The TEN BEST sci-fi/fantasy Shows on Netflix
Almost everyone uses Netflix (or steals login information from a friend), but it's hard to find new shows. You may find one that looks interesting but how do you know if it will be a "good" show? When it comes to Sci-Fi/Fantasy shows, I find this to be especially difficult. The criteria I find important are:
1. Strong Character Development - If I don't care about the characters I won't care about the rest of the story!
2. Excellent World Building - Those well developed characters need a compelling world to inhabit. The more believeable futurism I see the better!
3. Rewatchability - Do I want to watch it again? Or was once more than enough?
If you find these traits important too, keep on reading! If not, keep reading anyway! I'll start with the worst of the best (#1) and end with the Sci-Fi/Fantasy show I think is the BEST on Netflix today(#10).
Angel (The Worst)
The worst...sort of...in my opinion.
Angel fails in a lot of ways for me. I do enjoy Buffy (it will appear a bit later in this list), so I gave Angel a watch. I gave it a chance, I watched all of it actually! I never really fell in love with it. So how does it measure up?
1. The characters are built off of another show of course, so Angel himself has a lot of really intense back story, which is great. I wish it was just a show about Angel's past. That would be great to watch! The rest of the characters, even Cordelia, just seemed to fall flat. They all have their moments, don't get me wrong! I wouldn't put the show on the list if I didn't appreciate it at least a little.
2. Because this is a fantasy series that takes place in our world, there isn't too much world building to speak of that hasn't already been decided by...nature. However, there are a lot of demon realms that are sometimes cool. They never grabbed me much either, they were just present without being inspiring.
3. I will never watch a single episode of this show again if I can help it, which is really what puts it at the very very bottom of the list for me. I cannot stress enough how hard it was for me to get through.
Another spin off show! I think there might be a theme here...
As with Angel/Buffy, I LOVE Doctor Who and thought I would give Torchwood a try. There are some redeeming qualities to this show, for sure. James Marsters drops in for a few episodes. The episode where Jack has a face to face with the real Jack Harkness was a tear jerker to say the least. But...
1. Ianto and Jack are wonderful. I love both of them to the moon and back. Otherwise I feel the performances are a bit, flat. Gwen annoys me in every possible way, and I won't lie without looking them up I cannot remember a thing about the other members of the team. Sad.
2. Again the world is primarily our world, with some aliens thrown into the mix. The headquarters of Torchwood is pretty cool, but there's nothing to speak of in the way of revolutionary politics or international policy, etc. Not that I would expect there to be, world building just isn't a focus here.
3. There are definitely a few episodes I would watch again. It wasn't a wholly unenjoyable experience, just not a very memorable one.
Once Upon A Time
What? Once Upon a Time is third from the BOTTOM! I know what some of you die hard fans may be thinking, and no I am not caught up on this show, but I don't think I'm going to make it further than mid season 2. Season 1 was great! After the events of the last few episodes, however, things took a turn for the worse.
1. Some of the characters are well designed, but overall I feel confused about everyone. I know that's kind of the point in the beginning, but the writers can't seem to pick crucial traits for their characters. Snow White and Charming are ok, but Emma is almost too complex, and I doubt they will ever decide if Regina is a sympathetic character or a villian we should all love to hate. I'm all for character complexity, but I need a little consistency too.
2. The world of Storybrooke may be in Maine, but it's special. Because it was time locked for decades, the people there haven't aged. This really makes no sense, and isn't addressed very much. They just say they were "frozen". Why do none of the children question their seemingly eternal youth? Why does no one wonder why they can't leave the town? I know, I know, it's the Curse! I am just not a fan of plot devices who mostly serve to fill in plot holes.
3. I will most likely not be watching any more Once Upon A Time, though I would potentially rewatch season 1. The mystery was great, and seeing the same scenarios play out for characters in Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest was really interesting.
Hemlock Grove (Netflix Original)
As a Netflix original series, this show is not for the faint of heart. They get to push a lot of boundaries, which is both a good and bad thing for the show.
1. Characters, on the whole, are predictable. Some of the intricacies of individual motives are highly suspect and difficult to determine. That keeps things interesting! However, there are some characters who just never surprise me, and for a show touted as a thriller that's dull.
2. The world feel so surreal. You have a huge, monstrous, science tower doing research, and then gypsies living in the woods. If there's something special about Hemlock Grove's land in particular, they haven't revealed it yet (I'm mid season 2). I just feel like they should've built that tower elsewhere.
3. I don't think I would watch it again. After you know all the secrets, I don't feel compelled to see the same gross out scenes again. The ability to film whatever they want threatens to overwhelm the story telling. Instead of writing compelling plots, they seem to just write the most shocking scenes possible.
Admittedly, I have never finished Dollhouse either ( I know I need to devote more time to television, clearly). However, when I first saw it I was surprised by the primary objective of the show. At the time it was quite novel by comparison.
1. The characters change so much it's hard to tell "who" anyone really is, and who they are just programmed to be. I like that element of the show though, so I'm ok with never really knowing in this instance.
2. Again the world is ours, but the lab is cool and futuristic. It makes you feel like that could be the real future, or even spookier, that it may already be real.
3. I really want to watch all of Dollhouse again someday, I need more Alan Tudyk in my life.
Having only seen a bit of Merlin, I won't say too much. I have loved what I've seen so far!
1. Seeing Merlin and Arthur growing up together, and forging their friendship is excellent. I was not anticipating that element of the show and I love it. The rest of the characters are intriguing and also the costumes are beautiful.
2. The world is a great medieval representation in my opinion. It feels old, but well cared for.
3. I plan to continue watching, Merlin may even earn a higher place in this list when I am finished!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
*insert Buffy theme song here*
I love this show, I love almost everything about it. I'll just get to the ratings.
1. The characters will stay with you for the rest of your life. Buffy is damaged and angsty, and sometimes irritating but with good reason! Willow and Xander are the perpetual loyal best friends and they will always hold a special place in my heart. The only character I dislike is Dawn...Dawn is lame.
2. The world is great. They really flesh out what the hell mouth can do throughout the course of the series, and while the ultimate goal of the show isn't to teach you about demons, you learn a lot about their traits and their dimensions.
3. I am currently rewatching this show with my boyfriend. We just got to Spike and Drusila! I suspect I will never stop watching this show. I have lost count of the number of times I've watched Once More with Feeling.
If you've seen any of the show, you know that from the brother-brother dynamic, to the music, everything about this show is well planned. It's had some ups and downs in recent years, but it's finally picking back up!
1. Sam and Dean have reached a point in their storytelling where I no longer feel that they are fictional. There is a tiny, crazy part of me that believes they are out there saving my bacon right now. They are moody and damaged, but they love each other so so much. Castiel, also, is one of my most beloved fictional characters. He is so much of an outsider, that he can't help but be a part of the group. That level of character building is wonderful to see, especially for a CW show.
2. While the boys rarely venture outside of the USA, they have both been to Hell and back. The mythos of their world is quite awesome. The attention to the life-cycle of a soul is great, and I think it adds a level of complexity that overall makes the show better.
3. I have watched all of Supernatural at least twice, and I would certainly continue to rewatch it in the future.
Doctor Who (Modern Era)
Of course all of the classic years of Doctor Who are not available on Netflix. You can find a sampling of the 1st-8th doctor on Netflix and elsewhere on the internet though. From 2005 onward, the show began to modernize itself and focus more on the human element.
1. The Doctor himself is probably my most beloved character of all time. Even though his show is second from the best! He has lived hundreds of years and gathered quite a lot of baggage on the way. He isn't the only character, of course, and some recent companions have been swell. Amy and Rory Williams are my favorite modern companions, but Clara Oswald (the current tagalong) is my least favorite.
2. There are so many worlds to address I don't know where to begin! Primarily the focus is on human civilizations, and the show does a great job of discussing how the human race develops, where they move, how they get there, etc. The alien worlds/races are always fun, though some fall short of excellence.
3. Again, this is a show that I have watched all the way through multiple times. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Firefly/Serenity (The Best!)
Few TV shows have gained the amount of fame and support over the entirety of their run as has Firefly did in 14 episodes and a movie. The show was over too soon, the characters had to leave our televisions prematurely, but you just can't stop this show.
1. The crew of Serenity is arguably the best emsemble casting I have seen. All of the characters treat each other with such respect (well almost all...), that you immediately see them as a family. It is, of course, Captain Malcolm Reynolds that steals the show for me. His depth of caring and love for his crew is just amazing.
2. This is the future, I'm convinced. The idea that earth is abandoned and we become a civilization speaking a hybrid of mandarin and english, traveling from moon to moon seeking out decent living conditions just seems so relevant and real. It's a sci-fi spaghetti western, perhaps, but it just makes too much sense not to play well on TV.
3. I have no idea how many times I've watch Firefly all the way through. Thanks to a certain networks huge mistake, that is an easy feat. Each episode is great, there isn't a single one I dislike. I only wish it wouldn't have ended.
So there you have it!
There are certainly a lot more sci-fi and fantasy shows on Netlix that I have not discussed or even watched. If you think there is a show that belongs on this list, let me know! If you love Angel more than any other show ever, let me know! I'd be thrilled to hear some opinions and get feedback.
Firefly will always hold a special place in my heart, there's no doubt there. I hope that some of you feel that it deserves it's spot on my list as the BEST!
Thanks for reading!