Classic Scifi & Cult TV
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Asimov image Isaac Asimov
One of the most famous and popular writers of science fiction for over four decades, Asimov is best known for his robot novels. He remarked on the similarity between his robot hero R. Daneel Oliver, first seen in The Caves of Steel in 1957, and Star Trek's Spock.
Blade Runner image Ridley Scott
The director of Bladerunner and Alien - widely copied, but unequalled. The combination of the original and humane imagination of Phillip K Dick, with the filmatic grasp and scope of Scott, and the very fine cast, produced in Blade Runner one of the most satisfying films ever made in the genre.
Blade Runner has a dedicated website, as well as a list.
Jules Verne image Jules Verne
One of the "founding fathers" of science fiction, Verne's work continues to be very popular with each generation. Several of his books have been filmed, including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Island of Dr Moreau, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
H G Wells
Wells had parallel careers as a "serious" novelist, and as an innovative science fiction master. Two particularly interesting films were based upon The Time Machine. The earlier, made in 1960. The other, Time After Time is from a book written by Karl Alexander, in which Wells uses his time machine to chase Jack the Ripper through the centuries. His non sci-fi work is very fine. Presently out of fashion, it is both humourous and penetrating, with superb pictures of man/woman relationships (Wells had a deep and clear-sighted understanding of women).
Mira Furlan image Mira Furlan
Delenn from Babylon 5. If you have ever wondered how much of Delenn is in the script, and how much is in the actress, read Mira Furlan's moving letter to her countrymen in the former Yugoslavia.
Babylon 5 image Babylon 5
The first two series were superb, with an exciting sweep to the storyline, but recently the writing has been variable. The acting continues to be excellent, even when the scripts are less so. My favourite character was recently killed off, so I am none too pleased just now.
Blake's 7
The BBC celebrated the Milleniumwith a re-run of the first series (and why not the rest? why not, indeed. Ask them!) A new generation now sighs over Avon, and the cast are still very popular, and much in demand at conventions
Bugs image Bugs
Chases with armoured cars, tanks, hi-tec everything, and a well-chosen trio of actors for the leads, Bugs moves fast and doesn't let up. Fireballs and/or explosions appear to be compulsory every week. The last series showed a dangerous tendency to concentrate on one member of the team each week, lessening interest.
Dr Who image Dr Who
Ahhh! 35 years on and still going strong! An attempt to Americanise it with a full-length film was a disaster (although Paul McGann was a worthy incarnation of The Doctor). The original programmes continue to delight. Readers of The Radio Times could recently choose between this poster, or polar bears, or teletubbies...
Hitchhikers' Guide image The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams' reputation was built on this, his most famous work. Whether you come to it as a book, a series on BBC radio, or on TV, it is sheer delight. Thought: would there have been a Red Dwarf without the Guide?
The Prisoner image The Prisoner
Another series of amazing longevity. The Prisoner continues to intrigue and enchant those who saw it back in the '60s, and makes new converts with each generation. Even among sci-fi fans, the loyalty of Prisoner fans is legendary.
Quantum Leap image Quantum Leap
Arguably the best of all TV sci-fi series: writing and acting consistently excellent. Scott Bakula has possibly the most envied role on TV, where else could anyone have such a huge range of parts in one series? Probably the only show where you would never make the tea during the credits.
Red Dwarf image Red Dwarf
Became an instant hit with a smallish number of fans, but proved to be a "sleeper", and the number has grown over the decade since it was introduced. Fans may be recognised by their dialect, eg "smeghead", and frequently profess a devotion to curry.
Sci-Fi Channel image The sci-fi Channel
VCRs at the ready...
ST-TOS image Star Trek - The Original Series
Where many people's interest in science fiction began. Fashionable to decry it now, but just look at the quality and economy of the writing. It made its audience work to keep up with it, thereby using their own imaginations instead of relying on photographic effects. It set the pace for everything that came after.
ST-TNG image Star Trek - The Next Generation
Very variable quality. Suffers from a leisurely approach compared to the original series. The main reason for its success lies in the character of Data (a direct descendent of Spock in the writing of this one) played by Brent Spiner. Killed off its other most interesting character (Tasha Yar, played by Denise Crosby) in the first series.
As ever, all sci-fi fans are grateful that the BBC is an enthusiastic supporter.
ST-DS9 image Star Trek - Deep Space 9
As with TNG, its success stems largely from one character, Odo, played by the marvellous Rene Auberjonois, although there are several excellent actors in the cast.
Star Wars image Star Wars
Well acted (the cream of British screen villains, including Peter Cushing, Julian Glover, Michael Pennington), likeable heros, a sparky heroine, Alec Guinness to lend a touch of class, mix well and enjoy. You'd have to look back to the old Korngold scores to find quite such eloquent story-telling music.
cult tv festival 2004
Rene Auberjonois pages
Brent Spiner pages
Blake's 7 site
Sapphire and Steel pages