Obscure Sci-Fi TV Classics To Re-Watch
Unlike fantasy or fiction, which are born in the realm of the improvable and invented, science fiction, survives on the possibility of speculation being accepted as fact. Similar to fantasy, science fiction paints the picture of worlds that have yet to be discovered but could very well exist.
Although not well-known, the shows on this list tell stories that encapsulate the essence of science fiction. With prison islands, cult groups, and drifting moons, these obscure classics will prove that science fiction is home to the best television gems.
The Prisoner (1967)
Broadcasted in 1967, The Prisoner centers around a nameless lone prisoner, played by Patrick McGoohan, as he attempts to escape his forced incarceration. The show starts off with McGoohan’s character being drugged and taken to a deserted island. On the island, he is given a name, Number Six, and like the other residents of that island, he would be named as such for the rest of the show.
Viewers are made to watch as Number Six attempts to escape from the prison island while fighting against the island rulers’ endless schemes. The Prisoner is a visual masterpiece, with vibrant colors and stunning imagery, the show was clearly ahead of its time. The show was said to reflect the times, alluding to how one can be a prisoner in their society and how lonely it can be when you’re unlike the modern world.
Space 1999 (1975)
Space 1999 begins with a group of people living on a moon colony after an unforeseen accident blasted them into space. At the mercy of the drifting moon, the inhabitants encounter neighboring planets filled with mysterious and strange creatures. The first season of the show was truly a work of art. With a vast budget for production and high-quality visual effects, Space 1999 had everything it needed to become a hit television show.
However, it seemed like the world was not ready for it. The show was considered “too dark” for American audiences, so when moving on to the next season writers sought to make the stories more light-hearted, resulting in cheesy plotlines and ridiculous monsters. This change in direction single-handedly destroyed the show’s reputation, losing fans that enjoyed the original plot.
This series follows a professor, Bernard Quatermass, as he heads to London in search of his missing granddaughter. Set at the end of the 20th century, civilization completely collapsed, leaving corrupt gangs and privatized police officers to run the streets. Amid his search, Quatermass finds a cult whose aim is to be transported to a different planet where they may rule over.
In a sudden twist of events, a huge bright light beams down to Earth taking the cult group with it. Quatermass then finds out that the same beam of light has taken millions more people across the world. Quatermass is then left to solve the mystery of the now-missing cult group and the million others taken by the light. Quatermass had an incredibly high production value, totaling around $8.5 million of today’s money. No wonder why the show is considered ‘the most expensive television show’ of its time.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (1981)
An adaption of the classic Douglas Adams novel, the series follows Dent, played by Simon Jones, as he and his friend Ford Prefect find themselves on a Vogon ship as stowaways. We are eventually introduced to characters, like Marvin the Paranoid Android, a robot, who like his name, deals with depression. The irony of a depressed robot will forever make his character the funniest robot to ever grace our television screens.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy is a beautiful mix of comedy wrapped around philosophical science fiction ideas and concepts. There are so many hilarious takes throughout the running of the series, with a running joke that mice are a super-intelligent species directly responsible for the creation of Earth.
Life On Mars (2006)
Life On Mars holds claim to having the most interesting premise of any science fiction show ever made. The show consistently leaves viewers guessing, never really explaining what the viewer has just seen. Life On Mars brings us into the life of Sam Tyler, who after a horrific accident, travels back in time to 1973.
The hilarious premise centers around Tyler trying to gather whether he’s crazy, whether he truly did travel back in time, or whether he’s just in a bad coma. Shedding light on the generational differences, Tyler comically attempts to explain things from his time. Computers and cell phones were words that completely fell on deaf ears as his colleagues remained clueless and confused. Luckily for fans, there is a possible Life on Mars remake in the works.