Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Confessions of a TV series addict.

Okay, I admit it, I'm a TV series addict. Especially, if they are spec fic based. If you are into lists, here's a site with the 10 worst SF series ever. See if you agree. It is a bit hard to know because some of these have never made it out to Australia. And, while I do trawl sites looking for interesting TV series, I won't buy one that's bad just to see how bad it is. I'm not that far gone ... Not unless it gets to Ed Wood stage ... gasp, I am almost that far gone.

I guess you can tell by the illustration that I think one of the all time best TV series was Firefly. Go, Joss Whedon. I really enjoyed Buffy, found Angel took itself too seriously and thought Dollhouse was only just getting into its stride at the end of the first series. The problem with Dollhouse was that it was too hard to connect with the female protagonist because she changed each episode (she was a Doll who assumed a new personality for clients). It wasn't until we started to see the workings of the Dollhouse that the show lifted a notch.

Back in the entertainment desert that was TV before we had VHS and then DVDs, there was always Doctor Who. For me the quintessential Doctor Who has to be Tom Baker and his companion would have to be Leela, the girl in the leather bikini who liked to resolve disputes with her knife. And then there was Blake's 7. Oh dear, I thought Servalan, the evil super sexy Supreme Commander was luscious. For all those teenage boys who grew up in the 70s, here she is. Give me an intelligent, powerful woman any day. And there were so few in those days.

OK, time for confessions. What were your favourite TV shows growing up?

For me, Bewitched in the 60s. I wanted to grow up to be Samantha.

70s -- Doctor Who with Tom Baker and Blake's 7.

80s --Gee, I can't think of a spec fic TV series in the 80s. I discovered The Young Ones, but they were absurdist rather than spec fic.

90s -- it would have to be Absolutely Fabulous (not really spec fic) and Red Dwarf.

I didn't discover Buffy until about 2 years ago, which meant I could buy the whole series and pig-out watching it one episode after the other.

What are your favourite TV series and why?


C Kelsey said...

Knight Rider and Airwolf of course! Those both qualify as spec-fic in my opinion (Airwolf less so). Then there's MacGuyver and the A-Team. :)

Jonathan D. Beer said...

Rowena, I am a shameless fan of TV series (seriei?), and anyone who is a fan of Firefly is a friend of mine. I recently introduced my housemate to Firefly and thus had an excuse to sit and become one with the sofa for the (lamentably cut short) fourteen episodes. For me, its ranks as some of the best TV of all time - but then I am a fanboy in the truest sense.

Also up there for me are The West Wing and Band of Brothers, for some excellent storytelling. I really liked Rome even if the second season didn't hang together as much as the first. I binge on episodes of American Dad for giggles, but I also like a bit of surreal humour - for those in the UK (I don't think they made it past our shores) think Black Books and Spaced.

My housemates and I have also been wading through the full boxset of Babylon 5. I have to say I was very critical at first, but once you adjust to the angle its coming from it is extremely entertaining TV. I realise not many of these have been spec fic, but then I'm actually a little bit stuck in my ways and need to find new things to watch - I look forward to seeing what other people will recommend.

Brendan said...

The TV show I came home to every day was the Tomorrow People. Written by some of the same writers as Dr Who and in the same four or five episode per story format, it was a great show that allowed kids to dream of the future.

Dr Who and Blake 7 were family favourites, I think I like Jon Pertwee better as the Dr though with Jo as his companion(plus Jon was Worzel Gummage and appeared in the Goodies!)

What made Babylon 5 for me was it was willing to forgo the Star Trek happy ending and was able to show things perhaps a bit more realistically. Plus it had a multi-series story arc from Day One.

I did like Space: Above and Beyond. Did anybody else see that?

C Kelsey said...


I have Space Above and Beyond on DVD. Sadly, I've spent too much time around military types now and find it to be comical, rather than very cool. However, I remember watching it on TV and really enjoyed how they did a "World War II in space". The twist at the end of the series was interesting as well.

Brendan said...

C Kelsey

I always thought S:A&B was a bit comical. The acting was a bit cheesy and the overarching story had been done before, but the character mix was good and it had a certain something that made it more than just run of the mill.

Anonymous said...

Yowsa! A trip down memory lane...

When I was a kid (60s & 70s), some of my sff favorites were:

*Bewitched (I, too, wanted to grow up to be Samantha)
*Land of the Giants
*Lost in Space
*Batman (hey, I was a kid)

Years ago, how about:

*Quantum Leap (that was a good 80s series, but the conclusion blew chunks)
*Time Tracks
*The Highlander (another good 80s series)
*Star Trek series (all of them)
*Star Gate (good 90s series)


*Firefly (it rules)
*Life on Mars (a family favorite here)
*Warehouse 13 (we rather enjoyed it, but, of course, it got the boot)
*Dollhouse (Steve loves it, but I can't get a hold of the characters...just don't care)
*Big Bang Theory (not sff, but sort of...another huge family favorite)
*The Mentalist
*The Forgotten (love the narration from the dead folks)

Linda Davis

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


We have all the Black Books, Black Adder, Red Dwarf, Ab Fab and more that I can't remember right now.

My family are Black English Comedy fans. At the drop of a hat they'll pick on a word in conversation and launch int skits, adlibbing as they go.

We enjoyed Rome, both seasons. I loved the way they captured a different mind view, pre Christianity.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


I've never heard of Airwolf. What was it about?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


I've never heard of Space ABove and Beyond.

Jon Pertwee was my next favourite Doctor Who, with Jo as his companion. I remember when she left him for the younger version of the Doctor. The guy who made a discovery through serendipity. Thanks to Doctor Who for introducing me to this word.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


Watching Samantha and the 1960s Batman are my comfort TV programs when I'm feeling really sick. 'Way out Superbole, Batman!' (Is that how you spell it? Superbolie?)

I think we missed a lot of TV series out here in Australia.

John Lambshead said...

To the series already mentioned I would add as my favourites: Danger Man, the Prisoner, The Avengers, and, more recently, Coupling, Jonathon Creek, Midsummer murders, Poirot and Ultraviolet.

Ultraviolet was a miniseries and by the time they realised what a hit they had the actors and director had signed up for other work (notably Coupling).


C Kelsey said...


Airwolf was an 80's show featuring a heavily armed super-helicopter. It was kind of like Knight Rider in the sky. The best part was that Airwolf was supersonic. Which was awesome because, you know, that's physically impossible but has inspired many an aeronautical engineer anyway. :)

Anonymous said...

John, they actually aired Ultraviolet over here on Sci-Fi Channel back in... 2000 I think (back when they still knew how to spell "Sci-Fi"). I really liked it -- thought it was a very interesting twist on vampire mythology by equating it with a public health hazard.

I recall there were actually plans for Fox to make a version of it here in the US, but they fell through. Probably a good thing, because, if by some slim chance Fox didn't dumb it down and make it dead-on-arrival, they'd kill it off with the usual combination of contempt and neglect that they reserve for any and all of their genre shows.

Letting Fox run an SF show is about like letting your dog watch your cheeseburger for you -- either way, you can kiss it goodbye.

Speaking of Fox's wonderful treatment of SF shows, I'd like to add The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I liked the show (having Firefly's Summer Glau on the cast didn't hurt either), and it was far superior to the T3 and T4 (don't even get me started on those turkeys...). And naturally Fox canceled it.

Kate said...

I grew up on the Australian Broadcasting Commission's pairing of The Goodies and Doctor Who. That hour was sacred in our house - so much so that my parents watched the ABC news rather than deal with the ever growing horde of kids whining about losing The Goodies and the Doctor.

Some of the later joys: the Robotech series, broadcast on kiddie morning TV by people who thought that animated had to mean "for little kids". Picture college student Kate cringing through crappy kiddie programming just so she could watch that half hour of Robotech, and you've got the idea. Before that one, there was the Star Blazers series, which got the same treatment.

Then there were the one-series wonders: Wizards and Warriors (the 1980s TV series with ::dreamy, half-wistful sigh:: Duncan Regehr as the hotter than hot and quite psychotic Dirk Blackpool). Cheesy, corny, and the idiot reviewers never realized the whole thing was a multilayered piss-take.

Covington Cross (1990s), another short-lived series that was better than its lifespan suggested.

Ultraviolet - thanks for reminding me, John! - was another good one. I loved the twist on vampirism - and the way they left the series open for sequels. It's a shame they didn't continue with it.

Another must-watch was the - sadly now defunct - Australian Broadcasting Commission science show, Quantum. It showcased cutting-edge science and technology and included demonstrations of some seriously cool stuff.

Scott said...

I loved The Greatest American Hero in the 80's. The Goodies which was spec fic most of the time. Danger Mouse could be included as well...

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Has any body seen 'Being Human', the one about the vampire, werewolf and ghost in a share house in Bristol, trying to pass for human?

Kate said...

Ooh! I forgot Danger Mouse!

Dark Matter said...

In the 70s: Phoenix 5 and Doctor Who, early 80s: Blakes 7 and Buck Rogers (I was in Tassie, they took a while to get there), Beauty and the Beast, in the 90s Star Trek TNG & DS9, Babylon 5, Farscape, 00s Firefly, Buffy, Angel, Dark Angel, Farscape...

Your pic of Servalan is peculiarly timely today as I found that very same pic on the webz when doing research...