Stacker has compiled a list of the top fifty science fiction TV shows of all time. Personally, I don’t agree with their choices. I’m not even sure they know what science fiction is. I’m curious what the fans of SciFi.Radio think. I realize there are a lot of more important issues in the world, but this kind of arbitrary stuff just gets me.

The ancient Romans said: de gustibus non disputandum est. There’s no accounting for taste. Ask a dozen sci-fi fans their favorite TV shows, and you’ll get at least twelve different answers. In fact, it’s said that if you laid all the science fiction fans in the world end to end, they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion.

I would like to know who they interviewed. The tastes reflected on this list seem to skew to younger fans, and consist mostly of cartoons, and mostly on streaming services or cable channels, not “real TV.”

#38. Red Dwarf (1988–1999; 2009-present)
The “Crit Cop” from via Red Dwarf (BBC)
#19. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (image via Paramount)

#1. Rick and Morty (2013–present)
Rick and Morty {image via Cartoon Network}
  • Rick and Morty (2013 – present)
  • Firefly (2002 – 2003)
  • Batman: The Animated Series (1992 – 1995)
  • Cowboy Bebop (1998 – 1999)
  • Gravity Falls (2012 – 2016)
  • Black Mirror (2011-present)
  • The Mandalorian (2019 – present)
  • One Punch Man (2015)
  • Stein’s Gate (2011 – 2015)
  • . Stranger Things (2016–present)

Please note that everything but one in the Top Ten is from the 21st century. No time-tested classics.

Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm Reynolds {image via Mutant Enemy Productions}
  • . Westworld (2016–2022)
  • . The Boys (2019–present)
  • . Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009)
  • . Dragon Ball Z (1996–2003)
  • . Justice League Unlimited (2004–2006)
  • . Daredevil (2015–2018)
  • . Doctor Who (2005–present)
  • . The X-Files (1993–2018)
  • #19. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)
  • . Adventure Time (2010–2018)
  • . Young Justice (2010 – 2022)
  • . The Expanse (2015–2022) (2010–2022)
  • #23. Love, Death & Robots (2019-present)
  • . Dragon Ball (1995–2003)
  • . Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995–1996)
  • . Samurai Jack (2001–2017)
  • . The Venture Bros. (2003–2018)
  • . Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988–1999)
  • . Fringe (2008–2013)
  • . Futurama (1999–2013)
  • . The Handmaid’s Tale (2017–2022)
  • Person of Interest (2011-2016)
  • . The Legend of Korra (2012–2014)
  • Stargate SG-1 (1997 – 2007)
  • Utopia (2013-2014)
  • X-Men the Animated Series (1992-1997)
  • Dr. Who (1963-1989)
  • . Red Dwarf (1988–1999; 2009-present)
#31. The Handmaid's Tale (2017–2022)
A Handmade’s Tale {image via MGM television}
  • Regular Show (2009 -2017)
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994-1998)
  • Violet Evergarden (2008)
  • Lost (2004-2010)
  • Sense8 (2015-2018)
  • Orphan Black (2013 – 2017)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008- 2020)
  • Forever (2014-2015)
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (2016-2017)
  • Final Space (2018-2021)
  • Life on Mars (2006 – 2007)

Opinions are like bellybuttons. Everyone has them. I did not expect to agree with everything on this list, and I didn’t. However I was disappointed neither Blake’s Seven (1978 – 1981) nor Babylon 5 (1994 – 1998) made the list. I was not surprised that The Powers of Matthew Star (1982-1983) didn’t make the list: it was mostly watched by young females who thought Peter Barton was cute and Sci-Fi fans who were so desperate for any sci-fi that they’d watchdreck if it was at least Sci-Fi-adjacent.. With so many cartoons making the list, I was surprised that neither Power Rangers RPM (2009) nor Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys (1996 – 1997) made the list.

I didn’t expect Captain Z-Ro (1951 – 1953) to make the list and it didn’t. No Space Rangers (1993), no Quantum Leap (1989 – 1993) nor the rebooted series Quantum Leap (2022 – present) No Thunderbirds (1965-1966), no Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993 – 1999). No Quark (1977 -1978), of course; few people remember Quark.

The people who assembled this list don’t seem to like time travel. Neither did Time Tunnel (1966 – 1967), and neither version of Quantum Leap (1989 – 1993 or (1989 – 1993) made the list. They don’t seem too fond of underwater adventures, either, given the way they snubbed Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964 – 1968), Sealab 2020 (1972), and seaQuest DSV (1993 – 1996).

Batman: The Animated Series was a good action-adventure show, but why did it make the list of Top 50 Sci-Fi Shows when its futuristic sequel, Batman Beyond (1999 – 2001) didn’t? The Orville (2017 – 2022), which was extremely popular while it lasted, also didn’t make the list.

#37. Doctor Who (1963–1989)

Query: Why is Red Dwarf counted as a cohesive whole when Dr, Who is divided into classic and reboot? And how did nuWho get ranked above Classic Dr. Who? As the saying goes, “Inquiring minds want to know,” Why didn’t Twilight Zone or Outer Limits make the list at all? In what sane world does Gravity Falls rank above Twilight Zone? Yes, I know, Sol III isn’t a sane world and hasn’t been for some time.

Did your favorite shows make the List of Top Fifty Sci-Fi TV Shows? If not, which shows do you think they should have included. The Invaders (1967 – 1968) isn’t there. Neither Buck Rogers show is listed, not Buck Rogers (1950 – 1951). not Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979 – 1981). Matthew Millheiser said in 2004: ” I won’t even begin to argue that Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was a great show, but it was certainly a fun one.” Should the list have concentrated more on shows that were fun? For the most part, it doesn’t seem to be leaning toward Hugo and Saturn winners.

What TV shows do you think should have made the list? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below. What do you think?

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Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.