Top Sci-Fi TV Shows to Binge on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO

Check out our list of all the best sci-fi shows for you to dive into on Netflix,?Amazon,?Hulu, HBO, and more.

Timeless

Where to watch:?Hulu

A team of three travel throughout time to save the future from a mysterious organization that wants to change history. Time travel shows can become messy affairs of paradoxes, brain-busting theories, and plot holes, but Eric Kripke’s?Timeless?used time travel simply and splendidly in this throwback, swashbuckling adventure series. A historian, an engineer, and a soldier are sent back in history to prevent the villainous organization known as Rittenhouse from altering history in order to change the future to their advantage, meeting famous overlooked figures from history ? often minorities and/or women ? along the way. In that sense,?Timeless?is almost as educational as it is exciting. But the real strength of?Timeless?comes from its characters and their relationships, like the epic romance between Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter).?Timeless?is a real crowd-pleaser, the kind of sci-fi series for people who usually shy away from the genre.

Orphan Black

Where to watch:?Amazon

A woman discovers that she may not be the only one of… her. Orphan Black?burst onto the scene in 2013, coming out of nowhere to stun critics and viewers with its crafty premise: a con artist witnesses the suicide of another woman who looks just like her, leading her down a rabbit hole of clones and conspiracies. The BBC America series combines action, science-fiction, and humor extremely well, creating characters you’ll adore (Alison Hendrix is a legend) and anticipate venturing into each others’ orbits. Chameleon Tatiana Maslany won an Emmy for her roles as the many different versions of the same woman, though she really should have won at least three. The first seasons are the strongest, but Maslany and the great cast stay great throughout its run.

Battlestar Galactica

Where to watch:?Syfy.com (free)

A reimagining of the 1970s classic in which alien robots threaten to wipe out humans. Battlestar Galactica?is considered one of the all-time great sci-fi series, and when it was released in the mid-2000s, one of the best TV shows period. Ronald D. Moore’s take adds a wrinkle that increases the paranoia tenfold; the Cylons can impersonate humans, meaning the crew of the Galactica realizes that some of its members could be Cylons in disguise, even if the Cylons don’t know it themselves. Watch the miniseries that launched the series first, then dive into the next two seasons, which is some of the greatest sci-fi television ever made. Later seasons tail off a bit, and the ending wasn’t well-received by all, but the show is still well worth the journey.

The Orville

Where to watch:?Hulu

In the far future, the crew of a space ship explores the galaxy to bring alien cultures into the Planetary Union, while also sometimes manufacturing pot brownies in the ship’s food synthesizer. The Orville?is an homage to?Star Trek?and?Star Trek: The Next Generation?from?Family Guy?creator?Seth MacFarlane, who fawns over all things?Trek?while also not afraid to make fun of it. It’s hard to tell what kind of show?The Orville?wants to be at some points because it’s really trying to be all of them: an interstellar stoner comedy, a sci-fi swashbuckler, a workplace drama, a futuristic?Twilight Zone. But that’s part of the fun. Season 1 has some bumps, but Season 2, especially the midseason two-parter “Identity” is an improvement. Though the first two seasons aired on Fox, Season 3 will be a Hulu exclusive.

The X-Files

Where to watch:?Hulu

A pair of FBI agents investigate the paranormal and inexplicable ? UFOs, ghosts, and even cannibals. It’s a classic for a reason.?The X-Files?set the mold with Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) ? the definitive believer and skeptic, paired up to investigate the unexplained. But the Fox procedural was always too smart to draw a clean line between faith and science; even Mulder wanted proof, and even Scully had her religion. This is the most scientific thing about the science fiction of?The X-Files?(which is otherwise not all that sciency): The show’s heroes are two people willing to upend their entire belief systems to get the truth. Mulder and Scully asked the messy questions, and it changed genre television. -Kelly Connolly

Counterpart

Where to watch:?Amazon Prime Video

A government desk jockey (J.K. Simmons) an an office in Berlin learns that an event split the world into two parallel universes, and the two sides are slowly approaching an all-out war against each other. Yikes! The gimmick gives its wonderful cast (which includes?Olivia Williams?and?Harry Lloyd) the opportunity to play dual roles as each universe has a “counterpart” in the other. Simmons leads the way as his counterpart is a superspy, and watching him play against himself is incredible.?Fans of espionage and science-fiction will have their heads full with the intricately plotted and twisty story.

Black Mirror

Where to watch:?Netflix

This anthology series tells different tales each episode about the dangers of technology and the depravities people will use it for. From digital worlds to dark dystopias,?Black Mirror?will have you second-guessing whether you should cut every cord you own just to be safe. If you’re in the mood to start hating the human race,?Black Mirror?is the sci-fi show for you. While most of these stories are a little bit depressing (and some are borderline horrific), a few are uplifting enough to cleanse your palate (check out Season 3’s “San Junipero” or Season 4’s “Hang the DJ” for some heart eyes). The best part about this binge is that while you’ll definitely get hooked, the fact that it’s an anthology series means you won’t necessarily find yourself powering through episodes at 3 a.m. since each episode is a standalone story.

Stargate Universe

Where you can watch:?Hulu

A group of scientists, military personnel and a few civilians accidentally find themselves transported onto an ancient ship, thousands of lightyears from Earth. While stranded in strange galaxies, tensions run high as they attempt to explore the unknown universe and find a way back home. Out of all the?Stargate?series that could have made this list, we picked?Stargate Universe?because it combines all of our favorite sci-fi elements: a brilliant group of stranded strangers, space, time travel, political infighting and terrifying aliens. It’s literally a one-stop shop for every nerd-tastic fantasy you’ve ever had with the bonus of great performances and top-notch storytelling. We do warn you, however,?Stargate Universe?was canceled after Season 2 and ended on a pretty huge cliffhanger, so you should go into this binge knowing that when you get to the end, you’ll want to pull your hair out wishing there was more. You’re welcome for the heads up.

Fringe

Where to watch:?IMDB.tv

A team of experts led by a kooky old scientist (John Noble), his son (Joshua Jackson), and an FBI agent (Anna Torv) investigate strange occurrences around the country,?X-Files?style. Their work leads them to discover something entirely new that will change the world forever. The J.J. Abrams-produced series is one of the best broadcast science-fiction shows of all time, particularly in its first three seasons, and perfected the art of the serialized procedural by weaving the show’s deep mythology and excellent character work into weekly standalone stories, making it easy to binge or watch in spurts. And by the time the end of Season 1 starts, you’ll have a hard time stopping.

12 Monkeys

Where you can watch:?Hulu

After a deadly virus kills 7 billion people, the survivors living in 2043 send a scavenger named James Cole (Aaron Stanford) to the past to stop the virus from being released in the first place. Naturally, time loops and even forbidden romance get in the way of his mission to save the human race. 12 Monkeys?is a show you have to pay close attention to in order to keep track of the changing timelines and loops, but ultimately the mythology and the world-building are just too good to pass up! Plus, this show has some of the most kick-butt women on TV, which is harder to find than it should be in the sci-fi genre. With the fourth and final season come and gone, you’ll be able to binge the whole thing start to finish!

Doctor Who

Where you can watch:?All seasons are available on HBO Max.

The Doctor, a humanoid alien of an extinct race called the Time Lords, travels the universe in his (or her!) Tardis, a time-traveling spaceship that takes that shape of a phone booth. Together with his (or her!) human companions, The Doctor regularly saves the world from destruction with his (or her!) quick wit and timey-wimey adventures. If you’re looking for something a little less intense and more whimsical,?Doctor Who?is the show for you. Typically, each episode travels to a new time period or galaxy (often both) where the Doctor and companions of the moment have wild adventures while escaping the evil clutches of the Daleks and Cybermen. Although, when you least expect it, the show knows just how to hit you where it hurts. So although it’s a show of whimsy, be prepared to cry your eyes out too. Jodie Whittaker joined the series as the first female doctor in Season 11.

Altered Carbon

Where you can watch:?Netflix

Far in the future, scientists have found a way to digitize and save human consciousness, allowing people’s minds to be copied and transported from one body to another, essentially making humans immortal. When one of the richest men in the universe is murdered ? though his copied consciousness obviously survives ? he hires, Takeshi Kovacs, a mercenary hundreds of years old to figure out who “killed” him. In Season 2, Kovacs, in an entirely new body, searches for his long lost love while investigating a series of new murders. This futuristic series will have your head spinning with awesome technological advancements and a mystery that’s almost too tangled to unravel. The kicker, though, is the flashback portion of the saga that not only ties well into the overall narrative but will have you begging for a spin-off based completely in the past.

The 100

Where you can watch:?Netflix

Nearly 100 years after nuclear war wipes out the human race on Earth, the only survivors are the members aboard a joint-space station called The Ark circling the globe. When overpopulation becomes a problem, The Ark decides to send 100 teenage delinquents to the ground to see if the Earth is habitable, but these misfits find more than bargained for when they arrive. Assuming the words “apocalypse” and “teens” didn’t get you,?The 100?is worth a binge simply for the dynamic storytelling alone. Rather than focus on hot teens running a community, the show hones in on the lengths to which humans will go to stay alive and whether that survival requires you to lose what it is that makes you human. It’s a pretty insightful look into the future, and with four seasons (and a fifth currently airing) under its belt, it’s a good, long binge to keep you out of the heat this summer.

Firefly

Where you can watch:?Hulu

Space cowboys. Enough said. What list would be complete without the cult classic?Firefly? This short-lived series took fans by storm back in 2002, though it was canceled after only 14 episodes. That makes it a quick binge full of shoot-outs and smuggling that will leave you begging for more. If you want an end to the story, you’ll have to find the wrap-up movie,?Serenity, which is currently streaming through?Starz.

Westworld

Where you can watch:?HBO Now,?HBO Go,?Hulu,?Amazon Prime

A western-themed amusement park serves as a playground for the ultra-wealthy, but the locals aren’t actors ? they’re robots. Revolutionary advancements in artificial intelligence technology have allowed for stunningly life-like “hosts” to mimic human behavior and serve as the park’s entertainment, but unfortunately these hosts aren’t aware that the world they live in (and repeatedly die in) isn’t actually real ? or are they? Despite having a shaky Season 2,?Westworld?is a great binge that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You’ll also have the added benefit of getting the answers to each season’s burning questions much faster than week-to-week viewers, who had to watch and speculate at a much slower speed. So long as you remember that literally anyone can be a robot at any time, you’ll enjoy your trip to?Westworld.

Dark

Where you can watch:?Netflix

Thanks to a wormhole in the underground caves beneath the local power plant, strange things start happening in the small German town of Winden. Time travel, disappearing children, and family secrets intertwine in a thrilling mystery that spans three generations. Dark?is Netflix’s first German-language Original, meaning you’ve either got to watch with subtitles or the English dub. That means it may take you a minute to get into it, but once you do, you’re in for a wild ride. Tangled webs of time travel and family secrets pair well with the show’s odd sense of humor, making for a cool mystery that will keep you binging late into the night.

The Expanse

Where you can watch:?Amazon Prime

Set in a future where humans have colonized the solar system, prejudices have divided humanity into three camps: Earth, Mars, and The Belt (an asteroid belt). But when a mysterious alien technology is discovered and a political conspiracy spanning the solar system begins to unravel, it becomes up to the idealist James Holden to try and save humanity from the potential alien weapon ? and themselves. The most intriguing part of?The Expanse?is the intricate world-building and political machinations that underscore the cool sci-fi stuff like space battles and even gravity torture. The interplanetary conflict at the core of the show’s story creates a ton of juicy arcs that all build toward some seriously unpredictable reveals.