Spring 2018 is shaping up to be a sci-fi lover's dream when it comes to book-to-screen adaptations.
We highlight below seven new spring TV shows and films that have caught our attention, and then take a peek into the future at two films already creating positive buzz.
But you know what you need to do first, right? Read the books!
Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams - Technically, this isn't "upcoming" but now: Amazon Studios dropped 10 episodes today. SF aficionados know that Blade Runner, Minority Report, and The Man in the High Castle are all based on Philip K. Dick's ideas, so this new TV series inspired by his short stories has the potential to be mind-blowing. All are standalones, so you can binge or watch leisurely, depending on your personal style. (Watch trailer here. Available January 12 on Amazon Video; stream now.)
Black Lightning – Based on the DC Comics series, Black Lightning is Jefferson Pierce, a New Orleans high school principal who has put his superhero alter ego behind him—until a gang brings violence back to the city that he loves. Black Lightning is not part of the Arrowverse (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow), at least so far, but it does appear to have the grittier feel of early Arrow. Most interestingly, it seems like Black Lightning's teenage daughters have inherited some of his electrifying powers. (Watch trailer here. Season airs January 16 on the CW.)
Altered Carbon – Richard K. Morgan's novel of the same name gets the small-screen treatment—which can often do a complex story more justice than a two-hour film adaptation—with a 10-episode run on Netflix. Three hundred years in the future, people can upload their memories to new bodies, which means bodies aren't treated super-well. Expect violence and, hopefully, ponderings on how humanity changes when its shells become disposable. Seems like a good match for Westworld lovers. (Watch trailer here. Available February 2 on Netflix.)
Black Panther – In the first 24 hours in which tickets went on sale at Fandango, Black Panther outsold previous advance sales for other Marvel Cinematic Universe films, including the former record-holder, Captain America: Civil War. And why not? The trailer pounds like the heartbeat of an MMA fighter entering a cage match. Based, sorta, on the Marvel comics, Black Panther could be this spring's biggest movie. (Watch trailer here. Releases February 16 in theaters.)
Annihilation – We spoke last year with Jeff VanderMeer about the translation to screen of his slim but powerful world-gone-wild novel set in Area X, also known as a stretch of the Florida coast, and he had nothing but great things to say about director Alex Garland (Ex Machina). Natalie Portman stars as a scientist who enters Area X to find out what happened to her husband and others who went into Area X and came back changed, or didn't come back at all. Naturally, things go wrong. Very wrong. (Watch trailer here. Releases February 23 in theaters.)
A Wrinkle in Time – I have my fingers crossed that Disney does Madeleine L'Engle's classic children's novel justice with its primary-colored adaptation to the big screen. Whip-smart hero Meg Murray (Storm Reid) travels through the wrinkles in time to save her missing father (Chris Pine in a slouchy sweater) and learns to tap into her own inner strength. (Watch trailer here. Releases March 9 in theaters.)
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline's coming-of-age SF novel pits a trio of geeks against an evil corporation in a race to solve the puzzles left by tech genius and '80s pop-culture lover James Halliday. Whoever wins gains ownership of the OASIS, an immersive virtual world that forms the backbone of society. Steven Spielberg helms this adaptation, and I hope the film gives old videogames and movies the same love the book did. (Watch trailer here. Releases March 30 in theaters.)
Alita: Battle Angel – I'm not sure if I'm weirded out or entranced by Alita's huge eyes in this trailer, but what I do know is that this looks pretty darn badass. Inspired by the Japanese manga by Yukito Kishiro, Alita is directed by Robert Rodriguez and centers on a young cyborg who is part warrior and all heart—and who must do battle to save her new friends and recover her memories. (Watch trailer here. Releases July 20 in theaters.)
Mortal Engines – Based on the books by Philip Reeve and written and produced by The Lord of the Rings power trio Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens, this film has a rockin' trailer that will be catnip for Mad Max fans who were mesmerized by the visual pot-banging of Fury Road. In the future, the world is running out of resources, and the only way for cities to survive is for them to literally swallow other cities. Oh, and cities are on now wheels. Vroom! (Watch trailer here. Releases December 14 in theaters.)
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