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WGA’s List Of Best-Written Shows Of All Time Includes Six Science Fiction Classics

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Science fiction hasn’t always gotten its due. In the past it’s been dismissed as “kid stuff” or somehow less worthy and noble than mainstream fiction. Thankfully we know better than that. At its best, science fiction can examine who we are by exploring who we were, or who we will become. Thankfully, SF has long since proven that it has the potential to tell stories just as exciting and insightful as those of any other genre, but franchises such as Star Trek has proven it can be big business as well. For the purposes of this story, however, we’re not concerned with crass commercialism, but rather the writing quality of some of the genre’s best TV outings.

The Writers Guild of America recently shared their picks for the “101 Best Written TV Series” of all time, and wouldn’t you know it, several iconic science fiction shows were included on the list. Granted, they only occupy six slots out of 101, so I’m thinking there are some serious oversights, but that’s a topic for another day. For now, let’s examine the SF shows the WGA folks did deem worthy or recognition.

X-Files

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Battlestar Galactica LARPers In Sweden Borrow A Retired Naval Destroyer For Massive Make-Believe Session

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LARPing, short for “Live Action Role-Playing,” is one of those fandom subcultures that inevitably pops up at any decently sized convention. They’re the people dressed like vampires lurking in the hotel bar. They’re the folks with foam weaponry sprinting across the park yelling “Fireball!” But for any LARPers out there who think your organized make-believe events are without equal, I’m afraid some folks in Sweden just raised the bar in a serious way. How high, you ask? We’re talking three weekends, a $160,000 budget, and a retired naval destroyer. Go big or go home.

The massive LARP event unfolded this part March, during which the destroyer in question stood in for the Monitor Celestra, a ship referenced but never actually seen onscreen in Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica reboot. The event’s writers — yes, it had writers — came up with 140 new characters and a twisty storyline involving military boarding parties and that old BSG standard, undercover Cylons! They even had networked computers simulating BSG’s “DRADIS” sensors and other futuristic shipboard functions.

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Battlestar Galactica’s Favorite Pastime: Print And Play Pyramid

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StarbuckSo there you are, it’s Saturday night and you and your friends are trying to figure out what to do with yourselves. You all become locked in the same old round of “I don’t care, what do you want to do?” and you know it’s just a matter of time until you give up and wind up bitter and bored at the Applebee’s bar. Why not try something different for once? Why not play a card game popular among people fleeing angry Cylons?

The game is Pyramid, a card game introduced in the original Battlestar Galactica series created by Glen Larson back in 1978. If you’re more familiar with the 2004 Ron Moore reboot, in that series it went by the handle of “Triad.” If you’re sick to death of Chutes and Ladders, and your friends refuse to play Strip Poker with you after that incident last time, perhaps they’ll agree to an evening of fictional card gaming, courtesy of graphic designer Dietrich Kerner.

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Battlestar Galactica Gets A Friends Twist

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If there’s one thing the internet loves, it’s a mash-up. We’ve seen Prometheus melded with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Doctor Who given a magic carpet ride with The Big Lebowski. Even a gorgeous Pixar facelift given to our beloved Star Trek. But the real challenge for a successful mash-up is to combine two thematically dissimilar properties in a way that looks organic. And you can’t get much more dissimilar than Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica and NBC’s one-time sitcom juggernaut Friends.

Kudos, then, to YouTuber MugAGum for managing to find enough silly-looking material to create a BSG version of the Friends opening credits, accompanied by the relentlessly peppy strains of The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There for You.” Let’s face it, Battlestar was a pretty damn dour show on the best of days, so it’s not material that lends itself to frivolity. Nevertheless, we’ve got Starbuck having a water-hose fight, Baltar flexing for the camera, and Admiral Adama slurping spaghetti. Good times.

So wait, if Battlestar Galactica is Friends, what does that make Caprica? Just Shoot Me? Suddenly Susan? God help us — The Single Guy?

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Oh No They Didn’t: Seven Jaw-Dropping Science Fiction TV Cliffhangers

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Last night Trek fans across the country got to hunker down in theaters and watch one of the best cliffhangers in science fiction history play out on the big screen. The “Best of Both Worlds” theatrical event was the latest of several special theater screenings of Next Generation episodes, coinciding with seasonal releases of the remastered series on Blu-Ray. “Best of Both Worlds, Part 1” has pretty much set the bar for sci-fi TV cliffhangers since it first aired in 1990, but in the years that followed, some of our favorite genre shows have given that iconic Next Gen episode a run for its money. Here are seven sci-fi cliffhangers that left us screaming at the television.

SPOILERS BELOW!!!

Babylon 5 — “Z’ha’dum”
B5’s third season went out with a literal bang. After traveling to the Shadows’ homeworld of Z’ha’dum, Sheridan nuked their capital city and plunged, moments before the explosion, into a deep chasm. The war pauses while the Shadows regroup from Sheridan’s strike on their homeworld, but that doesn’t mean our heroes are in a good place. Sheridan is presumed dead. Garibaldi is missing, apparently abducted by a Shadow vessel. Ivanova and the rest are left with an uncertain future, one which, as G’kar’s closing monologue so elegantly states, will be born in pain.

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How To Spot A Cylon: A Handy PSA

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The Colonial Fleet had it easy back in the good old days. And by the good old days, I mean the late ‘70s. I realize that’s probably the first time anyone has referred to the late ‘70s as the good old anything, but it’s true. See, back then the original Battlestar Galactica was on the airwaves, and things weren’t so bad for the Colonial Fleet. Sure, they were fleeing homicidal robots who wanted to exterminate them, but they got those weird-looking robot dog things, you got to hang out with Dirk Benedict, and things seemed generally pretty upbeat in spite of that whole attempted human genocide thing. Plus, back then it was way easier to spot Cylons.

When Ron Moore rebooted BSG in 2004, suddenly the Cylons could disguise themselves as regular people, or ridiculously hot Amazonian goddesses with glowing spines. What’s a Colonial refugee to do? Thankfully we’ve got this handy-dandy PSA that runs down all the telltale signs that you may be talking to / sharing lunch with / frakking / or unwittingly sharing colonial secrets with, a Cylon.