With the recent success of sci-fi films on the big screen such as Looper, Elysium, Pacific Rim and Gravity, it’s easy to think that sci-fi at the cinema is undergoing a renaissance of sorts.
So where does that leave sci-fi on television? After Lost wrapped in 2010, it seems everybody (including series creator J.J. Abrams) has been trying to recapture that series’ strange mystery and almost universal appeal. Recent sci-fi shows have been hit or miss; Abrams’ short-lived Alcatraz, his lackluster Revolution and the ill-advised revival of V never gained much traction. On the other hand, Syfy’s Defiance is now a surprise hit with a second season on the way.
With the current lack of truly stand-out sci-fi shows on TV, let’s take a look at some shows of the past that you’re less likely to have heard of but are completely worth the watch.
Battlestar Galactica (2004)
This one almost didn’t make the list; of all these shows, Battlestar Galactica is probably the best known. Even so, Ron Moore’s dark space opera struggled to expand its viewership over the course of the show’s four seasons. The show featured the story of humanity’s remnants after a devastating sneak attack that destroyed each of its Twelve Colonies.
This show, more than any other, should carry a warning that reads: Hang on, it gets even weirder! The show featured the adventures of John Crichton, who joins a ragtag crew of escaped alien prisoners after accidentally creating, and traveling through, a wormhole.
Lost in Space (1965)
This one might not have aged well, but it’s still a highly underrated show. The Robinson family is stranded in an unknown part of space, and do weekly battle with chuckle-worthy alien antagonists as well as the devious Dr. Smith.