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Phlebotinium powered by deeply unethical means in Live-Action TV series.


  • The 100:
    • The Mountain Men cure their periodic radiation poisoning through "blood treatments": they kidnap Grounders (who are naturally resistant to radiation) and use them as human dialysis machines, pumping their radiation-resistant blood into the Mountain Men, and the Mountain Men's contaminated blood into the Grounders. This makes the Grounders incredibly ill, and if done often enough will eventually kill them.
    • Later, the Mountain Men discover a way to make themselves permanently resistant to radiation, removing the need for blood treatments. Unfortunately, this new treatment requires taking lethal quantities of bone marrow from captured Sky People.
  • Babylon 5:
    • "Deathwalker" features an immortality drug that requires killing people to manufacture it. The Vorlons decide that We Are Not Ready for immortality and assassinate its war criminal creator before she is able to pass on the formula.
    • The Shadows use living beings, suitably adjusted, as the control units for their spacecraft. They also use people to grow some of their technology, according to one of the canon novels. It's not stated whether this kills the people on whom the stuff is growing or not, but it's not a pleasant process.
    • There's also the alien healing device, which can cure any wound or illness but only by siphoning life energy away from a healthy being (its creators used it as a means of "just" capital punishment, taking their life to insure somebody else got to keep theirs).
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), President Roslin's cancer is cured by injecting her with the blood of Helo and Sharon's unborn daughter. Thankfully, they don't need all of it.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The First Slayer herself is essentially a forsaken child forcibly infused with demon energy by magicians. Essentially true of all slayers.
    • Dawn is this for Glory in Season 5, with the blood of The Key being required to open a portal that Glory needs to return to her home dimension.
    • The episode "Doublemeat Palace" leads the viewer to believe Buffy has encountered a Soylent Green-type situation — only to move on to a more realistically plausible, but equally strange-feeling twist.
    • The Season 8 comics have Buffy's new bonus powers. Subverted, as she soon finds out her power, like all magic, came from the Seed of Wonder. As she got closer to it, she became more powerful.
  • Cleopatra 2525's robotic oppressors of humanity were revealed to be slightly less robotic than believed: They're cyborgs, using brains harvested from human children.
  • HBO aired Cosmic Slop, three short supernatural stories hosted by George Clinton. One story was about a fleet of aliens arriving to earth and offering to solve all of the world's current problems. In return for all of the people of African descent who do not pass the 'paper bag test'. Did they get their price? In a heartbeat!
  • Doctor Who examples:
    • In the sadly-lost story "The Savages", the inhabitants of a technologically-advanced city extended their productivity and lifespans by draining "life force" from the people who lived outside the city. While they admittedly tried not to take enough to kill anybody, it was more because they didn't want to lose their supply than for humanitarian reasons.
    • "Warriors' Gate": Rorvik's culture has spaceflight dependent on wiring a time-sensitive slave into the navigation systems and hitting that slave with high voltages.
    • "Revelation of the Daleks": Dalek creator Davros offers to help solve a galactic famine problem. How convenient that he's set up shop on a cemetery planet...
      Sixth Doctor: But did you bother to tell anyone they might be eating their own relatives?
      Davros: Certainly not! That would have created what I believe is termed... "consumer resistance".
    • "Remembrance of the Daleks": A young girl is kidnapped and mind-controlled to augment the Supreme Dalek's rational and logical battle computer with human imagination and emotion.
    • "Bad Wolf": The Controller, a Wetware CPU wired into the Deadly Game space station although she's an adult when we see her, one of the minor characters explains she was "installed" when she was five years old. She's also the only one who knows about the villain and their evil plan, but she can't say anything about it until a solar flare cuts her off from their control.
    • "New Earth": The hospital has the cure for every known disease through infecting thousands of expendable Artificial Humans with those diseases.
    • "School Reunion": The antagonists are using schoolchildren to crack an equation that will give them Reality Warper powers because adults lack the imagination. It's mentioned that students have fallen ill as a result, and some students get eaten by the Evil Teachers when they can get away with it.
    • "The Girl in the Fireplace": The Doctor and co. come across a spaceship whose crew was taken apart to be used as spare parts by the clockwork repair droids.
    • "The Sound of Drums"/"Last of the Time Lords": The Toclafane, who the Master uses as his personal army of Happy Fun Balls, can be considered partly this trope. Martha Jones pries one of them open and discovers, to her horror, that the Toclafane were created from the final remnants of humanity. Instead of traveling to the fabled Utopia, they end up in the reaches of space, gradually turning on each other, cannibalizing their own bodies, and becoming more childlike.
    • "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" plays with it: The Library's computers are run by a terminally-ill child who was inserted into the mainframe to keep her alive and entertained with every book in the universe. Powered-by, but hardly forsaken.
    • "The Beast Below": Starship UK is propelled by torturing a Space Whale. No, really. And in a "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" parallel, every citizen of Starship UK is told just what their megaship relies on for power at age 16 as part of the "elections". They are then given the choice to Forget or Protest; most choose to Forget via Laser-Guided Amnesia, whereas those who Protest end up food for the Whale. Also subverted in that the Space Whale purposefully came to help because it heard the crying children of Britain and wanted to save them. The humans of course had no way of knowing this and thus captured and tortured the whale to propel the ship, not knowing it would've helped of its own free will.
    • "The Doctor's Wife": Genius Loci House stays alive by eating TARDISes. This also applies to its servants Auntie and Uncle, who are "fixed" when they "break" with body parts from people who wind up in House's pocket universe, á la Frankenstein's Monster.
    • "The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos": After being mistaken for the Ux's god, Tzim-Sha abuses their Reality Warper powers by getting them to build and power a superweapon capable of stealing and shrinking down planets, which is painful for them. The younger Ux, Delph, ends up involuntarily trussed up in the device because of his doubts about Tim's alleged divinity, but the older one, Andinio, isn't snapped out of her naïve belief until the Doctor arrives.
    • "The Timeless Children" reveals that Gallifreyan civilisation is powered by the natural regenerative abilities of an abused and experimented-upon child from another dimension. Namely, the Doctor.
  • The Attic from Dollhouse is first introduced as a classic And I Must Scream scenario. What it actually is, however, is much worse: It's a super-computer with human brains as processors, where each "component" is locked into an infinite loop of their worst nightmare in order to keep the brain running at adrenaline-inspired top speed.
  • An episode of First Wave had Cade stumble upon a Gua-run hospital, where they were helping some people... by giving them parts from other people's bodies. None of this was altruism, of course, but merely just another experiment.
  • Almost all the cursed artifacts in Friday The 13th: The Series. An example is a cursed television that extends its owner's life whenever it consumes a soul.
  • Fringe:
  • Game of Thrones: Melisandre implies this about Shireen's sacrifice. The blizzard that blocked their path disappeared for several months, clearing the way to Winterfell. Even if Stannis died, the way for Jon Snow and the Vale Cavalry to secure victory over the Boltons was laid clear and faced no interference from the oncoming winter, taking a full army with them to Winterfell rather than face the starvation and defection that Stannis did. Davos refuses to accept this and calls the Lord of Light evil for allowing Shireen's death, but Melisandre points out that it was the same Lord who resurrected Jon. In either case, Jon banishes Melisandre rather than execute her.
  • In Heroes, the Big Bad of the first season, Sylar, is capable of "acquiring" the superpowers of others through an unshown (until the beginning of season 3) procedure that requires killing them and removing their brains Technically he doesn't have to kill them to do it as he learned in volume 3. However, the quickest route to it is studying the brain and (Unless the victim has a healing factor) the process of slicing their head open is shown to be fatal. It's implied in a later volume that he knew even before volume 3 he could absorb powers through empathy. He just liked knowing every little thing about the power, and the life of the person who had it meant little to him.
  • In an episode of The Invisible Man, an eminent neurologist is removing pieces of homeless people's brains in order to cure those he considers more worthy who've suffered brain injuries. He gets proper justice in the end - he falls off the stairs to his death. Since he's an organ donor, his own brain serves to cure one of his victims.
  • Sakurai Yuuto, aka Zeronos in Kamen Rider Den-O has people around him lose their memories of his future self every time he transforms. When that turns out to be insufficient, then he gets his new Zero Form, which is powered by peoples' memories of his current self (this after nearly disappearing completely after his past self is killed by an Imagin). In the end, the future Sakurai does disappear completely... leaving the current Yuuto with a different, new future to discover.
  • In the Made-for-TV Movie The Night Strangler (sequel to The Night Stalker and followed by Kolchak: The Night Stalker), the killer slays exotic dancers and uses just a little of each one's blood to whip up a batch of his special life-extension serum, which he must do every 21 years or die.
  • Lexx,
    • The first season, also known as "Tales from a Parallel Universe", was made up of four movies. The second movie, "Eating Pattern", revolved around a junkyard planet where bodies could be made into a highly addictive drug called "Pattern".
    • The title Living Ship also eats planets, occasionally including inhabited ones.
    • Let alone growing the Lexx in the first place; prisoners from all over human space (most of whom had only committed fairly minor offences) had their major organs cut out by circular saw (to make robotic drones, apparently?) and the rest of their body was shrinkwrapped and fed to the Lexx. All it has to say on the matter was that "The food was good there".
    • And even later, the entire population of the League of 20,000 Planets received the same treatment; becoming food for the Gigashadow, the body of the last survivor of the Insect Civilization.
  • In an episode of Masters of Horror entitled "The Fair-Haired Child", the plot involves a grieving couple appealing to an otherworldly force to resurrect their dead son. They, in turn, have to feed him ten children. The child shows his um...gratitude to them in a similar way.
  • The Otherworld episode "Paradise Lost" had an immortality drug called Kaloma that was created by draining the life force of human beings.
  • In one episode of Sliders, the characters stumble upon a village with its own Fountain of Youth. Which is the excretions of a gigantic mutant worm...whose primary diet is people.
  • Stargate:
    • Stargate SG-1 had tretonin, a drug that granted the user perfect health but had a side effect: the drug destroys the immune system, rendering the user dependent on the drug forever. The SG-1 team, after beginning negotiation for some of the drug, learn that the drug is actually created from the offspring of a Goa'uld queen the Pangarans discovered in a stasis jar. Normally this would not be so bad considering the Goa'uld are the series' Big Bad, parasites that force their way into humans' brains and take over their bodies while most likely applying eternal mental torture to the host mind and are literally born evil since they inherit the memories of their parents. Unfortunately, much later, after the Tok'ra (the rebel faction of the Goa'uld who were allies with Earth) are brought to help analyze the drug, it is discovered the Goa'uld queen is actually the Tokra's long-lost queen (and their last hope of reproducing as their number are dwindling and she was the only known Tok'ra queen). Naturally the Tok'ra object to such treatment of their queen. Eventually subverted when, later that season, the Tok'ra are able to synthesize tretonin without the need for live symbiotes. Because said Tok'ra queen showed them how before dying.
    • Stargate Atlantis: An early first-season episode had the Atlantis team find a gate on a planet with mist that supercharged the gate to levels that would allow them to dial Earth. It so happened that the mist was a species of sentient beings, some of whom were burned up to power the gate every time it was dialed out. After they explained this to the explorers via an elaborate dream sequence, the Atlantis team agrees to leave and designate their planet off-limits.
  • Star Trek:
  • Stranger Things: Eleven's powers are used to spy on Russians and ultimately communicate with the creature and open the portal between the Upside Down and their reality.
  • In Supernatural:
    • Angels must take vessels to interact with most people on earth. Powerful angels usually leave the humans who served as vessels as broken husks.
    • Metatron's spell in Season 8 required the murder of a nephilim, carving a cupid's bow out of its owner, and forcefully removing an angel's grace.
    • In the Season 10 finale, one of the required ingredients for curing the Mark of Cain requires the spellcaster to kill someone they love. In the same episode, Death will only help Dean endure the Mark if Dean murders Sam.
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth,
    • The Four-Five-Six incorporate prepubescent human children into their physiology, keeping them eternally alive, childlike, and fully aware, because their bodies produce hormones that act as euphoric drugs on them.
      "You mean... you're shooting up on children?"
    • The way Torchwood fights back is literally this trope, they re-route the Four-Five-Six's psychic Mind Rape wave back at them through a forsaken child. Specifically Jack's grandson Stephen who was the only child near when the solution was discovered with minutes left to save the day. Stephen screamed himself to death.
  • The The Twilight Zone (2002) episode "Evergreen" has the Ever-Green community, where they turn some teens into red plant fertilizer disguised as a 'reeducation camp' especially for them.
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019): At the end of Season 3, it is revealed that there is a machine disguised in Hotel Oblivion that can restart the universe. The machine is powered by particles that exist in the bodies of the 43 superpowered children, requiring seven of them to step on star sigils to activate the device. Reginald fuels the machine using Diego, Klaus, Five, Viktor, Lila, Ben, and Sloane. They are almost killed in the process until Allison interrupts it by killing Reginald, though the machine had already been powered enough to create a reset button for the universe.
  • An episode of The Worst Witch has Sybill turning a torch into a magic lamp that will grant any wish. The catch is however that it'll absorb energy from other things to grant each wish. When it runs out of plants to absorb, it starts to drain the girls and the teachers instead.


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