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Old December 1 2010, 10:51 PM   #1
RAMA
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Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

Found another old gem of a book in a box from storage. The Best of Science Fiction TV, 1987....BEFORE STNG revolutionized SF TV. Before you assume it was just some shmuck who wrote a book with his opinions...this book asked SF critics/writers, general media critics, and SF fan clubs/organizations. Some of the big names include Robert Silverberg, Nancy Kress, Tom Shales, Marc Scott Zicree, et al. The shows had a ratings system, assigning points for each selection. So what was the conclusion before SF got its big break on TV? The top 5 shows were 5. Dr Who, 4. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 3. Outer Limits, 2. Twilight Zone, and at number one by a mere 23 points, garnering 1475 total points: Star Trek.

My how the landscape has changed..there are literally a dozen SF/genre shows on at any one time now. The book today would have a much harder time choosing. There were maybe 150 SF shows made up till that time in all of history, today there have been 450 or more. So what are your top 10?

Pick it up for 7 cents!

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Science-F...1239309&sr=1-1

Kind of an odd modern list: http://www.boston.com/ae/tv/gallery/topscifishows?pg=24
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Old December 1 2010, 11:38 PM   #2
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

Of course I have to add my list:

Here's a list I have maintained and updated for over a decade.

Best live-action SF TV shows of all time(no pure fantasy!):

1. STNG- Still the best combination of all the elements that make ST great. It maintained the much of the topicality of TOS while adding more sophisticated drama and technical superiority.



2. TOS- Possibly packed more allegory into it's stories than any other SF show in history. This show is a classic because of stories that can be watched repeatedly with the viewer coming away with something each time. The best paced, most adventurous ST show of all. Re-mastered edition helps this show keep pace with other SF that has followed the original, and made it even better!

3. Twilight Zone- ST's greatest competition as a show with deeper meaning, though it was not strictly SF. The acting is terrific, atmosphere eerie, and stories top notch. Serling is one of the greatest teleplay writers that ever lived, and the dialogue is dense and satisfying for multiple viewings even decades later.

4. Outer Limits- The purest SF show in history. Explored scientific extrapolation in a very mature way for it's time and medium, and it always showed the advancement as it related to humanity. Actually more mature in it's scientific view than the new OL despite having a "monster" appear in each teaser.



5. STDS9- The black sheep of the ST family, but also the most complex dramatically and politically. Only scatter shot comedies, a mediocre 2nd season, and a somewhat disappointing final season keep this one from ranking higher. Best seasons: 4-6...as good a 3 year span as ANY show.

6. Lost-While not as spellbinding as early seasons, this maddening show has become even more SF themed in later seasons. Disappointing ending to the series though.

7. Fringe- Enjoying this immensely as it becomes more detailed in its own mythos. Humorous, scary, and clever.

8. Doctor Who(2005+)- I fun romp (often a little too silly) punctuated with some dark moments that continues the best traditions of the original, imperfect series and melds it with 21st century sensibilities.

9. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy- While not nearly as good as the book, this still has enough satirical laughs for a dozen regular TV shows. Everyone should see this at least once.

10. Twilight Zone(1980s)- This show lacked the same consistent human commentary of the first, but contained so many excellent episodes I have to rank it here. Won numerous industry and genre creative awards.

11. New Outer Limits(1990s)- More paranoiac cautionary tales than the first show, but also great acting, clever episodes about contemporary scientific advances, and episodes with a lot of emotional impact. The 2nd best SF show that began life in the 90s.



12. Heroes-Engrossing first season and I probably would have ranked it ahead of Lost at that point. What followed was decent but you could simply have season 1 and it would rank highly.

13. Babylon 5- Instant mythology and good intentions but imperfect execution. Still one of the better attempts at space opera ever.

14. Battlestar Galactica (2003+)-Mainly on the strength of its first 2 seasons and its contribution to the genre on TV the last few years. I wish it would have been an adventure show with drama rather than a nihilistic soap opera with incidental SF themes.

15. Flash Forward- Loved this show very quickly! Sadly, canceled before its time!

16. Enterprise-A show that improved almost every year! Excellent production values and stellar 3rd and 4th seasons makes this one a winner and no doubt would have ranked higher with a another season of momentum.

17. Star Cops- A mature, intelligent look at early 21st century policing of the newly emerging space race. Complex drama, and good FX for an 80s BBC show.



18. Blake's 7- More than meets the eye. It is a space adventure show but with a decidedly un-Trek-like bent..the heroes are "criminals". Not even 2-d paper cut-out FX can dampen the character dynamics here.

19. Max Headroom- Short-lived, and ahead of its time. It never quite fulfilled it's promise, but no show on American TV has ever been so unconventional. Some nice commentary on the media and it's impact on society.

20. Defying Gravity- We need more shows like this...near-future SF grounded in reality. Enjoyed the large group of characters that felt like real people.

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Old December 2 2010, 03:39 AM   #3
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

RAMA wrote: View Post
... So what are your top 10?
In no particular order...

- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Quantum Leap
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Battlestar Galactica (reimagined)
- Firefly/Serenity
- Batman: The Animated Series
- Justice League/Justice League: Unlimited
- Babylon 5
- Stargate SG-1
- Doctor Who (reimagined)
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Old December 4 2010, 07:49 PM   #4
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

My current project: Rewatching Blake's 7. I watched 2 episodes and was so engrossed I decided to acquire the whole series. I'm thinking maybe I didn't rank it quite highly enough.

I am crossing my fingers that the remake (which is still 60% funded) will make it to the screen at some point.

It ranked 25th in the Javna book. I noticed some more recent rankings in top SF lists online ranked it in the top 10.

RAMA

od0_ital wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
... So what are your top 10?
In no particular order...

- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Quantum Leap
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Battlestar Galactica (reimagined)
- Firefly/Serenity
- Batman: The Animated Series
- Justice League/Justice League: Unlimited
- Babylon 5
- Stargate SG-1
- Doctor Who (reimagined)
I only included live action shows in the list, though I think Ghost in the Shell would certainly rank in my list.

After 1 1/2 seasons I had ranked the nuBSg at number 7, but it just slowly lost me after that. I haven't ever rewatched an episode of BSG. I did rewatch the TV movies however, which are excellent.
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Old December 5 2010, 05:47 AM   #5
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

I loved Max Headroom and its brand of near-future cyberpunk mixed with seriously asking the question of how much impact future media would have. IIRC, certain advertising tactics in use by today's media were used by Network XXIII.
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Old December 5 2010, 06:08 AM   #6
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

RAMA wrote:
20. Defying Gravity- We need more shows like this...near-future SF grounded in reality. Enjoyed the large group of characters that felt like real people.
Wow, I was really unaware of this show. It looks pretty cool and it has Ron Livingston! And the guy from Cool Runnings! And a hot chick who reminds me of Nicole de Boer in a spacesuit. So I should totally check it out.

P.S: However "Antares" is the laziest name for a spaceship since "Voyager." The show's more imaginative than this, right? That you rank it below the hilarious abortion that was Heroes, the fallen colossus that was BSG, and the most overrated show in history (B5) worries me.
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Old December 5 2010, 06:41 AM   #7
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

od0_ital wrote:
- Doctor Who (reimagined)
Gotta be nitpicky on this one the Doctor Who series that is currently in production is not a reimagining, remake, or spin-off, it is a continuation of the first batch of episodes that ran from 1963-1989.

RAMA wrote:
My current project: Rewatching Blake's 7. I watched 2 episodes and was so engrossed I decided to acquire the whole series. I'm thinking maybe I didn't rank it quite highly enough.
I often wonder what it would be like to watch this series from beginning to end without spoilers. Have you seen Farscape? If you like Blake's 7 you might like it both shows feature a similar style.
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Old December 5 2010, 07:05 PM   #8
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

In no real order...

Odyssey 5
Earth 2
Doctor Who (The new episodes)
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Outer Limits (Newer version)
Futurama
Stargate SG-1 (Seasons 1-6 Only)
Sliders (Seasons 1-2)

Maybes...
Firefly
Star Trek: DS9

There are so many I'm having a hard time remembering everything.

I have seen about 3 episodes of Farscape before Netflix got rid of it, but it too looks good.
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Old December 5 2010, 09:31 PM   #9
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

Is EARTH 2 really that good? I've never seen it, and mostly remember THE X-FILES making fun of it through the Lone Gunmen while it was on.
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Old December 5 2010, 10:15 PM   #10
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

Harvey wrote: View Post
Is EARTH 2 really that good? I've never seen it, and mostly remember THE X-FILES making fun of it through the Lone Gunmen while it was on.
I included it because it's very very well filmed. It could have been an amazing TV show, but didn't live long enough. However the production values are really nice for such a great show. I think it was filmed in CO, USA and one of the episodes all the leaves are yellow and it really feels like you are on this beautiful Earth 2.

I'd check it out if I were you. The DVD should be $15ish, it's also on Netflix, I'd check it out. Make sure to watch in the current order that the DVD doesn't follow.

I really enjoy the show.
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Old December 5 2010, 10:24 PM   #11
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

Harvey wrote: View Post
Is EARTH 2 really that good? I've never seen it, and mostly remember THE X-FILES making fun of it through the Lone Gunmen while it was on.
I liked Earth 2. It had potential, but the stories seemed a little forced in exceution, imo.
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Old December 9 2010, 08:10 PM   #12
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

1. Star Trek: TNG
2. X-Files
3. Babylon 5
4. Battlestar Galactica (2003)
5. Star Trek: DS9
6. Star Trek: TOS
7. Firefly
8. Doctor Who*
9. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles
10. Sliders

* The only Doctor Who seasons I have seen are the ones starring Tennant, so those are the ones I am referring to.

Am I really the first person to put X-Files on their list?
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Old December 9 2010, 10:24 PM   #13
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
P.S: However "Antares" is the laziest name for a spaceship since "Voyager." The show's more imaginative than this, right? That you rank it below the hilarious abortion that was Heroes, the fallen colossus that was BSG, and the most overrated show in history (B5) worries me.
I quit it after two episodes. It was, well, Grey's Anatomy in space (from the creators of that show if memory serves), with a lot of angsting and honestly a pretty silly myth arc that gave us a mystic plot conveinence.

But hey, knock yourself out, maybe you'll enjoy it better then I did.
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Old December 10 2010, 01:40 AM   #14
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

Leroy wrote: View Post
od0_ital wrote:
- Doctor Who (reimagined)
Gotta be nitpicky on this one the Doctor Who series that is currently in production is not a reimagining, remake, or spin-off, it is a continuation of the first batch of episodes that ran from 1963-1989.

RAMA wrote:
My current project: Rewatching Blake's 7. I watched 2 episodes and was so engrossed I decided to acquire the whole series. I'm thinking maybe I didn't rank it quite highly enough.
I often wonder what it would be like to watch this series from beginning to end without spoilers. Have you seen Farscape? If you like Blake's 7 you might like it both shows feature a similar style.
I watched Blake's 7 in its original run on PBS in the 80s, and haven't seen much since. I do enjoy seeing it from beginning to end. I'm 13 episodes deep so far.

I never could get into Farscape..I just didn't like the production, writing or several of the characters/actors on the show. By contrast, while I'd probably throw Avon out of the airlock if I was on the Liberator, I absolutely LOVE the character...same with the others.

RAMA
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Old December 10 2010, 01:55 AM   #15
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Re: Best Sci-Fi, Circa....1987?

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote:
20. Defying Gravity- We need more shows like this...near-future SF grounded in reality. Enjoyed the large group of characters that felt like real people.
Wow, I was really unaware of this show. It looks pretty cool and it has Ron Livingston! And the guy from Cool Runnings! And a hot chick who reminds me of Nicole de Boer in a spacesuit. So I should totally check it out.

P.S: However "Antares" is the laziest name for a spaceship since "Voyager." The show's more imaginative than this, right? That you rank it below the hilarious abortion that was Heroes, the fallen colossus that was BSG, and the most overrated show in history (B5) worries me.
Funny, cause I know a lot of people think I am underrating B5 and BSG. I almost have to give Heroes, Lost, and BSG "incompletes", because I like portions of them very much but not the whole series, but the parts I do like I LOVE! So it makes it very difficult. In each case I'd rank the shows higher if they had been solid throughout.

Also, I don't see what you dislike about those starship names...Antares seems just fine to me as does Voyager. What would you have preferred?

RAMA
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