One of the most popular genres of television shows for many years has been science fiction. This goes back to when television was just getting started with anthology shows giving scifi fans all they wanted and then the space opera science fiction coming along to become the king of the genre for decades now.
While space opera remains the mostwatched science fiction subgenre on television and dominates bestof lists from sites like Ranker there are a few other versions of scifi that remains popular. From the continued success of anthology shows to horrorscifi mashups scifi television is as popular now as it was 50 years ago.
The Expanse 20152022 — Stream On Amazon Prime Video
The newest scifi show that Ranker fans love debuted in 2015. This was The Expanse and is based on the novels by James S.A. Corey. In the tradition of classic space opera series The Expanse has humanity colonizing the rest of the solar system but still with the same prejudice and hate that exists on Earth.
This is a political thriller about a cold war between Earth and Mars which soon draws in other planets. Between the worldbuilding and the political plotlines the show does what every successful scifi series tries to accomplish and that is showing realworld problems playing out in fantastical settings.
Star Trek Deep Space Nine 19931999 — Stream On Paramount+ And Netflix
Star Trek Deep Space Nine isnt talked about as much as other shows in the franchise but it remains beloved by core fans. The spinoff series ran for seven seasons lasting from 1993 to 1999 and starred Avery Brooks as the captain of the Deep Space Nine space station.
This made it different from other Star Trek shows since it was not about exploring distant worlds but instead was just placed in one location on the space station. It was also notable because it presented the first Black captain in the franchise.
The Twilight Zone 19591964 — Stream On Paramount+
When it comes to scifi television shows that Ranker voters love the oldest show ranking in the top 10 on the site is The Twilight Zone which aired from 1959 to 1964 concluding two years before Star Trek debuted on television. This was the creme of the crop of scifi anthology shows that aired over the next few decades.
The show featured a mix of science fiction ideas mixed with some very scary Twilight Zone episodes giving something to everyone. Rod Sterling introducing the episodes remains iconic to this day and some of the biggest names in TV and movies dropped by to appear in episodes of the series.
Star Trek The Original Series 19651969 — Stream On Paramount+
It is hard to find fans of scifi television who dont at least have a fond spot for the original Star Trek. With William Shatner as Captain Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Spock this is a show that even people who dont care about science fiction know a lot about.
While the later series would take the idea and deliver bigger and better storylines there is still something about the original series that strikes a note in the hearts of scifi lovers everywhere. It isnt as deep as later efforts but remains a beloved entry in scifi television.
The XFiles 19932002 20162018 — Stream On Hulu
In 1993 Chris Carter brought a new science fiction televisions series to Fox and it was a massive success. This was shocking for many since it aired on Friday nights a death slot for most TV shows. However The XFiles made Friday night mustwatch television. When it moved to Sunday nights it did the same.
The XFiles was two different shows at heart. It was a pure scifi show with the FBI agents investigating things like alien life on Earth which was the main running storyline from start to finish. However it was also a horror show with a Monster of the Week format the precursor to shows like Supernatural.
Doctor Who 2005Present — Stream On HBO Max
Doctor Who is one of the longestlasting science fiction shows on television. The British series started in 1963 as a childrens educational show and went on for 26 seasons before leaving the air in 1989. However in 2005 BBC relaunched it as a massive success with Christopher Eccleston in the lead.
In the modern era there have been several Doctors with the show set up to explain the changing actors. Regardless of the actor from David Tennant and Matt Smith to Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whitaker it has remained hugely popular with over 13000 people voting it their favorite on Ranker.
Stargate SG1 19972007 — Stream On Netflix
Stargate was a scifi movie that was a big hit when it came out in 1994 but no one could have expected a TV show that continued the story to end up as one of the best scifi shows on television. That is what happened with Stargate SG1 which ran for 10 years.
After discovering the tech that allows people to travel through a Stargate the United States government forms a team that can use these portals to defend the planet from extraterrestrial threats. There were also sequels to this original series although they dont rank as high for viewers on Ranker as the original.
Battlestar Galactica 20042009 — Stream On Peacock
In 1978 Glen A. Larson created a scifi TV show called Battlestar Galactica. It had a strong cast and some good design but it didnt last long thanks to unfair comparisons to Star Wars and Star Trek which were both hugely popular at the time. However when Ronald D. Moore reimagined it in 2003 as a political scifi thriller it was a huge success.
The rebooted Battlestar Galactica ended up as a beloved critically acclaimed series that ran for four seasons. With a fantastic cast including Edward James Olmos Mary McDonnell Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer the series ended up as one of the best space operas ever put on television.
Star Trek The Next Generation 19871994 — Stream On Paramount+
While people still hold the original Star Trek series in high regard the truth is that the sequel Star Trek The Next Generation was better in every way. The cast and crew of the USS Enterprise were so popular and beloved that they soon replaced the original cast members in the movies although that marked a downturn for the franchise on the big screen.
However as a scifi television show there isnt a version of Star Trek more beloved than this one. The stories were deeper with more meaning the action was bigger thanks to a higher budget and Ranker fans felt that only one scifi show in history was better.
Firefly 2002 — Stream On Hulu
Firefly is always the answer to the longrunning debate of what television show was canceled before its time. The reason that the Joss Whedon series didnt make it was because Fox chose to air the episodes out of order which confused viewers and turned them off from the show.However when the scifi series was put together as a package after it was canceled and shown in the right order it became a massive cult classic and something that viewers fell in love with. The space opera mixed with the western genre tropes was something people couldnt get enough of and fans even got a movie to tie up loose ends. According to fans on Ranker Firefly is the best scifi TV show in history.