17 Most Underrated Sci-Fi Shows You Haven’t Seen (Yet)


Particularly in recent years, there has been a boom in science fiction television, with numerous exciting and imaginative projects being produced. However, sci-fi is by no means a new sensation. Since pretty much the birth of television, it has been one of the most popular genres with general audiences, allowing them to immerse their imaginations in richly constructed alternate universes where anything is possible.

While the genre has always been popular, there’s such a vast number and large variety of new sci-fi series coming out every year that many outstanding series end up going unrecognized. Whether it’s a very classic-style epic like Foundation, or even a subversive comedy like Resident Alien, there are plenty of underrated sci-fi shows that deserve a lot more recognition than they usually get.

17 ‘The 4400’ (2004 – 2007)

Created by René Echevarria and Scott Peters

Image via USA Network

The 4400 is one of those tragic sci-fi TV shows that were canceled too soon. In it, as the reappearance of 4,400 missing persons on a single day confuses the global community, federal agents on the case slowly discover that the victims have been changed in dramatic ways. There are plenty of good stories about alien abductions, but not enough about the abductees being returned to Earth. The 4400 fills that void.

The 4400 became popular thanks to its innovative premise and ability to seamlessly weave creative sci-fi tropes into the deeply emotional aspects of the story. It delves into themes like identity and power, all set against the suspenseful backdrop of a Homeland Security investigation of a murder. The show was unfortunately canceled after four seasons, but it has since become a cult classic with a loyal following.

Buy on Amazon

16 ‘Night Sky’ (2022)

Created by Holden Miller

a man and woman speaking in a kitchen in front of the sink
Image via Amazon Prime Video

Night Sky, one of the best new space TV series, follows Irene (Sissy Spacek) and Franklin York (J. K. Simmons), an elderly couple in the Midwest who uncover a device that can teleport them to a chamber with a view of a strange, desolate alien planet. It’s based on the quantum physics principle of quantum entanglement, which states that two particles are connected and affect each other even if they’re light years away from each other.

Night Sky is a show that seamlessly switches between investigative drama, science fiction horror, and emotionally evocative life reflection. Though it was nuanced and had compelling characters and a smartly executed concept, making it one of the most underrated TV shows on Prime Video, Night Sky was unfortunately canceled after its first season due to low viewership. Nevertheless, its short run was enough to earn it a fair amount of fans.

Night Sky

Release Date
May 20, 2022

Holden Miller

Watch on Amazon Prime

15 ‘The Peripheral’ (2022)

Created by Scott B. Smith

Flynne Fisher strapped to a metal machine
Image via Amazon Prime Video

Set in a bleak yet chillingly familiar future where technology has changed society, The Peripheral follows a VR gamer, Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) as she explores a connection to an alternate reality. Along the way, she discovers details about a grim future of her own. Based on a thrilling novel by William Gibson, it’s a thought-provoking examination of how technology impacts human relations.

A slow-burn sci-fi series, The Peripheral manages to paint a terrifying future in the subtlest of ways, which makes for a unique viewing experience. With a powerful performance from Moretz in what’s arguably one of her best roles, the show had viewers eagerly awaiting a second season that unfortunately never came, as the series was canceled to fans’ dismay. Still, its run was so fresh and original that viewers are sure to relish the show forever.

The Peripheral

Release Date
October 21, 2022

Scott B. Smith

Chloe Grace Moretz , Jack Reynor , JJ Feild , Gary Carr

Watch on Amazon Prime

14 ‘Raised by Wolves’ (2020 – 2022)

Created by Aaron Guzikowski

two women (one in sci-fi clothing) speaking outdoors
Image via Max

Raised by Wolves centers on two androids called Father (Abubakar Salim) and Mother (Amanda Collin), who is assigned to care for human infants on planet Kepler-22b after a major battle decimated Earth. The androids then discover that regulating human beliefs is a perilous and challenging responsibility as the expanding colony of humans is threatened by religious divisions.

Raised by Wolves might be too bizarre for some viewers looking for a more grand sci-fi spectacle, but its visual marvel, mystery, and perpetual sense of danger are fascinating. Raised by Wolves is an intricate tale that’s been written with extraordinary imagination and flare, making a remark on topics like family, faith, and how artificial intelligence is taking over more and more aspects of human existence. Its cancellation after just two seasons is something that fans will never forgive.

Buy on Google Play

13 ‘Devs’ (2020)

Created by Alex Garland

woman in a hoodie standing under trees and a circle of light
Image via FX

Film directors occasionally dip their toes into television, and when they do, they can only hope that the result will be as outstanding as Devs. It’s a sci-fi thriller miniseries created by Alex Garland that follows software developer Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno), who works for Forest’s (Nick Offerman) quantum computing business. Lily quickly becomes involved in her boyfriend’s unexplained murder, which occurred on his first day at a new job at Devs.

Similar to Garland’s previous work, the show is incredibly stylish, with lively music and dreamy visuals. Moreover, the murder mystery premise is accompanied by philosophical ideas that are so profound and esoteric that it may be challenging for many viewers to fully comprehend. Sci-fi fans should add the series to their watchlist since it brilliantly portrays the unsettling, almost religious influence of tech giants that appear to dominate every aspect of people’s lives.


Release Date
March 5, 2020

Alex Garland

Watch on Hulu

12 ‘Lost in Space’ (2018 – 2021)

Created by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless

person walking through a sunny field in an alien planet, next to a land vehicle
Image via Netflix

The Netflix science fiction TV show called Lost in Space further proves that the streaming giant is a leading force in contemporary sci-fi television. The story follows the escapades of the Robinson family of space colonists whose ship deviates from its intended trajectory. The Swiss Family Robinson, a novel published in 1812, served as the basis for the original 1965 television series of the same name, which this modern rendition is based on.

Lost in Space is one of the best sci-fi shows on Netflix, thanks to a lot of intriguing characters that are easy to like and easy to relate to, which draws viewers in and makes them feel close to the show. The familial bonds that the narrative focuses on, in addition to the visually attractive alien continent with a wrecked spaceship and deadly robots, are the secret to the show’s popularity and the reason it is so appealing to viewers outside the most ardent sci-fi fans.

Watch on Netflix

11 ‘Alice in Borderland’ (2020 – 2022)

Created by Haro Aso

Kento Yamazaki as Arisu and Tao Tsuchiya as Usagi with two other players look into tunnel in Episode 4 of Netflix's Alice in Borderland
Image via Netflix

Alice in Borderland is a Japanese Netflix series about a group of friends led by an obsessed gamer who are suddenly transported to a strange emptied-out version of Tokyo in which they must play deadly games to survive. They’re all given “visas” that accrue points, and any player who runs out is immediately disqualified and killed. They soon find that things are more sinister than they seem.

The show is addictive, what with its intense action sequences, suspenseful story, incredible actors, complex world-building, and exploration of themes like friendship, survival, and power. An incredible and complex death game show, Alice in Borderland is consistently finding more and more inventive ways to explore the reality that the players are forced to deal with, and leaves viewers with more questions than answers (in the best way possible).

Alice in Borderland (Live Action)

Release Date
December 10, 2020

Kento Yamazaki , Tao Tsuchiya , Nijirô Murakami , Eleanor Noble


Watch on Netflix

10 ‘Tales from the Loop’ (2020)

Created by Nathaniel Halpern

A robot standing in the middle of the field with people and a car around
Image via Amazon Prime Video

Tales from the Loop is a beautiful sci-fi drama TV show based on Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag‘s art book of the same name. The show focuses on the townspeople who live above “The Loop”, a scientific research facility that leads them to an alternate reality in which things that are impossible become attainable, thanks to a machine built to explore the mysteries of the universe.

Fans of the Netflix program Stranger Things may find Tales from the Loop‘s premise familiar, however, this series takes a more adult and serious tone. Tales from the Loop is a terrific option for curious viewers looking for the thought-provoking questions that sci-fi can bring up, because it is told with tenderness and care and features magnificent landscape compositions from filmmakers like Jodie Foster and Andrew Stanton. It’s one of the best dystopian TV shows of the past few years, perfect for fans of the genre.

Tales From the Loop

Release Date
April 30, 2020

Nathaniel Halpern

Watch on Amazon Prime

9 ‘Foundation’ (2021 – )

Created by Josh Friedman and David S. Goyer

woman in a warm coat standing in a cold field on an alien planet
Image via Apple TV+

Based on the groundbreaking series of novels written by legendary sci-fi author Isaac Asimov, Foundation follows a complex saga of humans scattered all throughout the galaxy, living under the rule of the Galactic Empire. The galaxy’s leading psycho-historian sets out to create the Foundation, an organization tasked with preserving knowledge and reconstructing civilization following the empire’s downfall.

Even though Foundation sometimes suffers from some slight pacing issues, it nevertheless succeeds in updating a classic sci-fi series for a contemporary audience in a way that keeps it seeming current and exciting. Moreover, technology, clothing, artwork, and everything else in between are all part of the enormous world-building that is still undoubtedly among the best on any current show. With Foundation, Apple TV+ has proved that it has become the home of the smartest current sci-fi TV shows.


Release Date
September 24, 2021


Watch on Apple TV+

8 ’12 Monkeys’ (2015 – 2018)

Created by Travis Fickett and Terry Matalas

a man and woman standing side by side in a room
Image via Syfy

12 Monkeys is an underrated time travel sci-fi show that is partially based on the outstanding 1995 Terry Gilliam cult classic of the same name. The show follows James Cole (Aaron Stanford) and Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull), two random strangers who are drawn together by fate on a quest to use time travel to thwart the evil schemes of the mysterious group called “Army of the 12 Monkeys.”

12 Monkeys has a fairly surprising sense of humor for a program that is drenched in post-apocalyptic melancholy and regret. The show progresses so swiftly that if viewers are not paying enough attention, they may occasionally and easily miss certain important facts for the next segment. It’s a provocative exploration of memories and their effect on civilization at large, arguably just as great as its source material.

12 Monkeys

Release Date
January 16, 2015


Watch on Hulu

7 ‘Future Man’ (2017 – 2020)

Created by Kyle Hunter, Howard Overman, and Ariel Shaffir

Tiger and Josh in full Future Man soldier gear stand back-to-back and face the camera.
Image via Hulu

Future Man is a comedy sci-fi TV show that follows a janitor named Josh Futturman (Josh Hutcherson) who is underachieving at work, but can easily beat his favorite and considerable undefeatable video game, Biotic Wars. Suddenly, the game’s two main characters, Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and Wolf (Derek Wilson), suddenly arrive and ask Josh for help in defending the planet from the actual Biotic Wars.

Viewers may feel drawn into the narrative and transported back in time by the show’s vibrant color scheme and retro design. What makes Future Man particularly captivating is the character-driven action, as opposed of the normal event-based tropes that viewers often see in shows like this, adding depth to the program and balancing the hilarious gags with some exquisite dramatic moments and character development.

Future Man

Release Date
November 14, 2017


6 ‘Humans’ (2015 – 2018)

Created by Lars Lundström

a woman and her reflection on a glass
Image via AMC

Humans is an AMC sci-fi drama based on the Swedish science fiction show Real Humans. The show, one of the best about the topic of Artificial Intelligence, takes place in a parallel present where Synths, highly evolved robotic servants that eerily resemble humans, are the newest must-have device for any busy family. One struggling suburban family with a used Synth soon learn that its presence has terrifying, far-reaching effects.

Although the show’s concept may not be novel in the sci-fi genre, Humans provides a more realistic and expansive view of what life would actually be like with A.I. living among society, with some truly scary and creative twists. Additionally, the show focuses on the more human-like side of the Synths as well as on its other characters, making it an interesting examination of humanity itself.

Watch on Hoopla

5 ‘Resident Alien’ (2021 – )

Created by Chris Sheridan

girl holding an alien plushie standing next to her dad, in a crowded room of laughing people
Image via Syfy

Resident Alien is a dramedy TV show based on Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse‘s comic book of the same name, and it’s definitely one of the best Syfy TV shows of the last few years. The show follows a crash-landed alien on a mission to wipe out humanity, who takes on the identity of small-town Colorado doctor Harry Vanderspeigel (Alan Tudyk). He struggles with the ethical conundrum of his mission when he is requested to do an autopsy on the town’s doctor, who died under mysterious circumstances.

For sci-fi fans who can readily set aside the show’s lack of realism in favor of a good sci-fi laugh and an engaging plot, Resident Alien is a terrific choice. The showrunners execute the fun story with amazing sincerity and insight into themes like regret and what it feels like to be an outsider. They make clever use of typical tropes of the genre without being cynical and without constantly winking at the audience for a cheap laugh. The third season can’t come soon enough.

Resident Alien

Release Date
January 27, 2021

Chris Sheridan

Alan Tudyk , Sara Tomko , Corey Reynolds , Elizabeth Bowen


Watch on Peacock

4 ‘For All Mankind’ (2019 – )

Created by Ronald D. Moore, Ben Nedivi, and Matt Wolpert

woman in an American spacesuit out in space
Image via Apple TV+

For All Mankind is set in an alternate 1969, where the Soviet Union successfully places men on the Moon before the United States, shocking the entire world. With that setback, NASA now faces a brand-new obstacle in the space race that they weren’t prepared for. The rivalry that defined the Cold War is now more intense than ever, with a greater desire to advance, and more resources available.

A perfect watch for those who enjoy stories about the space race, For All Mankind poses all kinds of challenging questions without being patronizing, and doesn’t back down on showing the worst impulses of 20th-century America. Additionally, the program has mastered the art of combining a compelling narrative with extremely high stakes with much smaller, more relatable personal plotlines. As fans recover from its fourth season ending, one can only wonder what the writers will do next.

For All Mankind

Release Date
November 1, 2019

Ronald D. Moore, Ben Nedivi, Matt Wolpert


Watch on Apple TV+

3 ‘The Expanse’ (2015 – 2022)

Created by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby

Image via Amazon

Based on James S. A. Corey’s series of novels of the same name, The Expanse is set in the near future, at a time when humanity dominates the Solar System. The story follows a group of characters who find themselves at the center of a plot that puts the system’s precarious Cold War at a boiling point, while coping with existential issues brought on by recently found technology.

The show has six seasons, and each one balances a number of distinct genres that make it always feel fresh, intriguing, and fascinating. Throughout its epic narrative, The Expanse never shied away from depicting the atrocities people may commit in the name of authority, discrimination, or corporate greed, which is why it’s so awe-inspiring and powerful.

The Expanse

Release Date


Watch on Amazon Prime

2 ‘Fringe’ (2008 – 2013)

Created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

people standing around a wounded man in a hospital bed
Image via FOX

Fringe follows FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble), and his son Peter (Joshua Jackson) as they investigate and try to rationalize mysterious and unexplained phenomena known as “the fringe.” The series has some of the best seasons of television that have been aired in recent times, and never fails to be exciting even for those who aren’t typically into the genre.

Fringe is action-packed, thrilling, and full of surprising turns, making up for its occasionally shaky storytelling. There is something for everyone because Fringe covers many scientific ideas including time travel, telepathy, parallel universes, and genetic engineering while blending procedural crime drama and science fiction components. The program, created by famous filmmaker J.J. Abrams, is said to be the ideal fusion of Lost and Alias (both also Abrams shows), offering fans of both programs a wonderful new alternative.


Release Date
September 9, 2008

J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci


Watch on Max

1 ‘Counterpart’ (2017 – 2019)

Created by Justin Marks

a man sitting at the train station talking on the phone
Image via Starz

Counterpart is a sci-fi thriller that follows a man named Howard Silk (J.K. Simmons), a hapless United Nations employee. Howard is forced into a shadowy world of intrigue and betrayal when he learns that the agency he works for is hiding a portal to a parallel dimension that’s at war with our own. The only person Howard can rely on is his nearly identical counterpart from this parallel world.

Through an original concept that’s nothing short of fascinating, Counterpart explores what makes each individual unique. Additionally, the show is elevated to a new level of complexity and excitement thanks to Simmons’ incredible performance, which is the anchor that holds what’s surely one of the best thriller TV shows together.

Watch on Amazon Prime

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