1997 was a busy year for turning sci-fi blends of action and comedy into movies. Based on the 1994 Roland Emmerich spectacle, the series continued to build its universe around the scientists and military personnel who make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization through a wormhole. The show launched a second series, “Stargate: Atlantis,” and made for an exciting second act for post-MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson. Showtime carried “SG-1” for its first five seasons before it jumped to Sci-Fi (now Syfy) for its last five.
The fact that Joss Whedon’s 1992 supernatural comedy garnered the positive reviews it did was already something of a minor miracle given its off-beat premise (a popular valley girl is the next in line as prophesied demon killer). But the fact that it also spawned seven seasons, 144 episodes and dedicated fan conventions to this day is nothing short of a conceptual coup. The show, one of the WB network’s first major hits, is perhaps actress Sarah Michelle Gellar’s best-known role and was the launching point for “The Avengers” director Whedon’s big-budget career.
The 1986 sci-fi fantasy film “Highlander” introduced the line, “There can be only one,” referring to the strange race of immortal people who are drawn to decapitating each other. Ignoring the idea in the second movie that they’re all aliens, “Highlander: The Series” continued the mystery with British hunk Adrian Paul becoming Duncan McCloud, a Highlander who works to help people in need (and to decapitate people).