Sunday, 31 January 2010

Intergalactic Conflict

Today, in denial of the fact that I shall be revealing what a hopeless nerd I am, I shall answer the age old question: Which science fiction series is best? Here I have ranked them from first place to fifth place, according to my own unbiased analysis of the shows.

1. Personally, I don't think there's much debate. I have yet to view the fifth season, so I suppose everything could disintegrate, but thus far Babylon 5 has left all the other sci-fi series in the space dust. The science behind B5 is, generally speaking, the most accurate you will find on TV. The philosophical, political, ethical, and other themes it explores are thought provoking and worth considering. The characters and situations are realistic (although, granted, some of the costuming is rather hokey and the acting early on just stinks...) The episodes are largely self-contained, but the story is ongoing. For the most part, it's clean and does not contain much I feel uncomfortable watching. It's exciting and gets the adrenaline pumping. Seriously - props to J. Straczynski for the story! And I have never seen a better time loop episode in my life.

2. Stargate takes second place for being so entertaining, whether it means to be humourous or not. With the odd exception of a few episodes here and there, I end up getting more than a few laughs, both at the jokes and at the ridiculous science and decision-making. At least the writers are well aware of the many absurdities of the show, as they demonstrate in episode number 200. As a serious series, it doesn't have much credibility, but it's pretty good for some light fluff when you need a break. Just steer clear of the few gross or dark ones and you're set to go.

3. Star Trek... hmm. Star Trek definitely gets kudos for being the first. I guess you're allowed to make mistakes when you're the one blazing the trail, but I can't say that I'm a great fan (although the most recent movie was pretty good). Granted, though, I haven't seen as much Star Trek as I've seen other series. And given that Vulcan is named after the Albertan town... well, that naturally earns it brownie points. That and the fact that William Shatner was born in Canada. Whether or not the multiple series are actually good, you have to watch some Star Trek in your life, or else you're going to be in a real pickle when find yourself trying to converse with a geek.

4. Star Wars. Yeah. Right. While light sabers are, admittedly, really cool looking, they'd be utterly useless in real life, even if the Force were in effect. Not only are light sabers useless except in hand-to-hand combat, they don't exactly carry an edge on stealth, either, what with the light and the constant buzzing noise. I mean seriously - invent a "light gun" or something. Bah. That one issue alone is enough to make shake my head at the rest of the series. Between Star Trek and Star Wars, however, I must say that I find the visuals in Star Wars more appealing, even if it all looks fake. There's more colour and variety.

5. Battlestar Galactica. Ah, what to say? It started off with great promise, exploring ethical and political issues. Then it got dark. And then in the last season, three episodes from the end they were still introducing new problems instead of beginning to solve them. I was left with a slough of questions, wondering, "What the bag just happened? What was Starbuck? Was she dead or not? How were the final 5 different from the other cylons? What was their relation to the mechanical cylons and to the humans? In fact, what just happened in the entire final season?" I still think that couldn't have been the real ending and am waiting for the makers to shout "Bazinga!" and release the actual final episode.

These are the rankings. So say we all.

"Zathras is used to being beast of burden to other people's needs. Very sad life. Probably have very sad death. But at least there is symmetry." Zathras (Babylon 5)


Justin said...

How are lightsabers useless? That's like saying swords are useless against bows. And Jedi still use guns when they need to. But close up they prefer the close ranged weapon.

art said...

I agree with your analysis. B5 is a clear winner and I wish they had more shows. I like the way they wrapped up the story arc after the Shadow/Vorlan war and then started a new arc. The show was written as a serious series and had good character development.

With regards to Stargate, I would choose the SG-1 series as the best franchise. Atlantis had much potential but was a little too silly. How many times was Atlantis taken over by aliens? Even non-technological aliens? Also, I thought the Goa'uld was a reasonable enemy on SG-1 - unlike the others Stargate enemies.

I liked the ST-TNG as the best of the Star Treks. Voyager almost seemed like Magic School Bus episodes except with real characters.

Battlestar Galactica also started off well but it seemed that the writers did not have a plan on where the show would go. I don't think the story arc was thought out more than two shows at a time. There were just too many unanswered questions and when they should have been wrapping things up, they were introducing new questions. The series was dark and then it just ended without inspiring any hope in a better future. I could see myself watching the other sci-fi series again one day but I doubt I will ever watch BSG series again.

I also think that if the 5 universes ever mixed, I would want to be on the B5 side. They had powerful ships, lots of allies and good strategy. Stargate people do have a lot of luck but likely their ZPM would run out of energy at a critical time or their bases would be overrun by Tribbles and they don't have any intergalictic friends. I think one B5 Whitestar ship could take out all of the BSG ships or Garibaldi would figure out a way to reprogram the Cylons. Star Wars people would likely put up the best resistance but their technology seemed to be lacking. Star Trek people don't seem to cooperate well with other races so they would simply be outnumbered.

Kate said...

I agree with Justin; Star Wars shouldn't be discounted on the account of lightsabers....though I really doubt I could have come up with his answer... : )