My 10 Favorite Science Fiction Television Shows

 #10  -  Space 1999

Yes, it is dated, the pacing is slow, and the second season could not hold a candle to the first, but it makes my list because of the magnificent model work and special effects. If I had to choose the most convincing-looking spacecraft of all time, I would pick the Eagle Transporter. I have fond memories of driving to my friend Bob Caron’s house in Biddeford, Maine during the original 1976/77 broadcast run because he had an antenna powerful enough to pick up the UHF channel out of Boston that aired Space 1999. That Boston channel was smart, they showed an episode of Star Trek first.

#9  -  Lost In Space

File this under childhood nostalgia. To be honest, I cannot today sit through an entire episode of the third season – it is that bad, but every day after school in the early 70’s I would park my butt in the living room and watch reruns of Lost-In-Space and Gilligan’s Island. If only the scripts could live up to the detail and thoughts put into the Jupiter II sets this show could have been the best.

#8  -  Battlestar Galactica, New Series

I can hear you now “but Larry, how can you not include the original 1978 series?” Did you not watch it during its first run in 1978-of course I did. Did you not purchase the Viper Pilot Jacket from the Starlog Magazine ad-yes, and it fit great, but had no inner lining. Did you not think that Dirk Benedict was a good actor-yes, and the A-Team only supported that opinion. Can I watch an episode now without being embarrassed-no. I defy you to watch “Gun on Ice Planet Zero” and not feel a degree of embarrassment for the actors.

There is no greater example of television shows being a reflection of their time than the two Battlestar Galactica’s. People have criticized the new series as being The O.C. in outer space, not having seen that show I cannot comment. The 1978 Galactica was also a reflection of the morals, issues, and production techniques of that time. When the third attempt at a Galacticica series is made in 2035 I suspect reviewers and fans will make the same arguments. I am writing this page during the mid-season break in the 4th season, after they have found Earth. Why is that not the Last episode….have they jumped the shark? Also, Starbuck’s a girl; deal with it!

#7  -  Star Trek, The Next Generation

They said it could not be done. Me included. Lightning could not strike twice. I was wrong…sorry. Seasons 2 through 5 were the some of the best science fiction ever presented on television.


#6  -  Doctor Who

Tom Baker will always be my favorite incarnation, but the new franchise has stayed true to canon and I continue to be a regular fan. On a side note: DAMN YOU PBS, you show Dr. Who marathons during pledge week to get me to give you money and then…and then….and then no Dr. Who for the entire year. Burn in hell PBS.


#5  -  Firefly

Never caught during original broadcast because they were always pre-empting it and moving it around. Since purchasing the DVD set I have fallen love with the premise. If only some television executive could pull his head out of his ass long enough to commit to this type of quality entertainment imagine what could be done.


#4  -  Stargate SG1

Stargate SG1 is the comfortable pair of slippers you put on when you get home from a hard day at the office. It features a likeable group of people you care about and does not ask you to think too hard. That is not a put-down. That is what I watch television for, sorry. If I want to learn something or challenge my mind I will watch Nova or read a book. I have found that since purchasing the series on DVD I still find myself tuning to the Sci-Fi channel many nights, it is just comfortable.


#3  -  Babylon 5

Recently, they have taken the original Star Trek episodes and re-issued them with all-new CGI effects. Forget about Trek, somebody do Babylon 5. Here is a show with believable stories about interesting people in a fascinating surrounding completely sidetracked by 1994 CGI effects. The story arc is magnificent, grand in scale, epic, classic, adult, and timeless. They were even able to seamlessly write out the main character after the first season with no visible continuity bump. This show DESERVES better.

#2  -  Star Trek, The Original Series

Not going to say much about this. This show                    survived Shatner’s ego.

#1  -  UFO (Gerry Anderson, 1969)

If you have never seen an episode of this series you cannot appreciate any of the comments I will write. It would be like trying to explain lobster to someone who has only eaten fish sticks. The series was produced by Gerry Anderson, who had made his name making marionette shows such as the Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, so critics and viewers did not know what to make of an adult show having difficult themes such as divorce and interracial affairs. It was picked up by CBS in 1970 and did well in its demographics, but television executives were confused (their normal state) so they did not pick up a second season. The show did well on the Sci-Fi channel during the 1990’s but has since faded into obscurity. I urge you to seek it out on DVD or maybe YouTube and see what you are missing.

What make UFO my all-time favorite:

-          Cars with gull-wing doors

-          Real people that screw up, make mistakes, and can’t balance work with family

-          Blue wigs on the Moon

-          Submarines that launch fighter jets

-          Ed Bishop as Commander Straker

-          Mobiles (its like a tank only cooler!)

-          Straker smokes and has a full bar in his office

-          Moonbase Commander Gay Ellis

-          SID (Space Intruder Detector)

-          Hey man, it takes place in the fabulous future of 1980

-     The great model work and special effects – everything blows up

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