Movie Reviews

10 Best TV Shows Like Apple TV+'s Dark Matter

Summary

  • Dark Matter
    and other similar sci-fi shows explore the concept of alternate universes and the multiverse.
  • Shows like
    Severance
    ,
    Silo
    , and
    Westworld
    don’t necessarily share the concept of alternate realities, but tonally, they fit right in with
    Dark Matter
    .
  • What If…?
    ,
    For All Mankind
    , and
    Dark
    explore vast timelines and multiverses, pairing their themese well with
    Dark Matter
    .



Apple TV+’s Dark Matter is a mind-bending science-fiction series featuring a grounded approach to the multiverse. Adapted from Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter novel, the series sees Jason Dessen (Joel Edgerton) plucked out of his own universe and replaced by a version of himself from a different universe. Through the Box, this story’s means of traveling through the multiverse, Jason1 must find a way back to his own universe and to reunite with his family and save them from his identical impostor, Jason2, before it’s too late.

While Dark Matter season 1 has concluded with unanswered questions, and a potential season 2 remains unconfirmed, there are plenty of other television series to watch that deal with similar themes and sci-fi elements. Many of these series also explore the multiverse, a single alternate reality, or a world that includes multiple versions of the same individual. Other recommendations are featured because their approach to the science-fiction genre is just as ambitious as that of Dark Matter.


TV Show

Year

Rotten Tomatoes Score

Severance

2022-Present

97%

Westworld

2016-2022

79%

Silo

2023-Present

88%

For All Mankind

2019-Present

93%

Orphan Black

2013-2017

93%

Dark

2017-2020

95%

What If…?

2021-Present

91%

3 Body Problem

2024-Present

78%

Rick and Morty

2013-Present

91%

From

2022-Present

94%


Related

Dark Matter’s Multiverse Compared To Other Movies & TV Shows

Elements of Dark Matter reflect other multiverse stories told on TV and in movies, but the Apple TV+ adaptation also makes its own mark on the trope.


10 Severance (2022-Present)

Ben Stiller Directs A Unique Sci-Fi Take On Capitalism

Apple TV+ has gained a reputation for its many stellar science-fiction series, with Severance arguably being the best of them all. Severance follows the life of an employee named Mark S. at a corporation called Lumon Industries, where he and other employees have undergone a medical procedure called “severance” that separates their work and non-work memories. As Mark’s two lives and separate sets of memories gradually begin to collide, it becomes clear that something deeply sinister is happening at Lumon.


Like Dark Matter, Severance has an ambitious sci-fi premise, but it works because the story is largely grounded in everyday people and everyday occurrences. There are no superheroes or superpowers. Instead, Severance adds drama and high stakes to the common absurdities and trivialities of corporate office culture, akin to the drama that exists in Dark Matter‘s impostor Jason2 trying to blend into and replace Jason1’s mundane and ordinary life.

9 Westworld (2016-2022)

An Engaging Sci-Fi Thriller That Focuses On Multiple Characters’ Timelines


HBO’s Westworld takes place in a Wild West-themed park where guests can interact with and live out their fantasies with perfectly lifelike androids referred to as hosts. This status quo is upended when some of the hosts begin to question the nature of their reality. As the series progresses, multiple versions of different hosts are created, along with hosts modeled after and resembling certain human characters.

Westworld
is based on a 1973 film of the same name, written and directed by
Jurassic Park
‘s Michael Crichton.

Even though Westworld doesn’t feature a multiverse, the multiple versions of the same characters and questioning the nature of reality go hand-in-hand with Dark Matter. Both series tell ambitious stories and use the science-fiction genre to examine complex philosophical questions about identity and autonomy. Westworld also features Dark Matter actor Jimmi Simpson, who earned an Emmy Award nomination for his performance in the HBO series.


8 Silo (2023-Present)

Dark Sci-Fi Starring Rebecca Ferguson and Tim Robbins

Silo tells the story of a future where a community lives in a giant, 144-level underground silo, and venturing into the toxic world outside is a death sentence. Beyond being a dystopian science-fiction story, Silo presents a multi-genre narrative as it is also a political thriller and contains many elements of a procedural mystery. One of the silo’s engineers, Juliette Nichols, is thrust into the investigation of several mysterious deaths and long-held secrets, leading her to unearth the alarming truth about the silo.


Dark Matter is a science-fiction series, above all else, but especially in its early episodes, it also contains a great deal of mystery as Jason1 tries to understand who kidnapped him, how he ended up in a different universe, how the Box works, and how he can return to his own universe. Both series are filled with mind-blowing and unpredictable plot twists. With Jason1 being an ordinary physics professor and Silo‘s Juliette being an engineer who resides in the lowest levels of the silo, the protagonists are thrown into the midst of extraordinary circumstances they feel ill-equipped to navigate.


Related

Silo Season 1 Ending Explained

Apple TV+’s Silo season 1 introduces many mysteries and nagging questions in its dystopian drama and waits till its ending moments to resolve them.

7 For All Mankind (2019-Present)

A Sci-Fi Show That Rewrites American History

For All Mankind doesn’t feature multiple alternate realities, but instead explores a single alternate reality over the course of the series. This timeline follows an alternate history where the Soviet Union lands with a crew on the moonbefore the United States and the global space race continues. Each season takes place a decade later in the timeline, allowing the series to explore the progression of this world in depth.


Dark Matter presents many fascinating and visually captivating universes, including worlds plagued by natural disasters and infestations that wiped out most of the human population, seemingly utopian worlds, and worlds that only contain minor differences from Jason1’s universe. The series doesn’t stay in most of these universes for long, as Jason1 is focused on returning to his universe where his family still resides. For All Mankind is an opportunity to see what happens in an alternate universe over the course of several decades.

6 Orphan Black (2013-2017)

An Acting Master Class From Tatiana Maslany


Orphan Black follows a clone named Sarah Manning and other clones identical to her, all of whom are played by Tatiana Maslany. One of the best parts of Orphan Black is experiencing the acting masterclass Maslany puts on through her various performances. Similarly, one of the best parts of Dark Matter is seeing Edgerton play multiple versions of Jason.

Edgerton makes each version of Jason feel both distinct and similar to Jason1, as do Simpson, Jennifer Connelly, and the other Dark Matter cast members who play multiple versions of their characters. Both Orphan Black and Dark Matter are also interested in examining the ethical implications of their science-fiction premises and how they impact identity. Ultimately, the best science-fiction stories are often moral explorations of identity.


5 Dark (2017-2020)

A Deep Adventure Through Time

Dark Matter is arguably the most mind-boggling show since Dark, which makes the Netflix series an ideal show to watch next. Whether it be Jason1 getting kidnapped in Dark Matter or two children going missing in Dark, both series take seemingly straightforward incidents and use them as the launchpad to explore complex scientific concepts. In Dark Matter‘s case, it’s the multiverse, and in Dark‘s case, it’s time travel and alternate timelines, with many shifts occurring between the various universes and timelines.


As the characters in the respective series venture deeper through alternate timelines or through the multiverse, the consequences only become steeper and more complex, which inevitably raises the stakes further. Thematically, both Dark Matter and Dark are greatly interested in their characters experiencing regret, the different choices they could’ve made in life, and “the road not taken.” This leads to intriguing questions about free will in stories that can get tonally grim, but deeply compelling.

4 What If…? (2021-Present)

A Marvel Series That Explores The Multiverse Of What Could Be And What Could Have Been


Dark Matter distinguishes itself by being a multiverse story devoid of superheroes, supervillains, and superpowers, but for those interested in a multiverse that features these elements, Marvel’s What If…? is the perfect show to watch. Some episodes focus on a conflict that only affects a single universe, while others deal with far-reaching consequences that can impact the entire multiverse. Each episode is narrated by the all-seeing Uatu the Watcher, who is also a character in the show.

Some characters from
What If…?
have made the transition to the live-action MCU, like Captain Carter in
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
.


What If…? doesn’t shy away from the dauntingly infinite nature of the multiverse and the endless possibilities it presents. Neither does Dark Matter, which visually communicates this with the never-ending hallways of the Box lined with doors, each of them leading to a different universe. While What If…? is more humorous and fantastical than Dark Matter, its take on the multiverse can still be bleak and terrifying, especially when Doctor Strange gets involved.

3 3 Body Problem (2024-Present)

The Netflix Series Has An Expansive, Infinite Universe


3 Body Problem is an expansive story in which the events of the Chinese Cultural Revolution led to an alien species being contacted. Instead of telling yet another tale of humanity fighting off an alien invasion, 3 Body Problem‘s aliens won’t arrive on Earth for approximately another 400 years. This enables the series to focus more on its human characters, and their response to the San-Ti’s arrival, and the danger the San-Ti have already placed them in.

With a story spanning centuries and a universe in which it will take centuries for the San-Ti to reach Earth, 3 Body Problem‘s universe feels infinite.Dark Matter‘s multiverse is literally infinite, as it spans endless universes. 3 Body Problem and Dark Matter are science-fiction series unafraid to take on tremendous scope and world-building, which works because all these elements are grounded in relatable and nuanced characters.


2 Rick and Morty (2013-Present)

Rick and Morty may seem too absurd and juvenile in its humor and tone to be anything like Dark Matter. Nevertheless, there are parallels between the series, the most obvious being their reliance on the multiverse. Many of the other parallels are between Rick and Jason2, with both characters not living in their original universe, but instead primarily living in a different universe where they try to make it seem like they fit in and have always been there.


Jason2 and Rick are also both brilliant scientists. Jason2 successfully created the Box that made multiverse travel possible, while for Jason1, it was only ever a theory that he never pursued or tried to make a reality. Rick’s scientific genius is used to create many groundbreaking innovations throughout the series, including the portal gun, the neutrino bomb, and most fittingly, the formula on how to create concentrated dark matter.

1 From (2022-Present)

Stephen King-Esque Sci-Fi


Starring Lost‘s Harold Perrineau, From tells the story of a small town that keeps its denizens trapped and that is plagued by flesh-eating monsters that emerge every night after sunset. The science-fiction horror series contains a great deal of mystery as the characters seek to understand how they ended up in the town in the first place, how to protect themselves against the town’s many dangers, and most importantly, how to escape and find a way home. The mysteries only deepen as threats even greater than the monsters begin to reveal themselves.

A similar sense of mysterious dread and tension hangs over Dark Matter as Jason1 traverses the multiverse and as Jason2 takes Jason1’s life as his own. Both series contain mysteries to solve and a feeling of trapped desperation, whether it’s Jason1 feeling trapped in the Box, or From‘s characters trapped in the town. As grim as both series get, at the heart of the stories is the relatable desire to return home and be reunited with loved ones again.


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