Looking for a guide to the best classic Science Fiction television of all time? Then look no further! Here you’ll find a guide detailing the top such television serials of yesteryear. You’ll learn all sorts of interesting facts about these various productions (Some of which you may have forgotten about or never heard of), as well as how and why you should acquaint or reacquaint yourself with these classic Science Fiction television shows
Doctor Who – There is a very good reason why the original run of Doctor Who lasted as long as it did, and that’s long enough to have become the longest running Science Fiction TV serial in history. And to the chagrin of many a Star Trek fan, Doctor Who actually holds the Guinness Book of World’s Records title for that very distinction. While currently in a new phase of development after a long hiatus, the original Doctor Who first aired in 1966 until it went off the air with much controversy in 1989. Doctor Who is renowned by many Science Fiction fans and critics for the show’s highly original scripts penned from a bevy of talented authors including (But not limited to) Terrence Dicks and the Douglas Adams, creative low budget special effects, and a cast of U.K veteran actors in both the regenerating role of The Doctor and his time and space traveling companions. If you are a science fiction fan old or new, you can still find many of the shows from the old series on individual DVDs and the occasional Box Set, such as The Key to Time series which made up the entirety of a single season.
Star Trek – The original, and initially least successful of the franchise TV shows, is still widely regarded by most science fiction fans as the best. The original Star Trek was produced by Gene Roddenberry and brought to the small screen, first airing in 1966 and running for three seasons before becoming the first and only Star Trek series in the franchise to thus far to have the been cancelled. Despite the short run, the original Star Trek was by no means any lightweight Television contender in the eyes of many Science Fiction fans and critics whom had fallen in love with the show’s colorful sets, always interesting scripts and iconic characters such as Captain James. T. Kirk and the enigmatic Vulcan alien, Mr. Spock. The show’s episodes were nominated numerous times for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, and the cult like fan-base managed to preserve and even expand the fanfare of the show by holding Star Trek themed pop-culture conventions which in themselves became a phenom in their own right. Ultimately this uber fan support led to the series being reborn in the mid 80’s with Roddenberry back at the production helm. The entire series has been preserved several times on DVD, including a remastered edition which is highly touted by fans.
Ray Bradbury Theater – While perhaps not as well known as other entries within this article, Ray Bradbury Theater deserves a place on this list as one of the best classic Science Fiction TV serials of all time. For starters, the show comprised six seasons with a total of 65 tales, all penned by the maestro of the macabre himself. And what made the show truly proper to format was that it was hosted by the living legend of Science Fiction himself, Ray Bradbury, who in classic Alfred Hitchcock type fashion would forward each show with a macabre and darkly humorous introduction, usually in the form of a recollection of memories leading to his inspiration for each tale. While Bradbury delved into the realms of Horror and Dark Fantasy often, and indeed tales of his from those sub-genres of speculative fiction appear in Ray Bradbury Theater; his penchant will be perhaps best known within the realms of Science Fiction, of which appears aplenty within the 6 seasons of the series…. And is thus deserving of a place amongst this list of the best classic science fiction television. Although occasionally still making the runs via syndication in modern times, this classic science fiction television series has become a bit forgotten by the masses. Thankfully, all episodes from the series were released in a DVD set in 2005.
Twilight Zone – No list of the best classic science fiction TV serials would be complete without TheTwilight Zone making the cut of course. The screenwriting wunderkind, Rod Serling, first brought his serial of amazing anthology Science Fiction tales to living rooms across America back in 1959 for what would be a fantastic five year run full of critical and fan acclaim. Serling would serve as executive producer, host, and even as the head writer throughout the entire run of the series. Serling himself penned the majority of the scripts for the episodes which was no small feat of excellence considering how fresh he managed to keep each episode, keeping the anthology series from falling into mundane and repetitive storytelling. Serling also managed to bring in the best and most recognizable acting talent to The Twilight Zone, and even newer audiences will likely recognize many of the stars which graced the series with their presence. The Twilight Zone was simply the best Science Fiction TV series of the day; and has held up as such still widely appearing in syndication today, even as it nears a 50 Year Anniversary milestone. There have been several DVD releases over the last decade capturing the entire series, the most recent was The Twilight Zone: The Complete Definitive Collection released in 2006.
Outer Limits – There is nothing wrong with your computer monitor. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are assuming control… By adding this relatively short lived TV anthology show to this guide to classic Science Fiction Television. The Outer Limits was, and still is considered by many, to be a rip-off of the before mentioned Twilight Zone. But while it is undeniable that Serling’s earlier renowned television production served as the main inspiration for The Outer Limits, the true Science Fiction aficionado can’t deny that that the series also boasted some mighty fine quality production values and top notch scriptwriting of its own. In fact, Science Fiction legend, Harlan Ellison, penned two of the anthology series best known tales, Demon with a Glass Hand and Soldier. And you’ve probably heard the pop culture in-joke sub-reference, “It’s a cookbook,” a classic line of dialogue taken from the classic episode, To Serve Man. In the vein of Star Trek, The Outer Limits had a short run of only two seasons. But later the cable channels Showtime (And later the SciFi Channel) spawned a re-launch of this classic Science Fiction television series which lasted far longer than it’s predecessor, from 1995 through 2002.