24 Shows Like "The 100" That Sci-Fi Fans Will Love
The CW's sci-fi drama "The 100" ran for seven seasons, evolving from your standard-issue YA dystopian drama to a fan favorite and one of the more memorable sci-fi shows of the past several years. Through several seasons of major plot twists, epic romances, and devastating character deaths, "The 100" always looked for ways to get more creative and surprise audiences — sometimes with extremely mixed and polarizing results.
"The 100" launched near the tail end of the dystopian YA trend, which is a major part of its legacy. The same year the show debuted, the genre's first real signs of trouble arrived with the underperformance of the movie "Divergent," intended to be the Next Big Thing in movies based on YA books. Perhaps it's because of that waning trend that "The 100" tried to move past its initial premise of "teens abandoned on a post-apocalyptic Earth" and into more straight-up classic sci-fi fare. With memorable characters and plenty of storylines for viewers to have strong opinions about, it managed to outlast expectations and tell big stories.
Whether you were ultimately disappointed by how it ended or you thought the show went out on a high note, we can definitely all agree that we'll remember "The 100" and its swing-for-the-fences storytelling for years to come. If you're still missing how the show made you feel, we've rounded up some of our best recommendations for other shows that will remind you of what you loved most about "The 100."
Shows Like "The 100": "Altered Carbon"
"The 100" may have started out as a mysterious postapocalyptic drama, but the later seasons took us into the realm of aliens, mind and body hopping, and other complicated sci-fi plots. If that's more your speed, consider "Altered Carbon." In the distant future, humanity has developed technology that essentially permits immortality by allowing people to save their consciousness and "upload" it into new bodies along the way. One former prisoner is given this "new" life, with a new body and one mission: solve a murder, or pay the price. It's a tense, thrilling drama that also asks the big questions about exponential technological growth and its relationship to our essential humanity.
Shows Like "The 100": "Battlestar Galactica"
The 2004 reboot of "Battlestar Galactica" has many of the same elements as "The 100." It's set in space and focused on some of the last members of humanity and warring factions who all have their own ideas about who should have power, what decisions should be made, and what humanity should look like (if it even survives). Following the downfall of a futuristic society, only one military ship is left standing. Heady philosophical questions combine with deeply felt emotional character arcs. The ship's crew set out on a mission to chase down a long-lost colony that might not even exist outside of legends: Earth.
Shows Like "The 100": "Colony"
Humans aren't the only villains in "Colony." In this dystopian future, a shady military organization controls residents' lives and works with alien invaders who have come to mine Earth for physical resources and human labor. "1984"-style surveillance is employed to keep humans controlled, but still, a resistance group slowly grows in power. As the resistance fighters continue to rebel in big and small ways, hoping to one day take back the planet, other humans cling to their "elite" status and are reviled as collaborators with the brutal invaders. If you like your sci-fi with a heavy dose of real historical metaphor, then "Colony" is definitely a great pick.
Shows Like "The 100": "Defiance"
If you were especially intrigued by the tensions between different groups on Earth on "The 100," then "Defiance" has all the sci-fi twists you're looking for. When a species of alien refugees arrives on Earth, they expect to find an empty planet that they could terraform and shape to be a new start for their species. Shocked to find humans already living there, and pursued by another alien species, a series of unintended wars ends up damaging Earth and putting the aliens and humans in danger. Years later, as the dust settles and humans and aliens try to coexist on a much-changed Earth, new factions arise and new alliances form to try to save a budding society.
Shows Like "The 100": "The Expanse"
More intrigued by the space aspect of "The 100" than the down-to-earth part of the story? Try "The Expanse," a sci-fi drama set in a future on the brink of interplanetary war. Far in the future, humanity has successfully settled outer space. Now, three planetary powers are locked in a space-age cold war that could be disastrous for the whole universe if things go badly. As a handful of officials try to prevent the outbreak of an actual war, another small group is sent on a mission to find and bring back a missing woman. What starts out as a simple missing-persons case unravels into a system-wide conspiracy, and one mismatched crew finds itself at the center of it all.
Shows Like "The 100": "Falling Skies"
Instead of being forced to abandon Earth, as they are on "The 100," the characters of "Falling Skies" are fighting for their planet against outside invaders. Seemingly out of the blue, a terrifying alien race invades the planet, takes over the power grid, and destroys all but 10 percent of the human population. The small group of survivors try to figure out a way to live alongside their new alien overlords, all while investigating the real, sinister motivations of the invaders. With several different factions in this postapocalyptic world, each with their own secret agenda, it's a sci-fi show that fans of "The 100" will definitely love getting invested in.
Shows Like "The 100": "Firefly"
At first glance, you might think the only thing "The 100" and "Firefly" have in common is the sci-fi genre. Look closer, though, and you'll see a lot more that will appeal to fans of both. Set after a failed rebellion against an alliance that rules the star system, "Firefly" follows a renegade ship that ekes out a living doing cargo and smuggling runs. When a newcomer to their crew turns out to be a fugitive from a shadowy government organization, the rough-and-tumble crew must stick together and find ways to stay out of trouble — although trouble usually finds them anyway. It's about a group of outlaws and misfits trying to find their way in the world together, which fans of "The 100" will definitely enjoy.
Shows Like "The 100": "Fringe"
"The 100" is largely about found family, but it's a literal familial bond that forms the heart of the sci-fi drama "Fringe." Years ago, genius scientist Walter Bishop made a shocking discovery that he has kept mostly secret, even at the cost of his own sanity. When strange things start happening, FBI agent Olivia Dunham convinces Walter's estranged son to get him out of a mental hospital and share his old research. What follows is a universe-shattering, twist-packed journey that brings together bizarre case-of-the-week episodes with epic mythology and big emotional moments, all traced back to the overwhelming love of a flawed father for his son.
Shows Like "The 100": "Humans"
Remember "The 100" and its City of Light arc? "Humans" is a great choice if you found yourself fascinated by that storyline. In a world where robotics and artificial intelligence have advanced exponentially, scientists have developed human-seeming robots called "synths." Initially hailed as a huge achievement, the presence of synths has definitely transformed society, but perhaps not in the ways anyone thought. It's a sharp and fast-moving sci-fi thriller that tackles bigger questions about what really makes us human. With mind uploading, artificial intelligence, shady plots, and plenty of betrayals, it dives into philosophical questions while also just being a wild, engrossing sci-fi ride.
Shows Like "The 100": "Lost in Space"
Family is everything when it comes to the characters of "Lost in Space." Set in a future where space travel is the answer to a near-apocalypse on Earth, the show centers on a family of space colonists headed to their new life. As luck would have it, the spaceship carrying them and other would-be colonists is damaged by an alien robot. Forced to evacuate, the Robinson family crash-land on a nearby planet. Though they're fortunate that the planet itself is habitable, they still have to figure out how to survive alone and how they can get back to their original ship and make their way to their new home.
Shows Like "The 100": "Lost"
"Lost," like "The 100," centers on a group of mostly strangers with secrets in their pasts who find themselves stranded in a dangerous environment full of mysteries with only each other to rely on. After a plane crash, the survivors quickly discover that the tropical island they landed on is not a normal island at all. Over time, what starts as an attempt to survive and get rescued turns into a twisty adventure through time and space, filled with government conspiracies, metaphysical and magical mysteries, and literal time travel. Though every bit as polarizing as "The 100" by the end, "Lost" became a genuine cultural phenomenon based on both its mysteries and its characters, suggesting that the most important thing we can do in life is connect with other people.
Shows Like "The 100": "The Magicians"
If you're looking for something more fantasy than sci-fi, but with all the wild twists, compelling characters, epic romances, and scream-at-the-TV emotions as "The 100," look no further than "The Magicians." The easy pitch for the show would be something like "Harry Potter goes to grad school and discovers that Narnia is real but actually really messed up," but that does a disservice to how the show develops its world over the years. Merrily (and sometimes tragically) skewering tropes of the fantasy genre, "The Magicians" follows a misfit group of young magicians who drink, party, break each other's hearts, and try to save two worlds. The bonkers plot points are always fun (see: a magician proving his worth by reciting the speech from "Dirty Dancing"), but the characters and their complex relationships are what keep your attention.
Shows Like "The 100": "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
Dive into Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." if you want the chaotic action and sci-fi vibes of "The 100" but with more of a balance between drama and comedy. At first, the show is just a "team behind the team" adventure following a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents pursuing all the cases that superheroes don't. With the MCU's big Hydra reveal, though, the show shifts gears and grows up a bit. Each season or half-season arc has a different story and tone, from techno-horror to deals with the devil to time travel. Whether you're deeply invested in one of modern TV's best friends-to-lovers storylines, you really just want the "cursed in love" character to find happiness, or you dig the found-family vibes, it's a quirky gem that doesn't lean too heavily on the Marvel brand.
Shows Like "The 100": "Nancy Drew"
At its core, "The 100" is about a bunch of young adults who are left to clean up the mess left behind by generations of adults. "Nancy Drew" has a similar premise, with a mismatched group of young adults, all with troublesome secrets in their pasts, forced to work together to solve a murder and protect their town from curses, vengeful spirits, and more. Over time, they go from reluctant allies who don't like each other very much to a close-knit family, which really is the heart of the show. Throw in some murder mysteries, family secrets, and the kind of organic, slow-burn romance that most shows dream of having, and you've got your next genre-show obsession.
Shows Like "The 100": "Revolution"
If the first few seasons of "The 100" were your favorite, check out "Revolution" for more down-to-earth postapocalyptic relationship drama and political maneuvering. After a mysterious blackout destroys the world's electrical grid, humanity has to regroup and relearn how to live in a low-tech world. World governments collapsed, and now regions are ruled by powerful militias. In one such republic, teenager Charlie is left alone when her father is murdered and her brother is kidnapped by militia leaders. She tracks down her estranged uncle Miles to rescue her brother and try to figure out what, exactly, her parents knew about the blackout and the possible ways to turn the power back on.
Shows Like "The 100": "Shadowhunters"
"The 100" puts a whole lot of responsibility for the fate of the world on the shoulders of young adults. That's what "Shadowhunters" does too, but instead of fighting insurgents and conspiracies, they're fighting literal demons. When Clary, an aspiring artist, discovers that she's actually descended from a line of part-angel demon hunters, she's sucked into a secret world filled with all kinds of magical creatures, including vampires, faeries, warlocks, and werewolves. As it turns out, she's not just any Shadowhunter: her family tree includes a presumed-dead rebel who nearly destroyed both the human and Shadowhunter worlds, and whose evildoing may not be over yet.
Shows Like "The 100": "Snowpiercer"
"Snowpiercer" is definitely near the top of the list for shows that embrace the same kind of postapocalyptic vibe as "The 100." Instead of a group of delinquent teens sent down from a space station to find out if Earth is inhabitable again, though, "Snowpiercer" follows characters who are more grounded from the start — literally. Following an apocalypse that leaves most of the planet a frozen wasteland, the last survivors of humanity are eternally circling around on a gigantic high-tech train. Even though they're theoretically all in the same boat (or train), classism and brutal politics still define what remains of human society. It's a thoughtful look at what's really in human nature and what happens when both the best and worst of humanity are on display.
Shows Like "The 100": "The Society"
Like the main characters of "The 100," the characters of "The Society" are a group of teenagers with secrets who find themselves stranded and alone without any adult guidance. Stuck in a strange, alternate-universe version of their town where all the adults have disappeared, these teens think they're pretty much in paradise at first. Reality soon sets in, and they have to figure out how to actually build a workable society and take care of all the things the grown-ups always handled. Just like "The 100," it starts out with a lot of familiar YA tropes then puts a spin on them for plenty of twists and turns.
Shows Like "The 100": "Supernatural"
"The 100" takes place after an apocalypse, while the Winchester brothers try to avert the apocalypse (several times over, in fact) on "Supernatural." After a family tragedy, brothers Dean and Sam reluctantly embrace their destiny as supernatural hunters, tracking down all sorts of monsters and mayhem. What starts out as a fairly standard-issue monster-of-the-week style of show soon morphs into a sprawling mythology involving angels, demons, and even God and Satan. It definitely leans more toward horror fantasy than sci-fi, but if you wind up loving it, there's a lot of it to love: the show didn't go off the air until 2020, after a whopping 15 seasons!
Shows Like "The 100": "Terra Nova"
"Terra Nova" might not have been a smash hit when it was on the air, but it feels more timely than ever. Like "The 100," it focuses on what humankind does after the planet becomes uninhabitable. Instead of a space station, however, this society uses time travel as a way to try to stop disaster before it ever happens. Sent back millions of years to prehistoric times, a group of humans establish colonies in hopes of preventing human damage from destroying the planet. Once there, however, they soon discover that not everyone wants to start from scratch — some just want to strip resources from the prehistoric era and send them into the future.
Shows Like "The 100": "Travelers"
What if "The 100" was about people trying to prevent a past apocalypse, rather than trying to figure out how to rebuild in the years afterward? That's the idea behind "Travelers," a time-travel sci-fi drama about survivors of a future apocalypse taking matters into their own hands and transporting their minds into host bodies in the past, all in hopes of averting the devastation they witnessed in their own time. The sci-fi stuff is a little more in-depth than what you see in "The 100" (at least at first), but the emotional payoff is totally worth it. If you're looking for more stories about imperfect people trying to save humankind, this one is for you.
Shows Like "The 100": "12 Monkeys"
There's a little bit more of a time-travel sci-fi bent to "12 Monkeys," but its tale of what happens after a planet-wide disaster should appeal to fans of "The 100" as well. After a devastating plague wipes out billions of people, a time traveler heads 28 years back into the past to try to stop the Army of the 12 Monkeys, the shadowy organization responsible for releasing the virus in the first place. Once in the past, he teams up with a brilliant scientist and works to uncover the true identity of the leader of the 12 Monkeys, a mysterious figure called the Witness, who always seems to know their plans before even they do.
Shows Like "The 100": "The Wilds"
Out of all the shows that have aired since "The 100," "The Wilds" is definitely one of the most similar in terms of premise and storytelling. Think of it as a hybrid of "The 100" and "Lord of the Flies," with a group of "troubled" young women getting into a plane crash on their way to some kind of spiritual retreat. Trapped alone on a deserted island, they're forced to work together to stay alive, but they all soon come into conflict over what they should do to survive and try to get rescued. It might seem like they've been abandoned by accident, whereas the authority figures of "The 100" intentionally sent their kids to Earth, but anyone who's seen a sci-fi show will suspect there's more going on here.
Shows Like "The 100": "The Walking Dead"
Take "The 100" and its characters struggling to survive in a hostile and much-changed world, add literal zombies, and make the main cast adults instead of teens, and voila — you've got "The Walking Dead." If you're craving that postapocalyptic setting but with more of a horror vibe, you can't go wrong with the long-running drama based on a comic book series. When sheriff's deputy Rick wakes up after a coma, he discovers that the world has been overrun by zombies. Eventually reuniting with his family — who had presumed him dead — he and a band of survivors do what they can to rebuild their lives while fighting off both zombie and human villains alike.