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The Greatest Dystopian TV Shows

Updated December 3, 2020 10.7k votes 2.1k voters 68.5k 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 1001
    1,148
    370

    The 100

    Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco

    Premiered2013

    NetworkThe CW

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  • The Handmaid's Tale2
    819
    250

    The Handmaid's Tale

    Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes

    Premiered2017

    NetworkHulu

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  • Black Mirror3
    624
    188

    Black Mirror

    Daniel Kaluuya, Toby Kebbell

    Premiered2011

    NetworkChannel 4, Netflix

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  • The Society4
    550
    197

    The Society

    Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon

    Premiered2019

    NetworkNetflix

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  • Westworld5
    374
    166

    Westworld

    Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton

    Premiered2016

    NetworkHBO

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  • Altered Carbon6
    358
    159

    Altered Carbon

    Joel Kinnaman, Renée Elise Goldsberry

    Premiered2018

    NetworkNetflix

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  • 3%7
    309
    145

    3%

    Bianca Comparato, João Miguel

    Premiered2016

    NetworkNetflix

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  • The Man in the High Castle8
    247
    109

    The Man in the High Castle

    Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans

    Premiered2015

    NetworkAmazon Video

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  • Colony9
    211
    89

    Colony

    Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies

    Premiered2016

    NetworkUSA Network

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  • Firefly10
    214
    93

    Firefly

    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres

    Premiered2002

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

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  • Revolution11
    109
    25

    Revolution

    Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos

    Premiered2012

    NetworkNBC

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  • Battlestar Galactica12
    191
    88

    Battlestar Galactica

    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell

    Premiered2004

    NetworkSyfy

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  • Lost in Space13
    134
    50

    Lost in Space

    Toby Stephens, Molly Parker

    Premiered2018

    NetworkNetflix

    Amazon buy button
  • Fringe14
    176
    80

    Fringe

    Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson

    Premiered2008

    NetworkFox

    Amazon buy button
  • The Rain15
    130
    50

    The Rain

    Iben Hjejle, Alba August

    Premiered2018

    NetworkNetflix

    Amazon buy button
  • Terra Nova16
    150
    70

    Terra Nova

    Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn

    Premiered2011

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

    Amazon buy button
  • Snowpiercer17
    75
    17

    Snowpiercer

    Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly

    Premiered2020

    NetworkTBS

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  • Dollhouse18
    122
    54

    Dollhouse

    Eliza Dushku, Harry Lennix

    Premiered2009

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

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  • Continuum19
    133
    66

    Continuum

    Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lobo

    Premiered2012

    NetworkShowcase, SyFy

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  • Dark Matter20
    80
    25

    Dark Matter

    Marc Bendavid, Melissa O'Neil

    Premiered2015

    NetworkSyfy

    Amazon buy button
  • 12 Monkeys21
    76
    34

    12 Monkeys

    Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull

    Premiered2015

    NetworkSyfy

    Amazon buy button
  • Brave New World22
    42
    4

    Brave New World

    Stuart Walker, Mark Arends

    Premiered2020

    NetworkPeacock

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  • Humans23
    99
    55

    Humans

    Manpreet Bachu, Emily Berrington

    Premiered2015

    NetworkAMC

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  • Battlestar Galactica24
    101
    65

    Battlestar Galactica

    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell

    Premiered1978

    NetworkAmerican Broadcasting Company

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  • Futurama25
    119
    83

    Futurama

    Billy West, John DiMaggio

    Premiered1999

    NetworkComedy Central, Fox Broadcasting Company

    Amazon buy button

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