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7 Shows Like The Expanse to Watch While You Wait for Season 5

Here are more shows with hard sci-fi and huge worlds

Sadie Gennis

The Expanseis easily one of the best shows on TV, which is what's making the hiatus between Seasons 4 and 5 that much harder to bear. The fourth season of the Amazon Prime Video sci-fi drama wrapped up in December 2019 with a massive cliffhanger that saw Naomi's (Dominique Tipper) ex, Marco (Keon Alexander), and her son, Filip (Jasai Chase Owens), launch asteroids toward Earth, potentially causing an apocalyptic catastrophe.

The Best Sci-Fi Shows to Watch Right Now

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Fans will learn what comes next when The Expanse's fifth season premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Wednesday, Dec. 16. While we wait for the new episodes to come, revisiting the previous seasons of the sci-fi drama and the James S.A. Corey books they're based on is a great way to pass the time. However, if you're itching for something new, there are plenty of other shows like The Expanse that can help tide you over until it returns. We've curated a list of other TV shows that feature great sci-fi storytelling, complex political maneuvering, and bleak morals quandaries. So if you like The Expanse, these are the shows you should watch next.   

Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! And if you're looking for more hand-picked recommendations based on TV shows you love, we have those too.


Watch it on: Netflix

Louis Hofmann, Dark

Julia Terjung / Netflix

If you love The Expanse's willingness to trust its audience to follow complex stories across different worlds, then this German drama is going to be perfect for you. Set in the small town of Winden, Darkfollows four interconnected families caught up in a tangled web of secrets, mysteries, and time travel. This Netflix Original is famous for being one of the most confusing shows to follow, but the meticulously plotted series is well worth the effort it takes to untangle the timelines and family trees.


Watch it on: Amazon Prime Video (available for purchase), IMDb TV


FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

This J.J. Abrams-produced series is a great pick for when you want something with a deep sci-fi mythology, but isn't so dense that you have to strain your brain keeping up with all the intricate storytelling. Fringefollows a team of experts – including FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), kooky scientist Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), and Walter's estranged son Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) – as they investigate fringe cases that can't be explained through normal means (very much like in The X-Files). But this isn't a straightforward procedural; the Fox drama becomes more serialized as it goes on, exploring the layered mysteries surrounding a parallel universe and the impact these revelations have on the show's core cast of characters.


Watch it on: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video

Alexander Ludwig, Vikings

Jonathan Hession/History

Though Vikingsis the only show on this list without any sci-fi elements, it has a lot in common with The Expanse. It's just that instead of exploring the tribalism between dueling factions of people across space in the future, it's focused on those between dueling factions of people across Europe in medieval times. The History Channel drama is all about exploring new worlds, battles to determine sovereignty, political machinations, and examining how societies need to adapt if they hope to survive through changing times. Sound familiar enough?

Battlestar Galactica

Watch it on: Amazon Prime Video (available for purchase)

Battlestar Galactica

Justin Stephens/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Considered one of the greatest sci-fi series of all time, Battlestar Galacticais often the space drama all other space dramas get measured against. Set at a time when the last remnants of humanity are on the run from alien robots, known as Cylons, Battlestar Galactica raises questions about who deserves to survive while also exploring the difficulties of bridging prejudices to secure a better future. And like in The Expanse, the Ronald D. Moore show loves to present its characters with difficult decisions where there's no easy answer. So if your favorite part of The Expanse is the way it explores issues from all sides and forces our heroes into morally tough spots again and again, let Battlestar Galactica present a whole new set of moral conundrums for you to ponder over.

Raised by Wolves

Watch it on: HBO Max

Amanda Collin, Raised by Wolves

Coco Van Oppens

For those looking for another sci-fi series with a lot of things to say and a willingness to take big narrative risks, Raised by Wolvesis here to entertain and befuddle you. The Ridley Scott drama tells the story of a pair of androids tasked with saving humanity by raising children on a virgin world, but when some religious fanatics seek refuge on the planet violent tensions between the two camps takes root. Questions about parenting, religion, and humanity fuel the show's out-there storytelling that, while not always executed perfectly, is impressive for its ambition alone. It's also a lot weirder than The Expanse, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.


Watch it on: Amazon Prime Video

J.K. Simmons, Counterpart


When it comes to delivering shocking twists, Counterpartgives The Expanse a run for its money. This Starz espionage thriller, which was unfortunately canceled after two seasons, follows a low-level government employee (J.K. Simmons) who discovers that a past event split the world into two parallel universes, and that the two worlds are now approaching war against each other. While The Expanse explores war and politics across the galaxy, Counterpart has a tighter focus but delivers just as powerful results. It's a twisty, smartly plotted series that weaves together the best aspects of sci-fi and spy dramas to create something wholly unique. 

Orphan Black

Watch it on: Amazon Prime Video

Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

Like The Expanse, Orphan Black is propelled by various conspiracies and competing clandestine parties with pointed agendas. But in this show, instead of an ice hauler crew who gets caught in the crosshairs, it's a group of clones (all played by Tatiana Maslany). This sci-fi thriller is action-packed and features great character work, all while raising important questions about the moral and ethical implications of human cloning and threats to reproductive rights. For anyone who is morbidly fascinated by the way profit and progress for few is prioritized over the common good in The Expanse, they'll find similar bleakly relatable themes in this BBC America drama.

The Expanse is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.