5 Underrated Science Fiction Shows

Hungry for more science fiction on your goggle-box but think you’ve seen everything the genre has to offer? Here are five shows you may have overlooked. You won’t find them listed amongst the best SciFi shows of all time but they are definitely underrated.

Earth2

A simple story about a small group of humans attempting to settle on a new world, Earth 2 was hardly ground breaking. Poor production values and average scripting have condemned the show to the depths of obscurity, with only one series ever produced. And yet I can’t help but enjoy the simple plots and unconvincing aliens.

At first glance Earth 2 might seem like a tired relic of the early 90s but if you look a little closer you will see that there are actually some really good ideas here.

Hyperdrive

The HMS Camden Lock – serving Britain’s business interests in a changing galaxy.

This BBC sitcom combined the quirky sci-fi styling of Red Dwarf with the dry wit of The Office. A somewhat different look at the future of the human race, it follows the crew of the HMS Camden Lock as they attempt to persuade various alien races to move their warehousing facilities to Peterborough. Hyperdrive‘s only failing was that it wasn’t quite funny enough for demanding British audiences. Nevertheless, there are 12 episodes packed full of character humour and clever little science fiction ideas (like the insta-drunk tablet).

Sliders

Sliders really was a great show, at least in it’s day, and it still holds up as a thoroughly entertaining piece of television. A small group of 90s cliches accidentally ‘slide’ through a wormhole and find themselves in a parallel universe. Unable to find a way back they are forced to blindly stumble through an infinite number of parallel worlds, each time hoping that the next ‘slide’ will be the ‘slide’ home.

There’s feminist world, pulsar world, giant golf-course world (with giant carnivorous rabbits) and in the closing series there are even inter-dimensional Nazi aliens.

If you haven’t seen Sliders since its original five series run in 1995-2000 maybe it’s time to give it another go. The final series was a bit of a let down but otherwise this is TV gold!

Dollhouse

Buffy and Firefly creator Joss Whedon is the genius behind this characteristically witty and intelligent show. Unfortunately, Whedon’s mastery of the televisual arts continues to go unrecognised by the idiots at Fox and the show was cruelly axed after only two short series.

Dollhouse is essentially the story of a high-class, high-tech knocking shop. The sci-fi centrepiece of the show is a memory manipulation device, which allows clients to tailor the perfect individual for their unique needs, beit a dominatrix, a replica of a former lover or a sexy assassin. Whedon and his characters explore the social and ethical ramifications of this technology and quickly realize its true potential; in addition to creating the perfect partner it has the power to change the world as we know it, which it inevitably does.

Morally ambiguous, subtle and uniquely twee, Dollhouse explores the concept of identity in a new and truly thought provoking way. The show was definitely going places – dark places – and it’s a shame Whedon had to rap his story up so quickly in season 2.

Lexx

Sexy, strange and utterly bonkers, Lexx is a dark and sometimes farcical romp through various science fiction and fantasy subgenres. That this unconventional show was ever commissioned is quite astonishing and that it ran for a full four seasons is nothing short of a miracle. Frequent sexual references kept Lexx away from American audiences until recently and made prime time viewing in any country virtually impossible. Fortunately, the Canadian and German creators of the show knew they had a cult classic on their hands.

The Lexx is a biological spaceship of enormous proportions. The most powerful weapon in the two universes, it is able to destroy entire planets with the help of some pretty snazzy CGI. The Lexx is crewed by a small band of renegades on the run from His Divine Shadow and his evil allies. These include security guard Stanley Tweedle, reptilian love slave Zev, robotic head on a skateboard 790, and the undead assassin Kai.

Each series of Lexx takes on a very different slant and it’s not easy to sum the show up in just one blog post but sufficed to say if you liked Farscape you’ll love this.