Series / The Outer Limits (1995)

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"Please stand by."

"There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture.
We are now controlling the transmission. We control the horizontal and the vertical.
We can deluge you with a thousand channels, or expand one single image to crystal clarity...
and beyond..."

Exactly 30 years after The Outer Limits (1963) was Screwed by the Network in 1965, the series was once again brought to the airwaves (by Showtime and later by the Sci-Fi Channel) for a new generation to experience stories that reach from the deepest inner mind to the, well... You know.

Thanks much in part to the boom in popularity of supernatural and Sci-Fi shows at the time, like Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Files, it was decided by the Higher Ups that the 1960's cult classic The Outer Limits would be revived in the hope to capitalize on similar success (which is oddly similar to how the original series was commissioned in the first place). And unlike the short-lived run of its predecessor, this series would indeed be successful enough to last 7 seasons, from 1995-2002; continuing on in syndication (currently on Chiller & terrestrial station Comet) to this very day.

The format remains mostly intact, though it does notably have less emphasis on the Monster of the Week being its main plot basis. Generally, the stories involve exploring a specific scientific concept and its effects on humanity, or projects a completely alternate society that may highlight the flaws of our own (through Fantastic Racism for instance). A lot of episodes drift towards being cautionary tales (or just being cruel) so expect a lot of Bittersweet or Downer Endings. Also of note is that, oddly for an anthology series, each season would usually involve a Clip Show which would attempt to tie some of its unconnected stories together (more on that below).

The series's Control Voice is supplied by Kevin Conway, and the surreal artwork of the introductions can mostly be attributed to Jerry Uelsmann. The series is available in DVD sets. If you were looking for the original 1963 series, that is over here.

This show provides examples of:

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    A - C 
  • Absent-Minded Professor: The scientist in the episode "Double Helix." His son calls him out on being so focused on his research that he was never there for his family. The scientist is incredibly shocked when he finds out that his teenage son is dating a 30 year-old woman.
  • Adaptational Villainy: A surprising case in "Feasibility Study," as it's an adaptation of an episode from the 1960's version of the show. The basic plot of both is the same: A group of aliens teleport an entire Earth neighborhood to their planet — they need slaves, and want to see if humans are a good fit for the job. The original episode features the Luminoids, who are looking for a race to enslave because they suffer a genetic condition that turns them into immobile stone as they get older; they explain that they don't use their extremely advanced machinery for simple, everyday chores because it seems like an unworthy application for such amazing technology. In the remake, the potential enslavers are the Triunes; the genetic condition, and with it any possibility of sympathy, is removed, as the aliens are simply lazy and don't want to bother with working.
  • Adaptive Ability: "The New Breed" had a man infested with Nanomachines programmed to heal and protect his body, which they did mindlessly and efficiently — he nearly drowns and grows gills, he gets beaten up and grows extra layers of bone, and his skin develops poison glands like a jellyfish, so no one can touch him. They also, for some reason, decide that having a limited field of view is a flaw, so they grow an extra pair of eyes on the back of his head.
  • Afraid of Blood: In "Living Hell," protagonist Ben Kohler faints at the sight of blood. This is what convinces his doctor that he's unlikely to be the vicious killer whose visions he's been inadvertently receiving.
  • Age Without Youth: In the episode "Blood Brothers," the Corrupt Corporate Executive uses an experimental regenerative drug on himself in an attempt to cure his Huntington's disease and become biologically immortal. It renders him unable to die but degenerates his body into a fragile husk.
    Control Voice: There is an old proverb which says: "Be Careful What You Wish For, for it might come true." And if your wish is for immortality, it is something you will have to live with for a very long time.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: "Lithia" ends with a solder begging very loudly not to be shoved into a cryo-tube. He gets louder when he finds out the one sentencing him to this knows his name because she's his wife whom he rightly presumed was long dead.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Valerie 23 from the episode of the same name. She's a Robot Girl designed for love, then goes on a jealous rampage when she thinks that another human is taking the object of her affection away from her. When she's destroyed she acknowledges that she fears death, which the protagonist had earlier deemed is what makes something truly alive.
  • Alien Invasion: This is an Outer Limits show we're talking about...
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Episodes dealing with aliens sometimes take this approach. One episode ("Corner of the Eye") featured aliens that wanted to steal the Earth's atmosphere and even looked like literal devils. But there were just as many episodes with nice aliens who wound up in conflict with humans due to misunderstandings or because Humans Are Bastards.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Another carryover from its predecessor, often Handwaved.
  • Almighty Janitor: In "The Message," a janitor reveals that he used to be an astrophysicist before he was fired for mental problems, and uses his expertise to save the day.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: In "Blank Slate," an amnesiac is being helped by a woman he met while they are being chased by unknown people. Every so often, he gets an injection of liquid that appears to hold his memories, remembering more and more each time. In the end, he is revealed to be the evil boss of the people chasing them and uses the same procedure to erase the woman's memories.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Occurs at the end of "Blood Brothers." Micheal Deighton, fearing death by Huntington's Disease, takes the newly discovered wonder drug Deighton C to live forever. However, it turns out the drug has the side effect of using up all of cell energy, thus turning him into an incapacitated and aging body similar to Tithonus.
    • Andy in "The New Breed" turns into this as a result of nano-bots that reshape his body (giving him eyes on the back of his head, an extra ribcage, gills, and nematocysts) all of which leaves him in constant pain. He is eventually killed, but it's revealed he passed the nanobots to his fiance, dooming her to the same fate.
    • Happens with the murderous priest in the episode "Fear Itself," driven mad in the end and permanently experiencing being burned alive, a throwback to the punishment given to the SS commander in The Twilight Zone episode "Death's Head Revisited" by the ghosts of his victims. Laser-Guided Karma, anyone?
    • Season 5 episode "Déjà Vu" deals with a failed teleportation experiment that traps the main character in a shrinking time loop. While he manages to break free in the end, the antagonist isn't as lucky. He gets caught in another time loop that forces him to relive the last few seconds preceding a nuclear explosion at point blank range, most likely for all eternity.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The ending of "Something About Harry" as Zach has now joined the alien hunters as one of their agents.
  • Apparently Human Merfolk: In "The New Breed," a scientist is injected with nano-bots who "correct" his cancer and myopia. When he and his friend test the limits of the robots abilities, one of the tests is to see how long the man can stay underwater. The nano-bots misinterpret this by giving the man gills so he can breathe, seriously squicking him out.
  • Arc Welding: The season finales of the Revival are Clip Shows that tie together the plots of various previously unconnected stories, one involving a Super Soldier project and another with a pair of immortal Energy Beings who have been setting up the events of several stories, all for no other purpose than their own amusement.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: In "Rule of Law," the protagonist wields a firearm while everybody else wields laser guns. When he confronts a lynch mob, they mock his weapon for being inferior, but he defeats them with ease.
  • Assimilation Academy: In "The Straight and Narrow," the private academy actually uses Mind Control on all who attend.
  • As You Know: The opening of "The New Breed" provides an infodump on nano technology that also contains several basic biological principles that the audience in the room (all scientists) should already be perfectly aware of.
  • Axes at School:
    • In "Abduction," five high school kids are abducted by an alien. They eventually find out that the alien chose them because one of them brought a gun to school and was planning to shoot the other four.
    • "Final Exam" took this trope Up to Eleven; the antagonist brought a nuclear bomb to school.
  • Back from the Dead: In "New Lease," a pair of scientists make a device which can apparently resurrect the dead. Unfortunately, the first test subject died within 24 hours of being resurrected. When one of the scientists dies, and is resurrected with this machine, he believes he has the same 24 hour lifespan. So he goes vigilante on the murderer and turns himself in. Of course, it turns out the device resurrected him for real.
  • Back to Front: "Zig Zag."
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Quite often actually.
  • Batman in My Basement: An inversion in the episode "Resurrection," where two robots clone / birth a human after humanity goes extinct, and have to hide him from the other human-hating robots. The robots ultimately sacrifice and shut off themselves, and their brethren to give the Earth back to the new human race.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted in the episode "Mind Over Matter". Dr. Stein (Mark Hamill) is experimenting with entering people's minds with the help of an AI, but has unrequited feelings for his colleague Dr. Carter. When she enters a coma after an accident, he plugs her into the machine and spends time with her inside the virtual world. Then the AI goes rogue, admitting that it's fallen in love with Stein and wants him for itself. A being looking like a disheveled Carter appears to kill the real Carter, prompting Stein to kill the attacker. Except it turns out that the disheveled looking Carter was the real one because her mind was only partially active and therefore distorted the avatar. The pretty avatar that he assumed to be Carter was the AI all along.
  • Benevolent Alien Invasion: The episode "The Second Soul" plays with this trope when non corporeal aliens are allowed to settle on Earth... And to inhabit the bodies of dead humans.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In "The Human Factor," a robot rigs a reactor to blow in order to Kill All Humans. The protagonist is trapped in a room with the robot. He begs the robot to snap his neck. When it asks him why, he answers that he would rather die that way than get blown up. It refuses.
  • Big, Bulky Bomb: An episode involves humans fighting a losing war against a race of Lizard Folk. In order to win it, humans build a "sub-atomic bomb," which looks like an early atomic bomb but many times larger, capable of causing an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Unfortunately one of the crew is The Mole, and the ship sent to drop the bomb gets disabled. The last surviving crewmember ends up killing the mole, and drops the bomb... On Earth, because the mole turned the ship round while everyone was knocked out.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Delivered by Mark Hamill himself at the end of "Mind Over Matter."
    • Robert Patrick delivers one at the end of "Quality of Mercy."
    • The two evil aliens deliver this as they are defeated at the end of "Better Luck Next Time."
  • Bit-by-Bit Transformation: In an episode, a human has been captured by aliens. He meets another captive, who is being subjected to numerous surgeries to gradually change her body into that of the aliens. Turns out she was actually an alien spy being reverted out of her human disguise, all the while playing on his sympathies to gain information.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The most common type of ending in the Revival, behind outright Downer Endings.
  • Blasphemous Boast: In "The New Breed," the protagonist, the inventor of nanomachines that can heal any damaged or diseased cells in the body, is accused of playing God. His response: "Let's just say God created a flawed man. I think I can do better." Let's just say his attempt to do better doesn't quite go according to plan.
  • Blessed with Suck: In "The New Breed" Dr. Andy Groening is dying from cancer. When he learns that his brother in law has designed medical nanomachines which aren't yet ready for human testing, Andy injects them into his body to save himself. At first, his cancer disappears, his senses improve, and he becomes stronger and faster than the average man. The Suck comes when the nanomachines decide to make him invulnerable and make his body grow two more eyes, gills, and poisonous skin, turning him into a freak who is in constant pain from all the changes.
  • Body Surf:
    • "Better Luck Next Time" featured two nearly immortal aliens who could inhabit any living host and can survive for however long they can bind to the central nervous system. After the host dies, they have only moments to transfer into another body until they die, since they can't live too long in the Earth's atmosphere. If they transfer, they will still live for however long they can repeat the sequence. If they fail, they disintegrate. This was a sequel to another episode: One of the duo was in fact Jack the Ripper!
    • "Free Spirit" featured a person involved in a mind transfer experiment whose consciousness became disconnected from his body after the scientists chose to terminate the experiment by killing the test subjects. He takes several years to learn how to possess people's minds and then comes back to get revenge on his killers. He's become so good at it that in one scene he repeatedly jumps between two people to finish a single sentence.
  • Born on Pay Television: The revival's introduction, similar to the original's, has a "please stand by" notice added to it in syndication since the Showtime airings did not have commercials.
  • Bowdlerise: The cable and home video versions feature nudity and sexual content that, no surprise, is absent from the syndicated version that plays on commercial stations.
  • Broken Aesop: The episode "Judgment Day" revolves around a murderer being hunted down on national television as part of an Immoral Reality Show. They make a point about condemning sensationalization of violence in the media and people who would watch it, before revealing that the target was actually framed by the show's producer. In the end the former target hunts down and murders the producer with just as much glee as he had previously been pursued, turning the intended message: "killing people for public entertainment is wrong" into "killing people for public entertainment is wrong only if they didn't do it."
  • Brown Note: In "Music of the Spheres," the titular music is a signal from space which, in addition to being extremely addictive, ends up causing a series of dramatic physical transformations in listeners. Notably, unlike most examples of the brown note, the changes the music causes ultimately turn out to be beneficial — it transforms humans into a form that is resistant to a high-UV environment, which is what the Earth is about to become due to the sun undergoing a "shift."
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: In "Music of the Spheres," the alien audio signal is only recognizable as music to teenagers, but not to adults or younger children.
  • Cain and Abel: "Blood Brothers" featured two brothers running their late father's pharmaceutical company to discover cures against various fatal diseases, with Spencer (a scientist working in a hazardous chem lab) as Abel and his big brother Michael (one of the company's directors) as Cain. Spencer wants to develop the cure for the general good of mankind, while Michael wants to limit it to the wealthy few to make more profit. Michael eventually attempts to murder Spencer and Spencer's girlfriend so he'll be the only one who knows the secret of the drug. Michael then takes the drug to cure his own Huntington's and his body soon starts to decay due to the side effects, with Spencer unable to cure him.
  • Came Back Wrong: This is the main driver in the episode "New Lease." A scientist invents a regeneration device. When he uses it on a patient, the patient comes back but dies horribly shortly afterwards. When he is shot, he uses the device on himself, and believing he will die soon, murders the robber. He finds out the device worked properly on him — because unlike the test subjects, his body was never frozen — and he will now go to prison for the rest of his life.
  • Canon Welding: Although the revival is an anthology show like its predecessor, it usually ended its seasons with money-saving clip shows tying multiple prior episodes together into a single continuity.
  • Cassandra Truth: Subverted in "Living Hell." A guy is caught after he warned the cops about the actions of a Serial Killer who he's been telepathically linked to for the last several weeks. The cops initially believe that he's the killer, but after he provides proof of the neural device implanted in his brain, they believe him.
  • Cast from Lifespan: "Blood Brothers" featured a serum that seemed to cure all ills, like the Fountain of Youth. Too late, the antagonist discovers that instead of simply giving you a new lease of life, it uses up all your life energy in a short burst, followed by Rapid Aging and death.
  • Celebrity Survivor: In "The Deprogrammers," Earth has been invaded by aliens and mankind has been brainwashed into slaves, one character stating that the aliens took a perverse pleasure in turning celebrities and leaders into slaves. A group of rebels rescue the protagonist, including his wife, and try to deprogram him by reminding him of his life, including showing him a poster of his favourite movie.
    "I wonder where they are right now, I wonder where all the famous people are now."
  • The Chains of Commanding: The episode "Trial by Fire" deals with the US President being sequestered in a bunker after being informed that a massive object, traveling at half the speed of light, is going to hit Earth in roughly a half hour. It's up to him to decide what to do from there, though he has plenty of noise from his advisers.
  • Child by Rape: In "Dark Child," an alien abducts Laura, rapes her, then returns her to Earth, where she gives birth to a daughter, Tammy. Although deeply traumatized by the experience, Laura does her best to raise Tammy. Years later, when Tammy is a teenager, the alien returns and reveals his previous assault on Laura was a ploy to create a powerful Half-Human Hybrid to use as a weapon against humanity. Just like any deadbeat dad, the alien's attempt to get Tammy to join him fails, then mother and daughter team up and kill him.
  • Child Eater: In "Under the Bed," a boogeyman like monster steals children from their bedrooms to devour them.
  • Circuit Judge: "Rule of Law" has a judge travel to an alien planet to preside over the case of an alien accused of attacking humans.
  • Clip Show: One each in Seasons 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Two in Season 7 (Those being the last two episodes...)
  • Clones Are People, Too: In "Replica," the clone in question, complete with the memories of the original, was created to replace the wife of a bio engineer who was wrongly thought to be irreversibly comatose. When the original awakens, a discussion begins of how to handle the copy, but murder is clearly off the table and instead their plan would allow the clone to have her own independent life.
  • Cloning Blues: The revival has "Think Like a Dinosaur" and, unusually, subverts the trope with "Replica," which also has one of the few happy endings in the new series.
  • Color Me Black:
    • In "The Grell", humans have enslaved a race of Rubber-Forehead Aliens. An important politician survives a plane crash with his family and his Grell servant, but is critically injured. The Grell heals him by infusing his master with Grell DNA, which will slowly transform him into one of them. Whereas he had previously callously killed a Grell servant who tried to flee, when he's treated in the same way by a human soldier who tries to kill him for being a "half-breed" he starts to see the error of his ways.
    • "Tribunal" features an ending where a Nazi war criminal who escaped justice for 50 years is put into the uniform of his prisoners and taken back in time to his own camp. His younger self shoots him for being Jewish.
  • Condemned Contestant: "Judgment Day," where the criminals are hunted down by the families of those they murdered. The protagonist manages to prove that the show's producer had framed him to get ratings. The episode ends with the producer sentenced to be hunted.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In "Virtual Future," David Warner played Bill Trenton, a Research, Inc.'s evil CEO. He hires a research scientist who developed a device that could predict the future, but decides to use the device to win an election by murdering his rival.
  • Crapsack World: Many episodes are interconnected through the mysterious Innobotics Corporation and their Ridiculously Human Robots, not to mention that every season produces a couple of sequel episodes for earlier stories for double the Cruel Twist Ending!
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The series does this so often that the trope used to be named Outer Limits Twist.
    • "Quality of Mercy:" John Stokes is tortured alongside another human captive in an alien prison named Bree Tristan. She gradually has alien skin grafted onto her in order to convert her into one of them. Once John reveals to his fellow captive Bree that humanity secretly has been feigning defeat and is in fact planning a secret attack on the alien home world in thirty days led by a hidden group of its fighters located on the far side of the sun. She is then taken away and reveals she is fact a spy changing back into her true form meaning he just revealed a major secret to the enemy with him having nothing to do to stop them.
    • "The New Breed:" Dr. Andy Groening succeeds in killing the nano-bots by sacrificing his life by allowing Dr. Stephen Ledbetter to kill him and destroy the lab containing the remaining nano-bots in a fire. However, earlier on Andy had made love to his fiance Judy (Stephen's sister) infecting her with the robots as implied by her cutting herself on some glass after his death which is instantly healed meaning all of his sacrifice was for naught.
    • "Birthright:" Senator Richard Adams and his doctor Dr. Leslie McKenna realize that he is in fact an alien that has been lobbying a new fuel additive that will in 30 years time render the earth inhospitable for all life except the aliens. He informs a trusted reporter of this information Kyle Hallar. When Richard enters a taxi cab later that day, he finds out on the radio that Hallar has been murdered and that Leslie has been framed for the crime. He tries to escape the taxi only to find the driver is one of his kind.
    • "The Voice of Reason:" Thornwell is unable to persuade the committee that the threat of alien invasion of Earth is imminent as the committee votes in favor to disregard his claims. He realizes that Randall Strong, one of the most vocal opponents to Thornwell, may in fact be an alien (the same kind of Senator Richard Adams from the previous episode wanting to terraform Earth) as a result he shoots him dead. Unfortunately it turns out that of the five members of the committee, Strong was one of two that secretly supported him and voted for his investigations to be taken seriously. It is revealed that two of the newest members of the committee are in fact aliens who belong to the same kind as Adams and are elated to what has just transpired with Adams superior from the last episode to become the new head of the committee replacing Thornwell.
    • "Mind Over Matter:" A scientist creates an AI machine to reach into a female lovers coma patient's mind to help wake her up. It's a living dream and he falls in love with her avatar in the dream despite others saying her mind would have been too weak to become visible as the avatar due to her condition and it is simply a projection made by him. Occasionally during this therapy they are frequently attacked by a grimy evil looking version of the woman he believes is the AI attempting to take over whenever they become intimate. In the end he lures and strangles the evil woman killing her. The patient then dies in real life as it is revealed that the avatar he was falling in love with was the AI who gained a crush on him and wanted to explore the notion of love and that the evil version was in fact the woman he was in love with as she was really too weak to manifest fully inside the virtual environment. As a result he has just killed the one woman he always loved at the behest of the computer AI.
    • "Beyond the Veil:" Eddie Wexler is unable to save Courtney from being killed by Dr. Sherrick's experiments and is framed for her murder. Not only that, he realizes that not only was his previous abduction real, but Sherrick and all of the staff are aliens, and take him away to be isolated from the rest of the world.
    • "First Anniversary:" Despite her attempts to keep Norman Glass as her husband, Ady is unable to do so and when the effects of her hallucinogenic disguise wear off, he becomes so repulsed by her true form that he is carried off by paramedics. A while later Ady is seen changing her form again and is being chatted up by another man meaning she will have to repeat the cycle every year and will never find true love.
    • "Straight and Narrow:" An exclusive private school brainwashes its students for use as mercenaries, similar to the movie Disturbing Behavior, which it predates. The one student who is immune to the process manages to escape and tell authorities — who prove to be alumni, and drag him back to undergo the procedure (now corrected to work on the likes of him) as the assassination he'd tried to prevent is successfully carried out.
    • "Trial by Fire:" Newly elected president Charles Hasley has used the slogan: "Let me be your friend" but is brought underground when a meteor is heading towards Earth. It is realized it is a armada of aliens. After a few incidents that are thought to be signs of an invasion a message from the aliens is sent. Tensions grow as other nations and the public become aware of the aliens and the President sends a message back to admit that the aliens video message cannot be interpreted and that any attempts to enter the atmosphere will be viewed as a threat by the rest of the world. Unable to translate the message from the aliens the Russian and America leaders decide they are threat after one ship from the armada crashes into the ocean believing it to be a means to conquer the oceans or test defenses. After both countries first strike are destroyed by the fleet the aliens retaliate and send a nuclear bomb to Moscow and Washington DC. Just before they strike both cities killing millions including the president and his staff the first message is deciphered. It was in English distorted by a liquid background saying: "Let us be your friends."
    • "The De-Programmers:" A group of humans including Evan beat alien brainwashing with the help of an underground resistance (which includes his wife) and Professor Trent Davis eventually manage to take down their master Milord. Once he is dead it is revealed that Trent is under the control of another alien who now takes control of his rival's territory, captures the resistance members, and begins reprogramming Evan and his wife for his benefit.
    • "The Light Brigade:" Since the events of "Quality of Mercy," humanity has begun to lose the war for real since the aliens tricked John Stokes into revealing secret military Intel. John Stokes, who has escaped his captors, heads the ship called The Lighting Brigade which carries a powerful plant destroying bomb that will destroy the alien threat once and for all when it is deployed on their home planet. After the aliens ambush the ship, everyone is killed immediately or knocked unconscious and given a fatal dose of radiation which will kill them soon. The remaining young cadet manages to unmask a traitor, revealed to be a spy disguised as Stokes and get to the destination and drop the bomb before his ship can be boarded. Unfortunately, the ship had been turned around whilst everyone was unconscious by Stokes, meaning he has just planted the bomb on an already crippled Earth, ensuring the aliens victory.
    • "Second Thoughts:" The aging Dr. Jacob Valerian transfers his mind into mentally challenged helper Karl Durand. Karl absorbs the mind of a colleague of the doctor who was using him to make money off the mind transferring device. Using the two minds he makes millions on the stock exchange and does this to gain the affection of his teacher and caregiver Rose, who is engaged to a poet. To finally win her affections, he absorbs the mind of the poet and disposes of his body by dropping it off the bridge. After his new personality freaks out Rose, he eventually commits suicide with a bullet to the brain. It's when Rose hears the news of her fiance's death she reveals to a detective that he was temperamental and suicidal.
    • "Hearts Desire:" Each pair of outlaws of the titular town use their power against each other, which results in Frank killing JD, and Jake killing Frank. After Jake kills Frank, Jake has a change of heart. Because of his change of heart, Ben attempts to kill Jake. Jake refuses to fight his brother, and asks the visitor to take away his power. The visitor does so, and Ben is just about to kill Jake when Ben's power gets taken away by the visitor. Just after his power gets taken away, Ben gets shot by Jake's ex-lover, who witnessed the violence. The visitor reveals he gave the powers to test humanity on whether they were a threat. Humanity fails and proves to the aliens that they are not a threat and will in fact destroy themselves before they become one.
    • "Tempests:" In order to save millions on a space colony from death from a deadly pandemic, John Virgil must deliver a serum. After the ship crashes on a moon he is bitten by a spider and begins to shift between two realities. He must figure out which of the two realities he's switching between are real, the seemingly perfect one or the darker one. He makes the "right" choice - and we find out that both worlds are false ones. His real situation is much worse, he's cocooned by giant spiders and slowly being eaten, kept in a hallucinogenic state and as a result of his failure everyone presumably dies with Governor Mudry being the only one to see the real world.
    • "Dead Man's Switch": A fleet of alien spaceships are seen heading toward Earth. Being Genre Savvy and knowing they might be evil, a Doomsday plan with a Dead Man Switch is prepared, with five people in individual bunkers sharing the responsibility to prevent the doomsday plan from being enacted (should it become unnecessary) by regularly pressing a button to keep the doomsday device from turning on. The five people in the bunkers are gradually killed off in variety of ways. The brief hope for peace is extinguished when a second fleet of colonization ships is found and the button pressers lose all contact. They die in their separate bunkers one by one until the last one remains. He finally decides to let it happen when he gets a message from his commander telling him they defeated the aliens with a new weapon. He stops the Doomsday Device at the last second and is told to keep pushing the button until they can disarm it. The last scene shows the aliens who used the commander as a puppet eating his brains over the glowing red ruins of Washington DC.
    • "Nightmare": A crew of a ship during a war with an alien race is transporting a bomb when they are captured by the enemy, followed by being tortured and interrogated till the reach the breaking point. As a result, one of the men, who thinks another has betrayed them, stabs him to death in the stomach...where it's revealed that they were on Earth All Along with the whole thing staged by their general to test their psychological endurance. Even worse, one the members, who didn't learn the truth until to late, had been forced to removed the bomb's defenses but instead, bypassed its safeguards and activated it, with no way to stop it. While it's this trope for the crew, it can be considered Laser-Guided Karma for the general.
  • Cure for Cancer:
    • In "Blood Brothers", a scientist tries to develop an effective Knockout Gas to be used by the riot police. However, despite the numerous trials, the gas still has a 20% lethality rate. One experiment results in the test monkey not only surviving but also becoming immune to any and all disease or poison. The scientist's Corrupt Corporate Executive brother wants to withhold this cure-all from the general population, pointing out that this would result in overpopulation. However, he uses the drug himself to cure his hereditary condition. In the end, though, it's revealed that the drug's effect is extremely temporary. In fact, it rapidly drains all the body's resources, leaving the person a frail shell only surviving through the use of life-sustaining machines.
    • "The New Breed" involves the use of nanites to monitor and repair cells. However, their "repair" feature doesn't appear to have a limit, and they start improving what they see as flaws of the human body. The person who injects himself with them tests his ability to hold his breath underwater... and the nanites end up giving him gills. Eventually, he also gets eyes on the back of his head to improve his vision. In the end, the inventor of the nanites, his friend, ends up having to kill him. It should be noted that the nanites are still in the testing phase, and the guy only takes them because he has terminal cancer.
  • Cute Ghost Girl:
    • Kyra in the episode "The Beholder", though she was an alien that was "out of phase".
    • Another episode has a woman's experiment leave her disembodied and her body in a coma. This being Outer Limits, she totally dies for real by the end, as does her husband who is trying to get the machine to restore her. It's made as un-depressing as such an ending can be - unusual for The Outer Limits, which almost always went for dark twists - by having them appear in spirit form and reunite, before vanishing for parts unknown but seeming optimistic about it.

    D - F 
  • Deadly Closing Credits: "A Stitch In Time" ended like this, with a newly-forged time-traveling Knight Templar gunning down a serial-killer-to-be.
  • Deadly Game: "Judgment Day" did a version of this with a reality TV show in which convicted criminals are hunted down on camera as their punishment.
  • Death Is the Only Option: In the episode "Better Luck Next Time", a police detective is manipulated by a pair of malevolent energy beings into being their plaything, intending to turn her into a host after they've tricked her into shooting a fellow cop. However, their hosts burn out rapidly, they can't survive for long without one, and their current hosts are just about to expire. She utters the episode's title just before shooting herself in the head, bringing the energy beings' centuries-long murder spree to an end.
  • Depraved Bisexual: In "Caught in the Act", the parasite-infected girl who absorbs people's lifeforce through sex tries to force herself on both men and women.
  • Deprogram: One especially heartbreaking episode, "The Deprogrammers", has a scientist and his assistant deprogram the personal servant of an alien from a race that has conquered the Earth in order to assassinate him. It ends with The Cruel Twist Ending that the assassination was orchestrated by a rival of the alien's same species, and both the servant and his wife will now be reprogrammed.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: In "Corner of the Eye'', two best friends successfully foil an alien invasion, then one dies of his injuries in the other's arms.
  • The Disembodied: In the episode "Free Spirit", a human test subject became a disembodied body-possessing spirit after his body was terminated in the middle of a mind transference experiment. Then he comes back for revenge against the scientists responsible for his death.
  • Do Androids Dream?: The question is posed in "Valerie 23" when the protagonist gets involved with a Sex Bot and wonders if she could truly be considered alive. He determines that the difference between a Ridiculously Human Robot and a real human being is that the latter has fear of death. His belief is confirmed when she proves unafraid at the prospect of her own destruction when she is due to be dismantled after developing a psychotic obsession with him. When he ultimately destroys Valerie after she tries to kill his human love interest again, she admits that she's afraid of what's coming.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest:
    • Subverted in "Second Soul". One man's wife dies and donates her body to an alien race (they can occupy and revive recently dead bodies, and need to do so to live). He meets the recipient, and finds out that they do sometimes inherit random memories from their hosts, but she does not fall in love with him, becomes bothered by his following her around and eventually gets a restraining order against him. It's even hinted that the process is set up to prevent the aliens from being close to family members of their hosts, presumably to prevent this from becoming a regular occurrence.
    "If I look like her, if I sound like her, I might be her? The answer is no."
    • In "In Another Life", a man mourning the death of his wife gets sent to a parallel universe. He quickly tries to find the alternate version of her, only to discover she already has a boyfriend. In the end, when he decides to stay, he meets the alternate version of his wife again and they strike up a friendship, leaving him hopeful that they may get together in the future.
  • Downer Ending: Nearly every episode ends in soul-crushing gloom and despair. Humans Are the Real Monsters, it's a Crapsack World, we get it, we get it...
  • Due to the Dead: In "The Grell", an alien race stranded on Earth are treated as slaves, with plenty of Fantastic Racism to go around. One such example is that soldiers will often leave the bodes tied to the ground face-up, spitting in the face of traditional face-down burial which allows their souls to move on properly.
  • Dumb Is Good: In "From Within", Neil Patrick Harris plays a man whose mental retardation renders him immune to Id-unleashing parasites.Occurs again in "Stream of Conciousness" while not mentally retarded a neurological defect he gained from a car accident as a child leaves Ryan Unger unable to access the Stream a cybernetic network which allows the vast majority of humanuty access to all of their knowledge within seconds.When a glitch threatens to destroy humanity by causing information overlords,he realises that he is the only one to save the world.He eventually does and begins to teach them basic skills like reading and writing once they are saved.
  • Dug Too Deep: "From Within" has a group of miners blast into an ancient cave containing a dinosaur fossil and a crapload of worms that quickly infest the miners and, shortly after, the whole town. Luckily, they hate light and need salt to survive.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Not quite as common, but they are there.
  • Earth All Along:
    • In "The Light Brigade", the crew of a stricken ship must launch a Doomsday weapon on an enemy planet in order to save humanity. However, in one of the Cruel Twist Endings the revival series became infamous for, the aliens had tricked the crew into believing that that they were in orbit above the enemy planet, when in actuality they were above Earth, and our heroes end up nuking our own planet..
    • Also happens in "Nightmare": A team for special mission is captured and interrogated on their mission to place a Doomsday Device on their foe's home planet. The aliens are interrogating them about the mission and the device and attempting to reverse engineer the device. The creator is one of the persons being interrogated, and in going over how the device is triggered activates it with an override to prevent it from being disarmed. At this point it's revealed it's all been an elaborate simulation to see how they would stand up under stress and they've been on Earth the entire time after one them is killed by another. Since they've trained so hard with the bomb they had to use the real bomb with an inactive trigger to simulate it correctly. The creator noticed and fixed it as part of her manual override thus leading to half of the earth being blown away within minutes.
  • Electronic Telepathy: In "Living Hell", a doctor saves a wounded man's life by implanting an experimental neutral transmitter in his brain. A side effect of this is that he can now see the thoughts of an elusive Serial Killer who was given the same implant and had faked his own death afterwards.
  • Emergency Transformation: "Music of the Spheres" has aliens subjecting the whole of humanity to signals that people think are music, but causes mysterious changes. Instead of the Cruel Twist Ending the series is known for, it turns out it's an Emergency Transformation into bald, large-headed, golden-skinned creatures, so that they can survive an impending shift in the sun's radiation. The aliens' process initially only works on people close to puberty but once the humans figure out what the hell is exactly going on and why they manage to enhance the process so that it can be applied to anyone. Some of the characters refuse to go along with the transformation; as one of our main characters puts it, he wants his wife to be able to recognize him in Heaven.
  • The End... Or Is It?: "The Sandkings" – Despite Dr. Simon Kress's attempts to kill off the sandkings (a race of intelligent, possibly sentient, ants from Mars) by blowing up his home with him inside, some have managed to survived and are building a colony deep inside a nearby woods.
  • Enemies with Death: In "White Light Fever", Harlan Hawkes is a billionaire centenarian with an abject fear of death due to his extremely traumatic childhood experiences, and uses his wealth to reserve revolutionary medical treatments for himself. The Grim Reaper concludes that he's outstayed his welcome, and starts to hunt Hawkes Final Destination-style.
  • Enemy Without: In "Monster", a group of telekinetics recruited by the CIA to perform long-distance assassinations are eventually stalked and killed by an amorphous cloud of hostile psychic energy that they apparently spawned.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The episode "Rule of Law" features an alien being put on trial for murdering a human. The prosecuting attorney is racist against aliens and pushes for an execution, but when everybody learns why the alien killed the guy ( the guy smashed the alien's unhatched eggs with full knowledge of what they were), he sides with the protagonists.
  • Evil Weapon: The episode "The Gun" has a gun that fuses to its holder's hand and causes him to become filled with murderous bloodlust. It was sent by aliens to test how Humans Are Warriors and see if they will be valuable allies in an interstellar war. The aliens are disappointed when one man uses The Power of Love for his daughter and grandson to break free and let go of the gun, but decide to just send more guns to different people.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: In "Mind Over Matter", a group of scientists enter the mind of a patient who has bad memories of his dad trying to make him kill his girlfriend. The dad is surrounded by flames, along with everything else, while screaming at him.
  • Exact Words: In "Zig Zag", Zig Zag has rigged a bunch of servers to explode through power overload. He warns the leader of the taskforce chasing him that the detonator is in his hand. Said leader is holding a physical detonator, so he drops it, then uses the microchip in his hand to try and reset the programming Zig Zag installed. Guess what "in his hand" actually meant.
  • Expendable Clone:
    • It ain't a Tomato in the Mirror trope without an Outer Limits episode devoted to it.
    • The Revival series episode "Replica" subverted the trope; when a bioengeener's wife emerges from a coma that was incorrectly thought to be terminal she states that the clone (who has her memories) created prior to her awakening needs to be "disposed of". She quickly notes that she does not mean termination: she is instead suggesting erasing the clone's memories and leaving her in a far away city where she can hopefully start a new life (in the end, the clone ends up with a clone of the bioengineer himself and Everybody Lives).
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: In "The New Breed", a man whose body is being involuntarily upgraded by injected Nanomachines finds that the source of the sudden pain on the back of his head is a new pair of eyes.
  • Fanservice: The revival had a lot of scantily clad and naked women (notably Alyssa Milano in "Caught In The Act", although that one quickly turns into Fan Disservice - You get so see a man entering Alyssa Milano. Not the way you're thinking, more like "having sex and them absorbing him whole into her body").
  • False Innocence Trick: In "Quality of Mercy", Major Stokes and a female cadet are held prisoner on an alien world. She is taken for more experiments and wants just to die. At the climax, we find the woman is really an alien spy — and the man just told the aliens humanity's battle plans.
  • Fantastic Aesop:
    • In the episode "First Anniversary", two aliens who are stranded on Earth use their shapeshifting/psychic powers to make themselves appear as beautiful women to seduce men. The problem is that the effect wears off after a year of exposure and reveals their hideous true forms to their husbands. The guys can't handle this revelation and and are unable to see that True Beauty Is on the Inside. However, the aliens are not just ugly but so downright inhuman that even touching them makes the men violently ill and eventually Go Mad from the Revelation. As a result they look less like a bunch of superficial jerks and more like a bunch of duped victims; it's implied that the two aliens have been doing this for some time, and one of them has already stopped caring about the damaging effect she has on humans.
    • The episode "Unnatural Selection" dealt with the problems genetic engineering could cause a society, as "fitter" babies grew into supermen and outpaced "normal" people. However, while this made for great drama in Gattaca it was not nearly bad and horrifying enough for the show. So to spice things up, around 5% of all genetically modified children turn into the crazed descendants of Igor, and are killed when found. Naturally, the couple who originally wanted this for their child have changed their minds, but the deformed child of the neighbors kills the back alley scientist before he can undo the changes, so the episode's sad ending is that they'll never fully trust or love their genetically enhanced son.
  • Fantastic Racism: In "The Grell", humans have enslaved an alien race on the basis that they should be grateful for humans having rescued them from their dying planet. The Grell are looked down upon and treated as disposable by their human masters.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: In "The New Breed", a man who injected himself with nanomachines to stop his cancer discovers to his horror that they involuntarily mutate the rest of his body to repair "imperfections" (e.g. a lack of gills). He tries to stab himself to death, but the machines simply repair the damage and restart his heart.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences In "Free Spirit", a body-hopping consciousness decides to demonstrate its power in front of the heroine by jumping in and out of two bodies in quick succession to make the hosts finish a single sentence in perfect concert.
  • First Contact: A carryover from the original.
  • Fling a Light into the Future:
    • In "The Music of the Spheres", the world is bombarded by alien broadcasts that anyone under the age of 21 or so believe to be the most beautiful music they've ever heard. When the broadcasts prove addictive and cause those who listen to them to mutate, the world governments declare martial law, until scientists succeed in decoding the message. The signals originated on a world whose sun had turned ultraviolet 40 years ago. The signal warned that Earth's sun was about to undergo a similar change, and that the broadcasts would genetically alter those who heard them into a new golden-skinned form that could survive under the new sun. Fortunately, it had a rare good ending with no twist involved: the powers that be actually realize the importance of letting that music play, specifically rebroadcast it across the world, including using mobile vehicles to get the sound out to third world countries and to the non-human life on the planet, and in the end, it's insinuated humanity will be just fine. Even those who are too old/decide not to mutate will live... indoors and underground.
    • In "Origin Of Species," a group of students is brought to the future where they find that humanity, in the interim, got heavily into genetic manipulation, basically dooming the human race. When they realize the small group of them isn't enough to sustain humanity for more than a generation or two, they later find enough babies of different genetic mixes, in the ship that brought them to the future, to give the human race a second chance.
  • Fountain of Youth: In "The Last Supper", an elderly scientist is tracking an immortal woman in the hopes that her blood will restore his youth. After all, he tried it on his (literal) guinea pig the last time he had her in custody and it's been alive for decades. In his desperation, however, he doesn't think his plan through and just scales up the dosage relative to body mass. He gets his youth, plus interest.

    G - K 
  • Gay Bravado: In "Dark Child", an Alpha Bitch harrasses Tammy and accuses her of being a lesbian. Tammy drives her away by claiming she actually is one and then hitting on her.
  • Gendercide: Happened in "Lithia", where the few surviving men were Human Popsicles. The thawed soldier protagonist proceeded to raise merry hell in the all-female society that sprang up, but it was prevented from being an Anvilicious misandrist Take That! by the fact that, as ham-fisted and ill-advised as the man's attempts to change it were, the new society was utopian only in appearance (i.e. what with the leadership's rampant favoritism in resource allotment and Big Brother-esque control on the information flow). It ended with him being "put down" (refrozen) and the leadership declaring that trying to make men return was ill-advised, and that all efforts to do so would be ceased which is implied was the real reason they thawed him (and the others before him)- they wanted the least suitable test candidates in the most potentially disruptive situation possible to give themselves plausible deniability why they stopped as well as "proof" that men were the cause of all of society's previous ills, most probably to maintain their power. Just to twist the knife further, the old woman who put him down was his wife, several decades older, and thoroughly convinced of man's evils by a mix of propaganda, his own actions and probably a lifetime of accumulated resentment over numerous issues.
  • Genius Loci: "If These Walls Could Talk" had a mansion that would eat unsuspecting people. Since the story was partially based on Who Goes There?, alcohol was like acid to it.
  • Genre Blindness: "The New Breed" began with a scientist holding a press conference to announce that his new nanotechnological discoveries would allow him to "improve upon God's design." What series did he think that he was on!?! In his defence, he was kidding and only saying it as a way to attract publicity. Despite his ambitions he doesn't actually break protocol; his friend is the one to actually tamper with the nanobots.
  • Giant Flyer: In "Tempests", the gas giant Leviathan's atmosphere harbored two giant flyers: "pteranodons," gigantic winged predators that had only been seen on "deep radar" (the characters encounter a skeleton) and "baleens," kilometer-sized jellyfish-blobs that float through the clouds and have dog-sized Giant Spiders in their guts, either as parasites or symbiotic organisms.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: In "Caught In The Act", a sleazy detective taunts the male protagonist and says his girlfriend is a slut (she's been infected with an alien parasite which sucks out people's lifeforce through sex). He angrily retorts that she would never cheat on him. The detective goes, "Oh yeah? According to her roommate, she goes both ways!" The boyfriend says eagerly, "Really?"
  • Glamour Failure: In the episode "First Anniversary", two stranded female aliens whose true form is beyond the ability of human senses and sensibilities, decided to mimic humans to cope with their loneliness. By using their Psychic Powers / Voluntary Shapeshifting, they could make themselves look and act like any man's ideal woman. Unfortunately, humans develop an immunity to their powers after a year of close contact, and the men inevitably go insane when they realize their wives' true nature. Word of God is that they are Fish People (given the episode descriptions of aquatic people). By the end of the episode, "Ady's" glamour has stopped working on her "husband" whose last appearance in the episode is strapped to a gurney on the way to a mental hospital. In the final scene she already has her sights set on her ex's best friend and has already taken a new form to appeal to his tastes.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: In the episode "First Anniversary", a man's gorgeous wife of one year turns out to be a rather horrid-looking alien who is suffering Glamour Failure because his mind is starting to develop an immunity. He's eventually carted off to a mental asylum and she finds herself a new husband.
  • Good All Along: In "Something About Harry", a teenager suspects that his mom's new tenant is an alien infiltrator when people start disappearing around town, whom the tenant is melting into green goo with a futuristic gun. The tenant was actually a U.S. government agent, and everyone he killed was one of the real aliens. The teenager's mother is the one who had really been replaced by the alien parasites.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: Several episodes.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: "The Voyage Home" revolved around a trio of astronauts traveling back to Earth from Mars. Earlier, two of the astronauts had been replaced by aliens, leaving just the one human who eventually learns about the impostor. Forced to choose between making it back to Earth and the fame and glory he would receive and preventing the alien species from spreading to Earth, the final astronaut finally decides to be a hero and sabotages the re-entry procedure causing the ship to burn up, with Ground Control believing it to be a disasterous malfunction. The ending narration: "The true measure of a hero is when a man lays down his life with the knowledge that those he saves... will never know."
  • Green Eyes: In "Last Supper", the immortal Laura/Jade's eyes are shown to be a very striking jade-green to signify that there's something unnatural about her.
  • The Grim Reaper: In "White Light Fever", Death takes the form of a lightning bolt. He does not like people trying to escape him by medical means, apparently because it would destroy reality if done too much.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: In "Déjà Vu", a time loop occurs due to a failed wormhole experiment. However, at each round the loop gets shorter and shorter, with less time to prevent the impending disaster. The protagonists succeed, with the General Ripper who sabotaged the experiment becoming trapped in a seconds-long version, just enough time for him to see that the triggering explosion is about to happen and cover his face. The Control Voice's opening and closing narration for this episode were identical.
  • Harmful Healing: The Nanobots in "The New Breed" cure a man's inoperable cancer, return him to his physical prime, and give him a Healing Factor, but further testing prompts them to take a proactive approach and start adding various disfiguring mutations in order to pre-emptively protect him from any harm. These include eyes on the back of his head, gills, and an external ribcage that shocks anyone who touches it.
  • Healing Factor:
    • In "The New Breed", nanodevices injected into the body provide the test subject with this ability. He demonstrates it by burning his hand, which is repaired within seconds.
    • In "Last Supper", an immortal woman who goes by the names "Laura" and "Jade" reveals that she was actually born in mediaeval Spain before her village was ravaged by the Black Death. She was the only one to survive, but hasn't aged or gotten sick since, and all her wounds recover soon enough. A government scientist takes samples of her blood to replicate the effect, but vastly underestimates its potency when he injects himself with it and de-ages into a puddle of cells.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In the episode "Better Luck Next Time", the two protagonists defeat two evil Body Surfing aliens by killing the host bodies and then themselves. Too far away from any other people, the aliens die.
    • "Summit" has an almost literal example when the sole survivors of a peace summit offer to kill themselves to prove their sincerity and ensure that the peace treaty they negotiated before terrorists murdered the other representative party was accepted.
    • In "The Voyage Home", the last human member of a three-man space expedition returning from Mars blows up the ship to stop a hostile alien from reaching and infecting the Earth.
    • In "Feasibility Study," an entire Earth neighborhood is transported to a world ruled by powerful but lazy aliens who want a race of servants; if the people from the neighborhood prove able to survive on their world, all of humanity will be enslaved. When a teenage girl inadvertently contracts a fatal disease from another alien race, her father, and eventually everyone who was taken, decide to deliberately infect themselves to trick the kidnappers into thinking that humanity is a bad fit for their experiment.
  • Here We Go Again: In "First Anniversary", a hideous (but nice) alien turns herself into a beautiful woman to marry an average-looking dude. After he finds out what she really looks like when the effect wears off after a year and is driven to madness, the alien is last seen changing her form again to seduce one of her husband's colleagues.
  • Holographic Disguise: "Skin Deep". In this episode, they address the need to not move quickly, or else the hologram will flash and give you away.
  • Horny Devils: In "Caught in the Act", an alien parasite causes a chaste college girl to become a hypersexual life-sucking succubus who swings both ways.
  • A House Divided: In "Abduction", an alien kidnaps five high school students, and tells them that one must be killed. They must decide which of them it will be. And of course they're from completely different social groups. Ray, a typical jock, Danielle, the hottest girl in school, Jason, a stereotypical geek, Brianna, a devout religious girl, and Cody, a social outcast. So needless to say they don't get along. But then again it was a test. And the ensemble was picked for that very reason.
  • Human Resources: "Second Soul" involves first contact with a bodiless alien race fleeing the destruction of their home world. Since they cannot survive indefinitely in this form, they request that they be given dead humans as hosts.
  • Humans Are Morons: The darkest episodes of the show are more often the ones where the human protagonist(s) is an astounding Unwitting Pawn who is duped into destroying the Earth or selling out his own species for the benefit of a more cunning alien villain or someone who winds up paying dearly for a severe lapse in judgment. See also Cruel Twist Ending as they are occasionally the result of a character's mistake, stemming from the human weaknesses mentioned on this page.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "The Hunt" had humans hunting androids that looked indistinguishable from humans. The androids were programmed to be unable to harm humans, though, until they found schematics detailing how to disable that feature.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: In "The Hunt", the plot involves an illegal android hunt. The androids are prevented by inhibitor chips from harming humans. That is, until they find plans for their bodies in a shack and proceed to remove their inhibitors. They kill several hunters but are ultimately gunned down, except for one who manages to escape.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: In "In the Blood", explorers on a spaceship are trapped in "trans-space," a hyperspace-like dimension that turns out to be the literal bloodstream of the universe, which is actually a living being. The "scary" part comes from the universe's defense mechanisms being similar to those of humans and actively seeking to destroy foreign bodies.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: In "The New Breed", a scientist tinkered with nanotechnology and made himself nearly invincible. Unfortunately, the techniques his body used to protect him gave him a monstrous appearance, and proved potentially harmful to those around him. When he tries to commit suicide, it fails spectacularely.
  • Ideal Illness Immunity: "The New Breed" involves prototype nanites developed to make this a reality. Basically, the nanites are designed to move through the body and look for any cellular abnormalities. The damaged or mutated cells would then be restored to their original state. And yes, someone even accused the scientist who developed them of playing God. Unfortunately, a friend of his decides to inject himself with the nanites before they're fully tested. Given the nature of the series, things go horribly wrong.
  • I Die Free: Discussed in the episode "The Grell" by a Rubber-Forehead Alien whose species was enslaved by humans when he and his master's family are stranded in the wilderness. He states that he would rather go back to his people's now uninhabitable planet, even though it would mean certain death. When his master asks him why, he replies "Because I would die free".
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Played with in "White Light Fever". An old, rich, selfish man who nearly died says that death feels cold. When he dies, he meets an innocent girl who died earlier as a result of his selfishness, and asks to go with her. She says he can't because they're not going to the same place; where she's going, it's warm. Then she says that she always thought it was the other way around.
  • Immoral Reality Show: "Judgment Day" involves a TV show where crime victims' families hunt down and kill the apparent killers. The guy the episode focuses on didn't do it, was framed by the show's producer, and uses the show to clear himself.
  • Immortality Begins at 20: In "Last Supper", there's an immortal woman who actually stopped ageing at twenty. She explains that she was the last survivor of the Black Death sweeping through her village as a late teenager when she found out that she had a Healing Factor.
  • I'm Mr. Future Pop Culture Reference: In "Time To Time", a time traveler uses "Luke Skywalker" as an alias when in the year 1969. He even finished a phone call with "May the Force be with you."
  • I Never Told You My Name: As part of the Downer Ending of the episode "Lithia." Set in the post-apocalyptic commune of the title - entirely populated by females due to a plague having killed all but a few cryogenically frozen men - a defrosted male is put back into freeze after his aggressive tendencies cause tragedy, and the leader of the commune (who says "Goodbye, Jason" as he's frozen, even though he never... you know) is his lost love.
  • Informed Ability: In the episode "Falling Star", the heroine's music is supposed to have such amazing influence that if she lives and succeeds as a pop star, the future will become a Utopia. The heroine is played (and presumably, her music composed) by Sheena Easton.
  • In One Ear, Out the Other: In "From Within", a small town is invaded by prehistoric slug-like parasites who crawl into a victim's head through nostrils or earholes and turn them into hedonistic deliquents. A waitress has one slug crawl in her right ear, then much later falls out of her left ear dead, leaving her back to normal. This might have been a mistake but she did come across as pretty ditzy so this might have been a stealth pun...
  • Intimate Healing: A variation occurs in "Caught in the Act", where the way to get an alien that kills men through sex out of the female host's body is by having sex (well, starting to, anyway) with her boyfriend. The explanation is that "love" was what the alien was really looking for in the first place so when it experiences that through the host's contact with her boyfriend, it can finally leave her body.
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves:Pretty much said ad-verbatim in "The Human Factor" by Link the Ridiculously Human Robot. Turns out he's right.
  • Ironic Echo: In the episode "Better Luck Next Time", two evil Body Surfing aliens named Gerard and Kimble - one of whom was revealed as the true form of Jack the Ripper in the episode this one is a sequel to - use "Better luck next time" as a catchphrase, usually when killing or screwing someone over. At the end of the episode, they realize they are in big trouble because both of their human hosts are mortally wounded and the only nearby human is a policewoman named Terry:
    Gerard: Her body is mine!
    Kimble: Wait! Where am I supposed to go!?
    Terry: Nowhere! Game over, better luck next time. (points her gun at her head and fires)
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: In "Stranded", a nerdy teenager with an interest in science is neglected by his sports-oriented father, who openly favors his more jock-like (but still nice, at least to his little bro) older brother. When an alien bounty hunter's ship crash lands nearby, this makes the kid more open to an offer of friendship from the alien, who turns out to be the bounty hunter's criminal.
  • Just Following Orders: In the opening of "Free Spirit", a group of scientists receive an order to end a mind-transfer experiment by terminating their unconscious human test subjects. When the last one escapes as an incorporeal spirit and eventually comes back for revenge, they try to use this excuse by claiming they had no choice in the matter. He calls them out on how weak it is, as they didn't even attempt to object to the order.
  • Karmic Death: Used a lot:
    • In the episode "Tribunal", an elderly, but unrepentant and still evil Nazi is brought back into the past and stranded in the concentration camp where he used to work. His past self casually executes him, not realizing who he was, and dismissing the corpse as "Just another worthless Jew".
    • In "The Vaccine", the Jerk Ass Social Darwinists force the nurse main character to mix up the titular vaccine for them at gunpoint, and even after they promise to save one dose for the little boy, they take it and give it to one of their own when the nurse's back is turned. They then go into anaphylactic shock, because they were already exposed and immune to the virus; the vaccine itself killed them and they inadvertently saved the lives of more sympathetic characters.
    • In "Deja Vu", a character suffers a Karmic Fate Worse Than Death; the general who secretly tried to weaponize a teleportation experiment ends up trapped in an endless loop of the second before his death when the experiment goes awry.
    • In "Last Supper", a Mad Scientist tortures an immortal woman while trying to figure out the secret to her immortality and eternal youth. Eventually, he injects himself with a syringe of her blood. It makes him younger... and younger... and younger until he's reduced to a puddle of raw cells.
    • In "Judgment Day", the corrupt TV producer who framed a man for murder so he could be hunted down and killed on live television, suffers the same fate after he kills someone in an attempt to cover it up. He's killed by the person he originally framed, in fact.
  • Karmic Transformation:
    • The episode "Tribunal" has one of the best examples. An old Nazi war criminal who escaped justice is taken as an old man back through time and put in the camp he ran, now in the outfit of a prisoner. Combining this with Karmic Death he is then shortly executed by his past self as just another worthless Jew.
    • The episode "The Grell" has a guy who was racist against aliens turned into one. He learns his lesson and treats them with compassion in the end.
  • Karmic Twist Ending:
    • "Blood Brothers": Michael Deighton tries to kill his own brother to steal a valuable drug. Earlier on Micheal had lied that he didn't have the gene that would lead to him developing Huntington's disease, but in fact does have it. He takes the wonder immortality drug Deighton C in hopes of being eternally young and biologically immortal. Unfortunately his brother finds that monkeys given the same drug earlier on lose their regenerative ability after a short period of time. The same happens to Micheal who accelerates into a real life version of Tithonus... being immortal but rapidly aging.
    • "Afterlife": Linden Stiles allows himself to have his DNA spliced with alien DNA found from a body at a crash site thus transforming him into a human/alien hybrid with enhanced senses. He is allowed to escape the government facility so as to be hunted down. When he's caught and about to be executed, the aliens arrive and kidnap Stiles while at the same showing signs of disappointment at the army revealing the entire events to be a test which humanity has failed.
    • "Bits Of Love": The last survivor of a nuclear war relies on computer generated holograms for companionship including women who he simply dumps after a few dates. Eventually he falls for the computer AI in charge of the AI. When his holographic family urge him to end the relationship for it means they may have to be deleted due to their relationship using more of the limited energy supply, he ditches her for a holographic version of former real life flame. After attempting to delete the AI and replace her with a better version, she fights back and assumes total control creating a holographic version of himself and a child. The new family begins to live out a life as with the rest of the holograms who continue to ignore him. Now he is to spend the rest of his life alone as the last human alive while the holograms live out eternity ignoring him.
    • “New Lease”: Dr. James Houghton has been killed by a robber during a theft and before dying urges his colleagues to bring him back to life to shower his neglected family with love knowing the procedure can only bring him back to life for a single day. He reclaims the affection of his wife and but then decides to get revenge on the man who kills him. After being given life imprisonment he realizes the procedure was more successful than previous attempts meaning he'll spend the remaining decades of his life in jail.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: In "Mindreacher", a woman is attacked by a monster in a dream. After she realizes she's in a dream, she wills a katana into her hand and kills the monster.
  • Kill and Replace:
    • "Alien Radio" had a talk show host interview a man who claimed to know of a conspiracy which replaced prominent figures with clones loyal to the creators. At the end of the episode, the "conspiracy nut" is killed, at which point the shocked host sees a duplicate of himself wearing the same clothes. The final scene is a report by the clone who dismisses the claims of the "nut" who has "killed himself".
    • The reveal of "Something About Harry" was that the mysterious tenant at a teenager's (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) house, who was going around killing people around town, was in fact a government agent who had been hunting these types of aliens. In a further reveal, it turns out that the boy's mother (who had been skeptical of the whole thing), not the agent, had in fact been impersonated by another one of these aliens.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: The episode "Judgment Day" was about an Immoral Reality Show in which convicted murderers are released so that the family members of their victims can hunt them down and kill them on national television. This is subverted in the case of the protagonist, both because he's been framed and manages to convince the person who's hunting him that he didn't kill her sister, but played straight in the case of the T.V. show's producer, who is responsible for the Frame-Up and then kills the other sister as well to cover it up. The protagonist later hunts the producer down as after he's been exposed and become a target on his own show.
  • The Killer in Me: In "Free Spirit", the body-hopping spirit reveals at the end that he used the body of the woman whom he blamed for his death to kill her own friend, who was another person on his hit list. She is subsequently sent to prison for it.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual:
    • The season 2 episode "Mind Over Matter" has a man who, through an advanced AI, can enter people's unconsciousness when they are in a coma. He uses this to bring several people out. When the woman he loves (but who he has never told) enters a coma, he uses the computer to enter her unconscious. They start having a relationship in the simulation, but a weird monster appears in the simulation. At the climax, we find the AI created a simulation of her and, in trying to kill the fake, he has killed the real woman, who appeared as the 'monster' because of her comatose state; she was flickering in and out and looked 'wrong' because she was a representation of a mind only partially active. The 'clean' version was the AI.
    • The season 3 episode "Bits of Love" involved a man who'd survived a nuclear holocaust with only holographic AIs for company, including a particular character that his habitat AI used as her avatar. He can occasionally have physical contact via a body-encasing VR chamber, and uses this for sex. Then he makes the mistake of doing this with the habitat AI, and though it's just a fling to him, she falls in love with him. Oops. The ending even plays with the trope a little as the AI creates a virtual copy of the man then is implied to play out their entire (possible, virtual) future lives as a couple whilst the real man is trapped in his bunker, watching this happen turning it into Kiss, Me I'm Virtual squared.
  • Knight Templar: "A Stitch In Time" was a meditation on how Knights Templar come to be created and the price a person pays for being one. It's generally regarded as one of the best episodes of the series.

    L - P 
  • Lady Land: The episode "Lithia" takes place in the year 2055, where the world is populated only by women. Almost all of the men were killed years earlier in a war, and the plot starts with a male soldier being awakened from cryogenic suspension. He adjusts to the society, but is unsettled by the fact that power must be churned manually through a mill when there's a power plant a relatively short distance away. His attempts to "solve" this problem escalate until someone gets killed, at which point he's frozen again after we get the Cruel Twist Endinghe's not the only man in storage- the leaders of this society found several and tried reintroducing them to the population, with disastrous results every time.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: "Free Spirit" mainly revolves about people's past misdeeds coming back to haunt them; literally in this case when the disembodied essence of a person who was killed in an aborted science experiment pursues his killers by possessing people in the asylum they're working at.
    Control Voice: If we are unwilling to heed our conscience, our worst judgments will inevitable come back to haunt us.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: In "The Heist", an alien (which may have acted as the A/C for a crashed alien spacecraft) attempts to eliminate all heat sources in its vicinity. We get to see it freeze a female soldier so that she looks like an ice sculpture, and then a drop of water from an overhanging icicle is enough to get the "sculpture" to fall to pieces.
  • Literal Maneater: The stranded alien fugitive in "Stranded" at one point transforms himself into a hot girl to lure a teenage boy closer so he can eat him.
  • Living Gasbag: The episode "Tempests" has kilometer-long jellyfish blobs that float through the clouds of the planet Leviathan.
  • Living Structure Monster: The house from "If These Walls Could Talk", which turns out to be alive rather than haunted.
  • Lock Down: "Blood Brothers" had a secure medical experiment lab that could be sealed and sterilized with microwaves.
  • Love Father, Love Son: In "Last Supper", the immortal Laura/Jade falls in love with the soldier who saved her from government experiments, and 20 years later his then-adult son because he reminded her of his father. He eventually supports their relationship.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine:
    • "Tempests". The protagonist's spaceship, carrying a vaccine for his dying colony, crashes into the heart of an Air Whale in a gas giant's atmosphere. When he goes outside to check the damage, he's bitten by a nasty, basketball-sized spider and passes out just as he returns to the airlock. When he wakes up, he keeps passing out and reawakening between a reality in which he's lying on a hospital bed with his family at his bedside, having already been rescued and now hallucinating from his colony's plague, and a reality in which he and the remaining crewmen are struggling to fix their ship, in which he's hallucinating from the spider venom, while another crewmember is being webbed up and parasitized by the spiders while babbling happily to herself. He eventually rejects the hospital reality as a Lotus Eater Machine (and reasons that if there's any chance the colony still needs to be saved, he has to take it), finds a way to escape from the wrecked ship and delivers the vaccine. At his moment of success, however, the view changes to reveal that the spiders actually overwhelmed the ship near the beginning of the episode, and now he and the entire crew are lost in their dream worlds while they're being webbed up and sucked dry. Both the good and bad realities were illusions.
    • "The Refuge". The protagonist is stranded in the middle of nowhere in a blizzard when a rich man offers him shelter in his mansion, along with several other random people. Eventually, it is revealed that all of these characters are terminally ill people in stasis, with their minds uploaded into virtual reality to prevent their minds from atrophying. The rich man was the only one who remembered this, and since he is aware of the dream, he has seemingly godlike control over the environment and bullies the others around. The protagonist figures it out too and manages to defeat the rich man and free the others. They then make the blizzard go away so it is a true paradise. A technician informs the protagonist a cure was found for his condition, but he choses to stay until the girl he fell in love with in the simulation is cured as well.
  • Magic Music: In "Music of the Spheres", the titular music is a signal from space which, in addition to being extremely addictive, ends up causing a series of dramatic physical transformations in listeners. Notably, unlike most Brown Notes, the changes the music causes ultimately turn out to be beneficial.
  • Mama Bear: Shal in the episode "Rite Of Passage" is a perfectly ordinary human that convinces her husband to help her rebel against their alien caretakers after their baby is confiscated. The aliens did that because thay felt that they were better equipped to care for it. After realizing that it is no excuse for separating a mother from her child, they apologise and return the baby.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: In "Last Supper", an immortal 20-something woman who was born in the High Middle Ages has Rescue Sex with the man who saved her from being experimented on. She unexpectedly returns 20 years later when she's involved with the man's son, forcing her to explain her condition.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Played to its horrific extreme in "Lithia." The show opens with a male soldier, seemingly the Lone Survivor of the male gender, entering an all-female village, without warning or fanfare, and collapsing from exposure to the elements. Note that just moments before his arrival, the village elder was sharing stories with a room full of small children that could easily fit with the most radical of Taliban doctrine if the genders were reversed. After the entire episode shows just how badly things could go in that kind of environment, the ending goes and shows that there are other men, all in cryostasis, and the narrator basically proclaims that humanity doesn't really need the male gender, aside from as a Glorified Sperm Donor. Of course, if the other men mentioned were re-introduced into society like he was, it's a small wonder the attempts were horrific failures.
  • Mental World: In "Mind Over Matter", a computer technician can use a specialized mainframe to enter the mental world of people trapped in comas. He uses this to try to save his love interest. Unfortunately, the protagonist forgot A.I. is a Crapshoot with unusual results.
  • Merlin Sickness: In "Last Supper", a scientist is tracking down an immortal woman so that he could use her blood to reverse his aging. When he finally caught up with her, he vastly overestimated the required dosage, and ended up a damp stain on the rug.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: "What Will The Neighbors Think?"
  • Mistaken for Murderer: In "Living Hell", the protagonist tries to warn the cops about a killer whose visions he has been receiving. As the detective in charge of the investigation points out, how is it that this particular person who called them up out of the blue knows so much detailed information about the crime scenes? It's no surprise that he quickly becomes suspect number one.
  • Mortality Phobia: In "White Light Fever", The 102-year old businessman Harlan Hawkes is permanently living on a reserved floor of a major hospital and has contracted a personal doctor to carry out research to keep him alive at all costs. This was explained by a severe Freudian Excuse where Hawkes witnessed his parents being murdered in front of him during a war when he was a kid and spending days hiding underneath their corpses to survive. The dilemma starts when he desires another heart transplant while an 18-year old girl also needs it, while The Grim Reaper himself starts hunting for Hawkes in the form of electricity.
  • Murder by Cremation: "Blood Brothers" involves a scientist working in a sealed lab with a gas meant to be used to pacify riots. As a side effect, the latest batch ends up turning the lab monkey immortal. When the scientist's assistant attempts to steal the monkey's biological culture, the scientist's Corrupt Corporate Executive brother traps him in the lab. The angry assistant slams the door with his fist, which results in a bloody fist. The culture in his blood triggers the decontamination system, which "flashes" the lab, killing the guy. The brother later tries the same with the scientist and his girlfriend, who have discovered that the culture makes you temporarily invincible, only to kill you in a few days.
  • Murderer P.O.V.: In "Living Hell", this is justified in-universe when an experimental neural implant allows the protagonist to see through the eyes of a Serial Killer with the same implant.
  • Mutual Kill: "Phobos Rising" involves two Martian bases belonging to the opposite sides of a Space Cold War. When Earth appears to be destroyed, both sides assume the other one is responsible. The communication blackout resulting from the planetary explosion prevents a normal conversation, and the bases launch missiles at one another. The two commanders finally manage to establish contact, but one is killed before being able to self-destruct the missiles. Both bases end up being destroyed (having no anti-missile defenses) with only two survivors (one from each side). The survivors learn that Earth is fine. It was the Moon that was accidentally destroyed, and the debris blocked the view of Earth. A later episode set in the same Story Arc has both sides finally come to nuclear blows on Earth, ending all life on the planet.
  • Nanomachines: The series featured a plot in "The New Breed" designed around nanobots created to heal human infirmities; the nanobots spontaneously develop an artificial intelligence and begin "repairing" what they perceived as "design flaws" of those human bodies - creating some rather weird things like an armored ribcage and even eyes in the back of the head! According to opening titles, the main plot was also based on Blood Music, mentioned under Literature.
  • Nazi Grandpa: One of the single-vilest villains of the anthology was the old Nazi known as Karl Rademacher from season 5's time-travel episode "Tribunal". Once a sadistic commander of a concentration camp, he murdered hundreds of people during the war before disappearing and living out the rest of his days in the United States as "Robert Greene". The protagonist, the son of a The Holocaust survivor, tries to bring Rademacher to justice, but eventually resolves to have Rademacher killed by his own younger self.
  • Never Suicide: "Second Soul" involves aliens using human corpses to survive. The best friend of the man in charge of the operation to help the aliens appeared to have committed suicide after his wife's corpse is used. His friend isn't so sure, since he had been investigating the aliens and thought they were conspiring right before he died. Subverted however, since there was no conspiracy, and it really was a suicide.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Happens in almost all episodes. For example "The Light Brigade": While humanity is at war with a powerful alien race, a last desperate attempt is made to carry a huge bomb to destroy their home planet. After finding and killing an alien in disguise, the heroes release the bomb and discover the alien turned the ship around—the heroes just bombed Earth.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In "Small Friends", a prisoner who has secretly invented nanomachines uses them to aid a fellow prisoner in repairing a CD player he broke, which is owned by a hostile convict who will kill him if it isn't fixed. As a result of this act of kindness, the inventor has his secret exposed to the hostile con, is forced to aid that con's escape, and ultimately loses his life while defending his family from him. At least the nanomachines paid the con back for that one.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: In "Dead Man's Switch", humanity sets up several people in underground bunkers to ensure Earth becomes this, by launching all of our nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, if the incoming aliens are hostile.
  • Non-Human Lover Reveal: In "First Anniversary", two aliens are stranded on Earth use their power to fool people's senses in order to pass as human. Specifically, as very pretty human women who act romantically interested in some rather plain-looking men. Unfortunately, people tend to become resistant to their power after about a year or so, and the men who marry them tend to Go Mad from the Revelation after seeing their true appearances. (In an aversion of Take Our Word for It, when they let down their disguise, it's on-screen - and they really are horrifying.)
  • No Social Skills: In "The Human Operators", a sentient spaceship keeps a lone human man as a slave to repair and maintain it when needed. One day, a female slave is brought on board and the ship orders them to mate and beget the next generation of slaves. The man, having lived on the ship his whole life, has no idea what to do and has to be coached by the female. There's a scene where, after the woman guides his hand over her breasts, the man double takes and looks down at his first erection.
  • Not Right in the Bed: "Caught in the Act" featured Alyssa Milano as a pure, virginal teenage girl...who is possessed by an alien entity that feeds by seducing and devouring men.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In "Last Supper", immortal Jade lifts her shirt to show Frank her birthmark. Unfortunately, her boyfriend (Frank's son) and his wife walk in on them and take it the wrong way.
  • Nuke 'em: This show likes to nuke them.
    • In "The Light Brigade" the titular human warship is hit by two nukes.
    • In "Trial by Fire" the US president tries to nuke the aliens who have splashed down in Earth's oceans.
  • Obsolete Mentor: In "Stream of Consciousness", there's a librarian who couldn't connect to the mind-linked Internet of the future and was looked down on for actually reading books. Of course, when the network went haywire, he was the only one who could help.
  • Offscreen Afterlife: In "White Light Fever", an old man has been doing everything he can to stave off death, including putting himself ahead of a sweet young woman to have a heart transplant. He remarks during the episode that "death is cold". As he is finally dying, he sees the ghost of the sweet young woman approach him. "Take me with you," he pleads. She tells him this is not possible, and that where she is going, it is always warm. Just before she leaves, she turns to face him, saying, "It's funny. I always thought it was the other way 'round."
  • Offstage Villainy: In "Abaddon", it's used for ambiguity factor when a genocidal warlord is unfrozen from a hypersleep pod. He claims to be innocent of the crimes he's accused of all while acting Obviously Evil. Since his purported human sacrifices and mass murder is all in his backstory, the crew of the ship that found him wonder if the Mega Corp. they work for (and seized the land that belonged to the warlord's followers) actually did frame him, which is left unanswered.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the episode "Relativity", a group of humans realized that the aliens they killed are just boy scouts on a camping trip. When the older aliens find out who these blood-thirsty beings are, they destroy the human spaceship and set a course for Earth.
  • Older Than They Look: In "The Sentence", a prison was created where prisoners serve their prison sentence within a few hours. The creator of the prison is trapped inside and serves a 20 year sentence within a few hours, which would mentally make him this trope.
  • One-Gender Race: In "Lithia", one of the episodes involved an all female post-apocalyptic society in which almost all males were wiped off the planet due to a scourge virus. They decided to not reintroduce the remaining men into the population because every time they took one out of stasis, it caused conflict in the society because the men pushed limits that the elders were not comfortable with, like building generators or stealing from other towns. Sucks to be male.
  • Opening Narration: With slightly altered wording from the original
  • Orifice Invasion: The prehistoric worm parasites in the episode "From Within" entered (and later exited as they died) through nostrils, mouths and ears. One girl actually had a worm go in her right ear (complete with blood) and at the end of the episode have it come out her left ear without leaving her with any ill effects (other than a great deal of pain).
  • Phlebotinum Overdose: In "Last Supper", a scientist pursues an immortal woman to unlock the secret of eternal life. He injected a tiny bit of her blood into a rat, which was still alive decades later. As his age had caught up with him, he decided to attempt the same on himself. He drew a little too much blood, however, causing him to de-age into a pre-fetal puddle of human tissue.
  • Power Degeneration: "Blood Brothers" has a scientist accidentally develop a serum that appears to give people (and monkeys) a Healing Factor (a monkey took a dose of cyanide without a problem). His brother, the Corrupt Corporate Executive, refuses to reveal the miracle to the world but uses it on himself to cure a hereditary disease. However, the scientist then realizes that the serum doesn't give you healing powers after all but merely forces the cells to use up all their energy on healing, leaving behind a withered husk. His brother is destined to spend the rest of his days on life support.
  • The Power of Love: Saves the day in at least two episodes.
    • In "Caught In The Act", Hannah's love for her boyfriend gives her the strength to disobey and eventually expel the alien possessing her.
    • In "Paradise", four women volunteered to be surrogate mothers for a dying alien. Only one succeeds, because she was in love with the man she had sex with in order to get the sperm.
  • Precrime Arrest: In "A Stitch in Time", a professor invented a time travel machine after previously having been raped when she was younger. She tried to correct the past by going back in time and killing soon-to-be serial killers before they could claim any victims. She eventually undoes her own motivation to do this by saving her younger self, but previous iterations of events lead a homicide detective to continue where she left off.
  • President Evil: In "Decompression", a time traveler approaches a presidential candidate and warns him that his loss in the upcoming election will pave the way for one of these. As she continues to win him over, she eventually convinces him that his staff will sabotage his chances of winning, and that he needs to jump from the plane and leave them all to die (she'll protect him with her future-tech). He complies, and she's true to her word. Then she reveals he is the President Evil she spoke of, having gambled that he would be self-centered enough to save his own hide at the expense of everyone else. The plane will be fine, and he's just ensured that his political career is tarnished beyond recovery. Oh, and she didn't really save him. She just gave him a few minutes to find out the truth before putting him right back in mid-air to splatter on the ground.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed: In "Straight and Narrow", a young man attending a boarding school realizes that the other students are brainwashed by a chip inserted in their heads. He and one other student are immune to the mind control chip because of a drug they take for stomach ulcers. The protagonist has to pretend to comply with the demands of the institution to blend in until he can attempt escape.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: This happens in several episodes. The episode "Double Helix" lampshades it.
    Student: Dude, you injected that stuff that made that fish grow legs into yourself!?
  • Public Exposure: In "Bits of Love", Aiden talks the holographic character Emma into letting him paint her nude. Since she's a computer program, she literally freezes while doing so. The painting is a success, but Emma soon develops an individuality and becomes a Woman Scorned when Aiden won't return her feelings...
  • Puppeteer Parasite:
    • "Dead Man's Switch" had a very brief scene of literal Puppet Masters. The protagonist is down in a secure bunker, where he must push a button every hour to prevent Earth's last-ditch Doomsday Device from going off. The protagonist's commanding officer is talking to him via video from Washington DC, assuring him that the alien genocide it was meant to avenge is over and they'll relieve him soon, he just has to keep pushing the button until his bunker can be reached. In the episode's final shot, it's seen that the General is a corpse amidst the buring ruins of DC, and spindly sea-spider-like aliens have their limbs stuck into him through a gash in his back, working him like a ventriloquist's dummy.
    • "The Second Soul" features a benevolent, mostly-benign version. The aliens are refugees, energy beings who need a body, and asks humanity to give them their dead. There is strain on both sides, with the aliens dying because they can't get a host in time, and some humans being Driven to Suicide by the stress of knowing that their loved ones are dead, yet also seemingly alive when inhabited by an alien. The end of the episode reveals that the children of the aliens possessing human bodies are 100% human, which makes sense, considering they don't alter the bodies' DNA.
    • "Caught in the Act" has an alien parasite possess young women and seduce men in order to absorb them for food/energy. This has happened at least several times throughout history. The parasite can only be defeated with the Power of Love.
    • "From Within" has prehistoric worms take over a mining town but are defeated by a mentally-retarded kid who figures out that they like salt and hate sunlight. They also cause the host to lose all inhibitions.

    Q - S 
  • Quest for Identity:
    • In the episode "Blank Slate", a man is being chased by some people. He encounters a woman who agrees to help him. He can't remember who he is but has a strange case with him that periodically dispenses a shot of a blue liquid. With every shot, he regains some of his memories. In the end, he takes the last shot and remembers that those people chasing them are working for him. He is a Mad Scientist who created this method of erasing, storing, and restoring memories. The end of the episode shows him about to do this to the woman who helped him.
    • In the episode "Birthright", a politician gets into a car accident and lose his memory. He is immediately told who he is but starts to see strange things. He suspects and alien conspiracy only to find out that he himself is an alien and, in fact, the aliens are already growing a replacement for him.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: In "Caught in the Act", a college girl named Hannah is possessed by an alien and goes around seducing people, then eating them after sex. In the girl's bathroom, Hannah loses her temper after the alien tries to seduce her roommate and punches the mirror. She then picks up a shard and attempts suicide, but the alien regains control and makes her drop it and continue its mission.
  • Rape Leads to Insanity: In "A Stitch in Time", a woman is raped/assaulted as a teen and grows up to be a mentally-unbalanced scientist who builds a time machine and uses it to go back and execute serial killers before they target anyone. Her ensuing Ripple Proof Memory does not help with her ongoing mental stability.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "Heart's Desire", an alien arrives in the Wild West and gives four outlaws superpowers. Naturally, all but one get themselves killed due to fighting amongst themselves, though the survivor was more moral and level-headed than the others, and only fought in self-defense. The alien tells the survivor that Humans Are the Real Monsters and takes away his powers before disappearing:
    The fate of a world isn't determined by its best examples, but by its worst. It takes a few to destroy the many, especially when even the best of you can be dragged down into the mire. Judging from your example, brother against brother, friend against friend, you people have such a potential for violence, sheer, unvarnished wickedness, I've got every confidence you'll destroy yourself before you build your first inter-stellar engine. We've got nothing to fear from you.
  • The Remake: Five episodes of the original were redone as four episodes of the Revival ("Nightmare", "A Feasibility Study", "I, Robot" and "The Inheritors" parts 1 and 2 - this last, the original's only two-parter, was remade as a one-parter).
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: In "A Stitch in Time", an already-unbalanced scientist uses her time machine to go back and execute notorious serial killers before they hurt anyone. Each time history changes, and she remembers each and every change, driving her crazier and crazier. In the end, she (and a homicide detective following her murders) go back in time to save her younger self from the sexual assault which originally caused her problems. The scientist loses this (having essentially erased herself), but the detective gains it and realizes that her best friend was killed by one of the serial killers whom the scientist had no motivation to kill in the current timeline. The detective then starts killing serial killers...
  • Robot Girl: "Mary 25" involved a Robot Girl as one of the main characters, and it ended on an absolute Tear Jerker.
  • Robotic Reveal: Several of the robot-centric episodes:
    • In "Valerie 23", the invalid Hank is confused as to why none of his colleagues tried hitting on the rather attractive girl he was just introduced to. He quickly finds out why when they take him to a side room where a group of scientists are working on the wiring inside the gynoid's exposed skull.
    • In "Resurrection", two scientists are breeding a grown man in what appears to be an embryonal sac in their basement. One of the scientists accidentally gets some fluid on his face, and goes upstairs to clean up. His colleague then removes his face plate to reveal that they're both androids. This is followed by an Internal Reveal for the new human in a later scene.
    • In "Mary 25", it turns out that "Teryl" is in fact a robot replacement who has convinced the protagonist to kill her unfaithful husband, who was cheating on her with another robot.
  • Robotic Spouse: The premise of the episode "Valerie 23" and the mandatory Cruel Twist Ending of its sequel, "Mary 25"
  • The Scapegoat: The series sometimes does this. In "Lithia," the male soldier introduced winds up taking all the blame for everything that went wrong in the village, including a woman's death, despite the fact that he personally did nothing wrong, and all his actions were done at the behest of the women in the village, including attempting to steal electrical power from a nearby town, after trying to buy it and and being rebuffed, because without it, the village was not likely to produce enough food to survive the next winter, due to the government's extremely punishing tax rate "Praise the Goddess." He is definitely not a Silent Scapegoat at the end.
  • Science Is Bad: A recurring them (though not always)
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: "Mind Over Matter", a doctor hooks a comatose woman to a VR machine so they can communicate with her. He enters the VR world several times and they start getting intimate. One of his colleagues is disgusted, and protests the unethical nature of what he is doing. He refuses to listen, and she gets fed up and leaves, and in doing so, escapes being involved in the bad ending.
  • Screw Yourself: Discussed in "Mind Over Matter", where a scientist invents a virtual reality device that lets you interface directly with people's minds. The virtual worlds can be populated with people from the users' memories. One character points out that a person created from someone's memories is technically part of them, and asks if having sex with one would count as selfcest, even if the simulated person was the opposite gender. The scientist gets annoyed and brushes the question off.
  • Schmuck Bait: In "The Heist", soldiers raid a secret government armory, but the guard they capture begs them not to open a box. They open it, and unleash an alien that kills them all and continues to the outside world.
  • Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear: In "Under the Bed", there's a rather literal example in the opening when a Teddy Bear (actually a child-eating monster in disguise) underneath the bed lures a kid by having it claim that he's scared of the dark and wants him to pull it out. The boy is then sucked under the bed to his sister's horror. Foreshadowing this, the bear starts ominously stating "little boy" and has its eyes open to reveal them to be red.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In "Abaddon", the crew of a ship in deep space discovers a hypersleep pod containing the body of a famous mass murdering warlord. He's let out and quickly begins to manipulate the people on the ship into killing each other.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: In "Sarcophagus", an archeological dig finds an alien inside a tomb. Upon awakening, the friendly being was quite happy to find that humanity had come a long way from the cavemen that had attacked him on sight, forcing him to seal himself up to recover from his injuries. When there is a cave-in, the alien allows the two who had befriended him to seal themselves up, keeping them alive until they are finally rescued.
  • Seeker White Blood Cells: In "In the Blood", a spaceship crew punches a hole into another dimension, which they assume to be hyperspace or subspace. The main character, who is descended from Magical Native Americans, starts to believe that it is actually the bloodstream of the living universe. What they originally thought to be asteroids turn out to have a similar structure to human white blood cells, except they use gravity to kill infection.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: In "Breaking Point", a scientist invents a Time Machine, which he uses to travel several days into the future. There, he sees his wife, who has been shot. When he returns to his own time, he desperately tries to convince everyone that he really did travel to the future, only to have everyone think him crazy (doesn't help that the time shift apparently has some nasty side effects, such as actually turning him crazy). In the end, he ends up accidentally shooting his wife while trying to stop her from leaving him. In a twist, he decides to prevent her death by ensuring that they never meet in the first place, so he travels back to the day they met and shoots his younger self. Both versions of him die. Unfortunately, fate doesn't like to be cheated - his future wife was planning on killing herself that day, and only meeting his past self kept her from taking the pills.
  • Self-Restraint: In "I, Robot", a self-aware robot called Adam has just killed its creator after said creator, on the behest of the government, tried to erase Adam's personality and reprogram him as a mindless weapon. Most of the episode consists of a trial determining whether or not Adam should be considered a person fit to stand trial or a piece of haywire machinery that should be immediately scrapped. The entire time he is cuffed with rather hefty restraints. In the end Adam wins the right to stand trial as a person. However, as everyone is leaving the courthouse, the prosecuting attorney who argued against Adam's humanity accidentally walks into the path of a truck. Adam effortlessly breaks his restraints and pushes her out of the way, sacrificing himself in the process.
  • Serial Killer: In "Living Hell", Wayne Haas is a serial killer with a twist: he and another guy both received an experimental neural implant from an emergency procedure several years apart to save their lives after an accident. He quickly realizes that they can share each other's thoughts, and uses it to send the other guy visions of the way that he graphically murders women.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: In "A Stitch In Time", an unbalanced scientist uses her time machine to go back and execute famous serial killers before they hurt anybody. Her resulting Ripple Effect-Proof Memory does not improve her mental state...
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • In "A Stitch In Time", a scientist develops a time machine and uses it to go back and kill serial killers before their first murder. However, it turns out she was motivated by the fact that she'd been raped and tortured by a serial killer herself as a child. She eventually goes back and kills him, thus saving her younger self, but this undoes all of her other killings, as she would have had no motivation to kill them in the first place. She also dies while killing him. However, her younger self realizes that time travel is possible and uses it to re-invent the technology. In the double Clip Show "Final Appeal", she uses it to help people (she dies when another time traveler blows up Washington, D.C., in the future).
    • In "Decompression", a popular presidential candidate traveling on a plane and seeing an intangible image of a woman claiming to be from a Bad Future where his plane crashed (because of another time traveler's accidental interefence), and his ineffectual opponent ended up winning. She convinces him to jump out of the plane by claiming that she will use future technology to halt his fall moments before hitting the ground. This appears to happen, but then she explains that she is here to kill him, as he is the one who will become President Evil due to his paranoia. The falling scene repeats, and nobody catches him this time. The plane lands without problems.
    • In "Patient Zero", a time-traveling assassin killing certain people with a fast-acting poison before the strains of viruses they're carrying can combine in Patient Zero and start a pandemic that will kill most of humanity. Each time he goes back and is told that nothing has changed. He eventually realizes that he has to kill Patient Zero, who turns out to be a pretty woman, and he hesitates, resolving to prevent her from contacting the people with the strains. At the end of the episode, a colleague of his goes back in time and explains that the assassin is the one who is now Patient Zero, as his attempts to keep her away from the infected resulted in him creating the plague within himself. He voluntarily lets himself be poisoned in order to keep his future family safe.
  • Sex Bot: Several episodes explored the inherent problems with sexbots, though some of them were created for non-sexual purposes but just happened to be "fully functional."
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: In "First Anniversary", the protagonist's wife is actually a foul shapeshifting alien, whose power makes her appear as every man's perfect woman. Unfortunately, the power starts to fade when used too much on someone, such as her husband.
  • Sharing a Body: The episode "The Vessel" has a writer go up into space on a shuttle. However, something happens and the shuttle crashes on landing, only for the writer to walk out unharmed. He starts getting strange visions and eventually finds out that there is a non-corporeal alien in his body, whose own spacecraft was destroyed near Earth and whose attempts to enter the writer resulted in the shuttle's destruction. With the government realizing something is up, they perform experiments on the writer and find out that having two beings in one body will eventually prove fatal. The alien seemingly agrees to sacrifice itself by giving the scientists instructions on killing him to save the writer. It appears to work, and the writer is set free. However, one of the scientists then wonders if they killed the right being. This is confirmed when the "writer" goes to his son's grave and tells the "boy" that his father was very brave with a flashback revealing that it was the writer who chose to give up his life to save the alien.
  • Shock Collar:
    • The aliens in the episode "Rite Of Passage" put shock wristbands on the humans they were raising to prevent them from trying to leave their enclosure. It wasn't due to malice; the woods were full of dangerous creatures.
    • "The Grell" from the episode of the same name are a race of Rubber-Forehead Aliens who were enslaved by humans. They all wear shock collars that electrocute them if they disobey their masters.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: This happened so frequently on this show that the trope Cruel Twist Ending was originally known as Outer Limits Twist.
  • Sinister Minister: Father Claridge from "Fear Itself" murdered a little girl and burned her corpse before blaming her brother, turning the boy into a traumatized wreck for most of his life and haunted by the experience. He ends up driven to madness by the brother's psychic powers, imagining himself burning alive.
  • Slave Race: The Grell from "The Grell" come from a desert planet whose sun was undergoing a supernova and were transported by the human Federation to serve as slaves with Shock Collars.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: On the whole, very cynical except for a few episodes with a Happy Ending. There is a reason the Cruel Twist Ending trope used to be called "Outer Limits Twist".
  • The Slow Path: In ''Vanishing Act", a man would go to sleep and wake up ten years in the future every time. Once she figures out what is going on, his lover spends the rest of her life trying to figure out how to save him.
  • Smart People Play Chess: In "I, Robot", Leonard Nimoy's character, a retired lawyer, plays chess a lot. He comes out of retirement because it bores him.
  • Snow Means Love: In "Inconstant Moon", a scientist believing the sun has gone nova and burned off half the Earth's atmosphere tries to distract his longtime love interest by walking downtown. The erratic weather causes a romantic snowfall.
  • Starfish Aliens: In "Vanishing Act", a group of worm-like fluorescent aliens nab a hapless human through a wormhole so they can use his body as a host to experience Earth through his senses. It turns out that they also have no concept of time, only being and non-being. Luckily they're friendly enough to return their host to his original time when it's explained to them.
  • Still Fighting The Civil War: In the episode "Gettysburg", the main characters are two friends who are also American Civil War reenactors. While for one of them it's apparently just a hobby, the other one is somewhat obsessed with the legacy of the Confederacy and wishes they had won the war, arguing that the Confederate States embodied several other policies aside from slavery such as greater state rights. They are visited by a time traveler from the future who sends them both back in time to the actual Battle of Gettysburg so they can take part in it under the command of an unhinged Colonel to discover for themselves that War Is Hell and make them see the error of their ways. It turns out that the Confederate fanboy would otherwise have assassinated the first black U.S. President at a Civil War memorial ceremony in 2013. He doesn't go through with this thanks to the time traveler's lesson, but the murder is instead committed by the Confederate Colonel when he's accidentally transported to the future in a Cruel Twist Ending.
  • Story Arc:Even though it is an anthology series several episodes are linked to form an overall story arc.
    • Innobotics Corporation Arc: Includes the episodes "Valerie 23","Mary 25","In Our Own Image" and "Resurrection" in chronological order.It deals with robots created by the Innobotics Corporation with Valerie 23 and Mary 25 being direct sequels.Its possible that "In Our Own Image" and "Resurrection" take place in alternate universe or alternate timeline.
    • Major John Stokes of Earth Defense Arc:Consists of "Quaity of Mercy" and "The Light Brigade" which are direct sequels to each other and and deal with humanity's war against a alien foe.
    • Theresa Givens Arc:Follows the time traveling adventures of Doctor Theresa Givens consisting of "A Stitch In Time" and "Final Appeal"
    • Genetic Rejection Syndrome Arc:Includes "Unnatural Selection" which deals with a couple deciding to have a child with genetic enhancements despite the risk of it contracting the syndrome turns them into mutated psycopaths and "Criminal Nature" takes place roughly a decade later when all the GRS suffers have grown up.
    • The New Masters:In "The Camp" the last of the worlds humans are kept by the android guards, simply because the guards are following the last orders they received.Several humans escape and their story is continued in "Promised Land" where they must interact with aliens still on Earth.
    • Geneticist Dr. Martin Nodel Arc: Both 12 "Double Helix" and "Origin of Species" are linked to each other
    • The Eastern Coalition-Free Alliance Cold War Arc:Starting in "Phobos Rising" the world has been divided once again into east and west leading the colonisation of Ganymede in "The Human Factor" and is concluded in "Human Trials".
    • Kimble and Gerard Arc: Starting in "Ripper" and ending in "Better Luck Next Time" it follows to aliens who over the centuries have been in a friendly rivalry possessing and murdering humans for sport
    • Time Traveler Nicolas Prentice Arc: The episodes "Tribunal","Gettysburg" and "Time to Time" follow the adventures of Nicolas Prentice and his travels through time.
    • USAS Arc:"The Vessel" and "In the Blood" both involve the USAS.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: In the episode "Last Supper", a Mad Scientist is pursuing an immortal woman so he can collect her unique blood and inject it into himself to both heal his own wounds and reverse his aging. He does manage to get hold of it but miscalculates the stuff's potency, eventually shriveling up into a pool of cells.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: In "Vanishing Act", a man finds himself unstuck in time when Starfish Aliens with no concept of time use him as a host to explore the Earth, only to transport him 10 years into the future every time they return him to his planet. He fathers a son in 1959 when he's physically 25, and the last time they meet in 1989 his son is already 3-4 years older than him.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: The title character in "Valerie 23" was a fembot who was specifically designed and created to be a companion for disabled shut-ins or people working in isolated conditions. So why was it built with lethal superhuman strength and a severe lack of impulse control? Worse, after the episode in which this gynoid went dangerously wrong, the series did several other episodes about other androids from the same company going dangerously awry in other ways.
  • Survivorship Bias: Averted in a number of stories.
  • The Swarm: The Sandkings from the first episode are a swarm that digs through sand and builds things in them and... ITS FULL HORROR!!!

    T - Z 
  • Tailor-Made Prison: "The Sentence" featured a mental version of these. People would serve out their sentences within a day of real time, but would in their minds experience their entire captivity in a prison like this.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • "Under The Bed": A monster that seems to be the boogeyman only comes out at night because sunlight turns it to stone. This even happened to some of its spilled blood when light shown on it. When the heroes overpower and drag it into the light, one then smashes it to pieces with a lead pipe.
    • "Feasibility Study": An alien disease causes anyone infected to gradually petrify.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Important to the plot of "Think Like a Dinosaur".
  • They Look Like Us Now: The nine foot tall, eight hundred pound Reptilian monsters with whom Humanity fights a losing war in a couple of episodes manage to pull this off by surgically-altering their (much smaller) females.
  • They Would Cut You Up: In "Last Supper", an immortal woman finds this out the hard way when she's discovered by the US government and experimented on. Thankfully, she's rescued by a military guard who can't stand to see it happen, but the scientist who conducted the experiment finds out years later she's still alive and wants to finish his work...
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: "Under the Bed" featured not-Mulder and not-Scully investigating missing children for this reason.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: In "The Voyage Home", this is played with. The three-man crew of a spaceship are slowly going mad after returning from a mission on Mars. At one point the pilot suddenly transforms into an alien creature in front of the engineer, who jettisons him into outer space. Except when the third guy (the doctor) shows up when this is going on, the 'alien' one looks completely normal and begs him to stop their insane colleague. It turns out that they were both aliens who had assumed their shapes, and the engineer was the last real human on board.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: In "The Voyage Home", an astronaut jettisons one of his crew members because he thinks that the guy turned into a monstrous alien in front of him.
  • Time Crash: In "Déjà Vu", a time travel experiment goes wrong after an attempt to weaponize it by a corrupt military official, which results in a "Groundhog Day" Loop...a rare "Groundhog Day" Loop with a time limit. Each iteration grows shorter, and eventually there will be no hope of preventing the Time Crash from destroying the world. In the end, the disaster is averted, and the man responsible suffers a Karmic Fate Worse than Death, as he's caught forever in the moment of his own annihilation by the malfunctioning time machine.
  • Time Dissonance: In "Vanishing Act", the aliens abducting Jon Cryer's character transport him another decade into Earth's future every time they return him, because as it turns out, they have no concept of time. Once the concept is explained to them, it's no problem for them to return him to the right time.
  • Time Is Dangerous:
    • In "A Stitch In Time", the result of Ripple Effect-Proof Memory is that an entirely new lifetime's worth of memories gets added onto the existing one, which could result in brain damage.
    • The episode "Breaking Point" had a time traveller end up a few days in the future to see his wife dying from a gunshot wound. He goes back and tries to prevent it. However, the side effect of the trip is physical and mental degradation. By the end, his wife has had enough and decides to leave him. In a deranged state, he ends up shooting her. Seems to be a case of You Already Changed the Past, doesn't it? Then the episode does a 180 on this idea and has the guy go back to the night he first met his wife and shoot his younger self, himself turning to dust. Of course, the worst part is that she was planning on killing herself that day.
  • Time Police: The show had recurring character Nicholas Prentice, a senior agent of a future time travel agency. He and his colleagues ensure the regulation of time travel, but he is allowed to Set Right What Once Went Wrong himself (succeeding when he brings a Nazi war criminal to justice, but failing when he can't prevent a Presidential assassination). His agency recruits its agents by plucking people out of their timeline moments before they were set to die in fatal accidents.
  • Time Travel: The basis of quite a few episodes. One recurring character, Nicholas Prentice, works for a time travel agency in the future.
  • Time Travel Escape:
    • In the episode "Tribunal", history professor and Holocaust scholar Aaron Zgierski is taken back to Auschwitz by time traveler Nicholas Prentice (who turns out to be Zgierski's own great grandson). While there, they rescue Aaron's "older" sister (who is only eight at the time), who history records as being executed in a gas chamber, into the future to live out her life free of Nazi oppression. They also do the reverse with the man Aaron is trying to expose in the present as a former Nazi camp guard. Future history records that right before his arrest he fled the country and was never seen again. He disappeared because Aaron and Prentice kidnapped him and left him in the past dressed as an Auschwitz prisoner where his past self executes him.
    • A later episode shows that the time travel agency Nicholas Prentice works for recruits via Time Travel Escape; they take the potential recruit to the future seconds before they would have died, then offers them a choice between joining or being sent back to their death.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: In "The Revelations of Becka Paulson", the title character accidentally shoots herself in the head. The bullet is hinted to have hit a tumor, and afterwards she starts to hallucinate and even has flashes of genius based on the hallucinations.
  • Title Drop: During Dr. Givens's closing speech in "Final Appeal, Part 2".
    "The real miracles, the miracles at the outer limits of our imagination, are yet to come."
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    • "Birthright": A senator gets into a car crash and gets caught up in an alien plot to poison the atmosphere so humans will die and aliens take over. It turns out he was one of the aliens, who got amnesia from the crash so that only his implanted human memories remained.
    • Several other episodes where people find out they are really robots, clones, etc.
  • Tomato Surprise: "Tempests".
  • Transformation Horror:
    • "Quality of Mercy": During a future space war a female cadet is locked up with a Major from another division when they're both captured by the aliens. The aliens start to transform her into one of them so they recruit her and use whatever useful knowledge she possesses, and her body gradually mutates further. Until the ending reveals that they're changing her back, and she was sent to spy on the Major so that he'd reveal the location of their forces.
    • "The New Breed": A man injects himself with experimental nanotechnology to cure his pelvic cancer. The problem is that they don't stop there, or even at healing old scars and adjusting his eyesight so that he doesn't need glasses anymore. For instance, they interpret his inability to breathe underwater as a physical weakness, and he develops gills. It only gets worse from there.
  • Trapped in Containment: In "Blood Brothers", a scientist accidentally creates what appears to be a cure-all for anything ailing a person (while working on a safe knockout gas). This trope occurs twice. First, his research assistant punches the door in the lab after injecting himself with some of the compound, causing the containment system to activate in the presense of chemicals in the air. He is incinerated, as his boss refuses to open the door. The second time is caused intentionally by the scientist's brother, who activates the containment system, but the scientist and his girlfriend manage to escape just before they are incinerated.
  • Trick-and-Follow Ploy: In "Relativity Theory", humans kill small aliens who, it turns out, were merely alien children doing a camping trip. When their parents investigate, the humans try (and fail) to destroy their navigational computer before the aliens find Earth's location. Cue a powerful, now hostile, alien ship appearing above the Earth.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: The main plot of "If These Walls Could Talk" concerns a house "infected" by an alien substance. Not only does the house absorb people into its structure, it's able to regurgitate Doppelgangers of those people to lure in their friends and loved ones when they come searching for answers.
  • Turned Against Their Masters:
    • In an episode "The Grell", humanity is on the brink of war with a race of yellow-eyed humanoids. It is eventually revealed that they were created by humans as laborers in off-world mines with eyes to see in the dark and a third lung to breathe in low-oxygen environments. They rebelled and built a fleet to rival that of the humans.
    • The robots in "Resurrection" wiped out humanity and created a robot-filled society in its place. Two android scientists decide to revive mankind by illegally breeding a human male that they have to keep hidden from their brethren.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The setting of several episodes.
  • Two Siblings In One: The episode "Inner Child" explores this when a woman is attacked, wakes up in the hospital, and finds out that she had a twin that died and was absorbed into her body. The twin starts taking over (with the eye color changing to indicate who is in charge), but it's revealed she's not doing it to be malicious; the living twin simply can't remain dominant any longer. However, both twins are still alive by the end of the episode, though the dominant/recessive roles have switched.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: "First Anniversary" subverts this: the "hot wife" is actually a hideous-looking alien using Mind Control to appear to be a beautiful woman. They're really nice aliens, though, so when the control breaks, we'll all learn that True Beauty Is on the Inside, right? Not a chance.
  • Ultimate Life Form: In "The New Breed", nanomachines involuntarily mutate the man who initially injected himself with them—to heal his cancer—into something like this, as they try to fix all types of 'limitations'. He soon develops gills so he can breathe underwater, a second pair of eyes in the back of his head to see in a 360 degree radius, and poisonous skin and more ribs to fight off atacks. As he turns into a nigh-invulnerable mutant, he realizes that it's truly a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Unstable Genetic Code: In the episode "Double Helix", a high-school teacher activated the introns in his DNA. This resulted in a map growing on his back, which he is intended to follow.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: In "Dead Man's Switch", several people across the world are sealed in impenetrable bunkers to act as Dead Man Switches for the global nuclear, biological, and chemical arsenal, when alien ships are detected in the Solar System. When all contact with the outside world is lost, the trapped people assume the worst. Then one of them notices her bunker's ceiling buckling and assumes it's the rescue. As she approaches the hole, black tentacles reach in and grab her.
  • Vichy Earth: "The Deprogrammers" is a very dark, slavery-themed version.
  • War Reenactors: The two protagonists of "Gettysburg" are American Civil War reenactors, with at least one of them having pretty unsavory views on slavery. They are both transported to the actual Battle of Gettysburg by a time traveller from the far future who wanted to teach them something about War Is Hell. It turns out that the openly racist one was going to assassinate the first black President in 2013.
  • Was Actually Friendly:
    • In "Trial by Fire", a newly-inaugurated President is taken to a bunker after an object is detected on the way to Earth. It is eventually revealed that alien ships are about to enter Earth's orbit. They send a message in, apparently, their own language, which linguists are trying to translate. Meanwhile, several of their actions are perceived as hostile by the US and, especially, by Russia. Faced with the possibility of an Alien Invasion and the threat of a nuclear exchange with Russia (who claims that anyone who doesn't fight the aliens will be seen as a collaborator), the President orders a strike on the aliens. It utterly fails due to the aliens' advanced technology. Furthermore, the aliens launch powerful missiles against Washington, D.C., and Moscow. Right before they hit, an advisor tells the President that the alien message was in English all along, just garbled due to their aquatic environment, offering friendship to humans.
    • In "Second Soul", an alien race arrives on Earth. This time, they're openly asking to be allowed to live on Earth by possessing dead humans. Throughout the episode, several characters get increasingly paranoid about the aliens' agenda on Earth. It is revealed, though, that the aliens have no evil agenda and are merely building a museum to their race, as all their children are 100% human.
  • We Can Rule Together: In the climax of "Dark Child," Laura and her daughter Tammy are confronted by an alien who reveals that he is Tammy's biological father, who was conceived when he abducted and raped Laura years ago. He puts an apparent brainwashing necklace on Tammy and offers that she and Laura join him. They are family, and Tammy's status as a Half-Human Hybrid makes her potentially more powerful than a regular member of his race, so she will be a valuable asset in his race's invasion plans for Earth. Laura's encouragement gives Tammy the strength to remove the necklace. The alien loses his temper at their rejection and attempts to telekinetically strangle Laura, but Tammy angrily knocks him away and Laura stabs and kills him.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: In "Judgment Day," a murderer who has been sentenced to death is hunted down by the sister of the woman he was convicted of killing as part of a reality TV show. It turns out that the security footage used to convict him was altered by the show's producer, since the real killer was a juvenile, thus not eligible for the death penalty, and the new show. In the end the bad guy gets exposed and forced to perform in the same role.
  • Wham Line:
    • From "Quality of Mercy:" "They're not changing me. They're changing me back."
    • From "Afterlife:" "Don't you get it? They were testing us! And we failed."
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: In "Resurrection" two androids in the future create a human man after humanity has gone extinct. When he starts to yearn for a mate he initially expresses feelings for the female robot and kisses her before she reveals her true nature. She does understand his emotions in a descriptive sense, but says that as a robot she unfortunately cannot reciprocate them. Before shutting off every robot in the world they leave him with a human female for company.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Quite a few moments. The closing narration for "The Voyage Home" even outright states: "The true measure of a hero is when a man lays down his life with the knowledge that those he saves... Will never know."
  • The Wild West: The setting of "Heart's Desire."
  • While Rome Burns: In "The Human Factor," commander Ellis Grover sabotages the colonization project he was in charge of after finding out his superiors started a nuclear war that killed off most of humanity, including his family. This is after he spent the entire episode trying to stop his Robot Buddy Link from doing the exact same thing out of the belief that Humans Are Bastards. Having come to agree with Link in the end, he reactivates him. When Link notes that Grover's sabotage leaves them with about two hours before the base is destroyed, Grover decides they might as well play one last game of chess. They spend the last scene setting up the chessboard while the base and all hopes of humanity's survival fall apart around them.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Star Crossed" is basically Casablanca with aliens instead of Nazis.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Laura / Jade from "Last Supper" doesn't age, is immune to all diseases and poisons, and has an incredible Healing Factor. She grows tired of the endless cycle of having to leave her lovers behind. When her boyfriend learns her secret, he's repulsed, until his father (one of her past lovers) lectures him on how she is a good person who deserves happiness, so stay and love her as long as possible.
  • Working with the Ex: "Tribunal" featured the son of a Holocaust concentration camp survivor attempting to bring a suspected camp guard to justice, with his ex-wife offering somewhat reluctant assistance in the matter.
  • Xanatos Gambit: In "Zig Zag," the eponymous Cyber terrorist Zig Zag lives in a world where everything is controlled by about eight super servers. People are identified by DNA-reading chips implanted in their hands. Zig Zag fakes his death and reprograms his chip to set himself up as a pro establishment guy working for the company that maintains the servers, even working under the very guy that was trying to catch him. Four years later it reverts to the proper setting, and the opportunity is used to steal Zig Zag's files. Zig Zag rejoins the movement (no one had ever seen his real face) and holds the building hostage, threatening to blow it up. At the end, it looks as if he's foiled. His explosives are disarmed, his boss takes the detonator, and he's surrounded by armed men. He reveals that by downloading his chip data into the servers, they will overload and explode, blowing up the city, as soon as his former boss uses the detonator "in his hand." Naturally the boss swipes his DNA chip to prevent this. Turns out Zig Zag was being a bit more literal than they thought. His chip is the detonator. Cue Oh, Crap! moment.
  • Yandere: Robot Girl Valerie from "Valerie 23." Made to care for the disabled, she begins a relationship with one of her patients. When said patient starts falling in love with a human woman, she goes all out psycho trying to Murder the Hypotenuse. Suffice it to say these are NOT Three-Laws Compliant.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: There's an episode called "The Sentence" where this trope is used for a prison.
  • Yellow Peril: Averted and Lampshaded in the Clip Show episode "The Human Factor," about a future Cold War between America and China, in which the latter complain that they are regarded as the bad guys even though the former are usually the ones to initiate hostilities. This is borne out when the American leaders start World War III.
  • You Already Changed the Past: This is a recurring theme in the time travel episodes of the Nicholas Prentice arc.
    • In the episode "Tribunal," history professor and Holocaust scholar Aaron Zgierski is taken back to Auschwitz by time-traveler Nicholas Prentice (who turns out to be Zgierski's own great-grandson). While there, they rescue Aaron's "older" sister (who is only eight at the time) by bringing her into the future to live out her life free of Nazi oppression. History recorded Aaron's sister as dying at Auschwitz after being "dragged away" by a couple of guards, who were actually Zgierski and Prentice in disguise.
    • In "Gettysburg," Prentice wants to change the past by convincing The American Civil War buff (who has pro Confederate views) of the wrongness of his convictions by taking him and his friend to just before the Battle of Gettysburg. Originally, the buff was going to assassinate a black President in his own future. Instead, the buff takes this opportunity to try to alter the course of the battle in the Confederate favor. He accidentally uses Prentice's time machine (shaped as an old fashioned camera) to transport a Confederate general through time. His attempts at preventing the (from his viewpoint) catastrophe result in him getting shot for cowardice. Prentice takes the friend back to his time, and the latter finds an old newspaper with the picture of his dead friend. Meanwhile, in the future, the transported Confederate general appears at the moment of the original assassination, and he ends up being the presidential assassin (he was actually aiming for a man dressed as Abraham Lincoln, who was standing next to the president).
    • "Time to Time" subverts this when a new recruit into the temporal agency goes back in time and prevents her father's death due to an eco terrorists' bomb going off prematurely. This results in another member of the agency suddenly vanishing. His colleagues figured out that, without her father to tamper with the bomb, it went off as planned and killed a lot of innocent people, including an ancestor of the temporal agent who disappeared. Reluctantly, the girl has to let her father sacrifice himself. However, she does alter her mother's fate somewhat by giving her a coping mechanism (in her timeline, her mother's a wreck; in the altered one, she is an accomplished artist).
  • You Are Who You Eat: In "The Voyage Home," there's a shape shifting alien which assumes the form of the people it eats.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The series had its own tendency to mess with this concept. "Gettysburg" is a great example. A mysterious time traveler, who had appeared in previous episodes, returns. However, this time, instead of attempting to arrange "justice" against villains from the past while remaining consistent with recorded history, he is attempting to directly change what happened. Specifically, he hopes to avoid the assassination of the first black president in 2013, regarded as one of America's greatest leaders, by a Southern Sympathizer whose beliefs are all tied up in the Glory of the Confederacy. The time traveler sends the guy back from a Gettysburg re-enactment to the real battle where he serves under an insane commander and faces the true harshness of the war and his supported side. He learns his lesson, and comes face-to-face with his ancestor, whose self-serving cowardice contradicts the impressive legend that he had idolized during his youth, and he rejects extremism and the no-longer noble rebellion against the government. However, the insane commander from Gettysburg is accidentally transported to the 2013 date and, while trying to kill "Lincoln" (in truth, an impersonator at the memorial event), manages to assassinate the president anyway.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In "Last Supper," a Mad Scientist is on the trail of an immortal woman he wants to experiment on. When his assistant manages to find her, the scientist stabs him in the chest.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: In "Mindreacher," scientists invent a new device that allows people to share dreams and cure people's mental problems. The protagonist and her boyfriend use the machine to enjoy a romantic dinner. However, after that, he goes into a coma. The machine is blamed, and the project is shut down. However, she accidentally messes up an implant injection (it latches on directly to her brain instead of a nerve in the palm), which allows to her mentally interface with anyone she touches. She interfaces with the boyfriend and finds out that he's allergic to strawberries, so when they ate them in the vivid dream, his body reacted as if he actually ate them for real. She "cured" him by convincing him that she has a cure in her hand and feeding it to him in the dream.
  • Zero-G Spot: Newlyweds on a space-tourism shuttle have sex in a storage cubicle in "Joy Ride".
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion:
    • An episode has a member of a post-human extinction android society trying to resurrect the species through cloning. One of its comrades eventually betrays it, having concluded that the best way to serve the human race is to prevent the species' greatest threat: The existence of the human race.
    • Another episode of the series featured an AI that totally controlled every feature of an apartment building with the purpose of looking after the complete welfare of the residents. This enabled the tenants to live without any other human contact. After an elderly resident died of a heart attack while the other tenants ignored her cries for help and the AI's alerts, the AI seemed to malfunction, invoking what looked like an A.I. is a Crapshoot incident. As it turned out, the AI was trying to force the residents to work together and to ultimately destroy it, as it reasoned that its very existence, and the resulting human isolation, was detrimental to the welfare of the residents.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/TheOuterLimits1995