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Series / People of Earth

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"Don't get weird, okay?"
Kurt (as the voice of a hallucinated deer)

People of Earth is a TBS original sci-fi comedy series which premiered on October 31, 2016.

Ozzie Graham (Wyatt Cenac), once an award-winning serious journalist, now reduced to writing clickbait for a major news aggregator, is assigned to write a story on StarCrossed, a support group for people who believe they’ve been abducted by aliens, who meet in a Catholic church in upstate New York. Skeptical at first, Ozzie soon begins to wonder if the abductees' — sorry, make that experiencers' — stories might not hold a grain of truth...

...which they definitely do, since the other half of the show is a Work Com about the mundane office routine of said alien abductors as part of the ongoing Reptilian conspiracy to take over the world.

The series was renewed for a second season, which began airing on July 27, 2017. The series was initially renewed by TBS for a third season, but later the decision was reversed and the series cancelled after the scripts were already written, resulting in the show ending on the second season's Cliffhanger.

People of Earth contains examples of:

  • Agent Mulder: Played with. Best fits Gerry, who has never been abducted himself but badly wants to be, and Richard, who considers himself an authority on aliens yet frequently finds exactly the wrong way to act on his piecemeal knowledge.
  • Agent Scully:
    • Ozzie in the first episode. He veers in and out of this trope throughout the rest of the season.
    • In season 2, when Agent Foster comes to Beacon to investigate Walsh, she’s skeptical and dismissive of StarCrossed's beliefs about aliens.
  • Alien Abduction: Carried out by Jeff, Don, and Kurt on the Work Com portion of the show.
  • Alien Among Us: What StarCrossed claims the Reptilians are capable of. It's true.
  • Aliens Speaking English: All of the aliens shown so far seem to speak only English, even amongst themselves despite Don's Swedish accent and Eric's German accent. Strangely enough, when Jeff is seen writing an email to see if there are any remaining greys in the galaxy, he reads his message aloud in English even though it is written in alien lettering.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Kurt seems oblivious to Jeff's crush on him.
  • Amusing Alien: Pretty much all of them. Less so Jonathan's superiors, but fully in force for Eric. The Masquerade is in full effect and even most of the main cast barely remember their own abductions, so while there seem to be a great many other aliens, the few we actually meet are definitely this trope.
  • Animal Eyes: Jonathan reveals his Reptilian status to Alex and Jasmine by changing his eyes to slitted gold ones.
  • Artificial Human: Walsh's assistant Nancy is also his Robot Buddy.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Nancy, despite violently exploding when Jeff sets off her Self-Destruct Mechanism at the end of Season 1, is shown conversing with Walsh in the first episode of Season 2. Admittedly she's a robot and Walsh is in the middle of repairing her, but she's still in way better shape than one would expect based on the words 'self destruct sequence'. Since Richard was in love with her and, as far as he was concerned, saw her die, seeing her walking around Walsh's cabin in the woods is deeply confusing for him.
    • Kurt comes back to life after spending days sealed in a tube in a storage closet aboard the alien spaceship. Walsh decides he has to try and bring back Ozzie Graham the same way.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Goes both ways. As a child, Ozzie drew dozens of pictures of Jonathan because he was actually friendly to him during his captivity. This had a large impact on Jonathan, and years later, when ordered to kill Ozzie, he chooses to spare his life instead, even though this eventually means losing his fortune, empire, and lifestyle.
  • Berserk Button: Don't gloat about Ozzie's death to Jonathan. His fellow Reptilian got shot for it.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Experiencers believe that most US Presidents were Reptilians, and that aliens were responsible for Amelia Earhart's disappearance and the sinking of the Titanic.
  • Break the Haughty: One of these episodes is what lost Gina her license as a therapist back in Manhattan (after her advice that a patient face his fears and go skydiving with his girlfriend ended in him plummeting to his death when his parachute didn't open), and much of Season 1 is a prolonged exercise in breaking Jonathan Walsh after his corruption is exposed.
  • Brick Joke: When Ozzie heads to his secret meeting with Walsh, Yvonne gives him a box of chocolates as a gift, and a gun for protection. He refuses the latter, but when he reaches the meeting point in the following episode, he inspects the box and finds another gun hidden in with the chocolates.
  • Broken Pedestal: Gina loses her respect for her favorite author Leonard Bechdal after he tries to exploit Starcrossed's story for his own fame.
  • Cassandra Truth: StarCrossed as a whole, but Richard in particular is often spot-on about the Reptilians, other than assuming that practically everyone he meets is one of them. He comes off as so paranoid, and is so often wrong or misguided about other things, that everyone pretty much ignores him.
  • Catapult Nightmare: The series starts on one, when Ozzie realizes he's driving through the night next to a talking deer. This seems very common in general for anyone who's had their memories tampered with by the aliens. Richard has a recurring dream of people exploding after he witnesses (what he thinks is) Nancy's death, and Alex wakes up in a sweat after dreaming about a deer talking to her in Ozzie's voice after he's killed by the Reptilian hitman.
  • Catchphrase
    • "Don't get weird, okay?"
    • "You are special."
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Officer Glimmer, who's already sold out humanity to the Reptilian conspiracy before the first episode, goes on to let Walsh hide out in his house when he's on the run from the other Reptilians as well as the FBI only to then tip off the other Reptilians to his location for cash to cover his still-mounting gambling debts and even after that, he still gives Walsh a head start...of about ten minutes. The only reason he doesn't give the Reptilians’ hitman Walsh's location is because he apparently doesn't know, although he does fake a heart attack to avoid getting shot.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Ennis is seen less and less over the course of the first season. He has yet to appear in the second, with only a passing mention by Chelsea midway through the season explaining that he moved out of town.
  • Clickbait Gag: The show kicks off with a shady journalist interviewing a group of "alien abductees" in order to get out a story with a wacky headline and no real substance. His co-workers even compliment on finding such great clickbait, although the comedy of the show comes from the fact this vacuous clickbait turns out to be true.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Officer Glimmer, a human working for the aliens in exchange for cash to pay off his gambling debts.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Reptilians (green), Whites (white), and Greys (grey) all have distinctive colors, in addition to having other different physical characteristics.
  • Connected All Along:
    • In the finale episode of the first season, it is shown that all of the members of StarCrossed (other than Gerry) had been taken by aliens during childhood. One scene shows Jonathan looking over all of the children as they play with toys in the same room.
    • Unsurprisingly, Alex also seems to be connected to the aliens. Her boss at the FBI is a Reptilian, she has a recurring dream about the way she got her injury in the field (which left her with a circular scar in her foot similar to the implant scar possessed by many experiencers), and she's had dreams about a pale, blond figure who looks an awful lot like Don. Later flashbacks suggest that she was a baby who was born on the ship in the middle of her mother's abduction, and got separated in the process.
  • The Conspiracy: The Reptilian Agenda. Per Richard's conspiracy theories, it seems that the entire world has been heavily infiltrated by Reptilian agents, who have taken control at the highest levels. Along with Jonathan Walsh, it seems that Nancy Pelosi, Elon Musk and a sizeable chunk of the FBI are all infiltrators.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In the guise of being the wealthy young CEO of Glint Enterprises, Jonathan Walsh is at the forefront of the Reptilians’ campaign to pacify and manipulate Earth’s population. Played with — while he’s never not corrupt, Walsh eventually gives up everything when he refuses the order to kill Ozzie, instead blackmailing his superiors by threatening to expose them. They freeze his accounts and pin all the blame for his crimes, committed on their behalf, on him. As of season 2, he’s left penniless and in hiding.
  • *Click* Hello: Walsh pulls this on the Reptilian hitman who killed Ozzie.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Yvonne fills her house with traps and weapons following her abduction.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Richard representing himself in "Truth Or Dare" seems doomed to fail. But not only does he prove he was fired for his belief in aliens, he proves he's the most efficient employee at the office, in addition to being regularly harassed by the others. He gets his job back and wins 75 grand.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In the Season 2 finale, the typically humble and kindhearted but bungling Don shows off his martial arts prowess by taking out Eric's black-helmeted guards bare- and single-handed, making it look easy.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Richard is the most overt Conspiracy Theorist of the group, but all his beliefs regarding the Reptilians appear to be entirely accurate (except for assuming everyone he distrusts is one).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All of the members of StarCrossed experienced some trauma prior to their abductions. Ozzie speculates that the aliens deliberately select their abductees at times when they are emotionally vulnerable. Of course, since all the members of StarCrossed other than Gerry were kidnapped during childhood as well, it's possible that they're just keeping tabs on them following said traumas.
  • Deceptively Human Robots: Nancy’s robot nature isn’t revealed/confirmed until late in the first season.
  • Double Agent: Walsh is headed this way, having become a Fake Defector working for Eric while still secretly working to bring down the Reptilian agenda.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Richard begins Season 2 traumatized by Nancy's apparent death, and has a nested recurring nightmare of people exploding in front of him: Officer Glimmer in the middle of an interrogating him, himself in the mirror after waking up from that dream, and he has to have Margaret confirm to him that she's not going to explode too, since he's sleeping on the floor in her room at the retirement home.
  • Dude, He's Like, in a Coma!: Jeff plants a final, or so he thinks, kiss on Kurt's body after the Reptilian gets run over by Gina. Fortunately he doesn't get any weirder about it than that. And then Kurt comes back to life in Season 2.
  • Enemy Mine: Walsh and Jeff secretly join forces to mutiny against Eric, since Eric apparently hates Jeff (and possibly all Greys) and Walsh is still secretly fighting back against the whole invasion in memory of Ozzie. Don goes along with it when Eric gives the order to take care of StarCrossed, since he still has feelings for Kelly.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Second season newcomer Agent Foster is introduced on the FBI firing range, where her colleagues mock her recent injury — shooting herself in the foot — with a special range target in the shape of a footprint. She proceeds to shut them up by shooting out all five toes in as many shots in barely two seconds.
  • Everything Is An I Pod In The Future: The alien ship and the abduction team's uniforms are blank, sterile white. The ship that reaches Earth in the season 1 finale even looks like a giant flying iPod.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Kelly dyes her hair dark reddish-brown and wears it differently after coming back from Iceland. Nobody mentions the change or even notices she was gone. Although as Gina later lampshades, despite a season break of several months, only four days have passed on the show.
  • Exact Words: ”He's dead because of me.” Eric apparently can’t tell the difference between Walsh leading Ozzie to his death and feeling intense guilt over it and having killed him deliberately to help keep the invasion a secret.
  • Fake Defector: Walsh convinces Eric that he's back on the side of the Reptilians by saying that "[Ozzie]'s dead because of me", which Eric takes to mean that Walsh killed him, rather than that Ozzie died because Walsh got him involved just when the Reptilians were closing in on him.
  • Fake Memories: Implanted by aliens into their human subjects. Often involves fake memories of car accidents and running over animals.
  • Faking the Dead: Glimmer pretends to drop dead of a heart attack to avoid being killed by a Reptilian hitman.
  • Fantastic Racism: Eric makes comments to Jeff about "[his] kind", which Gerry calls out as sounding like a pretty charged statement. The question asked by one of Eric's guards about the Greys being extinct indicates that this could be more sinister than standard workplace harassment.
  • The Federation: The Reptilians, Greys, and Whites are apparently all part of the Trinity Federation. Later, they join another one, the Alpha Federation, under a new supervisor, Eric, a floating cube. Though the way it functions and the terms used to describe it (the coalition of Alpha Federation and Trinity Federation is described as a "merger", among other things) indicates it may be closer to a Mega-Corp.
  • First-Episode Twist: The end of the first episode reveals that Ozzie's boss Jonathan Walsh is a Reptilian.
  • Five Stages of Grief:
    • Played for laughs when Don learns of Kurt's death, in that he goes through all five stages in about 30 seconds. And judging by Jeff's reaction, this is not an unusual reaction.
    • After Ozzie's death in the middle of Season 2, Gina spends most of the next episode in denial, before, as seems to be typical for her, erupting into a rage of combined anger, bargaining, and depression when Ozzie's fish Abraham, which she's been carrying around with her the whole time, dies in her arms. Well, in his bowl, which is in her arms at the time. By the end of the episode, she's moved on enough that she's planning on going back to being a professional therapist.
  • Former Delinquent: Before he went to seminary school, Father Doug was the keyboardist and singer for Latin jazz funk band Operation Mongoose.
  • Ghostly Gape: Nancy apparently gave one of these combined with a Throat Light and "Uh-Oh" Eyes just before she ''exploded'', if Richard's recurring Catapult Nightmares in the Season 2 premiere are anything to go by.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Eric, having arrived to take over the abduction mission over Beacon, following the Trinity Federation's merger with the Alpha Federation. With the implied genocide of the Greys having occurred offscreen, Eric's casual racism toward 'your kind' is enough to make one feel bad for Jeff — a character who casually mentioned killing Ozzie and had set out to murder Gina for Kurt’s accidental death.
    • By the same token, the Trinity Federation, being the superiors of the aliens seen on the show.
  • The Greys: Greys, naturally. Jeff is the only one we see, but his job is abducting and probing humans and he has the large head, pale skin, noseless face, and big black eyes. Subverted in that he also has noticeable male-pattern baldness and a thin goatee rather than actually being hairless.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jonathan. He decides to help out Ozzie instead of killing him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ozzie takes a bullet meant for Jonathan Walsh, killing him.
  • Howl of Sorrow: Father Doug actually suggests one of these might be therapeutic for the whole group after Ozzie's death. Turns out he's right.
  • Human Aliens: The Whites, also known as Nordics among real-world experiencers/ufologists, are nearly indistinguishable from tall, blonde, beautiful humans, to the point where Don is played by Swedish comedian Björn Gustafsson with full-on Legolas hair. In spite of this, it's seemingly the hairless, green-scaled Greens who are invariably called upon to do the actual infiltration on Earth.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: A whole promotional miniseries called "Humans with Don" has Don trying to explain human ways to Jeff and Kurt.
  • Hot for Preacher: Chelsea, for Father Doug.
    Chelsea: Lots of married people develop feelings for priests, right?
  • Hypocritical Humor: Gina, constantly. Despite having apparently been a very successful therapist herself at one point, ever since her experience she's had a very hard time following her own advice — often doing the exact opposite of what she's telling the other group members to do right in the middle of telling them to do it.
  • Innocent Aliens: Don in some situations, such as in the coffee shop where he watches someone play a video game about killing aliens, or when he visits the experiencers convention.
  • Insistent Terminology: They're not abductees, they're experiencers.
    Gina: It just gives us a little more... agency.
    Chelsea: Calling someone an abductee is a lot like slutshaming.
  • Interspecies Romance: During the season 1 finale, Jonathan hints that Kurt and Jeff were having one. Season 2 makes it seem more that the latter had a crush that the former was unaware of.
    • Don and Kelly go out a few times and fly to Iceland together (Don's purported homeland) at the end of season 1. She breaks up with him in episode 2 of the second season, when she finds out he's lying about his supposedly dying mother, who isn't dying. Or on [sic] Iceland. Or on Earth.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: In the Season 2 finale, Jeff and Kurt are teleported to Earth and separated in the middle of Jeff admitting to being in love with Kurt.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Richard seems to have a habit of ignoring facts that don't fit his worldview. He pretended his wife was being held by the aliens when really she left him, and convinced himself they were perfectly happy when their marriage was actually failed.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Another tool in the alien’s kit, in the form of 'missing time' most experiencers report.
  • Last of His Kind: Possibly. As of season 2, Jeff might be the first and last Grey on the show, as one of Eric’s guards offhandedly mentions that he thought they were all extinct...which comes as a surprise to Jeff.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Aliens are real, Walsh is a Reptilian, Nancy is a robot, Officer Glimmer works for the aliens.
  • Latex Perfection: How the Reptilians pass for human.
  • Left Hanging: Season 2 ends with a massive Cliffhanger, as Eric, controlling Don, abducts StarCrossed, while banishing Jeff and Kurt to Earth (where the latter gets hit by a car again).
  • Long-Lost Relative: Alex, as an orphan, has been searching for her birth parents for years. As it turns out, not only has her birth mother has been searching for her ever since her abduction, she has a sister. A twin sister, named Jasmine.
  • Manchurian Agent: Early in Season 2, Eric turns Gerry into one.
  • Mars Wants Chocolate: Jonathan starts out as a health nut, but discovers he loves fast food while hiding out with Officer Glimmer.
  • The Marvelous Deer: Less so the taxidermy puppets of early Season 1, but the CG deer which appears in the middle of the forest starting around mid-Season 2 seems to be angling toward this: it’s played for drama instead of comedy (so far), and it walks on four legs (instead of sitting or standing upright, being mounted on a wall, or replacing the heads of other humans).
  • Mistaken for Aliens: By the end of Episode 3, Richard believes that his soon-to-be "ex-wife" is actually a Reptilian who was swapped out for his real wife.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: One promotional Internet short has the lead aliens musing over primitive, yet practical, Earth-based inventions like...the bottlecap.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: In the years since his divorce from Ozzie's mother, Ozzie's laidback, deadbeat casanova dad has become a Buddhist. He picked it up to impress a new woman, but kept it even after breaking up with her.
  • Nice Guy: Don, who demonstrates the benevolence associated with Nordic aliens appearing in traditional ufology. This contrasts against Jeff, a stuffy, narrow-minded workaholic.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Walsh killing the Reptilian hitman in revenge interrupts his attempt on Alex's life. This causes her alien superiors in the FBI to think Walsh is protecting her, making her a bigger target.
  • Noodle Incident: When Agent Foster first speaks to StarCrossed, Margaret assumes the FBI have finally caught up with her for something she did in '77. It apparently involved Timothy Leary, and she picked up lockpicking in that same year.
  • Not Quite Dead: Kurt miraculously returns to life part way through Season 2.
  • Not So Stoic: Gina tries to maintain her poise and control over the group, but is usually the one who ends up snapping the hardest. She's got a sharper tongue and fouler mouth then you'd expect from a professional therapist, though as her spotlight episode in Season 1 shows, she was actually much more of a hardass as a therapist than she tries to be when working with StarCrossed...which admittedly, was one-on-one therapy as opposed to an emotional support group.
  • Obviously Evil: Eric, whose cube-shaped robot body looks like a cross between HAL-9000, an iPod, and one of the floating torture droids from A New Hope.
  • Parental Neglect: Ozzie’s parents lost him in Beacon for days, the guilt of which ultimately drove them to divorce. Ozzie repressed the whole event or rather, the aliens removed the memories from his mind, and when Ozzie calls a family meeting to discuss the matter openly, they get back together, much to his disgust.
  • People Puppets:
    • In Season 1, Jeff the Grey pilots Nancy's robot body remotely from the mothership as part of his plot to avenge Kurt by killing Gina.
    • In Season 2, Greater-Scope Villain Eric takes over Don the White's body by shrinking down and flying up his nose.
  • Post-Mortem One-Liner: Delivered chillingly by Walsh, when he executes the hitman who killed Ozzie.
    Hitman: I'm glad I killed your human friend.
    [gets shot]
    Walsh: I'm glad I killed you.
  • Pretty Boy: Don, described by Kelly following her abduction as looking like Ryan Gosling, or a young Paul Newman.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Eric has the same kind of camera eye as HAL from 2001. It's normally blue, or green when he scans someone, but when he decides to get overtly sinister, such as when he's reprogramming Gerry, the entire room turns red.
  • Reptilian Conspiracy: The "Green" aliens are only one of the three species of the Federation operating on Earth, but for some reason they're the ones disguising themselves as humans.
  • Revealing Cover Up: The fact that the FBI puts zero effort into investigating Ozzie's death tips both Alex and StarCrossed onto the fact that things are more than they appear.
  • Robot Buddy:
    • Nancy. She's an android. Well, gynoid, technically.
    • Subverted by Eric, who's the new leader of the Beacon abduction mission. As a floating black cube with a HAL-9000 eye, he certainly looks the part, but whether this is his actual body, some manner of receptacle for his brain, or just his remote-controlled avatar is yet to be revealed. He's also not the jovial office-buddy kind of boss he pretends to be.
  • Robot Girl: Nancy again.
  • Separated at Birth: Late in Season 2, Alex meets her sister, who it turns out was her twin sister, born moments after their mother was abducted in Beacon.
  • Sizeshifter: Eric can shrink to tiny size, which he uses to trick the mutineers into opening the box they've trapped him in, then fly up Don's nose and take over his body.
  • Spare Body Parts: Don suggests at one point that he has two hearts, despite his outwardly human appearance.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: All of the aliens so far have ordinary, American-sounding names, other than Reptilians who are deliberately in disguise as humans with names of other nationalities like Elon Musk (Canadian-American but born in South Africa). This makes sense for the Reptilian infiltrators, but less so for, say, Jeff. Don also isn't a very Scandinavian sort of name (Daan is, though it's not really brought up).
  • Spirit Advisor:
    • A talking deer with Kurt's voice appears to Ozzie in waking dreams, although, being a talking deer who appears to Ozzie in waking dreams, he spends most of his time just trying to get Ozzie to calm down and engage with him rather than advising him. He stops appearing after the metal implant is removed from Ozzie's head, soon after Kurt himself dies.
      Kurt the Deer: Uhhh, hi, Ozzie? Don't get weird, but you're about to hit a deer.
    • Later, Ozzie the Deer, who appears to Alex in dreams. There was also a deer standing over the body after Ozzie was killed by the Reptilian hitman.
      Ozzie the Deer: Trust Walsh. Find the others.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Kurt, when he is run over by Gina.
  • Taking the Bullet: Ozzie ultimately does this to save Jonathan from the Reptilian hitman.
  • Trigger Phrase: Not the phrase itself, but what it represents. When someone rolls two fives in the board game Eric has ordered Gerry to build via posthypnotic suggestion, Gerry will activate the device and 'eliminate' the members of StarCrossed.
    "When the fives are two, what do you do?"
  • Vow of Celibacy: Father Doug’s, as a Catholic priest... which he ultimately breaks with Chelsea.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Snake Man and Little Guy", the Season 1 finale: Ozzie uncover suppressed memories of being abducted as a child, along with the other future StarCrossed members. The aliens' superiors arrive on Earth. The episode ends with Gerry finally being abducted.
    • "The Truth Hurts": Foster and the Reptilian hitman both crash Ozzie's meeting with Walsh, which results in Ozzie Taking the Bullet for Walsh and dying in front of Foster.
  • Work Com: Jeff, Don, and Kurt's scenes aboard the alien ship until Jeff goes into full revenge mode toward the end of the season. Hits something of a soft Reset Button when Eric arrives.
  • You Are Number 6: Jeff only ever refers to Ozzie as "Subject 28409".