TV SF of the 90s – The Stuff I Watched

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The 90s were an odd time. My 20s. Most of my university career, a wedding, our first house, the birth of our first child. I feel like I watched less television than earlier in my life.

There were a lot of short-lived SF shows in the 1990s and most of them didn’t find traction with me. There’s one exception in the list below. Most of my favourites had a little more traction.

Babylon 5 had that grand vision from the first episode. A wide galaxy filled with aliens and alliances and politics, plus a lot of conflict brewing in the background. The first season was hit and miss, but it picked up in the second and rushed ahead at breakneck speed through the end of season 4. Season 5 was a surprise and some of it was a bit of a disappointment, too, but I still love this show. Season 3 is probably my favourite.

I ran across Farscape during its first season while visiting my parents who had cable while we didn’t (apparently, we didn’t watch enough TV at the time to make it worth it. The show became a favourite. It was weird, it was fun, and it had great characters. It was also off the air at least a season too soon. This came back into my viewing in a big way recently when my oldest daughter discovered it. We started Season 4 not too long ago.

Futurama. A pizza delivery boy sent a thousand years into the future where we proceed to trample through every science fiction trope you can come up with, and then a few more. Five seasons, four movies, and two more seasons. While I didn’t necessarily get my kids to watch Star Trek, all three of them managed some Futurama, and it’s entirely possible the animation had something to do with that.

SeaQuest DSV. Okay, not exactly Star Trek underwater, but that’s kind of how it was billed at the time, and Roy Scheider is one of my favourite actors. It took a weird turn after his departure, though, and didn’t survive to get another season.

Sliders. An early TV show bringing the idea of the multiverse out of comic book or novel form and to the small screen. Cheesy goodness.

Space: Above and Beyond. This ran only a single season, which was too bad. A lot of character building and a lot of set up for what could have been some epic storytelling.

Star Trek Voyager. Voyager was hit and miss for me for a couple of seasons. I was there for the first episode and probably consistently from somewhere in the third season on. It also became a show I’d watch in syndication after everyone was asleep a decade or so after it finished its run. Higher on the technobabable than the last couple of shows in the universe, but also much more exploration than its predecessor.

Stargate SG1. I was initially wary about this one, concerned about how they’d spin a movie into an ongoing show. But hey, MacGuyver was in it, so it had a chance, right? And it had a good chance. As was normal for the time period, the first season was mostly spent finding its feet. After that, it was a lot of fun and had a lot of long play story behind the adventure.

You’ll note the absence of Star Trek Deep Space Nine and the X-Files in this list. I got bored after the first season of DS9 and didn’t pick it up again until much farther into my adulthood, for reasons we won’t discuss here. And X-Files just never appealed to me. I don’t really get the conspiracy theory mindset.

Having said that, I’m sure both of those are someone’s favourite out there. I’m always willing to share a difference of opinion.

Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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