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Bigger Phil

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Monday, September 13th 2010, 3:31am

Top 5 Sci-Fi Franchises

Top 5 Sci-Fi Franchises

I do not list super heroes- Spiderman, Batman as true Sci-fi. To make the list, you have to have at least one TV show and one movie. A cartoon series will count as a TV show. Must be able to stand the test of time and be able to come back every few years. I have rated them in my order. Let the debate begin!

1. Star Trek- 7 movies, 5 TV shows and 1 cartoon. The little show that could. Fan support saved the original show for one more season and syndication made it a legend. With the ability to reinvent itself and never getting too full of its self- Star Trek is #1.

2. Star Wars- SW 1 or 4- maybe the most fun Sci-fi movie in history. The introduction of Darth early in the movie- classic. 6 movies and 1 cartoon and an Ewok Special. The early movies appealed to the kid inside of us. The later three movies seemed to appeal straight to kids. The first three movies are classics, the last three a little too kiddy or arrogant.

3. Dr Who- longevity! The ability to write out/in any actor/actress and the show never missing a beat. The original run of the show- never got stale because of this dynamic. Numerous lead actors, a couple movies and some TV movies.

4. Battlestar Gallatica- 2 series and the original pilot was released as a movie. With the re-imamaging of Battlestar on the Sci-fi channel, this franchise took off. Made use of new forms of communications to promote itself. Better than the original series

5. Planet of the Apes- 6 movies, 1 series and possibility one cartoon. The original movie- some of the most iconic movie moments of the 60s. The original series of movies addressed problems they faced in the 60s and that we still have trouble with today.

Outside Looking In

Terminator- 3 or 4 movies and 1 TV show. Needs another break through movie to get into the top 5.

Stargate- 1 movie and several series. Needs another break through event.

The Black Knight

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Monday, September 13th 2010, 5:42am

I think Star Wars would have to be rated #1. Prior to May 1977, there was no such thing as "science fiction," per se; it was just a part of the "fiction" section and something that "normal" people didn't read, watch, or pay any attention to. Star Trek (along with myriad other movies, books, TV shows, etc.) already proved that mainstream America didn't particularly care for science fiction and that there was almost no market for it whatsoever.

Star Wars was the 800-pound gorilla that single-handedly created the genre in the minds of the American public and evolved science fiction from a dirty little secret that only nerds cared about into a full-blown addiction that everyone wanted more of. People didn't want Star Trek in 1979; they wanted more Star Wars. They settled for Star Trek, then learned that they actually liked it.

Take Star Trek, Dr. Who, Battlestar Galactica, and Planet of the Apes out of that list, and science fiction is still a huge market spawning thousands of movies, tens of thousands of books, and millions of fans. Take Star Wars out of that list, and Battlestar Galactica is never made, Star Trek ends with the animated series, Dr. Who never crosses the Atlantic, and Planet of the Apes is a relatively insignificant franchise with a very small audience.

I'm not saying Star Wars was better (personally, I think George Lucas is a complete tool who made a total of two exceptional movies and should have handed the reigns over to someone else after The Empire Strikes Back); I'm just saying that every other science fiction franchise that had any amount of success after 1977 owes a large part of its success to George Lucas for paving the way and making it possible.


Beyond that, I'd probably rate science fiction franchises as follows (for cultural impact in the United States):

1. Star Wars
2. Star Trek
3. Godzilla
4. Alien
5. Terminator

Honorable mention: The Time Machine

I'm not including Dr. Who simply because I don't think a lot of people were overly aware of Dr. Who (and still aren't). I also disagree with your arbitrary requirement that franchises have to have a TV show. Having a TV show isn't necessarily the be all/end all, and I think movies can easily impact popular culture without ever making it to the small screen.

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Monday, September 13th 2010, 9:32am

stargate has had a few more than 1 film... most went straight to dvd tho
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Monday, September 13th 2010, 11:23am

Prior to May 1977, there was no such thing as "science fiction," per se; it was just a part of the "fiction" section and something that "normal" people didn't read, watch, or pay any attention to.

8| What planet are you from? :pinch:

There were loads of Science fiction movies and t.v. shows before StarWars! The original Flash Gordon Series was from (I believe) the 50's. There were also SOO many Science fiction "B" movies from the 50's and 60's that I'd need a post at least proportionate to your or Falcotrons "Epic" posts, in order to list even half of them. The only thing Star Wars was a "first" in was scale and special effects! :whistling:
The biggest thing, lacking in the world today, is "Common sense"! (and the ability to think before acting!) ;) :thumbsup:
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Monday, September 13th 2010, 3:03pm

Prior to May 1977, there was no such thing as "science fiction," per se; it was just a part of the "fiction" section and something that "normal" people didn't read, watch, or pay any attention to.

8| What planet are you from? :pinch:

There were loads of Science fiction movies and t.v. shows before StarWars! The original Flash Gordon Series was from (I believe) the 50's. There were also SOO many Science fiction "B" movies from the 50's and 60's that I'd need a post at least proportionate to your or Falcotrons "Epic" posts, in order to list even half of them. The only thing Star Wars was a "first" in was scale and special effects! :whistling:

Re-read my point. Sure, there were plenty of "fiction" movies, books, etc. (walk into your local bookstore in 1976 and you never would have seen a "science fiction" section; it was all in the middle of the "fiction" section), but it was very much a "niche" market. Once Star Wars came on the scene, it stopped being niche and became mainstream. As you point out yourself, they were all "B" movies. Not a single science fiction blockbuster.

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Monday, September 13th 2010, 4:17pm

Star Wars was the 800-pound gorilla that single-handedly created the genre in the minds of the American public and evolved science fiction from a dirty little secret that only nerds cared about into a full-blown addiction that everyone wanted more of.
Prior to May 1977, there was no such thing as "science fiction," per se; it was just a part of the "fiction" section and something that "normal" people didn't read, watch, or pay any attention to.
8| What planet are you from? :pinch: There were loads of Science fiction movies and t.v. shows before StarWars! The original Flash Gordon Series was from (I believe) the 50's. There were also SOO many Science fiction "B" movies from the 50's and 60's that I'd need a post at least proportionate to your or Falcotrons "Epic" posts, in order to list even half of them. The only thing Star Wars was a "first" in was scale and special effects! :whistling:
Re-read my point. Sure, there were plenty of "fiction" movies, books, etc. (walk into your local bookstore in 1976 and you never would have seen a "science fiction" section; it was all in the middle of the "fiction" section), but it was very much a "niche" market. Once Star Wars came on the scene, it stopped being niche and became mainstream. As you point out yourself, they were all "B" movies. Not a single science fiction blockbuster.

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Monday, September 13th 2010, 4:18pm

Bring back the sodding edit function!!!

[quote='The Black Knight','index.php?page=Thread&postID=346463#post346463']Star Wars was the 800-pound gorilla that single-handedly created the genre in the minds of the American public and evolved science fiction from a dirty little secret that only nerds cared about into a full-blown addiction that everyone wanted more of.[/quote]

TBK is spot on ... Star Wars took Science Fiction away from the pseudo-intellectual underground of John Wyndham type literature, the geeky nerdgasm that Star Trek was and the (perceived as) Kids work such as Dan Dare and Flash Gordon ...

It battered down the mainstream and has dominated the genre pretty much since ... Its impact has been huge. How many Star Trek Lego Kits are there? Now virtually the whole Lego range seems Star Wars dominated ... The Star Wars series of movies remained unrivalled at the Box Office till Lord of the Rings arrived 25 years after the first Star Wars film ...

Also Alien should be up there ... As a kid I couldn't identify a Cylon, but I knew the Xenomorph from Alien despite not watching the movie until I was a teenager (actually I saw Aliens first)...

Battlestar Galactica has had nowhere near the impact of other franchises mentioned ... Here the mainstream merely considers it a good TV show. Where are the spin-offs? The bajillion action figures? The cheesy references across late night chat shows and advertising? ... It may be different on the other side of the Atlantic, but here that show is no bigger than the multiple CSI copies ...

I think with an specific genre, fans of certain parts of it develop very distorted views according to their own tastes and those of their close peers, thus slanting their view of the bigger picture, forgetting altogether the mainstream perception... I fell very foul of this myself the other day when my brother scoffed at the idea of Iron Maiden having their last 4 albums top the music charts (despite this being the case) ... To me, the idea that they weren't/aren't the biggest and bestest most awesome band in the world (for me this month anyway) was completely anathema. But to someone who doesnt listen to rock/metal, they were just a footnote on music ...

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Monday, September 13th 2010, 4:24pm

iddy iddy iddy What the F Buck! :D
Just here to spread hate and discontent


OK, moving on now...

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Monday, September 13th 2010, 7:37pm

Re-read my point. Sure, there were plenty of "fiction" movies, books, etc. (walk into your local bookstore in 1976 and you never would have seen a "science fiction" section; it was all in the middle of the "fiction" section), but it was very much a "niche" market. Once Star Wars came on the scene, it stopped being niche and became mainstream. As you point out yourself, they were all "B" movies. Not a single science fiction blockbuster.

There was definately SCIENCE fiction in the UK in the 50's. Also was the original "War of the Worlds" not a "blockbuster"?
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Monday, September 13th 2010, 8:44pm

we have always had science fiction in the UK... or at least it remains science fiction until someone makes it science fact in their shed O_o
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The Black Knight

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Monday, September 13th 2010, 10:10pm

Re-read my point. Sure, there were plenty of "fiction" movies, books, etc. (walk into your local bookstore in 1976 and you never would have seen a "science fiction" section; it was all in the middle of the "fiction" section), but it was very much a "niche" market. Once Star Wars came on the scene, it stopped being niche and became mainstream. As you point out yourself, they were all "B" movies. Not a single science fiction blockbuster.

There was definately SCIENCE fiction in the UK in the 50's. Also was the original "War of the Worlds" not a "blockbuster"?

Sure, but it didn't change popular culture. It might have been a popular movie (and I think many of us would agree it was a really good movie, too), but when it comes down to it, it was just a movie. Star Wars was a watershed event in American culture that forever changed the way people looked at science fiction. It changed peoples' lives. Did War of the Worlds change anyone's life? I doubt it.

By the way; on another note, it's interesting that you emphasize the word "science" in "science fiction," since there are a fair number of folks who wouldn't actually consider Star Wars to be science fiction; at least, not from a purely technical standpoint. Rather, if I understand the term correctly, it was science fantasy, or possibly "space opera." As a former literature professor once explained to me, science fiction was defined as any story that has an element of science to it that is integral to the plot that the story would collapse without it. When you look at Star Wars, that description doesn't really hold true. All the lightsabers, X-wing fighters, The Force, etc., are pretty much just really cool bells and whistles, but not strictly required to tell the story.

As for the UK, I can't speak to the history of your culture and don't know what things were like there, but I do know there was plenty of Sci-Fi here in the States as well. I was a big fan of Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, and (of course) Star Trek, among other sources, but again, Science Fiction was that red-headed bastard child that no one ever acknowledged and no one wanted to admit watching or reading. It was kinda like Dungeons & Dragons; sure, it was popular among a certain subculture of fans, but it sure wasn't something that "normal" people paid attention to. If the average American ever thought about science fiction, he thought it was all just "Godzilla vs. Mothra," "Plan 9 from Outer Space," or "The Creature from the Black Lagoon." In other words, Sci-Fi was grade B schlock.

Maybe the UK was different. I don't know; I didn't live there in 1977. From what I gather, Dr. Who was a heck of a lot more popular there (and still is?) than it ever was here in the U.S., but even so, I'd still bet that Dr. Who wasn't something that motivated people to go become scientists or astronauts, and I doubt that anyone ever named a multi-billion dollar spacecraft after the TARDIS. Between them, Star Wars and Star Trek opened the eyes and the imaginations of an entire generation of kids and adults. They changed society, and while I might admit that one could argue the difference in cultural impact between those two franchises, there is no denying that Star Trek would have been nothing without Star Wars. Beyond those two, nothing else compares, and Dr. Who (as much as my dad and I might have liked it, when I was younger) had an almost entirely negligible impact on American culture. Did Dr. Who have that big of an impact on British culture? I don't know, but heck, even Happy Days had more of an impact here than Dr. Who.

And yes, I realize the UK had plenty of other science fiction beyond just Dr. Who, but I'd be curious what other franchises you had that any remotely significant percentage of the population could even name, much less was influenced by?

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Monday, September 13th 2010, 10:15pm

Re-read my point. Sure, there were plenty of "fiction" movies, books, etc. (walk into your local bookstore in 1976 and you never would have seen a "science fiction" section; it was all in the middle of the "fiction" section), but it was very much a "niche" market. Once Star Wars came on the scene, it stopped being niche and became mainstream. As you point out yourself, they were all "B" movies. Not a single science fiction blockbuster.

There was definately SCIENCE fiction in the UK in the 50's. Also was the original "War of the Worlds" not a "blockbuster"?

Sure, but it didn't change popular culture. It might have been a popular movie (and I think many of us would agree it was a really good movie, too), but when it comes down to it, it was just a movie. Star Wars was a watershed event in American culture that forever changed the way people looked at science fiction. It changed peoples' lives. Did War of the Worlds change anyone's life? I doubt it.

By the way; on another note, it's interesting that you emphasize the word "science" in "science fiction," since there are a fair number of folks who wouldn't actually consider Star Wars to be science fiction; at least, not from a purely technical standpoint. Rather, if I understand the term correctly, it was science fantasy, or possibly "space opera." As a former literature professor once explained to me, science fiction was defined as any story that has an element of science to it that is integral to the plot that the story would collapse without it. When you look at Star Wars, that description doesn't really hold true. All the lightsabers, X-wing fighters, The Force, etc., are pretty much just really cool bells and whistles, but not strictly required to tell the story.

As for the UK, I can't speak to the history of your culture and don't know what things were like there, but I do know there was plenty of Sci-Fi here in the States as well. I was a big fan of Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, and (of course) Star Trek, among other sources, but again, Science Fiction was that red-headed bastard child that no one ever acknowledged and no one wanted to admit watching or reading. It was kinda like Dungeons & Dragons; sure, it was popular among a certain subculture of fans, but it sure wasn't something that "normal" people paid attention to. If the average American ever thought about science fiction, he thought it was all just "Godzilla vs. Mothra," "Plan 9 from Outer Space," or "The Creature from the Black Lagoon." In other words, Sci-Fi was grade B schlock.

Maybe the UK was different. I don't know; I didn't live there in 1977. From what I gather, Dr. Who was a heck of a lot more popular there (and still is?) than it ever was here in the U.S., but even so, I'd still bet that Dr. Who wasn't something that motivated people to go become scientists or astronauts, and I doubt that anyone ever named a multi-billion dollar spacecraft after the TARDIS. Between them, Star Wars and Star Trek opened the eyes and the imaginations of an entire generation of kids and adults. They changed society, and while I might admit that one could argue the difference in cultural impact between those two franchises, there is no denying that Star Trek would have been nothing without Star Wars. Beyond those two, nothing else compares, and Dr. Who (as much as my dad and I might have liked it, when I was younger) had an almost entirely negligible impact on American culture. Did Dr. Who have that big of an impact on British culture? I don't know, but heck, even Happy Days had more of an impact here than Dr. Who.

And yes, I realize the UK had plenty of other science fiction beyond just Dr. Who, but I'd be curious what other franchises you had that any remotely significant percentage of the population could even name, much less was influenced by?

Sorry I forgot that the USA made up 97% of the world! :pinch:
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Monday, September 13th 2010, 11:08pm

Sorry I forgot that the USA made up 97% of the world! :pinch:

Of course it doesn't, but do you realistically expect me to talk about the UK (or anywhere else)? I've lived in the U.S. for the majority of my life, and I presented my views. If you have a coherent argument to make about the impact of various science fiction franchises elsewhere in the world, feel free to make it, but don't criticize me for speaking about the U.S. when it's the only country I can intelligently talk about.

Seriously... make an argument or don't, but leave the glib nonsense comments like this out of it. They serve no purpose.

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Monday, September 13th 2010, 11:32pm

I'm not trying to be glib but all your arguments are very one sided and the more someone disagree's with you the more "ARGUMENTATIVE" you become, stop stating your opinions like facts! ;) I disagreed with your comment and backed it up with a few observations of my own! This isn't the SB and Rule#1 does not apply here! ;)
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Monday, September 13th 2010, 11:38pm

The comment about USA making up 97% of the world was in response to your ONLY America matters in this convo attitude! It may not be how you intend to come across but it reads like your saying "well, what happenned in the UK is inconsequential"! :whistling:
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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 12:48am

The comment about USA making up 97% of the world was in response to your ONLY America matters in this convo attitude! It may not be how you intend to come across but it reads like your saying "well, what happenned in the UK is inconsequential"! :whistling:

Ah... sorry. My mistake, then. The wife does tend to point out that I'm often quite rude without thinking. It was not my intent (in any way) to imply that the U.S. was the only culture that mattered; only that it was the only culture I could intelligently speak about.

BUT... I will point out that you have yet to offer any arguments whatsoever concerning the impact of any science fiction franchise on any popular culture, whether British, American, or otherwise. The only thing you have said is that science fiction existed before Star Wars (which I have never disputed) and that the U.S. doesn't constitute the only culture that matters (which I never intended to say).

SO... the challenge goes out to you yet again:

And yes, I realize the UK had plenty of other science fiction beyond just Dr. Who, but I'd be curious what other franchises you had that any remotely significant percentage of the population could even name, much less was influenced by?


In addition, I'd also ask; can you name a single Sci-Fi franchise (other than Star Trek, which I've already discussed) which had that kind of cultural impact, anywhere in the world?

In short, do you have any kind of opinion other than that I'm an argumentative, opinionated jerk who believes the U.S. is the center of the universe :P
(and yes, that's mostly true, so I don't dispute that claim)

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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 12:51am

Franchising was an American Capitolistic invention! I'll give you credit for that little gem! lol
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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 2:59am

Godzilla? Are you joking? Two Japanese dudes in Rubber suits wrestling around balsa wood buildings! TBK...I think you lost it here. King Kong franchise is way ahead of Godzilla. Most people never get to see those old Japanese movies anymore, so I think their influence will keep dropping. The recent remake of Godzilla was more Jurassic Park than the old Godzilla.

On the other hand- i totally agree with your analysis for BattleStar Galatica. No BSG if it were not for Star Wars. I totally forgot about Alien.

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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 5:40am

Godzilla? Are you joking? Two Japanese dudes in Rubber suits wrestling around balsa wood buildings! TBK...I think you lost it here. King Kong franchise is way ahead of Godzilla. Most people never get to see those old Japanese movies anymore, so I think their influence will keep dropping. The recent remake of Godzilla was more Jurassic Park than the old Godzilla.

On the other hand- i totally agree with your analysis for BattleStar Galatica. No BSG if it were not for Star Wars. I totally forgot about Alien.

I guess it depends on what your definition of "top" is. I was looking at the franchises that had the biggest impact on popular culture. Godzilla (while being complete schlock) has had a very long lasting influence on movies that Alien, King Kong, and a lot of other monster movies didn't. Just in my opinion, Godzilla's the movie franchise that pretty much started the monster movie genre.

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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 9:39am

TBK, I think you're right that Star Wars was a watershed moment for science fiction, especially for science fiction films, but you're dead wrong that science fiction didn't exist as a genre before Star Wars, or that there wasn't a popular appetite for it. In the 19th century, British literary circles were talking about the new genre of "scientific romance" to describe Jules Verne and, to an extent, H.G. Wells, and the American literary magazine in the 1930s, Astounding Science Fiction, is ample evidence that the term was well accepted as a label for the genre 40 or 50 years before Star Wars. I mean, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein, and others were plainly writing science fiction, and they were calling it science fiction, and it was quite popular. A novel like 1984 didn't suddenly become popular only after 1977. And just as plenty of pulp science fiction novels were being churned out during the 1920s and 1930s and during subsequent decades, plenty of pulp science fiction movies, particularly of the adventure film sort, were being produced. Some of these early films put Verne novels on the screen, and some carved out new ground. Probably one of the more important was Fritz Lang's Metropolis, which remains the iconic dystopian vision on which almost all subsequent science fiction dystopias pattern themselves. You're right that most of these older films were B movies, but then so was Star Wars, and plenty of them were extremely successful and popular prior to Star Wars. Movies are expensive to make, and they don't keep being made unless there is a strong public demand, which there was. In 1951, as one example, both The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Thing had strong box office returns. Heck, even in 1977, the next most popular film that year was Close Encounters. Granted, it was released about 5 months after Star Wars, but then the year before that, Logan's Run was the fourth-highest grossing film at the box office. Three years before Star Wars, Young Frankenstein was the third-highest grossing film. Most of these films won't go down in cinematic history in the way that Star Wars will, but you can't say that they weren't popular. Star Wars (like the Indiana Jones franchise) simply took a time-worn genre, added special effects that people had never seen before, and turned the hit B movie into a record-setting blockbuster.

Really, if you want the watershed moments in the 20th century for science fiction, the atomic bomb, Sputnik, and Apollo 11 are the events that genuinely spurred people's imaginations and popularized the science fiction genre. Science fiction had already carved out a solid place for itself by this time, with Orson Welles' radio presentation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, the 1947 Roswell crash, and other such events lodged firmly in the public imagination, but actually putting objects and then humans into space, which had previously only been fantasized, started people looking more to the future with science fiction and less to the past with, at least in the United States, Westerns and war movies. Yes, plenty of those are still made, but their heyday ended when people started thinking more about space. As such, Star Wars was really just tapping into the zeitgeist generated by the first Apollo landing eight years earlier, and while Star Wars was innovative in special effects and highly innovative in marketing and cross-promotion, the writing was largely rehashed material from all of those old B movies and pulp sci fi novels and magazines, with a couple of homages to knights and to a cowboy to link Star Wars to its generic ancestors in the broader romance tradition. Star Wars, in terms of story-telling, wasn't doing anything new; it was just repackaging stuff that was 40 or 50 years old (or older) for a new generation, and then carving out new marketing techniques to create the modern blockbuster. It's completely fair to say that Star Wars was the first true modern blockbuster film, and to say that plenty of other sci fi movies and series were made on the heels of its success, but to say that prior to Star Wars "there was no such thing as 'science fiction' per se" is, let's be honest, absurd.

Star Wars invented the modern blockbuster? Yes. Star Wars invented sci fi? Sorry, no.


And, Phil, in marking out top sci fi franchises, why does the list have to be limited to films and TV? No novels? No video games? If we're including novels, then at least one or two of those top spots will go over to novels (Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Le Guin, and perhaps others), and maybe more if true sci fi geeks are the ones making the list. If we're including games, then Doom and Halo would compete strongly for places.

All in all, though, if we're sticking to TV and movies, I think that your list is a pretty decent one. I'd probably replace Battlestar Galactica with Godzilla, and Terminator or Alien would battle mightily for the #5 spot with Planet of the Apes. The Matrix and Jurassic Park maybe deserve honorable mentions somewhere in the list, too, as does perhaps Babylon 5, although I was never really a fan. Someone will probably argue that Firefly/Serenity deserves honorable mention, as well, as one of the best series cut short. Some real geeks can step in and argue a place for Red Dwarf or something like that. This list would be easier if it were a top eight or top 10. Of course, the Star Wars and Star Trek geeks will battle until the end of time about which of those franchises earns the top spot, so I'd just leave them as a tie at the top.

It's always been curious to me, though, that Doctor Who never made a bigger leap over to the U.S. Maybe this has something to do with BBC licensing, or maybe it's something else, but in terms of the raw number of hours of screen time, Doctor Who wins by a long shot. All of the Star Trek TV series and movies combined probably don't add up to half of the volume produced in the Doctor Who series, and that's not even counting the recent Doctor Who spin-offs. The series definitely made its mark on the British imagination, while Americans were shaped by other sci fi. So with that one, I guess we're left with a 'cross-the-pond throw-down over whether or not a franchise can be "top" if it hasn't spread to America. I'd still keep Doctor Who in the #3 spot where you have it, but then I'll probably be labeled un-American for saying so. :rolleyes:

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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 10:38am

smeg... i forgot about red dwarf... a great sci fi comedy... but yeah we have not had many "modern" big sci fi t.v. (except the fact the bbc dug up Dr Who, and red dwarf for a couple of episodes) mainly because the entity that used to create stuff... is basically dead...


other big sci-fi franchises... ummm transformers? the gundam stuff? sure they were both MAINLY animated cartoons, but they have both had live action films, both have been around for donkey years, and both have fairly large fan bases around the world...
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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 10:40am

Blert that is my point exactly I just didn't have the patience to sit down and type for that long! ;)
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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 10:43am

Robin, I remember when The transformer comic books first appeared on the shelf! I was on holiday in Blackpool and bought the first issue! I then took out a subscription and got them all week in week out! I still have them all in a box somewhere in my mothers loft! EVERY SINGLE ISSUE! :D:D:D
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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 11:35am

i grew up with the beast wars and the "The Unicron Trilogy" of cartoons, all that between the ages of about 12 - 17ish... (beast wars was being repeated on channel 5, the others i think were on ITV :P

but yeah i think alot of people have seen transformers and have memories of it... even if you ignore those films :P
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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 3:19pm

you're dead wrong that science fiction didn't exist as a genre before Star Wars, or that there wasn't a popular appetite for it.

It's called hyperbole, Blert. Of course I know science fiction existed, but from what I recall when you walked in to the local bookstore, you didn't see it labeled as such. You'd see science fiction novels stacked right next to the latest detective novel because mainstream America didn't really see it as deserving its own shelf space. Also, maybe you and I are remembering things a lot differently, but I don't recall that it was quite that popular. I could certainly be wrong, but I remember it being very much a niche market and with the exception of Metropolis, I read or watched every one of those authors & movies you mention and was a big fan.

When Star Wars came on to the scene, it brought science fiction into the mainstream consciousness and spawned a legion of new stories; movies, books, television shows, etc. Before Star Wars, there were the occasional movies here and there that enjoyed modest success, but none of them had any real impact on society. Yes, you're absolutely correct that other events in history, such as Sputnik and the Apolllo spacecraft, had tremendous impacts on society, but we're not talking about the top five events in human history that advanced the cause of science fiction; we're talking about the top five science fiction franchises.

So I'm certainly guilty of exaggerating a bit, but if you look at the impact that various science fiction franchises had on the genre in particular and on the American consciousness as a whole, you can't deny that Star Wars was the seminal event that made science fiction a household term.

Not sure that I'd include Doom, though. Not that it wasn't a heck of a great game and absolutely I would consider it (or, more likely, Wolfenstein 3D) as the father of the modern shooter, but how much impact has it really had on science fiction as a whole? When I think about it, I'd probably agree with taking Battlestar Galactica out as well; at the time it was first released, it was pretty much just one more Star Wars wannabe.

As for The Matrix and Jurassic Park, I definitely liked both, but how much of an impact did they (or Babylon 5, Firefly/Serenity, or Red Dwarf) have? I never really got into Babylon 5, but all the rest were pretty darn good (though I didn't like Red Dwarf much after Chris Barrie left in series 7 (I didn't realize he came back until much later). Still, I think all of these were just "really cool," and not necessarily "impacting."

Of course, Phil didn't exactly ask for the most impacting, just what constituted the "top" franchises, whatever that means.

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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 3:28pm

By the way; as I understand it (I've never watched either), Star Wars was actually a remake of Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress or The Dam Busters (1958 ), albeit in a science fiction-y setting.

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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 3:45pm

[quote='The Black Knight','index.php?page=Thread&postID=346896#post346896']Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress[/quote]
Great film ... Star Wars is better tho ...

[size=8]PS. I hate blert ... Dragging up stuff I'd forgotten about and will enjoy over the next week again ... DAMN HIM!!![/size]

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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 3:46pm

No-one mentioned Bladerunner yet!!!!!!!!! :pinch:
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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 5:20pm

No-one mentioned Bladerunner yet!!!!!!!!! :pinch:

Well, that's part of the debate, I think. What really constitutes a "franchise?" One movie, a handful of books, and a couple video games? I'm not trying to be facetious, but honestly asking if this would qualify. My thought would be no, but I'd certainly understand if people disagreed.

Also, I'd be curious how we define a "top" franchise. Something that influences popular culture (that's the angle I took, but that doesn't mean it's the only valid one), or something that influenced the genre of science fiction, perhaps? Maybe we just want to consider what the "best" franchises were, with regards to overall quality? In that case, I'd very possibly rate Firefly/Serenity higher than Star Wars, due to the godawful horrible quality (or lack thereof) with episodes 1, 2, and 6 (TPM, AotC, and RotJ).

Or do we use some other metric?

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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 8:49pm

Franchise by definition would be more than 1. For the purposes of this thread- should be more than 1 movie or televison show. So Blade Runner and Close Encounters of the Third Kind would be disqualified currently. I think you have to weigh several factors such as but not limited to the following: Profitability, Social Impact, Staying Power, Returning back, reinventing itself, staying relavent, merchandising, multiple revenue streams, multiple media outlets(books,comics,web, etc) and hotness of the female eye candy.

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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 8:57pm

[quote='Bigger Phil','index.php?page=Thread&postID=346987#post346987']hotness of the female eye candy[/quote]

Or in Star Trek/Kirk's case Alien Eye Candy ....

I just want to find a nice Wookie to settle down with ...

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Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 9:27pm

Franchise by definition would be more than 1. For the purposes of this thread- should be more than 1 movie or televison show. So Blade Runner and Close Encounters of the Third Kind would be disqualified currently. I think you have to weigh several factors such as but not limited to the following: Profitability, Social Impact, Staying Power, Returning back, reinventing itself, staying relavent, merchandising, multiple revenue streams, multiple media outlets(books,comics,web, etc) and hotness of the female eye candy.

I'd have to agree with Blert, though; what about other media, like books? Blade Runner had multiple sequels (which I'm guessing almost no one has ever read, though) and a couple video games. I don't suppose I'd consider it a franchise myself, but I could see arguments that it is.

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Wednesday, September 15th 2010, 2:04pm

Anyone remember the Space Precinct TV series? I loved it as a kid ... But does 2 (I think) TV series and a range of action figures count as a franchise? Also, if anyone knows where to find Regon 2 DVDs of it ... me love you long time ...

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Thursday, September 16th 2010, 1:54pm

So Im at another forum and post the original post added Alien to the bottom....I immediately got two votes for Godzilla

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Thursday, September 16th 2010, 2:01pm

GOJIRAAAA!!!!! *trys to stamp on Phil's head*

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Wednesday, December 28th 2011, 12:30am

If 2 of the Star War movies are excellent and the other four are week- No way you count Star wars as the #1 franchise

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Wednesday, December 28th 2011, 5:42am

I think you have to weigh several factors such as but not limited to the following: Profitability, Social Impact, Staying Power, Returning back, reinventing itself, staying relavent, merchandising, multiple revenue streams, multiple media outlets(books,comics,web, etc) and hotness of the female eye candy.

I totally missed commenting on this previously. That's definitely not like me. Someone else can run the numbers and double check this, but I'm guessing Star Wars has everyone else beat in all of these areas:
  • Profitability
  • Staying Power
  • Returning back/reinventing itself/staying relevant - these all seem to be the same point
  • Merchandising
  • Multiple revenue streams
  • Multiple media outlets(books,comics,web, etc)
As for social impact, I'd likely define that as how much did the franchise cause people to change the way they think or act. Star Wars fired my imagination. Star Trek made me want to be a better person. I don't know that I could say that about much else except for The Twilight Zone, and come to think of it, I would definitely say that series was the most impacting on my personal morals and actions. I still catch myself trying to be a better person because I'm afraid Rod Serling will show up and I'll end up getting some sort of freakishly bizzare poetic justice handed out to me. Out of the three, Twilight Zone would definitely win, but since I didn't include it originally, I'd say Star Trek. Heck, maybe I should take Alien out of my original list and include Twilight Zone instead.

Hotness of the female eye candy - yeah, pretty much everyone had it made over Star Wars. Carrie Fisher, Natalie Portman, and a few hot Twilek chicks? There were WAY more hot chicks in pretty much every other series out there. Heck, I always had a thing for Nyssa back in the day. Then I grew up and realized Sarah Jane, Jo Grant, and several other ladies were way better looking. Oh, that and pretty much every female who showed up on The Next Generation (pretty much the only reason to watch that series, other than The Best of Both Worlds).

It's always been curious to me, though, that Doctor Who never made a bigger leap over to the U.S.

Not enough violence. Hollywood knows; unless it's a chick flick, it's gotta have at least a double digit body count or it ain't gonna make a profit. Heck, I always told my dad, growing up, that I would have much preferred to see Arnold Swarzenegger or Bruce Lee (if he'd still been alive, of course) as The Doctor, but then that would have pretty much just turned it into Die Hard.

(and yes, this is hyperbole again)

If 2 of the Star War movies are excellent and the other four are week- No way you count Star wars as the #1 franchise

Even if I bought that argument (which I don't), Star Wars contains a heck of a lot more than just six movies. Cartoons, toys, video games, books, etc. Heck, I was in a Star Wars paper and pencil RPG campaign for a year or so with a guy who was far more into this than I've ever been, and let me tell you... those six movies probably contain about 1% of all the Star Wars lore out there, if even that much. I was once the guy who could tell you every single actor's name from episodes 4 and 5 (yes, even the name of extra playing the technician who was carrying the ice cream maker out of Cloud City), but I literally had to have the entire backstory of this campaign explained to me (and 90% of it went over my head) because I didn't know anything whatsoever about the parts of the Expanded Universe he was talking about.

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Wednesday, December 28th 2011, 9:11pm

2 science Fiction series that should have made it are 1) Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat series simply because it is damn awesome and 2) James White's Space Hospital series - I want to see a CGI Dr. Prilickla.
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Thursday, December 29th 2011, 12:00am

2 science Fiction series that should have made it are 1) Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat series simply because it is damn awesome and 2) James White's Space Hospital series - I want to see a CGI Dr. Prilickla.


SSQ- not really franchises, no movies, few additional revenue streams, no cultural impact. I'm sure they are good but they are not franchises.

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Thursday, December 29th 2011, 11:47pm

Stainless Steel rat has no influence? So Harry Harrison has never influenced any writers since his books were published? OH I do stand corrected.

So basically the only "good" science fiction for you is stuff that actually HAS films, TV shows etc. That is a very narrow viewpoint on what makes good sci-fi.

My father has a collection of around 5000 sci-fi and sci-fantasy books going back to thruppence in old pre-decimal English currency. A lot of the Authors he has were writing in the Golden Age of Sci-Fi - the 1930's - but under your definition they are all non entities because 95%+ didn't result in any franchise what-so-ever. Even though many of the authors actually set the bar for 40+ years they are nobodies because Some big Hollywood Producer didn't make a Film about it.

LAME attitude to take.

Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica must be the only real sci-fi in the history of mankind.

By the way here are two little gems:

Worlds oldest Fantasy story: The Castaway - published in Egypt circa 1950 BC. The man is shipwrecked on an island that has a mystical talking serpent with a beard.

Worlds 1st Sci-fi novel: True History, written by Lucian of Samosata, 1st century AD. Adventures in outer space, unknown seas and on the moon - everyone in it speaks ancient Greek.
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