The best sci-fi to show someone who doesn't like sci-fi?

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Master Member
So, many of us have significant others, friends, relatives, etc. who often do not share our love of sci-fi.

In your opinion, what would be the best sci-fi to perhaps get them interested, and why? I'm not asking which sci-fi YOU enjoy the most, mind you. I'm asking which sci-fi you think would most appeal to someone who isn't really a fan, or who thinks it's kind of stupid/juvenile/lame/whatever.

For my money, I'd probably hew towards smarter sci-fi, and sci-fi that really depicts complex and compelling characters. I tend to think that the best science fiction and fantasy and such works because it highlights the underlying human condition by setting it against and contrasting it with the fantastical. It's the juxtaposition of the setting against the very real reactions and problems of the characters (who, hopefully, are also well acted) that makes the story compelling.

So, my list would include:

- Blade Runner (for the more complex themes and the visual gorgeousness)

- The new Battlestar Galactica (in spite of my criticisms, I still think it was fantastic at getting people who weren't sci-fi fans to care and watch)

- Game of Thrones, if I knew they liked political intrigue (and/or had a passing knowledge of the Wars of the Roses)

Past that, though, it starts getting a LOT harder for me.

I might show them Buffy, but it'd really depend on my sense of them, their personal background (I wouldn't bother showing Buffy to someone who didn't feel like a social outcast in high school), etc. I might show them the new Doctor Who, but only after I'd already got them accustomed to indulging in a bit of escapist fantasy.

I might show them Harry Potter and LOTR if they weren't already familiar with them (and yes, I know that's not technically sci-fi, but you know what I mean -- basically tales of the fantastical, be they futuristic or high/low fantasy). Potter because I think it does a good job of dealing with much of the pangs of adolescence, set against a larger battle in a fantastical world. LOTR because visually it's stunning, and because it's about as good a modern fairy tale as you can get. But LOTR would be more of a stretch, I think.

I might show them Alien/Aliens, but then only if I got the sense that they were into (A) horror, and/or (B) compelling performances (I still think Sigourney Weaver's performance in Aliens was top-notch).

I might show them Carnivale and/or Twin Peaks, if I got the sense that they could handle (A) the surreal, and (B) stories that were cut short, if only to experience the performances (Nick Stahl still amazes me with one particular scene in Carnivale...).

I would NOT show them any of the adaptations of Dune, although I'd strongly suggest they take a look at them for the deeper social and philosophical insights to be found in at least the first four books.

I would NOT show them any of the Star Wars films, simply because I think most non-sci-fi-fans would find them too juvenile or purely about being escapist fantasy, which is usually why I think they don't dig sci-fi in the first place -- the setting to which folks escape via that escapist fantasy does nothing for them. Laser guns? Robots? Spaceships? ZZZZZZZ. And transposing fantasy tales of the farm boy slaying the evil wizard into a space setting would merely be trading one kind of boring for another.

So, what about you folks? What would you show to get someone who wasn't into sci-fi/fantasy more into sci-fi/fantasy?

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Master Member
I'd have to go with Nu-BSG as well. Hell, I am into sci-fi and frankly, I do not like Blade Runner. I get's weak to me. Along those lines, I'd have to add Caprica in there as well. I was late to the show, but Netflix hipped me to it and honestly, the sci-fi is so close to where we are now, it is almost NOT. Easy starter, in my humble opinion.


Well-Known Member
I'd second Firefly. Yes, there's spaceships and all that but it's basically just a western set in space. They don't really talk weird and there aren't all sorts of strange aliens featured. They're just regular folks for their time period.

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Troy Downen

Active Member
Is it a male or female friend? That will change the answer (somewhat).

Female: Firefly. Nathan Fillion will catch her interest and the VERY GOOD story lines will hold her interest.

Male: Nu-BSG, Stargate Sg-1 and Firefly.

I would not recommend Blade Runner; too slow in my opinion. Same comment for Caprica.


Master Member
I agree that Blade Runner depends on the audience, but I think even if one doesn't particularly like the story, you can at least still sort of respect what they're trying to do. It's "smart" sci-fi as opposed to "cheesy" sci-fi.

I'm surprised to see Firefly mentioned so prominently. While I enjoy the show, I think the fact that it's a WESTERN in space would actually cut against it, especially with women (who I find almost without fail HATE westerns). I do think the stories on that show are well told, and that the characters are pretty interesting, but also don't forget all the weird chinese slang they mix in during the series.


Active Member
I would ask what specifically it is about science fiction shows/movies that they don't like? I like movies and shows, but do not like sci-fi books. It seems for some of them you have to learn a new language. I am just using an example of why I don't like the books.

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Sr Member
I second nuBSG. I had a girlfriend get hooked on it, or at least she pretended to. She was pretty anti-scifi.

My current GF is getting into Firefly, but it took me making her set down and watch the first 3 or 4 episodes before she got into it. No cell phones, laptops, anything that can distract. It's a little slow starting for someone who doesn't actively want to watch it.


Well-Known Member
I'd suggest FireFly also, with that said, I've only just started watching it the last few nights and I'm in love. About 5 epps into it and Jayne is my fav character, god he's a funny character!

I've avoided the Firefly series because i'm not a fan of Buffy (hate it actually) but the interest in FF has always been there just never got around to watching it untill now.

otherwise I'd suggest Primer, but I suggest that film to everyone especially people that are not into Scifi

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Master Member
nuBSG was the first thing to come to mind as well.

There's no goofy aliens in it.

At all.


that's a big part of it. Plus, it has robots, but only in sort of the background. And it's got spaceships, but they might as well just be fighter jets. It's a very "grounded" science fiction that doesn't ask its viewers to make too many mental concessions (Well, until the last episode...).

As for Firefly, again, I'd be reluctant. I think if you can give someone the "Clockwork Orange" treatment and really MAKE them watch, they can get into it, but otherwise, they'd be more likely to roll their eyes and get distracted. Firefly is one of those shows that struck me as having such a zealous fan base that couldn't see beyond their own love of the franchise. They loved it SO much that they couldn't get why other folks didn't like it and believed, truly, "If you just give it a chance..." Like I said, though, I think if someone hates westerns, they'd hate Firefly too.

I might actually try Grimm, too, now that I think about it, but only if I got the sense they dug something like, say, Harry Potter and/or police procedurals.
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