Scifi And Fantasy The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows  

Ranker TV
3k votes 742 voters 20.3k views 44 items

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 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!

list ordered by
1
283 81
The 100 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco, Thomas McDonell
The 100 (The CW, 2014) is an American post-apocalyptic science fiction drama television series developed by Jason Rothenberg, loosely based on the book by Kass Morgan. 97 years after a nuclear ...more
2
156 32
The Society is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
sherry9531 added Gideon Adlon, Domenic Arduino, Sean Berdy
The Society (Netflix, 2019) is an American mystery drama television series created by Christopher Keyser and unofficially inspired by the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding. A group of ...more
3
214 75
The Handmaid's Tale is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski
The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu, 2017) is an American web television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. In a dystopian future where women are brutally ...more
4
173 68
Black Mirror is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Daniel Kaluuya, Toby Kebbell, Rory Kinnear
Black Mirror is a British television anthology series created by Charlie Brooker that features speculative fiction with dark and sometimes satirical themes that examine modern society, ...more
5
110 57
Westworld is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright
Westworld (HBO, 2016) is an American science fiction western thriller television series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and based on the 1973 film. In a technologically advanced Wild ...more
6
97 55
3% is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Bianca Comparato, João Miguel, Michel Gomes
3% (Netflix, 2016) is a Brazilian dystopian thriller series created by Pedro Aguilera. The show is set in a future wherein people are given a chance to go to the "better side" of a ...more
7
93 53
Altered Carbon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Joel Kinnaman, Renée Elise Goldsberry, James Purefoy
Altered Carbon is an American science fiction television series created by Laeta Kalogridis, based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan. In a future where human minds are digitized and downloaded ...more
8
59 34
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole
Fringe is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. It premiered on the Fox Broadcasting network on September 9, 2008, and concluded ...more
9
62 37
Colony is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies, Peter Jacobson
Colony (USA Network, 2016) is an American science-fiction drama television series created by Carlton Cuse and Ryan J. Condal. In the wake of a mysterious alien invasion, a family fights to stay ...more
10
76 49
The Man in the High Castle is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank
The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Video, 2015) is an American dystopian alternative history television series created by Frank Spotnitz, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick. In an alternative ...more
11
65 41
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk
Firefly is an American space western science fiction drama television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon, under his Mutant Enemy Productions label. Whedon served as an executive ...more
12
58 36
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber
Battlestar Galactica is an American military science fiction television series, and part of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The show was developed by Ronald D. Moore and executive produced ...more
13
40 21
Terra Nova is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn, Christine Adams
Terra Nova is an American science fiction drama television series. It premiered on September 26, 2011 with a two-hour premiere, and concluded on December 19, 2011 with a two-hour, two-episode ...more
14
44 26
Dollhouse is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Eliza Dushku, Harry Lennix, Fran Kranz
Dollhouse is an American science fiction television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon under Mutant Enemy Productions. It premiered on February 13, 2009, on the Fox network and ...more
15
49 33
Continuum is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lobo, Victor Webster
Continuum is a Canadian science fiction series created by Simon Barry and produced by Reunion Pictures Inc., Boy Meets Girl Film Company, and GK-TV. The series centers on the conflict between a ...more
16
33 25
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber
Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction television series, created by Glen A. Larson, that began the Battlestar Galactica franchise. Starring Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk ...more
17
43 36
Futurama is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal
Futurama is an American adult animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the ...more
18
30 23
Philip K. Dick's Electric Drea... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Timothy Spall, Anthony Boyle, Tuppence Middleton
Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams (Amazon Video, 2018) is a British-American science fiction television anthology series developed by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Dinner. Based on the works of ...more
19
26 22
Humans is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Manpreet Bachu, Emily Berrington, Ruth Bradley
Humans (AMC, 2015) is a science fiction television series created by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley. In a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a 'Synth' - ...more
20
6 1
Lost in Space is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Toby Stephens, Molly Parker, Ignacio Serricchio
Lost in Space (Netflix, 2018) is an American science fiction web television series created by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, and a reboot of the 1965 series. After encountering a rip in ...more
21
28 25
Into the Badlands is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Daniel Wu, Orla Brady, Sarah Bolger
Into the Badlands (AMC, 2015) is an American TV series set in a post-apocalyptic world approximately 500 years after an event that left civilization in ruins. Regent Sunny (Daniel Wu), a ...more
22
24 24
Adventure Time is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
SwimmingKitty added Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio, Tom Kenny
Adventure Time is an American animated television series created by Pendleton Ward for Cartoon Network. The series follows the adventures of Finn, a human boy, and his best friend and adoptive ...more
23
17 17
Samurai Jack is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Phil LaMarr, Mako, Kevin Michael Richardson
Samurai Jack is an American animated television series created by Genndy Tartakovsky for Cartoon Network. The series follows Jack, a time-displaced samurai warrior prince, in his singular quest ...more
24
2 0
Logan's Run is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Gregory Harrison, Heather Menzies-Urich, Donald Moffat
Logan's Run is a 1977–1978 American CBS-TV mini series and a spin-off from the 1976 film of the same name. In the UK, it was shown on the ITV networks on Sunday afternoons.
25
3 2
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo
12 Monkeys (SyFy, 2015) is an American television series on Syfy created by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, and loosely based on the 1995 film. In the year 2043, scavenger James Cole (Aaron ...more