So I was still watching Star Trek TOS in the 80s (I’m still watching it now sometimes), but I was watching a lot of other TV SF, too. Things that stand out in my memory, in alphabetical order so there’s no calling favourites:
Alien Nation. One whole season and then five TV movies stretching deep into the 90s, proving that it was cancelled too soon. It also wouldn’t be believable if made today. I mean, the US accepting actual aliens as immigrants?
Alf was more a sitcom than SF, and probably ran a season longer than it should have. Or two. The concept was fun but the jokes were a little on the repetitious side. We all watched it, though.
Automan. I remember watching a lot of episodes of this, but thinking back, only a few scenes here and there stand out in my memory. I wonder if I should fix that or if it’s a good thing.
Greatest American Hero. A suit that gives you superpowers but for some reason you lose the instruction manual. He did eventually stop crashing into things when he was flying. I actually own the boxed set of the entire series. Picked it up for not much more than a song a few years ago.
Knight Rider. Who didn’t want to be Michael Knight back in the day? Working for a secret organization with lots of cool toys and partnered with a self-aware car that could do a lot of things on its own. Bringing help to the helpless, hope to the hopeless, hap to the hapless. Or something like that.
Max Headroom. Ah, the power of television, of ratings, of eyeballs glued to your screen. The evil of corporations. The wonder of satire. Prescient in a lot of ways.
The Powers of Matthew Star. Let’s be honest, the only thing that made this worth watching was the acting ability of Lou Gossett Jr. Otherwise, it’s your standard teenager coming of age with superpowers who doesn’t really want to go back to his home planet storyline.
Red Dwarf. If I’m honest, I didn’t discover this until there were already four series out, so it was already the 90s.
Star Trek: The Next Generation. So the writing was hit and miss for the first couple of seasons and Worf’s sash was a little frilly for a Klingon in the beginning, but Star Trek was back on TV for the first time in far, far too long.
V. Looking back, I wonder if this is where the conspiracy nuts got the idea for lizard people. Alien invasion not what it seems, underground resistance, stellar (and huge) cast.
Voyagers. Cheesy, goofy fun. There are teams of time travellers out there keeping history moving the way it’s supposed to be. Paradoxes and silliness ripe for the plucking!
TNG is still a semi-regular feature of my viewing, but a couple of the others are probably binge-worthy. There were tons more I could have mentioned, and I didn’t even touch the Fantasy side of the coin. Did I miss anyone’s favourite?
Be well, everyone.by
by So bear with me for a minute. Red Dwarf, Series 4, episode 6, “Meltdown”.
The episode opens with three of the principle characters, Rimmer, Lister, and Cat, sitting in their quarters. Rimmer is describing in painful detail the dice throws of a Risk game played at age 17.
Things you need to know. Lister is slowly being driven crazy. Rimmer is completely oblivious. Smeg is a general purpose swear word you can substitute for any or all of the standards.
The actual scene lasts about three minutes. The whole episode appears to be available here and this is pulled from the first scene. After the first scene, things get exciting with wax robots and teleporters and wars and stuff.
Lister: What I want to know, is how the smeg can you remember what dice you threw at a game you played when you were seventeen?
Rimmer: I jotted it down in my Risk campaign book. I always used to do that so I could replay my moments of glory over a glass of brandy in the sleeping quarters. I ask you, what better way is there to spend a Saturday night?
Cat: You got me.
Rimmer: So a six and a three and he came back with a three and a two.
Lister: Rimmer, can’t you tell the story is not gripping me? I’m in a state of non-gripness, I am completely smegging ungripped. Shut the smeg up.
Rimmer: Don’t you want to hear the Risk story?
Lister: That’s what I’ve been saying for the last fifteen minutes.
Rimmer: But I thought that was because I hadn’t got to the really interesting bit.
Lister: What really interesting bit?
Rimmer: Ah well, that was about two hours later, after he’d thrown a three and a two and I’d thrown a four and a one. I picked up the dice–
Lister: Hang on Rimmer, hang on. The really interesting bit is exactly the same as the dull bit.
Rimmer: You don’t know what I did with the dice though, do you? For all you know, I could have jammed them up his nostrils, head butted him on the nose and they could have blasted out of his ears. That would’ve been quite interesting.
Lister: Okay, Rimmer. What did you do with the dice?
Rimmer: I threw a five and a two.
Lister: And that’s the really interesting bit?
Rimmer: Well it was interesting to me. It got me into Irkutsk.
Now, go back and read this again. (You don’t have to. I’m just illustrating a point.) This time substitute me for Lister. Then replace Rimmer with a random Poker player telling me about the tournament he was in a year ago last Thursday.
It’s a remarkable parallel.
You can probably find your own. It’s a wonderful thing that we can all find something to be completely obsessed with. It’s a sad and annoying thing to the people around us when we aren’t able to realize the whole world doesn’t share that obsession.
This wasn’t about work because I don’t talk about work away from work. However, there are times when I am completely smegging ungripped. I’m just too polite to say so.by