Voltron: Legendary Defender season 8 just arrived on Netflix, ending its incredible eight-season run and leaving fans with a great hole in their hearts. While the ending was extraordinary, that also means it’s over. What do you do with your life without Voltron? How can you go on?
Fear not, fans! We have some recommendations for shows that may fill your heart the same way Voltron has. Shows that will make you laugh, cry, and cheer. Shows that, perhaps, can capture some of the same magic of the series we all love. You might even find a new favorite!
We’re not including any of the previous Voltron series here because hey, that’s way too obvious!
Robotech had a huge effect on Voltron’s showrunners Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos. Both spoke to us about the direct ways it influenced Voltron. Dos Santos specifically explained how Robotech was his first introduction to depth of character in an animation series.
“Characters had relationships, like genuine romantic relationships. (Also) people died and stayed dead. That was a life lesson for me as a kid.”
Robotech follows three generations of heroes fighting against three successive waves of alien invaders. It features rich science fiction world building mixed with soap opera romance and a healthy dose of mecha action. For an 80’s series the show is incredibly ahead of its time, with strong women across every saga and even the gender-bending Lancer in the New Generation arc.
If you wished you had a show with the same aesthetic of Voltron but with more romance? Robotech has got you covered.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Another update of a beloved 80’s cartoon that features a loveable cast of characters facing seemingly insurmountable odds? Yeah, She-Ra is the perfect fit especially since it’s also produced by DreamWorks and is currently streaming on Netflix.
She-Ra follows the story of Adora, a child soldier of the evil Horde who discovers a new way of looking at the world after meeting the resistance. The series features the right mix of adventure, humor, and depth that Voltron fans have grown accustomed to.
There’s only one season so far but we think it’s a safe bet that over time She-Ra will develop the same sort of passionate fan following Voltron has. So jump in now! If you want to know more, you can read out spoiler-free review of the first season here.
An outer space series featuring a band of misfits. Sound familiar? Firefly is a short watch so if you need something quick this is perfect. Following a group of renegades taking odd jobs and trying to survive in space, it’s the perfect starter if you need to get into the world of live-action science fiction (with a healthy touch of westerns for extra fun).
A lot of Firefly’s episodes have a similar feel to the early seasons of Voltron, especially as the team was learning to bond with one another. Firefly also boasts well-defined characters, even in such a short run, which have the same level of fun Voltron fans should enjoy.
I’ll say it, Voltron: Legendary Defender is this generation’s Digimon solely for the ship wars. Kids these days don’t know the wars between Tai/Sora or Matt/Sora. Or Tai/Matt if you’re cool. If you all think your Voltron ships are intense, YOU ALL DON’T UNDERSTAND. But you will!
Also, it’s a legit colorful and fun series that’s so much more than a Pokemon clone. A bunch of kids come together, hang out in the digital world with some adorable monsters, and deeply explores their FEEEEEEELINGS.
Also, Digimon: The Movie is a masterpiece of cinema and I won’t hear anything to the contrary.
Battlestar Galactica (2004 Series)
Another show the Voltron producers looked to in developing their series. It makes sense considering Battlestar Galactica was also a modern revamp of a beloved but cheesy series. Like Voltron, Battlestar took the base elements that worked in the original series and made it a serialized adventure with modern storytelling.
After a massive attack by the Cylons, the Twelve Colonies are nearly wiped out. The 50,000 survivors rally around the titular Battlestar Galactica and set out for the fabled thirteenth colony, Earth.
The real draw for Voltron fans here is seeing how Battlestar Galactica mined its concept so well and how Voltron strived to replicate it. Within Battlestar, Voltron fans will see that both series were aiming to do so much more than what their premises suggest. For Voltron it was taking the bare bones of five robots coming together to form an even bigger robot and telling a moving story of friendship and teamwork against insurmountable odds. For Battlestar it was about expanding on a campy adventure about finding Earth and making it an exploration of what it means to be human.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
You’ve seen the memes, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. Heading to Netflix in the spring, this one comes with a BIG warning. It’s a rough show to watch. While on the surface it’s just a boy getting in a giant robot to save the world (with incredible animation), Evangelion has a lot more going on.
It’s an effective character study and deconstruction. The series tackles themes of self-empathy, communication, and deep existential dread. The characters are not always perfect and some do horrific things, but it’s all to serve the greater story. If you ever thought the Voltron characters were mean to each other, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Evangelion is awash in symbolism and double meanings. Every viewer will come out of the show with something different and that’s what makes it so great. Everyone will see themselves reflected in these characters and the struggles they go through.
Also, the iconic Gendo pose has made its way into Voltron many many times.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Nearly every science fiction series on TV today owes something to the legacy of the seminal Star Trek franchise. While there’s six series to choose from, we heartily recommend Star Trek: Deep Space Nine because it features the sort of characters and relationships Voltron fans would love.
DS9 follows starfleet commander Benjamin Sisko, a recent widow, and his son Jake as they are stationed at the remote outpost of Deep Space Nine. The Earth based Starfleet clashes with the native Bajoran populace, who were just freed from a brutal occupation.
If you longed for more depth in the alien races of Voltron and more time having fun with the main cast? Deep Space Nine delivers in spades. There’s legit an episode where they all just play baseball. How wonderful is that?
Legends of Tomorrow
Many fans longed for queer characters in Voltron and while Shiro was confirmed to be gay, even now fans wish it had been showcased more. If you want science fiction with a lot of queerness, you can’t go wrong with Legends of Tomorrow. The series’ main character, Sara Lance, is an out and proud bisexual woman. She’s had flings and romance with both men and women but is now dating Ava and their relationship is incredible. The series also features John Constantine, a man who is keen to flirt with anyone and everyone.
The series is full of heart, humor, and a cast of diverse loveable losers all trying to save time and space in their talking time ship. The series even name checked Voltron in the third season finale, when the team tried to combine their powers.
Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra
Perhaps the most obvious inclusions on this list, many of the same creative talent from Voltron also worked on these series. The same type of action and humor is there, so if you want a series that may not directly resemble Voltron but has the same feeling? Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are for you. I’ll let the intro from Avatar set up the story.
Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them, but when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years passed and my brother and I discovered the new Avatar, an airbender named Aang. And although his airbending skills are great, he has a lot to learn before he’s ready to save anyone. But I believe Aang can save the world.
Shadow Raiders aka War Planets
Without question the obscurest series on this list, Shadow Raiders comes from the same team behind Beast Wars: Transformers and ReBoot. It’s an early CG show but don’t let that stop you, the story is the real draw here. If you wish Voltron had done more with the building of the coalition and all the cultural clashes that would have contained, Shadow Raiders is pretty much nothing but that.
The four planets of Fire, Rock, Bone, and Ice are in a constant war with one another until an alien named Tekla warns them of a greather threat. The Beast Planet. It’s up to Graveheart to build an alliance of all the worlds to fight off the incoming threat.
Shadow Raiders is dedicated to world building, diving deep into each of the planets cultures. The aliens are truly a sight to behold with varying types of character designs across the various worlds. It also has a strong core cast that, especially by season 2, is a ton of fun to watch play off each other.
It also has an incredible joke about “miners” that you have to see to believe.
Look, you can never go wrong with Sailor Moon. Never. It’s a group of five kick butt ladies who save the world with magical transformation sequences. Okay that doesn’t sound exactly like Voltron but variety is the spice of life and the anime aesthetics of the series should fit in nicely with the anime inspired Voltron.
Sailor Moon is fun, quirky, silly, but can also make you feel. Also it leaves a lot of room to play around with the world and characters, if you’re into the more fanfic side of things.
And honestly if you’re a fan of animation/anime and haven’t seen Sailor Moon you really owe it to yourself. It’s rightly earned its place in history and still holds up.
For running ten years and two spin-offs, Stargate SG-1 always gets over looked. It’s a shame, because it’s a quirky sci-fi series that falls right in with Voltron’s sense of humor.
SG-1 follows a team of four air force explorers as they travel the galaxy and defend it from alien threats through the titular Stargate. It’s, again, the characters and world that should appeal to Voltron fans. You love main characters with witty banter? Got it. Some romantic subtext? For sure! Lots of wacky aliens? Plenty! Out and out comedy episodes? SO MANY. A willingness to get SERIOUS when the plot calls for it? Sure, but it still has room for the jokes.
With a ten season run the series also builds up an incredible world with an army of supporting characters. By the end Earth itself is completely different from where it started, which should sound pretty familar to Voltron fans. This is a show with consequences that, slowly but surely, evolves over time. And if you need a guide to the best episodes of the series, we’ve got you covered.