The Greatest Sci-Fi Series of All Time


Dec 11, 2003 (Updated May 14, 2007)


The Bottom Line What's the greatest Sci-Fi series of all time? All will be revealed...

The Greatest Sci-Fi Series of All Time

I’ve done movies, I’ve done the Star Trek films, now it’s the turn of the TV series – well I feel that they deserve their own Top Ten list too. I wasn’t quite sure if the “Sci-Fi Movie Top Tens” was quite the right place to put it – however after thinking about it more (after all, TV shows come under the general epinions heading of Movies) and checking with one of the Leads, I feel that this is the right place. So there. ;-P

(Er… and it’s become a “Top Twelve”, as I wrote the top ten and then thought of two more, but didn’t want to leave out the two that would’ve been knocked off the list!)

Series that didn’t quite make it…

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - this is absolutely brilliant, but was a mini-series rather than a series, and anyway as such it got on my Top Ten All-Time Movies list.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 - basically didn’t make it because I haven’t seen many episodes of either so I can’t really say how good the series as a whole is.

Space 1999 - I remember really liking this as a kid, and remember that there was a woman who could turn into a puma or something, but not much else really. So it’s probably only my bad memory that’s keeping it out.

Terrahawks - if I remember rightly this was a show with puppets – and was pretty cool, I guess. I liked it when I was very young but don’t remember much of it now. I preferred it to Thunderbirds, though that was also pretty good for what it was.

The Prisoner - “I am not a number, I am a 3 man! Hang on…” – this didn’t quite fit into the sci-fi genre enough to make it into this list (though it has sci-fi elements). A classic to be sure, but not necessarily for sci-fi fans.

At Number Twelve

Star Trek: Voyager

Take the Star Trek formula, throw it beyond the boundaries of explored space, add a squeaky-voiced female Captain, stir, and you have Voyager. This has some good moments but only the holographic Doctor pushes it past Space 1999 to make it onto the top twelve. It focused a bit too much on Seven of Nine once she entered the series, but still good fun – and has the best music of any ST.

At Number Eleven

Sliders

Tends to be a bit underrated, but this show about time-travel is not only a lot of fun, but also has some good character development. Takes a different approach to the “what if” scenario. Not as similar to Quantum Leap as a lot of people seem to think.

At Number Ten…

Star Trek (The Original Series)

Despite the fact that it was quite socially groundbreaking at the time (having women and black people in high positions of authority), it’s the stereotypes that make the original Star Trek so enjoyable. The fact that Kirk will have snogged anything vaguely female by the end of the episode. The ridiculously short skirts the female crew all wear. The fact the Kirk is besotted by Janice Rand, who is actually very unattractive. The fact that if you spot a new face in the away team, you know they’ll be dead before the end of the episode. The fact that if a utopian society is discovered and everybody’s happy, Kirk will ruin it all and make everyone miserable again – and they’ll thank him for it!!! The fact that almost every episode will end with a bad joke or McCoy making fun of Spock.

Oh and there’s more – practically every alien encountered will look exactly like a bloke with a carpet on his head, that Chekov believes everything was invented in Russia, and last but not least, if Scottie says something is completely impossible, he will have done it within the next five minutes.

At Number Nine…

Battlestar Gallactica

Ah, cheese… can you smell it too? The corny acting and cheesy effects belie what was actually a pretty good storyline.

At Number Eight…

Buck Rogers

Come on, who didn’t have a crush on Wilma Darling when they were young? Er… anyone? Well, I guess it was just me then. That robot was damn annoying though. But Buck was some completely unphased by all of the stupidity going on around him, it was just a whole lot of fun. Cheesier even than Battlestar Gallactica. Wonderful.

At Number Seven…

Futurama

Futurama Season One Review

When the Simpson had got staid and repetitive, Futurama took over as the best cartoon around. Very, very funny if you’re into sci-fi, with tons of in-jokes in each episode along with some truly surreal humour. Best line in any of the episodes I’ve seen so far (entire first three series at time of writing): “Well, this is a class M planet, so at least it must have Roden Berrys!”

At Number Six…

Dr Who

The show with the best title music in all sci-fi history. Who can forget it? “Na na na, na na na, na na na, na, na na, na, na na, na, na naaaaaaa (dum dum, dum de dum dum, dum de dum”. Ah, the memories…)

At Number Five…

Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap: Season One Review coming soon

Largely so high up because Scott Bakkula creates such an appealing character in the lead role, this time and space travelling extravaganza took the unusual twist that the main character effectively turned into a different person each episode. Good storylines and some nice humour made this a series where every episode was enjoyable.

At Number Four…

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1 review

After a somewhat shaky start in the first half of season one, the Next Generation crew quickly got into their stride and the scriptwriters began producing some good, new work after realising that rehashing episodes from the original series was a bad idea. The crew was much more interesting than the original or Voyager, can’t comment much on DS9 as I haven’t seen many episodes – though I have to say that the episodes I have seen haven’t impressed me much.

While The Next Generation had its faults (tending to rely overmuch on the Holodeck being the worst), once the Borg were introduced and there was the first truly menacing enemy since the Romulans, the series went into hyperdrive and fully deserves its high placement in my top ten. Great technobabble, too.

An Number Three…

Stargate: SG1

When I first saw this I really wasn’t expecting to like it, but it’s really grown on me. A large reason for this is the wry humour in the show, especially from Richard Dean Anderson, who is superb as Colonel O’Neil. In fact, once I got into the series I found it a lot more interesting than the film. Imaginative and relying more on political intrigue than pure technological thingamabobs, it’s always enjoyable and often exciting. Great stuff.

At Number Two…

Red Dwarf

Red Dwarf Just The Shows: Seasons One to Four review
Red Dwarf Season Five review

One of the funniest shows around (though I believe the version they showed in the US was basically the original with all the good bits taken out and bombed – why oh why did they do that?!?!?), the science is still there despite the emphasis on humour. The characters Lister, Rimmer, Cat, and Kryton are just brilliant. Series 6 and 7 were a lot weaker than the first five (I think 3 and 5 were the best and 4 wasn’t quite as good as the others), it’s one of those things you can see again and again, and it just gets funnier each time.

And At Number One…

Blake’s Seven

The king of all cheesy low-budget sci-fi shows. There was just something about this series that really appealed to me. I think what really made it was the antagonism between the two main characters – Blake and Avon (played wonderfully by Paul Darrow). It also featured one of the slikiest villains ever (Servelan) and the most useless assassin of all time (Travis - or Twavis, as he would say!) It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and you’ll probably have been surprised by its place at number one, but I loved it. Again the later series weren’t as good as the early ones, but overall it was fantastic. Even though the acting was often terrible, the sets basic, and every single planet they landed on looked like the same abandoned clay pit, I still love it. :-D

I’m sure you’ll disagree with at least one of these choices, but that’s what personal choice is all about…


Here endeth my list. Thanks for reading!


Dave



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Related Links

Sci-Fi Movie Top Ten (and Bottom Ten!)

Star Trek Movie Top Ten

Song lyrics: If You’re A Trekkie and you know it, clap your hands!

Books

Aldous Huxley’s visionary Brave New World

Stephen Baxter’s follow up to HG Wells “The Time Machine” - The Time Ships

One of the funniest sci-fi books ever - Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

One of Isaac Asimov’s finest novels - End of Eternity



CaptainD

http://www.darscom.net

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