Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
Earlier this month it was announced that one of the greatest Sci Fi TV series ever Babylon 5 would be returning as an animated movie. In my B5 retrospective review back in March I mentioned that this rich science fiction world deserved to come back in some shape or form, and therefore the news has me happier than Ambassador Londo during happy hour.
And the announcement got me thinking about some other dormant Sci Fi and fantasy series that were deserving some sort of revival. Both Star Trek and Star Wars have been enjoying their own Renaissance over the past few years with multiple ongoing TV series, the time is right to reawaken some other sleeping franchise giants.
With the preamble out of the way let’s countdown the Top 7 Sci Fi and Fantasy Franchises That Deserve a Comeback. And why seven? That’s because we are celebrating seven years of this website, Robot Mango Reviews, with a series of Top 7 lists. With that second preamble concluded, let’s count them down:
#7 Dark Matter, Last Episode Aired August 25, 2017
It’s been more than five years since Sci Fi series Dark Matter came off the air, but its cancellation still stings. Created by Stargate writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie and airing on the Syfy Channel for three seasons, Dark Matter followed a crew of amnesiac criminals and a female-looking android battling their way across the galaxy while slowly rediscovering their histories.
With one of the best cast of characters assembled, stong acting, awesome action, brilliant humour and clever plotting that featured well-executed twists, this series was truly a blast. It’s third and final season ended with a galaxy-shattering cliffhanger (isn’t that always the case with genre shows?) and that just poured salt on to the wound.
While another season is unlikely after so long, I would love at least a TV movie or miniseries to wrap up the story a la Farscape: The Peacekeepers.
#6 Highlander, Last Film Released in 2007
There can be only one. But it wasn’t just one, was it? It still boggles the mind that a fantasy cult classic film from 1986 could spawn a massive multimedia franchise of four sequels, two live action series, an animated series, an anime film, a Flash series, video games, comics, novels and even a card game, but that’s Highlander for you.
The franchise ended on the small and big screen in 2007 with the masterful anime film Highlander: The Search for Vengeance and the absolutely terrible Sci Fi Channel TV movie Highlander: The Source. There has been talk of a new film for years with the latest reports having ex-Superman Henry Cavill being attached.
With Hollywood’s penchant for profiting off nostalgia it’s kind of amazing that we haven’t had a new film or TV series in more than 15 years. And fantasy is hotter than ever now on the small screen with the super popular House of the Dragon, the criminally underrated The Rings of Power, and the ill-conceived and barely watchable Willow sequel series, so I think audiences would be on board to return to the electrified decapitations and period costuming of the Highlander franchise.
Why not bring back Adrian Paul as a mentor to figure to some other less-seasoned immortals? That could be cool. And along with the usual sword fighting action we can have an exploration of some deeper existential themes. I’m just spitballing here. I just really love this fantasy franchise and I want more from it.
#5 The Expanse, Last Episode Aired January 14, 2022
Okay, The Expanse has only been off the air for a year and a few months but let me explain why it needs to come back. Based on the novels of the same name by James S.A. Corey and following a disparate band of protagonists in a future where Earth has colonised the Solar System, the Hugo-award winning series is quite simply one of the best science fiction series EVER!
The acting, the characters, the visual effects, the production quality and the writing, OH MY GOODNESS THE WRITING, are all top tier. Each episode would draw you in and have you gripping the seat until the credits rolled. And that opening theme song? Thirteen flavours of awesome sauce. Here, take a listen:
The quality of the seasons may have varied but none fell below “very good”. The series wrapped at the end of its six-episode sixth season with a sort-of conclusion, but it left major plot threads hanging and did not complete the story from the nine novels. So, my request is simple—bring back the series, get the crew back together and finish the felota story.
#4 Grimm, Last Episode Aired March 31, 2017
While I would like additional seasons of The Expanse, that is not the case with NBC’s fantasy police procedural drama Grimm. It was centred on Detective Nicholas “Nick” Burkhardt (Dave Giuntoli) as the eponymous Grimm, a line of hunters who battle supernatural forces including evil Wesen (mythological creatures who can alternate between appearing human and bestial/monstrous).
As a viewer, learning about new creatures each episode was utterly fascinating and the characters were so very likeable. I truly could not get enough. This wonderfully weird and fun series concluded in relatively satisfying fashion after six seasons. Grimm also got some comics and novels but what I want is a spin-off or continuation series. There was an announcement of such a spin-off with a female lead back in 2018, but that is reportedly dead in the water. And that’s just sad.
If you have seen the show (and if you haven’t, you really should, it is thoroughly entertaining) then you know what a treasure trove of lore it possesses and how ripe it is for continuation. A new series could follow the children of original series characters or completely new ones, it doesn’t matter. Just give us more Grimm folks. Oh, and do bring back Silas Weir Mitchell’s wisecracking Wesen character Monroe. That dude is fantastic.
#3 Farscape, Concluding Miniseries Aired October 2004
Far FREAKIN’ Scape! There are no words for how much I love this wacky science fiction show. Airing for four seasons on the Sci Fi Channel from 1999 to 2003, the series followed astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) who gets shot through a wormhole to a distant part of the universe and ends up on a living ship called Moya with a crew of alien prisoners.
With its engaging heroes, memorable villains, incredible practical creature effects from the Jim Henson Company, blazing action and a tone that could swing from dreadfully serious to utterly ridiculous (and sometimes in the same episode), Farscape is one of the most unique and enjoyable Sci Fi series ever. After its abrupt cancellation following its fourth season the franchise thankfully returned for a three-hour miniseries entitled Farscape: The Peackeeper Wars which concluded the story in style.
So, why is it on this list? Because I frellin’ want more Farscape, that’s why! We had Star Trek: The Next Generation, why not Farscape: The Next Generation or something like that? This world is just too cool and too engaging to not be revisited.
Just make the King Conan movie people. Just make it! I mean, the movie was teased all the way back in the outstanding 1982 epic sword and sorcery original, Conan the Barbarian, but what have we gotten? The watered-down sequel Conan the Destroyer? The ill-conceived and shockingly dull 2011 reboot with Jason Momoa? These are not what we wanted, Hollywood! We want King Conan with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
And earlier this month Arnie in an interview said he is still interested but the rights are tied up. Well, I hope they untie it and make this movie, because this could be pretty awesome. And if they want to do a live action series as well, we’ll take that too. It is time for Robert E. Howard’s iconic warrior to rise again. That is best in life.
#1 Stargate, Last TV Episode Aired September 28, 2010
I mentioned Star Trek and Star Wars as two science fiction franchises enjoying a Renaissance, but you know what other franchise needs a Renaissance too? Well, I kind of spoiled it with the sub-heading and image, but yes, I am talking about Stargate. The fact that we have not had a new TV episode of this franchise in more than 12 years is just plain wrong.
Spinning off from the decent 1994 military science fiction film of the same name, Stargate has gone on to include three live action series (Stargate: SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe), a 26-episode animated series (Stargate Infinity), a ten-episode web series (Stargate Origins), and two more films (Stargate: The Ark of Truth, and Stargate: Continuum). The series peaked with the 10-season, 214-episode SG-1, but Atlantis was cool too and Universe had its moments, though it unwisely went the super dark Battlestar Galactica reboot route. The last we got of the franchise was 2018’s prequel web miniseries Stargate Origins, but a full bird series is what fans of this criminally underrated franchise actually want.
And like the titular device that can take travelers to other planets, the possibilities for Stargate are literally endless. The franchise has done a fantastic job of setting its varied casts of lovable characters in epic action, mind-bending Sci Fi scenarios and even kooky comedy at times, there’s no reason not to bring it back with a new series. Just maintain the tone of the first two series and you should have a winner on your hands. Let’s start the dial-in sequence and get it done MGM!
So, that’s my list. Any other dormant Sci Fi or fantasy franchises you think deserve a comeback? Sound off in the comments. And you can check out more great lists below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.