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Author Topic: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)  (Read 3079 times)

pictsy

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Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« on: 11 November, 2013, 06:02:05 PM »
Well then.  I have recently been watching the original series of Star Trek and have been finding it interesting.  The Doctor Who special will be airing at some point soon (I'm sure all you know when even if I don't).  Science Fiction on television can admittedly be hit and miss and I think most people would fall back on Trek and Who as safe options.  Especially when asked:

"What good science fiction TV shows are there?

So avoiding the two obvious answers, here are some Sci-Fi shows I have enjoyed in the past (Who is the only recent Sci Fi I've seen, have the stopped making anything decent, I wonder):

Battlestar Gallactica - The re-imagining.  This show was a great journey, very atmospheric with a fantastic beginning which really set the tone.  I really felt the emptiness of space and the desperate nature of their situation.  Some excellent characterisations thrown in and no clear cut villainy and it became a quick favourite.

Stargate Universe - It's Stargate does Battlestar Gallactica.  It can be very hammy in places but this show had two things going for it; Robert Carlyle and immense promise.  Unfortunately it was cancelled and I still have yet to see the last episode, so please no open spoilers if you have seen it.

Babylon 5 - Well, you know why.  Do I really need to explain it?

I may add to my list after I see other peoples suggestions and I am reminded of other things, but I think this is a good start.

Ghost MacRoth

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #1 on: 11 November, 2013, 06:11:45 PM »
Yep, B5 is a great show.  Started watching it for a laugh....so many cardboard characters, so many awful lines, awful effects, etc....but it got so much better so quick!

Also enjoyed a series called 'Dark Skies', usual body snatcher/alien invasion type of thing, but set in the 60's.  Cheezy as fook, but was always entertaining when they re-wrote major historical events to get them to fit the storyline they where pushing.  Think it got canned before it wrapped things up though. :(

Blakes 7.....great when I was a kid....pish now!

Farscape.....another series that got canned to early.....great concepts going on in that there was.

And of course...Firefly.
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von Boom

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #2 on: 11 November, 2013, 06:26:55 PM »
I never got into B5 since I had to work when it was on and I didn't have a vcr at the time. I only saw bits and pieces of it. If it ever comes to netflix I'll give it a go.

I still have fond memories of Space: 1999, Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet.

I enjoyed Red Dwarf, Quantum Leap, Roughnecks, Robotech, Starblazers, and Eureka.

I wish Dark Angel and Firefly could have gone on longer.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #3 on: 11 November, 2013, 06:40:28 PM »
Battlestar Gallactica

Miserablist claptrap with delusions of grandeur.

Quote
Stargate Universe

Terrible, franchise-killing attempt to transform a perfectly entertaining lightweight SF series into miserablist claptrap with delusions of grandeur.

Farscape and Firefly are probably my favourite TV SF series of the last fifteen years…

I have huge fondness for Babylon 5, but hesitate to recommend it to anyone coming it cold now, given its terrible acting, dialogue and shonky FX!

Cheers!

Jim
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Daveycandlish

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #4 on: 11 November, 2013, 06:42:56 PM »
I prefer the shiny-ness and spandex of the original Battlestar. And Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. And V.
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Dandontdare

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #5 on: 11 November, 2013, 06:54:38 PM »
Favourites include Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica (and so say we all!) and Firefly

Classics from the past include Blake's 7 (still great Mr MacRoth!!), UFO, Logans Run, The Prisoner, Quatermass (various incarnations), Space 1999, Sapphire & Steel and X-files.

All the recent crop of US shows - Lost, Stargate, Fringe etc - have completely passed me by. derivative and formulaic by and large - or deliberately and pointlessly opaque.  Even my high hope, Agents of SHIELD, is turning out to be a prime example of TV-by-foucsgroup drivel.
« Last Edit: 11 November, 2013, 06:57:11 PM by Dandontdare »

Recrewt

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #6 on: 11 November, 2013, 07:30:42 PM »
Well, if we are excluding Trek and Who then the next best sci- fi of all time has to be the X-Files.  I can't think of anything new that has come along since to equal it.

Other older stuff worth checking out - dark skies, space above and beyond, Babylon 5 and Lexx.

I must say that I don't think much of a lot of the recent stuff.  Best I can think of is dollhouse or terminator sc chronicles but they are a long way off trek, who and x-files.

Ghost MacRoth

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #7 on: 11 November, 2013, 07:35:43 PM »
Ah, Lexx!!  Was trying to recall what it was called!  I just always remember it as a fairly bonkers series with really odd characters, and a ship that looked a bit like some kind of odd insect?
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Dandontdare

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #8 on: 11 November, 2013, 07:54:28 PM »
I think I only ever saw the odd episode of Lexx when I was drunk - IIRC it was on at some goddawful hour on Friday nights. Seemed fun, but never appealed in the same way that Farscape did.

Professor Bear

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #9 on: 11 November, 2013, 08:02:16 PM »
Don't watch the final episode of Stargate Universe.  Even by that show's standards, it is a tremendous "fuck you" to those who had actually stuck with it that long, and I am not being figurative there because the producer actually came right out and said that the fans who had kept the series and franchise afloat for over a decade were to blame for everything that went wrong.  He actually said this.  And then said that fans were solely responsible for the show being cancelled and he and the rest of the staff were blameless, though he declined to say if the fans were the ones who wrote the series finale as a cliffhanger.

Murder porn series Castle is in my mind a sci-fi show after constantly floating sci-fi elements as potential theories as to who and how they dunnit long before finally just giving up and doing episodes where the murder weapon was a phaser and episodes featuring time travelers.

Space: Above and Beyond did Battlestar Galactica ten years before Battlestar Galactica did, only without its head up its own arsehole, though Lord knows it tried to take itself very seriously indeed - but that's hard when your opening episode has a dogfight in an asteroid belt with Blitzkrieg Bop as a soundtrack.  In it's day it was a victim of a hostile geek press that closed ranks after the producers said it was unfair of some reviewers to post opinions of pirate copies of the unfinished pilot before it had music and SFX added, which was a fair point as it was a show about space dogfights and made use of then-impressive CGI to paste over some glaring character and acting shortcomings.  It also had the incredible misfortune to come out too early to ride a wave of Starship Troopers love, but despite being po-faced and wooden, it was actually a pretty decent grunts-at-war series with some arc plots and - GARSP! - an actual resolution in the final episode just in case they were cancelled - it might not be the resolution you want and doesn't wrap it up in a bow for you, but it still draws a line under things admirably.  A couple of stinker episodes featuring a British toff in a tank and a Fox Mulder cameo don't sink it, and there's one episode that was lifted entirely by BSG about an alien flying ace in a scarred spaceship, so you can take it as read that the guys who made a later tv show about the US military in an aircraft carrier in space liked this series a lot.

Once you accept that Robocop: The Series is absolutely terrible, you may actually enjoy it much as you will Flash Gordon, which is not actually terrible and is a decent runabout romp made for peanuts with the usual sexist nonsense now and then and some admittedly abominable episodes early on - got sod all to do with Flash Gordon, though.  Robocop has some satire that I think went over Americans' heads ("in further news: Scottish liberals resume mortar attacks on Liverpool") including an episode based entirely on Robocop finding a missing heart for little Timmy, whose plight is teaching the OCP chairman about the meaning of Christmas - if you want to watch this expecting Shakespeare I think we both know this isn't the show for you even before you get to the holo-ghost and kid sidekick shit, but if you think it sounds like a complete hoot and that the writers may not have been entirely serious (the later episodes are clearly the work of people who knew they weren't going to a second season and stopped giving a single fuck), you might enjoy it for the trash it is.  Although I should point out that the model for privatised hospitals in the show is exactly the same as the model floated by David Cameron for reform of the NHS, so the show has the misfortune of also being utterly terrifying if you live in the UK.

von Boom

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #10 on: 11 November, 2013, 08:13:16 PM »
I'd forgotten about Space: Above and Beyond. Another great show buggered by Fox.

judda fett

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #11 on: 11 November, 2013, 08:14:15 PM »
Martian Chronicles, Saphire And Steel are the only two that really stand out for me. Saw both as a wee child and they both left a profound effect.
« Last Edit: 11 November, 2013, 08:16:33 PM by judda fett »

Ghost MacRoth

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #12 on: 11 November, 2013, 08:40:56 PM »
Martian Chronicles,

Good shout!  Also reminded me of the various 'Quatermass' series and films, also rather good.  And day of the triffids....which was utter pish, but good for a laugh at bad TV!
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SmallBlueThing

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #13 on: 11 November, 2013, 08:45:10 PM »
Generally, aside from sixties Who and sixties Star Trek, I'm not good on tv science-fiction- but I do own the complete Twilight Zone (1959-1964), which is generally magnificent. If you do pick it up, I advise getting the editions that come with a free reprint of Marc Scott Zicree's Programme Guide ('The Twilight Zone Companion'-split across the season box sets)- or do what I did and buy the actual book thirty years ago and then much later pick up the complete series as illegal copies off ebay for pittance. It's the greatest tv show ever made, and can become a lifelong obsession if you're not careful.

Otherwise, the sixties Outer Limits is good, as is the 80s Twilight Zone- especially seasons 1 and 2. Avoid the most recent iteration of the Zone (with Forrest Whitaker in the Rod Serling role, however- it's almost a parody).

I hear good things about 'Masters of Science Fiction', from the same stable as 'Masters of Horror' (which runs The Twilight Zone and Frasier a close third as my favourite tv show ever) but I've not seen any.

And the tv versions of Quatermass, obviously, are great. I'm a bit young to remember the originals, but the 70s one with John Mills is responible for many a childhood nightmare. "Huffity puffity ring stone round, if your hate blows off it'll never be found...". Scifi and horror get blurred a bit in Robert Holmes and Philip Hinchcliffe's 'The Nightmare Man'- which scared the absolute bum off me back in the day, and is available on DVD over here.

I used to like Lexx- but I feel that was more because it made a terrible relationship slightly less painful on Friday nights, rather than because it was any good. Oh, and The Martian Chronicles was wonderful- but I admit on watching recently, I found it very slow and couldn't get on with it at all.

SBT
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Jim_Campbell

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Re: Science Fiction Television (No Trek, No Who)
« Reply #14 on: 11 November, 2013, 08:47:28 PM »
Nightmare Man scared the absolute shit out of me as a lad.

I'm going to buy it on DVD now.

Cheers

Jim
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