My Top 5 SciFi Shows of All-Time

We use affiliate links. If you buy something through the links on this page, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

A friend and I were discussing/debating our top five favorite science fiction shows of all time. He regularly reads The Gadgeteer and suggested I post my fave-five and solicit our reader’s lists/opinions as well. So below are my top five with a short blurb as to why they are on the list.

  1. StarGate (SG-1): To boldly go, without the need of a ship or long travel times. To see other worlds in a blink of an eye. The cast, writers, storyline, and special effects were overall top-notch.
  2. Farscape: I grant you this was a pretty surreal show and storyline, but the actors were good and over the top when needed. You know some shows do not have to make sense all the time to like/enjoy them. What I remember most about Farscape, is that it was a HUGE shame the network did not give them enough notice to shutdown/close the storyline properly.
  3. Star Trek (TNG): The Star Trek universe brought SciFi to primetime. But in the beginning, the original series was limited by special effect technologies, budgets, and the general public’s viewing habits. But Star Trek The Next Generation was a great follow up for the original series and lead-in for a multitude of other very enjoyable (albeit some better than others) series and movies.
  4. Dr. Who (modern day): This longstanding storyline is fun and silly in many ways. The overall low budget special effects are pretty funny in and of themselves, where the audience has to ‘just go with it’.
  5. X-Files: This show was at the forefront of prime-time, modern-day SciFi. Mulder and Sculley were a great pair, and many shows today attempt to emulate their dynamic. The conspiracy, aliens, and ‘trust no one/truth is out there’ overarching storylines were great at tying the decade long series together.

That is my list and a few of my thoughts. So….what say you all???

52 thoughts on “My Top 5 SciFi Shows of All-Time”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. In no order, but these are my top 5

    *Star Trek TNG
    *Stargate Atlantis (liked the story line much more than SG1)
    *Battlestar Galactica
    *Star Trek TOS – yes, it is old and the effects are hokey, but it totally 100% change the way Sci Fi is portrayed. No longer simplistic stories with fx, but morality plays, just among the stars.

    1. In no real order, here are mine:

      Star Trek Voyager
      The Bionic Woman
      Buffy the Vampire Slayer

      and a couple more:
      Xena Warrior Princess

  3. 1) Babylon 5
    2) Star Trek – TOS
    3) Lost in Space (no laughing please- DANGER Will Robinson!))
    4) The Twilight Zone
    5) The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    and since I’m the friend Dave mentions, I’m adding a runner-up:
    6) UFO

  4. X-files went on way too long, and the last season of SG-1 needed to not exist. Love Doctor Who, and Torchwood, Fringe and Sanctuary too. Does Eureka count as SCI-FI or Comedy?

  5. 1: Babylon 5
    2: Hitchikers Guide to the Universe
    3: Blakes 7 – yes, a bit hokey at time, but come on, often brilliant stories
    4: Farscape
    5: Star Trek TOS.

  6. I hate to say it….but LOST, Fringe, and Firefly did not occur to me. I’m not revising my list but those three definitely should have been in the running.

    1. @Andy I forgot about Heroes. I agree that the first 1 seasons were good. After that it went down the tubes fast.

      @Sandee Did you ever watch Night Gallery? It was a ripoff/clone of Twilight Zone.

      Anyone remember Night Stalker? It was like Xfiles only more campy.

  7. I’m old enough to remember two really old ones.

    “The Outer Limits” Too short a run, but even better than Twilight Zone.
    “Twilight Zone” So iconic that all one has to do is sing the first eight notes.

    For modern day ones:

    Battlestar Gallactica

  8. Okay mine would be:
    Star Trek – TOS
    Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
    Toss Up between:
    Twilight Zone — Outer Limits

  9. 1. BattleStar Galactica (the recent remake)
    2. Star Trek TNG (LAFORGE FTW!)
    3. Sliders
    4. Farscape
    5. Quantum Leap…c’mon no one mentioned this one yet?? 🙂

  10. @Julie: If I remember correctly, Night Stalker has been credited as one of the inspirations for X-Files. (Well, the original Night Stalker series, at least.)

  11. @Julie
    Yes, I watched Night Gallery. For some reason Serling tried to duplicate TZ but it didn’t work.

    I also watched the Forrest Whitaker remake. Awful! I know Whitaker is a bright man, but he came across as impaired during the opening narration.

    I also saw the TZ Movie. The “Anthony” episode was a great adaptation. The rest not so much. (And remember the stunt crash that killed Vic Morrow and two kids.)

  12. @Julie Yes, Darren McGavin was Kolchak in the Night Stalker and he was in at least one episode of The X-Files. He was also the father in A Christmas Story who won the leg lamp.

    My top five shows are:
    1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    2. The X-Files (at least until Mulder left the series)
    3. Lost
    4. Quantum Leap
    5. Star Trek TOS

  13. I’m glad to see that Babylon 5 and Farscape made it on many of your list. Both shows were great!

    1. Babylon 5
    2. Farscape
    3. Star Trek NG, DS9, Voyager (all great)
    4. Battlestar Galactica (new generation….The whole Polytheism vs Monotheism aspect was brilliant. )
    5. Lost
    6. X-Files
    7. Dr Who the last few years

  14. I wished they continued the Stargate series even if it was for another season of SGU. I miss Stargate so much!! Richard Dean Anderson made it all happen!

  15. Robert van Weersch

    My fav’s:
    1. Battlestar Galactica (2004)
    2. Star Trek TNG. Used to be on 1st position until BG 2004 came along 🙂
    3. Firefly
    4. Buck Rogers (1979). Cheeky, but still very enjoyable.
    5. Star Trek TOS. The mother of all sci-fi shows.

    By the way, I only listed “classical” sci-fi, not fantasy/horror/mystery shows like Buffy, Heroes or X-Files, which are all great shows, but not really sci-fi, according to my personal definition 🙂

  16. Sigh. I am an old-time sci-fi geek who has never seen Farscape or Babylon 5 and never got into the new Battlestar Galatica or Stargates.

    1. Star Trek TOS. I can only imagine what it would have been like had it TNG’s budget!
    2. Star Trek Enterprise. I know I’ll get some hate mail about that one, but it is probably a lot like what I wanted to see in answer 1.
    3. Firefly. Other than the fact I hated some of the props and some aspects of the ship, this was a GREAT series.
    4. Twilight Zone. Imagine, if you will, what X-files, etc. would have been like without this groundbreaking show.
    5. Hmmm, Space 1999 and Lost in Space have been mentioned. Hey, how about My Favorite Martian? Or Time Tunnel? Land of the Giants? Oh, I know- JOURNEY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA!

    And if we can call cartoons also, then…
    1. Star Trek, Animated
    2. Jonny Quest (LOVED that show!)
    3. Space Ghost
    4. Ummm, I’ll have to work on a #4…
    5. The Jetsons!

  17. Can’t argue with any of the ones above . Two that (I don’t think) have been mentioned

    Space Above And Beyond ( though it was very short lived ).
    Any stuff by Gerry Anderson whether puppet ( Joe 90, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlett, Fireball XL5 ) or live ( Space 1999, UFO ( these 2 have been mentioned))

  18. If miniseries count, my top 5 are:

    5. Futurama
    4. V 1st miniseries (not The Final Battle, series, or remake)
    3. Star Trek TNG
    2. Firefly
    1. Battlestar Galactica (2003)

    Honorable mentions:
    – Mystery Science Theater 3000
    – Star Trek (Original)

    Some of the shows I’ve heard good things about that I haven’t seen enough of to judge:
    – Babylon5
    – Farscape
    – Falling Skies
    – Space Above And Beyond

  19. I’ll avoid the eternal battle of “what is Science fiction versus fantasy debate”, since I disagree with many of the choices above.
    I’ll just say that for me Babylon 5 was the best…I laughed, I cried, etc.

  20. Hot dang these comments grow long and I read each and every one and agree with each and every one of them. Gosh there are some shows here I completely forgotten about 🙂
    Maybe it should have been: My Top 50 SciFi Shows of All-Time in no Particular Order!

  21. In order:
    1) Battlestar Gallactica (2004) production quality and story lines were through the roof.
    2) All of the Star Trek series for the sheer epic scale of it all.
    3) All of the Stargate series same reason as #2
    4) Babylon 5 (if this has missed your radar do your self a favor and watch the whole series, great stuff)
    5) Firefly, cheated and given such a short life. This show could of been epic like the others. Can you imagine 4 or more seasons instead of just one? I still can’t help myself but watch it every time it’s on TV.

    I Look at all the great shows everyone has mentioned and I scratch my head trying to figure out what the Scifi network is doing. They need to give back the name and call it the Haunted Wrestling network.

    Sorry, I haven’t been getting enough SciFi in my diet.

  22. @NickP you are absolutely right about the Haunted Wrestling network 😛
    And I, like you, don’t get enough SciFi in my diet either!

    I remember when Firefly first came out and I said to myself, Wow! That’s going to be a great series. And I settled in to watch episode by episode thinking all along that it’d last a few years and my SciFi cravings will be sedated for a spell. Well you Browncoats know the rest of the story 🙁

    By the way, has anyone mentioned Lexx?

  23. 1) Stargate SG1 (‘Atlantis’ was too Bush-era, two dimensional, Good vs Evil);

    2) Blake’s 7 (As the saying goes. “When the writing was this good, who cares that the ship was a microphone with cardboard fins?”)

    3) Dr Who (ALL series – fun concept … and brilliantly executed on such a limited budget in the earlies);

    4) Torchwood (once again a great concept, stories and characterization);

    5) Farscape!

    I also loved Red Dwarf, enjoyed Space 1999 and am now eagerly watching UK series ‘Primeval.’

  24. > TK February 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm
    > I’ll avoid the eternal battle of “what is Science fiction versus
    > fantasy debate”, since I disagree with many of the choices above.
    > I’ll just say that for me Babylon 5 was the best…I laughed, I
    > cried, etc.

    Without getting into a debate, most mainstream sci-fi shows are arguably more fantasy (with sci-fi elements). But they’re widely referred to as sci-fi, so I interpret questions like this as being open to shows like Firefly and Futurama.

  25. We seem to have forgotten BSG!!!

    My 5 would be:

    Battlestar Galactica
    Star Gate SG
    Star Trek TNG
    Sarah Conner Chronicles

    Fringe is on the, er, fringe as only seen S1, and I would class Dr Who as fantasy rather than SF. ttfn!

  26. Oh lord, I forgot about Firefly and Space Above and Beyond, and Earth Final Conflict. Millenium too.Dang this is just too hard!

  27. I totally missed this article when it was posted in February… so my top 5 –

    1. Babylon 5 – if you haven’t seen it, rent it! It starts slow but there is lots of character development that has to happen so give it some time.

    2. Firefly – We should be able to sue someone for depriving us of this series.

    3. Star Trek TNG – my kids grew up on this series and defined Sci-fi for them.

    4. Space 1999 – Classic

    5. Battlestar Gallactica (2004) – from the first scene of the first episode I knew I’d like it.

    OK, some that I didn’t see mentioned… anyone remember a show called ‘UFO’? It was early 1970ish series. How about the animated series ‘Star Blazers’? How about the “Buck Rogers” series of the early 80’s, kind of campy like the original Battlestar Gallactica. I’m not saying that these were great shows, but I did watch them all… lol.

  28. @NickP I was overseas in the Army at that time and missed the show- so I’ve never heard of it 🙁

    IMDB “In the year 1980 the Earth is threatened by an alien race who kidnap and kill humans and use them for body parts…”

    But you got the lunchbox!!!!
    That is sooo cool 🙂

  29. @BobDeLoyd I read your message and the year 1980 struck me as wrong for the show UFO. I was in 8th grade then and using paper sacks for lunch playing D&D every lunch with my buddy’s (great days my friend, lots of good memories). I went to IMDB and they said it was released in 1970-71 for one season only. I must of got the lunch box in 3rd or 4th grade about 1976.

  30. @NickP I was in the Army in 1970 when the show was released.
    I copied that line in Quotes from IMDB that said aliens came to Earth in 1980, not the shows release.
    I think I may go see if there is any episodes floating around online 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *