The 1970s was such a turbulent, colourful decade that it’s sometimes forgotten that it also produced some of the best loved TV programs of all time. Series like “Little House on the Prairie,” prime time soap operas such as “Dallas” and iconic comedies “M*A*S*H,” “All in the Family” and “Happy Days.” were all followed by millions. The wealth of entertainment on offer was no different in the realm of science fiction, with tons of brilliant series gracing our screens. Such was the diversity that it’s tough to pick five we’d love to see make a comeback, but we set our phasers on retro and gave it our best shot, nonetheless.
The Six Million Dollar Man
If you weren’t lucky enough to have watched this the first time round, you’d be forgiven for not knowing this series gave birth to the phrase “we have the technology”.
It also gave birth to Steve Austin, an unlucky astronaut who suffered such a horrendous crash while flying a test aircraft, the only choice was to build him bigger, stronger and faster. How did Richard Anderson do this in the 1970s? By giving him new “bionics” legs, a right arm, and eye, which meant he could fight crime with superhuman power.
While the wonders of technology were the theme, the actual tech itself never really got explained. But it didn’t matter because by slowing down the action and adding incredibly catchy sound effects, we were convinced that Steve Austin was the high tech future of crime fighting.
We think the opening credits of The Six Million Dollar Man, 90 seconds of pure 70s perfection, warrant a remake alone. Question is who could be the next Lee Majors?
In 1999, Moonbase Alpha is a scientific research colony and watchdog over silos of atomic waste from Earth stored on the Moon’s far side. Alas, this seemingly flawless plan goes awry when an explosive chain-reaction of the waste blasts the Moon out of Earth orbit and the Solar System.
From the British producers of Thunderbirds, Space: 1999 starred Martin Landau and Barbara Bain leading a group of eggheads trying to figure out how to get home. Taking a cue from 2001. A Space Space Odyssey, Space: 1999 perpetuated the idea that the future would look white, smooth, and clean.
Like all great sci-fi shows it had casting changes and a premature cancellation. Rumors of a movie version or a reboot continue long after the year 1999 has passed.
We for one wish Moonbase Alpha would come baaaaaaaaack!
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
This campy ’70s series, starring Gil Gerard as the titular hero, was created by producer Glen A. Larson, of Battlestar Galactica fame. Based on a pulpy comic strip icon, Buck was a NASA pilot who while on a mission into deep space, suffered an accident, which sent him into cryogenic stasis and returns him to Earth five centuries later.
Happily, he was thawed our to discover the insanely sexy Col. Wilma Deering eager to help him readjust to life in the future. Accompanied by Dr. Huer, robot sidekicks Dr. Theopolis and Twiki, best remembered for his catchphrase “beedee-beedee-beedee, and later the doddering Dr. Goodfellow Buck fought cosmic menaces such as Princess Ardala and her dad, Emperor Draco of the Draconians.
Continuing on from the success of the classic 70s movie of the same name, the 1977 series follows Logan 5 and Jessica 6 on their quest to find Sanctuary and leave behind the doomed utopia where no one could live past 30.
While it lasted only 14 episodes, this show nails the quintessential look of 70s sci-fi better than anything else. One notable episode, written by David Gerrold under a pseudonym, pulled a nice switcheroo by featuring a time traveler from our era encountering Logan and company on their journey, thus blowing minds in multiple time streams.
Created by Doctor Who alum Terry Nation, Blake’s 7 who was inspired by classic Westerns as well as by the tropes of dystopian sci-fi. It’s lead character is escaped prisoner Roj Blake, a freedom fighter turned against Earth’s Terran Federation. His willingness to let the ends justify the means makes him an unusual TV hero.
It is at times dark and pessimistic, but the characters maintain a classically British stiff upper lip in their titanic struggle. What it lacked for in high-budget special effects, it made up for in plot and subversive politics.
A very different affair from our other four choices, Blake’s Seven is arguably the series most worthy of remake, simply because it resonates so strongly in so many way with life in the 21st Century.
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