The Matrix Named the Greatest Sci-Fi Work of the Past 25 Years

I consider myself a pretty big sci-fi fan, but sometimes it’s hard to call yourself one when the genre has spawned so much garbage over the years. (Not that garbage can’t be fun from time to time.) Entertainment Weekly recently looked back over the past 25 years to recognize what they feel are the top 25 modern sci-fi movies and TV shows. Overall I think they came up with a decent list, if a little arbitrary.

As you might expect, they put a bit too much emphasis on things that are currently popular right now. For example… Heroes at #18?! And there’s no way the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series should be anywhere near this list (obviously they knew none of the Star Wars prequel films qualified). On the other hand, they gain credibility for including a pair of Paul Verhoeven flicks, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and classics like Brazil and Blade Runner. At the top of the list was The Matrix, which I think is appropriate. You can’t change the fact that the first Matrix movie was a landmark film, no matter what you may have thought of its sequels! For me it was a great reminder that it takes more than just cool effects to make a good sci-fi flick. Anyway, check out the rest of the list below and see if you notice any major oversights. One in particular comes to mind for me: Dark City.

25. V: The Mini-series
24. Galaxy Quest
23. Doctor Who
22. Quantum Leap
21. Futurama
20. Star Wars: Clone Wars
19. Starship Troopers
18. Heroes
17. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
16. Total Recall
15. Firefly/Serenity
14. Children of Men
13. The Terminator/Terminator 2
12. Back To The Future
11. Lost
10. The Thing
9. Aliens
8. Star Trek: TNG
7. E.T.
6. Brazil
5. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
4. The X-Files
3. Blade Runner
2. Battlestar Galactica
1. The Matrix



  • Henrik

    This is fucking bullshit. I hate these incompetent lists that keep popping up online. Battlestar Galactica above The Terminator, Total Recall and Next Generation? No RoboCop?? LOST?!? Is that even Science Fiction?

    I will never read this bullshit magazine.

  • Yes Lost is science fiction. And yes Battlestar Galactica is a lot higher than it should be. Hey be happy, at least both Starship Troopers and Total Recall are on there.

  • Ian

    I don’t know, The Clone Wars was pretty cool. Maybe not top 25 but Genddy Tartakovsky does good action cartoons and a lightsaber battle in the rain of Yavin IV counts as something awesome. I would put Bladerunner at #1. I wonder if they mean the new BSG or the old one?

  • Yeah I liked Clone Wars, just didn’t think it deserved to be in the top 25. It is indeed the new Battlestar Galactica they are talking about (you can read the full article from the Entertainment Weekly link in the post above).

  • Goon

    i dont think BSG is overrated in its spot. i wouldnt complain about it anywhere else on the list but its certainly an acheivement deserving of that position, to me at least.

  • The man

    I love the all the Matrix Films but best in the past 25 years. I think thats a bit much. It belongs on the list though for sure.

  • Chopper Sr.

    they should have done a seperate list of movies and then TV. i think that Quantum Leap should be closer to the top, definitely past Lost. and i think that Aliens should have been number 1.

  • Aliens is pretty high on the list at number 9, but I think it belongs at least within the top 5. Every movie with military-style guys fighting aliens or other creatures since Aliens was influenced by it. A prime example is Starship Troopers. Overall a decent list. Essentially everything on the list deserves to be there, though some are a bit out of order in my opinion. Overall not bad.

  • Ian

    They wisely included a section for people to bitch (or is it blog?) Anywho some brought up a few good ones and glaring misses like B5. Personally, I think that an anime show like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex should be on a list like this, cyberpunk is essentially the big thing of the last 25 years and that show is pretty awesome even if you hate anime.

  • Ian

    Also Primer and Pi those are good sci-fi for sure.

  • Charlie

    I would never have thought of Eternal Sunshine as a sci fi flick until I saw it on that list.

  • Bobby

    I agree with some of their choices, being John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, which is a wonderful film and ‘Brazil’ amongst others.

    Yes, ‘The Matrix’ was a landmark film but it’s derivative attempt at trying to culminate Plato & Hilary Putnam together was infantile at best. But it certainly looks very nice.

    Also, which Doctor Who are they talking about? Because it is much older than 25 years old.

  • Reed Farrington

    Bobby, I was just sitting here in the wee hours of Xmas morning, reading through FilmJunk’s archives, when I noticed that your query about Doctor Who was left hanging.

    If you don’t know by now, Dr. Who’s recent BBC resurrection has been highly successful. I’m not a big Dr. Who fan, but the Christopher Eccleston incarnation of Dr. Who was very entertaining IMO.

    I believe the series is still continuing right now.

    BTW, your comment concerning The Matrix blows my mind. I have yet to see a screen version of Plato and Hilary Putnam’s philosophies that can rival The Matrix. (Actually, I’m still blown away by the fact that Hilary is a guy.)

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  • Who da fuk came out wit dat list?

    Animated Star Wars only?

    They Live! not on the list?

    At least they mentioned “V”.

  • Reed Farrington

    Baychuck, I think the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back are not on the list, because these works are not “of the Past 25 Years” as the title of this list indicates. (Funny that people keep on overlooking the time period that lists cover.)

    I think because Entertainment Weekly covers popular culture that its list is appropriate. The average person has no idea what Dark City is.

    And, Henrik, even though you hate this list, notice that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is number 5, above ST: TNG! Now even if you don’t respect other people’s opinions, you have to wonder what you’re missing.

  • Hey! In general I do respect other people’s opinions. But obviously people are all different, and some people you respect more than others as you get to know them.

    I do wonder what I’m missing with alot of things.

  • Reed……Bladerunner was in 1982, Back To The Future in 1985 for example prove this list is “glib”. :D

    Old skool Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rodgers should the there as well.