5. 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles'
Ran: Two seasons, 2008-2009
Highly underrated, this small-screen addition to the Terminator franchise focuses on the mother and son who'll eventually save us from those damned self-aware machines, picking up right after the Skynet shenanigans of T2. For fans of the movies and TV sci-fi, the show felt like a godsend: The writing was smart and resepctful of the mythology without being overly reverent; the supporting cast was culled from geek-culture favorites (Firefly's Summer Glau), character actors (Deadwood's Garret Dillahunt) and Nineties alt-rock royalty (Garbage's Shirley Manson); and the creators were prescient enough to realize that if you gave 300's Lena Headey a strong female role, she'd hit the damn thing out of the park. (Thanks to Game of Thrones, of course, now everyone knows.) It deserved way more than two seasons — and we'll still take any single episode of this over the Terminator: Salvation movie any day.
Success rate: 7