Top 5 Television Series Set In Space
Just for fun, I've compiled a list of my top 5 favorite television series that are set in space. I haven't seen every series out there, but I've seen enough to recommend a few good ones. If you don't see your favorite series here, please share your suggestions. I'm always looking for more great space adventure shows.
The winner is... Firefly
I admit I haven't seen every one of the top rated science fiction television series out there, but I can honestly say that Firefly was the show that first sparked my interest in the genre.
It was hard for me to decide between my first and second pick as my top choice. Both Firefly and Battlestar Galactica are character driven and engaging, with expertly crafted and intelligent storylines.
In the end, I had to give the nod to Joss Whedon's Firefly series. Firefly was cancelled after only 11 of the 14 produced episodes were aired. It seems that intelligent serial dramas are somewhat of a risk for television networks.
In spite of its short life span, the Firefly series developed a loyal cult following. Many fans, including myself, had just caught on to the series when it was ended. What a disappointment!
Firefly had so much potential. The impact that Firefly had on science fiction fans, and its effect of drawing in non-sci fi viewers to the often overlooked genre, makes Firefly a very justifiable first pick for this list. If given 4 or 5 full seasons, who knows were Joss could have taken the series.
If you're a fan of Firefly, you should check out the movie Serenity. It's based on the series, and stars the original cast (thanks Joss). Serenity answers some questions left lingering by the series, and serves as the final episode of Firefly (so to speak), although Firefly is not necessarily a prerequisite to Serenity.
The movie can be watched by itself. In fact, many fans watched the movie first, before finding the series. The movie was promoted much better than the series was, so no surprise there.
Story: 500 years in the future, the Alliance has taken "Big Brother" to the extreme after a universal civil war in which the "Browncoats" or Independents fought for freedom and lost.
The crew (including former Browncoats, Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne) of the Serenity (a Firefly class spacecraft) must now travel to unknown areas in the outskirts of the galaxy for work, while dodging the Alliance and other dangers out to get them in the process.
After taking on a small crew of passengers for money, the Serenity soon becomes wanted by the Alliance. Malcolm and his scrappy crew must think on their toes to make it by, while they try to discover the reason for the Alliance's unusual interest in one particular passenger.
Complete Firefly Series on Blu-ray and DVD
Runner up... Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica (BSG) was an incredible serial drama set in space. The series often tackles touchy political and ethical questions with dark, gritty realism that few shows would attempt. Battlestar Galactica truly transcends genres.
The story runs deep, and the characters evolve nicely. Some fans, including myself, were disappointed with parts of the ending; however, the way the writers wrapped the whole thing up was pretty clever.
BSG keeps you coming back for more. I was a big fan of Lost, although I hated the ending. Lost was an addictive serial drama. In my opinion, Battlestar Galactica is just as addictive, and the writers developed a much better ending to the series.
Story: In a technologically advanced society, Cylons (man's own biomechanical creations) have evolved on their own, and have attacked and destroyed the 12 human colonies, including Caprica*. The only humans to escape the Cylon extermination are among a small group of civilian space ships escorted by the battlestar class Galactica (military spacecraft with a similar role as a modern day aircraft carrier).
The last remaining humans (less than 50,000) must search for a new home, while fending off Cylon attacks at every turn. On the run, the survivors are given hope when they are told their new destination is a planet called Earth.
*Caprica became a prequel spinoff of Battlestar Galactica. I haven't gotten around to watching Caprica yet, but I've read good reviews about it. The last 5 episodes in particular have received a lot of praise.
Complete Battlestar Galactica Series on Blu-ray and DVD
Battlestar Galactica Trailer
3rd place... Stargate Universe
Stargate Universe was a different take on the Stargate franchise, and my favorite of the SG bunch. While it was a hit with many new fans, some die hard Stargate fans were not sold on the new direction.
Stargate Universe was a little darker and more intense than previous SG series, at times. Other times the show is slow and cerebral, capturing that vintage slow burn space drama feel.
Even the lighting in this show is darker and more menacing. I was a big fan of the new direction they took with the SGU series. I was real and dramatic at the same time. It wasn't cheesy like other installments of the Stargate franchise. I only wish the show would have been able to continue for a few more seasons.
The final season ended in a cliffhanger, and a movie was going to be made to wrap up the series, but the project was cancelled to the dismay of loyal Stargate and SGU only fans alike.
Story: After their base comes under attack, an SG expedition must step through a stargate into unknown territory. They soon finds themselves marooned aboard a mysterious space ship traveling faster than the speed of light, and several billions of light years away from the Milky Way galaxy and Earth.
Now on an unknown and unalterable course, and without a way to gate back home, the impromptu crew of the Destiny must unlock the secrets of the ship's stargate to survive. The adventures and disasters the crew face together will reveal their true character.
Complete Stargate Universe Series on Blu-ray and DVD
Stargate Universe Trailer
4th place... Stargate Atlantis
Stargate Atlantis was a fun science fiction series, although it is mostly monster of the week style writing. It was a spin-off of the Stargate SG-1 series. Like SG-1, Stargate Atlantis sticks to this tried and true format, while creating a real interest in the main characters.
Stargate Atlantis is a smart show, though it is cheesy at times. The writers did a great job devising new and creative challenges for the new Atlantis inhabitants each week.
Story: A secret group of scientists have found the location of the lost city of Atlantis, only it's not on Earth. It's far away from home, in the Pegasus galaxy. After finding the city empty, an SG expedition embarks on a journey to the famous city through an 8th chevron enabled stargate.
Upon arrival, the team finds the city low on power, making it impossible to make the long journey home. Forced to use the stargate to explore planets in Atlantis' own Pegasus galaxy, the team encounters great challenges, including a war with mankind's greatest threat... the Wraith!
Complete Stargate Atlantis Series on Blu-ray and DVD
Stargate Atlantis Trailer
5th place... Space: Above and Beyond
Space: Above and Beyond was another one of those short lived, intelligent television shows that we all wish would have stayed on the air for much longer.
It was originally scheduled to run for 5 seasons, but was cancelled after only 1. The cast was likeable, and they each had their own backstory which developed nicely.
Story: In the year 2063, humans have begun colonizing other planets, and Nathan West and his girlfriend are set to be on the next flight. Suddenly forced out of his posistion aboard one of the colony ships, Nathan must join the marines to be close to his girlfriend.
After the colonial flight is attacked, humans soon find themselves in an interstellar war with a mysterious alien race. Now it's up to Nathan and the rest of the 58th squadron to find his girlfriend and stop the hostile invasion.