The interior set of the original TARDIS from the 1960′s incarnation of Doctor Who. Courtesy BBC.
In this article I have decided to explore my favorite, top ten spaceships from movies and television – at least the top ten spaceships I feel are the most original, kick ass, story friendly designs and fit well within the .
The top ten wasn’t easy to establish and I know for a fact that a lot of hardcore sci-fi lovers will disagree with me, especially since some of my selections are obscure or aren’t considered primary designs. My choices were made based on originality, functionality (within a fictional world) and technological inspiration.
Time and Relative Dimension in Space is one of the most kick ass spaceships every put on film. The space, time and inter dimensional vessel from the hit BBC series Doctor Who is basically a police box that’s “bigger on the inside”, meaning the inside is a completely different dimension so it can be as big as the captain of the vessel needs it to be. So why does it resemble a 1960′s police box? Well, as Doctor Who lore goes, the TARDIS initially came equipped with chameleon circuit that broke during one of the Doctor’s adventures in the 1960′s and became stuck in the police box form. The other attraction of the TARDIS is that she is essentially AI and completely in love with her captain – in the case of the TV show, the Doctor. Doctor Who? You ask, well that’s the real question isn’t it?
09. PLANET EXPRESS
If creating a list of top ten fictional spaceships wasn’t geeky enough, then including the Planet Express spaceship should be. The primary vessel the main characters use in the show Futurama is an awesome ship, even for a cartoon. To top it off, the Planet Express building where its headquartered in New New York is also a kick ass design.
The clam-like spaceship from Flight of the Navigator is a pretty pretty slick device which also comes readily equipped with an intelligent consciousness named Max, who assists the pilot, David, in navigating to his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The movie is also a good example of a story that deals with the problem of faster than light travel – in that the passenger will inadvertently move into the future and while all the people he or she knows will age, the traveler will essentially return unchanged. In Flight of the Navigator, the traveler moves eight years into the future, which turns out to be quite a problem. Although it’s a Disney film, it can be quite scary for children. The smartest characters in the movie are the children as the adults act like selfish, thoughtless pricks. Yeah, it’s one of those movies. A part of the film that sticks with you is Max’s response whenever the Navigator gives him an order, he’ll say “Compliance” and executes his order. After one watch, it’s easy to walk away and repeat “compliance” whenever someone asks anything of you.
Okay, I’ll admit that this one had to grow on me. I wasn’t a fan of the show at first but am now in that group of people who just can’t seem to get enough of Firefly. The show, aptly titled, circulates around the crew of an old firefly class space freighter named Serenity. The over stylized “space western” might get annoying from time to time, but it’s all worth it to see the spaceship maneuver in the atmospheres of various planets as well as outer space.
06. KLINGON BIRD OF PREY
The Klingon Bird of Pray is a classic Klingon war vessel which appear in most of the various incarnations of Star Trek. I fell in love with the design of this ship when it appeared in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In the film, Captain Kirk and his crew utilize a Bird of Prey to go back in time to the mid 1980′s, in an effort to rescue two humpback whales and thus thwarting their extinction and the eventual destruction of Earth (aka Sector 001). The ship is best known in Star Trek lore fore having an effective cloaking device thus rendering it invisible to the naked eye and advanced sensors at the whim of its captain. Aesthetic appreciation note: the feature image from Star Trek IV is actually one of my favorite visual effect shots in cinema history. The scene is where the Bird of Prey appears hovering over a whaling vessel to thwart an illegal whale hunt.
The Voyger is a class of starship from the Star Trek series that was specifically designed for combat and therefore its design wasn’t featured much outside of the Voyager series, for which it was designed. This ship safely transported her crew 80,000 light years from the Delta Quadrant and survived some of the worst battles in Star Fleet history. The ship was one of the first to come equipped with bio neural gel packs which increase the central computer’s processing speeds for all commands given to the ship and support to computer’s isolinear optical chips. Why wouldn’t she end up on this list?
04. Enterprise D (NCC-1701-D)
The flagship of Star Fleet from the TNG series is impressive in every aspect – but mainly because of the way it can make enemies of Star Fleet shake out of fear and scram whenever Picard and his crew show up during a dispute. I’m hard pressed to list the reasons why this ship is impressive as I’ll likely neglect other amazing aspects, but a few include the saucer separation capabilities, efficient warp technology resulting in smaller nacelles and of course the impeccable crew and command structure is among the best ever portrayed on any televisions series. It’s clear why the Enterprise D is the flagship of Star Fleet.
03. Enterprise (NX-01)
Ten years in service, the NX class captained by Jonathan Archer helped get Star Fleet out there and exploring. While it hails from a relatively new show compared to all the other incarnations of Star Trek, the vessel is actually supposed to come before Captian Kirk’s Enterprise (within the Star Trek on-going story line). Aside from the obvious importance of the vessel in the ST universe, another great thing about this ship is that all of the cool tech advancements it benefits from were designed and built by its crew, while they were away on their missions. From advanced shields and weaponry to the simplicity of coming up with color coded alerts in the event of an alien attack.
02. TROOP LANDING CRAFT from EPISODE I
The landing craft used to transport troops in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was selected as the only Star Wars universe spaceship because it was one of the few from that universe that actually had, in my opinion, a viable design that could also be useful in our reality. The ship is not pretty, it is likely not that impressive as far as technology goes, but the design is perfect for its intended use: to transport troops to and from a planet’s surface.
I remember some years back when the Episode I trailer was first released on the internet. While all my peers were going ape-shit crazy about the pod race clips or the double edged light saber, I was nuts about the shots of these ships descending into the atmosphere of what I would later know as the planet of Naboo. It’s too darn cool of a ship to be overlooked.
01. X-FILES ALIEN SPACESHIP
The spaceship the enemy aliens used in the TV show The X-Files is foreboding and a mystery. It was always shown as a suggestion or implication and whenever it was seen, it was often very briefly and in small sections (an example would be the shot included in this article, where we only see a corner of it at the upper left part of the screen). The impression of enormity and danger whenever this vessel showed up was cleverly executed and therefore, because of the ingenious way it was depicted by the creators of the show, it has earned the number one slot on my list of kick ass fictional spaceships. The spaceship from the X-Files only appeared at night, it was never really shown in “full” and so the actual design of it is relatively unknown. I suppose it’s not so much the ship that’s impressive, but how the creators chose to portray it.