7 sci-fi shows on Netflix to stream right now

Resident Alien
(Image credit: Syfy)

Getting lost in a world that is not your own is one of life's most incredible escapes. A movie can undoubtedly take you away, but there's something about a series that makes the experience far more enjoyable. The escape lasts longer. You have more time to connect with the strange characters that aren't part of our world and understand the involved plotlines that stretch out over every season.

We're sharing a few of the best sci-fi shows on Netflix that you don't want to miss. Whether you are swept away by the idea of time travel or want to venture off to another planet, these binge-worthy selections are sure to keep you distracted from everything happening in this world, at least for a little while. 


For those who love dystopian science fiction shows, "3%" is a must-watch. This series is set in a futuristic version of society where most people live in an impoverished area known as Inland. However, hope is not entirely lost because everyone gets a chance to go Offshore, a virtual paradise. Yet, only 3% actually make it through the life-threatening and frightening series of challenges in The Process. Then, there's an underground group that wants to take down the entire system, upping the stakes as you watch the series.

This show is actually Netflix's first Portuguese original series. It's fairly low-budget compared to some other science fiction shows, but its rich storytelling and strong character development will sweep you away. 

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This black comedy meets sci-fi in a manner that feels weirdly realistic. Annie Landsberg (Emma Stone) and Owen Milgrim (Jonah Hill) are two very different people who meet during a psychologically intense pharmaceutical trial. When they realize the test isn't quite what it seems, they've already been pushed down the path of exploring multiple personalities and existences through a variety of hallucinatory worlds, all induced by a mysterious drug. - BV

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In this version of a post-apocalyptic future, surviving humans figure out how to send their consciousness back through time. The five Travelers, as they are called, select random people to embody, only having access to archived social media profiles. When they arrive in the past (our present day), they set out to perform secret missions meant to save humanity from its terrible fate. However, they soon discover their identities often make things much more complicated. 

Brad Wright is the creator of the show and the mind behind many popular science fiction shows, including "Stargate SG-1" and "Stargate Atlantis," among others. The show also features a familiar face: Eric McCormack, who you may know better from "Will & Grace," plays Grant MacLaren, the team's leader. 

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'Resident Alien'

When an alien crash-lands in a small Colorado town, he takes on the identity of a doctor, Dr. Harry Vanderspeigel (Alan Tudyk). That way, he can come and go as he pleases while he searches for parts of his spaceship. When the town's actual doctor dies, he's called to take his place and do an autopsy. Despite coming into contact with humans, Dr. Vanderspeigel is still on a mission to destroy their kind. Judah Prehn's Max Hawthorne is the only one in the entire town who can see him for who he really is —an alien in disguise.

This show is the perfect blend of science fiction and comedy, making it a series you'll enjoy watching the entire way through. Tudyk brings a level of humor to his character that isn't even found in the original comic but is so suitable for his role. 

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'Altered Carbon'

Set in a future where our consciousness can be stored and digitized, "Altered Carbon" begins with the story of Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman), a former soldier and prisoner who is released by 300-year-old Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy), one of the wealthiest men in the settled world. Kovacs' mission is to solve Bancroft's own murder. In season 2 of the series, Kovas embodies a new person, portrayed by Anthony Mackie.

While many viewers have mixed feelings about season 2, it's still an award-winning show, earning two Primetime Emmys. It's based on a book of the same name by Richard K. Morgan and stays fairly close to the novel with some deviations. However, even fans of the book found there is still a lot to enjoy about its adaptation for the small screen.

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This German sci-fi thriller will take you on a journey into a small town where two children have gone missing. These disappearances have fractured the lives of four families and revealed a mystery that spans four generations. The series revolves around these relationships, along with a mysterious cave, a nuclear power plant and a sinister time-travel conspiracy.

While time travel tends to be an overrated science fiction theme, this show does more than justice to that plotline. The entire series lasts three seasons and will leave you satisfied. It's one of Netflix's most underrated gems of a show and somewhat similar to "Stranger Things." However, the show overall is a bit darker in comparison. 

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'Black Mirror'

Charlie Brooker's eerie anthology series may occasionally bring the laughs, but it centers on the disturbing nature of technology across its provocative six seasons. Each standalone episode explores a different facet of society's obsession with tech and social media, for better or worse, from tragic love stories to bizarre tales that pose interesting questions about the concept of life, memory, and what happens after we die. There's an occasional glimmer of hope here and there, but for the most part, this sci-fi series is all about keeping you uneasy. - BV

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Nicole Pyles is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She loves movies, especially Lifetime movies, obscure TV movies, and disaster flicks. Her writing has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Mental Floss, WOW! Women on Writing, Ripley's Believe it or Not, and more. When she isn't watching movies, she's spending time with family, reading, and writing short stories. Say hi on Twitter @BeingTheWriter.

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