World class fantasy / sci fi miniseries?
February 1, 2013 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Last night I watched "World on a wire," and I was completely blown away. Are there any other foreign world class scifi / fantasy miniseries of exceptional quality?

I have honestly never seen a film like "World on a wire." Its blend of hard scifi, psychology, noir, and philosophy, is unique. In addition, the quality of its direction / production rival much higher budget films. Are there other foreign films or miniseries of similar quality?

I absolutely love Neverwhere. Gormenghast and the Kingdom are already on my radar. Anything else out there I might be missing?
posted by jalitt to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 111 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I haven't yet seen it, but the South African/Canadian parallel universe cop drama Charlie Jade is supposed to be great.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:35 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: World on a Wire is incredible. Definitely check out some other Fassbinder movies. Movies that have scratched the same itch for me:

La Jetee
A Zed and Two Noughts
Sweet Movie
That Obscure Object of Desire

Hope that helps!
posted by Katine at 11:00 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The original Solaris. Soderbergh's remake is a worthy companion piece, IMO.
posted by puritycontrol at 11:04 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

I was going to come recommend Charlie Jade as's on netflix instant if you have access to that.
posted by Captain_Science at 11:07 AM on February 1, 2013

Best answer: If you like Terry Pratchett / Discworld, they've been making some of his stuff as miniseries.
Check out "The Hogfather"
And more recently, Going Postal.
posted by anonymisc at 11:16 AM on February 1, 2013

Best answer: Black Mirror
posted by jbickers at 11:16 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Is "City of Lost Children" too obvious?
posted by anonymisc at 11:25 AM on February 1, 2013

Best answer: There's a Swiss-German movie called 'Cargo' that's great. I sort of collect awesome non-Hollywood SF, will post more later when I'm not on my phone.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:56 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Is 2046 too obvious?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:24 PM on February 1, 2013

Best answer: I wonder if Life on Mars would be something you might like? It's long on police stuff and short on sf/fantasy, but the whole idea of it is pure sf... and there are some good time-travel licks along the way.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:31 PM on February 1, 2013

Best answer: But if it's movies you want, do try Twelve Monkeys, Safety Not Guaranteed and Source Code. All are well worth watching.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:33 PM on February 1, 2013

Best answer: Anime? I strongly recommend the series Mouretsu Pirates.

Kato Marika is a high school girl living on the planet Uminoakehoshi ("Sea of the Morning Star"), in the Tau Ceti system. Her mother raised her alone and she never knew her father. In fact she doesn't even know his name.

One day two people show up to tell them that her father has died. Turns out he was the captain of the space pirate ship Bentenmaru. Not really a pirate ship, more a privateer, because it had a Letter of Marque. For certain historical reasons, the Letter of Marque passes down through family lines, and because Marika is his only heir, it means that she is the new captain of the Bentenmaru. The series is about her learning how to become a leader, and gaining the confidence of her crew. And it's a hell of a lot of fun, partly because Marika is such a wonderful character.

The series is based on a series of books called "Miniskirt Space Pirates", but despite that it isn't a fan-service show. There's virtually none. But you do get blaster rifles, and boarding actions on passenger liners, and several major space battles, and there's a princess (everything is better with princesses) and lots of cool graphics, and excellent story telling. It begins slow, but once it catches you it won't let go.

It's being released in North America under the name "Bodacious Space Pirates", but don't let that name scare you off. And if you watch it, go with the Japanese sound track and subtitles.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:06 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's not a miniseries, but Moon is an excellent movie.
posted by Lexica at 7:54 PM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: HBO's game of thrones
posted by lalochezia at 6:35 PM on February 2, 2013

Best answer: It's not technically a miniseries, but seconding lalochezia...

HBO's Game of Thrones!!!! It's a gritty medieval fantasy with a premise that's loosely based off the War of the Roses. In the aftermath of a civil war, a war brews between several powerful noble families, while the children of the deposed former ruler try to reclaim the throne, and an ancient evil from the Northlands blah blah blah... If Game of Thrones sounds like boilerplate fantasy, though, it's not. The show is much better than it has any right to be, with excellent writing, ridiculously good production values, solid acting, and plenty of intrigue, humor, and action. It's also extremely addictive--you might want to set some time aside, because once you get into it, you won't want to stop watching until you run out of episodes.

Unfortunately, Game of Thrones doesn't put it's best foot forward... The first few episodes, while good, are a bit slow-paced and hard to follow. But the show starts to get really, really good around episode four. GoT is also maybe a bit gleeful that it's on HBO--cursing, ultraviolence and gratuitous nudity abound, although the nudity gets a lot less ridiculous after the first few episodes. But check it out! It's really good! The show's third season is coming out this spring, but the seasons are only ten episodes long, so it's quick enough to catch up on.

And since people seem to be recommending things that aren't even remotely miniseries: Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth is an excellent fantasy/magical realism movie, as is his relatively overlooked Devil's Backbone.

Also, if you liked Neverwhere, you should check out some other works by Neil Gaiman, the prolific author of the book the series was based on. Coraline, a surreal claymation horror movie, is theoretically supposed to be for kids, but it's extremely good, and has an alternate world/modern fantasy thing going for it that's at least a little like Neverwhere. The movie Stardust was also based off one of his books, and while I can't recommend it personally, it got mostly good reviews. He also wrote American Gods, a fantasy novel set in a modern-day America where mythological gods still cling to life.

His best work, however, has to be Sandman. The sprawling epic fantasy comic book series follows Dream, an aloof godlike being who reigns over the realm of dreams, . Sandman starts out as a horror comic, but quickkly turns into something far more interesting, riffing off everything from Greek mythology to road trip movies to Neverwhere-esque modern fantasy, while giving everything a distinct twist. Seriously, it's really good. Czech it out.
posted by Green Winnebago at 11:23 PM on February 2, 2013

Response by poster: thanks for all the great answers!
posted by jalitt at 6:04 PM on February 7, 2013

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