OTHER SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

Is SG-1 Really The Longest Running Sci-Fi Series Ever?

POSTED BY: RELFEXIVE
UPDATED: Saturday, November 11, 2006 14:55
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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 9:39 AM

RELFEXIVE


I had wondered about this strange claim my own self when I heard it, and I'm glad these people have done the maths for me...

From here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/news/cult/news/drwho/2006/09/25/36558.s
html


Quote:

When the 2007 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records landed on the Doctor Who website team's desk, we were eager to see if Doctor Who gets another mention in the new volume.

It does, but not quite in the way were expecting.

Baffled by its claims, we asked Tom Spilsbury, the statistically-minded assistant editor of Doctor Who Magazine, to do the maths for us:

"I was pleased to see that Doctor Who is mentioned on page 178, as 'the longest-running science-fiction TV series'," says Tom, "although there have been 723 episodes now, not just 709, tsk!

"But I was left rather baffled by the entry on page 180, which lists the record for 'Longest running sci-fi TV show (consecutive)'.

"The book has awarded this particular record to the US series Stargate SG-1, which started in July 1997 and had notched up 203 episodes, beating the previous record of 202, allegedly held by The X Files. (There's even a picture of the SG-1 cast with their certificate!)

"Why isn't Doctor Who given this record, when the programme had a new series of episodes every year without fail between 1963 and 1989, racking up 695 episodes in the process? Why doesn't this count as a much longer 'consecutive' run? Surely 695 consecutive episodes beats 203, doesn't it? Doesn't it?"



I look forward to reading the "exciting development to this story later in the week"...



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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 9:48 AM

DHAERUVUSRAVENSHADOW


Does FOX news count?

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 1:52 PM

CYBERSNARK


Okay, longest-running good sci-fi series.

I'm honestly not sure. I thought 10 consecutive years was the record, but I'm no expert on the Doctor. Maybe there's some semantical difference between a single American series (broken into seasons) and a British "series" (where "series" is usually equivalent to one season here in NorAm).

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 2:52 PM

NESS


For SG-1 I think they're saying that it's been on the air for 10 years straight, with no breaks between the seasons longer than a year. I think Doctor Who doesn't count because of the long break between the original series and the new series. Put I don't know. Insert shrug here.

But it could also be that SG-1 is the longest running North American Sci-Fi series. Internationally, I suppose Doctor Who does beat SG-1's record.

"Sir, I think you have a problem with your brain being missing." - Zoe

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 4:37 PM

TRAVELER


I remember seeing some very early Doctor Who's from the sixties, so it may be the longest. They went through several Doctors in the first series. Some last several years, while others only lasted one. Have to look this one up and find out. If I learn anything will return. If anybody else can find out let us know.

One thing I have been discovering about Stargate is they love to get their new characters from other Scifi shows. I recognize several people over the years who came Startrek and Farscape.


Traveler

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 5:41 PM

DUG


Forget the break before the new series; barely a blip on the radar in this context. As stated earlier there were over 600 episodes in a row before that break.

A Brief History of Timelords: There were some brief breaks in the Doctor's run in the 80's. First an 18 month break in 1985 and then another short break between Colin Baker getting sacked in 1986 and Sylvester McCoy starting up in 1987. Then from McCoy's end in 1989 until the F@X telemovie starring Paul McGann in 1996. Then after the Doctor got F@Xed there was more break until the new series started up with Eccleston.

However, before that first 1985 break during Colin Baker's time there was a conitinuous run from Hartnell in 1963. For full details I would suggest http://www.gallifreyone.com.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 5:54 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


It depends a lot on what is meant by longest running sci fi show?

Are they breaking it up by continent? That would certainly make a difference, but other things also have an impact.

Longest running sci fi show without any breaks? That would be Stargate, because Doctor Who has had at least who breaks.

Longest running sci fi show regardless of breaks? That would be Doctor Who, which ran continuously from 1963 to 1989, and then some.

Most episodes? As surprising as it may seem to American audiences, who are used to self-contained episodes, this one is really hard to pin down. It depends on what you mean by an episode. Most of the time, if you watch Stargate, you will see a complete story from beginning to end in each episode. There are often long arcs throughout the season, just as in the X-files, but each episode had a definable beginning and end that stood on its own. That is not the case with Doctor Who, which ran episodes that were segments in larger arcs. Any single Doctor Who episode isn’t guaranteed to have a definable beginning and end, which is the case with a lot of European television. So if you count the number of actual stories as the number of episodes, the Doctor has much fewer then the often stated ~600-700 episodes. Whether it is fewer then ~200, I don’t know, but probably a lot closer to 200 then 700.



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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 7:03 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Gotta agree with Finn Mac Cumhal...Doctor Who ran for 26 years approximately with little in the way of breaks, though the seasons got shorter by the time Colin Baker got in as the Doctor, but you have to factor in that the BBC really churned about about 13 or so episodes per "series" cuz each episode ran for several weeks via multiple TBC moments. Hell, they even did season-long episodes to kiss off Troughton (Doctor #2) and Baker (Doctor #6).

So...if you take the expanded arc issue into consideration? Then Doctor Who and SG-1 are a lot closer in numbers than people think. Plus maybe the Guinness Book of Records ain't counting the Eccelston & Tennant series as part of the continuity cuz of the 16 year gap.

BlueEyedBrigadier

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 7:28 AM

SICKDUDE


Quote:

Originally posted by Ness:
But it could also be that SG-1 is the longest running North American Sci-Fi series. Internationally, I suppose Doctor Who does beat SG-1's record.


Good point.

But for International SciFi series, I'm not even sure Dr Who gets it. There are some Japanese shows you would have to characterize as SF that have run a while. I'd have to check....

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 7:51 AM

SEANHARRY


DOCTOR WHO is the longest running sci-fi series in the world. Period. STARGATE doesn't even come close.

As to this breaks thing, STARGATE has season breaks as well, and averages about 22 episodes a year. During DR WHO's first 6 seasons it was averaging around 40 episodes a year, with repeats shown during it's 2 month hiatus.

In fact, DR WHO ran for 20 seasons without a break any longer than STARGATE has each year; and then returned for another 6 seasons after an 18 month break.

In terms of viewing figures, and numbers of countries shown in, it is also the world beater. STARGATE doesn't even come close.

And as for the poster who commented that SG1 was 'good sci-fi' and implied that DR WHO wasn't; have you ever watched the two shows? I find STARGATE, and it's equally turgid spin off series ATLANTIS, to be one of the most creatively barren and middle of the road sci-fi shows ever.

If only it had 1% of DR WHO's creativity, it may be watchable (I'm having to watch it at the moment because of Morena, and I'm finding it painful).

And interestingly enough, Joss Whedon is an admitted fan of Dr Who (and at a convention last weekend Mark Sheppard commented that it was his favourite show). When interviewed on Channel 4 last year, Joss admitted to never having even seen STARGATE.

Sean Harry

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 1:34 PM

BROWNCOATJIM


Doctor Who is of course the longest running sci-fi series, becuase way early on, the makers came up with the brilliant notion of regeneration, always keeping the faces fresh and allowing the character of the Doctor to keep changing.

I think the show has reached an all new high this time around, first with Eccleston, and now with Tennant. For the first time (and I've been hip to the Doctor since Tom baker in the '70s) I really care about this character. They have given him a very dark, troubled side, and the episode "Class Reunion" which brought back Sarah Jane for a guest spot, shed light into how lonely the Doctor really is: "you can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can't spend the rest of my life with you. You wither, you die, but I must live on, alone." What a devastating loneliness this suggests, a man with no home, no people, and no permanent connections. Bravo to the new writers for creating a Time Lord you can really care about!




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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:43 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by browncoatjim:
Doctor Who is of course the longest running sci-fi series, becuase way early on, the makers came up with the brilliant notion of regeneration, always keeping the faces fresh and allowing the character of the Doctor to keep changing.

I’ve not seen Tennant as the Doctor, but I loved Eccleston and Piper. I’m sort of pissed that Eccleston is gone after only one season, and my understanding is that Piper will go in this next season. I’m not sure what appeal this really has for me. I don’t want my actors running off just as I get involved in the character. I’m too needy. I’m thinking that since Eccleston and Piper are gone, I won’t watch it any more.

At this rate, Doctor Who is coming upon its end very fast. This is the 10th Doctor, they can only do this two more times then the Doctor is dead for good. Or so they say, I’m sure there will be some loophole in the end. The Doctor’s Lesbian witch friend will resurrect his decayed body and then he’ll have sex with Spike, or some damn thing.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 5:06 PM

THATWEIRDGIRL


My vote is for Who as the longest running scifi show. I can't figure a way that Stargate could win.



I think you'll like Tennant. It starts Friday night, give him a try. I can't wait!


Quote:

FMC:
The Doctor’s Lesbian witch friend will resurrect his decayed body and then he’ll have sex with Spike, or some damn thing.

teehee


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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 11:59 PM

BROWNCOATJIM


I have seen the whole of Tennant's first sason, and as hard is it may be to believe, he takes to a level even higher than Eccleston. His darker side is more thoroughly examined, yet he is still childish and clownish as ever. Tennant does a great job of bringing these two together, and showing you that the Doctor can have a very nasty streak of his own if pushed the right way.

Also, look for a Joss vet this season!

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Thursday, September 28, 2006 7:16 AM

SICKDUDE


Quote:

Originally posted by Sickdude:
But for International SciFi series, I'm not even sure Dr Who gets it. There are some Japanese shows you would have to characterize as SF that have run a while. I'd have to check....


Well, I checked with my wife, and it looks like Dr Who lost the throne. Albeit it is a Japanese animated kid's show, Doraemon had 1,690 episodes back in 2002! And it may still be going strong. Since it is about a robotic cat from the future sent back in time to change things, I would say it definitely qualifies as scifi.

ETA: More info. According to this source, there are over 2,000 episodes.
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=1317

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Thursday, September 28, 2006 7:40 AM

CITIZEN


The doctors supposed to be able to regenerate 13 times, so he has three more left (11 12 and 13).

I think its fairly clear that Doctor Who is the longest running, but you gotta throw the Yanks a bone, they don't like getting beat .



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Thursday, September 28, 2006 9:24 AM

RELFEXIVE


Since we know that Time Lords can receive another cycle of regenerations (The Master was offered that as a reward for helping the Doctor in The Five Doctors) the twelfth won't necessarily be the last. Plus, 9Doctor's exposure to Time Vortex energy at the end of nuSeason1 might have kick-started a whole new cycle by itself.

It'll end when it ends.


My question about the consecutive thing is: were they taking into account the gaps of a few years in the middle - and at the end of - the Colin Baker (6Doctor) era? If those periods were 'included' in the calculations for the "longest running (consecutive)" prize, why not the larger gap between the end of 7Doctor, the appearance of (*gag*) 8Doctor and the start of 9Doctor?

I find it a highly dubious decision.



"My God - you're like a trained ape. Without the training."
"Come a day there won't be room for naughty men like us to slip about at all..."
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Friday, September 29, 2006 3:20 AM

SEANHARRY


The Guiness Book Of Records today official announced that DR WHO was indeed the worlds longest running sci-fi show.

Sean Harry

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Friday, September 29, 2006 4:26 AM

DUG


As to the Doctor's regenerations running out issue there are several loop holes to be explored. There are 12 regenerations for a total of 13 "lives" for the Doctor; he is currently on #10.

1. As previously mentioned, the Master has shown that there are ways to continue after the 12th regeneration.
2. Also as mentioned, the whole vortex thingy.
3. The 12 regeneration thing as a whole was a law established by the early Timelords. (see the 5 Doctors). Since Gallifrey and the Timelords are gone one could argue the law may not exist anymore. One could even point out that Eccleston's regeneration into Tennant was not guaranteed without the power of Gallifrey to draw on. A Doctor that isn't positive about his future could be very interesting....

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Friday, October 6, 2006 6:29 AM

LWAVES


Partly as a reply to: FINN MAC CUMHAL

Okay I am a fan of both Dr Who and SG1 and I agree with what the Guiness Book has stated.
I would say that one is measured by total time span on screen and the other on number of episodes where an episode is a 'complete' story.

Ignoring breaks of any kind Dr Who is the longest running SF show for the time that it has been on screen from 1963 to present (regardless of how many episodes there are) coz that's like 43 years. WOW!!

Now Dr Who had 160 episodes from the 1st to the 8th Doctor. The 9th and 10th Doctor added 27 or 28 depending if you count the Children In Need Special.
That makes a maximum of 188 so far against SG1's 203.

An episode has obviously been considered to be the start of a main story to its resolution. Dr Who would split each story into segments but at the end of the last segment there would be some kind of resolution. Elements of the plot may continue on but that would be classed as a season/series arc.

I personally think that 2-part episodes (where the 1st part ends "to be continued") that can be shown together would class as one episode (i.e. the pilot of Firefly would be 1 episode even though it has the running time of 2).
Maybe someone can state if SG1 has been counted in this way?

Either way I have to agree with them.

And to Sickdude I think that as the show you mentioned is animated it would probably class under a different category. May still get that prize though!

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Friday, October 6, 2006 6:41 AM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by lwaves:

I personally think that 2-part episodes (where the 1st part ends "to be continued") that can be shown together would class as one episode (i.e. the pilot of Firefly would be 1 episode even though it has the running time of 2).
Maybe someone can state if SG1 has been counted in this way?




But 2-part episodes are still treated as seperate episodes in a production schedule. The Serenity pilot being different because it was a pilot designed to air as a 2-hour TV movie.

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Friday, October 6, 2006 5:17 PM

VAMPIRELADY


SG1 does have 2-parters. Most places will list them as 2 eps. The start of S8 was a two parter and is listed as eps 1 and 2. Somebody should (if nobody else has) go through and find out how many of those there are. I know there aren't a whole lot in the earlier seasons but I'm not sure about the past couple since I've somehow missed both S8 and S9.

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Friday, October 6, 2006 6:37 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by lwaves:
Ignoring breaks of any kind Dr Who is the longest running SF show for the time that it has been on screen from 1963 to present (regardless of how many episodes there are) coz that's like 43 years. WOW!!!

The Twilight Zone first aired in 1959 and (ignoring breaks) has run for 44 years, which would make it the longest running Sci-fi show. You can play all kinds of games with the numbers, for instance: Battlestar Galactica has been on the air 28 years!! Although only about 5 of those years was it every actually airing.

In the end I, personally, tend to agree with people who say that Doctor Who is the longest running Sci-Fi show, for what it’s worth, primarily because of the number of years it continuously ran seasons, which can be directly compared to the number of years SG1 continuously ran seasons. However if you’re going to try to compare the two by number of episodes, then you need a consistent definition of episode, which we don’t have. And if you’re going to be impartial, you have to consider that the way SG1 structures its episodes would probably require that multiple Doctor Who episodes be strung together. It doesn’t make any difference to me which one has the GB world record, but which ever one does should be selected on an unbiased criteria, and I think we can all agree that number of episodes is probably not that unbiased criteria.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

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Friday, October 6, 2006 8:56 PM

HUGHFF


All this begs the question, "Is Firefly the shortest running sf series ever?"

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Saturday, October 7, 2006 4:16 AM

LASHER99


Doctor Who may have aired 700+ weekly episodes on the BBC, but perhaps the serialization of storylines is to blame. By my count, there have only been 188 episodes over the 29 years.

http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Contrib/SciFi/DrWho/episodes.html

If you note, many of the stories were serialized into 4-10 parts. Perhaps that is what is going on.

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Saturday, October 7, 2006 5:27 AM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by hughff:
All this begs the question, "Is Firefly the shortest running sf series ever?"

Not if we count Veritas: The Quest as SF. Four episodes.

IIRC there are others that were even shorter. I heard tell once of a show that actually got cancelled during its first airing, but I can't remember details, or even if it was SF --though it probably woulda' had to be. Other genres don't get killed that quick.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006 2:55 PM

CARTOON


Hi. I think I may actually be able to solve this problem.

The Sci-Fi network advertises "Stargate SG1" as the longest-running Sci-Fi program. What they may mean is that it is the longest-running program on "Sci-Fi" (their network), not the longest-running program in the sci-fi genre. It is obviously not the longest-running program in the genre, as properly stated here by several others.

Of course, the "X-Files" wasn't on Sci-fi. Hmm...

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