Best sci-fi TV shows with 90%+ on Rotten Tomatoes

The main characters look onwards, concerned, in a 'V' formation
(Image credit: Netflix)

Given the vast choice of sci-fi TV shows available to watch, it's mind-boggling that we've been able to create a list of just 15. It turns out it is, in fact, incredibly hard to achieve over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes from both critics and audience scores, which is how we've made our selection. 15 top picks (and some honorable mentions) have achieved this impressive accolade across the entire sci-fi TV show landscape and we're here to tell you what they are and what marvels they offer. 

From retro animations to forays into superhero worlds to twisty, complex, and jam-packed tales of dystopias and dark futures, there's an abundance of choice in this list. But, they all share one thing, they've achieved what many have failed to acquire - an impressive RT score worth bragging about. 

If you prefer a scintillating blockbuster over a binge-worthy show, you can check out our list of sci-fi movies with over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you just love sci-fi then maybe our round-ups of streaming deals, or the best sci-fi content on Disney Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Paramount Plus is worth checking out. 

There's a little crossover here with our best sci-fi TV shows of all time proving that when it comes to sci-fi TV shows, like most entertainment we consume, opinions are both divided and equally valid. Rotten Tomatoes has a wealth of knowledgeable critics and curators, and we’ve trusted them here to build a list of must-watch sci-fi TV shows. Let's see what's on offer.  


Cast members of the TV show "Travelers" looking into the camera

(Image credit: Netflix)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: critics 100% / audience 97% 
  • Release date: October 17, 2016
  • Cast: Eric McCormack, MacKenzie Porter, and Nesta Cooper
  • Seasons: 3
  • Stream on: Netflix (US/UK/Aus)

A unique twist on the time-traveling sci-fi trope was borne when Will & Grace's Eric McCormack signed on to front Travelers. It's the post-apocalypse with a redemption arc installed as a way to travel back in time through consciousness and directly into the bodies of 'everyday' 21st-century people is discovered - in order to save them from themselves.

The main characters embark on a mission to realign the destructive path that humanity finds itself on and, ultimately, try to change their fate. It all becomes a lot more complex as the Travelers find themselves intertwined with the normal lives of the people they embody. 

Unfortunately, Travelers met its end after three seasons, but it still offers up an intrepid story with depth and some sort of closure for fans. The premise of which has engrossed critics and audience alike with a highly-impressive Rotten Tomatoes score.


Action sequence of a character from the TV show "Moving" looking disgruntled in water

(Image credit: Disney/Hulu)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: critics 100% / audience 97%
  • Release date: August 9, 2023
  • Cast: Ryu Seung-ryong, Han Hyo-joo, and Zo In-sung 
  • Seasons: 1
  • Stream on: Hulu (US); Disney Plus (UK/Aus) 

Moving, the sci-fi action thriller show straight out of South Korea, has had an explosive effect on viewers as its first season was released across Hulu and Disney Plus in 2023. The YA superhero drama follows three high school students with mysterious superhuman abilities. Unfortunately, their talents haven't remained as quiet as their home lives once were as a powerful, and scarily violent, organization is hellbent on taking them out, one by one.

It's an adaptation from a popular Korean webtoon of the same name by graphic artist, Kang Full. While his work has been adapted to film on numerous occasions, it's this Disney Plus show that has catapulted him into the limelight with its action-packed and unique story. Fair warning, this one's gory.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

Animated still of a white-haired character from the TV show "Cyberpunk: Edgerunners" looking directly at the viewer

(Image credit: Netflix)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: critics 100% / audience 95%
  • Release date: September 13, 2022
  • Cast: Zach Aguilar, Kenichiro Ohashi, and Kagga Jayson
  • Seasons: 1
  • Stream on: Netflix (US/UK/Aus)

Based on the hugely popular video game, Cyberpunk 2077, from developer CD Projekt Red (The Witcher), Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was picked up by Netflix as a sci-fi miniseries taking place one year before the events of the game. Reckless street kid, David Martinez, travels to Night City with dreams of becoming a mercenary outlaw, known as an edgerunner or cyberpunk, as the title suggests.

It's a quirky sci-fi anime set against the backdrop of a dystopia overwrought with cybernetics, corruption, and crime. CNET calls it, "a heart-wrenching story about the long-term impacts of violence and trauma." And with such an epic worldbuilding story, it joins the rankings of only a few on our list that achieves the 100% critics score.

Cowboy Bebop

Three larger characters are standing over a surprised looking character from the animated TV show "Cowboy Bebop"

(Image credit: Hulu/Netflix)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: critics 100% / audience 95%
  • Release date: September 18, 1997
  • Cast: Kôichi Yamadera, Unshô Ishizuka, and Megumi Hayashibara
  • Seasons:
  • Stream on: Hulu, Crunchyroll (US); Netflix (UK/Aus)

For our next entry, we're talking about the 1998 OG series rather than Netflix's 2021 live-action series that received heavy critique on Rotten Tomatoes. Originally airing only on TV Tokyo in 1998, Cowboy Bebop was swiftly picked up globally, finding a spot on Cartoon Network's late-night Adult Swim in 2001. 

It's a neo-noir space Western anime set in 2071 that follows the lives of a group of bounty hunters on the spaceship, Bebop. They get swept up in chasing down criminals through a series of misadventures, all while tackling their own mysterious backstories. This genre blend has seriously impressed across 26 deeply philosophical episodes of sci-fi greatness.

Scavengers Reign

An anguished-looking, red-haired man is on all fours

(Image credit: Max)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: critics 100% / audience 94%
  • Release date: October 19, 2023
  • Cast: Sunita Mani, Wunmi Mosaku, and Bob Stephenson
  • Seasons: 1
  • Stream on: Max (US); N/A (UK); Binge (Aus)

The 12-episode Max miniseries of Scavengers Reign is an animated sci-fi drama that is truly a sight to behold. A deep space freighter and its crew find themselves stranded on Vesta - a beautiful, but dangerous planet. They set off to explore in three groups, but eventually are reunited back at the crash-landed ship.  

Despite critical acclaim, the show ran for just one season on Max. But, in an interesting twist of events, the first season has since been acquired by Netflix who are "considering" a second season, per Variety

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

Jedi Ahsoka wields her green lightsaber from Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

(Image credit: Disney Plus)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: critics 100% / audience 93% 
  • Release date: October 26, 2022 
  • Cast: Corey Burton, Ashley Eckstein, and Dee Bradley Baker
  • Seasons: 1
  • Stream on: Disney Plus (US/UK/Aus)

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi takes two characters rich in the lore of the franchise and explores their lives through six animated episodes jam-packed with adventure. From the prequel trilogy era, two Jedi, Ahsoka Tano and Count Dooku, are followed through various points by following two very different paths. And over the six episodes, there’s so much to learn.

Lucasfilm Animation brought out a second season, a six-part anthology under the name, Star Wars: Tales of the Empire, which dives deeper into two new characters in the Star Wars universe. This time round embedded in the Galactic Empire. Read our review here. It sits in good company too, with Star Wars: The Clone Wars later on in our list. 

X-Men '97

Animated characters from "X-Men '97" stand side-by-side on a basketball court

(Image credit: Disney Plus)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: critics 98% / audience 94%
  • Release date: March 20, 2024 
  • Cast: Cal Dodd, George Buza, and Holly Chou
  • Seasons: 1
  • Stream on: Disney Plus (US/UK/Aus)

Despite only being released in 2024, X-Men '97 has clearly impressed with a top Rotten Tomatoes score to prove it. In true X-Men fashion, it's the tale of a band of mutants learning to use their gifts to protect a world where they're unappreciated for their skills. It's a revival of 1992's animated series, picking up where the story was left in a world after the loss of Professor X.

The animation style has critics feeling nostalgic, "Everything about '97 reflects an affection and thoughtfulness, not just for the Saturday morning cartoon but for the X-Men, too," says Vox. If you're looking to remember X-Men as you may have first experienced it, X-Men '97 provides.

Battlestar Galactica

Six characters from the TV show "Battlestar Galactica" sit around a small circular table

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: critics 95% / audience 94%
  • Release date: October 18, 2004
  • Cast: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, and Jamie Bamber
  • Seasons: 4
  • Stream on: Amazon Prime (US); available to buy in UK/Aus

The Battlestar Galactica franchise is vast. Amongst the books, novels, comics, board games, and video games was an evolution into TV that took two fairly short-lived shows and a miniseries before hitting the spot with this, 2004-2009's Battlestar Galactica sci-fi epic reboot.

The crew, composed of the last surviving humans after the Cylons annihilated the 12 colonies, board the Galactica to lead a fleet of the last of civilization heading to the fabled 13th colony, Earth. Over a wildly entertaining four seasons filled with war between the Colonials and the Cylon, it all went a bit awry in the final episodes, but BSG is no doubt to thank for a lot of sci-fi-inspired creations that have followed in its footsteps (or jumps). 

Justice League

The animated entourage of "Justice League" including Superman, Bat Man, Flash, Wonder Woman and others

(Image credit: Netflix/Max)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 95% / Audience 94%
  • Release date: November 17, 2001
  • Cast: Carl Lumbly, Phil LaMarr, and Michael Rosenbaum
  • Seasons: 5
  • Stream on: Netflix, Max (US); Netflix (UK/Aus)

In a list laden with animation, 2001's Justice League is another shining star. What's not to love about a superhero mash-up? Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and a band of other superheroes are brought together to fight threats they can't tackle alone, despite their superhuman abilities. Together though? An incredibly powerful team capable of fighting off the biggest of threats.

Justice League is a franchise that has taken many forms and the show itself even rebranded after the first two seasons, returning for three more as Justice League Unlimited. Almost every season on RT sits above the 90% mark (or just below), which in RT standards, is a very impressive feat.

The Expanse

Two dark-haired males from the TV show "The expanse" look worried, one looks forward while one looks at the other

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 95% / Audience 92%
  • Release date: November 23, 2015
  • Cast: Steven Strait, Dominique Tipper, and Wes Chatham
  • Seasons: 6
  • Stream on: Amazon Prime (US/UK/Aus) 

Featured on our best sci-fi TV shows based on books guide, The Expanse started its life on screen with Syfy before moving to Amazon Prime. Written by James S. A. Corey, a pen name for writing duo, Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham, it's the tale of a political space landscape where the Solar System has been colonized. As three warring factions battle it out, divided between Earth, Mars, and the Belt, a group of differing personalities are brought together to unravel and explore a conspiracy that could devastate everything.

Running for six epic seasons, The Expanse has been lauded by critics and audience members alike with impressive scores across the board. Unfortunately, the show ended before addressing the last three books of the series leaving some open-ended storylines, but at least Amazon breathed new life into it when it almost met its end three seasons in on Syfy.

Marvel's Agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D.

Characters from "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" stand, armed in an aircraft

(Image credit: Disney Plus)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 95% / Audience 91%
  • Release date: September 24, 2013
  • Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, and Brett Dalton
  • Seasons: 7
  • Stream on: Disney Plus (US/UK/Aus)

Marvel's Agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D marked the first endeavor into TV for the MCU. Following the spy agency for superheroes, the team embarks on missions to handle the strangest of cases in the Marvel world.

The series expands the MCU down new, and wildly mysterious, paths. It wasn't clear how well it'd translate into TV, but its seven-season run shows off its capability to impress. Unsurprising really, considering it is rich in MCU lore after all. The show twists off into even more pathways throughout its run with time-traveling, world-saving, and fugitive-chasing adventures.

Orphan Black

Four women from "Orphan Black" sit around in a sitting room, the blonde one, who is front and center, is reading a book

(Image credit: AMC+)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 93% / Audience 92%
  • Release date: March 30, 2013
  • Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce, and Jordan Gavaris
  • Seasons: 5
  • Stream on: AMC+ (US), ITVX (UK), Stan (Aus)

As is true with almost every sci-fi concept imaginable, the storyline can be incredibly complex and adapting it for television requires intricacy and a great cast. For Orphan Black, this statement is undoubtedly true. Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) witnesses the suicide of a woman. The big twist; she looks just like her. She quickly learns of her involvement in an illegal cloning experiment which places many more 'Sarahs' just like her. It’s the controversial topic of creating humans in an inhumane way and the show tackles it with bravado, twisted tales of conspiracy, and the fight for survival.

It also spawned Orphan Black: Echoes, set 37 years after the end of the original show, and explores a whole new story still firmly placed in the same universe that fans came to know and love.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Clone Troopers look into the distance, two are armed with pistols

(Image credit: Disney Plus)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 93% / Audience 91%
  • Release date: October 3, 2008
  • Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, and Matt Lanter
  • Seasons: 7
  • Stream on: Disney Plus (US/UK/Aus)

An animated series exploring the Clone Wars that fits neatly into Star Wars canon is up next. Adding layers to the prequel trilogy era, like Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi earlier in our list, The Clone Wars explores the conflict between the Republic and the Separatists. It brings together lots of Star Wars fan favorites from Anakin Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi to Yoda, and many, many more.

Although they've got the same, or very similar names, 2008's Star Wars: The Clone Wars is not to be confused with 2008's The Clone Wars movie or 2003's Clone Wars TV show. While it was initially planned as an anthology series, later seasons explored longer story arcs over several episodes.

Some of the characters seen in the show have gone on to appear in other Star Wars works' like The Book of Boba Fett, The Mandalorian, and the Ahsoka spin-off. 

The Twilight Zone

You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. Next stop, the Twilight Zone.

(Image credit: Paramount+)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 92% / Audience 96%
  • Release date: October 2, 1959
  • Cast: Rod Serling, Robert McCord and Jay Overholts
  • Seasons: 5
  • Stream on: Paramount Plus (US); available to buy in the UK and Aus

Rod Serling's dreamt-up sci-fi anthology series, The Twilight Zone, is a piece of iconic TV wizardry. Every single episode brings a new twisty, creepy, and surreal tale doused in beloved sci-fi tropes. Reimagined and rebirthed by Nope's Jordan Peele, the 1959 original can still carry its own in the timeline with ideas so ahead of its time and could've most certainly lived in the now.

It's a comprehensive sci-fi collection filled with 156 episodes of independent and watchable tales. Some funny, a large number of them disturbing, and almost every single one just a little bit unusual. The Twilight Zone is almost essential watching for sci-fi fans from aliens to monsters to humans now living with pig snouts and mouths.

Stranger Things

Stranger Things (Season 4). Image of Mike, El, and Will.

(Image credit: Netflix)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 92% / Audience 90%
  • Release Date: July 15, 2016
  • Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder
  • Seasons: 5
  • Stream on: Netflix (US/UK,Aus)

Despite having the 'lowest' Rotten Tomatoes score on our list, Stranger Things is an iconic sci-fi/horror mashup drowned in 80s nostalgia, adventure, and emphasizing the strength of friendship even when coming up against the most dangerous circumstances. Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, the residents are entwined into a spooky parallel universe called the Upside Down.

A group of young friends leads the charge as they tackle the strange goings on in their town, the monsters that lurk beneath, and the conspiracy that binds it all together. 

Identical twins, the Duffer brothers, dreamt up Stranger Things and brought it to life for Netflix, with five incredible seasons that take the breath out of you at every twist and turn.

Season five (the final season) will be released in 2025.

Honorable mentions

No doubt there's an abundance of titles you'll be shocked to see missing from this list. Us too. But, the rules apply, and if RT critics and audiences alike haven't voted, they don’t appear here. That being said, there must be an honorable mention given to five shows in particular. Three; Pluto, Utopia, and Pantheon did achieve the 90%+ score but weren’t critiqued by enough curators to round it out.

There are two shows that we must mention because we just can’t quite believe they fell short. It was close too. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Fallout both missed out by just 1% on the audience side. Fallout stormed onto our screens in 2024 with the iconic video game franchise brought to life by Amazon Prime. Deep Space Nine, a true classic from the Trekky franchise, also must be mentioned because it’s iconic sci-fi and deserves to be talked about here. 

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Grace Dean
Contributing Writer

Grace is a freelancer who started writing for since 2021. She's a huge fan of movies, TV, and gaming, and if she's not clutching her Xbox controller or scanning the streaming platforms for the next must-watch shows, you'll find her spending copious amounts of time writing about them on her laptop. Specialties include RPG, FPS, and action-adventure games as well as 80s sci-fi movies and book adaptations. 

  • m4n8tpr8
    You left out Dark: critics' score 95%, audience score 94%. (Personally I think it is superior to any other time travel TV show.)

    I would not classify (most) superhero series as sci-fi: there is usually very little sci in them, even when the superpowers aren't meant to be supernatural.
  • m4n8tpr8
    Also, regarding the honourabe mentions, there is an apparently unstated third condition: "critiqued by enough curators to round it out", but I don't see it applied consistently. What is enough?

    Of the honourable mentions, Utopia has 6, Pluto 7 and Pantheon 15 critiques, while among the picks, Moving has only 8, Travelers also 15, and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners 16.