3 lesser known sci-fi shows on inequality

Krishnan Raghupathi
4 min readSep 8, 2020

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Photo by Tom Chen on Unsplash

One of the things I enjoy most about science fiction is the opportunity for world-building the medium affords. There’s only a few story structures that have worked across millennia, so what’s great about sci-fi is that you can gawk at the newness of the world in the background, and picture what things would be like living in that world.

To indulge this sense of novelty, particularly at a time when we’re mostly grounded to our home and its surrounds, I spend a lot of time trawling streaming platforms for shows in whose worlds I can immerse myself. Given economic and racial inequality are very much top of mind for us, I’ve found that 3 shows do a very good job of illustrating the complexities and nuances of inequality, and how they affect the decisions of characters in the show. And 2 of them are not natively English shows.

If you haven’t already watched these, I’d highly recommend:

#1 — Beforeigners

Image courtesy: nettavisen.no. Beforeigners is available on HBO Max

Beforeigners is a visually-arresting treatise on how the influx of a new population can foster resentment among incumbents who feel more entitled to certain resources. What stands out, though, is how Beforeigners turns that theme very elegantly on its head. What if the new arrivals were originally from the same land?

Beforeigners has an intriguing theme: inhabitants Oslo, Norway at various periods of time (prehistoric, early medieval, Victorian) are magically dropped in the modern day. The show speedily forwards past this fact to create the intriguing tension: how would these arrivals assimilate to our modern-day times? And would they be treated as equals in today’s society?

Knowing the context of the refugee crisis that Europe went through a few years ago with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants, Beforeigners throws up some very interesting questions on fairness, prejudice and the tensions that cultural differences can play, with a murder mystery at its center propelling the story forward. If you’re a fan of observing socioeconomic forces at play, Beforeigners is a compelling…



Krishnan Raghupathi

Product Manager, Meta. Notes on building products, life in large organizations, science fiction and travel. All opinions are my own.