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Top 10 Greatest Sci-Fi Television Series

VO: Dan Paradis
There is no television genre that is more out of this world and outright boundless. That's right, we're talking about science fiction, the final frontier. These are the favorites of Our mission: to rank the best sci-fi shows, based on fan appeal, critical acclaim, and how long the series lasted, and to boldly go... somewhere with this list. Join and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 sci-fi shows of all time.

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Top 10 Sci-Fi Series

What do Kirk and Picard, Mulder and Scully and a whole police box full of Doctors have in common? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 sci-fi shows of all time.

Science fiction: the final frontier. These are the favorites of Our mission: to rank the best sci-fishows, based on fan appeal, critical acclaim, and how long the series lasted, and to boldly go… Somewhere with this list.

#10: “Quantum Leap” (1989-93)

This feel-good show saw one man leap into strangers’ shoes: Dr. Sam Beckett’s Quantum Leap project gets him lost in time, with his body jumping between seemingly random people at seemingly random intervals within his own lifetime. With the assistance of Al, who appears to Sam in each episode as a hologram, this show built a strong enough fanbase to last five-seasons – even though it launched in the dreaded Friday-night spot.

#9: “Fringe” (2008-13)

Co-created by J.J. Abrams following the success of his other sci-fi series “Lost,” this show is based around the concept of “fringe science,” which involves some human experimentation. It’s tough to describe this show without spoiling it; however, pretty much all you need to know is there’s a mysterious man known as the Observer, as well as alternate dimensions and timelines – that’s all we’re gonna say.

#8: “Stargate SG-1” (1997-2007)

Who woulda thought that a mediocre movie could spawn a TV series that lasted 10 seasons and launched two spinoffs? [Show Jack O’Neill struggling to answer] Set around an interstellar gate that’s capable of creating wormholes to other worlds, the show follows the first recon team to travel through the Stargate – which just so happens to be led by MacGyv… err Colonel O’Neill. Watch as the group takes on such threats as the parasitic Goa’uld race. Oh, and the occasional mechanical spiders, too.

#7: “Firefly” (2002)

Part sci-fi, part Western, this show takes place following a galactic civil war, and tracks a group of mercenaries who fought for the losing side. Comgin from the mind of Joss Whedon, best known for creating “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and directing “The Avengers,” “Firefly”’s memorable for all the wrong reasons: despite critical praise, it was aired out of order and cancelled before the first season ended. Even so, it spawned a loyal group of fans known as Browncoats.

#6: “The Twilight Zone” (1959-64)

Featuring a new, self-contained story every episode, this is one of the more unique shows on our list. Stop us if you’ve heard these premises before: there’s a gremlin on a plane that only one man can see and everyone thinks he’s crazy. Or, aliens come to Earth… to serve man. Or, a beautiful woman is exiled because her looks aren’t the societal norm. Yup, this show earns its nod thanks to its immeasurable pop-culture impact.

#5: “Star Trek” (1966-69)

It’s one of the biggest pioneers in North American science fiction. Following the USS Enterprise as it voyages through the galaxy to explore and discover new worlds, this show is best remembered for its iconic cast of characters whom we all know and love and quote out-of-context. Not only that, “Star Trek” is remembered for giving birth to one of the longest-lasting pop-culture fanbases to date.

#4: “Battlestar Galactica” (2004-09)

This is a prime example of a remake done right: take a classic show with a great concept that wasn’t well-executed the first time around, rework it to capture the emotion and conflict of the scenario, and you get the highest-rated show ever on the Sci-Fi Channel. Without overstaying its welcome, “Battlestar” featured an overall message of unity within diversity that was so impactful, some cast and crewmembers were invited to speak before the United Nations.

#3: “The X-Files” (1993-2002)

Did an alien ship crash-land in Roswell? Did the government cover-up alien contact with humans? Will Mulder and Scully ever call each other by their first names? These conspiracy theories were the basis of a long-running series – with a little drama/mystery twist thrown in for good measure. Centered on the tagline “the truth is out there,” the series follows two FBI agents into the world of the paranormal. Tinfoil hats, however, are not required for viewing.

#2: “Doctor Who” (1963-89, 2005-)

The longest-running sci-fi series to date, this is the story of a Time Lord who travels through space and time in a British Police Box. Capturing the imaginations of fans young and old for over 50 years, this British series has seen over a dozen actors in the title role at one time or another, and each upholds the Doctor’s mantra to resolve conflict through non-violent means. But we’ll let him tell you more about it [Show Tennant’s “I’m The Doctor” Speech].

Before we make the jump to number one, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Red Dwarf” (1988-99)
“V” (1984-85)
“The Prisoner” (1967-68)
“Babylon 5” (1993-98)
“Farscape” (1999-2003)

#1: “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-94)

Warping into the top spot is the show that not only breathed new life into a classic sci-fi franchise, but also cemented its status as a pop-culture icon. Like “Battlestar” and other early sci-fi shows, the original “Star Trek” was cursed by poor execution. “The Next Generation,” however, brought forth a more serious and believable feel, which led to three spinoffs, a movie crossover featuring Captains Kirk and Picard, and made “Star Trek” a household name.

So, those are our picks for the Top 10 Sci-Fi shows ever; now we’d like to know what yours are. For more galactic top 10s beamed to your computers everyday, be sure to subscribe to

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