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The 10 best sci-fi shows on Netflix
There are many great sci-fi movies on Netflix, but sometimes you want something a little more long-form. Luckily, there’s a bevy of wonderful classic and current sci-fi shows on Netflix too. Below we’ve assembled a list of some of the best. First, a couple of limits, though. We kept franchises to a single entry for starters, basically, so Star Trek didn’t take over the list. We love Star Trek, but nobody needs that much of it.
Read more: What’s new on Netflix
Second, we decided not to include any superhero shows. Sci-fi has been a vast genre for a long time, and many superhero shows could definitely fall under it. However, it feels like they’ve become a genre of their own at this point, one that maybe deserves its own list.
With all that said, here are some of the best sci-fi shows on Netflix. You can sign up for the service at the link below:
Best sci-fi shows on Netflix
Editor’s note: We will update this list as sci-fi movies and shows leave and other new arrivals debut on Netflix.
Originally broadcast on the CW network, this series lasted for seven seasons and 100 (of course) episodes. It’s set in a future where Earth has suffered from a nuclear apocalyptic event that caused many humans to leave the planet and live in an orbiting space station for several decades. However, the station starts to shut down, and the decision is made to send 100 teenaged criminals back down to Earth to see if it can become habitable again. That group soon discovers that there are some humans still living on Earth.
This blend of a post-apocalypse setting and teenagers who are growing up quickly offers a different kind of serialized sci-fi story. It became a cult hit.
Black Mirror is widely considered the best science fiction TV currently being made. Because it is an anthology, that means each episode covers a new story and setting, so you can jump around a bit if you like. However, it’s not a huge time investment to binge it all (the most recent season only had three episodes).
Since its arrival on Netflix, the show’s profile has only grown, and that’s reflected in its cast. Despite its few episodes, this season features performances from Anthony Mackie, Miley Cyrus, Topher Grace, Pom Klementieff, and other big names.
This is one of the most recent sci-fi shows on Netflix and one of the best.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Okay, look. There’s a lot of Star Trek, and a lot of it’s great. The original series has that classic campy sci-fi feel. Deep Space Nine deals with political drama fascinatingly and compellingly. Voyager is a little on the goofy side, but it’s also a great Lost in Space-style romp. Enterprise also exists.
Star Trek: The Next Generation is the best Star Trek series. There, I said it. There isn’t a better captain than Picard. No one sits down weirder than Riker. Most importantly, none of the shows hit the variety that TNG does. One episode could be about addiction, and the next could basically be a Shakespeare play. In “Darmok,” an episode in the show’s fifth season, Picard spends an entire episode stranded on a deserted planet with an alien who speaks only in metaphor.
This is one of the best sci-fi shows on Netflix and certainly one of the most creative pieces of science fiction around.
Stranger Things is like candy. It’s an intense hit of nostalgia that even I, someone who wasn’t alive in the 1980s, can appreciate. If you haven’t heard of it, which would be a little surprising, Stranger Things follows the exploits of a group of kids in Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s as they deal with monsters from another dimension and a psychic amnesiac girl named 11.
The show’s got a killer look, a charming cast, and some genuinely great writing. If you grew up loving movies like ET, The Goonies, or Stand by Me, expect this to hook you fast. You can look forward to watching the fourth season later in 2022, followed sometime later by the fifth and final season of the series.
This is certainly one of the best-looking sci-fi shows on Netflix. It has a huge budget, and it needs it for its story. It takes place hundreds of years in the future when we have developed technology to store a human’s mind and thoughts on a hardware device. It can then be transferred to another synthetically grown body, making the human’s mind virtually immortal. The first season starred Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi “Tak” Kovacs, who is transferred to a new body to solve the “murder” of another person who had his previous host killed. The second season has Anthony Mackie taking on the same role, with Kovacs one against moving to a different body.
The two seasons have a ton of great visuals and some excellent action sequences. It’s a pretty dense show and one of the best sci-fi shows on Netflix.
If you’re in the market for something a little grimmer or, dare I say it, dark, this show’s a solid choice. In three time periods — 2019, 1986, and 1953 — in the small German town of Winden, Dark follows four families as children start disappearing in 2019. It starts as a fairly straightforward mystery, with intergenerational family drama and the years of bad blood that can build up in small towns over long periods of time taking center stage. Eventually, the concept of time travel is introduced, which complicates everything — go figure.
Dark is a hard show to really explain, especially without spoiling it. Just know that if you’re into shows like Stranger Things, Twin Peaks, or The X-Files, you’ll probably enjoy this.
Also, it’s in German, so be prepared for an awkward dub or reading subtitles.
Maniac follows Annie Landsberg (Emma Stone) and Owen Milgrim (Jonah Hill) as they take part in a drug trial meant to test something that apparently can repair anything about the mind. It’s one of the best sci-fi shows on Netflix, but it’s also one of the weirdest. Everything from its pacing to its sense of humor to the characters’ world feels familiar but slightly off.
Jonah Hill and Emma Stone are fantastic as two people who become friends as they jump through different layers of the subconscious, and both work at overcoming their individual past trauma.
This was directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who also directed the first season of the HBO hit True Detective. This is a real mind-bender of a show and well worth watching.
Lost in Space
If you’re in for something a little lighter, Lost in Space is one of Netflix’s first family-oriented shows. A remake of the classic black-and-white sci-fi series of the same name, the show follows the adventures of the Robinson family as it tries to survive after crashing on an alien planet. It’s not as campy as the 1965 show because, well, of course, it isn’t, but it’s got heart and a great cast to boot.
Check this one out if you’re looking for a sci-fi show on Netflix with a little more of a feel-good tone. You can watch all three seasons of the show now.
Another selection for our list of the best sci-fi shows on Netflix is this cool new take on time travel. In the future, the human race is in danger of extinction. However, time travel to the past has been developed, or at least a version of it. A person’s consciousness can go back in time and inhabit another person’s body. This is being used on people in our time that were supposed to die originally to minimize the overall effect on the current timeline. Eric McCormack leads this cast of time-traveling characters who have to fight to save humanity while also living the cover of their host bodies. You can watch all three of its seasons now on Netflix.
This series started in 1997 as just a cheap way to continue the story started in the 1994 Stargate feature film. However, over the course of its 10 years, the show improved and found its own voice, with a great mix of sci-fi action and humor. The final result was a series that, in the end, explored its characters in new and deeper ways compared to other sci-fi shows.
Best sci-fi shows on Netflix: honorable mentions
This top 10 list was hard to make as there are a lot of other shows that just missed backing this list:
- Dark Matter – Six humans and an android find themselves on board a spaceship, with no memory of who they were before they woke up.
- Another Life – A strange alien artifact has appeared on Earth, and now humans are heading into space to find out what it is and where it came from.
- Colony – A mysterious enemy has invaded the Earth, and human resistance fighters in Los Angeles try to free their city.
- Tribes of Europa – Set in a near-future Europe, three siblings may hold the key to the continent’s survival.
- Alien Worlds – A mix of sci-fi and documentary, this series speculates on what life might be like outside our solar system.
Thanks for checking out our list. These are just some of the best sci-fi shows on Netflix, but there are even more available just waiting for you.