If You Look, There’s Some Very Funny Sci-Fi To Be Found
While Sci-Fi isn’t exactly the genre of choice for sitcoms, there have been – and continue to be- some hilarious shows set within a science fiction story.
it takes a dedicated eye to find the worthwhile science fiction comedies, which are a much-rarer entertainment commodity. You’d think someone would just invent a transmogrifier that could turn all the terrible crud into hilarious gold.
But until that happens, weve used our pocket tractor beam to draw in the 10 funniest science fiction series out there. (As well, we’re using the reverse beam to deflect all opposing views.) These choices are not necessarily meant to be the best of the sci-fi world although many are but theyre the series that tend to provoke the most smiles and laughter on an episodic basis. Now grab your favorite towel and read on.
10. Mork & Mindy
As the breakout role for the always hysterical Robin Williams, Mork & Mindy was definitely one of the more successful sci-fi comedies out there, choosing to shoehorn an alien personality into a standard sitcom rather than throwing sitcom tropes at a sci-fi setting. Sure, it often relied on catchphrases, and its last season was a bit of a mess with the great Jonathan Winters as a big baby, but this Garry Marshall co-creation was anchored by solid jokes, Williams otherworldly chemistry with co-star Pam Dawber, and his conversations with his homeworld superior Orson. And yeah, having Tom Poston and Jay Thomas onboard certainly didnt hurt.
The only action-packed frontier drama on this list, Firefly was as deft a genre-mixer as they come, and with the rare exception, each of the 14 episodes managed to pack in as many laughs as stunts. One would expect nothing less from creator Joss Whedon, who has built a career out of injecting humanized humor into genre programming. Every Firefly character gets their comedic dues, with Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin getting the bulk of the gruff chuckles, while Gina Torres and Alan Tudyk could pepper their own personalities with couples-based humor. It was even a treat to make fun of Simon’s frigidness. If you’ll excuse us, we’ll be in our bunk…watching reruns.
8. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The epitome of comedic science fiction, Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy novel series’ only foray onto the small screen was the BBC Two adaptation that aired in 1981. And although the show’s aesthetic unwaveringly adheres to the timeframe in which it was made, that’s part of the fun, from the crazy graphics of the Guide itself to the laughable prosthetics of Mark Wing-Davey’s Zaphod Beeblebrox. Through the spirited performances of Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, David Dixon as Ford Prefect and Sandra Dickinson as Trillian, the brilliant absurdity of Adams’ words came to life in a journey through non-stop hilarity. How did this never get a second season?
7. Invader Zim
As close to a coming-of-age story as we’re ever going to get about a manic alien school-bound youth who wants to destroy the Earth, Invader Zim is arguably the funniest cartoon that Nickelodeon ever aired, although they balked and ended up canceling it before its second season was finished. The bastards. Much of the show’s adult-ish sensibilities came from creator Jhonen Vasquez, who also created the comics Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Squee!. Along with his dimwitted bot servant GIR, the inept Zim is constantly trying to prove his superiority over those around him – often involving food – but it inevitably all ends with hilariously disastrous results.
6. Space Ghost: Coast to Coast
For ten seasons, Cartoon Network’s Space Ghost: Coast to Coast showcased one of the strangest and most consistently surreal formats, as celebrity guests from all walks of media were interviewed talk show-style by 1960s Hanna Barbera superhero Space Ghost, as voiced by the great George Lowe. While the interviews were sometimes vaguely straightforward – though it was never clear just how in on the joke the guests were – many episodes were basically excuses to take stock animation to some very weird places. Plus, any series that features Brak, Zorack and Moltar as co-stars is bound to be an instant classic.
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