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The Best Alternate Universe Episodes On TV

Updated February 24, 2020 2.4k votes 647 voters 15.4k views15 items

Ever since Spock sported some facial hair in an episode of Star Trek, television shows have delved into the concept of alternate realities and different universes. The concept that your favorite characters might exist in some different timeline or alternate form has always been an exciting prospect for fans, which is probably why shows that exist in numerous genres from comedy to drama, sci-fi, and fantasy all include them.

There have been tons of examples of this type of episode over the years, but not all can stand above the rest. Some series' alternate reality episodes fall flat while others stand as the best in the entire show's run. Episodes like "The Farnsworth Parabox" from Futurama or Community's "Remedial Chaos Theory" often stand as the fans' favorites of those shows, but determining which is the best one of them all is up to you! Check out the list below and don't forget to vote up your favorite to see which one rises to the top as the greatest television episode of an alternate reality ever made!

  • After Professor Farnsworth creates a box, Leela flips a coin and decides to take a peek. She discovers an entirely different universe full of everyone, but they look a bit different. As Fry later puts it, the universe has a "B" feeling, but it turns out, the only major difference is that coin flips have the opposite effect. The team then pulls through everyone from both universes (except for Hermes) as they determine who is evil... since mirror universes always have evil versions of people. In addition to the two universes, a mishap results in the creation of numerous boxes that offer a glimpse into Futurama's many multiverses.

    • Original Airing: Jun 08 2003
    • Season: Futurama - Season 5
    • Episode Number: 10
    • Series: Futurama
    Is this a good alternate timeline?
  • In the episode that gave birth to the phrase, "This is the darkest timeline," the crew of Community finds themselves living in six alternate realities thanks to a single die roll to see who had to go down and get the pizzas. As each cast of the die lands on a new number, an entirely different scenario plays out that leads to more wacky and ridiculous possibilities until it culminates in what will become the darkest timeline.

    • Original Airing: Oct 13 2011
    • Season: Community - Season 3
    • Episode Number: 4
    • Series: Community
    Is this a good alternate timeline?
  • While visiting an alien bazaar with the Doctor, Donna winds up in a fortune teller's establishment. As she is having her fortune read, a roachlike inter-dimensional parasite attaches to her back, which sends her to an alternate reality in which the Doctor has died, and the people of Earth are left to survive in a world ravaged by aliens and accidents he would have otherwise prevented. It takes a Companion from an alternate reality to break through and set things right.

    • Original Airing: Jun 21 2008
    • Season: Doctor Who, Animated - Season 4
    • Episode Number: 12
    • Series: Doctor Who, Animated
    Is this a good alternate timeline?
  • The world of Sunnydale is thrown on its head when Cordelia tells Anya that she wished Buffy had never come to the small town. She then wakes up to find herself in exactly that alternate reality where Buffy isn't a part of Sunnydale and Vampires have completely taken over the town.

    • Original Airing: Dec 08 1998
    • Season: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 3
    • Episode Number: 9
    • Series: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    Is this a good alternate timeline?