Here’s some great classic sci-fi for all you under-50 whippersnappers who consider “Firefly” and “Babylon 5” old school.
The first one is Max Headroom, starring Matt Frewer, Amanda Pays, and Jeffrey Tambor. Early (1987/1988), intelligent, oftentimes funny cyberpunk with a sharp political edge. It only lasted for 14 episodes, but they were wonderful. Probably the best sci-fi series ever to appear on the “big 3.” The at-the-time groundbreaking computer graphics were all generated on an Amiga 2000, which had — hold your hats — a 7.16 MHz processor and came with two 3.5″ floppy drives and a standard 1 meg of RAM, expandable to 9 megs. As I recall, this machine cost about two grand at the time (equivalent to probably five or six grand now).
The second is the somewhat more famous Blakes 7, an ultra-low-budget BBC political sci-fi series, which despite its awful FX succeeded because of the strength of its plots and dark, complex characters, especially Avon (Paul Darrow) and Servilan (Jacqueline Pierce–very evil, but oh yes). It lasted for 52 episodes from 1978 through 1981. Great political sci-fi, with perhaps the most unsatisfying conclusion ever until the jaw-droppingly awful conclusion of Dexter’s season 7.
My favorite series from that general period, Terry Nation’s extremely dark “Survivors” (1975-1977), was way better than the at best so-so reboot, and is also available on Youtube; although for some reason it’s broken up into short segments. But they all seem to be there. If you’ve only seen the reboot, you’re in for a treat.