Welcome to the Tuning in to SciFi TV Genre Television Hall of Fame. In these virtual halls, you will find those television shows, mini-series, TV movies, people, technology, channels, companies, or other entities that we and our listeners feel are deserving of special recognition for excellence in genre television.
The entrance criteria is simple: The entity inducted must have been active in genre (science fiction, fantasy, horror, or the culture surrounding those genres) television prior to ten (10) years before the year of induction. Every year, the crew members of TIST will select one inductee each, and the listeners of TIST will be allowed to vote for their choice as well. The qualifying entity receiving the most votes in that poll will be inducted as the listener’s choice that year.
Listener voting will open on November 1st of every year. Listeners are encouraged to send in votes for up to five qualifying entities to our feedback e-mail address. Each listener nomination will receive one vote, so the order the the five potential nominees per listener is not important. Please do not nominate the same entity more than once (it won’t be counted).
This year, voting will cease on the last Thursday in December, at midnight (as the clock turns to Friday) Pacific Time. That gives us a couple of days to prepare the results for inclusion in the TIST episode we record the next weekend. (This cut-off date is subject to change, as our recording schedule is typically a little fluid around the end of the year. Changes will be posted on the front page.)
In the last podcast recorded each year, we will announce the new inductees. And at the start of the new year, they will appear in this hall of fame page on our web site.
Star Trek (1966)
Coming in at the top of our Genre Shows of All Time countdown, it’s no wonder that the original Star Trek has earned a spot in the Genre Television Hall of Fame. The brainchild of Hall of Fame inductee Gene Roddenberry, this late 1960s series has been cited by many in genre television as a genuine inspiration. The format, character interactions, and elegant mix of drama and light-hearted elements formed the mold for dozens and dozens of genre shows that followed. The series ran for three seasons on NBC from 1966 to 1969. It has been followed by a number of spin-offs and two separate movie franchises.
The multitalented actor, singer, songwriter, and producer Nichelle Nichols certainly entered the public’s consciousness with her role as Uhura on Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek from 1966-1969. She went on to appear in numerous Star Trek spin-off and movie projects, as well as other genre projects such as The Supernaturals (1986), Good vs. Evil, Heroes, and voice work on Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, Futurama, and Spider-man: The Animated Series. In addition to her genre television credentials, Nichelle Nichols is also well known for breaking down barriers in American television, such as with her part in the first interracial kiss in American television history. Nichelle has also recounted that she nearly quit Star Trek, but a call from civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. asking her to stay and continue to be a positive example for minorities changed her mind.
Leonard Nimoy became most famous for his role as Spock on Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek from 1966-1969. He, of course, also appeared in the spin-offs and both movie franchises. And in addition to his genre acting credentials on Star Trek, he has been featured in such genre works as Them!, Zombies of the Stratosphere, The Brain Eaters, Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, Night Gallery, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Lost World, Brave New World, Futurama, the Transformers films, The Big Bang Theory, and, of course, Fringe. But beyond his acting, Leonard Nimoy has contributed his writing, producing and directing talents to various projects include some of the Star Trek films and an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery.
Battlestar Galactica (1978)
The original Battlestar Galactica, while perhaps not the greatest example of high brow adult genre television, certainly has earned a place in the hall of fame for other, more personal reasons to all of its fans. Not only did it inspire the critically acclaimed and fan favorite remake in 2004, but it also holds a fond spot in the hearts of many who were young and alive in 1978, this writer included. Many adults can remember sneaking into their family’s living room after bed time to watch the premiere of this space opera, which hit American TV screens on the heels of the great success of the film Star Wars. Colonial Vipers and Cylon Raiders were all the talk of the playgrounds of young America, and many a current kid had at least a couple of the BSG action figures or model ships to play with. The terms “frak” and “by your command” entered into the popular culture as a result of this original program.
In the first year, we will induct more entrants to help seed the hall (especially since we have had so many decades of quality genre television prior to the opening of this hall of fame). So in addition to the inductee voted on by the listeners, the hosts of TIST, in honor of our third year of production, will each induct three entities to the hall of fame this first year. Therefore a grand total of ten entities will be inducted in this inaugural year.
The first ever inductee to the genre television hall of fame is Rod Serling. Rod Serling was born in New York in 1924 and passed away in 1975. He began his genre television career by writing 1953′s Nightmare at Ground Zero, an episode for the Suspense anthology series.
Mr. Serling was first and foremost a writer. But he may be best known by the public as the host of his ground breaking and inspirational anthology series, The Twilight Zone, and his follow-up series Night Gallery.
Gerry Anderson was born in England in 1929. He began his genre television career by producing 1957′s The Adventures of Twizzle and Torchy, the Battery Boy. He went on to produce such classic genre shows as Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, UFO, and Space: 1999.
Mr. Anderson is probably best known for producing shows featuring marionettes. The 2004 feature film, Team America: World Police, by the South Park creators, was clearly a nod to his body of work. But he also produced a number of live action shows.
The character of Superman has been present on television since its earliest days. In 1952, George Reeves brought his version of Superman to television screens in all of its black and white glory. After six seasons, Superman flew away to return later in such shows as The New Adventures of Superman, Lois & Clark, Smallville, Justice League, Young Justice, and many Saturday Morning cartoons such as Super Friends.
William Hanna was born in New Mexico in 1910 and passed away in 2001. He began his career as a director of animated short films in the late 1930s. Joseph Barbera was born in New York in 1911 and passed away in 2006. He began his career as a director of animated short films in 1940.
Mr. Hanna and Mr. Barbera have worked together since 1940′s Tom and Jerry animated shorts. But in 1960 the duo began working on numerous classic genre animated shows including The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Scooby Doo.
In 1963, the BBC began airing a children’s program called Doctor Who. Little did the BBC know that Doctor Who would become such a cultural cornerstone for millions of Brittons. And thanks to syndication, many Americans and citizens of Commonwealth countries also had their childhoods touched by The Doctor, his companions, The Master, Daleks, Cybermen, and everything in between.
Even before Doctor Who was canceled in 1989, the BBC attempted a spin-off series featuring companions Sarah Jane Smith and K9, the robotic dog, entitled K9 and Company. It never went beyond a pilot. After a failed attempt to re-start the series in 1996 with a television movie, Doctor Who returned in full force in 2005. Soon two spin-off series did make it into production: Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Mr. Roddenberry was born in Texas in 1921 and passed away in 1991. He is by far best known for creating the Star Trek universe with the premiere of the ground breaking 1966 series. But he began his career as a television writer in 1954. He went on to produce or have produced in his name all of the Star Trek spin-off series, as well as Genesis II, The Questor Tapes, Earth: Final Conflict, and Andromeda. His legacy continues not only in the memories of millions of people but in the form of new films in the Star Trek universe.
The Night Stalker universe began in 1972 with the TV movie entitled “The Night Stalker.” It was followed in 1973 by the TV movie “The Night Strangler.” Finally, in 1974, the universe became a series entitled Kolchak: The Night Stalker. The series ran for one season of twenty episodes. The character of Carl Kolchak reappeared in the short-lived 2005 rebooted series.
Rockne S. O’Bannon was born in California in 1955. He first entered the realm of genre television as a writer for the 1985 reboot of The Twilight Zone. Mr. O’Bannon went on to be lead writer on the Alien Nation series in 1989, as well as create the SeaQuest DSV and Farscape series. He remains active today, writing TV movies and contributing to other genre shows.
Premiering in 1993 and lasting for nine seasons, this Chris Carter creation inspired a generation of genre fans to believe… and to trust no one. Inspired, to some degree, by the previously inducted Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The X-Files went on to win numerous awards, including several coveted Emmy awards. The program has clearly inspired a new generation of genre television talent and will continue to do so for decades to come.
Joss Whedon was born in New York in 1964 and got his start in genre television in 1996 with the small screen adaptation of his feature film “Buffy the Vampire Slayer. ” Mr. Whedon has gone on to create and produce the Buffy spin-off, Angel, as well as the innovative space-based science fiction series Firefly. He was one of the first mainstream entertainment creators to embrace the new medium of the world wide web with the short-form series, Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. He continues creating genre television today, having recently produced the short-lived Dollhouse series.