Star Trek is truly a unique franchise but Battlestar Galactica may the closest to it.
Collider recently posted a new column listing shows to watch if you like Star Trek. A lot of good shows on this list, one of which we’ll get back to eventually. The interesting thing is we did a list not too dissimilar to theirs a while back. The problem that came up while researching shows for ours is evident in their list. There isn’t a series that’s like Star Trek at all. The closest show to it may be Battlestar Galactica but that’s still not a show that duplicates Trek’s formula perfectly.
When you say “like”, the idea is to compare two entities that end up having similar qualities. Coke and Pepsi, McDonald’s and Burger King, etc. The problem is that no other show has ever followed the Trek format while also having an expanded universe across multiple shows and films, and always being near the top of cutting-edge tech for special effects.
Star Trek has and will always stand as its own, unbelievably unique franchise.
Battlestar Galactica comes closest, however.
In our list, we mentioned The Expanse, The Orville, and Battlestar Galactica. We felt that these were three of the best Trek-adjacent shows that have ever existed. Yet, they all lacked something. The Orville is very good but it’s more comedy than anything, so it doesn’t have the same tone. Nor does it have an expanded universe. The Expanse is closer in tone, but doesn’t have an extended universe or follow a similar story format.
Battlestar Galactica is arguably the closest. They do have an extended universe, with several web series and a prequel series called Caprica. It has the same type of tone and moral quandary that Star Trek has, but it doesn’t have the same optimism.
It’s a great show in its own right but as it was revamped and redone by one of the greatest Trek scribes ever (Michael Moore), if Battlestar Galactica isn’t just like Trek, then there isn’t one show that will ever capture Star Trek’s essence.
So looking for shows “like” Trek will always leave you disappointed. There’s only one way to watch something like Star Trek and that’s by watching Star Trek. That’s not to dismiss any of the shows either list had on them, as those shows are fantastic. Just don’t go in expecting it to be Star Trek, go in and expect it to be its own thing.
After all, that’s what fans should be looking for in their sci-fi. Something new. These lists do a great job of appealing to that. So go and enjoy some non-Star Trek sci-fi.