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Author Topic: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)  (Read 33250 times)

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Johnny Unusual

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #135 on: June 30, 2014, 06:43:27 AM »
Number 8
  179 Points, 12 of 18 lists, #4 ScottotD
I want to believe
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The Premise
FBI Agent Dana Scully has just been assigned to assist (and debunk) the investigations of Agent Fox “Spooky” Mulder, who has dedicated his once promising career to the X-Files.  The X-Files are cases that have no logical explanation and are thought to be paranormal in nature, which Fox seems to have full faith in investigating.  Though Scully has her doubts, she can’t deny that something strange is happening in these cases and forms a strong team with Mulder.  She soon finds that Mulder believes that his sister was abducted by aliens and believes that alien abductions have ties to a massive government conspiracy.

 Great Episode
Jose Chung’s From Outer Space
Largely considered to be the show’s strongest episodes, it is also the one that intentionally undercuts its own mythology by exploring the inherent ridiculous of it.  Largely a comedic episode (though with some underlying melancholy and darkness), this episode starts with a seemingly generic alien abduction that gets increasingly strange the more is learned.  Can the truth be learned, or will human nature and the inability to be truly objective get in the way.  Also, Alex Trebek is to be feared.

Big Ideas   
Not only does the episode have a great premise, but episode writer Vince Gilligan turned the premise into Breaking Bad… sort of.  When a man discovers he has a brain tumor that is sure to kill him, he also discovers it has given him the power to manipulate others simply by talking to them.  One neat touch is the subtle ways he does things, never doing overt “do my bidding” stuff, but saying subtle things that affect people’s actions or behaviors.


Johnny Unusual

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #136 on: June 30, 2014, 07:10:02 AM »
Number 7
  185 Points, 11 of 18 lists, #2 Imrahil
You unlock this door with the key of imagination. 
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/NzlG28B-R8Y" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/NzlG28B-R8Y</a>

The Premise
The Twilight Zone is an anthology that explores the human condition through the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror and suspense, tackling issues related to social justice, human nature and the unknown.  Most of the stories feature a O. Henry-like twist and often features a karmic sense of cosmic justice that can either being rewarding, forgiving or damning, depending on the nature of the characters.

 Great Episode
Such a classic show, I’ll do two.
The Silence
Selected by Soguru, this classic episode features no fantastical elements, but is a tight thriller about two men who take a simple bet (“No talking for a year”) way to far.
The Invaders
This episode, like “After Hours”, has a good twist, but one that is secondary to the sheer terror the episodes exude.  In this story, a woman is terrorized in her home by a tiny flying saucer.  The episode is lean, mostly silent and focuses its time setting up the tension as a woman tries to defeat the tiny craft before we get the usual twist.

Big Ideas   
In “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street”, the Twilight Zone shows why it was such a significant show.  When Serling first went off to do it, some reporter asked him if he was done with “serious stories”, with sci-fi being ghettoized at the time.  However, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it used metaphor to address social issues that might have gotten the show in trouble if it used specific contemporary topics, which made such episodes timeless rather than dated.  This episode explores paranoia and scapegoating when a small suburb in America suddenly finds its power going out.  Something strange is happening and the neighbors try to find the truth, only to find themselves turning on a neighbor who mysterious has power.  One of the best.


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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #137 on: June 30, 2014, 08:58:54 AM »
Yeah thought the boobs in the pilot will only set you up for disappointment for the series proper!

Couple of real knuckleheads, huh?

There is a very graphic scene in the pilot that I was very surprised to see the last time I rewatched it.

Was that the new version that came out a few years ago?  I still haven't watched that cut of the pilot yet.

This was the original season 1 DVDs so a 10+ years ago or so.

Looking it up that is the only version that still has the boobs (Showtime told them to put a nude scene in the pilot to get a higher rating), the newer version has that scene edited along with a lot of other changes.  Some of the dialog changes don't make sense to me.

The version streaming on Amazon Prime is the original TV edit.  So no boobs but everything else the same.


Johnny Unusual

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #138 on: June 30, 2014, 09:30:29 AM »
Number 6
  212 Points, 11 of 17 lists, #1 Space Version 2.0
YOU WATCHED IT!  YOU CAN’T UNWATCH IT!
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/xA_goQ_qEMA" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/xA_goQ_qEMA</a>

The Premise
Phillip J Fry, a delivery boy in a dead end job gets frozen at a cryogenics lab for 1,000 years and wakes up to discover a brave new world… and that the job most suited to him is delivery boy.  Fry doesn’t like this is joined by Leela (a one-eyed career placement officer) and Bender (a criminal robot who bent girders used for suicide booths) to desert their assigned careers.  Soon they join the Planet Express, run by Fry’s great, great, great, great, etc. etc. grandnephew Prof. Fransworth, where Fry finally finds his true calling as an intergalactic… delivery boy.

 Great Episode
Roswell That Ends Well
Though the show initially stayed away from time travel for a long time, this hilarious episode helped introduce it in a big way.  In this hilarious episode, the crew of the planet express is accidentally sent back in time thanks to the sun and some metal in a microwave and find themselves shot back to Roswell, New Mexico and discover that they are the famous UFO.  The team must work together to find a way back (and to a much lesser extent, save Zoidberg), while Fry decides to protect his own grandfather only to find out who his grandfather REALLY is.

Big Ideas   
I hate to go with another time travel episode, but this smart, funny and poignant (in parts) episode “The Late Phillip J Fry” features a unique spin.  When Fry and Bender help the Professor test his “goes forward only” time machine, they accidentally travel 10,000 years into the future instead of 10 minutes.  The group decides going forward might be their only hope to get back, only to find more future societies that can’t help them.  Mostly the set up works as a gag machine (and a great one at that) but it also features some cool sci-fi ideas, including a fantastic climax in which the characters, having lost hope of returning, decide to kick back, drink a beer and watch the universe end in fast forward.


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #139 on: June 30, 2014, 09:43:56 AM »
So I had started to write up a list of favorite episodes for my picks, but then I got sidetracked and never got around to finishing it. What's weird is that every show I voted for so far has had the episode I was going to list under either great episode or big ideas.

... I didn't accidentally send my unfinished list of favorite episodes, did I? Or is this just a great minds thing? :^)


Johnny Unusual

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #140 on: June 30, 2014, 09:51:59 AM »
The latter, my friend.

Oh, and can you sticky the "Submit the next list" thread?


Johnny Unusual

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #141 on: June 30, 2014, 09:53:02 AM »
Number 5
  220, 13 of 18 lists, #1 Cole Stratton & Goflyblind
Burn the land
Boil the sea
You can’t take the sky from me
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/D7vS4z6ngQo" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/D7vS4z6ngQo</a>
(no credits sequence on youtube?  What a crime!)

The Premise
After the Independents lost the Unification War at the Battle of Serenity, former Independent soldier Malcolm Reynolds decided he didn’t want to live under the thumb of the Alliance Government.  So he bought himself a Firefly class starship and gathered a crew to do odd jobs across the system, both legal and questionable.  Mal’s life is soon complicated by some new crewmembers, which include two fugitives from the Alliance.  But Mal never passes up a chance to mess with the Alliance (despite what he may say) and the crew continues to work for the money that keeps them in the sky, free travel the black and living under the will of no one but themselves.

 Great Episode
War Stories
A great action-packed episodes with some great jokes and some interesting revelations.  In this one, pilot Wash is getting tired of knowing less about his wife Zoe than his Mal does (seeing as they were comrade-in-arms during the war).  So Wash decides to go on a mission with Mal so he can get his own stories… only to be captured by a sadistic and dissatisfied former client.  Soon the other crew begins a mission to get them back, which we see sides to certain characters we haven’t seen before.

Big Ideas   
The Hands of Blue are some scary dudes.  Though only making brief appearances in the series (particularly “Ariel”), these mysterious Men in Black types go around murdering ANYONE who has encountered River Tam, a girl who is a tortured genius full of mysteries after being sent to a “school” for gifted children.  Their nastiest weapon: a little humming stick, that causes hemorrhaging in anyone in the vicinity accept for the Hands.  Spooky.


Offline k1

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #142 on: June 30, 2014, 10:57:50 AM »
I forgot to include "The Time Traveling Adventures of Low Rent Nomar Garciaparra!" on my list. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Days_(TV_series)


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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #143 on: June 30, 2014, 11:26:23 AM »
Doh! I can't believe I left Futurama off my list...


Johnny Unusual

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #144 on: June 30, 2014, 01:51:05 PM »
Number 4
  232 Points, 12 of 18 lists, #1 Johnny Unusual, Soguru & Tripe
Our lives are different to anybody else's. That's the exciting thing, that nobody in the universe can do what we're doing.
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The Premise
When school teachers Barbara and Ian decide to investigate a mysterious new student, they discover she is living in a police box.  When they examine it, they are shocked to find it is larger on the inside than on the out.  When they meet Susan’s grandfather, a mysterious old man named the Doctor, he reveals that this police box can travel through time and space and fearing that they might reveal his secret, he takes them on his journey.  As time moves on, the Doctor meets and loses friends, encounters terrible threats and changes from a cantankerous old man to an adventurer with compassion for humanity and a love for discovery in a journey that he hopes will never end…

 Great Episode
Obviously with this much history, I got to go with two, one from the original and one from the rebirth.

City of Death
Though there are lots of classic episodes, City of Death is definitely one of the most fun episodes, thanks to a spectacular script from Douglas Adams, and some great actors bringing it to life (it’s very rare that the villain is as witty and fun as the Doctor).  In fact, this classic came out in an era when the show was in decline after all that Mary Whitehouse bullcrap that was intended to keep the show more kid friendly (though is probably responsible for its most nihilistic era).  While many shows struggled under the guidelines, this one shows show at the top of its game.

Blink
As recommended by Soguru, this adventure actually features very little of the Doctor and a terrifying new threat: the Weeping Angels.  With a great script from future showrunner Stephan Moffit, this adventure features some great scares, some clever use of time travel and a few touching moments.

Big Ideas   
Really, I got to say the whole show is a brilliant idea.  Even early on it created an elegant way for characters to travel to any sort of story, certain aspects born out of necessity created ways to keep the show going (regeneration) or perfect icons (the TARDIS remaining a police box).  But if I need to go with an episode-specific example, “The Mind Robber” came up with a cool approach to meta story-telling.  The characters end up in a world of fiction, but what makes it really cool is the rules of the world and the idea that fictional characters are just hollow echoes of the past that are rich enough to be mistaken for real people at first blush.  A fun, wild episode that is both whimsical while giving the audience an ironically credible threat.


Johnny Unusual

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #145 on: June 30, 2014, 02:15:45 PM »
Number 3
  241, 14 of 18 lists, #1 Villa Allegra
Let's make sure that history never forgets the name Enterprise.
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The Premise
The USS Enterprise continues its mission under the command of the worldly and wise Captain Jean-Luc Picard.  With a unique crew including a blind engineer, a Klingon security officer, an empathic councilor, and an android lieutenant, the Enterprise is there is explore new worlds, foster peace and fight for the rights of all sentient beings.

 Great Episode
The Best of Both World
One of the more action based episodes, this two parter featured the return of the Borg, a race of cyborgs who assimilate any other sentience life forms.  The last time the Enterprise encountered the Borg, they barely survived, only escaping by admitting their weakness to a more powerful being.  Now they are alone, quickly losing to a race to whom the crew’s values of compassion, mercy and diplomacy mean nothing.  Soon things go from bad to worse in a classic cliffhanger that wouldn’t be resolved until the next season (I had a friend who was really bothered by that).  The Borg where grotesquely overused after that, but here they remained something truly horrifying in the Star Trek universe.

Big Ideas   
In the original series most robots were either emotionless or childish and broken, if not both.  Things changed in the Next Generation, most notably in the fantastic episode “The Measure of a Man”, in which Picard must defend Data against a man who wants to dismantle him against his will in order to build more.  This is a great episode that represents some of the best aspects of Star Trek, where characters use wisdom and compassion (yeah, I used the word twice, but I couldn’t think of a better one) to fight for a greater good.  Even the “villain” is treated humanely in this one.  Definitely worth check out.


Johnny Unusual

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #146 on: June 30, 2014, 03:27:48 PM »
Number 2
  260 Points, 15 of 18 lists, #1 Charles Hussein Castle, Compound & Imrahil
They used to say that if Man was meant to fly, he'd have wings. But he did fly. He discovered he had to.
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/hdjL8WXjlGI" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/hdjL8WXjlGI</a>

The Premise
After the Earth has achieved an era of peace, they form a United Federation of Planets with other alien races and create a Starfleet.  One ship in the fleet, the USS Enterprise, is on a five year mission of exploration for all of mankind.  Chiefly aided by the coldly logical Mr. Spock and the humane, though grumpy, Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Captain James T. Kirk leads his international crew through situations where their intelligence and their humanity are valuable tools in making the universe a better place.

 Great Episode
OK, I’m doing two again, because I need to choose between two very different episodes.

The City on the Edge of Forever
Though the original script was supposedly even better (not surprising since it is a Harlan Ellison script), this classic episode is still a triumph that explores the human side to the character.  When Spock and Kirk travel in time to find a missing Bones, Kirk meets and becomes enamored of Edith Keeler, a pacifist who’s values mirror Kirks… and may accidentally lead to a disastrous alternate history, leading Kirk into a dilemma that even he can’t find an easy solution too.  Great emotional stuff.

Mirror, Mirror
On the other side, here is an entertaining, dark adventure that flips the world we are familiar with upside down.  The Enterprise encounters an alternate universe where the Federation has been warped into a totalitarian society and all of the characters are more horrible versions of the characters we’ve come to love.  Though the episode is much parodied, it really is a shock to see such a cruel, cynical alternative to the main cast and help popularize the idea of parallel worlds in pop culture.  And it is fun to watch the cast playing their other selves.

Big Ideas   
Though “Amok Time” might seem like one of the less cosmic episodes, it does toy with big ideas for a science fiction franchise by giving more details about an alien culture that was largely unknown before this.  Though this episode doesn’t go too deep into Vulcan culture, save for Pon Far, which drives the episode, it gives enough to imply a much deeper culture that continues on even after the credits role.  This episode did a lot of work in deepening the Star Trek mythos and building fascinating cultures within the world (later done to great effect with the Klingons).  Yes, this is the Kirk Vs. Spock episode, but it is also a strong character episode that works really well.


Johnny Unusual

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #147 on: June 30, 2014, 03:28:46 PM »
Number 1
  273 Points, 16 of 18 lists, #1 George Harrison & ScottotD
You know guys, this whole situation, stuck on this satellite, forced to watch cheesy movies, interacting with other life forms… it kinda bites.
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/-sHNDfUw7p8" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/-sHNDfUw7p8</a>

The Premise
When Gizmonics janitor Joel Robinson is shanghaied by some made scientists and forced to watch the world’s worst movies to test his sanity, he builds robot friends to help him by talking back to the movies.  Thus began a decade long battle (plus a 500 year hiatus) between the forces of the silly Satellite of Love and the equally silly (though malevolent) Mads!  Hilarity ensues.

Great Episode
Obvious I got to pick a great one from each era.  Oh, and because of the theme, they all had to be sci-fi movies.

Pod People
A classic and a big step up from the shaky first two seasons, this episode shows Joel and the bots on the top of their game in this weird and sadistic European E.T. rip-off.  Classic bits include doing magic things, various potatoes and “McCloud”.  I don’t know what made this one so special, but this movie really brought out the best in Best Brains.

Night of the Blood Beast
Maybe I’m alone here, but I think the very short 7th season might be the series best, with very well chosen, lively movies and equally lively writing.  Night of the Blood Beast is a very funny one that also features lots of pregnant and Steve jokes and a hilarious finale with a monster that looks like a guy in a burned parrot mascot costume.

Big Ideas   
Well, it was really a funny ideas show, but there are lots of good episodes with cool ideas used in ridiculous and incomprehensible movies such as “The Creeping Terror” and “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank”, which are well worth checking out!


Johnny Unusual

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #148 on: June 30, 2014, 03:31:29 PM »
Thanks so much for playing everyone!  It was a lot of fun and so satisfying making a list for 18 people, and everyone was real cool!

And if you want to host a list, please PM me with your ideas (read more below).  Try to get it in by June 2nd.  Voting begins on June 3rd.

http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=29109.0

Thanks bunches folks!  Feel free to discuss the results and share your lists!


Offline goflyblind

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Re: Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Series Countdown (LoC #79)
« Reply #149 on: June 30, 2014, 03:35:56 PM »
thanks, johnny! :clap:

here's mine:
01. Firefly
02. Red Dwarf
03. Futurama
04. Doctor Who
05. MST3k
06. Star Trek: TNG
07. X-Files
08. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
09. Star Trek: TOS
10. Orphan Black
11. Fringe
12. Battlestar Galactica (2004)
13. Torchwood
14. The Outer Limits (1995)
15. Gravity Falls
16. Dollhouse
17. Chuck
18. Earth 2
19. Warehouse 13
20. Sliders
21. Star Trek: Enterprise
22. The Prisoner (1967)
23. Almost Human
24. Quantum Leap
25. seaQuest DSV
dF = 0
d*F = J