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'Halo' and 11 more must-see sci-fi shows on Paramount+
If you are craving more sci-fi after watching Halo, you won’t need to look far.
The long-awaited adaptation of the famous video game series Halo has finally arrived, and Paramount+ will play home to this new entry in televised science fiction. If you really get into the adventures of Master Chief and want more sci-fi afterwards, the good news is that you’ll be covered. You'll barely have to push a few buttons on your remote to finish the fight.
Paramount+ is littered with science fiction, mostly because it is slowly becoming the sole streaming home of the entirety of the Star Trek franchise. Trek shows both old and new have a home there, and very soon it will be the only place where fans can boldly stream. From Pike to Picard, Paramount+ has it all, and it is going to be a necessary addition for fans.
There’s more than just Trek to be found, but if we’re going through all of the must-see science fiction shows on the service (which we’re about to do), then the Star Trek franchise is going to dominate the list. There’s no way around that.
Want to keep your space adventures going after Halo gets you all excited? Here are our picks for must-see sci-fi shows available to stream on Paramount+. Let’s fly.
1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999)
It’s not just our favorite Star Trek series, it’s our favorite science fiction show. The ongoing drama of Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko (Avery Brooks) broke new ground on a number of levels, one of which being that the show gradually became serialized. It turns into a giant tale with a definitive beginning, middle, and end. With ongoing themes of religion, terrorism, war, and racism, Deep Space Nine goes into much darker territory than any other Trek series. A brilliant core cast and an army of recurring characters adds to the genius, and it also features the greatest action sequences that the franchise has ever produced.
2. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
For that classic “sci-fi encounter of the week” magic, look no further than the episodic adventures of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the crew of the USS Enterprise D. From “The Best of Both Worlds” to “Darmok,” this series always deconstructed specific issues in classic fashion. Every episode is worth watching at least once, but some of them are the stuff that sci-fi dreams are made on. Seasons 3 and 4 especially have runs of non-stop bangers that we never get tired of. This one streams in HD, so you'll be able to see just how beige the bridge truly is.
3. Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1968)
To see where all of Trek began, and where televised sci-fi got a serious shot in the arm, go back to the beginning and watch the original Star Trek series. The version that the service has is the “remastered” version which features updated effects, but the stories and the acting (sometimes hammy, it’s part of the charm) haven’t changed at all. Some episodes aren’t entirely pleasant, but once again, when the magic hits, there’s nothing else like it. The friendship of James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Doctor McCoy (DeForest Kelley) began here, and the series is almost always at its best when the three of them are going at it.
4. Twin Peaks (1990-1991)
This show isn’t strictly sci-fi, but then again it isn’t strictly anything, is it? There are definitely sci-fi elements woven in, so we’re counting it. David Lynch and Mark Frost’s two-season cult classic is one of the weirdest shows you’ll ever watch, and that’s before you get to the insanity that is Twin Peaks: The Return. That follow-up series is not on the service (it's on Showtime), but the original series is available on Paramount+. Things are fantastic until they aren’t; somewhere in the middle of Season 2 you’ll wonder what the hell happened to the show. It has a good ending though, with the mysterious doors of the red room left wide open for more. Kyle MacLachlan and the often-addled denizens of Twin Peaks are waiting for you. While watching, remember: you’re not losing your mind, the show is making these choices on purpose.
5. Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001)
For a Trek series that is sometimes episodic and sometimes serialized, take a trip with Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and her crew. The USS Voyager becomes trapped on the other side of the galaxy, and the show follows a long trip home. Because of this, fans are introduced to many species and situations that are brand new to the franchise. It’s not all new all the time, though, as the show eventually brought in the Borg. They also added former drone Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) to the main cast. Mulgrew is always brilliant as Janeway, and her ongoing relationship with Seven is one of the best parts of the series. There’s also a holographic Doctor, played to perfection by Robert Picardo. Time for a briefing with Neelix!
6. Star Trek: Discovery (2017-)
This series is still running, but there are four seasons waiting for you. It’s an entry in modern Trek, and it is one that some fans immediately dismiss. That's too bad, because it's a fantastic show. It starts strong, goes on an upward trajectory, and then Seasons 3 and 4 truly take us into a brave new world. There are many things about the show that differ from the norm (the main cast isn’t the bridge crew, the lead isn't the captain at the start, etc), but accept those differences, and the riches within will reward you. Sonequa Martin-Green wonderfully anchors it all as Michael Burnham, and her relationship with Saru (Doug Jones) is an ever-evolving highlight. The series takes on issues that are happening right now, which is what Trek always has, and always will, excel at.
7. Star Trek: Picard (2020-)
Now in Season 2, this relatively new entry to the canon features an older Picard (Patrick Stewart) and a mostly new roster of characters. What is the 25th Century like, past the TNG era and the TNG films? Come and take a look. The first season did a lot to give meaning and purpose to the hasty end of the TNG films, and the second season has started with a bang. Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) is a main character now, and there are plenty of returning characters from various series of Trek past. Beyond all of the returns and nostalgia, this is a show about legacy, aging, and learning to deal with them both. It really doesn’t matter who you are or how long you’ve lived; "we’re all still working on it."
8. Star Trek: Lower Decks (2020-)
Wanna have some fun? This animated Star Trek comedy is like a warm bath of comfort that already has two seasons in the roster. It takes a look at (and hilariously mocks) parts of the franchise that are often glossed over. What do people usually use the holodecks for? Who has to clean all of… that… out? Does the bridge crew have long discussions about conference room chairs when they decide to change them up? The answer to that last question is yes. Tawny Newsome is joy itself embodied in a human being, and she leads a perfect cast as Ensign Mariner. Whether you get every deep-cut reference or you just want to laugh at a silly space show and know nothing about the franchise at all, you’ll enjoy yourself. Some of us may have this series running on a constant loop. Warp me!
9. Star Trek: Prodigy (2021-)
Another piece of new Trek, this is the first series in the franchise to be directed at a younger audience. It’s animated, but in an entirely different style from Lower Decks. It might be made for kids, but it’s a show that everyone can (and will) love. Kate Mulgrew returns as Janeway in holographic form, and she leads a new team of youngsters who know nothing of the Federation. If you know nothing about Star Trek, then you can learn right along with the characters on this show. You’ll be up to speed in no time, because this series functions as a perfect boarding ramp to all things Trek. It’s great for longtime fans too, as the episode “Kobayashi” made very clear.
10. The Twilight Zone (2019-2020)
This updated version of the classic series has two seasons of one-off tales to tell. Not all of them are great, but all of them do feature Jordan Peele (who also co-developed the reboot) in the narrator role and it’s worth it for him alone. Of all of the many anthologies that came running after the success of Black Mirror, this is one of the better ones. As we’ve said, some installments are better than others, but that’s the case with most anthologies. The episodes we like best are the ones that are entirely new, and aren't full retreads of episodes that the classic series already did. Your mileage may vary, but it’s more than worth your time.
11. Salvation (2017-2018)
An asteroid is going to hit the Earth, and two seasons of this series feature mankind’s attempts to stop the event. It’s not as cynical as some asteroid-based entertainment has recently been, and not as silly as others that may (or may not) have featured drillers in space. There’s a great deal of political maneuvering here, some of it pays off, and that's before the series gives everyone a giant smack in the face with what turned out to be its final episode. The story wasn’t finished, and unless the gods really want another season, it won’t be. This is a shame, because it was obviously headed to another level of excitement. It’s hard to recommend a show that is just going to leave you high and dry, but the performances of Jennifer Finnigan and Santiago Cabrera (now on Star Trek: Picard) make it worthwhile anyway.
All of these series, including Halo, are now streaming on Paramount+.