‘Away’ is Netflix’s new sci-fi drama series, starring two-time Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank in the lead role. The 10-episode series chronicles the journey of an American astronaut Emma Green, (played by Swank) who’s the commander of NASA’s first mission to Mars. As she prepares to lead an international crew on the first mission to Mars, Emma is going through constant internal battle as she has to reconcile her decision to leave behind her teenage daughter Lex (played by Talitha Bateman) and husband Matt (played by Josh Charles), whom she loves to pieces. But only if things go according to plan.
Once her team departs for the mission, things go topsy-turvy out there and back home as well, to say the least, leaving young Lex single-handedly burdened with immense responsibilities that she’s not prepared for. The series is a thrilling, gut-wrenching poignant drama that balances the sci-fi factor carefully with the intricate emotions of human beings. We’ve come up with 7 similar shows that intelligently use these two elements. You can watch several of these shows on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. Mars (2016-2018)
National Geographic’s six-part series-cum-documentary, ‘Mars’ takes us along the journey of six people who travel to Mars to colonize the planet in 2033. The scientists involved in the mission let the viewers in on how they are to achieve this feat. Executive producers Brian Grazer & Ron Howard present this epic series in a unique amalgamation of documentary and scripted drama, combining an intriguing fictional story with real-world science.
6. Firefly (2002-2003)
Though ‘Firefly’ only has one season to date, it managed to be a cult favorite leading the story to a follow-up feature film and one of the fixtures in the sci-fi hall of fame. ‘Firefly’ is set in 500 years into the future, where after a universal civil war, the crew of a small transport spaceship is struggling to make their ends meet and have basic needs like food on their table at the end of the day. To make the matters worse, they face constant challenges of survival by lethal flesh-eating creatures. Human beings willing to go to any lengths for their loved ones draw parallels between ‘Firefly’ and ‘Away’.
5. Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)
‘Battlestar Galactica’ pushed the boundaries of space-set television like no other sci-fi show of its time. A group of people aboard a battleship known as Battlestar Galactica in order to evade the attacking Cyclons. They’re struggling to survive every step of the way while also searching for their true home, Earth. The show is a perfect blend of persevering, grounded, tough drama on top of the big bold storytelling the space series excels at. The emotion quotient of ‘Away’ is noticeably visible here.
4. The Expanse (2015-)
‘The Expanse’ tells the story of a dystopian world, hundreds of years in the future, where things are entirely different than what we are used to be. Based on the novels by James S.A., ‘The Expanse’ is a thoroughly immersive experience, with its thrilling take on space politics and how humans have colonized the solar system pushing humanity on the brink of a war due to the tumultuous relationship between Mars and Earth. The show has its share of wonderful moments that’ll make it worth your time.
3. Missions (2017- )
10 part French sci-fi series ‘Missions’ is competently written and carefully executed which uses its constantly evolving mystery to good effect. The show begins with an ominous setting showing a lost ship en route to the Red Planet. Fast forward to the present day, the story takes us through the planned expedition to Mars including crew members of top-notch scientists and a young female psychiatrist. But just hours before landing, they’re told that a previous ship has touched down before them. At that point, the show’s focus switches from exploration to one of rescue. While the story unfolds at a decent pace, continuous doses of tension and dread hang over large stretches of the narrative.
2. Travelers (2016-2018)
‘Travelers’ is set hundreds of years from now when the last bunch of surviving humans discovers the means of sending consciousness back through time, connecting directly to the people in the 21st century. These “travelers” put on the facade of seemingly random people, while secretly working as teams to save humanity from a ghastly future. These travelers include a single mother, an FBI agent, and a college student, who soon discover the intricacies of human relationships as they try to achieve their high-stakes missions.
1. Defying Gravity (2009)
Inspired by the fictional docudrama ‘Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets’, the show tells the story of an international crew of eight astronauts as they set off on a six-year mission of exploring Venus and other planets in the solar system covering billions of miles. ‘Defying Gravity’ goes back and forth between the present and earlier days of their training process, adding an extra layer to the complexity of the characters. Similar to ‘Away’, ‘Defying Gravity’ shows the stake these characters have in their ambitions while tackling their personal and emotional issues.
Read More: 15 Best Science Fiction TV Shows of All Time