I Don’t Know About “Important”, but Vorlons and Shadows Make for Great Television

| January 2, 2011 | Comments (2)

Space.com is running a poll asking reader which science-fiction series is “the most important…story ever told”. They’ve given three choices and, if you are at all a fan of the genre, you can pretty much guess what they are: Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who.

I honestly don’t know that I’d consider any television series “important”. In truth, I’m not sure how the folks over there define the word in the conext in which they used it. I think each of the three series can teach important lessons about life and humanity and they have all imprinted themselves on our popular culture so deeply that they are still around after more than thirty years.

Ultimately, I voted “other” and opted for a series I consider the best sci-fi show every done: Babylon 5. I can’t think of a series that combined solid acting with good scripts, believable and dynamic characters, real good guys and bad guys, and a multi-season story arc that came to a satisfying conclusion. Save for the regrettable fifth season (which was disjointed because J. Michael Straczynski, the show’s creator, has to jam two seasons worth of arc into one because the network had threatened to cancel the show and he wanted to make sure the story reached a solid end), the show as solid as any series I’ve ever seen.

So that’s my vote. I’m curious to know what you all think. Is my choice off-base? What series would you choose? Let’s get a little chat going in the comments.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Timothy Watson says:

    Most important? I am going to have to agree with you and say that I have no idea what the "most important" science-fiction television show was.

    But the best? Even that's a difficult selection:

    Star Trek? Meh, it has always been too utopic for me.

    Babylon 5? I never watched it when it originally aired, but I've been watching recently on DVD and I am through the fourth season and it's pretty good.

    Star Wars? Good, but some of the books and the prequel movies really put a dent in its legacy.

    Doctor Who? I've only watched an episode or two and never really could get into it.

    Battlestar Galactica (reimagined)? It was certainly good but that third and fourth season really put a dent in my opinion of it.

    Andromeda? If we only include the first and second season, it would definitely be near the top of the list.

    Stargate? Definitely good, but some of the episode were inconsistent in their quality and SG-1 didn't really getting going until the end of the first season. And "Stargate Universe" just sucked. But it gets bonus points for its consistent positive portrayal of the United States military.

    Farscape? Probably my choice.

  2. Terez says:

    I completely agree with your choice of Babylon 5 as one of the best science fiction television series ever made. At the time it first aired, it was unfairly compared to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. However, due to the excellent multi-dimensional characterizations, dense plotting, and tight continuity (due to the superb skills of show runner and scribe J. Michael Straczynski), B5 was one of the first American televised novels. Further still, while some of the CGI visual affects now appear dated, the series's dramatic and emotional impact holds up years after having left the airwaves.
    Again Jimmie, excellent choice!

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