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Fun Friday–Favorite SciFi Movies/TV Series

Friday, August 22, 2008

I forgot to add this last night before posting: Krista Phillips is the winner of this week’s drawing for the 25-page critique. Congratulations, Krista!


“Sometimes I think we’re alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we’re not. In either case the idea is quite staggering.”
~Arthur C. Clarke

Not every science fiction movie/TV series is about aliens, nor do they all have futuristic/space-faring settings. I had to expand this to include TV series as well as movies, because some of my favorite SciFi started out on television.

I will admit that I’m not a huge SciFi fan, and I know that there are purists who’ll completely disagree with what I have on my list. I don’t claim they’re the best in the genre, they’re just my favorites.

5. Men in Black (1997, Amblin Entertainment/Columbia)
Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, and Vincent d’Onofrio. This is a SciFi movie for even confirmed alien-film haters. Jones and Smith play so well off of each other, and Vincent d’Onofrio, better known for his role as the slightly unstable police detective Robert Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, gets to show his comedic acting chops as the alien “bug” they’re chasing all over New York.

4. Jurassic Park (1993, Universal Pictures)
Directed by Steven Spielberg and based (loosely) on the novel by Michael Crichton, starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sir Richard Attenborough, and Samuel L. Jackson. I went to see this movie several times when it first came out. John Williams’s brilliant score aside (which is not the music in this trailer), this movie set the bar for computer generated graphics for years to come. No, it doesn’t follow the book as closely as it should. But the film is wonderful enough to forgive it for those deviations.

3. Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Star Trek: Voyager (1987–2001, Paramount). Yes, I admit it, I’m a Trekkie (I’ve actually been to some conventions—no, I did not dress up!). I’ve listed all three series under one entry because for me, these are all part of each other. Though there were some not-so-great episodes in each series (and some not-so-great seasons in DS9 and Voyager), I watched every single episode and will still watch them in reruns on the SciFi channel, even though I can practically quote some of them word for word. I will say that I didn’t like the final season of DS9 (after Jadzia Dax died) and Voyager got off to a slow start, but once Seven of Nine showed up, the show got better and better—and the Voyager final episode is the best, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t really care for the original series—mostly because William Shatner annoys me. The last series, Enterprise, was good in that it brought Scott Bakula back to the screen and introduced a few new actors, but the timing was wrong for it. Of the movies, First Contact is my favorite, and I am really looking forward to JJ Abrams’s take on the series/characters when he does a prequel featuring the original-series characters as much younger (of course, that could have something to do with the fact that Karl Urban is playing Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy).

2. Star Wars IV–VI (1977, 1980, 1983, Lucasfilm/Fox)
Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Alec Guiness. The only surprise here for most people who know me is that this isn’t my #1 pick. Star Wars is the first movie I vividly remember going to see at the movie theater (we won’t talk about how old I was). By the time we got it on videotape when I was twelve or thirteen, I could quote almost every single line of the first movie. That was back in the day when movies stayed out in the theaters for months—and somehow, I managed to see it several times in the theater. A few years ago, VH1 did a special called “When Star Wars Ruled the World” that discussed the cultural impact of the original trilogy on American culture. Love it or hate it, this is a movie trilogy that changed the film industry and the way we watch movies forever.

1. Firefly (TV)/Serenity (movie) (2002–2003, Fox TV / 2005, Universal Pictures)
Starring Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass. Unfortunately, I didn’t start watching this series when it was on TV. Also, unfortunately, Fox canceled it after only eleven of the fourteen produced episodes aired (and the episodes didn’t air in order, either). Because of the support of fans of the TV series, creator Joss Whedon was able to get a greenlight on a feature film which spent two weeks in the top ten at the box office. But it’s been on video that this TV series and movie have really gained popularity—and that’s how I came to it. I originally watched the movie on the recommendation of a friend from grad school, since she knows I love Adam Baldwin. And the rest is history. Joss, the series writers, and the actors created a set of characters that belong on anyone’s list of favorites—with some of the most quotable dialogue as well. There’s humor throughout, and they managed to do it without having the ease of the Trekkers and their fancy ships with replicators, shields, and weapons. Gene Roddenberry always claimed that his concept for Star Trek was a wagon-train to the stars. Well, Joss Whedon did it.

  1. Friday, August 22, 2008 7:28 am

    I liked the original three Star Wars as a kid. Not so much now, though the first one will always be classic.

    Then came the new Star Treks (I couldn’t stand the original). I liked Worf a whole lot, and Picard was cool. Deep Space 9 got good when Worf came over. Voyager was all right.

    We in the Benton house are huge Stargate fans, SG-1 as well as the spin off series, Atlantis, and are very, very (very) sad to have learned that SciFi (or MGM) will be canceling Atlantis after the fifth (and current) season. However, like SG-1, they will continue the series with 2 hr movies. Still, not the same.

    We own the one season of Firefly that was made, although I did not like the follow up movie Serenity. Very disappointed in some of the writer’s choices there, which pretty much precluded any continuation of the story, imo. Bad, bad! 🙂

    That’s about it for SciFi right now. A third series in the Stargate universe is proposed, but I know very little about so far.

    Is LOST considered SciFi at this point? 🙂 Me likey.


  2. greyfort permalink
    Friday, August 22, 2008 7:32 am

    “Oh God, Oh God, we’re all going to die?”

    I just got the Serenity: Special edtion whatever version – and started to watch this first ten minutes (hence why I remember that line).

    I knew about Firefly when it came out, but I also knew Fox’s tendancy to cancel shows early, and I was also working nights at the time. I had intended to see the movie in the theater (the sci fi fan in me saw how important that movie was to the genre) but never did. I finally saw the movie when visiting my best friend – -she’d gotten it for Christmas. Of course I loved it – rented the show when I got home – and asbsolutely loved it as well.

    And now this song is stuck in my head (if you have the series, have you found the easter egg when Adm Baldwin is singing this:

    The Man they call Jayne!

    Oh, He robbed from the rich
    and he gave to the poor.
    Stood up to the man
    and he gave him what for.
    Our love for him now
    ain’t hard to explain.
    The hero of Canton
    the man they call Jayne.

    Our Jayne saw the mudders’ backs breakin’.
    He saw the mudders’ lament.
    And he saw the Magistrate takin’
    every dollar and leavin’ five cents.
    So he said: “You can’t do that to my people.”
    said “You can’t crush them under your heel.”
    So Jayne strapped on his hat
    and in 5 seconds flat
    stole everythin’ Boss Higgins had to steal.


  3. Friday, August 22, 2008 8:02 am

    I loved the concept of Jurassic Park – It fascinated me when I saw the movie and it caused me to pick up the book.

    My friend has raved about Firefly to me, and I’ve yet to get around to watching it.

    This is more Fantasy, but I have to say probably my favorite has to be the TV show Angel. (No I never got into Buffy, but Angel I loved) – And Josh Whedon was just a brilliant story plotter.

    Men in Black was a fun movie!


  4. Friday, August 22, 2008 9:49 am

    Love, love, LOVE Firefly/Serenity and the ORIGINAL Star Wars films. I’d have to add Doctor Who (the “new” series that started in 2005) to any list I made up…I’m becoming slighly obsessed with it since discovering the wonderful continuity that appears when you watch season one through four IN ORDER. It’s really sad that the show’s been on four seasons and I’m just now becoming committed to it. LOL


  5. Friday, August 22, 2008 10:16 am

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Men in Black! Someone else was talking about it the other day, and for the life of me I can’t remember who. Makes me want to watch it all over again because I laughed so hard–but I SOLD it in a yard sale! Talk about a dumb thing to do….


  6. Friday, August 22, 2008 10:41 am

    You may be surprised to know, that content-wise I actually 100% approve of this list. I was never a Star Trek fan at ALL, but it’s legitimately pop-culture-changing Sci-Fi, so it’s hard to argue against. Aside from that, all of the other inclusions are wonderfully entertaining.

    I do have one slight problem with your order though… Firefly over the original Star Wars? Really? Don’t get me wrong, I love Firefly and I think Serenity might be the best Sci-Fi movie of the past 10 years, but we’re talking about the original STAR WARS. The movies that completely changed the way movies are marketed and sold (in toy form, lunchbox form, t-shirt form, etc.).

    Star Wars is the reason Firefly exists. Hell, it’s the reason any of these exist. A padawan can’t beat a Jedi master, Kaye!


  7. Friday, August 22, 2008 11:02 am

    The only reasons I can put Serenity/Firefly above Star Wars is based on the quality of the writing as well as the fact that ever since the prequel trilogy came out (and the original trilogy was digitized to smithereens), I haven’t been able to sit down and watch the original Star Wars movies.


  8. Friday, August 22, 2008 11:03 am

    Lori–Don’t worry. LOST gets its due next week!


  9. Friday, August 22, 2008 11:52 am


    “Curse your sudden (but inevitable) betrayal!”


  10. Friday, August 22, 2008 11:57 am

    Lori & Leslie:

    “This is the captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then . . . explode.”


  11. Friday, August 22, 2008 12:54 pm

    The father should not be held responsible for the fault of the son.

    Or something.

    And I agree that overall, Firefly is better written, but I guess I just feel like the original Sci-Fi monster is getting unfairly slighted for the faults of a money-hungry old man.

    George Lucas, Tom Cruise, and Mel Gibson make up the triforce of awesomeness-turned-wtf.


  12. Friday, August 22, 2008 12:56 pm

    Caleb–LOL, no kidding!


  13. Friday, August 22, 2008 3:02 pm

    Oh, my goodness, Kaye, how cute is that girl explaining Star Wars?! My s


  14. Friday, August 22, 2008 3:03 pm

    Oh, my goodness, Kaye, how cute is that girl explaining Star Wars?! My son just made me watch it three times (and also made me post early, lol!)


  15. Friday, August 22, 2008 6:38 pm


    Do you not watch the Stargate shows? They’re a staple in our home.

    Also, there’s Eureka (sorta SciFi I guess… about a town of scientific geniuses in the Pacific Northwest, the crazy inventions they come up with that usually threaten the planet or something, and the sheriff of average intelligence who tries to keep them all in line), which we are just discovering via Netflix. A fun show.


  16. Friday, August 22, 2008 9:45 pm

    Congratulations to Krista!


  17. Saturday, August 23, 2008 2:37 pm

    My favorite all time sci-fi movie and movie if I could only have one, would be The Day the Earth Stood Still starring Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal and Hugh Marlowe. Sure, the special effects are hokey by today’s standards, but 57 years later, the story line still holds up. If you’ve never seen this classic, you need to be edumacated.


  18. greyfort permalink
    Monday, August 25, 2008 2:47 pm

    Lori – its me Leslie 🙂

    I love Stargate too! In fact I was saddened to learn about SGA going bye – bye – so I did a post about it last week on my blog.

    “It’s a cow.”


  19. MaryBeth Isaac permalink
    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 8:16 pm

    Stargate is one of my favs. Only saw the movie – not the series. I do like sci fi as long as it is not to trekky. I like sci fi lite I guess 🙂


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