While it may be pushing the limits of what sci-fi fans will put up with, Fringe is not breaking new ground with tonight's musical episode, "Brown Betty." In fact, there have been many sci-fi-themed musical moments, and even entire musical episodes built around classic sci-fi franchises. These musical interludes have met with varying degrees of success, from instant cult status to ear-screeching hilarity.
Combing through decades of television, we've chosen some of television's great melodious instances with a sci-fi theme. It made us ponder: Perhaps we need more sci-fi songs. If only Mulder had crooned to Scully, they might not have taken forever to ... you know.
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
"Once More, with Feeling"
Perhaps the best-known musical episode of all time, this installment sees the citizens of Sunnydale beaten down with the gift of song. Turns out being undead is amazingly good for the vocal cords.
Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena and Gabrielle thirst for each other's blood. However, their warlike intensity is dulled when they are thrust into a fancy musical.
Angel claims singing is one of three things he never does (along with "kiss on the neck" and "gather a male viewing audience"). It's surprising, really, considering that the second episode features a demon singing perhaps the manliest song of all time, Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive."
Lexx is well-known for its exotic special effects, despite not having enough money to fully clothe its female actresses. In one notable episode, the scantily clad gang stumbles upon a space musical. This follows the Star Trek: TOS formula of "boring everyday stuff plus space equals awesome!"
"Smell of Success"
This unheralded gem of a show combined reanimating the dead with the beauty of choreography and song. Sort of like "Thriller."
"Chuck vs. the Ring"
In a season finale featuring Chevy Chase and Morgan Fairchild, Chuck fights bad guys in a nerdy way while "Mr. Roboto" blares live through a chapel. But, seriously, that song was designed for choreographing robot battles.
This musical show, in which a man hallucinates his way to success, had several unique elements. Most notably the casting of George Michaels as God. It was supposed to be irreverent, but instead it just made us feel like God was out to get freaky with us.
"Hell Is Other Robots"
In this episode, Bender learns the hard musical truth about where bad robots go. This is in contrast to real life, where bad robots just go to work at the post office.
"A Fish Called Selma"
Voiced by the inimitable Phil Hartman, Troy McClure tries his hand at the Planet of the Apes musical. Hopefully this episode won't inspire a real-world adaptation, as monkeys cannot sing.
This episode features an alternate universe where cats are dogs, women have the power, and men genuinely do not mind musical numbers.
"The Invisible Hand of Fate"
For years we were teased about the identity of the Office of Secret Intelligence, which could grant licenses to kill and take away the right to breathe. Then it was fully revealed, and we learned that the O.S.I. was the most flamboyant thing ever.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
"Mayhem of the Music Meister"
Voiced by Neil Patrick Harris, the Music Meister's interests focus upon satellite science and vocal performance. In this, his only episode, he finally finds a combination for these two (mind control) and almost achieves his dreams before Batman crushes them.
BONUS ENCORE! Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
"Laundry Day (My Freeze Ray)"
While not a TV show, exactly, we'd be silly to forget a nod to Dr. Horrible and his freeze ray, which stops crippling emotional pain. Neil Patrick Harris yet again proves why he'd be the only supervillain who could go legit with a Broadway career.