It’s another busy summer of streaming sci-fi

2024-07-04 09:00


A still photo of Rashida Jones in the Apple TV Plus series Sunny.
Sunny. | Image: Apple

Just like last year, the hot summer months of 2024 are turning out to be an excellent time for science fiction fans. There are a number of sci-fi series that either just wrapped up, are in the middle of a season, or are set to premiere soon. Perfect for ignoring the heat of the outdoors for the substantially cooler worlds of space and the future. And this is a lineup that could potentially grow even more, as Apple has been teasing the return of both Severance and Silo sometime soon. In the meantime, plan your next few months of streaming time accordingly with this list.

Scavengers Reign

Streaming on Max and Netflix

This animated series actually premiered on Max last year but made its way to Netflix on May 31st. It’s unlike anything else out there, a mix of hard sci-fi with stunning art, set on a harsh, unforgiving, and truly alien world. And really, it’s the planet that’s the highlight here, a place inspired by everything from artists like Hayao Miyazaki and Jean “Moebius” Giraud to actual nature. (You can read more about the inspirations behind the show right here.) If you weren’t able to check it out on Max, now is a great time to catch up.

Dark Matter

Streaming on Apple TV Plus

Apple has been on a serious run with sci-fi shows, and Dark Matter is just the latest example. Based on the novel of the same name by Blake Crouch, the show follows a physicist who is kidnapped... by himself... and taken to a parallel world. Somehow, it manages to do something interesting in the increasingly overcrowded space of multiverse stories and, since the first season has wrapped up, you can binge it all right now.

Doctor Who

Streaming on Disney Plus

The latest season of Doctor Who is notable for a few reasons. It marked the start of Ncuti Gatwa’s run as the doctor, and it was also the first to stream globally on Disney Plus. Over the course of eight episodes, it managed a careful balance between Doctor Who’s origins and the bigger budget that comes from being on Disney, with fun riffs on everything from Black Mirror to Bridgerton. As showrunner Russell T. Davies told The Verge, “We’ve gotten a bit more money for effects, but in this first episode, we haven’t spent it on 1,000 spaceships; we spent it on talking babies, you know?” All episodes are streaming now.

The Acolyte

Streaming on Disney Plus, concludes on July 16th

We’re well into Star Wars’ streaming era, but even with a glut of existing shows, The Acolyte manages to feel distinct. And that comes largely down to its setting: it’s the first live-action show set during the High Republic era, taking place a century before The Phantom Menace. This means that there are many Star Wars staples that aren’t present, which has freed the show up to tell some interesting stories. It also has some, excuse me, killer lightsaber battles to look forward to.


Streaming on Apple TV Plus on July 10th

Based on the novel The Dark Manual by Colin O’Sullivan, Sunny is a mixture of things: it’s part murder mystery, part comedy, and part retrofuturistic story about clunky bots that serve as personal assistants. That seems like a potentially tough trio to balance, but the early trailers show promise, and Rashida Jones looks like an ideal star to manage the load. Even better? The show seems to be filled with lots of interesting gadgets.

A photo of the cast of the Apple TV Plus series Time Bandits. Image: Apple
Time Bandits.

Time Bandits

Streaming on Apple TV Plus on July 24th

Apple TV Plus’ sci-fi lineup doesn’t have much family-friendly fare, which is what makes Time Bandits interesting. A remake of a 1981 film of the same name from Terry Gilliam, the show is described as a “high-stakes journey through time and space with a ragtag group of thieves and their newest recruit: an 11-year-old history nerd.”


Streaming on Hulu on July 29th

The show that refuses to actually die is back for its 12th season, which once again promises to explore modern tech through the lens of the future. Obviously, that includes AI, but also a much more pervasive phenomenon: “the true 5 million-year-old story behind the consciousness-altering substance known as coffee.”

A still image from the animated Netflix series Terminator Zero. Image: Netflix
Terminator Zero.

Terminator Zero

Streaming on Netflix on August 29th

The first animated entry in the franchise, Terminator Zero shifts the setting to Tokyo in the 1990s but apparently will treat all of the live-action movies as canon. If nothing else, it looks incredible, with animation from famed anime studio Production I.G and the promise of sci-fi sword fights.