The Acolyte: 12 Similar Shows You Must Watch

Disney+’s ‘The Acolyte‘ is a ‘Star Wars’ series that takes place 100 years before the events of ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.’ Created by Leslye Headland, the series follows Lee Jung-jae as a Jedi Master, Sol, investigating a series of crimes that lead him to his former disciple. The plot also features twin sisters Osha and Mae Aniseya (Amandla Stenberg), who reunite after being separated by tragedy, with Osha leaving the Jedi Order due to her internal agitation with the Force and Mae emerging as a dark-side warrior.

The first ‘Star Wars’ project of its kind, ‘The Acolyte,’ thrives in suspense and mystery as the sisters uncover a mysterious, sinister entity that has been murdering Jedis one by one in a killing spree. We recommend ten shows like ‘The Acolyte’ for fans who love stories set out of this world or borrow other unexplanatory elements.

12. Firefly (2002-2003)

The low-budget series takes place in the year 2517, following a group of renegades on the spaceship Serenity. Created by Joss Whedon, the ship’s crew includes a skilled pilot, a mysterious doctor, and a courtesan, each bringing their own backgrounds and conflicts into the mix. ‘Firefly’ allows survival, rebellion, and the essence of human relationships under pressure to place an element of unpredictability in the characters. For a space-themed project, the beloved Fox show rarely goes into the accurate details of journeying around, indulging in sword fights, or introducing unseen alien species.

Starring Nathan Fillion as the Han Solo-reminiscent bounty hunter, Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, the short-lived series centers on the fringes of a corrupt galactic government, not much different from the world of ‘Star Wars,’ but with more focus on its neo-Western themes than action. The show’s gritty realism and moral ambiguity are reminiscent of ‘The Acolyte,’ as both present plenty to provoke the complexities of good and evil. ‘Firefly’ also shares the Disney+ show’s emphasis on a tight-knit group facing external threats from the darker side of their respective universes, often putting them on the run.

11. Heroes (2006-2010)

This science fiction series from NBC revolves around a group of ordinary people who discover they have superhuman abilities. Created by Tim Kring, the plot chronicles characters such as Peter Petrelli, who can absorb others’ powers; Hiro Nakamura, who can manipulate time; Claire Bennet, who can heal and regenerate her physical self; and Nathan Petrelli, who can fly. Amidst their adventures to prevent catastrophic events, the heroes encounter a deeper conspiracy, mimicking the basic premise of ‘The Acolyte.’ Moreover, both shows feed their characters with the objective to discover their destiny, identity, and real meaning behind their powers while also controlling their temptations to turn to the dark side. To make their visual appeals alike, the two series also offer a compelling visual style resembling comic books.

10. The 100 (2014-2020)

A post-apocalyptic action sci-fi, ‘The 100‘ is set nearly a century after a nuclear apocalypse and follows the tale of a group of juvenile delinquents. Sent from a space habitat, the Ark, back to Earth to determine if it is habitable, the group, led by Clarke Griffin and Bellamy Blake, navigates survival and leadership challenges in a harsh new world. An adaptation of Kass Morgan’s ‘The 100’ young adult novels, this CW show mixes science-fiction with survival, governance, and human nature in extreme conditions. Like ‘The Acolyte,’ the Jason Rothenberg show also has a diverse group of characters dealing with personal demons and threats from unknown creatures and climate. Both series delve into the themes of morality and the internal struggle between many sheds of character dynamics in an intense, high-stakes setting.

9. The Walking Dead: Dead City (2023-)

A sequel to the post-apocalyptic horror franchise, ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘The Walking Dead: Dead City’ takes place in the decaying ruins of New York City. Adapting the background details from Robert Kirkman’s eponymous graphic novels, creator Eli Jorné’s story follows Maggie and Negan, two former rivals forced to collaborate to find their way out of the walker-infested cityscape and rescue Maggie’s kidnapped son, Hershel. Over their mission, the duo encounters new threats and unexpected allies, pushing their survival skills to the limit. The series features Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan reprising their roles from the original series.

The redemption arcs and trust building between its protagonists, amidst all the chaos, strikingly parallels the character development in ‘The Acolyte,’ despite their vastly different backdrops. The AMC series similarly fuses tension and suspense while unraveling a significant conspiracy, using “race-against-time” and “mission-gone-wrong” tropes. Emphasizing the thin line between heroism and villainy, both entries into the legendary franchises highlight the struggles of surviving in hostile environments, with protagonists immersed in morally complicated, high-stakes dramas.

8. Andor (2022-)

A predecessor to ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,’ the first spin-off film in the franchise, ‘Andor‘ offers a grittier look at the universe of lightsabers. The series brings back Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, as he evolves from a disillusioned thief into a pivotal spy for the Rebel Alliance. With Tony Gilroy acting as the showrunner, Andor’s journey keeps embracing a darker, more mature tone to act upon the rebellion and the espionage-like efforts and sacrifices it requires. To present a nuanced perspective of the fight against the Empire, the show features a stellar supporting cast, including Stellan Skarsgård and Fiona Shaw.

‘Andor’s exploration of moral ambiguity and the personal cost of war echoes the themes found in ‘The Acolyte.’ Both series highlight characters caught in the struggle between right and wrong, struggling to decide whether to act on the injustice or contribute to it. The well-written focus on character development and a more grounded, realistic portrayal of the ‘Star Wars’ universe provides a compelling connection to ‘The Acolyte.’ Additionally, the two shows also share visual similarities with gritty aesthetics, enhancing the mature storytelling.

7. The Expanse (2015-2022)

The Expanse‘ is a sci-fi television series set in a future where humanity has colonized the solar system. Adapted from James S. A. Corey’s eponymous novel series, the story concerns a group consisting of a police detective, a spaceship crew, and a UN executive who uncover a vast conspiracy threatening the fragile peace between Earth, Mars, and the Belt. Created by showrunners Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, and Naren Shankar, the Syfy channel program features complex characters such as James Holden, the idealistic captain of the Rocinante, and Chrisjen Avasarala, a shrewd UN politician.

‘The Expanse’ unveils themes of political intrigue, social injustice, and survival. Like ‘The Acolyte,’ it also comments on the darker aspects of its universe, focusing on the righteousness and alliances formed under uncomfortable situations. Both series highlight the consequences of power struggles and the characters’ internal conflicts, making them strong character-driven dramas.

6. Jessica Jones (2015-2019)

A neo-noir superhero series from Marvel that takes place on Earth, ‘Jessica Jones‘ follows the titular character, a former superhero with superhuman strength who becomes a private investigator. As she battles her personal demons and uncovers dark conspiracies in New York City, Jessica (Krysten Ritter) must deal with PTSD in her struggle to rebuild her life. Producer Melissa Rosenberg’s vision takes the series into Jessica’s confrontations with David Tennant’s Kilgrave, a mind-controlling villain from her past. It also co-stars Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, and Carrie-Anne Moss.

‘Jessica Jones’ opts for a slow-burn pacing, painting a character-based picture of trauma, power, and redemption, not dissimilar to ‘The Acolyte’ in its handling of mental breakdowns and dangers of dark forces taking over one’s mind. Both series focus on protagonists dealing with their pasts and seeking justice in morally complex worlds, brought up under the disguise of an investigation. The dark, psychological tone of the Netflix show, combined with its strong character arcs and emphasis on women empowerment, further strengthens its place as a fitting companion to ‘The Acolyte.’

5. Lost in Space (2018-2021)

A rival of the legendary 1965 series of the same name, this aptly named science fiction series follows the Robinson family as they embark on a mission to colonize a new planet, only to find themselves stranded on an unknown alien world. Creator Irwin Allen adapted Johann David Wyss’s novel ‘The Swiss Family Robinson’ for Netflix with a modernized touch and advanced special effects. The plot follows the Robinsons wandering around various environments, encountering mysterious creatures as they fight to survive.

The space opera smartly retains the family bonds and exploration of the original, mirroring ‘The Acolyte’s focus on trust building and finding one’s true self while bigger external threats stare them in the face. Both series delve into the challenges of venturing into the unknown and the resilience required to overcome obstacles. The action unfolding in the middle of visually stunning landscapes and high-stakes scenarios of ‘Lost in Space‘ also resonates with the adventurous spirit of the visual spectacle that ‘The Acolyte’ is.

4. Quantum Leap (1989-1993)

This NBC venture is a classic science fiction series that follows Dr. Sam Beckett, a physicist who invents a time-travel experiment known as ‘Quantum Leap.’ Scott Bakula stars as Beckett, leaping into different bodies throughout history, righting wrongs and changing lives while guided by the hologram of his friend, Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell). Each episode features Beckett adapting to new identities and situations, always aiming to leap back home. Created by Donald P. Bellisario, ‘Quantum Leap’ touches on the themes of destiny, ethics, and the human experience, much like ‘The Acolyte.’

Both ‘Quantum Leap’ and ‘The Acolyte’ explore the protagonist’s struggle with unforeseen challenges and moral dilemmas, emphasizing the impact of individual actions on the broader narrative. The character-driven plot and historical settings in ‘Quantum Leap’ further parallel the ‘Star Wars’ thriller with the profound impact personal conflicts have on Beckett’s missions. The two shows also begin with indescribable settings as characters find themselves amidst mysterious circumstances, only to head back once they take control of the mission.

3. Star Trek: Discovery (2017-2024)

One of the many series in the science fiction franchise ‘Star Trek,’ the closest rival of ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ revolves around the adventures of the USS Discovery, primarily led by Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). The series begins a decade before 1967’s ‘Star Trek’ and often includes troops that both stick to the franchise’s spaceship-oriented style as well break barriers. The crew’s ability to shift in and out of the spaceship via the Spore Drive adds a fresh element to their explorations and battles.

As the title suggests, ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ introduces the mystery of seven red signals appearing across the galaxy, which drives much of the plot in subsequent seasons. Created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ thrives on exploration, identity, and survival, paralleling ‘The Acolyte’ in its focus on complex character arcs and the fight against looming threats. Both series utilize mystery as a leading element, with their characters giving their everything to learn the barricaded secrets. The mysterious signals in the ‘Star Trek’ show echo the enigmatic nature of the Force from ‘The Acolyte,’ resulting in a thought-provoking overall experience.

2. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2020)

‘The Clone Wars’ is set a decade after ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace’ and feels up most of the blank duration within the prequel trilogy. The animated series, created by George Lucas himself, explores the expansive conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Separatists. Key characters like Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka Tano face non-stop battles and personal challenges, adding depth to the overarching ‘Star Wars’ saga. With its ability to enlarge the already rich universe, the long-lasting fan-favorite series significantly influences all subsequent ‘Star Wars’ media.

The detailed animation and complex story arcs in ‘Clone Wars’ mirror the thematic richness of ‘The Acolyte.’ Both series attempt to look into the nuanced relationships and moral complexities within Lucas’ universe. Furthermore, ‘Clone Wars’ also remains the first and most prominent media form of the franchise to describe the explanations behind Force, the Jedi Order, and how the dark side aligns closely with them. The uncertainty surrounding that last part also finds its way into ‘The Acolyte,’ with Osha’s dual nature. The show’s ability to expand on character backstories makes it an essential watch for fans of ‘The Acolyte’ seeking a deeper understanding of the epic galaxy.

1. Dark Matter (2015-2017)

This Syfy channel series follows six people who wake up on a derelict starship, Raza, with no memory of who they are or how they got there. As they try to uncover their identities and pasts, they encounter various threats and mysteries in the vastness of space. Creators Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie adapted the sci-fi show from their comic strips which were featured in Dark Horse Comics. Actors Marc Bendavid, Melissa O’Neil, and Anthony Lemke star in the roles of One to Six, portraying the characters with amnesia possessing distinct and often conflicting personalities.

‘Dark Matter’ is characterized by its intricate plot and excessive sense of mystery. At the end of the pilot episode, the characters find out about their dark past as mercenaries, though they do not naturally succumb to it. This conflict forces them to choose between the violent path and creating a new identity to better their previous wrongdoings. The pivotal moment shockingly reflects the basis of ‘The Acolyte’ and the polarized temptations Osha often feels when her inner voices clash.

Read More: Where Was The Acolyte Filmed?