Following on from my Top Ten favourite SF movies, it’s time to do my favourite SF TV shows. And just like choosing just ten movies, choosing just ten TV shows is still difficult, whether that’s from the pool available for the last two or three decades, or the last just the last five.
1. THE EXPANSE — without a doubt, this has to be my all-time favourite science fiction TV drama, ever. And I doubt another show will come along any time soon, to knock it off top spot. The reason being, is not just the excellent action but the show’s dedication to quality. From scripts, story lines, and top notch acting, through to the amazing CGI, and detail put into the cinematography. Every damn episode is like a mini movie. And who doesn’t adore Christjen Avasarala?
2. MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. — again, like The Expanse, Agents of SHIELD has been afforded top notch writing, excellent acting, and a budget most can only dream of. We have come to love the characters just as deeply as those on The Expanse. Well, I have. The dynamic between actors shows up on screen, and makes all the difference with each and every episode. Whether it’s selling an idea, or concept, to the believability of what we see on screen. Agents of SHIELD delivers every time.
3. BABYLON 5 — It hasn’t been on our screens for a long, long time, but this one still holds a spot in my heart for all the above reasons. And given this was a show from the early 90s, still holds up well under the spotlight of time. Again, for me, it was all about the story-telling and the acting, which really sold this show to me. Throw in the CGI of the day, and it worked on every level, and still does.
4. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA — in this case, the Ron Moore version, not the original. What the team did with this in updating it for modern sensibilities was what made the show. Recasting characters, the cinematic quality to the filming and CGI, the story telling (up to a point, I have to say, for me at least. I felt like they lost the plot in the last season, and the ending was a complete wash-out!) But still, Starbuck, Apollo, Adama, Six, and yes, even Balthar kept us coming back week after week.
5. ORPHAN BLACK — without the amazing talent of Tatiana Maslany I doubt this show could have been the huge success it was. Given she was in just about every last scene filmed. But then, she was aided and abetted with a great supporting cast, spot on writing, and a twisted plot none of us could have envisioned. This is solid, classic story telling at its best without the need for expensive CGI, and because and despite that, it became addictive viewing. And what’s more, it was a Canadian production, filmed in Canada!
6. KILLJOYS — Like Orphan Black, Killjoys is one of those shows you either discovered, or didn’t, and got addicted too, like I did, because (again) a limited budget made for better story telling, with a cast that really nailed it, with fun storylines. Space adventure (modern pulp?) at its best. And again, like Orphan Black, lead actress, Hannah John-Kamen got to play two roles, Dutch, our erstwhile Killjoy (hero) and Aneela who was … oh, but I can’t spoilt it. Just go watch it for yourself.
7. FIREFLY — I had to have at least one Joss Weedon penned show in my top favs. I chose this one, much like I did Orphan Black and Killjoys, because it is so different from the run of the mill SF TV drama, being centred around a western-theme, for starters. Again, a great cast, limited budget, excellent story telling, and a dynamic that made us want to run away and going the crew to go on their adventures. I mean, come on, who didn’t want to be a Browncoat, right?
8. STAR TREK: DISCOVERY — Out of all the Star Trek incarnations, and boy, there are many, this is the one I’ve chosen to be in my Top Ten because, like The Expanse and Battlestar Galactica, it’s the quality of the cinematography, amazing sets, above average story telling, and a cast that, quite frankly, had me hooked from the very first episode. Again, lots of twists, politics, action, and mayhem, where you never quite sure who the good guys are!
9. STARGATE: SG-1 — Yes, the original Stargate still holds a spot in my heart as another of those timeless classic SF shows that even after all this time, is fun to watch. Never too violent, always lots of laughs to go with the adventure, and serious moments, and plenty of action for any die-hard SciFi nerd to geek out over.
10. 12 MONKEYS — I loved the movie, and loved the TV show even more, with Cole jumping around in time trying desperately to fix the immutable and yet, we’re still there rooting and cheering him on, no matter how many times he fails to change what happens in his past. Another show that relies on good scripts, twisted plots, limited CGI and a great cast of characters and actors. Dark and gritty all the way.
Of course, your Top Ten might different in the extreme to mine, and that’s great. It’s difficult to narrow down a handful from the hundreds of shows that could have gone on this list. From ALPHAS to X-FILES, ALIAS to V, how do you choose?
I hope now I’ve shared with you a few of my favourites, you’ll share some of yours with us, in the comments.