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The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows

Updated December 3, 2020 12.2k votes 2.6k voters 81.8k views58 items

List RulesVote up the television series that do the best job of incorporating dystopian elements and themes, however non-traditionally.

As common as the concept is, good dystopian TV shows can be hard to find. Across all types of sci-fi, the one type that seems to permeate the genre the most is dystopian fiction. The concept of a future that isn't as perfect or utopian as we might like is nothing new thanks to dystopian films like Metropolis, but finding good examples of dystopian TV shows is a relatively new concept. The idea itself revolves around an idealized future society that appears perfect on the outside, but once a layer or two are peeled back, things get bad—for most people, at least—really quickly. 

Think of TV shows like Altered Carbon where technology has brought humans to other planets and made death meaningless. It's not as perfect as you might imagine once you see just how screwed up everything truly is. Other, more surprising, dystopian series like the animated TV show Futurama show a future we could all enjoy... only, it's not perfect and many of the same problems we face in modern life are mirrored more than 1,000 years in the future.

This list compiles the best of all the dystopian TV, whether they are animated or live-action. For more recommendations on the best dystopian TV shows, browse this list and feel free to add any similar series you think are missing! And if you like these shows, be sure to check out our list of dystopian future movies.

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    The Handmaid's Tale

    Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes

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  • 2
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    The 100

    Christopher Larkin, Devon Bostick

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  • 3
    704
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    Black Mirror

    Daniel Kaluuya, Toby Kebbell

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  • 4
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    The Society

    Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon

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  • 5
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    3%

    Bianca Comparato, João Miguel

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    Colony

    Josh Holloway, Amanda Righetti

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    Westworld

    Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton

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  • 8
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    Altered Carbon

    Joel Kinnaman, Renée Elise Goldsberry

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  • 9
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    The Man in the High Castle

    Rupert Evans, Chelah Horsdal

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  • 10
    148
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    Snowpiercer

    Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly

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  • 11
    146
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    Revolution

    JD Pardo, Anna Lise Phillips

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  • 12
    236
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    Firefly

    Jewel Staite, Adam Baldwin

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  • 13
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    The Rain

    Iben Hjejle, Alba August

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  • 14
    167
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    Lost in Space

    Toby Stephens, Molly Parker

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  • 15
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    Fringe

    Kirk Acevedo, Lance Reddick

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  • 16
    205
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    Battlestar Galactica

    James Callis, Kandyse McClure

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  • 17
    180
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    Terra Nova

    Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn

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  • 18
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    Brave New World

    Stuart Walker, Mark Arends

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  • 19
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    Continuum

    Erik Knudsen, Rachel Nichols

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    Dollhouse

    Eliza Dushku, Harry Lennix

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    Dark Matter

    Zoie Palmer, Anthony Lemke

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    12 Monkeys

    Aaron Stanford, Kirk Acevedo
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    Humans

    Neil Maskell, Rebecca Front

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    Futurama

    Billy West, John DiMaggio

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    Watchmen

    Regina King, Don Johnson

    More 

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