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20 Shows Like Futurama To Put On Your Watchlist

Debuting on Fox in 1999, the animated science fiction comedy "Futurama" struggled to attract the same kind of audience as creator Matt Groening's other series, "The Simpsons," but still impressed the audience watching. After ending its first run in 2003, it was revived five years later as a series of direct-to-video films and subsequently four more 13-episode seasons on Comedy Central.

Centered on 20th century slacker Philip J. Fry, a pizza delivery boy who is unwittingly frozen in suspended animation for a thousand years, the series chronicles his new life in the year 3000. Working for his descendant, Professor Farnsworth — a doddering old man and mad scientist of sorts — he adventures around the galaxy as part of an interplanetary delivery service Planet Express. Alongside his one-eyed mutant crush Leela, his cynical robot friend Bender, and an assortment of oddball characters, their adventures take them to far off planets and parallel dimensions, while telling heartfelt and earnest stories of love and loss along the way. 

Now that it's returning for a third time, this time as a streaming original on Hulu, you may be eager to find something like "Futurama" while you wait. From live action to animation, from sci-fi adventures to workplace comedies, here's 20 shows like Futurama to put on your watch list.

Red Dwarf

Possibly the blueprint for Matt Groening's animated science fiction comedy "Futurama," the British farce "Red Dwarf" centers on an oafish human slob named Lister who is put in suspended animation and awakens in the far future. There he joins a band of misfits, including a robot sidekick, as they have adventures across the universe. Sound familiar? Well, in "Red Dwarf," Lister was a technician aboard a massive city-sized mining ship, and frozen for over three million years. When he wakes, he's joined by Kryten, a sardonic but good-natured android; the ship's pretentious holographic assistant Rimmer; and Cat, the now humanoid evolved descendant of his original pet cat.

Debuting in the UK in 1988, it enjoyed reruns in the States on public access for years before finding its way to American cable networks as the decades passed. Running on and off for nearly 40 years, it continues unabated, with Lister and crew going on some of the most zany outer space adventures you'll ever find. It's the closest we're likely to come to a live action version of "Futurama" and older seasons may seem a bit dated by today's standards, but if you can look past its archaic special effects (which were always part of its charm) you'll find one of the most clever and twisted farcical science fiction shows ever made.

Star Trek: Lower Decks

An animated series from the mind of "Rick & Morty" writer Mike McMahan, "Star Trek: Lower Decks" is the first series in the franchise aimed almost entirely at adults, even more than the nearly family-friendly "Futurama." But like Matt Groening's sci-fi comedy, "Lower Decks" is led by an innocently optimistic but frustrated hero. In this case it's Ensign Boimler, whose attempts to impress his superiors seem to always fall flat. Departing from "Trek" convention, the series is centered on Boimler and his fellow low-ranking cogs aboard the USS Cerritos, a mediocre Starfleet ship. Far from the mighty Federation flagship, the Cerritos is sent on less important missions rather than the juicy assignments that the Enterprise always seems to gets.

But Ensigns Boimler, Rutherford, Tendi, and Mariner still manage to get into all kinds of crazy, over-the-top adventures, and mix it up with the biggest villains that "Star Trek" has on offer, usually due to some hilarious misunderstanding. Fights with Klingons, Romulans, and the Borg are also the source of as much laughs as they are excitement, as "Lower Decks" breaks the mold as an adult comedy. Whether you're a true Trek fan or only know "Star Trek" from its many mentions on "Futurama," "Lower Decks" will satisfy any fan of Fry and Bender.

Rick & Morty

If you thought "Futurama" was nutty, wait until you see "Rick & Morty," another animated series with a man — or in this case a boy — in way over his head as he enters a world of aliens, robots, and alternate dimensions. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the series centers on aging alcoholic and tripped-out genius scientist Rick Sanchez, who ropes his grandson Morty into a number of inter-dimensional hijinks involving cloned duplicates, dream realities, and pretty much any out-there sci-fi trope you can imagine.

But what makes "Rick & Morty" so truly brilliant is its ability to tell the most ridiculous stories that defy conventional description. And no matter how insane the episodes get, the next one always seems to manage to top the last one. With a cast of bizarre supporting characters surrounding an ordinary suburban family who are somehow never overwhelmed by Grandpa Rick's latest experiment or intergalactic feud — or alien love affair — it's essentially "Futurama" on steroids. A two-time Prime Time Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Animated Series, it may also be one of the most beloved of any on this list.


Writer and director James Gunn ("Guardians of the Galaxy") jumped from Marvel to DC when he directed "The Suicide Squad," which led to the spinoff TV series "Peacemaker," starring former WWE wrestler John Cena reprising his role from the film. The show sees the quasi-hero assembling a new group of teammates after being recruited by another team of government operatives: Peacemaker works alongside elite assassin Harcourt, genius tech guru Economos, mild-mannered Adebayo, and his best friend and sidekick Vigilante, who has shades of Bender's sociopathic nature. 

Overseen by the enigmatic Murn, they are out to thwart a plot by a race of alien parasites to take over human hosts. Like "Futurama," the series has a cast of oddballs and eccentrics getting up to wild antics while trying to stop a diabolical villain. Like Philip Fry, Peacemaker — despite being a trained killer — is in deeper than he wants to be, and finds himself drawn in even further by his attraction to the team's de facto leader, the mysterious and hard-nosed Harcourt. 

A hysterical heartfelt comedy that also digs deep into Peacemaker's abusive childhood, this one is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for some of the most graphic and bloody violence you're likely to see on a mainstream television series, and plenty of filthy language alongside the raucous laughs.

The Regular Show

Airing on Cartoon Network, "The Regular Show" has been often compared to the animated juggernaut "Adventure Time." Tonally, however, the series has much more in common with "Futurama," as it's led by two ordinary working boys, the jaded raccoon Rigby and his bird pal Morticai. Like Fry, the pair work a dead-end job — they're groundskeepers at a strange public park where seemingly nothing goes right, and a number of unusual cosmic dimensions intersect. 

Alongside their boss Benson (a walking, talking bubblegum machine), fellow groundskeeper Skips (a wise and ancient Yeti voiced by Mark Hamill), and coworkers Muscleman, High Five Ghost, and Pops, Mordecai and Rigby are always finding themselves on adventures across space and time, and going toe-to-toe with the weirdest beings across the multiverse. From the cosmic baby monster Klorgbane to a walking telephone known as the Master Prank Caller, to Death himself and his demonic baby Thomas, the boys are always getting mixed up in some abstract adventure when all they really want to do is sit around and play video games.

Plus, like "Futurama," the action in "The Regular Show" is often punctuated by some of the best use of outdated pop songs you're likely to hear on an animated series. If you're up for some non sequitur stories that won't always make a ton of sense but will leave you laughing just the same, check this one out.

Bojack Horseman

The animated black comedy "BoJack Horseman" is rooted in a modern Earthly setting, though not an entirely human one — it takes place in a version of Hollywood populated by people as well as anthropomorphic animals that include cats, dogs, and more. This includes one Bojack Horseman, a down-on-his-luck actor and formerly the star of a hit sitcom who has struggled since it went off the air. Once again we have a series with a protagonist not unlike "Futurama" star Philip Fry, a downtrodden slacker continually forced to deal with life's indignities.

In the series, Bojack experiences loneliness and trauma and is forced to confront his own worst nature, his dark past, and an uncertain future. While taking a cynical stab at the highs and lows of the entertainment industry, the series also uses this fantastical version of Tinseltown just as "Futurama" uses science fiction — as a way of examining political and social issues we're dealing with in the very real world. Razor-sharp writing and deadpan humor also make it one of the most thoughtful and darkly comedic series ever put to screen.

Invader Zim

Created by Jhonen Vazquez, the former indie comic book creator responsible for goth sensation "Johnny The Homicidal Maniac," "Invader Zim" took the action from the page to the screen, and into outer space. The series tells the story of an alien invader named Zim, a naive and bumbling low-ranking member of the Irkan Empire, who wishes to subjugate far-off worlds. To that end, his superiors give Zim the planet Earth to infiltrate and eventually conquer, but not because they think he's up to the task. Instead, his assignment is little more than an excuse to rid themselves of an annoying co-worker.

Obnoxious, overbearing, and narcissistic, Zim has been demoted previously, and jumps at the chance for a new assignment. Now finding himself on the hostile planet Earth, Zim must go undercover as a human and gather intelligence to send back to his people on Irk, and prepare the planet for invasion by their deadly armada. While Zim's complete incompetence makes his efforts futile, he is determined to complete his mission, often squaring off with Dib, a young human and paranormal investigator who is dead set on thwarting Zim's plans for terrestrial conquest. Needless to say, it's a perfect match for the sardonic humor and outer space adventure favored by "Futurama" fans.


From the mind of future "Avengers" director Joss Whedon came "Firefly," perhaps one of television's most beloved single-season shows. Starring Nathan Fillion ("Castle"), Moneca Baccarin ("Deadpool"), and Alan Tudyk ("Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"), the series chronicled the adventures of the starship Serenity in the backwater reaches of the galaxy. Like "Futurama," this space-based sci-fi western sees an eclectic crew traveling the stars, using their salvaged starship to ferry supplies and passengers from planet to planet. Their many adventures around the galaxy sometimes lead to them being hired by master criminals too, but the heroes usually pick the side of righteousness, helping those in need.

But it's hardly all seriousness, and "Firefly" deftly straddles the line between action and comedy with a breezy ease. Led by futuristic space cowboy Malcolm Reynolds (Fillion), the series was part "Star Wars" adventure and "Star Trek" philosophy, mixed with "Futurama" humor. Crisp scripts from Whedon, with his customary fast-paced stories and witty dialogue, made the series a cult classic that its fans willed back into existence for a follow-up feature film.

The Boys

Like "Peacemaker," the Amazon Original Series "The Boys" is on the more adult and graphically violent side of the aisle. But like "Futurama," its acerbic wit and over-the-top stories make it a worthy entrant. The show is set in a world of superheroes where one ordinary young man finds himself way in over his head when his girlfriend is mistakenly killed by a super-speedy hero, and he's recruited by a group of lowlife vigilantes who want the world's corrupt superheroes to face consequences for the collateral damage and havoc they wreak on city streets.

Led by the vengeful Billy Butcher, the team of outcasts and misfits faces an uphill battle in fighting back against super-powered heroes who can topple skyscrapers with their bare hands. Together they uncover a web of political corruption and vast conspiracies that threaten to unravel the very fabric of society once exposed. A dark drama, a black comedy, and a rollicking good time, it'll make you laugh and gasp in alternating breaths.


From "Futurama" creator Matt Groening comes the animated fantasy comedy "Enchantment" on Netflix. Rather than the far-off future and outer space, this slapstick series is set in the distant past in a fantastical realm of witches, wizards, orcs, goblins, and trolls. There, in the fictional kingdom of Dreamland, we meet Princess Bean, a hard-drinking, strong-willed upstart teenager of royal blood. She's joined by an elf named Elfo and former bar owner Luci, who is now Bean's own personal demon. 

Bean eventually realizes she too has incredible powers, and she and her magical friends explore the kingdom together. During their adventures, they uncover mysteries and meet a number of new allies and enemies, everyone from noble knights to evil exorcists. Having tackled modern day suburbia on "The Simpsons" and a science fiction future in "Futurama," the series was Groening's first shot at fantasy, and he delivered with aplomb.

Final Space

With an all-star voice cast that included David Tennant ("Doctor Who"), Kieth David ("Gargoyles"), Steven Yeun ("The Walking Dead"), Tom Kenny ("SpongeBob SquarePants"), and late night talk show host Conan O'Brien, the adult animated sci-fi comedy "Final Space" aired for three seasons on Cartoon Network, concluding its run in 2021. More of an action adventure than "Futurama," it's just as silly, with an overworked, simple-minded astronaut named Gary Goodspeed at the center of it all. As Gary finds himself near the end of his years-long assignment in deep space, he encounters a being called Mooncake, a little glowing green blob who also happens to be a planet-destroying alien.

After discovering that they're being hunted by a nefarious interstellar overlord bent on the destruction of the universe, Gary and Mooncake try to stop him. Along the way, the pair's joined by feline bounty hunter Avocato and his son Little Cato, alien gadget-peddler Clarence, and Nightfall, a mysterious woman from an alternate future. An underrated and under-seen gem, it was hailed as an "animated treasure" by IndieWire, with the outlet calling it "weird and wonderful."

The Orville

Comic veteran Seth MacFarlane, creator of animated hits like "Family Guy," "The Cleveland Show," and "American Dad," took his first foray into science fiction with "The Orville," but this time he broke from tradition, making a live-action sitcom instead of an animated series. With this loving homage to "Star Trek," MacFarlane let his geek flag fly, mimicking the sci-fi franchise's look and feel but turning it into a wacky comedy. The show's set aboard the starship Orville, commanded by Captain Ed Mercer, who is surprised when his newly assigned first officer turns out to be his ex-wife, Commander Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki).

The ship's oddball crew — a mix of humans and aliens — explores the galaxy and deals with incredible danger, adventure, and excitement, along with the problems that come with Mercer working alongside his ex-wife. Like "Futurama," MacFarlane's "The Orville" is in many ways a workplace comedy in outer space, as the crew deals with everyday personal drama in the midst of run-ins with cosmic alien villains. With its laughs a mix of sci-fi parody and classic wacky slapstick, it's sure to scratch the sci-fi comedy itch of any "Futurama" fan. 

Better Off Ted

Firmly grounded right on a twisted version of modern-day planet Earth, "Better Off Ted" shares with "Futurama" its dreary, jaded take on workplace life. In the series we meet Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington), an unhappy employee toiling away at Veridian Dynamics, a nebulous mega-corporation with diabolical goals. They've fixed presidential elections, controlled the public discourse, and of course created evil killer robots and world-destroying pandas. 

Everyone at Verdian Dynamics knows full well the horrible things their company does, including Ted and his boss Veronica (Portia De Rossi). They even let their superiors perform hideous experiments on them in an effort to show just how loyal they are to the company, in the vain hope it will keep their jobs secure. However, one of the show's many charms is how it puts Ted and his coworkers in troubling moral dilemmas, and shows them wrestling with the balance between their desire to keep their jobs and the sinister consequences of their work.

A deeply cynical satire of corporate greed, political corruption, and workplace ennui, it was created by Victor Fresco, the man behind "My Name Is Earl" and "Andy Richter Controls the Universe." The series garnered praise from critics, but sadly wasn't given the run it deserved, and concluded after two excellent seasons.

Tripping the Rift

A mix of sci-fi tropes from across pop culture, "Tripping the Rift" is a CGI animated comedy set in a universe not unlike that of "Star Trek," with elements of "Star Wars" thrown in for good measure. Set in a region of space called "The Rift" that acts as a buffer between the generally good Confederation and the generally evil Dark Clown Empire, it follows a group of alien outlaws attempting to eke out a living in the bizarre borderland. Aboard the starship Jupiter 42 we meet Captain Chode, a greedy, money-grubbing purple blob, and his girlfriend Six (a play on "Star Trek" star Seven of Nine), pilot T'Nuk, engineer Whip, and robot servant Gus. 

With a voice cast that included "Newsradio" star Stephen Root and "Futurama" veteran Maurice LaMarch, as well as four different actors rotating in and out of the role of Six (Terry Farrell, Gina Gershon, Jenny McCarthy, and Carmen Electra), it was a mix of talent as unusual as the series itself. While it's definitely an acquired taste, fans of "Futurama" will find a certain kinship in the series, which ran for three seasons on the Syfy channel beginning in 2004.

Solar Opposites

Created by Justin Roiland, one half of the duo behind "Rick And Morty," and Mike McMahan, a staff writer and creator of "Star Trek: Lower Decks," the Hulu original animated sci-fi comedy "Solar Opposites" has much in common with both. It also has great debt owed to the likes of "Futurama," its sci-fi animated comedy forebear. Centered on Korvo, father in a family of aliens who escape the destruction of their homeworld, the story finds its main characters taking refuge on planet Earth in a quiet American suburb. But Korvo isn't in full agreement with his family regarding their new home, with each of them having different opinions when it comes to their love-hate relationship with the planet and its people.

Unusually, the series also boasts a secondary, parallel story of a terrarium built by Korvo's clone, and the society of shrunken human beings who live within. For "Futurama" fans seeking more animated sci-fi hijinks, "Solar Opposites" is well worth seeking out.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

One of Adult Swim's earliest endeavors, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" launched on Cartoon Network in 2001. With a cast of characters that included a floating basket of french fries, a happy-go-lucky talking milkshake, and a depressed meatball, the series should be appreciated by "Futurama" fans for its sheer audaciousness as well as its off-the-wall comedy. An absurd and surreal animated series, it follows Meatwad, Frylock, and Master Shake as they share a house in a normal human suburb and get into all kinds of mix-ups, some involving their slovenly neighbor Carl.

Fueled by its completely bizarre premise and even more bizarre humor, the series lasted an impressive 11 seasons, coming to a close in 2015 after nearly 150 episodes and a feature film that dropped in theaters in 2007. Like "Futurama," it was revived long after it left the airwaves, earning a second theatrical release in the summer of 2022.

Adventure Time

One of the most celebrated all-ages animated comedies of the past decade, "Adventure Time" is set in a bizarre fantasy realm, and follows the adventures of a young boy named Finn and his sidekick, the shapeshifting Jake the Dog. With a supporting cast that included Princess Bubblegum, Earl of Lemongrab, and the Ice King, it featured epic stories with a surrealist vibe that gave the series a trippy, dreamlike quality unlike anything before or since.

Though primarily aimed at children, it was quickly embraced by older audiences who saw a childlike wonder and inescapably fun quality that many adult series had lost sight of over the years. They also recognized and appreciated the series' exploration of philosophy and existentialism, as well as its deep — but loving — character drama. 

A visual treat and a narrative rollercoaster full of unforgettably emotional moments, "Adventure Time" has been hailed by Vox as one of the most ambitious and overall best shows of its time. Fans of "Futurama" will recognize Bender's voice actor John DiMaggio as Jake — and they'll also recognize the same kinds of heady stories sprinkled into the wacky colorful cartoon adventure.

Dexter's Laboratory

The only animated series on this list to pre-date "Futurama," the Cartoon Network's children's cartoon "Dexter's Laboratory" aired for four seasons beginning in 1996. Dexter is a boy genius and child scientist who has his own laboratory in his parents' basement, and performs all manner of wild experiments there. Dexter is constantly pestered by his sister Dee Dee, and the pair get themselves in more trouble than they can handle. There's also a superhero monkey and a rival neighborhood lad named Mandark, Dexter's mad scientist rival who seeks to rule the world. But thanks to Dexter and his latest inventions, he'll never get the chance.

Like many cartoons of the late '90s — like "SpongeBob SquarePants," "Courage the Cowardly Dog," and "The Fairly OddParents" — "Dexter's Laboratory" found a way to appeal to both kids and adults while still managing to be family-friendly. Its clever satire and parody of comic tropes appealed to fans of all ages, and embraced science fiction like "Futurama" in a way few did in its day. 

Gravity Falls

Some shows like "Futurama" show their characters on strange alien worlds in outer space, but "Gravity Falls" shows how Earth itself can sometimes seem just as alien as any far-off planet. The show follows the adventures of brother and sister team Dipper and Mabel, paranormal investigators who track instances of the supernatural in the backwoods town of Gravity Falls, Oregon where they live with their great-uncle Stan. The crotchety old coot they call "Grunkle" also runs the town's biggest tourist attraction, the Mystery Shack, all while Dipper and Mabel contend with the mysteries of Gravity Falls — everything from zombies to portals to other dimensions.

A touching coming of age story as much as it is a colorful adventure series, "Gravity Footsteps" follows in the footsteps of "Goosebumps" and "Erie, Indiana." Embracing horror and the supernatural as much as "Futurama" champions science fiction, it's a delight for all ages, and was highly rated by critics and audiences alike, singled out for its strong characters and classic pulp-inspired storytelling.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Audiences today may be more familiar with the 2005 feature film adaptation of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," starring Martin Freeman ("Sherlock"), Zooey Deschanel ("New Girl"), and Sam Rockwell ("Iron Man 2"), But long before it got the Hollywood treatment, the acclaimed book series by Douglas Adams had already been adapted into a low-budget sci-fi comedy series on the BBC in 1978. Based on the original radio plays that predated Adams' novels, it essentially covers what would become the first two books in the series, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "Life, the Universe, and Everything." 

The series' protagonist is Arthur Dent, a precursor to Philip Fry, an everyman thrust into the world of aliens and robots after a galactic empire reveals plans to destroy planet Earth to make way for an interstellar bypass. With a new alien best friend, a robot sidekick, and a crush on Trillian, a scientist and part-time pilot of the starship Heart of Gold, Arthur's journey will leave viewers finding much in common with Matt Groening's science fiction masterpiece.