This post originally appeared on the Contact – Infinite Futures SF blog on August 12, 2012.
I’m not about to attempt a ranking of the best sci-fi moments of all time. If you want some of that, there’s Ultimate Top Ten Sci-Fi Moments, 20 Great “All Seems Lost” Moments in Sci-Fi/Fantasy or Classic Sci-fi Moments Recreated in Lego, among others. Or you could check out Top 10 Dumb Moments in Sci-Fi Cinema and Best Sci-Fi Effects of All Time. And if you want to talk about the best sci-fi movies, books or TV shows, there are plenty of sites for that.
What I’d like to do is share my personal favorites. From subtle to epic, serious to silly, these are the moments that make me cheer, laugh, cry, and love science fiction TV shows and movies.
10 ) Socrates and Billy the Kid hit on women at the San Dimas mall. I love time travel movies. “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” had fish-out-of-water humor and absolute absurdity, but I especially loved the bromance between “So Crates” and Billy.
9 ) Jayne rips the medical tape off of his belly in the Firefly episode “Jaynestown.” The crew isn’t allowed to take their weapons onto Higgins Moon, but Jayne can’t bear the though of being unarmed — especially since he had some trouble with the magistrate awhile back. So he raids the infirmary and tapes a gun to his stomach. Mal says no way. Off comes the tape, and some manly hairs. Oh, the look on Adam Baldwin’s face. Priceless.
8 ) “I didn’t know I’d love you so much.” I’ve seen Repo! The Genetic Opera classified as a musical horror film, but c’mon. It’s set in a dystopian future where corporations have the right to repossess your organ transplants if you don’t keep up your high medical payments. Sounds like sci-fi to me. This moment isn’t about romance, but the love between parent and child. *sniff*
7 ) Jayne paws Saffron in the Firefly episode “Our Mrs. Reynolds.” It’s another Jayne moment, but so subtle even many diehard Browncoats have missed it. After discovering a stowaway on board who thinks she’s married to the captain, there’s a bit of heated discussion in the cargo bay. The camera is focused on the innocent-looking, wide-eyed Saffron… and a gloved hand appears, awkwardly paws her left shoulder, and then disappears. It’s Jayne. I can just hear him thinking “Girl. Purdy.”
6 ) Doc Brown and his steampunk rifle in Back to the Future Part III. Nuff said.
5 ) Mal kicks a henchman into an engine in the Firefly episode “Train Job.” This was “the” Firefly moment, for me. I’ve talked to many Browncoats, and we all seem to have a moment when we suddenly knew, “I love this show.” For some, it was Kaylee biting a strawberry. For others, it might be Mal shooting a fed in the head or seeing River for the first time. For me, this was it.
4 ) This is a tie between “A bottle of kanar and an Orion slave girl would be nice,” spoken by an imprisoned Dukat to his enemy Sisko in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Waltz”; and “They’ll just make another copy of him, you know. You should’ve killed me. There’s only one Damar,” spoken by Damar after Worf kills the clone Weyoun in “Strange Bedfellows.” It’s no secret that I love Cardassians. I know they’re the bad guys, and they’re tyrannical, arrogant bastards. But I can’t resist a man with dry wit and neck ridges. I just can’t.
3 ) Jack kisses both Rose and the Doctor in Doctor Who episode “The Parting of the Ways.” The 9th Doctor is “my” doctor. I was thrilled to watch a TV show that had the guts to go for it and depict a tender moment between all three of them.
2 ) G’kar busts out of his chains in the Babylon 5 episode “The Long Night.” I could probably come up with a list of a 100 awesome G’kar moments, but this is one I can recall even years after seeing it for the first time, and my heart still leaps with triumph. After being tortured and losing an eye, G’kar is paraded through the Centauri palace to his execution — not unlike the historic Celtic leader Vercingetorix and his Roman conquerors. Unlike history, however, G’kar breaks free and creates a distraction which results in the assassination of the emperor.
1 ) Roy’s last words in “Blade Runner.”
~ J.L. Hilton
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