As the old saying goes, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who love time travel and those who easily get headaches. If you fall into the former category, you're in luck, because the number of TV shows that deal with time travel is frankly astounding, and a lot of them even have different ideas on what the rules of moving through time and space should be. Basically, if you're of the belief that going through life in one timeline is overrated, you're looking at the right list.
Some of the shows here are action-packed dramas, while others take a more whimsical approach to history, but all of them are absolutely binge-worthy masterpieces. Whether you want to travel back hundreds of years or just a couple of decades, you'll find the perfect time travel show recommendation in the list below!
This one is a gimme, but we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Doctor Who, and honestly, if you haven't watched this long-running British sci-fi series already, we're not sure you can even call yourself a fan of time travel. Doctor Who follows a centuries-old alien known as the Doctor who has the ability to regenerate and take on different faces (hence the "long-running" bit). The Doctor, currently portrayed by Jodie Whittaker, takes unsuspecting ladies (and a few dudes) on ridiculous trips through time and space. Yep, this one checks the space travel box too! If you do choose to watch Doctor Who though, be warned -- you will end up in a fight with someone on Tumblr about which Doctor is the best. It's unavoidable. [Watch on HBO Max]
Netflix's Travelers, initially a co-production with Canada's Showcase, doesn't get even half the recognition it deserves for constructing impossibly complex time travel mythology that is still understandable and engaging for its audience, so we're recognizing it by putting it on this list. In the series, squads of elite soldiers travel to the present from hundreds of years in the future in order to change history and save the human race. If that doesn't sound cool enough, let us just add that they do so by sending their consciousnesses into the bodies of people about to die and assuming their identities. So. Freaking. Cool. [Watch on Netflix]
Based on the 1995 movie with the same name, 12 Monkeys follows a time traveler who travels from 2043 to 2015 to stop a deadly virus from wiping out most of the planet's population. However, what starts out as a simple mission to the past turns into a mind-boggling journey through some of the biggest historical events of the 20th century and a pretty epic love story. This series really digs into the rules of time travel like causation and paradoxes, so while it may give you one of the aforementioned headaches, it's seriously worth it. [Watch on Hulu]
In a sea of series that focus on saving the world with time travel, DC's Legends of Tomorroweasily could have gotten lost in the shuffle. Luckily, this CW series quickly established itself as one part nonsense, two parts pure fun, which set it apart from all the rest. If you're looking for a lighter series to help you while the days away, this one is definitely for you. The Legends team does end up saving the world quite a few times, but most of the time they just wind up turning themselves into singing puppets or fighting giant stuffed animals. [Watch on Netflix]
If you're looking for something a little more romantic to binge-watch, Outlander is your ticket. This series follows Claire Beauchamp (Caitriona Balfe), an English WWII nurse who accidentally travels from 1945 back to 1743 while on a trip to Scotland with her husband (Tobias Menzies). Thrown into the past and desperate to get home, Claire finds herself embroiled in a Scottish uprising while slowly but surely falling in love with a ruggedly handsome redhead named Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). [Watch on Netflix, Starz, Hulu with Starz add-on, Amazon Prime with Starz add-on]
Though Timeless was canceled twice, its devoted fanbase, known as Clockblockers, were so passionate that the NBC series ended up getting a two-hour series finale to wrap things up, so you won't have to worry about a cliffhanger ending. The show follows a history professor (Abigail Spencer), a soldier (Matt Lanter), and an engineer (Malcolm Barrett) who use a government-created time machine to track down a mysterious villain who is trying to rewrite American history. This series pairs the whimsy of DC's Legends of Tomorrow with the high stakes of 12 Monkeys, making it the perfect "middle of the road" option for time travel fans. [Watch on Hulu]
Though it was canceled after just one season, we're still including Terra Nova on this list because DINOSAURS. Set in a dying world where overpopulation has humans on the brink of extinction, scientists have found a way to send people back in time to the Cretaceous Period where the air is breathable, food is plentiful, and the human race can start over. Unfortunately, it's also where dinosaurs are hungry for human flesh, so that's a problem. This show wasn't executed very well (hence its cancellation), but it's worth a watch anyway just to see hot people running away from raptors. [Watch on Amazon]
When you're ready to take a break from all the action and adventure, Lost in Austen is a great time travel alternative. Rather than traveling through time per se, lead character Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper) travels into the world of her favorite novel, Pride & Prejudice. Caught up in the Georgian Era -- and the fictional lives of Mr. Darcy (Elliot Cowan) and the Bennet family -- Amanda unwittingly ends up as a character in the story she loves so dearly, and falling in love with Darcy herself. [Watch on BritBox]
The critically acclaimed Netflix series Dark is not only a complicated time travel drama, it's also a German series, so get ready to turn those subtitles on! The series, which just wrapped up its third and final season, follows multiple generations of four interconnected families living in the German town of Winden (once you've finished the show, our family tree will help explain how everyone is connected), which just so happens to be home to an underground tunnel and wormhole. Time travel and family drama make for an extremely complicated series (we don't recommend just having this one on in the background, folks), but once you get into it, you'll never look back. [Watch on Netflix]