The 100 Best Sci-Fi TV Shows of All Time

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The 100 Best Sci-Fi TV Shows of All Time

Science-fiction has been broadcast in the U.S. since the early days of television, with kids’ programs like Captain Video and His Video Rangers in 1949 and Space Patrol in the 1950s. But it was really Gene Roddenberry’s groundbreaking 1966 series Star Trek that would forever shape what was to follow. And while we still haven’t had the sci-fi big-budget prestige TV equivalent of fantasy’s Game of Thrones, we’re getting closer all the time with shows like HBO’s Westworld, Netflix’s Altered Carbon and Amazon’s takeover of The Expanse getting full support from their respective networks.

From time-travel to alien encounters to the possibilities of new technologies, the steady march of human progress would be colored by what we can imagine on screen. The shows here range from hard sci-fi and gritty space operas to silly sitcoms and animated series. We were surprised at how quickly we got to 100 and how many sci-fi shows didn’t fit on this list. There’s never been more sci-fi shows airing on TV, and if quantity doesn’t always mean quality, there’s plenty for the sci-fi fan to love right now.

Here are the 100 best sci-fi TV series of all time:

100. Sliders (1995-2000)

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Creator: Tracy Tormé, Robert K. Weiss
Stars: Jerry O’Connell, Cleavant Derricks, Sabrina Lloyd, John Rhys-Davies, Kari Wuhrer, Charlie O’Connell, Robert Floyd, Tembi Locke
Network: Fox/Sci-Fi

This five-season Fox/Sci-Fi series used wormholes to travel, at random, across parallel universes (in the vein of other randomized episodic scifi, Quantum Leap and Voyagers). Always trying to slide home (get it?), Jerry O’Connell’s Quinn leads his group of travelers from parallel Earth to parallel Earth in what can charitably be called an exercise in WTF. Their eventual arch-enemies, the Kromags, even built an empire by slide-conquering hundreds of these parallel worlds. —JD Jordan

99. Extant (2014-2015)

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Creator: Mickey Fisher
Stars: Halle Berry, Goran Visnjic, Pierce Gagnon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Camryn Manheim, Grace Gummer, Michael O’Neill
Network: CBS

The premise of Extant is John Updike does Rosemary’s Baby, except the demon child is already born. Among the many differences is this: Rosemary was violated; Molly was hypnotized. The conception incident here evokes longing, not recoil; confusion, not disorientation. It’s played like a hallucination—though it wasn’t—but because this fertile entity borrows the form of Molly’s dead first husband, Marcus, the scene speaks for the pilot: Who we let in has so very little to do with us. Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) is Daddy’s pride and joy: The prototype for a new wave of unhuman humans. John Woods (Goran Visnjic) engineered the boy when he and Molly (Halle Berry) couldn’t conceive and were denied adoption. His affection for Ethan surpasses inventor-invention, but it’s hard to tell if that’s the human experience working or the product. He presents Ethan to a powerful technology board and exhausts the importance of integration. These are not sophisticated slaves, but a new breed of people. He grows defensive toward their questioning. Passion and foolishness are more closely related than he and Ethan. The tension is drummed up intentionally. The point of the show is to inspire uneasiness in the viewer. Creator Mickey Fisher seems to want this show to ask, What does it mean to be real? John assures Ethan he is a person. Ethan disagrees. This is a thing. In addition to its artificial intelligence-son-alien-fetus cleverness, Fisher has sketched thoughtful inquiries into how and why we love. —Kyle Burton

98. Voyagers! (1982-1983)

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Creator: James D. Parriott
Stars: Jon-Erik Hexum, Meeno Peluce
Network: NBC

Considered a precursor to Quantum Leap, Voyagers! only ran for a single season, but the short-lived ‘80s time travel series remains a cult favorite to this day. Jon-Erik Hexum played Phineas Bogg, and was part of a team of time travelers dedicated to ensuring that history stayed on track, which meant lots of run-ins with famous historical figures for Bogg and his kid sidekick, as the pair traveled across the centuries. They were sort of like Bill and Ted, minus the impromptu bouts of air guitar. But as a family-friendly show that successfully mixed time travel hijinks with history lessons, it’s still difficult to believe Voyagers! didn’t get a longer run. —Rick Mele

97. Almost Human (2013)

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Creator: J. H. Wyman
Stars: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly, Mackenzie Crook, Michael Irby, Lili Taylor
Network: Fox

The J.J. Abrams-produced Almost Human debuted on Fox with a bit of baggage (a co-showrunner departing because of “creative differences,” a delayed premiere), and it was canceled after just one season. But the show itself was a solid, albeit generic, sci-fi experiment, anchored by a charming, odd-couple pairing that prevented it from taking a nosedive into boresville. After a white-on-black title card informs us that, in the year 2048, a 400% increase in crime rate resulted in the overwhelmed L.A. police force partnering each officer with a combat-model android, we’re thrown headfirst into a futuristic alley battle that feels straight out of a videogame cut scene (in a good way). As gunfire and explosions go off all around him, officer John Kennex (Karl Urban) watches in horror as his entire unit, including his partner, is mowed down by the members of a nefarious criminal organization called the Insyndicate. We then move forward to present day where we learn that the events of the attack put Kennex in a 17-month coma and left him with a synthetic leg to replace the one that was blown off. Despite suffering from all manner of scars, both mental and physical, Kennex returns to the job after hearing that the Insyndicate has resurfaced. Against his own wishes, he’s given the mandated android partner. After unceremoniously tossing his first new partner out of the police cruiser, Kennex goes to robot maker Rudy Lom (Mackenzie Crook) for a last-minute replacement. Here, he’s granted a slightly unorthodox partner in the form of Dorian (Michael Ealy), a DNR model. Unlike the current crop of androids, which operate purely on logic and reasoning, the DNR were designed to actually replicate human emotions. Surprisingly, few others in the precinct seem to question or care why Kennex drags in such an outdated model. Over 13 episodes, there’s much to admire in the creativity of the writing staff in coming up with offbeat, yet surprisingly grounded cases to augment the show’s futuristic world. The series finale showed how far Almost Human had come and how much more it could potentially have offered. —Mark Rozeman

96. Knight Rider (1982-1986)

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Creators: Glen A. Larson
Stars: David Hasselhoff, William Daniels, Edward Mulhare, Patricia McPherson
Network: NBC

Artificial intelligence was never as cool before or since the creation of KITT, Michael Knight’s partner in the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG). KITT, a souped up Trans Am, didn’t need a driver and was outfitted with enough gadgets to make James Bond jealous. Created and often written by Glen A. Larson (whose credits include Battlestar Galactica, Quincy, M.E., The Fall Guy, Magnum, P.I.), there were always plenty of bad-guy plans to foil in exceedingly awesome manners. —Josh Jackson

95. Land of the Lost (1974-1976, 1991-1992)

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Creator: Sid & Marty Krofft, Allan Foshko
Stars: Spencer Milligan, Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, Phillip Paley, Ron Harper
Network: NBC

There’s much to love about the large-scale adventure and unabashed cheesiness of Land of the Lost. When a mysterious, dimensional portal brings the Marshalls to an alternate universe populated by dinosaurs, primates and other creatures, the family must find a way to survive and make their way back home. Luckily, the monsters are about as scary as the tyrannosaurus Gorn from Star Trek: The Original Series. Land of the Lost’s special effects team brought all non-human creatures to life with actors in rubber suits and heavy makeup, stop-motion animation miniatures, hand puppets, rear projection film effects and video blue-screen matting. Many of these effects can be seen in the series’ lovably corny, action-packed opener. Our favorite: the river-rafting scene, with the poor little bobbing blue-screen raft. Hang in there, Marshalls! —James Charisma

94. Journeyman (2007)

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Creator: Kevin Falls
Stars: Kevin McKidd, Brian Howe, Gretchen Egolf, Moon Bloodgood, Reed Diamond, Charles Henry Wyson
Network: NBC

Journeyman was something of a modern-day reincarnation of Quantum Leap, starring Kevin McKidd as a San Francisco reporter who finds himself unexpectedly traveling through time in order to change various character’s futures for the better, while struggling to explain his sudden disappearances to both himself and his family. Low ratings and the 2007 Writers Guild strike led to NBC canceling the fledgling sci-fi romance after only 13 episodes—much to the disappointment of Journeyman’s small but loyal following (count 12 Monkey’s co-creator Terry Matalas among them). The show’s fans attempted to pull a Jericho, sending Rice-a-Roni to the NBC offices in hopes of saving the series, but unfortunately, the last-minute hail mary didn’t work. —Rick Mele

93. Jake 2.0 (2003-2004)

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Creator: Silvio Horta
Stars: Christopher Gorham, Philip Anthony-Rodriguez, Judith Scott, Marina Black, Keegan Connor Tracy
Network: UPN

Before Chuck, there was Jake 2.0. The similar concept was as follows: Your normal, everyday computer genius gets infected with nanorobots and gains superhuman abilities. The show starring Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs) aired on UPN for only 10 episodes before being canceled due to low ratings. While the network wasn’t really known for high quality entertainment (besides the genius Veronica Mars, which moved to the CW following a merger with the WB), the show had an intriguing concept that was never fully realized. —Shaina Pearlman

92. Terra Nova (2011)

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Creator: Kelly Marcel, Craig Silverstein
Stars: Jason O’Mara, Shelley Conn, Stephan Lang, Christine Adams,
Network: FOX

Steven Spielberg, dinosaurs and time travel sounds like about as airtight a pitch as they come, and the future was looking bright for the Spielberg-produced Terra Nova in fall 2011. The premise was strong—a group of pilgrims leave an overpopulated and dying Earth in 2149, to travel back some 85 million years for a second try at civilization. And the show was given a massive budget to ensure the special effects and CGI dinos were up to snuff. Life of Mars star Jason O’Mara was also given another shot, headlining his own time-travel show. Unfortunately, things didn’t go much better for O’Mara the second time around: history would repeat itself, and the time-travel adventure series was shelved after only 13 episodes. But while an uneven first season and that high per-episode price tag put an end to Fox’s prehistoric experiment, with all the elements Terra Nova had going for it, it’s hard to imagine the show wouldn’t have gotten better if it’d been afforded another season to find its legs. —Rick Mele

91. Clone High (2002-2003)

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Creators: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Bill Lawrence
Stars: Will Forte, Nicole Sullivan, Michael McDonald, Christopher Miller, Christa Miller, Phil Lord
Network: Teletoon, MTV

The genius premise of Clone High is quickly explained in its 30-second intro, in which the U.S. military and shadowy government officials extract the DNA of deceased figures from history and genetically recreate them in the form of angsty high schoolers. Our protagonist is Abe Lincoln, a lanky, awkward clone of our 16th president, who struggles with the challenges of adolescence as well as living up to his “clonefather.” As he vies for the affection of popular Cleopatra against the arrogant jock JFK, his best friends include the politically liberal Joan of Arc and party animal Gandhi. Everything about the series was destined for both a short lifespan and eventual cult status. It succeeded at both: For 13 glorious episodes, we had Clone High, the perfect parody of network teen dramas. —James Charisma

90. The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993-1994)

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Creator: Jeffrey Boam, Carlton Cuse
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Julius Carry, Christian Clemenson
Network: Fox

Fresh off Army of Darkness, which sent Bruce Campbell back to medieval times, the Evil Dead star jumped aboard this anachronistic Western with a sci-fi twist from future Lost showrunner Carlton Cuse and former Lost Boys and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade writer Jeffrey Boam. The genre-blending series was goofy and weird, complete with a mysterious futuristic orb, a time-traveling bad guy and irreverent sense of humor. But despite favorable reviews and strong initial ratings, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. was doomed from the start by its Friday night time slot, destined to become yet another cult favorite lost to time, after being completely overshadowed by one of Fox’s other new shows: The X-Files. And while it’s hard to argue with the network picking the adventures of Mulder and Scully over a bounty-hunting Bruce Campbell, it still would have been interesting to see what the combo of Cuse, Boam and Campbell could have resulted in with another season and a better time slot. Or, maybe we would’ve just gotten the Smoke Monster and polar bears in the Old West. It’s hard to say. —Rick Mele

89. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-1981)

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Creators: Glen A. Larson, Leslie Stevens
Stars: Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Pamela Hensley, Tim O’Connor, Felix Silla, Mel Blanc
Network: NBC

Gil Gerard’s Buck—a hero only the 1980s could love—was a more chauvinistic and more Steve Austin-like version of a Han Solo who started out flying a retooled rebel snow speeder in defense of the Earth. His never-quite-romantic relationships with Erin Gray’s Wilma Deering or Pamela Hensley’s Princess Ardala were the thing of macho fantasy, never mind his daring in the cockpit or at un-choreographed TV fisticuffs. Star Wars’ influence is heavy on this show, but it’s only in his second season (1980-1981) that Buck took flight in the Searcher with his mixed bag of heroes, a transition that more closely emulated creator Glen Larson’s other ’80s TV franchise, Battlestar Galactica. —Ellie Decker & JD Jordan

88. seaQuest DSV (1993-1996)

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Creator: Rockne S. O’Bannon
Stars: Roy Scheider, Jonathan Brandis, Stephanie Beacham, Don Franklin, Michael Ironside
Network: NBC

It’s easy to sort of deride seaQuest DSV as essentially “Star Trek underwater,” but in its earlier episodes that comparison was only half right. Roy Scheider of Jaws fame starred as the captain of a research and diplomatic envoy vessel in a future where depletion of the Earth’s resources has led to the only cities remaining underwater, where they harvest the bounty of the ocean. As the show progressed to a second season, the sci-fi elements grew stronger with the discovery of aliens and various “monster of the week” episodes in the vein of those types of Star Trek or X-Files episodes. Scheider was particularly unhappy about the direction the show was heading and stepped down before the third season, which was oddly set 10 years further into the future. Michael Ironside replaced him and played the new, more militaristic captain, but ratings were bad, dooming one of network TV’s quirkier series. —Jim Vorel

87. Final Space (2018-)
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Creator: Olan Rogers
Stars: Olan Rogers, Fred Armisen, Tom Kenny, David Tennant, Tika Sumpter, Steven Yeun, Coty Galloway, Caleb McLaughlin, Ron Perlman, John DiMaggio, Gina Torres, Shannon Purser, Keith David, Andy Richter, Conan O’Brien, Xzibit
Network: TBS

Mooncake is the most adorable super weapon in the galaxy. Olan Rogers’ series about a self-deluded astronaut who’s serving out the final days of a prison sentence is surprisingly touching and creatively plotted for an animated comedy. With Conan O’Brien as an executive producer and a supporting cast that includes Fred Armisen, David Tennant and Steven Yeun, there’s plenty of star power, but this is Rogers’ show, as he also voices both lead character Gary Godspeed (and his mostly silent, planet-destroying alien friend Mooncake). He’s brave, loyal, mostly incompetent and completely self-deluded, but he’ll stop at nothing to help his friend Avacato and the object of his infatuation, Quinn, as they save the universe from the evil Lord Commander. Final Space returns for a second season and more adventure in 2019. —Josh Jackson

86. Primeval (2007-2011)

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Creators: Adrian Hodges, Tim Haines
Stars: Douglas Henshall, James Murray, Andrew-Lee Potts, Lucy Brown, Hannah Spearritt, Juliet Aubrey, Ben Miller
Network: ITV

British sci-fi series Primeval taps into our enduring fascination with dinosaurs, but things got more interesting for the show when the time-travel started happening in both directions. The team encounters a future where super-powerful humanoid predators and just-as-scary giant insects have eradicated all of humanity. For a show that had been parading creatures from the past (dinosaurs, aquatic reptiles, flocks of dodos) into the present, this twist saved it from feeling too much like its creators’ Walking With the Dinosaurs programs. Humans, it turns out, had a hand in creating the predators, and different moral conclusions about how to stop the coming apocalypse led to much of the show’s main tensions. A British-Canadian spin-off, Primeval: New World only lasted one season. —Josh Jackson

85. Falling Skies (2011-2015)

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Creator: Robert Rodat
Stars: Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Drew Roy, Jessy Schram, Maxim Knight, Seychelle Gabriel, Peter Shinkoda, Mpho Koaho, Connor Jessup, Will Patton, Sarah Carter, Colin Cunningham, Doug Jones, Scarlett Byrne
Network: TNT

When the alien apocalypse comes, even mild-mannered history professors must fight back. Noah Hawley stars as Tom Mason, part of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment (Second Mass) in the resistance to our space invaders, the Skitters, who’ve destroyed Earth’s cities and power grids. Saving Private Ryan scribe re-teamed with executive producer Steven Speilberg to build a world in which the aliens are clearly winning and taking over the minds of our children through a biomechanical harness. As the series progressed, more alien species are introduced on both sides of the war for our planet. The show lasted five seasons, allowing Rodat to develop the characters, explore themes of family, solidarity and heroism, and tell the full story of Earth’s resistance. —Josh Jackson

84. The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978)

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Creator: Martin Caidin
Stars: Lee Majors, Richard Anderson, Alan Oppenheimer, Martin E. Brooks
Network: ABC, NBC

“We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better…stronger…faster.” Just about everyone with exposure to Western television is familiar with the famous opening narration that began every episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. Astronaut Steve Austin (in a time when we still loved our space program and astronauts were heroes) crashes in an experimental craft and is rebuilt by the secretive Office of Scientific Intelligence. With new enhanced legs, right arm and left eye, Austin is reborn as a secret agent who uses the abilities granted by his prosthetics to basically become cyborg James Bond, complete with some of the earliest (effective) uses of slow motion scenes in combat, before they became the cliché they are today. —K. Alexander Smith

83. The Bionic Woman (1976-1978)

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Creator: Kenneth Johnson
Stars: Lindsay Wagner, Richard Anderson, Martin E. Brooks
Network: ABC

A spin-off of The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman replaced Lee Majors with Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers, a professional tennis player and girlfriend of Steve Austin, who undergoes a similar operation to replace parts of her damaged body (a skydiving accident) with super-powered prosthetics. Teaching middle-school kids as a cover, Jaime works for the same secret organization as her less expensive ex (the show was called The Seven Million Dollar Woman in Germany), using her super speed, strength and hearing to bring down the bad guys. The show’s global success should have paved the way for more women-centric superhero movies and shows, but studio executives aren’t always blessed with super smarts. —Josh Jackson

82. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009)

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Creator: Josh Friedman
Stars: Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, Brian Austin Green, Garret Dillahunt, Shirley Manson, Richard T. Jones, Leven Rambin
Network: Fox

Much in the same as Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, the idea of turning a beloved time travel film into sci-fi TV fodder seemed like sacrilege at first, but thanks to time-traveling Schwarzeneggers, the Terminator franchise’s timeline has been able to withstand multiple sequels, reboots and this short-lived TV show with no ill effects. (Plus, creator Josh Friedman quickly got in fans’ good graces by completely erasing the events of Terminator 3.) Starring a pre-Game of Thrones Lena Headey as Sarah Connor, Thomas Dekker as mankind’s last, best hope and Summer Glau as another reprogrammed cyborg, the show follows the trio as they jump forward to 2007, pushing Judgment Day back to April 21, 2011. And for a while, at least, it seemed like it would stick—reviews were strong, ratings were high and it was renewed for a second season. But the series’ own Judgment Day would come on May 18, 2009, when the show wasn’t renewed for a third, despite fan outcry. Instead, the powers that be decided they’d rather return the Terminator story to the big screen—although after the reviews for Terminator Salvation (and Terminator Genisys), it looks like they would’ve been better off just keeping The Sarah Connor Chronicles going. Still, that does set up a potentially tricky butterfly effect: if this show had become a big hit, Lena Headey might have never gone on to Westeros instead… —Rick Mele

81. Mars (2016-)

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Creators: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Michael Rosenberg
Stars: Ben Cotton, Jihae, Sammi Rotibi, Clementine Poidatz, Anamaria Marinca
Network: Nat Geo

We have a never-ending fascination with Mars. Is there life there? Can we send an astronaut? The planet has been fodder for countless documentaries and imaginary tales. This six-part miniseries stands out as a hybrid by interspersing the fictional story of the first mission to Mars in 2033 with interviews with Mars experts including Andy Weir (author of The Martian), Neil deGrasse Tyson, and NASA administrator Charles Bolden. TV is constantly reinventing itself, and this fusion of fiction with reality could spawn a whole new genre. (The series returns for a second season in fall 2018). —Amy Amatangelo

80. 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001)

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Creators: Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner
Stars: John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jane Curtin, Simbi Khali, Elmarie Wendel, Wayne Knight
Network: NBC

3rd Rock successfully took the Mork & Mindy premise and expanded it to an entire family unit of aliens who land on Earth and attempt to study mankind by blending in among them. There wasn’t much here that you would call “highbrow humor,” but the strong cast always made the best of things, especially Jonathan Lithgow as frenzied High Commander Dick Solomon and future A-lister Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tommy. Later seasons saw the aliens become more interested in their human lives than the mission at hand, and even had the bonus of appearances by the family’s supreme commander, “The Big Giant Head,” played by William Shatner. You gotta love the dual references to The Twilight Zone and its film adaptation that Shatner and Lithgow share in this scene. —Jim Vorel

79. Humans (2015-)

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Creator:
Stars: Manpreet Bachu, Emily Berrington, Ruth Bradley, Lucy Carless, Gemma Chan, Pixie Davies, Jack Derges, William Hurt, Marshall Allman, Sonya Cassidy, Carrie-Anne Moss
Network: AMC, Channel 4

This AMC series is reminiscent of both Ex Machina and Westworld with a story framed around the invention of “synths,” anthropomorphic robots, and the impact they have on the human world. Humans tackles some heavy themes, including memory, personhood, human (and non-human) rights and the fear of things we may not understand. Some of it is well-mined sci-fi territory, but Humans puts a fresh spin on the themes you might remember from old Twilight Zone re-runs. It also features an impeccable cast, led by Gemma Chan, William Hurt and a few others, who turn in some of the most human (and sometimes spooky) performances you’ll see anywhere on TV. The show is actually a remake of a Swedish series, and is one of the few remakes that manage to meet (and sometimes exceed) the quality of the original. —Trent Moore

78. Defiance (2013-2015)

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Creators: Rockne S. O’Bannon, Kevin Murphy, Michael Taylor
Stars: Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Graham Greene, Mia Kirshner, Jesse Rath
Network: SyFy

Defiance was ambitious, a key to any TV show filled with aliens and spaceships. In the near future, seven alien races collectively known as the Votans traveled thousands of years to Earth, not knowing it was inhabited. While some colonists were allowed to settle, the bulk of the refugees remained in stasis on their ships while humans and Votans negotiated for their settlement. When the ships were mysteriously destroyed, the Pale Wars broke out and alien terraforming technology was chaotically unleashed upon the planet, reshaping the landscape and introducing dangerously altered creatures from the Votans’ home worlds. It’s a well-developed backstory, complete with languages developed for the Castithan and Irathiant races by David J. Peterson, the same linguist who created the Dothraki language for Game of Thrones. Grant Bowles stars as Joshua Nolan, a former marine who makes his living scavenging Arkfalls, the scraps of alien transport ships that periodically drop like meteors into the earth, destroying whatever is in their path but providing technology to the highest bidders. But in the pilot, he finds himself thrust into the role of sheriff of Defiance, a common trope in sci-fi shows (think Eureka or Terra Nova) that essentially turns them into police procedurals with a twist, allowing for self-contained episodes where mysteries are solved—and slowing down the overarching epic storyline. The town itself is a futuristic St. Louis, now a small secluded valley with the ruins of the Arch. Unfortunately, during its three-season run, the storytelling and character development could never quite keep up with its sprawling ambitions. —Josh Jackson

77. Dexter’s Laboratory (1996-2003)

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Creator: Genndy Tartakovsky
Stars: Christine Cavanaugh, Candi Milo, Allison Moore, Katherine Cressida, Kath Soucie, Jeff Bennett, Eddie Deezen, Rob Paulsen
Network: Cartoon Network 

Dexter’s Laboratory is one of the crown jewels of Cartoon Network’s mid-’90s original series, created by visionary animator Genndy Tartakovsky, who would later go on to make the equally brilliant Samurai Jack. There was a freedom to this show, a sense that anything could and would happen in the boy genius/scientist’s realm, which is immediately implied by its classic, wordless opening sequence with its gothic, Danny Elfman-sounding music. Huge props also to Christine Cavanaugh, who provided the nasal, unexplainably accented voice of Dexter, which made him sound like a miniature, histrionic Peter Lorre. Her performance is a huge part of the show’s continued charm. —Jim Vorel

76. People of Earth (2016-2017)

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Creator: David Jenkins
Stars: Wyatt Cenac, Ana Gasteyer, Oscar Nuñez, Michael Cassidy, Alice Wetterlund, Luka Jones
Network: TBS

This high-concept comedy centers on a reporter (played by Daily Show alum Wyatt Cenac) who investigates a support group for people who believe they’ve been abducted by aliens. It’s an ensemble TV show in the vein of Community, featuring a colorful cast of characters tied together by a premise that never gets stale. But where the easy set up would see the series poke fun at these folks, it instead takes a turn for the heartfelt (with a good bit of poking fun, too, but still). And, unlike a lot of comedies on TV that think they’re smart, People of Earth actually is smart. Cenac has capably made the transition into leading man, and creator David Jenkins is almost certainly going to move on to something else great. —Trent Moore

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