5. Doctor Who
I’m a fairly recent convert to Doctor Who. I started watching in the Christopher Eccleston era. Granted, I did manage to catch a few glimpses late at night on my local PBS station when I was a kid, but I never got into it and thought it was kinda scary. I became a casual viewer from following people such as TV critic Alan Sepinwall, but I became absolutely hooked after watching the episode “Blink”. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading this and GO NOW. But don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead.
Fringe is one of those shows that lost viewers after ramping up the science fiction, but that only made me love it so much more. It embraced its core audience, took it by the hand, turned up the awesome, and hasn’t looked back. Done in the voice of Stefon from Saturday Night Live: “It has everything. Multiple universes, Walternates, Observers. . .” However, Fringe wouldn’t be what it is without character interaction and wonderful acting, especially by Peter Noble, who plays Walter. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I thought the last season was a bit of a misstep, but I’m surprised and incredibly happy that Fox gave this wonderful show a final season. I plan to enjoy every minute of it.
I’ve watched Futurama since it went on the air in 1999. It took a bit of a break in 2003, mainly because it was forced to. Reruns aired on Comedy Central, and then lo and behold, the show is back on again, and I couldn’t be happier. Futurama is one of the shows that can be enjoyed by many groups of people, but is especially dear to me because of all the science it contains. I mean, one recent show had the characters reimagined as animals in nature, complete with tortoises on the Galapagos Islands. And the science was spot-on! I couldn’t ask for anything more. Oh, and of course, ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD.
2. Battlestar Galactica (remake)
You know, I was a bit of a TV snob. I couldn’t admit that I liked science fiction as much as I did, and I couldn’t get over the title “Battlestar Galactica”. I knew nothing of the original. But then, for some reason, I gave the mini-series a try. Let’s just say that the scene from Portlandia where the characters start watching Battlestar Galactica and don’t leave their house for a week is exactly right.
I watched the last 3 seasons live, and every week waiting for a new episode was agonizing. This isn’t “just” a sci-fi series. This is one of the best shows EVER on television. Trust me.
This show went off the air after six seasons in 2010. Even writing this now, I’ve never missed a show like I miss Lost. It pains me to write about this show as something that happened in the past.
When Lost first went on the air in 2004, I thought it was great. Not only was there a lot of mystery involved with the characters, but with the island itself (“Where are we?”). A lot of people loved the character development, as did I. But the things that I loved the most were the sci-fi elements. This was the first TV show that I remember with such a robust and rabid fanbase that populated message boards discussing the show. . .it was like nothing I had ever seen. It was a dense show that rewarded its fans, as some of the other shows on this list did as well, by placing multiple “Easter eggs” within the show. Two people could watch the same episode and come away with two completely different thoughts on what the show was about.
Regardless of what you thought about the finale (which I loved, by the way), Lost took you on a journey like no other TV show had before. It will be very hard to replace it as number one on my list, but here’s hoping someone will try.
Honorable Mentions: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sealab 2021, Frisky Dingo, Harvey Birdman, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Quantum Leap, Tales from the Darkside, The Walking Dead
So, that’s my list. Now I get to hear from you. What did I leave off? What did I get right?