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Alien Episode

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An otherwise earthbound show has an episode where aliens invade.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Quatic on Feb 24th 2016 at 3:54:52 PM
Last Edited By:
AHI-3000 on Oct 19th 2017 at 9:53:42 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

A sub-trope of Paranormal Episode and Bizarro Episode, wherein the bizarre happening involves space aliens visiting Earth, for one reason or another.


Examples:

Anime & Manga

  • Episode 22 of Excel Saga sees the Earth under attack from Puchus (who are revealed to be a race of galactic conquerors), which the show promptly uses to cram the episode choke-full with shout-outs to classic Space Opera anime series like Space Battleship Yamato, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Captain Harlock.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia had the movie "Paint it, White" where the nations try to ward off the threat of human extinction from the alien race known as Pict, who seek to transform mankind and drain the color from the world.

Comic Books

  • The Tintin story Flight 714 starts out normal enough, when Tintin and his friends are kidnapped by Rastapopulus's henchmen and kept prisoners on a small Indonesian island. But it soon become clear that something weird is going on, and it turns out that aliens have been coming to the island for millennia. And yeah, everybody except for Snowy forget all about the adventure due to Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Asterix and the Falling Sky is basically its equivalent in the Astérix franchise. Two kinds of aliens (an Expy of Mickey Mouse and his Superman Expy bodyguards vs Manga-like insectoids and robots) fight over the right to get the magic potion. And yep, it ends with the good toon-like aliens erasing the villagers' memories of this episode.

Films — Live-Action

Live-Action Television

  • The Benson episode "Close Encounters on the Third Hole," wherein the Governor thinks a bright light he saw while golfing was aliens abducting Benson.
  • The Miami Vice episode "Missing Hours" — the otherwise normal TV series sees lots of weirdness, including a woman claiming her deceased husband had been abducted by aliens and Crockett and Tubbs later see a UFO.
  • The MacGyver episode "The Visitor" has our hero dealing with mysterious happenings involving apparent flying saucers. At the end, he can't quite explain what it was which was seen.
  • Baywatch Nights had an episode, "Symbol of Death," where Mitch and Ryan deal with a man who insists an alien invasion has long been underway.
  • Soap: A Story Arc involves Burt being abducted by aliens, who send an alien disguised as Burt down to Earth.
  • Quantum Leap: Sam leaps into a man who claims to have seen aliens, and as of the end of the episode it appears it might be true.
  • Played with in Murdoch Mysteries: The episode entitled "The Annoying Red Planet" starts with a seemingly impossible crime (a corpse hanging in a tree with no footprints leading up to it), and quickly brings in locals' reports of strange noises and lights, crop circles and strange footprints. Constable Crabtree seems quite convinced that aliens (specifically Martians) have visited, but Murdoch is convinced everything has a mundane explanation. It turns out Murdoch is right, but the truth involves some advanced new technology, and there is a conspiracy to make people think aliens are about the place.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Bad Eggs has the crew fighting a nonparanormal parasite — one of earthly origin, but decidedly alien-like.
  • The season 3, episode 8 crossover of Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow was titled "Invasion!" and dealt with the alien species The Dominators attempting to invade and conquer Earth.

Video Games

Western Animation

Feedback: 29 replies

Feb 24th 2016 at 4:12:45 PM

  • Soap: A Story Arc involves Burt being abducted by aliens, who send an alien disguised as Burt down to Earth.
  • Quantum Leap: Sam leaps into a man who claims to have seen aliens, and as of the end of the episode it appears it might be true.

Mar 1st 2016 at 12:06:50 PM

Doesn't much seem to be. Are we considering aliens to be paranormal? That seems more aligned with ghosts and ESP and such.

Mar 4th 2016 at 8:45:14 AM

^ I'm with you on this. I'd consider this a similar trope, but distinct. Sister Tropes, I guess.

An example, perhaps more "playing with" than anything:

Murdoch Mysteries: The episode entitled "The Annoying Red Planet" starts with a seemingly impossible crime (a corpse hanging in a tree with no footprints leading up to it), and quickly brings in locals' reports of strange noises and lights, crop circles and strange footprints. Constable Crabtree seems quite convinced that aliens (specifically Martians) have visited, but Murdoch is convinced everything has a mundane explanation. It turns out Murdoch is right, but the truth involves some advanced new technology, and there is a conspiracy to make people think aliens are about the place.

Mar 4th 2016 at 10:01:17 AM

Are we considering aliens to be paranormal?

Yes, aliens would fall under "paranormal" along with other unexplained phenomena. Kinda like The X-Files, for example.

Mar 28th 2016 at 10:45:08 AM

I can see ghosts and ESP being lumped together under one category (they're all related to human beings, living and dead), but I think aliens are distinct enough to get their own trope.

Apr 3rd 2016 at 8:02:05 AM

I agree with 69BookWorM69. Even an episode of Buffy or Charmed which featured non-magical aliens would be a departure from the "normal" paranormal.

Apr 3rd 2016 at 8:44:34 AM

Apr 6th 2016 at 5:32:17 PM

^^ Quite so. Even when aliens have psychic-type powers, they're still in the alien category and the genre rules are a bit different than those of ghost stories and the adventures of psychics/mediums. Mediums and psychics, OTOH tend to at least attempt contact with ghosts.

Apr 13th 2016 at 6:52:51 PM

Do videogame installments count?

Apr 16th 2016 at 7:08:37 PM

I'd say that a one-off appearance by aliens in a show that doesn't usually have them is basically using the aliens as a paranormal phenomenon, so it's a form of Paranormal Episode.

Apr 20th 2016 at 9:16:47 AM

^^ I suspect so. The idea here is that a piece that doesn't usually have aliens or have them as part of the premise suddenly does, generally as a one-off or a singular story arc.

^ I think this proposal needs a better description. Sure, in a broad sense episodes about ghosts and psychics and episodes about aliens have common traits (including disputes about their existence), but other aspects are very different (ghosts don't leave crop circles or abduct people, as a general rule, and psychics don't usually try to contact aliens).

Apr 28th 2016 at 7:33:58 PM

Description revisions welcome. The alien genre is a different flavor of weird from the paranormal. Sci fi versus fantasy really, aliens being a thing which the paranormally dismissive scientifically-minded might expect to actually exist.

Apr 28th 2016 at 7:41:25 PM

(consider, if there was an episode of the Ghostbusters cartoon where it turned out that the menace of the week were nonghostly aliens, it wouldn't be a "paranormal" episode by any means, but would be a stretch into a different kind of weirdness) In fact, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Bad Eggs has the crew fighting a decidedly alien-like nonparanormal parasite.

Apr 30th 2016 at 7:42:49 PM

^^ Exactly so. Also, as I've mentioned above, certain other things are particular to one category or the other, such as mediums and/or psychics tend to try to contact ghosts but not aliens, and ghost stories have less in the way of physical evidence (not none, because of photographs, but less), while alien tales have crop circles and footprints in addition to photos.

Apr 30th 2016 at 7:53:29 PM

There was also an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which an alien demon is summoned to kill the crazy people Glory is leaving behind. I don't remember if they specifically call it a demon or not, but it was summoned, and it was definitely from the stars, coming to Sunnydale by crashing in a meteorite. It was an otherwise fairly run-of-the-mill monster-of-the-week-episode, and may well have been subtly lampooning this trope (this was Bt VS, after all), but it was still distinct in that the "supernatural" menace was explicitly of extraterrestrial origin.

Apr 30th 2016 at 10:13:54 PM

Anime/Manga

Axis Powers Hetalia had the movie "Paint it, White" where the nations try to ward off the threat of human extinction from the alien race known as Pict, who seek to transform mankind and drain the color from the world.

Jul 15th 2016 at 8:33:58 PM

Subverted in The X Files, Invader Zim, Alien, Predator, My Favorite Martian, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Mars Attacks, Under the Skin, Destroy All Humans, and any other type of media that normally features an unearthly creature invading Earth.

On a more serious note, Drake and Josh...kind of had one in the episode "Alien Invasion."

Oct 13th 2016 at 9:47:50 AM

^ No need to mention these "subversions".

Oct 15th 2016 at 6:18:10 PM

  • Franco Belgian Comics
    • The Tintin story Flight 714 starts out normal enough, when Tintin and his friends are kidnapped by Rastapopulus's henchmen and kept prisoners on a small Indonesian island. But it soon become clear that something weird is going on, and it turns out that aliens have been coming to the island for millennia. And yeah, everybody except for Snowy forget all about the adventure due to Laser Guided Amnesia.
    • Asterix and the Falling Sky is basically its equivalent in the Asterix franchise. Two kinds of aliens (an Expy of Mickey Mouse and his Superman Expy bodyguards vs Manga-like insectoids and robots) fight over the right to get the magic potion. And yep, it ends with the good toon-like aliens erasing the villagers' memories of this episode.

Oct 15th 2016 at 6:59:49 PM

Film Animated or Western Animation

  • After Bolt and Penny quit show biz and retire, the Show Within A Show recasts their roles, using the Hand Wave of reconstructive surgery making Penny look different. No sooner is Penny #2 out of her bandages than she's abducted by alien spacecraft. The Villain, who'd been skulking nearby, sees this and scowls, "Aliens!" Penny #1 stops the broadcast at that point, as she regards this newest installment as the show's Jumping The Shark moment.

Oct 16th 2016 at 3:39:17 AM

  • The Adventures Of Pete And Pete had an episode where the characters were looking for a possible alien infiltrator.
  • The Cossacks Soviet cartoon series have a short about the protagonists helping their Similar Squad alien counterparts fix their Flying Saucer.

Oct 16th 2016 at 7:42:40 AM

Most plots in Gargoyles were firmly earthbound (a version of Earth where magic and advanced technology exists, but still). Then came the episode "Sentinel" where an alien named Nokkar show up. It turns out that not only were the Easter Island statues based on his people (called the N'Kai), but he thinks that sentient nonhumans like gargoyles are really another race of aliens.

Oct 14th 2017 at 10:06:42 PM

Wasn't there that Happy Day's episode were Mork visited?

Oct 15th 2017 at 11:49:45 AM

Would it be worth including subversions where the characters are convinced it's aliens but it turns out to be something else? Like the Supernatural episode Clap Your Hands if You Believe that focuses on what the entire town is convinced is "Alien abductions" but it turns out to be really aggressive fairies targeting first born sons?

Oct 19th 2017 at 9:50:13 AM

I think subversions are usually welcome.

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