Advertisement

Outer Space: 26 Best and Worst TV Shows

Only a privileged few have ventured into outer space, although their journeys have been relatively close to home. We can’t exactly picture astronauts lounging on Neptune at this moment.

Advertisement

Only a privileged few have ventured into outer space, although their journeys have been relatively close to home. We can’t exactly picture astronauts lounging on Neptune at this moment. Space, with its vast and seemingly infinite expanse, has long served as a captivating backdrop for numerous cultural works, including television shows. Countless series have revolved around the theme of space, but not all of them have reached stellar heights of excellence. Some have achieved remarkable success, while others may raise a few eyebrows. Here, we present a selection of space-themed shows, excluding those involving extraterrestrial beings visiting our own planet, with all due respect to fans of “ALF”.

Advertisement

“Space Force”

©Netflix
Advertisement

“Space Force” is a recent addition to this list, premiering on Netflix not long ago. The show, co-created by the brilliant minds behind “The Office,” Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, follows Carell’s character as a general tasked with leading the newly formed Space Force branch of the U.S. military. While the majority of the story unfolds on Earth, there are also glimpses of the vastness of space, although the portrayal lacks the same awe-inspiring impact as the historic Apollo 11 landing.

Advertisement

“Star Trek”

We’re encompassing all the “Star Trek” TV shows within this category, as there are numerous ones that would overshadow the list. “Star Trek” is the ultimate source for television series centered around space exploration, the ultimate frontier. Whether you prefer Kirk, Picard, or Janeway, “Star Trek” has fearlessly ventured into uncharted territories for decades now.

“Mystery Science Theater 3000”

©SyFy

We’ve all experienced it. One moment you’re an ordinary person on Earth, and the next thing you know, eccentric scientists catapult you into space to endure the agony of watching terrible movies. Thankfully, you have a pair of witty robots by your side, lightening the burden and transforming “Mystery Science Theater 3000” into one of the most hilarious shows ever. It’s time for movie sign!

“Battlestar Galactica”

©SyFy

The original “Battlestar Galactica” series from 1978 is often seen as a somewhat opportunistic attempt to capitalize on the popularity of “Star Wars.” However, the show was rebooted in 2004, this time as a profound and thought-provoking drama set in the vastness of outer space. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest achievements in televised science fiction, boasting several spinoffs under its belt.

“Space Ghost Coast to Coast”

©Cartoon Network

“Space Ghost Coast to Coast” revolutionized late-night programming on Cartoon Network with its innovative concept. Taking a forgotten Hanna-Barbera superhero, they transformed him into an eccentric talk show host. From his extraterrestrial studio, Space Ghost hilariously interviewed a wide range of celebrities, always with a comically inept approach.

“The Mandalorian”

©Disney

Upon its debut, Disney+ generated significant anticipation, with “The Mandalorian” at the forefront. This captivating live-action series immerses viewers in the expansive “Star Wars” universe. Pedro Pascal brilliantly portrays a Mandalorian bounty hunter tasked with safeguarding “The Child,” affectionately known as Baby Yoda. Fortunately, “The Mandalorian” not only met but surpassed all expectations, truly living up to the immense hype surrounding it.

“Avenue 5”

©HBO

Armando Iannucci, known for his scathing political satires like “The Thick of It” and “Veep,” ventures into a new frontier with his latest creation, “Avenue 5.” This comedic series revolves around a luxury space cruise ship that encounters a rather unexpected problem. While it may not possess the same razor-sharp wit as Iannucci’s previous works, the show holds promise within its intriguing premise.

“Firefly”

©FOX

Before Joss Whedon embarked on his journey to shape the Marvel Cinematic Universe with “The Avengers,” he faced some setbacks in the realm of television. While “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” enjoyed success, his foray into the world of sci-fi didn’t fare as well. Despite a devoted following and a talented ensemble led by Nathan Fillion, “Firefly” unfortunately met an untimely demise after just one season.

“Red Dwarf”

©BBC

If you’re a fan of British comedy, you’ve probably stumbled upon “Red Dwarf.” It’s a cult classic in America, but in England it’s considered a classic sitcom. Like a lot of British comedies, the production quality isn’t great, but that hasn’t stopped fans of “Red Dwarf” from spending time with the crew of the titular ship. There’s a reason it’s been rebooted twice.

“Space: 1999”

©ITV

Well, at least “Space:1999” took a big swing. Sure, maybe it was a little bold, even in 1975, to posit that there would be a base on the moon in 1999. Obviously, this show didn’t turn out to be terribly predictive. We didn’t have hoverboards in 2015, and we don’t hold that against “Back to the Future II.”

“Lost in Space”

©CBS

The original “Lost in Space” from the ‘60s feels a bit campy now, what with all the bright Technicolor costumes and Zachary Harris’ scenery-chewing performance as Dr. Smith. However, it’s also an iconic sci-fi show of the era, right up there with “Star Trek.” The property is so well known, and the premise so enticing, that it got a Netflix reboot, this time with Parker Posey as the nefarious Dr. Smith.

“Doctor Who”

©BBC

Speaking of doctors, The Doctor has been around for decades. Sure, he’s regenerated a time or two, but he’s always the same alien with the police box that can travel through time and space. Sometimes the action takes place down on Earth, but The Doctor and his human companions are also out in space from time to time.

“The Orville”

©FOX

“The Orville” probably didn’t meet the expectations of Seth MacFarlane fans. After all, he’s best known for “Family Guy.” People anticipated a raunchy comedic spin on “Star Trek,” but instead, MacFarlane aimed to create and star in his own rendition of the beloved sci-fi series. While a few jokes are sprinkled throughout, “The Orville” diverges significantly from the kind of show that would feature Peter Griffin.

“Futurama”

©FOX

Philip J. Fry, a humble pizza delivery guy in 1999 New York, finds himself cryogenically frozen on New Year’s Eve, only to awaken in the year 3000. This exceptional animated comedy, created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, chronicles the adventures of Fry, alongside Bender the robot and Scruffy the janitor. Together, they embark on a multitude of escapades, including thrilling journeys through space, even if it means visiting a rather cheesy amusement park on the Moon.

“ALF: The Animated Series”

©NBC

You got fooled! We successfully snuck in ALF. Yes, “ALF” revolves around Gordon Shumway, an alien living on Earth. However, “ALF: The Animated Series” serves as a cartoon prequel, delving into his life on Melmac. While it may lack the amazing opening credits of “ALF,” it remains a show centered around space.

“Homeboys in Outer Space”

©IMDb

Indeed, this was an authentic production. As the title suggests, the show revolved around the concept of two individuals embarking on cosmic adventures in a vehicle humorously named the “Space Hoopty.” Surprisingly, it managed to endure an entire season on UPN. Presently, it is primarily recognized for its outlandish premise.

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”

©Warner Bros.

The Clone Wars are frequently mentioned in the “Star Wars” movies. This 2008 animated series, which was the second attempt at an animated Clone Wars show, is highly regarded by fans of the franchise. Not only did it receive critical acclaim, but it also had an eventful journey. “The Clone Wars” aired for five seasons on Cartoon Network, followed by one season on Netflix. Finally, it concluded its run with one season on Disney+.

“Andromeda”

©Warner Bros.

The Andromeda Galaxy, our closest galactic neighbor, holds significance beyond its celestial presence. It not only shares its name with a TV series that aired from 2000 to 2005, starring Kevin Sorbo, but also serves as a testament to the creative legacy of Gene Rodenberry. Rodenberry, renowned as the mastermind behind “Star Trek,” had been actively involved in developing the material on which the show was based during his lifetime.

“I Dream of Jeannie”

©NBC

Why is “I Dream of Jeannie” included in a list of shows about space? Isn’t it a show about a genie? Yes, it does revolve around a genie who serves an astronaut named Tony Nelson. The story begins with Tony landing on an uncharted island after a space mission, where he discovers the genie. Throughout the show, Tony continues to work as an astronaut, and there are additional space missions featured. Despite being a classic sitcom, we felt it was important to include “I Dream of Jeannie” in our list.

“Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”

©NBC

“Buck Rogers” is another television series that emerged in the aftermath of “Star Wars.” Interestingly, the character of Buck Rogers might have served as one of the inspirations for George Lucas’ iconic space opera. This swashbuckling space explorer was initially introduced in books back in 1928, representing the serialized sci-fi archetype that Lucas himself cherished during his formative years. It’s fascinating how everything comes full circle in the realm of storytelling.

“Final Space”

©TBS

“Final Space” has somewhat flown under the radar, receiving limited press coverage despite its two aired seasons and an upcoming third season. Notably, the show is produced by Conan O’Brien. It follows the thrilling space adventures of astronaut Gary Goodspeed and his alien companion, Mooncake. Remarkably, the show will now be airing its third season on its third network, which may have contributed to its relative obscurity.

“The Expanse”

©Amazon Prime

Given the vastness of space, it’s only fitting that a series like “The Expanse” exists. This intellectually stimulating sci-fi show initially faced cancellation by SyFy after three seasons. However, thanks to the passionate fan base, Amazon Prime stepped in and the series has thrived even further. Notably, the fourth season was well-received, paving the way for an eagerly anticipated fifth season.

“Stargate SG-1”

©SyFy

Before directing “Independence Day,” Roland Emmerich created a film called “Stargate.” This captivating movie revolved around a network of stargates that allowed interplanetary travel through space. The cinematic masterpiece served as the inspiration for the highly acclaimed TV series “Stargate SG-1.” The show delved into the adventures of an Air Force squad as they utilized stargates to explore the vast universe and engage in epic encounters with extraterrestrial beings. Remarkably, this captivating series captivated audiences for an impressive 10 seasons, finally concluding in 2007.

“Babylon 5”

©Warner Bros.

“Babylon 5” is the iconic space station where humans and aliens coexist. Unlike many shows of its time, this space opera was meticulously planned before its debut. Spanning five seasons and 110 episodes, “Babylon 5” had the rare opportunity to conclude the story on its own terms, maintaining its artistic integrity.

“The Jetsons”

©Hanna-Barbera

“The Jetsons” served as the futuristic counterpart to “The Flintstones,” with the former portraying a family from the Stone Age and the latter depicting life in the future. In Orbit City, situated high above the clouds, the Jetsons resided in a setting that felt more akin to outer space than a future Earth. Their elevated homes necessitated the use of small spacecraft for transportation. One could even speculate that they dwelled beyond our atmosphere, inhabiting Low Earth Orbit.

Advertisement