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November 16 2010

The 100 greatest sci-fi and fantasy TV shows. Find out where Buffy, Angel and Firefly ended up on this Total Sci-Fi list.

24) Angel (1999-2004)
One of those rare beasts, a spin-off that was almost as good as the original...

So why is Buffy at 6 and 'Angel' way further down at 24 then ? Poor 'Angel', even when it's getting the love it just don't get no love.

Pretty UK centric (given that, there can be only one No. 1) and being a list of 100 SF&F&H shows (Return of SFaFaH !) it's more "All the SF&F&H TV shows We Can Think of Ranked" (I.e. there's not a huge amount that doesn't make the list). And I disagree with the order, obviously ;).

Also, I have to wonder if I watched the same classic "Battlestar Galactica" that they did cos "Ambitious and intelligent...", really ? Mileage really does vary.
Nice to see Neverwhere included. I thought the novel was better, but the tv series certainly was enjoyable too. Rewatched it some time ago and found out the role of the Marquis De Carabas (which I really liked the first time around) was played by Paterson Joseph, who I thought was also brilliant in Peep show and Jekyll.

Disappointing to see that Futurama is missing.
The list is live-action only (no animation included).
Unimpressed with any list that ranks the original Battlestar Galactica, Dark Shadows, and Adam West Batman above Firefly and Angel. I also just will never understand the Dr. Who fetish (and I live in England!)
I notice you say "live in England" rather than "am English". Not saying you need to be a Brit to "understand" (far from it and there're obviously plenty of Brits that don't like Who either) but it doesn't hurt if you grew up with it. Added to that, there's basically nothing to understand IMO - if you don't like it you don't like it, simple as that. Same as any other TV show.

(as an aside BTW, it's a bit depressing to me when we in one cult fandom use pejorative terms - like 'fetish' - to describe another cult fandom. Shouldn't we know better ?)
I'm not going to quibble about what got where on the list, but how wonderful that there is so much great SF TV out there, and that we can see so much of it on DVD.
True. And I hope we soon will see Dollhouse on lists like this, when it has had time to find an audience on DVD. In my opinion the show belongs way up there on the list.
IMO, it's:
1. Battlestar reimagining
2. Farscape
3. Buffy
4. Star Trek: DS9

at the very top of the list - I love many of them, but those four shows are just absolutely fantastic. Farscape never gets the acclaim it deserves, but that's fine by me, each rewatch is an absolute joy.

As for Doctor Who, I find it hit and miss (mostly miss). I'm not a Matt Smith hater at all - I just had high hopes for this Moffatt-run season, and I feel that the writing for this season was appalling (also, the weeping angels? This season, we saw them move - and they still looked like angels. It had previously been mentioned that they ONLY look like angels when someone is looking at them. I was disgusted that on only their second appearance, their mythology was contradicted).

"One of those rare beasts, a spin-off that was better than the the original, Angel saw the titular vampire-with-a-soul join forces with the bitchy Cordelia and others to battle the forces of darkness in the City of Angels."

goingtowork tells me everything I need to know about the list.

Pass! (In the sense of "FAIL!")
Interesting. Seems to smack of Anti-recentism (Space: 1999 over Heroes? Really?). I appreciate the Babylon 5 love (#10!), but Farscape really doesn't belong that high up the list, nor does Stargate: Atlantis belong that far down.
Electrawoman and Dynagirl 4ever!!!11!!!
goingtowork, Saje, I understand the Dr. Who "hatred" or whatever, being a Brit. I like the show very much now, but after watching a lot of good, ground-breaking American television, its hard not to be real critical to our own stuff, especially considering the levels of exposure it gets over here. It's very much the thing to watch [that isn't a reality show]. When you don't watch it/care for it, its very easy for that to turn into outright hatred. Technically, IMhO, I would consider Moffat's work on Who on-par to good American stuff, but Davies, although I respect that people like his style -- I can't stand whatever he pens.

Re: The list; its definitely an interesting one, 100 is certainly a lot of shows to account for and, hmm... its a weird one. Some work, some is just plain baffling (True Blood? Really?) and I always have a problem with the term "greatest", its much too broad for my tastes. The list works in terms of having the 'greatest' legacy more than anything else.
Seems to smack of Anti-recentism (Space: 1999 over Heroes? Really?).

Yeah, I thought that. Maybe to combat charges of recentism (which almost all these lists suffer from) they've overcompensated ? Dunno which way you mean by up/down jclemens but 'Farscape' should be leaps and bounds ahead of classic BSG IMO, up around the 'Thunderbirds' mark at least.

ETA: goingtowork, Saje, I understand the Dr. Who "hatred" or whatever, being a Brit. I like the show very much now, but after watching a lot of good, ground-breaking American television, its hard not to be real critical to our own stuff, especially considering the levels of exposure it gets over here.

I understand in the sense of accepting the reality of it Jaymii but I must admit I don't particularly understand anyone hating a fictional TV show (one that hasn't got an offensive political axe to grind anyway) or feeling the need to put it (or its fans) down. Just don't watch, y'know ? Even with the arguably everywhere 'Doctor Who' that's incredibly easy to do. Said it before but i'll say it again, if more people cultivated a neutral position on more things then the world would be a happier place IMO - most things don't require a polarised love/hate perspective. Then we can teach the world to sing in perfect harmony ;).

(and that isn't intended as a slight of goingtowork BTW, just a general moan)

[ edited by Saje on 2010-11-16 17:07 ]
Did Sarah Connor Chronicles *and* Dollhouse get the straight up snub? That's pretty ballsy. Also, I can't believe Sarah Jane significantly beat out Torchwood.

I'm glad Doctor Who took the top spot. Call me a fetishist, I don't care. I've been watching it since I was four and it's always entertained me even when I thought it was crap.
I am very bothered by the lack of Twin Peaks.
I'm glad Buffy was in the top 5, and also glad Supernatural made the list, #15 is great <3
Just noticed where FRINGE is on this list. Talk about maximum fail.
Um, I think Buffy was actually number 6. But hey, top ten! :)
I missed Jeremiah. Also, I don't get it when people call seasons 6&7 of Buffy lesser quality. 6 is my favorite.
I'm glad Caprica made the list. The three of us still watching it were sad it was cancelled!
I always enjoy these lists because they may highlight some shows I've never seen before and I get to discover something new. But 100 shows is a lot, many of those are questionable in their inclusion, and there are some notable absences. No Twin Peaks, Pushing Daisies, Dollhouse, or Wonderfalls? Also Farscape should be much much higher in that list (as in it should have a better position, it was an amazing show, and I rank it at the top of my own list - along with Firefly and Babylon 5). Cool to see Supernatural get mentioned, though. Any fan of Joss's work would appreciate its horror-with-touches-of-comedy, strong writing, mythology, and great characters and acting.

I've been wanting to check out Blake's 7. Curse the lack of a region one release.

Edit: Guess I'm one of the three watching Caprica. (Although I haven't yet watched the new episodes after the break. They announced the cancellation before I got around to them on Hulu, so I'm just waiting for the whole thing on DVD now). I really loved that show, especially the depictions of virtual reality gaming and exploring the implications of imprinting a human personality in a robot body, etc. This is what science fiction is supposed to be!

[ edited by AnotherFireflyfan on 2010-11-16 20:40 ]
Another joke of a UK 'greatest' list. Thunderbirds? Supernatural? Babylon 5? Batman? Quantum Leap? Battlestar Galactica? All ahead of Firefly? Really?
Yes, but Wonder Woman wasn't, so we can be happy about that, right?
I dunno, 'Wonder Woman' had Debra Winger in it so in at least one respect it's better than 'Firefly'. This list could be a travesty of the highest order.

And apparently I am the fifth third 'Caprica' viewer !
I also love the Babylon 5 inclusion. The lack of "Twin Peaks" has got to be a mistake/oversight; it's so iconic that I know it should be ranked high, and I've never seen a second of it.

I think I like these lists mainly as a way of finding out about new shows to check out.
Well this, 18) V (1983-85)


24) Angel (1999-2004)

is just wrong. Subjective list, blah blah.
Agree with AnotherFireflyfan about all your missing shows, except Twin Peaks, but that's only because I've never seen it. It's on my list. I did think it was odd they included Dead Like Me out of Bryan Fuller's shows and not Daisies or Wonderfalls, which I thought were even better than Dead Like Me. I'm still missing Pushing Daisies. *sniff*

Also, 4th Caprica viewer here. Wait, there were only 3 left? What the heck was I watching? ;)
I don't understand why Life on Mars is even on this list...and no Dollhouse to be seen. Ridiculous.
ETA: But yay to the Quantum Leap love!

[ edited by Deanna_Lynne on 2010-11-17 09:33 ]
Another joke of a UK 'greatest' list.

How dare they place shows that had a greater impact on sci-fi fans in their own country?
Said it before but i'll say it again, if more people cultivated a neutral position on more things then the world would be a happier place IMO - most things don't require a polarised love/hate perspective.

Too true. This hasn't really got anything to do with the list, but I found myself in a circuitous argument tonight with an acquaintance who was intent on labelling HP fans 'sad' and denigrating its quality generally. I'm increasingly frustrated by this pointless polarisation of views. Just, you know, don't pick a fight where there isn't one. BTW, this isn't really aimed at anyone on here in particular, but as in Saje's case, is really just a groan.

Back onto the list though - I'm actually surprised Firefly is ranked so low compared to the other Whedon shows. It generally gets a more favourable nod than, say, Angel. Or maybe this can be attributed to the limited number of lists I pay attention to.
I thought this was a pretty good list actually, most of my favourites are pretty high up, my only complaint is a whole lot of the older shows were aired before I was born. I wish they would make all of these old BBC shows available on iPlayer.

With regard to the positioning of Firefly and Angel, I find it hard to judge as I haven't seen all the programmes which rank higher in the list but it seems like they aren't using good characters and well-written drama as their only benchmark.

Also, why the callouts for including Twin Peaks? It wasn't sci-fi, fantasy or horror....
All else aside, no Dollhouse, T:TSCC or Twin Peaks = major fail. Although I have major issues with the rankings, ranking is subjective.
But leaving our those three shows is unthinkable.
I try not to get too excited about the order of these lists. Life would be incredibly boring if we agreed about everything, and even my personal favourites tend to change from time to time.

I find it very difficult to compare a show like Red Dwarf, which is primarily a comedy, with Star Trek.

My affection for Doctor Who comes from growing up in the 60's watching grainy black and white TV, when there were only 3 channels broadcasting about 10 hours a day. The Daleks were still scary enough to give me nightmares. The recent series too often disappoints by descending into running and shouting scenes along with over use of the sonic screwdriver, but I still watch, hoping for another Blink!

My appreciation of Buffy relates to the consistently high standard of writing, along with the excellent performances. I wish there were more programmes that had 7 seasons to develop and evolve like that.
I honestly think these lists would be more meaningful if the "Top" choices were whittled down to 25 or something like that with a more detailed analysis than, in most cases there, a short paragraph. I say this as someone who has seen umptillion lists of the same genus tromping through here. I mean the qualification was great, not merely mediocre, albeit fun (original V) or ho-hum (The Six Million Dollar Man).
Twin Peaks was absolutely a genre show. There was plenty of weirdness and mysticism to go around. (Backwards-talking-dwarf, anyone?)

I miss Pushing Daisies as bitterly as I do Firefly. That cancellation really hurt, because, like Firefly, there was nothing else like it on television before and likely never will be again. It was absolutely perfect and nothing else can ever replace it.
The only upside with 'Pushing Daisies' (which I also miss loads) is that I knew even from the pilot that it wasn't long for this world so just getting a second season felt like a victory (I really thought it'd be one of those shows that's yanked after 3 or 4 episodes).
Yeah, I guess I could say I felt that about Daisies going in, that the second season was icing, like Dollhouse. But with both shows, what it really did was tease me with more potential, and give me more desire for more, more, more!

So, to sum up, I wanted more, dammit. ;)
I don't think having a backwards talking dwarf in a dream scene classifies something as 'genre'. TP had some weird characters and it was an unusual piece of televisual art but it was definitely not science-fiction, fantasy or speculative fiction and you would have to be a very persuasive person to get me classifying it as a horror despite it having some genuinely scary and dark moments.
Great point, Saje, I also felt really lucky that we actually got 22 episodes of Daisies. It's just really too bad they couldn't wrap the story up better, like Wonderfalls did. Several plot threads were left hanging due to the cancellation, and the post-cancellation narration added to the last episode can only tell so much. I feel like Daisies was a victim of the writer's strike season. It got a full 22 ep order for season one, but the strike meant only 9 episodes got filmed. Instead of finishing the season, ABC opted to wait and bring it back for a second season - with no promotion at all. At least we still ended up with 22 episodes, but one wonders what could have been.

Twin Peaks had a lot of elements of the supernatural in it, not just the Black Lodge (which ended up as more than just a dream sequence). If you've actually watched the complete series you wouldn't doubt it was genre.
Yeah, I agree that 'Pushing Daisies' was an unfortunate casualty of the strike AnotherFireflyfan, that and ABC's decision not to continue season 1 kind of killed any momentum it'd built up (its ratings for S1 were actually pretty healthy, around 9-10 million).
I recall that Pushing Daisies was doing really well in season 1, which pleasantly surprised me, because I also thought it would be cancelled in 4 episodes (like Wonderfalls before it). But ABC destroyed their ratings momentum by waiting a YEAR to bring it back, and then nobody remembered the show or even knew it was on. Wish they gave it a better shot. Daisies is my favorite Fuller show, and I've decided that I'll follow him to any show, just like I follow Whedon and Minear.

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