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5 Shows like SeaQuest DSV: Awesome 90s Schlock

Thanasis Karavasilis itcherThe 90s were an absurd decade for television shows. The technology fascination of the 80’s was transformed into an unexplainable love for the ridiculous. As a result, irrational fantasy-sci-fi scripts started popping out. Get ready for some cult shows. ~ Thanasis Karavasilis

Cult Level TV Shows

Beneath the surface lies the future.

I have to be honest and say that ‘Seaquest DSV’ wasn’t a complete schlock failure. The first season was awesome: sea exploration, science facts, talking dolphins, and Jonathan Brandis as a super-genius whiz kid that reminded me too much of Will Wheaton in Star Trek.

Yet, the second and third seasons were awful, and tried to imitate everything that was wrong with the 9Os TV culture.

The series spawned a comic, a couple of novels, three video-games, some awesome model kits, and a line of trading cards (these were all the hype in the 90s).

Here are some TV shows like ‘Seaquest DSV’ – cult status fantasy and sci-fi shows that were created for a generation glued to their TV screens to watch Hercules, Xena, and the X-Files.


Movies Similar to ‘Seaquest DSV’…

‘Earth 2’ (Michael Duggan, Carol Flint, Mark Levin, 1994-1995)

Alonzo Solace: It seems like Terrians, but it’s not.
Morgan Martin: What’s that supposed to mean? You seem coherent, but you’re not

In the future, humanity has escaped a dead Earth and is now living in space stations orbiting the planet. A band of non-conformists is determined to leave one of the stations for a distant planet that looks an awful lot like Canada, and start a new life there. Of course, they aren’t alone.

Like ‘Seaquest’, ‘Earth 2’ tried to stay as scientifically accurate as possible. For a few episodes. Then it danced the dance of we-do-whatever-we-want-hell-yeah and was cancelled after 22 episodes.

Similarity Match: 85%
Set on an alien planet rather than the ocean, but like ‘SeaQuest’, ‘Earth 2’ tried to adopt a more serious tone that was destroyed by the 90s aura of ridiculousness.

‘Space Rangers’ (Pen Densham, 1993-1994)

There’s one thing I can’t stand: it’s a guy who can’t hold his ammunition!

If you haven’t heard of this show, don’t be alarmed. Only 6 episodes were produced and audiences got to see only 4.

Similar to ‘Babylon 5’ and ‘Deep Space Nine’, the show’s about the police force unit of a deep space station. As any police force anywhere in the universe, they deal with all kinds of alien criminals and extremely advanced technology.

This is the only show where you can see a Japanese alien who went on to star in a film based on the ‘Mortal Kombat’ videogames, was a bad-ass protagonist that moved on to ‘Babylon 5’, and an Oscan winner (Linda Hunt).

Similarity Match: 80%
‘Space Rangers’ shares a short-lived life and some of the cheesiest special effects in the 90s, yet its 4 episodes have gained cult status among fans.

‘Dark Skies’ (Brent V. Friedman, Bryce Zabel, 1996-1997)

History as we know it is a lie.

If you like the X-Files, chances are, you’re going to be amused by this shamefully blatant rip-off. The two series are so common, they could have traded John Loengard and Kimberly Sayers – a young couple in the 60s who is trying to expose the truth about a hidden alien invasion – with Mulder and Scully,  and we could’ve had a whole bunch of new ‘The X-Files’ episodes set in the past!

I may be overreacting a bit, since in ‘Dark Skies’ the aliens have already taken over our world in the 1940s.

Why see it? 20 episodes of ‘humans VS aliens’ action and the first appearance of Star Trek’s Jeri Ryan.

Similarity Match: 75%
‘Dark Skies’ shares the love for the absurd, and though it doesn’t go as far as battling gods and giant squids, it’s still the same 80s mindless fun.

‘M.A.N.T.I.S.’ (Sam Hamm, Sam Raimi, 1994-1995)

Call me… the Mantis!

This show had so much potential. I’m going to share the awesome intro with you:
“A paralyzed African-American scientist builds a powerful exo-skeleton in order to walk again, and uses his new abilities to fight crime.”

An African-American protagonist making diversity cool when issues of racism weren’t as serious as they are now in the age of internet. On top of that, he’s also an awesome scientist who refuses to remain a spectator in front of everything that’s wrong about our world.

According to the pilot, “M.A.N.T.I.S.” stands for: Mechanically Augmented Neuro-transmitter Interception System. How cool is that?

21 episodes are available, one directed by Sam Raimi himself (The Evil Dead, Spiderman 1-2-3).

Similarity Match: 72%
With absurd special effects and a troubled mid-season, ‘M.A.N.T.I.S’ might be a superhero show, but its dinosaur episode is as ridiculous as the ‘Seaquest’ Neptune one.


If You Like ‘Seaquest DSV’, You Will Like…

There are many series similar to ‘Seaquest DSV’ out there. Space series, crime series, and anything you could possibly imagine.

But my two cents is that the thing you liked more about the show was the deep sea exploration. Fascinating, wasn’t it? Not as fascinating as this next show, I guarantee it.

‘The Blue Planet’ (BBC, 2000-2001)

Mammoth series, five years in the making, taking a look at the rich tapestry of life in the world’s oceans.

If you like documentaries, you will absolutely adore this stunning BBC production starring Pierce Brosnan, David Attenborough, and Jason Roberts.

The images are breathtaking and the narration is accessible to both popular science enthusiasts and hardcore scientists. An educational documentary that’s rivaled by very few other productions, ‘The Blue Planet’ is going to make you fall in love with everything that’s beautiful about our little Earth.

Both series are set in the oceans, but this documentary, as most of the bunch, is all about the science and the facts.


The Last Frontier on Earth

TV series like ‘Seaquest DSV’ are well known among fans for their contribution to the cult history of sci-fi obscurity.

Do you have any other favorite shows from the 90s I forgot to mention? Let me know in the comments below.

Keep watching, listening, reading, and playing!

Hey there! I′m Thanasis, a writer and lover of stories who was educated to be a teacher of English. I spend my time between worlds and inside pages; written or otherwise. I roam the endless void called The Internet in a constant quest to discover pieces of great storytelling in every artistic medium imaginable.
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