Sci-Fi Bakers Dozen… What Shows You Should Be Watching…

The Ministers have a special place in our hearts for science fiction.  Cheesy?  Nonsensical?  Funny?  Scary?  Serious?  Doesn’t matter, we’ll consume it like water.  Why?  Because science fiction is the epitome of imagination reflected in reality.  Some do this better than others– and that’s what we’re here to discuss– the best of the best.

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Honourable Mentions

  • Stargate: SG-1

    • MacGyver as an USAF Colonel who kicks alien butt alongside Daniel Jackson, intergalactic screw-up impervious to death, smart as Einsten (possibly smarter) and attractive to boot Carter, and Teal’c.  Indeed.
  • Chuck

    • Made rooting for the nerdy underdog cool again.  And who doesn’t love Jeffster?
  • Battlestar Galactica

    • Both the old and the new.  The new one should be commended for realizing the potential in the Babylon 5 format… and for Katee Sackhoff.

#10 – Andromeda

Cheesy beyond belief, nonsensical-overly scientific plot devices, Kevin Sorbo, Hercules in space, bad special effects, and low-budget galore… Gene Rodenberry’s B-League!  What is Andromeda doing on this list?  Andromeda is the ultimate throw-back to old-school science fiction.  It is the most TOS reminiscent sci-fi show in recent memory.  It has that distinctive western feel to it.  Captain Hunt and his crew of misfits roam the frontier, righting wrongs, and sticking it to the bad guys– it’s like Have Gun Will Travel– Have Ship Will Travel, if you will– except Andromeda does it with hot ladies in tow.  Who wouldn’t date that ship?  I mean avatar…

#9 – Stargate: Atlantis

I know what you’re thinking: why not SG-1?  Everyone loves SG-1.  Heck!  We love SG-1!  It went for ten seasons!  That’s all true, but Atlantis is superior in one big way: characters.  Sure SG-1 has terrific characters.  There’s MacGyver, and Tealc, and Jackson, and Carter, and…  MacGyver, and Tealc, and Carter!  She blew up a sun, and there was Thor, and golfing through the…  You get the idea, aside from their main characters, there isn’t much else to SG-1.  Whereas Atlantis is much more an ensemble cast, chocked full of awesome side-characters, even including Jewel Staite (Firefly’s Kaylee, and one of J.T.’s crushes) from season four on.  Atlantis has an inexplicable ability to make you wish you were there, and that’s why it (barely) beats out SG-1 for this spot.

#8 – Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Picture from sweetlemonmag.com

Picture from sweetlemonmag.com

Joss Whedon’s first, most successful, and probably best tv franchise. Witty dialogue, lovable characters, tense action, heartbreaking character deaths.  This show had great story arcs, and the hero wasn’t always the same – sometimes it was the wacky sidekick, the heart of the group, that could step in and save the world.  After living on the Hellmouth for seven years, the show ended – but not before it entered into our hearts as one of the greatest shows of all time.  Not only that – it had some of the best characters of all time, and solidified Joss Whedon’s place as God’s gift to nerds for the rest of his life.

Xander“I laugh in the face of danger!  Then I… hide until it goes away.”

#7 – Star Trek: TNG/DS9

DS9 has better effects, better fight scenes, longer and deeper story arcs, and some of the best characters in the Star Trek Universe.  TNG has…  Well, nostalgia, and Patrick Stewart.  No matter how cheesy the effects, no matter how awful the script–  Patrick Stewart could look toward the camera and deliver with such talented poise that you believed it.  They both ran seven seasons.  TNG spawned four movies, DS9 zero.   It’s a tough call.  One could make the argument either way.  So, I’m putting them both at seven – they share a universe and characters after all.  If you’re asking yourself how come Voyager isn’t ranked with TNG and DS9 — you need a lesson in good taste, my friend.

#6 – Babylon 5

Bab-5, sci-fi for the thinking man.  Cheesy and dated special effects drag it down a bit, but the plot runs so deep you won’t care.  This is a series for those who like long story arcs and characters that never stop developing.  Looking for a bunch of standalone plots, look elsewhere.

#5 – Firefly

Mal: “Well, my time of not taking you seriously is coming to a middle.”

Picture from Fanpop.com Sooooo true.

Picture from Fanpop.com
Sooooo true.

Oh, the dialogue!  Oh, the awesomeness!  How is Firefly not higher on the list?  It only got one season; a jumbled season at that.  The movie that followed: Serenity, is one of the best movies of all time, no doubt, and in this writer’s opinion, Joss Whedon’s best effort.  That all being said, it’s very difficult to rate a one-season wonder higher than some long-lasting fan favorites.

#4:  X- Files

Picture from tv.kehuan.net

Picture from tv.kehuan.net

An undeniable classic.  Far ahead of its time.  Everything from Fringe to Warehouse 13 has tried to implement the X- Files formula; with mixed results.  It was a little rough in the early going, but no one can deny that Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were two of the best FBI agents to ever investigate the paranormal.  With such stirring characters as Skinner, The Cigarette Smoking Man, and The Lone Gunmen (see an awesomely cheesy spin-off that didn’t last nearly long enough) this series lasted nine awesome seasons.  I want to believe…  and I want that poster for my bedroom.

#3 – Lost

Picture from abc.go.com

Picture from abc.go.com

Mysterious, thrilling, moving, scary, tragic, hilarious.  Lost is a hard show to pin down, and that’s how I like it.  Lost doesn’t feel like a tv show while you’re watching it, it feels like a novel; and like a novel, it sticks with you far after it’s over.

#2 – Doctor Who

Picture from bbcamerica.com

Picture from bbcamerica.com

Been around how long? 70+ years?  Before Star Trek.  Before Star Wars.  Goes without saying, this show deserves a top three slot.  Thirteen Doctors (if you count the War Doctor), and I’m sure they’ll come up with more even if the story-line precludes it…  This is science-fiction, darn it!  We will find a way!

#1 –  Star Trek: The Original Series

Picture taken from deviantart.com by 1darthvader

Picture taken from deviantart.com by 1darthvader

Was it ever a question what number one would be?  TOS, the one that started it all.  TOS has two things something none of the other Star Treks have: Kirk, and  that western feel.  The Final Frontier.  TOS was pitched as “Wagon Train to the Stars”.  It’s science fiction, no doubt, but as Joss Whedon reminded us all with Firefly– western formulas play well in science fiction settings.  TOS spawned a second series, six movies, four spin-offs, and two reboot movies.  It is the most quoted of the Star Treks, and easily ranks in the top classic sci-fi shows ever.  Not only that, the social and scientific progress this show marked and promoted is something that won’t be forgotten for a long, long time.

[Kirk talking to Spock] “You’re a great one for logic.  I’m a great one for rushing in where angels fear to tread.  We are both extremists.  Reality has brought us somewhere in-between.”

TOS. #1.  Nuff’ said.

~ Joseph Hawkins & J.T. Riles ~

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