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Aliens in Cardiff

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Who said that monsters couldn't appear in Cardiff?

Stan Rosado: Let's go alien for a second. Why here? Why Ohio?
Casey Connor: 'Cause if you were going to take over the world, would you blow up the White House Independence Day style... or sneak in through the backdoor?

Looking for a place to set the disaster of the week/alien invasion/supervillain's base/origin of the bad guys/home of the heroes etc? Well, you can use the classics: New York, Tokyo, London or Paris for the first three, places like Russia, North Korea or the Middle East for the other two, or Los Angeles or (again) New York for the last one. Of course, you may think that's too cliché. Another alternative is having the plot take place in a generic Everytown, America or a fictional town in the middle of nowhere, and have the villains come from some equally-fictional Ruritania or Banana Republic. Or you may Take a Third Option. Have the center of the plot be in an actual place, but some relatively harmless semi-known non-exotic location which makes you ask "Why THERE, of all places?" That is the basis of the trope.

This is sometimes Played for Laughs, though in most cases it is just an example of events that do happen in the world outside its largest cities. The Trope Namer is the Doctor Who revival and subsequent spin-off Torchwood. This is because the revived Doctor Who was produced by BBC Wales. This trope may also happen as a type of Author Appeal, when the author is a native of that location and wants to see it in the spotlight. Such an author may also prefer to write what he knows. Writing about New York City when you don't actually live there risks making the setting generic and cliched, but if you're from Charlotte and know its culture, locales, and history, it can make your story distinctive, as well as informative for outsiders and exciting for locals who will get the references.

This trope is generally reserved for science fiction, fantasy and other settings to contrast the mundane, out of the way locations with impossible situations, often as a grounding element. It doesn't apply as frequently to plausible real life scenarios, even large scale action ones — a group of vampires in Lansing, Michigan might fit, but a high-stakes shootout between criminals and police, not as much.

Not to be confused with Aliens of London (though this doesn't mean they are mutually exclusive), Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here (where the location is just generically boring). Contrast with Canada Does Not Exist, where it's forbidden to name the semi-known location, as well as Washington D.C. Invasion, when the aliens don't feel like faffing around and cut right to the chase. When adding an example, try to keep a global outlook—the capital city of an African nation with nearly five million people, for example would not count.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Soul Eater, Death City, the home of The Grim Reaper and his school, is located in Nevada. It's a play of words on the grimly named desert, Death Valley, which spans parts of California and Nevada. This leads to anomalies like the world's most powerful Ninja setting up base in Nevada.
  • Vladivostok, gets to feature not just in one, but in two completely unrelated shows with a supernatural touch. But while Darker than Black's representation is completely accurate, Blood+'s was almost unrecognizable.
  • Mizuho-sensei of Please Teacher! lands her spacecraft in Lake Kizaki, Nagano Prefecture, presumably for the Scenery Porn. The spinoff, Please Twins! is set in the same area.
  • The Maguar and the aliens fighting them in Figure 17 Tsubasa & Hikaru are confined to rural Hokkaido.
  • In Aldnoah.Zero, the Vers Empire's invasion of Earth begins with Martian Landing Castle slamming into four key cities. Tokyo and Beijing are megacities you'd expect an extraterrestrial enemy to invade... but New Orleans and Maputo? But those cities makes sense when you consider the map of the Earth as it stands in Aldnoah.Zero's setting: the East and West Coasts of America are gone, and nearly all of the western coast of Africa as well as northern Mozambique is devastated, so it stands to reason that New Orleans and Maputo have become megacities thanks to population explosions from fleeing refugees. Episode 9 shows us a full map of the invasion.
    • One of the Landing Castles settled in Dushanbe, the capital of the small and dirt poor Central Asian nation of Tajikistan, which is so awkwardly placed in the corner of the very inaccessible mountainous area of Pamir that it's literally nothing to see and do there: the mountains effectively preclude any meaningful economic development. Unless Martians are interested in meager amounts of cotton and aluminum ore, or prodigious amounts of unskilled laborers that are chief exports of Tajikistan, it's hard to imagine the reason for them to land there.
    • Meanwhile, United Earth Headquarters is located in central southern Russia near the Mongolian border. Talk about way out in the boonies. On the other hand, HQ is actually a hardened bunker 600 meters underground that can survive a nuclear strike, so that's not exactly the kind of building that should be found in a major metropolitan area.
  • Gundam franchise:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, the Earth is divided into 4 major economic blocs. The capital of Arbrau, one of these 4 blocs, is located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and becomes the major goal of Tekkadan to get to in the tail end of the series. Episode 23 sees Tekkadan approaching the city by train, and Episodes 24 and 25 feature the show's big climactic battle occurring on the city outskirts and moving into downtown proper. A local Edmonton newspaper even wrote an article on it.
      • The animators used Google Maps to very accurately replicate Edmonton down to specific buildings (with a "Money Market" becoming a "Monkey Market" for instance). One Edmontonian anime blogger theorized that they went further than just Google Maps: the episodes in question place heavy emphasis specifically on Jasper Avenue and also includes an uncannily accurate recreation of the Shaw Conference Centre interior, which cannot be obtained from Google Maps, so he assumes that somebody involved with the show's production team must have personally attended a business meeting or conference in the SCC and then taken a walk down Jasper Ave., possibly location scouting.
    • Notable examples of this crossing with Throw-Away Country include Australia being the victim of a Colony Drop bad enough to leave a crater visible from space in Universal Century Gundam, a big portion of the American midwest getting colony dropped by Zeon remnants to cripple the Federation's grain production in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, and the Chinese-Tibetan city of Lhasa getting smashed by an asteroid in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack because the protagonists were headquartered there.
  • Kuromukuro is set in the relatively backwater Toyama prefecture around the iconic Kurobe Dam, where the titular artefact was ostensibly found. The real reason, however, is that Toyama prefecture is a home of the P. A. Works, the studio producing the series, and their newly-built headquarter even gets heavily damaged during the alien rampage, for which the studio boss even presents the aliens a humorous "bill of repairs".
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: While it was renamed "Tokyo-3" as part of the chain of events following Second Impact, the events of the series happen in the Japanese city of Hakone.
  • Zombie Land Saga: The Saga prefecture of Japan isn't exactly notable, aside from the linguistic coincidence of what its name means in English. This is actually the very reason Kotaro Tatsumi decides to enact his plan... raise seven girls from the dead to form a regional Idol Singer group and keep it from fading into obscurity! Thus begins Zombie Land Saga. As it turns out, the reason why Saga prefecture isn't notable is because it is inflicted with a curse that is trying to wipe the entire prefecture out of people's memory by any means necessary. The curse is the reason why the Franchouchou girls died in the first place, with Kotaro trying to counteract the curse by bringing the girls back to live so that they can make Saga more recognizable. Also might have to do with the fact that the CEO of Cygames, one of the companies responsible for the show, is from said prefecture.

  • Lewis Black claims to have found the edge of the universe in Houston, Texas. Specifically, at a dead-end road where there were two Starbucks directly across the street from each other (with the street being the border of a time zone — "By the time you make it to the other end of the street, your order's already an hour late!")

    Comic Books 
  • In 30 Days of Night, a remote town in northern Alaska is attacked by vampires, looking to take advantage of the prolonged darkness that happens every winter.
  • The Jaime Reyes runs of Blue Beetle deviated from the standard "stick the hero in a counterpart of a real-world city" DC formula by having Jaime patrol El Paso, Texas.
  • Empowered has a ninja clan in New Jersey.
  • In Gold Digger, the Diggers family lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Consequently, all the supernatural and superscientific friends, enemies, and acquaintances they make during the course of their globe-trotting and multiverse-hopping adventures inevitably end up finding their way there.
  • In Halo: Uprising, when a captured UNSC colonel is tortured by the Covenant, he tells them the "Key of Osanalan" is in Cleveland. It was a ruse to keep them from wiping out the city from orbit and so give his brother there a chance to escape.
  • In Mampato it all begins when an alien and his spaceship crash in the vicinity of a small rural town in central Chile.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Not only are Alpha Flight superheroes in Canada, but it was revealed that Wolverine is a former member and the Weapon X Project that gave him his adamantium skeleton was the Canadian government's attempt at creating their own Super-Soldier.
    • In the 4-issue Great Lakes Avengers series, Maelstrom manages to create his universe-ending device successfully, and has only the titular D-List team to face him. He notes that he succeeded in creating his doomsday device because he didn't go to a major city like Los Angeles, London, or New York, but instead went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
    • Howard the Duck was based in Cleveland.
    • The new Ms. Marvel is Jersey City's very own (well, only) superhero. Granted, Jersey City is right across the Hudson River from Manhattan and isn't out of reach of the NYC heroes, but it's still a nice change of pace.
    • Secret Avengers: The secret empire has built their underground teleporting city beneath Toledo, Ohio for two reasons: It has no subway systems and there is very little chance of any government or media attention.
    • The X-Men's most well-known base of operations is North Salem, New York. Like Jersey City, it's still within the NYC metro area, but the writers deserve credit for using a specific town rather than generically plopping them in Manhattan.
    • In the Post-Civil War Marvel Comics world Asgard - the home of the gods of Norse legend - is floating over Broxton, Oklahoma.
    • The whole point of The 50 State Initiative. A super hero team for every state, even Iowa. And of course, our friends The Great Lakes Avengers patrol Wisconsin as The Great Lakes Initiative.
  • Eduardo Risso's (with scripts by Barreiro) "Parque Chas" turns this into a joke, setting a detectivesque comic writer in the very quiet, middle-class, small and residential neighbourhood of Parque Chas, in Buenos Aires, where a lot of crazy paranormal stuff is going on due to a dimensional gate. The craziest part is that there are indeed urban legends about Parque Chas, due to its weird circular streets.
  • Punx featured a Notzilla looking to mix things up because the people of Tokyo gave him an Embarrassing Nickname. A friend helps narrow down targets, noting that the creators of this series promised they wouldn't futz around with anything that would affect the wider Valiant Comics universe, until they reach... Acclamation, Oregon (not a real place, but then again neither is Monster Island). Acclamation appears to be a bustling cyberpunk metropolis on the sea, oddly enough.
  • The PS238 issue "Saving Alternate Omaha" sets a deciding battle for The Multiverse in Omaha, Nebraska, after Victor VonFogg conquers it and makes it the capital of his new empire. The same issue also reveals the town is Zodon's hometown.
  • Rom: Spaceknight: a major center of the Dire Wraith invasion is Clairton, West Virginia.
  • Superman:
    • An escape pod carrying the infant survivor of a nearly extinct alien species crash lands in Smallville, Kansas. When the baby grows into adolescence, he becomes his town's protector as Superboy.
    • The Supergirl From Krypton (1959): After landing on Earth, Supergirl settles in Midvale, a sleepy Midwestern town which suddenly becomes a magnet for aliens, time-travellers, supernatural creatures and all sorts of weirdness.
    • In Supergirl (1984), Kara lands close to the sleepy town of Midvale shortly before a witch decides to take it over to build her power base.
  • In Alan Moore's first Swamp Thing story line the Justice League is caught completely off guard when the Floronic Man makes his move.
    Green Arrow: Man, I don't believe this! We were watching out for New York, Metropolis, for Atlantis... But who was watching out for Lacroix, Louisiana?
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage): The main character run into all kinds of supernatural crap. It's easy to overlook when they're in New York, but it feels jarring when they're constantly running into aliens and eldritch abominations in Northampton, Massachusetts.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): The Autobots and the Decepticons crash in Oregon, near Portland.

    Fan Works 
  • Always Visible: Acts 0, 1, and 2 take place in Portland, Oregon. This city rarely gets featured in media.

  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): It gets lampshaded in Chapter 13 that Godzilla, Rodan and Monster X converging on the Japanese island community of Yonaguni breaks the Titans' usual pattern of converging on and fighting in major cities.

  • In Worldwar: War of Equals, the aliens do land near or outside capitol cities such as Sao Paulo, Cairo, Kiev, Beijing, and Mumbai, they also choose to land in some place that aren't so popular such as Belleville, Bari, Al Basrah, and Bendigo.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Iron Giant: The Iron Giant lands in Maine.
  • Lilo & Stitch has the epicenter of alien activity on Earth in Hawaii—it's not even on the most populated island, but Kauai. The fact that there weren't any major cities on the island was a plot point: Stitch can't swim so he wasn't able to immediately commence with the mass destruction he was built for; he pretended to be a dog so he could manipulate someone into getting him off the island. Apparently the original idea was for Stitch to crash-land into a very rural area of Kansas. Possibly, they changed it to cover the aforementioned issue of why he couldn't just walk to another city.
  • Except for the big battle in San Francisco, The War Room of the President and the undisclosed location of the monster prison, most of the action in Monsters vs. Aliens takes place in Modesto, California. This is lampshaded in the TV Halloween Special Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space: "Why is it always Modesto?"
  • Makoto Shinkai uses both this and Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe, at times both in the same work to draw deliberate contrast:
    • Voices of a Distant Star's Earthside scenes take place in Saitama, capital of the prefecture of the same name. Despite being on the northern doorstep of Tokyo, its much, much more famous and populous neighbour is never mentioned.
    • The Place Promised in Our Early Days starts off in fairly desolate Aomori, at the northernmost tip of Honshu, and though a mid-film sojourn to Tokyo is indeed important, it goes back to Aomori for the climax.
    • While 5 Centimeters per Second has important scenes, including almost all of its third act, in Tokyo, the first act centres on Takaki's cold, lonely northward journey out to rural Tochigi, while the second act takes place entirely in the even more remote southern island of Tanegashima.
    • While part of Your Name takes place in Tokyo, Mitsuha comes from a small town in the fairly obscure Gifu Prefecture, and it's here that several important scenes, including the climax, take place.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem takes place in the small college town of Gunnison, Colorado, about as far out in the sticks as possible. The movie doesn't really portray it as much of a small town, however, making it several times larger than it really is and giving it a power station and other such accoutrements. It was actually filmed on Vancouver Island, Canada.
  • In this short film Ataque de Pánico! (Panic Attack!), aliens destroy Montevideo. Where? Why it's the capital of Uruguay of course!
  • Attack the Block has aliens landing in London, but it's not exactly the postcard version.
    Dimples: What kind of alien, out of all the places in the whole wide world, would invade some shitty council estate in south London?
    Dennis: One that's lookin' for a fight!
  • The Blair Witch Project gives an entire backstory of supernatural events to Burkittsville, Maryland. The residents of the real Burkittsville were not thrilled by the attention the movie brought to their town.
  • In Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the aliens are first spotted in the town of Muncie, Indiana. They land at Devil's Tower, Wyoming (the mountain Roy keeps trying to sculpt).
  • From Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid: 'At least we managed to get... Terre Haute... Indian-uhh...'
  • Devil Girl from Mars. A leather-dressed female alien seeking men to repopulate her race crashlands in a small town in the Scottish moors and has to make the best of a bad situation.
  • Lampshaded in the first ten minutes of District 9, where the sick, malnourished aliens had the misfortune to make first contact with Johannesburg, and notes when the ship first appears over the city that it wasn't some place like New York, London, or Chicago. Cue thinly-veiled apartheid parallels.
  • In El Día de la Bestia, by director Alex de la Iglesia, the birth of the Antichrist will take place on Christmas Day in Madrid, capital of Spain
  • Dude, Where's My Car?: "We will now use the power of the Continuum Transfunctioner to banish you to Hoboken, New Jersey!"
  • Discussed in The Faculty. When one character points out the absurdity of aliens secretly invading via a High School in small town Ohio, another character points out that it'd be easier to secretly invade in somewhere out of the way than try to blow up The White House, which the whole world will notice.
  • The Final Sacrifice takes place in Eagle Hat, a fictional district of South Alberta.
  • The MST3K B-Movie The Giant Spider Invasion takes place in Merrill, Wisconsin.
  • Cleveland is where Howard the Duck took place, complete with aliens trying to take over the world.
  • In Incident At Ravens Gate, aliens invade a small town in South Australia.
  • Koi... Mil Gaya has the aliens, including Jadoo, visiting the hill station of Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh, a town of less than five thousand. Justified in that they were inadvertantly called there by Rohit using his father's computer.
  • Kronos (1957): While (as usual of films of the era) America Saves the Day, the titular alien lands on (and stomps flat a good chunk of) Mexico.
  • Let Me In: The vampire Abby stalks and hunts in the small town of Los Alamos, New Mexico.
  • Looper is a hardboiled, time-traveling hitman tale set in... Kansas.
  • In Nope, the UFO targets a ranch in a small inland town nestled in the California desert. Since Jean Jacket is a wild animal, it likely did not “choose” this area for any particular reason beyond it having enough food and being far away from anything likely to harm it. OJ suggests that it may have settled in Agua Dulce because Jupe was feeding it, making it a Justified Trope.
  • The Prophecy is about a war in heaven among God's angels. The outcome of the war will be Chimney Rock, Arizona.
  • Ready Player One is set in Columbus, Ohio.
    • Justified that it is actually one of the world's fastest growing city in reality, not just in the movie.
  • Santo contra la invasión de los marcianos: While it makes sense for a Mexican B-Movie production to have its events occur in Mexico, we are still talking about a Martian plan to abduct certain greatest members of the human race and then start to stomp on mankind's face (luchador-style) that takes place in the suburbs of the (then-) Federal District.
  • In the Brazilian film "Segurança Nacional", the non-Brazilian Latino traffickers, from the middle to the end of the film, planned to drop an atomic bomb from the Amazon in Santa Catarina. If they wanted to take revenge on the government, they could attack Brasília, if they wanted to do something iconic, they could attack Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.
  • Signs: At one moment Graham watches footage from first contact in a birthday party in the town of Passo Fundo, Brazil. Although a regional hub, the city is virtually unknown outside Brazil.
  • Spaced Invaders involves an attempted alien invasion by idiot Martians that mistook a Halloween broadcast of Orson Welles' War Of The Worlds radio drama for the actual thing in the Midwest farm boondocks of Big Bean, Illinois.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact the Vulcans first land in Montana, though they had a pretty good reason as they were looking for the people who had built a spaceship with warp technology in their basement. This is a case of Author Appeal: Brannon Braga is from Bozeman; he even named a USS starship after it.
  • Starship Troopers: The first city to be attacked by the aliens is Buenos Aires, which happens to be our hero's hometown.
  • The remake of The Stepford Wives lampshades this during the antagonist's speech near the end:
    Claire: I asked myself, where would people never notice a town full of robots? [mocking gasp] Connecticut!
  • Super Deluxe lampshades it when the alien girl mocks Vasanth for his skepticism that she is, in fact, an alien girl born in the unnamed setting of the movie.
    "Do you think aliens only visit America?"
  • Supersonic Saucer involves a young Venusian named Meba landing at a boarding school in Surrey (although he does travel to London briefly within the film).
  • Thor: upon being stripped of his powers, Thor lands in a small town in New Mexico; and his hammer, Mjölnir, in another location 50 miles away. Dr. Jane Foster and her colleagues seem to take this in stride as Thor has trouble adjusting to Earth customs.
  • The sequel, Thor: The Dark World, features “the Convergence”, a celestial event where all the realms connected to Yggdrasil (The World Tree) are aligned and portals between open up randomly. The epicenter of this event is in Greenwich, England. At least this makes thematic sense since Greenwich is regarded as the reckoning point for all other points of time on the globe (hence “Greenwich Mean Time”).
  • The nuclear war film Threads takes place in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire. This is one of the examples where it makes sense, as it is far enough from major population centres that most of the inhabitants could be expected to survive the immediate effects of a nuclear war, the poor barstards.
  • Time Chasers takes place in Vermont — Rutland, at that, not even Chittenden County — because that's where the company that made it was located. It makes it seem as if Vermont is the epicenter of the future dystopia.
  • The events of the 2018 film UFO revolve around proving that an actual UFO may have appeared... in the skies over Cincinnati International Airport.
  • What We Do in the Shadows follows the misadventures of a group of ancient, murderous vampires living as flatmates in Wellington, New Zealand. The spin-off TV show focuses on a different group who live on Staten Island, which, while technically part of New York City, is considered the oddball of the Five Boroughs and often viewed as an extension of suburban New Jersey.

  • Alien in a Small Town is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A Starfish Alien ends up living in a small Mennonite town for years.
  • Although monsters and superheroes are everywhere in All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault and its sequel, the main storylines are set in Waterloo, Ontario, a real Canadian city that's also the home of the book's author.
  • In the novels of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, the largest vampire population — and the headquarters of the eponymous secret society — is in Caldwell, NY. Yep.
  • An entry for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, as recorded in 1984's It Was a Dark and Stormy Night anthology, discards the Big City and sets the putative action in a more unlikely venue:
    "It had been three days since Torfongu had eaten Los Angeles, and now he sat staring down at Bakersfield... a tasty little morsel, indeed."
    — Patrick L. Shepard
    — Eagan, Minnesota
  • The first scouting sortie of the alien collective in Alan Dean Foster's A Call to Arms encounters as its first human contact a musician in a fishing boat off the coast of Belize.
  • The Captain Underpants series takes place in Piqua, Ohio, a real city with a population of a little over 20,000.
  • The Chrysalids portrays a surviving enclave of civilisation after an implied nuclear holocaust. Naturally it's in Newfoundland (although New Zealand seems to be doing pretty well too.) Although this is justified by the very premise, as the only places where there would be any surviving enclaves of civilisation left after an apocalyptic nuclear war would be remote, sparsely-populated areas with no military bases or important industrial facilities.
  • The Swedish young adult/fantasy The Circle (2011) is about a group of young witches fighting the forces of darkness and takes place in Engelsfors, a small town in Sweden with a population of 13,000.
  • Dragons in Our Midst: It so happens that the two half-dragons Billy and Bonnie meet in a small town in West Virginia. The former's father lives there as well (justified as he was hiding from dragonslayers and needed an obscure middle-of-nowhere place to remain hidden). In the second book The Candlestone, they meet a third half-dragon, Ashley, in a remote lab near Missoula, Montana, with her father's dangerous experiments hidden from the public eye.
  • The sci-fi/horror novel Eden Green portrays alien needle monsters invading an expy of the author's home city of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford Prefect explains why aliens always seem to land in the middle of nowhere.
    Ford: Teasers are usually rich kids with nothing to do. They cruise around looking for planets that haven't made interstellar contact and buzz them ... They find some isolated spot with very few people around, then land right by some poor unsuspecting soul whom no one's ever going to believe and then strut up and down in front of him wearing silly antennas on their heads and making beep beep noises. Rather childish really.
  • In The House of Night, while vampyres exist all over the world, most of the action takes place in a House of Night in... Tulsa, Oklahoma. A comment by Aphrodite's parents, in Betrayed, claims that, to them, going to the school in Tulsa was more notable and prestigious than going to a "no-name House of Night" in Europe. In fact, Neferet's backstory in Redeemed details her rise to power in Tulsa and the existence of Old Magick there.
  • This trope is openly discussed by Stan and Pete in How to Build a Skydeck, set in the small town of Columbus, Georgia.
  • Jam is set in Brisbane, Australia, and although it is a large city in its own right, has a lower population and is more obscure outside of Australia compared to Sydney or Melbourne.
  • In John Dies at the End, the extradimensional shenanigans take place in a small unnamed town in the American midwest. In early drafts of the story, the town was identified as Rockville, Indiana. In This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It, the town becomes global news, but the narrator still refuses to name it.
  • Jurassic Park and the franchise it created (although no longer from the middle point of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and onwards) mostly takes place in a fictional island chain that is territory of Costa Rica. Leads to a hilarious gaffe in the first novel when the "Costa Rican Air Force" napalms Isla Nublar and all dinosaurs in it to kingdom come (Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948).
  • In The Kane Chronicles, Set initiates his plan to take over the world, obviously starting in New York, right? I mean, that's where the heroes are based and that's where the last group of evil gods started their attack. But no, he starts with Phoenix, Arizona. Of course, Set is a desert god.
  • Stephen King: Apparently Maine is haunted as crap. Between the Eldritch Abomination sleeping under Derry, the Wendigo doing his thing in an Indian Burial Ground just outside Ludlow, the ancient alien spacecraft buried in the woods outside Haven, and all the crap that goes down in Castle Rock...
  • In The Lathe of Heaven, all the major events center on Portland, Oregon, where the protagonist (whose dreams alter reality) lives. Coincidentally, this is also the home town of author Ursula LeGuin.
  • Almost all the supernatural happenings in H. P. Lovecraft's stories happen in a semi-fictional town located on the coast in New England called Innsmouth. The name is a combination of two real town names "Innsbruck" and "Portsmouth". It's not named after the towns with these names in Maine which are famous tourist destinations (Innsbruck Maine is nowhere near the fairly large city of Portsmouth, and also not on the coast). Rather, Lovecraft's Innsmouth is named after the towns right next to each other on Cape Cod which are small, and famous for precisely nothing. The most notable thing about either is that Portsmouth has a large and very old cannery, where a lot of the fish caught on Cape Cod is processed. The spin off D20 tabletop game manual Call Of Chthulu also encourages game masters to invoke this trope by setting the game in their local area or an off-the-beaten-path locale.
  • The Mediochre Q Seth Series is primarily set in Scotland, due to Creator Provincialism. The title character notes at one point that the highlands of Scotland are "good dragon country".
  • The Mercy Thompson series of books, sure people know OF the Tri-Cities in Washington, but few can name all three, and remember this is three cities that take up the same amount of mileage as the ONE city that Washington is known for.
  • In chilean writer Hugo Correa's novel El que merodea en la lluvia (The one who prowls in the rain), a Soviet space probe crashes in a rural area in southern Chile. What no one knows is that the probe accidentally caught a formless alien, who is now roaming the Chilean countryside.
  • The events of Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy takes place in Bixby, population: 13,000. Though the location is important to the plot.
  • The short story "On a Clear Day, You Can See All the Way to Conspiracy" by Desmond Warzel is a literal case of Aliens in Cleveland; well, actually, aliens in the upscale suburbs of Gates Mills and Lyndhurst (apparently even extraterrestrials have standards).
  • In The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein, aliens invade Grinnell, Iowa (changed for very little good reason to Ambrose, Iowa, in The Movie).
  • Daniel Pinkwater likes setting the weirdness in his books in odd places like Hoboken (The Hoboken Chicken Emergency) or other obscure towns (Yobgorble: Mystery Monster of Lake Ontario). And that's when the weirdness isn't happening in Hogboro.
  • Robert Rankin lives off this trope. Any event of cosmic importance, if not taking place entirely in, will at least relate to Brentford.
  • The Raven Cycle takes place in small town Henrietta, Virginia, which is apparently (due to being on a ley line) a hub of psychic energy, ghosts, and magic in general. Oh, and the burial ground of an ancient magic Welsh king that may or may not grant wishes. The second book, The Dream Thieves, adds Dream Walkers to the list.
  • Richard III in the 21st Century comes to call Portland, Oregon home after his initial trip through time there. Other important scenes take place in Rochester, New York, and the Big Applesauce shows up as a location only because of the justified use of New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Hospital as the site of some very specific medical research.
  • Robert J. Sawyer's Calculating God: The aliens want to take a good look at Earth fossils, so they go to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
    • His Neanderthal Parallax books have a Neanderthal from a parallel universe appear in... Sudbury, Ontario. Sort of justified, since the device that sent him there was built in the same cavern as the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. You may have guessed by now that Robert J. Sawyer is from Ontario.
    • Many of his books either are set in Canada, or have Canadian characters. He's stated it's to make up for the lack of them in science fiction novels.
  • Sphere: Contact with an alien artifact (and the human ship that is so advanced that was initially believed to be alien) smack in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. This Trope is discussed extensively on the book as part of the "Project ULF" briefing, and explained that 1) alien intelligences have to be assumed to be so alien that they may not care to land on a major city, 2) alien biologies are so different from humanity that they would go to a place that fits them better (which is then argued that Earth is covered with oceans so extensively that it makes more statistical sense for first contact to occur on water) and 3) assuming that aliens will do something like, say, land on Washington D.C. because it's what aliens do in movies, is just using a very erroneous (and maybe even dangerous) basis for planning.
  • S. Andrew Swann's Dragons of the Cuyahoga duology has a portal to a magical world open in Cleveland, and dragons, elves, dwarves and such come through, along with magic (limited only to the greater Cleveland region).
    • Swann is a native of Cleveland, and also set the first book of his Moreau Series in Cleveland.
  • The Twilight Saga is set in Forks, Washington, a place the residents have barely heard of. Another vampire clan lives in Denali, Alaska. Considering they've been there for a while and how rural, scenic and insular these places are, this may also overlap with Lovecraft Country.
  • The eerie phenomena in Jules Verne's Master of the World occur mainly in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, and the Great Lakes. (Of course, those locales would seem a good deal more exotic to your typical French reader, and thus to Verne).
  • Kurt Vonnegut's
    • Cat's Cradle: The small town of Illium, New York is where the world-destroying substance Ice-9 is developed.
    • Slaughterhouse-Five: The same small town of Illium is where Billy Pilgrim is abducted by aliens.
  • The first Martian ship to reach Earth in The War of the Worlds (1898) lands in Horsell Common in Woking, a small town in Surrey in South East England. Orson Welles' radio production moves it to Grover's Mill, New Jersey, while the 1953 adaptation moves it to Linda Rosa, California and the 2005 adaptation has them attacking Bayonne, New Jersey (across the river from the Big Applesauce, but fairly obscure to people from outside New York) instead.
  • The Clans of Warrior Cats were originally living in New Forest in Southern England, locally known for being a former royal forest and nothing else.
  • In Roger Zelazny's Doorways in the Sand, the rogue terrorist threatening the world (or at least threatening the world's good relations with its new alien friends) does indeed turn out to be Australian.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun is set in Rutherford, Ohio. The place is fictional, but it's obviously meant to be a typical Midwestern town.
  • 24
    • Midway through season 7 Colonel Dubaku targets a pesticide plant just outside Kidron, Ohio (pop. 30,000), for his next terrorist attack.
    • One season features a significant plotline involving terrorists in Palmdale, California, a mid-sized city a couple hours outside of the greater LA area (though still in Los Angeles County and thus officially part of the LA area). It's justified by the fact that the terrorists are hiding out and intend to target major cities when they're ready. It's also small enough to get nuked without completely changing the world in which 24 takes place.
  • The Almighty Johnsons has the Norse gods... in Auckland. It's revealed that at least some of them stayed home in Norway, but all of the main characters are Kiwis.
  • Being Human (UK) has vampires planning a vast global empire from their headquarters in Bristol, England.
    • Lampshaded by George, who directly asks the question of 'Why Bristol?'
    • And later, in season 3:
      Mitchell: It can't happen like this! Not here! Not in WALES!
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes occasional references to a second Hellmouth in Cleveland. In fact, Cleveland is rather frequently a subject of this trope, hence its alternate title, Aliens in Cleveland. It's part of a long-Running Gag in popular culture that Cleveland is a depressing hellhole of decay, corruption, and a river of fire.note  The city's demonic influence permeates into its residents, who actually like it there.
  • Continuum is set in Vancouver, Canada. While it is only the 35th most populous metro area in North America, the events of the series show that all the critical events of the continent's political, industrial and cultural future happen there.
  • Dark (2017): The fate of three universes rests in the hands of locals in the small, German town of Winden.
  • The whole point of Eerie, Indiana is how the titular small town is the focal point of government conspiracies, supernatural and sci-fi happenings.
  • In Eleventh Hour, they were listing cities that would be destroyed by rising sea levels. The paradox was that they wanted to list a British city for impact but retain scientific accuracy, and the narmy result was: Lagos, New York, Tokyo … Norwich.
    • In one of the 'unseen' scenes from Harry Hill's TV Burp, Harry sees the list and starts to go into a panic: "But where will we go to see puppet dramas without the Norwich Puppet Theatre? And where will we buy our many varieties of mustard when The Mustard Shop is destroyed? Oh no!" (Aside Glance) "I'm kidding. I love Norwich!"
  • Used in a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch about aliens who come to destroy "the very heart of civilization." Their target: New Pudsey.
  • Stargate SG-1 tended to use this for its Earth episodes.
    • The frequent use of Colorado Springs is justified by being where the main cast actually lives, being the closest city to the Cheyenne Mountain installation. Those examples tend to be a case of the cast being Weirdness Magnets, for instance an ascended Ancient falling in love with Carter and following her home.
    • Other examples include a rural area north of Seattle where a cult has set up shop ("Seth"), and Steveston, Oregon having a zombie outbreak ("Nightwalkers").
    • Discussed in "Prometheus". Carter tells the reporters touring Earth's first spacegoing warship that it was based on Imported Alien Phlebotinum recovered from a crash site outside Fairbanks, Alaska.
      Jonas: (whispered) 'Fairbanks'?
      Carter: It sounded better than 'Roswell'.
  • The Roswell episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had Nog fabricate a story about alien conquest of Earth, randomly pointing to the initial landing site on a map (next to a 'blue blob'). The soldier who is listening to him leans in and exclaims, "Your people are going to invade... Cleveland???"
  • In the pilot of Star Trek: Enterprise, an interplanetary incident is set off when a Klingon crash-lands in Broken Bow, Oklahoma.
  • Hawkins in Stranger Things used to be a sleepy Indiana town, until the government opened an energy research laboratory there. Bizarre and deadly things have ensued since then. Robin, in season 3, does not understand why these things are happening in a place she describes as a "piss stop on the way to Disneyland".
  • Other than the occasional Hollywood haunting, all of the action in Supernatural takes place in small- to mid-size towns, mostly in Flyover Country. Big Bads have been vanquished in Jefferson City, Missouri; South Dakota / Wyoming; New Harmony, Indiana; and Ilchester, Maryland. Funny how all of the above (including Hollywood) seem to have the same general climate.
  • True Blood, and obviously the Sookie Stackhouse novels the show is based on, are set in Bon Temps, a fictional suburb of Shreveport, Louisiana. The city itself is the show's secondary main setting. Also, the second and third seasons involve visits to Dallas and Jackson, Mississippi, respectively.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Gift", Williams' ship crash-landed in the vicinity of the mountain village of Madeiro, Mexico, just over the border with Texas.
  • The Vampire Diaries put the center of mystic activities in semi-rural Mystic Falls, Virginia.
  • Wellington Paranormal: In O'Leary's own words, Wellington is a very liveable city; that means it's also very liveable for the paranormal.
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2019): In the second season, Laszlo spends an episode hiding from a rival in Clairton, Pennsylvania, an outer suburb of Pittsburgh.
  • The Trope Namer is the Whoniverse:
    • Ever since the show returned in 2005, it made Cardiff, the capital city and most populous county of Wales, and the headquarters of BBC Wales (the producers of the show), a Weirdness Magnet courtesy of a dimensional rift. This trope is repeatedly lampshaded by characters in both Doctor Who and Torchwood who have dumbfounded reactions to the thought of supernatural stuff happening in Cardiff. While the Doctor only visits Cardiff on occasion (to "refuel" the TARDIS with energy from the rift), the first two series of Torchwood are set there.
      • This even gets lampshaded during Season 2 when Gwen tries to tell Rhys what she really does at work. His reaction is (obviously) "Aliens? In Cardiff?!"
      • The Cardiff Rift first appeared in "The Unquiet Dead", the third episode of the new series.
      • "Boom Town" is also set in Cardiff, as the episode's villain has set herself up as the city's mayor as part of her plot to escape Earth using the Cardiff Rift.
    • In the old series, especially in the UNIT era, it was Aliens in the Home Counties. Doctor Who Magazine had a short story justifying this, by saying the standard operating procedure for an alien conqueror was to establish a beachhead in a relatively rural area of a small landmass, make their way from there to the local power centre, and then use that as a centre for taking over the rest of the planet.
    • The old series does, nevertheless, go to even less common locations at times, such as Time Lord criminals hiding out in Cambridge or Amsterdam, an alien time experiment in Seville, a secret underground base where scientists create natural disasters in Australia and a mad super-computer plotting to take over the world from South Wales.
    • When Doctor Who stories are set in America, they either take place in New York, Washington, the area around Cape Canaveral, or... Utah? Utah's importance is actually an invoked case of this trope. The place and time are so out-of-the-way and insignificant that the unusual properties of the location and time allow the Silence to create a fixed point in time and space in an attempt to kill the Doctor. "Dalek" also takes place in Utah.
    • In an Eleventh Doctor audio story called "The Ring of Steel", the aliens invade on Orkney, a small group of islands off the north coast of Scotland. Justified as the aliens in question were genetically engineered to survive by converting planets' atmospheres into hydrocarbons and eating the life trapped "like flies in amber", but wish they didn't have to. Therefore, they choose somewhere quiet and out-of-the-way to invade in the hope that no one will notice.
    • Season 10/36 begins with the Doctor hiding out as a university professor and fighting aliens in Bristol.
    • "The Woman Who Fell to Earth": Quoth a train passenger, "We don't get aliens in Sheffield." Until the events of the episode, that is. And it turns out that the alien antagonist, or another of his species, came there seven years ago as well, so it's not the first time.
    • "Fugitive of the Judoon" involves the titular brutish Space Police hunting down a fugitive... in Gloucester.
  • Frequently used in The X-Files (e.g., a building full of identical clones in Allentown, Pennsylvania; a shapeshifter assassin in Syracuse, New York).

  • Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Although it is mentioned that he was "way behind" and getting desperate.
  • Frank Zappa was from California (albeit of Italian and Syrian origin), and one of his trademarks was setting songs in all kinds of exotic locations for seemingly no reason. Notable is the song "Montana", where the protagonist has a dream to move to the state of Montana to become a dental floss tycoon. It appears to be a deliberate subversion of the idea that someone would move to a lucrative city like LA or New York to strike it rich.
  • Warren Zevon’s classic hit:
    Ah-ooh, Werewolves of London, ah-ooh


    Tabletop Games 
  • Subverted-by-Real Life example: The designers of Shadowrun originally picked Seattle for their game's home base, because as large North American cities went, it was relatively obscure in pre-90s pop culture. Little did they suspect that movies, TV shows, grunge and Starbucks would conspire to elevate Seattle's cultural prominence in the years to follow.
  • White Wolf's website had a Java-based RPG chat room for their Chronicles of Darkness also set in Atlanta, Georgia; the Old World of Darkness chat had the fictional city of "New Bremen" instead. The World of Darkness has also released sourebooks for cities all over the world. In addition to the obvious (New York, London, Hong Kong, etc.), there is also the rather twisty Milwaukee by Night.
  • Tales from the Loop: The titular Magical Particle Accelerator arrays (and subsequent Weirdness Magnets) were built on Sweden and Boulder City, Nevada.
  • In Delta Green, there are some few countries that have secret agencies that fight the creatures from the Cthulhu Mythos. Delta Green and Majestic-12 in the United States, PISCES in the UK, GRU SV-8 in Russia and... M-EPIC in Canada. Even more interesting, the heads of governments from the US and UK aren't aware of the groups, which means the Prime-Minister of Canada is one of the few world leaders aware of the monsters that lurk in the shadows and threatens mankind.
  • The Creature That Ate Sheboygan is about a Kaiju rampaging through Sheboygan, a town in Wisconsin, USA.

    Video Games 
  • AmsterDoom details an Alien Invasion where their Point Zero of landing is - true to it's title - Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Then again, it's made by a Dutch company.
  • In Tomb Raider: Legend, we learn that King Arthur's tomb is under a tacky Camelot tourist trap in Cornwall.
    Lara: As in take the M5 to the A30 Cornwall?
  • A level of No One Lives Forever 2 has you fighting an army of ninjas in Akron, Ohio.
  • Leather Goddesses of Phobos has the player start in a bar in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
  • Superhero League of Hoboken takes place in the titular city in New Jersey.
  • Played for laughs in an Interactive Fiction game, where part of the backstory details Satan's arrival on Earth to punish humanity for their sins and his construction of a hellish citadel to house his legions in New Jersey. Apparently it was a few years before people realized something was wrong.
  • In MDK, the population centers threatened with annihilation by the invading city minecrawlers were Laguna Beach, Lindfield, Livingston, Kirkaldy and Sparrow Pit. In MDK2 the city minecrawler in the opening mission was targeting Edmonton.
  • Earth made its first real appearance in Mass Effect 3, something that was heavily marketed in the game's advertising. Namely, the Reaper attack on London. However, the first we see of the Reaper invasion is the scorched remains of... Vancouver. Justified in that Bioware is Canadian and Vancouver is one of Canada's largest and most famous cities, and averted in the final battle, which takes place in London.
  • Parasite Eve 2 starts off in downtown Los Angeles, but after the Action Prologue is over, Aya then spends the rest of the game on a mission in Dryfield, Nevada, a tiny desert hamlet in the middle of the Mojave Desert that is not so much a town as it is a collection of buildings clustered together. Population: 1, a former Vietnam veteran named Douglas who was the only person to stay after the Neo-Mitochondrion Creatures infested the place.
  • Used in the Fallout series, for good reason: many big cities were nuked into oblivion during the war (Los Angeles was destroyed so badly that it was called "the Boneyard", San Franciscio is mostly deserted, and it's implied that New York is just a radioactive crater). Therefore, the capital of the New California Republic isn't New Sacramento or anything like that, but instead a formerly small, post-apocalyptic community called Shady Sands. Played with in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4, which take place in Washington, DC, Las (New) Vegas, and Boston, respectively, but in the case of New Vegas and 4, it's justified: the de-facto ruler of New Vegas, Robert House, had a missile defense system set up that destroyed most of the nukes before they could land, and most of the conflict in 4 comes from the actions of the Institute (formerly CIT, the Fallout version of MIT), which wasn't founded in its current form until after the war. However, DLCs for the post-2 games take place in exotic locales such as Zion National Park (Honest Hearts), Pittsburgh (The Pitt), Maine (Far Harbour), Anchorage (Operation: Anchorage), Point Lookout State Park (Point Lookout) and quite often, areas that, in real life, are empty or just don't exist (Lonesome Road and Old World Blues).
    • Zig-Zagged with Fallout 76, which takes place in the Appalachian region, which was spared from the brunt of the Great War's carnage. Some key cities in West Virginia, including Morgantown and the capitol city of Charleston, are present, albeit located in different areas than their real-world counterparts. Other areas and attractions are given new names: while Camden Park retains its name, Ersatz versions of the Greenbriar and Hillbilly Hotdogs are present.
  • In Super Robot Wars: Original Generation, the Earth Federation has many military bases in many cities around the globe, Curiously enough, most of those bases does exist, as many of these bases belong to either the U.S. military (in the case of the ones located in the Shizuoka prefecture in Japan) or NATO (Aviano, in Italy) in real life. To make things even more strange, one of EF's military bases is located, from all places, in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico. Not only there isn't any military base worth mentioning there in Real Life (either from the U.S., NATO or even the Mexican army, leaving aside the fact Mexico doesn't allow foreign military forces to work there), Tepic, as a military oupost, would be a terrible place to build a military base, due to its location near the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range.note 
  • Shadowrun 2007: The powerful artefact that allows magic to return to the world is located in Santos, Brazil. Cyberpunk shooting ensues.
  • Warcraft: Orcs and Humans: The orcs from Draenor invade, and curbstomp, the backwater kingdom of Stormwind rather than the powerful center of human civilization in Lordaeron to the north. The reason for this is that Sargeras had a hard time mind-controlling Medivh, so although he managed to tell the orcs how to build the portal between worlds, said portal ended up in the middle of a dragon-infested swamp on the edge of a backwater kingdom. Instead of in Stromgarde, an already empty fortification, and a much more logical place to launch an invasion from. Basically, the Horde's conquest was doomed from the start by being dumped in a crappy location.
  • Silver Falls takes place in the eponymous small mountain town. Aside from being a nice tourist destination, it's also home to aliens, ghosts, and Lovecraftian monstrosities. By the time Silver Falls Gaiden: Deathly Delusion Destroyers and Ruby River happens, it's become so common for people to disappear that almost the entire town bands together to search for victims.

    Visual Novels 
  • Glory Hounds is a furry superhero story that takes place in the Netherlands, a setting very rare for either genre.

  • El Goonish Shive: The City of Adventure where magic levels have been deliberately inflated, aliens mingle with humans, and the FBI has one of their best agents situated? The suburban town of Moperville, which may or may not be based loosely off of Naperville, Illinois.
  • In an It's Walky! storyline, Head Alien experiments with his new time freezing technology in a small town in Canada, leading to the exchange in the page quote. It's also an excuse for a crossover with another webcomic, Avalon, set in small-town Canada, which was in the middle of a long hiatus.
  • In the flash series 21 (a parody of 24), plumber Al Johnstone has 21 minutes to save Norwich from a nuclear explosion.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja takes place in a heavily fictionalized version of Cumberland, Maryland. Nobody in the comic thinks anything of it.
  • Although a very populous place, there are not many superhero stories that take place place in Germany's Ruhr Area, a fact that was one of the motivations of Ruhr Area native Arne Schulenberg for creating Union of Heroes.
  • Spinnerette features superhero action in Columbus, Ohio. Except for the fictional Ohio Research University (an obvious stand-in for OSU), the writer references real locations in and near Columbus. Also, the team of Canadian superheroes includes the Werewolf of London... Ontario.
  • Fairville, the town where The Fan takes place is actually the author's hometown, a real Transylvanian city called Marosvasarhely.
  • The main setting of At Arm's Length and seemingly main magical entrance portal to Earth Houston. Apparently monsters like to target Hermann Park.
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent, Iceland is the largest bastion of surviors, Scandinavia (more specifically Norway, Sweden and Bornholm island of Denmark) and Finland are the location of a bunch of smaller bastions. The Death World Forbidden Zone that the main characters are exploring used to be mainland Denmark.
  • This is fairly common in Narbonic and Skin Horse, where for example a major world-spanning Brotherhood of Daves convention takes place somewhere in the midwest US, and the ancient fastness of a mystic order of notaries public is in Idaho.
  • Sarilho takes place in the Douro valley, with a satellite crashing in Arouca.
  • Sam & Fuzzy: The main duo's City of Adventure is eventually revealed to be the town of Newport, Oregon. Meanwhile, The Committee has made its HQ underneath rural Nebraska. The location of The Pit is eventually revealed to be beneath Pittsburgh, PA.

    Web Original 
  • The PPC's main base in the real world (or "World One") is a city in New Caledonia, a French overseas territory. Nobody is quite sure why, though there are other doors to HQ scattered about Earth and the multiverse in general.
  • UFO Haiti” and “UFO Dominican Republic” are two promotional videos created by CG artist, Barzolff and are about star-shaped, jet spaceships flying over these island’s beaches.
  • brentalfloss' Civilization song includes the line "learn to write before you can read and build the Taj Mahal right in Cleveland".
  • Welcome to Night Vale is staged as a local radio show reporting the incredible number of supernatural goings-on in the small desert town of Night Vale.
  • Less is Morgue has ghosts, ghouls, demons, and more monsters that you can shake a stick at in the exciting, sexy location of...suburban Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Survival of the Fittest: While some of the locations the students are from are either major cities (Twin Cities in v4, Seattle in v5) or fictional (Alderbrook in Virtua, Whitree in TV2), a few also qualify. The v6 location in particular is Kingman, Arizona, a real world town along Route 66.
  • Enter the Farside is set in Greater Manchester in the north of England, as well as parts of Staffordshire where the main character lives.
  • Satellite City follows the daily lives of a bunch of intelligent, beast-like creatures from another dimension living with their human host at a house in rural England.
  • Bedtime Stories (YouTube Channel) has "The Alien of Varginha", where a UFO sighting and a subsequent sighting of mysterious red-eyed creatures took place in a then-unremarkable rural town in Brazil.
  • SCP Foundation is very fond of this, which can partially be attributed to Creator Provincialism as it's a collaborative writing site. This is also invoked with Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin, a small town which has just so happened to wind up as one of the strangest (and funniest) places the Foundation has on their docket.
  • Starsnatcher: The Inciting Incident happens when a UFO is sighted in the fictional town of Ernstburgh which lies somewhere in America. Apart from housing the Leimfeld University, it is a small town without anything remarkable in it.
  • The protagonists of Hunter: The Parenting stumble into a vampire turf war over control of North Norfolk and Yarmouth. Even the vampires admit it's kind of pathetic.
  • Madness Combat features an organization dedicated to stopping one assassin, a powerful reality-bending machine, Monster Clowns, and regular access to Hell, and sticks it all in a desert town located "Somewhere in Nevada".

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of The Tick featured a bunch of supervillains known as "The Swiss". Who were dressed in uniforms bearing the Swiss flag and wielded giant Swiss Army Knives:
    Die Fledermaus: Listen to me! The Swiss are invading The City!
    American Maid: Switzerland is a neutral country, you goober.
    Die Fledermaus: [showing his arm in a cast] YOU CALL THIS NEUTRAL?
  • Vlad from Danny Phantom lives in Madison, Wisconsin. He's a Green Bay Packers nut.
  • In Megas XLR a giant mecha ends up in Jersey City, leading to all manner of hijinks and invasions.
  • Alien invasions were the order of the day in Terlawk, New Jersey on Earthworm Jim. Justified in one episode where it's revealed that one of the town's residents used to work for NASA, and spray painted "Hey aliens! I dare you to attack Terlawk!" on a satellite.
  • In the Danger Mouse episode "Multiplication Fable" DM and Penfold investigate a spaceship crash landing in Birmingham, England.
  • Code Lyoko: A.I. Is a Crapshoot and is trying to conquer the world... from an abandoned factory in the Parisian suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt.
  • Steven Universe: The Crystal Gems, aliens who defend the Earth from magical threats (which tend to aggregate around them), set up base on the coast of Delaware (though it's not called "Delaware" in the show's universe).
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: The main characters are two Human Aliens and a robot who reside in Sherman, Illinois, a real-life village of over 4,000, and Once an Episode they have to defend it from extraterrestrial Monsters of the Week.
  • The Transformers:

    Real Life 
  • The events of Roswell, New Mexico come to mind. Aside from the odd military base, the closest notable landmark are the Carlsbad Caverns, and even that is a bit of a stretch.
  • Bonnybridge in Scotland averages about 300 UFO sightings per annum, earning it the nickname "U.F.O. Capital of the World" despite the fact it's a fairly obscure town (even in Scotland).
    • Same with the Calder Valley in Yorkshire, though it's becoming more well-known in the UK due to television production moving there.
    • Similarly, nobody gave a fig about Rendlesham Wood in East Anglia, England, until an alleged U.F.O. sighting in 1980. It is held as one of the few points of interest in the entire East Anglia area, despite relative proximity to London.
  • The Flatwoods monster/alien that was seen in Flatwoods, West Virginia in 1952. In the 1950 US census, the town had a population of 288, and it's even smaller now, at 264 in the 2020 census.
  • The Antonio Villas Boas case is one of the strangest known alien abduction incidents (and which apparently involved sex with an attractive humanoid), and it occurred in a rural area of Minas Gerais, a province in southern Brazil.
  • When the Live 8 concert locations were announced back in 2005, with concerts in places like London, Paris and Berlin, Canada's concert venue was held in Barrie, a cottage town about 60 miles north of Toronto. This was much to the bemusement of many, particularly residents of Barrie.
  • The original Woodstock concert took place on a dairy farm in the Catskills near Bethel, New York. Most of the area's few thousand residents felt the same way about its attendees and performers as they would have about alien invaders.
  • Many music festivals taking place in small towns evoke a "alien invasion in a small town" atmosphere.
    • Wacken Open Air is probably the largest Heavy Metal festival in the world, bringing about 80,000 visitors from all over the world to the small German village of Wacken, pop. 1,819.
    • Fairport's Cropredy Convention - also known as the Cropredy Festival - is Fairport Convention's own festival with a lot of guest artists thrown in. For three days (sometimes even four!) 20,000 people descend on to the small English village of Cropredy, which has a population of 717.
    • Graspop Metal Meeting brings 150,000 visitors to the Belgian village of Dessel, which has a population of just over 9,000.
    • Hellfest Open Air brings 150,000 visitors to a site near Clisson in France, which has a population of 7,000.
    • Phish held a series of huge festivals in the '90s and 2000s, with them as the only performing act, but none of them were held in traditional hotspots for such things. Three of them (The Great Went in 1998, Lemonwheel in 1999, and It in 2003) were held on an air force base in the small town of Limestone, Maine, which is on the Canadian border in the far northeast of the state far away from any significant population center (it is 173 miles from Bangor, the nearest large city). 20 years on from these festivals, the locals in Limestone still talk about them with bewilderment, particularly how peaceful Phish's traveling fanbase was despite its enormous size.
    • The Herräng Dance Camp is not a music festival per se (it's a large-scale dance camp that focuses on swing-era dance styles, such as the lindy hop and tap dancing), but very much fits the rest of the statement. Every July, 2-3,000 people descend onto the tiny former mining town of Herräng in Sweden, which has a population of around 422 people.
  • The Niʻihau Incident, during World War II. One of the Pearl Harbor bombers crash-landed on the Hawaiian island of Niʻihau, believing it to be uninhabited. The island is privately owned and access is restricted, but a tiny community who still speak the native Hawaiian language are allowed to live there. The Niʻihauans, who could not communicate with the outside world, were left to deal with the Japanese pilot all by themselves.
  • A major reason why the Islamic State terrorist organization was able to cause as much havoc as its predecessor al-Qaeda at the height of its power in the mid-2010s was because of its willingness to embrace this trope. Generally, al-Qaeda typically plans their terror attacks to hit major cities and national capitals to cause massive casualties for maximum effect. This has been seen numerous times with incidents like the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, 9/11, the 2004 Madrid train bombings, the 2005 London bus bombings, and the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, with fewer low-profile attacks in small cities. In contrast, Islamic State's strategy was practically the inverse of al-Qaeda's: IS conducted large-scale attacks on capitals more rarely (most infamously, the November 2015 Paris attack and the March 2016 Brussels bombings) but they actually preferred to hit small and mid-sized towns much more frequently, using a Death of a Thousand Cuts strategy. Examples of this included the July 2015 Chattanooga shooting, the December 2015 San Bernardino shooting, and numerous stabbing incidents such as in Merced, California, Maganville, France, Roanoke, Virginia, and St. Cloud, Minnesota.
  • The name of the town of Fátima has been known to Catholics worldwide ever since three children supposedly saw the Angel of Peace and the Virgin Mary appear there. It has a population of around 10,000 people.

Alternative Title(s): Aliens In Cleveland