Sci-Fi Fodder

2006-2007 Best Sci-Fi Shows

It is finale week for most of our beloved Sci-Fi shows. To commorate, I thought I would put together a list of the my top shows for the past season. This is clearly my opinion only; however, I thought I'd be at least a little bit scientific in my ratings.

So, here is the rating system:
D/E - Direction/Effects (0-2 points)
Are there good, effective, special effects? Are they used properly, or just for show? Are they distracting? A good example of distracting effects is the green screen work on "Jericho" when someone is driving. It is poorly done. Compare any driving scene in "Jericho" to one in "Drive" and you will see what I mean.

P - Premise (0-2 points)
Do I like the setting and idea for the story? I am not likely to watch a story about Zombies doing social work in a hospital...even as much as I like Zombies! That is, unless it rated very highly on the next two categories.

D - Dialogue (0-3 points)
Is the writing sharp and witty, or does it make me cring? Do the characters bring the funny, or are the jokes flat and corny?

A - Acting (0-3 points)
The writers may have provided good lines...but, can the actors deliver them believably?

A great example of the difference between good acting and good writing can be seen if you go back some 2005-2006 Sci-Fi shows - "Threshold" and "Surface". Threshold had an all-star cast (I love Carla Gugino!), but the dialogue was awful - the writing simply sucked. "Surface", on the other hand, turned out to be very tightly scripted...but, the actors were distracting (Lake Bell?).

So, without further ado, here are my ranking for the year!

The Cancelled
Vanished (D/E = 0: P = 2: D = 1: A = 0:: Total = 3)
I had high hopes for this conspiracy-based show. But, when you kill off you lead character in the first eight weeks of the show, you know you have problems. I think the actors were all (yes - every one!) miscast. This is an example of 'Great Concept; Poor Execution'.

Daybreak (D/E = 1: P = 1: D = 2: A = 3:: Total = 7)
"Daybreak" is a missed oppotunity. Taye Diggs was excellent as the cop who relived and sometimes changed one horrific day. To be honest, although I liked the show, it didn't have much potential for a multi-season run.

Blade (D/E = 2: P = 2: D =2 : A = 1:: Total = 7)
The latest (now cancelled) version of "Blade" was actually pretty good. I liked the backstory of the vampire clans. It didn't have a chance to mature.

Drive (D/E = 2: P = 2: D = 2: A = 3:: Total = 9)
No need to go into detail here. "Drive" could have been great, especially after the characters matured and the writers could work their magic with the dialogue. It is still a travesty that it was cancelled so soon.

The Currently Unwatched
Jericho (D/E = 0: P = 1: D = 2: A = 2:: Total = 5)
I have not been converted to "Jericho" yet. My wife still watches it. For some reason, it does not hold my attention (except when the one girl is talking to the chicken) and I already mentioned the distracting effects. That seems to me to be the definition of a 5.

Smallville (D/E = 1: P = 1: D = 1: A = 2:: Total = 5)
I only saw one episode of "Smallville" this year ("Justice"). And, although it was pretty decent, I wasn't wowed enough by the gathering of heroes to come back to the show. I still am bothered by all of the Kryptonite freaks. Now, if Green Arrow spun off into his own show, I'd be there.

The Good
Doctor Who (D/E = 1: P = 2: D = 3: A = 2:: Total = 8)
David Tennant won me over somewhere around the middle of the season. I was hung up on the previous Doctor - but, I am now a convert. The story of Rose Tyler was very, very well done.

Eureka (D/E = 2: P = 2: D = 2: A = 2:: Total = 8)
A show that was given time to gain a following, and delivered. I really like "Eureka" and it's quirky little town of supergenius scientists...and it's one normal sheriff. It's light, but very watchable.

The Best
Lost (D/E = 2: P = 1: D = 3: A = 3:: Total = 9)
"Lost" is back. After a slow start, this show has resumed weekly greatness!

Battlestar Galactica (D/E = 2: P = 2: D = 2: A = 3:: Total = 9)
Battlestar Galactica was quite dark this year. But, the single greatest effect of the year was the Galactica plummetting into the atmosphere of New Caprica and then jumping away before impact. Just awesome. I have faith that the writers are going somewhere good.

Heroes (D/E = 2: P = 2: D = 3: A = 2:: Total = 9)
I had my initial doubts about "Heroes". But, the writers have proved better than I expected. They have put together a compelling one season storyline that makes this one of the first shows that I want to watch each week.

Supernatural (D/E = 2: P = 2: D = 3: A = 3:: Total = 10)
The second season of Supernatural was fantastic. It has great quips, a great backstory and interesting 'mystery of the week' episodes. You better sit down - "Supernatural" may be the best show on television at the moment. Yeah, you can quote me.

Wow. When I started writing this article, I didn't really know that I would trade "Jericho" and "Smallville" to get back "Drive" and "Blade" from the depths of cancellation. It seems so clear now.

I also did not expect to come to the conclusion that Supernatural was the best show on TV right now. But, it is the most consistently entertaining (for me) of any show that I regularly watch. So, we have a surprise 2006-2007 winner - "Supernatural"!

No way... Heroes and Lost definitely trumps Supernatural...

-- Posted by: fabiopedrosa at May 17, 2007 9:22 AM

I have to admit - it was a close call for me. But, the weak beginning of the season knocked out Lost from the #1 spot and the writing on Supernatural is just a bit tighter and funnier than Heroes.

Sure, that's probably due to the fact that the characters are more fleshed out...but, still, I'll stick by my rating. ;-)

-- Posted by: fred at May 17, 2007 3:04 PM

Best shows:
Jericho - cancelled
Stargate SG-1 - cancelled
Blade "Angel wannabe" - cancelled

Other ratings:
Heroes - for the retarded nephew
Lost - read Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle
Bat Galactica - glad starbuck is the #5 cylon
Eureka - entertainingly goofy
Dr. Who - very good

-- Posted by: Phil Lynott at May 17, 2007 4:09 PM

The few times I managed to sit thru 'Lost', I felt like I was watching paint dry or grass grow....taking forever to get somewhere not very interesting. Can someone explain why this show is good?

-- Posted by: Sgt Shultz at June 2, 2007 9:35 PM

Sure! For me, 'Lost' is one of those shows that keeps surprising me with how thorough they can be in keeping plotlines intact.

Each episode is well scripted, well acted and, in some small way, contributes to the overall progress of the show. We may know more about a character's motivation or gain some additional knowledge about the mysteries of the island. But, it is always *consistent* in its logic - even if it might not seem like it at the time.

Now, granted, season 3 didn't start off that exciting, but looking back, those episodes had purpose in setting up the dynamics of the Others camp. So, not interesting, but needed to set up the rest of the season.

Compare this planning and execution to another show that we all like - 'Heroes'. Although it is always entertaining, the finale was in many ways not consistent with what we thought heroes would do in the situations provided. Instead, the writer decided to redeem a character for dramatic effect (Nathan), but, in doing so, lost a bit of credibility.

In contract, the 'Lost' finale provided a *perfectly* consistent finale and made us all believe that the writers have a plan.

I think that is all we want - somebody that can tell a good, internally consistent, interesting story. For me, that is 'Lost' in a nutshell.

-- Posted by: fred at June 3, 2007 12:07 AM

Wow - I really agree 100% w/you. Basically, by the end of this season (2), Supernatural was kicking everyone's asses in all categories. Ackles was fantastic in season 1 but Padalecki really held his own in season 2.

Daybreak & Drive (LOVE Nathan Fillion) - right there with you. Drive was so FANTASTIC for the three episodes aired in 8 days . . .

I've pretty much stopped watching Lost, Jericho, etc. Smallville - you know if it didn't air right before Supernatural, I don't know if I'd bother . . .

-- Posted by: Megaera at June 27, 2007 5:46 PM

Meg - I'm with you. I keep thinking I should get the DVDs to catch up on Smallville. But, then I catch an episode and say 'meh'...and then go on to some other show.

-- Posted by: fred at June 28, 2007 1:14 PM

I agree with Meg about Supernatural,
Both actors were great, Ackles is always consistent but Padalecki has really come along way from Season 1.

Dr. Who was awesome. I've been a fan for years. I watched the re-runs of the previous series (I even have what I call my Dr. Who Scarf!).

BSG - Was good, a little weird at times but still always a good watch.

Smallville - Needs to slide out gracefully...and preferably before it 'jumps the shark.' Although lately I'm think it might be too late.

the rest...well...they fall between Boring and I'll only watch if I'm home sick.

-- Posted by: Killertomatoe at September 7, 2007 9:28 AM