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.
- Investigating the Paranormal
- Small Town Mystery
- Government & Secrecy
- Specialized Know-How
- Enhanced Abilities
- Superhumans & Superpowers
- Light-Hearted Sci-Fi
- Extraterrestrials & Humans
- Technology & Space Travel
- New Technology & Society
- Clones & Androids
- Connected & Parallel Lives
- Alternate Universe
- Alternate History
- Re-Writing History
- Time Travel: Distant Past
- Time Travel: Distant Future
- Post-Apocalyptic Survival
- Dystopian & Anti-Establishment
- Monsters & the Inexplicable
- The Dead & the Possessed
- Children: Missing & Found
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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., The Flash, Alphas and Legion. If you are into the Marvel universe, Agent Carter also delves into some zero matter superpowers in season two.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For those looking for a TV show featuring an alternate universe or a parallel reality, here are two good – albeit quite different – options.
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.
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.
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.
Time Travel: Distant Future
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.