What is the best sci-fi show right now?

Last updated 08:00 18/11/2011

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.

20111118To 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?

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Elliott   #1   08:19 am Nov 18 2011

Just finished watching Season 3 of Fringe and was excellent - I think this series has got better and better. The trick will be not getting too cheesy with the next series as it is best will each episode has has some story in itself as well. I would hate to see it jump the shark anytime soon.

Only one better would be Walking Dead but to be honest I don't think of it as a Sci-Fi Show - though it's close to the best show at the moment.

peter   #2   08:20 am Nov 18 2011

I was a late convert to Fringe, My wife was hooked from the first episode, the same thing happened with the X Files as well, she loved from the get go, and I really on started watching it after the " Dod Calm" episode.

jackryan   #3   08:26 am Nov 18 2011

I think it's the tweed jacket, just works so well.

Terra Nova started off with a good premise, but after 8 episodes I think they have lost direction. Maybe I was expecting something different.

Falling skies was quite good, looking forward to second series.

Rach   #4   08:38 am Nov 18 2011

Stargate would definately be up there on my list of all time Sci-Fi shows. I never really pictured Lost as a sci-fi, but it's a bit hard to put it in another category.

Currently I'd have to say Doctor Who and Fringe, closely followed by Torchwood.

The Walking Dead I see more as a horror - though it is more drama-y than most Zombie films.

Unfortunately none of these are currently playing on our screens. Season 2 of SGU is back - figured I might as well finish it even if it doesn't stack up with SG1 and Atlantis.

Jim   #5   08:39 am Nov 18 2011

Really enjoying watching Warehouse 13 and Terra Nova with my kids. Dr Who has been buried by Prime, which is a real mistake. I don't understand their reasoning for this at all, as my eldest loves it and it is simply on too late for him to watch it any more. They've put SGU on in the same slot which also precludes enjoying that show together.

I'll have to dig Babylon5 out and watch that with them. Story arcs that span series are something seriously lacking from current Sci-Fi TV shows, though Warehouse 13 has a reasonable stab at it but the premise better suits an encapsulated format. Having said that, expanding the team through the latter half of SE02 and into SE03 has allowed seperate, concurrent storylines within one episode.

Leon   #6   08:39 am Nov 18 2011

I'd go in a slightly different direction, and say that Primeval is a good one for the sci fi junkie. It has a bit of technology, and the occasional person being eaten by either a dinosaur or a creature from a twisted future.

Whilst like many shows it started out brilliantly, and has been watered down over the years as the original cast have mostly left to get a more stable gig (the show has been on the edge of cancellation pretty much from day 1), even in the newest version it's still very watchable. There are good plot arcs over a series, characters you can relate to, complex characters, and a cute flying lizard called Rex.

I will merely comment (in a spoiler free way) that if you like Jurassic Park, and extremely hate Home and Away, you should avoid the forthcoming eventually to NZ series "Terra Nova". It is a ghastly show, and has not nearly enough people being eaten by dinosaurs, and far too much boring.

Tash   #7   08:39 am Nov 18 2011

I am really enjoying Dollhouse.

ben   #8   08:42 am Nov 18 2011

My list is very similiar, Fringe (#1), Misfits, The Walking Dead, Supernatural and could Game of Thrones be considered (after all they have the Wight Walkers and Wildings, north of the Wall)....

Mark Chiddicks   #9   08:46 am Nov 18 2011

Doctor Who, no contest. Its made with a sense of fun and experimentation thats unmatched on TV today, and the current cast and crew are the best the show's ever had. Watch this last season's "The Doctor's Wife" and tell me there's anything approaching it.

If we move beyonf SF to fantasy, then "Game of Thrones" is utterly fantastic too, and the genres have very similar fanbases

Joanna   #10   08:48 am Nov 18 2011

Walking Dead for sure. Excellent production, drama, suspense, character development etc. and they do a good job at creating an horrifically credible environment.


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