Netflix has been growing steadily ever since its inception back in 1997. Although the company started out as a DVD-rental service (a fact that some younger viewers might not be aware of), it’s since grown into one of the most widely-known and beloved streaming services on the Internet. With millions of dollars of revenue each year, and a slew of original programs popping up, Netflix is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.
This is great news for fans, especially those that enjoy sci-fi series. Netflix is home to a lot of genres and science-fiction sees just as much love as the rest. Viewers that are looking for something to binge should definitely consider some of the following shows, as they’re some of the best science-fiction series on Netflix.
Lost In Space
Sci-Fi fanatics are likely familiar with the name Lost in Space, considering it’s one of the most influential and important shows in the history of the genre. The original series ran from 1965 to 1968, but it has recently been rebooted as of 2018. The reboot follows a similar premise to the original release, with incredibly updated visuals and a much darker look overall. Lost in Space follows the Robinson family as they end up crash-landing on an alien planet.
Viewers will get three seasons of Sci-Fi goodness out of this release, as they watch the group try to survive (and escape) the strange landscape.
Easily one of the strangest shows on this list, Sweet Tooth follows the journey of a young half-human/half-deer hybrid as he tries to survive a post-apocalyptic world. Based off the DC Comic series, Sweet Tooth can be best described as a child’s fairytale for grown-ups. With mature themes of loss, greed, and hatred, this Sci-Fi Fantasy perfectly blends edge-of-the-seat excitement with whimsical drama.
The end result is truly a trip, with a great cast of characters that make the journey even better. There’s currently only one season but (as of writing) Season 2 has been in production since January 2022.
Shadow and Bone
Viewers craving something that fits the Sci-Fi bill but features heavy Fantasy-influences should check out Shadow and Bone. This surreal series feels like something out of the Warhammer universe, blending old and new worlds to create a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing world that perfectly mixes old and new technologies. Time feels irrelevant in this adventure, which exists in its own mysterious world, filled with monsters, mayhem, and a bleak overarching storyline.
With only one season currently, fans can easily catch up on this series, which takes the traditional hero’s journey and adds some amazing Sci-Fi Fantasy elements.
|Netflix Link||The 100|
|Number of Episodes||100|
The first binge-worthy series to hit this list is a lengthy post-apocalyptic science-fiction adventure that originally aired on the CW and lasted seven seasons. Cleverly ending on the one-hundredth episode, The 100 follows a dark future in which the Earth has become uninhabitable following a world-ending nuclear event. The series opens with the introduction of The Ark, a space station situated in orbit which houses some of the last remaining survivors and the families they’ve been raising.
After ninety-seven years, unfortunate events on the Ark have forced a group of detainees to return to Earth in order to see if it’s habitable. The end result is a thrilling sci-fi ride through a post-apocalyptic world and the struggles humanity faces when trying to re-inhabit a world they lost.
The Twilight Zone stands as one of the most interesting and engaging sci-fi horror series to ever hit television. The Rod Sterling-hosted franchise lasted for five years in its black-and-white form but has been revived a couple of times over the last handful of decades. There have also been some spin-offs and unique original shows that have attempted to nail the formula made popular by the original release.
One such show is Black Mirror, a Twilight Zone-like series with a much heavier focus on science-fiction themes. The series presents episodic one-off stories that showcase a much darker side to future technology and scientific discoveries.
If 1994’s Stargate movie put the sci-fi property on the map, then 1997’s SG-1 cemented its place among the genre’s greats. Even if the franchise never became a pop culture behemoth like Star Wars or Star Trek, Stargate SG-1 reached heights that could rival the best shows produced by either license.
The basic premise revolves around wormhole portals that allow the main characters to travel to other planets. The earlier seasons generally adopt an episodic format, but the series does eventually shift its focus toward serial storytelling; more importantly, Stargate SG-1 handles both well, mainly due to its strong character-driven writing that can be deadly serious or genuinely hilarious depending on the needs of a scene.
Those looking for a smaller, shorter sci-fi series might want to check out Altered Carbon. Although the show has somewhat of a cult following, it only managed to stick around on Netflix for two seasons before being abruptly canceled. Unfortunately, it didn’t maintain the necessary viewership to keep churning forward but that has no bearing on the show itself in terms of its quality and storytelling.
Altered Carbon follows Takeshi Kovacs as they navigate a complicated Cyberpunk-inspired world to gain their freedom from a prison sentence. Viewers will watch Takeshi attempt to solve a murder in the advanced world while he tries to keep himself safe from the technological dangers that lurk in the distant future.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Netflix has a decent selection of anime, and quite a few of the library’s heavy hitters fall within the sci-fi genre. Except for Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion is arguably the most well-known mecha anime, and the ’90s series holds up beautifully after all these years.
To combat towering monsters known as Angels that are threatening humanity, children are forced to step into Evangelions, mecha that are directly linked to the pilot’s mental state. NGE delivers plenty of unforgettable action sequences, but the show shines the brightest when it focuses on the psychological strain this responsibility places on the main characters, particularly Shinji Ikari. While not always an easy or comfortable watch, NGE is one of the best science-fiction shows on Netflix.
The End of Evangelion movie is also on Netflix and should be watched after the series.
Keeping in line with most adaptations of Capcom’s seminal horror franchise, Netflix’s Resident Evil series has garnered mostly negative reviews from both critics and audiences. Outside a few things, the show does not share that much in common with the source material, although Umbrella is naturally at the heart of the story’s post-apocalyptic hellscape.
Even though it is more horror than sci-fi, Resident Evil nevertheless has many themes synonymous with the latter genre, particularly when it comes to the overreaching nature of corporations. The series also has its positives, including Netflix’s interpretation of Albert Wesker or zombies. Go in with no expectations and this can be an entertaining sit.
The Umbrella Academy
Even in a subgenre as oversaturated as superhero shows, The Umbrella Academy manages to carve out its own niche while not necessarily doing too much that is strictly new. Based on a comic book series by Gerard Way, Netflix’s show revolves around a group of dysfunctional former heroes who unenthusiastically reunite following the death of their adoptive father. The latter serves as the plot’s central mystery, while the characters also have to prepare for an impending apocalypse.
Its parts might be familiar, but The Umbrella Academy weaves them together to craft an experience quite unlike anything else on TV outside of perhaps Doom Patrol. This is very much a character-driven sci-fi show, one that dives deep into its roster of flawed heroes and the relationships that define them. Although good from the start, season 2 is considerably better than its predecessor, and season 3 continues the good work.
|Number of Episodes||26|
Netflix doesn’t just offer US-based original programming and has since branched out into foreign markets to bring viewers a global buffet of shows to enjoy. A great example of this practice in action is Dark, a German-language science-fiction thriller that follows the aftermath of a child’s sudden disappearance.
What seems like a normal missing person’s mystery soon unravels into a truly chaotic sci-fi experience that uses time travel as a tool to create a truly existential and thought-provoking narrative.
|Number of Episodes||24|
The aptly-titled Sense8 is a metaphysical mystery that surrounds eight separate individuals who are all linked via a psychic connection. What starts out as a simple, yet strange “connection” soon devolves into a struggle for survival as the eponymous eight are hunted down by a mysterious organization known as the BPO (along with the imposing Whispers).
Sense8 managed to last two seasons before being abruptly canceled by the platform so viewers will have 24 exciting episodes to sit through, filled with struggle, unique powers, and heavy science-fiction overtones.
Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop garnered a mixed reception and was canceled after a single season, continuing the streaming service’s uneven track record when it comes to anime adaptations. The 2021 series is not the worst thing ever, but it is difficult to recommend when the 1998 anime is also available on Netflix. Cowboy Bebop is a space-western about a makeshift bounty-hunting crew who all carry heavy pasts that define their presents.
Directed by Shinichirō Watanabe and created by Sunrise studio, Cowboy Bebop has impeccable animation, an unbeatable soundtrack, and brilliant writing. Although not devoid of action sequences or lighthearted moments, the anime explores quite a few philosophical themes and is not afraid to break down its characters.
|Netflix Link||The Flash|
|Number of Episodes||171|
Superhero stories are often regarded as their own thing, but The Flash leans heavily into science-fiction. Along with featuring quite a few scientists as main characters, the DC series frequently explores tropes like time travel, human experimentation, and parallel dimensions. Formulaic as the episodes can be at times, the show does have a campy edge that feels reminiscent of older sci-fi b-movies.
All the seasons are available on Netflix, providing people with potentially months’ worth of content to plow through. Admittedly, The Flash does hit the occasional road bump in its storytelling, especially in the later seasons, but a good episode is usually not far behind.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Originally debuting in 1988, Mystery Science Theater 3000 has a convincing case for being among the most influential shows of all time, with its shadow looming large over independent creators that deliver commentary content on platforms like YouTube. In 2017, Netflix launched a short-lived revival that only lasted for 20 episodes. Thankfully, this proved to be a case of quality over quantity.
The Bots are accompanied by Jonah Ray, the new trapped janitor who is forced to sit through some truly awful movies. Naturally, the only way to survive such an ordeal is to make as many snarky remarks as possible, and the team more than delivers.
Love, Death & Robots
Those looking for something truly different should definitely check out Love, Death & Robots, which serves as a beautiful love letter to the painstaking process of animation. Almost all the offerings in the series feature heavy sci-fi tones, and each story has its own unique, beautifully crafted narrative that features a truly unique animated styling. There is so much to enjoy just from the visuals presented in the series.
Some stories are downright thought-provoking, and the creators that collaborated on the series have helped to create something that is truly unique and wholly welcome in the sci-fi space. All three volumes are filled with fantastic and diverse episodes in terms of animation, themes, and tones; for instance, season 3’s “Kill Team Kill”, a bloody homage to ’80s action flicks like Predator, is followed up by “Swarm”, a haunting analysis of humanity’s insignificance in the grand scheme of the universe.
Arguably the most famous sci-fi series on Netflix, Stranger Things is a throwback to ’80s classics like the Goonies. Set within the seemingly ordinary town of Hawkins, Indiana, things begin to go awry when children start to disappear amidst a storm of supernatural incidents.
Balancing science-fiction with elements of horror and drama, Stranger Things is an entertaining show packed with lovable characters, great acting, and more than a few surprises to keep people on edge. Although it does not always dive deep into its sci-fi ideas, this Netflix original does a stellar job of embracing various concepts synonymous with the genre.
Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 has recently debuted on Netflix, and it mostly maintains the show’s high standard of quality.
There are a lot of great sci-fi-themed anime out there and Netflix has its fair share of futuristic and technologically advanced animated offerings. Gurren Lagann serves as one of the best available on the platform and is a must-watch for any Anime fans or those that simply enjoy elaborate sci-fi storylines.
The beautifully-animated series takes place in a distant future in which a new, sinister ruler has forced mankind to live in subterranean homes deep underground. The series follows the introduction of a group of youngsters that are tasked with digging deeper to find new locations to live but instead attempt to reach the surface world against the wishes of the tyrannical king.
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