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The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows

Updated September 18, 2020 9.0k votes 1.8k voters 58.7k views55 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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  • 1
    The 100 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    933
    295

    The 100

    Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco

    Premiered2013

    NetworkThe CW

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  • 2
    The Handmaid's Tale is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    673
    211

    The Handmaid's Tale

    Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes

    Premiered2017

    NetworkHulu

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  • 3
    Black Mirror is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    513
    168

    Black Mirror

    Daniel Kaluuya, Toby Kebbell

    Premiered2011

    NetworkChannel 4, Netflix

    amazon buy button

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  • 4
    The Society is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    467
    164

    The Society

    Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon

    Premiered2019

    NetworkNetflix

    amazon buy button

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  • 5
    Westworld is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    310
    146

    Westworld

    Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton

    Premiered2016

    NetworkHBO

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  • 6
    Altered Carbon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    291
    136

    Altered Carbon

    Joel Kinnaman, Renée Elise Goldsberry

    Premiered2018

    NetworkNetflix

    amazon buy button

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  • 7
    3% is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    261
    125

    3%

    Bianca Comparato, João Miguel

    Premiered2016

    NetworkNetflix

    amazon buy button

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  • 8
    Revolution is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    89
    14

    Revolution

    Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos

    Premiered2012

    NetworkNBC

    amazon buy button
  • 9
    The Man in the High Castle is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    209
    99

    The Man in the High Castle

    Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans

    Premiered2015

    NetworkAmazon Video

    amazon buy button
  • 10
    Firefly is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    188
    86

    Firefly

    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres

    Premiered2002

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

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  • 11
    Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    172
    79

    Battlestar Galactica

    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell

    Premiered2004

    NetworkSyfy

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  • 12
    Colony is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    171
    80

    Colony

    Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies

    Premiered2016

    NetworkUSA Network

    amazon buy button
  • 13
    Fringe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    157
    75

    Fringe

    Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson

    Premiered2008

    NetworkFox

    amazon buy button
  • 14
    Terra Nova is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    126
    63

    Terra Nova

    Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn

    Premiered2011

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

    amazon buy button
  • 15
    Lost in Space is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    97
    40

    Lost in Space

    Toby Stephens, Molly Parker

    Premiered2018

    NetworkNetflix

    amazon buy button
  • 16
    Dollhouse is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    104
    48

    Dollhouse

    Eliza Dushku, Harry Lennix

    Premiered2009

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

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  • 17
    The Rain is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    91
    40

    The Rain

    Iben Hjejle, Alba August

    Premiered2018

    NetworkNetflix

    amazon buy button
  • 18
    Continuum is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    116
    62

    Continuum

    Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lobo

    Premiered2012

    NetworkShowcase

    amazon buy button
  • 19
    Dark Matter is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    58
    20

    Dark Matter

    Marc Bendavid, Melissa O'Neil

    Premiered2015

    NetworkSyfy

    amazon buy button
  • 20
    Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    94
    61

    Battlestar Galactica

    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell

    Premiered1978

    NetworkAmerican Broadcasting Company

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  • 21
    12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    64
    32

    12 Monkeys

    Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull

    Premiered2015

    NetworkSyfy

    amazon buy button

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  • 22
    Humans is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    81
    50

    Humans

    Manpreet Bachu, Emily Berrington

    Premiered2015

    NetworkAMC

    amazon buy button
  • 23
    Snowpiercer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    35
    5

    Snowpiercer

    Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly

    Premiered2020

    NetworkTBS

    amazon buy button

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  • 24
    Into the Badlands is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    79
    49

    Into the Badlands

    Daniel Wu, Orla Brady

    Premiered2015

    NetworkAMC

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  • 25
    Watchmen is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows
    38
    12

    Watchmen

    Regina King, Don Johnson

    Premiered2019

    NetworkHBO

    amazon buy button

    More 

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