The time travel trope is quintessentially romantic, with different themes and elements giving it a desperate, romantic air. There is the lone time traveler, bouncing across time in search of lost love. Or a group of travelers unable to return home due to a rift in the space/time continuum. Better yet, the star-crossed lovers fated only to get snatches of time together. Swoon. There is so much to love about time travel TV shows!
At The Silver Petticoat Review, we love time travel TV shows so much that we thought a list of binge-worthy shows was necessary.
Depending on your taste in time travel stories, below are 21 binge-worthy dramas, romantic comedies, and Sci-Fi/Fantasy stories (plus 59 bonus recommendations at the end). Not all are traditional versions of the trope, but each one includes an element of time travel.
Get ready! Your watch list is about to become longer!
Note: Availability for the “Where to Watch” sections are for the US and are subject to change at any time. It was last updated in December 2022.
BINGE-WORTHY TIME TRAVEL TV SHOWS (#1-21)
(In No Particular Order)
Synopsis: With history threatened by an evil consortium, a historian, soldier, and scientist join forces to travel through time to save history.
Their adventures take them across history, where they cross paths with some famous and lesser-known figures in history. Yet, each time they save history, they risk changing the future.
Where to Watch: The NBC series is available on Hulu or to buy on Digital and DVD.
#2 Doctor Who
Synopsis: Doctor Who follows the trials of an extraterrestrial Time Lord. Known as the Doctor, he/she travels through time to solve problems and battle injustice across the universe.
Using the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) to travel, the Doctor recruits companions to assist him/her. With various incarnations, Doctor Who is a sweeping adventure in space and time.
Note: There are many iterations of Doctor Who. Any would make our list of time travel series. Pick your favorite! The newer Doctors include Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, and Jodie Whittaker. The new Doctor will be Ncuti Gatwa in 2023.
Where to Watch: You can stream the classic series on Britbox and the 2005 revival on HBO Max. Both series are available to buy digitally and on DVD.
#3 DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Synopsis: Time-traveler Rip Hunter sets out to save the world with the timeline in catastrophic danger.
Rip brings together an unlikely group of heroes and villains previously seen in Arrow and The Flash.
These heroes and villains must come together before they can save the planet. But can they put their differences aside before time runs out?
See our review of Legends of Tomorrow.
Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix or buy digitally and on DVD.
#4 12 Monkeys*
Synopsis: Cole travels from a post-apocalyptic future to save the world from a lethal plague. He meets Dr. Cassandra Railly, a virologist, who joins him in his crusade.
It’s a race against time, as they trace the epidemic to its source and discover that appearances are deceiving and time itself is an enemy.
Where to Watch: Stream on Hulu or buy digitally and on DVD.
*Another personal favorite! When it comes to time travel shows, 12 Monkeys hits all the right notes!
#5 El Ministerio del Tiempo (The Department of Time)
Synopsis: A secret government agency recruits three people from different eras to protect Spain’s history.
They bounce through time, chasing time-traveling intruders bent on manipulating history for their own purposes.
Where to Watch: Stream on Pantaya or buy on DVD.
Synopsis: Several hundred years into the future, the last humans discover a way to send their consciousness back in time. These “travelers” assume the lives of random individuals.
With only their knowledge of history and social media profiles to guide their way, the travelers quickly discover that experience in the 21st Century is as challenging as their mission.
Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix or buy digitally and on DVD.
Content Warning: Rated TV-MA, the show has strong language, violence, and implied nudity.
#7 Scarlet Heart/Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
Synopsis of Scarlet Heart: A near-fatal accident sends Zhang Xiao, a 21st Century woman, back in time to the Qing Dynasty. It is Kangxi Emperor’s reign, and Xiao is now the teenage daughter of a Manchu general.
Known as Ma’ertai Roux, Xiao attempts to return to the future. Navigating new relationships and love, Xiao adjusts to her new life until, one day, it disappears.
Where to Watch: Stream on Viki.
Note: There is also a Korean version of Scarlet Heart called Scarlet Heart: Ryeo. Read our review here. It is only available to buy on DVD.
#8 Making History
Synopsis: Misunderstood college facilities manager Dan Chambers discovers time travel, using pop culture to become a beloved 18th Century figure. However, Dan fails to realize the impact time travel has on the present.
When Dan causes Paul Revere to delay his famous ride, he alters the events of the American Revolution. Dan then recruits well-liked history professor Chris Parish for help in correcting history.
Where to Watch: Rent on Amazon Video or buy Digital.
#9 Sleepy Hollow
Synopsis: Ichabod Crane comes back to life 250 years in the future, where he must solve a mystery going back to the time of the founding fathers.
However, he is not alone. Due to a blood curse, the headless horseman also returns to the living. The headless horseman begins a slaying spree in present-day Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod realizes that the headless horseman is the first of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.
Enter Detective Abbie Mills. Familiar with the supernatural, Abbie joins forces with Crane to stop the evil infecting Sleepy Hollow.
Where to Watch: Stream Sleepy Hollow on Hulu, the CW app, CW Seed, and Tubi. You can also buy the series on Digital and DVD.
Synopsis: Former time agent, Captain Jack Harkness, leads the Torchwood Three to investigate unexplained extraterrestrial events on Earth.
The group, part of a covert agency called the Torchwood Institute, battles supernatural threats outside the protection of the British government and law enforcement.
Where to Watch: Stream on HBO Max or buy on Digital and DVD.
Content Warning: The series is TV-MA for strong language in a few episodes. It also includes occasional explicit sensuality, suggestive content, and violence.
#11 Being Erica*
Synopsis: During therapy, Erica Strange shares her list of regrets with her therapist. In a twist in treatment, Erica goes back in time to those moments with a chance to make different decisions.
Faced with rewriting her past or leaving things as they are, Erica faces each moment with humor and a new appreciation for her choices.
Where to Watch: Stream on Hulu, Roku, Hoopla, Plex, and Crackle, and buy digitally and on DVD.
*The writing in this show is fantastic!
Content Warning: Rated TV-14, it is, at times, TV-MA. There is sensual content, as well as nudity and some bad language.
Synopsis: Around the world, a group of ordinary people is discovering they have superpowers. One man wants their powers for himself.
To protect themselves, they must learn to help each other before he destroys them all.
Where to Watch: Stream the superhero series on Peacock or buy digitally and on DVD.
#13 The Librarians*
Synopsis: Based on popular TV movies, The Librarians are a group of people who protect magical items throughout time.
Consisting of an art historian, a thief, a mathematician, and a warrior, they travel through time to find supernatural objects and bring them under the protection of the Library.
Related: Read our romantic moment between Eve and Flynn from The Librarians.
Where to Watch: Stream on Hulu, Hoopla, and Amazon’s Freevee. You can also buy it digitally and on DVD.
#14 Early Edition*
Synopsis: Having lost his job and his marriage, Gary Hobson wakes up one morning to find a cat sitting on a newspaper bearing the next day’s date.
Gary quickly learns that this early edition allows him 24 hours to try and save many people’s lives.
Where to Watch: All seasons are available for DVD purchase on Amazon Prime.
*This one is an outlier when it comes to time travel TV shows. The only thing that travels in time is the newspaper. Still, it’s Kyle Chandler…..swoon!
Synopsis: Satoru goes back 18 years to prevent the passing of his mother and three classmates.
Where to Watch: Netflix
Synopsis: British Army Nurse Claire Randall is on her second honeymoon and looking forward to a career as an Oxford historian. Suddenly transported back to 1742, Claire finds her freedom and life are in danger.
To survive, she marries Jamie Fraser. An unexpected passionate relationship develops, and Claire becomes caught between two very different men in two very different lives.
Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix and STARZ or buy on Digital and DVD.
Content Warning: TV-MA with explicit sensual content, nudity, assaults, and graphic violence.
#17 The Eternal Love
Synopsis: Unhappy with a forced marriage, Qu Tan Er attempts to end her life. She awakens from her failed attempt with the spirit of another woman inside her body. The modern Xiao Tan is Tan Er’s opposite.
Stuck in the past world, she cannot return to the present day. Whenever one of the women lies, the other person takes control. Soon, complications in love arise as the differing women fall in love with two different men.
What will become of the foursome? And will Xiao Tan be able to find her way back to her own time?
Where to Watch: Viki
#18 Lost in Austen*
Synopsis: This smart take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice finds modern, working girl Amanda Price trading places with Elizabeth Bennet.
Unable to return to her time, Amanda must try her best to fit in among the Bennets, Bingleys, and Darcys. Yet, her presence in the lives of these beloved characters sets changes to the course of the classic tale.
See our Lost in Austen review.
Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox Amazon Channel, Freevee, and Pluto TV, and buy digitally on Amazon or DVD.
Synopsis: Detective Kiera Cameron, a cop from the year 2077, and a group of dangerous criminals called Liber8 are trapped in present-day Vancouver. Kiera must stop Liber8 before they destroy the corporate world, altering the future as she knows it. She enlists the help of tech genius Alec Sadler to find a way back home.
In the meantime, Kiera takes a job with the Vancouver Police Department. With help from her partner, detective Carlos Fonnegra, they keep tabs on Liber8. Different beliefs and backgrounds lead to suspicion, but slowly, Kiera and Carlos learn to trust each other.
Where to Watch: Buy digitally from the Microsoft Store or on DVD.
Synopsis: Detective Raimy Sullivan has lived with the pain and resentment of her father’s passing for 20 years. She believes her father, NYPD Officer Frank Sullivan, was corrupt, resulting in his passing. However, everything changes when she hears his voice coming from an old ham radio.
With Raimy’s warning in his ears, Frank survives the attempt on his life. Yet, the change in the past ends in tragedy for the future. Separated by time, connected by an old radio, the two detectives work together to find a way to rewrite the past without losing the ones they love.
Where to Watch: Stream on the CW app and CW seed.
#21 Seven Days
Synopsis: CIA Agent Frank Parker receives a special assignment from the NSA. He must travel back in time to prevent current-day catastrophes.
Yet, there is a catch – he must do so within seven days. Using a time machine built from alien technology, Frank races against time in the past to save the future.
Where to Watch: Buy on DVD.
Whether you are a fan of pure romance or romantic comedies or love the adventure of time travel, there is something for everyone on our list of binge-worthy time travel TV shows. So dip in and travel back in time with some of the most swoon-worthy characters out there.
*Denotes a personal favorite of mine.
EVEN MORE TIME TRAVEL TV SHOWS TO WATCH (#22-80)
This section was updated in 2022 by Amber and Autumn (co-owners and editors of The Silver Petticoat Review).
Numerous time travel TV series exist, and you can never have enough to watch! So, we thought adding a lot more to the list would be fun.
Enjoy! We included a *star next to our personal favorites.
- #22: 356: REPEAT THE YEAR (2020) – Korean Drama about ten people traveling back in time one year.
- #23: *THE 4400 (2004; 2021) – We recommend the original series over the reboot. Both shows have 4400 people appearing in the present day from different time periods, not having aged a day since they originally disappeared.
- #24: *AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) – The later seasons of this fun Marvel series are all about time travel – and they are marvelous! The love story between Daisy and Daniel Sousa is perfect.
- #25: ALCATRAZ (2012) – Prisoners from Alcatraz disappeared in 1963 – only to reappear in the present day. The short-lived drama lasted only one season.
- #26: ALICE (2022) – A new time travel romance TV series on Kocowa and Viki.
- #27: ALWAYS A WITCH (2019) – A time-traveling witch in this Colombian series ends up in the present day.
- #28: *CHARMED(1998; 2018) – The original and new series about three sisters (and witches) include time travel episodes. Both shows are entertaining – but the original is superior.
- #29: THE CROSSING (2018) – Refugees from the future travel back in time to seek asylum.
- #30: DARK (2017) (TV-MA) – The German sci-fi thriller series deals with a time travel conspiracy in this hugely popular Netflix drama.
- #31: DIRK GENTLY/DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY (2010; 2016) – Time travel is involved in these two versions of the story about a detective investigating supernatural cases.
- #32: *A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES (2018) (TV-MA – mild) – A witch and a vampire fall in love while trying to unravel the secrets of witches, vampires, and demons. She can time travel and much of Season 2 takes place in Elizabethan times.
- #33: FAITH (2012) – Lee Min-ho stars in this time travel Korean series.
- #34: *FELICITY (1998) – The coming-of-age romance drama from J.J. Abrams ends with a time travel twist.
- #35: FIND ME IN PARIS (2018) – A children’s show about an Edwardian ballet dancer who transports into the future with a mystical necklace.
- #36: THE FLASH (AND OTHER ARROWVERSE SHOWS) (2014) – The CW superhero show is fun, likable, and regularly has time-travel storylines.
- #37: FLASHFORWARD (2009) – Joseph Fiennes stars in this canceled too-soon series about people having visions of their future.
- #38: *FRINGE (2008) – An FBI agent explores unexplained fringe science with a scientist and his son in this brilliant sci-fi series.
- #39: JOURNEYMAN (2007) – Kevin McKidd stars in this show about a time traveler who helps people.
- #40: KAIROS (2020) – The fantasy thriller K-drama series is available to stream on Viki and Kocowa.
- #41: LA BREA (2021) – A sinkhole in Los Angeles sends a group of people to an ancient world. Soon, a family becomes enmeshed in a time-travel conspiracy. It’s super fun (if illogical) and crazy – especially by Season 2.
- #42: LEGION (2017) (TV-MA) – Dan Stevens stars in this bizarre Marvel series about a man with abilities. Time travel becomes a significant element in Season 3.
- #43: *LIFE ON MARS/ASHES TO ASHES (2006; 2008) (TV-MA – mild) – DCI Sam Tyler wakes up in 1973 after being in a car accident. The spinoff series Ashes to Ashes is about another Detective who wakes up in 1981.
- #44: LIVE UP TO YOUR NAME (2017) – It’s a rom-com time travel K-drama series about a Joseon doctor transported into the present day.
- #45: *LOST (2004) – Survivors of a plane disaster discover they’re stranded on a mysterious island. Time travel plays an essential role in the brilliant romantic series.
- #46: *LOKI (2021) – Loki ends up at the Time Variance Authority – agents who stop time variants and monitor the timeline. Loki soon must fight for his survival as he travels through time.
- #47: *MANIFEST (2018) – The mystery genre series begins when a missing airplane reappears five years later – and no one has aged.
- #48: MY ONLY LOVE SONG (2017) – An actress time travels to the past in a magical van in this historical fantasy romance show.
- #49: NINE: NINE TIMES TIME TRAVEL (2013) – A TV anchorman tries to change his past in this romantic K-drama.
- #50: THE OUTER LIMITS (1963; 1995) – The sci-fi show includes episodes about time travel.
- #51: *PRIMEVAL/PRIMEVAL: NEW WORLD (2007; 2012) – Primeval and its spinoff (not nearly as good) follow a team of agents and scientists capturing prehistoric creatures traveling to the present day through mysterious anomalies. Doctor Who fans should like this one.
- #52: *QUEEN IN-HYUN’S MAN (2012) – A scholar travels into the future and connects with an actress in this charming Korean fantasy rom-com.
- #53: QUANTUM LEAP (1989; 2022) – A scientist (Scott Bakula) becomes trapped in the past and must leap between bodies and various times. The original show is superior to the new one, but the revival is still entertaining.
- #54: THE PERIPHERAL (2022) (TV-MA for violence and profanity) – Chloë Grace Moretz stars in this new science fiction series with an original time travel twist.
- #55: ROOFTOP PRINCE (2012) – The popular fantasy rom-com Korean drama follows a Crown Prince from the past transported to the present day.
- #56: *ROSWELL (1999) – Two episodes of the iconic paranormal romance series deal with time travel.
- #57: RUSSIAN DOLL (2019) (TV-MA for lots of profanity and some explicit content) – A woman from NYC finds herself stuck in a time loop in this Emmy-winning series.
- #58: *THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES (2007) – The Doctor Who spinoff is a teen series with fantastic writing about the Doctor’s former companion, journalist Sarah Jane Smith, and her adventures with a group of teens.
- #59: SHINING GIRLS (2022) (TV-MA) – Time travel plays into this mystery/crime drama starring Elisabeth Moss. The ending could have been better, but it’s an intriguing, well-acted series.
- #60: SIGNAL (2016) – This is South Korea’s version of Frequency.
- #61: SISYPHUS: THE MYTH (2021) – A woman from a war-torn future journeys to the past to change future events.
- #62: SLIDERS (1995) – A group of friends travels into parallel worlds.
- #63: SOMEWHERE BETWEEN (2017) – A woman relives a week to stop tragic events from happening.
- #64: *SPLASH SPLASH LOVE (2015) – This adorable rom-com miniseries follows a teenage girl as she travels back in time to the Joseon Era.
- #65: *STARGATE: SG-1 (1997) – A military team and scientists are part of a secret group that travels to other planets and occasionally different times through Stargates.
- #66: *STAR TREK TV SHOWS (INCLUDING THE NEW SHOWS, PICARD, AND STAR TREK: DISCOVERY) (Some series are TV-MA) – Time travel plays an essential role in the Star Trek universe.
- #67: STEINS;GATE (2011) – An animated series about time travel.
- #68: *TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES (2008) – This is an underrated romantic sci-fi series starring Lena Headey.
- #69: TERRA NOVA (2011) – A family from a dying future is transported to the prehistoric era to a colony of humans trying to survive.
- #70: THE KING: ETERNAL MONARCH (2020) – A romantic K-drama series about two parallel worlds where time travel plays a part.
- #71: THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE (2022) (TV-MA) – Steven Moffat’s new (but short-lived) romance series is about a married couple dealing with the problems of time travel.
- #72: TIME AFTER TIME (2017) – A short but sweet romantic series about a young H.G. Wells.
- #73: THE TWILIGHT ZONE (1959) – The iconic classic series includes episodes about time travel.
- #74: TOMORROW, WITH YOU (2017) – A man can time travel with a subway and tries to avoid his future fate while also falling in love.
- #75: TUNNEL (2017) – A detective travels 30 years into the future when chasing a suspect through a tunnel.
- #76: *TRU CALLING (2003) – A medical grad student develops an ability to relive the previous day and help people.
- #77: *THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY (2019) – The quirky series follows former child heroes as they try to save the world.
- #78: VOYAGERS! (1982) – The classic family series follows a young boy and a team of time travelers as they fix history.
- #79: 11.22.63 (TV-MA for violence and profanity) – James Franco stars in this mystery series based on the novel by Stephen King about a teacher who travels back in time to stop the JFK assassination.
- #80: MR. QUEEN (2020) – A chef is transported to the Joseon Era into the body of a queen in this Korean Comedy series.
What are your favorite time travel TV shows? What do you think is the best time travel show of all time? Drop me a line below!
Featured image credit: Doctor Who (BBC), Continuum (Showcase), 12 Monkeys (NBCUniversal Television Distribution), Torchwood (BBC), and Timeless (Universal Television/Sony Pictures Television/NBC).