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Series / Dark Skies

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Political aide John Loengard (Eric Close) has a run-in with extraterrestrial forces, and ends up tracking a body-snatching alien invasion as part of the super-secret agency Majestic 12.

Dark Skies was launched at the height of the paranormal/conspiracy mania created (or at least fuelled) by The X-Files. Notable for its 1960s setting and a pre-Star Trek: Voyager role for Jeri Ryan as a Russian sexpot agent. Cancelled after one season.

Not to be confused with the 2013 horror film of the same name, though both are about aliens.

This series provides examples of:

  • Alien Abduction: Multiple examples of this throughout the show; the aliens sometimes find humans who are resistant to parasite takeover, and label them as "throwbacks." Loengard actually stages his own alien abduction in the Season Finale so he can infiltrate the mothership and rescue his son.
  • All Theories Are True: Especially UFOlogy and other '60s conspiracy theory lore.
  • All There in the Manual: Actually had a pretty well thought-out series bible that laid out a 5 year scope for the TV series, intended to bring it up through the 1990s to the present day.
  • Ambiguous Ending: in the final episode we see John and Juliet are abducted by the Hive and John is reunited with his son on the alien mothership. We also see Bach apparently murdered by the alien possessed Albano. However from the voiceover we know that Loneguard and his son are somehow able to escape and make it back to Earth, John commenting that the Hive will also release Juliet as they didn't intend to kidnap her. Bach's fate seems sealed but he is condemned to death by the Majestic board whose members suddenly include Robert Kennedy and J Edgar Hoover, men we know Bach has blackmail evidence against. Furthermore Loneguard had previously warned Bach of a Hive agent within Majestic, fans postulating that Bach's apparent death was faked and was in fact a trap to expose Albano.
  • Bad Boss: Frank Bach is ruthless but he really does want to save the planet from a horrifying alien menace. Unfortunately his ruthlessness takes him beyond Properly Paranoid and into Jerkass territory quite often. He also clearly plays favorites with his underlings.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The events of the show are shown to be interconnected with historical events.
    • The most extreme example is in the final episode "Bloodlines", in which the Hive infested Jim Steele murders a hippie and assumes his identity: Charles Manson
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Hive parasites are vaguely insect-like masses of thin, constantly swirling tentacles. Looking almost like a nervous system that got up to walk around, they can move blindingly fast. They're nicknamed the "Ganglions" because of the part of the brain they attach to.
    • Removing a live Hive parasite from a human will kill the host. It is possible to save the host by injecting them with a combination of toxic chemicals which make their blood pH level intolerable to the parasite, causing it to flee out the mouth and invariably die. Majestic wants live specimens to study, leading to a moral confrontation from Loengard, who wants to save the hosts.
    • Whatever planet the original Hive parasites evolved on had a natural predator known as "Buzz Worms", about the size of a large leech. Modern-day Hive still keep these worms around...using them as a particularly gruesome means of execution against their own kind for egregious failures.
    • Some humans are "throwbacks", genetically incompatible with takeover by the Hive, but it's unclear why. Injecting a Hive parasite with throwback blood will make it literally dissolve.
    • The Series Bible reveals that the Hive infestation in a human body actually progresses through stages, "Alpha" to "Gamma". It takes a few months after implantation for the parasite to gain firm control over a human, during which time they show telltale signs of inappropriate emotional responses and nervous breakdowns. "Gamma" is the stage when they take firm control, about a year after implantation. The Series Bible revealed future plans, however, for a "Delta" stage, after about 7-10 years of which time the parasite's tendrils have spread throughout the body along the nervous system, compared to "a potted plant whose roots have replaced all the soil". Brief mention is made of an incident in which a "Delta" bursts out of its human "shell" and starts walking around.
  • Cliffhanger: The series-ending kind. Loengard stages his own alien abduction, finds his son as a captive on the alien mothership, but has no immediate means of escaping back to Earth.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: The show, and the conspiracy folklore it's based on, supposes that modern technology was invented by reverse-engineering material from the famous Roswell incident.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: the Greys do not wear clothing. The uninfected Grey in the transmission from Planet X toward the series' end appears to wear some kind of shawl, but is otherwise naked like the rest of his species, so it's probably not due to the Hive's influence that Greys don't wear clothes.
  • Fake Guest Star: Conor O'Farrell (Lt. Commander Phil Albano) appears in 18 of the series' 20 episodes, missing only "Dreamland" and "The Last Wave", but remains a guest star throughout the series. In fact, he is generally quite low in the guest list.
  • Flying Saucer: The ships used by the Hive (which are implied to have been originally built by the Greys) are roughly flying saucer-ish rounded deltas; a human project connected with Majestic uses a different type of vehicle, somewhat more egg-shaped, inspired by the alien technology. The huge mothership is darker and more triangular. An ancient Grey flying saucer from before the Hive took over also appears in one episode, and is more classically saucer-like.
  • Government Conspiracy: Majestic in the US and Aura-Z in the Soviet Union. Both organizations are secretive, ruthless, and powerful. There's something of a detente between them. Loengard starts out as a recruit of the conspiracy, then rebels, but is forced into an Enemy Mine relationship, working for Frank Bach again, as a Majestic agent later in Season 1 after Kim is abducted and infected with a Hive parasite.
  • The Greys: A (presumably) peaceful race that was taken over by the parasitic Hive. They and their technology are used by the Hive to menace Earth. Members of the species who are not infected and taken over by Hive parasites, when they are encountered, tend to be helpful to humans fighting against the invasion. Their treatment in-story is that they are sympathetic beings whose free will was tragically stolen from them by their enemies who now use their bodies and technology to conquer other worlds.
  • Historical Domain Character: Many, many, from The Beatles and Jim Morrison, to Carl Sagan and Colin Powell.
  • Hive Mind: The appropriately named "Hive" aliens have this. They exist as individuals linked by telepathy and a shared need to expand and conquer. They're not quite the Borg of Star Trek as individual Hivers still exhibit personality traits that vary, but they share a sense of ruthless purpose that is quite unlike the bickering, contentious humans in the series.
  • Insufficiently Advanced Alien: The Hive are parasites who tooks over the bodies of the Grey aliens as well as the Greys' technology. While they do appear to understand how the technology works, it's never clear if they have managed to improve on it or are stagnant since they stole everything they use. In their natural form, they are tiny, frail, and lack opposing thumbs, so it's likely that most if not all of their advanced science and technology was pilfered.
  • Real Event, Fictional Cause: Several episodes purport that various events of The '60s were a result of the alien conspiracy. For example, the accidental activation of an alien device is blamed for the 1964 earthquake in Homer, Alaska.
  • Roswell That Ends Well: They landed. They met with the President. They told him to surrender. He refused. They shot the ship down.
  • Undressing the Unconscious: In "The Warren Omission", John is ambushed fresh out of the shower by Juliet while he's only wearing a Modesty Towel. After being beaten up by her as a warning, she gasses him and once he's out, she rips off his towel and leaves him naked on the floor, seemingly just to humiliate him further.
  • The Virus: The Hive acts like this, spreading by infecting humans (and other useful lifeforms like monkeys, or the humanoid alien Greys) with a parasitic larva. They have a hive mind and can even make use of freshly dead bodies as hosts if necessary.
  • Who Shot JFK?: The Hive assassinates JFK because he was about to spill the beans on the government conspiracy, meaning their existence and plan to infiltrate and take over Earth would be common knowledge.