8 sci-fi TV shows from the '70s worth revisiting

8 sci-fi TV shows from the '70s worth revisiting
Moviestillsdb.com

I wonder if years from now we'll look back at movies like Dune: Part Two and laugh at all the funny trends of the time that made it into the movie, or whether it's simply transcendent enough to become timeless.

That's tough to predict, but with the benefit of hindsight we can say for sure that sci-fi pumped out in the 1970s typically did not transcend the era it was born from. Apparently we all fully expected that mutton chop sideburns and feathered hair would remain a distinct part of human culture for centuries to come. Even Star Wars, the biggest sci-fi movie franchise ever created, featured impeccable '70s styling.

While sci-fi would blast off on the big screen, there was plenty of great science fiction to watch on the small screen as well. Whether to marvel at what our hair used to look like or just to get your robot fix, here are eight science fiction television shows from the 1970s worth a rewatch.

Space: 1999

Moviestillsdb.com

Here's a tip: When developing your sci-fi storyline, be sure to set it no more than 20 years in the future so that the timeline will be hilarious later on.

In Space: 1999, we visit the far-flung future of, you guessed it, 1999. Running from 1973 to '76 across what is technically two series, 1999 follow the plight of the residents of Moonbase Alpha, who are flung into uncharted territory after some nuclear waste they're storing on the moon mysteriously blows up. Led by John Koenig (played by Martin Landau), we follow the trials and tribulations of the Alphans as they meet aliens and encounter space anomalies.

But for real, I'm sure 20 years from today we'll totally have moon bases.

Kamen Rider

Kamen Rider GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

If you have a deep love of practical special effects, you should probably thank the tokusatsu tradition out of Japan, of which Kamen Rider had a heavy hand in re-popularizing.

Originally airing in 1971 with 98 episodes, Kamen Rider tells the tale of a world plagued by a mysterious worldwide terror organization known as Shocker, who take humans and turn them into cyborg mutants. If that's not enough to make you want to watch this show, consider the hero — one of the cyborg mutants who escapes before he can be brainwashed. Oh yeah, and he looks like a grasshopper.

Kamen Rider was hugely influential in future television, manga, and films, and was the original inspiration for Haim Saban's idea to reappropriate Japanese action TV for Power Rangers.

The Tomorrow People

At some point, humans will evolve — and according to this show, they'll evolve to have super cool telepathic powers.

The Tomorrow People might sound familiar to those who saw the revival on Nickelodeon in the 20-teens, but this show has it's roots squarely in British '70s sci-fi.

The Tomorrow People are those who have already evolved and can do things like read thoughts and move objects with their minds, but they stay hidden because they're worried regular people, or Saps (short for Homo sapiens), will mess with them or make them use their powers as weapons. They're probably right, but they also call themselves Homo Superior, which frankly seems a bit egotistical.

Running over eight "series" (because, you know, the Brits) from 1973-1979, The Tomorrow People was aimed mostly at younger viewers. The format allowed for all kinds of fun storylines, not unlike Doctor Who — which makes sense since a few of the same producers worked for both shows.

Timeslip

Another one seemingly aimed at kids, Timeslip has definitely "slipped" under the radar. Heyooo.

This underrated cult classic has since been highly regarded as a challenging and thoughtful exploration of time travel and technology concepts, even though it only ran for one season over 26 episodes from September of 1970 to March of 1971.

It follows the adventures of Simon Randall and Liz Skinner, who discover the Time Barrier, which lets them travel through time. Despite the fact Timeslip didn't last very long, it's often listed as one of the best sci-fi shows of all time. The rights were acquired for a potential reboot back in the '90s, but so far nothing's come of it.

The Six Million Dollar Man

Moviestillsdb.com

"We can rebuild him; we have the technology."

From 1973 to 1978 that was pretty much all anyone ever said. The Lee Majors' driven sci-fi show following agent Steve Austin was hugely popular on TV, but was also hugely influential in pop culture generally.

When astronaut Steve Austin is injured during a test flight, he is rebuilt with bionic implants that basically make him a badass. Naturally, he's then recruited to work for the OSI, or Office of Scientific Intelligence, as a secret agent doing all kinds of secret agent stuff.

While some of the other shows on this list are great for novelty viewing, The Six Million Dollar Man is just legitimately good TV. Plus, it will help you to remember why the '70s were the way they were.

Far Out Space Nuts

There is a small segment of those reading this who actually watched this show as a kid and still remember it. To you we say... I hope you're getting those yearly prostate exams.

There's a somewhat larger segment who may have seen this children's show from Sid and Marty Krofft in syndication — after its initial one-season run in 1975, it ran in syndication from 1978-1984 as part of the Krofft Superstars package.

It's a zany screwball send up whose entire premise focuses on one of the characters mishearing "lunch" for "launch," and whacky space adventures ensue from there. It also featured a 40-something Bob Denver as a dimwitted maintenance worker.

Honestly, with this one you might be able to just watch the intro and get all you need from it, or maybe have a few sips of some space juice beforehand, if you catch my drift.

Battlestar Galactica

Moviestillsdb.com

There's no way in hell we're putting out a post with the chance to include Battlestar Galactica and NOT including it.

In the wake of the success of Star Wars, ABC figured why not throw a ton of money at this serial following humans in search of a new home aboard the titular spaceship — all while evading those pesky Cylons, of course.

The fact the show was clearly an effort to capitalize on the sci-fi frenzy of the late '70s shouldn't take away from it. Despite the fact the original run only lasted two seasons, it's clearly had an outsized influence, leading to multiple iterations and developing a style that is still beloved today. Cylons are just cool, damn it.

Cylon Battlestar Galactica GIF - Cylon Battlestar Galactica Looking Around GIFs

Plus, it may feature the densest wavy-hair to actor ratio in TV history.

This is required viewing for, well, everyone.

Land of the Lost

Another Sid and Marty Krofft production, what kid didn't love the stop motion dinosaurs in this show?

Land of the Lost was a Saturday morning staple from 1974 to 1976, following the Marshall family as they explored an alternate universe alongside dinos and lizard people.

Chock full of effects and with a more serious tone than most other Saturday morning options, Land of the Lost became a beloved classic that also featured episodes written by several prominent science fiction writers, including Larry Niven, the creator of Ringworld.

Although it's seen several reiterations, the original series stands up as the best of them all.


If you need a sci-fi fix that also features some sweet mustaches and maybe bellbottoms, these shows will do the trick. What did we miss? What '70s sci-fi shows would you want to rewatch?