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You gotta watch these 15 sci-fi TV shows streaming right now
Science fiction is kind of a big deal right now, so here are all the shows you should be streaming and where to watch them.
With so many streaming platforms jockeying for our attention spans, there’s no lack of great sci-fi shows to watch. There are so many, in fact, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you want to look beyond the breadth of great series found in the Star Trek and Star Wars universes.
Whether they're new or old, 22 episodes or 10 to 13, there are enough sci-fi series out there to keep you busy until the Cylons come home. And if you're feeling overwhelmed with all those options, don't worry — we got you; here are the best sci-fi shows streaming right now that aren’t Star Trek or Star Wars.
1. Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)
Battlestar Galactica follows the straggling group of survivors on the spaceship Battlestar Galactica after the Cylons — artificial intelligences that humans created — have wiped out most of humanity. Over the course of the show, Galactica's beleaguered crew and the few remaining ships they're leading try to find a mythical planet called Earth in hopes of building a new home. The show is epic, has great characters, and explores meaty themes that will stick with you long after watching.
All four seasons of Battlestar Galactica are currently streaming on Peacock.
2. Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007)
The Stargate franchise started off with the 1994 movie, but the series that came after it really solidified the franchise and makes for great sci-fi viewing. The 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1 focus on a team charged with using the Stargate — a wormhole to other worlds — to explore new planets and to defend Earth from the Goa’uld, an alien species that take over their host humans. Over the show's many episodes, we also get to know the team members involved with the Stargate, including Amanda Tapping's Major Samantha Carter and Richard Dean Anderson's Colonel Jack O'Neill.
3. Doctor Who (2005-present)
One of the great sci-fi tropes is when things get timey-wimey, and one show that gets extra timey-wimey is Doctor Who. The show centers around The Doctor, a Time Lord who travels through space and time in a British police box. The Doctor is capable of regenerating, which translates into different actors taking on the role. In recent years, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, and Jodie Whittaker have taken on the mantle, with Ncuti Gatwa taking over as the upcoming 15th Doctor.
4. Fringe (2008-2013)
Before J.J. Abrams entered the universes of Star Wars and Star Trek, he co-created a show called Fringe. In it, we follow two agents in the FBI’s Fringe Division, which investigates unexplained events that ultimately tie into an overarching plot that involves a parallel universe. In addition to the two agents Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), the show also stars John Noble as Peter’s “mad scientist” father, Walter Bishop.
All five seasons and 100 episodes of Fringe are currently streaming on HBO Max.
5. The Expanse (2015-2022)
The Expanse series is sci-fi drama at its best. It takes place a couple hundred years in our future, where humanity has colonized Mars, the Moon, and the outer edges of the solar system in an area called The Belt. Over the course of six seasons, we follow the travails of the crew members of a ship called the Rocinante as they deal with the geopolitical ramifications of a new alien technology disrupting human civilization. The show is one of the best series currently streaming, genre or not.
All six seasons of The Expanse are currently streaming on Prime Video.
6. Eureka (2006-2012)
Eureka is a lighthearted sci-fi show that focuses on the fictional town of Eureka, where most of the residents are brilliant scientists who work for a research facility called Global Dynamics. A lot of technological mishaps happen at this facility, and local sheriff Jack Carter is the one who has to make sure everything gets sorted properly. It’s a fun, quirky show, and an enjoyable watch.
All five seasons of Eureka are currently streaming on Peacock.
7. Sliders (1995-2000)
Sliders features parallel universes that its protagonists keep sliding (see what I did there?) in and out of. The show follows a group who are using this slide technology to visit a parallel dimension only to lose the coordinates to their original universe. The team is now stuck waiting for the sliding tech counter to countdown and send them someplace else. It's '90s sci-fi at its best, and fun to watch.
All five seasons of Sliders are currently streaming on Peacock.
8. Quantum Leap (1989-1993)
Sliders is most likely partly inspired by Quantum Leap, a show that follows Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) as he leaps from body to body across the span of his lifetime. In each body he inhabits, Sam tries to right a historical wrong, with a little help from his friend Al (Dean Stockwell). The show has a strong cult following, so much so that there’s currently a new NBC series, Quantum Leap, which is set in the same universe.
9. The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)
The original Twilight Zone, which ran for a total of five seasons on CBS, isn’t just one of the best anthologies of all time — it’s one of the best pieces of television ever produced, period. Rod Serling’s iconic tales of aliens and monsters were more than just their patented twist endings. They were secret morality plays exposing the ugly faults of humanity (all while hiding the bitter truth in a sweet candy coating of genre to help make it go down easier).
10. BrainDead (2016-2016)
It's a true shame this darkly comedic satire of modern politics was axed after a single season. A parody of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and an indictment of the inept government officials who run (or try to run, anyway) our country, BrainDead may have been too ahead of its time. Who knows? Maybe alien insects really are the source of all our federal woes.
BrainDead is currently streaming on Paramount+.
11. Firefly (2002-2002)
A brief run is not necessarily an indication of poor quality. This cult favorite series created by Joss Whedon did the whole space Western thing long before The Mandalorian strode into town and entranced audiences with the cuteness of Baby Yoda. Sorry…Grogu. The show’s cancellation resulted in such vocal backlash, that a feature film (2005’s Serenity) had to be made to wrap up the story.
Firefly is currently streaming on Hulu.
12. Futurama (1999-present)
What can we say about Futurama that hasn’t already been said? It’s the perfect marriage of animation and science fiction. One minute you’re chuckling at Bender’s trademark catchphrase (“Bite my shiny metal ass!”) and the next you’re bawling your eyes out over a dead dog named Seymour. How many shows can boast such mastery over comedy and pathos? Futurama has it all.
13. Watchmen (2019-2019)
Damon Lindelof did what many thought was utterly impossible: he breathed new life and meaning into an already influential piece of media several decades after it was published and spawned dozens of imitators. HBO's Watchmen limited series is both a love letter to the seminal graphic novel (written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons), while also forging its own thematic path. The nine episodes re-contextualize the source material without ever detracting from it. An almost supernatural feat worthy of Doctor Manhattan.
14. Resident Alien (2021-present)
Adapted from the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name (written by Peter Hogan and drawn by Steve Parkhouse), Resident Alien stars Alan Tudyk as an extra-terrestrial visitor who attempts to blend into a small Colorado town by assuming the form of a local doctor. Never mind that he was responsible for the death of said physician, there are much bigger problems to worry about like the government...and pizza! A heartfelt and side-splitting examination of what truly makes us human.
15. The Ark (2023-present)
Dean Devlin's thrilling return to the world of sci-fi (co-created with Jonathan Glassner) takes place 100 years in the future as humanity begins to leave its dying planet in search of a new home amongst the stars. The first interstellar vessel carrying the last hope for humankind is the Ark One. During its mission, the ship suffers an unforeseen catastrophe that kills off a good chunk of the passengers. With reduced numbers and dwindling life support systems, the survivors must band together in an effort to complete the mission.