Netflix is sitting on a wide range of sci-fi series, froma a . It also has excellent international content, including — one of Netflix’s best full stop series — as well as hidden gems like Canadian sci-fi Travelers.
Scroll down to find the best Netflix sci-fi for you, plus some great international deals.
Hilary Swank is the breakout star at the heart of the space drama Away. She plays Emma Green, a NASA astronaut and commander of an expedition to Mars. Things get off to a rocky start, and Emma’s international crew fills her with doubts about her ability to command. With time torn between the drama of Earthbound and reliable entertainment above the stratosphere, Away succeeds more often than not by taking a full journey.
While Charlie Brooker’s bleak tech anthology series can be hit or miss, at its best, Black Mirror packs its mini-movies with an exploration of futuristic tech ideas through painfully human stories. One of them is San Junipero, which follows two women in the ’80s (cue hit soundtrack) as they fall in love in a way they couldn’t in their “real” life outside of the beach town. The tech aspect is revealed with cool timing, and overall the show explores the consequences of our plugged-in lives in unsettling and occasionally uplifting ways.
Full disclosure: Netflix sadly canceled Travelers after its third season, but this tightly plotted sci-fi from Canada manages to end with an ambitious bang. We start with Marcy, a disabled woman who is beaten after helping a friend escape from thugs. She dies, then comes back to life. This strong, character-driven sci-fi cleverly reveals its secrets, following agents from the future tasked with preventing the collapse of society but also navigating the tricky territory of living a double life.
Netflix cancellations don’t get any more criminal than The OA’s removal. This wildly unique story follows Prairie Johnson, a blind young woman who returns after being missing for years, now with the ability to see. She claims to be the “original angel” and convinces a small group of locals to listen to her impossible story, involving abductions and grand breakouts. The OA is the kind of sci-fi that catches you and its heroes off guard when it introduces its fantastical concepts. Watch the flawless first two seasons on Netflix and cross your fingers, the third is picked up elsewhere.
A DNA researcher claims it is possible to match people based on genetics and founds a matching service. A murder investigation turns things upside down. The One is based on a book of the same name by John Marrs, published in 2016.
Lost in Space (2018-2021)
The reboot of the 1965 series of the same name takes us to 2046, two years after humanity has been on the brink of extinction. The talented Robinson family sets out with a team to colonize a new planet. Aside from the inescapable family drama, they face strange new environments and a strange alien robot who befriends young Will. The mystery, the heart, and a memorable villain in Parker Posey’s Dr. Smith give Lost in Space plenty of fuel to get off the ground (Seasons 2 and 3 are markedly improved over Season 1).
Screenshot from Warner Bros./YouTube/CNET
If The 100 is anything like your standard teen drama, prepare to exceed your expectations. There’s a reason this post-apocalyptic series got seven seasons: The 100 brings rich world-building and moral dilemmas that push stereotypical characters into unique and compelling places. The 100 in question are a generation of juvenile detainees sent to Earth to determine if it is habitable after the apocalypse. 100 percent give this one a try.
This apocalyptic sci-fi from Belgium will probably stop you from flying soon. Set on a plane, Into the Night sees a red eye kidnapped by a soldier who, along with the rest of the passengers, ends up surviving a deadly global event on the ground. Can they keep the plane going long enough to get them to safety? That premise alone should be enough to tempt you to watch this excellent, taut thriller.
Germany’s answer to Stranger Things deliberately takes its time before going into completely captivating and original places. A sci-fi noir, Dark combines time travel, conspiracies, and separated families in a story that spans generations, kicked off by the disappearance of a young boy. If that kind of meticulously crafted layering is what you’re looking for in your storytelling, settle in. All three seasons of Dark’s meditative look at time travel and its effect on human nature are waiting to hit you full force.
From the creators of The Matrix comes another story that plays with reality. Sense8 follows eight strangers from around the world who discover that they are mentally and emotionally linked. These windows into very different lives not only teach tolerance, but the “sensible” ones can also take advantage of the abilities of others when faced with a sinister organization that is after them. If you make fun of the various characters in Sense8, you will fall head over heels for this serious and sensual sci-fi drama.
Altered Carbon (2018-2020)
Altered Carbon is set in a cyberpunk world where human consciousnesses can transfer to different bodies. This sees investigator and ex-soldier Takeshi Kovacs transported into the body of Joel Kinnaman in Season 1 and Anthony Mackie in Season 2. Initially, Kovacs’ story involves solving a murder, before going on a quest to unravel what happened to his own lost. love. Altered Carbon can be clunky at times, but its visual appeal and entertainment value elevate it through exposure and heavy-handed social commentary.
Yes, Gong Yoo from Squid Game is in on it. What else do you need to know? This South Korean sci-fi mystery follows a team of astronauts on a mission to an abandoned research facility on the moon. His goal: a sample of an unknown substance for unclear purposes. Betrayal, government lies, and personal secrets send this addictive space voyage into a tailspin.
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Love, Death + Robots (2019—)
This adult animated anthology series spans a variety of genres, with many episodes hitting the Black Mirror compare button. Robots in a post-apocalyptic city, farmers piloting mech suits, and a space mission gone wrong all feature in the first season. While the episodes can be hit or miss (some have been criticized for their treatment of women), you’ll find plenty of impressive and thought-provoking animation.
Stranger Things (2016—)
It wouldn’t be a better list without Stranger Things. If you’ve somehow missed the Duffer Brothers’ ode to ’80s horror and Steven Spielberg, things are about to get tubular. We follow El, a nearly mute girl who was the subject of scientific experiments. She develops telekinetic powers, which she uses to fend off monsters invading her from a terrifying alternate dimension. The world of Indiana, Hawkins is carefully detailed for anyone in need of a nostalgic ’80s hit and the misfit characters, played by a stellar young cast, are part of everything that makes this show a tour de force.
Unfortunately, this science fiction series does not have a second season, another victim of Netflix that died too soon. Two timelines, cults, and a mystery are wrapped up in Archive 81’s tantalizing package. The genre-spanning show stars Mamoudou Athie as Dan Turner, an archivist working to restore a collection of damaged videotapes from the years 90. He gets much more than he bargained for, involved in an investigation of a mysterious cult and a young woman who may or may not be dead. A supernatural thriller with horror, noir, and sci-fi seeped into its creepy atmosphere, Archive 81 has it all.
Movies Coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and More
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