Actors: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Sean Maher, Adam Baldwin
14 Fun Facts About Joss Whedon's 'Firefly' Even Diehard Fans Don't Know#8 of 57 The Best Science Fiction Franchises of All Time#4 of The All-Time Greatest TV Pilots
Actors: Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, Richard Dean Anderson, Ben Browder
#1 of 87 The Best Syfy Original Shows#18 of 60 The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked#56 of The Best TV Shows Streaming On Hulu
Actors: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis
The Best Battlestar Galactica Characters# of The Greatest TV Shows for Women#30 of 46 The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Actors: Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi, Robert Patrick, Annabeth Gish
'The X-Files' Episodes That Made Us Say "Ewwww"#8 of 54 The Best TV Shows That Lasted 10+ Seasons#17 of 75 The Best Shows About Crime-Fighting Duos
Actors: Joe Flanigan, Robert Picardo, David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Momoa
# of Shows With The Best Freakin' Series Finales Of All Time#6 of 51 The Best Space Shows In The Galaxy (or at least ever on TV)#20 of The Best Action-Adventure TV Shows
Actors: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown
The Best Seasons of Fringe#61 of The TV Shows With The Best Writing#84 of The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Actors: Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, Lani John Tupu, Gigi Edgley
The Best Farscape Characters#12 of 12 12 TV Shows That Kept Going As Comics When They Were Cancelled#46 of 98 The Best Fantasy TV Shows
Actors: Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Roxann Dawson, Robert Duncan McNeill, Ethan Phillips
Actors: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Alexander Calvert, Mark A. Sheppard
20 Tweets From The Cast Of 'Supernatural' That Prove They're The Show's Biggest Fans24 Supernatural Memes For The Fans That Have Been There Since The Start#6 of The Best Dramedy TV Series
Actors: Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Joe Morton, Erica Cerra, Neil Grayston
#40 of The Best TV Shows On Amazon Prime#10 of The Best Comedy-Drama TV Shows Ever#35 of 36 The Best TV Sitcoms on Amazon Prime
Actors: Scott Bakula, Connor Trinneer, Jolene Blalock, Dominic Keating, Anthony Montgomery
#15 of 32 The Best UPN Shows#20 of 95 TV Shows You Wish You Were A Character On#10 of 22 All 22 Star Trek Series & Movies, Ranked by Trekkies
Actors: Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, John Bishop, Tosin Cole, Bradley Walsh
The Greatest Doctor Who Companions of All Time#2 of The Best BBC One Shows#8 of 53 Sci-Fi Shows You Should Be Watching Now
Actors: Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagliotti, Aaron Ashmore
The Best Seasons of Warehouse 13#1 of 20 The Most Underrated Sci-Fi TV Shows Of The s#10 of 23 These Occult Detective Shows Are On The (Scary) Case
Actors: Kevin Sorbo, Lisa Ryder, Keith Hamilton Cobb, Laura Bertram, Gordon Michael Woolvett
#19 of 40 The Best Space Opera TV Shows#22 of The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Future#16 of 53 The Best Sci-Fi Action TV Shows Ever
Actors: Jessica Alba, Michael Weatherly, Richard Gunn, J.C. MacKenzie, Valarie Rae Miller
#40 of 59 The Best Teen Sci-Fi And Fantasy TV Series# of The Best TV Shows Of The Past 20 Years# of The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch
Actors: Jack Coleman, Greg Grunberg, Robert Knepper, Ali Larter, James Kyson
The Best Seasons of Heroes#28 of The Best Comic Book & Superhero Shows of All Time#26 of 58 The Best NBC Dramas of All Time
Actors: Naveen Andrews, Nestor Carbonell, Emilie de Ravin, Michael Emerson, Jeff Fahey
The Best LOST Characters#6 of 87 The Best ABC Shows of All Time#2 of 15 Beloved TV Shows That Have Aged Horribly
Actors: Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, Brian Austin Green, Richard T. Jones
# of TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate# of The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time#2 of 17 17 Shows That Were Canceled On Major Cliffhangers
Actors: Jerry O'Connell, John Rhys-Davies, Kari Wuhrer, Cleavant Derricks, Robert Floyd
# of The Greatest Shows of the s, Ranked#13 of 35 The Best s Adventure TV Series#12 of 34 The Best s Action TV Series
Actors: Amanda Tapping, Robin Dunne, Ryan Robbins, Christopher Heyerdahl, Emilie Ullerup
# of The Best TV Shows to Rewatch#16 of 45 The Best Syfy TV Shows# of The Greatest Supernatural Shows of All Time
Actors: John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Burn Gorman, Naoko Mori, Gareth David-Lloyd
#27 of The Best Spin-Off Shows# of The Best Dramas On HBO Max# of The Best TV Shows You Can Watch On HBO Max
Actors: Eliza Dushku, Tahmoh Penikett, Olivia Williams, Fran Kranz, Harry Lennix
#30 of The Best Female-Lead TV Shows#21 of 51 TV Shows That Actually Deserve A Revival#19 of TV Shows with the Hottest Casts
Actors: Hannah Spearritt, Andrew Lee Potts, Ben Mansfield, Ben Miller, Ciarán McMenamin
#16 of 42 The Very Best British Sci Fi Shows, Ranked#37 of 81 The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made#27 of 48 The Best Sci-Fi Thriller Series Ever Made
Actors: Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Charles Mesure, Logan Huffman
#11 of 95 The Best TV Reboots & Revivals#16 of 22 The Best '80s TV Reboots#38 of 54 The Creepiest Sci-fi TV Shows Ever Made
Actors: Joel Gretsch, Jacqueline McKenzie, Bill Campbell, Mahershala Ali, Patrick Flueger
#18 of 55 The Best USA Network Original Series#68 of The Most Exciting Sci-Fi Series Ever Made#20 of The Best Shows Available On Netflix To Watch Now
Actors: John Lithgow, Jane Curtin, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
#19 of 54 The Best NBC Comedies Of All Time#71 of The Most Important TV Sitcoms#14 of 52 The Best Sitcoms Of The '90s
Actors: Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn, Norman Lovett
# of The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History#12 of The Best British Sitcoms of All Time, Ranked# of The Funniest TV Shows Of All Time
Actors: Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl, Majandra Delfino, Brendan Fehr
#29 of 43 The Best '90s TV Dramas#15 of 17 The Best Sci-Fi Shows Based On Books#41 of The Best TV Series Based on Books
Actors: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
25 Memes About 'The Clone Wars' To Celebrate The Final Season# of The Best Animated Films Ever#42 of The Greatest Animated Series Ever Made
Actors: Brian Downey, Xenia Seeberg, Michael McManus, Louise Wischermann, Dieter Laser
#13 of 14 The Most Destructive Sci-Fi Superweapons Of All Time#78 of 90 The Best Showtime Original Shows#9 of 14 Underrated Sci-Fi TV Shows That Are Legitimately Funny
Actors: Forest Whitaker
#28 of 34 The Darkest Anthology Series# of The Best Mystery TV Shows#37 of The Best Anthology TV Series, Ranked
Actors: Phil LaMarr, Mako, Kevin Michael Richardson
#21 of The Best Adult Cartoon Shows In TV History# of The Greatest Cartoon Characters In TV History# of The Greatest Cartoon Theme Songs of All Time
Actors: Dakota Fanning, Julie Benz, John Hawkes, Michael Moriarty, Catherine Dent
Actors: Sean Schemmel, Eric Stuart, Michael Sinterniklaas, Marc Thompson, Darren Dunstan
# of The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time#69 of The Best Cartoons of All Time# of The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time
Actors: Karla Crome, Joseph Gilgun, Natasha O'Keeffe, Nathan McMullen, Matt Stokoe
#2 of 23 The Best E4 Shows# of The TV Shows Most Loved by Hipsters# of 1, The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows
Actors: Traci Lords, Roger Cross, Rob LaBelle, Joe Pascual, Sebastian Spence
#23 of 39 The Best s Sci-Fi TV Series#65 of 81 These Alien TV Series Are Unearthly Good
Actors: Carla Gugino, Brian Van Holt
Actors: David Kaufman, Grey Griffin, Rickey D'Shon Collins
#8 of 43 The Best Nickelodeon Cartoons of All Time#12 of The Best Nickelodeon Original Shows#10 of 74 The Best Shows You Watched After School in the s
Actors: Gerrit Graham, Heather Matarazzo, Eric Close
Actors: Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Jack Davenport, Zachary Knighton, Peyton List
#37 of 45 The Greatest Shows About the FBI#33 of 33 The Best s Action TV Series#26 of 46 The Best Time Travel TV Shows, Ranked
Actors: Matt Dallas, Marguerite MacIntyre, Bruce Thomas, April Matson, Jean-Luc Bilodeau
#59 of The Best Shows About High School# of Canceled Shows We'd Most Like to See as Movies#86 of The Best TV Shows That Never Got a Real Finale
Actors: Dean McDermott, Adrian Paul, Amy Price-Francis, Geraint Wyn Davies, Leanne Wilson
Actors: Julie Graham, Max Beesley, Paterson Joseph
#41 of 60 The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Fiction TV Shows#21 of 38 The Best TV Shows About Disease Outbreaks
Actors: Langley Kirkwood, Jeffrey Pierce, Tyrone Benskin, Danny Keough, David Dennis
Like everything else that occurred in the late 90s and early s, pop culture reflected a world in transition on its way to becoming the 21st century.
Back in the days (and nights) of the WB and UPN, When SyFy was still the Sci-Fi Channel, a surge of genre TV shows emerged, each making a bid for their share of primetime television attention. Ranging in quality from pretty good to flat-out great, I thought it would be nice to give them some love for all the times they helped make my evenings more enjoyable.
These are series that demonstrate just how much genre TV has changed and how much it hasnt. This series also shows how much our sensibilities have changed over the last twenty years and how much Game Of Thrones changed everything.
I sometimes find myself wondering how the world of science fiction TV might differ if some of these shows had not fallen to the chopping block of cancellation as early they did. These series listed are in no particular order, except maybe Firefly, the legendary Joss Whedon series struck down before its time which I have saved for the final honor.
Birds of Prey (WB ): This brief attempt at a Batman spin-off series had some excellent qualities and some not so much. It got loosely based on the DC Comics series of the same name. The series takes place in a Gotham City abandoned by Batman. A trio of women, all with ties to Batman, takes over the fight against crime. The series started strong, but its interest quickly plummeted, leading to its cancellation after 13 episodes. In my view, this series never came close to achieving its potential for several reasons.
SEAQUEST DSV (): A tale of two series. The underwater adventure series was a decent Sci-Fi show that survived low ratings for two seasons, but even a makeover in its final season couldnt save it from the cancellation ax.
Seven Days (or 7 Days) (UPN ): This series was about a secret branch of the United States National Security Agency, which has developed a time-traveling device based upon alien technology found at Roswell. As the shows opening days, the Chronosphere, or Backstep Sphere, sends one human being back in time seven days to avert disasters. The shows name refers to the fact that the Backstep Project can only backstep seven days because of the fuel sources limitations and reactor. As the fuel source is limited, there is a strict mandate that they only Backstep for events relating to National Security The backstep team and their equipment are in a base called Never Land, which is in a secret location in the desert of Nevada.
This series was moderately entertaining and enjoyable, primarily due to its leading man John LaPaglia, whose portrayal of manchild Frank Parker, the time spheres pilot, was pretty amusing and easy to relate to managed to humanize the character.
The Invisible Man (Sci-Fi Channel ): This seriess title is pretty self-explanatory. The plot involves a thief whose brother is a scientist who develops a synthetic gland that gives anyone the ability to become invisible. Naturally, the thief ends up with the gland inside him. Of course, theres a drawback: using the organ for too long can make you violently psychotic. The Invisible Man was another series that owed its appeal to its leading man, Vincent Ventresca. I-Man, (the shows nickname in season 2) portrayed its narrative in a tongue-in-cheek manner, trying to balance being amusing with the more dramatic spy-fi elements of the show.
Threshold (CBS ): Signs of alien activity spurred creating a team of geniuses, each a specialist in their field, by an unnamed secret branch of the government. Although there were many indications that aliens were planning to invade and attack, thats where it ended. Threshold never went past the point of innuendo by the not-so-clever aliens. Every time they would try a new approach to doing their evil deeds, the human team would swoop in and nip it in the bud. Threshold boasted an all-star cast that included Carla Gugino, Peter Dinklage, Brent Spiner, Charles S. Dutton, and Rob Benedict. Very dramatic stuff that sometimes worked and succeeded in being engaging.
Dark Angel (Fox ): I am not sure if there is a sub-genre of grunge fiction, but this series more than qualifies if there is. Set in a future Seattle under martial law, it attempted to capture the times zeitgeist and incorporate it into the show. Of course, this only succeeds in dating the production more with an indelible time stamp thats impossible to escape All that youthful rebellion and style ends up being a distraction from the handful of ideas used as the basis of the narratives events. The cast featured a young Jessica Alba and Jensen Ackles. Dark Angel managed to be a little daring; it was the first show I can remember featuring an openly gay character. It was a pretty good series that at times verged on greatness.
Crusade (TNT ): This spin-off of Babylon 5takes place five years after that seriess events. It involves an alien race, the Drakh releasing a deadly nano-virus on earth. After the attack, the starship Excalibur and its crew get sent out into the universe for anything that might serve as the cure or a way to stop the deadly disease. The show seemed like a good bet for a more outer space adventure. Being a fan of Babylon 5, I wanted to like this show, but it never got me engaged.
Now and Again (CBS ): I enjoyed this series that revisited the whole Six Milion Dollar Man idea brought up to date for It had the potential to be a great series, but the writing served to squandered an opportunity for what could have been a great series. Scripts that stubbornly ignored the seriess science fiction aspects insisted on dwelling on the storys sappier emotional elements. Now and Again was about a middle-aged insurance salesman who dies and gets resurrected through technology. Dennis Haysbert is excellent as the very strict and stern Dr. Theodore Morris, the scientist in charge of the experiment that creates a Superman. His dialogue alone made his series worth watching. It was highly amusing at times. The shows depiction of the subject of the experiment Michael Wiseman (John Goodman/ Eric Close), was another thing that added to the series appeal. The investigation transformed him into a Superman with abilities far beyond those of Steve Austin, and the way the series depicted it seemed natural compared to that other series. The effortless way he used his skills was enjoyable to see.
Farscape (Syfy ): The story of John Crichtons bizarre adventures down the rabbit hole after accidentally passing through a wormhole. A well-liked exciting series for sure. Farscape is an Australian-American science fiction television series produced initially for the Nine Network. Conceived by Rockne S. OBannon and produced by The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment. This production had the unique quality of having puppets as part of the regular cast. The Jim Henson Company was responsible for the various alien makeup and prosthetics, and two recurring characters (the animatronic puppets Rygel and Pilot) are entirely Creature Shop creations.
Surface (NBC ): What happens when a long-dormant species suddenly re-emerges and competes with humanity for the top spot on the food chain? People lose. Thats what happens. These amphibious creatures also can transmit a natural electromagnetic pulse that makes most modern technology useless. Add to this; they seem to cause earth changes that submerge most coastal cities, and life as you know it is a thing of the past. This series was a surprising deviation from the norm where humans always come out on top by depicting human civilizations fall without firing a shot over a brief period. The show ended before we got to find out if humanity bounced back. Good series.
Terra Nova (Fox ): Imagine the world has gotten too toxic for people to live on it anymore, and theres a chance for you and your family to escape certain doom. The catch is the trip is one way, and it takes you so far back into the past its the age of the dinosaurs. Thats the premise of Terra Nova. Its an adventure of a lifetime, and its a harsh and dangerous environment, but at least you get to live, and your chances of survival are better than the toxic world of the future. Terra Nova is another show that appeared on the infamous Fox network that many fans thought canceled prematurely. It had gained some popularity before getting axed, and there was an outcry from people that liked the show.
The series made no pretense at being grim and gritty; it was pretty much family fare with decent CGI effects for TV. It followed one family, in particular, the Shannons. The show featured long-time regular Stephen Lang as the authoritarian, no-nonsense colony leader where the resettled humans tried to create a new life. It wasnt an evil series. It started getting more interesting right at the end, just before it got canceled.
Firefly (Fox ):Joss Whedons Firefly is a series that has acquired legendary status and for a good reason. It was a damn good series. Everyone knows the story of the Serenitys crew. Firefly is a reminder that every once in a while, the ingredients for a near-perfect production come together in the same place at the same time, and we get a minor miracle like this. Its hard to understand how the people at Fox couldnt see what had just fallen into their laps and canceled a series as good as this. Its a case of being extraordinarily obtuse.
Firefly has gone on to create a legacy that leaves no doubt it was the genuine article with a mix of just the right amounts of adventure, action, mystery, and even humor to serve as inspiration several times over for other shows that have attempted to imitate what it brought to the table. Thats not an easy task to emulate a performance with a perfect cast and inspired writing and dialogue that brought the characters to life. The people that lived on the Serenity were flawed, but the flaws were part of their perfection. The crew-expanded family that lived and struggled onboard the Serenity was a once-in-a-lifetime creation impossible to replicate.
Beyond the blend of the usual stuff, the show had a message about life in general. The crew of the Serenity was on a mission inspired by Mal. They had each other and an attitude and determination designed to stick it to the man. The phrase I plan to misbehave will forever be the call of those treated unjustly in life with the will to do something about it.
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BEST SCI-FI TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME
(Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO; Frank Ockenfels/FOX; SyFy; Netflix)
Science fiction is often celebrated as a forward-thinking genre that promotes peace among all life forms. But deciding which sci-fi TV series is the best? That debate could start an intergalactic war.
To determine which series is the supreme ruler of the sci-fi genre, we took into consideration Tomatometer data culled from critics’ reviews, plus a number of reputable “best of” lists, and sprinkled the effort with some editorial discretion, asking ourselves which shows have stood the test of time, inspired spin-offs and copycats, and even made their influence known on the big screen.
Some usual suspects naturally came out on top: Doctor Who, Fringe, Firefly, Orphan Black, and creator Ronald D. Moore’s mids re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica received high marks across the board — not surprising, since they all also have high Tomatometer scores, as do relative newcomers like Westworld, The Expanse, and Black Mirror.
One of the toughest calls we had to make was what exactly constitutes science fiction. Fantasy, mystery, horror, and postapocalyptic genres can appear to enter the sci-fi realm, but we had to create some boundaries. David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks, which famously popularized the dead-girl murder-mystery trope before dovetailing into something more complicated, was deemed horror-fantasy (so don’t bother “Where’s Twin Peaks?!”–ing us in the comments). What about shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Jessica Jones and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Superhero shows were deemed a separate category.
Ranking each of these shows is a Gorn wrestling match all its own – especially when it comes to now-classic titles whose scores are so Rotten, they threaten to stink up the whole list. Have fond memories of ’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century? Hate to ruin any childhood reverie, but it stands at a ripe 33% with 15 reviews on season 1. It still makes the list because of its nostalgia value and the relatively low number of reviews available.
Disagree with our ranking of the best sci-fi TV series? Tell us about your favorites in the comments!
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Synopsis: The trials and tribulations of International Rescue [More]
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20 Forgettable 00s Sci-Fi TV Shows Only Superfans Remember
Science fiction television existed even before most people had televisions-- the BBC ran a televised version of a sci-fi stage play called R.U.R. all the way back in , which is generally considered to be the first time sci-fi was ever broadcast anywhere on TV. In America, sci-fi made its television debut in via the futuristic adventure series Captain Video and His Video Rangers, which ran through
That said, it was during the s that sci-fi television really came into its own, from Star Trek to Doctor Who to The Twilight Zone. While it has experienced various stretches where its popularity waned a bit, sci-fi has never really been absent from our television screens. In particular, it really seemed to see a resurgence in the lates with the debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it hasn't really slowed down since.
At the turn of the millennium, when we finally reached the once-futuristic-sounding "year ," it felt like there was yet another renaissance of sci-fi TV. The increased affordability of computer-driven special effects for television shows only further fueled a new generation of sci-fi TV shows during the first decade of the 21st century.
Of course, for every hit like Lost and widely-loved cult favorite like Firefly, there are dozens more sci-fi shows that have faded into obscurity, largely only remembered by the relatively small number of people who actually gave them a chance and managed to click with them.
Here are 20 Forgettable '00s Sci-Fi TV Shows Only Superfans Remember.
20 Flash Gordon
Although Flash Gordon was originally a comic strip and then a s TV series, what is by far the most well-known incarnation of the franchise is the delightfully cheesy movie with that iconic Queen theme song. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the movie's screenwriter-- Lorenzo Semple Jr was one of the driving forces behind the campy s Batman live-action series, as the similarities are impossible to deny.
Speaking of the Adam West Batman series, there was a time when it was scoffed at by fans of the Caped Crusader and comic book adaptations in general, but people eventually began to come around and recognize how fun and innovative it truly was. Still, during that time when people seemed to be determined to distance themselves from anything equating a superhero to "fun" or "silliness," the Flash Gordon reboot aimed to give the character a more modern, more serious makeover.
The result? One episode of the show was called "quite possibly the worst episode of anything, ever" by UK-based sci-fi magazine SFX, which later called the series itself the worst of any that it had ever reviewed during the course of its thenissue run.
SyFy Channel, which ran the show, thought it was at least popular enough to let its entire episode first season run its course-- but they didn't renew it for a second season.
19 Painkiller Jane
Painkiller Jane was initially just a comic book miniseries starring the titular gun-toting heroine, but she would eventually cameo in/have crossovers with a number of big-name series, including The Punisher, Hellboy, Vampirella, and The Terminator. A new standalone series has also recently been launched, just in time for news of a Painkiller Jane movie.
Though it has been a slow-moving production, everything seems to still be on track for an eventual Painkiller Jane feature film starring Jessica Chastain. That won't be the first time Jane has seen a live-action adaptation. The first was the SyFy Channel original movie starring Emmanuelle Vaugier, Richard Roundtree, and Grey's Anatomy's Eric Dane. Two years later, the cable network decided to see Jane go again, this time with a series.
Starring Kristanna Loken as well as sci-fi TV show regular Alaina Huffman (Supernatural, Smallville, Stargate Universe), the show only lasted for a single episode season.
It wasn't received as positively as the movie (which also was only slightly-well-received to begin with).
After that, SyFy went back to making movies about giant hybrid monsters, and Jane took some time off from subpar adaptations. Here's hoping that Ms. Chastain can finally do right by the intriguing character.
18 Mutant X
If you think that Marvel and Fox fighting over who owns what in terms of Marvel Comics properties is something that didn't really happen much until the MCU, think again. It was happening at least as far back as , the year the syndicated TV series Mutant X debuted.
Fox, whose deal to develop X-Men properties was already in place, claimed that Marvel and Fireworks Entertainment had created a show that was too similar to the X-Men in Mutant X, with a judge ruling that Mutant X could continue so long as it didn't make any specific references to the X-Men. Sound familiar?
Connected to the Mutant X comic book series largely in name only-- and sans the X-Men characters that appeared in it, like Havok, Ice-Man, Elektra, and Magneto-- the TV show introduced new characters Adam Kane, Shalimar Fox, Jesse Kilmartin, Emma DeLauro, and others who had gained mutant-like powers via genetic engineering (rather than being born with them, another important distinction from the X-Men).
The show had a decent enough following to go for three seasons and was even renewed for a fourth, but was the unfortunate victim of the acquisition and subsequent closure of its main production company, Fireworks Entertainment.
Perhaps as something of a final middle finger to Fox, Marvel would eventually retroactively add the events and characters of the Mutant X TV show to an official alternate reality within the Marvel universe, making them Marvel canon (kind of).
17 The Middleman
Throughout the s, television networks were desperately trying to replicate the success of Lost-- arguably none more than ABC itself, who kept trying to get something going to take over for Lost as it wound down toward the end of the decade. Who better to pitch Lost's replacement than someone who had worked on Lost?
Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who was one of the main writers on the first two seasons of Lost, decided to adapt his own comic book series into ABC's next potential sci-fi hit. Debuting in June of , The Middleman starred Matt Keeslar (Dollhouse, Masters of Horror) and Natalie Morales (Parks and Recreation, Santa Clarita Diet) as a freelance "fixer" and his sidekick, respectively, who took on all manner of sci-fi villain tropes.
Met with strong critical praise, the show was farmed out to ABC's cable channel ABC Family (now called Freeform), which seemed an odd fit for a witty sci-fi series as it sat alongside fare like Greek, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and and Make It or Break It.
The show failed to find its ideal audience on the network, and it was canceled after only 12 episodes-- though the crew was originally promised
The story planned for that final show was instead moved to The Middleman's comic series in an effort to properly tie up the events of the show. The comic books continued through
16 Bionic Woman
Apparently, was the year to revive decades-only, campy sci-fi, and give it a modern twist. Or maybe it wasn't, as Bionic Woman wasn't any more successful in this endeavor than Flash Gordon.
Even though Bionic Woman had the benefit of being on NBC rather than SyFy Channel, it didn't fare much better than Flash Gordon in terms of critical reception.
A common criticism was against star Michelle Ryan, who was accused of being "too inert, not nearly aggressive enough for the role," with one reviewer flat out saying they "got the wrong Bionic Woman."
In fact, most critics felt that the show made a huge mistake in casting Ryan in the lead role rather than Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff, who played a rival bionic woman and just made everyone who watched the show wish she was the star instead.
Ratings-wise, the show started off strongly, with its debut episode drawing NBC's highest numbers for a midweek premier since The West Wing in Unfortunately, the show ended up being one of the many victims of the writers' strike, and was put on hiatus after its first eight episodes were produced and aired-- after which NBC chose not to renew it even after the strike was over.
We're all still waiting on our Katee Sackhoff-led Bionic Woman re-reboot!
Starting with the oft-repeated story of how the original Star Trek series was canceled early in its run but was brought back due to intense fan outcry, it's been something of a tradition for sci-fi shows to rely on passionate fans to keep them afloat admit floundering ratings.
After the high-concept Jericho was axed by CBS after only a single season, its fans sent an astonishing 20 tons of nuts to CBS' headquarters as a message that they wanted another season, in reference to a character's catch phrase in the season one finale.
CBS relented, and gave the show-- which starred Skeet Ulrich (Scream, Riverdale), Lennie James (The Walking Dead, Blade Runner ), and Ashley Scott (Dark Angel, Birds of Prey) in a post-apocalyptic world decimated by nuclear war-- an order for a second season. However, the ratings just still weren't there-- and in fact, were even worse than they had ever been.
CBS' entertainment boss, Nina Tassler, admitted that while there were "passionate viewers watching the program; we simply wish there were more." At the end of the day, ratings are where the money is, and no money means no show.
Luckily, Jericho is one of those shows that got to live in on comic book form, with two additional "seasons" taking place within the pages of a series of IDW-published comic books.
14 Dark Angel
Before ridiculously-successful filmmaker James Cameron decided to dedicate the majority of his energy to making five Avatar movies-- and badmouthing comic book movies at every opportunity-- he actually took a brief detour into television with the sci-fi series Dark Angel.
The first major breakthrough role for future superstar-- and star of multiple movies based on comic books (Fantastic Four, Sin City)-- Jessica Alba, Dark Angel was one of the higher-budget network TV shows of its era when it debuted in As such, it needed to maintain pretty stellar ratings in order to justify its cost, which it failed to do following an ill-advised move to Friday nights and some questionable plot changes in the second season.
Even a show led by James Cameron, still hot off of the massive success of Titanic and with basically unlimited money to pour into it, is no match for bad ratings.
Still, Dark Angel, especially lead character Max and Alba's performance of her, was well-received and is often considered a worthy inclusion to Cameron's stable of strong female action heroes that includes the likes of Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor.
The show was also popular enough to justify continuation via thee novels and a video game adaptation for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, with Alba returning to voice Max.
Threshold boasted a pretty impressive cast of past, present, and then-future sci-fi icons, featuring the talents of Carla Gugino (Watchmen, Wayward Pines); Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation); Peter Dinklage (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Avengers: Infinity War); and Charles S. Dutton (Alien³). It had some pretty big heavy-hitters behind the scenes as well, produced by Brannon Braga (Star Trek), David Heyman (Harry Potter), and prolific comic book adapter David S. Goyer. What could go wrong?
Well, the first misstep was when CBS decided to debut the show on Friday nights. It was then moved to Tuesday nights in an effort to find more viewers, only it was put up against the immensely popular Law & Order: SVU-- which would prove to be the second and ultimately fatal mistake made in regards to the show. Threshold was such a ratings disaster that CBS didn't even think it was worth airing all 13 already-produced episodes, showing only nine of them.
The show centered around a top-secret government task force whose job it is to deal with the threat of extraterrestrial beings without the general public finding out about it.
Like any show early in its run, Threshold was still finding its voice and was getting all the pesky origin stuff out of the way when the plug was pulled, so it never really got the chance to come into its own and make use of its stellar cast and creative team.
For whatever reason, a lot of sci-fi television shows go the aquatic route, taking place on, near, or under the water and with a heavy emphasis on fictional sea creatures. The success of ABC's Lost certainly didn't do much to dissuade people from thinking that the key to sci-fi TV show success is to have some sort of watery backdrop to the proceedings.
Since it debuted only a year after Lost it is hard to accuse Surface of being a direct imitator as it was likely already in the works, but the former's success probably had a lot to do with getting the latter green-lit.
In Surface, various strange occurrences are happening across the world both in and related to Earth's oceans, and it's up to marine biologist Laura Daughtery (played by Lake Bell, with the perfect name for someone who stars in a sea-based show) and various others to get to the bottom of it. Among Bell's co-stars were a pre-Gossip Girl Leighton Meester, and Jay R. Ferguson, who would go on to play Stan Rizzo on Mad Men and the father on the sitcom The Real O'Neals.
NBC squandered whatever buzz Surface had built through its initial ten-episode airing by putting the show on an extended hiatus-- only to find that nobody cared anymore when it finally returned months later. After airing the final five produced episodes, Surface was canceled in May
J. Michael Straczynski is a name well known to sci-fi fan. In addition to being the creator of the beloved series Babylon 5, Straczynski was the main writer on the Amazing Spider-Man comic book series from to , was a major creative force behind the first season of The Real Ghostbusters, wrote several episodes of the Twilight Zone reboot, co-created the Netflix series Sense8 with the Wachowskis, and was a co-writer on the movies Thor, World War Z, and Underworld: Awakening.
Not counting the short-lived Babylon 5 spin-off Crusade, Straczynski's next foray into television was the Showtime series Jeremiah.
The sci-fi show took place in a post-apocalyptic world decimated by a deadly virus-- back before that was a completely overdone concept for a television show.
It starred Luke Perry (Beverly Hills , The Fifth Element), Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show, Community), Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things), and Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica, Hemlock Grove).
While the plan was for Jeremiah's story-- based on a series of s novels-- to be told over five seasons, managerial changes at Showtime led to a move away from sci-fi programming, and thus the show was canceled before it even reached season three. In fact, Showtime so quickly lost interest in the show that it initially only aired the first half of the second season, waiting an entire year before it finally showed the final eight episodes in
10 New Amsterdam
One part Highlander, one part cop drama, and one part breakthrough television role of a future Lannister, New Amsterdam is a bit ironic in that's a show about a year old man that only managed to last eight episodes.
Starring Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, New Amsterdam's short run lasted from March to April of and focused on a modern-day New York police officer who had a spell cast on him centuries ago that made him look eternally 35 years old.
It had a very strong start, with its pilot episode finishing 6th in the ratings that week-- but dropped to 15th by week two, 20th by week four, and 52nd by week five. Fox didn't give it many more weeks with which to continue its rapid descent, and pulled the plug after episode eight. The show did manage to earn an Emmy nomination, for Main Title Design, but it didn't stand a chance as it was up against the legendary Mad Men opening title sequence.
Obviously, Coster-Waldau's career was just fine, as were those of co-stars Stephen Henderson (Lincoln, Lady Bird), Zuleika Robinson (Homeland, The Following), and co-creator Christian Taylor (who went on to co-create the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars).
Some shows do pretty much everything right, but are victims of circumstances beyond anyone's control. Invasion, ABC's sci-fi show loosely based on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, was about a hurricane that ended up spawning water creatures that began terrorizing citizens. There was just one problem-- Hurricane Katrina, which hit right when promos for Invasion were just beginning.
Fearing the backlash of promoting a sci-fi show about a fake hurricane amidst news of a real-- and devastating-- hurricane, ABC ceased promoting the show almost entirely.
It's too bad, because the William Fichtner-led show was a hit with critics and with the audience that managed to find it despite the lack of promotion. Other members of the solid cast included future American Horror Story star Evan Peters, a pre-Mad MenElisabeth Moss, and Kari Matchett of the hit USA show Covert Affairs.
The cast and crew of the show seemed more baffled than anyone by Invasion's premature cancellation. Actor Tyler Labine (Tucker & Dale vs Evil, Reaper) once told The A.V. Club, "I still to this day don't know why that show got canceled. It was just that the network didn't love it, that's all."
Creator Shaun Cassidy was asked during a Reddit AMA which cancellation of one of his shows bothered him the most, and he chose Invasion, saying it was "the most surprising."
Before beginning his ten-years-and-counting stint as Dr. Owen Hunt on Grey's Anatomy, Scottish actor Kevin McKidd was given a few other shots at television stardom that ultimately didn't pan out. He spent two seasons as one of the main cast members on the short-lived Showtime period drama Rome, and between that and Grey's, he headlined a sci-fi series called Journeyman on NBC.
In a conceit inspired by classic sci-fi series Quantum Leap, Journeyman was about a reporter who finds himself suddenly jumping backward in time into scenarios where it seems he is meant to change someone's fate in a positive way.
In an interesting twist, the reporter eventually crosses paths with his ex-fiancee, who he believed to have passed away but had actually been jumping back in time herself.
Journeyman got only 13 episodes before word came that NBC was shutting the show down. Inspired by a similar stunt pulled by Jericho fans to get a second season of that show made, Journeyman fans began sending boxes of Rice-A-Roni to NBC, as the product was connected to San Francisco where the show was set. Though it proved to be a futile endeavor, it at least got the attention of creator Kevin Falls, who wrote on his blog how touched he was by the outpouring of support for his show.
Sci-fi lends itself quite well to parody, and when done right, a parody of sci-fi can be just as compelling as "serious" sci-fi. For instance, many people consider the film Galaxy Quest to be one of the best "Star Trek movies" ever made, even though it isn't actually a Star Trek movie. Seth McFarlane's The Orville was recently renewed for a second season.
There are those sci-fi shows that fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, not quite classic but far from embarrassing.
Such is the case of the very-short-lived Starhyke, a British sci-fi series that had so much trouble proving itself worthy of existing that it was filmed in but didn't make its official television debut until , a whopping seven years later.
Starring Babylon 5's Claudia Christian as well as Bobba Fett himself, Jeremy Bulloch, Starhyke unfortunately never made much of an impact despite its long developmental road and its cast featuring sci-fi royalty.
It wasn't all a total loss, though, as the show's creator discovered he had a brain tumor from the medical check-up that was required for him to get insurance on the project, and it was caught early enough that he was able to have it successfully removed.
6 Defying Gravity
Few shows start off as ambitiously and then crash and burn as quickly as Defying Gravity. A massive production that involved six different companies across four countries (Canada, Germany, England, and the United States), Gravity definitely wasn't lacking in developmental muscle or broadcast reach. The large ensemble cast was led by Ron Livingston (Office Space, Band of Brothers) and it was created by James D. Parriott, who had been a writer and executive producer on Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy.
The show, which took place aboard a spaceship in the year , was yet another series that only ever got to produce an unlucky 13 episodes before being canceled.
It's hard to say for sure exactly why Defying Gravity failed so hard and so quickly-- though in terms of its American broadcast, it being initially aired as a summer show probably didn't do it any favors in helping it to find an audience.
So quickly did ABC turn its back on Gravity that by November , only a month after the finale, all mention of the show was completely removed from ABC's website, and it only remained available on Hulu for a very short time after. Apparently, it didn't do any better in any of the other four countries where it aired as they didn't bother pushing ahead with continuing the series either.
5 Masters of Science Fiction (aka Stephen Hawking's Sci-Fi Masters)
There seems to be no middle ground with anthology series. They either last a long time and are extremely well-received - like The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, and Black Mirror - or they barely find an audience and disappear shortly after they debut. This style of show definitely seems to be finding new life via online streaming services, but for a while there, nobody could seem to hit on a formula for an anthology series on TV that warranted the ratings to last more than a season or two.
After the success of Masters of Horror on Showtime, the producers of that show decided to apply the formula to science fiction. Thus, Masters of Science Fiction debuted on ABC in August of Like most anthology series, Masters boasted some high-caliber talent, including such actors as Malcolm McDowell, John Hurt, Sean Astin, James Cromwell, Clifton Collins Jr, Brian Dennehy, Terry O'Quinn, and Sam Waterston.
The show was narrated by the late Stephen Hawking, and one of the episodes was directed by Star Trek: TNG's Jonathan Frakes. Like Horror, Masters of Science Fiction's episodes were largely adaptations of existing stories by noted authors of the genre.
ABC only ran four of the initial six episodes, and didn't order any additional seasons. In , the Science Channel optioned the rights to air the series' entire run, altering the title to Stephen Hawking's Sci-Fi Masters.
4 Stargate Infinity
It's fascinating how a modestly-profitable sci-fi film with a mostly lukewarm reception that probably should've been forgotten a year after its release was eventually spun off into three different live-action series, two direct-to-DVD movies, a web series, novels, comic books, and several video games (including a planned-- but ultimately canceled-- massively-multiplayer online game, of all things). Stargate's second life as a popular TV brand was also responsible for introducing a new generation of viewers to Richard Dean Anderson, formerly of MacGyver fame.
Stargate also spawned a seldom-remembered early '00s animated series called Stargate Infinity.
The non-canonical series was kid-focused and aired on Fox's Saturday morning lineup from to
While many Stargate fans didn't get on board with the show due to its child-friendly nature and its very low-budget look, the show did earn some moderate praise. Its small fanbase was disappointed when the show was canceled due to low ratings before any of the plot threads introduced in its first and only season could be properly resolved.
Nonetheless, Stargate Infinity was popular enough to warrant separate DVD releases in , , and , so it's easy enough to get a hold of for Stargate fans who missed it and are curious to check out this strange little offshoot of the franchise.
Adrian Paul has definitely been making the sci-fi rounds over the last few decades. While he is most well-known as the lead character on the '90s Highlander TV series, Paul has also appeared in the series War of the Worlds, Relic Hunter, and Charmed, in addition to the films The Void, Code Hunter/Storm Watch, AE: Apocalypse Earth, Eyeborgs, Alien Outpost, and two installments in the Highlander movie franchise.
Adrian Paul tried to follow up his success on Highlander: The Series with another headlining role on a sci-fi show, but it wasn't anywhere near as immortal as his signature role.
Debuting in on Canadian television, Tracker told the story of an alien who comes to Earth in order to capture hundreds of prisoners who had escaped their confinement and taken the identities of existing humans. The show failed to gain much of an audience and only lasted 22 episodes.
Interestingly, in a similar strategy to what would later be successfully utilized by shows like Futurama and Family Guy, three episodes of the show were later cut together and repackaged as a TV movie called Alien Tracker-- but that also failed to garner much interest and no further "movies" were created from the remaining episodes.
2 Tripping The Rift
Even if you've never seen this show, you probably recognize its blue-haired heroine, Six, who was plastered across billboards and the sides of buses in the earlys. For those that were able to give the show a chance in spite of its ridiculously-designed poster girl, they found a show that, well, is about as classy as you'd expect.
While modeled as a Star Trek parody, the computer-animated Tripping the Rift was mostly aimed at teenage boys, full of animated flesh, potty humor, and characters with names like Chode McBlob and episodes with titles like "You Wanna Put That Where?"-- even worse, that particular episode is about the crew landing on an all-gay planet, and is handled about as tastefully as you'd expect.
Rift somehow managed to score some decent voice talent, with a cast that included Stephen Root (King of the Hill) Gina Gershon (The Batman), and Maurice LaMarche (Futurama), as well as the casting of Carmen Electra and Jenny McCarthy.
Perhaps because of the juvenile humor and copious amounts of digital eye candy, Tripping the Rift lasted for a baffling three seasons and spawned a direct-to-DVD movie.
Fans were disappointed to find that not only was the movie just three episodes of the show cut together, but that the supposedly uncensored film still featured the "censor balloons" over female body parts that the original broadcasts did.
1 Odyssey 5
Before Showtime decided it was done being in the sci-fi television business, it was actually making a name for itself as being a home for sci-fi fans. In addition to the aforementioned Jeremiah, the cable channel also aired a sci-fi showing starring original Robocop Peter Weller.
Odyssey 5 stars Weller as a member of a shuttle crew who are on a routine space flight when Earth is mysteriously destroyed. The crew is then visited by a being called Seeker who offers them the opportunity to travel back in time five years prior to the Earth's destruction in an effort to prevent the world from ending.
The story went unresolved when it was canceled after only 19 episodes, ending on a cliffhanger.
Series creator Manny Coto didn't have to lick his wounds for long over Odyssey 5's cancellation, as he immediately jumped on board as the lead showrunner for Star Trek: Enterprise, following that up with extended writing stints on 24 and Dexter.
While it would be the last project headlined by Peter Weller, the actor has appeared in a number of TV series since then, including Netflix series Longmire, which has also seen him sit in the director's chair for 4 episodes.
What's your favorite forgotten sci-fi show from the s? Let us know in the comments!
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Shows 2000 sci fi tv
The 20 Best Sci-Fi TV Series of the 21st Century, Ranked
It hardly needs mentioning, but not all science-fiction is created equal. Even as a term, its difficult to pin down exactly what constitutes sci-fi, especially in a medium like TV that can change so much from week to week or season to season. So when we took stock of the best TV shows from the past two decades, we turned to one unimpeachable source as a guide for what we should include in our list.
Thats not to say that a few of the shows might have an odd sword or two, but most of what we tried to single out here imagines a world markedly different from our own. Some take place in reimagined futures, while others take a sharper focus on the present with some key, otherworldly changes.
Given the wealth of shows in this genre, we opted not to include animated or unscripted series in this particular list. (Otherwise Rick & Morty, Futurama and Samurai Jack would definitely rank high here.) As usual, weve also kept these picks to shows that premiered after
So, follow us down the rabbit hole to some of the most thrilling, thought-provoking —and in many cases, utterly horrifying — alternate realities that TV has brought us in recent years.
First off: Anyone who watched The during its initial run on USA was likely not surprised to see Mahershala Ali — or Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, as he was known then — eventually become an Oscar-winning actor. As Richard Tyler, one of the 4, individuals plucked from history to be deposited in the year with mysterious abilities, Ali was one of the shows most engaging performers, an empathetic presence who sold us on the shows emotional drama while we waited to find out exactly how and why this seemingly random collection of strangers had been transported to the future. Not every plot twist of this series worked, but the mysteries kept us hooked during its run, as the show managed to never lose sight of its human stories even while taking on large-scale sci-fi drama.
The science part of the science fiction on “Sense8” is merely the entry point to a fantastic story of human nature. Eight individuals born around the world on the same day realize they have a psychic connection that lets them feel and experience things simultaneously but also take over each other’s bodies in order to help them through trying situations. This wholly unique device demonstrated how we are not alone as long as there is acceptance of the universal human experience.
Batshit nuts at times, the show has created indelible scenes in which the Cluster or Sensates experience events around the globe as if they’re in the same room, whether it’s sex (ah, the famous orgy scenes), swimming, executing a jailbreak or even childbirth. The Wachowskis’ artistic eyes have created some of the most breathtaking images seen on TV, and their genius shines when it comes to crowd scenes where it seems like everyone is filled with the same, contagious elation. There’s no party like a “Sense8” party, and it’s no wonder that the emotional force of this series inspired its devoted fanbase to petition for the show to continue after Season 2s cliffhanger ending. It’s a testament to the voice of that global cluster that Netflix finally saw sense (ha!) and announced a series-capping movie that would round out the story.
Given how hard it is to explain exactly what was going on with the ABC Family sci-fi series, we understand why it might have been canceled. But the cheerful homage to decades of pop culture was a delight to watch, especially thanks to charming lead performances by Natalie Morales and Matt Keeslar. The Middleman was dense with references, but it also kept its central characters fun and relatable as they dealt with no shortage of absurd scenarios, drawn from the widest reaches of sci-fi and fantasy tropes.
Sometimes, you watch a post-apocalyptic drama and you think, Hmmmm, feels like they pulled their punches to some degree. This is not true of The One of the most brutal shows weve ever seen, The also happens to be rich with big sci-fi ideas, even as it pits its characters against each other in semi-regular battles to the death. The CW series commitment to coming up with shocks and surprises has proven fascinating to behold, even as it finds new depths to its mythology.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Arguably, the “Terminator” franchise is only really a franchise because of “The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” Sure, the first two films reaped in profits and awards hand over fist, but nothing since then has stuck. “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” “Salvation,” and “Genisys” all flopped stateside, with each film making significantly less money than the last, and none earned enough raves to pass the test of time.
But “The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” which lasted 31 episodes over two seasons, is the third piece of the puzzle; the missing ingredient needed to make fans of the franchise believe there doesn’t have to be an end. Where the later films have failed to sustain a sense of wonder and excitement, the Lena Headey-starring series picks up right after “T2” and never looks back. Solid action, an aptly winding plot, and a strong lead turn make this one worth remembering — and successful enough that many fans still do. It makes sense: After all, “Terminator” always was Sarah’s story.
Up next: picks , including shocking looks at Brazil and the Old West
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