tv shows like timeless

15 TV Shows You Have to Watch if You Love ‘Timeless’

Alias, Killing Eve, Lists, Orphan Black, The Americans, Timeless, Van Helsing

Timeless was canceled for the second time in June leaving fans to say, ‘NBC, why did you do this to us?’ and later renewed it for a two-part movie to tie up the series.

Fans of Timeless have been hard at work recruiting new fans organizing #SaveTimeless campaigns, hoping the series still has a chance to get picked up. But fans might find themselves needing to do some self-care and inject some new blood into our to-watch queues.

There is no question that Timeless is a special show. It’s a genre program with a diverse cast and amazing writing that’s also historically accurate. There is no replacing Timeless, but there are some other quality TV programs out there with similar themes.

Here are 15 TV shows you have to watch if you like Timeless.

1. Manhattan 

Manhattan - TV Shows to Watch if You Love Timeless

We all know the story of the atom bomb, but Manhattan dives deep into what life was like in Los Almos, New Mexico during the height of World War II. The two-season WGN program focuses on both the scientist and the families living there.

Why You’ll Love It: This is a show set in the past at a turbulent point in American history. While we, in the 21stCentury know how World War II ends, the writers and directors of Manhattan create a hi-pressure environment that’s riveting to watch. The family component also gives the show some compelling female narratives.

2. Killing Eve

Killing Eve

If you haven’t started Killing Eve, and a love good series about pursuit, then this may be the program to sink your teeth into. Eve Polastri’s life in the clandestine service isn’t shaping up as she’d hoped.

Villanelle is a talented killer with a mercurial mood that lavishes the luxuries of her job. The two women play an international game of cat and mouse as they become equally obsessed with one another. 

Why You’ll Love It: Timeless starts with a chase. Garcia Flynn steals The Mothership and that leads Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus to travel through time to stop him.

Killing Eve is a calculated measured chase of a female assassin across multiple European cities, and the dynamic between Eve and Villanelle is scintillating and dynamic. Plus, the other characters who color both Eve and Villanelle’s lives are pretty funny, so you get a bit of humor as well.

3. Sanctuary

Sanctuary - TV Shows To Watch If You Love Timeless

If you want to watch a show led by an awesome female character both on-screen and off-screen, then you should give Sanctuary a try. Amanda Tapping, of Stargate: SG-1 fame, is not only the lead but also serves as a producer and sometimes director of the show.

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Sanctuary follows Dr. Helen Magnus, who runs The Sanctuary Network, providing a safe haven for what she calls “abnormals,” but what we call monsters.  She has a team that works with her, and a unique past that includes the likes of Nikola Tesla, John Druitt, and James Watson.

Why You’ll Love It: Helen Magnus is over a century and a half old when the series starts. In one episode, her new protégé Will even asks her how she relates to people. It gives Magnus an interesting psychology and a long view of how she chooses to react to certain situations.

4. Van Helsing 

Van Helsing

Yes, Van Helsing is a vampire show, but it still puts an awesome woman at the forefront. On Van Helsing Season 1, Vanessa wakes up from a coma after a vampire uprising but with memories of her daughter who she last saw moments before a vampire attack, on the little girl’s birthday.

Along the way, Vanessa discovers that her unique blood composition is able to turn vampires human, threatening the vampire’s existence and their hold on the world.

Why You’ll Love It: Each character has their own motives that influence their own storyline, making this a very character-driven vampire series. For example, when Vanessa wakes up her immediate concern is for her daughter and the need to find her is what drives her. It’s not dissimilar to Lucy’s quest to get her sister back.

5. Warehouse 13 

Warehouse 13 - TV Shows to Watch if You Love Timeless

Warehouse 13 is a show parallels with Timeless in an unusual way. Whereas Timeless takes place primarily in the past with history, Warehouse 13 is about the objects that survive the past.

The series follows Pete Latimer and Myka Bering, two Secret Service agents who are reassigned to a warehouse in South Dakota, and tasked with finding and protecting artifacts which can be anything from Sylvia Plath’s typewriter to Pavlov’s bell and Marilyn Monroe’s hairbrush.

Why You’ll Like It: The artifacts are relics of the past and objects that hold a certain significance to their owners. Sometimes, they travel into the past, but mostly they look at these historical figures and the influence over the artifacts left behind in the present day, making Artie and the other Warehouse agents historians of a different sort.

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6. The Americans
THE AMERICANS -- "The Magic of David Copperfield V. The Statue of Liberty Disappears"
THE AMERICANS — Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings, Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings. CR: Patrick Harbron/FX

For anyone that is hungry for history, you’ll love diving into The Americans. Set shortly after Ronald Reagan was elected President, the show follows Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, KGB spies in an arranged marriage living in suburban Washington, D.C with their two children. The children are unaware of their parents’ true identities.

Things are further complicated when the Jennings’ get new neighbors: The Beemans. Stan, is an FBI agent, who is part of a new division of the agency that is tasked with finding foreign agents on U.S. soil.

At the heart of The Americans is the relationship between Elizabeth and Phillip who have been undercover for years. While the period spy thriller sends them on missions, the spies true feelings towards American values and everyday life are what drive the series forward, especially in later seasons.

Why You’ll Love It: This show pays attention to the details, just like Timeless, but it doesn’t just stop at the costumes, current events, and music. (All of which the show does fantastically.)

Masha Green, one of the show’s translators, wrote a personal essay for The New Yorker shortly after the series finale about how the show mirrored her own experience, and how the Russian used on the show was actually colloquial period Russian.  Garin Parnia also wrote an essay for Eater about food being a forbidden link to the past in The Americans.

And if none of those are reason enough to convince you: one of the creators, Joe Weisberg, is a former CIA agent turned author.

7. Farscape

Farscape - TV Shows to Watch if You Love Timeless 

Farscape was a unique show, ahead of its time when it debuted in 1999. The show wasn’t about time travel as much as it was about John Crichton being lost in space during an experimental spacecraft flight.

Lost in the Uncharted Territories on the other side of the galaxy, he finds himself on a living ship full of escaped prisoners. He quickly makes enemies in the form of a Sebacean peacekeeper commander named Cras, and has to evade capture as he attempts to find a way home.

Why You’ll Love It: Four words: The Radiant Aeryn Sun!  She was brought up in Sebacean Peacekeeper culture, which meant that she was born to be a fighter, but in Farscape Season 1 Episode 1, “Premiere” she meets John Crichton and is told for the first time that she “can be more” than just her breeding.

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Interestingly enough, Farscape also ended up in a similar situation to Timeless at the end of its fourth season. The show was left with the mother-of-all cliffhangers, and the cast and crew were given a four-hour miniseries called “The Peacekeeper Wars” to tie up the plot.

8. Orphan Black
Orphan Black - TV Shows to Watch if You Love Timeless

In Timeless Season 2, Lucy grapples with the idea that her mother is a member of Rittenhouse and in some way, Lucy’s been conditioned to serve in this secret society.

You know who else finds out that her life isn’t what she thought? Sarah Manning in Orphan Black!

On Orphan Black Season 1, Sarah discovers that she’s a clone and that someone is killing off her genetic identicals. Now, they must work together to figure out who created them and what their purpose is.

Why You’ll Love It: While not based on history, the female-led plot and the idea of an organization that is bearing down on the clones does create the same drama as Timeless. As the Leda clones adapt to their new normal they form a chosen family and embrace each other.

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Lauren Busser is a senior writer at Tell-Tale TV. Her work has also appeared on Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. She has also been a dog sitter, worked front end at a bakery, and helped out in a kindergarten classroom. She learned to knit when she was five-years-old and thus, can now complete sweaters at a superhuman speed. She’s currently nursing a novel she’s been making slow progress on for the last six years.

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