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10 Shows Like Doctor Who For Fans Of Sci-Fi And Time Travel Stories

shows like doctor who

It’s been decades since Doctor Who debuted as one of the most popular sci-fi TV programs. Since its 1963 debut, it has introduced numerous Doctors, friends, and iconic villains. As a fan of adventurous stories, If you are looking for more shows like Doctor Who, we have created an awesome list of shows that we think you’ll enjoy, do have a look! The idea of a time-travelling alien who can go anywhere and anywhen in history and the future is something that has never been seen before on television. This has allowed the show to explore a wide range of different stories and settings, which has kept it fresh and exciting for viewers over the years. The immortal time lords, of its kind shape-shifting space-ship and time-travelling adventures. The show is considered a classic and has been popular among audiences for generations.

List of TV Shows Like Doctor Who

1. Torchwood (2006)

Torchwood takes place in the same world as Doctor Who but raises the question of what happens when the Doctor can’t come to save the day? However, where Sarah Jane adventures do this in a kid-friendly way comes out guns blazing (sometimes literally.)

It’s more mature, dealing with heavier themes that can sometimes be hard to watch, yet also kookier, with many campy and weird aliens. This spin-off follows a secret organization that deals with alien threats to Earth. As a die-hard fan of shows like Doctor Who, this one should be the next show you watch.

2. Sherlock (2010)

This show perfectly resembles Sherlock Holmes and John Watson’s adventures written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but set in a modern era. It was a bold move by setting Sherlock in modern times, but it worked perfectly well! The show is a blast. Compelling Sherlock and John with such genuine acting by the perfect cast! Already seen this brilliant series? Check out more shows like Sherlock.

Sherlock has the unique ability to deduction and high intelligence that enables him to notice things other people can’t, but he is also a sociopath. Sherlock and Dr. Watson’s fast-paced murder mystery adventures in present-day London are incredibly addictive. Sherlock is a must-watch for every fan of a series like Doctor Who.

3. Quantum Leap (1989)

Quantum Leap features Dr Sam Beckett, a Scientist (Scott Bakula) in the distant future, who invents the Quantum Leap Accelerator. A device that lets Sam travel through time by randomly leaping into the body of anyone who’s ever lived. However, when the experiment goes wrong, Sam constantly hops from person to person, putting right things that went wrong in their lives and hoping to finally leap back home.

This iconic 1989 series doesn’t shy away from controversial subjects, including race hate, Klu Klux Klan, suicide, and more. But it also has its fair share of light stories as well. The only downside is the hugely disappointing downbeat ending which this excellent series didn’t deserve. Regardless it’s a great show similar to Doctor Who.  So go on, give Quantum Leap a try.

4. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

A group of humans aboard a battleship, Battlestar Galactica, are forced to abandon their planet after being attacked by Cylons. They try to evade the Cylons while searching for their true home, Earth. The show is not directly connected to Star Trek but has a heavy influence if you are a fan of the series and want to see TV series like Doctor Who.

As a fan of sci-fi, this ticks the box in many categories. There is a deceptively simple story backdrop that evolves into a drama that will have you flipping between extremes of emotions for so many characters across the span of its rather dark themes. Good character development depth and many concepts well-explored as both main and sub-stories.

5. Black Mirror (2011)

Charlie Brooker’s dark anthology series tackles our concerns and anxieties regarding humanity’s connection with ever-improving technology. Inspired by series like the classic sci-fi staple The Twilight Zone. Most of these episodes occur in the not-too-distant future when technology has significantly altered how we live. 

Black Mirror trailer from season 3

The stories of Black Mirror are rife with societal commentary, much like Doctor Who. It’s also important to note that Jodie Whittaker herself features in the anthology’s 1st seasons. A dystopically dark show, Black Mirror is an eye-opening series similar to Doctor Who

6. Stargate SG-1 (1997)

The refreshing sci-fi series Stargate SG-1 is not about people in the future, where the world has been technologically advanced, or time jumps across the timeline – it’s set right here in the present. Based on the movie Stargate, the story centres around a team of aliens, civilians, and military specialists using a ‘Gate’ to gather technology, information, and allies to help protect the galaxy from threats.

Stargate SG-1 is entertaining, philosophical, heartwarming, and inspiring. The complex characters have been loved and admired for years. Stargate SG-1, similar to shows like Doctor Who, encourages you to examine fate and failings. The potential, of humankind as we make our way in the world and contemplate the existence of many species in the universe. Give Stargate SG-1 a try!

7. Orphan Black (2013)

Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany), is a woman who discovers she is a clone and becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving other identical individuals. Praised for its strong writing and performances, the Canadian sci-fi Orphan Black is a heck of a show! The series explores themes of identity, science, and technology, while also delving into the personal lives of its characters.

The clones are everywhere, all embodied by the remarkable Tatiana Maslany, who consistently creates a whole character for each clone she inhabits and never slips. Your jaw will be on the ground. With high tension mixed with high drama and some perfect comedy moments, this is the perfect series that is similar to Doctor Who.

8. The Good Omens (2019)

Were you a big fan of the 10th Doctor? Then you’re in luck, Doctor Who’s David Tennant made another great show called the Good Omens. The show is mainly based on a novel written by novelist Terry Pratchett and the celebrated Neil Gaiman- who also wrote a few Doctor Who episodes like “The Doctor’s Wife” and “Nightmare in Silver.”  This is one of my personal favourite shows similar to Doctor Who.

Good Omens follows the story of an angel and a demon who team up to prevent the apocalypse and the arrival of the Antichrist. Anyone looking to see more of the highly charming Tennant – here in excellent chemistry with co-star Michael Sheen, should definitely watch Good Omens for shows like Doctor Who.

9. Dirk Gently’s Detective Agency (2016)

Consider Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency to be Doctor Who mixed with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Sherlock for good measure. The author of the first batch of Dirk Gently novels, Douglas Adams, contributed to the writing of the Doctor Who series. The show adventures the eccentric and unorthodox “holistic” detective Dirk Gently and his reluctant assistant, Todd Brotzman. 

The show is known for its comedic tone, offbeat humour, and its non-linear storytelling style with themes of fate, destiny, and interconnectedness. With talented actors, including Elijah Wood, Samuel Barnett, and Fiona Dourif, the series was praised for its ability to capture the spirit of the novels and its ability to keep audiences engaged through its unpredictable plot twists and turns, similar to shows like Doctor Who.

10. Fringe (2008)

The cases handled by the Fringe Division, a Joint Federal Task Force supported primarily by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is the series Fringe. The team includes Agent Olivia Dunham, Dr. Walter Bishop, the stereotypical mad scientist, and Peter Bishop, Walter’s estranged son and multi-talented employee. If you’ve already seen this, you can check out our list of shows like Fringe.

This science fiction series explores the concept of parallel universes and the ramifications of crossing over between them. Similar to TV shows like Doctor Who ,  the story is full of fantasy, and adventures with a good amount of drama, action, and mystery. Fringe can transport the viewer to different worlds, and realities hence I highly recommend you watch it.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few sci-fi shows like Doctor Who that didn’t makeit to the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. The Librarians
  2. Rick and Morty
  3. The 100

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.


The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island.

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake

The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66.

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created.

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan

The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward
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