I’m Missing Good Sci-Fi TV

There are plenty of great shows on TV right now, with some even calling it a new “golden age” of television with the amount of quality programming that has mostly come out of the cable channels, but there’s one genre that seems to be suffering more than most.

It’s sci-fi, and though there are attempts year after year to get a good sci-fi show off the ground, nothing really ever lives up to its potential, and there’s a drought of quality shows in the genre. V, The Event, Falling Skies and now Terra Nova have attempted to fill that void, but none of them are particularly…good.

Where’s the next Battlestar Galactica? Firefly? Jericho? Dollhouse? Why won’t more cable channels take a risk with sci-fi in a grittier setting? These networks shows are shiny and corny and the mood is just all wrong. Why won’t HBO or Showtime or even FX step up with a new sci-fi concept? Don’t get me started on Syfy.

People will probably point to Fringe as the best sci-fi show on TV right now, and it’s fine, but it’s not exactly a space opera. The Walking Dead? Horror, not sci-fi in the traditional sense.

Take a chance on sci-fi people! Don’t let these crappy network shows scare you off the concept.

  • Does America get Doctor Who? Certainly it’s not a new show, but it’s the best sci-fi on television. Matt Smith has brought amazing flavour to the role. If you want good sci-fi, watch Who (it starts back on Christmas Day).

  • Gil

    There was Stargate: Universe for 2 seasons. A group of scientists and soldiers are stuck on an ancient starship that they have little control of, trying to survive on what they can muster, fighting other aliens and each other. The first 6 episodes had people dying left and right. Unfortunately SyFy(I also hate how they changed their name) canceled it after 2 seasons with the promise of a direct to tv film to close up the endings like they did with the other Stargate series. That got canceled as well. I’m still pissed.

  • Johnny D

    Agreed. There’s no true Sci-fi shows left on TV. The last one was Stargate Universe, though with a shaky start, it became awesome in the 2nd season. Then, canceled because of horrible mismanagement of the show’s marketing and timeslot.

    There was that Battstar Galatica: Blood and Chrome series that was in the makes, but it seems to have fallen off the radar and won’t be made because SyFy and other networks are discriminatory towards true Science Fiction shows.

  • @Gil and Johnny

    Do I have to have seen other Stargate shows to watch SGU effectively?

  • Colby

    Yeah I would have to recommend watching some of the fantastic sci-fi that the BBC has to offer

  • Gil

    It might help a little to understand a few things like who the Ancients are, how the Stargate works, and what is the Lucien Alliance, but for the most part you should be able to learn as you go. Most of that information can be found on the wiki page.

  • Gene E

    The only sci-fi shows I currently watch is Doctor Who, Warehouse 13, Alphas, Being Human (UK and US). Just watched the first episode of Terra Nova, it’s not bad.

  • Rob J

    Stargate Universe was awesome pity it got cancelled so soon!

    Also you do not need to know anything about Stargate to watch it. It is excellent sci-fi but completely different style and tone to the other two series and while the odd stargate character or plot point pops into Universe for the most part it’s new characters, locations and stories!

  • How does one get into Dr. Who exactly? How can you start watching a show that’s been on the air for like 50 years? Where is a jumping off point?

  • James

    Glad to see some love for SGU on here – I thought it was really building to become a great series. Paul, you can watch Universe without having seen the other Stargates. I’m sure you’ve got enough passing knowledge of Stargate to not be completely lost. It’s a new cast, and they’re pretty isolated from anything to do with the previous SG shows.

    The acting is a tiny bit hammy in places, but Dr Rush (Robert Carlyle) more than makes up for it. I’m from a family of scientists, and Dr Rush is by far the most realistic portrayal of a scientist I’ve seen in a show. He is completely believable in the role, and there’s even a bit of real science in the programme too to help make it feel more solid. It feels clever without it feeling like they’re just making up fancy sciency-sounding words to cover up plot holes.

    With all that said, there were some dodgy episodes in there, but since the show only ran for two seasons, why not give it a go?

  • JuanSolo

    Paul, start watching Dr Who with the 2005 reboot. You don’t really have to know anything about the previous show to get into it.

    It might help to give the wiki page a glance but its not necessarily.

    All of the new seasons are all on Netflix instant.

  • JJD

    Yes, go for Doctor Who!!! It’s not only the best sci-fi show on right now, it’s the best show period. I don’t care how intense and gritty and realistic other shows might be, nothing compares to the Doctor. If you don’t watch this, you’re life is not complete. The saddest part of my life right now is that there is no Doctor Who episodes again until Christmas.

  • Ayelet

    Dr. Who is a must for any sci-fi fan. I agree that you should start with the 2005 reboot. I know a lot of people that didn’t like Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor (Season 1), personally, he was one of my favorites because of how goofy he was. David Tennant was voted best Doctor (seasons 2-4). Matt Smith is the most current Doctor, in my opinion, the best Doctor ever (seasons 5-present).

    Russell t davies was the head writer and executive producer of Doctor Who from 2005-2010. I highly recommend Torchwood, which is a spin off from Doctor Who. I believe all of Torchwood is on Netflix, except the most recent season Miracle day.

    Steven Moffat is now the show runner on Doctor Who. His writing is incredibly dark and awesome.

  • Shrikezero

    I’ll second JuanSolo
    start with 2005 Eccleston, then Tennant, then Smith

    Everyone has their favorite Doctor, but IMO the only viable start point for a new viewer is 2005. The Eccleston season was a good introduction to the Doctor for new viewers and still managed to give good to the old viewers.

    If you watch a couple of seasons and get hardcore into the world then by all means go back and watch the earlier stuff. Just be warned that melodrama abounds and special effects are, ahem, not as good as you are used to.

  • Schiapu

    I read that Seth McFarlane wanted to make a Star Trek Tv series.

  • Bud the Chud

    @ Ayelet
    I think they just added the new episodes of Torchwood to netflix.

    And a note about the 2005 season of Dr. who. the first few episodes are a little cheesy and low budget, but it definitely gets better from there.

  • D-Money

    Dr. Who and Misfits are the only sci-fi shows on now that are really high quality. Alphas is getting there, but it’s got a way to go. Stargate Universe could have been so good, and it was really starting to get its own identity, but it was killed too soon.

    Def try Doctor Who! You can start off at the ninth doctor revival, the episodes started in 2005. I believe all the revival episodes are on netflix up to series 5.

  • WBR

    Outcasts was pretty awesome, though met the same demise as Firefly

  • CJ

    Agree with all the comments about Doctor Who – you really should watch it Paul! I got my girlfriend and a bunch of other friends into it. Give it a go and once you get past some of the “interesting” effects you’ll soon be hooked. Would be great if you even did a review for it every now and then!

  • ed

    I stopped watching tv because there is no good scifi shows to watch. I am sick of this reality tv bs and dancing with the spoil stupid ass shows. Thats the main reason i cancelled cable.

  • pov

    Warehouse 13 is a great show. Fringe is a great show. Eureka was a great show.

    Doctor Who (2005) is a great show.

  • Manochehr

    SG universe was best tv series that I ever seen, after that I guess Eureka and then Sara coner chronicle and falling skies. all Sci fy tv shows I saw, didn’t end for me. don’t know why they neglect to continue such brilliant ideas!?