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

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1. The X-Files

The X-Files is another one of those shows that, depending on which episode you’ve just viewed, could serve as an example of “science fiction,” “fantasy,” “horror,” and just about everything in between. Even then, The X-Files is so well established and has enough eerie science fiction to it that it more than qualifies for this list.

If you’ve been living underneath a rock for the past 25 years, then here’s a brief primer. FBI Special Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder are assigned to the titular “X-Files” — basically, the awkwardly weird cases that the FBI would prefer didn’t exist. That said, there are some very powerful people that believe in the importance of the X-Files. They either want to support the intrepid agents or will do almost anything to stop them.

Mulder is very definitely the believer of the two. He’s still dealing with the childhood trauma stemming from his sister Samantha’s disappearance. While outside forces say it was a mundane, if tragic, abduction, Mulder believes that she was taken by extraterrestrials. Considering all of his subsequent encounters with creepy aliens, you start to think that he’s on to something.

Meanwhile, Dana Scully often acts as Mulder’s counterweight. She’s a through-and-through skeptic, not to mention a doctor and top-notch federal agent. Her superiors initially assign her to the X-Files in order to debunk Spooky Mulder’s theories and bring him back to reality. Yet, Scully finds that there’s something compelling about this weirdo hidden away in the basement of a federal building. Could he actually be on to something?

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It’s not all aliens, however. The pair encounter biological oddities, phantom assailants, and menacing robots and computers throughout 11 seasons. Plus, some of the best episodes are the funniest, so don’t worry about it getting too dark. If you like your science fiction with a hair-raising edge and a few wry laughs, then you can’t go wrong with The X-Files.

Sci-fi on TV has more than just Star Trek. Tell us which of these 20 series is your favorite in the comments below.