You won’t be able to look away: the World’s Best Space TV Shows Guide6th Aug 2023
The theme of space became relevant at about the same time as television, and it has been hooking people just as much as TV screens ever since. Hundreds of shows about space have been filmed so far. Some have become iconic, while fantastic series never caught on.
If you follow our publications closely, you know this is not the first time we’ve addressed the topic of space related moving pictures. You may have previously reviewed our TOP 10 Netflix space series and TOP 10 Documentaries On Space, Best British kids’ TV shows and British Shows Set in Space. We hope you were drawn to them!
This article is a guide to the best space TV shows of all time that were not included in our previous compilations but are equally spectacular and fascinating. So let’s start our journey!
Best old space TV shows
Here, of course, one immediately wants to recall the legendary Doctor Who, Star Trek, Space: 1999, and Red Dwarf, but we will talk about two no less cool old-school space TV shows that you won’t be able to break away from.
- The USA, 1994-1998.
- Genres: space opera, sci-fi.
- 5 seasons, 22 episodes each.
- IMDb: 8.3.
The space series tells the story of the Babylon-5 space station, located at a remote point in the universe. The action occurs in the distant future, when various alien races try to establish peace and maintain stability after years of conflict. Babylon-5 becomes a place where politics, intrigues, and battles accompany the pursuit of peace and unity.
The script for the series was written by J. Michael Straczynski, also known for such works as The Amazing Spider-Man, He-Man, and The Changeling. The author created the entire story before filming began, so the space series has a complex storyline that develops throughout all five seasons. There is everything here to please the viewer and lure them into its world: epic battles, intrigues, secrets, politics, religion, race relations, moral dilemmas and experiencing the consequences of war.
Babylon-5 received numerous awards and was praised for its writing, characters, and ambitious approach to creating its own unique universe. It is recognized as one of the most influential and significant space opera TV shows ever made.
- The USA – Australia. 1999–2003.
- Genre: science fiction.
- 4 seasons. 88 episodes in total.
- IMDb: 8,3.
This incredible space series follows the adventures of astronaut John Crichton as he tests a new spacecraft for interstellar travel. In the course of an experiment with gravity, a wormhole is formed. Crichton falls into it and rushes through space and time. He finds himself at the other end of the Universe, in the thick of an interstellar battle between escaped prisoners of different alien races and aggressive Sebaceans, similar to people and calling themselves “Peacemakers”. Crichton will have to rally a gang of thugs around him and turn them into a real team and crew of the sentient, female leviathan starship Moya.
Throughout the space series, Crichton does not give up trying to return home to Earth while facing numerous troubles and threats. However, when such a chance finally appears, Crichton decides to stay with his devoted friends and beloved Aeryn.
The adventures of the heroes continued in the autumn of 2004 in the feature film Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, but unlike the series, the film was not as successful. Farscape received three Saturn Awards for Best Cable TV Series and several nominations for Best Performance. In 2012, Entertainment Weekly ranked the space TV show #22 of the “25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years”, calling it one of the most touching TV series about space ever.
The series is also notable because The Jim Henson Company, the creators of Muppets, and Rockne O’Bannon, the creator of Alien Nation, worked on creating its characters. How that turned out, you can find out by watching Farscape.
Space cartoons have their own unique advantages over films in terms of visual possibilities and plot flexibility that can appeal to audiences of all ages. Don’t believe it? Check out Love, Death, Robots by Netflix, which has already become a hit. But we want to draw your attention to this legendary classic!
- The USA. 1999–2013.
- Genres: science fiction, comedy, parody.
- 7 seasons. 140 episodes total.
- IMDb: 8,3.
Created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen (creators of The Simpsons), this popular animated space series tells the story of Fry, a young pizza delivery guy frozen in a cryogenic chamber and accidentally awakening in 31st-century New York City. He tries to avoid being forced to work as a delivery boy, but this ends with his employment (after all, in delivery) in a small company called Interplanetary Express, which is engaged in the intergalactic transportation of goods. The space series tells about the adventures of Fry and his colleagues, the alcoholic robot Bender and the one-eyed cyborg Turanga Leela while delivering goods and in everyday life.
The series is filled with witty humour, subtle satire, incredible adventures and parodies of famous sci-fi films and space TV shows. At the same time, it brings to light serious topics such as friendship, love, family and the meaning of life. Due to its originality and thoughtfulness, Futurama is included in the top space cartoon TV shows and is popular among viewers of all ages. Start watching it right now, and you won’t regret it.
- The USA. Since 2013.
- Genres: science fiction, comedy, parody.
- 6 seasons, 61 episodes in total.
- IMDb: 9,2.
Although this animated space series, created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, is not exclusively about space, its characters, an eccentric scientist Rick Sanchez and his naive grandson Morty often find themselves on intergalactic adventures. To travel, Rick uses a portal gun that allows him to move not only in space but also between parallel worlds, as well as a flying saucer made from trash in the backyard. In addition, Rick regularly invents various gadgets that help him during his travels.
Initially created as a swashbuckling parody of Back to the Future, Rick and Morty space TV show has grown into a cult series for viewers who appreciate dark humour, science fiction, philosophical questions, and intriguing plots. The series is unique in its unconventional episode structure, the storyline often takes illogical and unexpected turns, and the characters find themselves in extreme and unpredictable situations. Start watching Rick and Morty; it keeps you hooked until the last episode.
- The USA, South Korea. 1993-1994.
- Genres: science fiction, combat fiction
- 2 seasons. 52 episodes total.
- IMDb: 7.5.
In the world of Exosquad, humanity has expanded its presence in space and successfully colonized many sites in the solar system. However, they were suddenly attacked by the alien race Neosapiens, who possess the technology of exoskeletons. The space series’ main characters — a squad of military pilots, also using exoframes — engage in battle with the Neosapiens to protect human colonies.
Despite the really cartoonish style, Exosquad is aimed at an adult audience and raises themes of war, racial and social conflicts, betrayal, friendship and moral dilemmas. In particular, for this reason, the series has become one of the most unfairly underrated space cartoon TV shows. At the time of its release, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, and Garfield and Friends were at the peak of popularity, and the audience was expecting something in the same vein. As a result, Exosquad was cancelled after the second season.
However, the animated story about military pilots in exoskeletons still managed to win over a loyal fan base who loved it for its complex plots, deep characters, and high-quality animation. That is why we recommend Exosquad for watching!
There are several really good space series that revolve around the theme of colonizing another planet. These are Terra Nova (2011), Mars (2016-present), and Colony (2016-2018). But we consider The Expanse to be at the top of TV shows about space colonization.
The space series is based on the book series of the same name by James S. A. Corey. The action takes place in the distant future, when humanity has colonized the Solar System but is mired in political and interplanetary conflicts between Earth, Mars and the asteroid belt. The series explores various themes of power, racial and class differences, corruption and survival in a hostile space environment.
The series’ protagonists include politicians, detectives, space pilots, and more, each playing a different role in a complex web of intrigue and confrontation.
The Expanse received a high response from critics and audiences, as well as many awards and nominations, including Hugo and Saturn awards for high-quality acting, visuals and atmosphere. The story of The Expanse will continue in season 7, and we recommend that you start from the first so as not to miss a single detail.
For all mankind
- USA. 2019-present.
- Genres: science fiction, drama, alternative story
- 4 seasons. 40 episodes total.
- IMDb: 8.1.
One of the most fascinating space TV shows, telling an alternative history of space exploration, in which the space race did not end with the Moon landing.
The film begins with the legendary landing on the Moon and immediately shocks the viewers since they see how, for the first time in history, not the American astronaut Neil Armstrong, but the Soviet one, Alexei Leonov, sets foot on the surface of our natural satellite. This outcome undermines NASA’s morale but also fuels the American desire to catch up.
A feverish race to get ahead begins, in which the United States has to lag behind for a long time. Each new season takes place ten years later, with Season 2 in the 1980s, Season 3 in the 1990s, and Season 4 in the 2000s. During this time, the heroes of the series manage to colonise the Moon, establish helium-3 production there, build a space station hotel, and even organise a race to Mars.
The idea for the series came to Ronald D. Moore (an American screenwriter and producer known for his work on the Star Trek franchise) during lunch with former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman when they were fantasising about what might happen if the USSR landed on the Moon before the United States. The main role in the series throughout all seasons is played by Joel Kinnaman (House of Cards, RoboCop, Suicide Squad).
The series received high praise from viewers and critics, as well as several awards and nominations. If you are interested in an alternative view of the history of space exploration and everything connected with it, be sure to watch For All Mankind, you will not be able to tear yourself away until the very last episode.
These two, without exaggeration, iconic TV shows about space, released at the turn of the last two decades, should appeal not only to fans of Star Wars and Alien universes but also to most fans of sci-fi and space travel. While reviews are mixed, you shouldn’t miss out on these best space series of the 2020s.
- The USA. 2019-present.
- Genres: science fiction, space opera, fantasy, drama.
- 3 seasons, 24 episodes.
- IMDb: 8,5.
The series tells the story of a mysterious bounty hunter, the Mandalorian, who travels to a distant galaxy in the Star Wars universe. The main character performs dangerous tasks, facing various monsters and villains. On one of these expeditions, he unexpectedly meets baby Yoda, whom he takes to look after and protect.
Interestingly, throughout the series, the main character almost never takes off his helmet. But on the rare occasions when he does, viewers can see the Mandalorian being played by Pedro Pascal, who recently starred in one of the best horror TV shows, The Last of Us.
The Mandalorian has been highly acclaimed by viewers, critics, and various film academies for its compelling story, quality production, visuals, and commitment to the Star Wars universe. Everything goes to the point that the 4th season of this fascinating space TV show will be released, and we are looking forward to it!
Raised by Wolves space series is set in a post-apocalyptic future where two androids, Mother and Father, travel to a distant planet to raise and protect a group of human children. They seek to create a new society on this planet, but face religious and political conflicts, as well as the mysterious forces present on the planet.
Raised by Wolves explores the issues of faith, ideology, artificial intelligence, human survival and evolution. It asks questions about the nature of religion, ethical dilemmas, and the role and impact of artificial intelligence on humanity.
Ridley Scott produced the space series, so many fans of the famous director may note that the atmosphere of Wolves reminds of those of the Prometheus (Alien prequel). Scott planned to shoot 5 seasons of the series, but after the second one, it was closed. Nevertheless, this is a very original, atmospheric story worth watching for all fans of sci-fi, fantasy, thriller and drama.
2023 has already pleased fans of the space sci-fi series with the releases of The Ark, Silo and the sixth season of Black Mirror with a very strong and dramatic episode “Beyond The Sea”, but this is not all the treats.
Among the most interesting novels, we are expecting Fallout, Roadside Picnic, The Three-Body Problem, and Alien, as well as the continuation of already beloved space TV shows – Futurama, Battlestar Galactica and others. So it is time to stock up on popcorn and join the adventures of your favourite characters.