The 21 Biggest Sci-Fi TV Moments of 2015
Here are our picks for biggest sci-fi TV moments of the year:
Spoilers for Star Wars Rebels, Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, The Leftovers, Doctor Who, Gotham, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The 100 follow!
Ahsoka is revealed as Fulcrum - Star Wars Rebels
"Who is Fulcrum? Who is Fulcrum? For the love of the Force, will someone please tell me who is Fulcrum?"
And so went much of our dialogue throughout the first season of Star Wars Rebels. Many rumors were put out about the identity of the Rebellion's secret contact, Princess Leia being an early front runner, but it was eventually revealed that Ahsoka Tano had made a surprise return to our TV screens. The one-time Jedi Padawan of Anakin Skywalker became a beloved Star Wars icon during Dave Filoni's old animated show, Star Wars: Clone Wars, so it wasn't surprising to see fans rejoicing at her appearance in the Season 1 finale.
The Man in the High Castle becomes Amazon's best-reviewed pilot ever
The Man in the High Castle, along with Jessica Jones and Daredevil, represents the Golden Age of Television reaching both sci-fi and streaming services. The adaptation of Philip K. Dick's alternate history novel is getting rave reviews, going on to become Amazon's most-watched and best-reviewed pilot ever, which is even more impressive when you take into account that Transparent has become a huge phenomenon and has won at both the Emmys and the Golden Globes. Netflix might be winning the game when it comes to original content right now, but Amazon is definitely nipping at their heels.
Constantine was the little engine that could, until it wasn't. After a shaky start, this well-acted but occasionally uneven show gained a passionate following, only to be axed after less than one full season. The producers and fans were kept on tenterhooks for months, waiting to see if it would either be renewed on NBC or shopped by another network. Fans campaigned with petitions and the #SaveConstantine hashtag, including Arrow's Stephen Amell, who offered to guest star on Constantine as Oliver Queen if it were picked up. Sadly, the campaign did not succeed, but at least Amell got to welcome Matt Ryan onto Arrow for a guest spot as a consolation prize.
The Leftovers takes a tour of the afterlife
The Leftovers had an extremely divisive first season, with fans and critics alike either citing it as one of the best shows of the last few years or dismissing it as pretentious, self-serious, overly grim nonsense. One would think that Damon Lindelof and co. would start playing it safe after that reception, but instead they went full throttle with the crazy, changing location, cast, and even episode format, and piling on insane twist after insane twist until we ended up following Kevin into the afterlife (a luxury hotel), so he could push a little girl into a well. And somehow, everyone loved it, and The Leftovers's second season went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed of the year.
The 100 becomes one of the most underrated shows on television
The 100 has flown under the radar these past two years, probably because it's a teen show that started off relatively weak. But by the end of the first season, and especially in the highly acclaimed second season, it became a well-written, socially conscious, and reliably compelling drama, featuring some of the most well-rounded female characters on television, a bisexual main character, and lots of moral ambiguity. Hopefully the show's viewership and critical attention will pick up in the third season, but for now, it's the best-kept secret in sci-fi.
Fitz and Simmons finally get together - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Sorry Olicity, Fitz and Simmons are the cutest couple in Geek TV. The brainy S.H.I.E.L.D. agents had danced around each other's emotions for 2 whole seasons before fans finally got the moment they'd been waiting for, and all it took to bring the pair together was for one of them to get sent to a dangerous alien planet and shack up with a NASA astronaut. We love you, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., never change.
Gotham was just joking with the Joker
At the beginning, Gotham seemed like it was trying to be a "gritty," prestigious Batman show, and was failing at it by overstuffing with villains and constantly falling prey to melodrama. This season, Gotham fully embraced the crazy, for better and for worse, bringing in the Maniax, turning Barbara into a spree killer in a wedding dress, and unceremoniously killing off Jerome, their prime candidate for the Joker, which inspires a whole host of other Jokers to come out of the woodwork. Now, the powers-that-be claim that in the pre-Batman Gotham, the Joker is "an ideology" rather than a person, and we're just waiting to see what craziness comes next.
Gorilla Grodd and King Shark - The Flash
After a groundbreaking first season, expectations were high for The Flash's sophomore outing, and it has not disappointed thus far, delivering more of the lighthearted charm we've grown to know and love, not to mention face-offs with some of the most ridiculous villains of all time. Zoom is terrifying and all, but you know a show is really great when it can pull off episodes where a costumed superhero fights a giant gorilla and a humongous shark-man.
Felicity gets shot
Arrow's midseason finale ended with a double whammy: Oliver and Felicity got engaged, and then Felicity gets shot multiple times in a face-off with Damian Darhk. We're clearly supposed to think she's dead, but it doesn't seem at all likely. There's been no word of Emily Bett Rickards leaving the show, and you can clearly see that she's still moving a little at the end of the episode. Someone will die this season, as we saw a mysterious grave in the season premiere, but it most likely isn't Felicity. There is a possibility, however, that Felicity will be paralyzed, as many fans have predicted that she will become the disabled hacker superhero Oracle (which was, incidentally, the name of her origin story episode last season).
Agent Carter finally gets a second season
Agent Carter surprised everyone when it snuck on the scene and became a critical darling, but it still didn't take the ratings by storm the way it should have. We were kept waiting for months, but Marvel and ABC finally renewed it for a second season, changing the location of the show to L.A. and shaking up the main cast (but luckily not too much, because we still have Jarvis). Hayley Atwell has been one of the breakout performers of this year, and we're so glad we get to see her
Supergirl becomes the first female superhero
Unless you count Agent Carter, who doesn't have any powers, Supergirl became the first female superhero to headline her own property, beating out Jessica Jones, the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, Captain Marvel, and hopefully many more. But Supergirl is a worthy trailblazer, as it gave us a completely charming performance from Melissa Benoist, infectious lighthearted optimism that draws favorable comparisons to The Flash, and a sensitive exploration of oppression, both through Kara herself and Mehcad Brooks's "James" Olsen.
Clara dies - Doctor Who
We all knew that Jenna Coleman was leaving Doctor Who, so Clara's death wasn't exactly a surprise, but we could never have predicted that her exit would be as poignant and heart-wrenching as it was. After bravely facing death in "Face the Raven," the Doctor extracted her from her last moments, cheating death and rendering her ageless. But ultimately, Clara does what is best for the universe and goes back to Gallifrey to face death once again, but not before "taking the long way around" and travelling the universe with Ashildr. Clara's reception as a character was occasionally mixed, but there's no denying that this was a fitting end to her tenure as the Doctor's beloved companion.
Sara Lance comes back to life
Caity Lotz became a fan favorite during her too-short run on Arrow, so fans were overjoyed to hear that she would be resurrected as White Canary for Legends of Tomorrow. The arc itself was well-done (not to mention brought Matt Ryan's Constantine back to our screens), and considering how unpredictable the Lazarus Pit can be, we're excited to see how her resurrection plays out on the Arrow/Flash spin-off.
River Song returns - Doctor Who
For those fans who are heartbroken over Jenna Coleman's departure, River Song is a pretty good consolation prize. In this year's Christmas special, one of the Doctor's most beloved companions returns to meet Peter Capaldi's version of her husband for the first time (plus, the return of the sonic screwdriver!).
Zombie Ward - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
After spending most of Season 1 being that generic, dull, good looking guy, Grant Ward eventually became a driving force behind Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s revival. But, as if joining Hydra and attempting to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn't enough, Ward's story took an interesting turn during the show's winter finale. After duking it out with Coulson's robotic hand on an alien planet, Ward was infected with an alien virus and returned to Earth with what are likely to be some seriously weird super powers. Goodbye chiseled jaw, hello creepy worm face.
Flash of Two Worlds
The entirety of the first season of The Flash was a huge moment for superhero television, but the clincher was the game-changing first season finale, which saw Barry save Central City by speeding into a singularity, introducing alternate universes such as DC Comics's Earth Two, not to mention the concept of multiple Flashes (and Killer Frost!). Jay Garrick has played a large role on the second season, while Wally West was introduced in the mid-season finale, but overall, the introduction of multiple universes opened up a multitude of storylines and took The Flash to the next level.
The Walking Dead casts Negan
After six seasons, The Walking Dead is starting to spin its wheels a little. How many times can you repeat the "survivors find a sanctuary, the sanctuary goes to hell" storyline before the viewers get tired of it? But that may all be about to change with the introduction of Negan, played by the perfectly cast Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The long-running villain is, by all accounts, an even better adversary than the Governor, and may be enough to take TWD back to its glory days. (Plus, we might get a do-over on that whole "Glenn dies" thing.)
Jon Bernthal is The Punisher - Daredevil
We're excited for Elodie Yung as Elektra, but as both Walking Dead and Daredevil fans, we're even more excited about Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle. Next season is reportedly called "Daredevil VS Punisher" behind the scenes, and we can't wait to see how Castle fits into Daredevil's dark, gritty universe. We already have our fingers crossed that he is well-received enough in Daredevil season two that he gets his own Netflix show.
The Walking Dead hides under a dumpster
Most of these TV moments were "big" in the sense that they were "awesome." Not so with Glenn's stupid fake-out death. Not much can be said about this that hasn't already been said, but suffice it to say, this was such a miscalculation on TWD's part, fans are already calling for the term "hiding under the dumpster" to replace "jump the shark." It's not as catchy, but I'd still support the switch, that's how stupid this was.
Jessica Jones gives the MCU its first great villain
I've now seen the pilot of Jessica Jones at least four times, and the scene where Hope kills her parents gives me chills every single time. This was the shot heard round the world, the scene that told us Jessica Jones was not only giving us television's first great female antihero, but also the MCU's first genuinely scary villain. This scene told the audience that Kilgrave's mind control powers were terrifyingly far-reaching, and that Jessica Jones was going to a darker place than Marvel had ever been before.
The hallway fight scene - Daredevil
Jessica Jones may have gone to darker depths than Daredevil, but Daredevil was Marvel's first truly dark and "prestige" outing. It has sharp writing, great performances, a distinctive aesthetic, but most of all, flawless fight choreography, as demonstrated in the artful hallway fight scene that showed a painfully realistic fight scene in one brutal continuous shot. This has become the most famous scene from Daredevil by far, and already seems destined to become iconic.