Television has always been a highly creative place that explores concepts beyond ordinary life, and among that one of the most captivating and perhaps terrifying concepts is that of clones, and the implications of having a doppelganger out there.
Whether thought-provoking drama or thrilling sci-fi adventure, these TV shows captivate audiences with their unique blend of ethical dilemmas, identity crises, and mind-bending plot twists.
What would you do with your very own double? Who is the original and who is the clone and what rights do clones even have?
These are the questions that kept us up at night when we started looking into the subject.
With that in mind, we set out to investigate the best TV shows about clones and found a world of intricate character studies, crazy plots, and even a laugh of two.
Orphan Black, Netflix (2013 – 2017)
One of the most intriguing TV shows about clones of all time, Orphan Black is a mind-bending science-fiction thriller that does not stop delivering twists.
Meet Sarah Manning, a con artist who witnesses the suicide of a woman who looks suspiciously like her.
This leads our morally grey protagonist to assume the woman’s identity, suddenly propelling her into a world of doppelgangers, suspense, and implications larger than she bargained for.
Soon she finds out that she is one of many clones who were produced by an illegal cloning operation – who are now the target of a series of killers who want to do away with them.
Together with her foster brother and a few more clones she meets along the way, she uncovers a truth with deeply moral consequences and questions at its core.
Sarah has loved ones to protect, and there are organizations who want to use the clones for their own agendas, or who see them as abominations.
Suddenly her world goes from one type of survival to a much more complicated life – so unbelievably compelling you’ll binge all 5 seasons before you know it.
The Clone, Rede Globo (2001 – 2002)
Taking things in a romantic direction, we find The Clone, also known as O Clone – a very popular Brazilian telenovela that combines drama and romance with the intrigue of science fiction.
Meet Lucas Ferras who falls in love with a young Muslim girl called Jade, creating a romance that not only faces significant cultural and religious backlash, but a science-fiction mystery too.
One day Lucas meets his double, the enigmatic Leo – who is the product of a scientific experiment by the genius scientist Dr. Albieri.
This leads Lucas to investigate the existence of his doppelganger, creating a strain on his relationship with Jade, who cannot fathom his relationship with Leo.
The show was a surprise hit when it first aired, garnering an international audience for its nuanced take on the clash of cultures and the journey of self-discovery it takes on.
The Clone, Telemundo (2010)
Taking on the same themes as its original successor O Clone, El Clone is a 2010 Spanish language remake of the show with a much more ambitious plot.
We once again follow Lucas as he finds himself between his love for Jade and a complicated intriguing relationship with his clone.
This time the show features a time-jump and we meet the characters 20 years later, as Jade and Lucas reunite through a series of synchronicities.
However, things are complicated again when a clone of Lucas that is 20 years younger enters the scene and reminds Jade of the lost years she could have had with him.
Will she remain true to her current love or live in the past with his younger self trying to recreate the memories she cherishes?
Living with Yourself, Netflix (2019)
Taking things in a more existential but comedic direction, we take a look at Living with Yourself.
What happens when the quest for self-improvement goes awry and you end up replaced by a clone that is your best self in every way?
Miles Elliot is a man who is deeply disillusioned with his life and at the behest of a co-worker, he takes a spa day at Top Happy Spa, with the promise of a rejuvenating experience.
But we don’t think waking up in a shallow grave and coming across an “improved” version of yourself is a particularly rejuvenating experience!
Now Miles and New Miles must find a way to co-exist, trying to keep their cloned identities a secret – which is an impossible task as they develop in divergent directions.
This leads to a slew of hilarious and uncomfortable moments that ultimately raises many introspective questions for the characters and viewers alike.
Clone Baby, TBS (2010)
Often described as a metaphorical game of musical chairs, Clone Baby, is a Japanese drama that sets a group of cloned human beings who share similar DNA up against one another.
The winner will get a chair (or chance at survival) and this turns the concept into a twisted battle royale, where the clones share an inexplicable link, making it impossible to hide from your pursuers.
Ultimately, it is the psychological warfare that stands out here, as the clones claw their way to the final chair using every trick in the book.
Clone, BBC Three (2008)
Meet Dr. Victor Blenkinsop, a brilliant scientist tasked with finding a way to replace Britain’s volunteer army through clones.
As he perfects the first human clone, he comes to learn that his super-soldier is more squishy than he’d like.
Although he may not be what the doctor envisioned, Dr. Blenkinsop decides to take his creation on the run to buy him enough time to figure out what makes the clone tick – and what could tick him over to a ruthless soldier instead of the hug machine he is now.
With the evil Colonel Black, the head of MI7 (the most secret of secret services ever), on their heels, Victor and Albert eventually find themselves in a small village where they hope to blend in with the locals – of course, that does not go exactly as planned.
The show is seen as a modern comedic update of the classic Frankenstein story, and certainly provides a few belly laughs as only dry British humor about existentialism could.
Clone High, MTV (2002 – 2003, 2023)
Perhaps one of the more absurd takes on the clone genre, Clone High asks “What would happen if we make clones of famous historical figures and put them together in high school”?.
The answer is a fantastically funny show filled with tropes and easter eggs that has garnered a massive cult following.
Set in the fictional town of Exclamation, it comes as no surprise the premise is actually a military experiment run by the very on-those-nose Secret Board of Shadowy Figures.
Each clone was raised to harness the skills that made them so impressive for military benefit.
Unfortunately, teenage hormones and stereotypes abound and the clones end up recreating a vacuous high-school hierarchy instead.
Whether Cleopatra is the tell-tale popular hot girl, or JFK is a jockish womanizer, these clones learn life’s lessons along the way.
Recently the popularity of the show garnered a revival in 2023, with two new seasons set to premiere.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Netflix (2008 – 2020)
Set in a galaxy far far away, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is an animated series that fills in the time between the two films: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
As the title states, the show explores what happened during the clone wars as the Jedi Knights and Clone Troopers are manipulated by the Galactic Republic and the Separatist Alliance.
What makes the show stand out, is the focus on the Clone Troopers as individuals and not just faceless bodies for military fodder.
Ultimately it ran for seven seasons and is considered one of the most iconic entries into the Star Wars Saga.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Disney+ (2021 – present)
Staying with the theme of clones, we meet Clone Force 99 aka The Bad Batch, a group of clones that have unique genetic mutations that set them apart from their fellow Clone Troopers.
As survivors of the Clone Wars, the group begins to take on mercenary work and are afforded a unique sense of autonomy as they can resist Order 66 – meaning they won’t be mindless drones to the empire.
Consequently, they become fugitives that traverse the Galactic Empire on a series of missions that sees them dodging assassins while finding their own identity in this immensely large universe.
Carl², HBO Family (2005 – 2011)
What happens when a 14-year-old slacker finds an easy way out?
Meet Carl Crashman who accidentally clones himself through a series of bizarre events that involve a spam email, a scabby bandage, and his fingerprint.
Suddenly Carl’s clone arrives, and he finds an exact copy of himself that he names C².
He quickly realizes that C² is far less lazy than him and decides to delegate the tasks he doesn’t want to do to his new doppelganger.
But as often happens with these things, it goes awry very quickly when C² doesn’t do exactly what Carl wants! This leads to a series of ridiculous situations that the two have to clear up before anyone discovers their secret.
The show is a wonderfully fun show for kids and teaches a few lessons about responsibility along the way.
Santo vs The Clones, Cartoon Network (2004)
Known in Spanish as Santo Contra Los Clones, this show which is set in Mexico introduces us to a superhero and masked wrestler who makes it his mission to thwart the evil plans of Dr Clone, a scientist.
In their battles, Dr Clone will often bring back old enemies through cloning, to keep Santo busy while trying to enact his plans for world domination.
The short-lived animated show has a loyal following and it is well worth a watch for a unique take on superheroes.
Legends of Tomorrow, The CW (2016 – 2022)
Although time travel may not be an immediate gateway to cloning, in Legends of Tomorrow, we ultimately come across an underlying plot involving clones.
Without giving away too much of this incredibly involved plot, we can reveal that one of the characters is a clone from the future and that there may be an army of robot clones that puts the Legends to the ultimate test.
The show primarily focuses on a group of misfits in the Arrowverse who travel through time in order to prevent events that could destroy the world.
Whether they face down fellow time-travelers, immortal villains, or even creatures straight from mythology, the legends are a unique family unit working hard to preserve the future.
Watchmen, HBO (2019)
Based on the phenomenally successful 1986 DC Comics series of the same title created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen is set 34 years after the events of the comics with a cast of new characters and problems that align with a more modern audience.
In the world of Watchmen, heroes were classified as vigilantes and outlawed, making their work a more morally grey affair.
It is the year 2019 and a white supremacist group has improperly annexed the works of a superhero to represent their own prejudiced views – this leads to them attacking minorities in the name of a fallen superhero called Rorschach.
This brings forth a new wave of masked vigilantes who want to put an end to this racist agenda, including the character Bian, who is actually a clone of Trieu’s mother being passed off as her daughter.
There is also Mr. Phillips and Ms. Crookshanks, a series of clones of the original created by Doctor Manhattan.
The show has received critical acclaim for the lens it casts on contemporary issues through the clever guise of a superhero show, and will definitely leave viewers with food for thought.
The Ark, Syfy (2023 – present)
When Earth becomes uninhabitable, a group of humans are sent on a mission to find a new planet to colonize, however, things go wrong when a part of the ship is destroyed and our group of interplanetary explorers are awoken too early from their cryo-sleep.
This leaves them with limited resources and the survival of humanity resting in their understandably terrified hands.
Add a clone to that mix, and the suspense doubles.
Without spoiling much of the show, we will say that the reveal of the existence of clones makes episode 4 of the show an absolute must-watch!
Doctor Who, BBC One (1963 – present)
Doctor Who is the definitive sci-fi romp through space, time, and all sorts of wacky concepts.
Name a trope, and it’s been done in the longest-running TV show about a time-traveling doctor, or Time Lord, who constantly reincarnates in different forms for a few seasons at a time.
Honestly, the concept is deeper than its old-school style belies, and The Doctor is a deeply flawed but wholesome character – perhaps with too much power in his hands.
With such a long run on television, it makes sense that the idea of cloning has been thoroughly explored and notable examples include the Flesh, a programmable matter that can duplicate humans called Gangers who are sent on dangerous missions.
The show questions sentience, when these Gangers become intelligent and rebel against their doomed existence.
The Doctor himself can even be considered a clone, as he has encountered numerous versions of himself through his travels, and even encountered his own Ganger!
There isn’t enough praise one can give Doctor Who, other than to say that it is a highly entertaining “big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff”.
Pandora, The CW (2019 – 2020)
Set in the year 2199, we follow Jax Zhou as she embarks on her training at Earth’s Space Training Academy, also known as Pandora.
Here she begins to discover things about her identity while navigating the tricky political and social implications of living on a planet that is constantly flirting with the idea of war with an alien civilization.
As the show progresses, the realization that clones exist starts manifesting, and though it may not be the central theme of the show, some episodes involve clones of dead EartCom soldiers, and we are introduced to the idea of the Andaran Clones, who are essentially slaves that have been declared as beings with no souls.
The show does not shy away from the idea that the concept of cloning may have many rights-violations that come with it, as they try to ascertain where sentience and freedom come from for a lab-grown person.
The Venture Bros., Adult Swim (2003 – 2018)
Enjoy the misadventures of the Venture Family, in this animated series consisting of the bumbling yet well-intentioned scientist Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture, his sons Hank and Dean, as well as their loyal bodyguard Brock Samson.
Set in a world of superheroes, supervillains, and secret organizations the show creates a hilarious and irreverent parody of the adventure genre.
The frequent deaths and resurrections of the two sons Hank and Dean through cloning serve as a running joke in the series.
The imperfect process often results in glitches, anomalies, and even the existence of multiple versions of the same character creating funny situations and existential dilemmas.
Prepare for a wild ride as the Venture family navigates eccentric characters, weird experiments, and a never-ending stream of adversaries.