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The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made 

Ranker TV
Updated March 5, 2020 3k votes 387 voters 5.6k views 70 items

List Rules Vote up the best sci-fi thriller shows that have aired on television.

The best science fiction thriller shows are a perfect storm of futuristic imagination and out-of-this-world tension. The best sci-fi thriller series ever shown on television gets you excited for the possibilities of the future while also worrying about the future of the characters you’ve become invested in. If you’ve been looking for the best sci-fi thrillers to add some excitement to your TV nights, this list of the best science fiction thriller series of all time will help you figure out what needs to go into your queue.

The really good sci-fi thrillers, built on a history of satirical anthology series, basically never let you rest. Not only do you get the cool tech and new worlds of science fiction, but what’s next is probably a nerve-wracking twist that involves an alien or the worst monster - man. If you’re streaming your shows, their non-stop pace may make you miss commercial breaks. Although more modern science fiction thrillers include a fresh brand of cynism, as in The Purge and Black Mirror, older shows such as Under The Dome and Fringe also provide both sci-fi situations and thrills.

Which shows balance being thrillers and sci-fi series the best? Vote up the best science fiction thriller shows, vote down the shows that don't deliver thrills with their technological dreams, and add any thrilling sci-fi series that are missing.

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list ordered by
1
Salvation is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Charlie Rowe, Jacqueline Byers, Santiago Cabrera
Salvation (CBS, 2017) is an American suspense drama television series created by Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro. An MIT grad student and a tech superstar bring a low-level Pentagon official a ...more
2
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

Premiered: 1993

Number of Seasons: 11

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox, spanning nine ...more
3
The Expanse is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Thomas Jane, Steven Strait, Cas Anvar

Premiered: 2015

The Expanse (Syfy, 2015) is an American science fiction television series developed by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, based on the novels by James S. A. Corey. In a future where humanity has ...more
4
Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard

Premiered: 2016

Number of Seasons: 3

Network: Netflix

Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series created by The Duffer Brothers. When a young boy (Noah Schnapp) disappears, his mother (Winona Ryder), ...more
5
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

Premiered: 1959

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 156

Network: UPN, CBS

The Twilight Zone is a 1959 American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, ...more
6
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 100

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

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
7
Warehouse 13 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 52

Network: Syfy

Warehouse 13 is a U.S. television science fiction series that premiered on July 7, 2009, on the Syfy network. Executive-produced by Jack Kenny and David Simkins, the dramatic comedy from ...more
8
Dark Matter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Marc Bendavid, Melissa O'Neil, Anthony Lemke

Premiered: 2015

Dark Matter (Syfy, 2015) is a Canadian science fiction series created by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, based on their comic book. Onboard a starship called the Raza, six people awaken in ...more
9
Altered Carbon is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Joel Kinnaman, Renée Elise Goldsberry, James Purefoy

Premiered: 2018

Network: Netflix

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
10
The Outer Limits is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Kevin Conway, Joe Pascual

Premiered: 1995

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 154

Network: Showtime, Syfy, American Broadcasting Company

The Outer Limits is a US-Canadian television series that originally aired on Showtime, the Sci Fi Channel and in syndication between 1995 and 2002. The series is a revival of the original The ...more
11
Falling Skies is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Noah Wyle, Drew Roy, Maxim Knight

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: TNT

Falling Skies is an American science fiction post-apocalyptic dramatic television series created by Robert Rodat and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The series stars Noah Wyle as Tom ...more
12
V is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 22

Network: American Broadcasting Company

V is an American science fiction television series that ran for two seasons on ABC, from November 3, 2009 to March 15, 2011. A remake of the 1983 miniseries created by Kenneth Johnson, the new ...more
13
Continuum is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lobo, Victor Webster

Premiered: 2012

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 18

Network: Showcase

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
14
Torchwood is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Kai Owen

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 41

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC One, Starz, BBC HD, BBC Three

Torchwood is a British science fiction television programme created by Russell T Davies. A spin-off from the 2005 revival of long-running science fiction programme Doctor Who, Torchwood aired ...more
15
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 10

Number of Episodes: 144

Network: AMC

The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more
16
Heroes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Hayden Panettiere, Jack Coleman, Milo Ventimiglia

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 77

Network: NBC

Heroes is an American science fiction television drama series created by Tim Kring that appeared on NBC for four seasons from September 25, 2006 through February 8, 2010. The series tells the ...more
17
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 31

Network: CBS

Person of Interest (CBS, 2011) is an American science fiction drama television series created by Jonathan Nolan. The series revolves around John Reese, a former CIA officer, who is recruited by ...more
18
Terminator: The Sarah Co... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 31

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is an American science fiction television series that aired on Fox. The show was produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Warner Bros. Television, and C2 ...more
19
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Bruce Willis, Charles Aidman, Robin Ward

Premiered: 1985

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 65

Network: CBS

The Twilight Zone is the first of two revivals of Rod Serling's acclaimed 1950/60s television series of the same name. It ran for two seasons on CBS before producing a final season for
20
Haven is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour
Haven is an American/Canadian supernatural drama television series loosely based on the Stephen King novel The Colorado Kid. The show, which deals with strange events in a fictional town in ...more
21
The Outer Limits is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
David McCallum, Kevin Conway, Beau Bridges

Premiered: 1995

Number of Episodes: 154

Network: SyFy, Showtime

The Outer Limits (SyFy, Showtime, 1995) is a Canadian-American science fiction anthology television series and a revival of the original The Outer Limits. Its stories are described as more ...more
22
Dollhouse is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Eliza Dushku, Harry Lennix, Fran Kranz

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

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
23
The Man in the High Cast... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank

Premiered: 2015

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
24
Travelers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Eric McCormack, MacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper

Premiered: 2016

Network: Showcase (Canada), Netflix (international)

Travelers (Netflix, 2016) is a science fiction television series created by Brad Wright. Hundreds of years from now, surviving humans discover how to send consciousness back through time, into ...more
25
Black Mirror is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Daniel Kaluuya, Toby Kebbell, Rory Kinnear

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 22

Network: Channel 4

Black Mirror (Netflix, 2011) is a British television anthology series created by Charlie Brooker. The show features speculative fiction with dark and sometimes satirical themes that examine ...more