40 Sci-Fi Shows Totally Worth Watching

40 Sci-Fi Shows Totally Worth Watching

1

Silo (2023–Present)

Genre queen Rebecca Ferguson (Dune, Mission: Impossible) is the main attraction in Silo, which tells an engaging and compelling sci-fi mystery about a society that claims the outside is dangerous—and may be holding some important details back from its people. The cast also includes Tim Robbins, Common, David Oyelowo, and Rashida Jones, among others. One of 2023’s best new shows, especially if you’re into sci-fi.

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2

Severance (2022–Present)

One of the most unique shows on this list is Severance, which goes into an ever-so-different near-future from our own where people have the ability to sever their work life from their home life, effectively splitting themselves into two entirely different people. The show has been nominated for quite a few Emmys, features a cast led by Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, and Christopher Walken, and benefits greatly from the presence of Ben Stiller as a producer and frequent director. Severance is a blast.

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3

For All Mankind (2019–Present)

One of Apple TV+’s first series, For All Mankind imagines a reality where the space race never ended. The show’s story starts in 1969 with an alternate world where Russia beats the U.S. to the moon, and things only escalate from there. Joel Kinnaman and Ted Lasso guest star Jodi Balfour are part of the show’s impressive cast.

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4

The Mandalorian (2019–Present)

Star Wars fans don’t need to hear this. But Disney+’s flagship series of a galaxy far, far, away is a darn good time. Pedro Pascal plays the titular character, an intergalactic bounty hunter who gets immensely softened when his path crosses with the cutest little guy named Grogu (known colloquially as Baby Yoda). The Mandalorian is a pulpy, largely episodic space western; it’s far from prestige TV, but you’ll almost always have a great time when watching an episode.

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5

Andor (2022–Present)

However, if you are looking for prestige TV in the Star Wars galaxy, look no further than Andor, the absolutely brilliant prequel series to 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This is a series that brilliantly blends top-tier writing with smart, radical, real-world applicable messaging. Diego Luna leads an incredible cast as the titular space rebel. The coming second season of Andor will wrap this series up, but it’s one of the best pieces of work to ever exist in George Lucas’ expansive world.

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6

Foundation (2021–Present)

This adaptation of sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov’s work comes from David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Blade) and is one of the most visually-stunning things you can put onto your TV screen. Seriously. This show will absolutely blow you away aesthetically. The sci-fi tale has a cast led by Jared Harris and Lee Pace, and should satisfy any fan of the genre with seriously high standards.

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7

Station Eleven (2021–2022)

Based somewhat loosely on Emily St. John Mandel’s novel of the same name, Max’s Station Eleven is a slow burn sci-fi story about the end of the world that, actually, turns into a story of hope. It’s one of the richest character portrayals of any story in the last few years and certainly of anything on this list. With a cast that includes Himesh Patel and sci-fi queen Mackenzie Davis (The Martian, Black Mirror, Blade Runner 2049), this is one you should make sure you make the time to watch.

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8

FROM (2022–Present)

FROM is a creepy sci-fi/horror series that stars former Lost standout Harold Perineau. We’d recommend this one for anyone interested in something of a Stephen King/Lost hybrid.

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9

The Peripheral (2022–Present)

One big-scale sci-fi series that flew under the radar but is nonetheless quite good is Prime Video’s The Peripheral, starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Midsommar‘s Jack Reynor. The show, based on William Gibson’s novel, deals with changes in society and how a virtual reality game figures into things.

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10

Mrs. Davis (2023)

Mrs. Davis is a timely limited series that was co-created by Damon Lindelof, the brilliant TV creator behind Lost, The Leftovers, and Watchmen. While Mrs. Davis is decisively zanier and less self-serious than those three all-timer series, it’s still a lot of fun and worth your time. It’s set in an alternate reality where a nun (Betty Gilpin) and her cowboy ex-boyfriend (Jake McDorman) take on an evil A.I. Basically the same story as Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One… but handled in a very different way. Both good!

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11

Altered Carbon (2018–2020)

If you’re into a cyberpunk aesthetic, Altered Carbon is 100% the show for you. This series (which has two seasons; the first stars Joel Kinnaman and the second stars Anthony Mackie) focuses on a distant future where people never really die. Instead, they ‘resleeve,’ which means their consciousness is entered into a new body. This concept eventually turns into a murder mystery that touches on class, where the rich essentially have the means to live forever.

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12

The Expanse (2015–2021)

Like Altered Carbon, The Expanse jumps to the future to solve a mystery. If you’re into inter-space mystery, action, and turmoil, there’s a good chance this series is for you. The Expanse saw its first three seasons air on SyFy before becoming an Amazon Prime Original.

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13

Black Mirror (2011–Present)

If time was no object, someone new to Black Mirror might be tempted to binge the whole thing in one sitting. There are 27 episodes that range from 50 to 90 minutes (plus an interactive ‘Choose-your-own-adventure’ special). That’s just an idea of how addicting this show is.

If you somehow haven’t heard of Black Mirror, it’s a series that started originally on the BBC before moving to Netflix; each episode tells a standalone story of a living nightmare, inspired in some futuristic version of a technological advance we’ve made today. Because the episodes are one-offs, the talent is top-tier: stars include Domhnall Gleeson, Jon Hamm, Miley Cyrus, and Altered Carbon Season 2 star Anthony Mackie (who shares an episode with Watchmen star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).

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14

The X-Files (1995–2002, 2016–2018)

Arguably the biggest show of the ’90s, The X-Files made everyone aware of what just might be out there. The show’s original run included episodes from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul writer Vince Gilligan, and while there are a ton of episodes, there are quite a few unforgettable classics in that bunch. The series returned in 2016 for a limited run, and ended up turning into a three-season revival. You’ll see a lot of your favorite current shows in The X-Files; it was a pioneer.As the series tagline goes, I Want To Believe.

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15

Fringe (2008–2013)

For a while in the late 2000s, when Lost was winding down, there was a lot of speculation on what could possibly take its place as television’s next huge phenomenon (we had no idea what was on the way with the streaming era). Coming from J.J. Abrams, Fringe was thought to be a possible contender; the show never quite became a massive phenomenon in the way that Lost did, but it did run for five years and garner an impressive and utterly-devoted fanbase. Investigating the paranormal, supernatural, dimensional-hopping, and everything in between Fringe is the perfect show for any sci-fi fan to get lost in.

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16

The Twilight Zone (1959–1964; 1985–1989; 2002–2003; 2019–2020)

Of course, you’ve heard of The Twilight Zone before—that eerie theme song has been in your head in some form or another since the 1960s. Any version of the show is worth checking out, but we’ll specifically recommend the oldest and newest iterations: the original hosted by Rod Serling, and the 2019 remake hosted by Mr. Jordan Peele. With famous guest stars and big twists, this show is a good way to bend your mind a little bit before you go to bed.

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17

Dollhouse (2009–2010)

Dollhouse only lasted two seasons in the late 2000’s of being jerked around by FOX. The show dealt with all the things that used to stop good shows from getting seen: bad marketing, inconsistent time slot, and thus, a lack of an audience. This show deserved better.

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18

Counterpart (2017–2019)

More body doubles! In one of his first roles after winning the Oscar for Whiplash, JK Simmons started appearing in this series that ran for a pair of seasons on Starz. A spy show that gets pretty heavy into the sci-if (it includes an inter-dimensional cold war), this show features not one but two JK Simmons characters.

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19

11.22.63 (2016)

If you enjoy some of the time jumping in Westworld, perhaps you’d be interested in going the other direction with Hulu’s 11.22.63. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, this series finds James Franco unintentionally traveling back to 1963, where he realizes he has a way to prevent the JFK assassination (among other things).

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20

Mr. Robot (2015–2019)

If the sort of ~cyberpunk~ nature that you find in Altered Carbon or parts of Westworld is your jam, you could do worse than making your way over to Mr. Robot. This show had a massive first season, winning the Emmy for star Rami Malek (who has since won an Oscar and will soon appear as a Bond villain), but has since flown under the radar a little bit. The style of the show is very sleek, and it’s a joy just to look at—it’s one of the most stunningly shot shows of the decade. Creator Sam Esmail is endlessly talented, and the show’s twists and turns make this one of the best shows you could possibly invest your time in.

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