13 returning sci-fi shows we can’t wait to watch in 2021
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Credit: Netflix/SYFY/Hulu

13 returning sci-fi shows we can’t wait to watch in 2021

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Jan 10, 2021, 7:39 PM EST (Updated)

We’ve already turned a spotlight on all the cool, new shows making their debut in 2021 — but about our old favorites coming back for a new season? From the Upside Down to the Purgatory, here are all the returning shows we can’t wait to check out in this new year.

Of course, we have to note, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on pretty much every show’s production schedule, delaying shows for months on end, and putting some on hold indefinitely. That said, we’re giving our best educated guesses here at which shows will actually arrive in 2021 — though at least at the moment — every show listed is expected to return this year.

That explains why fan-favorite hits such as The Boys (which could arrive with new episodes later this year, but is more likely set for 2022), The Orville (which has been delayed for a while due to the pandemic, and moves to Hulu for its new season), Star Trek: Picard (which has been delayed extensively), Amazon Prime’s Upload (Season 2 is in the works, but no word on if it’ll be this year or next) and Doom Patrol (which has also been delayed, but could potentially debut this year) didn’t make the cut.

Check out the rundown below, and take solace in the fact that there’s plenty of good TV to keep us busy this year.

Stranger Things 4 | From Russia with love… | Netflix

Stranger Things (Netflix)

Look at any list of “Most Anticipated TV,” and the fourth season of Stranger Things is almost certainly to be at the top of it. The third season was arguably the show’s best to date, and left fans shocked with plenty of cliffhangers to pick up on. The pandemic obviously delayed production, but it also gave the creative team time to polish the scripts and map out the show’s next steps. So, whenever Season 4 hits in 2021, it’ll hopefully be worth the wait. 

Captain Jack's Prison Break! | Revolution of the Daleks | Doctor Who

Doctor Who (BBC America)

Fresh off an excellent New Year’s special episode loaded with big surprises, sad departures and a ton of throwback fun to the franchise’s history, Doctor Who is gearing up for a proper new season in 2021. The new season, rumored to be Jodie Whittaker’s final romp in the TARDIS, will also introduce a new companion in Dan (John Bishop). Like most everything else, production has been affected by the pandemic, but the BBC says the plan is to get the series out as soon as possible in 2021. They just have to, you know, finish shooting it. If it is Whittaker’s final season, it ramps up the anticipation even more — since it could also introduce a brand new Doctor by the time it’s over.

Wynonna Earp | New Episodes Return 2021 | SYFY

Wynonna Earp (SYFY)

There are still revenants that need killing and mysteries to solve, which means SYFY’s cult hit Wynonna Earp will also be back in the saddle later in 2021. The back half of Wynonna Earp’s fourth season will drop this year, digging deeper into the show’s mythology but never losing sight of the humor and heart that fans love. Shooting was affected by the pandemic, but things look to remain on track for Season 4’s final batch of episodes to hit this year.

The Witcher | A Moment of Blooper Madness | Netflix

The Witcher (Netflix)

Between some on-set injuries and the pandemic, fate has conspired a bit to delay Season 2 of Netflix’s hit dark fantasy series — but don’t worry — it’s slated to return in 2021. Star Henry Cavill is back, along with plenty of fresh faces in the extended cast, and fans can expect plenty of coin-tossing for Round 2. Along with Season 2, Netflix is also doubling down on the franchise with a six-part spinoff prequel series. 

Leland Is A Sinister Force To Be Reckoned With On Evil

Evil (CBS)

One of the biggest surprises of last season, this CBS horror series was a scary, clever and wildly compelling tale — and it’s back for a few more spine-tingling cases in 2021. The series follows an aspiring priest (Mike Colter) and his team of investigators (played by Katja Herbers and Aasif Mandvi) who look into weird and terrifying events. Think The X-Files meets the short-lived Miracles, with Lost’s Micheal Emerson creeping around the margins as a sinister big bad. 

DC's Legends of Tomorrow | EP Interview | The CW

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (The CW)

There’s a full slate of new Arrowverse seasons (Black Lightning, Supergirl, Flash, the launch of Superman and Lois) on the way, and we’re looking forward to all of them — but few are as fun and entertaining as Legends of Tomorrow. The team-up series features everything from time travel to space travel, and mashes up characters and concepts from across the DC Comics canon. The new season deals with a rogue alien attack, with the team’s leader (Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance) abducted and missing.

The Handmaid's Tale: Season 4 Teaser • A Hulu Original

The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

One of the most acclaimed shows — genre or otherwise — of the past decade finally returns in 2021 with new episodes. Production on the dystopian drama was disrupted by the pandemic, but it’s currently expected to start dropping new episodes at some point in 2021. We just don’t know when. Star Elizabeth Moss will be back, and the tale of a bubbling rebellion against the leaders of Gilead looks to be reignited.

Locke & Key | Official Trailer | Netflix

Locke & Key (Netflix)

Based on the gothic horror-ish comic tale created by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez, this series follows a family returning to their ancestral home that just so happens to be loaded with magical, hidden keys that unlock fantastical powers. But, with great power also comes terrifying and creepy people trying to take it — and Season 1 ended with some wild twists and reveals that should leave plenty of drama for Season 2 and beyond (a third season has already been ordered). No word yet on exactly when Season 2 will premiere, but hopefully in the early-to-mid-2021 window.

Titans Season 2 Full Trailer | DC Universe | The Ulitmate Membership

Titans (HBO Max)

HBO Max is absorbing pretty much all of DC Universe’s programming, and that means the niche streamer’s originals will now be migrating over to HBO Max. A third season of the gritty DC series Titans has been delayed a bit due to the pandemic, but filming is back underway and the new season is expected to drop at some point in 2021. It should definitely be one to watch for DC fans, as Season 3 takes the action to Gotham and introduces key players like Red Hood and Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.

For All Mankind — Season 2 Official Teaser | Apple TV+

For All Mankind (Apple TV+)

You could be forgiven for having missed this one, as the first season was a debut series during Apple TV+’s launch — an event largely overshadowed by expensive, A-list projects like The Morning Show and See — but it as arguably one of the best of the bunch. Hailing from Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), For All Mankind is an alt-history drama based on one simple twist: What if the Russians beat the U.S. to the Moon? From there, we get a wild alternate history for NASA, with the space agency pushing plans for a lunar base and a fast-tracking women into the space program. It melds sci-fi, period drama and plenty of tweaked real-life historical accuracy for something truly unique. Think The Right Stuff, except you don’t actually know how it’s going to end. Season 1 is streaming now, and Season 2 drops on Feb. 19.

The Lost in Space Cast Recaps Season 1 | Netflix

Lost in Space (Netflix)

Remember this one? Yeah, it’s been a while — but Lost in Space is set to return for its third and final season at… well, some point in 2021. Probably late 2021, if we had to guess. The show is a big, fun, expensive, family-friendly, sci-fi series that’s unlike pretty much anything else on TV these days. A throwback to a bygone era, with big production values and a rousing adventure. With the third season set to be the show’s last, here’s hoping the creative team will have a chance to bring the Robinson’s story to a fitting end.

The Walking Dead: In Production | Season 10 Episode “Diverged” Virtual Table Read

The Walking Dead (AMC)

AMC is mapping out a massive strategy based around the Walking Dead franchise, and the next phase kicks off in 2021. Fans will get some “bonus” episodes extending the 10th season in late February,  while work begins on the show’s 11th and final season. But that’s not all! There are more episodes of spinoffs Fear the Walking Dead and World Beyond, the Rick Grimes film series, and spinoff shows that’ll likely arrive well beyond 2021 (including a Daryl/Carol spinoff and an anthology). 

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 2 | Official Trailer | Netflix

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous (Netflix)

Since the next proper Jurassic World sequel won’t hit until 2022, this animated series set in the wake of the first Jurassic World film is the perfect distraction. The first season of this animated series was one of the best surprises of 2020, telling a compelling, surprising — and yeah, sometimes scary! — tale of survival on Isla Nublar. Season 1 ended with a major cliffhanger, and later this month we’ll get to see what happens next. It’s kid appropriate, but plenty engaging for any Jurassic fan. Season 1 is streaming now, and Season 2 drops January 22 on Netflix.

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