21 of Netflix's best science-fiction movies and TV shows

Netflix‘Stranger Things’ is one of Netflix’s most popular sci-fi series.

Over the years, Netflix has emerged as a frontrunner in cutting-edge original content in the science-fiction genre.

Read on for some of the streamer’s best sci-fi shows and films, as rated by critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Note: All scores were current on the date of publication and are subject to change. Films without critical ratings were not included. Netflix’s originals generally consist of both content created by the streaming service and content exclusive to the platform.


“Better Than Us” has one critically acclaimed season, and it was renewed for a second.

NetflixPaulina Andreeva on ‘Better Than Us.’

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

Set in the near future, Russian series “Better Than Us” follows a group of rebels, known as The Liquidators, who are ready to face off against the emotionally capable robots who’ve become an ordinary part of human life.

Critics found “Better Than Us” to be a worthwhile addition to the genre.

Brad Newsome wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald, “It’s all handsomely, thoughtfully made, and well worth checking out.”


The sci-fi fantasy series “Biohackers” centres on German medical students.

Marco Nagel/NetflixThe German series has been renewed for a second season.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

“Biohackers” is set at a German university with an advanced understanding of biohacking technology. When medical student Mia (Luna Wedler) enrolls there in the hopes of uncovering the causes of her family’s past tragedy, she develops a rivalry with a well-respected professor (Jessica Schwarz).

Critics were hooked by the show’s fast-paced plot and charming cast.

“The charm of the lead cast is worth watching the show for alone, and if you can be patient with the first two episodes, then you will watch the following four with excitement and ease,” Mollie Davies wrote for Den of Geek.


“Osmosis” is a French drama about an advanced dating app.

NetflixThe French series ran for one season.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

Set in near-future Paris, “Osmosis” centres on a new dating app that uses brain data to help users find their ultimate soulmates. But to use the technology users must give the app full access to their minds.

The first and only season of “Osmosis” caught critics’ attention with its brisk and nuanced plot.

Graeme Blundell wrote for The Australian, “It’s for those who have had enough of dead-end relationships on the many dating apps available, who are convinced virtual reality has killed feelings, and who believe they no longer have any meaningful choice in partners.”


“Dark” kept critics up at night with its compelling storylines.

NetflixLouis Hofmann on ‘Dark.’

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Set in a small German town, “Dark” explores the ties between four different families who emerge after two young children are kidnapped.

Critics called “Dark” a must-see science-fiction series that’s complex but grounded by human elements and engaging storytelling.

“The thing about ‘Dark’ is that you don’t need to maintain a complex diagram of overlapping timelines and rootless family trees to maintain an interest in what’s happening to the people of Winden,” Sean T. Collins wrote for Decider.


Critics said “See You Yesterday” (2019) brought new depth to the time-travel genre.

NetflixEden Duncan-Smith starred in ‘See You Yesterday.’

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

In “See You Yesterday,” best friends C.J. (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian Thomas (Danté Crichlow) band together to make a time-travel device that will allow them to save C.J.’s brother from a police shooting.

By facing complex, real-life issues head-on and mixing them with a tonic of time travel and sci-fi charm, “See You Yesterday” balanced its themes with grace, according to critics.

“‘See You Yesterday’ finds a striking-yet-natural balance between genre concept and a harsh reality that is achingly familiar to the people who have to navigate it every day,” Shannon Miller wrote for the AV Club.


“Stranger Things” has earned critical acclaim across its seasons.

NetflixMillie Bobby Brown stars on ‘Stranger Things.’

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

On “Stranger Things,” a group of kids growing up in the early 1980s investigate supernatural occurrences in their town of Hawkins, Indiana, after their friend Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) disappears without a trace.

Critics called “Stranger Things” a nostalgia-filled throwback for adults and an exciting new franchise for the next generation.

Liz Calvario wrote for IndieWire, “‘Stranger Things’ is nothing if not a surprising, sometimes scary, moving and successful homage to the era of Spielberg’s ‘ET’ and the 1980s themselves.”


“The Midnight Gospel” was praised as a thoughtful and intelligent animated series.

NetflixThe series is intended for an adult audience.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%

On the psychedelic sci-fi series “The Midnight Gospel,” spacecaster Clancy (voiced by Duncan Trussell) transcends space and time to interview subjects on life, love, death, and spirituality.

Critics couldn’t get enough of the authentic animated series, which many found wholly unique and creatively rendered.

“We often say that a show is ‘like nothing else on television’ and it’s usually an act of critical hyperbole,” Brian Tallerico wrote for Roger Ebert. “Trust me. It’s true here.”


“I Am Mother” (2019) gained a huge fan following and impressed critics, too.

NetflixClara Rugaard in ‘I Am Mother.’

Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%

In the sci-fi thriller “I Am Mother,” a teenage girl (Clara Rugaard) is being raised by robots in the wake of human extinction. But when a stranger arrives with shocking news, the bond between the human girl and the robots is put to the test.

Most critics were impressed by the film’s gripping plot and sharp visuals.

Brad Newsome wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald, “An intriguing premise, fine performances and a string of startling reveals that just keeps on coming make this Australian sci-fi film a real winner – and a must-watch for the ‘Black Mirror’ set.”


“Into the Night” is a sci-fi series set on an aeroplane.

Netflix‘Into the Night’ is based on a Polish science-fiction novel.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

Based on the novel “The Old Axolotl” by Polish author Polish Jacek Dukaj, “Into the Night” follows the passengers on a flight from Brussels who are trying to stay ahead of the sun – which is emitting lethal radiation toward Earth.

Some critics found the series’ first season to be silly, but others were entranced by the thrilling plot.

“‘Into the Night’ may be silly, but it’s amusing, and remarkably watchable,” John Serba wrote for Decider. “I’d say give it another episode or two, but if it keeps blitzkrieging along like this, you’ll be through the whole shebang before you know it.”


“Sense8” wowed critics and left them wanting more.

NetflixTuppence Middleton on ‘Sense8.’

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%

On the two seasons of “Sense8,” eight characters from around the world are suddenly linked by a mental connection that allows them to communicate with each other on a subconscious level.

By deftly capturing the lives of characters from around the globe, “Sense8” was worth the emotional investment, per critics.

“Not since ‘Lost’ or the early seasons of ‘The Walking Dead’ have I been this wrapped up in a group of characters’ survival and well-being,” Mark A. Perigard wrote for the Boston Herald.


Visually powerful and creatively layered, “The Innocents” is worth a watch.

Aimee Spinks / NetflixPercelle Ascott and Sorcha Groundsell on ‘The Innocents.’

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%

On “The Innocents,” young lovers Harry (Percelle Ascott) and June (Sorcha Groundsell) run away from their families to make a new life together. But they’re thrown off course when June develops shape-shifting abilities.

Critics agreed that “The Innocents” ultimately delivered a satisfying first season and a rewarding finale, even if it was a little slow to start.

“‘The Innocents’ is a beautiful show,” wrote Tejah Wilson for Black Girl Nerds. “The visuals alone make it appealing, but the great acting and storyline is something different that we haven’t really seen before or at least in while.”


Critics and fans alike found “The OA” to be a captivating series.

Nicola Goode/NetflixBrit Marling starred on ‘The OA,’ which ran for two seasons.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%

On “The OA,” when Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling) returns after going missing for seven years she can suddenly see after being blind her whole life. Now known as OA, Prairie recruits five strangers to help her with a secret mission while the rest of the town tries to decipher whether she’s become a threat.

Many critics found “The OA” to be a captivating series, even though it was cancelled after its second season.

Dan Fienberg wrote for the Hollywood Reporter, “The only thing I’m sure of when it comes to ‘The OA’ is that the process of watching and experiencing an episode is unlike the viewing of any other show on TV and, good or bad, there’s value in that.”


“Maniac” was received as a colourful and clever sci-fi miniseries.

NetflixJonah Hill and Emma Stone on ‘Maniac.’

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%

On “Maniac” Owen Milgrim (Jonah Hill) and Annie Lansberg (Emma Stone) are inexplicably drawn to each other as they partake in a boundary-pushing pharmaceutical trial that takes their minds to unexpected destinations.

Critics thought “Maniac” made good use of Hill and Stone in the lead roles.

“‘Maniac’ might just be Netflix’s most ambitious show yet,”critic Liam Hoofe wrote forFlickering Myth. “It’s a genre-hopping rollercoaster ride that never lets up for all of its 10 episode run.”


Critics loved the fun and dramatic elements of “Alice in Borderland.”

Haro Aso,Shogakukan / ROBOT/NetflixThe Japanese series has one season.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%

On “Alice in Borderland,” down-on-his-luck Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) and his two friends are suddenly thrust into a parallel universe where they’re forced to play a dangerous game of survival.

Reviewers said the show’s original plot and bright spots of humour made it stand apart from similar stories in the genre.

“Watching under-resourced and outgunned heroes overcome the odds is eternally satisfying – and as Arisu insists, every game has a solution,” Melanie McFarland wrote for Salon.com.


Reviewers were captivated by the dark allegories at play on “Black Mirror.”

Netflix‘Black Mirror’ had a rotating cast of characters.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%

An anthology of stories that span alternate dimensions, virtual realities, and untold futures, “Black Mirror” follows an array of characters as they confront their relationship with the darker aspects of technology.

Thought-provoking and visceral, “Black Mirror” received critical acclaim for its ability to hold a mirror up to humanity, often with a fantastical twist.

“‘Black Mirror’ offers a mature ‘Twilight Zone’-like viewing experience that is both entertaining and disturbingly captivating,” Melissa Camacho wrote for Common Sense Media.


Critics said “The Umbrella Academy” was an inventive dark-comedy series.

Christos Kalohoridis/NetflixThere are two seasons of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ on Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%

Based on the comic-book series by Gerard Way, “The Umbrella Academy” centres on an eclectic family of estranged superheroes who reunite in the aftermath of their adopted father’s passing.

Critics called “The Umbrella Academy” an adrenaline-filled joy ride with interesting characters and an ambitious overarching storyline.

“The mix of humour and drama is great and the storylines and acting top-notch,” praised critic David Hogan. “Can’t recommend it enough.”


“Raising Dion” resonated with critics on an emotional level.

NetflixJa’Siah Young on ‘Raising Dion.’

Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%

On the dramatic series “Raising Dion,” widowed mother Nicole Warren (Alisha Wainwright) tries to raise her son Dion (Ja’Siah Young) in a safe and loving environment as he develops unexpected supernatural abilities.

Fuelled by charm and strength in the face of adversity, “Raising Dion” emerged as an engaging coming-of-age journey.

Ja-Quan Greene called the series “beautiful, magical, fun and exciting stuff,” in his review for Black Nerd Problems.


Critics called “Love, Death, and Robots” a well-animated visual treat.

Netflix‘Love, Death, and Robots’ currently has one season on Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 77%

“Love, Death, and Robots” is an assortment of animated short stories that run the gamut of genres from science-fiction to fantasy and horror.

Gritty and markedly adult, reviewers said that “Love, Death, and Robots” isn’t for everyone, but the animation was top-notch.

“An anthology of ups, downs, and pure unadulterated fun; a carnival ride that’s so fun you can’t help but be heartbroken when it’s over,” Nick Valdez wrote for Comicbook.com.


Critics called “Altered Carbon” an engaging futuristic series.

Netflix‘Altered Carbon’ has two seasons on Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%

Based on the novels by Richard Morgan, “Altered Carbon” is set in a distant future where human consciousness can exist beyond physical death. After he is downloaded into a new body, Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) is tasked with solving a murder to gain his freedom.

Thrilling and fleshed out by inventive world-building, “Altered Carbon” was hailed as a solid science-fiction series.

“The sheer amount of imagining, both borrowed and original, accumulates into a vast, dirty world and gives ‘Altered Carbon’ the feel of a proper cyberpunk novel: big, baggy, ambitious, trashy, funny, gruesome, clever, cheesy, and hyperactive,”Willa Paskin wrote for Slate.


“Lost in Space” is a well-reviewed series about a family trying to survive.

NetflixThere are currently two seasons of ‘Lost in Space’ on Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%

After the Robinson family crash-lands on a remote alien planet on “Lost in Space,” they have to improvise and work together to stay alive.

Led by a relatable cast of characters and propelled by nonstop action, “Lost in Space” was commended for being a satisfying space adventure for the whole family.

“The Robinsons cannot catch a break – everything goes wrong for them – but their misfortune is our joy because it may be a terrible life to live but it’s an incredible story to watch,”Sherin Nicole wrote for Geek Girl Riot.


“iBoy” (2017) wasn’t perfect, but critics felt like the good outweighed the bad.

NetflixBill Milner and Maisie Williams starred in ‘iBoy.’

Rotten Tomatoes score: 69%

Based on the young-adult book by Kevin Brooks, “iBoy” centres on Tom (Bill Milner), a 16-year-old who attempts to save his crush, Lucy (Maisie Williams), from a shooting and wakes up from a coma with smartphone fragments embedded in his brain.

Critics admitted that “iBoy” wasn’t immune to certain issues – namely pacing and an overabundance of melodrama – but many still enjoyed it for what it was.

“‘iBoy’ is a fully charged superhero tale that soon overcomes its admittedly ludicrous premise,” David James wrote for We Got This Covered.

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