Who's On First (I always wanted to use that as a title)
July 5, 2016 3:52 AM   Subscribe

The pop culture site DigitalSpy ran a poll to determine the most popular science fiction TV series of all time (not including animated or 'comic book based' shows). The winner, with almost 5,000 out of 50,000 votes, was perennial British show Doctor Who (not surprising since it is a British site). But the runner-up, just a hundred votes behind, WAS surprising: '90s space station epic Babylon 5.

Lots of Bruce Boxleitner, Stephen Furst and Bill(y) Mumy fans out there, I guess. #3 by a wide margin was cult fave Firefly, the top Stargate series finished ahead of the top Star Trek series (but all the Trek shows together totaled over 8.3K votes). Also top 10: Farscape, Battlestar Galactica and X-Files (in that order). Torchwood edged out Red Dwarf for 2nd most popular British series and Twilight Zone landed just short of the Top 20 (but the most popular black-and-white show). Much more antibiotic-resistant-nostagia for sci-fi fans there to be seen. (You DO remember Space 1999, don't you? So did 771 voters.)
posted by oneswellfoop (67 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
No 'Now and Again'?
posted by fordiebianco at 4:23 AM on July 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Nice to see Gerry & Sylvia Anderson's UFO recognized on the poll at #42 - - it alternately astounded and frightened me as a young viewer.
posted by fairmettle at 4:29 AM on July 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


Surprised the DS9 isn't higher and that Blake's 7 is so low on the list!
posted by smirkette at 4:33 AM on July 5, 2016


More than a few sad omissions... Six Million Dollar Man but no Bionic Woman; both versions of V but only one Battlestar Galactica; Lost in Space but no Time Tunnel or Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; no Andromeda or Earth: Final Conflict; British sci-fi comedy but no 3rd Rock, Mork or Quark; and if Sapphire and Silk qualified, why not the Steed and Emma Avengers? The list of nominations could have hit 75 easy, maybe 100.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:40 AM on July 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm just going to sit here and feel vindicated. B5 I'd my answer to the perennial trek vs. wars question (although it is a convenient way out of the religious debate, I assume something like proclaiming oneself Jewish during the troubles in northern Ireland)
posted by Hactar at 4:41 AM on July 5, 2016 [14 favorites]


We B5 fans (and would I have posted this if I weren't?) are like Zathras: "used to being beast of burden to other people's needs. Very sad life. Probably have... very sad death. But... at least there is Symmetry. "

Also: "Zathras have no one to talk to. No one manages poor Zathras, you see. So Zathras talks to dirt. Or to walls, or talks to ceilings. But dirt is closer. Dirt is used to everyone walking on it. Just like Zathras. But we have come to like it. It is our role. It is our destiny in the universe. So, you see, sometimes dirt has insects in it. And Zathras likes insects. Not so good for conversation, but much protein for diet."

BEST. CHARACTER. IN ANY UNIVERSE.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:46 AM on July 5, 2016 [33 favorites]


I guess Danger Man doesn't fit. Patrick McGoohan.
posted by notreally at 5:04 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Prisoner should have... maybe Buffy the Vampire Hunter... the list goes on.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:08 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]




isn't it lovely that there are so many SF shows that we can complain about what was left out?

besides - Farscape & Firefly are CLEARLY #1 & #2, followed by - dammit, I can't even agree with myself
posted by jb at 5:17 AM on July 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Sticking to stuff that is at least arguably science fiction (so no Buffy), I would go:

10. Star Trek: The Next Generation
9. Babylon 5
8. Doctor Who
7. The X-Files
6. Battlestar Galactica (Reboot)
5. Mystery Science Theater 3000
4. The Twlight Zone
3. Star Trek (Original Series)
2. Farscape
1. The Prisoner
posted by kyrademon at 5:20 AM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


My troika of Can't Miss, Must Watch television as a kid and adolescent was The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Predictably, the rest of the time I had my nose buried in a Ray Bradbury paperback...
posted by jim in austin at 5:24 AM on July 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Babylon 5 would have placed higher, but the avalanche had already started and it was too late for the pebbles to vote.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:28 AM on July 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


It does slightly disturb me that even a clickbait science fiction web site would ask the question in the form "of all time" rather than "so far". Or do they know something about the near future that we don't?
posted by sammyo at 5:36 AM on July 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


Some parts of B5 haven't aged that well and it suffers from the limitations of its budget and the state of FXs at that time, but it was so above everything else being done at the time! Only show I ever ran 30 min in a snowstorm to catch! (This was the 90s no internet to catch up on). And it had the best fan site (Hyperion) over analysis every episode, ha I love that show.
posted by coust at 6:25 AM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


This is "most popular", not "best". Those are two very different things.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:29 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Seems a bit incongruous to lump 50 years of Dr. Who together as one candidate but split up all the Star Treks.
posted by AndrewInDC at 6:36 AM on July 5, 2016 [14 favorites]


Bring back "Space: Above and Beyond"!!
posted by alchemist at 6:36 AM on July 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


Surprised the DS9 isn't higher

I'm not, given that Digital Spy is a no-hoper site that couldn't even break 5K votes from the Superwholockians; if I had heard of it, I doubt that I would have bothered. Not to be smug or anything (which is to say that of course I'm being supersmug here), but my favored franchise is still active, with a new movie coming later this month and a new series next year.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:37 AM on July 5, 2016


Yeah... Cause best would have been B5 at #1 :)

Still wished they had been able to close the serie with War Without End instead of dropping it in S3 that would have been an awesome closure (perfectly setup in S1 episode Babylon Squared). Compared to what Lost and BSG did to us though B5 ending was fine.
posted by coust at 6:39 AM on July 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


God, I loved that show. Talk about your emotional roller coasters. After it ended, I didn't think I had it in me to watch it over again, but now I'd really love to find and revisit it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:52 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


This was the 90s no internet to catch up on.

I recall being on Usenet, discussing Babylon-5, with the topics ranging from whether they got the science right to plot speculation. And occasionally Strazinsky would pop in to drop commentary and clues. This was back before people learned it wasn't healthy to interact directly with fans online, so it was a lot of fun feeling close to the production.
posted by happyroach at 6:56 AM on July 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


God, I loved that show. Talk about your emotional roller coasters. After it ended, I didn't think I had it in me to watch it over again, but now I'd really love to find and revisit it.

(Just realized that I wasn't clear about which show I meant! Talking about Babylon 5. I mean, Katsulas. KATSULAS!)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:56 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


God, I loved that show. Talk about your emotional roller coasters. After it ended, I didn't think I had it in me to watch it over again, but now I'd really love to find and revisit

I've started to go back to it a few times, but I'm not sure if I'd have the energy to watch the full four seasons* again, because I'm so unaccustomed to the 20 some odd episode season pacing these days. Seasons three and four? Sure. Rewatching the whole first season Sinclair stuff? I'm not sure, even though at the time that slow burn pieces moving was a huge part of the appeal of the show.

*FOUR, lalalala I can't hear you
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:00 AM on July 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Surprised The Twilight Zone is so low. Same with The Outer Limits. I prefer the original Trek to any of the other versions, though that's mostly because I don't think any of them had a character as interesting as Spock.
posted by Beholder at 7:01 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was never a big Outer Limits fan (I think the hour running time is too long compared to the brisk and efficient Twilight Zone), but I really wish we had a good sci-fi/fantasy anthology series on TV still (I think a new Amazing Stories series was in production sometime recently, no idea if that's still a thing). I caught some Twilight Zone yesterday and sure a lot of it is corny and it hits you absolutely over the head with the point, but they're still so good. Quick little stories, set up like jokes, with an immediate payoff. I think it'd be a nice counterpoint that would play well in the world of Game of Thrones style grand plots.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:10 AM on July 5, 2016


/feels sorry for everything ranked under Torchwood.
posted by Artw at 7:13 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think rather than SF, MST3K is best understood as the best-known example of the horror host genre.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:14 AM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wait so for the past 17 years I have been under the misapprehension that "Farscape" was the science fiction cartoon made by Matt Groening? But that was actually "Futurama", and "Farscape" was a live action show?

Now I have to mentally think back to all the threads I've read where people have clamored for them to bring back "F*******" and try to figure out whether people were asking for the return of Futurama or Farscape.
posted by Bugbread at 7:50 AM on July 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


I recall being on Usenet, discussing Babylon-5, with the topics ranging from whether they got the science right to plot speculation. And occasionally Strazinsky would pop in to drop commentary and clues. This was back before people learned it wasn't healthy to interact directly with fans online, so it was a lot of fun feeling close to the production.

Me too, it's crazy, nobody would ever do that now! (jmsnews.com still has most of the posts)

I've started to go back to it a few times, but I'm not sure if I'd have the energy to watch the full four seasons* again, because I'm so unaccustomed to the 20 some odd episode season pacing these days. Seasons three and four? Sure. Rewatching the whole first season Sinclair stuff? I'm not sure, even though at the time that slow burn pieces moving was a huge part of the appeal of the show.

I've rewatched it on DVD (the transfer is kinda annoying since they have resolution issues in the FXs shots and... well you'll notive if you ever watch it). I skipped some episodes, but overall I enjoyed it. They had a cast that worked well together, I kinda want to watch it again now.
posted by coust at 7:50 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Season five of Babylon 5's got some good bits, but since so much is missing it's hard for me to get through the whole thing. Still haven't finished it. Overall I think the show holds up well now, antiquated CG and all. It's got good characters that work well together, and newer production techniques can't improve much on that.
posted by asperity at 8:21 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


This was back before people learned it wasn't healthy to interact directly with fans online, so it was a lot of fun feeling close to the production.

Oh, I think it was already becoming apparent. They had to make the B5 group moderated to keep the trolls out.

And it had the best fan site (Hyperion) over analysis every episode

The Lurker's Guide is still around! Man, that's an old website.

I'm still pretty disappointed that they botched the DVD release. They ought to just release the series in the original 4:3, but that's probably never gonna happen.
posted by neckro23 at 8:24 AM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


And it had the best fan site (Hyperion) over analysis every episode

Nuh-uh! Best B5 fansite was The Lurker's Guide, which in fact is the best fansite for any show I've ever seen. The Farscape fansite The Snurcher's Guide was patterned on it.

"Farscape" was a live action show?

Oh, all the fun you have to look forward to! Farscape is the show of my heart. So messed up and twisted and funny and sentimental all at once. And the writers never met a genre cliché they didn't want to turn upside down.

Going back to TFA, I think B5 stays popular because it has a singularity of vision that most other shows simply can't -- at least no shows with 20+ episode seasons. Straczinsky wrote every episode in S2 and probably the majority of the other seasons, and drove the show from beginning to end. Various changes (Sheridan for Sinclair, Ivanova's departure, etc.) affected how the plot progressed, but didn't really change the over all arc.

All that said, it's a show with great writing but terrible, terrible dialogue. The man can tell a story, but nearly every line in the show was a clinker. He really needed a clean-up artist to tighten and de-cliché the dialogue.
posted by suelac at 8:25 AM on July 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


> "But that was actually "Futurama", and "Farscape" was a live action show?"

Yup. (And if I'd been considering animated series, Futurama would have been ranked at #3 or #4 on my list and there would have been several Japanese shows in my top 10 as well ...)
posted by kyrademon at 8:26 AM on July 5, 2016


Nuh-uh! Best B5 fansite was The Lurker's Guide, which in fact is the best fansite for any show I've ever seen. The Farscape fansite The Snurcher's Guide was patterned on it.

I meant the lurker's guide before it was hosted on midwinter. It was hosted on hyperion.com (or was it .net?), don't why I didn't used the proper name.

Some of the current wikis are pretty good, but at the time it was unrivaled.
posted by coust at 8:41 AM on July 5, 2016


Going back to TFA, I think B5 stays popular because it has a singularity of vision that most other shows simply can't

It's a fascinating show from that perspective; I recently finished The Revolution Was Televised, which focuses on the far bigger, prestige dramas that are part of this second golden age, but the back of my mind was wondering where B5 fit in that discussion. Not that it deserves to be on the same tier at all (I mean, I love me my B5 - then and now, but yeah, it has some real problems). But B5 was part some of the shifts in TV that were happening at the time - an increase in distribution methods (not just the main networks, but things like PTEN and new cable channels), the rise of the internet that allowed fandom to interact with each other and with the creator of the show, etc (rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated and the Lurker's Guide forever!). I think all of that was part of the ability for the creator of a show to have a vision and drive it forward in a way that didn't happen before, and that's part of why we got some of the shows we got - from B5 on upwards into the tiers of prestige TV. And it was ( I think) the first SF TV to seriously try to play out story arcs, where the consequences of actions from previous episodes or seasons carried on and on. It wasn't just episodic TV, which is what we were largely used to.

Anyways, Nih sakh sh'lekk, sleem wa.
posted by nubs at 8:44 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


<spaced>Babylon 5's a big pile of shit!<\spaced>
posted by Stark at 8:47 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think all of that was part of the ability for the creator of a show to have a vision and drive it forward in a way that didn't happen before, and that's part of why we got some of the shows we got - from B5 on upwards into the tiers of prestige TV.

The two shows from around that time that really stick with me for feeling like they were doing things that were surprising at the time, but are now the norm for prestige drama are Babylon 5 and (underrated gem) Space: Above and Beyond.* Babylon 5 was better, but both felt so much better than the other sci-fi I watched at the time, much of which was delightful garbage.

*Which has a picture of Babylon 5 on the DVD menu, because why not?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:02 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Heh, I was thinking of B5 just earlier today. I had clicked through to a listicle that was something like "25 Things You Didn't Know About Game of Thrones." (I don't watch GoT but I like to be vaguely aware of it for pop cultural literacy.) One of the factoids was that the facial features of some head on a pike in one episode were modeled after George W. Bush's.

And I was like, "Imma let you finish, but Babylon 5 had the best head-on-a-pike scene of all time."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:04 AM on July 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


I think B5 stays popular because it has a singularity of vision
Is an understatement, because what it had was a plurality of vision:
Various changes (Sheridan for Sinclair, Ivanova's departure, etc.) affected how the plot progressed, but didn't really change the over all arc.
JMS didn't just write one epic, he basically wrote a dozen epics, then picked out the one that was compatible with production and cast changes as they happened.

For contrast: did the new Battlestar Galactica have any excuse for "The cylons have a plan! We hope they tell the writers soon!" If so, was it as good an excuse as the "our lead actor is having mental health problems and needs to retire after season 1" problem that Babylon 5 took in stride?

...for some values of "took in stride". Although IMDB agrees with me that Z'ha'dum was the second-best episode of the show, can you imagine how much better it could have been if the guest star was someone who had been a recurring character for a whole season rather than someone who had previously only existed off-screen?
posted by roystgnr at 9:08 AM on July 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


B5 had a lot of depth. I was really devoted to it when I was having a difficult time in my life because I could relate to the main themes of everyone facing difficult decisions. But those time and budget restraints JMS faced made it look kinda rushed at times.
posted by ovvl at 9:32 AM on July 5, 2016


roystgnr: “For contrast: did the new Battlestar Galactica have any excuse for ‘The cylons have a plan! We hope they tell the writers soon!’”

Yep. The excuse was: that's exactly how it went on the original Battlestar Galactica.

Seriously, the story was largely the same, so none of those things should have been surprising. The whole point was that really major plot points were taken care of because the show had already largely been plotted; the writers then could focus on details and minutiae like character. Honestly, they weren't wrestling with where everything was going to go. And that was true all the way down to the very end, which was exactly the same as the ending of the original Battlestar Galactica, but which everyone acted surprised, befuddled, and annoyed at. I found that amusing – the ending was sort of silly and sort of odd, but how could anyone find it surprising, given that's how the show was always going to end up? Really, nearly all of the "terrible" things in the new BSG that everybody complains about and says were mistakes were just aspects of the original series. We can complain all day that they happen to be aspects the new writers should have changed, but it's not like they came up with that stuff.
posted by koeselitz at 9:41 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: dammit, I can't even agree with myself
posted by the sobsister at 9:49 AM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also just finished series 1 of Farscape and, although I was initially put off by the "of course humanity's accidental representative to a far-flung corner of the galaxy/universe is a ruggedly handsome white American cishet alpha male" approach, the show and the character have, so far, consistently upended my expectations. A recommendation for any fence-sitters.

It's on Netflix now, to where I hope B5 will soon return, given that I had watched a handful of S1 eps (I'd missed all of S1 and part of S2 originally), and then the show was pulled.
posted by the sobsister at 9:56 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I watched B5 and Farscape at the same time, soon after Farscape was canceled, in repeats on Syfy, I think?

It was probably not fair to B5 to watch them together, because Farscape looked beautiful and seemed super modern and pop culture-y, and sexy and messy and dark, and for me, really highlighted all the ways B5 was dated and and stodgy and over-scripted. That ugly and terribly acted first season - gah.

I really, really respect B5 and Straczinsky but I never loved it. I will say I have never seen Straczinsky's like for plotting episodes with both internal and season long arcs that mesh perfectly together. My favorite character was Londo for for whatever reason and I can see why people love the show - there's a lot there to love.

However, I find much of Straczinsky's humor embarrassing and many of the lines from the show that people love to quote are the ones that make me full-body cringe from the sheer dorkiness of them.

I will always love Farscape for giving me Aeryn Sun. Farscape was my TV fandom successor to Buffy, but Aeryn Sun was my TV crush successor to Dana Scully.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:11 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


My favorite character was Londo for for whatever reason

For all the reasons! There should have been a Londo-and-G'Kar sitcom spin-off.
posted by asperity at 10:37 AM on July 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


The excuse was: that's exactly how it went on the original Battlestar Galactica.


That's not actually an excuse.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I recall being on Usenet, discussing Babylon-5, with the topics ranging from whether they got the science right to plot speculation. And occasionally Strazinsky would pop in to drop commentary and clues. This was back before people learned it wasn't healthy to interact directly with fans online, so it was a lot of fun feeling close to the production.

Me too, it's crazy, nobody would ever do that now! (jmsnews.com still has most of the posts)


I hung out on "The Bronze" fan bulletin board when Buffy was in its first run, and Joss Whedon, other writers and producers, and cast members would come and post regularly.
posted by jb at 10:56 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


About a year ago, I watched DS9 for the first time. Not only did I find it to be one of the best scifi shows of all time, but one of the best shows of all time, period. (except for the Ferengi episodes, but we won't talk about that)

Of course, I wanted MOAR, so I asked around my group of sci-fi loving friends, "What should I watch next?"

One of my friends enthusiastically suggested Farscape. Said it was one of his favorite shows of all time. Told me the first season isn't always the greatest, but I should power through because the show was REALLY THAT GOOD. So I made myself watch season 1. And I really, really, really didn't like it. Watching Aeryn bicker with everybody... was that supposed to be entertaining? It seemed like Zhaan and D'argo pretty much carried the whole show. They were the only characters that seemed to have any substance. The rest of the characters seemed really throwaway. Whatsisname, the wisecracking whiteguy, seemed totally useless and not particularly funny. And I couldn't stand Crais. He's all like, "I KNOW IT WASN'T YOUR FAULT YOU KILLED MY BROTHER, BUT I MUST KILL YOU ANYWAY FOR REASONS I CANNOT EVER ADEQUATELY EXPLAIN!" But all of that aside, what I guess I really didn't like about it was the lack of any sort of big ideas or satisfying themes. Maybe it was unfair to Farscape that I watched it right after DS9, but as a fan of TNG, DS9, and BSG, I expect my scifi TV to be kinda brainy. With Farscape, there didn't really seem to be any there there. I somehow made it through Season 1 and a couple episodes into Season 2 before calling it quits. I dunno, should I have given it more of a chance?
posted by panama joe at 10:56 AM on July 5, 2016


My favorite character was Londo for for whatever reason

Londo & G'Kar form the moral centre of the show; their arc is the central arc that the show moves around.
posted by nubs at 11:11 AM on July 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


Farscape was more of a pants feel (and hearts feel) show than a brain show. Agreed that I always wanted Crais to STFU and GTFO. But I don't think Farscape's goal was ever to give you hifalutin' concepts like gods and prophets to dryly ponder over your Deka tea. Instead it wanted to scream in your face while licking your ear and stealing your wallet.

(I will also admit that as much as I madly loved it at the time, I haven't been able to make it through a season 1 rewatch at any point since. I might've aged out of Farscape. Except for loving beautiful, beautiful Office Sun.)
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:15 AM on July 5, 2016


But I don't think Farscape's goal was ever to give you hifalutin' concepts like gods and prophets to dryly ponder over your Deka tea. Instead it wanted to scream in your face while licking your ear and stealing your wallet.

Right.

Farscape is a show about an American geek who falls in with a bunch of trauma survivors, and then becomes one himself. It's a show that focuses far more on character than plot, and if there's a debate between story logic and character development, character will win every time.

This makes it not necessarily appealing to fans of more traditional episodic genre tv. Also, it was made mostly by Australians for cable (at a time when that meant something), and as a result there's a lot of body fluids and wacky hijinks (and bondage imagery).

I loved it: after XF, where the characters rarely seemed to acknowledge what had happened to them from one episode to the next, Farscape was a breath of fresh air. Also, Aeryn Sun.
posted by suelac at 1:32 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Although IMDB agrees with me that Z'ha'dum was the second-best episode of the show, can you imagine how much better it could have been if the guest star was someone who had been a recurring character for a whole season rather than someone who had previously only existed off-screen?

Nerdy nitpick time! Sheridan's wife did appear in an earlier episode ("Revelations" it looks like), as a video message, but they re-cast the part for "Z'ha'dum". And then they retconned the cast change in "Z'ha'dum" by re-shooting the flashback to that scene with the new actress.

But yeah, it would've been better if it was Sinclair and Sakai instead. It would've made Sakai's early encounter with the First Ones more than just an opportunity for G'Kar to point at ants.
posted by neckro23 at 1:37 PM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Farscape is a show about an American geek who falls in with a bunch of trauma survivors, and then becomes one himself. It's a show that focuses far more on character than plot, and if there's a debate between story logic and character development, character will win every time.

That sums it up for me. Farscape has long been one of my favorite series but I'll admit that story plots have sometimes been a weak point. But, man, that show had some of the best characters anywhere.
posted by Eikonaut at 1:44 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


encounter with the First Ones more than just an opportunity for G'Kar to point at ants.

But we do see the Walkers of Sigma 957 again ("Zog!"). And that little talk about an ant from G'Kar at the end of the episode was - for the time - a pretty big statement about the type of universe this show was set in. Coming off of Star Trek, where by the end of the episode everything had been technobabbled into submission, G'Kar's ant speech was a statement that B5 wasn't necessarily going to try to explain everything and that there might be mysteries that persisted. Also, to that point, G'Kar had largely been played in an antagonistic role - he was often the obstacle to a solution or the cause of a problem (although not unlikeable nor unreasonable - there was logic behind his actions) - and so it was a chance to give some complexity to his character.
posted by nubs at 2:26 PM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


(You DO remember Space 1999, don't you? So did 771 voters.)

Metafilter remembers Space:1999.
posted by wittgenstein at 3:18 PM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think my favorite description of Farscape has always been, "The story of one American's descent into Australia's BDSM scene."
posted by kyrademon at 3:47 PM on July 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


I was lucky enough to go to a Con in Galveston in 2013 celebrating the 20th anniversary of B5. Almost every surviving actor was there - only Michael Doyle and JMS were missing. It was great to finally meet Mira Furlan, though I got all shy starstruck fangirl around her. B5 was the only normalish scripted show that I've ever fallen for - I should dig out my DVDs and see how it holds up.

Oh, and random B5 star note: Claudia Christian has written a book that is just coming out. I love that she is a voice artist on games I play now - Skyrim and Fallout 4.
posted by Ambient Echo at 4:11 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Two great (non-Australian) things about Farscape: Rockne S. O'Bannon (also known for the 1980s Twilight Zone* revival, Alien Nation, Seaquest 2032*, and post-Farscape: Defiance*) and MUPPETS! (a Henson Productions joint) It was downright Muppetational.

*should've been on DigitalSpy's SciFi Ballot but weren't.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:44 PM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


What about Lexx? Too Canadian? It did offer some good laughs and prime-time soft porn, in spite of being somewhat erratic. What's not to like? And in fact the first four-episode season was pretty good science fiction.
posted by sneebler at 7:17 PM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


which was exactly the same as the ending of the original Battlestar Galactica

I are foncused. In what way is landing on prehistoric earth, burning all your tech, and bonking Australopithecus the same as arriving on Earth post moon-landing and defending earth against the Cylons with time travelling Vipers?
posted by Sparx at 8:43 PM on July 5, 2016


Well.. Starbucks crash-landing on an earth-like planet where....

Okay, yeah. My memories of Galactica 1980 were pretty fuzzy. There really are a surprising number of similar plot points, though!
posted by koeselitz at 9:36 PM on July 5, 2016


What about Lexx? ... What's not to like?

The terrible plots? The awful acting? The atrocious dialogue?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:07 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Five Years -- Tom Smith
posted by radwolf76 at 10:24 PM on July 5, 2016


B5 caught my attention by accident sometime late in season 1. I was waiting for my then-girlfriend to get ready to go out, and flipping channels on the local (Chicago) indie station that happened to be running it.

Hmm, a space station scene. Wonder which Trek series this i-

(clank)

Waitaminnit, nothing on Star Trek goes "clank". This looks interesting.


I like to think of myself as a serious B5 fan. However, my kid's best friend's parents put me to shame. That kid's first and middle names are ... honest to Valen ...

[name of alien B5 character] [first name of actor who played that character] .

I won't embarrass any of them by writing the real name, but imagine something like Zathras Timothy McJawdrop.
posted by NumberSix at 10:46 PM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


from the Five Years song... "we still got Crusade* so we ain't too sorry..."
"Crusade only lasted 13 weeks, sorry..."
But it gave us "The Visitors from Down the Street", in which JMS wrote an X-Files role reversal: an alien culture that thought WE were invading THEM, complete with...
Durkani: Sooner or later, the truth is going to come out. The truth is--
Kendarr: Out of fashion.
*ANOTHER ONE that should've been on DigitalSpy's SciFi Ballot but wasn't
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:59 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Crusade! Yes, it had its flaws, but that's what made me first truly appreciate Gary Cole and Daniel Dae Kim.

And all the mentions of Londo above made me remember one of my favorite lines of his: "I never grew up; I grew old."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:10 AM on July 6, 2016


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