Black Mirror is finally back, but given that it's only three episodes (down from its usual six since moving to Netflix), it won't take long for fans to blaze through the new season — unless you just so happen to have self-restraint. Anyway, at some point soon, you'll likely find yourself searching for shows like Black Mirror to fill the void. There's not anything quite like it out there, but below, we've tried our best to round up the best sci-fi and fantasy shows you can stream for a similar experience. Some of them are precursors to the show, and others cropped up around the same time Black Mirror took off. But all of them offer the same kind of interesting escape.
Black Mirror can be sentimental and hopeful every once in a blue moon, it more often fills viewers with dread and anxiety about what the world might become. But ultimately, it's about what people will do in extraordinary situations, and the limits that they can truly be pushed to. These shows all have those same themes, though each explores them in their own way.
So without further ado, go forth and see what your newest obsession might be:
The Twilight Zone (Original)
This is basically where all sci-fi fans have to start, right? The original
Twilight Zone is the foundation for so many of the series we know and love today, and essentially invented the sort of twisted, dread-filled plots that drive Black Mirror.
The Twilight Zone on Netflix.
The Twilight Zone (Reboot)
Jordan Peele's reboot of
The Twilight Zone is equally as Black Mirror-esque, placing its characters in situations of mortal peril and watching their anxieties unfold in the face of bizarre, futuristic circumstances.
The Twilight Zone reboot on CBS All Access. Stranger Things certainly doesn't always contain that feeling of inescapable, heavy dread that accompanies most Black Mirror episodes , but it does play with reality and sci-fi in similar ways. Plus, its fourth season is just a month away, so now's the perfect time to catch up (or rewatch for the fifth time, whatever the case may be).
Stranger Things on Netflix. Westworld's plot feels like it could've been lifted directly from a Black Mirror script. It's set in a theme park in a not-so-distant future where the ultra-rich can come live out their wildest (and most gruesome) fantasies. That often includes killing and raping "hosts," the incredibly lifelike robots who populate the park, raising questions about what really makes something human — a theme Black Mirror fans will know well.
Westworld on HBO Go or HBO Now. Room 104 is reminiscent of Black Mirror not just because of its sometimes disturbing tales, but also because both series are anthologies — each episode offers a new story. Room 104 follows different guests' stays in the same motel room, and while it isn't quite as bleak as Black Mirror, its premise certainly lends itself to some creepy plots.
Room 104 on HBO Now or HBO Go.
The Man In The High Castle
The Man In The High Castle is set in a dystopian alternate reality in which the Axis powers were victorious in World War II. The United States looks completely different, and has been infiltrated by the Japanese as well as Nazis. This kind of troubling "what if?" scenario is right up Black Mirror's alley, so fans should definitely give it a shot.
The Man In The High Castle on Amazon Prime. The Handmaid's Tale has become a bit of a polarizing show since its premiere, but hey, too. As a similarly dystopian series — based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel — it follows a group of "handmaids," the last fertile women in America, as they rise up against a government who has stripped them of their rights and enslaved them. Black Mirror can be controversial
The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu.
Based on a series of short stories by Philip K. Dick,
Electric Dreams is another sci-fi anthology that's as mind-bending as it is star-studded: Janelle Monae, Steve Buscemi, Greg Kinnear, Anna Paquin, Richard Madden, Bryan Cranston, and more appear throughout its one and only season.
Electric Dreams on Amazon. Altered Carbon is centered in a futuristic society in which human consciousness can be transferred from body to body. The series is based on Richard K. Morgan's novel of the same name, and the vivid, cyberpunk vibe will no doubt appeal to Black Mirror fans.
Altered Carbon on Netflix.
This British Channel 4 series, which also made its way to AMC, is set in an alternate universe in which lifelike robots — or "Synths" — live alongside humans as household assistants. As you might guess, things get dicey pretty quickly when it comes to the actual humanity of these beings.
Humans on Amazon Prime. Dimension 404, like Black Mirror, is a sci-fi anthology. It can certainly be terrifying in its own way, but it veers more toward a comedic tone. Lea Michele, Megan Mullally, Joel McHale, and Patton Oswalt are among the stars that helm the series.
Dimension 404 on Hulu.
This Portuguese series is set in a society in which an elite group of the world's population is chosen to live on an island paradise, while everyone else is left in poverty. It's a commentary on class disparity and the arbitrary ways people can escape the environment they were raised in.
Season 3 is set to debut this week.
3% on Netflix.
Anyone who's even vaguely interested in sci-fi or fantasy TV shows is well-acquainted with
Doctor Who. The show regularly swaps out the actor playing its titular character, always keeping things fresh as the Time Lord zips to and fro in adventures around the universe. Jodie Whittaker is the latest Doctor to take the helm. Doctor Who episodes are available on BBC America's site. Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker also created this show and wrote all five episodes, so you know it's bound to be twisted. The five-episode series follows the cast and crew of a fictional season of Big Brother who are stuck in a house together as they film the reality show. The catch? The zombie apocalypse has happened outside, and they have no idea until they're evicted. Whew.
Dead Set on Netflix.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same name,
11.22.63 toys with the idea of what might happen if someone could go back in time and stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy. James Franco plays the lucky(?) man who gets to make that attempt, and things go very off the rails.
11.22.63 on Hulu.
This is another obvious choice for any
Black Mirror fan. Star Trek is one of the original series that pushed the boundaries of sci-fi on television, and has influenced many shows in the ensuing decades.
Star Trek on Netflix. Sense8 follows a group of eight strangers who all inexplicably share telepathic visions and thoughts, and find themselves targeted by a mysterious organization who's hell-bent on bringing them down. The sci-fi thriller found a passionate fanbase when it debuted, and though it's now over after two seasons, viewers won't forget it anytime soon.
Sense8 on Netflix.
More human-like robots abound! This show, like
Black Mirror, is interested in how humanity can be found in things that in theory, should be unfeeling. Almost Human follows a police officer in the year 2048 who is paired with a robot partner, leading him to question his hatred for the machine. Almost Human only ran for one season, but you can still watch on Amazon.
The critically acclaimed
Orphan Black has everything: impeccable performances from Tatiana Maslany in multiple roles, a mysterious clone plotline, and a deep conspiracy she must try and escape. It's Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and has all the intrigue Black Mirror fans have come to crave.
Orphan Black on Netflix.
Colony, Los Angeles has been invaded by aliens, and as you might imagine, that complicates the lives of families in the surrounding area. Lost's Josh Holloway stars as former FBI agent Will Bowman, who's been separated from his son and is eventually forced into working with the invaders in an attempt to get his child back.
Colony on USA's website.
This CW series is a post-apocalyptic exploration of how humanity survives when Earth is destroyed by nuclear war. 100 prisoners are sent back to the ruined planet to test if it's able to be inhabited again, and thrills ensue.
The 100 on Netflix, and catch new episodes on the CW.
So there you have it — hopefully you have all the moral dilemmas, questionable technological advancements, and sci-fi horror you need to keep you busy until
Black Mirror inevitably returns for Season 6.