September 27, 2005

Top 50 sci-fi shows of all time

Via Greg, I came upon this Boston Globe site which has their picks for Best 50 Sci-Fi Shows of All Time. From what I can see, there's no direct link to the entire list in one shot, so you have to go through each one. And sheesh -- so far I just saw "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" at #47?? You've just gotta be kidding!

Other notables:
#40 is a childhood fave of mine, "The Thunderbirds" -- those marionette puppet action figures with some of the coolest rescue vehicles ever!

#38 is "Batman" -- the one with distended-bellied Adam West as the Caped Crusader.

#37 is "Space: 1999" which was simply one of the coolest shows of my youth. Our moon gets blasted out of orbit and becomes a space ship in its own right.

#35 is the original "Battlestar Galactica." Started off HOT fresh off the "Star Wars" craze, then quickly fizzled. Not to worry -- the remake is way better as it's magnitudes more realistic and gritty.

#31 is "Alien Nation," a series I started off digging but quickly became disillusioned with. The movie, starring James Caan and Terence Stamp was kick-ass. But would we really allow aliens to live among us as naturalized citizens without knowing all about them?

#29: "The Six Million Dollar Man." Yet another childhood fave. Wouldn't last very long today with the ridiculous slow-motion use of Steve Austin's bionics, that's fer sher. Still, you just hadda groove to Steve tangling with Sasquatch and that sexy Stefanie Powers in silver spandex!

#24: "Wonder Woman." A young teen watching a [totally hot] Linda Carter in that ... outfit? 'Nuff said.

#21 is "Quantum Leap" which wasn't one of my fave sci-fi shows, but definitely one of my wife's. I'd watch it occasionally because of her, and many episodes were very cool -- especially when Dr. Beckett traded places with a poor black man in the South.

#18 is "V," the miniseries-turned-series which featured a lizard-like race attempting to subvert humanity, take our water, and use humans for food. Ridiculous premise when you think about it, but good fun at the time.

#14 is the first entry of "Star Trek" shows -- "Voyager." I was a regular viewer of the Federation ship's adventures in the distant Delta Quadrant (especially when Jeri Ryan's Seven of Nine character joined the cast), dug most episodes, but hated the series finale with a passion.

#13 is the original "Outer Limits." WAY ahead of its time by any stretch of the imagination.

#10 is "Sliders." When Jerry O'Connell's Quinn Mallory discovers how to open a dimensional portal to other Earths, that's where the fun begins. Began on network TV then migrated to original SciFi Channel episodes where it really got cool. The "Cromags" are one of the cooler concepts in sci-fi TV -- on one alternate Earth, a Neanderthal-Cro Magnon offshoot becomes the dominant human species, discovers sliding, and starts a dimensional war.

#9 is one of the funniest damn shows ever -- "Mystery Science Theatre 3000." I discovered this back in 1989 on the Comedy Channel (now Comedy Central) and was immediately hooked. A human (either Joel Hodgson or Mike Nelson) and two nutty robot companions waste away their days stranded on a spaceship by watching terrible movies. And we get to watch too -- and listen to their hilarious wisecracks all at the same time.

#7 is well deserved -- the original "Twilight Zone." Two episodes that freaked me out were the second season's "The Invaders" where a lone woman battles several-inch high spacemen, and the first season's "Time Enough At Last" which features Burgess Meredith as a librarian with any and all the books he loves to read at his disposal (after a nuclear war), but he drops and smashes his reading glasses!

#4 is the "X-Files." I dug many of the episodes, but it eventually grated on my nerves as I struggled -- and I mean struggled -- to put together just what the hell was going on. One of the coolest episodes: where the "Pusher" -- who can will others to do his bidding -- takes control of Mulder. Also has a character with possibly the coolest name in all sci-fi: "Cancer Man."

#3 is currently my fave sci-fi show of all time, "Star Trek: The Next Generation." After a fairly weak opening season, the show soared. The third season was probably the best, featuring the classic Borg two-parter where Jean-Luc Picard becomes one of the nasty cyborgs. My personal fave episode is "The Inner Light" where Picard lives an entire life in the span of 25 minutes thanks to an alien probe of a long-dead civilization. He's at his acting pinnacle here. And, three of the original series' characters make guest appearances -- McCoy on the movie pilot, Spock (now an ambassador) joins Picard and Data on Romulus for a killer two-parter, and Scotty is picked up by the Enterprise-D on a friggin' Dyson Sphere, of all things. (And no, the Enterprise-D doesn't seem interested in the greatest artifact the Federation has ever discovered -- they're too interested in Scotty! YEESH!)

#2 is the new "Battlestar Galactica." In a word, "wow."

#1 is the original "Star Trek." A safe choice, to be sure, but it ain't one of my favorites, remarkably. Still, repeated viewings of "City of the Edge of Forever, "Mirror, Mirror" and "Balance of Terror" kick major sci-fi backside. And, as the commentary states, "Yes, perhaps it didn't feature the best acting, or most compelling story plots, but it was a show that set the standard for future space epics since. The show is also more popular today than it was when it first ran on air. The show went on to inspire several movies, several spinoffs and hordes of fans.

As for omissions, I agree with Greg that leaving off the classic series "The Prisoner" is a travesty. And that other Star Trek entry, "Deep Space Nine," deserves a spot if friggin "Buck Rogers/25th" and "Xena" are on there! In addition, another classic Brit show, "UFO," was way ahead of its time -- it had chicks in mini-skirts with purple hair! What's not to like? And my sleeper pick (also omitted): "Max Headroom."

Posted by Hube at September 27, 2005 07:18 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

While I'm all over the success of ST:TNG, I can't BELIEVE they picked ST:Voyager over ST:DS9! Plus, the absence of Farscape in the presence of such "gems" as Dark Angel and Firefly is just hugely insulting!

I was really glad to see Babylon 5 at number 5. God, I miss that show.

Posted by: Bronwen at September 27, 2005 09:14 PM

Farscape deserved a mention, especially when you consider some of the absolute crap up in the high numbers on the list.

I'm still reserving judgement on Galactica. They've had a miniseries and one complete season. That isn't enough time to establish the quality of the series. Andromeda had an strong first season and a half, then everything went into the toilet. The same could happen to Galactica.

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at September 28, 2005 01:35 PM

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