ITT: TOP Recommended Sci Fi Series

My wife would be mad if I didn’t include the X Files. Probably like Dr Who and Star Trek, we take it for granted.

More mad if I didn’t add Fringe. Very well written, and ended on a beautiful and satisfying note.

Even further in the way back machine: Probably the first sci fi show I ever watched, The Six Million Dollar Man. Growing up, all the boys like myself wanted to be Steve Austin!


I was wondering how long it would take till somebody brings up Babylon 5.


The final speech from “Comes The Inquisitor” still gives me chills.

“Remembered, not as a messenger, remembered not as a reformer, not as a prophet, not as a hero, not even as Sebastian. Remembered only… as Jack.”


The writing is horrible for the Chibnall/Whittaker era. In the pre-2005 series, I think I can count on one hand the number of overtly political episodes. Chibnall has made it his job to turn every single story into some sort of political statement. Worse, he has all of the subtlety of a brick wall. You can watch a story like The Green Death and while there certainly is an ecology “message”, it’s also a fun romp of a story.

Not so with the current era. Not only must the viewer be beaten bloody with the morality stick, but the storytelling comes to a screeching halt while it does so. Frankly, most of the stories are just plain dull. I didn’t even bother with season 12 after the two-part opener.

The cast really isn’t much better. I have no idea if Jodie Whittaker could be a good Doctor, she’s spent all of her time aping Tennent and Smith. Bradley Walsh was probably the best of the companions, but that doesn’t say much since there are wooden planks with more range than Tosin Cole and the writers usually forgot Mandip Gill was in the scene.

I told you not to get me started! :slight_smile:


Holy cow, it’s like looking into a mirror. Pat Troughton is my favorite Doctor and I loved Eccleston. I feel the same about the others as well, right down to the magnificent actor Peter Capaldi being given a long run of frankly awful scripts (though his last companion, Bill, was great, and the return of the Mondasian Cybermen utterly chilling).

I’m on the fence about the latest Doctor, there are aspects I like and aspects I loathe. I just don’t think Chibnall was the right showrunner, though I do generally laud the idea of trying to refresh the show with some new directions. Not convinced that all the directions are the right ones is all. (I do like Jodie Whittaker in the role however, and Sacha Dhawan is an effective Master.)


Oh my gosh, I mean since we’re ON the subject of sci-fi westerns

I would be totally remiss not to bring this show up. Most on this thread seem to enjoy the “old west but make it in outer space” type of story, so might I offer the inverted “outer space comes TO the old west”? This was yet another great show undercut by the Fox network. Brisco County Jr also only ran for one season, but dangit if it wasn’t a good one. I’d say anyone who liked Firefly would also like this show. Some episodes lean more on the western side than the science fiction, but, I mean, the very first minutes of the show involve an outlaw getting his hands on an unearthed orb of alien origin that grants special powers to help him escape prison. So. Anyway, it’s a seriously underrated show that I wish more people knew about. Plus you get to see Bruce Campbell dressed as a cowboy and who doesn’t love that haha


I have to agree with you on Sacha Dhawan. What I saw of him in the season 12 opener, he was really good in the role, suave with a glint of crazy in his eyes.


I loved Briscoe County Jr! Always in search of the coming thing. :slight_smile: John Aston was fun to watch in that show, too.


Most definitely! His professor character was such a great part of the show


Another Whovian, Dwarfer, Hitchhiker and um… Prisonerian representing.

There are so many shows out there that MSTies probably already watch, but here are a few that haven’t been listed yet that everyone should watch if they’re looking for something with at least a partial comedic element:

1) Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible

Difficult to find in the U.S. as I think it’s only been released over here as part of the Steve Coogan boxed set, but this should be right up the alley of most MSTies, and especially MSTies who are also Hammer Horror fans. There are only 6 episodes, but each one spoofs one or more Hammer/Amicus genre films. Be warned, most of the DVDs and streaming services where I’ve seen this series show the episodes out of order with the season finale first. The finale is a send-up of the Amicus anthology films like The House that Dripped Blood and Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, but because it tries to cram 4 different mini spoofs into a 20 minute episode, it’s a little rougher around the edges, and might put some viewers off.


2) Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
Another must-watch for MSTies. This is another British spoof that pretends to be a “lost” horror show from the 80’s based on the works of Garth Marenghi, a Steven King-ish writer who’s “written more books than he’s read.” Fans of What We Do in the Shadows will also recognize national treasure Matt Barry in the role of Sanchez.


3) Man to Man with Dean Learner
And if you’ve already seen Darkplace, make sure you check out the follow-up, Man to Man With Dean Learner, which is a fake talk show hosted by the Dean Learner character and featuring several “guests” played by Matt Holness, including Garth Marenghi.

4) What We Do in the Shadows
Just in case you haven’t seen one of the best shows on television (and the incredibly movie it’s based on)… You should really check out What We Do in the Shadows.

5) Wellington Paranormal
They’re showing the first three season on the CW right now, so there’s no excuse for missing this show. I think New Zealanders and Minnisotans have a very similar brand of deadpan humor, especially in the way that nobody ever seems fazed by anything that happens around them, no matter how absurd.

6) Other Space
Considering that it stars Joel Hodgeson and features the voice of Trace Beaulieu as ‘Art’ you’ve probably watched this already, but just in case…

7) Hyperdrive
Assuming that everybody here is already familiar with Red Dwarf, Hyperdrive isn’t quite the flagship of sci-fi comedy, but it’s good for a laugh, especially if you’re a fan of Nick Frost.


8) Truth Seekers
Available free on Amazon Prime right now. Sadly, it got cancelled within a couple of weeks because Amazon gave it no promotion in the middle of a pandemic, even though it’s a supernatural X-Files style comedy from Nick Park and Simon Pegg.

9) The Venture Bros.
Another incredibly popular show that most people have probably already seen. If you aren’t usually a fan of cartoons aimed at adults (I can’t stand most of the stuff on Cartoon Network) you might still want to give this one a try. It’s one of those shows that starts out good as a somewhat darker and twisted parody of the old Johnny Quest cartoons and becomes great as the seasons progress and the characters develop.

10) The Tick (all three versions!)
Another masterpice that I love every version of. The most recent Amazon version has a pilot that’s a little dark and more serious than you’d expect, but from episode 2 on, it’s goofy comedy gold. I’ll even forgive them for having somebody other than Patrick Warburton voice The Tick.



Dark Matter really scratched my Firefly itch.


OMG yes, I thought I was the only one who remembered and loved this series.

Had a crush on both Dixie and Brisco to be honest…

Fox was my biggest love hate relationship. They gave some of the BEST shows of my childhood and teenage years a CHANCE, only to cancel that chance at the slightest whiff of failure. Here ls a definitely non-exhaustive list of my favorite canceled Fox shows:

  • Brisco
  • VR.5
  • Dark Angel
  • John Doe
  • Key West - which started my infatuation with Jennifer Tilly
  • Kindred: The Embraced - never seen an RPG given such a serious adaption…
  • The Critic
  • The Tick - Animated
  • The Tick - the first live action one with Patrick Warburton as perfect casting
  • Defenders of Dynatron City
  • M.A.N.T.I.S
  • Swamp Thing - Animated
  • Roar
  • Brimstone - I mean, John Glover as THE DEVIL, you don’t get much more perfect casting than that!
  • I was gonna say Sliders, but then I remembered the whole Cro-Mag plot line where they jumped the shark

But seriously, Fox has broken my heart SO. MANY. TIMES. :crying_cat_face:


Classic sci-fi anthology time, and the best remains:

The Twilight Zone
Genre-breaking and then genre-defining, its cultural impact remains one of the largest in science fiction broadcast media. Two decent revivals later, the original is still the best. (Photo is from the Richard Matheson episode Death Ship, one which still unnerves to this day.)

Night Gallery
In many ways a Twilight Zone sequel, and even recycled the odd TZ story here and there. Not as iconic or potent as TZ, but often with great production values and possessing some memorable tales (such as The Caterpillar).

The Outer Limits
A lot of these show their age now, and there are some less than stellar special effects. But a number of the stories are classic sci-fi (Nightmare, Demon With A Glass Hand, Don’t Open Until Doomsday) that are still effective.

Tales Of The Unexpected
This British series featured stories from Roald Dahl, ranging like the Twilight Zone from tales of pedestrian unease to those of uncanny horror.

One Step Beyond
An early series that straddled the fact/fiction divide with purportedly true stories of the unexplained. The appetite for such things at the time was also fueled by programs such as the Stranger Than Science radio show hosted by Frank Edwards.

In Search Of
Claiming to get even closer to science and further from fiction was the beloved series In Search Of hosted by Leonard Nimoy. It was many people’s introduction to strange phenomenon at the time and helped popularise a number of unusual events. Not as rigorous as one would expect nowadays, but entertainingly told and Nimoy’s narration gives it gravitas. (The same can be said of Robert Stack’s hosting of Unsolved Mysteries.)


How about Sagan’s original Cosmos series? It’s a classic.

However, while I USED to love Neil DeGrasse Tyson, his remake of it showed me another side of him, an angry resentful side, that made me sour on him. :frowning_face:


I completely agree, and it was one of the shows that truly help popularise science for everyone. No fiction at all in that one, unless you count the narrative device of the ship of the imagination and some speculation on alien worlds.


Two others I forgot:

Danger 5
I don’t even know how to begin describing this one, other than it’s a surreal Australian send-up of every TV show from the 60’s (and in the second season, the 80’s) about a group of International Rescue style secret agents tasked with killing Hitler (who jumps out of a window to escape every episode) inexplicably lead by a colonel with an eagle head wearing Patrick McGoohan’s outfit from The Prisoner. It’s also where that flaming chainsaw gif you’ve probably seen floating around the internet comes from, and it’s written and produced by Dario Russo, the same guy who brought you Italian Spiderman.

One other note, Dario Russo’s soundtrack (yes, he also scored it too) is amazing. He manages to capture the inherent goofiness of spy shows from that era, using a lot of the same instruments. It’s one of the few TV scores I immediately bought when it came out and listen to on a fairly regular basis while I’m working.


And while not a TV show per se, also check out Top Knot Detective, a similarly bizarre mocumentary about another “lost” TV show called Top Knot Detective, and the strange series of events that led to it’s cancellation and arrest of it’s primary star. For anybody who has watched Mighty Jack, Fugitive Alien, Time of the Apes, or any other Japanese import show, you’ll immediately see where this is coming from.

Top Knot - Tiger Shark
top_knot emperor
top_knot sperm

It also features a brief section involving it’s more popular spin-off series TimeStriker.




Those are the shows that changed my father’s life, therefore altering mine! Classics.

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Understandable, they were both hot :laughing: I’ll always be a sucker for a handsome man in a cowboy hat though hahaha

And a list of prematurely cancelled Fox shows is incomplete without Futurama. If only all the good shows they bailed on could’ve been so lucky as to get picked up by another network lol


I was considering adding Hyperdrive

If you like Hyperdrive and don’t mind Radio plays I’d suggest checking out “My First Planet”


Well, I can’t think of anything I would have added that someone hasn’t already mentioned. Doctor Who, check, Bab5, check, Blake’s 7, check, HHGG, check, Prisoner, check… well done, everyone. :slight_smile: