The best sci-fi movies and TV shows to stream on Amazon Prime in October

A veritable treasure trove of sci-fi is available to watch on Amazon Prime; much is free to view with your standard subscription and even more is available if you feel like paying a little more. So settle back and soak up some superb sci-fi from the safety of your sofa.

Sci-fi movies1) Apollo 13

Some additional astronautical tension has been added to heighten the drama, but otherwise this is a great movie. (Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Synopsis: The world watched in wonder as Apollo 11 landed on the lunar surface. However, now that the Russians had been beaten to the Moon, public interest in the Apollo program began to fade. But that all changed when the crew of Apollo 13 suffered a near-catastrophic oxygen tank explosion that crippled their spacecraft while en route to the Moon. Everyone at Mission Control and the astronauts themselves worked tirelessly to improvise a solution that could return them safely back to Earth.

Why you should watch: Despite being forced to include some Hollywood-style over-dramatization (Apollo astronauts were super composed and that just wouldn’t make for a thrilling movie), this Ron Howard-directed movie starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon is extremely enjoyable and the culture and atmosphere of 1970s NASA is faithfully reproduced, not to mention how accurate the production design is, including the environment suits and spacecraft interiors. The soundtrack to this movie is another delight and features the angelic vocals of Annie Lennox. 

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2) Attack the Block

The horror and humor comes thick and fast in this vastly underrated sci-fi action flick from Joe Cornish. (Image credit: StudioCanal)

Synopsis: An unlucky young woman and a gang of tough inner city kids form an unlikely alliance while trying to defend themselves against an invasion of savage alien creatures, turning an apartment complex in Lambeth, South London into an intergalactic warzone.

Why you should watch: The plot is incredibly simple, but what makes this low-budget sci-fi horror so enjoyable is not a reliance on special effects, which are kept to a minimum in an effective less-is-more approach, but rather the performances of the cast. This was the breakout role for John Boyega and Jodie Whittaker, who would both go on to star in significantly larger sci-fi franchises. And fans of this film can rejoice, as it was recently announced that a sequel has been given the green light, reuniting many of the cast, including Boyega with director Joe Cornish.

Free with Amazon Prime

3) Battle Beyond the Stars

This big-budget B-movie from 1980 plays an important part in the history of science fiction cinema. (Image credit: New World Pictures)

Synopsis: In what is to all intents and purposes “Seven Samurai” set in space, a young farmer, Shad (Richard Thomas) sets out to recruit a band of mercenaries to defend his peaceful planet, which is under threat of invasion by the evil tyrant Sador (John Saxon) and his army of Malmori mutants. Sador possesses a deadly “stellar converter” beam weapon on his formidable warship and threatens to use if the people of Akira don’t surrender to his rule. 

Why you should watch: This B-movie with a bigger budget than most has an important part to play in the history of sci-fi cinema. It launched the career of James Cameron, who was working in the art department and this is where he met his future production partner and wife Gale Anne Hurd, which resulted in “The Terminator” and “Aliens.” Producer and director and B-movie maestro, Roger Corman, sadly had to use much of his budget just to pay overpriced stars George Peppard and Robert Vaughn, but the end result is still good fun, plus the James Horner soundtrack is great (this was his first major motion picture score).

Free with Amazon Prime

4) The Blackout

Written by Ilya Kulikov and directed by Egor Baranov, “The Blackout” is an action-packed sci-fi thriller that’s worth a watch. (Image credit: TV3/Central Partnership Sales House)

Synopsis: The Earth has been attacked by a mysterious force from space, but it’s not like any attack you might imagine. The whole planet has been robbed of power and plunged into darkness; nothing works, anywhere…with the exception of a random circular area of eastern Europe, encompassing part of western Russia, southern Finland, Belarus and northern Ukraine. It turns out that the position of the Moon relative to Earth shielded this part of the world from the deadly energy weapon fired from far outside the range of lunar orbit. Now, as the actual alien invasion begins, military forces gather inside the “circle of life” in a desperate effort to save all life as we know it.

Why you should watch: This is a Russian indie sci-fi flick that is extremely enjoyable. It has high production values despite not having a blockbuster budget, the performances are good and an unusual story with a good twist at the end makes this a solid sci-fi movie worth making time for. 

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5) Cowboys & Aliens

Given Craig’s dreadful American accent, the movie benefits greatly from his character being the “strong, silent” type (Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Synopsis: Set in 1873 in the New Mexico Territory, a stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist.  He quickly discovers that the townsfolk don’t welcome strangers and everyone lives under the ruthless rule of Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the town is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. 

Why you should watch: Based on 105-page graphic novel published in 2006, this is an entertaining mix of two very disparate genres. Despite being well worth a watch, with Harrison Ford possibly giving his best performance since “The Fugitive,” this movie didn’t exactly set the box office on fire. It has however, slowly gathered a cult following since its theatrical release in 2011. Jon Favreau directs a strong cast including Clancy Brown, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde and Daniel Craig, who tragically, still hasn’t mastered an American accent. 

Free with Amazon Prime

6) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

This classic sci-fi movie is mandatory viewing and frankly, should be taught on the national curriculum  (Image credit: Allied Artists Pictures)

Synopsis: Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) returns to his small town practice to find several of his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or relatives are impostors. At first he’s skeptical, especially when the alleged doppelgangers are able to answer detailed questions about their victim’s lives, but he’s eventually persuaded that something peculiar is going on and becomes determined to find out what it is.

Why you should watch: This is truly classic science fiction and should be held in similar regard to other epic, groundbreaking sci-fi movies of the late 50s, including “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” “The Day the Earth Caught Fire” and “The Thing From Another World.” It’s actually based on a serialized story by Jack Finney that appeared in Collier’s magazine in November 1954 and published in book form the following year. An uncomplicated plot together with incredible performances from McCarthy and the angelic Dana Wynter make this a case study in how to produce a thrilling sci-fi/drama screenplay featuring an early and extremely effective example of flashback storytelling.

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Related: ‘Galaxy Quest 2’ is ‘a fabulous script’ according to Tim Allen

7) Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary

“Galaxy Quest” is truly an epic, multi-layered movie that succeeded as much by accident as by design. (Image credit: DreamWorks Pictures)

Synopsis: Filmmakers and stars discuss the filming and social effects of “Galaxy Quest,” a parody-of-sorts of “Star Trek: The Original Series” with insightful and entertaining commentary not only on science fiction, and the success of “Star Trek” itself, but on the real-life actors themselves.

Why you should watch: Who isn’t a fan of “Galaxy Quest”? It’s often called the second best “Star Trek” movie ever made (after “The Wrath of Khan” of course) and you might think you know all the trivia connected with the making of “Galaxy Quest,” but this documentary made by the Screen Junkies team will still surprise you. The cast talk about their experiences making the movie and how close the TV series actually came, before the tragic, untimely departure of the great Alan Rickman. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry a little bit, but most of all, you’ll enjoy the best movie about fandom in another, new way as a result of watching this documentary. Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Sam Rockwell, Tony Shalhoub, Justin Long, Wil Wheaton, Brent Spiner, Rainn Wilson, Missi Pyle and Dean Parisot, all share their thoughts on this epic sci-fi comedy.

Free with Amazon Prime

8) Predator

“What the hell are you?” This Arnold Schwarzenegger action extravaganza is thoroughly enjoyable. (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Synopsis: An elite military rescue team is misled by the CIA while on a black ops mission in South America. During the mission they are stalked by a strange, seemingly invisible and invincible creature and slowly picked off one by one until only the unit’s commander is left and he discovers this hunter is not from this Earth.

Why you should watch: “Predator” was part of a slate of epic sci-fi action movies that came out in the 80s; other examples include “Aliens,” “Robocop” and “The Running Man.” The concept was simple and the effects convincing, a small miracle considering how many problems this picture had early on in production. This adrenaline-fueled romp spawned two awesome sequels and one not quite so good, plus two crossovers with the “Alien” franchise. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars, alongside Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham and Shane Black.

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9) Predators

“Those who’ve hunted armed men long enough, and like it, never really care for anything else thereafter.” (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Synopsis: A seemingly random group of eight elite soldiers suddenly find themselves in freefall over a jungle. With no clue where they are of how they got there, they reluctantly team up and discover they are not only no longer on Earth, but they are also in some kind of planet-sized game preserve and they are the game. One by one, they are picked off by invisible alien hunters as they struggle to survive and attempt to find a way home.

Why you should watch: While “Predator 2” was entertaining and at least the first “Alien v Predator” movie was mediocre, this is by far the best entry into the franchise, aside from the original. Producer Robert Rodriguez went to great lengths to be as faithful to the first film as he possibly could. This time, an impressively buff Adrien Brody takes on the alien assassins in a different approach to this interstellar safari. He’s joined by the likes of Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Topher Grace and Laurence Fishburne.

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10) Prometheus (2012)

The android David and the relationship with his creator, Peter Weyland, are one of the strong story elements of “Prometheus” (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Synopsis: An accomplished archaeologist along with a 17-strong crew, embark on an ambitious, deep-space scientific expedition to explore possible links to the origins of life on Earth. Their quest takes them to a desolate exomoon to investigate the existence of the superior extraterrestrial species known as the “Engineers”. However, through a combination of bad luck, betrayal and just plain stupidity, the mission begins to go disastrously wrong and it soon becomes a fight for survival.

Why you should watch: Sadly the “Alien” universe never really lived up to its full potential; after two mind-blowing movies, only the “Alien 3” director’s cut finished above average with the rest falling by the wayside. Ridley Scott’s prequels looked stunning, as his movies always do, but the plot is…peculiar, to say the least and that goes a long way to letting this aesthetically amazing movie down. However, it’s still worth a watch, at the very least to appreciate “what could’ve been.” Superb performances from Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green and Michael Fassbender, together with Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce prop this sci-fi thriller up to make it at least watchable. 

Free with Amazon Prime

11) Runaway

This could be considered Michael Crichton’s second near-future, out-of-control robots story after “Westworld. (Image credit: Tristar Pictures)

Synopsis: Set in the near future, robots are commonplace in society, in every home and working in factories and on farms. John Ramsey (Tom Selleck) works in a special division of the police department called the Runaway Squad that solely deals with malfunctioning droids. He and his new partner, Officer Thompson (Cynthia Rhodes) stumble onto the homicidal plot of an insane scientist (played deliciously by Gene Simmons) to create killer robots. 

Why you should watch: Still enjoying the success of “Magnum PI” on TV, this was an interesting move by Selleck and he carries it off very well. The 80s were an exciting testbed for sci-fi — and in fact Amazon has a number of classic examples available to watch — and this is fun, action-adventure romp, with some creative ideas. (It’s written and directed by Michael Crichton.) Rather than simply being an overelaborate robot repair team, it seems every time a domestic droid malfunctions, it somehow threaten a human life. Simmons’ evil scientist character also has a cool handgun that locks onto a target and fires target-seeking projectiles. 

Free with Amazon Prime

12) The Thing (2011)

Mary Elizabeth Winstead takes the lead of “The Thing” in a more Ripley from “Alien” direction, which is nice (Image credit: Universal Studios)

Synopsis: A paleontologist (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) joins a Norwegian Antarctic research expedition following the discovery of an alien spacecraft that has been buried under the ice for 100,000 years. Even more extraordinary is that not far from the site of the spacecraft, they find the remains of the occupant. It’s cut out of the ice and taken back to their camp, but as the ice melts, the creature reanimates and begins to attack the team by absorbing and eventually replicating them one at a time. Consequently no one knows who is the alien and who isn’t.

Why you should watch: 
Much like “Rogue One,” this prequel to John Carpenter’s 1981 epic original had a defined window of space and time to exist in and the idea to even write a prequel focusing on the demise of the Norwegian expedition is bold and brilliant. However, what could’ve been a tour de force of sci-fi/horror was spoiled by studio interference. Ron D. Moore wrote a script back in 2009, but Universal rejected it and director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the set exactly matched the one seen in Carpenter’s movie. But the studio demanded extensive reshoots, which included new CGI effects, re-editing and an entirely different climax. Ultimately resulting in a spectacular missed opportunity. It is still worth watching though of course and the scene with the teeth fillings is a masterstroke in serving as a similar-but-different method of simplistic detection, exactly like the petri dish scene in the original.
Free with Amazon Prime

13) The Tomorrow War

If you’re a budding volcanologist, struggling to get recognition from your peers, then this movie is for you.  (Image credit: Amazon)

Synopsis: Set in the present day, a group of time-travelling soldiers from the future appear during the Qatar World Cup final and announce that in just 30 years in the future, all of mankind is on the brink of annihilation by race of particularly unpleasant aliens. Among those chosen to travel forward in time is former soldier (naturally) and schoolteacher Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) who teams up with both seasoned veterans and raw recruits to save the human race.

Why you should watch: This is very much a popcorn sci-fi blockbuster, equal to the likes of “Independence Day” or “Battle Los Angeles,” and in fact you will notice the influence of other sci-fi movies like “The Thing” to “Edge of Tomorrow” and “Millennium” throughout. And while this won’t win any awards for the story writing, it’s wanton destruction on a massive scale. 

Free with Amazon Prime

Related: ‘The Tomorrow War’ won’t win any awards, but it’s a watchable action romp

14) What We Left behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Writers from “DS9” including Ira Steven Behr and Ron Moore create a hypothetical new series first episode (Image credit: Paramount+/455 Films)

Synopsis: Showrunner Ira Steven launched the fundraising campaign a couple of years ago and what followed was an incredible tribute documentary looking at the history of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” that features interviews with almost every member of the cast, including Nana Visitor, Terry Farrell, Rene Auberjonois, Alexander Siddig and Andrew Robinson. Sadly though, Avery Brooks’ contribution is limited to archive footage.

Why you should watch: If you’re a fan of “DS9” than this is a must-watch; not only are the insights intriguing and often emotional, but the fictional first episode of a hypothetical new series, crafted together in a writers room packed full of the best writers in “Star Trek” is inspired. There’s a look back at the early reviews (and how negative they were), the casting decisions and the issues faced throughout production. This documentary also marks the first time any footage from “DS9” has been remastered in high definition including a portion of the main battle sequence from “Sacrifice Of Angels” (S06, E06).

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Sci-fi TV shows1) The Expanse

Synopsis: A police detective in the asteroid belt, the first officer of an interplanetary ice freighter, and an earth-bound United Nations executive slowly discover a vast conspiracy that threatens the Earth’s rebellious colony on the asteroid belt. Along the way, evidence of alien life is discovered and a series of ring gates located near Uranus are unlocked that lead to totally new locations through the universe. Meanwhile, the major factions in the Solar System: Earth, Mars, the Outer Planets Authority and the Belters, fight amongst themselves and ultimately threaten all life on Earth.

Why you should watch: “The Expanse” has well and truly earned its place among the titans of TV sci-fi, up there along with “Battlestar Galactica” and “Babylon 5.” It’s by far the most cerebral sci-fi currently on television. You can catch up on everything that happened in Season 1 to 3 here, and a lot happened. Then you can catch up with everything that happened in Season 4 here. Personally, we believe seasons 1 and 2 were ever so slightly better than 3 and 4, but that doesn’t in any way mean they’re not worth watching. Then along came Season 5 and blew everyone’s socks off. It is brilliant. The plot is incredibly complex and engaging and the individual performances are exceptional. Forget any Krell hologram-making mind machine on Altair IV, watching “The Expanse” will permanently double your IQ.

Free with Amazon Prime

2) Farscape

Out of the blue came this interesting, innovative and slightly insane sci-fi series from Australia … and it rocked. (Image credit: Jim Henson Television)

Synopsis: During an experimental test flight in low Earth orbit, astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) is catapulted through a wormhole and into a different galaxy and a distant part of the universe. He finds himself part of a crew of fugitives aboard a living, biomechanical spaceship called Moya, running from a tyrannical military force, called the Peacekeepers, all the while hoping that one day, he might figure out a way to get home.

Why you should watch: “Farscape” was unlike anything that had come before it; the show was bold, brilliant and a little bit barmy. In a time where computer generated VFX were entering a new chapter, “Farscape” relied heavily on practical effects, especially where alien creatures were concerned and the result was amazing. A solid cast of characters, some spaced-out plots, well-placed humor and for the most part, good writing, makes this sci-fi show extremely enjoyable. 

Free with Amazon Prime

3) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Still probably one of the most quoted sci-fi shows ever, watch this, then read all the books. You owe it to yourself. (Image credit: BBC)

Synopsis: Arthur Dent’s house has been scheduled for demolition to make way for a new bypass, but this is the least of his problems as it turns out that the planet Earth has bee scheduled for demolition to make way for a new hyperspace express route. Thankfully though, it also turns out that his friend Ford Prefect isn’t from Guildford after all, but in fact from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and has been long aware of the Earth’s impending demise. Together they manage to escape and along the way learn the true history of the universe.

Why you should watch: This one is a real treat and will unquestionably appeal to fans of British humor and more specifically, the epic humor of Douglas Adams. Made in 1981, this is still (tragically) the best adaptation that’s been brought to either the big or small screen. The visual effects certainly haven’t stood the test of time, but that’s not why you’re watching it; you’re watching it because it shows beautifully how the relationship between Arthur Dent (Simon Jones) and Ford Prefect (David Dixon) develops. 

4) Humans

The quality of writing, high production values and stellar casting makes “Humans” an enjoyable sci-fi thriller. (Image credit: Channel 4 Television)

Synopsis: Set in a parallel present, the latest must-have gadget for any middle-class family is a “synth” — a technologically advanced, a highly-developed robotic servant, eerily similar to its human equivalent. In the hope of transforming the way they live, one strained suburban family purchases a refurbished synth only to discover that sharing life with a machine has far-reaching and chilling consequences. 

Why you should watch: Based on the Swedish science fiction drama Äkta människor, this was an adaptation written by the British team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, that lasted for three, eight-episode seasons before it was sadly cancelled. The concepts in this show aren’t particularly groundbreaking, but what makes it compelling viewing is the quality of writing, high production values and stellar casting. It’s a compelling analysis of human nature and our reactions to technology and it beautifully reflects so many issues facing us, in the real world, today. 

Free with Amazon Prime

5) NOVA: The Planets (a PBS documentary)

Sit back on a Sunday evening, make some special recipe brownies, relax and let your mind wander the universe  (Image credit: PBS)

Synopsis: Among the stars in the night sky wander the other worlds of our own solar system, each home to truly awe-inspiring sights. Volcanoes three times higher than Everest, geysers erupting with icy plumes, cyclones larger than Earth lasting hundreds of years. Each of our celestial neighbors has a distinct personality and a unique story. This series explores the awesome beauty of “The Planets,” including Saturn’s 175,000-mile-wide rings, Mars’ ancient waterfalls four times the size of any found on Earth, and Neptune’s winds –12 times stronger than any hurricane felt on our planet. 

Why you should watch: Made in connection with the BBC, this originally aired in 2019; the UK version is narrated by Brian Cox and the US version by Zachary Quinto, so it’s win-win really, which ever one you watch. It’s a five-part mini-series, with each episode lasting just under one hour. But like the first few seasons of “How The Universe Works” – before it began to repeat itself – this is compelling viewing if the mind-blowing mysterious of our planet, our galaxy and the universe are of any interest to you. Great visual effect and theoretical reconstructions recreate the dark side of Pluto, a Martian sunset and a storm twice the size of Earth from high above Saturn, together with extraordinary footage captured by orbiters, landers and rovers, make time, enjoy and edible and expand your mind.

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6) The Man in the High Castle

Rufus Sewell, who plays Obergruppenführer John Smith, is a definite highlight of Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle.” (Image credit: Amazon)

Synopsis: Loosely based Philip K. Dick’s novel, this alt-history story looks at what the world might look like if World War II had ended differently. In this dystopian scenario, the Axis powers won the war, leading to the USA being divided into three zones: Imperial Japanese, Nazi and a buffer zone between the two. Despite the oppression, hope emerges when some mysterious cans of film turn up that seem to show a parallel world — and even more bizarrely, footage of different versions of the same people. A woman, Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos) believes the films contain the key to freedom and is determined to find their elusive guardian — the man in the high castle.

Why you should watch: Alt-history is a difficult genre to perfect without descending into a cascade of clichés. If you’re a fan however, you should definitely check out the works of Harry Turtledove, a writer who nails it every single time. This show can be hard going at times and the Juliana Crain character can be extremely frustrating. That said, Rufus Sewell, who plays Obergruppenführer John Smith, is magnificent to watch. There are four seasons, and yes, the show does dip a little bit in the middle, but it picks up in the fourth season. Stick with it.

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7) Space: 1999

Aside, obviously, from the magnificent Martin Landau, the other star of Space: 1999 was the Eagle transporter. (Image credit: Gerry Anderson)

Synopsis: Moonbase Alpha is a research colony nestled in the Lunar crater Plato. Along with scientific study, it also monitors silos of atomic waste from Earth stored on the Moon’s far side. On September 13th 1999, disaster strikes; a build up of magnetic energy causes an explosive chain-reaction of the waste, blasting the Moon out of Earth’s orbit and off the plane of the ecliptic, out of the Solar System. The inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha are trapped, unable to return to Earth and wander the galaxy on their unique celestial spacecraft. 

Why you should watch: From the mind of Gerry Anderson, who also gave us “Thunderbirds,” this one benefitted from an amazing cast, including the phenomenal Martin Landau, together with Barbara Bain and Nick Tate. The first season is currently available to watch and while many of the practical effects look dated today, don’t forget that this show — and especially the first season — contained some pretty horrific scenes, in particular, “Dragon’s Den” (S01, E08), that mentally scarred many young sci-fi fans at the time. 

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8) Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Deep Space Nine” took “Trek” in a new direction and consequently made it much more interesting. (Image credit: CBS)

Synopsis: Adventures abound for the crew of Deep Space Nine, one of the most important space stations in the Alpha Quadrant. Built by the Bajorans for the Cardassians and now under Federation administration, its location next to strategically vital wormhole makes it the center of all social and political interest in the region.  

Why you should watch: This was the second series to be set in the 24th century, with events that took place concurrently to those in “The Next Generation,” but this was different, instead of a traditional starship setting, it took place aboard a space station. Despite arguably suspicious origins, “Deep Space Nine” quickly carved out its own identity. The Dominian War story arc is enthralling and this incarnation also paid more visits to the Mirror Universe than any other “Trek” series. 

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9) Star Trek: Enterprise

Undoubtedly “Enterprise” is the most underrated “Star Trek” show, yet it’s stood the test of time better than most.  (Image credit: CBS)

Synopsis: Long before there were fleets of starships, there was just one, the Enterprise NX-01, humanity’s first warp 5 capable starship. The crew of this historic vessel tentatively steps forth into the unknown and begins to explore the galaxy and seek peaceful relations with alien races.

Why you should watch: This was the first new “Star Trek” show to be a prequel to “The Original Series” and contextually set in the past, which is refreshing. “Enterprise” is without question the most underrated “Star Trek” series and it was tragically cancelled before its time was due. There were no magic wands that could fix warp engines, we saw the regular need for environment suits and even the use of transporters was kept to an absolute minimum. It was a back-to-basics “Trek” and consequently it was extremely effective. Some of the very best episodes of any “Trek” are in “Enterprise,” including the augments story arc and by far the best visit to the Mirror Universe in “In a Mirror, Darkly” (S04, E18 & E19).

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10) Tales From the Loop

The visual style of the show has been heavily influenced by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag and it works extremely effectively. (Image credit: Amazon)

Synopsis: A small backwater town has a scientific research facility built underneath it, exactly like the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN facility that lies on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. But the people of this town experience all kinds of weird events and strange phenomena. Each episode follows one townsperson, or a particular group of townspeople, and their experiences with “the loop.”

Why you should watch: What an incredibly brilliant idea. Why wouldn’t a super-accelerated particle smasher designed to uncover the mysteries of the universe not create super-weird events and interdimensional portals?! The premise of this show is quite possibly one of the most simple and effective we’ve ever seen. Using the existing notion of a sub-atomic research facility, which we’re all already familiar with, as a frame for a “Twilight Zone”-style, “X-Files”-esque, episodic show featuring stories about the “strange and unexplained” is genius. Strong writing and exceptional casting make the week-by-week adventures of the fictional town of Mercer, Ohio addictive viewing. 

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11)  Thunderbirds

Thunderbird 2, a gigantic, gravity-defying aircraft could carry all manner of specialized rescue machinery in its cargo hold. (Image credit: Gerry Anderson)

Synopsis: In the near future, a billionaire philanthropist has used his extensive knowledge, resources and wealth to create a non-profit, independently operated rescue organization. Using specifically designed, technologically advanced vehicles, including two supersized aircraft, two space vehicles and a submarine, the father — Jeff Tracey and his five sons, Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan — constantly monitor events around the world and then selflessly rush to the scene, wherever it might be, to save lives and avert total disaster. 

Why you should watch: The man behind “Thunderbirds,” Gerry Anderson, also gave the world “Space: 1999,” “UFO,” “Captain Scarlet” and “Space Precinct.” Some of his shows were live action and others, like “Thunderbirds,” were made using puppets. This was done largely to make the demanding special effects scenes possible and as a result, this show features some of the very best model work ever seen on either the large or small screen.  The original “Thunderbirds” show is a classic and should be enjoyed as such. If only Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos had watched this show growing up; surely this would be more effective than some lame tunnel linking Las Vegas to Los Angeles that no one asked for.

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12) Upload

No extravagant sets here, instead a straightforward premise, with some, simple well-placed VFX, make “Upload” compelling viewing. (Image credit: Amazon)

Synopsis: When a computer programmer Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell) dies prematurely, his socialite girlfriend pays the expensive fee to have his consciousness uploaded to the exclusive Lake View resort for the recently deceased. However, depending on what she chooses to accept to pay for, he finds some simple elements of his life are restricted. As Nathan adjusts to digital heaven, he begins to develop feelings for with his customer service representative in the real world, Nora (Andy Allo). She is struggling with the pressures of her job, her dying father who does not want to be uploaded and her own growing feelings for Nathan while slowly coming to believe that Nathan was murdered.

Why you should watch: “Upload” was with a doubt one of the highlights of last year; creator Greg Daniels (“Parks and Recreation” and “The Office”) did a phenomenal job of creating a believable, dark comedy, set in the very near future, with so many worryingly realistic plot elements. Add in characters that you quickly become invested in and this is an enjoyable, addictive and thoroughly amusing must-watch show.

13) War of the Worlds (an American Experience episode)

Welles, top left, directs the cast and orchestra at the pivotal moment when communication with Grovers Mill is lost. (Image credit: CBS Photo Archive/Getty)

Synopsis: Mars has captivated the imagination of both science fiction writers and the general public for over a hundred years and “The War of the Worlds” is probably the best-known example of our long-held fascination with our nearest planetary neighbor. In 1938 the US had not yet fully recovered from the Great Depression and across the Atlantic, Nazi Germany was threatening war. Consequently, fear and paranoia was widespread across the nation. Then in October of that year, a talented, young radio producer named Orson Welles, broadcast an adaptation of HG Wells’ epic novel on national radio. However, he changed the setting to present day New Jersey and changed the format to a series of simulated news bulletins interrupting a scheduled program. What followed was mass hysteria as hundreds of thousands of Americans thought the Earth was being invaded.

Why you should watch: This is actually an episode form the long running series on PBS called “American Experience” (S25, E06) first shown back in October 2013, on the 75th anniversary of what has become known as “the panic broadcast.” And since Halloween is fast approaching, this is perfect time to watch this great documentary about an incredible chapter in US history. Oliver Platt is the perfect choice to narrate and actors take the role of people from across the country who spoke about what they felt as they listened live to the vanguard of an invading Martian army annihilating rural New Jersey. 

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So there you have it! A look at our picks for the best sci-fi movies and TV shows on  Amazon Prime. You can sign up for Amazon Prime here. After the 30-day free trial, a subscription costs $12.99 per month or $119 for the year.

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