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The Coolest Spaceships in Movies and TV

By Seth Freilich | Lists | May 7, 2009 |

By Seth Freilich | Lists | May 7, 2009 |

Earlier this week, Dustin e-mails me. He says to me, he says, that he was going to do a Seriously Random List on the very topic we’re here to discuss today. However, he decided that, and I quote, he was “way out of [his] depth,” and so the task was handed over to me. Coolest Spaceships in TV and the movies — it’s been done ten times over, all over the internet. But with the new Star Trek dropping tonight, no time like the present to do it again.

So, what makes a cool spaceship? There are lots of ways you could break this down. You can talk about the visuals and how cool they look. You can talk about the crazy, shitballs weaponry and how much havoc they can wreak. You can talk about infinite improbability drives, warp coils, gravity drives and hyperdrive propulsion systems. Cultural importance, mainstream versus hard scifi, whether they come with a wookie or a depressed android, blah blah blah. At the end of the day, there are certain ships that just rise above all this. In your gut, you just know they’re fucking cool. They make you want to have one right away, or they make you want to run from them with no delay.

Now I did consider breaking this down into two sub-lists, the larger-class ships and the smaller yachts and personal ships, but fuck that. Not only is that just a smidge too geeky for me, the simple truth is that cool is cool, and if the little ones can’t compete with the big ones for the ultimate title, they should just buzz the fuck off.

I should mention that the best spaceship in the world ever, in my humble opinion, has yet to actually make it to either the big or small screen. Gay Deceiver (from Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast), despite the “Gay” first name, is beyond fucking rad. Also, here are honorable mentions to the USS Swinetrek (“The Muppet Show” — piiiiiigs … iiiiin … spaaaaaaace!) and Eagle-5 (Spaceballs). Finally, I know that I have left many off of this list (Slave-1, the Borg Cube and the Battlestar were the hardest to cut), and I have no doubt the geeks and nerds will come streaming out of the woodwork to debate and chastise. Giddeeup — let’s get to it.

10. Gunstar (The Last Starfighter). It’s kinda ugly. It’s kinda dumpy. But motherfucker can fight.


9. Shadow Battlecrab (“Babylon 5”). I’m not as familiar with “Babylon 5” as I should be, so I don’t know a ton about the Battlecrabs. But I know they’re alive. And powerful as fuck. And that they scare the god damned bajeesus outta me.


8. Thunder Road (Explorers). A spaceship I could’ve built in my garage as a kid? Fuck yeah, dude.


7. USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-A (“Star Trek”). Sure, the NCC-1701-D model from “The Next Generation” is purty, and the later E is a bit more tough looking. But even though I don’t particularly care for the Original Series, there’s something to be said for the simplicity of the ship (and a ship captained by William F’ing Shatner, no less).


6. Narn Cruiser (“Babylon 5”). This ship’s got friggin tattoos, man!


5. Mothership (Close Encounters of the Third Kind). The ship talks in music, and has a bass note that rips.


4. Romulan Warbird (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”). This ship is just mean. It’ll find you in the back alley and do bad, bad things to you.


3. Executor-Class Star Dreadnought (a.k.a. Super Star Destroyer) (The Empire Strikes Back). You and your regular ol’ Star Destroyers can get fucking bent. Executors are the real deal, son. I mean, hell, we can’t even do the sucker justice with the limited amount of column-width we’ve got here.


2. The Millennium Falcon (Star Wars). It’s the goddamned Millennium Falcon, for crying out loud. If I have to explain myself to you, you’re already dead to me.


1. Serenity (“Firefly”). Was there any question? There shouldn’t have been. Because yeah, the Falcon rips, the Dreadnought’s fucking gigantic, the Narn Cruiser’s pretty, etc. But Serenity’s just got that extra something. It’s not the biggest, not the baddest, not the prettiest, not the fastest. But it’s the goddamned coolest.