I am a Sci-fi nut. Not because of Star Wars, truth is that I had been addicted to Sci-fi movies and TV shows long before Star Wars came out. If it had a spaceship or involved traveling to far off worlds, rest assured my eyes were glued to the TV set.
In fact, I can tell you the very first Sci-fi movie I ever saw. It was The Day the Earth Stood Still. I was about five years old. My parents went on a date and my next door neighbor was babysitting me. Actually, it was my next door neighbor’s little brother was babysitting me. Stephanie was off on a date herself so her little brother, Keven stepped up to bat to take charge. His first words to me were this; “There’s a movie on tonight, I’m going to watch it and you can’t do anything about it!”
Keep in mind that this is 1973. The final Apollo mission had recently been to the moon and collected moon rocks after NASA’s longest stay on the crater packed world. I watched the news every night trying to keep up on the events. If it had anything to do with space, I was all in. Once I found out that the movie he wanted to watch was about an alien who had landed on Earth it didn’t take much convincing to get my interest.
It aired on PBS that that night. I remember because I had to go to the bathroom really bad and I was waiting for a commercial break that never arrived.
I still love Sci-fi TV shows and movies, some of my favorites include The Martian, which I have seen probably 12 times already, Star Wars, obviously, which I no longer keep track of the count anymore and Flash Gordon, the 1980’s cult classic. By the way, if you are a female who has no objections to getting married after marching down the aisle to Queen’s rendition of The Wedding March… contact me.
Truth is, My favorite Sci-fi movies list is never ending!
Roku has access to some pretty great Sci-fi material that doesn’t charge a single penny to watch, so here are a few of my favorites.
You are a commander for one of 12 Battlestars. You are on your way to a meeting with the Cylon race to negotiate a peace treaty after over a thousand year fight only to find out that it was a trap. While they lured your ship away from your homeworld the Cylon’s attacked all 12 of your planets and you are the only surviving Battlestar. Your new mission is to take as many survivors as you can collect and try to find the mythical planet, Earth.
Prior to the Syfy miniseries, there was the original that aired in 1978 and it was one of the most anticipated TV shows to hit primetime. It was a one hour TV series that used high-quality (for its time) special effects. And while it hasn’t aged quite as well as Star Wars, it’s still pretty easy to watch. The special effects are good, even by today’s standards, but you can clearly see that 1970’s fashion was influenced, especially for women’s clothing. The series was canceled after 8 seasons but there was enough outrage about it that they brought it back for a second series in 1980 where they found Earth.
The diehard fans tend to ignore the second series.
If you are into Sci-fi, I would encourage you to watch this. You can find it on the NBC channel on Roku.
While you are in the NBC channel, take a quick dip down to the Q’s and you’ll find this program. While I missed it when it aired on TV due to my obligation to the Army I had heard great things about it and was looking forward to seeing it. If you’re not familiar with the plot line, Scott Bakula, before he became the caption for some spaceship called Enterprise, jumped from body to body within the span of his own lifetime correcting things that had gone wrong in history. But usually just the history of individuals. One day he’d help someone who made a real medical breakthrough while another time he might just help someone save their marriage. He never knew whether he would be a man or woman child or retired person which leads to some interesting wardrobe choices. He was often aided by his buddy who was able to communicate by being a hologram that only Becket could see.
This series was on for five years and while you can’t see all of them on the NBC channel, you can see most of the episodes from each season.
I’ve referenced this TV show when I did my review of Tubi TV, and it is still one of my all time favorite Sci-fi TV shows. If you have never heard of it, the basic premise is simple. The year is 1999, we have a base on the moon. This is “Moon Base Alpha” where store much of our radioactive waste on the far side of the Moon. An accident causes the waste to ignite and acts like as a thruster for the moon hurtling it out of our solar system into deep space. The crew of Moon Base Alpha now must fight to survive with their limited resources. They end up meeting aliens from other worlds.
Trivia for you, David Prowse was hired by George Lucas to play Darth Vader after seeing him in an episode, lets see if you can spot him.
(I’ll give you a hint, he’s the tall individual in black tossing people around like a rag doll!)
This one may not fly as well as some of my other choices because it’s animated, but its much closer to Akira then it is to Aladdin. Shortly before Sam Jones portrayed Flash Gordon as a football hero Filmation wanted to do a live version TV series that was to be taken seriously. But due to cost restraints they decided to do it as an animated movie instead while keeping the same story line. What resulted was a TV movie that proved to be so popular they opted to re-edit the movie and add more scenes making it a Saturday morning TV series that ended in a cliff hanger. Like the original movie serial had done in the 1930’s. While the second and third seasons are more geared for kids, the first season retained a more adult theme.
What happens when a group of aliens come to Earth to observe us and do so by taking up human form which includes all human emotions and needs without understanding why they occur? You get 3rd Rock from the Sun. While this is purely slapstick humor, maybe even considered low brow humor when compared to other classics like M*A*S*H or Frasier, it also does what Science Fiction is able to do at its very best. Social Commentary.
There is no galactic star cruisers, no epic battles, no laser weapons in this, simply a TV show where it’s built on the premise of seeing human relationships and interactions through a party of people who have never experienced it before.
I admit I wanted to just focus on the free channels and what they have available, but I simply cannot do it. It’s Science Fiction man… I love all forms of Sci-fi TV shows and movies and you can find some great ones to check out on most of the Roku Channels. Hulu has the classic TV show Lost in Space. If you find Lost in Space to be a cheesy program, and lots of individuals do, I would encourage you to check out Firefly or the Battlestar Galactica reboot that Syfy did several years ago which is also on Hulu.
Firefly does has a lot of humor, but it has clearly adult oriented. The Battlestar Galactica reboot is simply dark and brooding. It had the ability to address current themes surrounding rights, freedoms, religion, and war. Each episode starts off with telling you how what occurred leading up to this place that they are in and gives you a tally of survivors reflecting the previous episodes results. You know that these individuals are fighting for their lives and you have a “President” who was placed in that position because the previous one hundred individuals in the line of succession were killed by Cylon’s, and a Commander who wants to charge headfirst into battle but needs to be convinced that right now his highest priority is to protect the remaining civilians and struggling to keep what has been formed from this fleet together.
Netflix and Hulu both have that series with the guy who had the pointy ears… Spook? I think it is? (Yes, I’m a participant in the Star Wars vs that other Sci-fi series, but don’t worry, I won’t permit my slanted views to interfere with my journalistic integrity, I’m a professional!) and it’s multiple spin offs. You can also find the classic TV Series Twilight Zone on both as well. Netflix also has the CBS Series Limitless available to watch. This isn’t a TV show based on the movie, it’s actually a continuation, but done in a great way.
Since I did my article on Westerns I’ve watched several more that are available, many that I wish I had seen prior to writing it and will revisit it in the future, but this is Sci-fi. To give me limitations is like telling Augustus Gloop to stop drinking from the chocolate river.