Movie Article

The Readers Strike Back

Readers' Sci-fi picks --'Gattica,'' ''Farscape,'' and ''Buffy'' didn't make our list, but they made yours

You can't please everyone. That's what you've gotta keep in mind when compiling a list like our recent Sci-Fi 25, a rundown of the best science fiction TV and film of the last 25 years. For every person who was thrilled to find favorites like The Matrix, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, and Blade Runner on the roster, there were two more upset that their particular favorite was overlooked. Even though editing a magazine isn't a democracy (we like to think of it as a benevolent dictatorship), when the people speak this loudly — over 1,200 comments, via e-mail and postings on EW.com — it's time to let them air their grievances and respond in a thoughtful manner. So, here, in most-requested order, are the Top 10 Things We Left Off...And Why.

1. Stargate
YOU SAY
''Stargate was the first movie I ever went to where the whole audience stood on their feet and applauded when it was over. And Stargate SG-1's longevity (10 years and counting!) would seem to validate its place in science fiction history.'' — Richard Duntz

WE SAY
While the sheer act of not being canceled is laudable these days, longevity doesn't necessarily imply quality — Yes, Dear was on CBS for, like, 43 years. The movie was diverting, but the fact that every new alien culture on the TV series speaks English invalidates it, MacGyver notwithstanding.

2. Farscape
YOU SAY
''I'm 'frelling' disappointed that you did not include Farscape, arguably the best sci-fi series ever, on your list! Like Firefly, it also had an army of passionate Internet-based supporters who were ultimately successful at persuading the network to bring the series back.'' — Steven Guy

WE SAY
We never watched much of Farscape. Sue us. After the first few episodes, that damned puppet got on our nerves. Besides, puppets simply don't belong in adult science fiction...unless that's Frank Oz's hand up there.

3. Babylon 5
YOU SAY
''I was quite disappointed to see that Babylon 5 was nowhere to be seen. B5 was intelligent, well-written, and well-acted, and it managed to do what no other show, sci-fi or otherwise, managed to do — tell a continuous ongoing story over a planned five-year arc.'' — Joseph Madden

WE SAY
While we have a lot of respect for what B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski pulled off, the series' chief virtue is what turned us off: The ongoing arc made it too insular. That said, it probably deserved a place on the list anyway. Our bad.

4. The Fifth Element
YOU SAY
''The Fifth Element is pop sci-fi done right. A roguish antihero, a sexy femme fatale who is the key to saving the world, and a great over-the-top villain played to perfection by Gary Oldman. Add some fast action and creative visuals, you have one damn fine sci-fi film.'' — Andrew

WE SAY
This is a film whose sole purpose seems to be showing off whatever new plasma-Dolby A/V tech you've got in your living room. But in the end, it's a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. A being of pure love is needed to save the universe? Come on.

5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
YOU SAY
''How in the bloody hell could you have not listed Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Angel in the top five? This was a grave oversight! Buffy was not only one of the best sci-fi shows, but also one of the best-written, -acted, and -directed shows of all time!'' — Suzette Zaginailoff

WE SAY
How could we leave this, creator Joss Whedon's crowning pop culture achievement, off the list? Easy: because its not science fiction. Buffy slays vampires. It's right there in the title. And these aren't bloodsuckers created by some loophole-inducing scientific experiment or plasma-borne virus. Buffy is a work of gothic fantasy, replete with demons and witches and mummies and werewolves and magically hot lesbians.

6. Gattaca
YOU SAY
''Gattaca is an intelligent commentary on the struggle between Orwellian state control of a person's role in society based on genetics and the individual's choice in what they do with their life.'' — Zeek

WE SAY
There are some big thoughts going on in Andrew Niccol's directorial debut. Ethan Hawke and Jude Law are both pretty terrific in it. We actually like this film. If we were doing the top 26 films of the past 26 years, it might've made the cut. But as it is, we felt we couldn't cut anything on the list to make room.

7. Dark City
YOU SAY
''The Matrix is No. 1 and you don't even include Dark City — a far better execution of the concept of reality and perception, as well as a far more visually appealing film?'' — Brad Niesmertelny

WE SAY
Dark City is a beautiful film — one that's gone on to inspire its own fair share of stylistic imitators — but it never engaged us on the visceral-mythic level that The Matrix did. And, despite our love for Jennifer Connelly, Carrie-Anne Moss' swaggering latex cool had us at hello.

8. Dune
YOU SAY
''Made in 1984 starring Kyle MacLachlan, Patrick Stewart, Sting, Dean Stockwell, José Ferrer, Max von Sydow, and Sean Young. Great plot, great cast, great director, David Lynch.'' — Sid

WE SAY
Frank Herbert's 1965 novel is a masterpiece of the genre. But Lynch's adaptation is a fascinating misfire. While it has elements to admire — particularly on the design front — it's too much of a mess to make the list. And the Sci Fi Channel's miniseries simply didn't capture Herbert's exotic weirdness.

9. Independence Day
YOU SAY
''I mean, come on. Total Recall, Starship Troopers, and Brazil (who has ever heard of Brazil?) make the list and Independence Day doesn't?! I love Galaxy Quest, but are you really going to put it on the list before Independence Day?'' — Mitch

WE SAY
Aside from the complete ridiculousness of your Brazil statement, Mitch, the fact of the matter is, any film where the heroes defeat the villains by downloading a computer virus from a PowerMac to an alien network loses any and all science fiction credibility.

10. 12 Monkeys
YOU SAY
''Still one of Gilliam's best, and perhaps still one of Brad Pitt's finest performances.'' — Joel Stevens

WE SAY
He's right, this is one of director Terry Gilliam's best films. But, unlike James Cameron or Paul Verhoeven, we didn't feel Gilliam needed two films on the same list, and we believe Brazil is the most representative of his visionary powers. 12 Monkeys was another film that would've made the cut if the list were longer. Yet, if forced to choose between Brazil, 12 Monkeys, and Time Bandits, we'll choose Brazil every time.

Originally posted May 25, 2007 Published in issue #936 Jun 01, 2007 Order article reprints
Advertisement

From Our Partners