As audience we have gotten the chance to see some of the most well-realized space TV shows due to the ever rising budgets available for the small screen. As the years go by viewers’ appetite for galaxy-spanning adventures has only continued to grow rapidly, and that’s why we’ve curated a list of 12 shows like The Expanse just for you.
The Expanse is based on novels series of the same name by James S. A. Corey. Set in a future where humanity has colonized the Solar System, the series follows a disparate band of protagonists as they unwittingly unravel and place themselves at the center of a conspiracy that threatens the system’s fragile state of cold war, while dealing with existential crises brought forth by newly discovered alien technology. The Expanse has received positive critical response, with particular praise for its visuals, character development and political narrative. Look no further for a list of 12 must watch TV Shows if you are a fan of this space-spanning adventure.
List of TV Shows like The Expanse
1. The Killjoys (2015)
Killjoys follows a trio of hard-living bounty hunters – Dutch, John, and D’avin. Similar to shows like The Expanse, they all work for governmental agencies in the near future. In this case, for the Reclamation Apprehension Coalition (RAC), they work in a moon system known as the Quad. They are tasked with apprehending criminals or defaulters.
They swear to remain neutral in conflicts and owe no allegiance to any system, government, or other organizations. The series is praised for its fun characters and adventurous story full of flights, spaceships and trips to alien planets. Killjoys is an exciting thrill ride for viewers, and you will be no exception should you decide to give this a try.
Also Read: Movies like Contact
2. Dark Matter (2015)
Dark Matter follows a group of people in stasis pods awakened with amnesia aboard the starship Raza. They have no memories of who they are or their lives before awakening, so they assume the names One through Six in the order in which they left stasis and set about trying to uncover their identities and what happened to them.
The series takes place in space similar to shows like The Expanse and explores themes such as resilience, togetherness and the idea of time and space. It has been praised for its dazzling storyline, likable characters and unpredictable twists.
3. Lost In Space (2018)
Lost In Space is set in 2046, two years after an impact event that threatens the survival of humanity, the Robinson family is selected for the 24th mission of the Resolute (24th Colonist Group), an interstellar spacecraft carrying selected families and civilians to colonize the Alpha Centauri planetary system.
Similar to shows like The Expanse, humans are forced to try to colonize other systems, but things however go a little wrong in this show before that is achieved. As those sent to this new system are sabotaged before they reach their destination, when an alien robot breaches the Resolute’s hull. I recommend this show for all those who can’t seem to get enough of the survival space drama genre.
4. Altered Carbon (2018)
Altered Carbon is an American cyberpunk television series created by Laeta Kalogridis and based on the 2002 novel of the same title by English author Richard K. Morgan. It is set in a dystopian world where consciousness can be transferred to different bodies. It follows the story of Takeshi Kovacs, a former soldier turned investigator, who is released from prison in order to solve a murder. If you have already seen this show, read: Shows like Altered Carbon.
This futuristic series similar to shows like The Expanse is a cyberpunk fan’s dream. The show has been praised for its vivid visuals and the complexity of the plot, as well as the acting, such as Chris Conner’s performance as the AI hotel manager Poe. This critical success is highly recommended for you to take a look at.
5. For All Mankind (2019)
For All Mankind gives us a glimpse at an alternate history, which depicts “what would have happened if the global space race had never ended”. It takes place just after the Soviet Union succeeds in the bid to land a man on the moon, winning the battle against the United States for this historic achievement. The title is inspired by the lunar plaque left on the moon by the crew of Apollo 11, which reads in part “We Came In Peace For All Mankind”.
The show is a great recommendation for lovers of all things space similar to series like The Expanse, and is praised for its impressive realistic depiction of an alternate history, a kind of story which is rarely told in modern media considering its political connotations.
6. Halo (2022)
Halo is a military sci-fi series similar to that of shows like The Expanse. The show is based on the classic video game of the same name, and is set in an alternate universe, where an epic 26th-century conflict is brewing between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. Halo manages to weave deeply drawn personal stories with high stakes action and adventure.
Critics have praised the show for remaining faithful to the source material, despite it separating itself as a whole new story which doesn’t even take place in the same timeline, and has been touted to have the potential to become an even more epic story. Why don’t you join the fans of this show now? This surely a great series like The Expanse.
Also Read: Movies about Parallel Universes
7. Mars (2016)
Mars is a hard sci-fi series created by National Geographic. In the year 2033, a crew of six astronauts launched from Florida on a journey to be the first people to set foot on Mars. During the descent into the Martian atmosphere, there is a malfunction with their spacecraft, the Daedalus.
The series directed by Ron Howard is a space adventure reminiscent of series like The Expanse, and has been praised for its attractive depiction of the solitude and barrenness of Mars, expertly moving between its documentary and fictional elements.
8. Foundation (2021)
Foundation is an Apple TV+ exclusive sci-fi mystery series centered on the thousand-year saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it. It features huge space battles and political tussles that can also be found in TV shows like The Expanse.
Foundation has been praised for its evidently big-budget production value and high octane action. It has also been praised for its impressive performances from its cast and a great use of its source material are a sight to behold, but it struggles to wrangle the behemoth that is its source material to create a fully satisfying show, that is grandiose in scale yet practical. A show worthy of being placed on the big screen.
9. Battlestar Galactica (2004)
Battlestar Galactica is set in a distant star system, as in shows like The Expanse. In this show we have a civilization of humans who live on a clutter of planets called the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. In the past, the Colonies had been at war with an android race of their own creation, known as the Cylons. With the unwitting help of a human scientist named Gaius Baltar, the Cylons launch a sudden sneak attack on the Colonies, laying waste to the planets and devastating their populations.
Galactica has been hailed as the quintessential American space opera, with its complex characters, all fighting various internal and external conflicts and desires. The show is praised for its accomplished ensemble of great actors who act out their roles to a tee.
Also Read: Shows like Sense8
10. Tales From The Loop (2020)
Tales From The Loop is an American science fiction drama similar to shows like The Expanse developed and written by Nathaniel Halpern based on the art book of the same name by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag.
Tales from the Loop follows the interconnected lives of a group of individual residents in the fictional town of Mercer, Ohio. Mercer is home to the Mercer Center for Experimental Physics, an underground facility known as the Loop. It is here that researchers attempt to “make the impossible possible”.
11. Travelers (2016)
Travelers is set in a post-apocalyptic future, thousands of special operatives are tasked with preventing the collapse of society. These operatives, known as ‘travelers’, have their consciousness sent back in time and transferred into the ‘host’ body of present-day individuals who are about to die, minimizing unexpected impact on the future.
Travelers, similar to series like The Expanse, explores the moral dilemmas offered by the series premise and the awkwardness it causes in the characters’ interactions with their hosts’ friends, family and colleagues. According to Van Narcisse, “This is a superhero show in double disguise, offering up clever explorations of the secret identity concept that touch on the guilt and contortions that come with living a double life.”
12. The Orville (2017)
The Orville, created by Seth Macfarlane brings a comedic twist to the sci-fi genre. The Orville is set on the titular spacecraft: USS Orville (ECV-197), a mid-level exploratory vessel in the Planetary Union, a 25th-century interstellar alliance of Earth and many other planets. The show consists of adventures encountered by the ship’s crew, usually involving planet exploration and visits to various parts of the galaxy.
The show consists of adventures encountered by the ship’s crew, usually involving planet exploration and visits to various parts of the galaxy, similar to shows like The Expanse. The series is viewed as a satirical look at the run of the mill sci-fi drama and is a must watch for fans of the Family Guy and American Dad creator, Seth Macfarlane.
Also Read: Shows like The OA
Here are a few amazing shows like The Expanse that didn’t make the list but you can check them out nonetheless:
- The 100