10 TV Shows Like ‘Doctor Who’ | TheReviewGeek Recommends

It won’t be long before Doctor Who will be back on our screens. Jodie Whittaker is set to play the Time Lord one last time this November and she will be regenerating into Ncuti Gatwa, who you may remember as Eric in the hit Netflix show, Sex Education.

To be honest, it’s the right time for the Doctor to regenerate as the last few series have been pretty dire. Chris Chibnall failed to give Whittaker the stories she deserved so while it’s sad to see her hand the reins to somebody else, it’s less upsetting to say goodbye to Chibnall, who will be stepping down as showrunner.

In 2023, Russel T. Davies will be returning to head up the show but if you’re looking for something to watch before Whittaker’s grand finale and Gatwa’s debut, you might want to check out the shows we have gathered for you below.


Similarities – Jack Harkness, alien nasties, references to Doctor Who

Despite the varied array of monsters that made children hide behind their sofas, Doctor Who was prime time family viewing. The same could not be said of this darker and edgier spin-off series that saw the return of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), the sexually fluid Time Agent who made his debut in an early Christopher Eccleston episode of Doctor Who.

Torchwood focused on a small team of alien hunters led by Captain Jack but their adventures were more adult in nature than their more famous counterpart. Still, despite the violence and occasional swearing, this was still respectful of the original show, and that’s partly down to the involvement of Russel T. Davies who was the showrunner for this and Doctor Who‘s 2005 reboot.

Quantum Leap

Similarities – Time travel, Historical adventures & Time machine

Sam Becket travelled through time and not space so there were no extraterrestrial adventures here. But like the Doctor, he did get to change his appearance on a regular basis but by materializing into someone else’s body instead of regeneration.

After agreeing to be a test subject for a time travel device,  Sam found himself thrust back in time with little hope of getting back to the era that he had departed from. To leave each time period, he had to right the mistakes that had caused him to leap there in the first place, with the hope that his next leap would take him closer to home.

He was joined on his adventures by Al, a holographic representation of a scientist he once worked with, and together, they tried to fix time and return Sam back to his own timeline. The show ran for five seasons but Sam didn’t return home, as expected, in the series finale. Here’s hoping Dr Ben Seong, the next scientist to use the Quantum Leap technology, will have more success when the reboot lands at the end of this year.

Life On Mars

Similarities – John Simm, Chris Chibnall & Time travel

On the surface, this isn’t much like Doctor Who at all. There’s no time machine, no aliens, and no space travel. However, it does feature a man who goes back in time, Detective Sam Tyler, who finds himself in 1976 after getting hit by a car. And as that man is played by John Simm, who previously played the Master in the classic time-travelling show, we have another connection. The other link is Chris Chibnall, the soon-to-be- regenerating Doctor Who showrunner, who penned two episodes of this short-lived show.

Of course, the big question here is this: did Sam travel back in time? Or are his adventures part of a delusion brought on by a coma? If you have never seen the show, there will be no spoilers here, but it’s worth a look, especially if you’re a fan of 1970s cop shows as well as science-fiction stories.



Similarities – Time travel, Rogue time travelers & Time machines

This NBC series only lasted for two seasons, which is a shame, as while it’s not as epic in scope as Doctor Who, it still provided plenty of time travelling adventures for viewers to get caught up in.

Timeless focuses on a group of three people – Lucy Preston (a history professor), Wyatt Logan (a soldier), and Rufus Carlin (a scientist) – who travel to various points in history to stop a man called Garcia Flynn from changing the course of history. Abraham Lincoln, Bonnie & Clyde, and Harriet Tubman are just some of the famous faces they meet along the way.

Twists and turns abound as the unlikely trio travel through time so this is a series worth watching if you’re looking for a sci-fi show with a few surprises.

The Sarah Jane Adventures

Similarities – Alien nasties, K9 & Matt Smith cameo

Who is your favourite Doctor Who companion? If you grew up watching the Time Lord during the Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker era of the show, you might well choose Sarah Jane Smith. She joined the Doctor on numerous adventures, facing all kinds of monsters, from the Daleks to dinosaurs, while winning the hearts of viewers along the way. Sarah Jane also popped up in the rebooted show when David Tennant held the keys to the Tardis.

It was only right that she should get her own series (or second series, if you count K9 & Company) and it was a joy to watch her back on screen battling against a vast array of deadly enemies. Sarah was joined by her son Luke and other kids from the neighbourhood and K9 popped up occasionally too. Sadly, Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane, passed away in 2011 so the series couldn’t continue. Still, while it’s right to shed a tear at her loss we should still look back on her with fondness and the many adventures she shared with the Doctor in the Tardis.


Similarities – Familiar locations, Alien nasties & Peter Capaldi cameo

There have been 39 seasons of Doctor Who, the longest-running science-fiction series of all time. The same cannot be said of Class, a spin-off of the show, that only lasted for one season before being taken off the air.

Still, it’s a pretty good show and while targeted at younger viewers, it will still resonate with long-term Doctor Who fans as it is set in Coal Hill Academy, the place where we first met Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter, in the very first episode of the classic series. There are plenty of other references to both old and new Doctor Who that fans will recognise so if you can excuse the teenage dramas that break up the alien-fighting, you might enjoy this one.

Battlestar Galactica

Similarities – A rebooted show, Space adventures & Deadly robots

A number of sci-fi shows have been rebooted over the years, with Doctor Who and Star Trek being among them. Battlestar Galactica was another but this was more intelligent and daring than the original show which premiered in 1978. It lasted a lot longer too, spanning four seasons as opposed to the original’s one, and had much better special effects than its cheesy but still entertaining forebear.

All the elements of the original remained – the Cylons, a plucky space crew, an interstellar war – but this was far deeper than that show was, with a more involving backstory and a whole heap of moral dilemmas. Trying to work out who was and who wasn’t a secret Cylon was part of this show’s fun, although it has to be said that the word ‘fun’ wasn’t always the best way to describe this darker incarnation of the classic series.


Similarities – K-9 & Alien nasties

As is obvious from the show’s title, this is a Doctor Who spin-off featuring the famous robot dog that played a major part in the series back in the 1970s. He made a return appearance in the rebooted show as well as in The Sarah Jane Adventures, but if you ever wanted to see him take centre stage, this now-cancelled series is for you. Or maybe not!

You see, this show isn’t very good and it’s aimed at younger children rather than older kids and adults. But if you’re a Doctor Who completist, you might want to tune in anyway, if only to hear original K-9 voice actor John Leeson provide the dialogue for the mechanical hound. There are 26 episodes in total so there is a lot to get through. However, despite its inclusion on this list, you might want to check out the earlier K-9 and Company instead or any of the vintage episodes where he assisted (and hindered) the Doctor on his time travelling adventures.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

Similarities – Time travel, Arthur Darvill, Companions & Time machine

Now sadly cancelled, this time-travelling adventure series featured a cast of characters that will be familiar to any fan of their comic book counterparts. Led by Time Master Rip Hunter, the super-powered heroes at the core of the story ventured through time to stop a ruthless villain from changing the course of history.

The series has much in common with Doctor Who, with its time-travelling spaceship the Waverider and a bad guy that is as villainous as The Master, and the fact that Rip Hunter is played by Arthur Darvill (Rory from Doctor Who) is an obvious connection too. It was a fun addition to the run of DC shows that aired on the CW and was far lighter in tone than the murkier and (and often depressing) Arrow, which kickstarted the televised DC universe.


Similarities – Time travel & Altered histories

Doctor Strange may have entered the multiverse recently but the ‘sliders’ got there before him! When Grad student Quinn (Jerry O’Connell) accidentally opens up an interdimensional wormhole, he and his unfortunate comrades are pushed into a parallel universe. Without the correct coordinates to get home, they are then forced into other timelines in other universes, and encounter worlds that are quite unlike their own.

The series managed three seasons before cancellation but news has emerged that a reboot might be in the works. This will certainly be good news to fans who felt bereft when the show ended, a little like the Doctor Who fans who were deeply upset when the BBC cancelled the original run of Doctor Who in 1989. It just goes to show, you just can’t keep a good time traveler down as they will always pop up again in your future!

So there we have it, our 10 TV show alternatives to watch when you’re finished with Doctor Who on BBC One!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

Feel free to check out more of our TV Show recommendations here!

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