Top Sci-Fi Shows of All Time

KC Frankenburger

Read Time 3 minutes

One of science fiction's pioneers "Star Trek" from Paramount Studios.
One of science fiction’s pioneers “Star Trek” from Paramount Studios.


With so much television to watch on so many different services these days, sometimes it’s easy to forget TV’s humble beginnings. While we have a ton of science fiction to choose from these days, things were not always so simple. Audiences did not have such plentiful options and sometimes had to wait years before a new worthy offering came along.

So for all you sci-fi buffs out there, here are 11 of the top science fiction shows of all time.

The Twilight Zone  
Type: Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Horror
Release Date: 1959
Starring: Rod Serling

Each episode of The Twilight Zone tells a completely different story and so this fantasy series from the genius mind of Rod Serling manages to toe the line from drama, to comedy, and horror. All of this while retaining the very “Twilight Zone”-esque quality that continues to cement its place in the pop culture lexicon. (Raise your hand if you’re as excited as we are for Jordan Peele’s reboot of this show??)

Star Trek
Type: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science-Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: 1966
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

Without Star Trek to pave the way, the sci-fi television may have been a very different experience. The tales of the USS Enterprise and its crew, consisting of the impulsive Captain Kirk and the reserved Mr. Spock, have entertained generations of sci-fi fans.  

Battlestar Galactica
Type: Action & Adventure, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Drama
Release Date: 2004
Starring: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, James Callis

When their homeworld is destroyed, a battlestar known as Galactica and its crew find itself responsible for carrying what is left of humanity to safety.

The X-Files
Type: Drama, Science-Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy
Release Date: 1993
Starring: Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi

When tasked with coming up with a list of the greatest sci-fi shows of all time, one immediately thinks of The X-Files. A show with a wide mainstream audience, this series dominated the airwaves in the nineties and made a return to television back in 2016 with series regulars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny reprising their original roles.

Firefly
Type: Action & Adventure, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Drama
Release Date: 2002
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

While it only lasted for a single season, Firefly’s reputation has risen far beyond anything that anyone could have imagined. A crew of smugglers at its center, Firefly is the epitome of the space western, and comparisons to Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon are not unearned.

Doctor Who
Type: Action & Adventure, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Drama, Family
Release Date: 2005
Starring: Jodie Whittaker, Peter Capaldi, David Tennant

The Doctor Who series has been entertaining fans since the 1960s. While some find it a bit camp, there’s something universally beloved about this tale of a regenerating Time Lord and his TARDIS.

Quantum Leap
Type: Action & Adventure, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Drama
Release Date: 1989
Starring: Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell

When you’re talking about old sci-fi shows that should be remade, please put Quantum Leap on the top of my list. This series follows Dr. Sam Beckett as he travels through in order to change history.

Fringe
Type:  Crime, Drama, Science-Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy
Release Date: 2008
Starring: Anna Torv, John Noble, Joshua Jackson

The successor of The X-Files (and in some ways: Lost), Fringe tells the story of special agent Olivia Dunham as she investigates a phenomenon known as “the pattern” and discovers that there is much more than meets the eye to the mystery.

Stranger Things
Type: Action & Adventure,  Drama, Science-Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy
Release Date: 2016
Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard

It was clear from the very beginning, that the Duffer brothers had captured lightning in a bottle with their Netflix series Stranger Things. The perfect cast, the perfect script, and the perfect blend of nostalgia.

Star Trek: The Next Generation  
Type: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science-Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy
Release Date: 1987
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner

Premiering roughly twenty years after its predecessor, Star Trek: TNG truly was a Star Trek for a new generation of viewers. This time however, the series follows Captain Jean-Luc Picard, played by the incomparable Patrick Stewart.

Stargate SG-1
Type: Action & Adventure, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Drama
Release Date: 1997
Starring: Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks

Even though it ran for ten years, and spawned a successful spin-off that gave us Jason Momoa (thank you, Stargate Atlantis), there is a tendency to forget this little gem. An ancient device that acts as a kind of wormhole to travel to other planets is at the center of this story, along with the group of soldiers and scientists tasked with using this device to explore new worlds.

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