The 1960’s are often referred to as the golden age of American television. Science Fiction, one of the most popular genres of television and the film industry today, took off in popularity as the fantastic invention of the television became more technologically advanced and easier for the ordinary American family to access. Science fiction as a genre itself has become part of main stream television programming over the years. Many of the shows on television now a days are take offs or remakes of the classic science fiction series which first aired in the heyday of American television. Some of the most unforgettable science fiction series of the 1960’s include shows such as “The Avengers”, “Lost in Space” and of course “Star Trek”.
“Star Trek” created by Gene Rodenberry has been hailed as the Grandfather of Science Fiction Television. It is easily the most well known science fiction series ever. Over the decades since its creation, “Star Trek” has spawned several spin off series, made its way into mainstream television in the form of comedy skits and created a popular cult following. It made landmark strides in the Science fiction archives as being the first Sci-Fi television series with recurring characters. It made use of many technical ideas which are actually feasible today as well as inspired many a physicist to experiment with fantastical ideas just to find out if they were really possible. Such catch phrases as “Beam me up Scotty”, “I’m givin’ er all she’s got” and ” I’m a Doctor not a Mathematician” (and it’s various rearrangements) have come to be used in every day American language to comment on a variety of situations. Though it’s original series only ran for 3 years, the cult classic is still alive today in reruns to amuse science fiction junkies everywhere.
“Lost in Space” a popular series which ran from 1965 to 1968 has made a fabulous come back, especially after its modern remake movie was released. Who can forget the fomous line “Danger Will Robinson”? The series makes use of family adventure, comedy and science fiction to entertain and amuse audiences of all ages. Though the acting was a little cheesy in the original series, this show has not failed to become a classic of science fiction and a favorite of science fiction fans everywhere.
“The Avengers” a long running television series from 1961-1969 blended sci-fi with spy drama/thriller. It’s most popular feature being the hot often scantily dressed chick super spies who worked with the shows main character secret agent John Steed to battle mad scientists and evil geniuses bent on world domination. It is probably the number one prototype of later spy action / Sci-Fi series to come. It was actually a British import that found a wide audience in the American television market, though the remake movie in 1988 was not as successful as filmmakers had hoped based on the shows popularity when it originally aired.
“The Outer Limits” a popular Sci-Fi series originally aired from 1963-1965. Considered to be a more pure science fiction series than it’s counterpart The Twilight Zone, this series is considered by critics to be one of the most innovative landmarks of science fiction television. The Sci-Fi channel remake of the series has also had a large audience following since the special effects are more up to date than the original. It’s twist on Sci-Fi/ horror has left viewers with more than their fair share of shivers.
“My Favorite Martian” a Sci-Fi / comedy series aired from 1963-1966. The antics of the unforgettable Martin the Martian still amuse viewers during re-runs as he tries to scientifically and logically analyze human society and it’s “primitive” ways. Martin uses an array of advanced technological devices to wreak havoc on poor Tim the journalist and a variety of cast members including the memorable landlady Mrs. Brown and Tim’s numerous girl friends. The series made a slight comeback in popularity after the 1999 release of Disney’s movie “My Favorite Martian”.
Another extremely popular long running series is “Dr. Who”. It is recorded in the Genus Book of World Records as the longest running television series in history. First aired in 1963, the original series ran until 1989. It was a British import to American television where thousands thronged around the television to catch the latest episode. The series was given a slight make over and reran in 2005 and is still running. The shows features main character Dr. Who, replaced by actors several times throughout the shows running as part of the plot, who cavorts around space and time with an ever changing cast of adventurers fighting evils in many forms and righting the wrongs of the universe.
“The Green Hornet” a short lived television series running from 1966-1967 remains a cult classic among Bruce Lee fans where he made his appearance as the side kick to the infamous superhero. Though no reruns have been aired recently, fans of the era still reminisce its popularity among kids and it is even alluded to in other cartoon shows like “Fat Albert” a popular 70’s and 80’s television cartoon. It has many off takes including popular cartoon series “The Tick”.
“The Thunderbirds” was a popular children’s show. While not technically Sci-Fi as its thought of in the mainstream, its often remembered by its original audience as a high tech puppet show which aired from 1965-1966. The showed featured a futuristic family of puppets who ran a highly secretive international rescue operation team. Choc full of amazing super scientific technology the show was a favorite among young audiences during the time that it aired. It is easily seen as the model for many a modern children’s television shows and cartoons. Attempts at modernization of the show have failed with fans and it has been brought back several times in its original form in other countries. The remake series “Turbo charged Thunderbirds” which aired briefly in the mid nineties proved unpopular as well. Fans eagerly await a new series which was proposed in 2005. Although there are probably dozens of science fiction television shows which debuted in the 1960’s, there are a handful which have lived on in the hearts and memories of Sci-Fi fans today. Some of the more popular still entertaining modern fans and inspiring future scientists.