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The best TV shows with dinosaurs to stream right now

Best TV shows with dinosaurs - Doctor Who
Dinosaurs feature in so many shows, including this 'Doctor Who' episode, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. (Image credit: BBC)

If you're looking for the best TV shows with dinosaurs in them, look no further!

Dinosaurs hold a fascination for people unrivaled by any other (previously) living creature and nowhere is that more evident than when you turn on your TV. From the velociraptors in Jurassic Park to Dino, the pet dinosaur in The Flintstones, the world of entertainment is obsessed with our prehistoric pals and the bewildering world they inhabited 65 million-plus years ago.  

Dinosaurs might be long gone, but that hasn’t stopped producers and directors trying to reimagine Earth as it was back in the Cretaceous Period. So, let’s take a tiptoe through evolution and find out which TV shows featuring dinosaurs large and small, real and imagined, are available to watch right now.

Here are the best TV shows with dinosaurs right now

'Terra Nova'

Best TV Shows with dinosaurs - Terra Nova

'Terra Nova'. (Image credit: Fox)

Fox introduced the Shannon family (featuring Jason O’Mara and Shelley Conn) to the world in 2011 and its tale of a clan escaping the over-crowded, polluted Earth of 2149 to make a new home in a colony on the same planet 85 million years before intrigued audiences and critics. 

USA Today said the dinosaurs "are as convincing and startling as TV has ever offered, roaming a gorgeous, CGI-enhanced terrain" – as you’d expect from a programme executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

The drama is only partially supplied by the likes of the ankylosauruses and pterosaurs because the family’s main foe are the Sixers, a group of feral separatists who have also returned to prehistory to plunder the Earth of resources and transport them to 2149. Despite strong ratings, Terra Nova went extinct when Fox canned it after just one series and Netflix opted to not continue it.

Number of episodes: 12

Number of seasons: 1

Episode length: 44 minutes

Where to watch: Disney+

What the critics say: The LA Times - "easily the most exciting show of the fall season"

'Deadly Dinosaurs with Steve Backshall'

Best TV Shows with dinosaurs - Deadly Dinosaurs with Steve Backshall

'Deadly Dinosaurs with Steve Backshall'. (Image credit: BBC)

The irrepressible adventurer and natural history presenter is in his element with this CBBC series that tries its hardest to explain how fearsome dinosaurs were with the help of CGI and all manner of props.

Take for example one of the largest dinosaurs, the 30-meter plus, earth-shuddering Patagotitan, which is recreated in Deadly Dinosaurs by an enormous fire engine crane. To reimagine how ferocious the Tyrannosaurus Rex was, Steve uses a Challenger 2 tank in a quarry and he gets some industrial jaws to chomp through cow bones, steel, and a car to stand in for the terrifying sarcosuchus (try to imagine a crocodile except five times larger)!

Part natural history, part epic experiment, all entertainment, Deadly Dinosaurs covers all manner of prehistoric beasts from the aquatic to airborne, the 10 episodes educate and entertain children of all ages.

Number of seasons: 1

Number of episodes: 10

Episode length: 30 minutes

Where to watch: BBC iPlayer

'Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur'

Best TV Shows with dinosaurs - Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur

'Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur'. (Image credit: BBC)

One day in 2014, a shepherd was out searching for a lost sheep in the wilds of Argentina’s Patagonia region when he found more than he bargained for – a gigantic fossilized bone sticking out of the ground. 

That started one of the most intense and exciting digs in modern history as paleontologists from around the world arrived to carefully retrieve the 200 other bones of what became known as the Titanosaurus, the biggest animal to ever walk the Earth which measured 37 meters long and weighed 70 tonnes!

Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur follows the two-year excavation (one man likens it to a "paleontological crime scene") in company with Sir David, whose sense of wonder at the natural world reaches peak astonishment when the huge fossils are uncovered and the complete skeleton is reconstructed. 

Number of episodes: 1

Episode length: 58 minutes

Where to watch: BBC iPlayer

What the critics say: The Independent - "I think it was awe. Or just that terrifying feeling you get when you realise how much bigger than you something is. And I don’t mean metaphorically. David Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur was a truly moving piece of TV – but it was also the story of a truly massive dinosaur.”

'Primeval'

Best TV shows with dinosaurs - Primeval

Primeval. (Image credit: ITV)

Saturday nights became very interesting when ITV decided to enter the world of bigger-budget family-focused sci-fi to try and rival the likes of Doctor Who in 2007 with this creature feature series. 

In Primeval, Professor Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) and a rag tag team of students and colleagues, including S Club 7's Hannah Spearitt investigate a series of ‘anomalies’ (portals in time and space) which take them back and forwards in time to when the likes of the giant Predator X ruled the land.

The first two seasons scored regular audiences of more than six million viewers and are now streaming on BritBox. They're considered the stronger of the five series and were produced and directed by Tim Haines (who created documentary series, Walking With Dinosaurs) and Adrian Hodges (The Musketeers). 

Primeval is a must for fans of family entertainment who enjoy a primeval soup of sci-fi, action, adventure, romance and scary monsters.

Number of episodes: 36 (13 available)

Number of seasons: 5 (2 available)

Episode length: 45 minutes

Where to watch: BritBox

What the critics say: The New York Times says: "Maybe Primeval wants to serve as an exploration of the People’s Right to Know. Or maybe it wants to give rise to its own theme parks. But it definitely won’t make you forget about Lost."

On Amazon Prime Video Channels

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'Doctor Who'

Best TV shows with dinosaurs - Doctor Who

'Doctor Who'. (Image credit: BBC)

As we all know, Doctor Who has created some of the most iconic and frightening fictional monsters in the history of entertainment. 

What’s not always remembered so well is The Doctor’s battles with terrifyingly real creatures from evolutionary history, such as Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor escaping on a triceratops in the preposterous 2012 episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (cleverly referencing another creature feature Snakes on a Plane). No prizes for guessing the main narrative in this one. 

Other Doctor Who episodes featuring our massive scaly friends include Deep Breath (2014), in which a tyrannosaurus tormented Victorian London; Invasion of the Dinosaurs (1974), when Jon Pertwee deals with a brontosaurus and other unrealistic animals in a desolate London; while pterodactyls wreak havoc in 2011 episode The Wedding of River Song

Number of episodes: 124 (modern Doctor Who)

Number of seasons: 12 (modern Doctor Who)

Episode length: 45 minutes

Where to watch: BBC iPlayer (new series) / BritBox (classic Doctor Who)

What the critics say: Den of Geek - "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship was by turns funny, lighter, a bit disjointed, occasionally slow, but on the whole good fun. It’s also proof that Doctor Who does funny a whole lot better than many modern comedies."

'Dinosaurs'

The prehistoric world gets the Jim Henson treatment in this early Nineties family comedy featuring real actors in full-body costumes. 

In a curiously meta, modern way, Dinosaurs subverts classic home-based sitcoms like Roseanne by basing it around a working-class dinosaur family who like to argue around the TV set. 

Although The Muppets creator Jim Henson passed away in 1990, just before Dinosaurs went into production, he’d been working on what was known as ‘The Natural History Project’ for a number of years; the show that screened on ABC from 1991-1994 was very much his baby. 

Dinosaurs was not short of social and political commentary. Considering it’s 30 years old, some of the plotlines around issues such as LGBT rights, environmentalism, and sexual harassment feel remarkably current.

Number of episodes: 65

Number of seasons: 4

Episode length: 22 minutes

Where to watch: Disney+

What the critics say: The LA Times - "an endearingly bizarre little half-hour that is never quite as funny as it should be, but funny and different enough to invite tuning in again."

'Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous'

Best TV shows with dinosaurs - Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. (Image credit: Netflix)

Jurassic World gets a cartoon makeover in this spin-off of the classic films, which sees a group of lucky teenagers get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hang out with creatures like the stegosaurus, brachiosaurus and parasaurolophus on the faraway island laboratory of Isla Nubar.

With all the talent that DreamWorks has at its disposal, it’s no surprise to find Camp Cretaceous looks and sounds a step up from your average cartoon series. But what about the stories? 

The show riffs on the Jurassic World genetics concept, but showrunner Colin Trevorrow eases any anxiety about the fate of the characters when he says: “Our franchise is a little bit less a kill your heroes set of stories.” Perfect for pre-teen viewing, in other words.

Number of episodes: 26

Number of seasons: 3

Episode length: 24 minutes

Where to watch: Netflix

What the critics say: Rogerebert.com - "The fun of Camp Cretaceous is similar [to the Jurassic Park junior novels], and worthy of the original trilogy in particular. And because of the care put into making it, it's more special than just a spin-off."

'Gigantosaurus'

Best TV shows with dinosaurs - Gigantosaurus

'Gigantosaurus'. (Image credit: Netflix)

Not forgetting the demanding preschool demographic, Netflix has acquired Gigantosaurus, a cute cartoon series about four young prehistoric friends who are determined to understand the enigma of the titular massive monster. Cue the gang getting into all manner of scrapes, all the while educating the audience about animals, extinct and otherwise.

If it was purely encyclopedic it wouldn’t be entertaining and there is enough action and fun to keep toddlers transfixed while sneaking in some important life lessons about teamwork, friendship and self-confidence; for example, in episode one tiny ankylosaurus Mazu tries and fails to sneak a scale off Giganto, but at the end of the story her persistence wins out when the big beast essentially gives one to her.

Number of episodes: 52

Number of seasons: 2

Episode length: 22 minutes

Where to watch: Netflix