28 votes

Which sci-fi series would you recommend?

I've always enjoyed the sci-fi genre whether it's movies or television series. More specifically, I'm not a hardcore fan so that's why I'm asking. I'm sure that I've missed out on some movies or TV shows in this genre.

48 comments

  1. [9]
    skullkid2424
    Link
    Here are some of my notable favorite sci-fi series (or ones that are recommended to me a lot). In no particular order... Firefly - Cult classic. Sci-fi that feels like an old western. Only one...

    Here are some of my notable favorite sci-fi series (or ones that are recommended to me a lot). In no particular order...

    • Firefly - Cult classic. Sci-fi that feels like an old western. Only one season and one movie (Serenity).
    • The Expanse - TV series based on a book series. Currently airing.
    • Altered Carbon - TV series based on a book series. I've only read the books. Have heard the TV series differs more than a little bit.
    • Orphan Black - Haven't seen myself, but its been recommended to me.
    • Battlestar Galactica - Haven't seen myself, but its been recommended to me. IIRC theres an older version and a newer reboot. I think you want the reboot? Maybe someone else can chime in.
    • Stargate - Modern day military have a gate to other worlds.
    • Cowboy Bebop - Anime. Amazing.
    • Ghost in the Shell - Anime. The original movie focuses on a lot of philosophical elements (AI and body/soul stuff). The show hits some of those, but with some solid action.
    • Planetes - Anime. Fairly realistic from a worker perspective, rather than fantastical elements or hero journey type stuff.
    • Star Wars: Clone Wars / Rebels - more kid oriented, but fun way to explore a lot more of the Star Wars Universe.
    • Futurama - Comedy.
    • Rick and Morty - Comedy.
    • Dune - scifi mini-series. I personally really like this version. Theres a movie as well. Might be good to watch both before the Dune that is currently being produced.
    • Bladerunner - classic. Can follow up with Bladerunner 2049
    18 votes
    1. [5]
      CALICO
      Link Parent
      Essentially the list I would have written. Here's a few more I'd have added on to it: Star Trek: The Next Generation - was never really into the idea of Trek growing up, but last year a very dear...

      Essentially the list I would have written. Here's a few more I'd have added on to it:

      • Star Trek: The Next Generation - was never really into the idea of Trek growing up, but last year a very dear friend of mine insisted that TNG would be my shit. Pretty philosophical, kinda dorky in a charming way.

      • The Fifth Element - offbeat story and a surreal aesthetic. Big favorite of mine.

      • Alien - classic sci-fi/horror. Sequel is more action/sci-fi. 3, 4, 5 and Prometheus are... contentious. I like em though.

      • Interstellar - just watch it

      • The Matrix - basically mandatory

      • Ex Machina - topical, AI and what it means to be alive/human

      • The Man From Earth - brilliantly written, takes place mostly in one room. Might cross the threshold into fantasy? idk

      18 votes
      1. [4]
        mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I like this movie a lot. BUT, it bothers me that spoiler a story so grounded in hard science fiction chose an unjustified book metaphor to represent a dimension that would be, for us, absolutely...

        Interstellar - just watch it

        I like this movie a lot. BUT, it bothers me that

        spoiler

        a story so grounded in hard science fiction chose an unjustified book metaphor to represent a dimension that would be, for us, absolutely unfathomable. I much prefer the choice made by Kubrick in 2001, A Space Odyssey: to represent one abstraction with another, preserving the alien character of an inhuman reality.

        5 votes
        1. elcuello
          Link Parent
          That might be the case but to put it blunt if you're not a hardcore sci-fi enthusiast or film buff (like OP) Interstellar is WAY more accessible than 2001 which can be considered downright boring...

          That might be the case but to put it blunt if you're not a hardcore sci-fi enthusiast or film buff (like OP) Interstellar is WAY more accessible than 2001 which can be considered downright boring from this point of view.

          4 votes
        2. [2]
          CALICO
          Link Parent
          I'm alright with it, because spoiler the tesseract was artificially created by the future-humans expressly for the purpose of getting Cooper to send out the information. If Coop couldn't catch on...

          I'm alright with it, because

          spoiler the tesseract was artificially created by the future-humans expressly for the purpose of getting Cooper to send out the information. If Coop couldn't catch on to what was happening to him, he wouldn't be able to do what needed to be done.
          2 votes
          1. mrbig
            Link Parent
            That's a good point, but still... the metaphor was way too "perfect". A hyper-advanced civilization would probably have considerable trouble communicating with us. For them, we're not that...

            That's a good point, but still... the metaphor was way too "perfect". A hyper-advanced civilization would probably have considerable trouble communicating with us. For them, we're not that different from other primates. Perceiving the world in three dimensions is truly alien for them.

    2. DrStone
      Link Parent
      An excellent list. I'd also add (and may come back to add more later): Farscape - A modern American went through a wormhole and ended up with an alien ensemble cast in a living spaceship on the...

      An excellent list. I'd also add (and may come back to add more later):

      • Farscape - A modern American went through a wormhole and ended up with an alien ensemble cast in a living spaceship on the run from corrupt military. Produced by Jim Henson Entertainment. Note: It was cancelled a season early, so the main series ends on a cliffhanger. There's a followup mini-series to wrap things up.
      • Doctor Who - Scifi drama. I don't think any SciFi list can be made without it, and if you're not strictly a hard-scifi fan, there's a chance you'll like this lighter fare. Follows the exploits of The Doctor, a timelord, and his human companion traveling through space and saving things. It's been airing practically forever and they periodically completely change the cast (timelords can "regenerate" into a new body and personality), so while the whole series probably isn't everyone's cup of tea, there's usually at least one Doctor that you'll like.
      4 votes
    3. Amarok
      Link Parent
      I finally got around to watching The Expanse. It took a long time to grow on me, because the setting and subject matter go against my grain, and I was expecting a long military show with limited...

      I finally got around to watching The Expanse. It took a long time to grow on me, because the setting and subject matter go against my grain, and I was expecting a long military show with limited scope. That changed in the middle of S2, however, and where it left off at the end of S3 now has my complete attention and buy-in. It's growing up beautifully. I'm excited for S4, shit's about to get real.

      3 votes
    4. Adys
      Link Parent
      If you like Futurama and R&M I would also highly recommend Gravity Falls. It's a wonderful little scifi-paranormal show, full of humour and light-heartedness. Absolutely one of the highest quality...

      If you like Futurama and R&M I would also highly recommend Gravity Falls. It's a wonderful little scifi-paranormal show, full of humour and light-heartedness. Absolutely one of the highest quality shows I've ever watched. And it's appropriate for kids, if you have any.

      Discussed here: https://tildes.net/~tv/e2h/gravity_falls_is_awesome

      3 votes
  2. [9]
    vili
    Link
    I too love the sci-fi genre, but in my view most TV shows in the genre have tended to be pretty superficial and cheaply put together pieces of entertainment, rather than shows with more grown-up...

    I too love the sci-fi genre, but in my view most TV shows in the genre have tended to be pretty superficial and cheaply put together pieces of entertainment, rather than shows with more grown-up themes, characters and storylines that I would actually find worth watching. Fortunately, in the past 10-15 years, a couple of things have happened: the current "golden era" of television has poured money into TV productions, while films like Gravity and Interstellar have showed that there is actually an audience for (and therefore money to be found in) more serious science fiction. And so, finally in the last few years, some fairly competently put together sci-fi shows have emerged. Here are some that I can think of, in no particular order.

    Counterpart is at its heart an espionage story at the intersection of two parallel worlds which diverged in the late 80s and have been kept a closely guarded secret as the leaders of the two worlds engage in strained diplomatic relations. A talented cast led by J. K. Simmons tackles dual roles and a fairly layered plotline. Earlier this year, at the end of its second season, the show was sadly cancelled but the creators were able to wrap up the narrative quite well nonetheless. It's available on HBO at least in parts of Europe, I believe it was produced by Starz in the US.

    Dark is often called the German Stranger Things, but while there are similarities at the beginning, the show moves more towards Twin Peaks territory, particularly in its second season, while having a strong identity of its own throughout. Its a well written time travel yarn that doesn't want to hold your hand too much. The cast is perhaps a little uneven at times, but it's a minor issue. It's a Netflix series whose third and final season will likely wrap things up sometime next year.

    The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian story that explores a fairly topical theme of women's roles within male led social authoritarianism. Having left Margaret Atwood's source novel behind at the end of the first season, the second season goes off the rails a little bit as the quality of the writing takes a drop, but it's worth continuing with it, and made easier by its talented cast and direction. This one's a Hulu series and available on HBO at least in some parts of Europe.

    The Man in the High Castle is based on the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name. It imagines an alternative history where the Axis won the second world war, but as you know if you have ever encountered a PKD story before, things aren't quite what they seem. It's not a particularly deep exploration of anything, but it's really well put together entertainment and worth checking out. The show is by Amazon and will finish the story later this year in its fourth and final season.

    Ascension is a 2014 miniseries about a generational ship that launched in the 1960s to colonise Proxima Centauri. Now, some 50 years after starting its journey, issues arise on board that challenge the very core of the mission. It's a bit fluffy, but I enjoyed the show greatly when it came out as it scratched that 60s style sci-fi itch that I tend to have. It was made by Syfy and I've seen it listed on Netflix here in Europe.

    Westworld is a show that uses its premise of a theme park with android hosts to explore some quite big questions about the human condition, robotics, transhumanism and violence. The second season, I thought, dropped the ball entirely and was a major disappointment, or at least the beginning of it was as I gave up after four or so episodes. Some people seem to like it, though. The first season alone is definitely worth the ride, and I am cautiously optimistic about the upcoming third season, based on the trailers. It's an HBO production.

    Sense8 is a show that I used to jokingly describe as "what The Matrix would look like if the Wachowskis made it now", but now that at least one half of them is actually making the next Matrix film, I suppose I have to stop calling it that. In any case, it's an extremely fluffy, but well put together show by the Matrix duo that explores identity and empathy through eight characters from around the world who share a special psychic connection. There is of course conspiracy, oppression and emotional and physical challenges. The Netflix show wrapped up last year.

    Mr Robot kind of teases us by treading the line between scifi and definitely-not-scifi, but whatever you label it, at its core it's a techno thriller that looks at our data driven capitalist world and doesn't quite like what it sees. It's a USA Network show available on Amazon Prime at least where I am, and its fourth and final season will air later this year.

    Stranger Things is a show that you have most likely heard about, but I thought it worth mentioning anyway. I considered the first season a great homage to 80s light scifi (think Spielberg), the second season was still ok, and the third season was a disappointing example of writers running out of things to write about.

    Les Revenants is a French show about a small town where previously dead people start mysteriously reappearing, after which other odd things also begin to happen. The show's two seasons aired in 2012 and 2015. It was remade in the US as The Returned, but I hear you should stick with the original French one. I've sometimes seen it on Netflix here in Europe.

    Extant is a show starring Halle Berry, who plays the role of an astronaut whose return home is complicated by something that happened to her while in space, as well as her relationship with her husband and their android son. It has a talented cast, was executive produced by Steven Spielberg and got cancelled in 2014 after two seasons. I seem to remember that the storyline wasn't quite wrapped up, but it was an enjoyable ride while it lasted. Extant is among the fluffier shows on this list, but Halle Berry in particular brings it a level of gravitas. It was a CBS show but I don't know where to catch it now.

    10 votes
    1. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I don't even bother with most sci-fi movies for this very reason. Most sci-fi movies use the science fiction only as a way of creating an alien menace or technological disaster that has to be...

      most TV shows in the genre have tended to be pretty superficial and cheaply put together pieces of entertainment, rather than shows with more grown-up themes, characters and storylines that I would actually find worth watching.

      I don't even bother with most sci-fi movies for this very reason. Most sci-fi movies use the science fiction only as a way of creating an alien menace or technological disaster that has to be fought and defeated. They're mostly just action movies in disguise.

      5 votes
    2. Amarok
      Link Parent
      I'll second that. As much as I love Farscape, it's pure popcorn. I much prefer the shows that have a large ensemble cast of deep, interesting characters, rich history, and deal with multiple adult...

      I too love the sci-fi genre, but in my view most TV shows in the genre have tended to be pretty superficial and cheaply put together pieces of entertainment, rather than shows with more grown-up themes, characters and storylines that I would actually find worth watching.

      I'll second that. As much as I love Farscape, it's pure popcorn. I much prefer the shows that have a large ensemble cast of deep, interesting characters, rich history, and deal with multiple adult themes. Having a series-long story arc is the icing on that cake.

      I'm definitely going to be checking out this list, thanks for the recommendations. Several of your picks are completely new to me. I'll second the plug for Ascension too, that did not go where I thought it was going to go at all.

      3 votes
    3. [5]
      elcuello
      Link Parent
      This is my main gripe too and people who recommend show/movies in threads like this seems to get entailed in nostalgia and fond childhood memories which I understand completely but still makes it...

      I too love the sci-fi genre, but in my view most TV shows in the genre have tended to be pretty superficial and cheaply put together pieces of entertainment, rather than shows with more grown-up themes, characters and storylines that I would actually find worth watching.

      This is my main gripe too and people who recommend show/movies in threads like this seems to get entailed in nostalgia and fond childhood memories which I understand completely but still makes it a bad recommendation for me. But thanks for your recommendations. I've seen half of it and the rest seems interesting.

      1 vote
      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Well, most people who ask for recommendations don't give us much to go on. They usually don't share their personal tastes & preferences so that we can recommend shows to suit them. We can...

        people who recommend show/movies in threads like this seems to get entailed in nostalgia and fond childhood memories which I understand completely but still makes it a bad recommendation for me.

        Well, most people who ask for recommendations don't give us much to go on. They usually don't share their personal tastes & preferences so that we can recommend shows to suit them. We can therefore only recommend the shows we like for the reasons that we like them. And we are often nostalgic about shows we like.

        3 votes
      2. [3]
        vili
        Link Parent
        Since we seem to share a taste in these things, if there are any shows in the genre that you liked and I haven't mentioned above, I'm all ears. All things considered, I must say the last few years...

        I've seen half of it and the rest seems interesting.

        Since we seem to share a taste in these things, if there are any shows in the genre that you liked and I haven't mentioned above, I'm all ears.

        All things considered, I must say the last few years have been pretty decent in terms of scifi shows. And with talk about upcoming TV adaptations including Frederik Pohl's Gateway, Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, Isaac Asimov's Foundation, Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Larry Niven's Ringworld, Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash and (somewhat off-genre I suppose) Neil Gaiman's Sandman, I'm cautiously looking forward to the next group of titles to take over the small screen.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          elcuello
          Link Parent
          That sounds like something great might be coming in the future. Well, just off the top of my head I would say the BBC show Years and years. Not sci-fi per se but a grim and very realistic view...

          That sounds like something great might be coming in the future. Well, just off the top of my head I would say the BBC show Years and years. Not sci-fi per se but a grim and very realistic view into the future. I real feel-bad show and I love that.

          1 vote
          1. vili
            Link Parent
            Thanks, looks interesting! I'll definitely take a look.

            Years and years

            Thanks, looks interesting! I'll definitely take a look.

            1 vote
    4. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      Ascension looks interesting. I also have a "60s style sci-fi itch". I'll have to keep an eye out for this!

      Ascension looks interesting. I also have a "60s style sci-fi itch". I'll have to keep an eye out for this!

  3. [8]
    Amarok
    Link
    Babylon 5. (spoiler free overview) If you haven't seen it, you may as well start with the second best show in television behind Breaking Bad. All you have to do to find out if you'll like it or...

    Babylon 5. (spoiler free overview)

    If you haven't seen it, you may as well start with the second best show in television behind Breaking Bad. All you have to do to find out if you'll like it or not is watch one of the many movies in this franchise - In The Beginning. If nothing in that grabs you at all, the rest of the show probably won't either. If you do watch, use the lurker's guide to get the episode and movie order right, since a lot of it was aired out of order. In The Beginning is technically the 'first' episode despite bring made during season 3/4.

    It's in widescreen 16:9 but it's not in HD and there is no remastered version. Unless certain rights change hands, there won't be any reboot or remaster, either - what's out there is all we get, just like episodes of old Who. If you watch Babylon 5 on your phone or a tablet, the size reduction actually solves the bad CGI problem - that tiny screen is smaller than the 90s television sets it was rendered for. Sharpens it right up.

    12 votes
    1. [7]
      CharlieConway
      Link Parent
      I recommend Babylon 5 too. If you're in the US the full series is included with Amazon Prime but the episodes are ordered as aired so please use that lurker's guide Amarok linked to! The Movies...

      If you do watch, use the lurker's guide to get the episode and movie order right, since a lot of it was aired out of order.

      I recommend Babylon 5 too. If you're in the US the full series is included with Amazon Prime but the episodes are ordered as aired so please use that lurker's guide Amarok linked to! The Movies aren't available to stream for free but all six can be purchased for about $14 on prime video, IIRC.

      3 votes
      1. [6]
        Amarok
        Link Parent
        As for the movies, only In The Beginning and the old pilot The Gathering are necessary for B5's main story - both should be watched before starting S1. The rest of them are one-off romps that...

        As for the movies, only In The Beginning and the old pilot The Gathering are necessary for B5's main story - both should be watched before starting S1. The rest of them are one-off romps that don't have much impact on the story arcs at all.

        2 votes
        1. [5]
          suspended
          Link Parent
          Should I watch The Beginning first or The Gathering first? Also, I may be able to 'upscale' both of these to HD if you're interested.

          Should I watch The Beginning first or The Gathering first? Also, I may be able to 'upscale' both of these to HD if you're interested.

          1. [4]
            Amarok
            Link Parent
            Watch In The Beginning first for sure. It sets the tone of the entire story, gives you a taste of the scope of it all. The only major difference between starting there and with The Gathering is...

            Watch In The Beginning first for sure. It sets the tone of the entire story, gives you a taste of the scope of it all. The only major difference between starting there and with The Gathering is that you'll know why B5 exists and something about one mystery that is answered at the beginning of S2.

            The Gathering is the original pilot that follows naturally from In The Beginning. There are some actor and makeup/costume changes between that and S1E1, but minor arcs in that pilot come up again as late as S5. The pilot is the only ep/movie that's in 4:3. I should warn you that S1 is rougher than the rest (low budget) and more episodic since it's introducing the characters. S2-4 are a tour de force. S5 is the denouement.

            1. [3]
              suspended
              Link Parent
              Thank you very much! If you are still interested, then I would be willing to deliver the best HD copies of these two for you.

              Thank you very much! If you are still interested, then I would be willing to deliver the best HD copies of these two for you.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                Amarok
                Link Parent
                I've already got some rips the fans made and cleaned up that are better than my old box set rips, so I don't think I need them. What I need someday is a full digital remaster of this show with...

                I've already got some rips the fans made and cleaned up that are better than my old box set rips, so I don't think I need them. What I need someday is a full digital remaster of this show with newly minted special effects on blu-ray. :D

                1 vote
                1. suspended
                  Link Parent
                  That would be incredible! :::crosses fingers:::

                  What I need someday is a full digital remaster of this show with newly minted special effects on blu-ray.

                  That would be incredible! :::crosses fingers:::

  4. mrbig
    Link
    Battlestar Galactica is really awesome. Probably the best space opera in television history. If you have some patience for old stuff, the Star Trek franchise can be a great source of joy. I can...
    • Battlestar Galactica is really awesome. Probably the best space opera in television history.

    • If you have some patience for old stuff, the Star Trek franchise can be a great source of joy. I can tell you the same about The Twilight Zone. Not all episodes are science fiction, but since it's an anthology series you can just pick and choose.

    • The X Files is a beautiful relic of the 90s, and the new seasons are pretty great. Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, is one of the main writers.

    6 votes
  5. deknalis
    Link
    In addition to all the other great recommendations here, Godzilla- I'm not an expert on the franchise by any means, but my favorite in the series remain the 1954 original and 2016's Shin Godzilla....

    In addition to all the other great recommendations here,
    Godzilla- I'm not an expert on the franchise by any means, but my favorite in the series remain the 1954 original and 2016's Shin Godzilla. They are the ones that I think most succeed at portraying Godzilla as an animal, particularly Shin, where he just seems like a tortured creature just grappling with the pain of his own existence.
    Mad Max- The first one is slower than someone might think given the reputation of the series, particularly of Fury Road and Road Warrior, but I think there's something worthwhile in all of them. My favorite of them is Mad Max: Fury Road, which I think is one of the finest action movies ever created. It looks great, its ideas aren't particularly complex but they are executed in a sophisticated manner.
    Her- While so much of sci-fi explores its ideas in the allegorical and metaphorical sense, Her seems to be pre-emptively examining an inevitable future. Granted the ideas in play are designed to apply to our world in allegorical and metaphorical themes, but its sci-fi world is one of the most believable I've seen in a movie, from its depiction of AI and future phones/computers/video games to the subtle changes in fashion trends and architectural development.

    6 votes
  6. acdw
    Link
    One that's on Netflix that I haven't seen on here is Love, Death and Robots -- a series of short animated sci-fi films. Some are better than others, but they're all pretty interesting and worth a...

    One that's on Netflix that I haven't seen on here is Love, Death and Robots -- a series of short animated sci-fi films. Some are better than others, but they're all pretty interesting and worth a watch.

    Galaxy Quest is one of my favorite sci-fi movies, in part because it's a satire of sci-fi (especially Star Trek) tropes -- in fact, it's been sort-of accepted into the Star Trek universe.

    I'm also going to include Adventure Time as sci-fi, though it's sort of fantasy/sci-fi, but it's (a) really good and (b) picks up more science fiction elements as it goes along. I'd say the same for Steven Universe, but honestly I just love a good cartoon.

    EDIT: I know you didn't mention books, but if you're in the mood for some reading, I can't recommend Fifth Season and its sequels enough -- really incredible science fiction writing. Also sort of riding that line with fantasy. But allegedly someone has bought the TV rights to it, so hopefully there'll be a show soon.

    6 votes
  7. [5]
    balooga
    Link
    There are a lot of good recommendations in here already, but here are three I was surprised to see no one had mentioned: Black Mirror - A rather grimdark modern take on the Twilight Zone format....

    There are a lot of good recommendations in here already, but here are three I was surprised to see no one had mentioned:

    • Black Mirror - A rather grimdark modern take on the Twilight Zone format. Each episode is a standalone story. Concepts are typically near-future extrapolations of current tech trends, taken to plausible next steps. It's a realistic, dystopian take on the internet-age, many episodes should be considered instructive. I would caution against trying to binge-watch this one, it'll hit you like a load of bricks. Also probably just skip the first episode and maybe come back to it later.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space 9 - @CALICO mentioned The Next Generation, which is the proper series to start with. But after you've grown comfortable with Picard and his idealistic crew, DS9 will show you what happens when the Federation's values are put to the test by an existential threat from the other side of the galaxy. This series is not episodic like TNG (though some episodes don't really affect the longer story arc). Similar to TNG, it doesn't really get good until season 3 — and you can probably skip the last season, too. But when it's good, it's very good.
    • The Orville - Seth MacFarlane's underappreciated Star Trek homage. It's fairly comedic but it's not a spoof, and it's not Family Guy in space. The first half of the first season had some tonal issues but it's gotten a lot better since then. There's been a lot of effort put into character development and world building. The VFX are way better than a Fox series' ought to be. It's not a perfect replacement for '90s era Trek but personally I think it's a better successor than Enterprise and Discovery.
    5 votes
    1. [2]
      Sahasrahla
      Link Parent
      I can definitely second this. One thing I especially like about The Orville is it's one of the only science fiction shows today (perhaps the only one; can't think of any others off the top of my...

      The Orville

      I can definitely second this. One thing I especially like about The Orville is it's one of the only science fiction shows today (perhaps the only one; can't think of any others off the top of my head) that shows an optimistic, and more importantly aspirational, view of the future. People and society still face challenges but there's this idea that we can do better and we can be better. That's very much in the spirit of the TNG era Star Trek shows and it's something that's missing from a lot of science fiction today; pick just about any show or movie now and you'll find the imagined futures of our society are filled with corporate dystopias and environmental devastation. Sometimes it's nice to have stories that share the view that we can face the challenges of our time.

      Similar to TNG, [DS9] doesn't really get good until season 3

      Definitely worth mentioning though that there are some standout episodes in the early seasons. The pilot is actually pretty strong and Duet (season 1 episode 19) is one of the best in the series.

      3 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Not only that, but one of the reasons people say the show is good from Season 3 onwards is because the characters are well developed by that point - and they've been developed in the "bad"...

        Similar to TNG, [DS9] doesn't really get good until season 3

        Definitely worth mentioning though that there are some standout episodes in the early seasons. The pilot is actually pretty strong and Duet (season 1 episode 19) is one of the best in the series.

        Not only that, but one of the reasons people say the show is good from Season 3 onwards is because the characters are well developed by that point - and they've been developed in the "bad" episodes in the first two seasons. If you skip too much of the first two seasons, you'll miss a lot of important and valuable character development.

        If anyone's interested, I wrote an episode guide for DS9 to identify which episodes must be watched and which are worth skipping. (It's personal and subjective, of course. I've listed the supposed worst episode of the show as worth watching "just for fun" because I think it's fun.)

        4 votes
    2. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I've been watching The Orville and enjoying it. You're right (as is everyone else who has said this) about the tonal issues in the first half of the first season. The fratboy humour from the...

      I've been watching The Orville and enjoying it. You're right (as is everyone else who has said this) about the tonal issues in the first half of the first season. The fratboy humour from the helmsman and his sidekick is just grating. But, apart from those moments, the show is good. It's so much like like Star Trek's The Next Generation that I'm surprised CBS hasn't sued Seth McFarlane for plagiarism! Like 'Galaxy Quest' before it, it's an homage to Star Trek that really loves its source material.

      2 votes
    3. tomf
      Link Parent
      I'm going through most of DS9. I don't like it... but I want to like it... and I think it's important to watch. I've got a list of 'essential episodes' that some irc buds have added to. I think...

      I'm going through most of DS9. I don't like it... but I want to like it... and I think it's important to watch. I've got a list of 'essential episodes' that some irc buds have added to. I think I'm skipping about 50 episodes.

      Your description is great. I'm still in S02, but it seems that everybody agrees that it really finds its voice / direction in S03 on.

      The amount of makeup and main set in this series is unbelievable. It's a shame it won't ever get the cash-burning remastering that TNG had.

      1 vote
  8. [2]
    DanBC
    Link
    Humans is pretty good about robots with AI. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4122068/ it's a heavily modified remake of the Swedish Äkta människor (Real Humans) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2180271/...

    Humans is pretty good about robots with AI. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4122068/ it's a heavily modified remake of the Swedish Äkta människor (Real Humans) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2180271/

    Years and Years is another British series - only 6 episodes - about the near future and a populist politician. It's pretty good. Emma Thompson is amazing in it, and there's a bunch of other great British actors. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8694364/

    3 votes
    1. bbvnvlt
      Link Parent
      +1 on Years and Years ! The first two episodes made us wish we weren't just about to have a kid. Bleak, but oh so plausible. The world goes to shit in a manner beautifully extrapolated from the...

      +1 on Years and Years !

      The first two episodes made us wish we weren't just about to have a kid. Bleak, but oh so plausible. The world goes to shit in a manner beautifully extrapolated from the current situation. The focus turns more local and towards the the main characters (an extended family) in the later episodes. The only really unplausible thing is all these elements of living and being human in a world that's coming apart are concentrated in a single family, but you have to grant a series one far-fetched premiss for creating a gripping story (ignoring the final scene, which went a bit too far for me given the timeframe of the series, but that's a detail).

      Great acting, wonderful characters, subtle but influential tech developments (a la Black Mirror), non-US with an global backdrop story. I don't understand why this series seems to be so little known.

      1 vote
  9. [6]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I’ll start with the obligatory recommendation of Star Trek. There’s a whole suite of series under this banner, and you’re almost assured of finding something you’ll like. My personal favourites...

    I’ll start with the obligatory recommendation of Star Trek. There’s a whole suite of series under this banner, and you’re almost assured of finding something you’ll like. My personal favourites are The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

    The reboot of Battlestar Galactica was very well done. It’s gripping and well written and focussed on the human condition, despite (or because) the main antagonists being humanoid robots (Cylons). The final group of surviving humans (only about 40,000 people) are on the run after the Cylons destroyed their 12 colonies. It’s gritty and dark and real. The ending went strange, but the first 3 seasons are worth watching.

    Sliders has an interesting premise: what if you could “slide” into parallel dimensions, where you’re still you and the Earth is still the Earth but everything else is different (my paraphrase of the lines in the opening credits). It’s an investigation of alternate realities: what if the USSR invaded the USA; what if the USA lost the War of Independence; what if academics was celebrated in the same way as athletics; what if women were the dominant sex; and so on. The show is good until about midway through the third season (specifically, the two-part episode ‘Exodus’ is the last one worth watching, because… reasons).

    Heroes had a brilliant first season. It’s about people who discover they have superpowers, and they have to “save the cheerleader, save the world”. Unfortunately, it went off the rails in the second season. This was partly because it coincided with a writers’ strike, but also because the creator took a different approach. But that first season is definitely worth watching.

    I like Alien Nation. There was a tele-movie, and then one season of episodes. The premise is that a shipload of humanoid alien refugees lands on Earth and seeks asylum. It’s a metaphor for the migrant experience of being a foreigner trying to adapt to a new culture, with great big dollops of racism speciesism thrown in. It’s written as a police procedural (the two main characters are police detectives: one human and one alien), but it’s so much more than that. Most of the crimes are alien-based, which means each crime is a way of exploring the aliens and their culture. There’s also a thread of light humour running through the show which makes it better.

    A current show I’m watching is Humans, about humanoid robots being used as domestic help. A handful of these robots are self-conscious. How did that handful become conscious? What happens when we enslave conscious beings? What would happen if all the robots became conscious? It’s a great philosophical study of consciousness and ethics – with lots of humanity and emotion thrown in.

    On the lighter side, I recommend:

    • Futurama, an animated comedy series about a man from the year 2000 who finds himself in the year 3000.

    • Third Rock From the Sun, a sitcom about a group of aliens who masquerade as a “normal” family to observe humans.

    • The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, a six-part comedy television series based on the original radio series that started it all. A poor hapless Earthling gets rescued on the day the Earth gets destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, and finds himself encountering all manner of aliens and environments – while still in his pyjamas. It’s low-budget and clunky, but fun.

    3 votes
    1. [5]
      moocow1452
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Edit: I'm not 100% sure that Heroes season 1 was good. For me, it doesn't hold up on rewatch, but I don't know if it's because the Season itself is crap, or everything the season is building up to...

      Heroes had a brilliant first season. It’s about people who discover they have superpowers, and they have to “save the cheerleader, save the world”. Unfortunately, it went off the rails in the second season. This was partly because it coincided with a writers’ strike, but also because the creator took a different approach. But that first season is definitely worth watching.

      Edit: I'm not 100% sure that Heroes season 1 was good. For me, it doesn't hold up on rewatch, but I don't know if it's because the Season itself is crap, or everything the season is building up to is crap.

      1. [4]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Huh? Did you miss a word or add a word? I can't work out what this means.

        because I know that they have no clue is where it's going.

        Huh? Did you miss a word or add a word? I can't work out what this means.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          moocow1452
          Link Parent
          Probably. I was trying to say that the writers had no idea where the show was going, so I don't know if I liked Season 1 because I just was into the hype cycle, or if Season 1 was good, but I...

          Probably.

          I was trying to say that the writers had no idea where the show was going, so I don't know if I liked Season 1 because I just was into the hype cycle, or if Season 1 was good, but I can't enjoy it because everything it is building to is crap.

          1. [2]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            Really? I had the impression they'd planned the whole first season out from the start. The "save the cheerleader, save the world" line was dropped in to the show fairly early on, so it seems the...

            I was trying to say that the writers had no idea where the show was going

            Really? I had the impression they'd planned the whole first season out from the start. The "save the cheerleader, save the world" line was dropped in to the show fairly early on, so it seems the writers knew what the climax was going to be right from the start.

            The producers were surprised by a writers' strike in the second season, so they had to dump half of what they had planned for that season. Also, I heard rumours that the creator wanted to focus on a different group of people each season, but the network insisted the show retain the same characters from the first season because that's what people liked - so the second season's plans had to be changed.

            I know I was one of the many people who stopped watching during the second season. That arc with Hiro in ancient Japan was slow and wrong, and the rest of the season felt confused and rushed.

            But the first season itself was clearly headed to a known resolution, and the journey to that resolution was done well.

            2 votes
            1. moocow1452
              Link Parent
              Maybe for that one season they had a copy of Days of Future's Past a plan, but they were never really able to recover, and showed no sign that they had anything in the tank even if they stuck to...

              Maybe for that one season they had a copy of Days of Future's Past a plan, but they were never really able to recover, and showed no sign that they had anything in the tank even if they stuck to their original plan. Heck, when they brought the show back as Heroes Reborn, used the same shortcuts, fell back on the same writing hacks, and triggered the same traps, and they had YEARS to figure out what they wanted to do with the world of Heroes. So, if they had a plan for year one, they had no follow up, and they should have either taken a bow, or gone with something other than "the same but more."

              1 vote
  10. [3]
    tomf
    Link
    The standards for television have been covered, but here are two more 11.22.63 (2016) Other Space (2015) Other Space is goofy, but fun. 11.22.63 is a Stephen King novel with time travel -- not...

    The standards for television have been covered, but here are two more

    Other Space is goofy, but fun. 11.22.63 is a Stephen King novel with time travel -- not hard sci-fi by any stretch, but enjoyable.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      arghdos
      Link Parent
      Good call on Other Space, that was a lot of fun for the time it lasted

      Good call on Other Space, that was a lot of fun for the time it lasted

      2 votes
      1. tomf
        Link Parent
        I think we're two of the dozen people who actually watched it. It's a shame it went unnoticed.

        I think we're two of the dozen people who actually watched it. It's a shame it went unnoticed.

        2 votes
  11. sebs
    Link
    Fringe: It's a tv series similar to X-Files but less dark. John Noble is incredible in this show. The first season is a little rough but seasons 2, 3 and 4 are solid. Season 5 (finale) has a very...

    Fringe: It's a tv series similar to X-Files but less dark. John Noble is incredible in this show. The first season is a little rough but seasons 2, 3 and 4 are solid. Season 5 (finale) has a very different tone because it was canceled but they give them half a season to get the plot to a conclusion and they have to rush it. They ended it... satisfactorily. Very entertaining, highly recommended.

    I recommend that you go watch the first 4 episodes without learning too much about it and see if this peaks your interest. If it does, don't try to learn anything else about this show and continue to watch it blindly because everything could be a potential spoiler.

    2 votes
  12. jrib
    Link
    I really enjoyed The Outer Limits remake from 1995-2002. It's an anthology type series like the Twilight Zone or Black Mirror but more science-fiction focused. Most of the episodes are...

    I really enjoyed The Outer Limits remake from 1995-2002. It's an anthology type series like the Twilight Zone or Black Mirror but more science-fiction focused. Most of the episodes are self-contained but there are a few running themes that resurface every now and then. It's on hulu.

    2 votes
  13. Pontifier
    Link
    I second almost everything mentioned here, but here are a few I've enjoyed that haven't been mentioned yet: Blame! Chappie Primer Trancendence Passengers

    I second almost everything mentioned here, but here are a few I've enjoyed that haven't been mentioned yet:

    Blame!
    Chappie
    Primer
    Trancendence
    Passengers

    1 vote