Top 8 Time Travel Television Episodes (1 – 3)
(See Part 1 for 4 – 8)
But to recap, so far we have:
- Futurama – “Roswell That Ends Well”
- Star Trek Deep Space Nine – “Trials and Tribble-ations”
- The X-Files – “Triangle”
- Justice League – “Hereafter”
- Star Trek: The Next Generation – “Yesterday’s Enterprise”
And now, on with the countdown…
- Babylon 5: “Babylon Squared”, “War Without End” Parts 1 and 2 – Yes, three episodes in one spot and really, how could I separate them? “Babylon Squared” and the “War With End” episodes really form their own story within the larger context of Babylon 5. As the writer, JMS does a stellar job teasing us with “Babylon Squared” in season 1, then making us wait till season 3 to see the flip-side. And man, what a flip side. (Minor Spoilers ahoy! You have been warned.) Not only do we see how Londo’s death ultimately plays out, we also discover a whole lot more about the after effects of the Shadow War and we get, perhaps, the biggest twist in a SF series ever when we learn about Sinclair’s fate.(Spoilers End!) Almost 15 years later and the storyline still drew me in, even knowing what was going to happen. Add in a little Zathras and you not only get a little comedy, you also get one of the most memorable secondary characters in a SF show. These episodes have the caveat that viewers new to the show may have a bit of difficulty following the story, but almost everything you need is given to you in these three episodes. What isn’t given can be inferred from what happens, making this triptych of episodes amazingly stand alone.One last warning, if you are ever going to watch Babylon 5, do not, do not, DO NOT watch “War Without End” Parts 1 and 2 as they explain one very huge plot point for the series. Seriously, don’t watch.
- Star Trek: “City on the Edge of Forever” – When most SF fans think of time travel on TV, this is the episode they think of. Sure, Star Trek had used time travel before this episode, but this was the episode where everything came together to make a classic time travel episode. In thinking back over what I’ve seen, this is one of the very first time travel episodes I ever saw as a kid. Imagine the mind blowing affect on a pre-10 year old as the immutable laws of time force Kirk to watch Edit Keeler die, all for the good of the future timeline. There’s a good reason why this episode won the 1968 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and I think it stands up exceptionally well 40 years (!) later.
- LOST : “The Constant” – I remember when this episode first aired and it became clear, to those who persisted in their mistaken belief, that LOST was actually a science fiction show. The writers not only managed to pull out of their hat a full on SF episode, but they managed to make the best episode of LOST to date. “The Constant” has a heavy dose of Kurt Vonnegut inspired time travel, wrapped up in story that gives us more clues to the island, cements the story of Desmond and Penny as the single most interesting storyline and ends with an emotional gut punch that will leave you reeling and relieved. You’ll never want a phone call to me be answered more than right here. The one caveat I have is that to get the most out of this episode you’ll need to be familiar with all that has happened on LOST. However, I think most people will be able to follow the storyline quite easily knowing nothing about the show, although the emotional punch will be significantly lessened.
Those are my favorite time travel episodes. Do you agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments!
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