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Author Topic: Sci-fi TV series: which ones and how?
Zalmoxis
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I recently upgraded my Netflix plan and my wife and I are planning on watching a bit more TV than we have in the past (i.e. go through more than one Netflix DVD a month). I'm a big fan of sci-fi TV, but I'm woefully behind on my viewing and would love guidance from those who have gone this way before me.

And let me prefaces this by saying that, yes, I've seen every episode of Firefly, the X-Files, Millenium, Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. These series are some of my favorite televisions ever, esp. Firefly and Angel. And I really like what I've seen so far of BSG. I'm a big fan of characterization and I do like running story arcs (although episodic is fine too).

Bablyon 5:

This is probably the first one I'll start with. Is there anything I should know? Can I stick with just the pilot and the regular seasons or are all the other stuff they have produced worthwhile?

BSG:

I've seen through Season 2.5. Do I really need to watch the Webisodes I've seen mentioned?

Heroes:

Nothing out yet. But let me ask this -- should I start watching the new season when it starts or should I wait until the DVDs come out and not worry about watching it live? I don't feel the need to be part of watercooler conversation. I guess my question is do you all have a sense that

Lost:

I'm not sure if I even want to watch this. Any advocates of it out there?

Farscape:

Part of the reason that I'm placing Babylon 5 in front of this is the way the episodes for season 1 are scattered weirdly across discs. But I do intend to get to it cause you all have recommended to it to me before.

Othe stuff:

Which of the miniseries (Dune, Earthsea, etc.) is the best? All the above is already a lot of viewing hours, but I do think it might be nice to toss in something that doesn't drag on across seasons at some point during my viewing.

And -- are there any other series you all would suggest? Pretty much every single work of speculative fiction I've read over the past 5 years was based on a Jatraquero recommendation and for the most part you all have not led me astray so I thought I'd ask about TV too.

Thanks.

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Kwea
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Avoid Earthsea like the plague.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Babyon 5: You have to be forgiving to enjoy B5. It's first season is skakey at best, and a lot of the acting is somewhat mediocre, but I loved the story.

Lost: I'd say watch it on DVD, as it really benefits from being able to watch one episode right after another.

SciFi Channel's Dune and Dune Messiah (or did they call it Children of Dune -- I forget) are both good.

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James Tiberius Kirk
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quote:
Do I really need to watch the Webisodes I've seen mentioned?
Not really, no.

--j_k

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the_Somalian
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Babyon 5: You have to be forgiving to enjoy B5. It's first season is skakey at best, and a lot of the acting is somewhat mediocre, but I loved the story.

Agreed. Moreover, it had very low production values.

I don't think I can honestly defend the series against any criticism that it looks cheap and contains questionable acting. It's greatest strength though is its story. It was so compelling that I saw seasons 2-4 within a month!

Awesome series.

[ July 21, 2007, 11:10 PM: Message edited by: the_Somalian ]

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TL
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Watch Babylon 5.

I was not a fan of the Dune mini stuff.

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The Reader
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quote:
Lost:

I'm not sure if I even want to watch this. Any advocates of it out there?

The first season was dynamite. The characters were fascinating, the mysteries were fresh and weird, and the story arcs were fufilled well. The second two were a bit of a letdown. The producers got caught up in the popularity and extended many of the story lines beyond what was necessary in order to keep up 22 episodes a season. The final four or five episodes of the most recent season were great, so the prospects for season 4 look good.

You say you like characters and story arcs. Lost has that, but it lost focus on characters after from season one until the last few episodes of 3, when it picked up again.

Because the series isn't over yet, don't give up if you don't like season 2 and 3. In my opinion, Lost is one of the best shows on television, even as it faltered. The mysteries themselves make the show worth watching. Take mph's advice and watch it on DVD. That's how I caught up on the first two seasons.

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Cabarey
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Only the first season of Lost is worth watching.
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the_Somalian
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quote:
Originally posted by Cabarey:
Only the first season of Lost is worth watching.

If any. [Big Grin]
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Miro
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Stargate. That should last you a few years.

Wonderfalls - lasted half a season, but was a great half season.

Dead Like Me - 2 seasons, same people as Wonderfalls.

Both are a bit sarcastic and a lot of fun.

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Eaquae Legit
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Doctor Who, particularly the new series. Acting and writing both are great.
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Selran
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Stargate is another one you need to be patient with. The early seasons were just so so.
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ClaudiaTherese
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Consider Red Dwarf for tongue-in-cheek Brit humor, also Andromeda for a modern series still getting airtime.

For classics, consider The Prisoner, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and maybe the gothic cult classic Dark Shadows.

--

Edited to add: Current good western animation includes Tripping the Rift and Futurama.

And for more Wild & Weird: the Canadian/German collaberation on Lexx.

[ July 23, 2007, 11:47 AM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Alcon
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Personally I prefer the early seasons of Stargate to the later ones. After it gathered up the cast of Farscape I thought it started going downhill hard.
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mr_porteiro_head
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I think the first two and last two seasons of Stargate are the weakest.
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Olivet
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Bab5 is as others have said.

Farscape is great, but having the episodes out of order on the discs would make me nuts. It really does have a story arc, so I'd rent them, copy them and watch them in order, then destroy your copies if you want to be ethical about it.

Lost... I wouldn't bother. That is hard for me to say, because I've been a big proponent of the "give them time, they'll work it out" philosophy. The big, immediate motivation for everyone was survival and getting off the island. Understanding the island's weirdness, as part of a survival plan, made sense. But weepy wreck Jack made me want to hurt him at the end of last season. I'll probably watch if I'm still in the US and don't have to waste bandwidth on downloads, but I wish I'd never gotten hooked.

Doctor Who is light and fun on the surface but also rewards close attention and keeping up with the dialog. It can be uneven, but always fun.

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David Bowles
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Definitely watch Lost. If you like compelling character development against a genre background rife with tension and mystery, there simply is no better show.

Farscape, yes, definitely. First season's a bit odd, but it hits its stride after that. Ditto the character development.

BSG... watch the webisodes, as they help clarify a few gaps.

I'd go ahead and wait for Heroes on DVD... don't be afraid of watching the two seasons simultaneously (I did that with 24 seasons 2 and 1, and it was pretty cool).

The Dead Zone is pretty good, though the weird USA seasons have made me miss huge chunks of the series (I'm going to get it all on DVD eventually).

The Dune miniseries weren't too bad, despite some shaky acting here and there and major collapsing of timelines in the second one.

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Olivet
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The Dead Zone is good. The writing is uneven, though. You'll have a couple of great episodes followed by crappy filler that the actors have to soldier through. But that was mostly the first season. I need to Netflix whatever it is I've missed.

[Wave] Hi David! I really hope Lost doesn't blow by the end, like the X-files, but I'll probably only watch it out of morbid curiosity this next season. If they make it work, no one will be happier than me. I hope they kill off Matthew Fox, though.

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Teshi
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quote:
Stargate is another one you need to be patient with. The early seasons were just so so.
Hm, I'd say that Stagate: SG1 is considerably better than Babylon 5, production quality-wise, so it's a lot easier to watch.

Stargate Atlantis starts off pretty good, but loses its way a little as it goes along.

quote:
Doctor Who, particularly the new series. Acting and writing both are great.
Yes, you can't really go wrong with the last three seasons of Doctor Who.
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TheGrimace
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Other possibilities that aren't exactly Sci-Fi, but I think could fit your viewing pleasure (and I liked quite a bit):

Alias (generally phenomenal, though there's at least one plot twist that they use that definately made me just go: "seriously..."

Dresden Files (don't think the DVDs are out yet, and yes the books are a million times better, but the dozen or so episodes that they did are pretty good in their own right if you try not to compare them to the books much).

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T_Smith
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Season 2 of lost was terrible, but they did a pretty good job in my opinion of spending season 3 to get it back to a watchable state.
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Zalmoxis
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Thanks for the advice, everybody.

I'm not a real fan of Stargate.

I totally forgot about Doctor Who. And Dark Shadows. I'll add them to the list.

Already seen Wonderfalls -- I'm probably one of the few people who saw every episode that aired as it aired. I'll check out Dead Like Me. I've already seen Red Dwarf, too. Which reminds me -- I should add the Young Ones to my queue.

Alias -- that's a good idea. I think I might stick with the first 1 or 2 seasons of it, though. I don't think I could take the entire thing.

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Javert Hugo
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The first season of Lost is good, but they weren't planning well and it went off the rails.

Veronice Mars!!

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mr_porteiro_head
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The first two seasons of Alias are fun, but there's no need to watch beyond that.
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Javert Hugo
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I have to admit I was bored out of my mind watching Alias. I was coming off of Gilmore Girls, and I waited the entire season of Alias for someone to say something clever.
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CRash
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Try watching Lost, if only for the first season. The rest of it....eh, I'm just hoping season four is better now that we can see a definite death for the show.

I'll also go with TheGrimace and recommend the Dresden Files, because that show really clicked for a few episodes. No one seems to know if it's going to be renewed, though.

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David Bowles
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Sheesh, what is WITH all this Lost-hating? Argh.
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Earendil18
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I would like to say...Sci-fi Dune was not good.

Yes, it was an adaptation of a very popular book, and it had all of the characters...and sand...annnd.....blue eyes.

But good?

Nuh-uh.


Did you guys realize that the pyschic in Heroes is the (SPOILERS!!!) same dude that got ripped out of the cockpit in the pilot episode of Lost?

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Olivet
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He's also a Fed and a recurring character in Alias.
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