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Science fiction and military fiction go together as well as peanut butter and jelly—even if you aren't a typical military fiction fan. If you really think about it, most of the largest science fiction franchises ever made fit into this genre.
Over the years, the idea of being a member of a military fleet on a ship has become a mainstay in sci-fi. Some TV shows, though, really made it seem like the best way to get tons of adventure, action, and sexy green ladies from outer space.
Truth be told, military science fiction is way more popular than you'd believe. Military science fiction authors make a good living, because they have loyal readers of the genre.
Finding a good show in this genre is as easy as can be, but great ones? Well, once in a blue moon. If you love looking for great military science fiction TV series, we're willing to bet these gems lead your pack.
If any single show really exemplified what a great military sci-fi series should be, it's Battlestar Galactica. This show had it all—rich character development, aliens, a strong military vibe, and of course, plenty of drama.
The show's writing was definitely the strong point, which is why it won a Peabody Award and remains one of the most popular franchises of its kind in existence.
Perhaps the only military science TV show series to be popular enough to be spoofed by Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Stargate SG-1 was known for sending military crew members into an interstellar portal to discover new worlds, defend the Earth against the G'ould, and just do awesome things in general.
This series proved that science fiction has some serious staying power. Stargate SG-1 also happens to be one of the longest-running science fiction shows in history, actually going so far as to break the X-Files's record.
Babylon 5 is a neat little hybrid of a TV show, making it one of the best space opera shows ever made. This series follows a crew on a military ship as they travel through space and confront extremely difficult topics such as free will, authoritarianism, and morality. The show, which was designed to be a sci-fi novel in TV format, ran five seasons and is still regarded as one of the best-written shows of its kind.
Though you might not see too many guns on this show, don't be fooled. Star Trek is technically a military science fiction TV series, primarily because all of the crew members on the Enterprise are supposed to be part of a military squadron.
Captain Kirk and the crew showed exactly what people would hope to see in a military group. Maybe that's why Kirk was such a favorite among fans, and why many military brats love the show.
Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles
Starship Troopers was one of the best military science fiction books ever written and has been turned into a cult classic of sorts. Along with being turned into a movie, the Robert A. Heinlein classic also had a little-known animated series that's definitely worth a watch.
Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles was one of the most underrated animated TV shows to be spawned during the 2000s. If you love watching slightly retro cartoons with a little bit more of a Red vs. Blue vibe, you'll adore it.
Farscape is one of the best science fiction shows to come out of Australia in recent years, and because of its success, has managed to make a global sensation out of itself. This series followed the adventure of astronaut John Crichton after he gets launched across the universe during a botched experimental mission.
Now, Crichton has to get involved with a bunch of rebels in the middle of an intergalactic battle if he wants to get home. It's an impressive story, to say the least.
Too often, people assume that every military science fiction TV series has to follow the formula of "military fleet in space, meeting aliens and stuff." Sure, it's a good formula and tends to allow for a lot of plot and character development. However, it can be stifling.
The Expanse puts this trope on its ear by having the series focus on a conspiracy that threatens to upend humanity's survival in space. Intrigue, mystery, and a lot of interesting twists make this a must-see for any sci-fi fan.
Star Wars: Clone Wars
We're going to point out that Clone Wars is actually a more non-traditional member of the military sci-fi series family. Technically, the Jedis and Siths are in their own armies, so this will work.
Clone Wars was one of the most popular shows on Cartoon Network when it first aired and it followed Anakin Skywalker's adventures before he became Vader. The characters are awesome, the animation superb, and overall, it was just a good look for everyone involved.
There's a common misconception that military sci-fi, as a genre, cannot be funny. While it's true that a lot of sci-fi is rather sobering, if not downright dramatic, there are some lighthearted comedies out there that prove sci-fi can be hilarious.
One of the best examples of a rip-roaringly, knee-slappingly funny military science fiction show is Red Dwarf. The entire premise is that a failure of a military crew, David Lister, ends up causing himself to be the last man alive after he puts himself in suspended animation.
Once he awakens, he finds out his pet cat had kittens which evolved into a tall, stylish creature just known as Cat. He's joined by the hologram of his former shipmate, Rimmer, and later on, a cyborg named Kryten.
Expect to laugh. A lot.
A good friend of mine once said that this 80s anime selection was the show that had inspired the most pilots to join their industry. It's easy to see why. This classic anime series glorified military life, aviation, and of course, giant mecha robots.
Macross remains one of the most memorable military science fiction TV series of the 1980s. Great storytelling, excellent animation, and tons of mindblowing scenes made this a show that got multiple reincarnations throughout the years, including a 1984 Macross movie.