30 Science Fiction Television Shows

30 Science Fiction Shows

New worlds, new humanoids!
New worlds, new humanoids! | Source
New worlds, old problems and answers.
New worlds, old problems and answers. | Source
Journey to the stars.
Journey to the stars. | Source
A trek to the stars.
A trek to the stars. | Source
Freedom in the stars.
Freedom in the stars. | Source
In Star Trek the Cold War could be examined in new ways.
In Star Trek the Cold War could be examined in new ways. | Source
Star Trek The Next Generation put Brother  Sun and Sister Moon into a new context. Also the roles were reversed.
Star Trek The Next Generation put Brother Sun and Sister Moon into a new context. Also the roles were reversed. | Source
The TARDIS.
The TARDIS. | Source
A Dalek.
A Dalek. | Source
The Ice Warriors were a favorite menace of the 2nd Doctor.
The Ice Warriors were a favorite menace of the 2nd Doctor. | Source
Churchill during the 2nd World War was once visited by The Doctor.
Churchill during the 2nd World War was once visited by The Doctor. | Source
Nothing like being Lost in Space.
Nothing like being Lost in Space. | Source
If you are lost in space, you need a robot.
If you are lost in space, you need a robot. | Source
Space Angel!
Space Angel! | Source
There were some unusual looking space craft in Blake's Seven.
There were some unusual looking space craft in Blake's Seven. | Source
Since the development of the atomic bomb, someone has to keep an eye on the scientists.
Since the development of the atomic bomb, someone has to keep an eye on the scientists. | Source
Doom Watch.
Doom Watch. | Source
The first adventure of the Time Slip children is a visit to World War One where they must help put a stop to a German invasion of England.
The first adventure of the Time Slip children is a visit to World War One where they must help put a stop to a German invasion of England. | Source
Communism is touched upon in Time Slip.
Communism is touched upon in Time Slip. | Source
Tripods.
Tripods. | Source
Ocean Girl.
Ocean Girl. | Source
SLIDERS!
SLIDERS! | Source
My Favorite Martian.
My Favorite Martian. | Source
Red Dwarf's computer. First male and then female.
Red Dwarf's computer. First male and then female. | Source
A dead crew member of Red Dwarf.
A dead crew member of Red Dwarf. | Source
Calling Gigantor!
Calling Gigantor! | Source
Astroboy!
Astroboy! | Source
What do the aliens in Earth Final Conflict really want?
What do the aliens in Earth Final Conflict really want? | Source
Babylon Five.
Babylon Five. | Source

30 Science Fiction Television Shows

Today science fiction has certain pluses and certain negatives for the bean counters. For a start, a good science fiction show costs a lot more to produce than just about any other kind of show. On the more positive, science fiction shows if they get an audience tend to keep it a long time.

Audience loyalty to much loved SF happens to be legendary. The original Star Trek was going to be killed off after its second season but fans who loved the show would not allow this to happen.

Also it should be noted that SF fans are the most intelligent of viewers ranging from kids with a sense of wonder in their souls to college and university students to scientists to dentists and doctors to owners of companies. There have even been astronaut SF fans.

The outlay for episodes of a good SF program may be high but it can and does pay off big time in DVD sales. Who wants Big Brother on DVD? I can't imagine many people would. Ask the same question about anything to do with Star Trek or Stargate and you may be surprised by the response you get. There are shows that will fade away in time and you can put the tag of 'Who cares?' on them quite easily but top SF goes on forever and has a certain lasting beauty. I should know since I admit to being a long time fan of this particular genre.

I will present you with 30 SF shows to think about but not in order of excellence. Maybe you'd care to put them in order for yourself.

1. Star Trek

I grew up on the original Star Trek as did many people of my generation. It showed a bright, shinny future full of star ships and adventure on alien worlds. It also examined the concerns of the '60s such as racism and overpopulation and it did so through SF. It was not expensively produced but there were good writers and good actors on board plus a soundtrack that was truly out of this world. When the show was canceled it didn't just dry up and blow away. It did so well in re-runs that it was decided that something had to be done about returning it in some way, shape or form to television. There was an animated Star Trek show that did well. Eventually, Star Trek the Next Generation came into existence. Then there was Deep Space Nine and then Voyager. All good entertainment.

2. Doctor Who

I grew up on the original Doctor's adventures. The old grouch, the first of the Doctors, was a character I could somehow relate to despite not yet being in my teens and I thought the blue box that looked like a telephone box only it has something to do with the British police (A police call box) was real cool. The Daleks back then were real scary. After well over two decades the show was canceled but that wasn't the end. It lived on in magazines, paperbacks and comic books until it could be revived as a television show with more advanced special effects. Today it goes on and there is a fresh new generation of fans. Apparently you can't keep a good Doctor down for long or kill him off completely. If you do he will just regenerate. In a sense The Doctor as a much loved British happening which is still going on is well over three decades old and must be heading for the big Four Oh. The original soundtrack for this show was experimental electronic music I thought was so far out it gave me goosebumps.

3. Lost in Space

This was a rather quirky family show that drew you in with its special effects and also its peculiar sense of drama and humor. To pin down why it worked and still works on fans isn't easy. Doctor Zachary Smith was supposed to be a villain destined to be killed off in the first season of the show but fans had other ideas. Nowadays it is difficult to talk about Lost in Space without mentioning Smith, The Robot and Will Robinson. Jonathan Harris, the fellow who played the dastardly and sometimes silly Doctor Zachary Smith, actually came to Sydney, Australia well after the show was canceled to put on a stage show starring himself as Smith. His co-star was The Robot.

4. Space Angel

This was cheap 1960s animation at both its best and worst. The space stories were great but the animation, when it came to the characters, often looked way too clumsy. The rocket firing sequences though were gems and, for a child of the early '60s, fun. The soundtrack was also of excellent quality.

5. Blake's 7

This was adult science fiction from the British not because of any nudity or bad language, or even frequent acts of violence, but because it was geared to get the little gray cells of the brain operating overtime. A good SF show created by Terry Nation who is probably best known for his script contribution in the creation of the Daleks.

6. Doom Watch

Black and white British SF about a group of government agents who look into science gone wrong and who attempt to fix problems before they get out of hand. One episode dealt with a substance that could eat through anything made out of plastic and thus multiply like a virus. It doesn't sound like much of a menace until you think of how many items including safety items are made of plastic or protected by plastic. Imagine yourself in a plane high up when the plastic seals on the windows holding them in place are about to melt away. Another episode dealt with overly intelligent rats made so by bad science.

7. Timeslip

This is a show about two children slipping through time. They begin their journey in the present then slip into WW2. Eventually they land in the future. It was a low budget show made for children with children in the lead but it was thoughtfully done and says something positive about the era in which it was made. It was an early '70s show.

8. The Tripods

This is 1980s British and Australian SF at its best. Aliens control earth's human population. When a human reaches a certain age they are 'capped' and thus are not only fully accepted into adult society but are prevented from being able to think beyond a sort of medieval existence. There is however an underground movement against 'capping'. Brilliant and well thought out SF.

9. Ocean Girl

This is Australian SF at its most brilliant and best. A girl from another world may be able to save humanity from destruction. It has a very green and, to me, a very welcome message. Shot in and around beautiful waterways, it has been a big hit both in Germany and the UK.

10. Sliders

A very clever and entertaining show about inter-dimensional travel. It was full of enjoyable social comment. Imagine that an alternate world is headed for destruction and the only way to save it is to bring out of moth balls the atomic bomb and make it work thus possibly creating a Cold War that had not previously existed. Imagine sliding to a world where the communists came to rule the USA or a place where much of the world is under water because of melting ice caps. Well worth checking out.

11. My favorite Martian

Some visitors from other worlds are trouble but still nice to have around. This show gave Bill Bixby his chance to shine as a young actor. He went on to play Banner in the television series The Hulk and also was the star in The Magician. Brownies will forever be associated with a rather strange though charming lady by the name of Mrs Brown who was played by Pamela Britton.

12. Red Dwarf

This British SF comedy started out with good premises and great SF ideas. The last human has for companionship the hologram of the guy who used to boss him around, a creature that evolved into humanoid form from his pet cat and an android that had inadvertently murdered the last lot of people he had served with. The Star Trek crew were basically the best of the best. The crew aboard Red Dwarf are pretty much the worst of the worst. Unfortunately, the show evolved to where it lost some of its earlier quirkiness and glitter. Then it was brought back on the cheap without one of its better scriptwriters.

13. Gigantor

Early Japanese animation featuring an impressive gigantic robot controlled by a young boy. There is one episode set in Australia that is hilarious for its misinterpretations of what life was and is like in the outback. The Aborigines portrayed look too much like a poor man's version of what native American Indians might look like to some American cowboy with mental issues.

14. Astroboy

Watch the 1960s show. Accept no substitutes. The soundtrack is rocking and the action comes on thick and fast. Apart from one episode, it was all in black and white. The one color episode may well be the first Japanese cartoon in color. The '80s version of Astroboy is a bit too slow for this viewer. The soundtrack is awful. The 21st Century version of Astroboy isn't bad with its high tech sounds. The movie made in 2009 has a lot of heart like the '60s show and is one of my favorite animate jobs for that year. An atomic powered robot able to help save humanity from its own follies. Japanese animation at its best.

15. Flash Gordon

This is a wonderful SF show based on the comic strip popular from the '30s to at least the '80s. As far as I know this show, which started in 2008, only went to one season. If this is true all I can say is that she went before her time. All the old characters are given a nice 21st Century polish indicating a lot of work went into, not only the special effects, but also the characterization. Well worth checking into.

16. Earth Final Conflict

Aliens come to earth and this appears to be a good thing. Is it too good a thing? What do they really want with humanity and with the planet earth? The mystery unfolds with every episode. They program humans to serve them and this allows the underground to get an agent into the heart of what is really going on.

17. Babylon Five

A space station called Babylon Five may be the best hope for humanity. It was a well put together and well thought out show. The idea to build a space station that could cater to travelers and diplomats from all over the universe comes after a devastating war in which humanity comes close to the brink of destruction. Hence making friends and forming allies is an essential part of what Babylon Five was all about.

18. Crusade

Made by the people who put together Babylon Five, it is about a plague that has doomed humans living on earth if a cure cannot be found somewhere out there in space. A space craft has been assigned the task to search for this cure.

19. Half Way Across the Galaxy and Turn Left

School can be tough but if you're an alien from another world it can be real rough. The is Australian children's SF with a sense of humor.

20. Marine Boy

Japanese animation set in the future with futuristic submarines and undersea monsters. Marine boy, the main character, takes a pill in order to breathe under the sea and has a futuristic boomerang as a weapon.

21. Outer Limits

One of the best anthology style SF/Horror programs ever put on television. Each episode was a new story based mainly on SF concepts. Do not adjust your television set. We are in control.

22. Twilight Zone

This was an anthology type show that often had science fiction. The original version of this show is the best. The remake suffered from the use of too much soft focus lens work.

23. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

This was American SF about a super submarine. Made in the 1960s there's some Cold war action in the early episodes. It ran to four seasons.

24. Stargate SG-1

This is fantastic SF in anyone's book. The cast from the get go was perfect. Who wouldn't want to travel to new worlds? Mind you if it might involve having a snake like creature take over your body most of us would bow out.

25. Stargate Atlantis

This show in some ways turned out to be as good as if not better than Stargate SG1. People from earth stargate travel to the fabled city of Atlantis which happens to be in another galaxy.

26. Enterprise

So far this is the last of the television offshoots of Star Trek. It is about the first of the Star ships to go by the name Enterprise. In the final season we discover why Klingons look more human in the original Star Trek episodes than in, say, Star Trek the Next generation. Much underestimated and unfortunately not as appreciated as it should have been.

27. Gerry Anderson's Space Precinct

This is a British cop show set in the future with aliens running about. It features fast space vehicles, lots of explosions and other good stuff.

28. Firefly

Another very good American SF show that went before her time. A space freighter on the run with its crew trying to get by and stay out of trouble going to and from the various terraformed worlds out there on the frontiers of human existence. No aliens to speak of here but that shouldn't put you off. Some enhanced humans and plenty of action.

29. Sea Quest DSV (Deep Sea Voyage)

This is the more modern version of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Great special effects coupled with an exploration of computer science and the occasional green message that we really should take better care of our planet.

30. Andromeda

A war is lost, a space vessel and her captain are also presumed lost but return many years later to find the universe has changed but not for the better. Not your average dose of SF.

Well, that's my list. It could have been larger. Certainly all of the offshoots of Star Trek could have got more of a mention. I said 30, however, and stuck with that number. I hope you have enjoyed the read.


More by this Author


Comments 17 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I'll admit there are shows here that I am not familiar with. I liked the original Star Trek but felt that the later versions were not as convincing as the original.Some of the shows I am not familiar with which may be due to the fact that I am older and would not have been interested in the shows aimed at teenagers.


Lora Palmer profile image

Lora Palmer 6 years ago from Warrington, Pennsylvania

You have a great list here! I absolutely loved Star Trek, Stargate SG-1, and Sliders. To the list, I would also add Quantum Leap, Roswell, and FlashForward.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

dahoglund, thanks for your comments. Star Trek was an important science fiction television show. It paved the way. Doctor Who was equally important.

Lora, thanks for your comments. Sliders was one of my favorite shows when it was on. I do remember Quantum Leap and also Roswell. I am familiar with the premise of FlashForward but was working when it was on so never really got into it.


mrpopo profile image

mrpopo 6 years ago from Canada

The Twilight Zone is quite an interesting show. I've seen a few episodes on Youtube and they were all thought provocative and unnerving at the same time - very enjoyable. Star Trek is obviously a classic, but I've never watched the series. Lost in Space I've heard of as well from my parents, but I've also never had the privilege to watch. Great Hub!


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks mrpopo.

Twilight Zone was a great show for its day and many of the episodes still stand up nicely in this more cynical age. I always found the opening images and the sound of the bongos for some reason unnerving. There was an episode about an android who didn't know he was an android. For a nine year old that was a scary one but, as you say, enjoyable.

Star Trek is well worth watching though don't expect too much when it comes to the special effects. Lost in Space started out in black and white but with an impressive special effects budget. When it moved to color the special effects budget was trimmed down but it was still a very good show. It got weirder and wackier as it went along. By the last season any pretense at doing straight science fiction had been tossed out the window.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

A really cool list. Most of the British shows I don't know, but I've enjoyed Dr. Who and even Space 1999 (not on your list). The original Star Trek stands as a lifetime favorite. My folks got us a color TV just so we could watch this every Friday night.

I hated Lost in Space. Sorry. The first episode showed Dr. Smith as a ruthless murderer, then he became downright slap silly. I loved the robot, though. Similar to Forbidden Planet's Robby.

My favorite episode of Star Trek: TNG was called "The Inner Light" (season 5, I think), about Captain Picard living a lifetime in a few seconds, raising a family, and learning to play the flute. Patrick Stewart's son played Picard's son. The end of this episode is both poignant and powerfully moving -- a visceral connection to a past in virtual reality.

I also loved Twilight Zone (the original) and Outer Limits. One of my favorite TZ's, though, was from the newer series and only a short story within the hour. It seemed to be a portrayal of Arthur C. Clarke's Hugo Award-winning (1956) short story, "The Star." Talk about poignant. This one hit hard and deep. And one of my favorite from the old TZ was "To Serve Man" (full of irony).


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Yes, well, lone77star, if I had gone to 31 I definitely would have included Space 1999. I loved Star Trek too.

Lost in Space was never going to be everyone's cup of tea. My dad hated it. There was an episode in which the robot and Robby from Forbidden Planet actually met.

I remember 'The Inner light' and it was a pretty good episode.

I remember the episode of the new Twilight Zone you mention. It wasn't bad. The only thing I really hated about the new Twilight Zone was all the soft focus camera work. 'To Serve Man' is a favorite with a lot of SF viewers.


Farscape 5 years ago

Farscape is definitely one of the all time top 10 SF shows and you left it out! It may not have achieved a world wide audience, but it was quality all the way.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

I am glad you enjoyed Farscape. I thought it was okay.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Oh yes, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Lost in Space ~ all classics in their own way. I enjoyed Stargate. Timeslip was real favourite of mine, when I was a youngster!

Probably my Favourite sci-fi would be the X Files.

Dr Who scared me to death when I was a child! Much later, we were in Dorset, when they were filming one year, and we stayed at the same hotel as some of the cast.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks for stopping by Trish.

I enjoyed the X-Files when it first started.

Dr Who had some scary moments when it was in black and white. I guess that was part of the enjoyment. Seeing the cast of Doctor Who live would have really been something.

I am glad you remember Timeslip.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

I actually have some videos of Timeslip ~ very dated now :)


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

I have first season and third season episodes of Timeslip but on video. Nothing on DVD. I only have that because I knew a guy who ran a second hand bookshop who got the more obscure sf stuff in from England. Unfortunately that contact has retired. I tend to think of Timeslip as a boys own adventure only it also had a girl involved.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

MST3000. That's it. That's the list.

;)


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

If you say so nicomp. Not sure if you are giving me a nod or what here.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great hub...my favorite are "Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits..." (original version)

The scripts and narratives of "Outer Limits" were amazing - Shakespeare and then some, but the special effects were ridiculous at best. Of course, today the special effects are awesome but the plots and narratives are for the most part absurd to say the least...

Voted up

John


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 4 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks for stopping by John Sarkis. The special effects industry has grown up a lot since the days of the original Twilight Zone and Outer Limits.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working