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Welcome to the blog of The Killer Nacho, known to most mortals as Timothy J. Sharpe, a Computer Science graduate of Messiah College and currently a Systems Analyst for Sunoco Logistics. Within this tome of pages, one will find my innermost thoughts about various things concerning things that I enjoy. These subjects include, but are not limited to, roleplaying, gaming, American Football (the NFL), things to do with computers, philosophy, movies that are awesome, TV shows that are awesome, my own writings and creative works, and dangerous Mexican snacks.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Top 10 Science Fiction Shows of All Time

I've never been one for TV, myself. There have been shows that I've found every now and again that I enjoyed watching, mostly cartoons as a kid, but nothing really stuck. I always considered it rather ... boring, compared to other things I could be doing. I always considered gaming superior... I'm a competitive person, and I always like getting into the action myself.

Having said that, I was bored one day on my freshmen year of college when I was introduced something spectacular. My Philosophy teacher (also a vivid Sci-Fi fan) introduced me to Star Trek, when he played an episode in class to display a philosophical point. I loved it. I fell in love with the futuristic display of philosophy, vision of mankind, and deep characters. I quickly decided to watch every episode of Star Trek (in every series of Star Trek), and when I was done, moved on to other series. I've absorbed several, many, series to date, and seeing as I like to rank things ... I've decided to put together a Top 10 list of my favorite Science Fiction series of all time ... for use by others, wanting to get into the series.

Picard facing off with his long-term rival, Q.
1. Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ah, the series that started it all for me. Obviously, this series has been raved about by everyone and their mother who has ever watched it. Having said that, this series is a bit different than most other Sci Fi series you may have seen. For one, while there is plenty of conflict, the rich Federation ideals means that Next Generation lacks the action-basis most other Science Fiction series have. However, it more than makes up for it for its deep characters, moral & philosophical questions regarding heavily on the nature of humanity, and its usually deep storylines. While most episodes are standalone, the show features many recurring characters and occasionally stories told over several episodes.

There's not much to say about it that hasn't be said about everyone. I'll leave you with this ... Jean-Luc Picard is the most awesome frenchman, and Star Trek captain, who ever existed, even if it was only fictionally.

Captain Kirk with friend and first-officer, Spock.
2. Star Trek (Original series): The original Star Trek series comes in a close second to its sequel. Once you get over the somewhat-funny technology, the show becomes surprisingly good. Like Next Generation, the show is packed full of philosophical and moral concerns. Also, there is quite a bit more action sequences since Captain Kirk's idea of "diplomacy" is a little less ... advanced to Picard's. Several times has he resulted to "Cowboy diplomacy" to solve his problems.

The show unfortunately ended too soon, as it is much shorter than any other Trek series... the show was unfortunately, before its time. Fans should be happy, however, as there are seven Trek movies based off of the original series (at least half of them, very good). At the end of the day, its hard to be a fan of Sci-Fi without ever watching the classic which likely started it all.

Malcom Reynolds, captain of the Firefly!
3. Firefly: Like the original Star Trek, this was another series that was ended far before its time. If the fools at Fox Network actually had a heart, this show may still be on the air. Its delightful mix of classic Science Fiction and Western concepts combined with a cast of well-developed characters makes each of its mere 14 episodes a wonderful delight. Joss Whedon struck a home-run with this one. The masterful writing makes this show possibly the most-quotable show of all time. It has a single sequel movie, known as Serenity (which is sadly more well-known than the TV series it seems), so there is some other content available. Not to mention Whedon has hinted on a few occasions that the series may get a few more movie sequels. All I can say, is I hope so.

Futurama defiantly has a different... spirit from other shows on this list.
4. Futurama: A bit different than all the other shows on this list, Futurama is one of the most hilarious things to ever exist. From the creators of the Simpsons, Futurama succeeded due to its mixture of classic Sci-Fi concepts with 'nerd comedy'. Futurama has a great array of characters, most of which are classic stereotypes of Science fiction motifs. You have the old scatter-brained scientist, clueless sci-fi action hero, a robot, hot slightly-creepy love interest, heck, even a crazy alien and token black employee. Another show cancelled by the Fox Cooperation, thankfully it has been brought back by Comedy Central after four successful movies for more futuristic comedy goodness.

The space station, Babylon 5.
5. Babylon 5: Like other shows on this list, Babylon 5 revolutionized Science fiction when it was released. Unlike previous shows which largely based themselves from Star Trek's model of independent shows which aren't usually affected by watching them out of sequence, Bablyon 5 added a new type of Science fiction, the 'Space Opera'. Often said to be an attempt of "as close to a novel as you can put on television", Babylon 5 succeeded with long, intriguing, epic story arcs, all revolving around a space station built in order to maintain peace in the Galaxy with aliens (after Earth got its ass handed to it by an alien race). Babylon 5 is a well-constructed show featuring a large array of memorable characters. It has a sequel series called 'Babylon 5 Crusade', but it never really got off the ground.

Scorpius may go down as one of the best Sci-fi villains.
 6. Farscape: What is with great Science fiction and being canceled before its time? History may record SciFi's cancellation of Farscape similar to the original Star Trek's cancellation. Despite lasting only 4 seasons, Farscape is on this list because it is truly one of the best Science Fiction shows out there. There is a lot to like about the Australian-based "muppets in space" show, and is a nice change of pace from Star Trek. Farscape is the story of John Critchon, an astronaut caught in a wormhole and taken to deep-space where he meets "amazing, psychotic alien life" during his quest to get home. When it comes down to it, Farscape is just fun. The characters are enjoyable, and the puppet-based effects are pulled off very well. The show also happens to include one of the best villains I've seen in any medium, Scorpius (or the neural duplicate version in John Crichton's mind, Harvey). At its core, Farscape is wacky, mind-blowing sci-fi fun. The series is highly reccomended to anyone.

Sisko talking to Dukat, the former Cardassian Overseer of DS9.
7. Star Trek: Deep Space 9: The last 'Trek' series to make this list, Deep Space 9 broke the Star Trek mold in a lot of ways. Some say that Deep Space 9 stole a lot of ideas from Babylon 5. While I don't quite buy that tale, Deep Space 9 was obviously inspired by it. DS9, like other Trek series, has a great cast of characters an many episodes regarding philosophy & morality. Unlike other Trek shows, however, Deep Space 9 often features long story arcs like Bajor's independence, the constant feud between the Cardassians (most notable Du Kat), and all that leading to, of course, the Dominion War. A bit 'darker' than other Trek shows, Deep Space 9 still found its ways into many Trekkie's hearts, including my own.

Galactia deals with the remainder of mankind's mission to find a new home.
8. Battlestar Galactica (New Series): I have mixed feelings about Battlestar Galactica. While some herald it as the best sci-fi show ever made, I have a few problems with it. This isn't to say that the show wasn't great. A 'space opera', Galactia's storyline is captivating, revolving around the last remnants of humanity after being nearly eradicated by machines (known as the Cylons), looking for the final human colony, "Earth", which was widely believed to be merely religious belief and rumor. The show contains several memorable characters and amusing story arcs. The reason I have it ranked this low was because I feel that later in the series, things started happening that weren't quite believable, characters started breaking down as many times once-friends became bitter enemies, and to be honest, the show may have been too action-oriented for my taste. Still, all together it was a good show, worth watching from beginning to end.

How could a show with 2 characters be so good?
9. Quantum Leap: Defiantly an oldie but goodie, Quantum Leap is a show unfortunately left off many other Sci-Fi lists. The creator of the show succeeded in an interesting challenge ... create a TV show with a cast of only two. This was done by following the adventures of Dr. Sam Becket, the inventor of a time-travel machine known as the Quantum Leap Accelerator. But, it doesn't quite work as planned. Instead of leaping back to moments in his own life, he ends up leaping back in time into the lives of others, usually, it seems, to fix a problem... "putting right what once went wrong".

The only aid he has is his long-time friend Al, his friend from the present who can communicate with him as a hologram. Al is one of the better characters in any series. The sarcastic womanizing sidekick is often used by Beckett to find out the original history, while using a computer named Ziggy to analyze what he is likely supposed to do each Leap. An enjoyable series through and through, it isn't classic science fiction, but it always seems to stir emotion. This is defiantly a show that even those usually not drawn to Science fiction can easily enjoy.

Quinn Mallory and Professor Arturo, activating the sliding machine.
10. Sliders*: I almost didn't put this on the list, but eventually I decided to over others with an asterisk. This asterisk represents this only applies to the first two seasons. I'll get into that later. Anyway, Sliders is a show with an interesting concept, parallel worlds. Boy genius Quinn Mallory invents a device known as "the sliding machine", which enables the user to "Slide" from world to world. He brings along his best friend Wade Welles and college professor Professor Arturo for a test spin (which ends up accidentally transporting a washed-up musician known as Remi Brown). However, during this slide, he makes a fatal mistake: Sliding within a slide. With this mistake, his home coordinates are lost. The four sliders slide from world to world, hoping to eventually get home. On the way, they enter many interesting alternate realities which often bring up interesting science fiction concepts.

*As mentioned, the series went downhill after the second season, when the show lost some of its key writers to other shows. The new writers made the show less science fiction and more cheap action. To make matters worse, they ran John Rhys-Davies (Professor Arturo) off the show, who was really the best character in the series. While the first two seasons were golden and highly enjoyable, the final three seasons features a revolving-door cast and episodes that can't make me decide whether I want to laugh or cry. They even replaced the main character in the final season.

Honorable mentions: Blake's 7, Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate SG-1, Fringe, X-Files, Dr. Who, The Twilight Zone, Lost


  1. Hello mate, ever watch Doctor Who before? You might need to reset the list after you watch the classic or the modern version. ;) Cheers and a happy (early) X'mas! 49 years and counting down to november the 23rd 2013 for the 50th anniversary.

  2. and what about stargate sg1, stargate atlantis, and stargate universe???