There’s a ton of great sci-fi movies on Netflix, but sometimes you just 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.
For starters, we kept franchises to a single entry, basically, so Star Trek didn’t take over the list. I love Star Trek, but nobody needs that much of it.
Second, we decided not to include any superhero shows. Sci-fi has been an extremely broad genre for a long time, and a lot of 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.
Best sci-fi shows on Netflix
Editor’s note: This list will be updated as sci-fi movies and shows leave and other new arrivals make their debut on Netflix.
1. Twilight Zone
Ah, the Twilight Zone. In a lot of ways this show started it all for sci-fi TV — likely almost all the other shows on this list were influenced by it (some may never have existed without it). First airing in 1963, it proved you could do intelligent serialized science fiction in a way that wasn’t goofy or just for kids.
You can find the first four seasons of this classic sci-fi show on Netflix, which includes roughly 120 episodes (seasons ran a little longer back then). This is an anthology series, so every episode is a new story with new characters, but expect to see some familiar faces. The Twilight Zone features early performances from actors like William Shatner, George Takei, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Duval, Martin Landau, Cloris Leachman, Robert Redford, and many more.
You can start anywhere in the series, but be sure to check out classics like Time Enough At Last, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, and The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.
2. Black Mirror
Keeping the anthology train running, Black Mirror is widely considered the best science fiction TV currently being made. Again, it being an anthology means each episode covers a new story and setting, so you can jump around a bit, if you like. However, there aren’t nearly as many episodes as the Twilight Zone, so 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 profile of the show 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.
3. 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 in a fascinating and compelling way. 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.
4. Stranger Things
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.
5. Altered Carbon
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 hopefully we will get a third season of this series.
If you’re in the market for something a little more grim, or, dare I say it, dark, this show’s a solid choice. Taking place 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 world in which the characters live 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.
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.
8. 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 two seasons now, and a third and final season has been ordered.
Our final 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-travelling 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.
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.