There are endless amounts of sci-fi shows available out there. Some of them are great and some are just so terrible that they are great (shout out to Superjail! on Adult Swim). It’s hard to pick from so many amazing animated and live-action shows but these are my picks for the absolute top 10 must-see sci-fi shows of all time!
(I didn’t include any Star Wars or Marvel shows because I didn’t want them to overtake the list.)
10. The Walking Dead
In this zombie (or 'walkers' as they call them) apocalyptic drama based on an Image comic by Robert Kirkman from 2003, small town Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) leads a group of survivors. They will face many human foes along the way, not just walkers. This show started off great and had so many fantastic elements like the characters, special effects, and the writing. However, just like any show that runs too long, it fizzles off and lost my interest after season 7 when it became repetitive and continued a habit of killing off my favorite characters for shock value. Still though, overall it is a really good show and I suggest watching it until you just can’t anymore.
In this J.J. Abrams creation, a plane mysteriously crashes on an uncharted island. The survivors must learn to adapt to their new life while facing many natural and mystical challenges along the way. The whole cast is stellar, but Jorge Garcia made me really believe he was going through hell with his performance as Hurley, an overweight man who suffers from a dissociative personality disorder. The whole show is a giant mind f***, but after 6 great seasons, the finale will leave you wanting more answers... that you'll never get.
8. Rick and Morty
Underachieving high school student Morty Smith (Justin Roiland) and his genius grandfather Rick Sanchez (also Justin Roiland) go on many wacky journeys through space as they save (and destroy) the universe. Season one, two, and three of Rick and Morty are witty, charismatic, and near flawless, with Dan Harmon (Community) and Justin Roiland (Solar Opposites) really putting everything they had into it. The writing is superb. However, the later seasons are starting to show a slow decline in quality. Still, it is still a really good show that I will continue to keep up with. Let's hope the quality picks back up. #6seasonsandamovie. That's this show, right?
In this Apple TV original series (mostly) directed by Ben Stiller, Mark (Adam Scott) and his Lumon coworkers have their work-life and outside life memories completely severed from one another. There are so many twists and turns and the show’s thriller element mixed with comedy is a perfect combination in writing that is rarely seen. Not to mention the romance between John Turturro (Irving) and Christopher Walken (Burt) is enough to watch the show alone (it’s so disturbing, but so beautiful.) This show is amazing and you’ll never be able to guess where it is headed next. I can’t wait for season two.
6. The 100
97 years after the nuclear apocalypse, the Ark (an enormous space station) is all that is left of humanity. It holds many citizens, but it also holds many prisoners until the age of 18 (the age they will be executed like every other criminal on the station). One prisoner, Clarke (Elizabeth Taylor), and another 99 prisoners turning 18 are sent to Earth and given a chance to live by testing if the rest of humanity can come down and live. This show instantly had me hooked when most shows take about four episodes to develop into an addiction. The large and lovable cast will pull you in and leave you wanting more. The cast is the main reason I keep watching, but the writing is great too.
5. Black Mirror
In this Netflix anthology series, each episode features a new cast and a new dark story (usually with a twist). This show is like if the Twilight Zone were rated TVMA and each episode runs long enough to feel like a short movie. Some episodes (like Playtest and USS Calister) blew my mind and left me wanting more, while some episodes (like Striking Vipers and The National Anthem) will leave you thinking “What the f*** just happened?” The cast is loaded with stars and great actors including Anthony Mackie, Daniel Kaluuya, Miley Cyrus, Wyatt Russell, Jesse Plemons, Letitia Wright and so many more.
4. The Twilight Zone (Original)
"There is a 5th dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow; between science and superstition. And it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area in which we call the twilight zone."
This show is an all-time classic and will always be the reason why I sit by the wing of an airplane. (If you know you know.) Each episode is a new cast with a new story that will leave you pondering the universe. Jordan Peele created a reboot that ran from 2019 to 2020 that while good, was not even comparable to this absolute classic.
3. Resident Alien
An alien arrives to destroy the earth and upon arrival, takes the body of a human man named Harry (Alan Tudyk), and begins his journey of bringing the human race to an end. The longer he stays in his human form, the more he learns about what being human is all about. This show is filled with laughs and great action sequences. I love the authenticity of using alien prosthetics on Alan Tudyk rather than CGI (other than a few scenes). Corey Reynolds is hilarious in his role as Sheriff Mike Thompson; he and his partner Deputy Liv Baker (Elizabeth Bowen) play off each other so well. The whole cast has great chemistry and the writing only makes it better. Also, it’s based on a Dark Horse comic mini-series that started in 2012.
Matt Groening (The Simpsons) creates a new animated comedy where Phillip J. Fry (Billy West) is frozen for 1000 years and wakes up in the year 2999. He meets his distant nephew Professor Farnsworth (Billy West) who is significantly older than he is and begins to work for him delivering packages across the galaxy with his new crew-mates Bender (John DiMaggio) and Leela (Katy Sagal). I love this show so much and was sad to see it come to an end. I was cancelled by FOX in 2003, but Comedy Central revived it from 2008-2013, only for it to be cancelled yet again. But, like Frankenstien's monster, Futurama will be resurrected yet again! It was recently announced that Hulu was revamping the show on their streaming service with original voice actors returning. I can’t wait but I do hope they don’t ruin the show.
1. Star Trek: The Next Generation
There are many Star Trek series but in my opinion, The Next Generation is by far the best. Sir Patrick Stewart leads the crew as Captain Jean-Lucc Picard (He reprises his role in the new series Star Trek: Picard). He is followed by many diverse cast members such as child actor Will Wheaton as Wesley Crusher, the smartest kid on the ship. Actor Levar Burton is set in the Star Trek hall of fame with his portrayal of Geordi La Forge, a blind man who uses a technologically advanced visor to see. Each episode takes us on a wild adventure through space and every episode has a deeper meaning. But the overall meaning of the show (That all races and species can get along and just focus on exploration for the betterment of everyone) is what makes Next Gen so ahead of its time (1987). I only wish I could have tuned in weekly as a kid and followed the movies!