Sci-fi has been a staple genre in our ever-growing collection of movies and television since 1902. Almost 120 years later, and billions of audiences around the world still fall in love with adventures taking place in deep space, watching their favorite superheroes in action, or settling in to watch a niche horror. We’ve put together our top 20 sci-fi movies and TV series that are ready to be enjoyed on Netflix right now.
The following list is taken from the US library. For any readers outside of the US, the titles below may not be available to stream in your region.
N = Netflix Original
Here are the top 20 sci-fi movies and TV series on Netflix:
20. Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles: The Movie (1990)
Director: Steve Barron
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Comedy, Superhero | Parental Rating: PG
Cast: Josh Pais, Brian Tochi, Corey Feldman, Robbie Rist
Cowabunga dude. In the lates 80s and early 90s, you couldn’t get away from Turtlemania. From comics, toys and an awesome cartoon series, it was only a matter of time before the Turtles were brought to the big screen.
Four genetically mutated turtles take to the shadows of New York to fight the nefarious ninja Foot Clan. When their master, Splinter, is kidnapped by the clan its up to the Turtles, reporter April O’Neil, and vigilante Casey Jones to take down the clan, defeat the evil Shredder and save Master Splinter.
19. Altered Carbon N
Seasons: 2 | Episodes: 18
Sub-Genre: Action, Cyber-Punk | Runtime: 60 Minutes | Parental Rating: R
Cast: Chris Connor, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Will Yun Lee, Joel Kinnaman, Anthony Mackie
The premise of Altered Carbon paves the way for multiple high profile actors to take over the role of Takeshi Kovacs season to season. The futuristic Neo-Noir can be compared to Blade Runner, as it certainly takes lots of inspiration from the sci-fi classic.
In the not too distant future humanity is overcome death by transferring one’s consciousness into a new body. Known as “sleeves” these bodies are taken from convicts and other deviants. Awakening from a 100-year sleep, Takeshi Kovacs is recruited by the richest man on earth to solve his own murder.
18. Sense8 N
Seasons: 2 | Episodes: 24
Sub-Genre: Mystery, Thriller | Runtime: 60 Minutes | Parental Rating: R
Cast: Bae Doona, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Tuppence Middleton, Maz Riemelt
It’s between The OA and Sense8 for the most fiercely loyal fans on Netflix, but considering Sense8 fans have been at it longer, we’ll give it to them. It’s been almost 2 years since Sense8 came to an end, but to this day there fans still trying to petition Netflix to revive the show. Loyal fanbase aside, there is plenty to love about Sense8, the concept and the development of the story will certainly make you feel a little differently about love, relationships and the way we experience the world around us.
A group of people around the world are suddenly linked mentally and must find a way to survive being hunted by those who see them as a threat to the world’s order.
17. Raising Dion N
Seasons: 1 | Episodes: 9
Sub-Genre: Superhero | Runtime: 50 Minutes | Parental Rating: PG
Cast: Jason Ritter, Alisha Wainwright, Ja’Siah Young, Michael B. Jordan, Ali Ahn
In an era of a million and one superhero titles, it takes something special to stand out amongst the crowd. A charming series, Raising Dion is a drama that all of the family can enjoy.
After the death of her husband Mark, Nicole Reese is left to raise her son Dion, alone. The job of being a single mother only gets harder for Nicole when Dion manifests multiple superhero-like powers and abilities. To protect her son and to help teach him how to use his powers for good, Nicole enlists the help of Mark’s best friend Pat. The pair try to figure out the origins of Dion’s abilities while also trying to protect the young boy from those who would exploit his powers.
16. I Am Mother N
Director: Grant Sputore
Runtime: 113 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Mystery | Parental Rating: PG-13
Cast: Rose Byrne, Hilary Swank, Clara Rugaard, Maddie Lenton, Luke Hawker
I Am Mother split opinion quite heavily upon release, but to us, its definitely one of the best sci-fi Originals Netflix has to offer.
In the not too distant future, what little remains of humanity is kept safe in an underground bunker. Mother a robot with an advanced A.I is tasked with repopulating humanity. But when a blood worn woman from the outside world manages to slip inside soon the lies from Mother begin to unravel and Mother’s true mission is soon revealed.
15. Star Trek: Enterprise
Seasons: 4 | Episodes: 97
Sub-Genre: Adventure | Runtime: 60 Minutes
Cast: Scott Bakula, John Billingsley, Jolene Blalock, Dominic Keating, Anthony Montgomery
It was inevitable that Star Trek would eventually look to its past and explore the origins of Starfleet’s and humanity’s rise to prominence in the galaxy.
Taking place a century before Captain James T. Kirk’s five-year mission on the Enterprise, Captain Jonathan Archer leads his crew on the Enterprise, Earth’s first ship capable of traveling at warp five.
14. Men in Black (1997)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Comedy | Parental Rating: PG
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rip Torn
The 90s was an excellent decade for Will Smith, in the wake of his success on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Independence Day, Smith’s next smash hit would featuring in Men in Black. The film was a huge success, making almost $590 million at the box office. The series has since seen three sequels and even an animated series that ran from 1997 to 2001.
After coming into contact with an extraterrestrial, NYPD officer James Edwards III is invited by a mysterious agent to conduct a series of tests, to see if he is worthy to become an agent for the Men in Black. When an Alien illegally crashes on planet Earth, it’s up to James, now Agent J, and his partner Agent K to take him down.
13. Lost in Space N
Seasons: 2 | Episodes: 20
Sub-Genre: Adventure, Family | Runtime: 60 Minutes
Cast: Molly Parker, Toby Stephens, Maxwell Jenkins, Taylor Russell, Mina Sundwall
In an era of reboots that are a dime a dozen, it came at no surprise that the classic sci-fi franchise Lost in Space would make a return. Albeit one of the better reboots we’ve seen, fans both old and new have enjoyed the previous two seasons watching the Robinson family fight for survival in space. The series will also be returning for a third and final season, so there’s still plenty to look forward to.
Upon crash landing on an alien world, the Robinson family must fight against all the odds in order to survive.
12. Travelers N
Seasons: 3 | Episodes: 34
Sub-Genre: Mystery, Thriller | Runtime: 45 Minutes
Cast: Eric McCormack, MacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahamson, Reily Dolman
It came as a huge shock in 2019 when Travelers was canceled after 3 seasons on Netflix. Despite the cancelation, Travelers is still incredibly enjoyable and one of the most compelling series to binge on a lazy Sunday.
In the future, the world is in a post-apocalyptic state. A group of operatives known as the ‘Travelers’ is sent back in time to help prevent the collapse of society. The operative’s consciousness are transferred into present-day individuals that are moments from death. In transferring their minds into these individuals, this minimizes the impact on the timeline. In teams of five the ‘Travelers’ missions are dictated by the Director, an A.I from the future that analyses the timeline to stop the catastrophic events from happening.
11. Ex Machina (2015)
Director: Alex Garland
Runtime: 108 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Drama, Mystery | Parental Rating: R
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Sonoya Mizuno, Corey Johnson
One of the best independent films from the past ten years Ex Machina was a revelation for the sci-fi genre. The film did an excellent job showcasing ethics and morality in regards to artificial intelligence, and the acting between Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Oscar Isaac
After winning a company contest programmer Caleb Smith is sent to the private estate of his companies esteemed CEO Nathan Bateman. Upon arriving Caleb soon learns he is the human component in an experiment to prove the capabilities of the beautiful robot Ava.
10. The Umbrella Academy N
Seasons: 1 | Episodes: 20
Sub-Genre: Adventure, Comedy | Runtime: 60 Minutes | Parental Rating: R
Cast: Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Justin H. Min
A surprise smash hit of 2019, The Umbrella Academy was watched by over 45 million subscribers between February and April 2019. An incredible figure for a series that had only just debuted, if the upcoming second season is anything like the first, there’s every chance that number will be going up by a dramatic amount.
In the year 1989, 43 infants were inexplicably born to women that were not pregnant the day before. Seven of these children were adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves. The billionaire industrialist adopts these children with the intention to train them to become earth’s saviors. Upon entering their teenage years, the team disbanded and each of them went their separate ways. When Dr. Hargreeves passes away, the team reunites after many years for his funeral. The estranged family still struggles to see eye to eye, but the six remaining members of the team must set aside their differences when the world is at risk of an impending apocalypse.
9. Star Trek: The Next Generation
Seasons: 7 | Episodes: 178
Sub-Genre: Adventure | Runtime: 44 minutes | Parental Rating: PG
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner
Memes at the ready, it’s Patrick Stewart as the iconic Jean-Luc Picard and his crew of the USS Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The series ran for 7 seasons from 1987 until 1994, not to mention a further 4 movies featuring The Next Generation cast appeared from 1994 to 2002.
In the 24th century, a new generation of Starfleet officers is lead by captain Jean-Luc Piccard aboard the USS Enterprise-D, as they seek out new planets and lifeforms.
8. Bird Box (2018) N
Director: Susanna Bier
Runtime: 124 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Horror | Parental Rating: R
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver
Bird Box is only second to 6 Underground as the most-watched Netflix Original. The horror was a smash hit when it was released on Netflix in December 2018, smashing its way into pop culture with challenges on apps like Tik Tok, not to mention some truly excellent memes.
There are many that will agree and disagree with how high we’ve ranked Bird Box. Despite any opinions on the film, we cannot deny its overwhelming popularity therefore whether the film was good or not the number of subscribers that tuned in to watch was ginormous.
7. Star Trek
Seasons: 3 | Episodes: 80
Sub-Genre: Adventure | Runtime: 50 Minutes | Parental Rating: PG
Cast: Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan
The classic sci-fi series is one of the most influential shows in television history, paving the way for new and exciting sci-fi shows, along with plenty of iterations that took place in the Star Trek universe.
Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship USS Enterprise and his crew explore the galaxy in search of new strange alien worlds.
6. Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)
Director: Ridley Scott
Runtime: 117 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Neo-Noir, Thriller | Parental Rating: R
Cast: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh
One of the ultimate sci-fi classics, Blade Runner went through an incredible number of cuts throughout the years. It took until 2007, 25 years on from its theatrical release, and 4 different cuts, before finally fans could view Blade Runner in its entirety. A defining feature of the 80s, Blade Runner is also one of the best movies Harrison Ford has starred in.
In the year 2019 Rick Deckard, an ex-police officer, is tasked with hunting down a group of renegade replicants after their escape from the off-world colonies. The deeper Deckard goes into his investigation, the more he questions his own identity as his reality unravels around him.
5. Love, Death, and Robots N
Seasons: 1 | Episodes: 19
Sub-Genre: Anthology, Comedy, Horror | Runtime: 15 Minutes | Parental Rating: R
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Topher Grace, Gary Cole, Roger Craig Smith, Chris Parnell
We weren’t sure what to expect in the run-up to the release of Love, Death, and Robots, but what we received was nothing short of incredible. Across 19 uniquely animated stories, we were treated to horror, laughter, romance, and mind-blowing twists.
4. Inception (2010)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Runtime: 148 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Adventure, Thriller | Parental Rating: PG-13
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe
In the middle of making one of the greatest trilogies in cinema history, Christopher Nolan crafted the mind-boggling film Inception. One of the best films of 2010, Inception earned an incredible 4 academy awards for Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, and Best Cinematography. If you haven’t already watched Inception, what are you waiting for?
The art of extraction is one of the most dangerous skills in the world, infiltrating the subconscious mind while they are at their most vulnerable extracting their biggest secrets. Dom Cobb and his crack team must pull off a near-impossible job, instead of stealing from a subconscious they must supplant an idea into the mind of a C.E.O’s son. With one last hope at redemption, Cobb’s biggest danger to the mission is an enemy only he could have seen coming.
3. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Runtime: 149 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Superhero | Parental Rating: PG-13
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson
In just 10 years, Marvel Studios had developed the largest and ambitious cinematic franchise in history. Infinity War, the penultimate film of the entire Infinity saga, was a movie event that is only second to that of its sequel Avengers: Endgame. The film saw, at the time, the largest number of superheroes on screen ever, bringing all of the major franchises of the MCU together for a climactic finale with Thanos. The film made over $2 billion at the box office, and would later be eclipsed by Endgame, which made a record-setting $2.78 billion.
The evil planet conquering warlord Thanos sets his sights on Earth in his quest to claim all the infinity stones. Earth’s mightiest defenders, The Avengers, are all that stands in Thanos’s way of enacting his plan to eradicate half of the universe.
2. Stranger Things N
Seasons: 3 | Episodes: 33
Sub-Genre: Horror, Mystery | Runtime: 50 Minutes | Parental Rating: TV-14
Cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo
Each season Stranger Things has gone from strength to strength. Within the first weekend that Stranger Things season 3 was available, over 26 million subscribers tuned in to binge the series. The sci-fi series has found a perfect place between nostalgia and storytelling, making it easily accessible to subscribers across multiple generations. Suffice to say the fourth season will be one of the most anticipated pieces of television in Netflix’s history.
In the sleepy town of Hawkins, Indiana, Will Byers mysteriously disappears without a trace on his way home from playing Dungeons & Dragons. While out searching for Will, Mike Wheeler finds a young girl named “Eleven”, who has supernatural abilities, and knows where Mike has been taken. Meanwhile, Will’s mother Joyce tries to communicate with her son from the other side, and chief of police Jim Hopper’s investigation takes him to the shady Department of Energy. The true horror that lies ahead will change the future of Hawkins forever.
1. Black Mirror N
Seasons: 5 | Episodes: 22
Sub-Genre: Horror, Thriller, Mystery | Runtime: 60 Minutes | Parental Rating: R
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Jon Hamm, Hayley Atwell, Anthony Mackie, Domhnall Gleeson
To top our list is the incredible anthology series Black Mirror. One of the bleakest and eye-opening series available to stream on Netflix today, each episode is incredibly unique, leaving a long-lasting impression that will stay with you for years to come. Not afraid to take a look at the darkest aspects of our society, desires, and technology, Black Mirror does an excellent job in making you question the world around you.