Television

Books is my first love when it comes to speculative fiction.  Television is a close second.  In my youth, I watched what few science fiction and fantasy shows that I could find.  There were not  many in the 1960’s and some of those I did not truly discover until decades later they were on as reruns and available on DVD.

The 1970s

  • Salvage 1 (1979) — A very short lived series that proved that there was life after Mayberry for actor Andy Griffith.  A series based on a television movie that just could not maintain the steam necessary to hold an audances attention.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-1981) — Another series spun off from a movie of the same name.  It was okay.  IMHO the theme song was the best part, that is the full theme with lyrics.  The only thing that I did have trouble with is that changed Buck Rogers first name.  The original books and series, Buck Rogers first name was Anthony.  In the movie and television series it was changed to Will, making Will Rogers, to be confused with the famous humorist.
  • Mork & Mindy (1978-1982) — This was an enjoyable comedy.  I did not enjoy the last season when Jonathan Winters joined the cast.  Jonathan was Robin Williams real life hero.  Personally I did not like his humor nearly as much as I liked Robin Williams.
  • Blakes 7 ( 1978-1981) — A British science fiction series that was one of the best in its day.
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979) — The original Battlestar Galactica was very campy by today standards and while good in its own right, it does not hold a candle to the remake.
  • Space Academy (1977-1979) — Another show that I know I have watched and can remember almost nothing about it.  The only reason that I remembered the show is the buildings that are shown in the opening credits.
  • Quark (1977-1978) — I must confess.  I have never seen an entire episode of Quark.  It was a show that I wanted to watch but it was on Thursday evenings when I was at computer programming oriented Explorer Scout meetings.  I have seen bits and pieces of the show and probably would not have liked it as much as I had hoped.
  • Logan’s Run (1977-1978) — I liked the movie, the series was not as good.
  • The Bionic Woman (1976-1978) — This was a spinoff of The Six Million Dollar Man.  Spinoffs are rarely as good as the originals.  This is a case where the spinoff was on par with the original.  It was less adventure than The Six Million Dollar Man while being its own show.  It may be the earliest show that I remember where characters from one show appear on another.  Maybe it was not the first to do so, it is only what I remember.
  • Future Cop (1976-1977) — I do not remember watching this show other than remembering that it starred Ernest Borgnine, of McHale’s Navy (1962-1966) and the original Poseidon Adventure (1972).
  • Space: 1999 (1975-1977) —  I have very mixed feelings about this show.  It had a good first season and then the American backers stuck their fingers into it with the results of having a lousy second and final season.  This is another show that really should have had and listened to a scientific advisor.  The premise of the show is that a large nuclear amino dump of the far side of the Moon blows up and throws the Moon out of orbit and it travels many light years away from the Solar System in the a week time, time between episodes.  First an explosion of that magnitude probably would have broken the Moon up, assuming that you buy that, the Moon moves in the direction of the explosion, not in the opposite direction as dictated by Newton’s Laws of Motions that we have know about since the 1700s.  Despite the bad science, the first season had good ideas and told decent stories.  The second season was the monster of the week story and no where near as good.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1978) — Who could forget the classic line “We can rebuild him; We have the technology”.  It was not too scientifically accurate such as having a bionic arm and legs would not have made it possible for Steve Austin to pick up a car or a tank, not until they gave him a bionic spine to support the weight.  Despite that, it was a cool show to watch and enjoy.  I read the book that the series was based on and the book was much darker than the show ever was.
  • Planet of the Apes (1974) — A short lived series that tried to milk the cash cow that the Movies were.
  • The Starlost (1973-1974) — A show with a brilliant premise with no money spent on production.  The show was created by Harlan Ellison who later published a book titled Phoenix Without Ashes,  which was the story of the pilot episode and contained a very long (between 30 to 50 pages, if I remember right, at least it seemed that long) introduction telling how the television studios took his idea and turned in it into a giant pile of manure.  Too bad, it had so much potential and could have been a really great show if the money had only been put into production.  Doctor Who from the same time period had much better staging and costumes.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1974) — Originally entitled Star Logs, the animated series tried to fill the gap left by the original Star Trek.  It was a large hole to fill and really needed the cast and writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I do have strong memories of two of the episodes.  One is when Spock travels back in time through the device from The City on the Edge of Forever episode and we get to meet his teddy bear which is alive and has 6 inch fangs.  The other was based on a Larry Niven short story, The Soft Weapon, where Spock took the place of the Puppeteer and Kzinti were introduced from Larry Niven’s Known Space Universe into the Star Trek Universe.  A bit of crossing the streams but the original Star Trek also adopted short stories not related to Star Trek for episodes.  Case in point is the episode named Arena.
  • UFO (1970-1973) — Brought to you be the company that produced the marionnettes shows in the 1960s,  Stingray (1964-1965), Thunderbirds (1965-1966)  and Fireball XL5 (1962-1963), and Space: 1999 later in the 1970s.  The series with live actors takes place in London, in an advanced submarine and on a secret moon base, was a decent drama.

The 1960s

  • Fantastic Voyage (1968) — An animated series loosely based on Isaac Asimov book and movie of the same name.
  • Land of the Giants (1968-1970) — Interesting concept for its time.
  • The Invaders (1967-1968) — I watched a few episodes when it first aired though mostly I have watched the show on DVD.
  • Star Trek (1966-1968) — One of my favorites of all time.
  • Time Tunnel (1966-1967) — At the time that I first watched the series, I had no understanding of how much they were actually butchering history.  Enjoyed the show them, still enjoy its theme music today.
  • It’s About Time (1966-1967) — A comedy about two astronauts who accidentally travel back in time to the age of the caveman.  Season 1 took place in the caveman era and season 2 they brought the cavemen back to the present day.
  • The Wild, Wild West (1965-1969) — Most people would not consider this a science fiction show.  If it was on today, it would fit nicely into the Steampunk subgenre.  I consider the enemies made use of technology not know in that time, and some still not know today, so I consider this a cross between western and science fiction.
  • Lost In Space (1965-1968) — I enjoyed the show as a child, I do not think I can take its campy-ness now.  I used to wonder how show beat out Star Trek in getting on the air.  Both competed for the same time slot.  Then the SciFi channel aired the never seen pilot of Lost In Space.  The pilot was a completely different show.  It was hard core science fiction without Dr. Smith or the Robot.
  • Johnny Quest (1964-1965) — Great concepts for each episode.  Who can forget the red ovals that they used for their mouths when the characters talked.
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-1968) – Based on a movie of the same name from 1961.
  • The Outer Limits (1963-1965) — I did not consider this show as good as The Twilight Zone though it did have memorable episodes.  It was definitely better than One Step Beyond.
  • My Favorite Martian (1963-1966) — I remember bits and pieces of this show and remember what I thought was the final episode where Uncle Martin’s nephew, Andromeda, lands on Earth.  Andromeda, Andy for short, only had one antenna because he was still an youth.  I have been unable to find that episode in any listings so I do not know if I am remembering it or making it up.
  • The Jetsons (1962-1963) — cartoons were only on television on Saturday mornings back then.
  • The Avengers (1961-1969) — A British Secret Service series where the agents dealt with science fiction type foes.  The most notable characters that were Mr. John Steed and Mrs. Emma Peel.

The 1950s

  • The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) — This show has fond memories though I did not start watching it until it was on reruns in the 1970s.
  • One Step Beyond (1959-1961) — Like The Twilight Zone, this is another show that I only watched in reruns though I did not watch as many episodes.
  • Superman (1952-1958) — This is the version starring George Reeves, not Christopher Reeve of the movies, that was a spinoff the radio drama.  I do not remember when this show was aired as reruns though I suspect that it was with the Saturday Morning Cartoons.

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