The 21 most popular sci-fi TV shows on Netflix

Netflix makes a lot of science fiction. So much that it's almost like the company has some sort of futuristic cloning device. From mega-hits like Stranger Things to breakthrough international series like Dark, there are a lot of options. Inverse asked readers about their favorites. Here are the results.

Originally Published: 
21: Maniac

I could have sworn this trippy miniseries from Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers) and Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective Season 1) and starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone was a huge hit. I guess not. Coming in dead last with just THREE VOTES out of 1,234, Maniac is apparently an underappreciated classic.

20: The Innocents

This British supernatural series isn't quite science fiction, but it did earn THREE VOTES. The Innocents stars Guy Pearce as a doctor who works with shapeshifters, but it focuses on a pair of teenagers who away from home only to discover that one of them is a shifter too.

19: Switched

This Japanese series follows two teenagers who switch bodies after one of them attempts suicide. With FOUR VOTES for Netflix's best original sci-fi, it's about as niche as it gets, but if you're looking for something new, Switched might be worth your time.

18: Omniscient

This Brazilian show is set in a 1984-inspired future where every citizen is constantly monitored by drones. But when this foolproof system can't explain a murder, one woman sets out to solve it. With FIVE VOTES out of over 1,200, this foreign language series flew under the radar for most, but its synopsis alone might be enough to draw you in.

17: 3%

Another Brazilian dystopian, 3% imagines a world where the masses live in poverty but a small group is selected for paradise via a series of tests. Despite this alluring premise (and mostly positive reviews), 3% earned just SEVEN VOTES.

16: Ultraman

This 2019 anime is a cartoon adaptation of a comic book sequel to the 1996 live-action show. Yeah, it's a little complicated, which might explain why Netflix's Ultraman only got SEVEN VOTES. But with Season 2 on the horizon, there's never been a better time to dive into this well-received original anime.

15: My Holo Love

This Korean drama is basically Her with a female protagonist and a love triangle twist. With just EIGHT VOTES, you might not be aware of this series, but it's your perfect introduction to the world of K-dramas.

14: Another Life

In 2019, Netflix reunited Battlestar Galactica alumna Katee Sackhoff with sci-fi television to bring us Another Life. Sadly, the show was a letdown for fans, and that shows in its measly 13 VOTES out of 1,234 for what should have been one of Netflix's bigger hits.

13: The Society

What happens if all the adults in a town disappear and the high school students are forced to fend for themselves? That's the premise of The Society, which earned positive reviews but just 14 VOTES for Netflix's best sci-fi original series.

12: The Rain

With 16 VOTES, this Danish series about an apocalypse caused by a virus-infected rain probably didn't get the attention it deserved. Some saw it as an attempt to double down on the success of Dark, so if you've already binged through that show's third season, why not give this one a shot?

11: Greenhouse Academy

I'll level with you. I'd never heard of this show before running this poll, but with 17 VOTES it's clearly got some fans. Based on an Israeli series, Greenhouse Academy follows boarding school students in the near future as they overcome rivalries to expose an evil plot.

10: Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

The beloved '80s movie returned to Netflix for a prequel series, and brought its Jim Henson puppets with it. Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance earned 24 VOTES for best Netflix sci-fi show thanks to its powerful story and beautiful production design.

9: The OA

When The OA was canceled after Season 2, fans protested in the street while performing the bizarre dance from this trippy series. (Other fans argued the cancellation was just another meta twist in the increasingly bizarre show.) Sadly, The OA really was gone, but with 31 VOTES out of 1,234, it's still got a devoted fanbase.

8: Love, Death & Robots

Inverse's Corey Plante called this anthology animated series from David Fincher and Tim Miller a show "made by 2 dudes, for edgelords." I disagree. Love, Death & Robots might have a few imperfect episodes, but it's some of the best sci-fi storytelling of the past few years (on Netflix or anywhere else). With 32 VOTES, it's clear I'm not alone in loving the series — though this might make me an edgelord...

7: Sense8

From the genius siblings behind The Matrix, Sense8 is the Wachowski's short-lived Netflix series about eight strangers around the world with a psychic connection. The show has a small but devoted fanbase, earning it 42 VOTES.

6: Ragnarok

No, we're not talking about the Marvel movie starring Chris Hemsworth — although I do wonder if some of its 59 VOTES were actually meant for the God of Thunder. Ragnarok is a recent Norwegian series that mixes Norse mythology and climate change to tell a captivating new story.

5: Black Mirror

The beloved-but-disturbing science fiction anthology is on indefinite hiatus until the real world feels a little bit less like the dystopias imagined in Black Mirror. With a strong 78 VOTES, the British series made it into the top five Netflix sci-fi shows of all time.

4: Dark

It's impossible to explain this German time travel series in a few short sentences, so I won't even try. Suffice to say, if you haven't seen Dark, you need to give it a try. And if you tried and got confused, well, try again. 79 VOTES.

3: Altered Carbon

This cyberpunk story about body-jumping technology got a hard reboot in Season 2, shifting from neo-noir mystery to sci-fi action. With 85 VOTES, it's clear the audience didn't have any trouble following its complex plot. Cyberpunk fans, this is the Netflix original for you.

2: Lost in Space

This high-budget reboot of the '60s series made it into triple digits with 113 votes. Lost in Space is an impressive work of science fiction that should appeal to fans of the original and newcomers alike.

1: Stranger Things

We always knew it would end this way. Stranger Things is Netflix's biggest original anything ever, and it gets bigger with each new season. With 377 votes, it's also the winner of our poll by a huge margin. And with Stranger Things Season 4 delayed indefinitely due to Covid-19, there's never been a better time to rewatch the entire series, right?

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!