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May 26 2016

Rolling Stone's 40 best sci-fi tv shows of all time. Hooray for a list that doesn't just show the usual suspects.

ST:TNG at 17 is pretty absurd. Putting it right behind Torchwood at 16, a show that had exactly one pretty good mini-season surrounded by a lot of mediocre to downright awfulness, makes it even crazier. Jettison Torchwood, slot Angel somewhere... it's the only Whedon show missing...

Good list otherwise (though some smaller shows are missing, it is pretty inclusive).
No TSCC? No sale.
I miss DS9. It's my fave of the Star Treks.
Babylon 5 is ranked far too low, and BSG reimagining is ranked far too high, but maybe that's just my bias toward KNOWING WHERE YOU'RE GOING before you start. Love that The Prisoner is given props, but yeah, TNG wasn't the best of Trek. SG-1 should be higher than it is, especially if they're going to rank Doctor Who so high: Stargate SG-1 did the most realistic integration of alien technology, where it felt like it was reasonable to get from where we started in S1 to exploring other galaxies and having the U.S. Air Force run starships over the course of 10 seasons--most Sci Fi shows run out of steam long before that.

[ edited by jclemens on 2016-05-27 09:08 ]
I agree that Babylon 5 should have been ranked higher. Missing from this list are Angel (which is almost always overlooked, but was still better than most of the shows on this list), and Farscape.
B5 is one of the best TV shows, ever. It could be fun to see it redone, with a decent budget and Straczynski not fearing he'd only have four seasons, so rushing that conclusion.

BUT: it'd lack Andreas Katsulas to counter Londo, even if Peter Jurasyk returned. Those two were simply phenomenal, both of them. Katsulas certainly gave the lie to the excuse that it's impossible to act under layers of makeup.
How many of these are actually sci-fi? I don't put Buffy in that category.
It's a shame that Person Of Interest didn't make the list. That pervasive, all-knowing AI always seems to be not-that-far into the future. While all the main cast members are excellent, Michael Emerson is every bit as unsettling as he was in Lost, and Amy Acker (as always) is outstanding.
Also missed Continuum, yet another Canadian science fiction series featuring Rachel Nichols. It's a time-travelling criminal manhunt that evolves from a seemingly simple black-and-white morality into deeply ambiguous territory where no one is certain of anyone else's choices or motivations. This one is worth your time to seek out.
Rick and Morty should be here; DS9 too. Kudos for including AstroBoy and Black Mirror.
No Farscape or Alien Nation and since they included Life on Mars no Twin peaks? This list..this is a bad list. Also, again, no Terminator? That one really baffles me.
No FarScape? What the frell!?

@filops Yes to everything you said.
Pretty good list, I think putting BSG over Doctor Who is a pretty bold choice (and I love BSG). I actually think Doctor Who and Star Trek should be duking it out for the number 1 spot, with the Twilight Zone in 3rd.

And with modern entries on there like The Flash and The 100, Nikita deserves to be on that list. Lot of sci fi stuff in the latter seasons, yet they managed to keep it all grounded in reality as much as possible. That was a superb series. Chuck should be on there with all the Intersect stuff on that show.

The Walking Dead should be on there. Zombies are sci fi and while opinions may vary on its quality, TWD is one of the most successful television shows of all time.

Ranting aside, it's a pretty solid list

[ edited by Angel&Faith on 2016-05-28 03:03 ]
@MissKittysMom - Continuum was a fantastic series. I think it was overlooked by a lot of people in the US, because it aired at a stupid hour on Friday nights on SyFy.
Not a bad list, but a lot of it is - obviously - personal. I love the unloved sci fi show Seven Days (guest starring a pre-Firefly Jewel Staite )and also Blake's 7, but neither will ever show up on lists....
I'm a fan of the U.K Life on Mars, but I also loved the U.S.A version ( go figure :) ).
Great to see Red Dwarf on the list, ...

I suppose the U.K series Spaced isn't sci-fi but I highly recommend it to all sci-fi type fans...
Annnd I'm rambling.. ;)

These lists are always so personal, I don't see the point in arguing with the authors. But I do agree it's a good, unusual list. What I found fascinating was some of the images they chose. Adam for Buffy? And Echo in the dominatrix outfit? Which, if I remember correctly, we only ever see for about a second, during the credits?
The dominatrix outfit makes sense to me. What other outfit screams "roleplay" to that degree?
Jason_M_Bryant, that's true, but it also feeds into that whole thing about how Dollhouse was about prostitution (of the selling-of-women's-bodies type) and that Joss "approved" of prostitution, etc., etc. Which *we* know is ridiculous, but to people who didn't watch it, this might serve to reinforce their misunderstanding.
It's not just images, it's clips. The clip with the dominatrix outfit is even a weirdly stitched together clip that only shows Eliza's coverage. Highly random.
It feels to me like whoever compiled this list is a sucker for grand serialised mythologies, even if they don't make a lick of sense (Lost, The X Files, Battlestar Galactica). As much as I love it, Buffy doesn't belong on here - they should've given its slot to Deep Space Nine.
Buffy had some science-fiction elements (Adam, the various Bots, etc.) but it was primarily supernatural fiction.

People have been arguing about where science fiction ends and fantasy starts for decades. If I were making a list like this, it would be of "speculative fiction" shows... science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, superhero. Shows that include elements which do not or cannot exist in the real world based on our current understanding of science and our current technological capabilities.
Was Adam really sci-fi? Okay, he's vaguely similar to Frankenstein's monster, but he was also made out of demon parts.
I was surprised Buffy was there too. But I also have trouble thinking of most superhero series and films as sci-fi, so I'll leave it there and back away. However, I'd accept Adam as sci-fi. The Initiative used scientific methods to get their stuff done and treated demons as unusual species, so I'll give Adam a pass, as well as Spike's chip. Plus, Adam's sci-fi because the Scoobies had to use magic to beat him.
This is not a bad list but missing a bit. Where's Angel? (maybe not sciencwy enough?) And Star Trek: DS9?! I prefer it to TNG.

Also missing is Person of Interest, a recent obsession of mine.

My brother would feel personally affronted that Torchwood is mentioned but not Farscape.
If AoS and Jessica Jones are on, then I'm really missing Daredevil (my fave of the Marvel series, though I love them all)... and Agent Carter (which might be the most sci-fi of the bunch despite being set in the past!).

And I suppose Grimm is more rooted in fantasy than in sci-fi, yet if Buffy's eligible then Grimm shouldn't be too far off. (Anyway, Grimm's awesome!)
Didn't they have an alien episode of Buffy? So with that, Adam being put together with a marriage of supernatural and science, and the robots, I'd say Buffy has enough sci-fi to count. (Although Angel is set in the same universe, I don't recall anything like that happening. So I can see them leaving that show off.)

But no FarScape. Boggles me still.
Thinking more about the sci-fi aspects of Buffy and Angel, you do have the alternate dimensions aspect. You have Hell (and possibly Heaven) explained as other dimensions, and you have the vampires and demons on Earth originating from 'pure' demons from demon dimensions. So they could be considered aliens, in some way.
Decent list, some interesting shows. Utopia was a show I really disliked though; I guess you either find it "cool" or somewhat hollow. Space: Above and Beyond was an excellent space-based show from the 90's from two of The X-Files' best writers, Glen Morgan and James Wong. It seems to have been forgotten, attenuated by the mists of time, but watching it last year it seemed like it was antecedent to many of the themes and story-lines later explored in BSG. BSG really capitalised though on the war climate and terror fears of its time, making it feel incredibly relevant, analogous, whereas Space: Above and Beyond had a slightly wistful, dreamily nostalgic feel.

I agree Continuum was a quality show but it did seem to become a little too convoluted and action-heavy in its final season. Another show that nobody remembers is Ultraviolet. A dark, urban, contemporary vampire show, easily one of the best shows I have seen in years. But all in all, pretty good list.

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