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“The Truth Is Out There”: Science Fiction Film and Television

“The Truth Is Out There”: Science Fiction Film and Television

June 20, 2023

Science fiction is all about possibility—the proverbial “What if…?” What if time travel existed? Other-worldly life forms? What if AI (artificial intelligence) took over the Earth? Or even space travel to other planets? (Imagine being able to go on a vacation to Mars!)

My personal journey to becoming a science fiction fan started in the ’90s with The X-Files, one of the longest-running sci-fi series in TV history. If you’re not familiar, the series follows two FBI agents, Agent Mulder, the believer, and Agent Scully, the realist, who travel across the states working strange and unexplained cases called the X-Files.

It captivated audiences worldwide—including me! You could say I was a little obsessed (understatement!). My college dorm room was covered in pictures of the dynamic duo. I never missed a volume of the magazine, I collected the trading cards, and with every subsequent season and movie that came out on VHS, well, I was first in line to buy.

While the technology of the show is dated by today’s standards (remember Scully using a brick phone, pulling out the antenna to make a call, or using a map to travel?), none of this detracts from the overall curiosity and intrigue of each week’s story. Frankly, it is a shot of nostalgia for those of us old enough to know and piques the curiosity of the younger generation. Rotary phone, anyone?

In the mood to explore sci-fi? Check out some of our favorite science fiction stories with the suggestions below: 

Science Fiction TV  

  • X-Files: The Complete First Season See how it all started and get to know this famous pair.
  • Fringe: The Complete First Season A brilliant scientist who has spent the last 17 years in a mental institution, his son, and a young FBI agent make up this rather unique team, investigating a series of bizarre deaths, only to find out “someone” is using our world as an experimental lab. 
  • Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 1 – To boldly go… where it all started. U.S.S. Enterprise, captained by James T. Kirk, travels the universe where no man has gone before.  
  • Lois & Clark, the New Adventures of Superman The ’90s casting of a timeless legend. Follow the stories of Clark Kent (Superman), the man from Kryptonite who is leading a double life, and the intrepid reporter Lois Lane.  
  • Stargate SG-1, Season 1 – The feature film Stargate led to the popular TV serialization. Stargate is a gateway linking planets from other solar systems. The U.S. Air Force assembles a team, headed by Colonel Jack O’Neill, to ensure interstellar peacekeeping.  
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun, Season 1 – A comedy series about a group of aliens who come to Earth to learn about humans. To avoid detection, they take on human form, giving them human emotions without any real understanding of what that means.  
  • War of the Worlds (Nonfiction Documentary) – The broadcast performance of H. G. Well’s beloved classic The War of the Worlds turned into one of the biggest mass panics in U.S. History. This documentary examines the elements that created this frenzy.  

 Science Fiction Films 

  • Forever Young – A test pilot from the 1930s puts off proposing to his sweetheart, only to be too late! He volunteers for a cryogenics experiment and reawakens in 1992.  
  • Independence Day – When spaceships appear all over the world, wonder quickly turns to terror as the aliens attack and a group of intrepid humans must attempt to save the world from destruction.
  • Starship Troopers – Based on the book Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, this movie follows a group of dedicated young soldiers as they line up for Federal Service and intergalactic warfare against a terrifying infestation of alien insects. It’s directed by Paul Verhoeven, who also directed the original cult classics Total Recall and Robocop. 
  • Waterworld – A dystopian future where the Earth’s land is swallowed up by water after the polar ice caps melt. Drifters sail on man-made ships, salvaging what is left of civilization, and communities of survivors travel across the water in search of the mythical island called “Dryland.”  
  • Jurassic Park  – A billionaire philanthropist creates a secret theme park featuring dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. The test run doesn’t exactly go to plan.  
  • The Terminator – A cyborg “Terminator” travels back in time to kill a woman whose son will become mankind’s only hope.  
  • Galaxy Quest The crew of the NSEA Protector set off for dangerous missions in space…until their TV series was cancelled. Twenty years later, the washed-up actors get mistaken for actual intergalactic heroes by an alien race that beams them to their ship to help save the universe.    

Great Books for Movie Goers  

Lisa P.
Information and Reader Services Department

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