Skip to main content

The best sci-fi shows on TV right now

In an era when everyone has too much TV to watch, it can somehow still be difficult to find a good sci-fi show. Many of them are too convoluted for their own good, or lack the great characters that always make quality sci-fi sing. It’s always possible to go back to the sci-fi shows you used to love, of course, but sometimes you want something that’s still airing to meet your regular sci-fi cravings.

Luckily, we’ve tracked down five of the best sci-fi series still airing new episodes for you to enjoy. This list includes a few shows that have been running for decades, or that are part of larger cinematic and televisual universes. Elsewhere, though, there’s some more original content that you might find equally satisfying.

Related Videos
Hello Tomorrow! (2023)
Hello Tomorrow!
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Billy Crudup, Haneefah Wood, Hank Azaria
Created by Lucas Jansen, Amit Bhalla

A bizarre cross between The Jetsons and Mad Men, Hello Tomorrow! stars Billy Crudup as Jack Billings, an energetic salesman living in a retrofuturistic America. Jack leads a team of salesmen selling timeshares on the moon. At least, that’s what everyone thinks. Is Jack for real? Or is he just a slick con man dressed in an expensive suit with a cheap smile?

Its visually pleasing look and texture help Hello Tomorrow! stand out further from the rest of TV’s current and recent sci-fi offerings. While the first season is far from perfect and about two episodes too long, the series is consistently compelling and well-crafted enough to make watching it a surprisingly easy act.

Doctor Who (2005)
Doctor Who
tv-pg 13 Seasons
Genre Action & Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, John Bishop
Created by Sydney Newman, Donald Wilson, C. E. Webber

One of the first real sci-fi franchises to ever hit TV remains one of the best. Doctor Who has been telling wild, often moving time travel stories for decades now, and has brilliantly written in changes to its cast the whole way through.

As new Doctors come on board, so too do new teams of writers, and each of those new teams has brought a pretty unique sensibility to the character with them. Doctor Who has a long history, but it’s one that any sci-fi fan should dive into.

Teaser Trailer | 60th Anniversary Specials | Doctor Who
Loki (2021)
tv-14 1 Season
Genre Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino
Created by Michael Waldron

It might seem strange to throw a superhero show on this list, but Loki is among the hardest science fiction that the MCU has ever produced. The series follows Norse god Loki as he deals with the TVA, a time-oriented authority that exists to ensure that any variants to the sacred timeline are quickly pruned.

It’s a bit wonky, but Loki tells a story firmly grounded in its central character, one that also allows him to interact with other versions of himself from across the multiverse.

LOKI "Loki in Prison" Trailer (NEW)
Star Wars: Andor (2022)
Star Wars: Andor
tv-14 1 Season
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, War & Politics
Cast Diego Luna, Stellan Skarsgård, Kyle Soller
Created by Tony Gilroy

Star Wars TV has been a mixed bag since the first season of The Mandalorian dropped, but Andor is an unmitigated triumph. The series tells the story of Cassian Andor, one of the main characters in Rogue One, as he learns to become the rebel we already know him to be in that movie.

Along the way, though, we get to see how the rebellion was fomented from its earliest days, and get an on-the-ground look at many of the characters responsible for that all-out rebellion. Andor is a morally murky show, and intentionally so, but it’s also one that highlights how arbitrarily cruel the Empire often was in pursuing its goals.

Andor (Disney+) "Rebels" Trailer HD - Star Wars series
The Peripheral (2022)
The Peripheral
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Drama
Cast Chloë Grace Moretz, Gary Carr, Jack Reynor
Created by Scott B. Smith

The Peripheral stars Chloë Grace Moretz  as Flynne Fisher, a young woman who finds herself caught up in a timeline-spanning conspiracy after using a virtual reality headset her brother was sent. With ominous forces from both the future and present closing in, Flynne must find a way to solve a mystery unfolding decades from now, all while protecting her family.

The Peripheral is a gorgeous show with stunning visual effects and superbly directed sequences that blur the line between fantasy and reality. The unique combination of a twisty narrative, a unique directorial point of view, and gripping performances from the show’s cast make The Peripheral a standout sci-fi series.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (2022)
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
tv-pg 2 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, Rebecca Romijn
Created by Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet

There have been several great Star Trek shows and a few truly terrible ones, but Strange New Worlds gets the balance just right. Although this show is technically a prequel to the original Star Trek, the show is most concerned with reestablishing the storytelling that made that original series feel so groundbreaking.

Above all else, Strange New Worlds is fun in a way that many recent Trek outings haven’t been, and that in and of itself is worthy of celebration. Featuring a great ensemble cast and a largely unserialized story, it’s sure to fill the hole left behind by many other Trek outings. 

Severance (2022)
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Adam Scott, Britt Lower, Zach Cherry
Created by Dan Erickson

A heavily serialized, deeply strange show about a group of office workers who are “severed,” meaning they don’t know who they are outside the office whenever they get to work, and vice versa, Severance is both a satire of modern corporate culture and also a pretty compelling mystery box show.

Adam Scott’s central performance is crucial to the success of the entire project, but Severance is also remarkably well-written. The show’s sterile office environment may not seem like a natural home for the twists and turns of great sci-fi storytelling, but rest assured that Severance is one of the best shows on TV right now, sci-fi or not. 

Severance — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Star Wars: How Obi-Wan will face his greatest threats yet
Split image of the Grand Inquisitor, Obi-Wan, and Darth Vader.

In what has arguably been the most in-demand piece of Star Wars content aside from the sequel trilogy, Ewan McGregor is finally set to make his triumphant return as franchise icon Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ in just under two months. Though the prequel trilogy wasn't received particularly well, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith specifically had a noticeably strong reception, with McGregor's younger take on the character being one of the best things to come out of the trio of films as a whole.

That makes it easy to see why there'd be so much nostalgic fanfare behind this long-sought-after return, but it will also take a lot to sell fans on the stakes of Obi-Wan Kenobi since most are well aware of where the story follows in canon. The highly anticipated trailer from earlier this month looked incredibly promising, as it heavily emphasized this limited series as more than just another TV show in Disney's rotation. Complete with John Williams' immaculate score, fans saw enticing glimpses of who would be nipping at Kenobi's heels, and the context of the series' place in the timeline will perhaps present the greatest challenge that the revered Jedi Master has ever had to face.
In these Dark Times ...
The aforementioned Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was a grand tragedy for the Republic, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and more, leaving the galaxy under the oppressive thumb of the Empire for the next 30-plus years -- known as the Dark Times. Obi-Wan and Anakin's spectacular and gut-wrenching duel on the volcanic planet of Mustafar was a grandiose finish to the trilogy, making the context for episodes IV-VI that much more heartbreaking.

Read more
Apple snags rights to TV series adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s sci-fi trilogy
isaac asimov foundation apple the tv series skydance feat

Apple is ramping up its roster of television content, having nabbed the TV series adaptation of Foundation, Isaac Asimov’s science fiction novel trilogy, reports Deadline.

Skydance Television is handling the project, which has been given straight-to-series consideration, and David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, the upcoming Terminator reboot) and Josh Friedman (Avatar 2, War of the Worlds remake) will serve as executive producers and showrunners alongside Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross. Skydance is behind many other popular streaming original series, including Netflix’s Grace & Frankie and Altered Carbon; and the upcoming series Jack Ryan for Amazon Prime Video.

Read more
Amazon announces three new sci-fi shows for its streaming service
Element Amazon Fire TV unboxing and setup

Thanks to the likes of HBO and Netflix, we're living in a golden age of television. Whether you're a fan nostalgia-driven horror, gritty crime dramas, or fantasy politics, there's something for everyone. That being said, one area that is lacking is the realm of science fiction. For a variety of reasons, sci-fi hasn't quite made the leap that other genres have, but Amazon is hoping to change that with three new shows.
Lazarus is based on the comic by Greg Ruca, who has worked on numerous titles for DC and Marvel. The comic and show are set in an alternative future where the world is ruled by 16 rival families who rule over their fiefdoms. These families do not always get along, so in order to deal with their rivals and keep their subjects in line, each family employs an assassin known as a Lazarus.

In addition bringing Ruca on board as writer and producer, Amazon has hired Michael Lark and Angela Cheng Caplan to serve as co-producers.
Based on the novel by Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash follows Hiro Protagonist. Snowcrash takes place in a cyberpunk future where the world is ruled by corporations. Protagonist makes his living delivering pizzas for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc. The adventures of a cyberpunk delivery boy probably wouldn't make for great TV, so it's a good thing that Protagonist spends his evenings in the digital Metaverse. It's there that he discovers a new computer virus killing his fellow hackers. The novel was an interesting blend of cyberpunk and mythology, so hopefully the show mixes it up as well well.

Read more