Looking for shows like The Expanse? The 8 best sci-fi shows you can watch now
Amazon Prime’s sci-fi epic is tough to beat, but it’s still in good company.STREAMINGBy Frederick Blichert•November 7, 2021Amazon
As you may already know, the upcoming sixth season of The Expanse will be its last. With the excitement of the next chapter in the groundbreaking Amazon Prime sci-fi series comes the sad reality that all good things must come to an end. So, what to watch after The Expanse? While it truly is one of a kind, you can rest assured that there are some other shows like The Expanse, or at least in the general ballpark.
The Expanse, based on the novel series by James S.A. Corey, takes place in a future when humans have colonized the entire Solar System. Throughout, we follow various characters belonging to different factions. These include a police officer, politicians, mercenaries, soldiers, religious fanatics, and people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you’re a fan, then check out our list of shows like The Expanse below.
- Watch The Expanse on Amazon Prime Video.
1. Raised by Wolves (HBO Max)
Blending elements of Alien, Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Bible, and The Expanse, Raised by Wolves was one of the most exciting new shows to come out after HBO Max first launched in 2020. Produced by Ridley Scott, who directed two episodes, the show was a hit, though HBO Max is keeping us on our toes about when season two might drop.
In Raised by Wolves, two life-like androids arrive on a habitable planet where they plan to raise human children from genetic material they’ve stolen and taken with them. But when mysterious religious fanatics arrive, also from Earth, we begin to understand that a generations-old war between humans and machines may threaten their livelihood. And the planet’s own mysterious will may have something to say too.
- Watch Raised by Wolves on HBO Max.
2. Killjoys (Syfy)
Syfy’s Killjoys generally strikes a lighter tone than The Expanse, but it’s certainly in the same wheelhouse. And it’s a terrific space adventure, full of shady politicking and forays into criminal underworlds — in space, of course.
The Canadian series (which originally aired on the Canadian channel Space) follows a trio of bounty hunters. As part of their contracts, the three are obligated to remain neutral in their work, apprehending wanted fugitives and staying out of business or state affairs. But their complicated pasts continually make that a hard standard to uphold.
- Watch Killjoys on Syfy.
3. Nightflyers (Syfy)
As Ty Franck (who shares the pen name James S. A. Corey with his Expanse co-author) was once an assistant to Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin, it only makes sense to include a series based on one of Martin’s works.
Check out: The best sci-fi shows on Netflix
Luckily, Syfy’s Nightflyers (adapted from Martin’s writing) is very much a show like The Expanse. It may not be quite as good, but if you like the horror elements of The Expanse, particularly present in the first two seasons, Nightflyers will give you that. The series follows the crew of a ship out to make contact with an alien life form. But nothing is ever so simple. Mysterious, violent, and deadly events ensue.
- Watch Nightflyers on Netflix.
4. Firefly (Fox)
These days, nearly every canceled show has a loud fanbase calling for its return. But in 2002, when Fox pulled the plug on Firefly midway through its first season, it seemed like that was it. But just as Amazon picked up The Expanse after its cancellation on Syfy, Firefly lived on when it got to wrap up its narrative in the 2005 feature film Serenity.
The similarities don’t end there though. Firefly, like The Expanse, follows a tight-knit crew aboard a spaceship they call home. The crew of the ship Serenity are basically cowboys in space, but in a very literal sense. They carry illicit cargo (sometimes actual livestock) armed with six-shooters and dressed in dusters, all set to a twangy western score. The series certainly earned its fierce cult following as a unique take on space opera.
- Watch Firefly on Hulu.
5. Foundation (Apple TV Plus)
Apple TV Plus
Apple TV Plus doesn’t seem to have taken off quite as much as other streamers, but it has quietly put out a slew of top-tier original shows and movies, not least of which is its big-budget adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.
See also: What to watch on Apple TV Plus
Foundation is one of the more ambitious series on this list. It follows a huge number of characters across numerous timelines. In the far future, the galaxy is ruled by an imperial power made up of the clones of one man. When that power is challenged by a mathematician who foresees the Empire’s downfall, a foundation is formed on an outer planet, where a colony of outsiders prepares for the foretold dark age that will follow the Empire’s fall. The series is visually stunning and tackles heady subjects in ways that sometimes recall The Expanse.
- Watch Foundation on Apple TV Plus.
6. Star Trek: Discovery (Paramount Plus)
The flagship series in the current slate of ongoing Star Trek titles, Discovery has effectively reinvented itself in each of its three seasons, with an upcoming fourth promising even more changes. The crew of the U.S.S. Discovery has traveled across space and time, using experimental new biotechnology to do so, all while testing the very foundations of Star Trek’s Federation of Planets. The show swings for the fences, and even when it misses, it’s a pleasure to watch.
The political intrigue and experimentation with unknown alien biology put Discovery in league with The Expanse, but its engagement with Star Trek lore is just as thought-provoking and entertaining.
- Watch Star Trek: Discovery on Paramount Plus.
7. Battlestar Galactica (Syfy)
Star Trek writer and producer Ronald D. Moore launched his remake of Battlestar Galactica soon after Fox’s Firefly, and the two shows mark something of a turning point in TV science fiction. You can see hints of these in later Star Trek shows, The 100, Outcasts, Another Life, and, you guessed it, The Expanse. (Not to mention every other show on this list.) Battlestar Galactica is among the shows like The Expanse in large part because The Expanse is fundamentally a show inspired and informed by Battlestar Galactica.
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Presenting a gritty and realistic future, Battlestar Galactica blended political and military drama with sci-fi, following the last ship to escape a massive robot uprising against humanity. Often drawing on Blade Runner and the original 1978 series of the same name, Battlestar Galactica questioned what it means to be human and whether artificial intelligence can ever really replace us.
- Watch Battlestar Galactica on Peacock.
8. Lost in Space (Netflix)
If you want a show like The Expanse that’s a little more family-friendly, Netflix’s reboot of Lost in Space is a great place to start. now comprised of three seasons, Lost in Space follows the Robinson family who are, as you may predict, lost in space. Chosen as part of a colonizing mission when Earth can’t support human life, the Robinsons crash land way off course and have to survive by their own wits.
See also: The best original streaming shows
The show, a reimagining of the 1965 series and 1998 film of the same name (and an even looser reimagining of The Swiss Family Robinson) tackles survival in space, politics, family ties, and life-changing scientific discoveries in ways that very much place it among shows like The Expanse. And it’s just a good yarn on its own terms too.
- Watch Lost in Space on Netflix.