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The Absolute Best Netflix Sci-Fi TV Shows to Watch Right Now

When it comes to high-concept, unique sci-fi offerings, Netflix's library is where it's at.

Aaron Pruner
Aaron Pruner is a writer at CNET. He covers what's exciting and new in the world of home entertainment and streaming TV. Previously, he wrote about entertainment for places like Rotten Tomatoes, Inverse, TheWrap, and The Hollywood Reporter. Aaron is also an actor and stay-at-home dad, which means coffee is his friend.
Aaron Pruner
6 min read

Edwardo Franco, Charlie Heaton, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp and Finn Wolfhard star in Stranger Things on Netflix.


When it comes to cool and unique sci-fi offerings, Netflix is where it's at. The streamer has racked up some heavy hitters in the genre with titles like Stranger Things, 3 Body Problem and Black Mirror sparking fan joy across the globe. If it's one thing we know about Netflix, it's that it isn't afraid of taking the big creative swings. The result has taken the viewer down some weird and wonderful roads. Just look at programs like The OA, Sense8 and Maniac. Or the brooding German sci-fi Dark and Japan's wildly addicting Alice in Borderland. 

We've just thrown a bunch of names at you, and we're just cracking the surface. Simply put, there's a smattering of awesome binge-worthy shows at your disposal. Get your popcorn and beverage of choice and kick back. These are the best Netflix sci-fi TV shows you should watch right now.

Read more: The Best Sci-Fi TV Shows to Watch on Prime Video Right Now


3 Body Problem

3 Body Problem was created by Game of Thrones alums David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with The Terror showrunner Alexander Woo, and is based on the Hugo Award-winning novel by Liu Cixin. The high-concept sci-fi series connects a watershed moment in 1960s China to present day, where a group of scientists must face emerging global threat unlike anything humanity has ever seen.


Stranger Things

Stranger Things caught on like wildfire when the genre series quietly premiered its first season to Netflix in 2016. What began as an homage to '80s cinema, with callouts to E.T., Dungeons & Dragons, Goonies and the works of Stephen King, has blossomed into a layered and sweeping sci-fi adventure. The program follows a group of kids in Hawkins, Indiana, who, after meeting a mysterious girl they name Eleven, discover a sinister dimension hiding right under their feet. Government cover-ups, demonic hell-beasts and a cast full of beloved misfit characters make-up this tour-de-force genre series.


Black Mirror

Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror set the standard for what a modern-day genre anthology series can do. Each story featured throughout the series, which currently has six seasons and an interactive standalone movie worth visiting, takes place in a near future world where technology has impacted humanity in wonderful, strange and terrifying ways. Uplifting to horrific, Black Mirror is a brain bug of a television show that'll keep you thinking long after the credits roll.


The Umbrella Academy

Inspired by the comic book created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, the series follows a group of adopted superhero siblings who have been raised to save the world. From time travel to saving humanity from multiple apocalyptic events, the ongoing adventures of the dysfunctional Hargreeves flips the script on expected genre tropes. It's weird, off-beat, hilarious and poignant. 


The OA

They broke the mold when they made The OA. The two-season series created by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij follows the story of Prairie Johnson (Marling), a young blind woman who, after being missing for seven years, returns to her family with her sight restored. Where was she all these years? How can she see? Parallel existence across multiple dimensions, that's how. Okay, that answer barely scratches the surface of this extremely unique and layered program. Come for the Quantum Physics, stay for the interpretive dance routines.



Like Stranger Things, Dark kicks off with the inexplicable disappearance of a child. Instead of another version of the Upside Down plaguing the town, the German series dabbles with time travel to explore how a family and community can be impacted by the event of a kid going missing. A noir slow burn than leans heavily on the horrors of generational trauma, Dark lasted three seasons on Netflix. It will definitely get under your skin.



1899 was created by Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar -- the same duo who brought Dark to Netflix -- and follows a group of passengers on a ship heading to New York during the turn of the century. This is more than a run-of-the-mill period piece, though. As soon as things kick off, the show throws time travel, multiple dimensions, reality simulations and other bits of sci-fi craziness at the screen. It may not have gotten a season 2, but there's still a lot of genre goodness to mull over here.

Cho Wonjin/Netflix

Parasyte: The Grey

In Parasyte: The Grey, alien parasites land on Earth and begin turning people into shape-shifting monsters. To battle this growing Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style threat, survivors -- otherwise known as "The Grey" -- rise up to save humanity and the planet. Inspired by the manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki, this Korean series should please any horror and sci-fi fan.



The Wachowskis teamed up with Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski to bring Sense8 to Netflix. The supernatural drama follows eight random people from across the globe who learn they are emotionally and mentally linked. Labeled "sensates," the group learns from each other as they literally are forced to walk in each others' shoes and take on new and exciting skills. Of course, things wouldn't be complete without the inclusion of a shadowy organization who's hunting them all down. Over two seasons, the program explored timely issues like gender, sexuality and identity.


Altered Carbon

Based on the book by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon exists in a future world where consciousness can be moved from one body to the other. Joel Kinnaman starred in the first season as ex-soldier Takeshi Kovacs. His mission to solve a murder evolves into a journey of self-discovery as he works to track down his lost love and answers regarding his previous life. Season 2 finds Anthony Mackie stepping into the role to further the cyberpunk noir tale. 


Love, Death + Robots

Mixing different animation styles with live-action, Love, Death + Robots is an anthology unlike many others. The series, which has drawn comparisons to Black Mirror, dips into a multitude of standalone stories that explore a world where sentient robots, creatures and other such beings have more humanity than humanity itself. 

Des Willie/Netflix

Lost in Space

Using the 1965 series as inspiration, this Lost in Space follows the Robinson family on a space mission to colonize a new planet as humanity's teeters on the brink of collapse. The show is heavy on the family drama, which can be off-putting at times. But thanks to the sociopolitical conflict, a cool alien robot friend and Parker Posey's deliciously villainous Dr. Smith, the show holds up.  



Emma Stone and Jonah Hill star in this mind-bending drama from Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) and Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers). The 10-episode series follows Annie (Stone) and Owen (Hill) as they enter a drug trial for a medication that will allegedly cure all their problems. As you can probably guess, it doesn't. Stone and Hill look like they're having crazy fun throughout the program, as they get to try on a variety of different characters. The addition of Sonoya Mizuno, Justin Theroux and Sally Field to the cast make this an under-appreciated gem worth your attention.



For its first three seasons, Manifest was an NBC original. After it was canceled by the network, Netflix swooped in to revive the series. The story follows the passengers of Flight 828, who arrive at their destination five years after originally taking off. The survivors begin having premonitions and visions that help them save others from disasters that have yet to happen. It's sorta like Lost and Final Destination had a baby, kinda.



Eric McCormack leads this tightly plotted sci-fi series that follows a group of "travelers" who send their consciousnesses back to various periods in time to various hosts nearing the end of their lives with the goal of minimizing their death's impact on the future. After three seasons, Netflix pulled the plug on this engaging, character-driven show. 


Alice in Borderland

Alice in Borderland is based on the manga by Haro Aso and follows a group of characters in a parallel version of Tokyo forced to compete in a bunch of twisted games to stay alive. This battle royale-style thriller will appeal to fans of life-or-death competition titles like Squid Game, The Hunger Games and, obviously, Battle Royale.