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10 Shows Like 'Firefly' to Watch Next

It's been 20 years since Fox introduced audiences to the crew of the Serenity. Looking for a similar group to follow? Try these 10 shows.

Taylor Freitas
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Nathan Fillion in 'Firefly'

20th Century Fox

Although it was canceled after one season, Firefly has become a cult favorite beloved for its quippy characters and compelling storylines. 

Set in the year 2517, Firefly imagines that a variety of planets in the solar system have formed a group called the Alliance. But after a civil war, many are left on the outskirts of society. Part sci-fi and part Western, Firefly stars Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, and Morena Baccarin as members of the Serenity, a spaceship full of a ragtag crew who spend most of their time on cargo runs or smuggling. 

Created by Joss Whedon, Firefly premiered in September 2002 on Fox. Critics have expressed mixed feelings about it, but the show received generally favorable reviews and a Metascore of 63. The series struggled to find big ratings, due in no small part to Fox's decision to air early episodes out of order. 

However, Firefly fans made their voices heard, and the show became so beloved by its die-hard followers that it later earned cult status. In 2005, Whedon wrote and directed a follow-up movie called Serenity, which featured all of the main characters from the show.

While it's easy enough to binge all of Firefly's 14 episodes again and again, there are also a number of similar programs that you might enjoy just as much. On the following list, you'll find a handful of shows that align with Firefly in genre, including some that feature members from Firefly's cast or crew. 

Here, Metacritic highlights 10 shows worth checking out once you're ready to hop off the Serenity, ranked by Metascore.


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Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell in 'Battlestar Galactica'

NBCU

Battlestar Galactica

Metascore: 89
Best for: Fans of award-winning sci-fi shows
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 4

Set in a faraway star system, this critically-acclaimed TV series follows a small group of humans on a ship called the Battlestar Galactica who recently survived an attack from an android species called the Cylons. Led by Commander Bill Adama (Edward James Olmos) and President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), the ship's crew set off in search of a distant colony where their kind might be safe. Combining classic sci-fi elements with commentary on still-pertinent social issues, Battlestar Galactica remains a gripping outer-space epic that's a must-watch for any fan of the genre.

"Simply put, the journey of Battlestar Galactica is one long, exhilarating headtrip." — Matt Roush, TV Guide Magazine


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Sarah Michelle Gellar in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

20th Century Fox

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Metascore: 85
Best for: Fans of teen dramas and ass-kicking women
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 7

Whedon was given plenty of seasons to tell the story of Buffy Summers, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, as she learns she is fated to battle vampires. Each season of Buffy sees her and her close group of friends working to battle increasingly ominous antagonists, all while dealing with the pressures of high school, and, later, college. There are plenty of twists and turns, along with well-rounded and engaging characters to keep viewers hooked. This TV classic remains critically acclaimed and has plenty of juicy storylines for viewers to sink their teeth into.

"This supernatural series has fast, raucous music, attractive heroes and heroines, and nifty morphing effects for the vampires." — Michael Farkash, The Hollywood Reporter


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'Farscape'

Hallmark

Farscape

Metascore: 75
Best for: Fans of Star Trek
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 5

Farscape, another space epic, follows John Crichton (Ben Browder), an American astronaut who accidentally enters a wormhole taking him into another dimension. As John searches for another wormhole to take him back to Earth, he meets allies and enemies and must fight to keep his search alive. Featuring animatronic puppets from the Jim Henson Company, this visually appealing series relied more heavily on practical effects than most sci-fi series. While John prefers to play by the rules, the rest of his eventual cast of misfits tend to be more morally ambiguous (and much more fun).

"[An] engaging, if familiar, new actioner." — Marc Bernardin, Entertainment Weekly


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'The Expanse'

Amazon Studios

The Expanse

Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of mystery novels, sci-fi lovers
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 6

Based on a novel series by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (under their joint pen name James S.A. Corey), this sci-fi drama takes place centuries into the future, where humankind has branched out to colonize the solar system. The series premiered in 2015 and includes elements of detective fiction to go along with a well-constructed and expansive (no pun intended) imagined future. With compelling visuals and interesting characters, this series became a hit amongst fans, who successfully petitioned for it to remain on air after it was initially canceled following its third season.

"The Expanse manages to take familiar sci-fi elements and synthesize them into something that looks and feels distinctive." — Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly


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Joshua Jackson in 'Fringe'

Warner Bros. TV

Fringe

Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of parallel universes and mysteries
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 5

Created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci, Fringe is a sci-fi fantasy with an overarching mythology that fans of Firefly and of Lost should appreciate. It stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, and John Noble as individuals specializing in the FBI's Fringe Division, which focuses on seemingly supernatural occurrences. Some reviewers have likened the series to such eerie shows as The X-FilesandThe Twilight Zone, thanks to its exploration of parallel universes and unexplainable events. Fringe definitely gets weirder as it goes on, but for the show's hardcore fans, that's really when the fun begins.

"Grabs you so forcefully that you won't shake free even when the drama strains credulity." — Terry Kelleher, People


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'The Mandalorian'

Disney+

The Mandalorian

Metascore: 71
Best for: Fans of Star Wars and/or Spaghetti Westerns
Where to watch:


Seasons: 2 (so far)

This sci-fi Western is part of the larger Star Wars universe and stars Pedro Pascal as the masked titular character, a bounty hunter on a mission to save the endlessly adorable Baby Yoda.Set half a decade after Return of the Jedi, The Mandalorian is full of action and heart and features an all-star cast that includes Nick Nolte, Carl Weathers, and Werner Herzog. If you're a fan of Star Wars, The Mandalorian is a must-see, but it's also compelling enough to watch on its own if you aren't familiar with George Lucas's franchise.

"At this early stage, it's Star Wars' Greatest Hits mashed up with the most popular clichés of film Westerns." — Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone


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'Defiance'

UCP

Defiance

Metascore: 61
Best for: Fans of alien-human crossover shows with a Western twist
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 3

Another sci-fi Western, Defiance doesn't shy away from the weirder aspects of science fiction. Set in a post-apocalyptic Earth after the arrival of an alien species, Defiance imagines a barely recognizable world where certain species have gone extinct and others have been created. It follows a group of characters looking to build a new community amongst the remnants of St. Louis — all while trying to remain neutral in a world war that's very different from what the planet has ever seen. The series debuted in 2013 to mesh with a companion video game of the same name.

"Defiance wants to be that crossover science-fiction show that appeals both to true believers and general audiences." — Gail Pennington, St. Louis-Post Dispatch


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'Dark Matter'

Dark Horse Entertainment

Dark Matter

Metascore: 58
Best for: Fans of thought-provoking space odysseys  
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 3

In Dark Matter, a group of people awakens from a deep sleep about a starship and no memories of their previous lives. They quickly discover that they are all, in fact, gruesome mercenaries with pasts full of secrets. Dark Matter is an examination of the debate between nature vs. nurture while also delivering a plot full of twists and turns. The show, which is adapted from a graphic novel series, also plays with the themes of memory and the ripple effects of human choices. It's more character-driven than most sci-fi series, but that's part of what makes it interesting.

"A workmanlike space opera." — Vicki Hyman, Newark Star-Ledger


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Nathan Fillion in 'Castle'

ABC

Castle

Metascore: 56
Best for: Fans of police dramedies and/or Murder She Wrote
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 8

If you enjoyed Firefly mostly for Fillion, there's no doubt that Castle will be right up your alley. In it, he stars as Richard Castle, a mystery novelist who teams up with the no-nonsense Detective Beckett (Stana Katic) to solve increasingly bizarre crimes in New York City. The two main characters, of course, begin to have romantic tension, but the procedural nature of the show lets viewers play detective alongside them every episode. Even with all the murder, the light tone of most episodes is perfect to binge-watch or put on while scrolling your phone.

"There's nothing in ABC's Castle viewers haven't seen a million times before, but the cast elevates the pedestrian material." — Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


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'Killjoys'

UCP

Killjoys

Metascore: 53
Best for: Fans of one-liners and adventure-packed space sagas
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 5

This space-set action drama revolves on a trio of bounty hunters — Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), Johnny (Aaron Ashmore), and D'avin (Luke MacFarlane) — as they make their way through a planetary system called the Quad. The quick-witted assassins work for the Reclamation Apprehension Coalition (RAC) and must remain impartial as they complete their various missions to collect bounties. While it might not be revolutionary in nature, Killjoys is nevertheless a fun sci-fi romp with serious undertones, impressive visuals, and dark secrets revealed at every turn.

"The action is good, with all three actors receiving and dishing out their fair share of abuse, but the story is, literally, difficult to follow." — Jeff Korbelik, The Lincoln Journal Star