The following list of top 10 series of three or more films is my personal opinion, of course, and mainly discusses movies for ages 12 and up. Note that these are all action films. They are also generally male-oriented, although some have female protagonists, but there are no "chick flicks," so to speak.
There are, of course, many other series that deserve mention, such as the "Superman," "Spider-Man" and "Batman" films, as well as those with interesting ideas such as "Mad Max," "The Librarian," "Austin Powers," "Back to the Future," "The Matrix," "Men in Black" and other comedies as well.
Others include "Poltergeist," "Predator," "Godfather," "Iron Man," "Transformers," "Shrek," "Neverending Story," "Lion King," "Alien," "Ice Age," "Halloweentown," "Jurassic Park," "Karate Kid," "Monty Python," "Planet of the Apes," "Dirty Harry," "Highlander," "Home Alone," "Pink Panther" and "Percy Jackson," in random order.
I've put "Shrek" and "Back to the Future" in the slideshow as "honorable mentions."
1. Lord of the Rings
My personal all-time favorite series, which I have watched many times. What makes LOTR so great is that the books it was based on depict an "epic for the ages." It's been pointed out that 1,000 years from now Tolkein's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings would be consider a mythological epic like The Iliad, Odyssey, Mahabharata, Eddas and Beowulf.
My favorite film in the series is "The Return of the King," but I also love "The Hobbit" series, which is included here as part of this best film series.
The "X-Men" films are well made, based on the comic book series by Stan Lee. Lee has said in an interview that the idea behind this series was "lazy," because there are no back stories for all the superpowers. They just appear because of mutation, although, of course, some are enhanced such as Wolverine, giving him a back story in his own film.
The depth and breadth of the powers, the great stories and the fact that there are so many females in this series are its strengths.
One of my old friends, Julian Christopher, played the guard who was taunting Mystique and whom she eventually kills.
3. Star Wars
What can be said of this classic series that hasn't already been said? Lucas and company drew on mythology, largely through the vision and work of the great mythologist Joseph Campbell.
It just works. Of course, there are debates between the purists who love the first three films made and the new "prequels." I prefer "Return of the Jedi" above all because of the cute Ewoks and the beautiful forest moon of Endor. I also like "Phantom Menace" because of Darth Maul.
4. Indiana Jones
Another classic that cannot be left off the list. As a lifelong archaelogy student, I naturally love the premise of a dashing archaeologist having important and exciting adventures.
One must keep in mind that the films with biblical themes are not based on history, however, as there was no supernatural ark specially given by the God of the cosmos to one "chosen" culture, and the "Holy Grail" is an old, mythical concept based on wine and fertility cults from thousands of years ago.
5. Pirates of the Caribbean
It's been said that nobody can touch Johnny Depp's character Jack Sparrow as one of the most brilliant in any film series. Orland Bloom is another favorite, as he appears in two of my top five favorite film series.
Keira Knightley is gorgeous and provides a strong female role model.
6. Harry Potter
The Harry Potter books and films manage to appeal to people of all ages because they are both wildly entertaining and smart.
Author J.K. Rowling put in her due diligence in naming many characters, spells and creatures with intriguing Latin monikers, which keeps eggheads like me interested.
Some strong and decent female role models in this series as well. My least favorite of the series were the "teen angst" films with all the bickering and freaking out.
7. Star Trek
I've loved the "Star Trek" series since I was a child, and Spock is one of my favorite characters of all time, in any book, film or TV series.
I gravitated to the extraordinarily reasonable Spock as a child because he seemed like someone in whom I could confide but he wouldn't yell at me! :)
8. Resident Evil
A very gory series, to say the least, but intriguing nonetheless. One of the few series carried by a female lead, well played by the stunning Milla Jovovich. Michele Rodriguez sets herself apart in the first film as well.
Another gruesome movie series carried by a strong female character. The series was very novel and unique, beautifully filmed, despite the blood and gore.
I like the time transcendence and the feel of old vampire tales from Transylvania. The cross-species love story is interesting as well.
Kate Beckensale is terrific as the lead role in this series, managing to pull of the "moral vampire" role quite masterfully.
10. James Bond
Sexist though they may be, the James Bond films remain appealing for their plots. My favorite Bond was Sean Connery.
Many years ago in Venice, California, I met George Lazenby, who played Bond in "On His Majesty's Secret Service." I also ran across Pierce Brosnan in the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood, which sadly closed since then.
What I loved about these films as a child was their exposure of fascinating places worldwide.
Honorable mention: Shrek
The "Shrek" films are among those that manage to transcend age and appeal to young and old alike. The numerous references to older cultural icons and the use of classic music help bridge the generation gap.
Unlike the heady or gory films, "Shrek" is just plain fun! There are some strong female characters in this series as well.
Honorable mention: Back to the Future
No list of movie series would be complete without the ground-breaking "Back to the Future." It's a simple concept, not much fancy filming, but it works splendidly.
Michael J. Fox as the disarmingly charming lead was sheer casting brilliance, and we cannot forget another of the best characters in film brought to life by Christopher Lloyd.