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My 20 Favorite sci-fi TV Shows

Updated on January 28, 2012

Catherine and Vincent from Beauty and the Beast

David Tennant in Dr. Who

Darrin McGavin as Kolchak

Dr. Sam Beckett gets ready to Quantum Leap

Andre Morell as Quatermass

My favorite lady, Gillian Anderson

My 20 Favorite Sci-Fi Shows ever:

I’ve always been a sci-fi fan. I grew up watching the original Star Trek and films like the Thing and Forbidden Planet, and old serials such as Flash Gordon, starring Buster Crabb. There’s something about sci-fi that stirs the imagination in a way nothing else can. Over the years, there have been a lot of sci-fi television shows. The first one was Captain Video in 1949. It was a silly show but it was successful and it launched the genre of science fiction television. There have been a lot of terrible sci-fi shows (Land of the Giants), and some mediocre ones (Space: 1999), and some disappointing ones (Star Trek: Voyager). This is a list of my 20 favorite shows, and—in my opinion—the best. They are listed alphabetically.

Babylon 5: This is an ambitious space opera which began as a two-hour made-for-TV film. The Premise: The year is 2258. It is 10 years since the Earth/Mimbari War ended. The space station Babylon-5 has been built as an interplanetary UN, where representatives of various planets in the galaxy will meet to resolve their differences, discuss commerce and deal with other matters, in order to prevent any more wars among the volatile group of disparate races—many of who have legitimate reasons to want to fight other races of the League of Non-Aligned worlds. The station has also become a sort of Casablanca-like home for poor refugees and travelers, who were searching for a better life somewhere but got stuck during their travels and ended up living in seedy shanty-towns (the equivalent of slums) on the unoccupied lower levels of the station. The station is under the command of Earth’s military wing, who have to keep the different species from going to war, despite a sabotaging hidden agenda by covert forces within the Earth government; and they also have to keep order in the crime-ridden lower levels of the station.

This show started off a bit slow in the first year but it really picks up speed once the plot starts to come together. Everything is so well-connected in this series that you have to be impressed with how well series creator J. Michael Straczynski planned out the detailed mythology of the backstory. Unlike most shows, you’ll find no continuity errors in B-5. The convoluted strands of plot all weave together brilliantly. The show had an epic feel, especially during the ‘Shadow War’ storyline. Bruce Boxleitner starred as Captain John Sheridan (replacing Michael O’Hare as Captain Sinclair who left the show after the first season.) The show peaked in season 2-4, but the final season is rather weak. Still, this show had the best crafted 5-year story arc I’ve ever seen.

Battlestar Galactica: (The Remake) The new version of BSG is a revamp of the campy cult series from the 1970s, but given a darker and more mature spin. The Premise: In another galaxy, where the parent-race of humanity lives, there was a war with the robotic race known as the Cylons. 95% of the humans were wiped out. The fleet of surviving refugees sets out in a rag-tag group of ship, hoping to find the legendary planet called Earth, where early human pilgrims supposedly travelled to centuries ago. The refugee fleet is protected by the last remaining warship Battlestar: Galactica and pursued by the persistent Cylons.

The original 1970s BSG had a rather light-hearted approach, considering how grim the premise of the show was, and it often slipped into campy humor. Not so with the 21st century remake. The new version—Starring Edward James Olmos as the leader and protector of humanity Captain Adama; a role played by Lorne Green as commander Adama in the old show—is much more serious, delving into the psychological pressure of the humans flight from their enemy and the seeming hopelessness of ever finding Earth. It also delves into the politics and power struggles that go on within the hierarchy of the human fleet. Further, the new show has a more interesting take on religion than the old one did, with humans as a polytheistic race and the Cylons being monotheistic. Sometimes the new BSG can be too relentlessly depressing and watching a marathon of episodes all at once can be a downer. However, this show is one of the most well-written and most politically/socially relevant sci-fi shows ever made.

Beauty & the Beast: It’s rare for a sci-fi show to have a larger female following than a male following. This usually happens when there is romance involved, such as in the Twilight stories. Well, romance was the main focus of this fantasy/adventure, which was a modern update of the classic Beauty & the Beast tale. The Premise: Beautiful lawyer Catherine Chandler is attacked and left for dead in Central Park one evening. She is found by the mutant Lion-man Vincent, who brings her to his underground home—called “the Tunnels”, which are old, forgotten caverns and tunnels that stretch underneath Manhattan—to minister to her wounds. Vincent was raised in the peaceful underground society by his adopted dad and nominal leader of the tunnels, who is known only as ‘Father’. Leonine Vincent and gorgeous Catherine fall in love, and a hopeless romance begins between them. As Catherine says, “Even though we can never be together, we will never, ever be apart.”

I don’t normally gravitate toward romantic stories but this one had me hooked in a way Twilight never did. The impossible love between Vincent and Catherine was impossible not to get invested in. Whenever Vincent read poetry to Catherine, even a hard-hearted cynic would have to admit it was very romantic. Ron Perlman (Who played Vincent, and who more recently played Hellboy) and lovely Linda Hamilton (Who played Catherine but who is probably best known for playing Sarah Conner in the Terminator films) had incredible chemistry together. Sadly, Linda Hamilton left the show in the third season after becoming pregnant, so the character of Catherine was killed off early in year three. The show sunk in the ratings after that because no one wanted to see the Beast without the Beauty.

Blake’s 7: An interesting space opera which is not well-known in the US but it should be because it has an clever twist on the norm, with Earth as the bad guys. The Premise: In the far future, Earth is the center of a conquering galactic empire, and any trouble-makers are brainwashed into submission. One of those trouble makers is Roj Blake, who once led a failed revolt and has been stripped of his memories and reduced to a worker drone. His memories and fighting spirit are revived when he witnesses a massacre that the Earth government tries to cover up. He escapes aboard a prison ship and organizes a group of five fellow outlaws and a super-computer with a personality, as the core of a new rebellion. The seven freedom fighters try repeatedly to overthrow the corrupt Empire.

This is sort of a ‘Robin Hood and his Merry Men’ in space, with Earth as the bad guys. Gareth Thomas plays the hero Blake. Blake’s second-in-command is the less-altruistic, more nefarious and very cunning Ker Avon (Paul Darrow.) The internal power struggle between noble Blake and ruthless Avon made for a very compelling dynamic. When star Gareth Thomas left the show after the second season, you might expect the series to wither and fade. But it didn't. If anything, the series became even more interesting when devious anti-hero Avon took over the series as the new leader of the revolution. (The show was still called Blake’s 7, even though Blake was gone) Instead of good guy against the bad guys, we had bad guy against worse guys. The closing moments of the final episode make for one of the most unexpected endings in TV history.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A great show based on a not-so-good movie. The film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Christy Swanson and Luke Perry, was such a disappointment to writer Joss Whedon because of the way the director and studio twisted his premise, that he started from scratch when he made the TV series, correcting all the errors that made the movie so cheesy. The Premise: Once every generation, a girl is born with super strength and speed, and is destined to be the “Chosen One” who will defend the world from vampires. The latest in an endless line of ‘Slayers’ is Buffy Summers, (Sarah Michele Geller) who originally wanted nothing more than to be a typically shallow teenager but couldn’t escape her destiny. She is trained by her mentor Giles (Anthony Head) and assisted by her two best friends Willow and Xander to protect innocent people from vampires, demons and all types of nasty creatures.

The series often straddles the line between comedy and drama but remains essentially a drama, despite the high level of comic relief. There is a lot of witty, fast-talking banter that would make Howard Hawks proud. Sarah Michelle Geller is a perfect combination of strength and vulnerability as the often reluctant heroine Buffy. Her romance with the brooding, good-hearted vampire Angel (David Boreanaz, who left after year three to star in the sequel Angel, and who currently stars in Bones) attracted many female viewers to the show. When Angel left, James Marsters replaced him as Spike, the bad-boy who became Buffy’s new vampire boyfriend. I’ll admit that the show peaked during the second and third seasons and it was pretty much downhill from there, but when Buffy was good, it was great. Watch the first three seasons and you’ll forgive the disappointing later years.

Doctor Who: The longest running Sci-Fi show in TV history, and arguably the best. This ever-popular fixture of British television began life in 1963 and ran consistently for 26 years until 1989. After a 16 year hiatus (during which a made-for-TV move was produced in America) the show returned to the airwaves in 2005 and has remained a big hit ever since. New episodes are still being produced for the 2012 season. The Premise: Our brilliant hero, known only as “the Doctor” (Not Doctor Who) is from a super-advanced alien race who have mastered devices to travel through time and space as easily as we drive cars. The Doctor, frustrated by his people’s academic ‘Observe, don’t interfere’ philosophy, flees his home-world of Gallifrey in a stolen TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) and sets out to explore the universe. Along the way, he uses his incredible intellect and resourcefulness to defend the weak and innocent of the universe against menacing creatures of all shapes, sizes and species.

There have been 11 different actors who have taken on the role of The Doctor in the past 48 years. The first was the late William Hartnell and the current one is Matt Smith. The two most popular have been Tom Baker and David Tenant. Each actor has his own unique interpretation of the mysterious Doctor. The way the show keeps reinventing itself, combine with the open format—it can take place anywhere, anytime—keeps it fresh and explains why it is still running almost 50 years later.

Eureka: This is currently the best American-made sci-fi show on television. It sometimes seems more of a comedy than a serious show. I guess you’d call it a Dramady. The light hearted tone makes it all the more entertaining. The Premise: The town of Eureka seems normal on the surface but (literally) underneath is a different story. All the inhabitants of Eureka (except one) are super-geniuses gathered from around the world to work for Global Dynamics, a militarily funded think-tank, building inventions and weapons that seem decades ahead of current science. The hubris and competitiveness of the people at GD cause constant oversights or sabotage that lead to a never-ending string of malfunctions and accidents that threaten to destroy the town or the state or the country or even the world. The man who continually saves the town is Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), the only guy in Eureka who isn’t a genius, and yet his down-to-earth approach, natural instincts and courage are always what save the scientists of GD from their own hubris.

It’s true that there is a lot of repetitiveness to the show. Every week is a new malfunction and every week it’s the non-science oriented Sheriff Carter who comes through with a way to save the day, using his everyman logic. In many shows this formulaic approach might make the program short lived, but since much of Eureka is focused on humor, the repetitiveness becomes a running gag and allows the writers to run the same formula into the ground without it seeming like lazy writing.

Hercules…The Legendary Journeys: The world’s first action hero Hercules came to TV in this breezy, often campy action show. The premise: The half mortal/half God son of Zeus,( king of the Olympian gods), lives on Earth, raised by a human mother. When evil Hera (Zeus’ wife and Herc’s step-mother, who resents Hercules because he is a reminder of Zeus’s dalliance with Herc’s mother) kills Hercules’ wife and kids, our demi-God hero goes on a crusade to stop the Gods from treating mortals like their own personal toys. Wherever the Gods are abusing humans, Hercules is there to stop it.

The show started as part of a series of made-for-TV movies, called The Action Pack, which featured legendary actor Anthony Quinn as Zeus. Series star Kevin Sorbo didn’t have the body-builder physique of other actors who played Hercules, such as Steve Reeves, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Ferrigno, but he carries off the role wonderfully. He is a perfect mixture of heroism, charm and self-deprecating humor. This series introduced Lucy Lawless as Xena, who would go on to have her own spin-off series.

Kolchak…the Night Stalker: A forerunner to the X-Files, this spooky 1970s horror series had a short run but is well-loved today. The Premise: Off-beat, burnt-out reporter Karl Kolchak has the unholy knack for coming across supernatural creatures in almost story he investigates. He doesn’t look for them but somehow, no matter what story he’s covering, there is a monster involved somewhere. Since no one believes him, he ends up having to kill the creature on his own. After he vanquishes the menace, no one ever believes it happened since he never has any concrete evidence of his encounters.

The strength of the show was Darrin McGavin’s performance as the sarcastic Kolchak. He is the epitome of the world-weary reporter who’s been in the business too long but doesn't know how to do anything else. He is the most reluctant of heroes. He doesn't want to be a monster-fighter, but since no one else knows the creatures exist and he can’t convince people otherwise, it’s up to him to use his wits to save the day. The series requires a huge suspension of disbelief to accept that Kolchak keeps randomly running into monsters no one else ever sees, but if you can get past that, this show is a lot of fun. The creators of the X-Files say that this show was the inspiration for that series.(There was a remake years later with Stewart Townsend as Kolchak, but don't bother with that one. Darrin McGavin is the REAL Kolchak and he's the one to watch.)

Quantum Leap: Long before he starred in Enterprise, Scott Bakula became a favorite of sci-fi audiences in this thoughtful time-travel series. The Premise: Brilliant physicist Dr. Sam Beckett develops the ‘string theory’ of time travel, postulating that a person could ‘leap’ through time within his own lifetime. He steps onto his ‘Quantum accelerator’ and vanishes into time, reappearing seemingly randomly in the years between 1956 and 1999, but always being seen as someone else. He always takes the place of a person in trouble and can’t ‘Leap’ through time again until he has solved that person’s crisis. Sam theorizes that some higher power (God? Fate?) is manipulating his leaps and using him as a temporal repairman to fix errors in time that messed up people’s lives. (“To put right what once went wrong”) Sam’s only contact with 1999 is through Al (Dean Stockwell), a friend and co-worker of Sam’s who appears in the past in the form of a hologram only Sam can see or hear. Sam continues to leap from life to life, always hoping the next leap will be the one that finally brings him home.

There were only two continuing characters on the series, but that was all it needed. The relationship between Sam and Al was very well written and their dialogue, whether they were bantering or arguing, was always entertaining. The role of Sam was a tour-de-force for Bakula, since the character leaped into a new life every episode, forcing Sam to have to adapt to his new surroundings, friends, family, job, etc., each week. He could be any race, any age, male or female. One time he even took the place of a chimp. Bakula always managed pull it off

Quatermass: Not really a proper TV series. The character Quatermass appeared in a trio of multi-part serials in the early 1950s, (The Quatermass Experiment, Quatermass 2, Quatermass and the Pit) making him the first serious sci-fi hero of the TV era. The Premise: Brilliant Professor Bernard Quatermass is an innovative and highly moral pioneer of the British space program, working for a group called the British Experimental Rocket Group. Each of the three serials had an alien threat coming to Earth and Quatermass used his genius to thwart the invading menace.

Quatermass was played by a different a different actor in each of the three serials (Reginald Tate, John Robinson, and Andre Morell respectively) and each brought a lightly different spin on the character. (Morell is considered to have given the definitive portrayal of the character.) The BBC execs and writers decided not to overuse their new character and kept him in reserve for later projects.

Red Dwarf: Unlike others on this list, this show is a flat-out comedy, but it also falls under the category as sci-fi. The Premise: Dave Lister was the lowest-ranked crewman aboard the massive merchant mining ship Red Dwarf. Lister is locked up in stasis for a violation of rules, and while he is frozen, a radiation leak kills the rest of the crew. The Red Dwarf floats in space for three million years until the last of the radiation is completely gone and the ships artificial intelligence computer Holly can finally release Lister. Lister learns that in the three million years he was sleeping, the human race has become extinct and that he is the last human in the universe. As Lister and Red Dwarf wander the universe, Lister’s only company is a holographic recreation of his old bunkmate Rimmer (Who Lister hates), a mutated cat-man (Descended from Lister’s pet cat) and later, an android named Kryten.

Created by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, the series started out as a sort of Odd Couple in space, focusing on the dynamic between Lister (Craig Charles) and Rimmer (Chris Barrie). Lister is sloppy, lazy and undisciplined, whereas Rimmer is a stern, humorless stickler-for-detail and neatness. Their clash of personalities carried the early episodes. As the show went on, more traditional sci-fi plots were introduced to test the four inept crewmen of the Red Dwarf. The show kept getting better and better, peaking in year six, which was the pinnacle of the show. However, in year seven, after Chris Barrie left—and Lister lost his foil Rimmer—the show dipped in quality. Rimmer returned in year eight but changes in the writing staff after Rob Naylor left the program ruined the series and it was cancelled. But for six years, the show was consistently hilarious.

Smallville: The legend is reborn. This is a revisionist take on the Superman mythos, focusing on his early years and what made him the hero he would later become. The Premise: Young Clark Kent is a shy student in Smallville, Kansas, where he was found by Martha and John Kent after his rocket ship landed there when he was a baby. He'd been sent to Earth from the planet Krypton by his real father Jor-El. Clark wants to live a normal life but as his amazing powers begin to develop and increase, and new villains keep turning up in Smallville, Clark starts to realize that it isn’t easy to avoid your destiny. Clark slowly learns how to use his powers and to accept his destiny as the protector of the Earth.

Tom Welling initially gave a rather weak performance as Clark, which was perhaps intentional, since in the early episodes, Clark was meek and trying to avoid his destiny. Welling grew into the part, just as Clark Kent slowly becomes a more focused and determined figure who accepts that he will one day become the greatest super hero of all. Sometimes on the show, Clark seemed a bit dim and makes some stupid decisions, but we can assume that this is the writer’s way of telling us that young Clark is still learning and has a long way to go before he is ready to don the blue and red costume. Clark often seems too trusting and a bit too much of a kinder, gentler hero than we are used to seeing, but he gets the job done. It’s a bit frustrating for long-time fans that he doesn’t learn how to fly until the last episode, (Which was mandated by the producers who said, “No flights and no tights” until the last episode) which was when he finally put on the famous costume. Erica Durance plays the young Lois Lane and Michael Rosenbaum is excellent as the young Lex Luthor.

Star Trek: The original! As a child, this was my favorite TV show in the world. I absolutely adored it. I was a huge Trekkie when I was younger. I had almost every episode memorized. The Premise: In the 23rd century, Earth is part of an intergalactic alliance for peace known as the Federation. The Federation does have a military wing, however, called Star Fleet, composed of a fleet of powerful space vessels known as Starships. The Starships have a dual purpose; to protect the citizens of the Federation, and to explore new worlds and new civilizations; “to boldly go where no man has gone before”. The flagship of the Federation is the Starship Enterprise, commanded by dynamic Captain James Kirk. Captain Kirk is assisted by his brilliant alien first officer Mr. Spock; a southern doctor named McCoy; and a Scots engineer named Scotty.

William Shatner played Captain Kirk. Say what you want about Shatner’s over-the-top acting style, he was a heck of a lot of fun to watch as the macho, womanizing Captain Kirk. Leonard Nimoy stole the show as the logical Mr. Spock, who was more popular than the series star. Star Trek was not a success during its initial run. It struggled along in the ratings for three years and was unceremoniously cancelled. Months after its cancelation, the 1969 moon landing made the idea of space exploration more interesting and appealing to the public. During the 1970s, people who never watched the show during its original airing discovered the reruns and Star Trek became the most popular syndicated re-run ever, at that time. The show has gained a huge fan-following over the years, spawning several spin-offs and feature films, novels and even a cartoon show.

Star Trek-Deep Space 9: The second spin-off from Star Trek, this was a darker version of the ‘Trek’ franchise than we’d seen before. The action took place aboard space station Deep Space 9, orbiting the planet Bajor. The Premise: Bajor has recently thrown off a longtime military occupation by the hostile Cardassians, and have now aligned themselves with the Federation, who send Star Fleet troops to take up residence in an old Cardassian station orbiting Bajor, as a first line of defense against any returning Cardassian ships. But the Federation has another motive for being in the area. Bajor is close to the galaxy’s first-ever stable, permanent wormhole, which allows travel to distant parts of the Galaxy. Living within the wormhole are the strange, bodiless alien beings who are worshipped as ‘the prophets’ by the Cardassians. Benjamin Sisko is the Commander of the Star Fleet troops on Deep space 9, and when he becomes the first person to actually speak to the prophets, he starts to become worshipped by the Bajorans as “the Emissary”.

Avery Brooks starred as Commander Sisko. Over the first few years, viewers complained about Brooks’ lackadaisical performance but he made a comeback in the later years, showing that he was a worthy successor to previous ‘Trek’ captains. The real main character of the show was Bajoran first officer Major Kira Nerys, played by Nana Visitor. ST: DS9 delved more into politics and religion than previous Trek shows. Many people make comparison between DS9 and B5, but other than some surface similarities, the two shows really aren’t very much alike.

Star Trek-The Next Generation: The first of the ‘Trek’ spin-offs, and the highest rated of the entire ‘Trek’ franchise. Many people did not believe that a worthy spin-off to the original Trek was possible, and there was a lot of resistance to the idea by old fans when ST: TNG was first announced. The first two seasons seemed to prove them right because ST: TNG started off pretty badly but it actually got better as it went along. The Premise: its 75 years since the travels of the original Starship Enterprise. The new version of the Enterprise—bigger and faster than the original—is under the command of veteran fleet Captain Jean Luc Picard. Like the earlier ship, they are assigned to seek out new life and boldly go where no one has gone before. Picard’s crew includes womanizing first-officer Riker, an android science officer named Data, a gorgeous telepathic psychologist named Troi, blind engineer Geordi La Forge and Klingon security officer Worf.

Patrick Stewart played Captain Picard and he is probably the finest actor to be a regular cast member on any of the ‘Trek’ shows. His gravitas and acting ability made some of the bad first year dialogue sound passable. The early scripts were bad rehashes of classic ‘Trek’ stories, and the show had trouble finding its footing until year three, when new head writer Michael Pillar and new producer Rick Berman refocused the show and gave it its own identity. The show just got better and better from then on, becoming a favorite of fans who had previously condemned it for daring to try to follow up original ‘Trek’.

The Twilight Zone: This is the first great sci-fi TV series and many consider it the best. It’s hard to argue with that. The Premise: Unlike the other shows on this list, this is an anthology series, with no recurring cast. It uses sci-fi concepts to tell morality tales. The show was a short of modern Aesop’s Fables, with each episode having a moral about human frailty. Many up-and-coming actors who would later become famous, and even a few fading stars of yesteryear, appeared on the show.

The creator, head writer and overall mastermind behind this smartly written show was Rod Serling, an award winning playwright who authored Requiem for a Heavyweight. Serling served as the on-air host/narrator of the series, as well as the creative mind behind it. Twilight Zone was first and foremost a writer’s show. The clever plot twists, imaginative scenarios and subtle moral lessons made the Twilight Zone a one-of-a-kind treat.

V: (The original)This started as a two-part TV movie, which did so well in the rating that the story was continued in a three-part mini-series, and later as a full-fledged weekly series. The ‘V’ of the title stands for “visitors”. The Premise: An alien race known as the Visitors arrive on Earth with an intimidating fleet of ships. The fearful humans of Earth are relieved when the aliens announce that they’ve come in peace, offering to use their superior technology to solve most of our problems. They quickly work their way into the fabric of our society, gaining followers, making alliances, and secretly eliminating their critics. Very soon, the Aliens are running the show and Earth has become occupied. It turns out that they want us for food and they also want to steal our water. Only a small band of resistance fighters stands against them.

The show was clearly a sci-fi allegory for the way the Nazi takeover of Germany happened and is a warning that such a thing could always happen again if we put too much trust in the wrong people. When the story became a weekly series, the lower budget and the need to stretch out the story weakened the whole concept and as a result, the weekly series was nowhere near the quality of the earlier chapters. As a whole, though, V was a splendid storyline. (There was a fairly good remake of V last season, but I like this one.)

Xena…Warrior Princess: This spin-off from Hercules proved even more popular, and was arguably better, than the parent show. The character of Xena started off as a villain in Hercules but soon reformed, setting up this spin-off. The Premise: Xena, once feared as the ruthless ‘Warrior Princess’, ruler of a rampaging army of savage pillagers, has had a change of heart after her last encounter with Hercules and is trying to make amends for her life of evil by doing good deeds and saving innocent lives, using her sword and her razor-sharp chakram. She is assisted by young Gabrielle, who Xena rescued from danger, and who becomes her sidekick and best friend.

Lucy Lawless was perfect for the role. Tall, fit, dark-haired and beautiful. The fact that she was dressed all in leather didn’t hurt, either. Her guilt-ridden character was much more complex than the noble Hercules, and she had to overcome her inner-demons, just as she was overcoming evil warlords. There were strong hints of a lesbian relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, but nothing was ever made clear about that.

The X-Files: A scary, spooky, moody show that started off with low ratings and almost got cancelled near the beginning but the network was smart enough to give it some time and the ratings grew, and grew, and grew; and this show became a bona-fide hit, running for nine years. Series creator Chris Carter was inspired by Kolchack: the Night Stalker when he thought up this celever show. The Premise: FBI agent Fox Mulder has been obsessed with otherworldly, unexplainable and paranormal phenomenon ever since he was a child, when his sister vanished. Mulder believes she was abducted by aliens and so he has devoted his life to learning about the strange and paranormal secrets that silently exist just outside the periphery of people’s awareness. He runs a branch of the FBI known as the X-Files, which contain cases that were dismissed as hoaxes or deemed unexplainable. As he slowly begins to unravel a massive government conspiracy, people in high places start to get nervous, so they assign him a partner who is supposed to debunk him. Beautiful, red-haired doctor Dana Scully is a pure science-minded cynic, and she constantly clashes with her partner. He thinks she is too unimaginative and she thinks he’s too quick to jump to crazy conclusions. Yet somehow, the two become close friends (and ultimately more than just friends) and begin to work closely together to expose the greatest government conspiracy ever.

I’m going to admit some biasness toward this show, because I LOVE Gillian Anderson. I am absolutely crazy about her. She’s my flame-haired dream girl. Even if the show weren’t very good, I’d still have watched it for Scully. But it was good, mostly because of the relationship between the two leads. David Duchovny (Mulder) and Gillian Anderson (Scully) have a terrific on-screen rapport and they play off each other perfectly. When Duchovny left the show after the eighth season, it was never the same. Scully got a new partner, Agent Doggit (Robert Patrick from Terminator 2) and in the final season, even Scully’s part was reduced when Doggit and his new partner Agent Reyes became X-Files: the next generation. But those first seven years, when Mulder and Scully was the central characters, it was a great ride.

. . . . . . . . . .

So there you have it, sci-fi fans. Twenty shows I’d recommend to any lover of good science fiction. Check them out. You might like them.



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    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image

      Breanne Ginsburg 3 years ago

      I'm glad you mentioned Quantum Leap, I love it! My favorite character is Al and you're right, even though they're the only two characters that are always on the show, it's all the show needs because of their amazing bond! I've heard of Beauty and the Beast, but forgot to see if I could get it from somewhere. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 5 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Your welcome.

    • gkerosi profile image

      Geoffrey Kerosi 5 years ago from Nairobi

      Thank for this highly detailed information.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Kris; Deep Space 9 had a pretty good 7 year run. So did ST:tNG. Both were great shows. They lasted longer than classic Trek or Enterprise. I'm a fan of the whole Trek franchise (except for Voyager) and have been since I was about 5 or 6.

      Thanks for commenting,


    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 6 years ago from Indiana

      Out of all these, the Star Trek Next Gen and Deep Space 9 were my favorites. I wish Deep Space 9 had lasted longer! Great hub!

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Bags; I really enjoyed 'Smallville' and I miss the new episodes. Interestingly, both the old and the new series of 'V' ended their first year on a cliffhanger and got cancelled before it could be resolved.

      As for Voyager, I was disappointed because it was such a missed opportunity to do something unique. Unfortunatley, many critics had criticised Deep Space 9 as being too dark, so the producers chickened out and fell back on the one-big-happy-family-exploring-the-universe motiff, because ST:TNG had done so well in the ratings, so the producers tried to squeeze voyager into the ST:TNG mode and it was an awkward fit. Also, Kate Mulgrew was not the best choice to play the first female captain. I much preferred Nana Visitor as Kira From DS9 or Tracy Scoggin's character Captain Lockley from "Babylon 5".

      Thanks for reading and commenting,


    • bagsofwater profile image

      bagsofwater 6 years ago from USA

      Great post! I agree with a lot of the shows on here, especially Smallville, disappointed that V was cancelled before 2 full seasons but am curious of your thoughts toward Star Trek: Voyager, they had some really good storylines, characters and thought it was overall very brave to put Janeway as the first female captain of the series.

      Also, The Big Bang Theory is a Sit Com, but would you consider it?

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Bruce; I agree that classic Star Trek is still a whole lot of fun to watch, even 46 years later. Kolchak: the Night Stalker was a creepy show, and as I kid I could barely get through the opening credit sequence.

      David Tennant was great as Doctor who, but the newest guy Matt Smith is doing a terrific job, too. I liked all the guys who played the Doctor to a certain extent, except maybe Colin Baker who I thought was miscast.

      Blake's 7 and Red Dwarf were very popular in the UK but they've never really managed to cross over well to the US. There was a pilot made for an American version of Red Dwarf but it never aired because, quite frankly, it was not very good. Stick with the British version. It's hilarious (except for the final season.)

      Always good to hear from you,


    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 6 years ago from Virginia

      Excellent hub Rob, a very nice collection of awesome shows. I think I am really familiar with most of the shows you mention with the exceptions of Red Dwarf and Blake's 7.

      I would say my favorites of the remaining 18 shows would be the Original Star is amazing that those shows are still entertaining even if they are pushing 50 now. Kolchak/The Night brother used to love those shows...and I would try to watch them but I would usually get so scared that I would have to leave the room....I have since rewatched the show as an adult(with the lights they are still awesome entertainment.

      Rounding out my top 3 would be David Tennant's Dr. Who...of all the people that have played Dr. Who....Tennant is easily my favorite...I really enjoyed reading your take on some of the best shows that have ever appeared on tv...voted up and awesome.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Lady E; I miss Xena.I haven't seen it in several years. Lucy Lawless was great in it.

      'Star Trek' is a legend, and 'Smallville' was a lot of fun, as a Superman fan.

      Good to hear from you,


    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Rachelle; I just love Gillian Anderson. The two X-Files films weren't very good. I prefer the series. But if they make another one I'll go see it as long as Gillian is in it.

      A lot of people have forgotten about Kolchak: the Night Stalker but it was a great show and it inspired the X-Files.

      Thanks for the comments;


    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Great selection - It's nice that Star Trek and Smallville are in there. Xena - Warrior Princess is my favourite.

    • Rachelle Williams profile image

      Rachelle Williams 6 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      Ah yes...Gillian Anderson is my favorite sci-fi chick and the Twilight Zone is my favorite sci-fi show.

      I had forgotten about Kochak, the Night Stalker.

      Thank you so much for bringing back all of these memories. (P.S. How I wish they would do another X-Files movie, that last one was horrible...)

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      I can see you do not know what Canadian productions are in Canada based on English vs. French Canada. It's a bit sad, actually.

      This is what a Canadian show IS in English Canada- Filmed in Canada, Canadian actors either entirely or all but the leads, Canadian production crew etc. but set in United States. I mentioned this because your readers might think that it was filmed in U.S.A.

      A couple shows are actually set in Canada, but they don't generally air in United States, unless it is on PBS, until long after the series has ended (like Corner Gas.)

      In French Canada, Canadian shows are set in in Canada.

      This dichotomy has existed since about the 1930. English Canada has had to get their Canadian content via Canadian productions, not Canadian settings.

      When my Mom was growing up in Summerland, B.C., there was a movie filmed there. (Don't ask me which one). The whole town was exited and were extras. then Aunt Joey sawa banner for a parade that said 'Summerland, (State), USA." She was very upset! Well, children would be, I guess.

      As for Eureka ending, SciFy channel cancelled it - for reasons unknown.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 6 years ago from Essex, UK

      About Doctor Who - I've always thought it first aired on the Saturday (which was to become its regular slot) the night after the assassination, so I don't think it was postponed unless it was originally intended for the Friday evening. Maybe I'm wrong - have to check it out! Either way perhaps the time of screening was delayed for extended news coverage? I think Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell (the first doctor) were probably my favourite doctors. I'll have to look at your Doctor Who page sometime.

      I take your point about 'Voyager'. I think the isolation of being stranded so far from home could have been emphasised more too - psychologically that would have been (or will be in the future) really tough to handle.

      We'll have to agree to differ about Paul Darrow !! :-)


    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Greensleeves; "Dr. Who" is amazing. (I have a whole seperate hub on it) I'd heard that the first episode was postponed because of coverage of the Kennedy Assasination. Patrick Troughton was my favorite Doctor, but there were a lot of good ones. I prefer the pre-1989 episodes over NewWho but even the new show is better than much else that is on TV.

      The acting in Blake's 7 never bothered me, and I thought Paul Darrow was just great as Avon.

      Quatermass is a great name, isn't it!

      Classic Star Trek is still fun to watch and I never get tired of it. There are some dated episodes, like the space hippies in "the way to Eden" but overall, I think it still holds up.

      ST:DS9 has a lot of continuity references and it really needs to be watched from the beginning to be appreciated.

      ST: TNG started off slow but it really got good when it worked out the kinks. Patrick Stewart is such a great actor. I saw him on Broadway once in "A Christmas carol" and he was sensational.

      As for "voyager", I felt it was disappointing because they didn't take advantage of then premise. They should really have focused more on the hostility between the two crews being forced together and the fact that they might never get home. Instead, Janeway just anounces that they're going to do their usual job of exploring, and the series settled into the usual format and became a rip-off of many ST:TNG plots. The two crews became too buddy-buddy too quickly, ruining a potentially interesting idea of rivalry between the crews.

      Anyway, thanks for reading. Its good to hear from you.


    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Flora; I didn't know that "Eureka" was ending. That's too bad. I really like the show. It must be fun to watch it being filmed. Is it really a Canadian show or is it just filmed there? A lot of American programs film in Canada because it's cheaper to film there. The first few seasons of "the X-Files" were filmed in Vancouver.

      Star Trek and the Twilight Zone were both Amazing.

      Thanks for stopping by,


    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 6 years ago from Essex, UK

      Wow! A bit too much to comment on Rob, but here I briefly go:

      Pleased as a Brit to see so many British shows. 'Doctor Who' is an icon of British television, making his first appearance the day after JFK was shot. The show was always intended for children, and the cliche was that children watched it from behind the sofa (couch) half-hiding from the monsters. Among his adveraries, the Daleks were among the most imaginative of all sci-fi aliens, because they weren't obviously just humans in monster costumes. But my favourites were the Cybermen - heartless silver robotic humanoids. I found many of the later series gimmicky and too childish - but maybe I'd just grown up too much? Still I'm glad the eccentric doctor eventually became popular in America.

      I watched 'Blake's 7', but always thought the acting was so incredibly bad, it put me off somewhat.

      And 'Quatermass' is familiar to me through some of the feature films which were made starring the character. But what a great name for a character!

      I must of course mention the Star Trek francise - possibly my favourite series of series on TV. I loved the characters in the original, but find the 60's style a bit dated. I think I'd love 'DS9' if I saw all the shows in sequence, but I didn't, and I never quite fathomed out who was who, and just what was the relationship between the Jem'Hadar, Changelings, Cardassians and Bajorans. 'Next Generation' was my favourite series, but oh, what have you got against 'Voyager', Rob?!!? (Apart from Captain Janeway, whose voice really irritated me).

      Anyway I'm going on and on for far too long. Good idea for a hub, and well executed synopses of the major themes. Voted up.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Eureka may be set in United States but it is a 100% Canadian made television show. The inside shots are filmed in Vancouver. But all the outdoor scenes are shot on Wellington street here in Chilliwack. It brought a lot of money into this city. It was a sad day here when it was announced that Eureka was ending.

      Whenever they came, the store fronts were taken over and cars were not allowed. But pedestrians were. Walking in "Eureka" was a bit bizarre. I always stayed away from Wellington unless I had to go there when they were filming.

      I am a fan of Star Trek: The Original Series and The Twlilight Zone. I do not watch a lot of Sci-Fi.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      ..don't worry Rob I already did - I told her I wasn't married either - lol lol

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Colin; Twilight Zone was an amazing show with great writing. I remember the Outer Limits, too. "Do not try to adjust yout television screen. We are in control. We control the Vertical. We control the Horizontal..." Great stuff.

      I always enjoy hearing from you. And if you talk to Angelina, tell her I'm not married.


    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      ....well Sir Rob - another landmark hub theme and subject to be posted on my Facebook page with a direct link back here - naturally I loved and still love the original Twilight Zone episodes and the original Outer Limits was memorable too - hope you are well my friend - one of my favorite hub personalities and writers you are Sir Rob - I must try and get Angelina Jolie to drop by and make your day/night - apparently Brad dosen't get her off like your hubs do - or so I'v heard ......

      lake erie time ontario 11:24pm Canada -

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Alastar; It's been a while. "Blake's 7" is not very well known outside of the UK. "Eureka" is currently airing new episodes on the sci-fi channel.

      I think any of these series are worth watching, so if you get a chance to catch Buffy or Quantum Leap or one of the others, I think you'll enjoy them. (Well, Beauty and the Beast is dependent on how tolerant you are of romance.)

      Good to hear from you again


    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Rob. Its embarrassing but I've only seen Star Trek, X-Files, Twilight Zone, Xena, and V. Alot of fun recalling em while reading here. Never heard of Blake's 7 or Eureka so those were interesting too. Nameste, vote up.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Paradise; One of the best. I loved the show.

      Thanks for stopping by,


    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      I wanted the X-files back, after it went off the air, so I'm with you, there.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Steve; Fringe is a current sci-fi show on TV. I haven't watched it much so I'm not too familiar with it, but its been on for a few years.

      Classic Star Trek is iconic and I agree that Babylon-5 is very under-rated.

      Battlestar Galactica came to a decent ending and a prequel called "Caprica" was made.

      As for Buffy; She fought several robots, man-made-monsters, jeckel and hyde science students. Adam in year four was definately a sci-fi type of cyborg creature. So I think Buffy can be included in the sci-fi realm. I personally prefer Buffy over firefly.

      X-Files is great, especially wince it has my girl Gillian in it.

      Thanks for stopping by,


    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Good work Rob though I agree with Chasuk a bunch of those are not sci-fi.

      And I've never heard of Fringe, what is it?

      I'm a huge Star Trek fan particularly the 60's classic and I'm happy to see Babylon 5 up there too. I really got into those stories and couldn't wait to find out what happened next, very underrated series.

      Battlestar Galactica I started to enjoy but kind of lost interest half way, it didn't really go anywhere did it?

      Buffy? science fiction? Thats an insult to my fave genre Rob, if we must have Joss Whedon why not Firefly instead?

      Loved The X Files, really miss that series. Bought them all on DVD!

      A good list with some iffy entries. Vote Up.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Chasuk; these are just MY favorites. There are a lot of good shows I didn't include, like "Life on Mars" (Which I'm not sure is really sci-fi" or just a hallucination by a comatose man), because I don't watch them much. These are the shows I love and want to share with others.

      Thanks for reading,


    • profile image

      Chasuk 6 years ago

      Doctor Who, Torchwood, Star Trek in most of its incarnations, Fringe, Red Dwarf, Lexx, Life on Mars (UK), Sanctuary, Invader Zim, Firefly, and Farscape.

      I also thought Invasion and FlashForward were good.

      I don't consider Buffy, Beauty & the Beast, Hercules, or Xena to be sci-fi, but I enjoyed them.

      Did you omit Firefly on purpose?

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi JS. These are just my personal favorites. I'm not a Fringe fan so I didn't include it. I liked "Lost", too, but I hated the way it ended.

      Thanks for reading,


    • JSChams profile image

      Jimbo'daNimbo 6 years ago from The Island of Misfit Toys

      Also I am a massive massive Doctor Who fan. Have been for about twenty years.

    • JSChams profile image

      Jimbo'daNimbo 6 years ago from The Island of Misfit Toys

      Ok I really feel you must add Fringe to that list. It makes the X-Files look like Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. J.J.Abrams is a stone genius.


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