Sci-Fi And Fantasy Fans Share Which TV Shows Are Worth Watching
John Fowler on Unsplash

It can be hard to slog through the plethora of mediocrity to find a truly good sci-fi and fantasy series, but finding a truly good one can be nearly life-changing.

Save some time by checking out some of these series if you're looking for something with substance.


Redditor Apart-Scale asked:

"What science fiction or fantasy show is worth watching?"

Red Dwarf

"Red dwarf if you want a comedy"

-Gaveon

"Rimmer: go to red alert"

"Kryten: are you sure sir, it does mean changing the bulb"

-HaggisLad

"Yeah but they were sometimes also deadly incisive."

"Take 'Thanks for the Memory'. As a drunken lark, Lister gives unlucky-in-love Rimmer the memory of being involved with a girl named Lise Yates. Happy at first, Rimmer eventually figures out that none of this ever happened to him but to Lister. Even knowing this, Rimmer remains devastated because 'The woman I loved most in the whole world ... loved you.'"

"The whole sci-fi trope that 'you are what you remember, so be careful fucking with it' - never seen it put more clearly. When it was good, Red Dwarf was amazing."

-Keving_Uxbridge

"I don't think I've managed to cook seafood in my whole adult life without singing 'I'm gonna eat you, little fishy!' at it."

"Cat is truly an inspiration to us all."

-MaritMonkey

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Utopia (UK)

"Utopia (UK). very good and very underrated."

-acidlinux

"This is absolutely the correct answer. It's worth watching for the music alone, some of the most deeply unsettling audio you'll ever hear in your life, reminiscent of that one creepy alien song from Annihilation everyone keeps putting in their spoopy TikToks. Cristobal Tapia de Veer (what a fuckin name) is a criminally underrated composer, and this is his best work by far."

"The opening scene perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the show: quiet menace, deep dread, utter callousness, and the insinuation that all life is cheap and disposable, even that of children. If you like that scene then you'll love the show, although "like" might be the wrong word."

"While it ended sooner than the creators wanted it to, leaving plenty on the table for further exploration if they ever decide to bring it back, the story is fully complete and doesn't leave you with massive blue balls like so many shows that have been abruptly cancelled. And it's a show that will stick with you for years, made all the more relevant given the situation the world is in at the moment."

-neotek

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The Expanse

"The Expanse. So good."

-DiddyKongsExorcist

"It's like a game of thrones in space only the books are essentially finished so it doesn't get the sharp drop in quality."

-squid_actually

"One of the most important things about The Expanse is that the book writers are actively involved in the show's production - they're executive producers and write the script. They acknowledge weaknesses in the books and adjust the show to improve the plot and narrative. They also allow the characters to develop organically and take the actors' talents and insights into consideration while writing the show (for example, Drummer and Ashford were both given bigger roles in the show because the writers were so impressed with their performance)."

"They understand the source material better than anyone, which is why Season 3 was basically two books condensed into 10 episodes, but it was still so good. And they aren't hung up on their own egos and let the universe and characters take a life of their own."

-PresidentWordSalad

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Eureka

"Eureka"

-AtheneSchmidt

"And Warehouse 13!"

-NotoriousPineapple

"I just started watching this week, and I love Eureka! Already binged the first two seasons. It's refreshing to see a generally positive storyline that is pro-science without being dark and dystopian."

-NormalEntrance

"I love that show. Jack carter saving the town from b movie sci fi conundrums caused by out of this world science projects gone wrong. His only tool to fix things…. His 'every man' logic."

-Incontinentialbutts

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Stargate SG-1

"Stargate SG-1. 'Window of Opportunity' is the best episode of TV I've ever seen."

-awfulcrowded117

"SG-1 will always be that show. I grew up with it and I’ve rewatched the entire show at least five times since. Last year my husband and I watched it together, first time for him, and he agreed that it was one of, if not the most enjoyable tv show of all time."

"The cast has great chemistry, not a single episode is a serious dud, and as a young girl it was an absolute pleasure and privilege growing up with Samantha Carter as a female role model."

-AseresGo

"Atlantis too"

-nikon78698

"Even universe is okay, but SG-1 is the best."

-awfulcrowded117

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Dark

"Dark is my favorite show of all time. It’s a Netflix original and in German; it’s a time travel show that fully embraces the paradoxes a lot of other media dealing with time travel tend to ignore or avoid. It’s a truly beautifully complex show with some of the best and most shocking twists I’ve seen on television."

"The casting is also absolutely phenomenal. The show spans over 100 years and shows multiple generations of characters. Younger and older versions of characters genuinely look like the same actor at different points in their lives."

-takedownhisshield

"Dark is amazing. It's also one of my favorite shows ever, and the only show that I've ever had to (and been willing to) take notes and refer to character charts while watching haha. So complicated, but so good"

-carbsock

"They really do! There were times where I thought maybe it was the same actor in good make up."

"Great show but I recommend marathoning it. Don't leave gaps between seasons or you may get confused. It's a show you need to pay attention to."

-JRE_4915162342

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Babylon 5

"Nobody mentioned Babylon 5? It’s a little old, but that show has some of the best space opera storytelling out there!"

-mahavirMechanized

"Not only is B5 fantastic, original and pioneering, it's getting a update/reboot from the original show runner soon! Can't wait to see B5 in a modern reincarnation."

-thelastspot

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His Dark Materials

"His Dark Materials. If you get hooked, the 3 part book series is insanely good. Would NOT recommend the movie though, complete trash in my opinion."

-F1stickman

"By far my favorite trilogy. I stopped halfway through the second season I just didn't find the characters fitting for the roles they played. I guess the story become to personal for me the way I imagined it from reading. Lee Scorsby Grumman, and even Will or Lyra all just didn't fit and it took away from the immersion. The episode where Lyra first gets to the north I thought was excellent however."

-Footwork_

"My favorite book series! I’m very pleased with how the show turned out as opposed to the movie."

-Smellslike_spideysGF

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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

"Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency"

-AddisonNM

"It was a mind trip! My mum and I started it while having dinner, and we were so confused and intrigued we kept going. It hit midnight and I just wanted to go to bed BUT THE DOG?? BART!? We ended up watching the whole thing in one sitting 😂"

-Renniiee

"So glad someone mentioned this show. Great cast, good balance of comedy and drama, just weird enough not to be off putting. Could have gone many more seasons"

-Pultrygeist74


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Arcane

"I’m shocked at how good Arcane is."

"since so many people have either commented that it’s the best series ever or highly overrated, let me say the obvious: it’s not for everyone. I understand many of the criticisms, and would disagree with anyone who acts like it’s perfect. It is pretty original and well-produced."

-somemetausername

"Arcane is amazing! That show shocked me since I’m not at all into league of legends and I really ended up enjoying it! It’s also great to see the animation medium expanding out into more diverse styles and genres!"

-mahavirMechanized

"If anybody is avoiding it because it's animated and loosely tied to a video game they are missing out big time. It's the best fantasy TV series since the early seasons of GoT."

"Well written characters with great voice acting, great attention to detail and rewatch value, and possibly the most aesthetically stylish TV show ever."

-GenghisKazoo

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Battlestar Galactica

"Battlestar Galactica - the one from the early 2000s with Edward James Olmos."

- Acceptable-Risks

"My favorite episodes of any show were Exodus 1 and 2 near the start of season 3. Never been so much on the edge of my seat."

- BaggyHairy

"The music and pacing of that space battle, ending in silence as the camera pans back from the Galactica, about to be overrun by multiple baseships…."

"….and then the missiles streak by. The Pegasus comes roaring in. And the drums begin to pound."

"Absolutely frakkin’ awesome."

- Whiskeyjacks_Fiddle

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Futurama

"Futurama"

- olixius

"The show with a ridiculous like 50+ years of Harvard education amongst the writing staff."

"To this day I still feel the urge to limbo after successfully filling out paperwork."

- TranSpyre

"I still to this day will never understand how Simpsons was more popular and kept airing. Simpsons was great but Futurama was Matt’s masterpiece."

- cabur84

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The Twilight Zone

"The Twlight Zone.

"Over 60 years later and so many of the episodes still hold up so well because of the great writing."

- -eDgAR-

"The annual New Years Day marathon on SyFy is awesome."

"Spent the entire day on the couch watching It. So awesome."

- ArchStantonsNeighbor

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Firefly

"Firefly"

- oodelallylalala

"The hell is this so far down the list?"

- mega_brown_note

"Firefly turns 20 this year. We're getting old af."

- _thirdeyeopener_

"The fact that Firefly isn't a slam dunk top answer shows just how old I am and reinforces the fact that teenagers are taking over."

"GET OFF MY DAMN LAWN!"

- JPMoney81

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Travelers

"Travelers"

"It's on Netflix"

"Very character driven and has an ending (albeit brutal and bittersweet). Worth it if more cerebral stuff with an action scene every now and then sounds fun."

- yippy-ki-yay-m-f

"I've been mentioning this for a year or so and no one has heard of it. So, so, soooo good."

- meetmeinthebthrm

"I know right?"

"Small Canadian broadcasted sci-fi shows usually don't grab the public consciousness (unless they're American funded ones that just film up there like Stargate or Battlestar Galactica to save a little $$$)."

"I was so glad I watched it and was reduced to tears by some of the developments this show took at the end. It's definitely a favourite of mine now."

"Maybe saying it stars the guy from Will and Grace and he's completely different might spark a fire of interest to potential watchers too."

- yippy-ki-yay-m-f

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Fringe

"Fringe"

- Suricata_906

"Fringe really has it all: Each episode with a stand-alone storyline, but with an overarching storyline discreetly in the background, great character development, an amazing and eclectic cast, suspense, great visuals, keeps you guessing, heart warming, emotional and plenty of well placed humor."

"Easily one of the best sci-fi series."

- cabur84

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Misfits

"Misfits"

- SwimSoot

"Misfits was a super fun show and I enjoyed it a lot."

- the-nature-mage

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Being Human

"Being Human"

- SwimSoot

"All 3 UK series of Being Human are good."

- Un4442nate

"Premise sounds like a joke: 'A ghost, a werewolf and a vampire rent a house'."

"Loved Being Human, sad the US couldn't just show the original instead of a remake."

- onairmastering

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Farscape

"Farscape. The answer is always Farscape."

- hercarmstrong

"The problem with Farscape was that you had to have watched from the beginning to really appreciate what was going on - you couldn't jump in at any point like Star Trek or Stargate - I mean with those it helps, with Farscape it was pretty much nonsense if you didn't know the story."

- Reapr

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The List

More Mainstream:

  • Star Trek
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003)
  • Stargate SG-1
  • The Expanse
  • The Orville (Star Trek + dick jokes)
  • Doctor Who (2005) (but to be honest I got kind of burned out after "The Day of the Doctor" (2013). There are just so many doctors and so little time!)

Less Mainstream:

  • Farscape
  • BABYLON 5 (for the love of god do yourself a favor)
  • Firefly (short-lived, ill-fated)
  • Sliders
  • Lexx (the weirdness of Farscape + more dick jokes and sexual innuendos at every turn, but actually kind of a cool first second season)
  • Space: Above and Beyond (short-lived, ill-fated)
  • Odyssey 5 (short-lived, ill-fated, starring RoboCop)
  • Travelers (made by the Stargate guys)
  • Dark Matter (ill-fated but had 3 seasons, also made by the Stargate guys)
  • Sense8
  • Andromeda (just watch the first 2 seasons, it goes downhill after there)
  • Other Space (a Yahoo! comedy/sci-fi starring your favorite young AT&T commercial actors and actresses (Milana Vayntrub and Karan Soni). Plus the guy from MST3k. Plus Eugene Cordero, who also stars in.....
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks (the best Star Trek to come out since DS9 The Orville)

Golden Nominee for Most Unexpected:

  • Final Space (Yes, it's animated. Yes, it's kind of slapstick. But there's something very alluring about equal balance of drama and comedy set in a hard sci-fi environment. Plus the cast is out of this world and the story is genuinely interesting. One of those rare gems, kind of like Babylon 5, where the storytelling and music and characters all blend together wonderfully).

Honorable Mentions:

  • Earth: Final Conflict (unique blend of sci-fi and...I guess crime drama? More cerebral and slow-burning, kind of like X-files)
  • Seven Days (a sort-of Stargate SG-1-like secret government program to send one man back in time 7 days to prevent any disasters from ever happening. Very unique concept)
  • Alien Nation (solid 80's buddy-cop crime drama, with the twist that there are a bunch of refugee aliens living among humans now.)
  • Star Trek: Voyager (good for families, moderately consistent quality with a few really good episodes and a few really bad ones).

- The_Highlife

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If you're a sci-fi or fantasy fan and haven't watched some of these series, consider giving a few of them a try.

There are some really excellent shows that you might have missed because they didn't get a lot of hype.

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