Westworld, The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica, Stranger Things (John P. Johnson/HBO; Frank Ockenfels/FOX; SyFy; Netflix)
(Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO; Frank Ockenfels/FOX; SyFy; Netflix)

100 BEST SCI-FI TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME

Science fiction is often celebrated as a forward-thinking genre that promotes peace among all life forms. But deciding which sci-fi TV series is the best? That debate could start an intergalactic war.

To determine which series is the supreme ruler of the sci-fi genre, we took into consideration Tomatometer data culled from critics’ reviews, plus a number of reputable “best of” lists, and sprinkled the effort with some editorial discretion, asking ourselves which shows have stood the test of time, inspired spin-offs and copycats, and even made their influence known on the big screen.

Some usual suspects naturally came out on top: Doctor Who, Fringe, Firefly, Orphan Black, and creator Ronald D. Moore’s mid-2000s re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica received high marks across the board — not surprising, since they all also have high Tomatometer scores, as do relative newcomers like Westworld, The Expanse, and Black Mirror.

One of the toughest calls we had to make was what exactly constitutes science fiction. Fantasy, mystery, horror, and postapocalyptic genres can appear to enter the sci-fi realm, but we had to create some boundaries. David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks, which famously popularized the dead-girl murder-mystery trope before dovetailing into something more complicated, was deemed horror-fantasy (so don’t bother “Where’s Twin Peaks?!”–ing us in the comments). What about shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Jessica Jones and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Superhero shows were deemed a separate category.

Ranking each of these shows is a Gorn wrestling match all its own – especially when it comes to now-classic titles whose scores are so Rotten, they threaten to stink up the whole list. Have fond memories of 1979’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century? Hate to ruin any childhood reverie, but it stands at a ripe 33% with 15 reviews on season 1. It still makes the list because of its nostalgia value and the relatively low number of reviews available.

Disagree with our ranking of the best sci-fi TV series? Tell us about your favorites in the comments!

Best Sci-Fi Series
100-81 | 80-61 | 60-4140-21 | 20-1

The Orville (2017)
65%

#100
Synopsis: THE ORVILLE is a live-action, one-hour, ensemble comedic drama set 400 years in the future that follows the adventures of... [More]

Under the Dome (2013)
68%

#99
Synopsis: A small New England town is sealed off from the world by an enormous transparent dome that inexplicably appears and... [More]

The Jetsons (1962)

#98
Synopsis: Hanna-Barbera's space-age counterpoint to their `Flintstones,' featuring George Jetson, wife Jane and their kids, Elroy and Judy. `The Jetsons' was... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Barbera

Astro Boy (1963)

#97
Synopsis: Animated tales of a robotic boy in the 21st century.... [More]

Thunderbirds (0)
100%

#96
Synopsis: An eccentric millionaire and his five sons make up an international rescue team who use a Thunderbird spacecraft to come... [More]
Directed By: David Lane, Brian Burgess

#95
Synopsis: The eerie anthology series (1959-1964) created by Rod Serling returns with new episodes.... [More]

Mork & Mindy (1978)
95%

#94
Synopsis: The smash spin-off from a `Happy Days' episode about a wacky alien from the planet Ork and the sweet-natured woman... [More]

ALF (1986)

#93
Synopsis: A popular sitcom about a furry Alien Life Form from the planet Melmac who crash-lands on Earth and finds a... [More]

Synopsis: Two astronauts land 2000 years in the future and find that Earth is ruled by apes. It had the same... [More]

#91
Synopsis: Tales of the fantastic and supernatural are the focus of this sci-fi anthology, a remake of the 1960s series.... [More]

Killjoys (2015)
95%

#90
Synopsis: Warrants are served by a fun-loving, hard-living trio of interplanetary bounty hunters.... [More]

Roswell (1999)

#89
Synopsis: Aliens lived secretly among humans in this sci-fi and soap hybrid set in Roswell, N.M. (the site of a fabled... [More]

#88
Synopsis: Aliens have landed on earth in this follow up to the 1984 miniseries.... [More]
Directed By: Richard T. Heffron

Millennium (1996)

#87
Synopsis: A dark, graphic saga focusing on a former FBI agent who moves to Seattle with his family and who can... [More]

Logan's Run (1977)

#86
Synopsis: A 29-year-old flees a 24th-century city where citizens are mandatorily killed when they reach 30. Based on a 1976 movie,... [More]

seaQuest DSV (1993)

#85
Synopsis: American science fiction television series.... [More]

Almost Human (2013)
69%

#84
Synopsis: In the year 2048, a veteran cop with mental and physical baggage returns to the force, but struggles to adjust... [More]

Terra Nova (2011)
62%

#83
Synopsis: A group of people travel back to Earth's prehistoric past to start a new civilization as the planet is dying... [More]

Sanctuary (2008)

#82
Synopsis: A doctor provides a haven for mysterious creatures with the help of a team that includes a forensic psychiatrist and... [More]

Dark Angel (2000)
65%

#81
Synopsis: James Cameron produced this hip, visually arresting tale of a genetically designed teen fatale who escapes from a shadowy breeding... [More]

Best Sci-Fi Series
100-81 | 80-61 | 60-4140-21 | 20-1

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 Next

Tag Cloud

DC streaming service A24 Crunchyroll game of thrones true crime MSNBC Elton John best batman Travel Channel Film Rocky Comic Book CW Seed psycho cars sitcom satire USA strong female leads Baby Yoda social media zombies 72 Emmy Awards Pride Month Creative Arts Emmys talk show Spring TV RT History HBO films Freeform Fantasy richard e. Grant TCA dc rotten Television Critics Association Lifetime Christmas movies Superheroe The CW 21st Century Fox animated hispanic spy thriller adaptation superhero See It Skip It Discovery Channel TBS Lionsgate Vudu franchise Film Festival Netflix Cartoon Network Certified Fresh Starz WGN Mary Poppins Returns Peacock Countdown screenings Heroines 24 frames toy story cancelled TV series jamie lee curtis MCU APB Photos dogs Columbia Pictures Apple TV Plus werewolf Black Mirror Rom-Com Crackle TLC TCA Winter 2020 Tomatazos reboot boxoffice based on movie 007 Tubi Western hollywood Video Games free movies spain HBO Go composers nature FOX Family Pop anthology justice league christmas movies finale AMC Mystery Pixar romance canceled Grammys canceled TV shows Teen Amazon Prime serial killer NBC Adult Swim sports FXX halloween 2018 Winter TV 2017 historical drama documentaries Spike video sequels Disney+ Disney Plus Comedy Holiday TV renewals NYCC USA Network all-time what to watch Hallmark Action Epix obituary Arrowverse Musicals Mary poppins Box Office TCA 2017 parents Apple TV+ Sony Pictures Pop TV SDCC harry potter romantic comedy Pet Sematary Comics on TV natural history Hallmark Christmas movies south america Rocketman Thanksgiving Dark Horse Comics San Diego Comic-Con Opinion aliens Star Wars critics reviews Ovation Awards DirecTV El Rey Disney Oscars child's play Mudbound comiccon concert Writers Guild of America cancelled TV shows Cannes latino Podcast Food Network Britbox Captain marvel Watching Series The Arrangement blockbuster VICE spider-man facebook HBO Max award winner Turner DC Universe Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Amazon Avengers news book YouTube Premium Spectrum Originals VH1 dceu Fox News 2015 Horror BBC One cartoon cults green book Emmys disaster cops Interview stand-up comedy Amazon Studios Warner Bros. rotten movies we love YouTube Red vampires MTV television First Reviews Tumblr independent transformers Rock Disney streaming service Trophy Talk unscripted CMT Esquire Pirates movie stoner Comedy Central Marvel Infographic 2016 Anna Paquin TIFF directors asian-american 4/20 Turner Classic Movies BBC Country indie Hear Us Out mission: impossible emmy awards Ghostbusters BBC America ESPN Television Academy TNT chucky children's TV SXSW period drama Star Trek Christmas Trivia Reality Competition LGBTQ slashers Sci-Fi politics Binge Guide crime drama Walt Disney Pictures teaser golden globes psychological thriller Year in Review quibi Hulu Set visit Sundance TV GLAAD Logo foreign IFC Super Bowl war breaking bad indiana jones streaming VOD Bravo Awards Tour cooking History OWN E! anime Musical renewed TV shows Netflix Christmas movies Kids & Family RT21 ratings Summer President Schedule docudrama Lucasfilm Mary Tyler Moore Calendar PlayStation series New York Comic Con Marathons Women's History Month Nominations Paramount Network Election 2020 universal monsters Classic Film Paramount Endgame 71st Emmy Awards SundanceTV name the review dragons festivals BET hist diversity Sundance Syfy Cosplay science fiction E3 FX comics nbcuniversal Character Guide Marvel Television Shudder travel joker CNN classics IFC Films TCM First Look DGA 45 PaleyFest stop motion Superheroes zombie ABC comic Nickelodeon die hard LGBT theme song 2019 cinemax Tarantino Nat Geo crime thriller Red Carpet adventure cancelled television Lifetime BAFTA Animation fast and furious Song of Ice and Fire biography Drama dark Valentine's Day ghosts ITV National Geographic GIFs zero dark thirty Winners cats Acorn TV revenge police drama TruTV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt a nightmare on elm street Quiz versus spanish language TV binge Emmy Nominations worst singing competition sag awards Premiere Dates Funimation Extras The Walking Dead political drama Stephen King casting Masterpiece Mindy Kaling Sneak Peek Music robots Trailer Brie Larson blaxploitation A&E CBS All Access supernatural Disney Channel Ellie Kemper miniseries TV Land doctor who thriller Disney Plus Best and Worst screen actors guild The Witch Shondaland Sundance Now Martial Arts FX on Hulu Holidays witnail laika discovery ABC Family criterion YouTube documentary cancelled Universal medical drama twilight TCA Awards comedies The Purge Academy Awards American Society of Cinematographers Chernobyl Showtime GoT sequel dramedy scary movies OneApp BET Awards Amazon Prime Video WarnerMedia PBS elevated horror Toys mockumentary mutant kids CBS tv talk Fall TV crossover game show video on demand technology space DC Comics movies 20th Century Fox Black History Month YA Polls and Games Apple Biopics Marvel Studios spinoff X-Men Reality crime