Science Fiction TV reviews

[Hercules]
Hercules/Earth:Final Conflict
crossover episode shock?
Herc shows off his skrill.

Part of my Science Fiction consumption includes TV; here are my ratings.

These include those currently airing, and also on-video blasts-from-the-past.

(SF films have a separate listing.)

 

SF TV shows, recently viewed
17 Oct 2020 Escape Into Night worth watching
23 Sep 2020 Once Upon a Time season 5 great stuff
08 Jul 2020 Star Trek: Discovery season 2 worth watching
20 Jun 2020 The Day of the Triffids worth watching
18 May 2020 Devs worth watching
05 Apr 2020 Good Omens great stuff
14 Mar 2020 The Good Place season 3 great stuff
01 Mar 2020 Dr Who new season 12 great stuff
14 Nov 2019 Astonishing X-Men worth watching
13 Aug 2019 The One Game       mind candy

 

[Dalek]
Dr Who #1
1. Unmissable
[Support B5]

Babylon 5 • why don’t most people realise how great this is? Not only does it have a plot, but that plot unfolds intelligently, surprisingly, and enjoyably!

Doctor Who#1 William Hartnell (1963-66) • #2 Patrick Troughton (1966-69)

Farscape • seasons 3-5

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy • 1978 • theRADIO series, of course. By Douglas Adams. Starring PeterJones as The Book.

The Prisoner • 1967-68

The X Files • (Not that Ibelieve in the paranormal) ... early seasons: the later ones went downhill ...


 

[Rimmer]
Rimmer from Red Dwarf

2. Great stuff
[Clangers]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Clangers • 1969–1974 • knitted pink whistling puppets, plus Blue String pudding, the Iron Chicken, the Soup Dragon, and the Froglets.
Dark Skies • 1997 • paranoid conspiracy theory of alien invasion.
Doctor Who#3 Jon Pertwee (1970–74) • #9 Christopher Ecclestone (2005) • #10 David Tennant (2006)
Dollhouse
Farscape • season 2
Firefly
The Flipside of Dominick Hyde • 1980 • and the sequel Another Flip for Dominick • 1982
The Giftie • a one-off play • two researchers duplicate themselves, but who is real and who is the copy?
Good Omens • 2019 • Neil Gaiman’s apocalyptic fantasy
The Good Place • season 1, 2, 3
Lexx • The Dark Zone Stories • season 1: 1996 • surreal techno-grunge
Neverwhere • 1996 • Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy, set in the London Underground
Once Upon a Time • seasons 1–4 • 2011–2014
Orphan Black • seasons 1–5 • 2013–2017 • send in the clones
Red Dwarf I–VI • 1988-1993 • a comedy SF series that really is funny, and SFnal!
Sapphire and Steel • 1979–1982 • 6 Adventures of the time-travelling agents • Joanna Lumley as Sapphire, David MacCullum as Steel
Star Cops • 1987 • 9 episodes
Star Trek: Next Generation
The 10th Kingdom • 1999 • fairy tales are true
The Water Margin“Robin Hood in China”: hero-outlaws fight a corrupt government.
X-Men • animation • some of the mutant superheroes have interestingly complex characters


 

[Ivor]
Ivor the Engine

 

[Noggin]
Noggin the Nog



3. Worth watching
[Avon]

Andromeda, season 1, 2
Angelbrooding vampires
Arrow • seasons 1–4
Astonishing X-Men • comic book animation
Babylon 5 films
Battlestar Galacticathe re-imagining
Blake’s 7 • 1978-81
Century Falls • 1993
Children of Dune • 2002
Continuum • seasons 1–4
Dark Angelescaped teenage mutant super-soldiers
Dark Matter • seasons 1–2
The Day of the Triffids • 1981
Devs • 2020 • implausible quantum computers
Doctor Who • early #4 Tom Baker (1974-81) and #7 Sylvester McCoy (1987-89)
Dune • 2000
Earth: Final Conflict • season 1
Escape Into Night
Eureka • seasons 1–4
Farscape • season 1
FlashForward • 2009
Futurama
Grimm • seasons 1–4
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy • 1981 • the TV series
Ivor the Engineof course it’s SF: it’s got a dragon in it!
Noggin the Nogof course it’s SF: it’s got a talking bird in it!
Roswell [High] • 2000-02 • teenage aliens
The Sarah Connor Chronicles • 2007
Shoebox Zoo • 2004-5
Sliderslost in parallel space
Space Precinct • 1995 • Gerry Anderson’s Cops in Space series
Stargate SG1/Atlantis/Universe
Star Trek: Deep Space 9
Star Trek: Discovery
Third Rock from the Sun • 1996 • Comedy as four aliens take on human form to research us. "Why did I have to be the woman?" "Because you lost." [Thunderbirds FAB]
Thunderbirds • 1965 • Gerry Anderson’s puppet International Rescue Service • longer episodes allowed more complex plots, and the model equipment often looked realistically ‘used’: battered and grubby (no, Star Wars wasn’t the first to do this). • "F.A.B., Scott!" • Like all Anderson shows, the covert organisation is remarkably lightly staffed: what happens if someone gets sick, goes on holiday, wants to leave, or even just wants to sleep? and where are all the maintenance and ground crews?
Timeslip • 1970 • Liz and Simon slip back to a WWII incident, then forward to The Icebox, an Antarctic research station, then forward to a different future in The Burn Up, where planetary engineering is destroying the climate, then back to the present to discover a clone conspiracy. They meet various versions of themselves, of their parents, and of Commander Traynor, sort out what’s happening, and eventually save the day.
The Tribe • season 1: 1999 • children surviving in a post-apocalyptic world
Twin Peaks watch for the surrealistic sub-plots
Ultraviolet • 1998 • hunting urban vampires
The Uninvited • 1997 • aliens secretly taking over the world (or at least East Anglia)
VR5 • 1997 • Virtual Reality conspiracies
Warehouse 13 • seasons 2, 3 • 2010-2011
Xena: Warrior Princess


 

[Destiny Angel]
Destiny Angel from Captain Scarlet

4. Mind candy -- watch if nothing better to do

The 4400
A for Andromeda • 2006
Andromeda , seasons 3, 4
Batman • 1966-69 • "Holy weird camera angles, Batman!"
Beauty and the Beast : Vincent (Ron Perlman) is a mutant living under New York, and Catherine (Linda Hamilton) is his friend above.
Captain Scarlet • 1967 • Gerry Anderson’s Spectrum versus the Mysterons puppet adventures, led by the indestructible Captain • "This is the voice of the Mysterons" • morally ambiguous: we blow them up in an unprovoked attack, then get upset when they strike back • "Spectrum is Green"
The Champions • 1968-69 • three UN Nemesis agents are given superpowers by Himalayan gurus, and become "the Champions of Law, Order, and Justice".
Charmed • seasons 1-7 • The Halliwell sisters have the Power of Three
Childhood’s End • 2015 mini-series
Cleopatra 2525"in the year 2525..."
Dark Season • 1991 • early RTD
Doctor Who • Late #4 Tom Baker (1974-81) and #5 Peter Davison (1982-84)
The Expanse • season 1
First Wave • season 1 • the alien invasion predicted by Nostradamus
Grimm • seasons 5–6
Invasion • 2006 • a hurricane results in alien hybrids
Lexx • season 2 • more grunge, less surrealism
The Librarians • season 1
Medium • 2004-10 • psychic crimebusting
Moonbase 3 • 1973 • 6 episodes
Mork and Mindy • 1978-80
The New Adventures of Superman • aka Lois and Clarke (presumably the BBC thought we Brits wouldn’t know who they were?) • the emphasis is on the relationship, rather than the super-hero
Oktober • 1998
The One Game • 1988
The Others • 2000
Prey • 1998 • homo dominant battles homo sapiens
Red Dwarf VIII • 1999 • better than season VII, certainly, but not up to the earlier standards
Sanctuary • 2008-9 • the TV version of the Webisodes
Seaquest 2032 • third season • genius kid has become an ordinary crew member, and the plots are less cloying
Seven Daysthe Backstep project
Space: Above and Beyond
Space Odyssey – Voyage to the Planets • 2004 • “Walking with Astronauts”
Star Trek: Voyagersome episodes try to raise tension by offering a quick way home, but you know it just can’t happen
Stingray • 1964 • Gerry Anderson’s undersea puppet adventures • “Anything could happen in the next half hour”
Strange • 2003 • a defrocked priest fights demons
Warehouse 13 • 2009 • season 1
Wilderness • 1996 • librarian werewolf


 

[Space 1999]
action shot from Space 1999

5. Waste of time ...though knowing that doesn’t always stop me

The Bionic Woman • 2007 • dull reimagining
Crusade • 1998 • such a disappointment after Babylon 5
Dinotopia • 2002 • humans and dinos in perfect harmony
Doctor Who #6 Colin Baker (1984-86)
Fireball XL5 • 1962 • good in its day, but badly dated
Invasion: Earth • 1998
Red Dwarf VII • 1996 • the eagerly awaited return, but what a bitter disappointment!
Seaquest DSV • seasons 1 and 2 • genius kid, dolphin, super-submarine. [ITV (Anglia region) showed the first half of season 1 ... long pause ... the first half of season 3 ... shorter pause ... the last half of season 1. Then season 2. Continuity? We don’t need no steenkin’ continuity!]
Space 1999 • 1975 • Gerry Anderson would have us believe an explosion on the moon blows it out of orbit [on 13 September 1999, fortunately after the 11 August 1999 total eclipse of the sun ], which incredible event occurs without destroying Moon Base Alpha • the moon then behaves as a spaceship, travelling round the galaxy, having various alien adventures.
Star Trek: The Original Series • 1966-69 • some from the end of series 3
Star Trek: The animated series
Taken • 2002
Time Trax a cop from a future parallel world comes to our time, to fight time travelling criminals
The Tomorrow People • 1973-79 • a few children ‘break out’ with psi powers, which make them telepathic and let them ‘jaunt’ (teleport).
U.F.O. • 1970 • Gerry Anderson’s move into live action (with all the obvious jokes): it is 1980, and (surprisingly humanoid) aliens are stealing human organs for their own use. Early conspiracy stuff: SHADO, fighting the aliens, is a covert organisation • but how do they keep Moonbase secret?
Walking with Dinosaurs • 1999 • "educate, inform and entertain" -- not

 

Have the old ones just not stood the test of time, or were they really that bad first time around?

 

[Joe 90]
Joe 90

6. Unfinishable ... even I won’t watch them

Adam Adamant Lives! • 1966-67 • an Edwardian adventurer, frozen in 1902, thaws out in swinging 1960s London • now in the 1990s even the ‘modern’ scenes look like costume drama, and the plots and dialogue are cringe-making
Battlestar Galactica the original version
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Crime Traveller • 1997 • A detective and a research scientist use a time machine to solve crimes before they happen. But the plotting itself is criminal (best bit: the scientist drives to the time machine, parks her car, travels back a few hours, gets in her car , and drives away!)
Doomwatch • 1970-72
Early Edition • 1997 • The protagonist gets tomorrow’s newspaper, and can prevent the tragedies. Great premiss, cloying realisation.
Fringe , season 1 • 2008
Hex • 2004 • "British Buffy" flops
Joe 90 • 1968 • just what would the Social Services say today?
Land of the Giants most of the SFX were done with camera angles.
The Last Train • 1999 • a bunch of passengers get frozen and survive a meteor impact, then bore us to death
Lost in Space I would have spaced Dr Zachary Smith in episode 1. Bill Mumy (Will Robinson) grew up to play Lenier in the infinitely superior Babylon 5 .
Outcasts • 2011
Supercar • 1961
The Time Tunnel
The Visitor • 1997? • A pilot lost in the Bermuda Triangle in 1944 is returned today, with some mysterious mission to complete, possibly that of enacting every cliché in the book.