What is the best sci-fi show right now?

19:00, Nov 17 2011

If I asked you to name your favourite sci-fi show of all time, I'm guessing the answers would be fairly predictable: Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek (or one of its spinoffs), maybe a few calls for Firefly or Lost ... you get the idea. But these shows all have something in common: none are currently in production.

To me, the more interesting question is: What is the best science fiction show being made right now?

I think two factors make this question a little harder to answer. First, the range of sci-fi shows available on Kiwi channels is fairly limited: we don't have a dedicated science-fiction network (like SyFy in the USA) and, aside from Prime, none of the channels are airing sci-fi in primetime.

To get a proper sci-fi fix, you're almost forced to go online - which is troublesome for any discussion of the genre, since some viewers won't have seen this or that, won't be up-to-date with the latest episodes, and so on. (This seems like a good time to remind you: this is a spoiler-free blog, so please refrain from posting key details of episodes/shows that haven't yet aired in NZ.)

Second, the definition of sci-fi is used pretty loosely these days. Since so many shows incorporate elements of science-fiction, it's impossible to say where the line is between drama and sci-fi. For example, is Supernatural a sci-fi show? It seems more like a fantasy show to me. What about something like The Walking Dead? It has the post-apocalyptic vibe going for it, which is generally associated with the sci-fi genre, but it's more like a dramatic horror* show than anything else.

While it's interesting to figure out the distinctions (especially if you're a TV dork like me), for the purposes of today's blog we'll allow anything that the commenter considers a sci-fi show.


So, with all of that in mind, what is your favourite sci-fi show being made right now? Choose any show you consider to be a sci-fi, but bear in mind that it has to be in production as of November 2011. Post yours in the comments section below - and while you do that, here's my Top 5 list (in no particular order):

Doctor Who: The classic show got a new lease of life in 2006 and has gone from strength to strength since, with latest doctor Matt Smith proving the best so far (in my opinion, anyways). The most recent season was perhaps the best since the reboot, making Doctor Who one of my favourites (and I'm sure one of yours too).

The Walking Dead: I'm still not sure if Dead should count as a sci-fi or a drama, but I'm putting it here anyway. The second series is returning to TV2 next year and takes on a much more dramatic tone than the hit first series. It's still absolutely riveting though.

Fringe: The fourth series of the alternate-universe-traversing show from JJ Abrams is under way in the USA (returning to Kiwi screens next year) and better than ever, with a fantastic cast (led by Anna Torv and John Noble) and clever storytelling making Fringe a must-see show for any sci-fi fan.

Misfits: The only comedy on my list, Misfits has a wicked sense of humour and sets the action in London, where a group of kids on community service are granted super powers after a freak storm. The third season is due to air on Four sometime next year.

Falling Skies / Alphas: I've lumped these two together as both are American shows which aired this year, though only Falling Skies has any chance of airing in NZ (TV2 have plans to show it at some stage). Both shows boast a strong cast, both are a nice twist on established formulas - Falling Skies an alien-invasion story set after the invasion, Alphas a superhero story about a collection of reluctant heroes - and both are fantastic viewing.

So go on - share your favourite sci-fi shows in the comments below. What are your favourites being made right now?

(*) If a drama-comedy is a "dramedy", what would a dramatic horror be? Drarror? Horrama? Also, would a dramatic thriller be a driller? Also, how much fun is it to make up these portmanteaus? Also, how much fun is it to say "portmanteau" out loud?

Make sure you like On the Box on Facebook and add Chris on Twitter.
Or, feel free to email Chris at 
This is a spoiler-free blog - please comment responsibly.