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The 50 worst sci-fi shows of all time

  • The 50 worst sci-Fi shows of all time

    The best science fiction TV is incredibly imaginative, allowing the audience to be completely absorbed by a foreign world. Whether that means conversing with a new species, exploring the possibilities of technology, or diving deep into the far reaches of space, a science fiction universe beckons the viewer into a place that is all at once fantastical and unknown.

    Successful science fiction shows are not just defined by ratings or critical acclaim. They also give rise to fandoms, whose passion and knowledge is as boundless as the stories and worlds they love. But not all sci-fi shows reach those levels.

    Maybe it’s the fault of overused tropes or one too many manic plot twists. Whatever the reason, the 50 sci-fi shows discussed on this list each have their shortcomings. In order to form this ranking, Stacker collected data from IMDb. All shows listed received at least 1,000 user votes; the lower a show’s number is on the list, the worse it is. Without further ado, join us as we take a trip through the 50 worst sci-fi shows known to humanity.

    Related: The 50 best sci-fi shows of all time. 

  • #50. Tremors

    IMDb score: 6.7
    IMDb votes: 2,149
    Years on the air: 2003

    “Tremors” picks up exactly where the 2001 straight-to-video film “Tremors 3: Back to Perfection” left off, following the residents of Perfection Valley as they reckon with mad scientists, experiments gone rogue, and monstrous sandworms known as Graboids. In 2017, Syfy announced it would be reprising the show, with Kevin Bacon returning to his role from the original Tremors movie, but the deal was subsequently cancelled. However, hardcore "Tremors" fans can get their fill with a leaked trailer showing what could have been.

  • #49. Z Nation

    IMDb score: 6.7
    IMDb votes: 26,278
    Years on the air: 2014–Present

    “Z Nation” begins in the wake of a zombie apocalypse that has killed off most of humanity. Among the small group of survivors is Alvin Murphy, who unwillingly received an experimental vaccination prior to the zombie outbreak, and is the only person known to have survived a zombie bite. While most acknowledged it’s no “Walking Dead,” the show isn’t quite awful enough to be laughable.

  • #48. Revolution

    IMDb score: 6.7
    IMDb votes: 76,442
    Years on the air: 2012–2014

    In the “Revolution” universe, a 2012 worldwide blackout led to the end of all technology and electricity, and therefore a total collapse of government and social order. The show begins 15 years after this event, following both the heroes and villains who seek the answers as to why “The “Blackout” occurred. The show starred Billy Burke and Tracy Spiridakos, and the pilot was directed by Jon Favreau.

  • #47. Iron Fist

    IMDb score: 6.7
    IMDb votes: 82,191
    Years on the air: 2017–Present

    This Netflix series is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and follows character Danny Rand, also known as Iron Fist. Danny, played by Finn Jones, has been missing and presumed dead for more than a decade, but returns to New York having mastered martial arts—with the aim of taking back his family’s company and putting an end to corruption. Even though virtually anything Marvel has a fan base, many were displeased with the show’s poor writing and racial politics.

  • #46. Under the Dome

    IMDb score: 6.7
    IMDb votes: 92,838
    Years on the air: 2013–2015

    One day, a massive, clear, impenetrable dome descends on the town of Chester’s Mill, cutting it off from the rest of the world and forcing the confused inhabitants to strive for survival. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, the show did incredibly well in its first season. However, the show declined in its following seasons and was eventually cancelled.

  • #45. Return to the Planet of the Apes

    IMDb score: 6.6
    IMDb votes: 1,186
    Years on the air: 1975–1976

    This animated series, which ran for one season in the 1970s, was based on Pierre Boulle’s novel “Planet of the Apes.” The 1968 film adaptation of the same name is widely regarded as a classic, and gave rise to many more film iterations and sequels—but the animated version did not do well enough to earn more than 13 episodes.

  • #44. Manimal

    IMDb score: 6.6
    IMDb votes: 1,224
    Years on the air: 1983

    With only eight episodes, “Manimal” ran for a single season in the early 1980s. The show starred Simon MacCorkindale as Jonathan Chase, a doctor who could shapeshift into any animal and used this ability to fight crime. The bizarre, short-lived show was rumored in 2014 to return in movie form, helmed by Will Ferrell.

  • #43. Dimension 404

    IMDb score: 6.6
    IMDb votes: 1,532
    Years on the air: 2017–Present

    “Dimension 404” gets its name from the 404 error, which signifies that a webpage cannot be found. The anthology-style show explored technology in ways similar to “Black Mirror,” with self-contained episodes in a variety of tones and genres. Featuring narration by Mark Hamill, the show featured players such as Joel McHale, Lea Michele, and Sarah Hyland.

  • #42. Man from Atlantis

    IMDb score: 6.6
    IMDb votes: 1,693
    Years on the air: 1977–1978

    Like other shows on this list, “Man from Atlantis” was only allowed to grace television screens for a total of 13 episodes. The series starred Patrick Duffy as the singular, superhuman survivor of the lost city of Atlantis. Even the cast have acknowledged the show’s shortcomings, with Duffy quipping, “It’s a wonder I ever worked again.”

  • #41. Hard Sun

    IMDb score: 6.6
    IMDb votes: 3,337
    Years on the air: 2018–Present

    This BBC production features Jim Sturgess and Agyness Deyn as a pair of London police officers who discover a horrible secret: the apocalypse is only five years away. The show was poorly received and considered “impressive” only for its overstuffed plot.