Honorable Mentions: Fringe, Millennium, Torchwood, Terra Nova, Super Force, Quantum Leap, Battlestar Gallactica (original series), Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
5. Knight Rider (original)/Jericho
Knight Rider is essentially an adventure show about a man (Michael Knight, as played by David Hasselhoff) and his talking car KITT (the Knight Industries Two Thousand voiced by William Daniels) fighting bad guys and having adventures. Jericho is a show about people trying to figure out how to survive after a massive nuclear attack on the United States. Knight Rider lasted four seasons before it was cancelled, and Jericho was cancelled after one season then brought back after a massive fan campaign for a seven episode second season (Nuts!). Knight Rider continues to live on in reruns, where it's still incredibly watchable (it's probably not as science fictiony now as it was back in the early 1980's, as we have talking cars and the idea of real world artificial intelligence isn't ridiculous), and Jericho lives on via DVD and a still vibrant fan community that's still trying to get a new TV show or a movie. They both endure despite not hanging around all that long.
4. The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead is about to enter its fifth season with no signs of slowing down. It's a show chock full of great characters trying to survive through an absolutely horrendous situation: the end of the world. Zombies are everywhere. Civilization the world over has been wiped away. Danger and death lurk around every corner, and death is not the end. We've seen plenty of top flight characters get killed, both good guys (Hershel) and "bad guys" (the Governor) and it doesn't look like that is going to stop any time soon. You would think that the show's main character Rick Grimes, as played by Andrew Lincoln, would be the only "safe" character since he's the star. But, with the world the show exists in and the need to always up the ante, why not kill him off and feature someone else? Not Carl, though. He deserves to be eaten. Little punk.
3. The X-Files
I was annoyed with The X-Files when it debuted back in 1993. It replacedSightings on the Fox Friday night schedule, and I was a big Sightings fan. I watched The X-Files anyway, though, and enjoyed it for the most part. I really didn't get into it until around the middle of season two, and when Fox moved the show to Sunday nights I became a bonafide The X-Files nerd. I couldn't get enough of it. Ghosts, UFOs, aliens, monsters and massive conspiracies, along with the relationship between FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). He was the big time believer. She was the skeptic scientist. They shouldn't have hit it off because they were so different. But they did. They were the best of friends. Soul mates (eventually). The show started to lose steam towards the end as it didn't seem like the writers really knew where they wanted to go, but it was still watchable and fun and cool. The movies were good, too.
2. Star Trek: The Original Series
The original Star Trek lasted only three seasons, but it still lives on forty plus years later. Why? People still respond to its characters. Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones McCoy, Scotty and the rest are the crew of the Enterprise, a spaceship that travels the universe on a five year mission to explore new planets and find new civilizations. You get caught up in their relationships and their arguments while they continue on with their mission. The show is also chock full of ideas and social commentary, like all good science fiction, that you can dig into or ignore (the show still works without "deep" thinking, although the show really is better if you start to think about what its saying). It'll never be able to live down its cheesy special effects and cheap look (the "enhanced" special effects that were added to episodes not that long ago look cool but, to me, they don't really add anything to the show), but then the show's ideas, its characters, and its premise are what will stick with you as you continue to watch it for decades on. You know you'll keep watching. I know I will.
1. The Twilight Zone (original series)
Still the best anthology show in the history of television,The Twilight Zone had the ability to be any kind of show with each new episode. It could be a sci-fi show one week, a horror show the following week, and half the fun was seeing what direction the latest episode was going to take. The only thing you were certain of, outside of show creator Rod Serling's narration, was that the show was going to make you think after watching it. That's what happened to me after watching every episode. Sure, I thought about some episodes more than others (The Monsters are Due on Maple Street is one of my favorites to think about), but I still wondered quite a bit about what each episode was trying to say. The show has been rebooted twice, but the original is still king. I'm sure someone will want to try to reboot it again in the future. It's still a good idea for a show.
SHAWN S. LEALOS
I have never seen an episode of FRINGE, but I am sure when I get around to it, I will love it too. I have not seen enough of the new Battlestar Galactica, but I probably would love it as well if I get the time to dig into it. Finally, I am not a big Star Trek fan, so that is why those shows are absent from my list. If I added any of them, it would be Next Generation.
5. Twilight Zone
It is the greatest anthology television show ever made. There are so many classics in this series, and one day when I have the money, I will own this entire series on Blu-ray. Rod Sterling ran this show and took viewers each week through different short horror and sci-fi stories that usually ended with the guilty getting their comeuppance. There is just so much greatness on these episodes and it deserves its legendary status.
4. Pushing Daisies
Here is a show that was screwed over and should have been a huge hit. Lee Pace plays Ned, a pie-maker who gets the powers to bring anyone back from the dead by just touching them. However, if he touches them again, they die again for good. When he brings his loved one back from the dead, he realizes he can never touch her again or he will lose her forever. He then serves as a private investigator of sorts, where he brings murder victims back from the dead to find out what happened to them. It was quirky, strange and brilliant and that is why it never survived. I also have to give props to Kristin Chenoweth for her amazing portrayal of Olive Snook.
3. The X-Files
This was really the genre show that proved to networks that genre shows could work. Hell, it was one of the only television shows in history that thrived in the Friday night death slot. The show was kind of crap the last couple of seasons, but when it was the believer Mulder and the skeptical Scully setting out to solve supernatural mysteries for the FBI, it was as good as any show that has ever been on TV. Now, there were moments where it kind of lost me, basically with some of the deeper mythology episodes, but when it was a Monster of the Week episode, I was all aboard and loved every minute of it.
You know, I hated Supernatural when it first came on without ever watching an episode because it replaced the cancelled Angel. After the first season ended, I actually caught an episode re-running and was kind of blown away. I love the entire premise of the show, the two demon hunting brothers going from town to town and just killing demons of all sorts. Some of the mythology is a bit overwhelming (even more so at times than The X-Files), but that doesn't really make it any less enjoyable. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are perfect in their roles (when they aren't at each other's necks) and the show is just a great time.
This is the Joss Whedon spin-off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is my favorite television show of all time. Unlike Buffy, which was more of a group dynamic of the Scooby Gang (and was a great show in its own rights), Angel took my favorite character from that show and gave him an awesome private detective styled show. I loved the supporting characters so much as well with both Cordelia and Wesley becoming a thousand times better than they ever were on Buffy and both Gunn and Lindsey were awesome as well. Fred was cool until they changed her into a demon, Lorne was awesome until Andy Hallett passed away, and while I liked him better on Buffy, the ghost Spike was pretty funny as well. But, overall, it was David Boreanaz as Angle that made this show awesome. He was just a major ass-kicker who didn't take shit from anyone. I loved this show.