Return to Sci-Fi: My Favourites

Lately my brain has been in overdrive, flooded with the memories of good times and favourite episodes, as the announcement of the return of the X-Files in miniseries sinks in and totally rocks my world, it’s been a little hard to focus on anything because, “I Want to Believe”!

I’m not sure I would call myself a serious science fiction fan and I’m not going to pretend I know everything about Science Fiction, or that I am a connoisseur… but there is something very alluring about the kind of strange creatures and alternate worlds that are common place in the science fiction genre.  They always somehow win me over.

Now I could on and on about John Carter, Aliens and the numerous other science fiction movies I hold near and dear, but instead I thought it might be more interesting for me to try and create a list of my favourite science fiction television shows.  Undoubtedly there will be points to argue and I will be missing a couple of the big ones… but I can’t watch everything, can I?

Dr. Who: The Original Series (Specifically 1974-1981)  This is probably the first show I remember being obsessed with.  I’m not sure if it was the flamboyant overacting, the never ending scarf, or the ridiculous B-movie creatures he faced off against every week on PBS, but there was, and is still, something about Tom Baker’s Dr. Who that even now, really captivates my mind.  If we’re being honest, as far as companions are concerned, Leela (#TeamLeela) totally kicks everyone elses’ ass and automatically adds to the shows cool points.  Like most of my favourite TV shows, and movies, this series is not something I ever get sick of watching.  While I do have my favourite episodes, (The Pyramids of Mars, The Horror at Fang Rock, The Stones of Blood) they are by no means limited to a few.  But I have to admit, now that I’ve seen some of the older episodes, pre Fourth Doctor, it’s hard to discount the amazing vision and nuance within them. Specifically The Tomb of the Cybermen, which in my opinion was totally awesome.

Dr. Who: The New Series – I like parts of the news series.  Specifically the first season, parts of the Second through third and the most recent.  Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of the new Dr. Who Series.  It’s not for lack of trying I just find it doesn’t capture me the way the old series did… but I still watch it, and I really enjoyed a number of episodes specifically, “42” “The Empty Child” and “Fear Her.” I keep catching up on the news seasons though, because there is something there and I can’t help but be really excited about Peter Capaldi’s version of The Doctor.

Star Trek: The Original – Tribble episode aside, It wasn’t until recently that I watched the entire original series.  I have to say I was really surprised that I liked it as much as I did.  I thought it would be too dated, and too silly.  To a degree it was the kind of fun and brightly coloured overt optimism that I expect from a specific generation.  But, it was also something more.  It really embraces a lot of themes that television still seems to be struggling with, specifically with their multi-ethnic cast, which even today seems to be a stretch for primetime television.  I will never be a “Trekkie” but I really love that people are so passionate about this program and that it has continued to inspired the people who grew up watching it.

Star Trek:TNG – I didn’t watch much of Star Trek the Next Generation until I was much older.  I had a job where I worked the late shift and when I got home Star Trek TNG was the only thing on.   I wasn’t surprised that it was so good, I was surprised that I hadn’t really sat down and watched through an episode until then.  It was a completely different experience from the Original series.  It’s much dark, it’s much scarier and to me it really reflected the change in attitude during that time.  On top of it which it had a bunch of cool new technology which seemed like it could really happen, and some things, like tablet computers and cellphones have.  Plus, Data was totally awesome.

V – The Original Miniseries – Space ships? Check. Aliens disguised as humans pretending to be friends of the planet so they can use us for sustenance? Check.  Small group of renegade dissentors? Check.  If you’ve only seen the remake of this miniseries, I’m SO sorry.  Go and watch the original… if for no other reason than to see what the aliens really look like.  No, it does not have Morena Baccarin, but it does have baby aliens.

The Middleman: Maybe it’s because I related to the plight of the “temporary staffer,” or the fact that I was pretty sure everyone I worked for at the time was an alien, but this show got me right where I needed it to… and then it was cancelled on me.  Needless to say its amazing combination of self aware pop culture references and dialogue delivered, at times, “His Girl Friday” fast with many jabs at the woes of the Art School graduates.   I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a cartoonishly straight laced All-American Matt Keeslar and sidekick Natalie Morales battling “comic book evil” in unflattering uniforms, WHO!?

The X-Files – An seminal experiences of every kid in the 90’s was watching the X-Files… and that’s not an understatement.  Without going into a long rant about how awesome this show is or stressing out about how to name fewer than 20 episodes which I think you should watch before the miniseries airs, I will say that before you right it off as outdated crap, if you haven’t seen it yet it’s worth at least watching one episode to give it a shot (Home, Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose, Humbug, The Pusher, Pilot, Ghost in the Machine, Bad Blood, Triangle, Jose Chung’s From Outer Space, Die Hand Der Verletz).  Suffice it to say the X-Files had me hook line and sinker, pretty much as soon as I saw the pilot.  The rest, as they say… is history.

Lost Perhaps the only show I was able to obsess about more than the X-Files was Lost… and I wish I was kidding.  Reshasing the show with family and friends was probably the only thing that got me through the next day at work, and while I will admit to being a little disappointed in the way the show ended, this has in now way diminished the experience for me or how much I still love talking about all of my favourite episodes… “NOT PENNY’S BOAT!”

So there’s my list… for now.  I’m going to continue revisiting the X-Files over the next few months and brace for whatever happens when the new series is released.