View Full Version : Top sci-fi of the past 25 years (EW.com)

Pharaoh Atem
January 6th, 2008, 07:20 PM


Giant fascist lizards from outer space — it sounds like something you'd see on Mystery Science Theater 3000. But this parable of tolerance is far more complex and frightening than it seems. While the ''Visitors'' say they ''come in peace,'' they really want to drain Earth's water supply. Just in case you still don't get the point, their insignia looks suspiciously like a swastika.

POP CULTURE LEGACY Besides spawning an equally engaging sequel — 1984's V: The Final Battle — V gave Robert Englund (a.k.a. Freddy Krueger) his big break.

THE BEST BIT In one of the best TV reveals ever, lizard queen Diana (Jane Badler) — still disguised as a sultry brunet human — unhinges her jaw and stuffs an entire guinea pig in her hideously elongated piehole. —Kristen Baldwin

In this pitch-perfect parody, the cast of a canceled cult TV show much like Star Trek — featuring an egocentric commander (Tim Allen), his alien sidekick (Alan Rickman), and a buxom lieutenant (Sigourney Weaver) — gets enlisted to help save an alien race, who, thanks to intercepted broadcasts, think the actors are real space-faring heroes.

POP CULTURE LEGACY It seamlessly stitched together sci-fi clichés with adventure and nostalgia (not mockery).

THE BEST BIT Sam Rockwell's cocky ''red shirt,'' killed in his first and only episode of the TV show, who spends most of the film fretting over whether he'll get bumped off for real. —Erin Richter


The BBC's timeless Doctor Who is a 44-year argument for proper sci-fi priorities: (1) an ecstatically tangled, infinitely renewable story line and (2) an understanding that all science fiction, however time- and space-spanning, is local. (Top-flight special effects? Not, as it turns out, crucial.) The Doctor, a Time Lord, powerful but dispossessed, hops worlds and epochs like subway stops, but in spirit he never really leaves London.

POP CULTURE LEGACY With its playful yet sincere commitment to social allegory, Doctor Who has always been a post-empire fantasy — unerringly progressive, but wary, dark, and full of doubts about human goodness.

THE BEST BIT Check out the first season of the newest incarnation, featuring Heroes' Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor (the best ever — apologies to Tom Baker) and the piercing, poignant wit of writer Russell T. Davies. —Scott Brown

A stirring drama touching on issues such as race, feminism, and homophobia, Leap cloaked its social commentary in the guise of time-travelly goodness. The premise was uncomplicated: An experiment gone awry sends scientist Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) bouncing through time, inhabiting the lives, and bodies, of folks from the last 60 years. Only by saving the downtrodden, with the aid of holographic pal Al (Dean Stockwell), can the good doc leap into the next adventure and, maybe, leap home. Bakula was a wonder portraying everyone from an elderly African-American man to a pregnant teenage girl to Elvis Presley, but much credit goes to creator Don Bellisario, who reminded us with each nuanced episode that the human condition — and the comic appeal of cross-dressing — is timeless.

POP CULTURE LEGACY The show was regular-folk friendly: A lack of high-tech gizmos, technobabble, and aliens helped ease sci-fi back into the mainstream after an extended drought in prime-time television.

THE BEST BIT Season 2's ''Catch a Falling Star'' let Bakula flaunt his Broadway background, as Sam leaped into an actor playing Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha. —Paul Katz


The Simpsons plus sci-fi? This combo is more alluring to a geek than watching a Twilight Zone marathon on whippets. With the adventures of Fry, a 20th-century nitwit thawed out of a deep freeze in 2999, Groening's writers married sharp Simpsonian gags with denser story lines, dazzling animated visuals, and knowing nerd humor. (A voice cameo by Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax and jokes written in BASIC computer language? Talk about downloading right into your pleasure center!) But for all the hilarity of Fry's misanthropic robot pal Bender, the creativity on display was no joke: Futurama created a fantastically complete and unique world that rivals anything else in the 30th century.

POP CULTURE LEGACY While Fox constantly moved the show (and sometimes dropped it from the schedule for long periods), the low-rated comedy finally got the passionate fan base it deserved when reruns began appearing on Cartoon Network in 2003. Groening and Co. are now working on four Futurama DVD movies, which may be broken into episodes and aired on Comedy Central in 2008.

THE BEST BIT The zippy third season. One highlight: Cyclops warrior Leela falls for Fry after ''intelligent worms'' infest his body, making him smarter and stronger. —Josh Wolk


The most painful thing about confining this list to the last 25 years was that we couldn't include either Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back, both of which were too old. And that left Return of the Jedi and the prequel trilogy — which no one in our Brain Trust could work up any enthusiasm for. But then we remembered Star Wars: Clone Wars, the series of animated shorts that aired on Cartoon Network. The creation of animator Genndy Tartakovsky (The Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack), Clone Wars fills in the story gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and fleshes out how Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker battled against the separatist forces of evil.

POP CULTURE LEGACY There's an abundance of style and storytelling economy here that was, sadly, absent from the George Lucas-directed prequels. Sometimes, if you let the talented kids into the sandbox without telling them exactly how to play, the results can be surprising.

THE BEST BIT Volume 2. Even though volume 1 is almost wall-to-wall action, the five shorts in volume 2 cover a lot more ground, and lead directly into Episode III. (Better yet, just get both. They're pretty cheap.) —Marc Bernardin

Easily the most love-it-or-hate-it film on this list, Starship Troopers is like one of those inkblots in a shrink's office. Do you see a dangerous slab of fascist propaganda? Or a deliciously campy parody of mindless jingoism? Plenty of critics thought it was the former — and they need to lighten up. Verhoeven turns Robert A. Heinlein's 1959 novel into a cheeky episode of Beverly Hills, 90210-in-space, as beefcake hero Casper Van Dien pitches woo to cheesecake heroine Denise Richards while intergalactic doughboys (and girls) reduce a race of giant alien insects to Day-Glo guts.

POP CULTURE LEGACY Like the anti-Communist sci-fi allegories of the '50s, Starship Troopers had more on its mind than squashing alien bugs. As he did in RoboCop, Verhoeven uses hammy TV clips and recruitment videos — ''Would you like to know more?'' — to show just how plausible this right-wing future is. But rather than endorsing it, he's satirizing it.

THE BEST BIT Doogie Howser (a.k.a. Neil Patrick Harris) in an SS trench coat reading the mind of the captured Brain Bug: ''It's afraid...it's afraid!'' —Chris Nashawaty


A living, breathing comic book about a collection of people whose genetic evolution has led to extraordinary powers, Heroes takes the supernatural and both rationalizes and humanizes it. Thus does the office drudge (Masi Oka) bend time and space, the politician (Adrian Pasdar) learn to fly, and the cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere) become indestructible. As their stories intersect and an apocalypse looms, the blurry line between good and evil comes down to a battle for self-control. Can't say you don't identify with that.

POP CULTURE LEGACY If the hallmark of serial sci-fi on TV is its frequent inability to finish what it starts, Heroes is groundbreaking for asking and answering compelling questions. And while it has yet to be determined whether saving the cheerleader will, in fact, save the world, it's certainly taken steps toward saving NBC.

THE BEST BIT The still-in-progress first season rolled out flashy effects, gory dismemberments, and doomsday visions, but Oka's gleeful cheer when he managed to teleport to Times Square trumps them all. It was the cry of a normal dude who just realized his entire world was forever changed...and it's that transformation that keeps us riveted. —Whitney Pastorek

Sure, you could write this off as a postmodern love story, but anything that involves thought-control experiments administered via a giant silver brain scanner is most definitely science fiction. As Joel (Jim Carrey) struggles against his hasty decision to erase his memories of ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet), we're plunged into a fluid, shape-shifting universe that only enhances writer Charlie Kaufman's reputation as the King of the Mind-fraks.

POP CULTURE LEGACY After two similarly experimental movies — Adaptation and Being John Malkovich — Sunshinecemented ''Kaufman-esque'' as the new ''Tarantino-esque.'' More importantly, it carried on the best this-world-is-not-what- you-think-it-is sci-fi traditions while making them palatable to fanboys and their tissue-wielding girlfriends.

''If I'm not me, whodahell am I?'' Excellent question, Mr. Schwarzenegger. Science fiction has always been a genre steeped in pretzel-logic story lines, but this adaptation of Philip K. Dick's ''We Can Remember It for You Wholesale'' is so Escher-like in its twistiness, you'll have to watch it more than once for all the pieces to snap into place. Arnold plays a futuristic regular Joe who gets a memory implant to simulate a Mars vacation. But messing with his noggin triggers an unknown cloak-and-dagger past involving bullet-riddled double crosses, a three-breasted Martian prostitute, and a rebel leader named Kuato — a Yoda-ish homunculus growing out of some dude's chest. It makes sense...honest.


In 2002, Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon attempted to reinvent the space opera with a rough-and- tumble vision of the future set in an Earth-colonized galaxy. Part Western, part sci-fi, wholly unique, Fireflystarred Nathan Fillion as the captain of Serenity, one of those dumpy old ships that don't look like much but get the job done. The TV series tracked the misadventures of his morally ambiguous crew as they tried to make an occasionally honest living by hauling cargo, stealing stuff, and accidentally helping their fellow man. The show was smart, funny, and wonderfully human, and because this is Joss Whedon we're talking about, it also had a highkicking, superpowered wonder woman. Firefly was strange. Firefly shouldn't have worked. And it didn't. Firefly was canceled after 11 episodes...

POP CULTURE LEGACY...only to be revived in 2005 as the feature film Serenity (pictured), thanks to the tenacity of Whedon, the surprise success of Firefly on DVD, and a small army of Internet-based supporters.

THE BEST BIT Saddle up for the show, to see how it all started, and the movie, to see the ending. Then pray that someday, some studio exec will have the guts to make more. —Jeff Jensen

Click the link to read details for the top 14




11. LOST




7. E.T.







so do you agree with the list post your opionions :)

Fenrir Foxz
January 6th, 2008, 07:28 PM
Where is STARGATE???!!!

*I Totally disagree with that bulls**t!*

January 6th, 2008, 07:55 PM
What I like on the list …

25 V: THE MINISERIES (it’s among my most watched DVD collection)

22. QUANTUM LEAP (my parents watched it, so I did and yes, I enjoyed it!)

20. STAR WARS: CLONE WARS (never saw it, but at least they did get Star Wars in the list, though I would have gone with Revenge of the Sith as the best of the four that were eligible)



13. THE TERMINATOR/ TERMINATOR 2 (YES – and I like # 3 also)


7. E.T. (definitely a top 10 classic!)

5. STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (yep, one of the better ST movies)


3. BLADE RUNNER (Harrison Ford! YEA!)


What’s missing?

Farscape – Oh come on … what is wrong with you people!! it’s a conspiracy, I tell you!!!

Stargate – the longest running sci-fi show has GOT to make the top 25 list!!


And for the nostalgic list …

Tron, Dune, Starman, Highlander (movies and series), Short Circuit, The Abyss, Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Star Trek: First Contact, War of the Worlds (even though 1950's was better, I did enjoy the Tom Cruise version)

I’m probably missing a few ...

Pharaoh Atem
January 6th, 2008, 08:00 PM
i'm surprised no Babylon 5 it's a huge hit with old time scifi fans

January 6th, 2008, 09:20 PM

This looks like a reprint of a September 2007 article by Entertainment Weekly.

They received a TON of letters back then from outraged Stargate fans.


Quinn Mallory
January 6th, 2008, 10:01 PM
while I do like most of the stuff listed on the list, I would have Stargate as a whole (movie plus both series) at number 15 or so, ahead of Firefly/Serenity. I'm not sure what their criteria were...not having Stargate at all is a glaring omission.

January 6th, 2008, 11:53 PM
This is one truly dreadful (and old) list.

No Deep Space Nine, no Farscape, no Stargate? Firefly so far down the list? Doctor Who so far down the list?


And The Matrix number one? Top ten- top five even, yes. But not number one. Knock that down a few spots, let BSG take its rightful place at the top. :)

Darkstar 2.0
January 7th, 2008, 06:39 AM
This list is obvious American-ised, the Matrix as number one?...whatever!

I'm not a mega Stargate fan, but I am stunned it isn't in the list, nor are any Trek series in their own catagories, nor for that matter is SGatlantis, technically speaking they are seperate series, just spawned from the same writers, so which criteria are these list made, writers? money making? popularity, the latter being forgotten i'm sure.

-Babylon 5: this should have been included, it was groundbreaking and gave WB a sizable Cut in the Science Fiction TV area that was not around as much in the 90's

- Stargate: This is the longest running U.S Sci fi series, it made massive impact and the mere fact it has two subsequent spin off's to attribute to it's name, is testiment to it's impact, writers and show producers wouldn't bother if it was crap.

I'm annoyed that no attention was given to older episodes and series of Dr Who, abeit, it is generic and often that: "been here, done that" feeling, but why oh why the newer series only.
Also I love Heroes, but this is still in it's infacancy, series one is gone, it was good, series two is not finished, so how can anybody claim it's so ggreat when a show just like this and like so many such as "lost, 24" and so so on are open ended, when it's resolved we can finally see it come together at the end, nobody can just decide because it saved NBC, so by what definition are these ratings made???

-i'm puzzled :S

January 7th, 2008, 02:04 PM
There is quite a lot of stuff on that list that I do believe deserves to be there, but I find it extremely hard to believe that Matrix is number 1 and as much as I enjoy BSG, no way should it be number 2.

Personally I find the list quite stupid, that Star Trek movies and series can be classed seperate, yet Serenity and Firefly share a spot as the Cameron Terminator movies. It sort of makes the list look worse because of their decision to judge stuff equal yet others seperately.

Lord batchi ball
January 7th, 2008, 05:20 PM
Two questions

What is Brazil and Blade Runner?

And where is Stargate?

Why is Matrix first? That was a terrible movie series made no sense and horrific acting.

Starship troopers should not be anywhere near that list.

Futurama is funny but not great.

January 7th, 2008, 05:32 PM
What is Brazil and Blade Runner?

I hope you're joking! If not...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_runner

January 7th, 2008, 07:25 PM
Two questions

What is Brazil and Blade Runner?

:eek: are you serious? watch it, it's an awesome movie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/)

And where is Stargate?

Why is Matrix first? That was a terrible movie series made no sense and horrific acting.

Starship troopers should not be anywhere near that list.

Futurama is funny but not great.

SG should definitely be there!!!

Acolyte Of Bli'l'ab
January 7th, 2008, 07:48 PM
wow..thats one of the worst lists iv ever read..half of that stuff would be on the "top 25 worst sci-fi of the past 25 years" for me...and its missing some of the ESSENTIALS like Babylon5, Stargate, Sapphire & Steel, Blakes7 and of course Star Trek TOS..

I'll agree with "The Thing", "TNG", "Aliens", X-files", "Wrath of Khan" and "Firefly" though. I like Futurama just fine, but I dont consider it a sci-fi show in the least..to me its a (very) good comedy-cartoon. If you have to include comedy though, they should of included Red Dwarf.

I wont torment people with the things I "didnt" like.

Oh well...guess it shows how different sci-fi fan's opinions are...probably makes things more interesting anyway :)

the fifth man
January 7th, 2008, 09:11 PM
I am definitely upset that neither Farscape or Stargate made that list.:(

Darkstar 2.0
January 8th, 2008, 05:56 AM
Wel we the people of Gateworld should commision our own list, get a petition going and send it off.

We for the most part good sci fi fans and appreciate a good show, the lists linked on this and no offence to the poster seemed to be writen by somebody who in their own mind has just decided on a whim.

Whimsicle lists aside, we should make our own, get as many people behind it and be quite exhaustive about it, picking why, making polls, and then after it's been picked apart and discussed (and with the multi-national memebers of GW it ill probably b qute interesting indeed) send this final list and have it carry some weight, perhaps get some ofthe administrators of this site to send it off and add their two cents worth, i'm sure they cary someweight in the Science fiction community besides having formed a very succesful website.

Just a thought but I will not believe for a single second that the list posted are even reflective of the general consensus of the sci fi community??? :S

NOTE: For some weird unexplained reason, my laptop keyboard dosen't seem to be very responsive when posting here, i anybody knows why and how to deal with it please help, other than that my rather noted and skilled grades in english are not being seen with constant typo's and missing letters in th text, I don't understand why it does this??:S

Lord batchi ball
January 8th, 2008, 09:00 PM
I hope you're joking! If not...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_runner

No I am not joking. Are they making a remake? I thought the trailer was prtty wierd. Not a going to see that movie. But thanks!!:D

Team SG-1*save the show*
January 11th, 2008, 03:05 PM
Why is stargate SG-1 or Atlantis not on that list????:(:(

January 11th, 2008, 03:11 PM
No I am not joking. Are they making a remake? I thought the trailer was prtty wierd. Not a going to see that movie. But thanks!!:D

I've never seen a trailer for Blade Runner and no they're not planning on doing a remake. I'll only say this: if you like sci fi shows and movies then you're gonna have a lot of fun watching this one ;)