1. Person Of Interest – 5 Seasons (2011-present)
An ex-assassin and a wealthy programmer save lives via a surveillance AI that sends them the identities of civilians involved in impending crimes. However, the details of the crimes–including the civilians’ roles–are left a mystery. These ex-CIA agent and a mysterious billionaire prevent violent crimes by utilizing an all-seeing machine that can predict the events before they happen.
The series was renewed for a fifth season to debut mid-season during the 2015–16 television season. The fifth season, which consists of 13 episodes, is expected to premiere in spring 2016. CBS has yet to announce whether it is the final season or not, although the writers have written the season with that possibility in mind.
2. The 4400 – 4 Seasons (2004-2007)
The 4400 is a science fiction TV series produced by CBS Paramount Network Television in association with BSkyB, Renegade 83, and American Zoetrope for USA Network. The show was created and written by Scott Peters and René Echevarria, and it starred Joel Gretsch and Jacqueline McKenzie. The series ran for four seasons from 2004 until its cancellation in 2007.
In the pilot episode, an enormous ball of light deposits a group of exactly 4400 people in the Cascade Range foothills near Mount Rainier, Washington. Each of the 4400 had disappeared at various times starting from 1946 in a beam of white light. None of the 4400 have aged from the time of their disappearance. Confused and disoriented, they remember nothing between the time of their disappearance and their return.
3. Battlestar Galactica (Rebooted Series) – 4 Seasons (2004-2009)
The story arc of Battlestar Galactica is set in a distant star system, where a civilization of humans live on a group of planets known as the Twelve Colonies. In the past, the Colonies had been at war with a cybernetic race of their own creation, known as the Cylons. With the unwitting help of a human scientist named Gaius Baltar, the Cylons launch a sudden sneak attack on the Colonies, laying waste to the planets and devastating their populations.
Out of a population numbering in the billions, only approximately 50,000 humans survive, most of whom were aboard civilian ships that avoided destruction. Of all the Colonial Fleet, the eponymous Battlestar Galactica appears to be the only military capital ship that survived the attack. Under the leadership of Colonial Fleet officer Commander William “Bill” Adama (Olmos) and President Laura Roslin (McDonnell), the Galactica and its crew take up the task of leading the small fugitive fleet of survivors into space in search of a fabled refuge known as Earth.
4. Doctor Who (Revived Series) – 9 Seasons (2005-present)
Doctor Who is a British science-fiction television series produced by the BBC since 1963. The series depicts the adventures of the Doctor, a Time Lord—a space and time-travelling humanoid alien. He explores the universe in his TARDIS, a sentient time-travelling space ship. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Accompanied by companions, the Doctor combats a variety of foes, while working to save civilizations and help people in need.
5. First Wave – 3 Seasons (1998-2001)
Former thief turned security specialist Kincaid Lawrence “Cade” Foster’s life was idyllic, with a beautiful wife, good job and a nice house. Unbeknownst to him, a race of extraterrestrials called the Gua have identified him as subject 117 in an experiment to test human resilience. As part of this experiment, his life is systematically ruined, including the murder of his wife, for which he is framed. He is the only one of the 117 subjects to solve the riddles of the experiment and escape arrest to live as a fugitive. The Gua are among humans in the form of hybridized genetic clones and plan to enslave humanity—the first of three “waves” intent on conquering and finally destroying the human race.
Constantly pursued by the police, and a strange government agency called the Illuminati, Foster discovers previously unknown quatrains of Nostradamus, which tell of three waves that will destroy the planet unless the “twice-blessed man” can stop them. For this reason, Foster investigates strange occurrences that may have ties to the Nostradamus quatrains, hoping to find what he needs to stop the Gua.
6. FlashForward – 1 Season (2009-2010)
FlashForward is constructed around a high concept narrative where a mysterious event has caused nearly everyone on the planet to simultaneously lose consciousness for 137 seconds, during which time people see what appears to be a vision of their own life approximately six months in the future: a global “flashforward”.
A team of Los Angeles FBI agents, led by Stanford Wedeck (Vance) and spearheaded by Mark Benford (Fiennes) and his partner Demetri Noh (Cho), begin the process of determining what happened, why, and whether it will happen again. Benford contributes a unique perspective on the investigation; in his flashforward, he saw the results of six months of investigation that he had done on the flashforward event, and he and his team use those clues to recreate the investigation.
7. Fringe – 5 Seasons (2008-2013)
Fringe follows the casework of the Fringe Division, a Joint Federal Task Force supported primarily by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which includes Agent Olivia Dunham; Dr. Walter Bishop, the archetypal mad scientist; and Peter Bishop, Walter’s estranged son and jack-of-all-trades. They are supported by Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick), the force’s director, and Agent Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), who assists Walter in laboratory research.
The Fringe Division investigates cases relating to fringe science, ranging from transhumanist experiments gone wrong to the prospect of a destructive technological singularity to a possible collision of two parallel universes. The Fringe Division’s work often intersects with advanced biotechnology developed by a company called Massive Dynamic, founded by Walter’s former partner, Dr. William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), and run by their common friend, Nina Sharp (Blair Brown). The team is also watched silently by a group of bald, pale men who are called “Observers”.
8. The Lost Room – Miniseries (2006)
Imagine a key. It’s a seemingly ordinary key but when you place into into any door, it opens into a motel room. Insert the key into your closet door, for example, you have access to the lost room. Remove the key, and that door remains a simple closet. Detective Joe Miller comes into possession of this key and by unfortunate circumstances loses his daughter inside the room. No matter how many times he looks into the room, she is gone. The miniseries revolves around Joe’s search for his daughter. The room once contained roughly 100 ordinary objects, but a mysterious incident occurred in the 60s which gave each object a supernatural ability. Joe tracts down some of the objects as clues to his daughter’s disappearance.
It’s basically if superheroes were objects instead of people. There are collectors who want all the objects as well. Very intriguing to see what the next mystery object does. Too bad it wasn’t made into a full series.
9. Nowhere Man – 1 Season (1995)
Thomas Veil is a photographer. On a trip to South America, he snaps a secret photo of government soldiers hanging four innocent civilians. This photo causes the government to track him down and “erase” his life. He is at a restaurant with his wife, goes to the bathroom, and when he returns, his wife is gone, someone has taken his table, there are new employees and everyone in restaurant wasn’t there before. Confused, he returns home only to find his house is occupied by another man and his wife says she has no idea who he is. With his bank accounts deleted, he essentially does not exist. However, he begins to unravel clues to the conspiracy against him so he travels the country trying to discover who is behind the erasing of his life.
This series was my favorite for a very long time. Its very government conspiracy based. It’s quite like the feel of X-Files, without the science fiction but it’s very mysterious.
10. Persons Unknown – 1 Season (2010)
A woman wakes up in an unfamiliar hotel room, no idea how she got there, why she’s there or who did this to her. She starts to scream for help and discovers she’s locked in there. Then she hears a voice at the door. The stranger helps her get free, and they discover there a handful of strangers who are in the same predicament, they all want to get back to their lives. They exit the hotel and realize they are in a ghost town and when they try to leave, there is an invisible barrier around the town preventing them from escaping. With no communication to the outside world, they are trapped. All they want to do is go home. The series revolves around the small group and their secrets and their determination to escape the uncaged prison.
The show only ran for one season and ended with too many questions. Very intriguing for those who enjoy social experiment style plots.
11. Sherlock – 3 Seasons (2010-present)
Sherlock depicts “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) solving various mysteries in modern-day London. Holmes is assisted by his flatmate and friend, Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman), who has returned from military service in Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Although Metropolitan Police Service Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and others are at first skeptical of Holmes, over time his remarkable intellect and powers of observation persuade them of his value. In part through Watson’s blog documenting their adventures, Holmes becomes a reluctant celebrity with the press reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Both ordinary people and the British government ask for his help.
Although the series depicts a variety of crimes and perpetrators, Holmes’ conflict with archnemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) is a recurring feature. Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), a pathologist at St. Bart’s Hospital occasionally assists Holmes in his cases. Other recurring roles include Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, Holmes and Watson’s landlady, and series co-creator Mark Gatiss as Holmes’ elder brother Mycroft.
12. Supernatural – 11 Seasons (2005-present)
Everything in mythology and lore is real. And they want to kill you. But fear not, because while the world sleeps, two brothers travel the country hunting these monsters down. From ghosts to genies and everything in between, the Winchester Brothers stop at nothing short of a brotherly sap talk to slam a silver steak into the heart of each monster.
This show’s been around for quite a while. If you haven’t seen it, it’s got high production value. Definitely for the fan of monster hunters. There’s just no such thing as aliens.
13. Twin Peaks – 2 Seasons (1990-1991)
In the small town of Twin Peaks, teenager Laura Palmer is found dead. Her murder is very mysterious and FBI agent Dale Cooper is called in to help with the case. But as time goes by, not all is as it seems it this peaceful little logging community. The entire series is a whodunit mystery, with a very bizarre outcome. But it keeps you guessing and you fall in love with the quirky residents of Twin Peaks.
As far as I know Twin Peaks was the first show on TV that featured episodes that were not concluded, the type of show that you have to watch from the beginning. It’s so bizarre and so quirky, you have to watch it. Who killed Laura Palmer?
14. The Walking Dead – 6 Seasons (2010-present)
“It’s not about the zombies”. That’s what I was told. And it’s true. As the most watched non-Superbowl show on the air, it’d be difficult to find someone who hasn’t seen it. But for those who haven’t, the zombies are the backdrop while the real story is how people survive in a post-apocalyptic nearly empty world.
You never know when someone is going to die. Absolutely brilliant writing. And just in case you’re curious, there actually isn’t a lot of swearing and almost no jump scares.
15. Warehouse 13 – 5 Seasons (2009-2014)
The series follows U.S. Secret Service Agents Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) and Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) when they are assigned to the secretive Warehouse 13 for supernatural artifacts. It is located in a barren landscape in South Dakota, and they initially regard the assignment as punishment. As they go about their assignments to retrieve missing artifacts and investigate reports of new ones, they come to understand the importance of what they are doing.
Much like The Lost Room, this series revolves around ordinary objects that have supernatural powers. Warehouse 13 is a government facility where these objects are kept and catalogued, as their everyday use would be very dangerous in the general public. The series revolves around a group of Secret Service agents hunting down these objects, neutralizing their powers temporarily and bringing them into the Warehouse for safe keeping.