The last time I took a survey, I got screwed over.

A few years back I participated in a survey for my cable company and it asked what specialty channels I liked. IE: Being a fervent NASCAR fan, I admitted to The Speed Channel and a few others. A year later my favorite channels were on their own special programming tier that I had to pay extra for.

After talking to a lot of people back then about that survey and what they told me, it seems all the survey did was tell the cable company what channels to charge extra for. Thanks Mr. Cable company. I’ll remember that one.

With that said: What do Blade Runner, Firefly and 1984 all have in common?

They topped their respective categories in a survey titled “Visions for Tomorrow” that The Sci-Fi Channel conducted asking site visitors to report in on their favorite movies, sci-fi shows and books.

The survey tabulated approximately 20,000 votes and the top notches for film went to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, the top TV spot went to Joss Whedon’s Firefly and the book with the top honors was George Orwell’s 1984.

My faith in the fandom of sci-fi has been renewed and as you are about to see, it was a healthy looking set of top 10’s that came across the results:

An interesting observation is that only one film jumped across categories, and that was 2001: A Space Odyssey, which ranked 4th in films and 8th in books. (Shouldn’t that be some bonus ranking?)

The complete list of the results are:

Top 10 Films to Watch

  1. Blade Runner
  2. The Matrix
  3. The Terminator
  4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  5. Jurassic Park
  6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  7. The Day After Tomorrow
  8. The Day the Earth Stood Still
  9. Children of Men
  10. Armageddon

Top 10 Television Series to Watch

  1. Firefly
  2. Battlestar Galactica (2004)
  3. The X-Files
  4. Heroes
  5. Stargate: SG-1
  6. Doctor Who
  7. Star Trek: The Next Generation
  8. Babylon 5
  9. Star Trek
  10. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Top 10 Books to Read

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  3. Dune by Frank Herbert
  4. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  5. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  6. The Stand by Stephen King
  7. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  8. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
  9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  10. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

These three categories were supplemented by an additional question of what course of actions these mediums inspired, and the top three of those were to Read, Recycle and Register to vote.

Of course the Sci Fi Channel staff had to throw their own two cents and under the Television slot, they threw in Quantum Leap, The Jetsons and V: The Miniseries, ejecting their own Stargate: SG-1, Doctor Who and Babylon 5 from the list. (This may very well give us some insight to the insensible logic to their programming.).

For movies: They inserted Gattaca, Back to the Future and Dr. Strangelove. These three additions ejected The Day After Tomorrow, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Armageddon from the list.

I’ll bet it was a pretty tough decision for everyone involved to create top-10 lists because so many different titles can be in a top-10 list for so many different reasons. Authenticity, entertainment, consistency, relating to, making you forget or even making you remember.

Being the leery guy that I am, I suspect that within the year we’ll be seeing these top-10’s in their own Sci-Fi tier programming. If that happens, I’m blocking The Sci-Fi Channel, period. But the more mundane or important reason the survey was conducted was to bring awareness to the things these different categories can come together to create. It’s a new venture where The Sci-Fi Channel is bringing together leaders in science, technology, art, architecture, education and policy to demonstrate how people can bring about change for the better. This new effort hopes to inspire individuals from the general public to corporation policymakers to meet the challenges of the future. (…Don’t worry, i don’t get it either. I hate rhetoric.)

Personally, I think they need to focus on programming quality, and insert public awareness spots around the 200 Eureka ads we see in an hour’s time, but that’s just me!

Believe it or not, The Sci-Fi Channel launched in 1992 and is currently in 86 million homes.

But enough about that…

If you could add one top 10 item to each of the above categories, what would they be?

Sources: SciFi Wire, SciFi Visions

Image: Screenshot from 2001ASpaceOdyssey.org