What would you do if you could travel through time? Where (or rather when) would you go, and who would you want to meet? Would you hang out with your past self or meet your future kids? Maybe you’d want to change the world for the better.
It’s something we’ve all thought about, and the magical possibilities of time travel have fueled science fiction for decades.
These eight time travel TV shows are full of timey-wimey adventure, and will sate your desire to travel through history.
We can’t talk about TV shows with time travel and not discuss the absolute granddaddy of them all. Doctor Who has been a staple of British television for close to 60 years. It's less a mere series than an undeniable pop culture phenomenon. Without it, the longest-running sci-fi TV series of all time, entertainment simply wouldn't be the same.
That can make watching Doctor Who somewhat daunting for newbies. Where do you start with a show about an alien who has the ability to journey through space and time, played by at least 13 different actors, depending on which continuity you accept?
But Doctor Who isn't elitist fare. It's good old-fashioned fun, and so undeniably charming that even sci-fi skeptics will be won over. With Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa set to take over the title role, there's no better time to jump into the TARDIS and join the ride!
While it only lasted two seasons, the NBC series Timeless managed to accrue a dedicated fan-base who are still campaigning on Twitter for a renewal.
Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett star as a trio of experts—a professor, a soldier, and an engineer, respectively—who are tasked with traveling through time to capture a villainous figure with plans to amend history for his own nefarious schemes.
It's a classic kind of adventure show, a suitable throwback to '80s programming like Quantum Leap, only with sharper special effects and appropriately witty banter between its good-looking central trio.
While Timeless' run was cut short, it at least received a fan-servicey finale that wrapped up all the loose ends.
Every romance lover knows the world of Outlander.
Based on the wildly popular series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander follows the story of Jamie Fraser and Clare Randall across centuries and continents. Their love has enraptured millions for many decades on both the small screen and the written page, and it's not hard to see why. Combine the visceral passion of its central pair with the high-stakes tension of historical change, and you’ve got pure time travel catnip.
In the most recent season, the Frasers are parents, with an adult daughter of their own who tags along for the ride. The series is currently renewed through to its seventh season, and there’s also a prequel in the works. In other words, Sassenach, Outlander fans won’t go hungry any time soon.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
After an immortal tyrant conquers Earth and kills his wife and son, Time Master Rip Hunter swears revenge and promises to save humanity. To do so, he recruits a ragtag team of some of DC's lesser-known heroes and villains to take on the nefarious figures hoping to shred the universe.
It sounds like heavy stuff. But over the course of seven seasons, the CW series DC's Legends of Tomorrow became one of network TV's most impressively layered and entertaining series.
As much a comedy as it was a sci-fi series, this show was utterly distinct from anything else on TV, including the current glut of superhero content. You don't have to be a comic book aficionado to enjoy it either. It's that much of a good time!
Life On Mars
It's 2006. Sam Tyler is a regular police officer working in Manchester when he is hit by a car. He wakes up, lying on the ground, only to discover that it's now 1973. Sam is still an officer at the station he works for in his timeline, but now he's a rank lower and under the command of the stern DCI Gene Hunt.
Has Sam died? Is he in a coma? Or did he actually travel back in time, and if so, why?
Life On Mars is one of the best British TV shows of the 2000s, and it spawned an equally strong sequel series, Ashes to Ashes, set in the '80s. The fashion is amazing, the music choices classic, and Sam's hunt for the truth is surprising at every turn.
Terry Gilliam’s film Twelve Monkeys spawned a fascinating SYFY series that ran for four seasons and won a few awards along the way.
12 Monkeys starts in 2043, where James Cole has been selected by a team of scientists to travel back in time to 2015 and stop the release of a deadly virus that killed no fewer than seven billion people. He finds himself embroiled in the mystery of the Army of the 12 Monkeys, a mysterious organization credited with releasing the plague.
If you've seen the movie, you may think that you know where the 12 Monkeys series is going. You'd be deadly wrong. The series is its own beast, a fascinating dive into the mysteries of premeditation versus free will, all wrapped up in a cycle of thrills and shocks that will keep you on edge for four seasons.
Joel Hutcherson, A.K.A. Peeta from The Hunger Games, headlines this Hulu series executive-produced by Seth Rogen.
Hutcherson plays a bored janitor named Josh who, upon successfully completing his favorite and notoriously-difficut video game, is recruited by its two main characters to save the world through time travel.
Future Man is joke-heavy, as is befitting a show with Rogen's name in the credits. But it's also a classic nostalgia trip that proudly borrows from '80s sci-fi classics and layers plenty of silly gags on top of it.
Tomorrow, With You
Time travel is a pretty common feature of K-Dramas, especially the romantic ones, so we could have made an entire list of them. For now, we’ll focus on Tomorrow, With You, a 2017 series starring Shin Min-a and Lee Je-hoon.
Yoo So-joon is the CEO of a real estate company. He possesses the ability to travel through time via his local subway. After seeing a future version of himself who is alone and miserable, he decides to marry Song Ma-rin, a former child star and amateur photographer whom he saved from an accident.
Their marriage starts off as one of convenience, a way for So-joon to avoid his fate; but soon, he learns to love Ma-rin for whom she is. Yet avoiding one's future is easier said than done, and there are obstacles that stand in the way of their possible happy-ever-after.