Sunday, May 06, 2007

Science Friction

I know that Mike's already hosted a discussion of Entertainment Weekly's list of the Top 25 science fiction moments of the last 25 years, but the assembled geekery responsible for this blog somehow missed the discussion. So let's start it over again here.

The full list with EW's commentary is available here, but here's the list by the numbers:

25. V
24. Galaxy Quest
23. Dr. Who
22. Quantum Leap
21. Futurama
20. Star Wars Clone Wars
19. Starship Troopers
18. Heroes
17. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
16. Total Recall
15. Firefly/Serenity
14. Children of Men
13. Terminator 1 & 2
12. Back to the Future
11. Lost
10. John Carpenter's The Thing
9. Aliens
8. Star Trek: The Next Generation
7. ET
6. Brazil
5. Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan
4. X Files
3. Blade Runner
2. Battlestar Galactica
1. The Matrix

That's a pretty damn good list, though I'd probably move "ET" much further down and, as much as I thought it was funny, boot "Galaxy Quest" off the list altogether. I haven't seen "The Thing" or the "Clone Wars" cartoons, but I may have to add those two to the Netflix queue now.

Given the very high level of sci-fi geekery behind this site -- myself included -- I'm sure this will be a fruitful discussion. Did Dr. Who get robbed? Is this an implicit endorsement of Kirk over Picard? Should "Futurama" be rated higher for introducing the phrase "Sweet Zombie Jesus"? And why do the jocks keep throwing Jell-O at our table?



norbizness said...

I just saw the first season of the new Battlestar Galactica, and I think that, while very good, it may be a little bit overpraised. No way it's higher than Blade Runner, which is like a top 20 film period. The Matrix rips off too many ideas and is hobbled by the last two-thirds of the trilogy to be #1.

I would also put Terminator 2 a bit higher, and add the underrated third film to the group. And is Lost really Sci-Fi? And not just incredibly dull?

My dark horse inclusion: The Quiet Earth, a New Zealand film from 1985, which is just creepy and amazing.

Otto Man said...

The comments over at Mike's site were strongly opposed to Blade Runner, but I have to agree with Norb here. It's the best film to come from a Philip K. Dick novel, a film that set the pace for dystopian sci-fi flicks that came after. 3rd place is the lowest it should be.

I've only seen the 1st season of Battlestar Galactica, but I've heard it gets even better in the 2nd and 3rd seasons. But it definitely has the benefit of the current buzz here.

Lost is sort-of sci-fi, in the Twilight Zone sense of it. The show's flagged this season, but there's still some strong stuff there.

I've been meaning to watch the Quiet Earth. Thanks for the reminder.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

Quick reactions:
1) Lost sucks and is only getting worse with age. It does not deserve to be on this list.

2) Terminator 1 is 10 times better than T2.

3) Even though Escape from New York is 26 years old, it should be on this list anyway.

4) No Return of the Jedi? Mock the Ewoks, but it's a crime that it was omitted.

5) Children of Men is a masterwork, and its reputation will grow with time.

6) Is Eternal Sunshine really science fiction? Even so, does it belong on this list?

7) The last 25 years of Dr. Who is nothing to write home about. Its golden age was the late 60s/early 70s.

8) Deep Space Nine was awesome.

9) Thank God Independence Day was not mentioned.

10) Robocop should be in the top 10.

InanimateCarbonRod said...


Otto Man said...

Terminator 1 is 10 times better than T2.

I'm with you on this one. I just caught it on cable the other night, and I'd forgotten just how dark and edgy it was. No "Hasta la vista baby" bullshit, just mayhem and destruction.

No Return of the Jedi? Mock the Ewoks, but it's a crime that it was omitted.

Eh, you lost me. Return was such a letdown from Empire that it deserves to be shunned a little. Maybe rounding out the top 25, but I'm not sold.

Children of Men is a masterwork, and its reputation will grow with time.

Yep. I think it'll last the way Bladerunner has, largely because it made such a convincing and yet subtle case for a dark, dystopian future. It could've gone heavy-handed, but kept the larger issues just slightly offstage.

You know, this makes me realize "28 Days Later" isn't on here. I suppose zombie films are under the horror umbrella, but it's about a virus that gets out of control and wreaks havoc. That should qualify.

Is Eternal Sunshine really science fiction?

The EW people tackle this one, and insist that mind control through a machine qualifies it. I loved the film, but I'm not so sure. When the freakiest thing in your film is Kirsten Dunst, I'm not sure if that qualifies.

The last 25 years of Dr. Who is nothing to write home about.

OK, who are you and what have you done with the real iRod?

Deep Space Nine was awesome.

I'm with you on this, especially the early-to-mid years. When they pushed the whole frontier angle, DS9 seemed like a space-age Deadwood. It wound up a little too TNGish as time wore on, but it was solid earlier on.

Thank God Independence Day was not mentioned.

What an utter piece of shit. That flick was the Paris Hilton of action films -- an empty-headed piece of inanity that tried to make success just out of money and celebrity. Fuck and no.

Robocop should be in the top 10.

Boom, we have a winner. The whole setup of the corporate takeover of society was a nice premise and scarily prescient. The boardroom scene when the ED-209 mows the corporate lackey down? Priceless.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

Another glaring omission: Jurassic Park

Otto Man said...

Those are both good calls, iRod.

This is keeping you up at night, isn't it?

Thrillhous said...

Galaxy Quest, Futurama, Lost, and that freaking train wreck Brazil need to get the hell off this list. If you need a Gilliam movie, 12 monkeys at least made sense. Time travel, viruses, ripping out one's own teeth, it's a winner.

I'm no fan of the new SW trilogy, but that's primarily in comparison to episodes 4 and 5. Still, the new SW (and Jedi, definitely) are better than, say, Quantum freakin' Leap.

This list is too weighted toward the category of "Things I saw on Tivo this month".

Thrillhous said...

I really don't think Back to the Future should be on this list. I'd replace it with 2010.

Mrs_Thrillhous said...

At first this list didn't make sense to me, but then I saw that it was by EW, which makes it Sci-Fi Moments for the Masses, confirmed by the P.O.S. that is #1. So, the high ranking of ET is fine, cuz it was the top-grossing movie for a long time.

Where is Independence Day?? I don't remember any movie before or since then that had continuous showings for 24 hours its opening weekend. The raised-on-Sega-Genesis crowd totally loved it (for a while). It belongs on this list. Ditto Jurassic Park.

If the nearly forgotten Blade Runner warrants a mention, où est Stargate? It's spawned two popular TV shows.

Dark Angel caused many a wet dream.

Battlefield Earth was a huge media spectacle.

Farscape, like Firefly (a powerful annoying show), had a huge cult following. But, no (similarly powerful annoying) movie.

The Abyss is one of my favorites, so I'm very glad that EW forgot about it.

Thrillhous said...

Yeah, Abyss should definitely be on the list, despite the fact that every third line is "Son of a bitch!!"

And I really enjoyed Stargate. Of course, I was doped up on valium the first time I saw it.