Here at SYFY WIRE, it’s no secret that we enjoy celebrating the things that we love. Sometimes that takes the form of unranked lists. To us, that’s love.
Join us as our entire staff celebrates anything and everything in genre through our series of “25 Greatest from the last 25 years” lists. They are all unranked, because all of the people, movies, shows, comics, props (and so on) have equal standing for us.
There’s no I in team, but there is a me … if you rearrange the letters and leave others out. OK, maybe that doesn’t work as well as we’d like, but when it comes to our favorite sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero stories of the last 25 years, teamwork makes the dream work.
Whether it’s a band of misfits coming together for what amounts to a suicide mission, a young superteam with a super destiny, or a group just trying to help each other (and the world around them) get by, these are 25 teams from the last 25 years of which we’d love to be a member.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
See the world! Be betrayed by some of your best friends! Find out your other best friends are actually infused with alien DNA from a millennia-old experiment! Get trapped on a far-off planet! Fight alien gods! Get trapped in a simulation! Fight fiery spirits of vengeance! Hmm, this might not be the best recruitment speech ever. At least if you’re an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., you get a snazzy uniform, get to fly around on cool invisible planes, and live in the MCU (technically). We’re … Quaking … with anticipation!
A team mostly composed of Justice League archetypes, the Authority is not here to save the day while inspiring the masses. They’re here to impose their will on their enemies, and damn anyone who gets in the way. OK, maybe we don’t want to join this team, but we sure don’t want to get on their bad side, either. At least, if you’re part of the crew, you can ride the bleed between different worlds of the multiverse. That part would be pretty awesome!
They save the world and look good doing it, but joining the Avengers means more. It means banding together to defeat a threat more powerful than any one of you can defeat on your own. It’s admitting your weaknesses, and letting your teammates pick up the slack. Now, if we’re joining the Avengers, we hope that means we get Mjolnir or Cap’s shield. We’ll take Loki’s staff in a pinch, though.
Birds of Prey
The ladies of DC Comics have been running the show for over 20 years now, since Barbara Gordon (then Oracle) and Black Canary teamed up for the first time as the Birds of Prey. Over the years, every member of this has brought something unique to the table, whether it’s the core squad of Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress, or including fan favorites like Lady Blackhawk, Vixen, Starling, and even Catwoman. The Birds of Prey have consistently taken down threats with which the Justice League would have issues dealing, and do so with a style and grace unmatched by any other super team. Babs runs a tight ship, but with her track record, we’d follow her anywhere.
The Scoobies, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
If you live on a Hellmouth, you want to be as close to Buffy Summers as possible. Sure, people around her die on occasion, but a lot more seem to get saved by her. Joining the Scoobies, you can do what all the kids love: tons of research at the library! OK, so that’s not the best for most, but you do have about a 33% chance of becoming a witch or a magical creature. And don’t forget the eventual musical number!
The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is one of the most covert organizations on our list, but you’ll get to work alongside Liz Sherman, Abe Sapien, Hellboy, and more as you research and fight off the occult and paranormal. In the BPRD, we would get to know all the secrets of the world hidden just beneath ours (sometimes literally), and try to prevent tiny things like a literal hell on Earth. Since there’s always something new and weird popping up, you have great job security, as long as you don’t get swallowed into the fiery pits of the underworld.
Some battles need to be fought down on the streets, not flying above them with aliens and monsters. That’s where the Defenders come in. You can learn martial arts from Daredevil and street smarts from Luke Cage, have drinking contests with Jessica, and, uhhh, make Danny pay for everything? Yeah, OK, that would rock. When it comes time to go toe to toe with undead ninja, you might want to let the other four handle things, but you can at least enjoy some celebratory Chinese food after!
Dumbledore's Army, Harry Potter
There’s something strong and poignant about the youth of a group rising up, banding together, and taking their future into their own hands in order to defeat an evil despot and his followers who are focused on purity of blood and “Wizards First,” isn’t there? As part of the D.A., you can learn real, practical skills of defensive magic, and prepare yourself for the battle against evil. You may lose some fights and some friends along the way, but if you’re steadfast, good will triumph. That’s an easy cause to get behind.
Crew of Moya, Farscape
Given they’re one of the zaniest crews in science fiction, riding in the Moya with John Crighton, Aeryn, Ka D’Argo, Pau, and of course Moya herself would surely be a blast. For our part, we’d love to join the crew in Season 1, right alongside John, learning about each character. Sure, the crew is a little awry at that point, and we might wind up getting tortured in jail, but they always look out for each other, and that counts for something.
Crew of Serenity, Firefly
“I don’t care, I’m still free, you can’t take the sky from me.” If you’re on the Serenity, you’re free-wheeling, fast-dealing, and you’re probably going to get shot at a few hundred times a year. But aside from that last part, this seems like a great crew to join. You get to see other planets, get yourself into some ridiculous situations (like accidentally getting married, for instance), have ballads written about you when you accidentally save a town, and, most importantly, be part of a family. A dysfunctional family that gets themselves hurt and killed sometimes, but a family nonetheless.
Crew of the NSEA Protector, Galaxy Quest
OK, so they’re actors playing actors in a show about sci-fi adventures. But thanks to the machinations of the Thermians, a real Protector is built and flies off into the unknown. While it would be fun being among the characters -- either on their TV show or in their real trip -- being around these guys also means you’re hanging out with Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman. We’d go through just about any adventure with those two.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Just imagine the first time one of your jokes makes Rocket Raccoon actually crack up – how satisfying would that be (even if Drax totally doesn’t get it)? The Guardians are a team that remembers how to have fun, takes more risks than those stuffy Earth-bound Avengers, and will do something good, something bad, or maybe a little bit of both along the way. Plus, bitchin’ soundtracks!
The Horde, World of Warcraft
Keep your Alliance and their preening – we’re here for some mayhem. If we’re going to live in the World of Warcraft, we’ll be in the Horde, fighting for our rightful place in Azeroth. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t trust a lot of our “allies” here, especially the Forsaken and the Goblins. But there is a reckless strength in the Horde that the Alliance will never have, and members of our crew have been here longer than any other races in the world. Plus, it’s the only way we’re getting our hands on that sweet, sweet Goblin technology.
OK, so this one you’d have to be born into, as the whole team is just members of the Parr family. But like the Fantastic Four that inspired them, the family part of this group of heroes is the primary appeal. With family, you know you always have more people on your side. With it being an animated world, you also know that chances are you’re going to come out of things OK in the end, after one heck of a fun and raucous adventure. You know, as much as Dash tries, he isn’t quite filling the “wisecracker” member of the team just yet. Maybe we could jump in with some choice puns and fill that role?
We saw them in action all together on the big screen, and it made us want to to surf alien soldiers through buildings with Aquaman, blast baddies with Cyborg, crack jokes with The Flash, brood with Batman, and just stare at Wonder Woman with awe while she kicks all sorts of butt with a smile for hours on end. And that's just the movie version of the team - we could go on about the comics incarnations and the incredible animated versions.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
The CW took a chance when they spun out a bunch of B-characters from The Flash and Arrow onto their own show, but it has proved worthwhile. Nowhere else can you join a crew of heroes (and villains) and jump around time on wacky adventures. Not only do they get to fight dinosaurs and supervillains, they also get to meet amazing historical figures along the way. Meet a young George Lucas one week and travel 200 years into the future the next, all before defending J.R.R. Tolkien in the trenches of World War I and having adventures with John Constantine? Sign us up!
When you’re always ready to Go Go into battle, having a power coin that gives you armor, enhanced abilities, and a cool weapon is handy. Oh, who are we kidding; we just want to have a Zord to drive! Give me an awesome Triceratops robot to charge into battle, or a giant green metal dragon to fly into action. What other superhero team includes a free robot dinosaur as a bonus? Exactly.
Rogue One, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
As ragtag a group as you’ll find, the crew of the Rogue One is fearless (or can at least push through and overcome their fears), finds a strength in one another nearly instantly, and eventually truly becomes one with the Force. Of course, that last bit is because every last one of them dies. Wait. Maybe we don’t want to join this particular team. Is there any room on the crew of the Ghost? Hera? Hera, why are you slowly and silently backing away? Chopper, don’t go!
If you find out your parents are supervillains, you better have one heck of a support group. Lifelong friends who are going through the same thing is a great place to start. The best part of being in the Runaways is that this is an eclectic group in which everyone is encouraged (eventually) to completely be themselves. With a variety of powers and backgrounds, and actual outfits that change like a normal teenager (THANK YOU Adrian Alphona and team), you’ll never get bored with this crew. Sure, your story might go off the rails and stop being told for a few years at a time, but you eventually get a promising TV show out of it!
Imagine piloting your own Arwing, flying into battle in formation alongside Fox McCloud, Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad, and Falcons Lombardi. Careening around the Lylat System, you'd be using bombs wisely, trying somersaults, and doing barrel rolls. While certain members of this team might be a little too chatty, the Arwing battles would make up for it with ease. Literally everything you do would be an adventure, and that sounds like a team to be a part of.
Crew of the Enterprise E, Star Trek TNG films
If you’re on the Enterprise, sure, you’re living among thousands, but think of everything you have at your fingertips! There’s the holodeck, with infinite possibilities of fun. You can take a tour of the Bridge and maybe see Capt. Picard say “make it so” or smack himself in the face in exasperation! You might even get to take a theater appreciation class from Data! Sure, it stinks when your ship and the lives of everyone you’ve ever known are in danger three times a week or so, but those just make for the best stories when you’re old and gray.
As a member of Torchwood, we’d fight off alien threats, combat the supernatural, and get to team up with the Doctor every once in awhile. What’s not to love there? While Captain Jack Harkness is a little sporadic in his actual leadership, thanks to the time rift in Cardiff, there’s nearly infinite possibilities of adventures to be had. Must be willing to bend the rules and occasionally fight the British government, naturally.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
If you have to have a radioactive ooze poured on you, it might as well make you a half-man-half-animal fighting machine! While the Turtles themselves started as, you know, turtles, we could at least use some creative science to imbue ourselves with animal powers. Maybe we could be the thirty-something mutant samurai squirrels or the middle-aged mutant karate kitties?
The X-Men (Animated Series Version)
Look, we spend most of our days spouting off terrible puns and cheesy dialogue already, so we’re about halfway to being a member of this squad of X-Men. The best part is, that’s part of the charm of the series! With the best lineup of mutants we’ve ever gotten on TV or film, melodrama out the wazoo and fun action that’s almost always narrated “Winds! Swirl beneath me to grant me flight!” this team would rock to join. Plus, you get to start each day with the best theme song in cartoon history.
The team in Young Justice is full of major powerhouses, and even stronger personalities. Being part of this team means you’ll make some mistakes, but you’ll be allowed to. No other team on this entire list learns more from each other, and overcomes so much, whether it’s expectations from above, from within, or just the actual physical challenges of defeating their enemies. They’d only be whelmed at us wanting to join, though.
Those were OUR choices. What are yours? Let us know in the comments which of the big-deal teams from the last 25 years you'd join. And check out our complete "25 Greatest" lists here.