Lenny’s Netflix Review – Top 5 Underrated Sci-Fi TV Shows on Netflix

Netflix is great, but sometimes there are too many things to choose from. I’m sure you have wasted lots of time just browsing through the many shows and movies trying to find something that interests you, only to be disappointed in the end. Some things you’ve never heard of end up being fantastic. Others you have heard of are just boring and often overrated. Luckily for you, I have watched(binged) way more Netflix than should be legally allowed in most states.

Lenny’s Top 5 Underrated Sci-Fi TV Shows on Netflix

(List is in alphabetical order, followed by a brief summary of each show)

  • Ascension
  • Black Mirror
  • Dark Matter
  • Firefly
  • Lost in Space

Ascension

Observation deck of the USS Ascension, Ascension.

With fears that the cold war may escalate into a nuclear crisis, the government launched a starship in 1963, the USS Ascension, sending 600 people into space. Their multigenerational, 100 year mission is to a planet orbiting a star called Proxima Centauri, to ensure that their grandchildren may populate this new world and save the human race from extinction. Fifty-one years into the journey, a young woman is murdered. Her death sparks off a series of investigations that lead some to ultimately discover that their mission isn’t anything at all what it seems to be.

This 6 part mini series is fantastically styled in the cold war era, early 60’s socialite setting, and even though 50 years have past, living in a closed environment with no outside influences has caused very little to change. It reminds me a lot of what life in a Vault in the Fallout world would have been like without the vault suits and formalities. The real big kick in the seat is when the truth behind what’s really happening is discovered. Believe me, you NEVER see it coming!


Black Mirror

Bing, in “Fifteen Million Merits” episode of Black Mirror.
  • Country of Origin United Kingdom
  • Original Language(s) English
  • Subtitles No
  • Number of Seasons 4
  • Number of Episodes 19
  • Average Episode Length 60
  • In Current Production Yes
  • Starring As this is an anthology there are almost no recurring cast members

Black Mirror is a British anthology Sci-fi series that examines society and our interaction with technology. More specifically, how much we take for granted and ultimately rely on it to shape our culture and things we hold dear in life; why what is important to us is and it’s superficiality that leads us to our own destructive paths.

Often cited as a modern day Twilight Zone, this show is mind blowingly original in the way it tackles very deep concepts of the human condition. What I love is how effortlessly and realistically technology and future life is portrayed in many episodes. It’s extremely thoughtful avoiding the stereotypical tropes that are common in most all sci-fi shows. As in reality, the depiction of life 30 years into the future doesn’t change the way the world looks as a whole, just the important details of whats inside it. Some episodes of course, break this mold and depict a future that looks entirely different but where society and modern culture hasn’t changed much at all.

Viewer warning. DO NOT WATCH THE FIRST EPISODE! I cannot stress this enough. This is vitally important. If you watch the first episode you may not watch the rest of the series because it’s truly awful. It’s boring. It doesn’t make much sense. It does not reflect any of the rest of the episodes and I wish they would just remove it from the series completely. Yes it’s that bad. However, the rest of the shows are fantastically amazing and totally worth every second of time you may give them.

This show is by far, my number 1 recommendation for something to watch on Netflix, anytime anyone asks.


Dark Matter

Crew of the Raza, Dark Matter.

Based on the comic book by the same name, Dark Matter is kind of like a cheesy Canadian version of Firefly without the western cowboy bits, but yet totally awesome in it’s own way.

Six people wake up from stasis in a spaceship with no memory of how they got their. Struggling to learn of their true identities, they assign themselves numbers one through six, and with the aid of the ships Android, they navigate the stars looking for answers. What they find out about themselves is far darker than they could had ever guessed. They soon realize they are wanted by people they don’t know, for things they don’t understand. This all unfolds into an amazing string of adventures from liberating planets to playing major sides against each other who are fighting galactic wars over secret technology.

I really didn’t want to like this show at first for whatever reason but I ended up loving it. (That happens to me a lot). There are some cheesy bits to the show, like an episode that resembles Galactica 1980 , but it’s part of it’s charm. The story and characters hold up well and do not disappoint. I really recommend this show to anyone looking for a new kind of space adventure.

Caution. Wil Wheaton has a small role appearing in 2 episodes in the series. He’s not in it long enough to ruin it but his appearance is kind of a bummer.


Firefly

Jayne, Malcolm, Zoe. Firefly.

In 1966 Star Trek was billed as a “Space Western”. In 2002 Joss Whedon delivered. Literally.

Firefly is a class of ship. Serenity is her name. Malcolm (Nathan Fillion) is her Captain. Zoe (Gina Torres), Wash (Alan Tudyk), Jayne (Adam Baldwin), and Kaylee (Jewel Staite) are her crew. Inara (Morena Baccarin), Dr. Simon (Sean Maher), and Sheppard Book (Ron Glass) are her passengers. River (Summer Glau) is her stowaway. Together, these 9 people travel the star system living on the fringes of society, beyond the control of the Alliance, smuggling cargo and helping solve local affairs and struggles which too often become their own.

Thematic of the old west mixed with chinese culture…in space, Firefly is very much a western set in a time after a great civil war in which lines are drawn and sides are chosen. The crew does whatever it needs to survive and keep Serenity operational, which often includes fighting everything from alliance forces and criminals, to alien beings and mega corporate entities hell bent on ruling the galaxy.

I’ll admit, Firefly isn’t exactly underrated. But it’s far less known than many bigger Sci-fi shows that don’t even hold a candle to it. I’ll put Firefly next to Star Trek any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

While Firefly is unfortunately no longer streaming, you can still watch it through Netflix DVD service, which is like Redbox but way faster, cheaper and easier to deal with.


Lost in Space (2018)

Robot and John Robinson, Lost in Space.

Third time’s a charm? I wasn’t a big fan of the 60’s show. And the Movie was just awful. But the remake is working for me enough that I’m including it in this article*.

Lost in Space is a remake of a 1960’s TV show of the same name, which was drastic remake of a novel called The Swiss Family Robinson, written by Johann David Wyss published in 1812.

The Robinson family, John (Toby Stephens), his wife Maureen (Molly Parker), and their kids Will (Maxwell Jenkins), Judy (Taylor Russell), and Penny (Mina Sundwall),  are part of an ongoing mission to transport selected families to Alpha Centauri to colonize a new world and save humanity. Along the voyage, their transport ship the “Resolutte” is invaded by alien robots, causing a massive evacuation. They escape in a smaller family sized Jupiter class ship and end up crash landing into a nearby habitable planet. Unfortunately they are not alone.

*At the time of this writing I am midway through the first season. So long as nothing drastic changes in a negative way this review stands. I feel comfortable enough to reviewing what I’ve seen thus far.


Let me know if you agree or disagree with my picks and why, in the comments section. Feel free to make your own lists as well.

About the opinions in this article…

Any opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or of the other authors/contributors who write for it.

About Lenny Ghoul 423 Articles
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