It’s funny that whenever a list gets put together of the best science fiction television shows of all time it always seems like people gravitate towards programs like “Star Trek,” “Babylon 5” and “Stargate” – all the predictable ones. But what about those great shows that always get forgotten about. The ones that you watched religiously when they on television, you may have even bought them on DVD, but always seem to be forgotten during the traditional ‘best of’ discussions and debates. Well let’s take a look at some of those forgotten greats.
“Firefly” (2002) – From the ultra-creative mind of Joss Whedon (yes the same man that is now mostly known for “The Avengers” movie) came “Firefly.” This short lived series came at the height of Whedon’s “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” period… the man could do no wrong. Well that’s what people thought but Firefly kind of proved he could – the show never really gained any traction and the network axed it after just one season. But then the show found a new life on DVD and quickly became one of the highest selling DVD box sets of all time.
“Firefly” is an absolute gem of a science fiction series, Whedon wrote it as a space western with the cowboy being Captain Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a virtual outlaw who was always up for doing something a little dodgy if it meant money for himself and his trust crew/passengers which included a prostitute, a preacher and a number of ‘gunslingers’. With some great dialogue, entertaining story-lines and amazing characterization, this is one sci-fi show that all fans of the genre must sit down and enjoy.
“Dark Angel” (2000-2002) – With so many big name directors and producers making their presence felt on the small screen it seemed only fitting that one of the best minds behind sci-fi would bring something to the table. In 2000 James Cameron introduced the world to “Dark Angel”, a television show that revolved around the character of Max (Jessica Alba) a genetically-enhanced human that lives in the real world after escaping from the lab where she was born. With the help of the dogged Logan Cale (Michael Weatherly) helping her out part of the fun of the show was watching as Max learnt more about what had happened to her while she avoided capture and made moves to expose her plight to the world.
“Farscape” (1999-2003) – When you first think of quality science-fiction television you don’t immediately think of Australia – yet that is where one of the finest sci-fi shows was made and produced. “Farscape” first hit television screens in 1999 and revolved around the adventures of astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) who found himself going through a wormhole and finding himself in a part of the universe that he never knew existed.
While trying to find his way home he lived on a ‘living’ ship with crew that included many alien beings and the very human-like Officer Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black) with whom there was constant ‘will-they-won’t-they’ moments.
“Farscape” was always one of those shows where you would never know what to expect from any given episode. Some would be funny, some would be action packed while others would be extremely dark and make you really think. The show also included one of the most evil ‘baddies’ of all time the mysterious Scorpius (Wayne Pygram).
“Smallville” (2001-2011) – The character of Clark Kent/Superman has fascinated a number of generations now, so it was very little surprise when in 2001 DC Comics allowed Superman to once again hit the small screen. This time Clark was played by Tom Welling and the show was much darker than its predecessor “The Adventures Of Lois & Clark”. “Smallville” allowed viewers to watch as Clark battled with everyday things such as high school with friends such as Chloe (Allison Mack) while also learning about his super powers and trying to work out his feelings for friend Lana Lang (Kristen Kreuk). Fans of the series also got to watch his rivalry with arch-enemy Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) from day one.
“Jericho” (2006-2008) – Perhaps the most underrated sci-fi series of all time, though, is “Jericho.” The screenwriting and characterization on this show was top-notch and it was one of those shows where you simply could not miss the next episode. The show originally aired in 2006 and was centered in the township of Jericho, a township that is not even damaged when nuclear blasts hit most major American cities. Episodes looked at the problems that this caused for local residents as they were now cut off from everything but also looked at how it impacted on family and of course local politics. The brilliance of this show though was that the storylines also made the audience wonder what involvement two of the main characters – Jake Green (Skeet Urlich) and Robert Hawkins (Lennie James) – had in the terrorist attacks.
Just how much “Jericho” was loved by its fans was evident when the show was originally cancelled after its first season and the fans lobbied the television network until a shortened second season was made. Even after that season folded the show continued on in the form of comics.
As you can see there are a tonne of good science fiction shows out there that need to be explored if you have never had the time to sit down and watch them. Sometimes the underrated shows are just as good as those deemed to be the leaders in their fields.