Prophets of Science Fiction

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
Prophets of Science Fiction TV Poster Image
Intriguing docuseries connects science fiction with fact.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series uses the work of legendary sci-fi creators to connect real science and science fiction; through such explorations, the show places a strong value on how science and engineering have strong real-world value that both draws its inspiration from and contributes ideas to science fiction.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though the behaviors of the creators profiled on the series are occasionally questionable, each author's gifts shine through in the exploration of the ideas within their work, creating strong creative role models for younger viewers.


Though there is little physical violence, the imagery used during some of the interview segments displays occasional borderline gore, for example an image of the Frankenstein monster that is a grisly assembly of body parts.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional exploration of alcoholism or drug abuse as part of the discussion of the life of an author.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this science-oriented docuseries occasionally features spooky or frightening images to go with the fantastical ideas created by the sci-fi authors profiled. However, the information presented provides a tactile, informative glimpse at how the work of great science fiction creators has influenced and predicted the evolution of science fact over the past century. Each episode offers worthwhile exploration of not just classic sci-fi authors, but modern advancements in a variety of scientific disciplines.

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What's the story?

Executive produced by legendary sci-fi filmmaker Ridley Scott, PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION looks back at some of the iconic figures of sci-fi over the past two centuries, from Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein, widely considered the first science fiction novel) to Philip K. Dick (who wrote the book on which Blade Runner was based). Each author's greatest works are examined with an eye toward how the science fictional concepts they introduced have evolved over time into science fact.

Is it any good?

Prophets of Science Fiction pulls off a pretty remarkable feat. It takes the works of long-dead science fiction authors and examinations of the latest scientific wonders, mashes them together, and manages to make the whole far more engaging than its parts. Frankly, there are moments when the show amazes -- there are literary antecedents for so many of today's very real scientific developments that it's hard not to imagine authors like Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, and Philip K. Dick as prophets in the truest sense of the word.

By fusing the evolution behind some of sci-fi's true classics with an exploration of the real science that has emerged in the wake of them, Prophets of Science Fiction offers true insight into the power of literature to inspire, and the power of science to revolutionize our world and culture.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how reading fits into a healthy media diet. What books written by the authors featured on the show sound most interesting, and why?

  • What did you learn from this show? What was most surprising about how sci-fi novels have influenced real science fact?

TV details

  • Premiere date: November 9, 2011
  • Network: SCIENCE
  • Genre: Educational
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science and science fiction

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