A – Astro Boy. This 1960s Japanese import about a boy robot was a favorite of mine as a youth. I thought it was cool how his feet turned into jets when he flew! A new version of the series appeared in 2003 and a theatrical film followed in 2009.
B – Blake’s 7. This 1978-81 British cult series about space rebels still has a strong following. I mentioned it on Twitter recently and the comments came flying in.
C – The Cybernauts from The Avengers. These karate-chopping, killer androids appeared in two episodes with Steed and Mrs. Peel and then popped up a third time in an episode of The New Avengers.
D – The Daleks from Doctor Who. Super-villain Davros created this race of cyborgs, which were introduced in 1963 and have made periodic appearances ever since (to include the theatrical films Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.).
E – The USS Enterprise (of course!). Note that there have been multiple spaceships with that name in the Star Trek universe.
G – The Great Gazoo, the troublesome alien from Zetox, who appeared in the last season of The Flintstones; he was voiced by Harvey Korman. (In case you’re not a Gazoo fan, there’s also Gemini Man, a revamped version of 1975′s The Invisible Man with Ben Murphy taking over for David McCallum.)
H – Hymie, the literal-minded robot played by Dick Gautier on Get Smart. If Maxwell Smart told Hymie to “get hold of himself,” Hymie would literally take hold of himself. Hymie was originally created by KAOS, but was reprogrammed into a CONTROL agent.
I – The Invaders. No one believed former architect David Vincent (Roy Thinnes) when he told them about these crafty human-looking aliens bent on taking over the Earth. It didn’t help that dead aliens glowed orange and disappeared (in one memorable episode, two aliens swallow cyanide pills to avoid capture). Also worthy of a mention for “I” is the sitcom It’s About Time–if only for the catchy song.
J – The Jetsons. After Hanna-Barbera scored a big hit with an animated, prehistoric variation of The Honeymooners, they launched this futuristic take. I always enjoyed it, but its original run only lasted one season.
K – Khan from the original Star Trek. Hey, how many television villains–who appeared in just one episode–were successful enough to be the subject of their own theatrical motion picture? Yep, Khan (as played by Ricardo Montalban) was in a class by himself!
L – Lost in Space. The first of three Irwin Allen sci fi series on this list, Lost in Space is probably the mostly fondly remembered. It did feature a spiffy robot with a classic phrase (“Danger, Will Robinson!”)–plus Marta Kristen!
M – My Favorite Martian (a slight favorite over My Living Doll). Ray Walston was a delight as Uncle Martin, an anthropologist from Mars who crash lands on Earth and who moves in with the newspaper reporter (Bill Bixby) who discovered him. It lasted for three seasons. As for My Living Doll, it starred curvy Julie Newmar as an android named Rhoda.
N – “Nanu nanu,” Mork’s famous greeting from Mork & Mindy. Need we say more?
O – The Outer Limits. This acclaimed anthology series featured some classic sci fi episodes (check out our post of the The Five Best Outer Limits Episodes). Our favorite was “Demon With a Glass Hand” starring Robert Culp and a prosthetic electronic hand that provides timely guidance as he battles aliens.
P – Captain Christopher Pike, the commander of the Enterprise prior to Captain Kirk. He was played by Jeffrey Hunter in the episode “The Menagerie” (which was actually revamped footage from an earlier Star Trek pilot).
Q – Quark. Richard Benjamin starred in this quirky 1978 series about an outer space garbage collector worked for the United Galaxy Sanitation Patrol). (Another nice choice for “Q” is The Questor Tapes, an intriguing made-for-TV film from Gene Roddenberry.)
R – Red Dwarf. A radiation leak aboard a small mining spaceship killed everyone aboard except Dave, a low-ranking technician, and a cat. Dave emerges from suspended animation three million years later…as the last human in the universe. Oh, and this cult British series is a comedy!
S – Space: 1999. Originally intended as the second season of UFO (see below), this expensive series never found an audience despite “stealing” stars Martin Landau and Barbara Bain from the hit show Mission: Impossible. Sci-fi fans remain mixed towards it, though it has slowly been gaining in popularity.
T – Time Tunnel. As the narrator reminded us weekly: “Two American scientists are lost in the swirling maze of past and future ages, during the first experiments on America’s greatest and most secret project, the Time Tunnel. Tony Newman and Doug Phillips now tumble helplessly toward a new fantastic adventure, somewhere along the infinite corridors of time.”
U – UFO (it’s pronounced “u-foe”). Unbeknownst to most of Earth’s population, a full-blown alien assault is underway. Thank goodness, we’re protected by the Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defence Organisation in Gerry Anderson’s imaginative, funky British series.
V – Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. My favorite TV show as a kid, these exploits of the submarine Seaview were based on a 1961 theatrical film produced by Irwin Allen. While the plots became repetitious during the show’s four-year run, the first two years were Allen’s best TV work.
W – Doctor Who (could it be anything else?).
X – XL-5, the model of the spaceship in Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s “supermarionation” series Fireball XL-5. Its pilot was Colonel Steve Zodiac of the World Space Patrol. By the way, all the character were marionettes!
Y – Yogi’s Space Race. Someone come up with another “Y”–please! I like Yogi, but there must be a better choice.
Z – “The Zanti Misfits” episode of The Outer Limits. Were there any aliens on television in the 1960s that were creepier than the insect-like Zantians?
Additions and corrections to our “A to Z” lists are always welcomed!
Rick29 is a film reference book author and a regular contributor at the Classic Film & TV Café , on Facebook and Twitter. He’s a big fan of MovieFanFare, too, of course!