Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Top 10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Series of the Decade - 1990 -1999

Back by popular demand (I was bored), is my top 10 Sci-Fi and Fantasy TV series of the decade and this time we travel back to the 90's.
 Unlike the 2000's, previous decades like the 80's and 90's were not as populated with TV series that I watched.  Part of this was duto the amount of genre series available and part of it was my interest in these shows. I had a short attention span and gave many shows little chance especially in the 90’s Unlike the previous article where many really good series were left off the top 10, decades like the 90’s and 80’s have so much less to choose from that my lists are shorter and probably contain less quality series.

I stick to my rules that the majority of the series has to take part in the decade. Looking back at the previous article it may have been a mistake to put Buffy, The Vampire Slayer in that decade as just a little more than half does take place in the 90’s. Given its placement in the previous article it would probably come close to the top yet again in this one.

You will notice a few omissions including some really good series that I just never had time for. You may also notice some lesser known series as well.

10 - SPACE ABOVE AND BEYOND (1995-1996) – Far into the future mankind is waging a battle against an alien race. B e f o r e St a r s h i p Troopers and the n e w Battlestar  Galactica we have a m i l i t a r y b a s e d series with plenty of spaceship b a t t l e s a n d action. This show is often forgotten when talking about the evolution of Sci-Fi on TV even though it was very important for effects and that certain look. The X-Files connections with the writers and so forth were not enough to keep this series flying. A poor Sunday night time-slot was constantly being preempted by football.

9 - COWBOY BEBOP (1998) – In the future a group of bounty hunters take on various jobs and learn more about each other. The strong element of humor, story arc and character development really shone in this series. I won’t be including anime that much in these lists but here is one. All but this show on this list were watched by me in the 90’s. Cowboy Bebop was viewed by myself in 2010 and I was just absolutely blown away by it and have nothing bad to say about it. This addition to the list will bring up some questions especially in my later lists as much of what I saw of 60’s TV was much later on and therefore the lists are not as pure as the 90’s and 2000’s. Having seen this show 15 years after it aired may be unfair to others on this list.

8 - QUANTUM LEAP (1989-1993) – This show was lots of fun and while at times may have been a bit repetitive it really was a joy to watch. A few unbelievably superb episodes (“The Leap Home”, “ Mirror Image”) takes this show from the bottom of my list to here.

7 -THE X-FILES (1993-2002) – I will say that this series certainly caught my attention and was probably my favorite for quite some time. The show would obviously be number 1 on my list if it were not for a substantial drop off in quality in the later seasons. Either that or I had lost interest. Twin Peaks viewers lost interest in being dragged along for week after week with false leads and anti climatic answers. The same must be said for The X-Files except this is over years. Cast changes did not help and interest waned.

The series is certainly the most influential of all the series on this list and spawned a whole generation of these types of shows.  

6 - STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE (1993-1999) – One word to sum up this series is consistent. The show was not everyone’s cup of tea because the Enterprise was not in it but the show was very intelligent and had some very good character development, much better than the Star Trek series before and after this. The strongest aspect was perhaps the characters and their opposing agendas, making a very colorful series. Of course some Star Trek diehards didn’t want to see this conflict and did not like the stationary setting. The series attempted changes to boost ratings with its own ship and bringing in Worf. The ongoing storyline was also new to Star Trek and was a welcome inclusion.

5 - MILLENNIUM (1996-1999)– This Chris Carter project was meant to be a different series to the very popular The X-Files and it was. It remained very strong throughout its run. The show was outstanding but did tend to bounce around in its direction, first being a murder detective show, then going more into the fantasy realm. Strong family values were the backbone of the show and refreshing compared to other series of the 90’s.

4 - STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION (1987-1994) - This was a tough call but because The Next Generation has some absolute classic episodes, it beats out Deep Space NIne. I can name a dozen superb stories for Next Gen and only a few DS9 stories. With that said, Next Gen has some awful stories and so balances out quite a bit.

3 - RED DWARF (1988 - ?)- How can a series be so funny and yet have such great sci-fi stories. At the time British Sci-Fi was all but non existent and yet Red Dwarf took up the slack admirably. The show may have hit its high point in the first 4 to 5 seasons but it is still going after a many year break. This show had some great writing and really did the job of two types of series, Sci-Fi and Comedy.

2 - BABYLON 5 (1994-1998) – Having been blown away by the pilot as seen at the convention Wishcon, I was then underwelmed by the first season but stuck in there to see one of the best Sci-Fi TV series of all time. The show just got better and better as seasons 2, 3 and 4 went on. The show did peter out in season 4 and apart from a few excellent episodes, never recovered. The show was very brave and rarely reset like many other series do.

1- TWIN PEAKS (1990-1991)– A groundbreaking series for sure, Twin Peaks was an incredible experience. Unlike many people I did not lose interest in the series during season 2 and was on the edge of my seat until the end. Not seeing an ending to that show still bothers me today and if I had a choice of seeing a conclusion to one TV series, it would have to be this one. I am currently re-watching the series with my wife and she is enjoying it as well. It holds up very well but I do see some flaws in the spinning of the wheels as the writers try to find things for the many characters to do. I basically looked past all the fluff and saw lots of humor mixed with tension and horror. The build up to a confrontation between good and evil seemed likely but the ending we got was talked about for years.

Of all the shows in the 90’s, I found myself involved heavily with Red Dwarf, The X-Files,
Space Precinct, Babylon 5 and Twin Peaks, so much so that they became one of my main fan interests at the time of their airing. The lack of Doctor Who was a good part of this reason and I am glad I was able to dabble in both Twin Peaks and The X-Files fandom quite a bit. A few shows just barely not making my list was the incredible Lexx (when it was good) and Space Precinct. Star Trek Voyager, despite a horrible series ending, was up there as well. Two other shows that I enjoyed in the 90’s didn’t quite make the list - Earth 2 and American Gothic.

1 comment:

  1. Good to see Babylon 5 high on your list as it was my favorite show of the 90's. I agree with the X-Files as it should have ended sooner and went way to long and got pretty stupid toward the end. Next Gen was good and I'm still amazed it made it past the first two seasons. Oh and Earth 2 should not be on any list as that was crap. Can't wait to see the 80's list.