‘Tis the season to make top 10 lists, and we at GeekDad are not immune to the allure of ranking our favorites. But, rather than us pronouncing the best from upon high, we want you — our illustrious readers — to help us out. This week, Ethan Gilsdorf and I will be taking nominations for the best sci-fi and fantasy TV shows, movies, and quotes. Next week, we’ll ask you to vote on your favorites. Then, the last week in December, we’ll publish the results here on the pages of GeekDad.
Today, we are asking you to nominate your favorite sci-fi TV shows. I’ve included a list of my favorites to get things kicked off, but I’m sure I’ve overlooked a few here or there. Add your favorites in the comments for this post, with a brief one or two sentences as to why you think it should be nominated for consideration.
One question, though, is what’s the difference between sci-fi (or science-fiction) and fantasy? As a quick differentiation, I like Rod Serling’s definitions, “Science-fiction, the improbable made possible; fantasy, the impossible made probable.” For our purposes, we’ve decided to define them like this:
Sci-fi: Future/space/technology as primary theme.
Fantasy: Supernatural/magic/mythical as primary theme.
That’s not to say that sci-fi can’t have magic or fantasy have technology, but we ask you to look at the primary themes. If you disagree with someone else’s classification during the nomination period, we invite you to comment.
So, to get the list started, here is my personal list of top 10 favorite sci-fi TV shows:
- Firefly: The short-lived series was like a perfect meal that left you hungry for more.
- Doctor Who (1963): Despite the cheesy special effects, the original Doctor Who series produced solid acting and solid stories.
- The Twilight Zone (1959): Although not all of the stories are technically sci-fi — so I can also include it in my top 10 fantasy list as well — there are some seminal moments in this show that still echo in stories today.
- The Prisoner (1967): This series blew my mind apart when I first watched it in the 1980s. I don’t think I ever quite recovered.
- Star Trek: What 2001: A Space Odyssey did for sci-fi in the cinema, Star Trek did on TV: gave it intelligent themes for an adult audience.
- Doctor Who (2005): The Doctor Who “reboot” kept what was best about the original series, but introduced better effects and more mature themes.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Despite a rocky start as a pale shadow of the original series, Next Generation went on to blaze its own path in the sci-fi universe.
- Blake’s 7: Often overlooked — especially in the US — Blake’s 7 is a Brit cult classic that brought a darker edge to sci-fi than any of it’s contemporaries.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: For me, this is still the best space opera of them all.
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Although there are certainly a number of great anime sci-fi TV shows, Ghost in the Shell is the Gold Standard, combining smart stories with the best animation.
It was difficult to pare the list down, and I know this list is far from complete, so let me know your favorites. Nominate shows you think we should include in our list by adding a comment below. You don’t have to nominate 10 shows; nominate as many as you want, but please give a brief description of each as to why you think it should be nominated.
Look for the list of nominations to vote on this time next week.
Tomorrow: Nominate your top fantasy TV shows.