36 best science fiction TV series, ranked worst to first

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10. The Outer Limits

While most people look at The Twilight Zone as the high mark of anthology television, no one should ever overlook The Outer Limits. While The Twilight Zone dealt with both fantasy and science fiction, The Outer Limits main focus was solely on science fiction stories.

The Outer Limits aired from 1963 until 1965 on ABC and dealt with storylines including science fiction, gothic, dark fantasy, horror and mystery thriller themes. While The Twilight Zone enjoyed a long life, The Outer Limits only ran for two seasons and 49 episodes on ABC.

Joseph Stefano, who wrote Hitchcock’s Psycho, created the series and wrote most of the episodes. However, there were other big names on board as writers as well, including Robert Towne (Chinatown) and the legendary Harlan Ellison.

The first season mixed a lot of science fiction TV with horror stories, similar to The Twilight Zone, but the second season was almost solely hardcore science fiction — which might explain its cancelation in the ’60s (although moving it to Saturday nights did not help).

It did later have an influence on the most monster-centric episodes of Star Trek, which debuted after this sci-fi anthology series was canceled. William Shatner, who played Captain Kirt in Star Trek, even appeared on an episode of The Outer Limits.

There was also the interesting trivia that Harlan Ellison had his name added to the end credits of The Terminator when he sued for the strong similarity to his Outer Limits episode.

The Outer Limits was brought back in 1995 on Showtime and this version of the series lasted for seven seasons and 154 episodes, and much like the second season of the original series was more science fiction based than dark fantasy based.