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The Greatest 6 Sci-Fi Franchises in Film and TV History

“Sci-Fi”, often identified as the “literature of ideas”, is closely related to superhero fiction, horror, and fantasy, so it’s not surprising that the list of so many popular movies you’ve probably seen. Science fiction can trace its roots to ancient mythology and the sci-fi genre revolutionized the entertainment industry and gained popularity since the term was introduced in 1920 by Hugo Gernsback. His contributions to the genre as publisher were so significant that, along with the novelists H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, he is sometimes called “The Father of Science Fiction.” Of course, let us not forget Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, which is widely regarded as the first true science-fiction story. Since then, SF franchises have captured the attention and adoration of millions of fans around the world. By blending futuristic technology visions with scientific tropes, they create captivating and almost addictive content for audiences.

Whether you’re a down-to-earth person or a dreamer, there’s something to suit anyone. The sci-fi world gives wings to any idea that might seem impossible and unachievable in real life and can also offer a realistic representation of the future. It’s an excellent way to escape your stressful life and explore the unknown, alien races, future technology, and other things of interest. These fictional worlds have proven successful enough to be the backbone of huge franchises that have crossed mediums, from video games to television programs to tangible products.   

SF movies are expensive to make but generate significant profits, and some of them have become real cinema classics. Whether through their sheer longevity or strong legacy, we’ve compiled a list featuring some of the biggest. There are obviously many more brilliant ones out there, so please mention them in the comments below.

Photo by Victor Serban on Unsplash


Star Wars

Star Wars, a franchise that impacted the pop culture in a way that’s hard to measure, may well have had the most considerable effect on Hollywood as well. Introduced by filmmaker George Lucas, founder of the Indiana Jones franchise, and released in 1977, it transformed the movie business landscape forever.

It’s been 45 years since the first movie was released and six since the last one. But if you talk to anyone who has seen A New Hope about it, they’ll likely speak with the same heartfelt passion about it. Even showing them the Star Wars pop vinyl figures from Funko, something that’s become synonymous with fandom, will trigger their dopamine release. Grogu is a symbolic character and inspiration for memes on social media, which is why even those who haven’t seen Star Wars are familiar with Baby Yoda.  

The long-awaited trilogy from 1999 might not have been that successful but it brought publicity to the brand which led to its acquisition by Disney. More films and some series have ensured the franchise’s continued dominance.

Star Trek

Star Trek, airing for the first time in 1966, was something the world hadn’t seen before and which transformed SF on TV forever. There’s a good reason why it should be crowned king. The audience was familiar with silly, childish space adventures at the time. But this franchise chose to go off the beaten track and provide something more realistic, approaching real issues with social and political messages and bringing unparalleled diversity.

Star Trek began an unprecedented expansion with the launch of The Next Generation in 1987, including over 12 TV series and 13 movies. The quality wasn’t the same for each film or movie, but many have been praised for their message of optimism and hope and their focus on high-quality storytelling.

These series are more than just a media juggernaut. Even those lacking Star Trek culture know the line, “beam me up, Scotty”.

Doctor Who

In the British series “Doctor Who”, the protagonist is sent through time and space in a vessel. It first aired in 1963, but thanks to the magic of SF where the hero can “regenerate” into a new body, thus allowing new actors to play the role occasionally, it was adapted for the 21st century. Therefore, “Doctor Who” would always be a new and unique character. The program could reinvent itself to keep up with changing times.

It was cancelled in 1989 and revived in 2005, before becoming a global franchise and running continuously ever since. The series’ popularity was initially limited to the United Kingdom, where it was regarded as a cultural institution, but it quickly spread throughout the world, starting with the ’80s.

For over six decades, the franchise delighted its audience with stories full of suspense, action, hope, and joy.

The Twilight Zone

This 1959 series isn’t completely SF as it includes elements of romance, horror, mystery, and even humor, but all of these are in addition to sci-fi. Rod Serling, the show’s founder, appeared as a host on the show, opening and closing each episode. He’d introduce a story, an exceptional story, or ponder a puzzle. However, owing to its climactic twists, this series is still as watchable today as it was when it first aired.

Beyond the initial five-season run, Steven Spielberg adapted it as a big-budget feature film in 1983. There were more revivals, but all failed to win the audience’s hearts. However, Hollywood’s persistent attempts are a testament to the franchise’s powerful impact.  


Alien, regarded as the “best SF film of the decade”, was launched in 1979 and blended gruesome horror and science in an unparalleled way. This Ridley Scott movie aimed to take the “Star Wars” universe and create something completely new. It involves “Xenomorph”, a deadly creature that terrorizes the crew space and that has grabbed a seat among the most notable movie monsters in cinema history.  

Alien came back with “Aliens”, the 1986 sequel, that transformed the plot into a fast-paced action film.

The Terminator

This James Cameron film features humans and robots in a traditional SF setting. The character, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is that of an evil murderer taking the role of a cyborg that’s been sent back in time to bare the war between robots and humans. Its sequel, “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” is often considered the most excellent SF film ever created.

The following films in the series weren’t as well-received, but “The Terminator” earned its place as one of the top sci-fi franchises as a result of its first two efforts.

A few more titles

While the franchises above revolutionized the movie industry, many other famous ones would be worthy of a spot on this list, including the following:

  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Back to the Future
  • Dune
  • Harry Potter
  • The Matrix
  • Mad Max



  1. Bit ridiculous to claim SF was invented by some American publisher in the 1920s. Writers like HG Wells and Jules Verne were writing it in the 19th century, Shelley’s Frankenstein is certainly SF, and there are novels going back to the 17th century and earlier that can be regarded as SF. Even works written in ancient Greece, India and Babylon can be seen as containing themes that are the roots of the genre. But I suppose this is an American website and you like to think you invented everything.

    • I think it was saying that the term “science-fiction” was coined by Hugo Gernsbeck.

      Also this is a British website.

  2. There is more to entertainment than Movies and TV.

    The impact of Warhammer 40,000 on video games is huge.

    Also no mention of Dune, not just the recent movie, older TV show and movie, but one of the most popular and influencing novels in fiction.

    • That is of course very true, but as this is a site that deals with film and TV then that is what the focus is on. Totally agree though that Dune should have been in the list.

  3. And no Doctor Who, ok.

    • Doctor Who is literally the third entry on the list so not sure why you commented saying that

  4. Warhammer 40k? Because eyou are not interested,you don’t add it in! I’m sorry but you are a shit reporter.

    • As it states in the article, this is about films and TV shows. Warhammer 40K is brilliant but has yet to make a successful jump to either of those mediums which is why it was not included. Hopefully, Henry Cavill will change that with his Warhammer 40K project.

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