Sci-fi is TV genre that never goes out of style. There's no time like the present to rank the best sci-fi TV shows ever made (And, no, "Earth 2" isn't one of them.)
29. 'Roswell' (1999 - 2002)
With help from pre-"attlestar Galactica" writer Ron Moore, this "aliens among us" teen soap from The WB managed to hit more than miss with its sci-fi storylines. And that opening title song from Dido is damn catchy.
28. 'Lost In Space' (1965 - 1968)
"Danger, Will Robinson -- Danger!" And that's about all anyone really remembers about this campy 60s classic. But it, and the robot that uttered it, gave the show's legacy an iconic quality.
27. 'Amazing Stories' (1985)
The Twilight Zone," with most episodes falling somewhere, tonally, in line with Spielberg's "Kick the Can" installment of the "Zone" movie from the '80s. Few episodes of the show hold up more than 30 years later, but the ones that do (pictured) are truly worth revisiting.
26. 'Stargate SG-1' (1997 - 2007)
The Sci-Fi Channel's flagship show for most of its ten season run, "SG-1" took a guilty pleasure movie from the '90s and turned it into a TV franchise with -- at times -- compelling storylines in between lots of (low-budget) sci-fi action. MacGyver."
25. 'Quantum Leap' (1989 - 1993)
"Oh boy." Thanks to an accident (or God, depending on your feelings about the series finale) with the Quantum Leap accelerator, Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) stepped into the glorified fog machine and vanished. With a swiss cheese'd memory and a really horny hologram named Al (the great Dean Stockwell), Sam pinballs across time to right wrongs. While some of his trips fail to hold up as well as others, the show's emotional resonance and relatable premise - who wouldn't want a second chance to fix their life? -- more than make-up for the hit-or-miss storytelling.
24. 'Star Trek Enterprise' (2001 - 2005)
Don't listen to fans who crap all over this lesser-Trek effort. It's a solid show, especially in Seasons 3 and 4 -- which go full "Trek" for the fans. Scott Bakula is a likable, but stiff, Captain in charge of the first starship to bear the name Enterprise. His missions range from surviving a Vulcan zombies attack (so cool) to battling the moral and racial fallout of seeking new life and new civilizations when Earth-based purists resort to terrorism to preserve a Humans-only way of life. This is heady, and exciting, stuff. If you haven't given this series a chance, stream it now on Netflix.
23. 'The 100' (2014 - Present)
Holy sh**, this show. With elements of "Lost" and "Hunger Games" and other survivalist-based sci-fi thrown into the mix, "The 100" is one of network TV's most underrated shows currently on the air. Tired of missing out on all those conversations at work about how good the show is? Fix that.
22. 'Farscape' (1999 - 2003)
The Jim Henson Company produced this space-set series, and its fiercely-loyal fanbase that have elevated it to cult status. "Farscape" will forever be that underrated show you say you will watch, but only get as far as adding it your queue. Next time, press play and binge.
21. 'Orphan Black' (2013 - Present)
The first season of this cult-fav is pure polish. The subsequent seasons... not so much. Despite recent episodes being hit or (mostly) miss, Tatiana Maslany's performance(s) as various clones with unique personalities is one of the best things to happen to TV in years.
20. 'Red Dwarf' (1988 - Present)
This UK show is as cult-y as you get. It's unique and effective mix of comedy and sci-fi is a hard blend to pull off, but the show has been doing it successfully for almost 30 years. So what is the show about? Watch it.
19. 'The Flash' (2014 - Present)
Gorilla Grodd, sentient tech from the future and time travel. And that's just in the first season. This ballsy, entertaining CW series is one of the best comic book adaptations in the history of always. And Grant Gustin is insanely likable as The Fastest Man Alive. If you're not watching this soon-to-be modern classic, then you're some type of wrong person.
18. 'Babylon 5' (1994 -1998, 2000)
The spotty, early CG effects aside, "Babylon 5" went to the dark, morally-questionable places that most shows tiptoed around. It's character-driven storytelling never faltered, especially during the more convoluted arcs provided by the series' building mythology. This '90s sci-fi show aired at the same time of "Deep Space Nine," and while the latter won over more audiences and wide acclaim, attention still must be paid to the former and its wartime space drama.
17. 'Star Trek: Voyager' (1995 - 2001)
The first "Trek" with a female captain at the helm never found a way to fully honor its inspired premise, which centers on two conflicting crews forced to work together when their starship is sent 75,000 light years away from Earth. "Voyager" always seemed to re-pilot itself weekly in terms of finding ways to click with audiences, to establish an identity outside of being another "Trek" show. Minus key episodes like the "Year of Hell" two-parter and several arcs from the Seven of Nine years, "Voyager" played it too safe. It earned a popular place in fandom, but at a narrative cost.
16. 'V: The Miniseries' (1983)
Skip the ABC remake, and the '80s TV series based on this miniseries. Instead, check out the then-impressive special effects of this '80s classic that's basically "Independence Day" but with lizard-faced aliens invading Earth for our water. Don't worry, the Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer, is on the case. Armed with a badass lazer pistol.
15. 'Black Mirror' (2011 - Present)
"Twilight Zone" for the iPhone set, "Black Mirror" is scary-good allegorical storytelling often wrapped in pitch-black, high-concept genre ideas that poke and prod at the messiness of being human. From exploring the consequences of having a chip that records everything you say and do has on a troubled romance, to using one's social media profile as means to reincarnate lost loved ones, this limited series is full of "wish-I-thought-of-that" stories executed with near-perfection.
14. 'Torchwood: Children of Earth' (2009)
Forget the failed "Miracle Day" revival on Starz. And as much as we love key episodes from the show's initial run, "Torchwood's" finest hours are in this five-parter. An alien race uses the world's children to herald its return with the creepiest chant ever -- "We. Are. Coming." From there, Team Torchwood is shot at and detonated before they can do what they do best: Save the world from impending extraterrestrial doom. What Species 456 wants, and how they plan to get it, elevates "Earth" to "Best Sci-Fi of the Last Decade" status.
13. 'Fringe' (2008 - 2013)
Gotta respect the sh** out of a show with a crazy scientist for a main character who keeps a pet cow. "Fringe" went to some very cool, if not exactly accessible, places within sci-fi. Time travel, alternative realities and freaks-of-the-weeks fueled many of this serialized show's finest episodes. Must watch.
12. 'Futurama' (1999 - 2013)
This cult-fav refused to die, getting called back into service for a series of DVD films and a run on Comedy Central after FOX cancelled it. Matt Groening and David X. Cohen create a dense and entertaining series that is beautifully-animated and full of quotable lines -- the stuff that packs Comic-Con with intensely loyal fans.
11. 'The Outer Limits' (1995 - 2002)
Both the original and early 2000's remake deliver quality parables and chilling stories wrapped in genre conventions. Don't listen to naysayers: It's not the poor man's "Twilight Zone." In fact, some episodes rival "Zone's" in terms of quality.
10. 'Lost' (2004 - 2010)
"Lost" has one of the best pilots ever made, and one of the most disappointing series finales. In between, this popular series followed the surviving passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 as they braved polar bears, Others, time travel and one murder-fueled Smoke Monster. While the series failed to tie up all of its mythology's loose ends, it (mostly) delivered on finding earned endings to characters touched by that mythology. Don't believe us? We defy you not to cry all over again during the Season 3 event pictured here.
9. 'Firefly' (2003)
"Shiny." Browncoats everywhere have embraced arguably the most wholly satisfying genre storytelling Joss Whedon has ever done. The worst thing about this sci-fi western is that it only ran for one season.
8. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1997 - 2003)
Another Whedonverse classic, "Buffy" juggled deep pathos and relatable characters with all the kick-punching. The end result? A funny, intense and scary series about balancing the responsibilities of being a slayer with the challenges of being a teen. And yes, "The Body" is still just as great now as when you first watched it.
7. 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' (1987 - 1994)
The first-ever, first-run syndicated TV hit, "TNG" proved that there is life beyond Kirk and Spock. Captain Picard's missions were more stiff than than the original crew's adventures, but they were also more emotionally satisfying on some levels, especially during Seasons Three and Four. "The Best of Both Worlds" two-parter, which put the show on the map, is still one of the best hours of television ever conceived.
6. 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' (1993 - 1999)
Like "Next Generation" before it, "DS9" struggled to find its creative footing during its first two seasons before settling into rich, serialized storytelling about a space station that's a Runabout trip away from a wormhole to another quadrant of the galaxy. What the crew of DS9 found were tests of faith, great loss and one hell of a galactic conflict with the Dominion -- one of the best baddies in "Trek" history. It may not be as popular as "TNG," but the darker "DS9" is the more narratively consistent effort.
5. 'Doctor Who' (2005 - Present)
Having started in the '60s, but having found nearly mainstream status in recent years, "Doctor Who" has television's most perfect concept when it comes to producing an endless engine of stories. It centers on a time traveller who can go anywhere, any when, and when he dies (or the actor wants to move on) he can "Regenerate" into a new face and start the timey, wimey journey all over again. Yes, some of the production values border on laughably cheap. But the show's passionate, poetic, and emotionally "I can't even" storytelling are some of the richest that the genre has ever seen.
4. 'The X-Files' (1993 - 2002)
Mulder and Scully. Scully and Mulder. These now-iconic Feds searching for the very out there truth headlined the type of serialized storytelling that wasn't as popular then as it is now. The latter seasons are messy, uneven affairs, but Seasons 2 through 5 of this fan-favorite hold up crazy-good. Let's hope the revival is worthy of carrying on the flashlight, er, mantle.
3. 'Battlestar Galactica' (2004 - 2009)
"Trek" scribe Ronald D. Moore took this kitchy title from the '70s and made it a legit drama, full of rich characters and high-emotional stakes. Gone is the rose-colored view of a Trek-ian future and its tech. In its place, is a gritty, creaky battleship -- on the eve of being decommissioned -- when the evil Cylons launch a nuclear holocaust on humanity. The fallout of the attack fuels nearly five seasons worth of either great or really good episodic television. The polarizing finale aside, "BSG" is the rare remake that improves upon the original.
2. 'Star Trek: The Original Series' (1966 - 1969)
The first show to ever have a second pilot commissioned after a less-than-enticing first, "Star Trek" was defying expectations and breaking the mold from jump street. A ship packed with racially-diverse crew, and one pointy-eared Vulcan, was then considered risque -- as were the show's button-pushing storylines that were often allegories about racism and war. There would be no billion dollar franchise today, no "Star Wars," or any other space-set TV show without "TOS" first paving the way for others to boldly go in their wake. Its iconic legacy and characters have a permanent berth in pop-culture.
1. 'The Twilight Zone' (1959 - 1964)
"Zone" and its anthology of allegorical storytelling is often imitated but in ways that never come close to being as satisfying as Rod Serling's classic tale, one that guided audiences along through a dimension of sight and sound with truly chilling episodes. Less reading, more watching (or re-watching) of this powerful, perfect show.