There were a plethora of standout sci-fi and fantasy programs in 2012. It's difficult to pare down such a long list, but some programs are uniquely far-out and extraordinary enough to earn a spot in the top five. Shows such as "Being Human" (U.K. version) on BBC America and "Once Upon a Time" on ABC deserve an honorable mention, even though they didn't quite make it on this list of 2012's best sci-fi and fantasy series. The winners are...
Aside from "Doctor Who," "Fringe" is one of the most unusual sci-fi shows ever created. The series will end with a 13-episode Season 5, which we are currently more than halfway through. Each season has been completely different from the previous. It went from a mostly episodic show, to a war between parallel universes in Season 2, to an in-depth introduction to parallel characters who were so expertly acted, it was almost as if they were depicted by a whole new set of actors.
The end of Season 4 aired at the start of 2012, and dealt with the non-existence of the regular character Peter (Joshua Jackson) and the near-non-existence of the entire world. By the end of the season, it was clear that the final season was going to be something special. It is. Season 5, which began airing later in 2012, is all about the Observers taking over the world in 2036. Watching "Fringe" is like watching five different shows in one -- but don't let that scare you. It truly stands apart as one of the best sci-fi shows of 2012 and of all-time.
"Merlin" is a fantasy series on BBC America. As with "Fringe," it is slated to end with a 13-episode Season 5. In the U.K., Season 5 will wrap at the end of 2012. In America, Season 4 aired at the beginning of 2012, and Season 5 will start at the beginning of 2013. Either way, each season of "Merlin" has always been just as exceptional as the last. It is one of the best fantasy shows ever created, with its terrific acting, beautiful scenery, and epic storylines.
Season 1 of "Revolution" premiered in 2012 on NBC. The first few episodes were pretty good, but it was unclear how the writers and producers could keep up the theme of a world free of power without becoming boring by the premiere season's end. The series has not only remained interesting but has become more exciting with each episode. The show is unique and continues to differentiate itself from everything else on TV.
"Doctor Who" on BBC America has always been a great go-to sci-fi show. Whenever TV is short on general sci-fi, "Doctor Who" (currently Matt Smith) is there to save the day. He's also there to save the Earth from evil aliens and help us make friends with misunderstood aliens (including himself). Whovians can go on a wild TARDIS ride to the ends of the universe, and to the beginning and end of time itself, living vicariously through the Doctor's companions.
Sadly, 2012 is the final year we'll see Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), two of the most successful companions ever on the show. Their final episode was as surprising as Whovians have come to expect from the series, employing one of the show's scariest monsters, the Weeping Angels.
The first half of "Grimm's" first season on NBC was great, but the show improved throughout the season through to its amazing Season 1 finale. 2012 was a fantastic year for the show, because the second half of the first season aired at the beginning of 2012, and the first half of the second season aired at the end of 2012. Now that the show has developed a larger story arc and revealed surprising secrets about Renard, it has become more addictive. It's nearly impossible not to tune in each week to see what happens next!
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