5.
According to co-creator Charlie Brooker, the upcoming season will expand on some existing stories from the show, and episodes “White Bear” and “San Junipero” will receive sequel episodes. One detail we do know: Miley Cyrus will be in an episode—when the California wildfires hit her Malibu home, she was filming for the show in South Africa.
There’s no premiere date yet for Season 5 of the Netflix show, but until then, restreams and Bandersnatch will have to suffice.