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Top 5 Television Series Set In Space

Updated on February 16, 2012

Just for fun, I've compiled a list of my top 5 favorite television series that are set in space. I haven't seen every series out there, but I've seen enough to recommend a few good ones. If you don't see your favorite series here, please share your suggestions. I'm always looking for more great space adventure shows.

The winner is... Firefly

I admit I haven't seen every one of the top rated science fiction television series out there, but I can honestly say that Firefly was the show that first sparked my interest in the genre.

It was hard for me to decide between my first and second pick as my top choice. Both Firefly and Battlestar Galactica are character driven and engaging, with expertly crafted and intelligent storylines.

In the end, I had to give the nod to Joss Whedon's Firefly series. Firefly was cancelled after only 11 of the 14 produced episodes were aired. It seems that intelligent serial dramas are somewhat of a risk for television networks.

In spite of its short life span, the Firefly series developed a loyal cult following. Many fans, including myself, had just caught on to the series when it was ended. What a disappointment!

Firefly had so much potential. The impact that Firefly had on science fiction fans, and its effect of drawing in non-sci fi viewers to the often overlooked genre, makes Firefly a very justifiable first pick for this list. If given 4 or 5 full seasons, who knows were Joss could have taken the series.

If you're a fan of Firefly, you should check out the movie Serenity. It's based on the series, and stars the original cast (thanks Joss). Serenity answers some questions left lingering by the series, and serves as the final episode of Firefly (so to speak), although Firefly is not necessarily a prerequisite to Serenity.

The movie can be watched by itself. In fact, many fans watched the movie first, before finding the series. The movie was promoted much better than the series was, so no surprise there.

Story: 500 years in the future, the Alliance has taken "Big Brother" to the extreme after a universal civil war in which the "Browncoats" or Independents fought for freedom and lost.

The crew (including former Browncoats, Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne) of the Serenity (a Firefly class spacecraft) must now travel to unknown areas in the outskirts of the galaxy for work, while dodging the Alliance and other dangers out to get them in the process.

After taking on a small crew of passengers for money, the Serenity soon becomes wanted by the Alliance. Malcolm and his scrappy crew must think on their toes to make it by, while they try to discover the reason for the Alliance's unusual interest in one particular passenger.

Firefly/Serenity Trailer

Runner up... Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica (BSG) was an incredible serial drama set in space. The series often tackles touchy political and ethical questions with dark, gritty realism that few shows would attempt. Battlestar Galactica truly transcends genres.

The story runs deep, and the characters evolve nicely. Some fans, including myself, were disappointed with parts of the ending; however, the way the writers wrapped the whole thing up was pretty clever.

BSG keeps you coming back for more. I was a big fan of Lost, although I hated the ending. Lost was an addictive serial drama. In my opinion, Battlestar Galactica is just as addictive, and the writers developed a much better ending to the series.

Story: In a technologically advanced society, Cylons (man's own biomechanical creations) have evolved on their own, and have attacked and destroyed the 12 human colonies, including Caprica*. The only humans to escape the Cylon extermination are among a small group of civilian space ships escorted by the battlestar class Galactica (military spacecraft with a similar role as a modern day aircraft carrier).

The last remaining humans (less than 50,000) must search for a new home, while fending off Cylon attacks at every turn. On the run, the survivors are given hope when they are told their new destination is a planet called Earth.

*Caprica became a prequel spinoff of Battlestar Galactica. I haven't gotten around to watching Caprica yet, but I've read good reviews about it. The last 5 episodes in particular have received a lot of praise.

Battlestar Galactica Trailer

3rd place... Stargate Universe

Stargate Universe was a different take on the Stargate franchise, and my favorite of the SG bunch. While it was a hit with many new fans, some die hard Stargate fans were not sold on the new direction.

Stargate Universe was a little darker and more intense than previous SG series, at times. Other times the show is slow and cerebral, capturing that vintage slow burn space drama feel.

Even the lighting in this show is darker and more menacing. I was a big fan of the new direction they took with the SGU series. I was real and dramatic at the same time. It wasn't cheesy like other installments of the Stargate franchise. I only wish the show would have been able to continue for a few more seasons.

The final season ended in a cliffhanger, and a movie was going to be made to wrap up the series, but the project was cancelled to the dismay of loyal Stargate and SGU only fans alike.

Story: After their base comes under attack, an SG expedition must step through a stargate into unknown territory. They soon finds themselves marooned aboard a mysterious space ship traveling faster than the speed of light, and several billions of light years away from the Milky Way galaxy and Earth.

Now on an unknown and unalterable course, and without a way to gate back home, the impromptu crew of the Destiny must unlock the secrets of the ship's stargate to survive. The adventures and disasters the crew face together will reveal their true character.

Stargate Universe Trailer

4th place... Stargate Atlantis

Stargate Atlantis was a fun science fiction series, although it is mostly monster of the week style writing. It was a spin-off of the Stargate SG-1 series. Like SG-1, Stargate Atlantis sticks to this tried and true format, while creating a real interest in the main characters.

Stargate Atlantis is a smart show, though it is cheesy at times. The writers did a great job devising new and creative challenges for the new Atlantis inhabitants each week.

Story: A secret group of scientists have found the location of the lost city of Atlantis, only it's not on Earth. It's far away from home, in the Pegasus galaxy. After finding the city empty, an SG expedition embarks on a journey to the famous city through an 8th chevron enabled stargate.

Upon arrival, the team finds the city low on power, making it impossible to make the long journey home. Forced to use the stargate to explore planets in Atlantis' own Pegasus galaxy, the team encounters great challenges, including a war with mankind's greatest threat... the Wraith!

Stargate Atlantis Trailer

5th place... Space: Above and Beyond

Space: Above and Beyond was another one of those short lived, intelligent television shows that we all wish would have stayed on the air for much longer.

It was originally scheduled to run for 5 seasons, but was cancelled after only 1. The cast was likeable, and they each had their own backstory which developed nicely.

Story: In the year 2063, humans have begun colonizing other planets, and Nathan West and his girlfriend are set to be on the next flight. Suddenly forced out of his posistion aboard one of the colony ships, Nathan must join the marines to be close to his girlfriend.

After the colonial flight is attacked, humans soon find themselves in an interstellar war with a mysterious alien race. Now it's up to Nathan and the rest of the 58th squadron to find his girlfriend and stop the hostile invasion.

Complete Space: Above and Beyond Series on DVD

Space: Above and Beyond Trailer

What is your favorite space based tv series?

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    • hope hoff profile image

      hope hoff 5 years ago

      Great!!!!!!!!!

    • Chris Kross profile image
      Author

      Chris Kross 5 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Thanks! Glad you liked it.

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 5 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      It was a close call, but Stargate Atlantis it was. Did like Firefly, SGU, SG1 and Farscape. Both the old and the new Galactica were alright too.

      When it comes to books, I collect 'Perry Rhodan' and used to listen to the tapes of 'Flash Gordon' when I was little.

    • swathi180 profile image

      swathi180 5 years ago

      Nice article

    • Chris Kross profile image
      Author

      Chris Kross 5 years ago from Dallas, TX

      @ Cat R: Yes, Atlantis was a cool series. I haven't seen Farscape, but I've heard good things and bad things.

      I'm not familiar with Perry Rhodan. I'll have to check that out.

      @ swathi180: Thanks! I'm glad you found it useful.

    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Hi Chris

      I like this hub its great!!!

      I love all the space tv series on tv, but by far star trek original is still the best in my eyes :)

    • Chris Kross profile image
      Author

      Chris Kross 5 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Thanks! I've never finished watching the original Star Trek, but I'm sure I'll eventually have time to watch the whole thing.

      There really aren't that many television series in this genre, but the good ones are really good.

    • profile image

      athe 5 years ago

      What about STAR TREK VOYAGER? that's the best for me

    • Chris Kross profile image
      Author

      Chris Kross 4 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Sorry. I still haven't seen that yet. I wish I would've included more Treks in my poll, though.

    • allsynergy profile image

      allsynergy 4 years ago from Finland

      I didn't like Firefly first time I saw it... second time it was ok. More episodes would have been great.

      Babylon 5 was the series I have best memories. Had all the episodes and later movies and even that spin off series on VHS :D

      Also watched Star Treks but actually I like the last one best... perhaps I'm the only one but Enterprise was pretty good after the first season. Voyager was the next best thing for me.

      Galactica was ok... actually haven't seen the last episodes yet.. but after several seasons quite ok.

      Farscape is funny and though I didn't like it first I like it now.

      Andromeda was like "Hercules in space"... but I was able to watch it and even enjoy of it... haven't seen it's final seasons last episodes though.

      Somehow I had not liked Stargate at first... but it lasted so so many years so I ended up watching it anyway.. Atlantis also... haven't seen Stargate Universe yet... too bad all are cancelled.....

      What the #¤## can we watch anymore :D I even saw Galactica spin off Caprica.

      There's not much to see anymore. No space series..... people are out of ideas?

      Well, I haven't seen Star Trek The Next Generation apart from couple of episodes when I was a little kid. So Picard next I guess or reruns... and those last episodes from couple of series.

      Damn... we need something new soon.

    • profile image

      Trisha Perry 4 years ago

      Why did you not include StarGate SG1. This is better than most of the above listed.

    • profile image

      BaSH PR0MPT 4 years ago

      Interesting how the poll totally disagrees with this post, with the (rightful) first place going to Battlestar Galactica. The fact they ended this series says a lot about their idiocy, the fact that Caprica was canned after being steered in a flawed direction even more so.

      Notice that most of the best TV series ever only lasted one season? Proof that networks pander to the masses, and not produce the best content they can. Even more proof that they're archaic and base their ratings on who watches it during it's first airing slot on a TV set with cable connection and not based on later-watching, or international viewing, or the most important one these days; downloads.

    • profile image

      Josef 4 years ago

      The only series I really liked on that list was "Space above and beyond" and the first two seasons of "Battle star Galactia". Firefly was like most thing from Joss Whedon, ok. but not fantastic.

    • profile image

      Alikia 2 years ago

      I enjoyed your thoughts but I have one question... What about the ORIGINAL Stargate? That one was without doubt my favourite but my second is definitely Firefly!

    • Nicholas Pollock profile image

      Nicholas Pollock 2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      I can't believe Farscape didn't make your top 5, but I'm also glad - I know what my next Hub will be about!

      Voted up, interesting.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 20 months ago

      A great list. Did you give any consideration to older Space Based TV shows?

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