Top 10 favorite sci-fi moments

I’m not about to attempt a ranking of the best sci-fi moments of all time. If you want some of that, there’s Ultimate Top Ten Sci-Fi Moments, 20 Great “All Seems Lost” Moments in Sci-Fi/Fantasy or Classic Sci-fi Moments Recreated in Lego, among others. Or you could check out Top 10 Dumb Moments in Sci-Fi Cinema and Best Sci-Fi Effects of All Time. And if you want to talk about the best sci-fi movies, books or TV shows, there are plenty of sites for that.

What I’d like to do is share some of my personal favorites, the things that stick with me months and years later. From subtle to epic, serious to silly, these are the moments that make me cheer, laugh, cry, and love science fiction TV shows and movies.

billykidsocrates10) Socrates and Billy the Kid hit on women at the San Dimas mall. I love time travel movies. “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” had fish-out-of-water humor and absolute absurdity, but I especially loved the bromance between “So Crates” and Billy.

9) Jayne rips the medical tape off of his belly in the Firefly episode “Jaynestown.” The crew isn’t allowed to take their weapons onto Higgins Moon, but Jayne can’t bear the though of being unarmed — especially since he had some trouble with the magistrate awhile back. So he raids the infirmary and tapes a gun to his stomach. Mal says no way. Off comes the tape, and some manly hairs. Oh, the look on Adam Baldwin’s face. Priceless.

8) “I didn’t know I’d love you so much.” I’ve seen Repo! The Genetic Opera classified as a musical horror film, but c’mon. It’s set in a dystopian future where corporations have the right to repossess your organ transplants if you don’t keep up your high medical payments. Sounds like sci-fi to me. This moment isn’t about romance, but the love between parent and child. *sniff*

7) Jayne paws Saffron in the Firefly episode “Our Mrs. Reynolds.” It’s another Jayne moment, but so subtle even many diehard Browncoats have missed it. After discovering a stowaway on board who thinks she’s married to the captain, there’s a bit of heated discussion in the cargo bay. The camera is focused on the innocent-looking, wide-eyed Saffron… and a gloved hand appears, awkwardly paws her left shoulder, and then disappears. It’s Jayne. I can just hear him thinking “Girl. Purdy.”

(c) Universal Pictures, no infringement intended under fair use for review/promotion/critique, please rich movie executives don’t come for my firstborn child

6) Doc Brown and his steampunk rifle in Back to the Future Part III. Nuff said.

5) Mal kicks a henchman into an engine in the Firefly episode “Train Job.” This was “the” Firefly moment, for me. I’ve talked to many Browncoats, and we all seem to have a moment when we suddenly knew, “I love this show.” For some, it was Kaylee biting a strawberry. For others, it might be Mal shooting a fed in the head or seeing River for the first time. For me, this was it.

4) This is a tie between “A bottle of kanar and an Orion slave girl would be nice,” spoken by an imprisoned Dukat to his enemy Sisko in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Waltz”; and “They’ll just make another copy of him, you know. You should’ve killed me. There’s only one Damar,” spoken by Damar after Worf kills the clone Weyoun in “Strange Bedfellows.” It’s no secret that I love Cardassians. I know they’re the bad guys, and they’re tyrannical, arrogant bastards. But I can’t resist a man with dry wit and neck ridges. I just can’t.

3) Jack kisses both Rose and the Doctor in Doctor Who episode “The Parting of the Ways.” The 9th Doctor is “my” doctor. I was thrilled to watch a TV show that had the guts to go for it and depict a tender moment between all three of them.

2) G’kar busts out of his chains in the Babylon 5 episode “The Long Night.” I could probably come up with a list of a 100 awesome G’kar moments, but this is one I can recall even years after seeing it for the first time, and my heart still leaps with triumph. After being tortured and losing an eye, G’kar is paraded through the Centauri palace to his execution — not unlike the historic Celtic leader Vercingetorix and his Roman conquerors. Unlike history, however, G’kar breaks free and creates a distraction which results in the assassination of the emperor.

1) Roy’s last words in “Blade Runner.”

What are some of your favorite sci-fi moments?

J.L. Hilton is the author of the Stellarnet Series cyberpunk romantic thrillers, published by Carina Press. Her original jewelry designs are featured in the books “Steampunk Style Jewelry” and “1000 Steampunk Creations.”


  1. #1 for me: “Mr. Worf. Fire.”

    1. Oooh, that’s a great one!

  2. LMAO at Mal kicking the henchman into the engine! Loved that. Whedon’s black humour is fantastic. He worked a couple of similar gags into The Avengers w/The Hulk, & got huge laughs from the audience.

    A few personal fave sci-fi moments for me:

    1. Yoda showing Luke what he means by “Do or do not. There is no try” in Empire Strikes Back, when he uses The Force to lift the X-Wing from the swamp. Kills me every time.

    2. James Brolin realising he’s just been shot for real by the robot gunsliger in Westworld. It’s all supposed to be pretend, a theme park vacation. WTF just happened? All of a sudden it’s a horror film.

    3. Roy Neary smiling back at Jillian as he enters the alien mothership at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s a profoundly optimistic moment, full of Spielberg’s childlike sense of wonder.

    4. Bishop flying the drop-ship BACK into the alien-infested colony, in preparation for Ripley’s maternal rescue mission. Aliens is replete with great moments, but this scene absolutely crackles with anticipation. It’s James Cameron firing on all cylinders. Goosebumps from here on in.

    1. “My secret is… I’m always angry.” “Puny god.” Hulk had some great material in Avengers.

      Those are all great moments. Star Wars, Westworld, Close Encounters and Alien(s) are some of the first sci-fi movies I ever saw. I can’t believe my dad let me watch Alien at that age (I think I was 8 or 9). Sheesh. But I loved Ripley. And Princess Leia. And Linda Hamilton in Terminator. It was good to see strong women. Sci-fi is great for that, right?

      (Psst… everyone, read Robert’s previous post about top 10 SF movie heroines:)


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