16 Underrated Sci-Fi Shows From 2022 That Deserve A Second Look

List Rules
Vote up the 2022 sci-fi shows that are worth catching up on.

One bright side of the pandemic lockdowns in 2020 and ’21 was a genre TV renaissance. Sci-fi shows that might have otherwise been overlooked like Squid Game and Manifest found huge audiences. When the world reopened in 2022, people spent more time out of the house, making for less time to binge show of the moment. 

As a result, a slew of great genre shows that weren’t called Stranger Things, Andor, or Wednesday became lost in an ever-expanding labyrinth of TV in 2022, making it difficult to decide which series to watch next. To help you out, we picked out some of the most binge-worthy sci-fi shows that fell under the radar, either due to poor marketing or stiff competition (usually both). No matter how you like your science fiction, there’s a lot to love on this list: reanimated cadavers; giant, fighting robots; tiny, murderous robots; time-traveling tweens; super spies with secret powers; aliens both evil and benevolent; a mysterious hole; and monsters… lots and lots of monsters.


  • 1
    61 VOTES

    Night Sky

    The bad news: Night Sky got cancelled after one season on Amazon Prime. More bad news: The eight-episode season ended with few answers to the central mystery. Even so, it’s totally worth a watch to see two Oscar winners and genre legends at their best. J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek star as Franklin and Irene York, an old married couple with a portal to another planet in their backyard shed.

    But when a nosy neighbor starts poking around, and a mysterious alien (or is he?) shows up at the portal, the Yorks’ blissful existence starts to unravel. As it turns out, they’re not the only ones who know of the portal’s existence, and the race is on to discover its secrets. It’s a shame more fans didn’t know about this show. For its part, Amazon promoted Night Sky by “beaming” the first episode into space, bypassing satellites, so it might someday reach aliens. Maybe they can convince Amazon to renew it.

    61 votes
  • 2
    80 VOTES

    The Peripheral

    The sci-fi pedigree of The Peripheral doesn’t get much higher. It’s based on a 2014 William Gibson novel, adapted by The Ruins writer Scott B. Smith, produced by the team behind Westworld, and stars Hit-Girl herself, Chloe-Grace Moretz. She plays Flynne, a gifted VR gamer living in near poverty in a small South Carolina town in 2032. Flynne takes over her brother’s avatar to test a new SIM video game, which is more real than anything she’s ever experienced. 

    As this Amazon Prime series progresses and Flynne discovers she’s controlling a robot in the futuristic London of 2099 (while trying to evade time-traveling mercenaries in the present), The Peripheral is as satisfying to watch as when Neo discovers his powers in The Matrix. The visuals are stunning, but Moretz shines brightest by playing three different versions of herself, including one who would give Hit-Girl a run for her money. Despite a huge marketing push, the series didn't generate the same buzz as Westworld, but it's a worthwhile pursuit. 

    80 votes
  • 3
    33 VOTES

    Archive 81

    Archive 81
    Photo: Netflix

    Another great horror show that fell under the radar, Netflix’s Archive 81 stars Mamoudou Athie as Dan Turner, a museum curator who gets hired to restore old VHS tapes that had burned in a fire. The same analog creepiness that made The Ring so scary works to perfection here, especially when Dan sees demonic images amidst the tragic story of the woman who recorded those decades-old videotapes.

    Created by The Boys producer Rebecca Sonnenshine (who’s also written episodes of Outcast and Vampire Diaries), Archive 81 didn’t perform well enough for Netflix to keep it around for a second season. But if you prefer your supernatural horror loaded with foreboding visions, evil cults, and jaw-dropping cliffhangers, curl up in a warm blanket and give it a binge.

    33 votes
  • 4
    36 VOTES

    Outer Range

    The secrets run deep and the sci-fi stakes couldn’t be higher in this neo-Western starring the always great Josh Brolin as Royal Abbott, a troubled Wyoming ranch owner who finds a mysterious black hole in a field on his land. Royal tentatively lowers his hand into the void… and is struck with terrifying visions of what’s to come. 

    Released without much fanfare on Amazon Prime in April, Outer Range received mostly positive reviews - with critics describing it as Yellowstone meets Twin Peaks meets Lost. Like those shows, the mysteries alone wouldn’t be enough to sustain Outer Range without a great supporting cast, which features horror veteran Lili Taylor (The Conjuring, Eli) as Royal’s pious wife; Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later) as Autumn, a hippy with a strange connection to the land; and Noah Reid (Schitt’s Creek) as Billy Tillerson, a singing cowboy from a rival family who’s as creepy as he is endearing. 

    36 votes
  • 5
    47 VOTES

    At first glance, this Amazon Prime show seems like a Stranger Things knock-off, but Paper Girls (based on Brian K. Vaughan’s graphic novel and created by Stephany Folsom, who co-wrote Toy Story 4) quickly pivots from the predictable and becomes a delightfully chaotic mess of a time-travel story. The show starts with four tween girls – Erin (Riley Lai Nelet), Tiff (Camryn Jones), Mac (Sofia Rosinsky), and KJ (Fina Strazza) – setting out early one morning in 1988 to deliver newspapers, only to find themselves rocketed into 2019 and unwillingly wrapped up in the middle of a time war. They find themselves pursued by the Terminator-like Prioress (Adina Porter, True Blood). Who can the girls turn to for help? Their future selves. 

    That’s when Paper Girls is at its best — and at its cringiest. Do they turn out as awesome as their 12-year-old selves think they would? In almost every case, the answer is no. In between those unexpectedly resonant scenes dealing with thwarted ambitions and buried emotions, we’re treated to giant fighting robots. This series is the very definition of binge-worthy.

    47 votes

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  • 6
    30 VOTES

    Glitch

    Glitch
    Photo: Netflix

    If the worst happens and your significant other meets with an untimely end, you’d give anything to have them back in your life. But at some point, you move on and find someone else to fill the void. What would happen, then, if that lost love returned? That’s the human element to the engrossing Australian drama Glitch, which ran on Australia’s ABC network from 2015–19 and hit Netflix in 2022.

    The sci-fi element? The significant other literally dug herself out of her grave… along with a half dozen other unclothed, dirty, formerly dead people who emerge from a cemetery in the small town of Yoorana, Victoria, described by one character as “the *ss end of the *ss end of the world.” Join local cop, Sgt. James Hayes (Patrick Brammall), as he tries to solve the mystery alongside Dr. Elishia McKellar (Genevieve O’Reilly, who’s become a fan favorite for her portrayal of Mon Mothma in Star Wars: Andor).

    30 votes