The Syfy channel is famous for supplying science-fiction fans with a one-stop shop for the best television shows of the genre. The channel brought famous shows like Doctor Who and Continuum to the states before international shows became easily accessible through streaming platforms, and was famous for airing classics like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. As more people trade their cable subscriptions for streaming services, however, previously popular broadcasting stations are starting to fade.
Even though not everyone watches the Syfy channel, the station’s reservoir of content has something for everyone to enjoy, and it played a huge role in establishing sci-fi television as we know it today. Science-fiction is loved for its ability to explore human nature and the meaning of life in its extraordinary and unique settings, and Syfy collected some of the best titles on its channel, from classics like Mystery Science Fiction 3000 to original programming like Battlestar Galactica. Whether you are looking to reminisce or trying to find something new to watch, here are the best Syfy channel originals, ranked.
An FBI agent is sent to a small coastal town to investigate a case, but stays because of unexplained supernatural “troubles” afflicting the town. Haven is like a supernatural procedural with a new case to investigate every week. This show did not start strong, but got better with time. Haven grew from an Rotten Tomatoes score of 35% in season one to an RT score of 80% by season four. It’s too bad that the show’s best writing came too late and audiences had already lost interest. Haven was canceled after five seasons, just as the show was starting to find its rhythm.
9 Being Human
Being Human came out right after Twilight initiated the teen-vampire craze. In this series a vampire, werewolf, and ghost move in together and try to disguise themselves as humans. The Syfy original series had trouble living up to the expectations set by the BBC series with the same name. In many ways the Syfy show doesn’t have as good of writing, but it still meets all the criteria for an angsty drama about being a teenager. While Being Human may not be the most sophisticated show on this list, it works well as the paranormal romance that it is.
We don’t get to see the monster movie tropes in sci-fi TV as often as the space operas, space westerns, or super-humans subgenres, but Sanctuary is unique because it focuses on monsters rather than aliens. The show follows Dr. Helen Magnus as she attempts to create a safe place for abnormal (and sometimes paranormal) creatures and people. Some of these creatures are peaceful and harmless by nature, while many are violent and disruptive. Overall the series is a good-natured story about a kind-hearted protector of the supernatural with some darker elements mixed in.
7 Dark Matter
When a crew wakes up aboard a crashing spaceship they must band together to both preserve and remember their lives. Dark Matter is loved for its compelling premise and suspenseful plot. As the series continues, plot holes start to break the story’s believability, and Dark Matter ended after just three seasons. Even if we have to turn a blind-eye to some less-believable moments, Dark Matter‘s premise is too intriguing to pass up. The show’s violent action and story makes for an entertaining watch.
6 Warehouse 13
Based on the book with the same name, the delightful Warehouse 13 follows two Secret Service agents assigned to a warehouse that houses magical and supernatural artifacts. Every episode, they must protect a new artifact from falling into the wrong hands or being used inappropriately. We love Warehouse 13 for its witty dialogue and character chemistry. The show’s upbeat tone makes it more fun to watch than some of the more serious titles on this list, and is like if The X-Files focused more excluviely on its comedic episodes.
5 Stargate SG-1
This series ran on Showtime for a full five seasons before switching over to the Syfy channel, which is why it isn’t higher on our list, but Stargate SG-1 is such a staple in the sci-fi genre, that we still wanted to include it here despite its mixed history. This show centers around a military team as it investigates the stargate, a recently discovered Egyptian relic with the capability to open a portal to other stargates across the universe.
Some gates lead to peaceful civilizations stuck in the past while others lead to murderous and war hungry aliens determined to conquer. With every season the show adds more characters and alien planets to explore, and every destination is complete with its own intricate culture. The series was so successful that it inspired multiple spin-off shows, movies, and more. We still love Stargate SG-1 for its ingenuity and variety.
4 Stargate Atlantis
This show helped a few industry professionals get their foot in the door, including Jason Mamoa (Aquaman). Stargate Atlantis follows a similar premise as Stargate SG-1. A military team creates a base of operations in the city of Atlantis where an ancient stargate gives access to other gates across the universe. The team protects innocent civilizations from war-hungry ones. Some still like Stargate SG-1 better for its originality and foundational world-building, while others see Stargate Atlantis as an updated and improved series. Stargate Atlantis gives more time to the action while maintaining equally lovable characters.
Eureka doesn’t take itself as seriously as some other shows on this list, and is a wonderfully endearing watch as a result. This is a sci-fi comedy about a man who becomes the sheriff of a small town. The sheriff discovers that Eureka is home to the government’s most top secret technologies and experiments. Every episode displays a new hilarious mishap in the scientific labs, but we love this show’s characters even more than any of the plot and world-building. Their good-natured personalities and bravery in the face of danger somehow become more lovable with each episode.
2 The Expanse
In The Expanse, roughly 200 years in the future, people have abandoned Earth and live on space stations. When a woman aboard a space station goes missing, the investigating detective must not only find the missing women, but also uncover the universe’s greatest conspiracy.
Although this is a Syfy original, Amazon purchased the show and continued the series, starting with season four. After six seasons of content, the show ended in January 2022. Fans are sad to see the series end, but we are glad that The Expanse had a longer run than many sci-fi shows, and it tied up most of its loose ends. Viewers love The Expanse for its intricate plot and ambitious world building. The first season has a murder-mystery-like feel that makes it stand out in the genre.
1 Battlestar Galactica
The modern Battlestar Galactica is at the top of most science-fiction lists for its timeless plot and iconic characters. This reboot of the classic television show centers around the last surviving space station after the cylons (intelligent robots) annihilated mankind. The crew must find a way to survive amid growing tensions both on and off the ship. With the series’ romances, power struggles, and action sequences, it has everything sci-fi audiences look for in a TV show.