66+ Sci-Fi Shows Like Fringe

 Fringe
(2008) on IMDb

Eye-opening and mind-bending, Fringe (2008) has had a huge impact on millions of its fans. Fringe is so memorable and sorely missed thanks to its superb cast and the show’s multiple themes. Multiple realities and timelines, a secret government agency and a troubled genius, investigations of the paranormal and the extraordinary… No TV series is truly like Fringe in its breadth of imagination.

Luckily, there are multiple shows that convincingly address similar concerns. If you are asking yourself what to watch after Fringe and looking for a specific focus, you will find several excellent suggestions below. Some of the best sci-fi shows, the following Fringe alternatives are sorted into neat categories depending on the show’s main theme.

  1. Investigating the Paranormal
  2. Small Town Mystery
  3. Government & Secrecy
  4. Specialized Know-How
  5. Enhanced Abilities
  6. Superhumans & Superpowers
  7. Light-Hearted Sci-Fi
  8. Extraterrestrials & Humans
  9. Technology & Space Travel
  10. New Technology & Society
  11. Clones & Androids
  12. Connected & Parallel Lives
  13. Alternate Universe
  14. Alternate History
  15. Re-Writing History
  16. Time Travel: Distant Past
  17. Time Travel: Distant Future
  18. Post-Apocalyptic Survival
  19. Dystopian & Anti-Establishment
  20. Monsters & the Inexplicable
  21. The Dead & the Possessed
  22. Children: Missing & Found
  23. A Mysterious Event

Investigating the Paranormal

Fringe has multiple storylines, many of them revolving around personal dramas. But the main one lies in investigating and tackling what appears to be the paranormal. Here is the obvious Fringe alternative and arguably its main source of inspiration:

The X-Files (1993)

The X-Files (1993) on IMDb
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Small Town Mystery

Several episodes of Fringe, for example Johari Window and Welcome to Westfield, focus on the mysteries in small towns. These mysteries typically have an eerie edge to them. The following TV series are set in fairly secluded locations and are about investigating the unusual.

Twin Peaks (1990)

 Twin Peaks
(1990) on IMDb
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Wayward Pines (2015)

Wayward Pines (2015) on IMDb
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Fortitude (2015)

 Fortitude
(2015) on IMDb
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Haven (2010)

 Haven
(2010) on IMDb
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Government & Secrecy

Fringe’s main characters are government employees although their activities increasingly depart from purely governmental work in later seasons. The following TV series feature brilliant minds who have an uncomfortable relationship with government agencies.

Person of Interest (2011)

 Person of Interest
(2011) on IMDb
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Rubicon (2010)

 Rubicon
(2010) on IMDb
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Specialized Know-How

Dr. Walter Bishop helps solve some of the most intricate mysteries and crimes. The shows below follow experts with in-depth technical knowledge and general erudition as they help with investigating and understanding crime.

Mindhunter (2017)

 Mindhunter
(2017) on IMDb
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Eleventh Hour (2008)

 Eleventh Hour
(2008) on IMDb
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Perception (2012)

 Perception
(2012) on IMDb
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Forever (2014)

 Forever
(2014) on IMDb
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Enhanced Abilities

Rather than necessarily having expert know-how, the characters in the following series assist with investigations and in special missions with the help of an implanted microchip or a special drug. Not exactly Fringe-like, but didn’t Walter mind recreational drugs now and again?

Limitless (2015)

 Limitless
(2015) on IMDb
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Intelligence (2014)

 Intelligence
(2014) on IMDb
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Superhumans & Superpowers

Some of the subjects investigated by the Fringe team have superpowers. Other TV series with a focus on superhumans as well as secrecy are Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Alphas and Legion. If you are into the Marvel universe, Agent Carter also delves into some zero matter superpowers in season two.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013)

 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
(2013) on IMDb
YouTube video

Alphas (2011)

 Alphas
(2011) on IMDb
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Legion (2017)

 Legion
(2017) on IMDb
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Light-Hearted Sci-Fi

Despite all the mind-boggling twists and heart-wrenching dramas, Fringe is also a fun show, with kind and humorous characters. If this facet of Fringe appeals to you, then you will enjoy the following series.

Eureka (2006)

 Eureka
(2006) on IMDb
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Quantum Leap (1989)

 Quantum Leap
(1989) on IMDb
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Extraterrestrials & Humans

The themes of traveling through space and time are very much at the core of Fringe. No list with TV series like Fringe would be complete without a mention of Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood.

Doctor Who (2005)

 Doctor Who
(2005) on IMDb
YouTube video

Torchwood (2006)

Torchwood (2006) on IMDb
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Technology & Space Travel

Speaking of traveling through outer space, there hasn’t been a better space opera show than The Expanse recently. Like Fringe, it is a sophisticated drama with multiple storylines and quite some detective work. Other similar shows are Firefly and Battlestar Gallactica.

The Expanse (2015)

 The Expanse
(2015) on IMDb
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Firefly (2002)

 Firefly
(2002) on IMDb
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Battlestar Gallactica (2004)

 Battlestar Galactica
(2004) on IMDb
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New Technology & Society

Fringe explores the implications of using new and unconventional methods and technologies. If your interest lies in the effects of new and questionable technologies on society, then the series below give insights into the controversies such as those around artificial intelligence.

Black Mirror (2011)

 Black Mirror
(2011) on IMDb
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Electric Dreams (2017)

 Electric Dreams
(2017) on IMDb
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Humans (2015)

 Humans
(2015) on IMDb
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Clones & Androids

Of all the shows, the following ones are easily the best match for Fringe in terms of the sense of mystery, future technology and struggle for survival. Additionally, these series also have a strong bio- and cyberpunk theme.

Orphan Black (2013)

 Orphan Black
(2013) on IMDb
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Westworld (2015)

 Westworld
(2016) on IMDb
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Living with Yourself (2019)

 Living with Yourself
(2019) on IMDb
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Almost Human (2013)

 Almost Human
(2013) on IMDb
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Altered Carbon (2018)

 Altered Carbon
(2018) on IMDb
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Connected & Parallel Lives

Fringe asks questions about what it is like being someone else and being yourself in a different universe or time. The following series explore these questions in greater detail. Whether the result of an experiment, an accident or a mysterious bond, the human connection highlights the possibility of living the life in a multitude of ways.

Maniac (2018)

 Maniac
(2018) on IMDb
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Sense8 (2015)

 Sense8
(2015) on IMDb
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Russian Doll (2019)

 Russian Doll
(2019) on IMDb
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The OA (2016)

 The OA
(2016) on IMDb
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Awake (2012)

 Awake
(2012) on IMDb
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Life on Mars (2006)

 Life on Mars
(2006) on IMDb
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Alternate Universe

For those looking for a TV show featuring an alternate universe or a parallel reality, here are two good – albeit quite different – options.

Counterpart (2017)

 Counterpart
(2017) on IMDb
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The Lost Room (2006)

 The Lost Room
(2006) on IMDb
YouTube video

Alternate History

One of the most memorable images from Fringe is the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. What if history had taken a different route? The following series depict a dystopian alternate history.

The Man in the High Castle (2015)

 The Man in the High Castle
(2015) on IMDb
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SS-GB (2017)

 SS-GB
(2017) on IMDb
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The Plot Against America (2020)

The Plot Against America (2020) on IMDb
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Re-Writing History

Rather than primarily depicting an alternate history, the following shows focus on those knowingly trying to change the course of history, to create a different timeline.

11.22.63 (2016)

 11.22.63
(2016) on IMDb
YouTube video

Timeless (2016)

 Timeless
(2016) on IMDb
YouTube video

Time Travel: Distant Past

Along with an alternate universe, Fringe is best known for how the series weaves in time travel into its plot, especially in later seasons. The following two series tell a story of time travel either from or to a distant past, while the next section lists those shows in which characters come from a distant future.

Sleepy Hollow (2013)

 Sleepy Hollow
(2013) on IMDb
YouTube video

Outlander (2014)

 Outlander
(2014) on IMDb
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Time Travel: Distant Future

Travelers (2016)

 Travelers
(2016) on IMDb
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12 Monkeys (2015)

 12 Monkeys
(2015) on IMDb
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Continuum (2012)

 Continuum
(2012) on IMDb
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Post-Apocalyptic Survival

While time travel stories typically focus on the mission to change an apocalyptic future, the TV series below zoom in on the dynamics of life in a post-apocalyptic setting. This theme resonates well with the last season of Fringe.

Jericho (2006)

 Jericho
(2006) on IMDb
YouTube video

The 100 (2014)

 The 100
(2014) on IMDb
YouTube video

Dystopian & Anti-Establishment

Similar to its post-apocalyptic theme, Fringe focuses on fighting a totalitarian order imposed by Observers at the end of the series. The following TV shows also depict resistance in different ways.

The Handmaid’s Tale (2017)

 The Handmaid's Tale
(2017) on IMDb
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Mr. Robot (2015)

 Mr. Robot
(2015) on IMDb
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Monsters & the Inexplicable

The monsters that the Fringe team has to deal with are usually of the lab and sci-fi variety. The following series offer a more eerie, supernatural take on monsters and the inexplicable.

Supernatural (2005)

 Supernatural
(2005) on IMDb
YouTube video

Castle Rock (2018)

 Castle Rock
(2018) on IMDb
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The Terror (2018)

 The Terror
(2018) on IMDb
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Nightmares & Dreamscapes (2006)

 Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King
(2006) on IMDb
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The Twilight Zone (2019)

 The Twilight Zone
(2019) on IMDb
YouTube video

The Dead & the Possessed

Another kind of the inexplicable involves those who have passed away or are possessed by demons. If Fringe were a mystical or occult show, the following series would be a good match.

Afterlife (2005)

 Afterlife
(2005) on IMDb
YouTube video

Outcast (2016)

 Outcast
(2016) on IMDb
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Children: Missing & Found

Peter Bishop had a mysterious history as a child. The shows below are stories about kids who disappear or appear in a puzzling way.

Stranger Things (2016)

 Stranger Things
(2016) on IMDb
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Dark (2017)

 Dark
(2017) on IMDb
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The 4400 (2004)

 The 4400
(2004) on IMDb
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A Mysterious Event

Finally, for fans of a good drama that involves an inexplicable event and an open ending, there are no better shows than FlashForward, The Leftovers and, of course, Lost.

FlashForward (2009)

 Flashforward
(2009) on IMDb
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The Leftovers (2014)

 The Leftovers
(2014) on IMDb
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Lost (2004)

 Lost
(2004) on IMDb
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