Nothing in the Disney Plus launch lineup quite compared to the streaming service's first live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. The Pedro Pascal-starring space Western was bound to be a hit, but nothing could have prepared the world for the series' standout star, Baby Yoda, who birthed countless memes and stole the hearts of casual and hardcore Star Wars fans alike.
In addition to showcasing one of the most adorable Star Wars characters ever, the eight-episode season gave us some epic battles, interesting new (human) characters and a killer cliffhanger that makes us want The Mandalorian Season 2 right now. Sadly, we'll have to wait until later this year for the next chapter in The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda's saga, but while we wait, here are some other great shows to binge for those who want more fun space adventures ASAP.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
What better way to get a Star Wars fix than with more Star Wars? Clone Wars takes place during the three years between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and it introduces us to one of the best canon Star Wars characters ever: Anakin's Togruta padawan, Ahsoka Tano. Like Anakin, Ahsoka starts off as a precocious, impulsive Jedi in training, but her journey through the show's six seasons is different from any other Star Wars character's — in the best way.
The show may not be live action, but it features just as much humor, action and Star Wars lore as The Mandalorian, and it really transforms from a well-done but sometimes children-targeted animated show into an epic adult series by its third season. Not to mention it has direct connections to The Mandalorian: The black lightsaber sword that Moff Gideon holds up at the end of The Mandolorian's season is introduced in Clone Wars, and Clone Wars supervising Director Dave Filoni directed two episodes of Mandalorian as his live-action directorial debut. And with the seventh and final season of Clone Wars releasing next month on Disney Plus, we expect even more crossover Easter eggs in both shows' futures.
You can stream the first six seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney Plus.
Star Wars Rebels
But wait, there's more! Once you're done catching up on Clone Wars, you can jump right into Rebels, another animated show in the style of Clone Wars but set later in the Star Wars chronology, five years before Episode IV: A New Hope. New characters Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and his padawan, Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray), attempt to flee from the Galactic Empire while forming a small new rebellion, and their story brings characters from the films as well as Clone Wars into their orbit, including a grown-up Ahsoka.
Star Wars Rebels culminates in an epic moment never before seen in any Star Wars media, and it's done so well that you'll forget you're watching an animated show that aired on Disney XD.
You can stream all of Star Wars Rebels on Disney Plus.
OK, this one doesn't take place in space, but it is a new live-action fantasy show that would make for the perfect post-Mando binge-watch sesh. Henry Cavill stars as the witcher himself, Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter whose journey intersects with a sorceress named Yennefer and the Cintran princess Ciri. Many people associate The Witcher with the video game series of the same name, the most recent installment of which was released in 2015, but the show and video games are both based on a Polish fantasy series by author Andrzej Sapkowski.
For that reason, and because of its large-scale setting, bloody battles and fantasy elements, The Witcher has drawn many comparisons to HBO's Game of Thrones. If that immediately makes you recoil due to the bad taste in your mouth left from Game of Thrones' final season, we'd say to still give The Witcher a chance. Its careful plotting and attention to character is more like the earlier seasons of GoT than its weaker final epsiodes.
You can stream The Witcher on Netflix.
Lost in Space (2018)
Netflix's updated take on the 1965 sci-fi TV classic is primo family-friendly space entertainment. Like the original show, it follows the Robinson family after they crash-land on an alien planet and struggle to survive in the face of both human and alien threats. Aside from the occasional "Danger, Will Robinson!" though, you may not recognize much else from the original series. Will's robot companion is much more mysterious and imposing, and the Robinson parents grow skeptical of it as the robot and Will grow closer.
Lost in Space's aliens are also more dangerous and scary than in the original, posing a formidable threat to the family's safety. But family is still at the heart of the show, and Will's classic coming-of-age story makes for wholesome viewing despite the dangerous terrain.
You can stream Lost in Space (2018) on Netflix.
It doesn't get much more "space Western" than Joss Whedon's 2002 cult hit, Firefly. Starring Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin and Alan Tudyk, the Fox show takes place in the year 2517. After a civil war, the U.S. and China have fused their governments to create the Alliance, a supergovernment regime that seeks to control much of the universe. The show follows a group of rogues looking to avoid the Alliance's control, relying on outdated technology and guns to stay alive on the fringes of space.
Canceled after just one season due to low ratings, Firefly has yet maintained an avid fan base, resulting in the 2005 Firefly sequel movie, Serenity, as well as several comic books. Even 18 years later, new fans are discovering the series via Hulu, and some kind of revival series set in the nearer future (before 2517, please) certainly isn't out of the question.
You can stream all episodes of Firefly on Hulu.
Based on the series of bestselling books by author James S.A. Corey, The Expanse explores life for humans within a colonized solar system. When the show starts, Earth is controlled by the U.N., Mars is an independent military power and the two planets are on the brink of war. Then, there are those who were born in the Asteroid Belt, known as Belters, who are responsible for mining and supplying goods like air and water to the inner planets. But as the oppressed blue-collar workers of the solar system, Belters have started to resist the planets' demands and could be the ones who finally spark a war.
If that's not enough, there's also a human-killing alien protomolecule virus that threatens the future of humankind. Within all of that rich world building (which only gets bigger as the show goes on), though, there's a commitment to the complex characters scattered across various planets and traveling aboard various ships. You'll find yourself rooting for many of these people despite their morally gray allegiances.
You can stream The Expanse on Amazon Prime Video.
Seth MacFarlane, best known for irreverent animated comedies Family Guy and American Dad, writes, showruns and stars in this live-action Star Trek satire/homage that's equal parts goofy and sincere. Season 1 finds Capt. Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) piloting his first ship, the Orville, following a messy divorce, but antics ensue when he discovers his ex-wife is part of his new crew.
Fans of MacFarlane's humor will find a lot to like in Season 1, but if you're sitting there wondering why we're comparing a MacFarlane show to The Mandalorian, give The Orville a chance until Season 2 (or, if you're blessed with the ability to skip around shows without experiencing a panic attack, just go straight to Season 2), because that's when the series really hits its stride.
Sure, there are still some silly moments played for laughs, but the story gets much darker and more serious in the second season, and the show becomes so much better as it leans more into exploring the lives of the Orville crew. Although canceled by Fox after Season 2, The Orville quickly found new life at Hulu, where it's sure to evolve even more in its third season, airing later this year.
You can stream The Orville on Hulu.
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that almost none of the shows on this list would be the same without this 1998 anime masterpiece. As with the premises of many aforementioned shows, Cowboy Bebop takes place in a future where humans have colonized the solar system.
Our protagonist, Spike Spiegel, is a former hit man turned bounty hunter who continually seeks jobs from aboard his ship, the Bebop, to survive as a space cowboy. Joining him on his missions are his partner, former officer Jet Black; con artist Faye Valentine; hacker Edward Wong; and intelligent (and adorable) corgi Ein, with the crew's personalities and pasts clashing and intertwining in both humorous and heartbreaking ways.
Calling Cowboy Bebop a space Western would be selling the show short, as it also has noir, pulp fiction and cyberpunk vibes, existing as a genre unto itself. With gorgeous animation, a stellar score and a one-of-a-kind story, it's incredible to think that this show was released 22 years ago.
You can stream Cowboy Bebop on Hulu.
Battlestar Galactica (2004)
Many new sci-fi shows have tried to capture the magic of 2004's Battlestar Galactica, but few have gotten close. With a stellar ensemble cast, quality storytelling and eye-opening special effects (for its time, at least), the show stoked the imaginations of viewers as it teased big mysteries and developed its central cast.
Galactica focuses mainly on the crew of the titular vessel, the last ship of its kind to survive a mass-scale attack by the human-created androids called Cylons, which wiped out most of the human race living on the Twelve Colonies. Cmdr. Adama (Edward James Olmos) and President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) must work together to locate a fabled Thirteenth Colony, Earth, in order to save everyone, but there are undercover humanoid Cylons among their ranks trying to thwart their journey. The show's stellar acting, twists and divisive but apt ending still make this sci-fi epic a must-watch 16 years later.
You can stream Battlestar Galactica on Syfy.com.
Of all the shows on this list, TBS and Adult Swim's animated show Final Space in some ways shares the most similarities with Disney Plus' The Mandalorian. On the simplest level, it's a show about a guy in a spaceship who befriends a powerful alien and travels around the galaxy with him. Instead of our favorite Mando, though, the protagonist is one Gary Goodspeed, an astronaut finishing his galactic prison time who's a little more talkative than his Beskar-clad Star Wars counterpart, and instead of Baby Yoda, there's Mooncake, who's also green but a little more into destroying planets. And while Final Space has plenty of fun action, the show is primarily a comedy, similar to Rick and Morty.
If you're looking for something lighter and extremely bingeable after The Mandlorian, Final Space is a great palate cleanser — not to mention that it features the voice talents of Fred Armisen, David Tennant, Ron Perlman, Andy Richter, Conan O'Brien and more.
You can rent or buy Seasons 1 and 2 of Final Space through iTunes Store, Google Play or Amazon Prime Video.