Friday Fun Link: Hey, Geeks!

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It's been almost nine hours since a Time Inc publication put out a list, and Entertainment Weekly is rushing in to fill the gap. Here's the magazine's list of the Top 25 Sci-Fi—movies and TV—of the last 25 years. Why 25? Well, 1) It's been that many years since the debut of E.T., Blade Runner, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and 2) the magazine needs to justify yet more coverage of Heroes. But Battlestar Galactica comes in for the most praise:

The damned thing won a Peabody award for its second season. It's proving what sci-fi fans have known for decades: Science fiction is as legitimate a vehicle for human drama as any other genre.

It'd be a far more interesting list if EW included books, but if you want that you can check out Reason interviews with Vernor Vinge, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson. If you just want movies, see Gregory Benford's review of The Matrix Reloaded and Julian Sanchez's review of Serenity .

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  1. oh great URKOBOLD! Please sear the souls of the creators of that list.

    Any list that involves even the most remotely positive casting of “The Matrix” deserves eternal, searing pain and relentless courses in womyn’s studies.

    /trods off

  2. Okay,

    Where the hell is SG-1/Atlantis, TRON, and The 4400?

    All infinetly better that Galaxy Quest and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

  3. Oh yeah, what that crazy moose said too.

  4. Babylon 5? Hello…do you think story-arcs started with Buffy?

    It’s depressing how few good science fiction movies there are. Most of them have been complete crap. Not that TV hasn’t had its share of awful, but…

    And where is Alien Nation?

  5. Quantum Leap? WTF? Oh well….they got Firefly and BSG right at least.

    Curiously missing;

    Buffy
    Babylon 5
    Farscape
    Dead Like Me
    Spiderman
    Army of Darkness

    Doctor Who at 24, but Lost at 10? LOST? I like the show, but it misses the list. Boot Total Recall and replace with PREDATOR. Yeah baby!

    Matrix #1 but Wrath of Kahn #5?

    KEEEEAAAANNNNUUUUU!!!

  6. Uh, the aliens in V didn’t want to drain earth’s water supply. They came to FEED.

  7. You know, the only reason they write lists like this is to see sci-fi fans froth at the mouth.

    That’s the only explanation I have for why Starship Troopers is on that list.

  8. Wow. Any list that puts The Matrix over Blade Runner is worthless.

  9. mediageek: No kidding. I love how they say that the only reason not to like it is that it looks like fascist propaganda.

  10. 1. the matrix reloaded
    2. everything else
    .
    .
    .

    23241. lost

  11. jf,

    The list is worthless.

    As for Predator, what other movie cast not one but two governors?

    If Carl Weathers runs for governor of Florida, I’ll vote for him just to complete the trifecta.

  12. I can think of only two reasons to like Starship Troopers, and neither is named Doogie Howser.

    Okay, make it three reasons–I always like Michael Ironside in a violent film.

  13. Urkobold CONTEMPLATES SEARING ALL YOUR SOULS FOR CARING ABOUT THIS LIST. MOST SF IS VERY STUPID. VERY LITTLE IS WORTH TALKING ABOUT.

    MOVE ALONG.

  14. Urkobold CONTEMPLATES SEARING ALL YOUR SOULS FOR CARING ABOUT THIS LIST. MOST SF IS VERY STUPID. VERY LITTLE IS WORTH TALKING ABOUT.

    MOVE ALONG.

    This from the guy who is infatuated with german versions of star wars?

  15. Urkobold! Was von Krieg der Sterne?

    Hark, a reader!

  16. Pro Lib: The only two reasons to like that film are attached to Denise Richards’ chest.

  17. oh yeah where the hell is tron?

  18. But then we remembered Star Wars: Clone Wars, the series of animated shorts that aired on Cartoon Network. The creation of animator Genndy Tartakovsky (The Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack)…

    How can they mention Genndy Tartakovsky, in an article about sci-fi shows, and not reference Dexter’s Laboratory as one of his works? Sure, GT was involved in The Powerpuff Girls, but it was created by Craig McCracken.

  19. Col DuBois,

    Well, yeah, it wasn’t a trick question.

  20. Tron was released in the summer of 1982, so it juuuust squeezes into the last 25 years. Perhaps the morons who compiled this list are shit at math.

  21. OK, I’m happy Firefly/Serenity was there, and that Aliens and Blade Runner were in the Top 10…

    …BUT THE STEAMING PILE OF CRAP THAT IS “THE MATRIX” IS NO. 1?????

    Also, Sandy and JW are right: Where the fuck is Babylon 5???

  22. I have no problem with putting The Matrix and Matrix:Reloaded somewhere on this list, just a whole lot lower.

    But the third Matrix movie was total shite and should be ranked somewhere on the sci-fi pantheon down with Alf (since the list mixed movies and television, I am doing the same).

  23. Excuse me, but E. (fraking) T.?

    Fine, a cute movie, but not sci-fi. Sorry. Haul that crap out back, please.

  24. Contrary to some ?bergeeks here, I actually liked the Matrix(the first one) and consider it one of the most original, and well done, SciFi movies of the last 10 years. Even with Keanu’s horrid acting the character development is light years beyond Tron’s (its plot styling predecessor).

    That having been said, Blade Runner should have been Number 1, followed by BSG, Aliens then everything else in a haphazard order. WTF is with Total Recall being on the list anyway? Hell, Running Man was better than that piece of shit and I hated Running Man. If they HAD to pick a second film that the Governator was in(what with the cabal), Predator was hella better.

  25. Where the hell is SG-1/Atlantis, TRON, and The 4400?

    Not on this list WHERE THEY BELONG. BAM!

  26. Oh, yeah, and whereintheheck is Dune (the 1984 David Lynch version, not the recent SciFi Channel one). Granted, the movie had some flaws, especially in its expurgated original theatrical release, but the director’s cut is much better. Just thinking about this amazing cast alone makes me want to see it again:

    Francesca Annis as Lady Jessica,
    Brad Dourif as Piter De Vries
    Jos? Ferrer as Shaddam IV
    Linda Hunt as Shadout Mapes
    Freddie Jones as Thufir Hawat
    Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides
    Virginia Madsen as Princess Irulan
    Everett McGill as Stilgar
    Si?n Phillips (Livia!) as Rev. Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
    J?rgen Prochnow as Duke Leto Atreides
    Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc!) as Gurney Halleck
    Dean Stockwell as Dr. Wellington Yueh
    Max von Sydow as Liet Kynes
    Sean Young as Chani
    Sting as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (okay, he sucked, but still?)

  27. Jonathan Hohensee is obviously an Islamofascist(that’s what we’re calling people instead of commies these day right?)

  28. Heroes, but no X-Men or X2? Back to the Future better than Children of Men? Wow.

    If you haven’t seen the independent (really independent) movie called “Primer” and you like thoughtful sci-fi, I can’t recommend it enough.

  29. By the way, I’d ask if I’m the only person who thinks that BSG sucks, but I already know that Gregg Easterbrook agrees:

    This became especially ridiculous in the season finale, when the shocker was the revelation that four of the key human characters were, in fact, Cylons — they didn’t know themselves because they couldn’t tell a human from a Cylon either! The robot programmed to think he’s human is a sci-fi staple, but this veered into the preposterous, especially since one of the characters who discovers he’s a Cylon is in his 60s, and previously it has been declared that human-appearing cyborgs have existed only 40 years.

    I’m glad I ditched the series before having to sit through that, because I would have thrown a brick through my television.

  30. Babylon 5 has not aged well. Straczynski’s dialog gets creakier with its pseudo-Shakespearean pretensions all the time.

    Other observations:

    1. Doctor Who is ranked far too low.
    2. Starship Troopers is a flaming plasma turd from a giant bug.
    3. The X-Files is only No. 4 is you forget the last three seasons. Fortunately, I have.
    4. Battlestar Galactica should be No. 1.
    5. I don’t get the appeal of Lost.

  31. I liked Children of Men, but at the same time its pretty pretentious and forgettable. That said, it’s pretty much a gimme that every list like this would at least have a handful of conterpratory medicore movies on the list to send nerds into a tizzy/satisfy the egos of reviewers.

    Also mark my words, if this list was made a couple of years into the future The X-Files would either be a lot lower on the list than it is now or not on it at all. That show ages horribly.

  32. My items for the list:

    Blake’s 7
    Farscape
    Frisky Dingo

    Item to remove:
    TNG

    Somehow the entire Star Trek TNG series (XVID / DIVX encoded AVI files) appeared on my hard drive one day. I just couldn’t get into it – hit delete key. Some episodes were only mildly entertaining. Others are plain dull and I either fell asleep or distracted myself by washing some dishes. The data character seems to have been written solely to attract adolescent girls to the show. And its a case of “been there, done that”. The later seasons are supposed to be better – maybe I should have skipped forward a few years. Or better still, to the 1966 series.

    I find Space 1999 way more entertaining, especially the funky sixties action film music. Some really good scifi written around a pretty bad premise. For those not in the know, Earth’s moon got blown/accelerated out of the solar system, and those people working on it at the time are now traveling around the universe via the moon. The seem to have an infinite supply of spacecraft stored in hangars under the moons surface.

    The new Battlestar Galactica is good. I’d say it puts the old 1978 BSG to shame, but the old one doesn’t need a better example next to it in order to be shamed. Its like the producer/director/writers took a potentially good storyline and did their best to wreck the production. The worst part being supposed soldiers that look and act like high school seniors or college dropouts. And robots that fly spaceships by maneuvering controls like a person would? Duh. With the “every does it” excuse I can half forgive the concept of robots having some need to audibly talk to each other to convey information. (Here’s an idea for the future – have the robots audibly silient and use subtitles to show what they are communicating) But, the recent rewatch of the old series did get me through the current new BSG dry spells.

    I’m feeling a bit nerdy now…

  33. I was a kid when Space:1999 came out (like the Prince song, 1999 was seen as a ridiculously long time away — heh). The only two things I remember from the show are the cool black and white RV that they drove around in, and the “futuristic” theme music. Then again, my memory may be faulty as I enter my 40s.

  34. And I’ve got to say, although I like it, BSG won’t age well either. I have a feeling that when people watch it 20 years from now that the Bush anoluges will come off as clunky and obvious. Another thing that hurts it is that, like all other sci-fi in this current crop of tv, is that it is way too fucking dasrk.

    Where the fuck is all the fun in sci-fi television anymore? Lost, Heroes, BSG, Children of Men are all dour as fuck. Its like they all are stealing from the X-Files formula of “let’s light the set poorly and make the people watching want to hang themselves”

  35. Re the Space:1999 theme — it is the only one I know that was half classical, half disco. It was like two separate themes taking turns.

    Oh, yeah, and Martin Landau. Who I cannot even mention anymore without thinking of the now-classic line “Karloff? Sidekick? F*ck you!”

  36. Jonathan Hohensee,

    I have to disagree with your assessment of Heroes as “dour as fuck.” While there certainly is an atmosphere of despair, there are many elements of hope as well. The most recent episode, from the year 2012, showed the worst that can happen. I’ve reason to believe that the only reason to show the worst is to eventually show how much better things can end.

    That’s the only reason I can see for depicting a character like Hiro Nakamura as a cold-blooded ninja 5 years hence, which is completely different from the Hiro of the present day.

    And in case you can’t tell, I strongly feel that Heroes is the best show on television right now.

  37. Oh, yeah, and Martin Landau. Who I cannot even mention anymore without thinking of the now-classic line “Karloff? Sidekick? F*ck you!”

    I’d heard that line a million times, but only recently did I finally watch Ed Wood, and the line hit so much harder in context.

  38. I also think that Gattaca needs to be somewhere on the list. Take off that Jim Carrey movie to make some room.

  39. Jonathan Hohensee,

    I have to disagree with your assessment of Heroes as “dour as fuck.” While there certainly is an atmosphere of despair, there are many elements of hope as well. The most recent episode, from the year 2012, showed the worst that can happen. I’ve reason to believe that the only reason to show the worst is to eventually show how much better things can end.

    That’s the only reason I can see for depicting a character like Hiro Nakamura as a cold-blooded ninja 5 years hence, which is completely different from the Hiro of the present day.

    And in case you can’t tell, I strongly feel that Heroes is the best show on television right now.

    All of them have some undertone of hope to them, but not one of them are without, using your words, an atmosphere of despair. I still think the shows are great and innovatitive, but find the dourness to be akin to a clove-smoking college jackass telling us that the world is a vampire, sent to drain.

  40. I also think that Gattaca needs to be somewhere on the list

    Snap! Other than B5 and DS9 (neither of which are likely to get too much support here), Gattaca was definitely the movie most dissed by being left off.

  41. Gattaca
    Which reminds me, Equilibrium! FUCKING GUN KATA! CONFUSING HOMOEROTIC ATTRACTION TO CHRISTIAN BALE!

  42. ?

    Sounds like a really weird reference to The Fifth Element.

  43. Christ I wish I could take that back. I’ve never seen Equilibrium, but I will add the movie that was similar but superior to The Matrix, The Thirteenth Floor.

    Also, the best example of sci-fi noir since Blade Runner, Dark City.

  44. Have you seen Equilibrium? Imagine if a sexless 14 year-old wrote a movie script to 1984, removed most of the phillosophical undertones and put in some wack-ass form of gun kung-fu.

    The last twenty minuets is just Christian Bale shooting the living fuck out of people, taking a break to slice Taye Biggs in half, and then shooting the fuck out of more people. And it’s the only dystopian movie I’ve seen where the good guys win.

  45. The way I described that made it sound bad. Imgagine all of that, only really, really fucking good.

  46. If I still had my Netflix membership, Equilibrium would go to the top of the list. It sounds pretty good. Bale is a great actor, from the four movies I’ve seen with him: American Psycho, Reign of Fire, The Machinist, and Batman Begins.

  47. Christ! How could I forget Fifth Element? Where the hell is that?

    Boot:
    Quantum Leap
    ET
    Back to the Future
    Lost
    V
    Heros (too soon)
    Total Recall

    Drop in rating:
    Matrix (I liked it too, but it ain’t #1)
    STTNG
    X-Files

    Add:
    All the stuff I already listed

    And Doctor Who belongs in the top 10 just for longetivity. I like how they nabbed The Thing and Brazil. Good calls.

    Top 5:

    1. Blade Runner
    2. BSG
    3. Wrath of Khan
    4. Aliens
    5. Firefly/Serenity

    There. Now it’s perfect.

  48. I find Space 1999 way more entertaining, especially the funky sixties action film music.

    MORE WAH-WAH PEDAL!!

  49. If this list were compiled ten years ago, Sliders, Independence Day, and Men In Black would be on it in place of Children of Men, Lost, and Heroes.

  50. Did the Sliders ever find their way home?

  51. I don’t know, I stopped watching after the episode with the transdimensional Cro-Magnons and their monkey-screech sirens.

  52. Plea to URKOBOLD! | May 4, 2007, 6:08pm
    Any list that involves even the most remotely positive casting of “The Matrix” deserves eternal, searing pain and relentless courses in womyn’s studies.

    I’m sure it had nothing to do with Entertainment Weekly being a Time-Warner publication, and The Matrix being distributed by Warner Bros.

  53. I’ll add my love for Equilibrium and Dark City. Great flicks.

    Is not V for Vendetta a sci-fi flick?

    The Matrix was excellent. I saw it here and then a month or so later in Marburg, Germany (dubbed). That was fun! The last one was truly crap.

  54. But The Matrix should not be #1.

  55. This is the only chance I’ll ever get to post a link to this on H & R. This has got to be the most original tie-in to Serenity ever. I’m trying to make the thing, too. I expect to be buried in it.

  56. Drop Starship Troopers, V and The Thing and add and add Strange Days, Dark City. and Minority Report.

  57. Strange Days, Dark City. and Minority Report.

    2 out of 3 ain’t bad. Definitely Dark City, and I’d say a coin flip between the other two, with the edge going to Strange Days.

    OT, but as much as I love everything sci-fi, I’m a bit weirded out right now because my cat had a seizure in my arms shortly after my last post, and I’ve been more concerned with researching feline seizures and local veterinary hospitals than anything else. He’s ok now, but it was really scary for me.

  58. Karen,

    That site reminds me of Jayne’s hat from “The Message”.

  59. If my cat had a seizure, I’d be freaked, too. Are you sure it wasn’t a crazy dream? I’ve seen a couple of cats twitch wildly in their sleep.

  60. The Real Bill,

    No, he jumped off the couch toward me, and then leaned against the coffee table (which he’s never done before). I picked him up, he went stiff in my arms and started purring weirdly as I carried him to the kitchen. I put him down in the kitchen, he took two steps and fell over on his right side, with both left limbs stuck up in the air. He didn’t respond to me at all and stared off into space for about 20-30 seconds, before finally coming around again. After a few minutes he was back to normal. I spent the next hour freaked out and looking up everything I could on cat seizures, and I’m 99% sure that’s what it was. Now, I’m going to be up all night watching him, because if he has another it’s off to the veterinary hospital.

  61. jf,
    I hope your cat is ok. I’d pray for you and it if that was my thing. FWIW, my dog checked on me while I typed this. Perhaps she’s concerned, too.

  62. Thanks, highnumber. Prayer isn’t my thing either, but when my parents told me they were praying for him, it made me feel good.

  63. “It’s proving what sci-fi fans have known for decades: Science fiction is as legitimate a vehicle for human drama as any other genre.”

    Screw that. The value of science fiction, when done right, is in its paradoxical and ingenius plots that mine philosophical questions or alternatively to provide literally ‘out of this world’ action. Think PK Dick (what does it mean to be human as opposed to a machine? what does it mean to know something?) or Star Wars. The Sci-Fi channel has basically given the entire genre a bad name with its crappy shows. It reminds me of how great Star Trek the Next Generation was for the first couple of seasons. They had great idea driven episodes, like the ones where they get stuck in the time loop (the Manheim effect I think they called it, in one episode Picard must actually kill an alternate version of himself to free the ship), or the dealing with the omnipotent Q. Then they brought in all that crappy human interest bull (hey, isn’t Worf terrifically gruff? Isn’t it great to see that old fusspot Picard get laid?). If you want great human drama then read War and Peace (really, its a great book) or Salinger. But let sci-fi do its thing, please!

  64. They had great idea driven episodes, like the ones where they get stuck in the time loop (the Manheim effect I think they called it, in one episode Picard must actually kill an alternate version of himself to free the ship)

    I think you are referring to “We’ll Always Have Paris.” I don’t remember Picard killing an alternate version of himself. He did give a death sentence to an alternate Enterprise commanded by Riker (one where Picard/Locutus had led the Borg to a successful invasion of our solar system) in “Parallels.”

  65. Starship Troopers was brilliant, deserves to be higher. And why not Robo-Cop as well?

    Dark City and 12 Monkeys also belong near the top.

  66. The love for Dark City is awesome and lets me know I’m not alone regarding that movie.

    Another film that comes to mind is Soderbergh’s Solaris, which, while flawed, is still a great sci-fi movie.

  67. And Videodrome (1983) definitely belongs near the top.

  68. I started watching TNG when it first appeared, but quickly became disillusioned.

    TNG was the most anti-science SF show I ever saw. Every time a major scientist appeared he/she was a) wildly insane, or b) totally irresponsible, or c) developing dangerous technology, or d) wracked by guilt over the consequences of someone using the technology they had produced.

    There was a strong undercurrent that science and technology were dangerous and not to be trusted.

  69. How is ‘Tremors’ classified? Is it sci-fi or something else?

  70. Also mark my words, if this list was made a couple of years into the future The X-Files would either be a lot lower on the list than it is now or not on it at all. That show ages horribly.

    What’s really sad is that the evil government conspiracies portrayed in the X-Files actually seem benign compared to what has happened in the past few years.

  71. Somebody wanna clost that strike tag on the front ‘blog page?

  72. Another film that comes to mind is Soderbergh’s Solaris,

    Yeah, flawed is one way of putting it. The original Soviet version of Solaris (1973) is way better, if you don’t mind subtitles.

  73. Aresen,

    Right, just like most farmers, soldiers, traders, and antique collectors who appear on the show are a source of danger in some way.

    Since the formula of the vast majority of episodes was to put the Enterprise or some innocent people in danger and then find a way to extricate them from it, any outside scientists who appeared had to have some sort of danger associated with their research. Non-dangerous advanced research just isn’t that interesting to the uninitiated.

  74. I’ll succumb to recentism and put in a plug for I, Robot, which I was expecting to be horrible when I first heard about it. It turned out to be a great flick though.

  75. I think I’m going to be the only person here to say this: I love it when mainstream publications do lists like this. Yes, EW knows about as much about the genre as my 6 month old puppy. So what? The geek fight that follows is the entertaining part. I get more out of the discussion than I’m ever going to get out some asshat’s list. Hell, I had no idea there was a Soviet version of Solaris from the 70s.

    jf: good luck and health to your cat. Our previous dog had many health issues in her last year and it’s nerve wracking, so I know how you feel.

    Oh, and Urkobold: Sturgeon’s Law still applies.

  76. Being lazy, I did my own sci-fi movies 25 year “Top Three” list here. iMDB’s fan base has it’s top fifty all time sci-fi movies list here. I’d say the iMDB fans have, well, interesting ideas about what counts as good sci-fi.

  77. I may be the only one but I’d put Space: Above and Beyond in the top 25. I also really liked Gattica.

    I also think BSG is way overrated. And with the Matrix any time that I see the twist coming so far ahead that I get bored waiting for them to “reveal” it can’t make my top 25. Now if they wanted to place the Japanese version that Matrix borrowed from then I could see that. I think it was titled Ghost in the Machine but I am not really sure.

  78. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan = Greatest Movie Ever Made

    (Suck it, Citizen Kane!)

  79. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan = Greatest Movie Ever Made

    (Suck it, Citizen Kane!)

    Citizen Kahn.

  80. The fucking Matrix?! Number one to an over-length pseudo-profound special effects flick with a ridiculous premise, somnolent lead, and second-rate kung fu chops?!

    OK, maybe they could give it number twenty-five for Carrie-Anne Moss’ leather pants.

    And don’t get me started on the list having Futurama, but no Jetsons!

  81. jf,

    If you haven’t done so yet, GET YOUR CAT TO THE VET!!!!

    Your cat is suffering from high blood pressure (most likely) and will probably need meds for the rest of it’s life. Our cat lasted 5 years after her first episode, and thanks to the drugs, it was a good 5 years.

  82. And don’t get me started on the list having Futurama, but no Jetsons!

    25 years = 1982 and after. Jetsons = 1960’s

    I second Space: Above and Beyond, but it’s a short list and it doesn’t rate compared to everything else. Maybe #25.

    I would put Reboot above Futurama, just for preceeding it by 7 years or so and paleo-geek humor.

  83. I stopped watching BSG after the 1st season: I could see it becoming a Sci-Fi soap opera, and I was right. Ti the alcoholic, Adama’s kid (whatever his name is) marrying the black woman (whatever her name is, but damn she’s hot), only to have an affair with Starbuck. Members of the crew being Cylons all this time…

    A fucking soap opera if ever there was one.

  84. As for Predator, what other movie cast not one but two governors?

    I believe that “Running Man” two governors in it as well…and Richard Dawson would make a kickass governor over Carl Weathers any day of the week.

  85. First off, it was good to see that the recent Star Wars movies failed to make the cut.

    Personally, I was happy to see Firefly on the list, but boy did they really miss the boat by leaving out Stargate and Babylon 5. Wow!

    I’m not certain I would consider Lost to be sci-fi although it has sci-fi elements at times. Mystery/Drama perhaps? Maybe I’m wrong, it’s difficult to put in a category. I certainly wouldn’t consider Starship Troopers to be “Good Sci-Fi.” The movie sucked.

    Very happy to see BSG in a solid #2 position… although I felt Matrix and Blade Runner should be swapped in their rank positions. And Terminator at #13? IMO it needed to be up at #5

    I agree with the guy who said “Throw out Total Recall, and replace it with Predator.”

  86. Starship Troopers is considered good sci-fi by the same people who think playing Doom is the best way to use a computer.

  87. Highly recommended for hard sci-fi fans: Primer. Unpretentious and confusing as hell through at least the first two viewings. But very cool. And the Wikipedia diagrams are a required tutorial.

  88. A fucking soap opera if ever there was one.

    Andromeda fan, eh?

    It’s not sopa opera, it’s drama. If you look at any of art or literature that has stood the test of time, all of it is character driven. Plot and setting is important, of course, but character is what drives the story forward. It’s what makes a story compelling and interesting. It’s also next to impossible to have an successful arc story line and not have flawed characters and situations.

    If you want plot-only driven drama with drab, one-dimensional characters, well, there’s “Starship Troopers” for ya.

    I love things blowing up as much as the next guy, I was actually yelling at the TV during the scene where the Galactica jumped in atmo and dropped like a flaming rock in “Exodus,” but having near-perfect people run around simply reacting to things is nothing to be proud of. That’s why STTNG was such a crushing bore.

  89. Highly recommended for hard sci-fi fans: Primer.

    Thanks swillfredo. I’ll definitely check that out.

  90. Citizen Kahn.
    Citizen KAAAAAAAAHN!

    What’s really sad is that the evil government conspiracies portrayed in the X-Files actually seem benign compared to what has happened in the past few years.
    The goofy, implausibly omnipotent/omniscient “one world order” was one of the things that turns me off of the show, although also it was part of the appeal.

  91. The X-Files formula:
    1) Imply that the government is behind every unexplained phenomenon or mysterious disappearance.
    2) Every time Mulder is about the crack the conspiracy, add a new set of conspirators: IE: “Oh, the government only pretended to be hiding aliens to distract everyone from the fact they’re cataloging every one’s DNA”.
    3) Never, ever actually resolve anything. That way you can stretch the premise over 7 seasons.

    The Lost formula: See above, adapt to tropical island.

  92. some random thought if anyone is still reading the thread:

    Why is Brazil on this list? It’s a great film, but it’s not sci-fi. Everything they had in the film was technically possible when it was released in the early 80’s. So long as they were doing this, they should have made the list from the last 27 years, and included Escape From New York.

    The Matrix…sparked a moviegoing crush on Asian wire-fu (see: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). For me, this would be one huge reason to hate the Matrix. and wire-fu is a big reason why Japanese and Korean cinema is infinitely superior to HK / China. So there.

    I second Swilfredo’s rec on Primer. It was made for about $43, and it’s better than any of the mega-buck epilepsy inducing loads of steaming celluloid that Bruckheimer has ever done.

    Even the most ardent Bab 5 fans have to admit that the quality was very spotty. There were some episodes where I felt horrible for the actors, having to read lines that Lucas would have thought were trash. Straczinski was at his best showing scheming, amoral politicos playing for advantage. He was at his worst when attempting humor, which I don’t think he ever achieved in five seasons on the show.

  93. Gattaca and Contact were the two movies I felt should have made the list.

    B5 and the Stargate franchise should have made it from TV.

    Galaxy Quest was cute, but ultimately forgettable. ET was less forgettable, but arguably even lighter.

    The Matrix should have been farther down the list, possibly top ten but definitely not #1.

    I didn’t miss Dune on the list. I thought that Lynch’s version was just badly done, and the SciFi miniseries was better, but it’s still a better book than movie.

    Terminator and Doctor Who were underrated. BSG may be overrated, but I’m willing to call that a difference of opinion.

    Might actually have liked to see Signs on the list. Not that I liked it that much, but it was an interesting take on the alien invasion theme. The SF wasn’t that good, but the human study was interesting.

  94. Even the most ardent Bab 5 fans have to admit that the quality was very spotty.

    Oh yeah, hugely spotty. It was embarrassing sometimes. I often referred to it as the “Land of the Lost and Washed-Up TV Stars.”

    Peter Jurasic and Andreas Katsulas were good actors in their own right and everyone else pretty much sucked ass. But, damned if I didn’t choke up on the final episode anyway.

  95. I’d have to add:
    The Last Starfighter (1984) http://amazon.imdb.com/title/tt0087597/
    Videogaer saves the Universe and wins Catherine Mary Stuart. Plus Robert Preston.

    Enemy Mine (1985) http://amazon.imdb.com/title/tt0089092/
    I mean, top Dennis Quaid as an Earth fighter jock, and Louis Gosset Jr. as a pregnant lizard?

    Starship Troopers should be renamed to avoid mistaking it’s plotp for Heinlein’s excellent story.

  96. Ayn Randian,

    Ah, Ventura was in The Running Man, wasn’t he? Forgot about that. Okay, that’s two movies with two governors.

    Gattaca was a really good movie, but it somehow flies under the radar. Not sure why.

  97. quote: cgee
    Tron was released in the summer of 1982, so it juuuust squeezes into the last 25 years. Perhaps the morons who compiled this list are shit at math.

    Or perhaps “Tron” was just a shite movie? Ya think?

    I’m going with the consensus, for the most part – “Matrix” was rated too high (but should be on the list), “Doctor Who” too low. Personally, I’d put DS9 on the list to represent the Star Trek franchise rather than TNG. “B5” should be on there somewhere – I’m not sure where. And “Total Recall” sucks greatly.

  98. OK, OK – Buffy, Spiderman, and anything involving either magic or comic books is NOT science fiction, it’s fantasy. Very important distinction.

    Fantasy assumes magical forces and the power of symbols. Science fiction assumes a rational (though possibly inexplicable) universe and symbols that are just symbols. The point of science fiction is (or should be) to show the relationship between humanity and technology. Why is Brazil on the list, even without any futuristic tech? Because the tech, and the political system supported by it, had taken over people’s lives.

    I’m glad Doctor Who was on the list (the poor Doctor gets very little coverage from EW) but I missed Babylon 5, which was a great attempt to portray a genuine multi-species society. Oh, and crimethink – the Visitors wanted our water AND our meat. Greedy lizards!

    I could make a good argument for Starship Troopers as superior science fiction. The film posits a highly-advanced military dictatorship – the one imagined by Heinlein – that actually works, and relies on its technology to confront (but not defeat) an equal-but-opposite enemy. However, Verhoeven is as far left as Heinlein was right, so Verhoeven’s film burlesques what the book takes for granted. From small touches like the Earth’s moon having a “ring” of spaceports that mirror the ring around the bug planet, to the major themes of species survival, total war, propaganda, and how politics and standardized education divides humans into castes…I just really think this film doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

    “Mobile infantry made me the man I am today!”

  99. I could make a good argument for Starship Troopers as superior science fiction. The film posits a highly-advanced military dictatorship – the one imagined by Heinlein

    Um, no. No. NO. NOOOOO.

    Heinlein did not imagine a military dictatorship. Heinlein imagined a political system where people voted. But before you received the right to vote, you had to earn it. Such as by volunteering for the military.

    Heinlein meant to make the following points:

    1) Every form of government is an organized use of force. Every form. Democracies included.

    2) When you vote, you are advocating the use of force. You are deciding what other people (the dissenting minority) should be forced to do.

    3) Maybe there should be qualifications that people should meet before being allowed to wield that kind of force against their fellow citizens.

    4) Maybe voters should prove that they are mature and civic-minded enough to only use force for the good of society as a whole, as opposed to for the good of themselves and their own interest groups. Maybe they should first prove that they can put the interests of their society, or anyway other people, ahead of themselves.

    5) Maybe a good way for them to prove this is by volunteering for national service, specifically service in the military. If they show they can be trusted with a weapon and are willing to die for the good of others, then they can be trusted with the weapon of the vote.

    Arguably, this “use of force and putting the good of society before your own” is a fascist concept, but if so then the democratic ideal is a fascist concept also. This is something worth thinking about.

    Heinlein’s Starship Troopers had many interesting and thought-provoking ideas. Paul Verhoeven’s version twisted and distorted those ideas. He turned it into a Mel Brooks Nazi farce, only without the (intentional) laughs. In doing so, he buried the things-worth-thinking-about that were in the book. That’s why I hate the movie. That, and because it gave some people loopy ideas about the book (e.g., that it depicted a “military dictatorship.”)

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