Thursday, July 10, 2014

Top 10 Sci Fi TV Shows

We'll do movies next month. But now, we're talking about the TV series that have not only glued us to our seats, but also withstood the test of time as pure classics or as cult classics. But, we're going to have a simple top 10, regardless of whether or not its a cult classic or a pure classic.

Personally, I have been a Star Wars/ Trek guy all my life. I had seen all of the original Star Trek series and the movies long before Star Trek: The Next Generation came out. I saw the original Star Wars films in the theater too, when they were first released. I had also seen many Sci Fi movies. But, I never got into sci fi TV other than Star Trek and the original V, and Battlestar Galactica until very recently. Yes, I did a lot of catching up.

A tornado was responsible for taking me to a new world.
Sound familiar?
In early 2011, I lived in Chattanooga, TN. During a very dangerous storm that spawned hundreds of tornadoes throughout the region, a tornado hit my place. My satellite dish was broken, and because of the damage to the entire area, they estimated a week before they would be able to fix it. Once the power was restored, I went to Blockbuster, and was there specifically to find TV shows. I decided upon the remake of Battlestar Galactica because I had heard great things about it. I watched the 3 disks that I rented in one day, and had returned them for 3 more later that evening. I was hooked. I didn't even care when the satellite TV company fixed my dish. I didn't watch anything other than Battlestar Galactica until I had finished the series. After that, I decided to watch as many sci fi shows as I could. All of the shows listed in this list with the exception of Star Trek and V, I have seen for the first time since 2011. I have seen every single episode of all these shows except for one of them. And no, these are not just the only ones I've seen. I've seen much more in addition to these. So, enough of my yacking..Lets get on with it!

Number 10: Lexx. A dumb security guard, an assassin, a love slave, and a robot head who is obsessed with the love slave wind up in charge of an enormous bug shaped doomsday weapon, and set off to escape tyranny. But, tyranny follows, especially when you are carrying the living brains of the various tyrants from the past. This is an adult show that doesn't take itself seriously. Its a sci fi comedy that hits on all cylinders. However, it definitely isn't for everyone. NOTE: The first season is 4 full length movies. Just watch the first and fourth movies. The second and third simply are not watchable. The rest of the series? Great! Plus, the show ran 4 seasons, and was not cancelled.

Number 9: The Original V. No, not the remake in 2009. That was getting very good, but it was cancelled on a brutal cliffhanger. No, the original with Marc Singer was a masterpiece. It was scary, and the special effects were excellent for their time. It looked real, and it made you question the mental capacity of those in the human race who would sell out their own kind for a few scraps from an invading dictator's table. It showed the choice that we all would have to make should something like that happen...Fight or be a slave. The Original V was amazing. I've seen it straight through many times, and I could watch it all over again right now without being bored.

Number 8: Babylon 5. The humans picked a fight with a superior enemy. A war breaks out. Humanity is about to be wiped out, but The enemy surrendered on the eve of victory? What the hell? The humans built an outpost in neutral territory for all races to converge and do business, work out treaties, etc. But, there are of course other dangers, both from within and from a distance. Its a show that explores relationships in various species, politics, and religion, all with the threat of war hanging over everyone. The CGI looks cheesy now, but when the series aired, they represented cutting edge CGI. This is a great show that will hook you.

Number 7: Stargate. I am talking about all 3 of the shows that were created as a result of the movie. The gate that transports you to other worlds, and even galaxies using devices that create wormholes. You also get to explore the origins of Earth mythology. 3 shows. SG1, which continued where the movie left off, Atlantis, where humans find the lost city of another galaxy, and meet one of the scariest villains ever shown on screen, and Universe. Humans discover a ship that is programmed on a mission to the end of the universe. A franchise that had 3 shows, 17 20+ episode seasons, and spawned 2 movies? Yeah, this has to be on the list. It would have listed higher, but some of the very early seasons didn't age very well. But, don't let that stop you from watching! You will be addicted!

Number 6: Fringe. A story of parallel universes, one of which has a bronze Statue of Liberty and a World Trade Center, mad scientists, aliens, looming Dystopian future and a secret division of the FBI. You like sci fi suspense? This is your show. Great characters, and stories. Look...If Leonard Nimoy is in it, its gotta be good right? See this one. In fact, see all of the shows listed here.

Number 5: Firefly. It only ran for one season, and its airing was botched, but it was one of the best inaugural seasons of all time. This series hits the ground running, grabs you, and refuses to let go. Its a sci-fi western for lack of a better term. Takes place in the future, where humans have migrated into deep space to escape an oppressive government, and they do what they need to do to stay alive. It has great characters, with development that doesn't take place in most series until the third season or after. It was cancelled, but the fans kept it alive, and a full length feature film was made and released. Considering how great this one season is, if this show had been allowed to continue, it would undoubtedly be the greatest sci fi TV show of all time.

Number 4: Farscape. The story of a present day astronaut who gets sucked into a distant part of space with all sorts of aliens, danger, and humor as well. This series is very well done. The main plot line is that the lead character has wormhole knowledge in his head, put there by aliens. There is a powerful villain who is chasing him from one side of the galaxy to another. This one ran 4 seasons, and was cancelled (stupidly) by SyFy. Like Firefly, the fans rallied, and a mini series was made to tie up the loose ends. A feature Farscape film is in the works as I write this.

Number 3: Battlestar Galactica Remake. The show that got me into sci fi TV shows. Although This is a re imagining of the 1978 series, the main premise is the same. A robotic race annihilates most of humanity except for a rag tag fleet of survivors; the Cylons who hunt the humans relentlessly. It does have several differences though. The Cylons look like people, and the show actually has the mood that the whole universe has been torn apart by a superior enemy. Although there are several nods to the original series, and the general premise is the same, the story is completely new, and the characters are believable. They are flawed like everyone else. The series focuses on human relationships, duty in the face of annihilation, religion and politics. BSG is also super addicting. Since 2011, I've seen it from start to finish 4 times.

Number 2: Star Trek. What can you say? 5 series, 28 20+ episode seasons, 10 movies, and a current reboot that has 2 movies, and new series in the works. Although Star Trek: The Next Generation is hard to watch these days in my opinion. Star Trek has not only influenced future sci fi, it has also influenced lots of technology. This franchise will be along for many generations to come.

And finally, Number One. If Star Trek is Number Two, there can only be one possibility for number one. And, it is none other than Doctor Who. Its the story of a man from another planet. A time lord who travels time and space, experiencing history and the future, doing good, accompanied by human companions. 13 different people have played The Doctor, and the show has been borrowed from on many different sci fi shows and movies. For example, the Borg on Star Trek? Cybermen. There have been 35 seasons, countless movies, spinoff series, etc. It has even survived a 15 year hiatus, and came back and was immediately adopted by a brand new generation of fans. Doctor Who started it all. A madman in a box. Another show that will be around for many generations to come. (Doctor Who is the show I mentioned that I haven't seen every episode, but I am working on it. At the time I write this, I have seen all of the first and second Doctors, over half of the third, some of the fourth, and everything from the ninth, tenth, and eleventh, and am eagerly awaiting the 12th Doctor next month.)

So, there you have it. My top 10. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know! Some great shows that I am currently watching or that didn't make the list are Falling Skies, Continuum, and while it may not be sci fi, The Last Ship is a pretty damn good show so far.

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