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Classic Science Fiction Television: 4 TV Shows That Shaped the Genre

By    |   Sunday, 22 Nov 2015 12:04 AM

Nothing sparks the imagination quite like a good science fiction story. Science fiction opens the door to new ideas and lets the audience explore new worlds filled with monsters, aliens and larger-than-life heroes. Classic science fiction TV created the standard for what fans of the genre expect from modern sci-fi tales.

Many science fiction TV shows from the 1950s to the 1970s still influence archetypes and stories within the genre many decades later. Here are four that shaped the genre.

1. “Star Trek” (1966-69)
Captain James T. Kirk, Spock and the rest of the U.S.S. Enterprise began with a five-year mission to explore the galaxy. It ran for three seasons on CBS and has since turned into a worldwide cultural phenomenon that has encompassed four TV shows, 12 movies, dozens of books and legions of fans. “Star Trek” made thoughtful science fiction popular. It used alien races and exotic worlds to examine universal themes related to love, hate, war, peace, superstition, and enlightenment.

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2. “Twilight Zone” (1959-64)
Rod Serling took viewers a journey through a dimension of sight, sound, and imagination each week with this popular anthology series. “Twilight Zone” stories used science fiction settings and plots to tackle real-life concerns of the Cold War era. Many of the storytelling techniques Serling used in his scripts – especially the twist endings – still influence many science fiction TV shows and movies in the 21st century.

3. “Doctor Who” (1963-89)
Through 26 seasons, the original “Doctor Who” chronicled the adventures of a time-traveling alien who could regenerate his body as he explored the universe in his TARDIS – a ship resembling a 1960s British police box. Twelve different actors have played the character during the original series and its modern continuation. “Doctor Who” became a cultural phenomenon and influenced how time-travel was handled in many other TV shows and movies – both in Britain and elsewhere. 

4. “The Six Million Dollar Man” (1973-78)
Modern science fiction films like “RoboCop” draw inspiration from “The Six Million Dollar Man.” The TV show focuses on Steve Austin, a government agent who is rebuilt with bionic implants after crashing an experimental aircraft. His legs, right arm and left eye are replaced – giving Austin enhanced speed, strength and vision beyond normal human capacity. It was one of the first popular TV shows to examine effects of blending man and machine – which continues to be a popular theme in science fiction.

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Science fiction opens the door to new ideas and lets the audience explore new worlds filled with monsters, aliens and larger-than-life heroes. Classic science fiction TV created the standard for what fans of the genre expect from modern sci-fi tales.
classic, science fiction, TV, shows
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2015-04-22
Sunday, 22 Nov 2015 12:04 AM
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