20 best sci-fi TV shows that aren’t Star Trek

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2. Red Dwarf

At this point, you probably need another break from all of the seriousness. We’ve had goofy fun from Clone High and Futurama, along with the snark and sass of Rick and Morty. Still, there’s nothing quite like the very British humor of Red Dwarf, the BBC Two series beloved by many since its 1988 premiere.

By “British” humor, we mean that particular kind of dry, dark comedy that has more than dash of strangely good-natured nihilism. There’s plenty in store, given that human protagonist Dave Lister is the last known members of his species. On the oddly upbeat side of it all, he’s just too dim to feel incredibly bad about it. At least he has a super-evolved cat friend to distract him.

Let’s back up a bit. Red Dwarf aired on BBC Two from 1988 to 1999 and then on Dave (yes, that’s a TV channel) since 2009. It’s set very far into the future. First, it opens in the 22nd century aboard the mining ship Red Dwarf, where a radiation leak kills nearly everyone. Only Lister, who’s in stasis at the time of the accident, and his pregnant cat, Frankenstein, are saved.

The ship’s computer, Holly, keeps Lister in suspended animation for another three million years, only awakening him when the radiation goes back to survivable levels. Holly then creates a hologram of Lister’s whiny roommate, Rimmer, to keep him company. They’re joined by Cat, a humanoid creature descended from none other than the pregnant Frankenstein.

If that sounds like a lot to take in, don’t worry. The show is about as laid back as Lister himself, though it’s quite a bit smarter. While Lister and company meander around the reaches of outer space, they encounter all sorts of science fiction tropes, from alternate universes to villainous nanobots.