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The best sci-fi series and movies to watch on Netflix right now

Updated Mar 19th, 2024 12:43PM EDT
Alice in Borderland on Netflix
Image: Netflix

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As the biggest streaming platform in the world, Netflix is home to everything from a massive library of movies to TV shows that run the gamut from Korean dramas and trashy reality shows to dramas, docuseries, and much more. Sci-fi is another popular category — and in this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the best series and movies currently available on the streaming giant for sci-fi fans to enjoy.

We’ll start with some of the best sci-fi Netflix shows and then move into a rundown of similarly-themed movies. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of what to check out next on the platform and maybe even steer you to your next Netflix favorite.

Can’t-miss Netflix sci-fi series

First up, these series include something for almost any kind of sci-fi fan, from dark and twisted to mind-bendy, time-warping plots, book adaptations, and much more.

Alice in Borderland

This first Netflix series is about a video-game-obsessed young man who finds himself in an alternate version of Tokyo, one where he and other visitors are forced to compete in deadly games. The show, which debuted in 2020, is also based on a graphic novel by Haro Aso.

Alice in Borderland on Netflix
A production still image from Season 2 of “Alice in Borderland” on Netflix. Image source: Netflix

Explains Netflix: “Arisu — a listless, jobless, and video-game-obsessed young man — suddenly finds himself in a strange, emptied-out version of Tokyo in which he and his friends must compete in dangerous games in order to survive. In this strange world, Arisu meets Usagi, a young woman who’s navigating the games alone. Together, they set out to unravel one mystery after another as they risk their lives and confront what it means to live.”

In a Netflix interview included with the show’s press material, series star Kento Yamazaki praised Alice in Borderland’s scale of production, raving that so many things about it have never been done in Japan before. “It’s a battle of life and death,” adds director Shinsuke Sato.

“These guys are not warriors. They are not soldiers or heroes. They’re just regular people in Tokyo. So when they gather in Shibuya at the end to finish this chaotic game, I thought it would be great to show them standing up to the fight as heroes.”


This three-season Netflix series, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, is set in a present-day German town. Two children have disappeared, exposing the double lives and relationships among four families.

Dark on NetflixImage source: Netflix

Dark‘s episodes take an increasingly supernatural twist — linking back to the same town, decades earlier. Stick with it, and you’ll be well-rewarded for your patience.

The series is a cult favorite among Netflix subscribers, and it was created by award-winning showrunners Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese.

Black Mirror

Created by Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror is another cult favorite Netflix series that’s continually played with our ideas about the future of humanity and technology in all kinds of weird and twisty ways.

Black Mirror on NetflixImage source: Netflix

Season 6 has proven especially buzzy on Netflix — and even poked a bit of fun at the streamer, with one episode in which a woman has a streaming show made about her life. “I’ve always felt that Black Mirror should feature stories that are entirely distinct from one another, and keep surprising people — and myself — or else what’s the point?” Brooker said in a Netflix promotional interview for the show.

“It should be a series that can’t be easily defined, and can keep reinventing itself.”

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

According to the official Netflix logline, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners tells a standalone, 10-episode story about a street kid trying to survive in Night City.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners
Kenn as David Martinez and Aoi Yuki as Lucy in Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. Image source: Netflix

Night City is a futuristic metropolis where everyone is obsessed with technology and body modifications. The kid, meanwhile, stays alive by becoming a mercenary outlaw known as an “edgerunner.” CD PROJEKT RED, which produced this Netflix series, is also behind the Cyberpunk 2077 video game (as well as The Witcher, which has its own Netflix series, too).

3 Body Problem

This final Netflix sci-fi series is shaping up to be one of the streamer’s TV events of the year.

3 Body Problem on Netflix
Liam Cunningham as Wade in “3 Body Problem.” Image source: Ed Miller/Netflix

Adapted from one of the most celebrated sci-fi novels of all time, here’s what the 3 Body Problem is all about: The show, led by the former Game of Thrones showrunners, tells an alien invasion story that, if you wanted, could also be a read as a sort of allegory about climate change.

It’s got a super complex story, one that unfolds over hundreds of years — which is to say, a brief summary really doesn’t do the story justice. But I’ll try:

A secretive project involving the military sends out a signal to try and make contact with aliens, and that effort ends up being a success. The signal is picked up by an alien race that’s essentially imploding, and it decides to invade Earth. Because those invaders can’t travel faster than the speed of light, it’s determined that they’ll be here in 450 years, which sets off all sorts of squabbles on Earth and creates divisions between those who, for example, want to fight the aliens and those who want to help. And then there are those who think, why should we care? We won’t be around, nor will our children or even our grandchildren for the arrival (there’s the allusion to climate change).

Three sci-fi movies to check out

Now that our recommendations of some of the best sci-fi Netflix series are out of the way, we’ll next dive into some feature films worth checking out that are also part of the genre. If you’re more interested in a one-and-done proposition — maybe you’re not looking for a whole new season of TV to get into at the moment — these are some of the many great sci-fi movie titles that are available to stream on Netflix right now. All of which, of course, are Netflix originals.

Rim of the World

This first movie will feel to many viewers almost like an homage to titles like Stranger Things and Super 8.

Rim of the World on NetflixImage source: Aaron Epstein/Netflix

“Summer camp at Rim of the World has barely begun when four misfit teenagers — Alex, Zhenzhen, Dariush, and Gabriel — find they’ve got bigger problems to face than learning how to canoe and climb ropes when aliens suddenly invade the planet,” Netflix explains.

“Alone in a campground once teeming with people, the kids are unexpectedly entrusted with a key that carries the secret to stopping the invasion. Without any adults or electronics to help guide the way, it’s clear what they must do: band together, conquer their fears, and save the world.”

The Adam Project

Here’s the basic plot of this next movie: A time-traveling pilot teams up with his younger self, as well as his late father, in order to save the future. In the process, he also ends up coming to terms with his past.

The Adam Project on Netflix
Zoe Saldana as Laura and Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam in “The Adam Project.” Image source: Netflix

Ryan Reynolds plays the older version of the character (“Big Adam”). “What hooked me in was the idea of, what if you could make your peace with your own history?” director Shawn Levy explains, in an interview about the movie included with Netflix’s press material. “What if you could, as an adult, go back and make peace with your younger self, and make your peace with the parents we failed to understand when we were growing up? What if you could go back and reconnect with your parents with the benefit of a lifetime of wisdom and perspective?

“Because more often than not, when we think back to our parents, there are stories we tell ourselves. Either they were perfect or they were the villain in my backstory. But generally, neither is true.”

I Am Mother

In this Netflix movie from director Grant Sputore, a robot known as “Mother” (voiced by Rose Byrne) raises a human teenager after an extinction-level event has supposedly wiped out human life outside of the “mother” and daughter’s closed-off subterranean compound.

I Am Mother on Netflix
Clara Rugaard in Netflix’s “I Am Mother.” Image source: Netflix

Hilary Swank, meanwhile, plays a human who eventually makes her way inside the compound, throwing the teenager’s whole understanding of her world into question.

In an interview with me several years ago, Swank said she thought this Netflix movie offered an interesting take on the, at times, troubling interplay between humanity and technology. It’s also interesting to go back and read her comments from several years ago now, with the world now fully in the era of ChatGPT and generative AI.

“I think AI is going to become much more prevalent as we move into the future,” Swank told me. “This is not going to be something that’s far off.

“As Grant says a lot, the interesting thing about AI is we don’t program them. They’re built, and then their experiences program themselves. So it’s not unlike a human being and how we experience the world. They just happen to be infinitely smarter than us and their learning curve is shorter. And their ability to move on to the next thing and learn from the mistake they just made is so great.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.