Obama likes films that question our basic concept of reality

US President Barack Obama has listed his favourite science-fiction films and TV series.

Obama’s list includes six films and two TV shows.

The list of films is mainly restricted to obvious classics, such as Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, The Matrix and the original Star Wars film A New Hope from 1977.

Obama’s other film was The Martian, last year’s Ridley Scott drama starring Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars after his crew abandoned him. Obama said of the film: “It shows humans as problem solvers.”

The two TV shows in his list are Star Trek and Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Obama says he chose the original Star Trek TV series, starring William Shatner as Captain James T Kirk, because: “It wasn’t about technology. It was about values and relationships. It uses science-fiction to promote a humanistic ethic.”

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage was a documentary, rather than science-fiction. The 1980 series by astronomer Carl Sagan influenced a generation of US TV viewers into becoming interested in space. Obama said: “It fed my lifelong fascination with space.”

Obama chose his list as part of his role as guest editor of Wired.

He said of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind: “It’s fundamentally optimistic.” Of Star Wars: A New Hope, Obama said: “It’s fun and revolutionised special effects.”

Speaking of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Obama said: “It captures the grandeur and scale of the unknown.” He chose Blade Runner because “It asks what it means to be human” and said of The Matrix: “It asks basic questions of our reality, and it looks very cool.”