With all the buzz going around regarding Arrested Development’s return there is some sort of hope that underrated shows can actually come back from the death. It sounds too good to be true, and it probably is… but we can only hope. Let’s keep counting down the sci-fi shows that people just won’t get over, perhaps one or two could even return! PART II includes vampires, fairy tales, mysterious islands and a couple of shows I haven’t really seen (but I recognize their value).

PART I of the list can be found HERE.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003)

Premise:  A teenage girl has a secret life as a ‘vampire slayer’, so she basically goes around killing vampires. Some considered it a parody of vampire pop-culture (Joss Whedon the genius behind Buffy, 2003), however Whedon thought of it as a metaphor for adolescence’s personal anxieties (Fighting the forces, 2002).
Run: 7 Seasons / 145 episodes
Audience: Between 3.8 – 5.3 million viewers (which is pretty good for Warner)

Oh Buffy, what a ridiculous show that everyone of my generation just had to watch. First of all, I have to confess that I am not a Buffy fan and I never worshipped Joss Whedon (I was more of a J.J. Abrams kind of girl), but I do understand the significance and impact of Buffy the Vampire Slater. In a way it defined a generation and started a trend in television. Buffy was one of the first shows in the newly created Warner Channel (now The CW), the original idea of Warner was to go after an ‘urban audience’, however after the success of Buffy they discovered there was money to be made in the ‘teen drama’ market. So, in a way, thanks to the success of Buffy we had shows like Dawson’s Creek and Felicity. You could even argue that Buffy was the precursor of every sc-fi/teen hybrid out there including The Vampire Diaries, Roswell and Twilight.

We know vampire stories are hot right now, but Buffy was a whole different thing. It wasn’t about good looking vamps and love stories, it was about outrageous situations and ridiculous-fun-to-watch fights. The show was incredibly popular among teenagers and even critics acknowledge its importance. I never quite got what made Buffy so relevant until my programming teacher pointed out that Joss Whedon “mastered humor and drama for a teen audience” and I guess he was right.

As I said, I was never a fan of the show, but just now I decided to watch an episode before writing this post and I ended watching five in a row (the whole time I was wondering ‘why the hell am I still watching this? But kept going nonetheless), so that says something about the addiction factor, I guess. You may be a fan or a hater, but Buffy is a sci-fi teen classic, whether you like it or not.

Legacy: Buffy the TV show was not even the first time the premise was introduced. It was actually a movie first. After Buffy went off the air, the spin-off Angel based on David Boreanaz’s character was also very successful. There’s a whole ‘Buffy-verse’ of novels, comics and other works for the devoted fans. I don’t really see the show being remade or turned into another movie… I think the Sarah Michelle Geller version should remain as it is forever. It is definitely the kind of cult-hit that will be passed along on DVD and online from one generation to the next. So, if you were not born in the 80s, go Netflix it now and see what the Gen Y was so obsessed about.

Star Trek

Premise:  The crew of the Enterprise explores the galaxy (OK, there is much more to it, but I am trying to keep it simple)
Run: uf… ok, here it goes: Original Series (1966 – 1969), Animated series (1973 – 1974), The Next Generation (1987 – 1994), Deep Space Nine (1993 – 1999), Voyager (1995 – 2001), Enterprise (2001 – 2005)
Audience: It didn’t have the best ratings overall, but it had the most devoted fan base and was a total hit in syndication; which is another point that proves my theory that Nielsen Ratings suck.

I am the farthest thing from a ‘trekkie’, my only experience with Star Trek is watching the latest movie with Zacchary Quinto and I am aware that does not qualify me in any way to write about the utterly complex show. But let’s face it, when you say ‘sci-fi show’, the first name that comes to everyone’s mind is probably Star Trek and it absolutely qualifies under the ‘shows people won’t get over’ category.

The original series lasted for only 3 years. After that, the show was revived five more times on television and a dozen of movies were made, plus an animated series and countless video games. I am sure that a franchise that inspires this type of fan devotion had a lot to offer, however I wouldn't even know where to begin if I wanted to watch it. Perhaps one day… in the meantime, I am giving credit where credit is due. And what little I know about Star Trek is that it broke many molds of the time. It not only was innovative but it also was a statement on social diversity both racial and of genre.

Legacy: I don’t see a TV show in the near future, but movies are still being successfully made. I can imagine at least 2 or 3 more movies of the current saga.

Lost (2004 – 2010)

Premise:  A plane crash, a mysterious island and a million questions
Run: 6 Seasons/ 117 episodes
Audience: 10 to 15 million viewers… it was a hit

Lost finished its run relatively recently so perhaps it is too soon to tell if people will eventually get over it. I am guessing they won’t and it will become a classic as the years go by. Lost was a science fiction show in disguise. It didn't take place in a spaceship, no-one had especial abilities and they didn't have any aliens or killer robots. The show was always driven by the characters and the personal stories, but as the series progressed we started unveiling the mysteries of the Verne-like Island. Lost was one of a kind, it was complex and intriguing and it re-invented itself each year. Yes, there were soooo many mysteries that were left unresolved, but for six years they kept us glued to the screen. It was a TV event.

Legacy:  I don’t think there could ever be a Lost re-make, spin-off or anything like that. The show will remain a cult-hit as it is. It is the type of show that will tremendously benefit from online windows. Its serialized nature is perfect for online delivery where viewers can experience as many episodes in a row as they wish. You didn't watch Lost when it first air? You tried to get into it during S4 and couldn't possibly explain why a polar bear was on a tropical island? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Watch the 6 seasons now! It is only, probably, the best TV show of all times.

Jericho (2006 – 2008)

Premise:  The people of a small town in the middle of Kansas are left isolated after a suspected nuclear attack on the U.S.
Run: 2 seasons/ 29 episodes
Audience: Around 6 million viewers, which isn't bad at all!

Jericho had a very short run but had a big impact on television. After Firefly, Jericho was probably the most untimely cancellation. Fans everywhere are still clamoring for its return! I did not think it was a perfect show and I am not a die-hard fan, but it sure had one of the most interesting premises and a lot of potential. There was a lot of room for character development and to expand on the mysteries of the show. It ended way before its time even after the fans did one of the most inspired ‘save the show’campaigns (they only got 7 more episodes).

Legacy: The show got a third and fourth season in the form of comic books. I don’t think they will re-make the show anytime soon. It is online, for anyone who wants to watch it. It would be the coolest thing if fans were able to get a movie or revive the show. Don’t see that happening though…

Dr. Who

Premise:  An eccentric renegade Alien and his companions travel through time and have a new adventure each week (IMDB).
Run: It has been on forever OK? 1963 – 1989 / 2005 – 2008 / 2010 - present
Audience: Ratings have obviously fluctuated throughout the years, but the latest series have had around 10 million viewers.

I have to start by saying this: I have watched a total of ONE episode of Dr. Who. So I am not the most qualified person to review the show, but I felt I would be amiss if I didn’t include the British classic in a list of the most significant sci-fi shows [that people won’t get over] after all, it is listed in the Guinnes book as ‘the longest running science fiction TV show’. It seems like the world will never have enough Dr. Who.

The original Dr. Who series premiered on 1963 and went on for 26 years! until production was suspended in 1989. Later there was a movie in 1996 and other derivative products. It finally came back to TV in 2005. Since then, there have been 6 series and Christmas specials each year. The particularity of Dr. Who is that each revival has been a continuation of the work so far. So it has not been re-invented or remade… it just keeps going. I have to admit I am too overwhelmed to watch this show, because I don’t know where I should start. The only episode I watched was a little too whacky even for me! But I wish I could find the way to get into it, especially because Steven Moffat (Sherlock) took over the show in 2010. Dr. Who is the ultimate Sci-fi classic; I think it could be the British equivalent of what Star Trek was in America. If you can find a way to understand it and you love science fiction, Dr. Who is a must.

Legacy: The show will go on, changing ‘Doctors’ (there have been 11 doctors so far) for a long long time.

Pushing Daisies (2007 – 2009)

Premise:  A pie-maker could bring people back from the death, but only for one minute without consequences.
Run: 2 Seasons/ 22 episodes
Audience: It started with 9 million viewers, ended with 6… again, it wasn't that bad!

The critics’ darling was a unique show reminiscent of the movie Amélie. It was cancelled after only one and a half seasons and mourned ever since. Remember when I said Twin Peak’s unique quirky tone has never beenreplicated? Pushing Daisies is probably the closest they've come in the sense that it was so bizarre and surreal. Pushing Daisies was everything that can be good about a television show: it was visually stunning, original, funny, sweet, quick-passed, intriguing, mildly creepy, it had a voice-over narrator that actually worked, it had Kristin Chenoweth singing without forcing it and it was a wholesome, family oriented story. It was a jewel of television. I know there are still a lot of campaigns going around to bring back Firefly, Jericho and even Veronica Mars; but if I could pick ONE show to bring back from the death for more than a minute (pun intended) it would be Pushing Daisies [Are you reading me Netflix?]

Legacy: It’s unlikely that the show will come back in any form. Hopefully more people will discover it online and on home-video. Definitely a must for any video collection. I personally love re-watching the whole series every Christmas.
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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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  1. I would start doctor who with the ninth doctor, when the show came back in 2005. That is where I started, and I had never watched any of the previous episodes. The first season back was not my favorite, but I liked it, and the second season was my absolute favorite, and it just keeps getting better. I absolutely recommend people watch this show, even if it starts off a little slow.

  2. Thanks Esti, I will take your advice and start there! I've been meaning to get into Dr. Who for.. forever ;)

  3. Had to comment on the Buffy comments. Joss actually wrote the movie the producers changed it making Buffy 18 instead of 15 and a senior instead of a freshman. There has been a rumor that Joss is planning on remaking the movie, HIS way. I started watching Buffy when I was trying to bond with my step son, lol I got hooked. Now you said you couldn't stop watching, I highly doubt you watched two of the best episodes. One is called Hush Which is mostly silent but still funny and it is in season 4 and the other is called Once More With Feeling which is actually a musical (trust me you will be surprised) in season 6.

    1. I did not know about the movie, I am not sure if a movie with a different cast would be a good idea (original cast would be awesome). And as I said I may not be a huge Buffy fan but I definitely recognize its value in TV history. And you are right, I never finished watching all of the episodes, I should probably do that.


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