Battlestar Galactica may be over, but that doesn't mean there's nothing good on TV. Firefly, and Sarah Connor Chronicles are yes, all canceled, but don't despair. Many other sci-fi TV shows continue to carry the torch. The Nerd chooses the best of this season and a couple of the worst. (Minor spoilers follow.)
Here's the best of the best, the cream of the crop. These are the sci-fi shows to watch:
Walter Bishop, young and old, like Benjamin Button
This is the best sci-fi show on TV today. Initially, it seems nothing more than a show that fills the void left by X-Files. FBI agent Olivia Dunham teams together with "mad" scientist Walter Bishop to investigate Fringe science -- you know, monsters, super viruses, alternate universes, all of the good stuff. The show has matured into something more than an X-Files clone, and as of three episodes ago, it's beginning to reveal some of its mysteries, and the revelations will floor you.
After the stellar ending of season two ("I know kung fu"), Chuck season three has just moved on from strength to strength. Never mind that everything reset to status quo at the beginning of the season. Chuck is a real spy now, and new cast regulars like Brandon Routh (Superman) and Kirsten Kreuk (Smallville's Lois Lane) have added tension and color to the series while all the regulars are firing on all cylinders.
It's the last season and finally we have some answers! We now know what The Island is (sort of). And we know why the candidates -- the stars of the cast -- are important (more or less). The mysteries continue to be churned out episode after episode, but this time around we seem to be headed towards some kind of conclusion instead of more mysterious mysteries. A must-watch series if only to see how it will end.
Big Bang Theory
A sitcom about nerds? You got it, and it's hilarious. Season three begins with the return of everyone's favorite nerds, Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj from the North Pole. It also adds fuel to the fire that is the unlikely Penny and Leonard romance. No worries. The real stars of the show -- the nerdy jokes -- are in full force. A laugh a minute.
Okay, technically this isn't a sci-fi show, but as any nerd who has read Dune knows, history and sci-fi are the best of friends. Producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks spin their Band of Brothers magic on the war in the Pacific, and it's just as hard-hitting and unflinching as BOB, though perhaps not as groundbreaking. I personally can't wait till they get to the Philippines…
Just keep watching 'em
The next few shows on our list are shows that aren't doing so well. They haven't hit their stride, they've yet to reach their potential, or they've yet to be irradiated by gamma rays and transformed into the Incredible Hulk. But they're still worth watching because they could surprise us yet. Or maybe they won't. Wait and see.
We all knew that Caprica, a prequel of sorts to Battlestar Galactica, would be nothing like BSG. We were promised less space and more opera in this space opera, and we downloaded each episode willingly week after week because of one thing: cylons.
The first season has come and gone and the cylons have yet to do anything special except make cuddly eyes with lab assistants. To be fair, the drama is well done and the cast performs ably, but it's a show without a clear center. To make a BSG analogy, there's no Admiral Adama at the helm. Ironic, Edward James Olmos is the director.
This series had such a phenomenal start that I've continued watching despite the entire plot grinding to a full stop somewhere in the middle of the season. The dramatic performances are hit and miss, the musical direction is dismal, and the plot seems to have lost its way, but they could turn the series around yet.
Remember the original series? People swallowing live rats, birthing lizard babies, hijacking alien motherships… It was brilliant stuff. This version of V? Not so much. Once again we have a show that tries to emulate Battlestar Galactica, doing high drama when all we want to see is humans and lizards kicking ass.
Star Wars The Clone Wars
Hey, it's Star Wars, so we're compelled to watch it. George Lucas owns us. Come on, why stop now buddy? I really don't know what's going on in this series except that it's entertaining stuff. It's also the best Star Wars since the original trilogy, which isn't saying much. Or maybe it says a lot.
Stop watching this nonsense. Now.
There are so many shows on TV that we can't possibly watch all of them while remaining productive members of society. The two here could easily land on the "Just keep watching" list, but somebody's gotta lose. Sorry.
The Stargate franchise is HUGE, and this latest incarnation promised to be a fascinating reboot of sorts. In Stargate Universe, the Stargate is on a ship that's locked on a course to the far ends of the galaxy, opening up all kinds of possibilities. Sadly, the show has failed to deliver on any of these possibilities and falls into Battlestar Galactica syndrome, focusing on the human drama when the cast is nowhere near the caliber of the BSG cast. Has everyone forgotten that BSG had huge space battles?
What? Heroes is still on the air?