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June 07 2015

The fifty greatest sci-fi TV shows ever. Two Whedonverse shows makes the list.

And some Whedon-adjacent shows as well.

Although I certainly wouldn't put it above Firefly, I'm glad to see Fringe get a high spot on this list. One of my favorite shows that nobody really talks about. Lighter in tone than the X-Files, but just as deep with its mythology and a great cast that grow as a family much like with a Whedon show.
Pretty comprehensive list, even including some cool japanese animations who are almost always forgotten.
I still think "Farscape" is the greatest sci-fi tv show. Well, "Firefly" might be even better, but it doesn't have 4 seasons of digging the characters.
I'm not sure how "greatest" is being measured, given that Buck Rogers in the 25th Century made the list. And for my money Caprica was far more interesting than BSG... but then I far preferred the few Cylon-centered eps of the latter series, and found the human characters tedious.

Notable omissions IMO: Time Tunnel, Black Mirror, Eureka.
given that Buck Rogers in the 25th Century made the list

Best opening credits ever.
I still think "Farscape" is the greatest sci-fi tv show.

Yeah... I tried Farscape when it started, but it could never quite catch my attention. Then I discovered Lexx (which I'm happy to see is on this list) and I haven't even thought about Farscape since.
I'm just coming to the end of S3 in a Farscape rewatch, brilliant show, really pleased to see it on there and at a good place.
@brinderwalt: If you like sci-fi, you're truly missing something. The 1st season of Farscape can be a little hard to get into, it only really find the right tone at the end of season 1. But the rest is brilliant television. Season 3 is one of the best seasons of tv I've even seen.

Farscape has also the most beautiful love story I've ever seen in science fiction.
Gatchaman is on this list?!?! I would never have expected that. Battle of the Planets was unlike any other cartoon my kid brain had ever seen—episodes were sad! People died!—and the original Japanese version that I saw as an adult was even better. In fact, that's where my user name comes from!
@brinderwalt: If you like sci-fi, you're truly missing something.

Actually the thing that bothered me about it was how little actual science-fiction (that is, scientific reasoning applied to fictional things) there was in it. It's a matter of basic world-building, which is something you don't go in and change once you've established it. Admittedly, space-fantasy (which is how I would classify Farscape) has never been a particularly fond genre of mine.

The cool thing about Lexx (which I would also classify as space-fantasy) other than the general lack of political correctness is that they were taking cool, meaty ideas from other sources (such as Brigadoon, Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, or - one of my personal favorites - the teenage slasher horror movie genre) and deconstructing them (often with bizarrely comical twists) in a fresh context.

Not to mention there's Tim Curry as... Poet Man.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2015-06-08 20:29 ]
Lexx? Brinderwalt scares me. ;)
Are you guys sure that Farscape gets better after season 1? I just watched the first season, since it was to boring to me and all that pregnant ship thing was too cheese.
I love Farscape! And yes, it gets better after season 1, although IMO if you don't like season 1 you may not like the rest.
"Farscape" is one of my top 3 space tv shows. ("Firefly" and "Battlestar Galactica" being the other two.)
I loved all the 3-part stories, big arcs, the animatronics, the strangeness of it all and of course the really very human characters, that screamed at each other, were not diplomatic, had issues to work through... and if a show can pull off looking into the mind of the characters as a Loony Toons animated episode and all these other experiments they did ... If they can pull that stuff off, it must be truly amazing.

Season 1 was bumpy and tried too much to be a planet-of-the-week-show. I like season 3 the best, too.

I don't wanna spoil anything. Staying vague here: What they did to John in season 3 was such a smart idea for cutting costs and interesting character combinations.
I tried watching 'Farscape' twice. First when it initially aired about fifteen years ago and then again in 2013. Never made it past the first couple of episodes. I want to like it, it's a genre cult show. I dig those. And yet there's simply no spark for me.

'LEXX' was pretty cool back in the day. I don't remember much about it, but it had funk and showcased that cute girl from 'Pumuckl TV'.

'Buch Rogers' Haven't seen that one in almost twenty-five years. Little-me was a fan, though.

The Doctor wins. Of course The Doctor wins. Such a rich show. Similar to the Whedonverse (visual, great characters, memorable scenes, STRONG "standalone" episodes - in my book 'Silence in the Library'/'Forest of the Dead' is on par with classics like 'A Hole in the World' or 'Objects in Space') but with even better music. And still going strong after ten years and eight seasons in modern times, which is remarkable.

Has anyone here seen 'Jericho'? How high do you rate it?
You know, I'm a born and raised, dyed in the wool Trekkie. As a child, I used to watch Doctor Who with my mother, and I was still a fan even during the years that everyone else forgot he existed. I love all 26 episodes of Cowboy Bebop like they are my children. Firefly is possibly my favorite show EVER, and remains the primary reason I'm a member of the Whedon fandom, my love of the MCU notwithstanding. And I would cut off fingers to have good, modern, BSG-quality remakes of Knight Rider, Quantum Leap, and ESPECIALLY Max Headroom (seriously, a modern take on the cyberpunk dystopian future of a Max Headroom series would be PHENOMENAL).

But I have to say, in all seriousness: seasons 2 through 4 of Babylon 5 are some of the best TV writing I've ever seen, sci-fi or otherwise. And that's not nostalgia talking here, I didn't have cable when the series originally aired. I watched it in the last two years. And I was FLOORED. The depth of world-building, the interpersonal interactions, the intrigue, the serial nature of the plot, the sense of paranoia and defiance, the long-term realistic development of all the characters, the growth, the dark themes they were willing to explore, the heartbreak . . . it was all just outstanding! Sure, the CGI effects don't stand up today, and a lot of the makeup and costuming was classic rubber forehead alien fare, but honestly, you barely notice when you're just so invested in the tragic love-hate relationship between Londo Mollari and G'Kar, two of the deepest, most complex, and most "real" sci-fi characters ever written.

And of particular note, on a point that just about every other show on this list fumbles (either because of early cancellation or loss of direction over time, or odd artistic vision, or whatever), I can honestly say I've never seen a more perfect finale to a series than the last episode of B5.

Babylon 5 deserves to be WAY higher on this list!
He's right about one thing. Firefly should be higher.
Babylon 5 deserves to be WAY higher on this list!

There are two shows are truly epic in my book. One is Buffy, the other is Babylon 5. JMS and co should be proud of what they achieved. Complex plot arcs, fantastic character development and gorgeous looking space ships.
I think U.F.O was a glaring omission.

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