Top 10 Favorite Science Fiction starships

Based on a recent minipoll that was conducted on Twitter, I was inspired to create this list.

This is my top 10 favorite starships from Science fiction films/TV. We’ll go from number 10 and count it down. Feel free to comment and tell me your own favorites!!

10. Mon Calamari Star Cruiser
Appears in: Return of the Jedi

The first ship from the Star Wars films to appear on this list, the Star Cruiser didn’t exactly have a very auspicious showing in the film itself, but the expanded universe material surrounding the ships makes them pretty cool. First off, they were originally built by the Mon Calamari people as luxury liners, but as the Empire rose in power, the Mon Cals joined the Rebellion and armed their ships. The Star Cruisers have a very organic design to them, and no two Star Cruisers are ever the same. The numerous blisters that cover the hull have multiple purposes, some are concealed weapons emplacements, others are pods of sensors, and even a few are cleverly disguised cluster mines. The ships serve as the muscle of the Rebel fleets, able to fight a standard Star Destroyer to a standstill. It symbolizes the uniqueness and freedom the Rebellion represents, contrasting the hard-angled militaristic design of it’s Imperial Counterpart.

9. Battlestar Galactica
Appears in: Battlestar Galactica, 2003 series

The Battlestar Galactica is humanity’s only military defense against a powerful and heavily armed robotic race that seeks nothing less than to wipe them out. To make matters worse, it’s an older Battlestar that was due to be decomissioned, having been supplemented by newer and more advanced designs. By most sci-fi ship standards, Galactica is primitive. It lacks any sort of shields, energy weapons, or viewscreen. It relies on a technology similar to radar and starfighter pilots acting as spotters to see what’s going on around it. So what’s so cool about it? Because despite all these disadvantages, this ship is tough as hell. Galactica took direct hits from Cylon nuclear weapons and held together. She’s got a large number of cannons on her, as well as numerous missile launchers, and gave more than one Cylon Basestar a hell of a fight. The Battlestar Pegasus was more advanced than Galactica in almost every way. It had stronger weapons, armor, and the ability to fabricate new Viper starfighters on board. But Galactica is the ship that delivered humanity to salvation, and for that it gets a spot on my list

8. Imperial Star Destroyer
Appears in: The original Star Wars Trilogy

The famous Triangular wedge design of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer is almost instantly recognizable. It’s the symbol of the Empire’s military might. It’s heavily armored and boasts strong shields. It’s bristling with Turbolasers, Ion Cannons, and multiple types of missile launchers. It carries six squadrons of starfighters and an entire military garrison’s worth of troops and support vehicles. And at the height of the Empire, there were twenty-five thousand of them in the Imperial Fleet. The ship’s an iconic symbol of the Star Wars universe, as much as the lightsaber.

7. Klingon Vor’cha-class attack cruiser.
Appears in: Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space 9

This one’s a personal choice for me. The Vor’cha-class isn’t the most recognizable Klingon ship by any means (that honor likely belongs to the Bird-of-Prey), but since I first saw it, I have absolutely loved the design, especially the massive forward-mounted disruptor cannon. As a kid, I had a small model of this ship that I would play with for hours, and I still get a little kick of nostalgia every time I see the ship on TV.

6. USS Enterprise (alternate reality)
Appears in: Star Trek (2009 film)

I’ll probably get branded as a heretic or something by the more adamant trekkies, but I don’t care. I can’t stand the original Star Trek series. I get that it’s classic and that it paved the way for Science Fiction on TV and Film, but I don’t care. It’s campy and corny to the point of unwatchability for me. The reimagining that JJ Abrams did in the latest film is utterly incredible, and the new Enterprise is no exception. This ship is gorgeously designed. It looks amazing, both inside and out, far better than the original series Enterprise ever did. The film does very well in making the ship appear technologically inferior in a lot of ways to the starships of TNG/DS9/Voyager, but far more advanced than anything we have today. I can’t wait to see what future Star Trek films do with the ship.

5. Rebel B-Wing / Imperial TIE Defender (tie)
Appears in: Return of the Jedi / Several Star Wars expanded universe sources, most notably the TIE Fighter game

The Star Wars universe is doubtless the most responsible for popularizing the “Starfighter” concept of ships in Science Fiction, and the sheer number of variations throughout it’s many films, TV shows, games, books, comics, and the rest is staggering. I felt that at least one of them deserved mentioning on my list, and in the end, these two emerged as my favorites. Both of them are heavy assault fighters, bristling with weapons. They’re not the fastest, or the most well known from either of their respective factions, but they are among the most heavily armed and have very cool designs.

The B-Wing is a Rebel Alliance fighter designed by Admiral Ackbar. In basic flight mode, it flights on it’s side with both wings folded down, essentially looking like a massive arifoil. When battle is iminent, the ship rotates along it’s cockput to a vertical stance and extrans the wings, giving it the characteristic shape. The ship’s weapon emplacements are modular, and can carry any number of configurations. It’s a very cool design, something very much unlike anything you had seen in a ship design, which oftern looked like variations on airplanes.

The TIE Defender doesn’t appear in any film, but prominently appears in several Star Wars videogames and novels. The ship is described as one of the most fearsome starfighters ever designed. It’s very fast, heavily shielded, boasts 4 lasers, 2 ion cannons, and 2 proton torpedo launchers. It tears though nearly any other starfighter it’s pitted against, and is only defeated by superior tactices or overwhelming opposition.

4. USS Enterprise-E
Appears in: Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, Star Trek: Nemesis

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I can’t stand the way the USS Enterprise-D, the ship that was the focus of the entire run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, looks. I seriously hate it. It’s clunky and ugly looking. The warp nacelles look stubby and undersized, and the saucer section is way too large. The Enterprise-E, on the other hand, is absolutely gorgeous. It’s slender and sleek, eliminating all of the clunky design features of it’s predecessor. The original artist has said that he was inspired by the work that had been done on the Voyager, the ship of Star Trek: Voyager, and wanted to reflect what he called “the new Federation design” into the ship, and it looks incredible. It’s also very powerful, commanding a large number of phaser arrays and quantum torpedo launchers. I just wish we could have seen more of this ship.

3. Serenity
Appears in: Firefly TV show

No list like this would be complete without the infamous Firefly-class transport ship. Serenity lacked guns of any sort, hardly had anything in the way of advanced technology, wasn’t paricularly elegant, and looked like some kind of oversized insect. But she was a home for her beloved crew, she got them out of a large number of tight scrapes, and had just as much personality as any of the folks aboard her. It’s a shame this larger than life ship didn’t get more time on the small screen.

2. Slave 1
Appears in: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back / Attack of the Clones films

The ship of the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett and his father Jango Fett before him, no minor ship from the original Star Wars trilogy garnered near as much attention as Slave 1 did, mostly thanks it it’s unusual method of “laying on it’s back” to land and the mysterious nature of her pilot. The expanded Universe revealed much information about this ship, revealing it to be heavily armed with 2 rotating laser cannon turrets, and concealed proton torpedo launcers, a hidden concussion missile launcher, and a hidden ion cannon. It wouldn’t be until years later that viewers would see the ship in action in Attack of the Clones. While the acting of her pilot and passenger are lamentable, the ship itself was very cool to finally watch in combat. Boba Fett was (and still is)my favorite minor character from the Star Wars universe, and his ship remains among one of my favorite designs.

And the winner of my absolute favorite science fiction ship goes to….

1. USS Defiant
Appears in: Latter half of Star Trek: DS9

DS9 remains my absolute favorite Trek series, in part due to the ongoing storyline of the Dominion war. The Defiant was introduced to the show to give the writers a means to have more direct conflict with this new adversary, something stronger than the Runabout shuttles the crew had been using for episodes away from the station. And boy, was it ever. The Defiant is sleek, very fast, heavily armed, and tough as nails. It also featured some very cool new advances in technology for the show, including ablative armor, quantum torpedoes, and possibly the coolest feature of the them all, a cloaking device. Because of it’s nature as a ship designed as a warship first, we got to see many more battle scenes in DS9 than we ever had in Next Generation, resulting in some truly spectacular visuals for the show. This excellently designed “tough little ship”, as it was called in the First Contact movie, was a key point in a truly groundbreaking series, and for that, I call it my favorite science fiction ship.

Honorable mentions go out to the the Millenium Falcon,Ā  USS Voyager, the Rebel Escort Frigate, the Terran Battlecruiser from Starcraft, the Klingon Bird-of-Prey, and the TARDIS.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my list. What are some of ya’lls favorite ships from science fiction?

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    • David Butler
    • February 23rd, 2010

    I am morally offended that the Millenium Falcon is not #1 on this list… ITS NOT EVEN ON THIS LIST! WHAT?!!?!?! NOT EVEN AN HONORABLE MENTION?!?!?! Easily the most recognizeable, most prolific ship ever created, and has by far more character than any sci fi ship ever created!

    For shame Brandon, FOR SHAME! =)

  1. Oooops. I meant to have that one in honorable mentions. Mah bad.

    • Andy Nance
    • March 1st, 2010

    Hand over your geek card now please.

    X-Wing. If the Star Destroyer was the unofficial symbol of the Empire, the X-Wing is de-facto symbol of the “good guys.” Whole books could be written about this snubfighter. A video game was named and based on it. Jedi Grandmaster Luke Skywalker used one as his personal transport. Shields, weapons, hyperspace drive rivaled only by the A-Wing, Jedi-optimized stealth versions, the list of cool stuff goes on.

    Andromeda Ascendant. Say what you will about the tv series itself, the ship was pretty frickin cool. A Glorious Heritage class High Guard ship of the line, it was a representation of a utopian society at its height that still maintained an active military. Numerous weapons including AP cannons, point defense lasers, slip fighters, and drone fighters could unleash a major ass kicking and its regenerative armor could soak up nearly anything thrown at it. Andromeda also sported a powerful and sexy shipboard AI with a robotic avatar.

    Odyssey (Stargate). The second Daedalus-class warship to be built, it replaced the Prometheus as Earth’s primary defense platform. Originally manufactured with select Asgard technology and reverse-engineered Goa’uld technology, it was formidable opponent. Goa’uld “ring” transporters and Asgard “beam” transporters were frequently used to get people and objects in and out of tight spaces. In the final episodes of SG1, the Asgard gave massive weapons and technology upgrades as a gift and means to defeat the Ori. A mix of human rail guns and alien beam and drone weapons as well as up to 16 F-302 fighters provided many a spectacular explosion for the fans. The Odyssey even at one point acquired a cloaking device.

    Swordfish II. I always thought that Spike’s ship on Cowboy Bebop was pretty cool looking.

    Only 2 ships on the list that aren’t in Star Wars or Star Trek? L2 branch out a bit bro. šŸ™‚

  2. My Geek card can remain firmly in my posession, sir!

    X-Wing: It’s symbolic nature aside, it’s still not my favorite starfighter design. That’s what I based my choice on. I personally always found the 2 starfighters I picked to be more awesome. Is my list. So nyeh.

    Andromeda: Yeah, the only way I’d know any of this was if I watched Andromeda. Nope.

    Odyssey: I probably should know about this one, but you gotta admit, for a guy who’s Stargate knowledge was limited to whatever episodes I’d happened to catch when we were living together, ya can’t blame me for not knowing a lot about them! Perchance when I have the time I’ll start making my way through SG-1, especially if it’s on Netflix streaming *fingers crossed*. But this was my favorite list as of press time, and I simply haven’t ever had the chance to watch Stargate. If/When I do, maybe this’ll change šŸ˜›

    Swordfish: Yeah, that ship was definitely cool. But I don’t consider it memorable enough to warrant a spot on the top 10 list.

    As for branching out, sure I could stand to do more of that, but it’s not MY fault Star Wars and Star Trek have locked up all the cool ship designs! Make yer own list if ya don’t like it!

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