TV from the 90s definitely gave us some unforgettable sci-fi classics. During this decade, fans were tuned in to watch The X-Files, Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1, Roswell, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and more. However, amongst all of the new classics and greatly admired series were the shows that few people talked about and even fewer could recall. Many popular stars from today got their start on a few of these forgotten shows, many of which have become a forgotten stop on their long careers. There were several shows that tried to bridge the gap between their peak success in the 80s to a fresh start in the 90s. Some TV shows tried to bank off of the success of their original movie predecessors only to fall flat for audiences.
Just a hint, you can’t expect the same success at the original with nothing from the original in the series (just saying…). There were even shows that attempted to be carbon copies of other top-batch 90s classics but could never live up to the originals. For some shows, however, despite having a unique concept and solid cast, they simply could not hold a constant audience. In this article, we will take a look at some of the sci-fi shows of the 90s that fans simply forgot even existed. Some of these shows definitely deserved a second look and maybe even a future reboot. From blended alien families to lifeguards turned detectives, here are 25 Forgettable 90s Sci-Fi TV Shows Only True Fans Will Remember.
Star Trek alum William Shatner not only dominated his sci-fi popularity in the Star Trek universe but in other fandoms as well. His venture, TekWar, proved to be highly successful for the actor. The franchise grew from the initial nine novels to include a video game, comic book series, and a TV series. Unfortunately, the series was not met with the same enthusiasm. One critic commented that “With Greg Evigan as a disgraced ex-cop teaming with another ex-cop, who's black, and a female android, it's a lot like 'The Mod Squad Visits Wild Palms'." The series managed to air two seasons with 22 episodes total.
Three years after the success of the sci-fi film Timecop, ABC hoped to expand the franchise to TV. However, the TV show would contain none of the original cast, opting instead for new faces for all of its roles. Viewers, instead, followed the adventures of TEC agent Jack Logan as he prevented criminals from disrupting events of the past. The show even incorporated some significant figures from history, including Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and Adolf Hitler. However, audiences never connected with the series and the spinoff was short-lived. The series was canceled after only nine episodes.
23 Total Recall 2070
Although the film Total Recall found great success with audiences back in 1990, TV series Total Recall 2070 never found a strong following. Creators hoped to establish a new world within the Total Recall universe without the characters of the popular movie. In addition, much of the action of the series moved more toward the plot of Blade Runner. The mash-up of the two series, both based on works of American writer Philip K. Dick, didn’t go over well. Alter premiering in January 1999, Total Recall 2070 remained on the air until June of the same year with only 22 episodes total.
The series Prey tried to develop its own take on the concept of genetic abnormalities and the results of such mutations. Before starring in Will and Grace, actress Debra Messing starred as anthropologist Dr. Sloan Parker. She discovered a link between violent criminals and their different genetic makeup. Homo dominants, as they became known on the show, were 1.6% different than normal humans. This newly discovered species was more aggressive highly intelligent and had psychic abilities. Despite the unique premise, the series never became a popular series on ABC. The show concluded after 13 episodes.
Meego was CBS’ attempted to build on their ''Friday Night Block Party'‘, a direct competitor to ABC’s hugely successful TGIF programming block. The series even starred former Perfect Strangers star Bronson Pinchot in the titular role of the alien Meego. After crash landing on Earth, he eventually met three children that he grew attached to and became their nanny. The series even included a young Michelle Trachtenberg and Jonathan Lipnicki. The series did not attract audiences and was pulled from the schedule after only six of its 22 episodes aired on the network.
20 Time Trax
Originally airing on the Prime Time Entertainment Network, Time Trax joined the network’s original lineup of shows alongside Babylon 5 and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. The series focused on Captain Darien Lambert, a police officer from the 22nd century. A large group of criminals managed to escape from prison and time traveled back to 1993. His weapons: a computer disguised as a credit card name SELMA, and Micro-Pellet Projection Tube disguised as a car alarm controller. The series debuted in January 1993 and remained a part of the programming for two seasons.
The series M.A.N.T.I.S., centered around scientist Dr. Miles Hawkins, played by actor Carl Lumbly. After being paralyzed, he developed an advanced suit that gave him the ability to walk as well as superhuman abilities. After the pilot, the cast was switched out, causing its fair share of controversy. Even the setting changed to the multicultural West Coast situated Port Columbia. The drastic shift in the series left many fans baffled and uninterested, leading to the series being canceled after one season.
18 Baywatch Nights
Although this might seem like a strange entry for a list dedicated to forgotten sci-fi shows, the series made several failed attempts at the genre. Despite being known for its slow-mo lifeguard action only, this Baywatch spinoff tried to prove itself as a serious series. Moving from beachside storylines to a detective agency, the show’s first season failed to connect with audiences. Producers later decided to give the series a sci-fi makeover in an attempt to boost ratings. Still, viewers didn’t go for the failed transition, and the series ended after the revamped second season.
17 The Night Man
Originally published under Malibu Comics, The Night Man became a part of the Marvel world when they purchased Malibu in October 1994. Comic co-creator Steve Englehart even participate with writing for the live-action show for several episodes. Despite having a built-in fan base thanks to the comic, the series did not become very popular. The Night Man even had crossover episodes with the short-lived 1980s adventure series Manimal. The superhero series did manage to stay on the air for two full seasons from 1997 – 1999. The Night Man was finally canceled after 44 episodes.
The 1990s did not seem to be a good time for the sci-fi western. Popular but short-lived series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. was sorely missed after its cancellation in 1994. A year later, UPN decided to try their hand at a series in the same genre with Legend. Starring MacGyver alum Richard Dean Anderson and Star Trek: The Next Generation star John de Lancie, the story followed the exploits of Nicodemus Legend as told to us by author Ernest Pratt (also played by Anderson). The series ended after 12 episodes and four months after it debuted.
15 Mann & Machine
Before her Witchblade days, Yancy Butler starred in this series for her first major television role. She played Sgt. Eve Edison, a humanoid robot partnered with Det. Bobby Mann (played by David Andrews), how hated robots. The series followed their attempts to get along while solving crimes in Los Angeles sometime in the future. The series began airing on NBC in 1992 but only lasted one season. In fact, the network only aired the first four episodes of the series before being pulled. The remaining five episodes aired during June of the same year.
The premise of Sleepwalkers was based around researchers that were trying to help psychiatric patients in their care. Instead of employing standard techniques to treat their psychosis, they would enter into their dreams to treat them. Interesting plot aside, the series became one of the shortest-lived TV series of the 90s. The series only lasted for two episodes on air before it was immediately canceled. Oddly enough, five episodes were seen on the West Coast only while the remaining two were never aired at all in the United States.
13 The Sentinel
Before his days on Desperate Housewives, actor Richard Burgi starred in his own sci-fi series called The Sentinel. Playing former US Army Ranger Det. Jim Ellison, he gained highly acute senses while on a mission in the jungle. His new powers were said to be like those of “Sentinels,” members of ancient tribes that gained these enhanced senses to protect their villages. He is assisted by anthropologist Blair Sandburg and good friend Simon Banks on the series. The show fared well enough to last four seasons on UPN until its cancellation in 1999.
12 The Visitor
After his role on cult favorite series Northern Exposure, actor John Corbett hopes to lead his own series with The Visitor. Having been abducted by aliens 50 years prior during WWII, he managed to escape and return to his home planet. During his time spent with the aliens, he gained new powers thanks to their experimentation. After he returned to earth, he spent his days trying to improve the lives of people across the country using his newfound abilities. Unfortunately, Corbett didn’t find the same success as Northern Exposure, and the series ended after 13 episodes.
11 Mercy Point
Mercy Point managed to combine two big genres of the 1990s: medical drama and science fiction. The series featured an ensemble cast that worked as medical professionals in space in the 23rd-century. UPN planned for the series to be an innovative medical show stating: “While balancing complicated personal lives with the demands of working in a cutting-edge hospital can be difficult… Mercy Point's dedicated and passionate staff are able to keep sight of what's really important--the patients.” In the end, however, the series barely made it through seven episodes before UPN pulled the plug.
10 Super Force
Some fans may have thought that Super Force was a rip-off of Robocop. However, the series shared just a few similarities with the 1987 movie. In the series, former astronaut Zachary Stone joined the Metroplex Police Department hoping to find his father’s slayer and clear his brother’s name. He received a high tech suit from F.X. Spinner. The two join forces and become the vigilante group known as Super Force. Additional weapons included his jet-powered motorcycle and Hungerford AI computer. The series maintained a steady audience for two years until its cancellation in 1992.
9 Homeboys In Outer Space
Nothing could quite compare to the bizarre comedy that was Homeboys in Outer Space. Starring Flex Alexander and Darryl M. Bell, the premise of the show was unlike anything else on TV (or would ever be on TV, for that matter). Astronauts Ty Walker and Morris Clay explored the universe in their “Space Hoopty.” Set in the 23rd century, their space vehicle was nothing more than a lowrider. UPN premiered the series in 1996 but soon found that no one cared for the show. In fact, TV Guide even listed the show at #31 on their “The 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time" list.
8 Space Rangers
Space Rangers portrayed the mission taken on by the Space Rangers Corps. The team worked to protect and defend the Earth colony Fort Hope from various dangers. This police squad would take on missions against aliens, criminals, and other issues that would affect the colony. Their universe was also comprised of new galaxies and planets that not only expanded the show’s universe but added to its uniqueness. Led by an ensemble cast, the Sci-Fi drama premiered on CBS in January 1993. The adventures of the Space Rangers Corps, however, only lasted for six episodes.
7 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures
The Bill & Ted franchise first debut with the first movie, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in 1989. The movie’s success promptly led to not only a sequel but spin off onto TV. The first project was an animated series that utilized the voice talents of the actors from the film. After this 1990 series was canceled, the next idea from the franchise came in the form of a live action series. The characters of Bill & Ted were recast with new actors to take on the adventures of the best friends. However, the series did not make it past seven episodes airing on Fox, being canceled in 1992.
6 Aliens In The Family
ABC series Aliens in the Family did not have the most family-friendly premise. Basically, Doug Brody, a single dad, was taken by the single alien mom Cookie. Despite having just committed a crime and ripping him from his family, the two fall in love and get married. The show followed their lives together and their newly assimilated family. The series was added to the very popular TGIF block of programming in 1996. Even with the talents of Jim Henson's Creature Shop for the aliens’ costumes, the series did not win fans over. After eight episodes, the series ended in August of the same year.
5 First Wave
The series First Wave definitely should have been more popular than it was. The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola backed the series as executive producer. Even the Syfy Channel had full confidence in its potential. The network ordered three full seasons of episodes to be produced, which totaled 66 episodes. They committed to the show even before the series premiered on their network. Unfortunately, the series, which based its storyline around newly discovered predictions by Nostradamus, did not live up to their expectations. By the conclusion of the promised third season, the series was canceled.
The possibilities of virtual reality were still pretty new back in the 1990s. This uncertainty gave writers the ability to build technology into their stories with very few limitations. For the series VR.5, the tech gave one telephone line worker a unique talent. An avid user of VR in her free time, she discovered that by using the technology, she could reach other people’s subconscious. She could influence their actions and produce results in the real world. Fox aired the series in 1995 with the hopes of gaining another sci-fi hit like The X-Files. However, the series was canceled after 13 episodes with three never being aired.
3 Now And Again
This series took a sort of Frankenstein approach to its sci-fi plot. The US government designed the perfect body but could not create a mind to go with it. After family man Michael Wiseman gets into a fatal subway accident, the government removed his brain and kept it alive for their project. He woke up to a new body and being trained by the government to hone his new skills. However, he only desired to be back home with his wife and child and tried to find a way to return to them. The drama lasted one full season on CBS, ending in May 2000.
2 Team Knight Rider
Knight Rider became one of the most popular shows in the 80s. Not only did the series boost the career of David Hasselhoff but KITT became one of the most famous fictional cars of pop culture. With the original series ending back in 1986, show producers seemed to think the franchise could work in the 90s as well. After two made-for-TV films, the series Team Knight Rider premiered in 1997. Lead character Michael Knight was replaced with a team of five agents along with five new intelligent vehicles (but no KITT). The series failed to attract a steady audience and was canceled after only one season.
1 Space Precinct
Delivering a new kind of sci-fi cop drama, Space Precinct followed the Demeter City police force on the planet Altor in the Epsilon Eridani system. Lead character Patrick Brogan, a former NYPD cop, resided on the planet and had to adjust to life working with this new force instead. The series had a blend of both humans and alien creatures of many kinds. The show even employed the services of five-time James Bond franchise director John Glen to film the series. After its debut in October 1994, the show lasted for one full series and ended after 24 episodes.