Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Most Important Question in Geekdom :o

Today I must ask you the most important question in geekdom. Are you ready? Okay. Brace yourself.

Place the following science-fiction franchises in order of greatness:

Star Trek

Star Wars

Doctor Who

You might be able to guess my own preferences by the order in which I have already placed them, but here are some points to consider.

All three have been hugely influential to the field. All three have die-hard fans who are able to quote reams of dialogue, episode names, and inside leg measurements of lead actors. All three are pretty bloody brilliant, in my opinion.

All three have also had their dodgy moments. I grew up with the TNG crew and learnt to love the Original series of Star Trek, but gawd help me I am still to this day violently bored within minutes of most DS9 episodes, and I never felt like Enterprise was really Star Trek (Voyager is a sort of guilty pleasure; yes there was a lot of dreck but when it’s on I find myself strangely drawn to it…).

Star Wars- well, do I need to tell you where the crap set in? Jar Jar Binks and midichlorians and jedi moppets. The original trilogy gave us three of the best films ever made, and had an immeasurable impact on cinema and science-fiction in general. The prequels gave us boredom, disappointment and enough cringing to cause cramp.

As someone quite wise and possibly drunk pointed out to me a while ago, at its worst Doctor Who is a “bit silly”. At its best, it is some of the most thought provoking science-fiction we have on our telly. I don’t have the connection to Who that most fans will have, since I only saw two episodes of the McCoy Doctor growing up, and they scared the wotsits out of me, but I am a fan of the newer incarnations, which have done a fantastic job of creating future geeks in the children brave enough to watch it. Who has been going for so long that of course it has it’s weak moments, that for my mind largely involve female companions in questionable clothes running along bumpy quarries, and having witnessed the episode that is Delta and the Bannermen, I’m amazed anyone ever watched it again.

But yes. Three of the greats- I ask you, which is the greatest?


  1. Easy! Doctor Who...Star Trek...Star Wars. :)

    Ask the same question again tomorrow and I may think differently though.

  2. Doctor Who - Simply the best! I'm in love.
    Star Wars - Have seen the films when I was younger.
    Star Trek - Haven't watched an episode...

  3. Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek - simples!

  4. Ah, interesting results so far... Where's the love for Star Trek, guys!? ;) I wonder how much of this depends on which one you watched most as a kid...

  5. Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek... Though I love all three to bits. Luke Skywalker was my first crush. I know what you mean about DS9, it bored the socks off me. Dax was the only interesting character and they hardly did anything with her. Voyager, I really liked, probably because of the female dominated cast. I adore Doctor Who, but it can't go first, because it's too variable and sometimes makes me shout at the TV. :)

  6. having not watched Dr. Who yet...

    Star Wars
    Star Trek
    Dr Who.

  7. A few years ago, I would have loved this question. Now, I'm loathe to give them any sort of order because it would feel arbitrary given my shift in perception of the three.

    I watched Episodes 4,5 and 6 so much when I was young that I simply can't sit through them now - I get bored waiting for my favourite bits.

    With the possible exception of the Force Unleashed, every other piece of Star Wars canon seems to simply exist to annoy the hell out of me. So is my love for the original trilogy enough to give it a high priority over Trek? I can't honestly say.

    I also watched lots of Star Trek. I love how you can, with a few double-header exceptions, instantly pick up any episode of any series of Star Trek and watch it without having prior knowledge of the series.

    I have very fond memories of the early movies (Wrath of Khan scared the bejesus out of me when they put the slug/beetle things in their ears) but the later efforts left me cold. Inconsistency in the format, or just me getting old? Probably the latter.

    As for Doctor Who, let me put it this way: I remember Bonnie Langford. :D I enjoy the new series, but I've never been convinced that RTD is the genius that everyone (especially RTD) says he is. The quality has been up and down throughout the seasons, and episodes have largely depended on the season-long arcs to give them depth.

    I know that might inflame a bit of ire in some, so let me point to an example - the Doctor saving the Olympic Torch. My God, that was cringeworthy.

    Oh, and the Doctor's Daughter.

    Can I put it above Star Trek and Star Wars, both of which have been equally, if not more, cheesy, lazy and derivative at times? I could argue the point either way.

    Sorry for the long, inconclusive ramble. As you say, it's an impossible question.

  8. I struggle to order them too, but Star Trek will always be the most precious to me because it was my Dad and my guilty pleasure and occasionally still is. Who i am fond of and enjoy but star wars (original trilogy) is the stuff i can watch over and over so i guess,, trek, wars, who.

  9. I changed my mind! Star Trek is best, because its existence led to the creation of the Sci Five.

    That's good enough for me.

  10. Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr Who.

    For me it's a very tough choice between the first two.

    Dr Who is definitely third.

  11. Hmm. Tricky, because each of the three choices can be split up into parts of greater and lesser interest.

    For me it goes: Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, but with these caveats:

    1. Doctor Who - old series only, and of the old series, nothing comes close to Hartnell. As Alan Moore said, it all goes downhill from 1966. This is also why I like Matt Smith so much, as his Doctor really seems to be a young Hartnell.

    Although having said that about Matt Smith, I'm excluding the new series. It's too variable, and for the very few great episodes it has produced, it's mainly an ocean of mediocrity. I've watched the original series since I was 6, so original series it must be.

    2. Star Trek - but the original series only. I can't bear to watch anything else, and I even find the original series films a bit of a trial. Actually the only thing post-1969 that I have liked was the JJ Abrams film, although it has problems (mainly Kirk and Scotty).

    3. Star Wars - but (of course) the original trilogy only. As with Doctor Who, I've watched Star Wars since I was 6. I have no interest in the three new films, or the expanded universe.

  12. Wars

    My alternative list of loves is:

    Babylon 5
    Battlestar Galactica

    A list of guilty pleasures is:

    Lost In Space


  13. For me it'll be:


    I have fantastic memories of all of them. The original Star Wars films had a massive impact on everything. Star Trek is feel good stuff, original series is a definite favourite. And Doctor Who I think tops the list because it just does.
    All of the above I have enjoyed watching with my dad, many many great memories and absurd conversations after!

  14. Oh wow! Thanks for all the comments, guys, what a fabulous response. Later on I might go through and count up which got the most votes for the top spot.

    I really fell in love with Star Trek TNG when I was a teenager, and then grew up with it. That crew and those stories were my escapism when I was going through a fairly rough time, and even now when I hear the music start up it feels like home. Star Trek has given us so many outstanding episodes (The City on the Edge of Forever, The Best of Both Worlds, The Inner Light, Darmok, Yesterday’s Enterprise) and a handful of excellent films (The Wrath of Khan, The Undiscovered Country, the new Trek film). At its best it is moving, funny, and exciting. And that’s why I love it. 

    (Never really liked any of the TNG films though, alas)

  15. OK. For me that's easy.

    Doctor Who (from 1963 to present day, it's all wonderful, despite what anyone else says)

    Star Trek (original series is still by far the best, followed by Next Gen. After that I'm not that fussed)

    Star Wars (original trilogy obviously, as, apart from Revenge of the Sith, the new trilogy is cack!)

  16. Easyily Peasily...

    Who, Wars, Trek

    Who is top of the pile, no question. The most brilliant, simple idea ever, with variations played out over deacdes, by a whole host of people, but still somehow retaining the capacity for wonder alonmg the way. It's as close as Sci-Fi gets to being Open Source. Bloody spectacular :)

    Star Wars I loved when I was tiny, but Lucas has bled it dry for me, between tampering with the originals and releasing those prequels.

    Trek's only 3rd because I have only a passing acquaintance with it, certainly nothing past TOS.

  17. ermmmm.
    Star Trek original
    Doctor Who original but Matt Smith is growing on me.
    Star Wars never really meant anything to me.

  18. Star Trek
    Star Wars
    Doctor Who

    My answer surprises me, because I grew up playing Star Wars every day and it still gives me warm fuzzies to think about the original trilogy. BUT... those prequels... oh, those prequels. As a whole, I think Star Trek is the better of the two.

    Dr. Who I also have fond childhood memories of. My father dressed up like him for Halloween one year and I basically watched it all the time when I was a kid because of him and it scared the bejeezus out of me. But it still comes in last because it never really grabbed me like the other two did. Perhaps I should give the new Who a good hard glance and see what I think of it.

  19. Hmm... Define "great." :)

    I can't really say one is definitively "better" than the other two overall - I can only say which one I personally identify with most. I can say which ones are best of the three at accomplishing specific things but just "inherent greatness" is something that can't be objectively measured. They've each got things that they're the best at portraying.

    Now, Doctor Who and Star Wars hold almost equal significance for me in my life, but if I had to pick which one had the greatest influence on me personally, I'd probably have to say Doctor Who, just because of the sheer volume of it - I've seen pretty much every episode of Doctor Who that's been released in the United States from 1963 onward (I haven't had a chance to look at the 2010 series with Matt Smith yet, but there is no question that I will) and have enjoyed most of it despite the cheesy bits. The infinite possibilities that the show represents - which is an element that's evident in even the worst episodes - helped me to realize that anything is possible. It dramatically affected my view of reality and the universe.

    My first memories in life are of watching the original Star Wars on the big screen in 1977 when I was about 2 years old. It made its mark on my psyche and because of that I pretty much view Star Wars as a basic fact of life that's almost as inherent to me as breathing. Star Wars and sentient thought essentially became different facets of the same thing. But because of that, I don't always remember it's there. It simply IS. :)

    Now, don't get me wrong, I do love me some Star Trek - I've watched it for about as long as I've watched Doctor Who - possibly longer. I've seen pretty much all of its iterations, and I was thrilled when the Abrams movie came out - I enjoyed the reboot a great deal (especially considering that they managed to pull off that little bit of legerdemain that allowed them to do a sequel and a prequel AT THE SAME TIME). Star Trek actually helped me in forming my fundamental approach to life, religion and adult thought. However, I've never really taken it quite as seriously as the other two franchises. I'm not sure why - it might be the acting in the early Treks or it might be the directing in the later Treks or it might be the Earthling-centric view the setting takes (and yes, I realize how very Earth-centric Doctor Who can be, but it's not EarthLING-centric, which is a completely different thing). But even though it does have a SLIGHTLY lesser status in my brain, I don't let that stop me from enjoying it!