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The Best Alternate Universe Episodes On TV 

Ranker TV
607 votes 188 voters 3.6k views 15 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!

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The One That Could Have ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Alternate Universe Episodes On TV
Photo:  Friends / NBC

"The One That Could Have Been" was a two-part episode of Friends that theorized a "What if" scenario of how things might have gone had the gang gotten together just a little bit differently. Monica never lost the weight, Rachel married Barry instead of leaving him at the altar, Joey became a professional actor, Chandler never amounted to much personally or professionally, and Ross and Carol never got a divorce.

Original Airing: Feb 17 2000

Season: Friends Season 6

Episode Number: 15

Is this a good alternate timeline?
The Abominable Bride is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Alternate Universe Episodes On TV
Photo:  Sherlock / BBC One
6
The Abominable Bride

In an alternate timeline, Sherlock and Watson find themselves in Victorian London, which is the original setting of the characters from the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Throughout the episode, the plot takes the viewer to situations in both the present day and Victorian London bridging the gap between the two realities while remaining grounded in the series' continuity.

Original Airing: Jan 1 2016

Season: Sherlock - Season 0

Episode Number: Christmas Special

Is this a good alternate timeline?
The 200th in the 10th is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Alternate Universe Episodes On TV
Photo:  Bones / FOX
7
The 200th in the 10th

For Bones' 200th episode, Booth and Brennan are a police officer and a jewel thief during the 1950s in a Hollywood-style setting. The couple forges an alliance to try and catch a murderer while the rest of the series regulars show up throughout the episode in various support roles. The entire episode was a sort of pocket universe rethinking of the series in a different setting and had no impact on the normal continuity of the show.

Original Airing: Dec 11 2014

Season: Bones - Season 10

Episode Number: 10

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Remember Nothing is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Alternate Universe Episodes On TV
Photo:  Xena: Warrior Princess / NBC
8
Remember Nothing

Xena protects the Temple of the Fates, so as a reward, they grant her a wish. She then gets to see what her life would have become had she not followed the sword to become a warrior. Instead of stepping up to protect the ones she loves, she languishes in torment leading her to determine that she made the right choice to become a warrior princess so long ago, even if the fates may have decided for her.

Original Airing: Oct 07 1996

Season: Xena: Warrior Princess Season 2

Episode Number: 2

Is this a good alternate timeline?