To boldly go where no brunettes have gone before: my twenty favorite sci-fi TV series

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  1. Babylon 5 (Have finally gotten around to chronologically watching the five seasons as a whole and it definitely changed my somewhat lukewarm opinion about it. IMHO, B5 will remain and endure as not only the best sci-fi series but one of the best TV series ever. Period.)
  2. Earth 2 (This underrated metaphor for the conquest of the West had one of the most clever premises for a sci-fi series and a great cast)
  3. The Tripods (This unknown british two-season gem left me breathless as a kid with its relentless mix of great images and story cliffhangers)
  4. The Prisoner (This cult short series is not sci-fi per se but it remains one of the most brilliant TV works ever)
  5. The Twilight Zone (This groundbreaking show remains timeless and influences TV series still)
  6. V (This 80's sci-fi variation on the events of World War II had a nice balance of fantasy, action and humor and a great cast but granted, after finally seeing it again as an adult, the two mini-series are quality-wise way above the sometimes dreadful regular TV series)
  7. Star Trek The Next Generation (Arguably the best space opera TV show ever conceived as it built on the Roddenberry legacy and truly went where no show had gone before)
  8. Space 1999 (Gerry Anderson's somewhat delayed answer to Star Trek usually gets mixed reviews and divided opinions but me, I love its 70's feel)
  9. Doctor Who (Would probably have ranked higher if I had seen more of it, deserving of its status in british culture, though)
  10. Star Trek original series (It's a bit dated now but it still works and it remains a flag mark in the history of sci-fi on TV)
  11. Star Trek Deep Space 9 (Focusing on life in a big orbiting station instead of a roaming spaceship crew, this gives an interesting twist to the Star Trek mythology)
  12. Sliders (The scientifically quantic possibility of multiple dimensions was not much used in TV series and the original cast was spotless)
  13. UFO (One of the earliest Gerry Anderson live series, this show had some daring and outrageous writing and directing moments)
  14. Star Trek Voyager (Building upon the previous series but not bringing much new to the plate except if you always wanted to know what's quadrant delta like)
  15. The Invaders (Using aliens to represent enemies of the USA in the Cold War, this show was great for its uneasy atmosphere)
  16. Battlestar Galactica (A somewhat silly variation on Star Wars and Star Trek, this never reached the popularity its producers expected)
  17. Earth Final conflict (One of the very last Gene Roddenberry creations, this show is based on complicated and eventful storylines)
  18. Planet of the Apes (A sweet but a little corny adaptation of the series of movies from the 60's and 70's)
  19. Logan's run (The movie had flaws and stupid moments to go along with its thrilling scenes, the TV series was no different)
  20. Seaquest (Hmmm, let's see, we take the Star Trek crew life context and put it inside a futuristic submarine so we can't be accused of ripping off -the cast thankfully was wonderful)
Author Comments: 

Sci-fi and anticipation being mostly based on long litterary cycles who give the authors time and scope to build their alien worlds and cultures, I have always preferred a never-ending sci-fi TV series to a 2-hour sci-fi movie but of course, you are allowed to disagree... You are also invited to disagree with this rated list as well.

Your top 4 sound cool and I've never heard of 'em.

You've never heard of V or The Prisoner?

I don't watch TV.

So that's a yes? I can understand not having seem them. But not hearing of them is something else entirely. Especially The Prisoner which has a huge cult following. You should check out a couple of episodes on DVD. I found it to be very interesting. V on the other hand is early 80's schlocky trash. :-)

I'd truly never heard of them before I saw this list. I may check out The Prisoner one day, but there are 500 movies I'm more anxious to see first :-)

Hmmm, no... V might have been a bit corny, especially in the latter seasons but it was not trash...

It's a bit weird that you have never heard of V because it was an american series and highly successful starring various massive TV/Screen b-actors the likes of Marc Singer, Michael Ironside and Robert Englund...

I wish Earth 2 had stayed around longer.

I never got into V. Maybe I'll give it another chance.

Babylon 5 is the greatest!

Where's Farscape? Where's the X-Files?

I could try to explain why I don't like The X-Files but it would take a long time, basically my idea is that that series was highly overrated and Chris Carter must be counting his blessings everyday for the success he reaped...
Now, Farscape would probably be considered if I had seen it enough but sadly it never was properly broadcast in Belgium so I can't say if it's a fave of mine or not...

I'm sorry that you missed seeing Farscape. It was my favorite show, after Babylon 5 was finished.

I agree about Earth 2, there were many more storyline developments to explore and develop when they pulled the plug on it

Speaking of The Tripods have you seen the made for TV film of The Triffids? It's a favorite book of mine and I'm wondering if the 2nd attempt at translating it to a screen was any good.

This is The Tripods I am talking about in my list

The Outer Limits is the only great sci-fi series that I can think of missing from your list. Both the original 1960s series and the 1990s series.

and the explanation for it not being on my list is quite simple... The Outer Limits have only been broadcast once in the late 60's on french tv (under the title "Au-delà du Réel" which can be translated as "beyond reality") and I wasn't born then and never ever broadcast on belgian tv and it's never been broadcast again so I have never seen it... neither the 60's original nor the 90's revival

By V , I hope you mean the excellent mini-series and not the horrid regular series. If so, I agree.

Is The Tripods based on The White Mountains by John Christopher? I loved that novel as a kid...

The Prisoner and The Twilight Zone are up there with the best television series ever, sci-fi or otherwise.

I abhor the original Battlestar Galactica with every fibre of my being (horrible, crass rip-off junk with no skill or creativity whatsoever), but oddly enough, to my utter shock and surprise the current remake airing on the Sci-Fi Channel is quite terrific and is probably the best science fiction currently on the tube.

No Max Headroom?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I know Max Headroom was a big hit and possibly a technical breakthrough but once again, I cannot rate it on the very simple reason that it never was broadcast on any european TV channels to which I have or have had access over the years.
And apparently many people disagree with my choice of V, yes I mean the regular series but I also have to admit that I never saw it again and only remember that watching it as a kid I found it very exciting and absorbing... maybe watching it now as a -uhhum- adult would make me change my mind or maybe not, I never claimed that I had good taste, after all.
As for the Tripods, I can only invite you to click on the link I provided earlier for more info.
Thank you.

First, let me apologize. I was cranky, and I was a bit less tactful than usual. I'm sorry to be so rude in stating my dislike of one of the shows above.

The Tripods is indeed based on the above novel. Many young American boys my age read a comic strip serialization of this book in the Boy Scout publication, Boy's Life. It lead me to the novel, which I loved. I'll have to track down that series some time.

Max Headroom comes in two incarnations, an English and an American remake. Oddly enough, in this instance, the American version is superior.

I think the V miniseries is scheduled for DVD release soon. If you enjoyed the series, I suspect you would enjoy the miniseries as well.

Great list! I'm sorry if I came off grumpy, but be assured I rarely comment on lists I don't like, and I rather enjoy this one!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

grumpiness is a fact of life... too much political correctness on the other hand would deprive a debate/discussion/argument of most, if not all, of its "human salt".

Your kind response contrasts with my cranky one and shows who the true gentleman here is. Thanks.

And, to emphasize the positive, if you ever have the chance to watch the new Battlestar Galactica, jump on it! It is very good, and, for my money, the best science fiction series on television at the moment (disregarding reruns). I cannot believe how good it is.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I cross my fingers hoping this new BattleStar series will soon be broadcast on channels in Belgium.