These mind-bending shows are presently streaming and will transport you to another dimension. These are the Good Sci-Fi Shows On Netflix Right Now.
We’re living in a golden age of science-fiction and fantasy television, with mind-bending new shows joining oldies in gaining new viewers thanks to streaming platforms. Because of the addictive interest inherent in genre programs, after you complete one, you’re left wanting more, more. Fortunately, Netflix has a robust catalog of original sci-fi shows (such as Stranger Things and Shadow and Bone) and inventive acquired hits from other sources (such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Magicians) to satisfy everyone’s appetites, so check out some of the titles below when you’re craving fantastic and speculative stories.
Good Sci-Fi Shows On Netflix: Altered Carbon (2018–2020)
Altered Carbon, adapted from Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 novel of the same name, is a glitzy, jargon-y, and at times dizzying fall into sci-fi decadence. The program revolves around a 22nd-century mercenary (Joel Kinnaman in Season 1, Anthony Mackie in Season 2) who is recruited to uncover the murder of a powerful nobleman and the resulting power battle.
What’s the catch? The affluent cannot die in this vision of the future; instead, their consciousnesses are uploaded to the cloud and downloaded into new bodies. In a world without death, the subsequent action features jaw-dropping vistas on par with Blade Runner and thought-provoking intrigue on par with HBO’s Westworld.
“Altered Carbon’s dense tale takes a few episodes to truly take off, and the second season slacks off a bit, but it’s an ambitious trip that’s worth hanging around for.”
Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005–2008)
For good reason, this Nickelodeon cartoon has been recognized as one of the finest animated shows of all time. Maybe you were part of the generation that was infatuated with it when it first aired, or maybe you haven’t yet immersed yourself in this universe of elemental kingdoms, but there’s never a bad moment to watch or rewatch this magnificent, Western-meets-anime-style series.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is an adventure story that follows the quest of waterbender Katara, her brother Sokka, and a boy named Aang who they find frozen in an iceberg and who ends up being the avatar, a reincarnated being who can control all four elements and whose job it is to keep the Four Nations in harmony.
As they travel across the countries for Aang to master all of the elements and finally face the tyrannical king of the Fire Nation, the destructive scale of the world in Aang’s absence becomes clearer. Don’t let the title fool you: there’s a lot more to this kid’s program than you may think, yet Avatar: The Last Airbender makes it appear as effortless as walking on air.
Outer space shows and movies frequently fall into one of two categories: an interplanetary sci-fi journey, or what we like to call “the space weepy.” Even if it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to blast out into space, being that far away from loved ones is inherently alienating. That’s the premise of Netflix’s Away, a series based on an Esquire story but following a global group of astronauts on the first-ever manned voyage to Mars, led by Hilary Swank’s character who leaves her family in an emergency.
It’s not the type of sci-fi series to watch if you’re searching for an inventive, futuristic epic, but it also doesn’t claim to be something it isn’t, being set in a very near future when this form of space travel appears to be plausible. This optimism, along with the show’s sincere representation of what life onboard a starship is like, makes it one of the most compelling modern outer-space dramas.
Black Mirror (2011–2019)
Each edition of Charlie Brooker’s engrossing anthology takes a current techno-social phenomenon—from hashtags to five-star ratings—to its logical conclusion and questions if human nature can survive with it. Part satire, part (unintentional) prophesy, the series paints a suitably bleak picture of the future, one that will undoubtedly leave you concerned about the next generation and perhaps even motivate you to action. Consume this delectable dish of anxiety with caution.
This captivating series from the streaming platform is quite the Mindbender—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth watching. Dark is a German time-travel thriller about four families whose dark pasts begin to unravel quickly when a handful of youngsters in their tiny village go missing. It was marketed as “the German Stranger Things” due to the existence of missing people and the fact that it is set in the 1980s, but that cheap comparison undersells its authenticity as a terrifying and genuinely compelling series.
The 4400 (2004–2007)
If you want to develop a fantastic sci-fi program, add a number in the title. This undervalued series, produced by The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, imagines what might happen if 4,400 people abruptly vanished off the face of the earth in the early twentieth century… then flashed back into reality decades later. The mystery is revealed through the eyes of several outstanding performers, including Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as a US Air Force pilot who vanished but has a daughter in the present.
The Innocents (2018)
Based on their grandiose conceptions along with already dramatic high-stakes love situations, sci-fi and teen TV constitute the ideal pairing. The Innocents, one of Netflix’s entries in this category, is no exception, chronicling the star-crossed romance of Harry and June, two teens who run away from home to be together. They discover June has an incredible power while on the road: she can form change. Their foolish attempt to live out their love fantasies is abruptly foiled by a scientist who appears to be curiously interested in uncovering the truth behind June’s talents.
Lost in Space (2018–2021)
While it’s not as strange or entertaining as the legendary ’60s sci-fi TV series it’s based on—even the immortal tagline “Danger, Will Robinson!” has been sterilized—recreation Netflix’s of Lost in Space is far from a time-waster. The premise remains the same, about the Robinson family, who are among the first space colonists whose journey is rerouted and forces them to try to survive in an off-course environment, but the adventure story is bolstered by an intriguing backstory of the robot and solid performances by Molly Parker and Parker Posey. It’s the recipe for a terrific adventure story, the type anchored by a beautiful family that will console you when other sci-fi programs overwhelm you.
Love, Death + Robots (2019– )
Making amusing, successful, and inventive short films requires a certain level of skill, and Netflix’s animated series Love, Death + Robots combines all three of those qualities with some very bizarre sci-fi scenarios. The title pretty much sums up everything: Every episode will have aspects of love (read: sex—the program is classified R), death, and/or robots, and occasionally a combination of all three.
From a tourist group of androids trekking across a post-apocalyptic Earth to a monster-fighting ring where the beasts are driven by human thoughts, to an ancient civilization flourishing in a couple’s refrigerator, to a lovely story about a future artist who only paints with one hue of blue, Love Death + Robots is a multifaceted collection of some of the most thrilling and inventive storytelling available.
The Magicians (2015–2020)
Most fantasy enthusiasts grow up fantasizing about being swept away to some sort of magical academy, where they’ll discover they have particular powers and are meant to develop them in a fanciful world they never knew existed. Another of these universes becomes a reality in SyFy’s program The Magicians, when a young man called Quentin enrolls at the enigmatic Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, a college for magicians. Based on the novel of the same name by Lev Grossman, the series takes place in an imaginary universe and explores all of the violent conflicts that exist inside it.
A treatment experiment occurs in an odd another present in which its participants can consume a succession of alphabetical tablets to resolve their past traumas. That is, that is what is expected to happen; yet, for Jonah Hill and Emma Stone’s protagonists in this Netflix original, that is not the case as the AI experimenting begins to fail. At its foundation, the program is about the difficulties of living with mental illness, but it’s also a very imaginative science fiction dreamscape adventure from the minds of True Detective Cary Joji Fukunaga and The Leftover’s Patrick Somerville.
In addition, what sci-fi series have you seen with a lemur subplot, Justin Theroux as a scientist with excessive mommy issues, and fantastic ’80s video game aesthetics? Until you’ve watched Maniac, probably not many.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation (2021– )
Masters of the Universe: Revelation is supposed to follow up where the original He-Man series left off, with the mystical land of Eternia and Castle Grayskull temporarily safe from the villainous Skeletor’s (Mark Hamill) nefarious plans—but only for a little time. Unlike the original program, which is intended for a little older audience, Revelation has a narrative arc that completely upends the characters and settings familiar to viewers.
The main quest is driven by the best trope in the world: heroes and villains teaming up to achieve a common goal. There is a huge paradigm shift in the first episode, characters level up their powers and personalities throughout the season, and the main quest is driven by the best trope in the world: heroes and villains teaming up to achieve a common goal.
Fans of Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin are probably aware of his sci-fi book Nightflyers, which is about a space crew who encounters something horrifying as their fleet approaches the solar system’s edge. The narrative was first adapted to film in 1987, but SyFy went all in for this rendition, giving the eponymous Nightflyer ship’s gloomy, magnificent surroundings its own scary realm. The perplexing series proves to be highly binge-able even while you’re witnessing a mission essentially meet a horrific conclusion, as things get quite strange nearly as soon as you’re aboard.
The OA (2016–2019)
If Stranger Things was too simple for you, try this weird sci-fi series from co-creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij. Prairie, a blind lady who returns to society after years in captivity, is played by the otherworldly Marling, who promptly organizes a youth group with some troublesome teenagers. From then, things become weirder. There is, indeed, interpretative dancing. Yes, there are strange Russian flashbacks. Yes, it will have you scratching your head and looking for answers on the internet. But often the most bizarre series are the ones you enjoy the most, and they are sadly discontinued far too soon.
The 100 (2014–2020)
How many more post-apocalyptic programs starring gorgeous young people do we require? Quite a few! The 100, based on Kass Morgan’s YA novel, is about a group of teenagers transported down to a bombed-out Earth from a floating colony in space. Things inevitably go wrong: warring groups arise, emotions are crushed, and cherished people are slain, as is mandated by TV law. Don’t be fooled by the show’s soapy exterior; this is dark, deep content wrapped in a sleek, teen-friendly wrapper.
Osmosis is a complex, high-concept French sci-fi series that seems like an episode of Black Mirror extended into a whole season of television. The program revolves around Paul and Esther Vanhove, who own a software business that claims to have devised a device that can discover everyone’s one true soulmate. The issue is, of course, that this may be true. Things start to go awry while beta testing the “implant,” relationships fall apart, and an artificially intelligent computer becomes dangerously sentient.
Outlander (2014– )
Outlander is the right solution if you’re seeking a sci-fi light series that’s also steamy and intense. The long-running, renowned drama based on Diana Bagaldon’s novel series recounts the love story of Claire, a WWII nurse who is magically transported in time to Scotland in 1743, and Jamie, a handsome Highland rebel. The time-travel show is produced by Ronald D. Moore (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica), and while it may lack the showy effects and high concepts that many other sci-fi shows strive for, it’s been praised for its strong grasp of the female gaze, which extends into many intimate scenes, as well as its complex rendering of history.
As Clair and Jamie’s love is swept up in the time-space continuum, it’s pure escapism, but Outlander manages to make it far more human than just an indulgent romance book adapted for television.
The Rain (2018–2020)
The eco-apocalypse will arrive in the form of rain, which will transmit the zombie virus within seconds of a human being struck by drops. That is, at least, the future depicted in Netflix’s The Rain. In one of the platform’s greatest original international series, two Danish adolescent brothers leave the shelter for the first time after six years of viral rain to hunt for their father, meeting other young survivors along the way. This dismal Scandinavian drama, which focuses on a gang of incredibly emotional kids on a quest in a post-apocalyptic world, takes what’s addicting about sci-fi and binge-worthy in teen TV and combines them into one chaotic experience.
Raising Dion (2019– )
In Raising Dion, Netflix makes sci-fi family-friendly by presenting a heroic origin tale while simultaneously providing a darker analysis of loss and greed. It follows 8-year-old Dion (Ja’Siah Young) and his widowed mother Nicole (Alisha Wainwright) when the child finds he has abilities, based on Dennis Liu’s comic book.
The story is told primarily through the eyes of Nicole, who is still reeling from the mysterious death of her husband Mark (Michael B. Jordan), and it quickly becomes clear that there’s a lot more to this story than the simple trope of unwitting heroes discovering their powers years after an other-worldly incident occurred.
This familiar-feeling story not only comes from a new point of view, but the series also avoids genre conventions and expectations to present a fascinating supernatural story with edge and purpose.
Can you imagine waking up one day and discovering that your awareness has been intertwined with strangers from all over the world? That is the destiny of eight people in the Netflix original Sense8, and it is only the beginning of the unearthly strangeness these “sensate” encounter as they learn what their connection signifies and that they are being sought down.
The Wachowski sisters of The Matrix fame created the worldwide adventure of a program by purposely incorporating themes centered on identity politics, which are rarely depicted in sci-fi, into the screenplay, making Sense8 a dynamic genre series.
Good Sci-Fi Shows On Netflix: Shadow and Bone (2021– )
The first season of Netflix’s adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling fantasy series introduces Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), a lowly army cartographer from Ravka, a country loosely based on Russia, who discovers by accident that she has the rare ability to channel pure light, transforming her into a powerful (and dangerous) Grisha. General Kerrigan (Westworld’s Ben Barnes), himself a Grisha with power over darkness and a not-so-secret hatred for the nation’s feeble monarchy, leads the Grisha as soldiers in Ravka.
Meanwhile, a group of adolescent thieves from Ketterdam’s slums goes on a perilous expedition that takes them deep into Grisha territory.
By introducing surly fledgling crime boss Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) and his crew—characters from another novel in Bardugo’s Grishaverse—the show tempers the main story’s romance and high court drama with a parallel crime-caper narrative, weaving them together with flashbacks and lots of creative licenses.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)
Following a string of The Original Series-inspired films and miscalculations on how to resurrect the sci-fi franchise for television, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek boldly went where no concept had gone before with The Next Generation, a shinier, headier, and all-around better (yeah, we said it) saga in the United Federation of Planets’ history. The Next Generation, led by Patrick Stewart and supported by an iconic supporting cast, continued the TOS purpose of speculating on and empathizing with societal concerns of the day, filtered through a prism of A-grade sci-fi storytelling that has stood the test of time.
Good Sci-Fi Shows On Netflix: Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007)
Stargate SG-1 is the first of numerous series spawned from Roland Emmerich’s 1994 Kurt Russel-starring film—which was a surprise when it debuted, considering the film’s negative reviews. The show soon defied expectations and has gone down in history as one of the finest sci-fi series of all time. It follows a special squad of American soldiers that journey into deep space through “stargates” to explore the galaxy a year after the events of the film.
You’ll come for the colorful alien worlds based on mythology, but you’ll stay for the people and their campy sense of humor. Discovering what’s out there has always piqued the interest of sci-fi viewers, and Stargate SG-1 manages to maintain that premise as enthralling as ever over its extended existence.
Good Sci-Fi Shows On Netflix: Stranger Things (2016– )
What gives if you haven’t seen Netflix’s ’80s spooky throwback? When the program first aired in 2016, it was all your friends were talking about. It has it all: another realm, terrifying creatures, Russian conspiracy plans, and extremely cool pop-culture allusions. If you’ve had your fill of the Upside Down, try the time-traveling Travelers, the alien invasion story Colony, the silly fantasy series Shannara, and the one-season mind-bender Awake.
Good Sci-Fi Shows On Netflix: The Society (2019)
By presenting us with a group of high school teenagers who suddenly and strangely find themselves without parents, siblings, or anybody else inhabiting their little town, The Society merges nervous social politics into the contemporary day. When a bus full of youngsters has whisked away to a wooded retreat only to be returned home a few hours later owing to poor weather, the bus’s passengers quickly discover that no one is coming to pick them up.
Everyone else appears to have vanished from the globe, and their community has been cleanly sealed off from the rest of civilization. It’s up to a group of high school kids to organize a sham government, keep everyone from murdering each other, and, hopefully, figure out what the heck is going on.
Good Sci-Fi Shows On Netflix: 3% (2016–2020)
If you enjoy dystopian dramas like The 100, The Hunger Games, or other stories featuring handsome individuals living under unappealing governments, this Brazilian Netflix original is for you. The 3 percent hook is straightforward: The globe is divided into two parts: the Offshore, which is rich, and the Inland, which is poor. (Does this sound familiar?) The Elysium-like notion is explored with true emotional depth, while City of God’s magnificent sights is shot with a raw shine by director César Charlone, who also serves as cinematographer.
Good Sci-Fi Shows On Netflix: Tribes of Europa (2021– )
Tribes of Europa is a German post-apocalyptic series from the makers of Dark, set after the devastating event known as Black December, in which the world’s electrical power systems failed, plunging the world into an energy disaster and forcing the remaining population to form tribes in the wilderness to fight for survival.
The series follows three siblings from the Origines tribe who uncover a crashed flying vehicle with a mystery cube inside that appears to have the capacity to change the fragmented states of Europa forever—which is crazy, but also quite fascinating to watch. Those who enjoy dystopian binges may find it to be a cross between The Walking Dead (without the zombies) and The 100 (less the spaceships), and with only a few short episodes, it’s the type of thing you can watch in a day or two if you’re really into it (and you probably will be).
Good Sci-Fi Shows On Netflix: The Umbrella Academy (2019– )
A Netflix series based on an edgy comic written by My Chemical Romance vocalist Gerard Way about a group of masked superheroes with strange powers who grew up in a mansion and despise their father seems like an elaborate, very specific joke. But we tell you that it’s genuine, and it’s very excellent once it gets going. You’ll come for the explosions, time travel, and chimp butler, but you’ll stay for the strangely moving depiction of how sibling relationships evolve and dramatically shape each other, for better or worse.
Good Sci-Fi Shows On Netflix: The Witcher (2019–)
Toss a coin for your favorite Witcher once more, as Netflix’s strangest high fantasy series returns for a second season. With the kingdoms of Elves and Men on the Continent in disarray as a result of last season’s big war, Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) brings his young charge Ciri (Freya Allan) to the safest place he knows: Caer Morhen, the home of the Witchers, where he reunites with his mentor Vesemir (Kim Bodnia) and they attempt to discover the origins of Ciri’s.
This season focuses on the fairytale components of the book series, with a sorceress who can shift into an owl and a furry-faced creature named Nivellen (Kristofer Hivju), a Geralt ally whose narrative is patterned around Beauty and the Beast. Don’t worry, Geralt’s bard pal Jaskier (Joey Batey) is still tearing it up.