Monday, 14 February 2011

What was the last good British sci-fi TV series?

I was wondering this the other day. And by ‘good’ I mean ‘properly, trouser-explodingly good’ not ‘adequate’ or ‘ok’.

I watched The Deep for an episode or two, but stopped when the scriptwriters decided that a man could recover from oxygen starvation when told his bit on the side would tell his wife (or suchlike).

Some episodes of Red Dwarf are very good, though when it came back (especially for the Dave special) it had lost its je ne sais quoi.

Doctor Who. Hmm. Is it new, because it’s been around for less than a decade, or old, because it began in 1963? New Who has had some cracking episodes, and some incredibly duff season finales. I’d say it doesn’t count (unless we had to go back to 1963) as new sci-fi, because the basic premise is the same as before.

I watched the first few episodes of Primeval, but couldn’t get into it.

British actors are of great calibre (the most obvious sci-fi example being Patrick Stewart, who was both Captain Picard and Professor Xavier). So why isn’t there a top class, must-see British sci-fi series? Stargate SG-1 and Battlestar Galactica have proven that there are plenty of people willing to watch the genre.

Outcasts episode 3 is on tonight. I’m hoping it’ll be a bit livelier (gunfights, explosions, the odd maiming etc) than the first two episodes. Otherwise it might end up drifting away on a sea of apathy.

I think that’d make the answer Red Dwarf. Anybody have other suggestions?

I’ve just got The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie, and the first three (of six) volumes of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. When I’ve finished them, I’ll put reviews up.


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