Babylon 5- Probably my favorite. As others have said it's a bit iffy in the first season. Low budget and corny acting. Everyone on the show really comes into their own in later seasons. I also liked it because From episode 1 onward J Micheal Straczynski new where he wanted the show to go. The main story arc wasn't just mashed together on the fly when. It has episodic episodes that hardly touch on the main story which can give you a break at times. Great show. Strongly recommend it.
Battlestar Galactica. Also great. Very well made and I think the re-imagining was better than the original. I found it well put together, and very plausible. Also Tricia Helfer. My only complaint...By the end of season four I was ready to punch babies when I heard the word "frack."
Star Trek. Any of them. Star Trek is like marriage...it has it's ups and downs, but if you work for it, it's good in the end.
Firefly. Be warned you will google the proper way to burn effigies..mainly effigies of TV Execs.
Farscape. Always looked good, and I've heard good things about it. Never got into it, though, mainly for like of trying.
Space: Above and beyond was reasonably good...though it was sort of meh. Give it a shot.
Those are space opera shows I can think of off the top of my head. I would also recommend the X-Files, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Alien Nation, V, Outer Limits. That's about all I can think of in general.
Dr Who. OK, I don't understand it, I don't get it, and I don't like it. People LOVE this show and it baffles me. I've tried several times to watch it and like it but I just can't seem to do it. I can't really specify anything about it I don't like...it just doesn't sit well with me. Give it a shot though, as I'm probably just an anomaly.
Get a grip man! It's CHEESE!
Was just longing for a sci-fi show last night.
I've watched all the shows that have been mentioned here some of them 2-3 times. I am contemplating starting my 4th watch through of BSG.
I'm kinda snobby when it comes to tv though cause I can't stand some of the early "Classics" that everyone always says are the best.
I would recommend the following series: Stargate (SG1 or Atlantis), Firefly (watching it myself atm) or Dr.Who.
Apparently the will be an Episode 7 after all. Disney has bought out Lucasfilm for $4b, and say they will make episode 7 by 2015. George lucas has said it's time to pass star wars on to a new team of filmmakers, so that it will live on after he's gone.
Star Wars might actually start being good again...
Nothing that Disney has made, in live-action, in the last 5-10 years has been good. Even their animated films are starting to go downhill. Toy Story 3 may be the only exception.
Three sci-fi space shows that are a little more off the beaten path, but still quite good:
Blake's 7 (a real classic. made in the late 70s and early 80, but quite good for all that)
Space: Above and Beyond (only 1 season)
I'll also second (or fifth, or whatever) all the Firefly recommendations, and agree that BSG (the re-imagining) was quite good.
Continuum might be a good choice too, sure it ain't speaking much of space travelling, but Time travelling, quite sure not well known in the US since it's a canadian series, but wouldn't be the first time a canadian serie hit the US network :P
John Carter of Mars was a good live action Disney movie. Enchanted was also really good.
I'm surprised at the lack of imagination for scifi fans. Look at BSG compared to the original. Look at what the rebooted Star Trek film did for the failing franchise. New writers, a new director, and a half decent budget can completely rewrite an existing franchise. Hey look i'm a little dubious myself, but we've seen good things in the past when IP changes hands, i say we just give this the benefit of the doubt.
At least until it fails dismally, anyway.
I didn't mean to imply a reboot; i should have chosen better examples.
I think they've already stated that it wont follow any of the canon set by the books and comics. This is going to upset a lot of hardcore fans, for sure. But if it's worthwhile, they'll get over it. I'm a dedicated trekker (trekkie? I cant keep track), and i was initially dubious that J.J Abrams deleted 100 years of established and familiar canon. But sometimes things just have to change and grow. Star Trek has so much more potential than what it was displaying towards the end; it needed airing out.
I think Star Wars has the same potential, and i just hope its realised.
I really don't understand how people can recommend Falling Skies. I have seen both seasons (Yes, that is how starved I am for a new Sci-fi show) and I think pretty much everything about it is terrible.
"The world of games is in a kind of a trance. People are programmed to accept so little. But the possibilities are so great"
Very little popular science fiction is really about the sciencey stuff. Star Trek is character drama and sociopolitical discussion. Star Wars is a classic hero's journey trope set in space, almost a fantasy story more than science fiction. Firefly is character drama, Farscape is character drama (so much so even the ship is a living character[/i], etc.
...and as i said, i do like a good character drama. But shows like Stargate Universe & Falling Skies have taken character dramas to a whole new (and mind-numbingly boring) level.