Top Ten Science Ficition TV Series

Canabary

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So I'm a bit of a series addict. Once I find a series I like I will generally watch the entire series with an average of a season per week. ( two days if it's a UK series). I'll give anything at least a season before I judge it permanently (unless I fall asleep everytime I watch it), so naturally I've also come across my fair share of pure rubbish.

Now out of all the genres I've watched I remain a sucker for a good Science Fiction series. However, I do believe my taste in Science fiction is a little different to that of the average science fiction fan. I definitely need a touch of humour to keep me interested, so it can't all be doom and gloom. So I decided I'd post my list and see how much it differs from yours. Please tell mewhat you think are the best shows or what you think about my little list.

Without further ado, here is my top ten list, in reverse order of course.

10. Thunderbirds


Now this might seem as an odd choice for most people, but Thunderbirds was basically my first encounter with science fiction. A kids television series that was created in the mid 1960s and was, and still is, frequently showing reruns on British television. I first saw it in the mid 90s, when it was presented to me by a friend who is half English. I remember being simply amazed by the "incredible" story and "amazing" characters. And although I'm now older and wiser, and realise that the story was actually just above average, the characters remain amazing.​

The cast was basically a bunch of puppets, controlled by people standing outside the view of the camera. They were very well made, and the voice acting was simply superb. The butler remains to this day the funniest character on television, of course that's probably nostalgia talking. The vehicles also looked brilliant and were diverse and exciting.​

Thunderbirds are GO!​

09. Battlestar Galactica​


As I said I'm not a big fan of doom and gloom science fiction. Battlestar Galactica was almost exclusively Doom and Gloom and I actually got bored after a season of it. However, credit where credit is due. The writing was generally quite good, the acting performance were well above average, and the plot did somehow snail it's way to a nice completion.​

As for Characters I never really had any favorites. I would say that the Cylons made for an interesting adversary, and were used very well throughout the show. That coupled with somewhat intresting characters, although I feel convinced that the acting saved them in this regard a few times, and a fanbase that included my little brother (who makes sure to tell me how wrong I am about not thinking this is a fantastic show), makes this impossible to ignore.​

08. Stargate Without Richard Dean Anderson​


Ok so there's two things you should know about Stargate. One, I absolutely loved the entire series, including Atlantis and the second season of Universe (possibly the best writing those writers have ever produced in the series). Two, Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver) played Colonel/General O'Neil for 8 seasons. After he left the show was just not the same. SG1 became tragically bad after he left...​

Stargate without RDA was saved however, by a very humerous tone in Stargate Atlantis much to the credit of the brilliant character Rodney MacKay as portrayed by David Hewlett. The show itself was as absurd, if not more so than SG1 coupled with distinctly average costumes...​
Then came the show that would "revolutionize" the series. SG Univese, a new more "mature" and "modern" approach. That one started out appalingly mostly distancing itself from it's massive fanbase and alienating people with a character presentation that took up the majority of the first season, and didn't really do a great job at it either. The writing improved drastically in the second season, but by then it was too late. Not the first show that gets canceled when it gets good...​

07. Firefly​


A western set in space. How can it not be awesome? Firefly was a massive success with fans and critics, but was still cancled by fox for some absurd reason no one to this day have been able to figure out. Lauded as one of the best science fiction shows of all time this one season wonder has taken every science fiction fan it has touched with storm. Instantly loveable characters, and at times somewhat unloveable, making their way through space on a "Firefly-class" spaceship called Serenity.​

Malcolm Reynolds, the character that made the actor Nathan Fillion forever adored by almost every science fiction fan on the planet, is the captain of Serenity, and a former "Brown coat" a Independent army that was crushed at the battle of Serenity Valley (see a connection there?). Together with his crew he tries to survive the harsh environment of space and the western like society by scavanging old relic merchantships and smuggling goods for various clients. Sometimes they also take on passangers to make some extra cash.​

The show has been described by its creator Joss Whedon as "nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things". These nine people, and all the madness that only Joss Whedon could come up with, is what we follow in this one season wonder of a show. Fun fact, the character in "Uncharted" Nathan Drake, is directly based on the character "Malcom Reynolds" as portrayed by Nathan Fillion, which is very easy to see when you watch this show.​

06. Sliders​


I just recently discovered this show, so I'm not all that far into it, but so far I love it. Now the fact that it is fresh in my mind might have something to do with it's ranking, but as I see it, it is simply a great show.​

A young prodigy by the name of Quinn Mallory discovers a way to travel through the "Einstein - Rosenthal" bridge to different dimentions, basically travelling to a whole bunch of alternative earths. While showing this to his friend, the obvious future romantic interest Wade, and his physics professor, the brilliantly portrayed Maximillian Arturo, he accidentally brings with him a caddilac and a semi-washed up pop singer Rembrandt (The Crying Man). And with that, and a few plot twists I'm obviously not going to reveal, they are stuck traveling from alternative earth to alternative earth until they find "home".​

Although the writing at times can be a little stereotypical, for instance if Russia won the cold war the US would basically have been hell on earth, and if women ruled the world there would be no war, it's all over a very entertaining show. The writing is pretty good, but the show's real star and it's biggest strength is the phenomenal John-Rhys Davies. He fills every scene he is involved in with such a pressence and authority that it's a true joy to watch this master at work. Sure he can be a bit of a "ham" at times, but when he really gets going there are few better. Don't get me wrong, the show is entertaining on it's own, and the other cast members are good as well, but John-Rhys Davies' performances just pushes it to another level entirely.​

05. Star Trek​


Most people are probably going to spit their coffee at how low I put star trek, but honestly I don't really have a "relationship" with the series. Obviously I enjoy it, I mean how could you not enjoy Brian Blessed like levels of ham acting from William Shattner, the great characters like Dr McCoy, Spock, Kirk, Scottie, Sulu and Uhara, as well as Piccard, Deanna, Wolf and La Forge among others, but personally I have other shows that are closer to home.​

Star Trek however is undoubtly one of the greatest science fiction shows of all time. It was revolutionary when it first appeared on screens, and was directly involved in changing US culture. The first scripted interracial kiss was shown on Star Trek with a kiss between Uhara and Captain Kirk, and the cast was more multicultural than anything else you could see on television at that point. As William Shattner said "We even had an Asian drive the ship!". There is no doubt Star Trek played a huge role in the development of US society.​

However, it wasn't just a show with a lot of political clout. It was also a very good show. It adressed a lot of different issues, about society, humanity and at the same time presented us a fun show that could just be watched as entertainment. Absurd situations were commonplace, yet they always managed to make the absurdity feel right and part of a great plot.​

It's not only society that has been affected by Star Trek. Every science fiction show since the launch of Star Trek in 1960 has had to withstand comparision to this incredible show, and most have failed. Star Trek set a very high standard for science fiction, and has made the science fiction genre what it is today. It has been instrumental in the development of special effects, and new technologies. In fact the developers and creators of the tablet computer, the iPod, the MRI and even the mobile phone have claimed that they were inspired by the show and the technology on display there. NASA even named a spaceship after the Enterprise (although to be fair, in comparision it had nothing on even the simple communicator of the enterprise.)​

04. Stargate With Richard Dean Anderson​


So how much affect does one person have on a show? Quite a lot. Stargate's success can in large part be attributed to Richard Dean Anderson and his portrayl of General O'Neil. You can't quite put your finger on it, but once he left the show the "magic" sort of disappated. Now if that was because he left or simply because of crappy writing, is another discussion. But one thing is certain. Without Richard Dean Anderson the show felt significantly less special.​

Stargate itself isn't the greatest written show, it's light weight and somewhat comercial and "safe". The special effects can also leave a little to be desired at times, but at the same time it's not a bad show at all. Personally I would classify it as a "Star Trek light". O'Neil is easily compared to a Kirk light, only massively helped by the performances of Richard Dean Anderson. Is the acting fantastic? No, not really. But it doesn't need to be, it just needs to fell right, and Richard Dean Anderson makes it feel right. Who would have thought MacGyver would have been the telling difference in a science fiction show?​

03. Torchwood​


Ok I said I don't like Doom and Gloom, but this show is simply something else entirely. A more mature spin off series of the popular science fiction kids show Doctor Who, Torchwood provided one heck of a ride for science fiction enthusiast. A show that in it's original form probably wouldn't have been accepted on US television screens saw it's birth on BBC by the father of the new Doctor Who series (2005) Russel T Davies. Building it's platform on the already successfull Doctor Who brand the series quickly became a massive hit. With an immortal bisexual captain who has absolutely no idea what he's doing and constantly pays for it, this show was different.​

Captain Jack Harkness, as he is called, shows you pretty much what happens when someone other than "The Doctor" attempts to be "The Doctor". With a touch of arrogance he leads a team of ordinary humans, albeit skillful, in the fight against the Alien threat that is constantly pestering earth, protecting humanity from the unknown threats of the universe. Unfortunately he's not really as capeable as he thinks, and the result is simply disastrous without being the least bit comical.​

A show that has it all, sex, philoshopical questions, top notch special effects, top notch writing and a cast you just fall in love with this is a show that you will regret not seeing. To this day the last episode of "Children of the Earth" remain the single most heartwrenching scene I've seen on television.​

Torchwood is also an acronym for Doctor Who in case you didn't notice that one.​

02. Fringe​


A very recent and new show that had me hooked by the middle of season 2. Starting out slowly, introducing characters, but still remaining interesting the show really took off in season 2. The writing is simply excellent, the acting is sublime, and you couldn't have cast a better actor for the role of the slightly mad doctor Walter Bishop than John Noble. So much emotion, so much strength in the performance, in one moment he plays the most powerful man in the world with such arrogance, intensity and authority that you find yourself a little scared, the next he's a scared and confused old man who you genuinly pitty. Simply Stunning.​

In terms of the technical aspect this is easily the best science fiction show I have ever seen. The writing is great, the plot keeps me interested and surprises me, they always find a way to improve the show, and the acting is fantastic. Ana Torv, who one could suspect being a little above average in the first season, really shines in the second. John Noble is just sensational, and who would have thought that Dawson's Creek Joshua Jackson could act! Heck even the special effects look phenomenal. What a show Fox have got their hands on. What a show.​

The only reason this isn't on the top of my list is because the emotional ties to #1 is far too strong for me to put it below Fringe.​

01. Doctor Who​


I wondered what to put as number one when I wrote this list, but there is simpy no getting away from it. Doctor Who, a UK show aimed at children is simply impossible to get around. This show is one of the most iconic shows in the UK, and not only that it's simply amazing. Originally running from 1963 to 1989, including a host of feature films, including a below average feature film in 1996, and being restarted in 2005. This show is simply amazing.​

There are a few things you need to know however. The original series is the UK's Star Trek. Never before had the UK ever seen anything remotely like it. It was exciting and new, not to mention came like a bolt from the sky, and it was scary. Doctor Who might be aimed at children, but it wasn't known as "the show children hide behind the sofa to watch" for nothing. It was constantly labled "unsuitable" for children by "morality campaigners" (yes they exist in the UK too), but the more they "complained" the more popular the show became.​

The basic structure of the show is pretty simple, yet ingenius. The main character, The Doctor, has a time machine with which he can travel anywhere in time and space. The TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) as it is called has become an iconic part of British pop culture. The "blue police box" can be shown to virtually anyone, and the first thought that would pop into their head is "Doctor Who". So iconic is this box that when the BBC attempted to get the rights to use the police box as a trademark, and were consequently challenged by the Metropolitan Police Authority, they won. Basically, the TARDIS is the UK's "Enterprise".​

Through the TARDIS the writers have virtually all of history, as well as their imagination about the past and future of alience races to come up with a plot. Not only that, but there's this neat little detail as well, The Doctor is in fact an alien from a race known as the "Time Lords" (Watchers and Keepers of Time). Not only that, but the Doctor is virtually immortal. The creators solved the "what if the star wants a raise, quits or heaven forbid dies?" conundrum by making one of the key features of the main character the ability to regenerate himself and change his apperance when he's about to die. Genius!​

I could write page up and page down about Doctor Who, but instead I'm just going to strongly reccomend that you watch the "New" Doctor Who which was launched, or relaunched, in 2005 by the exceptional writer in Russel T Davies. You will not regret it. Keep in mind though that if you feel like watching the older seris from the 1960s, it is considerably low budget, and at times you can see the set wobble a little. That's just charming to me, but may be incredibly annoying for others. The New show is very well written, has a set of very strong actors (Doctor Who is one of the most sought after jobs for actors in the UK) and is just a lot of fun.​
 

roselillya

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I myself don't watch a lot of TV... I've pretty much stopped watching it all together, Though I have seen Fringe (have to pick it up again stopped at the end of season 2) and its one of my favourite series out there. oh and Walter Bishop he carry's the show hes so awesome ^_^

I've also seen Battle Star Galatia up to the fourth season it's a good series but I could never really get into it, though I would like to give it another shot sometime, but it was just never for me.

The only other one I've really seen on your list (sorta) was Star Gate Universe. I just love that show to death, and the whole idea of the star gates are pretty interesting, and the mysterious ship they are on ooo love it ^_^

I cant really make a top 10 list of sci-fi TV shows since I don't really watch T.V but I might give some of the ones on your list a shot if I ever get into the mood for some T.V :)

~Rose @->--
 

Canabary

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Bump, because I find it highly unlikely I and Roselillya are the only science fiction fans here o.o