20 best sci-fi TV shows that aren’t Star Trek

2 of 21

20. The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

Sometimes, alas, shows just don’t make it. For every Star Trek: The Next Generation or Battlestar Galactica that becomes enshrined in sci-fi and television memory, others start to fade pretty quickly. That’s not necessarily through any fault of their own. It’s just a rough world out there for budding TV shows.

That doesn’t mean we have to let everything go, however. After all, there are quite a few gems out there in the discard pile. Take The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., for instance.

Brisco, as many called it, was something of an oddball series. It starred Bruce Campbell as the titular character, a former lawyer-turned-bounty-hunter who is hired to capture the outlaw John Bly. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this 19th-century setting contains any Old West story.

As he pursues the bad guys via classic gunfights and train-adjacent showdowns, Brisco learns that Bly and his gang are searching for the mysterious “Orb.”

Said Orb, a large golden sphere containing numerous rods, is first seen as it’s unearthed by enslaved Chinese workers. The workers gain superhuman strength and break their shackles, thanks to their contact with the Orb. Others experience different effects when they come in contact with this artifact, both good and bad.

The series also draws on other science fiction elements, including time travel and a technology-obsessed professor. Viewers can also expect plenty of oddball humor to lighten the load. Think Jules Verne novels like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, mixed with The Wild Wild West TV series, with a good helping of Bruce Campbell swagger.

Brisco only ran for 27 episodes, from August 1993 to May 1994. Yet, it’s fondly remembered by fans and critics alike for its genre-bending and intriguing story.