With so many great options to choose from, narrowing our list down to ten was no easy feat. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Netflix Originals.
For this list, we’ll only be looking at live action Netflix Originals. That means that anime shows like “Children of the Whales” won’t be considered.
#10: “The OA” (2016-)
“The OA” is a fantastic mix of sci-fi and fantasy with a plot that revolves around the reemergence of a young woman who’s been missing for seven years. Upon her mysterious return she has a new name and the ability to see, despite having been blind when she initially disappeared. Co-created by and starring the uber-talented Brit Marling, the show has received generally positive reviews from critics, with one hailing it as “Netflix's strongest and strangest original production since Stranger Things.” From the striking visuals to the acting (and everything in between), this is one program you need to check out.
#9: “Travelers” (2016-)
According to a media consumption report put out by Netflix, “Travelers” was one of the streaming service’s Top 10 most binged shows in 2017; and based on its plot, it’s easy to understand why. The show is set in a post-apocalyptic future and revolves around a group of operatives known as travelers who venture back in time to prevent a global catastrophe. They do this by having their consciousness transferred into the bodies of 21st century humans on the cusp of death, thereby limiting their impact on the past. It’s pure sci-fi fun with enough action and suspense to keep newcomers to the genre thoroughly entertained.
#8: “3%” (2016-)
“3%”, a foreign language dystopian thriller, is the first show on Netflix to be produced entirely in Portuguese; so prepare for subtitles. The world the show presents is a fractured one, one in which the wealthy live in the Offshore and the poor live in the Inland. However, through “The Process,” citizens of the Inland are given the opportunity to leave. Of course, the path to paradise is not without obstacles. The show takes its name from the fact that only 3% of people make it through The Process. A tightly woven tale of sacrifice, betrayal and the quest for a better life, “3%” is one Netflix Original that lives up to its name.
#7: “Altered Carbon” (2018-)
In the year 2384, your memories can be digitized and downloaded in human and non-human vessels known as “sleeves” - to be used for a variety of purposes. Takeshi Kovacs, a criminal and political operative, wakes up centuries after his death in a new body and is tasked with solving the murder of one of the world’s wealthiest men. Starring Joel Kinnaman, “Altered Carbon” is easily one of the most binge-worthy Netflix Originals in recent memory thanks to its unique concept, stunning visuals and top-notch acting. A sci-fi murder mystery with cyberpunk overtures…what’s not to like?
#6: “Dark” (2017-)
This German sci-fi thriller has been called “Stranger Things for grown ups”, and it’s a fitting comparison. The show is set in a small town; a portion of the action takes place in the ‘80s and the plot revolves around the disappearance of a child. However, that’s where the similarities end. “Dark” involves time travel, wormholes and a decades old secret that has impacted three generations of families from the 1950s to the present day. The show is expertly paced, slowly pulling back the veil on a tiny German town with no shortage of terrifying secrets.
#5: “Jessica Jones” (2015-)
If you’re one of those people who has yet to watch any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s small screen productions because you’re not into the whole “superhero thing”... “Jessica Jones” is a very good place to start. Krysten Ritter shines in the titular role and David Tennant’s mind controlling baddie with a penchant for the color purple manages to be both terrifying and complex. You’d be wise not to dismiss this one as just another comic book adaptation, because “Jessica Jones” plays more like a hardboiled detective novel, one that is admittedly peppered with fantastical elements, but also tackles serious, pressing contemporary themes. Seriously, you’ve got to check this one out.
#4: “Sense8” (2015-)
“Sense8” is about eight strangers from across the globe who slowly discover that they share a mental and emotional link; able to jump in and out of each other’s minds, swapping knowledge and mentally projecting into each other’s environment. A nuanced piece of science fiction, the show is blessed with a unique plot and an excellent – not to mention diverse - ensemble cast that mesh together beautifully. Don’t let the fact that the show was cancelled in 2017 get you down. Instead grab a bowl of popcorn and get to binging, we promise you’ll soon count yourself among the devoted fans calling for more, especially following the June 2018 series finale.
#3: “Daredevil” (2015-)
A comic book show first and foremost, “Daredevil” strikes an interesting balance between “grounded and gritty” and more fantastical elements, from its blind protagonist who can “see” using his other senses to the plot of season 2, which revolves partially around an ancient mystical organization full of ninjas who won’t stay dead. This Netflix Original series has garnered considerable praise from critics thanks to its brilliantly choreographed fight sequences, multifaceted characters and tightly woven narrative. Featuring a star making performance from Charlie Cox and a strong supporting cast, “Daredevil” is one fantasy show you’d need to be watching.
#2: “Stranger Things” (2016-)
Few recent sci-fi series, Netflix Original or otherwise, have come anywhere close to having the cultural impact of this one. Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana and focusing on the mysterious “Upside Down”, “Stranger Things” took the world by storm in 2016. Season 1 and 2 picked up Golden Globe nominations for Best Television Series – Drama and the show has been heralded by critics for its action, pacing and steady flow of ‘80s nostalgia. Both seasons are currently rocking a 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the aforementioned Netflix media report listed it number one in “The Shows That Brought Us Together in 2017” category. Not too shabby.
#1: “Black Mirror” (2011-)
Coming in at number one is a show that needs no introduction. “Black Mirror” burst onto the scene back in 2011 on the British Channel 4, before the series was purchased by Netflix. Over the years, it has inspired endless shock, awe and sober reflection thanks to its darkly satirical examination of technology and its effects on society. The sci-fi anthology series has managed to score some of the biggest names in the industry, from Jon Hamm to Domhnall Gleeson, and has continually produced compelling and thought- provoking episodes. Controversial yet engaging, disturbing yet funny, “Black Mirror” fires on all cylinders and is without a doubt one of the best sci-fi shows on television today.