By Will Griggs
I had a very unusual relationship to sci-fi and fantasy when I was a kid. I never read The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, I didn’t read Chronicles of Narnia until I was in my teens, and I don’t remember ever watching Star Trek. What I did watch were shows that I either enjoyed with my dad or what I felt I had a personal connection to, but here is a short list of those, sometimes lesser known, titles that made my childhood a bit more interesting.
This show is special to me because I used to watch it with my dad. It was about an inventor/scientist/engineer who creates a robot which his family treats as one of its own.
Imagine Star Trek under water and you will end up with SeaQuest. Starring Roy Sheider and Jonathan Brandis, this show was a wonderful experience for a young boy who thought he was going to be a marine biologist (of course this was before I discovered that I hated to actually touch sea creatures).
Disclaimer: I have not watched the reboot starring Edward James Olmos. That being said, I loved the original when I was a kid watching it in reruns. And it was the very first time I remember grasping that a single actor could be in multiple shows. Dirk Benedict was Starbuck AND Face from the A-Team?!?!
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Of course since I was a kid, I was more concerned with Twiki, the cool robot, and less with Erin Gray, and her tight space outfits. And to be perfectly honest, I thought the robot’s name was Twinkie for yeeeeeaaaaars.
Another show that I shared with my dad, Quantum Leap was equal parts time travel, history, gender/minority ethics, and drama and I couldn’t get enough. I still find myself thinking of watching particular episodes while I sat next to my dad.
Mork & Mindy
Robin Williams as an alien and Jonathan Winters as an alien baby AND it’s a spinoff of Happy Days? There was nothing not to like about this quirky fish-out-of-water story. NANU NANU!
This show was a little scary for me when it first came out, but there are still indelible images burned into my brain. Someone eating a whole live mouse? Giving birth to a lizard baby? OMG who comes up with these ideas?
Land of the Lost
This was one of my favorite kids’ shows. I never thought about the Jules Verne aspects (maybe because I had not yet read Verne), but what is there not to like about a few family members working together to fight off prehistoric creatures and creepy green lizard-like aliens with freaky eyes? And then of course there is that theme song!
Galaxy High School
Imagine if you were a human that gets transferred to a high school in outer space that has numerous alien species; that is the premise of this great cartoon from Chris Columbus. Sadly it only ran for one season, but it did have a pre-Simpsons Nancy Cartwright.
Another cartoon that lasted for a very short time, but it was based on one of my favorite standup arcade games where you played Dirk the Daring as you tried to work your way through a castle filled with unknown dangers.