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Just wait until next week's episode, "Billy & Mandy vs The Monorail".
A sub-trope of Paranormal Episode, wherein the bizarre happening involves space aliens visiting Earth; whether they come in peace, or not. Not necessarily a Bizarro Episode, but there's (unsurprisingly) frequent overlap.

Sometimes done as a Ratings Stunt.

Note that this trope is specifically for when it happens in a show with a setting (i.e. otherwise mundane, fantasy, or even sci-fi) which does not normally feature extraterrestrial beings or creatures. And no, the episode isn't just about Xenomorph Aliens in particular. See also Cryptid Episode.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The Dairy Queen Lips once had an alien named Phil drink one of DQ's soft drinks to prove that the restaurant's then-current deal on drinks was "the galaxy's greatest". When asked if it is the greatest, Phil makes a growling sound for several seconds before exploding into green goo, which - according to the Lips - is his way of saying "yes".
  • One of The Pizza Head Show commercials featured a group of aliens named the "Stevians" who abducted Pizza Head and warped him into "Stuffed Crust Pizza Head", with a cheese-filled crust on the bottom of his body.

    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.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers 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.
  • Robin Hoodno Daibōken had the episode "The Flying Ship", which tells the story about some strange flying ship appearing above a mountain. Robin Hood and Little Tuck later encounter the ship - a giant flying saucer, saving their lives, before vanishing. It's never mentioned again in the series.
  • It's a bit of a weird example since the characters are already mostly aliens themselves, but in episode 30a of Tamagotchi, another kind of alien, a corn cob-shaped starship named Cornstartchi, visits Tamagotchi Planet and alters everyone there - barring Mametchi and Chamametchi - to look like their mother Mamametchi. The two then have to play a game show to figure out which one is the real Mamametchi.

    Asian Animation 
  • King Shakir: The second episode, "Filmmakers", has Necati bring a real alien into a film that Shakir is making. We later find out that that alien is having problems with his father forbidding him from dating the alien he loves.
  • The Lamput episode "Alien" features an alien's Flying Saucer as its setting. Slim Doc and Fat Doc enter the saucer as they are chasing Lamput and accidentally get the vehicle moving, much to the annoyance of its owner who was trying to make repairs to it.
  • Motu Patlu has several.
    • "Motu Patlu aur Lalchi Alien" is about pot-shaped aliens coming to steal some stones from Furfuri Nagar. One of them stays behind to steal more stuff, and Motu and Patlu suspect John the Don's behind it.
    • In "Golden Alien", some aliens land in Furfuri Nagar requesting people who are yellow to work for them in a goldmine. John abuses this to his liking by painting everyone yellow in an attempt to get them all taken away by the aliens.
    • Yet another episode, "Chor Aliens", is about a pair of aliens, one light blue and one light green, going around Furfuri Nagar and stealing stuff.
    • "Denture Alien" shows what happens when an alien with dentures is directed to Motu and Patlu while searching for food to eat.
    • "Glass Man Alien" introduces the Glass Man Alien, who can turn anything into glass.
  • One episode of Our Friend Xiong Xiao Mi is about Xiao Mi and friends meeting a pair of aliens named General Miru and Leping who landed on Earth by accident.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Episode 47 is about the goats and wolves encountering Little Green Men who have landed on Earth.
  • The Simple Samosa episode "Anda Bhatija" is about a fried egg alien coming to Chatpata Nagar (the town the show takes place in). It's a harmless alien which Samosa befriends and even names Yolky, but someone ends up calling General Gathiya and his army about the alien, causing them to chase after Samosa and his friends who must protect Yolky.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix and the Falling Sky is basically its equivalent in the Asterix franchise. Two kinds of aliens (a Captain Ersatz of Mickey Mouse and his Ersatz Superman 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.
  • 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 forgets all about the adventure due to Laser-Guided Amnesia.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • 7 Days (1998): While the show states right off the bat that the Time Travel technology is based on reverse-engineered tech from the Roswell crash, aliens themselves don't appear for much of the show. In fact, there are only a few episode that involve aliens directly. Two deal with an alien convict dubbed "Adam", who is the only survivor of the Roswell crash (turns out it was a prison transport). Another one deals with one of the scientists effectively becoming Adam, after Adam's chip is implanted in his spine to allow him to walk again. One episode has a very Species II-like scenario, with an astronaut becoming possessed by alien... stuff. An odd episode involves a gremlin-like creature from another dimension (so not strictly a space alien). Yet another suggests a demonic attempt to start World War III. But most are run-of-the-mill Set Right What Once Went Wrong plots with nothing strange happening. Even the one episode that involves Parker going into space involve nothing alien.
  • Baywatch: the episode "Strangers Among Us" involves the arrival of a bunch of UFO-logists to the heroes' beach, thinking that aliens will arrive. A bunch of them almost get killed when they mistake the reflected light of a bunch of fish for an underwater UFO and willingly walk into riptide. And in the final seconds of the episode, the Girl of the Week gets abducted for real.
  • 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.
  • 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 Bones episode "The X in the File" deals with a UFO-logist finding something alien-looking in a field, which turns out to be the mutilated victim-of-the-week (human). The episode has a number of atypical scares, such as the victim's corpse suddenly sitting up during an MRI scan, causing Bones to scream like a little girl and jump into Booth's arms (it turns out there was a lot of metal in the body, hence the attraction to the powerful magnet in the MRI machine). The end of the episode is especially creepy, as it has Bones and Booth lying on top of a car hood in the middle of a field, looking up at the stars and musing on the possibility of alien life. Suddenly, all the sounds disappear, including the wind, and both suddenly find themselves very uncomfortable. Roll credits.
  • The Brittas Empire: “Body Language” centers around Colin believing that aliens were invading the center. The end of the episode reveals that whilst he was incorrect about an invasion, there were aliens at the center that day in the form of a potted plant bought in by Helen.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • "Bad Eggs" has the crew fighting a nonparanormal parasite — one of earthly origin, but decidedly alien-like.
    • "Listening To Fear" featured, as Giles put it, "a killer snot monster from outer space" as the Monster of the Week, summoned to Earth to kill the still-living victims of the Big Bad.
  • CSI:
    • The episode "Viva Las Vegas" involves the team being called to deal with what looks like an alien cadaver buried in the desert, eventually discovered to be a dead man in an alien costume with an unusual genetic issue that made his bone structure elongated (who turned out to run a UFO-logist themed wedding chapel on the Strip). Still, the fact the dead body was buried within spitting distance of the edge of the perimeter of Area 51 (because the killer was his best friend who murdered him by accident and followed what he knew was the man's last wishes) brings along a couple of complications with the government.
    • The episode "String Theory" involved the investigators discovering a number of deaths that all connected with each other, Six Degrees Of Separation-style. The couple of deaths that started the plot involved some junkies taking home-made drugs with unusual chemicals (which killed them in horrifying convulsions and bleeding from every orifice) that turned their blood avocado green, which made a couple of one-shot characters believe that they were seeing aliens in the flesh.
    • The episode "Leaping Lizards" involved a man's plan to force a delusional woman to kill his wife (and a few other people) by means of convincing her that said people were lizard aliens that walked around infiltrating society in preparation for the future invasion, and the only way to stop them was by tearing them to pieces with a sword (dressed like Xena: Warrior Princess). The man was not that sane himself, imagining that Brass had a lizard tongue at one point... or did he?
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: One of the final episodes of the series saw a "Strange Visitor To Hollywood." Leave it to the Duke family to have to protect an E.T.-esque alien from Boss Hogg and Rosco (who want to make him a circus attraction) and two crooks who want to use the alien (to help them rob banks).
  • The Goodies has "U-Friend or UFO". As trombone players everywhere mysteriously disappear, the Goodies try to make sense as to what is happening. They realize there are aliens out there. Bill wants to talk to them, but Graeme wants to destroy them.
  • The Happy Days episode "My Favorite Orkan," guest-starring an up-and-coming young comic named Robin Williams as a villainous invader from the planet Ork, was successful enough that it got its own spin-off.
  • The MacGyver (1985) episode "The Visitor" has our hero dealing with mysterious happenings involving apparent flying saucers. At the end, after proving that the flying saucers were a hoax, he sees another, apparently real, UFO and it's implied that one of the people helping him out was actually an alien.
  • The Miami Vice episode "Missing Hours" of the final seasons of the show, in which a woman claiming her deceased husband had been abducted by aliens, James Brown guest stars as the leader of a Scam Religion who is the leader of said abducting aliens, and Crockett and Tubbs later see a UFO.
  • 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.
  • One episode in the early seasons of NCIS has the main cast investigating the inexplicable appearance of Special Ops helicopter amidst Crop Circles in a corn field, with the first half of the episode playing out like a stereotypical UFO sighting, complete with spooked and unhelpful locals. Resident paranormal enthusiast Abby is over the moon at being about to study a UFO sighting, roping McGee into helping her, and Tony even pranks McGee by planting a rubber alien mask at the crime scene. Eventually, McGee explains to Abby how the crop circles were hoaxes (the big one was made by the helicopter blowing down the corn as it landed, the others were then flattened by tractors), bringing the show back to its normal Police Procedural tone.
  • The New Adventures of Robin Hood: "Dragon from the Sky" is about an alien crash-landing in Sherwood and repairing his space-ship in time before the Sheriff dissects him.
  • The Psych episode "Not Even Close Encounters" revolves around a lawyer who insists that he witnessed an alien abduction. Shawn and Gus, having been obsessed with ufology when they were kids, are all too eager to help investigate. The alien abduction turns out to have been a hoax set orchestrated by a corrupt energy company to discredit the lawyer, already known as an eccentric, who was in the process of exposing the company's shady land dealings.
  • 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.
  • Soap: A Story Arc involves Burt being abducted by aliens, who send an alien disguised as Burt down to Earth.
  • Subverted on Supernatural: Sam and Dean don't know what kind of beings are perpetrating some mysterious abductions, and they spend a significant amount of time with the theory that it's aliens, but it turns out to be fairies.
  • Time Trax, a show about a future cop apprehending temporal fugitives in the 20th century (no, this isn't Continuum). For most of the series, there's not a single mention of aliens. Then, out of the blue, SELMA detects a signal she identifies as belonging to a race of Human Aliens called Procardians. Darien is shocked, as Procardians have only made contact with Earth in the 22nd century, and their diplomatic ship is preparing to arrive. He eventually learns that Procardians have secretly visited Earth in the 20th century and determined humanity to be too primitive and violent for First Contact (apparently, they change their minds by the 22nd century). The signal came from a crashed Procardian ship, piloted by a Procardian teenager, who has stolen a ship and returned to find his mate, who was accidentally left behind during the previous visit. After helping the alien find his mate, he sends them to his own time (they have no other way to get home, as his ship self-destructed) to await the arrival of their kind. And then his life-altering experience of meeting genuine aliens is never mentioned again.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The legendary Dungeons & Dragons adventure Expedition to the Barrier Peaks takes place in the Greyhawk High Fantasy campaign setting as a standard, and has the Player Characters entering a "dungeon" that turns out to be a spaceship that has crashed long ago, with all of its crew dead to an unknown disease and that is still functional enough to deploy Attack Drone countermeasures against the intruding players. While some other campaigns deal with aliens in a minor or major way, this dungeon is the only (officially-published) evidence of extraterrestrial life within Greyhawk.
  • The Pathfinder adventure Iron Gods (inspired by the Expedition to the Barrier Reefs adventure above) has the heroes of Golarion (which is otherwise a medieval fantasy setting) fighting against the insane A.I. of a crashed alien starship that wishes to become a deity by harnessing the power of Magitek. The Starfinder game, which takes place within the same setting (although hundreds of years in the "future"), supplies conversion rules so the alien species of the game can be used in Pathfinder.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • Making contact with space aliens was always the dream of Telepathy Club founder Tome Kurata, but everybody else in Mob Psycho 100 considers her sort of an eccentric. She's right about psychic powers existing, but aliens are on a whole other level — until the day she finally convinces some espers to try sending out a telepathic signal, and a UFO full of greys actually appears. They share a meal, exchange gifts, and mistakenly abduct one of the espers (they thought he wanted to immigrate).

    Web Original 
  • Twice in The Petri Dish, Thaddeus has been abducted by an alien named Gwog.

    Western Animation 
  • In 2007, Cartoon Network had a "CN Invaded" crossover event involving several different series (Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Ed, Edd n Eddy, My Gym Partner's a Monkey, Camp Lazlo, and The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy) having episodes involving an Alien Invasion.
  • The alien of the Danger Mouse episode "The Aliens Are Coming" is a little robot with a Jerkass streak no matter how cordial DM and Penfold are to it. It turns out that the little beastie and its spacecraft are the toys of a visiting alien's child, both leaving after deciding that there is no intelligent life here.
  • Downplayed in Daria: The episode "The Daria Files" is (unsurprisingly) a parody of The X-Files and similar shows, but in the end there are no actual aliens, just people having Out Of Character Moments and other people being paranoid about it.
  • Dungeons & Dragons (1983) has The Lost Children, in which the young ones (the Fish out of Temporal Water protagonists) are asked by Dungeon Master to rescue the titular children from Big Bad Venger. Turns out that they are aliens (young ones looking more humanoid and becoming more like Chewbacca lookalikes (literally, it's even pointed out by Eric In-Universe) as they grow older) and Venger wishes to use their spaceship to try to conquer other worlds.
  • The Fruitties episode "The Dickpea from Outer Space" is about a dickpea alien landing near the Fruitties' treehouse. He lets Roly borrow a special orb he possesses that creates or changes anything that the user wants it to; Roly, naturally, refuses to give it back and causes whatever mischief he can with it.
  • "Sentinel" is the only episode of Gargoyles which involves aliens. Elisa, Goliath, Angela, and Bronx encounter Nokkar, the sole surviving occupant of a secret extraterrestrial military base on Easter Island (the famous Moai statues are based on his face, naturally). Having never encountered gargoyles before, Nokkar assumes that they're his enemies, the Space-Spawn, in disguise, and that Elisa has been brainwashed into trusting them.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy had an earlier, unrelated example in "Billy & Mandy vs The Martians".
  • One episode of PB Bear And Friends is about three aliens visiting planet Earth. These aliens take a liking towards the pop that Roscoe the rabbit is drinking, so PB and Roscoe go to the store to get them their own bottles of pop. Turns out the aliens don't want to drink it, however - their ship uses pop as fuel.
  • Phineas and Ferb have met aliens multiple times, including "Out to Launch", "The Chronicles of Meap" and its Sequel Episodes, "Invasion of the Ferb Snatchers", "Sci-Fi Pie Fly", "When Worlds Collide", "Mind Share", and naturally, Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars.
  • Razzberry Jazzberry Jam has “Music Is Universal” in the second season. A pair of aliens (green castanets; this is a show where every character is some sort of musical instrument) accidentally crash their spaceship (which looks awfully like a disco ball) into a dumpster, where Billie finds it and, needing a disco ball for that night’s show, takes it into the House Of Jam. After being Mistaken for Special Guest (long story) and having to contend with the fact that the Jazzberries don’t understand their Starfish Language, the aliens finally get back to their ship (while the Jazzberries’ backs are turned) and leave, with the Jazzberries being totally unaware that their guests for that day were from outer space (though they do find out that they weren’t the real Dean and Jerry.)
  • The Simpsons: Parodied in "The Springfield Files", in which Homer encounters what he believes to be an alien in the woods outside of town (even having Mulder and Scully arrive to investigate), but it turned out to be Montgomery Burns who, as a side effect of his countless years working for the nuclear plant, glows in the dark. The episode originally was going to have no resolution about that mystery, leaving it as a possibility that Homer did ran into a real alien.

 
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Homer Sees an Alien

While running through the woods, Homer sees a glowing being that looks like an alien (complete with the X Files motif). Despite it asking him not to be afraid, he runs off in terror.

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