The 90’s were very good for SF and Fantasy on television in the USA. Star Trek Deep Space 9, Star Trek Voyager, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Xena: Warrior Princess. All of these shows were excellent. All of them are still watchable. All of them ended by 2002. All of them are better than anything the SyFy Channel has ever produced.
(Voyager can be streamed on Netflix now, and I was astonished to find, upon re-viewing, that it was amazingly good, and much better than I remembered.)
What have we had since? Well, I am not including the BBC in this, having restricted the discussion to American TV, so that leaves out the excellent (until recently) Dr. Who, and other shows like Jekyll, the original Being Human, and Life on Mars. And I’m sure I’m leaving out some other excellent BBC efforts.
In the US, we have had Star Trek: Enterprise, Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, Caprica, Legend of the Seeker, Warehouse 13, and finally Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
The Spartacus thing is really Historical Horror. It is well done but you have to like that sort of thing, and the stop-action fight scenes get irritating after a while.
Warehouse 13 is good but the science (what there is of it) is bad.
Battlestar Galactica was a space melodrama with lots of bad science and probably the least disclipined crew of any spaceship in fictional memory, though it made some good points about why racism is a bad thing. and it had Mary McDonnell in it.
Enterprise was so bad, and so un-Trek, that the show had to be rehabilitated by a couple of Canadian writers in its final season (it only lasted 4), and Commander Riker ended up turning off the program in his holodeck.
Legend of the Seeker was so simple-minded that, at one point, the villain’s major “magic” was apparently a handheld wireless touchscreen computer.
The only good efforts in the genre were Eureka (good science, engaging show), and Caprica, which for some mysterious reason could not last very long. Caprica took the good stuff from Battlestar and expanded on it, leaving the silly chase through space notion behind.
So why can the BBC do it and the American networks can’t?