A wealth of incredible science fiction has hit the small screen in recent years. Whether you're a diehard sci-fi fan or new to the genre, there's a series out there that will tickle your imagination and intellect. Below are eleven great new sci-fi shows that are ready for you to stream right now. We're highlighting some of our favorites from the past seven years, but course, this being the era of peak TV, there are too many great series out there for us to include them all in one post. Share your own favorites in the comments below!
Electric Dreams (2018 — ongoing)
This Amazon series should be high on your watch list. Composed of 10 stand-alone episodes inspired by the writings of Philip K. Dick, the show depicts everyday people living in visions of the future that at times feel uncomfortably plausible. Each installment explores how humanity interacts with technology. That premise will sound familiar to fans of Netflix's sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror, but Electric Dreams offers a (somewhat) brighter vision of what the future has in store.
Electric Dreams' episodes explore everything from a future vision of North America where a presidential candidate uses subliminal messages to incite murder, to an intergalactic future where synthetic humanoids are desperate for rights, to a last-ditch effort to visit the ravaged planet Earth.
Black Mirror (2011 - ongoing)
Often considered a contemporary version of The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror is sharp, satirical, and totally creepy. Like Electric Dreams, each episode follows a different narrative and set of characters. The series often examines the darkest compulsions of humanity, and how those compulsions relate to technology. The show’s description says the episodes are set in an alternate reality, but often Black Mirror eerily mirrors our reality today.
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Star Trek: Discovery (2017 - ongoing)
Set about five years before the events of 1960's Star Trek: The Original Series, this new installment in the Star Trek saga follows the crew of the USS Discovery. The series centers around Sonequa Martin Green as Michael Burnham, a scientist on the Discovery.
Although the show has divided fans, in part because of CBS' controversial decision to air all but the pilot exclusively on their new streaming platform CBS All Access, a second season has already been secured. Throughout its first season, Discovery has been unafraid to swing for the fences and take creative risks, for better or for worse, in its depiction of the final frontier.
The Expanse (2015 - ongoing)
Based on the novels by James S.A. Corey, the pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, The Expanse details what a fully colonized solar system could look like. Set hundreds of years in the future, the series follows separate storylines that slowly intertwine as humanity careens toward potential destruction.
Detective Josephus Miller is enlisted to find a missing woman in the Belt, a colonized asteroid belt. Meanwhile, Jim Holden, executive officer aboard the ice hauler Canterbury, becomes involved in a tragic accident after the Canterbury intercepts a distress signal. The intergalactic incident further jeopardizes the already tenuous peace between Earth, Mars, and the Belt, and Chrisjen Avasarala of the United Nations must work to prevent war. Over the course of the show, these stories are woven together as it’s revealed that the missing woman and ice hauler incident are part of a larger threat and pose a danger to all humanity.
The Handmaid’s Tale (2017 - ongoing)
This series takes viewers to Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used to be part of the United States. In the face of a deteriorating environment and declining birth rate, the society’s leading fundamentalist regime has resolved to treat women like property. In an effort to repopulate a dying world, remaining fertile women are forced into sexual slavery.
Our story follows Offred, a courageous, smart, and observant young woman who is one of the many forced into this position. The show is based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood, and is just as shocking and terrifying as the book itself. The first season of the Hulu series won two Golden Globes and four Emmy Awards. The upcoming second season will begin where Atwood's book ends, exploring aspects of Gilead and its growing revolution that were only hinted at in the novel.
Legion (2017 - ongoing)
David Haller has struggled with mental illness since he was young. After receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia, he meets and falls for another patient in his psychiatric hospital. But after strange experiences within the hospital, David learns the voices he hears and people he sees may actually be real.
Based on the character Legion from the X-Men comics, Legion is the first TV series to be set in same universe as the X-Men movies. It's disorienting, visually stunning, and filled with incredible performances. Fans have come to expect a lot from superhero shows in recent years, but Legion truly raises the bar.
Westworld (2016 - ongoing)
Westworld is the amusement park of your dreams (or nightmares). Designed for rich vacationers, the Western-themed park allows its visitors to live out their wildest fantasies through interacting with the park's android 'hosts.' For an exorbitant fee, guests can fulfill their most transgressive desires — no punishments, no limits.
The show delves into humanity’s darkest indulgences, and interrogates the ethics of artificial intelligence. Westworld stars Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores, the park's oldest host. It also features Anthony Hopkins as the park's secretive founder, Ed Harris as the sinister Man in Black, and Thandie Newton as an android slowly awakening to the true role she plays within the park.
Stranger Things (2016 — ongoing)
If you're not familiar with Stranger Things, then you've probably spent the past few years trapped in the Upside Down. Netflix's runaway hit is an homage to Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and other influential '80s creators, but also totally original in his own right.
After young Will Byers goes missing from his home in Hawkins, Indiana, his mother, brother, and friends refuse to give up on him. When a mysterious girl with a shaved head and a set of unusual skills wanders into Hawkins, Will's friends realize that his disappearance may be related to a series of strange occurrences in the sleepy town.
Killjoys (2015 — ongoing)
Killjoys is an absolute delight for fans of space westerns. The SyFy show is set in the Quad, a terraformed star system rife with lawlessness. The governing body The Company tasks licensed bounty hunters, called 'Killjoys,' with bringing in Quad outlaws. Should a killjoy fail in their mission, they face harsh penalties.
The show follows a group of killjoys as they grapple with the considerable pressures of their profession amidst rising political tension. If you still miss Firefly, don't sleep on this this surprising SyFy series. The penultimate season is scheduled to air sometime in 2018, so you've got just enough time to catch up before new episodes hit the air.
This Netflix original was cancelled way ahead of its time, after only two seasons. However, a finale is slated to arrive on the streaming service at some point in 2018, so hopefully Sense8 fans will eventually get some closure.
Co-created by Lana and Lily Wachoswki with J. Michael Straczynski, the show follows eight strangers from across the world who suddenly become connected in a 'sensate cluster.' As sensates, they are psychically linked with each other, and able to share skills and knowledge despite geographical and language divides.
Sense8 is gorgeously shot, and depicts a far more inclusive breadth of human experience than the average Western sci-fi series. It developed a loyal fan base during its two seasons so far, and it's not hard to see why.
Orphan Black (2013 - 2017)
It might be a stretch to consider Orphan Black a 'new' show, given that this groundbreaking BBC series has already ended its run. Still, we couldn't miss a chance to highlight one of the most innovative sci-fi series from the past decade.
After witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks exactly like her, Sarah decides to steal this woman’s boyfriend, money, and entire identity. Sarah is a street-wise woman with a rocky past as an orphan who moved between foster homes throughout her young life. But she has always tried to do well by her daughter Kira, and she sees her doppelgänger's death as an opportunity to find a better life for them.
But it’s shortly revealed that the dead woman, Beth, was actually Sarah’s clone. Beth was a cop in the middle of a deadly conspiracy at the time of her death, and now Sarah must fight for her own life in a complex web of lies and murder. When it seems there is no one she can trust, her only confidante is her foster brother Felix. This mind-bending BBC show looks at the implications of the future of genetic cloning, and features an absolute tour-de-force performance from star Tatiana Maslany as the clone sisters.
Featured still from "Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams" via Amazon