Saturday, 19 January 2013

Top 5 Sci Fi TV Shows

For most Sci Fi fans finding a good quality TV show in this genre isn't easy. Firstly TV is all about money these days and the budget for a reality show series can be as cheap as one episode of a Sci Fi series, therefore it makes more commercial sense to pump money into reality shows. Wrong. Look at the recent success of well produced, directed and edited Sci Fi shows, not the viewing figures but the money that comes from merchandising and DVD/Blu Ray sales. The problem most networks have with Sci Fi shows is the audience aren't the type to sit around and wait a week for the show to be on again, having to watch adverts every 15 minutes, they are future savvy technological advanced viewers, they want to buy a box set or download it (both legally and otherwise). Below is my top 5 shows with a little about why they are so great, in the hope there is one you haven't watched and can therefore discover something new.

1. Misfit (UK Version)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1548850/


 
About
The first two series of this show was an epic demonstration of not only the UK's ability to produce quality but also brought awareness to some fine young British actors. Unfortunately this show suffered due to cast becoming famous and leaving for different projects and therefore a complete turnover of the main characters by series 3. But for those first two series this is worth a watch.

Bio
The show is based around a group of young offenders on community service who are all affected by a lightining storm. Each one slowly discovers they have super powers, some great and some terrible. But before long the super powers begin to start showing up in other people leading the unlikely gang into some interesting situations. The show uses realistic language (not over the top swearing but in keeping with the characters) and also features some sexual content (nothing major but again in keeping with the context). The other most enjoyable element is the humour, with many sci fi programmes humour is often left to one character and can be very predictable, with this show there is an undercurrent of humour that seems fitting for the irony of young offenders trying to save the world.

Watch out for
The amazing Lauren Socha who plays this character with such humour and believability.

2. Stargate Atlantis
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0374455/

About
Stargate was a film that had mixed box office success but was followed up later by a TV show that was hugely popular across the world. The original TV series then produced a spin off called Atlantis and some of the original cast moved to this new world and there was plenty of cross over episodes. Atlantis unfortunately was a victim of hollywood politics. With the Stargate brand going strong and the release of Battlestar Gallactica there was a move to bigger budget TV shows with film actors and the maker decided to launch a Stargate version called universe, but as a deal breaker to ensure the reportedly £1m per episode needed they had to stop production of Atlantis. They did and within 1 series the new Stargate Universe was canned and now the TV viewing public are left with no Stargate to enjoy. A sad example of how cut throat execuitves are and how the big budgets in Sci Fi make it difficult to keep series going. Atlantis for me was the pick of the bunch due to its darker nature to the original and a very good cast. This show has one of the best Sci Fi baddies in any show the Wraith a vampire type race of alien that use Humans as feeding cattle.

Bio
As this was a spin off there is not a huge quantity of time spent explaining the back story which means you don't have to sit through endless explanations of why there is an Egyptian style stone ring that you can dial to get you to other points in the galaxy. This is set in a lost city of Atlantis which is in fact a space ship capable of moving to different planets but long since abandoned by the incumbent Humans. The teams slowly explore this strange new universe and discovered many different races. Interestingly not everyone is as honest as they seem and it soon becomes clear there is an evil here that has left all the residents terrified and cutthroat.

Watch out for!
Conan the barbarian star Jason Momoa (also in Game of Thrones) playing a very similar character to his other main credits.

3. Jericho
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0805663/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
About
This show doesn't feature aliens or any supernatural but it is about a post apocalyptic world set in a small town in Kansas. With the main character played by Skeet Ulrich who is accompanied by Lennie James who plays his part with epic intensity, this show has at its foundation some quality acting without a hugely expensive budget this played more on the human effects of such a situation and didnt rely on big budget effects for its quality.

Bio
A nuclear bomb goes off in the distance and from your small town all commmunication begins to go down. Your left in an isolated town with only small nuggets of information filtering in about what has happened. Slowly realising your town is alone and needs to begin to try and retain some order. Struggling to survive in a world cut off and with everyone wanting more than their fair share provides great story lines. This really does have a feel of the walking dead without zombies.

Watch out for
Interestingly this series might have been a lot shorter with tighter US gun controls, the world becomes very dangerous post apocalypse if everyone is armed.

4. Hitch Hikers guide to the galaxy
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081874/
About
If you haven't read the books or seen the hollywood film made a few years ago then you haven't lived yet and I suggest you begin before something happens and its too late. Douglas Adams is simply the best sci fi writer that every lived and sadly died young. This TV series is old, i will warn you before you hunt it down expecting CGI effects and some fancy camera work. It is low budget and cheesy but the main story remains and the acting is great. This story has had normal people carrying a towel and saying 42 to every question for decades.

Bio
Arthur Dent is a human, Ford Prefect is not. Ford is a writer for the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which is a useful book telling you everything about everything and has a nice message printed on its cover saying Don't Panic. This series tells of their adventure through the galaxy after Earth is destroyed by the vogons to makeway for a bypass.

Watch out for
The answer to the life the universe and everything.


5. Battlestar Gallactica
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407362/
About
As a general rule of thumb i would say avoid any remake because it is never better than the original with the exception of Lord of the rings which was much better than the original cartoon version and this. This made big budget, moody, effect laden Sci Fi popular on TV again and started a new wave of Sci Fi coming onto our screens after its release in 2004. With Some amazing affects this show stands out as not only a great adventure but also complicated enough that there wasn't a need for any filler episodes.

Bio
The cylons return and destroy the seven colonies planets with some survivors escaping on an aged battlestar class ship called the galactica. This is a story of survival and the struggle between a strict Army battalion and its non military companions. With a fight for survival that leads you an a journey of discovery to where it all began.

Watch out for
The best acting performance from Edward Olmos who plays Admiral Adama

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