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Taken is a Science Fiction miniseries made in 2002. It's about three families, beginning with Russell Keys (an Army Air Force pilot who is abducted by aliens in the middle of a battle), Owen Crawford (an Army Air Force captain who is the first from the military to see the crashed alien spaceship), and Sally Clarke (a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage who meets a strange man in her shed). Three generations of conflict unfolds from these events, and we, along with the characters, slowly learn the motives behind the abductions that have been going on for more than half a century.
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The miniseries focuses just as much on the characters as on the plot, as we watch them grow from children to adults.

Not to be confused with the 2017 NBC series Taken, which is a modern-day prequel to the Liam Neeson films of the same name.


This series contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic:
    • In "High Hopes", Russell mentions that he drank a fifth of vodka every night for eight years, seemingly to ease the stress associated with his repeated abductions by the aliens.
    • Also in "High Hopes", it is revealed that Colonel Thomas Campbell became an alcoholic after Owen stole the UFO project from him in 1947 (as seen in "Beyond the Sky") and died of cirrhosis of the liver prior to October 1962.
  • Alien Autopsy:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", scientists at the Wright Air Field conducted autopsies on the three aliens who were killed in the Roswell crash and on a fourth who died later.
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    • Discussed in "Dropping the Dishes". Lt. Williams believes that all of the talk about the impending arrival of a Flying Saucer is part of a psychological test being conducted by the military. When Captain Walker reminds him that they were shown video footage of the aliens, William replies that he also saw the Trope Maker, which he thought looked more realistic.
  • Alien Invasion: In "Acid Tests", Owen tells Richard Nixon that the aliens are planning to invade and that the crop circle found in eastern Indiana is most likely a landing strip. However, he later admits to Erickson that he has never had any idea what the aliens are planning and that an invasion is merely one possibility.
  • Aliens are Bastards: A belief held almost unanimously by the military and especially the Keys family. However, they are not deliberately cruel due to their Bizarre Alien Psychology. When the alien John gets badly injured protecting Allie in "John", he is met with no sympathy from Charlie or even his own granddaughter Lisa, who proceeds to tell him in the final episode "Taken" to leave Earth as he has caused enough pain already.
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  • Aliens Made Them Do It: In "Charlie and Lisa", the aliens abduct Charlie and Lisa and force them to have sex, resulting in their daughter Allie being conceived. This is the aliens' ultimate goal: the creation of a viable hybrid.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: In "Acid Tests", Owen tells his son Eric that the UFO project receives reports of cattle mutilation two or three times per week.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", when Russell visits the Army hospital in Fort Bliss, Texas, one of the patients is a World War II veteran who lost both of his legs.
    • In "Acid Tests", one of Jesse's fellow patients at the Veterans Memorial Hospital in Chicago lost both of his legs in The Vietnam War.
  • Anyone Can Die: Given that the series spans 58 years, the high mortality rate among the main characters is understandable but it is especially notable considering that most of them die relatively young. In "Maintenance", Sally Clarke, one of the longest lived characters, is only in her late 60s when she dies of cancer in 1980. In "Charlie and Lisa", her son Jacob dies at about 32 in 1981 and Jesse dies at 46 in 1992.
  • Area 51: The name Area 51 is never used but the UFO project is based in Groom Lake, Nevada from "Jacob and Jesse" to "Maintenance".
  • Arc Words:
    • From "High Hopes" onwards, the phrase "All your memories and all your fears" frequently comes up in relation to the ability possessed by the aliens and Half Human Hybrids to use their Psychic Powers to Mind Rape people.
    • Three generations of the Clarke family, Sally, Jacob and Lisa, all express their affection for their children using the same phrase: "I love you. Every day and twice on Sundays."
    • When Jacob Mind Rapes Travis and later Owen in "Jacob and Jesse", he says, "Look at me." In "God's Equation", when Allie is about to save her father Charlie, she says, "Look at me, Dad." In "John", when Mary sees a manifestation of Owen on the ship that Allie created and asks what he saw when Jacob showed him all of his memories and all of his fears, he says, "Then look at me, Mary. Look at me" and induces it into her.
    • In the first three episodes, Owen Crawford says, "You're the sun and the moon to me. The sun and the moon" to three women: Sue, his eventual wife Anne and Sally. He murders Sue in "Beyond the Sky" and Anne in "High Hopes". He doesn't kill Sally but he does ruin her life by breaking her heart and kidnapping her son Jacob in "Jacob and Jesse".
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In "Dropping the Dishes", Allie says to Mary, "Your grandfather wasn't a very happy man. Why are trying so hard to be like him?" Mary is very disturbed by the question and is left atypically speechless.
  • Artistic License – History: In "Beyond the Sky", strange lights are seen in the sky over Lubbock, Texas on July 11, 1947 as a result of John's departure from Earth. In reality, the Lubbock Lights were not seen over the city until August 1951.
  • Ascended Extra: Seven characters (Tom, Becky, Eric, Sam, Charlie, Lisa and Mary) go from kids with little-to-no personality to protagonists. In a more extreme example, Jesse makes his first appearance as a one-year-old baby with No Name Given in "Beyond the Sky" and plays a major role from "Jacob and Jesse" to "Maintenance" before making a final, minor appearance in "Charlie and Lisa".
  • Ax-Crazy: Both Owen Crawford and his granddaughter Mary are shown to be quite murderous and unhinged at times. However while Owen is The Sociopath of the series and can control or hide these impulses, Mary however is far more erratic and mentally unstable, willing to murder civilians to get what she wants and even kills Wakeman when he tries to warn the Keys, and breaks out hysterically afterwards. She does however regret her actions after seeing Wakeman's message.
  • Bad “Bad Acting”: In "Maintenance", Charlie fumbles over his lines while playing Neil Armstrong in his class' play about the space program.
  • The Beastmaster: In the final scene of "Charlie and Lisa", the three-year-old Allie displays the ability to control animals using her Psychic Powers when three dolphins move in accordance with her wishes. This is the first time that Allie realizes that there is something different about her.
  • Bizarre Alien Psychology: In the final episode "Taken", John confirms what Mary and Dr. Wakeman had suspected about the aliens for some time: that they have no emotions and no concept of morality due to the manner in which they had evolved over the course of millions of years.
  • Blackmail:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Owen blackmails his new father-in-law Colonel Thomas Campbell into promoting him to major and placing him in command of the UFO project by threatening to go public with the artifact that Sue discovered at the Roswell crashsite and everything else that he knows.
    • In "Maintenance", history repeats itself when Owen's 21-year-old Eric blackmails the US government into putting him in charge of the project by threatening to go public with his late father's extensive files on everything that has happened since the crash of the alien ship in Roswell.
  • Body Motifs: Hands and handprints tend to come up a lot.
  • Boldly Coming: In "Beyond the Sky", the alien John has sex with Sally in her shed. Their son Jacob is conceived as a result.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The first episode "Beyond the Sky" begins and ends with the same narration. It is heard again at the end of the final episode "Taken":
    "My mother always talked to me a lot about the sky. She liked to watch the clouds in the day and the stars at night...especially the stars. We would play a game sometimes, a game called 'What's Beyond the Sky?' We would imagine darkness or a blinding light or something else that we didn't know how to name. But of course, that was just a game. There's nothing beyond the sky. The sky just is and it goes on and on and we'll play all of our games beneath it."
    • Also in the final episode "Taken", Charlie, Lisa, Allie, Tom and John hide out from the government in Sally's old house in Lubbock, Texas. In "Beyond the Sky", Sally found John in her shed and began a relationship with him. Sally's pregnancy with Jacob marked the beginning of the aliens' Super Breeding Program, of which Allie is the end result. Tom was the only human character to be present on both occasions.
  • Brown Note: In "Jacob and Jesse", it becomes clear that prolonged exposure to the aliens' technology is harmful to humans in the same way as exposure to the aliens themselves. Owen tells Dr. Kreutz that he will begin to experience a strange aching feeling in his head after six minutes in the alien ship and that he will die of a cerebral hemorrhage if he does not leave it within 20 minutes. This is demonstrated when the psychic identical twins Gladys and Mavis Erenberg die after a failed attempt to use their abilities to power the ship.
  • Brown Note Being: Due to the aliens' psychic powers, people in close proximity to them suffer serious health problems and often die as a result. The first sign is typically a Psychic Nosebleed. In "Beyond the Sky", Sally develops one after spending only a few minutes in John's presence. It eventually becomes apparent that the aliens are so interested in the Keys family, continually abducting Russell, Jesse and Charlie over the course of almost 50 years, because they are immune to the harmful effects that typically come with prolonged exposure. In "Beyond the Sky", Russell is the only one of the ten men aboard the B-17 bomber who were abducted on August 1, 1944 to survive more than three years after being exposed. The immunity of the Keys family is crucial to the aliens' attempts to create a viable hybrid.
  • Captured Super-Entity: In the final scene of "God's Equation", Allie, who possesses extraordinary Psychic Powers, allows herself to be taken into custody by the UFO project. In "Dropping the Dishes", it is revealed that the military intends to use her as bait to lure the aliens into a confrontation.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • In "Maintenance", after ten years of marriage, Jesse finally confesses to his wife Amelia that he has been abducted by aliens multiple times and his apparent tumor is an implant that they placed in his head. Amelia believes that it is all in his mind, a symptom of post-traumatic stress due to his service in The Vietnam War, and convinces him to see a doctor for their son Charlie's sake. In "Charlie and Lisa", after another twelve years have passed and Jesse has died, Amelia learns that everything that Jesse said was true when Charlie tells her that the aliens have abducted him more than once.
    • Also in "Charlie and Lisa", Naomi, the principal of the elementary school where Charlie teaches, realizes that Charlie believes that he has been abducted by aliens when she sees all of the books and pamphlets on UFOs strewn around his house. He says that they have been taking him since he was nine. Naomi tries to convince him that it is all in his mind but he tells her that he is going to find evidence and prove that he isn't crazy.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: In "John", the hunting guide Dewey Clayton abandons Charlie and Lisa as they are preparing to enter the abandoned farm in Benson County, North Dakota where Allie is being held by the Army. After Allie helps her parents to escape, Dewey returns to provide his assistance and is very apologetic about running out on them earlier.
  • Character Development: A major focus of the series.
  • Character Narrator: The series is narrated by the nine-year-old Allie Keys in 2002. The identity of the narrator does not become entirely clear until the final scene of the sixth episode "Charlie and Lisa" but it was hinted at in several previous episodes. For instance, in "High Hopes", "Acid Tests" and "Maintenance", she speaks about her grandfathers during scenes showing Jacob and Jesse.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Kate Keys, Russell's (eventual ex-)wife and Jesse's mother, plays a major supporting role in "Beyond the Sky" and "Jacob and Jesse" and Jesse briefly speaks to her over the phone in "High Hopes". After that, however, she is never mentioned again. Given that Jesse went into hiding in 1962, it is not clear whether Kate even knew that he was still alive after that or whether she ever found out that she had a grandson, namely Charlie.
    • After the opening scene of "Charlie and Lisa", which is set in 1980, Becky is never seen again. The last reference to her is later in that episode in a scene set in 1992. Unlike her brother Tom, she does not return for the final episode "Taken" and there is no indication whether she is alive or dead in 2002.
  • Conspicuous CGI: The aliens and their ships easily stand out from their surroundings. The same is true of the images of the anthropomorphic squirrel Artemis P. Fonswick and his house built into a tree that the aliens create for the seven-year-old Jesse in the opening scene of "Jacob and Jesse".
  • Crop Circles: In "Acid Tests", Owen Crawford, his son Eric and Marty Erickson investigate a crop circle in a cornfield in eastern Indiana as the colonel believes that it may be one of a series of landing strips that the aliens placed around the world in preparation for their invasion. He stakes his career on it and asks Richard Nixon to personally inspect the site. Nixon instead sends Toby Woodruff of the Department of Defense and Ted Olsen of the NSA. While observing the crop circle in a helicopter, Crawford and the others see another in the vicinity. It is in the shape of a peace symbol and the word "Howdy" written beside it. As a result, Crawford's career is ruined. He later learns that it was a prank orchestrated by Tom, a leading debunker, in revenge for Crawford breaking his mother Sally's heart and kidnapping his younger half-brother Jacob in 1959.
  • Deadly Euphemism: In "Beyond the Sky", Owen is brought to the crashed alien ship in Pine Lodge near Roswell by two young boys and their father who discovered it while out hiking. After performing a quick reconnaissance of the ship, Owen exits and gives the three of them a threatening look. He later tells his superior officer Colonel Thomas Campbell how he learned of the crash and that he took care of it. The clear implication is that he killed the boys and their father but this is never confirmed.
  • Dead Person Conversation: In "John", Mary sees an image of her grandfather Owen in the alien ship that Allie manifested from the collective thoughts of everyone involved in the Army operation. They discuss Allie and the aliens' overall plan. She then asks him what he saw when Jacob showed him all of his memories and all of his fears in "Jacob and Jesse". Lt. Pierce also sees an image of his late mother, who invites him to eat the toll house cookies that she made for him. Pierce later thanks Allie for allowing him to see his mother again, describing it as an act of pure kindness.
  • Death by Childbirth: In "Acid Tests", Leo tells Sam that his daughter Nadine died in childbirth with her Half-Human Hybrid twin sons Larry and Lester.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", two Army Air Force officers listening to the radio on July 7, 1947 hear that Larry Doby has become the second black player to break baseball's color barrier after Jackie Robinson in April of that year. One of the officers says that there is no turning back after "letting them in" while the other believes that it is the end of the world as they know it.
    • In "High Hopes", Owen takes up smoking to relieve tension at the request of his doctor in October 1962. In "Acid Tests", he dies of a stroke on May 4, 1970, which may have brought on by his smoking.
    • Also in "High Hopes", two young black men enter the diner in Ogden, Utah where Russell and Jesse are having lunch on October 18, 1962 and order a cup of coffee. The owner Gus pours them a cup and spits in it. A racist diner patron then fires his shotgun through the window at the two men but Jesse pushes them out of the way. Russell, who visibly disapproved of the racist attitudes of the other white people in the diner, later asks Jesse if "those two colored guys" were alright after he recovers from his seizure, having heard the shooting.
  • Descent into Addiction: In "Acid Tests", Jesse became a heroin addict after fighting in The Vietnam War. He began using drugs as a way to distract himself not only from his memories of the war but his frequent abductions by the aliens.
  • Description Cut: In "God's Equation", Allie remarks that some people get mean when they get scared. We then cut to Eric Crawford. This description basically sums up the entire Crawford family except for Sam.
  • Domestic Abuse: In "God's Equation", it is revealed that Ray Morrison was sexually molested by a man in a shed when he was eight years old.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Despite being ridiculously outmatched, the Keys family defiantly attempt to fight their abductions. Even when they are caught, they would rather go down swinging than be taken. In "Charlie and Lisa", Charlie summed up his attitude and, by extension, that of his father Jesse and grandfather Russell towards the abductions:
    "If you were eight, yeah, maybe this would scare you. But you know what, Mom? None of this scares me anymore. Now it just makes me mad. If they come for me again, I'm not going without a fight. And if that lands me in some hospital room, sitting, staring out some window, screaming, then that's what it does."
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: In "Jacob and Jesse", Owen Crawford learned the hard way that it was a serious mistake to kidnap Jacob and force him to try and fly the alien ship when Jacob shows him all of his memories and all of his fears. In "Acid Tests", he told his son Sam that it was the only time that he was ever frightened in his adult life.
    Jacob: Mr. Crawford... look at me.
  • Don't Go Into the Woods: In "Acid Tests", Louise Rankin frequently tells her daughter Wendy not to go into the woods because of the Half-Human Hybrid Lester. Ironically, when Wendy does wander into the woods in search of her dog Champ, Lester tends to her after she falls out of a tree and breaks her leg.
  • Driving Question: For more than half a century, the Crawfords, the Keys and to a lesser extent the Clarkes continually ask themselves one question: "What do the aliens want?"
  • Dysfunction Junction: The characters possess a wide variety of flaws and suffer from numerous addictions and disorders: alcoholism (Anne Crawford, her father Colonel Thomas Campbell and Russell Keys), Oedipus complexes (Mary Crawford's relationship with her childhood Honorary Uncle Chet Wakeman), multiple cases of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder as a result of alien abductions (Russell, his son Jesse and grandson Charlie), drug abuse (Jesse again) and outright sociopathy (Owen Crawford). Notably, while the Clarke family experiences many hardships over the years, they manage to survive relatively unscathed compared to the Crawfords and the Keys.
  • Eagleland: In "High Hopes", Jacob's teacher's lessons are extremely jingoistic tirades in which he continually compares the Russians to crusaders who are fighting a holy war against the United States with communism as their religion.
  • EMP:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", the battery of Sue's car goes dead as the crashing alien ship passes overhead. After it crashes to Earth, the power returns, giving her a fright.
    • In "Charlie and Lisa", Lisa's flashlight and all of the lights in her trailer park go out as a result of the arrival of one of the alien ships.
  • Empty Shell: In "Maintenance", Jesse enters a catatonic state after a lifetime of living in fear of the aliens and the UFO project. However, the aliens dislodging the implant in his brain may have been partially responsible for his condition as it seemingly caused brain damage.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: In "Jacob and Jesse", the only thing that the Groom Lake research team managed to obtain from the alien ship in eleven years is velcro, which Owen dismissively describes as "a way to hold up [his] pants without a belt."
  • Evolutionary Levels: In the final episode "Taken", the alien John reveals that Allie is the next step in the evolution of life itself.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In "Acid Tests", Jesse attempts to sell his father Russell's World War II medals to his dealer Willie in order to get more heroin. When Willie is disgusted by his actions, Jesse realizes that he has hit rock bottom.
  • Faking the Dead: In "Jacob and Jesse", Tom, Becky and Sally fake Jacob's death by burning down the shed in which Sally had been building a transmitter in the hope of contacting John. They tell the Lubbock sheriff that Jacob died in the fire and he passes the message along to the UFO project. However, in "Charlie and Lisa", Eric learns the truth when Lisa's stepfather Danny Holding innocently mentions that Lisa's father Jacob was the brother of the well-known ufologist Tom Clarke. After that, the project turns its attention to Lisa and eventually her daughter Allie.
  • Fan Convention: In "Jacob and Jesse", Sally frequently brings Jacob to spacecraft conventions where Dr. Peter Quarrington talks about his multiple trips to Venus. The attendees of these conventions refer to themselves as contactees as they believe that they have made contact with aliens. It is unclear how many of them other than Sally herself have actually done so.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration: Throughout the series, Allie's narration includes numerous comments on growing up, humanity and human nature, for better and for worse.
  • First Period Panic: In "Charlie and Lisa", the 13-year-old Lisa has her first period on February 13, 1986. Considering the aliens' interest in her, it does not go unnoticed. In the absence of her mother Carol, she calls Nina and asks her to buy sanitary pads for her. After Nina leaves, Lisa walks her dog Watson around her trailer park and sees an image of the carny that frightened Jesse as a child. He says, "Lisa, today you are a woman." She is then abducted by the aliens for the first time.
  • Flashback Nightmare:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Russell experiences frequent nightmares about being abducted by aliens for the first time in August 1944. He initially sees them as Nazi doctors but they appear in their true form after the blanks in his memory are filled in by his former co-pilot Lt. Lou Johnson.
    • In "God's Equation", Russell's grandson Charlie experiences similar nightmares about his abductions. The same is also true of Mike and Patty, a couple whom Charlie interviews as part of documentary that he is making about the abductions.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: In "Acid Tests", Jesse and Nurse Amelia Henderson fall in love after he is admitted to the Veterans Memorial Hospital in Chicago on April 17, 1970. After knowing each other for about six weeks, he proposes to her and she says yes. In "Maintenance", they have a nine-year-old named Charlie.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Owen says to his lover Sue, "You're the sun and the moon to me. The sun and the moon." Later that night, Owen beats Sue to death in order to keep the artifact that she found at the Roswell crashsite a secret. At his wedding to Anne Campbell two months later on September 13, 1947, he tells her father Colonel Thomas Campbell that he would never do anything to hurt her as she is the sun and the moon to him. In "High Hopes", Owen murders Anne on October 28, 1962 as he is concerned that her alcoholism and resulting erratic behavior will lead her to reveal what she knows about the artifact and the UFO project in general to anyone who will listen.
    • In "Jacob and Jesse", Becky suggests that it might be a good idea to leave Jacob at home instead of taking him to the spacecraft convention in Tucumcari, New Mexico because of how tired he gets. In "High Hopes", it becomes clear that Jacob is physically weak because of the stress that his abilities put on his body. In "Charlie and Lisa", his body's inability to handle his Psychic Powers leads to his early death.
    • In "High Hopes", Anne hopes that being Owen's favorite doesn't ruin her son Sam's life. In "Acid Tests", Owen tells Sam the truth about the UFO project and being MindRaped by Jacob. This leads Sam to travel to Hyder, Alaska to investigate the writing found on the burial chamber as it matched that on the artifact. He is killed in a fire two days later along with the Half-Human Hybrid Lester.
    • Also in "High Hopes", Lt. Wiley asks Jesse whether he will follow in his father Russell's footsteps and join the service. Jesse says that he might. In "Acid Tests", Jesse has recently returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam.
    • In "Charlie and Lisa", Dr. Wakeman assigns Charlie and Lisa to Pair 55 in relation to simultaneous abductions. When Eric asks why 55, he says that it is a numbers thing. In "God's Equation", Wakeman and Mary identify the importance of the Fibonacci Sequence, the titular equation, to everything that the aliens' biology, technology and everything that they do. 55 is the tenth Fibonacci number. The Fibonacci Sequence is also the reason that the aliens have three fingers and one thumb and why their ships require five of them to operate.
    • Also in "Charlie and Lisa", Mary is looking through the Crawford family photo album and asks her mother Julie what her grandfather Owen was like, clearly regretting that she never knew him as he died when she was a baby. In "John", Mary sees an image of Owen when she enters the alien ship, which itself turns out to have been created by Allie using her Psychic Powers.
    • In "Dropping the Dishes", several technicians who work for the UFO project listen to the conspiracy theorist Bill Jeffries' radio show. In the final episode "Taken", Tom has Bill ask his listeners to come to Sally's old house in Lubbock, Texas en masse in order to prevent the government from capturing Allie.
  • For Science!: In "Maintenance", Dr. Chet Wakeman demonstrates the harmful effects of one of the alien implants on a soldier in an isolation room. The soldier is driven insane within seconds and kills himself by banging his head repeatedly on the glass.
  • Frame-Up:
    • In "High Hopes", Owen has Jesse arrested as a spy in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis on October 24, 1962. He tells the commander of the Hill Air Force Base that Jesse received secret information from Lt. Wiley and planned to pass it on to the Soviet Union in the hope of turning the tide in the Crisis.
    • In "Maintenance", Erickson tells Eric that his father Owen had him obtain a car for him from the Groom Lake motorpool on October 28, 1962, the night that Anne and Bowen were murdered. After the car was returned, it had 417 additional miles on it. This was the exact distance, round trip, from Groom Lake to the location of the murders. Eric tells the police of Erickson's supposed involvement and he is arrested as an accessory before the fact. This clears the way for Eric to take over the project.
  • Game of Nerds: In both "High Hopes" and "Charlie and Lisa", the quiet, bookish Jacob plays baseball. In the latter, he says that he enjoys it because he can never make assumptions (which is probably important to a psychic). His daughter Lisa assumed that it was because it's impossibly hard and had a lot of useless statistics that he could memorize. Jacob admits that this is part of the reason that he likes it.
  • Garage Band: In "Charlie and Lisa", Lisa becomes the drummer in a garage band several days after she moves to Seattle in September 1992. In "God's Equation", she is still a member of the band in 2002.
  • Generational Saga: The series follows the Keys, Crawford and Clarke families over the course of four generations and 58 years from 1944 to 2002.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • In spite of his attempts to become a better man, Eric Crawford is very much like his father Owen. They are both ambitious, ruthless and willing to step on anyone that gets in their way. In "God's Equation", he comes to feel guilty about all of the terrible things that he has done, something that Owen never does. Mary proves to be cut from the same cloth as her grandfather. Also in "God's Equation", Eric mentions that she possesses the same clarity of purpose as his father, which is probably related to their lack of morals.
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Sally Clarke is a lonely, unhappy woman whose husband Fred neglects and disrespects her. Her children Tom and Becky are her main source of happiness. Her unsatisfactory marriage leads her to have an affair with the alien John. In "Jacob and Jesse", she has a brief relationship with Owen but it turns out that he was merely using her so that he could have an opportunity to kidnap Jacob. In "Maintenance", Becky is married to a man named Ronnie, who treats her in much the same way as Fred treated Sally. Her children Kim and Andy are the only good things to come from her marriage. Becky's unhappy marriage leads her to have an affair with Eric. Becky and Eric's relationship differs from Owen and Sally's in that Eric genuinely develops feelings for her but Becky ends it when she realizes that she doesn't trust him.
    • Three generations of the Keys family, Russell, Jesse and Charlie, fight valiantly against the aliens whenever they abduct them. Although it is secondary to their immunity to the effects of their technology, this is a source of great interest to the aliens. Furthermore, both Russell and Jesse are war veterans (World War II in Russell's case and The Vietnam War in Jesse's) who return home more traumatized by their abductions than by the war itself.
  • The Greys: The aliens are classic greys who are about four foot tall and possess large heads, oval-shaped eyes, spindly bodies and three fingers and a thumb on each hand.
  • Groin Attack: In "Dropping the Dishes", Mary attacks the groin of a soldier at the roadblock outside the Army's base of operations in Benson County, North Dakota in order to be brought before General Beers.
  • Government Conspiracy:
    • The crash of the alien ship in Roswell, New Mexico on July 2, 1947 marks the beginning of a vast conspiracy perpetrated by the US government over the course of 55 years which involves not only the suppression of the biggest and most important secret in human history but kidnapping, murder, human experimentation and various other illegal activities.
    • Tom initially believes that there is a government conspiracy of a very different kind. In "Jacob and Jesse", he tells his sister Becky that the Lubbock Lights (which they saw in "Beyond the Sky") were just street lights reflected off a flock of plover birds. He says that all of the stories about UFOs are just the government's cover story. In "Acid Tests", having read Tom's work, Sam tells his brother Eric that the UFO project is a conspiracy which is intended to distract people from The Vietnam War and the secret testing of chemical weapons on innocent civilians. In "Maintenance", Tom tells his younger half-brother Jacob that he has come to the conclusion that his father John was a soldier who was injected with psychotropic drugs and Jacob developed abilities as a result. Jacob is less than convinced since the supposed UFO cover story seems extremely far-fetched.
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Sally and the alien John had sex in her shed, resulting in their son Jacob being conceived. By the time that he is ten years old in "Jacob and Jesse", Jacob has developed Psychic Powers, including the ability to see the future and show a person all of their memories and all their fears. However, Jacob is unable to withstand the physical strain that his abilities place on him and dies at only 32 in "Charlie and Lisa". His daughter Lisa is one-quarter alien but inherits only limited powers, being essentially a carrier. Although Lisa's daughter Allie is one-eighth alien, she is considerably more powerful than even the aliens themselves. As she inherited the Keys family's immunity to the harmful effects of the aliens' biology and technology from her father Charlie, she does not suffer the same health problems as her grandfather Jacob.
    • In "Acid Tests", the aliens conducted another experiment in creating hybrids but with considerably less successful results. A young woman named Nadine in Hyder, Alaska was abducted and impregnated. The pregnancy proved to be extremely difficult and she died while giving birth to her twin sons. The boys were taken in by her father Leo, who named them Larry and Lester. While Jacob, Lisa and Allie are completely human in appearance, Larry and Lester resemble the aliens much more closely. They have grey skin, large black eyes and only four fingers. They seemingly possessed the same Psychic Powers as Jacob but had less control over them. After Larry was killed by Sheriff Kerby, Lester's powers became even stronger, to the point that he couldn't turn them off.
  • Hate Plague: In the final episode "Taken", Allie tells John that she was sorely tempted to use her powers to make Clauson and the other men who threatened them at the gas station (as seen at the end of the previous episode "John") fight each other.
  • Healing Hands: In "God's Equation", Allie is able to heal Charlie, who is on the brink of death, after he was accidentally shot in the stomach by Ray Morrison during the Hostage Situation. After she lays her hands on his stomach, a scar is the only sign that he was ever injured.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • In "God's Equation", Ray Morrison holds the other members of his Alien Abduction therapy group, Dr. Harriet Penzler and later Allie hostage, accidentally shooting Charlie in the process. After Allie helps him to realize that he is angry because he was sexually molested as a child, he lets the hostages go. He apologizes to Charlie for having shot him in "Dropping the Dishes" and joins the other group members in protecting Allie from the government in the final episode "Taken".
    • In the final episode "Taken", Dr. Wakeman tries to phone Tom in order to warn him that Mary is aware that he, Charlie, Lisa and Allie are hiding in Sally's old house in Lubbock, Texas. However, he is shot and killed by Mary before he has the chance to do so. Wakeman's attempt to help his erstwhile adversaries is motivated not by a realization that what he was doing was wrong but by a desire to allow the aliens' plan to reach fruition without interference.
  • Home Made Inventions: In "Jacob and Jesse", Sally builds a radio transmitter in her shed in the hope of contacting John so that he will come back for her and Jacob and bring them to his planet.
  • Hostage Situation: In "God's Equation", Ray Morrison takes Charlie, Lisa, Dr. Harriet Penzler and the other members of the Alien Abduction therapy group (Dale Watson, Wilson Adams, Cynthia, Dorothy, Nora and Ben) hostage in the Department of Psychology building of Seattle Pacific University. He demands that whoever runs the FBI's secret extraterrestrial project call CNN and go public with everything that they know about aliens so that people won't think that he's crazy anymore. If they don't do so, he threatens to begin killing the hostages. Complications arise for the UFO project when Allie arrives, putting her life in danger and threatening their plans.
  • Humans Are Special: The aliens are intrigued by humans because their own evolution branched away and stripped them of emotions. They are especially interested in the Keys family for their strength of will and physical hardiness.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: In "Dropping the Dishes", there is a variation. Dr. Wakeman tells Mary that she did what she had to do after she had her father Eric killed in the previous episode "God's Equation".
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: In the final episode "Taken", Allie tells Charlie that she wants to be an ordinary little girl who listens to her CDs and plays soccer with her friends. She is extremely upset as she knows that this can never be since it is her destiny to leave Earth and join the aliens.
  • I Know What You Fear:
    • The aliens' Psychic Powers allow them to use a person's fears against them. This is exhibited in their ability to show people all of their memories and all of their fears and their tendency to create images of something that scared a person immediately before abducting them. For instance, the carny that frightened Jesse as a child.
    • In "Dropping the Dishes", Captain Walker is terrified when a cockroach falls on him, explaining to his amused fellow soldiers that they have frightened him ever since he was a child. In "John", Walker is swarmed by cockroaches that only he can see after entering the alien ship created by Allie from people's thoughts.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The opening credits refer to the series as Steven Spielberg Presents Taken. However, he neither wrote nor directed any of the ten episodes. Every episode was directed by a different person while the entire series was written by Leslie Bohem.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: In "Maintenance", Jesse realizes that "Dr. Patterson" is an agent of the UFO project as he is aware that the little men that he sees are grey without being told. He renders the agent unconscious and escapes.
  • Interspecies Romance: In "Beyond the Sky", Sally Clarke has a relationship with the alien John.
  • Intrepid Reporter: In "Acid Tests", Sam Crawford, a journalism student at UC Berkeley who writes for the college newspaper, travels to Hyder, Alaska to investigate the strange writing found in the burial chamber. He realizes that there is something more going on when Sheriff Kerby tells Dr. Powell and his archaeology students Sarah, Buzz and Daryl to leave town after it is discovered that the mummy is no more than six years old.
  • Invisible President: With the exception of Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, every U.S. President from Harry Truman to the then incumbent George W. Bush is mentioned or at least alluded to on the series. However, John F. Kennedy's brief meeting with Owen in "High Hopes" is the only time that a President ever interacts with one of the characters on screen. The audience's view of his face is distorted by the vat containing one of the alien bodies discovered at Roswell. This is due to the fact that Stock Footage of Kennedy's television address to the American people regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis is seen later in the episode. Real footage of two other Presidents is seen in later episodes: George H. W. Bush during the 1980 presidential election in which he was the Republican vice presidential candidate in "Maintenance" and Ronald Reagan giving a speech before the United Nations General Assembly concerning aliens in "Charlie and Lisa".
  • Ironic Juxtaposition: In "Jacob and Jesse", Dr. Peter Quarrington's lecture about the friendly Space Brothers coming in peace is juxtaposed with Russell being experimented upon by the aliens aboard one of their ships.
  • It's All My Fault: In the final episode "Taken", John admits to Allie that, as a result of his newly discovered sense of morality, he deeply regrets the pain and suffering that he has caused people in the pursuit of the aliens' Super Breeding Program. He says that he would never do it again.
  • I Will Wait for You: After John leaves Earth in "Beyond the Sky", Sally waits for him for the rest of her life. She never sees him again.
  • Jerkass: In "God's Equation", Ray Morrison, a member of Lisa's Alien Abduction therapy group, is continually rude to the others. He makes insulting remarks about their personal lives and casts doubt on their abduction stories at every opportunity. Things go from bad to worse when he pulls out a gun and takes them hostage. The Freudian Excuse for Ray's behavior is that he was sexually molested as a child. He made up stories about being abducted so that he would not have to face the fact that a human being did that to him. Due to her Psychic Powers, Allie knows that being mean to people allows him to forget about his own misery and pain for a brief period.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: There are numerous mysteries such as the reason behind continued abductions of Russell Keys and later his son Jesse and grandson Charlie, the nature of the artifact found at the Roswell crashsite, the purpose of the implants found in the heads of all abductees and most significantly the aliens' ultimate goal in creating hybrids. As the series progresses, answers to all of these questions are provided.
  • Jitter Cam: Subtly, and rarely.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Of a sort. In "John", people who walk into the alien ship see people and places from their mind. Owen Crawford claims to be a manifestation of Mary's view of him. It turns out Allie was psychically manipulating everyone.
  • Karmic Death: In "Acid Tests", Owen Crawford dies of a stroke after he learns that his younger son Sam, who has always been his favorite, is dead. In his final moments, his elder son Eric, very much The Unfavorite, tells Owen that this fate could have been avoided if he had not been so horrible to him for all of those years.
  • Lady Drunk: In "High Hopes", Anne has become an alcoholic as a result of her miserable life with her cold, neglectful and emotionally abusive husband Owen. The seeds of her alcoholism were sown in "Jacob and Jesse" when Owen refused to allow her to leave him. Anne regularly takes pills when she drinks, risking her health and causing her behavior to become even more erratic. Owen threatens to have her sent to a sanatorium if she does not stop embarrassing him. She later tells their sons Eric and Sam that he is involved with the US government's UFO project and bitterly mentions that he stole the job from her late father Colonel Thomas Campbell. Things come to a head when she figures out the combination to his safe and finds the artifact that Sue discovered at the Roswell crashsite in 1947 (as seen in "Beyond the Sky"). Owen murders her in order to keep its existence a secret, making it look as if Major Howard Bowen killed her and then committed suicide.
  • Large Ham: As Dr. Chet Wakeman, Matt Frewer steals every scene that he's in.
  • Leitmotif:
    • A whimsical little tune plays just before an encounter with the aliens.
    • The title theme plays during a moment of love.
  • Lie to the Beholder: In "Beyond the Sky", John obtains the human image that he projects from an illustration accompanying the Thrilling Space Stories short story "The Star Tracker" that Sally had been reading immediately before she found him in her shed.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Over the course of the series, a total of 25 actors playing 24 characters are listed in the opening credits. Anton Yelchin and Chad Donella are credited for playing the child and adult versions of Jacob Clarke. Dakota Fanning (Allie) is the only one credited for every episode. There are also numerous recurring and one-off characters who play significant roles.
  • Man on Fire: In "High Hopes", Bob's Used Cars explodes when everyone present goes insane when the implant is removed from Russell's brain. Dr. Kreutz emerges from the building on fire from head to toe and burns to death in front of Owen's eyes within seconds.
  • Master of Illusion: The aliens have the ability to read a person's mind and create images from their thoughts, memories and imagination:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", the scientists studying the bodies found at the Roswell crashsite determine that they are capable of perfect mimicry on a cellular level as their cells display whatever properties the scientists think that they might have at any given moment. They receive a more extensive demonstration of this power when one of the seemingly dead aliens turns out to be alive and convinces that Dr. Goldin is a 13-year-old boy undergoing his Bar Mitzvah.
    • In "Jacob and Jesse", the aliens create an image of the title character of the children's book The Adventures of Artemis P. Fonswick to lure the seven-year-old Jesse onto one of their ships. Five years later in 1958, he sees the same image just before they abduct him once again.
    • In both "High Hopes" and "Maintenance", immediately before he is abducted, Jesse sees an image of the creepy carny that frightened him during a trip to the carnival when he was eight years old. In "Charlie and Lisa", both Jesse's son Charlie and Lisa see the same image as a prelude to abduction.
    • In "Maintenance", the aliens create an image of Jesse from Charlie's memories in order to lure him to Morgan's Junction, Missouri so they can abduct him.
    • In "God's Equation", Allie demonstrates that she possesses the same ability but she uses it for a kinder purpose than abduction. She creates an image of Dale Watson's late son Luke, who was killed in The Gulf War, to let him know that Luke forgave him for the big argument that they had before he shipped out.
    • In "John", Allie disguises herself as General Beers so that she, Charlie and Lisa can escape from the military.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • In "Jacob and Jesse", Sally Clarke says, "I love you. Every day and twice on Sundays" to her son Jacob several times. Jacob repeats it, first to his mother when she is forced to leave Lubbock after Tom and Becky fake his death later in that episode and again to his daughter Lisa not long before he dies in "Charlie and Lisa". In the final episode "Taken", Lisa repeats it to her own daughter Allie just before Allie goes with the aliens.
    • In both "High Hopes" and "Charlie and Lisa", Jacob collapses while playing baseball due to his Psychic Powers having a deleterious effect on his health. In the latter episode, it marks the beginning of the end for him.
  • Meaningful Name: The Keys family hold the key to the creation of a hybrid who is strong enough to use their abilities without suffering deleterious effects.
  • Memento MacGuffin:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Sue discovers the artifact at the Roswell crashsite, which she gives to Owen at the cost of her life. In "High Hopes", Owen tells his son Sam that it is part of his inheritance. However, in "Acid Tests", it falls into the possession of Owen's elder son Eric after Sam is killed in a fire in Alaska and Owen dies of a stroke. In "Dropping the Dishes", it is revealed that the artifact is both a transmitter that allows the aliens to track everyone who has an implant in their frontal lobe (which was heavily implied in "Charlie and Lisa") and an information gathering device which has been continually recording the progress of the aliens' crossbreeding experiment since its inception.
    • Also in "Beyond the Sky", Sally gives John one of the star shaped earrings left to her by her grandmother. She keeps the other one, wearing it as a pendant. In "Jacob and Jesse", Sally passes it on to Jacob as he leaves Lubbock to attend the Greenspan School after she, Tom and Becky fake his death. In "Charlie and Lisa", Jacob gives the pendant to Lisa shortly before his death. When John returns to Earth in "John", he shows the earring that Sally gave him in 1947 to Lisa as proof that he is her grandfather. In the final episode "Taken", John passes the earring on to Allie as he thinks that her great-grandmother would have wanted her to have it. When Allie tells her as much, Lisa gives her daughter her pendant, reuniting the two earrings for the first time in 55 years. After Allie joins the aliens, she leaves one of the earrings behind and keeps the other one, sending the message to her parents that she will be back one day.
  • Mind Rape:
    • In "Jacob and Jesse", Jacob possesses the ability to show a person all of their memories and all of their fears. He first uses it on a bully named Travis as his physical weakness means that he has no other way to defend himself. After Owen kidnaps him in the hope of using him to power the alien ship, Jacob subjects him to the same treatment. The experience traumatizes Owen, haunting him for the rest of his life. In "Acid Tests", it is revealed that he saw his own death from a stroke on May 4, 1970 as a result of Jacob's psychic powers and that he was always so contemptuous of his son Eric as he knew that he would be with him when he died.
    • Also in "Acid Tests", anyone who directly looks at Lester sees all of their memories and all of their fears. This is not due to any conscious effort on Lester's part, as is the case with Jacob, but because he is completely unable to control his abilities. When he tries to save Lester from a fire, Sam accidentally looks at him. As a result, they are unable to escape and both burn to death in the fire.
    • In "John", Mary asks the image of her grandfather Owen what he saw when he was mind raped by Jacob. Owen then tells her to look at him and she sees all of her memories and all of her fears as the real Owen did in 1959. Mary later tells Dr. Wakeman that she also saw how everything with Allie and the aliens will end.
  • Mind Virus: In "High Hopes", the implant removed from Russell's frontal lobe causes the surgical team and the MPs standing guard to go insane with seconds of being exposed to it. They immediately start killing each other.
  • Missing Time: Every time that someone is abducted by the aliens, they are returned to Earth hours or even days later with little to no memory of anything that happened in the meantime. However, some of them have vague impressions of what happened to them aboard the ships or have their memories recovered by hypnotherapy. Their stories give rise to all of the urban legends about Alien Abduction.
  • The Mole: In "God's Equation", Dr. Harriet Penzler, own runs Lisa's Alien Abduction therapy group, is an agent of the UFO project. She keeps them updated on Lisa's activities and Allie's progress and informs them that Charlie has arrived on the scene. In "Dropping the Dishes", Dr. Penzler reveals the truth to Charlie and Lisa, telling them that the project led her to believe that what was doing was in their interest as well as Allie's.
  • Muggle Sports, Super Athletes:
    • While playing baseball in "High Hopes", Jacob uses his Psychic Powers to guide the ball to him. The effort causes him to collapse.
    • In "God's Equation", Jacob's granddaughter Allie is the goalkeeper on a soccer team and uses her abilities in order to mislead the members of the other team so that they won't be able to score.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Owen beats his former lover Sue to death to prevent her from telling anyone about the artifact that she found at the Roswell crashsite.
    • In "High Hopes", Owen murders his wife Anne and Major Howard Bowen: Anne because her drunken, erratic behavior is at risk of exposing the existence of the artifact and Bowen because he tried to betray him by using Jacob Clarke against him. The next morning, Owen tells his sons Eric and Sam that Anne was having an affair with Bowen and that Bowen killed her and then himself when she changed her mind about running away with him.
    • In "Acid Tests", Sheriff Kerby killed the Half-Human Hybrid Larry in order to eliminate the perceived threat that he posed to the people of Hyder, Alaska. He buried his body under a tree but it was exhumed by his brother Lester and placed in a burial chamber. When Dr. Powell's archaeological team discovered the body in the chamber, Kerby told them to get out of town by sundown in an attempt to keep his crime a secret.
    • In the final episode "Taken", Mary murders Dr. Wakeman, her lover of nine years, in order to prevent him from alerting Tom that she has tracked him, Charlie, Lisa and Allie down to Sally's old house in Lubbock, Texas.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the final episode "Taken", Mary has a breakdown after she receives a posthumous video mail from Dr. Wakeman, whom she murdered the previous day. She comes to regret her heinous actions and even seems genuine when she apologetically tells Charlie that there is nothing that they can do to prevent the aliens from taking Allie.
  • Naked First Impression: In "Charlie and Lisa", the title characters first meet when the aliens coerce them into having sex with each other aboard one of their ships.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In "High Hopes", Jesse suggests to his father that they take what they know about the aliens to the Air Force. He is eventually able to track down Owen Crawford, thereby exposing his family's existence and the aliens' interest in them to the UFO project. This has serious consequences in both the short and long term. In the short term, Russell is killed the next day when the implant in his frontal lobe is removed. In the long term, Jesse's decision to approach Crawford leads to the Keys family being hunted by the project for the next 40 years.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in "High Hopes". Owen urinates in Buddy and Susan Parker's garden while having a discussion about alien abductees with Bowen and Erickson.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
    • In "Jacob and Jesse" and "High Hopes", the former Nazi rocket scientist Dr. Kreutz is based on Werner von Braun.
    • Also in "Jacob and Jesse", Dr. Peter Quarrington is the author of the book My Life Inside of the Flying Saucers. He claims to have visited Venus multiple times and refers to the aliens as "Space Brothers." It turns out that he is secretly an agent of the UFO project who says whatever they tell him to say. Quarrington is based on George Adamski, who made similar claims about meeting friendly, peaceful aliens whom he called the Space Brothers and traveling around The Solar System. Adamski is now considered a con artist.
  • Not Quite Flight: In "Beyond the Sky", John uses his Psychic Powers to make Becky levitate. He passes it off as a magic trick.
  • Not So Different: The aliens are similar to humans, both physically and biologically. In "Maintenance", Dr. Franklin Traub compares this to the similarities to a human and a fruit fly, to which Dr. Wakeman replies, "Maybe that's the point."
  • One-Word Title: Aside from the title of the series itself, three episodes have one word titles: "Maintenance", "John" and the final episode "Taken".
  • Patricide:
    • Played with in "Acid Tests". Although Eric did not directly kill his father Owen, he brought on the stroke that killed him by telling him that Sam, the favored son, was dead. In revenge for Owen treating him like dirt for his entire life, Eric taunted him as he died, which may have exacerbated his death.
    • In "God's Equation", Eric's daughter Mary believes that her father has grown weak and is a liability to the UFO project because he has come to regret all of the terrible things that he has done over the course of the last 30 years. When Eric intervenes and attempts to stop her from killing Charlie, Lisa and everyone who stood in the way of capturing Allie, Mary has one of the project's agents shoot Eric in the back. As was the case with his father Owen, the last thing that Eric sees is his vengeful child's face.
  • Perma-Stubble: From "Dropping the Dishes" onwards, Charlie has this level of facial hair.
  • Pet the Dog: In the final episode "Taken", after Allie leaves with the aliens, Captain Walker asks General Beers whether they should pick up Charlie and Lisa, who are only about 30 feet away from them. Beers replies, "They must've slipped away in all the excitement. I don't see them anywhere." Walker then says that he doesn't see them either.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: In "Charlie and Lisa", Lisa meets Nina Toth on her first day at Morrison Junior High School on February 13, 1986 and the two girls form a lifelong friendship. After Allie is born on June 8, 1993, Nina becomes her godmother.
  • Power Incontinence: The aliens need to practice their natural psychic abilities, otherwise they kill humans. Half-humans need to be even more careful — they could accidentally kill themselves.
  • Power Nullifier: In "God's Equation", Dr. Wakeman designs a helmet to block Allie's neural signature and prevent the aliens from locating her. In "Dropping the Dishes", the helmet is placed on Allie and removed some time later as part of Wakeman's plan to lure the aliens to Earth. He hopes that one of their ships will come to investigate what caused the signal to be interrupted and later restored.
  • Psychic Link: In "God's Equation", it becomes apparent that Lisa and her daughter Allie possess a strong psychic link which allows Lisa to know where Allie is and how she is feeling at any time. In "Dropping the Dishes", Lisa is able to see through Allie's eyes after she allows herself to be taken by the UFO project. When Dr. Wakeman puts the helmet designed to prevent the aliens from detecting her neural signature on Allie, Lisa sees pitch black and believes that she has gone blind. When Dr. Penzler regresses her using hypnosis, Lisa learns that Allie is being held in an old farmhouse in North Dakota, which she and Charlie are eventually able to locate.
  • Psychic Powers:
    • The aliens possess extensive psychic powers. Their most frequently seen power is their ability to create images of people, places and things from the memories of the humans that they come into contact with.
    • Jacob inherits some of the aliens' psychic abilities from his father John. He can see into the future to a certain extent and can show a person all of their memories and all of their fears. In both "Jacob and Jesse" and "Maintenance", it is apparent that he is aware of the existence of another person who is as important to the aliens as he is, namely Jesse, but he is unable to properly identify him. As such, he and Jesse never meet and, beyond this vague feeling on Jacob's part, never learn of each other's existence. In "Maintenance", Jacob displays the ability to create images from a person's memories in the same way as the aliens when he creates one of John in order to ease his mother Sally's suffering as she dies.
    • In "Charlie and Lisa", it is revealed that Jacob's daughter Lisa has only very limited psychic abilities. She gets a bad feeling about Eric as soon as she meets him and knows that it is connected to the alien abductions that her uncle Tom writes about without being told.
    • Lisa's own daughter Allie has even more extensive abilities than the aliens. As well as being able to tell the future and create images from people's memories, she can control animals, manipulate time, manifest thought by shaping reality to her will, make people fight each other and deactivate the implants of everyone who has been abducted by the aliens. However, as with her grandfather Jacob, using her powers too much has a negative impact on her health. In the final episode "Taken", John tells Lisa that Allie must join the aliens or she will die the next time that she uses them in a significant way.
  • Reality Warper: Though less powerful than most examples of this trope, Allie is the most powerful character in the series. Possessing the aliens' powers and a body that can handle the backlash, Allie has demonstrated powers beyond even the aliens' capabilities as while they can only manifest thoughts and memories that are limited to one or small groups of people within a small space or in their ship, She can manifest an alien ship that can be touched, seen and entered and inside shows the occupants their memories and fears with one soldier entering being swarmed by insects, one who was nice to Allie being reunited with his deceased mother, the entire squad seeing various aliens that they open fire on and Mary encountering her grandfather Owen who Mind Rapes her into seeing what he saw with Jacob. She then makes the ship appear as if it has abducted her but in actual fact shapeshifts into General Beers and oversees her parents being taken out of camp. All of this seems to be the upper limit of her abilities as afterwards she is severely weakened and it takes some time for her abilities to return. Her powers also go beyond psychic prowess and mind tricks to control over space-time as when she is chased by Mary and Wakeman, Allie slows down time to cross the road without being hit by cars.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: In "Jacob and Jesse", the entire scientific research team at Groom Lake is reassigned to Iceland on December 18, 1958 as they failed to determine how the alien ship works in eleven years. Owen later threatens to send Erickson to Iceland after he tells his wife Anne that he was in Lubbock, Texas. However, he decides to give him a second chance.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In "God's Equation", even the ruthless Eric Crawford decides his daughter Mary has gone too far in putting innocent civilians at risk and endangering the life of the young girl Allie. He dies attempting to avoid a bloodbath, having been killed on Mary's orders.
  • Retraux: Subtly used. The direction of each episode tried to mimic the direction of movies from the time period. For example, the first two episodes used older tungsten lights, while the later episodes used more modern lighting systems.
  • The Reveal: Turns out aliens had long since suppressed their emotions, which made them Above Good and Evil. They came to Earth to study humans, and accidentally crashed. Because of Sally, John's emotions become... unsuppressed, and the aliens decided to attempt to breed emotion back into themselves — hence, Allie.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When half-aliens or aliens disguised as humans use their powers, their eyes go black.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: A revolver sniper rifle shows up in "God's Equation".
  • Roswell That Ends Well: Played with. In "Beyond the Sky", Mac Brazel discovers the wreckage of the Project Mogul high-altitude surveillance balloon on the Foster ranch in Roswell, New Mexico and reports it to the 509th Bomb Group. Although Colonel Thomas Campbell asks him to keep it quiet, Brazel tells the press that he has found a strange metal from another planet. In order to divert attention from Mogul, Campbell lends his support to the story and the Roswell Daily Record reports that the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) has discovered a Flying Saucer. However, it turns out that an alien ship actually did crash, as a direct result of colliding with the Mogul balloon. The ship is discovered by two young boys and their father while on a hiking trip to Pine Lodge near Roswell.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Sue's car battery cuts out as the alien ship is crashing, in much the same way as Dr. Clayton Forrester's watch stopped working when the Martian ship crashed in The War of the Worlds.
    • In "Jacob and Jesse", Eric and Sam pretend to be the space hero Captain Video and the Atoman dictator Vultura, the protagonist and main villain respectively of the 1951 serial Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere which they have just watched on television.
    • In "Acid Tests", when Dr. Powell mentions Daffy Duck as an example of The Trickster archetype, Daryl says that Daffy once painted a white stripe on his back to disguise himself as a skunk. Powell points out that it was Sylvester who had the paint on his back and it was an accident. This occurred in the 1954 cartoon Dog Pounded.
    • Also in "Acid Tests", after the mummy disappears, Sarah wonders who was responsible. Buzz jokes that it was brought back to life by tana leaves. The mummy Kharis was revived using tana leaves in the Universal Horror films The Mummy's Hand, The Mummy's Tomb, The Mummy's Ghost and The Mummy's Curse.
    • In "Maintenance", Dr. Chet Wakeman jokingly speculates that the aliens have come to Earth to turn us into pod people or save us from ourselves.
    • Also in "Maintenance", Charlie dresses as Darth Vader for Hallowe'en while another boy dresses as Chewbacca.
    • In "Charlie and Lisa", Dr. Wakeman says to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "I assume you ladies and gentlemen have all seen E.T....They're nowhere near that nice." The series was produced by Steven Spielberg, the director of E.T., and may also reference the aborted E.T. sequel, E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears, that was to feature evil albino E.T.s that abducted people.
    • In "Charlie and Lisa" and "God's Equation", Lisa Clarke has a poster for the 1958 film I Married a Monster from Outer Space in her apartment. This is a reference to the fact that Lisa's grandmother Sally had a relationship with the alien John in "Beyond the Sky".
    • In "God's Equation", Ray Morrison demands that Dr. Harriet Penzler call the FBI and put her through to whoever runs the extraterrestrial project. Cynthia sarcastically asks, "You want Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones?" When Ray later asks the same thing of Mary, she says, "Like on X-Files?"
    • Also in "God's Equation", Cynthia contemptuously says that she has been "abducted by Homer Simpson" after Ray takes the therapy group hostage.
  • Skepticism Failure: In "Maintenance", Tom, a leading UFO debunker, realizes that aliens are real after finding out that his half-brother Jacob is half-alien.
  • The Sociopath: Owen Crawford, a ruthless and callous man who is willing to commit heinous crimes and acts to ensure his place in the UFO Project and find out what the aliens want. Besides possibly killing a father and his sons for finding the ship, Owen beat his girlfriend Sue to death after she found the artifact to keep her quiet and blackmails his father-in-law Thomas Campbell into handing over the UFO Project by threatening to go public with said artifact, leading to Campbell to become a depressed alcoholic and die from cirrhosis of the liver. He is an abusive husband and father to Anne and Eric, threatening to send her to an asylum for her erratic and alcoholic nature, not to mention having an affair with Sally Clarke as a means to kidnap her hybrid son Jacob and favors his younger son Sam due to Jacob showing him that he would die within Eric's presence, leaving him to resent and treat him poorly. When Anne finds the artifact, Owen murders her and one of his assistants Bowen in cold blood, and makes up the false story that Bowen had killed her and shot himself to his sons. When Jesse Keys and his father Russell come to the UFO Project to have their implants removed, Owen double-crosses Russell by containing Jesse and not appearing in person for his operation to save his own hide, leaving Dr. Kreutz and his soldiers to be driven mad by the implant and kill each other, even watching the poor doctor burn alive in front of him without a single emotion in his face. His only real redeeming quality is his love for his son Sam, however the circumstances leading to favoring Sam over Eric suggest he would have shown favor to either one of them had it been one or the other in the vision Jacob showed him.
  • Soviet Superscience: In "Jacob and Jesse", Owen believes that the successful launch of Sputnik 1 is due to the Soviets capturing an alien ship and managing to determine how it works.
  • The Spock: In "Jacob and Jesse", Jacob is a quiet and withdrawn boy who seldom expresses any real emotion regardless of the circumstances or the stimuli. However, he proves to be Not So Stoic when he is forced to leave his mother Sally after his family fake his death. He cries profusely since he knows that he may never see her again. These qualities diminish by the time that he becomes an adult. In "Maintenance" and "Charlie and Lisa", he is much more open about expressing his emotions, particularly his love for his daughter Lisa.
  • Spot the Imposter: In "Maintenance", the aliens create an image of Jesse from his son Charlie's memories in order to lure him to Morgan's Junction, Missouri so that they can abduct him. The real Jesse then arrives on the scene. Charlie does not know which of them is his father until Jesse reminds him of the time that he cut himself shaving and there was blood on his chin. As soon as he says, blood appears on the chin of the aliens' image of Jesse as Charlie's mental picture of Jesse has changed.
  • Stay with the Aliens: In the final episode "Taken", Allie decides to go with the aliens as she realizes that it is the only way to protect Charlie and Lisa and prevent anyone from being killed.
  • The Stoner: In "Acid Tests", the archaeology student Daryl seems to be perpetually high, taking it in his stride when he falls into a burial chamber. He is later seen smoking a joint while trying on a Tsimtshian mask.
  • Super Breeding Program: In the final episode "Taken", John explains the purpose of the aliens' experiment in crossbreeding over the course of three generations to Charlie, Lisa and Allie. When Sally took him into her house and tended to him in "Beyond the Sky", his long dormant emotions were brought to the surface by this simple act of kindness. The aliens sought to combine their more highly evolved consciousness with the strength and power that humans draw from their emotions. Allie was the end result of their experiment, which John describes as an unqualified success. He tells Lisa that it is Allie's destiny to join the aliens and help them to come to terms with their latent emotions.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Allie's conception was the result of decades of genetics meddling in order to create (in Mary Crawford's words) "the next stage in the evolution of life". Her power more than validates the claim.
  • Super Soldier: In "Maintenance", Tom believes that John was not an alien but a super soldier who was created using psychotropic drugs as a part of an early Cold War experiment carried out by the US government.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Sally quickly forms a bond with John, eventually leading them to have sex and conceive Jacob, because she is lonely and he treats her with respect, in stark contrast to her husband Fred.
    • In "Maintenance", Becky and Eric's affair is partly motivated by the fact that they are both trapped in loveless marriages. Her husband Ronnie is rude, neglectful and has no appreciation for her needs or desires while Eric only married Julie, the first girl that he slept with, because she became pregnant with Mary the first time that they slept together. Eric's other motivation for beginning an affair with Becky is that he thinks that it is his last, best chance to become a better man rather than a copy of his father Owen.
  • Take That!: In the final scene of "John", General Beers reports on the progress of the search for Allie to George W. Bush over the phone. After hanging up, Beers says, "We have enough to do in the field without having to cover Junior's ass."
  • Those Two Guys: Howard Bowen and Marty Erickson, Owen Crawford's two closest lackeys, in "Beyond the Sky", "Jacob and Jesse" and "High Hopes". After Crawford murders Bowen, Erickson appears in the next two episodes, "Acid Tests" and "Maintenance", on his own.
  • Time-Passage Beard: In "Jacob and Jesse", eleven years after his last appearance, Russell has a long, straggly beard as he has spent most of the last decade drifting around the country trying and failing to stay one step ahead of the aliens.
  • Timeshifted Actor: There are numerous examples given that the series takes place over 58 years and features three generations growing up:
    • Tom is played by Kevin Schmidt as a child in "Beyond the Sky" and Ryan Hurst as an adult from "Jacob and Jesse" onwards.
    • Becky is played by Shauna Kain as a child in "Beyond the Sky" and Chad Morgan as an adult in "Jacob and Jesse", "High Hopes", "Maintenance" and "Charlie and Lisa".
    • Jesse is played by an uncredited infant in "Beyond the Sky", Connor Widdows as a seven-year-old in "Jacob and Jesse", James Kirk as a 12-year-old in "Jacob and Jesse" and as a 16-year-old in "High Hopes" and Desmond Harrington as an adult in "Acid Tests", "Maintenance" and "Charlie and Lisa".
    • Jacob is played by Anton Yelchin as a 10-year-old in "Jacob and Jesse" and as a 14-year-old in "High Hopes" and by Chad Donella as an adult in "Maintenance" and "Charlie and Lisa".
    • Eric is played by Cody Shaer as a child in "Jacob and Jesse", Nolan Funk as a teenager in "High Hopes" and Andy Powers as an adult from "Acid Tests" to "God's Equation".
    • Sam is played by Trevor Pawson as a seven-year-old in "Jacob and Jesse", Branden Nadon as an 11-year-old in "High Hopes" and Ryan Merriman as an 18-year-old in "Acid Tests". He is the only character to be played by a different actor in each appearance.
    • Lisa is played by Taylor Anne Reid as an eight-year-old in "Maintenance" and "Charlie and Lisa", Alexandra Purvis as a 13-year-old in "Charlie and Lisa" and Emily Bergl as an adult from "Charlie and Lisa" onwards.
    • Charlie is played by Devon Douglas Drewitz as a nine-year-old in "Maintenance" and "Charlie and Lisa" and by Adam Kaufman as an adult from "Charlie and Lisa" onwards.
    • Mary is played by an uncredited infant in "Acid Tests", Anysha Berthot as a child in "Maintenance" and Heather Donahue as an adult from "Charlie and Lisa" onwards.
    • Lisa's long-time best friend Nina Toth is played by Brittney Irvin as a teenager in "Charlie and Lisa" and Camille Sullivan as an adult from "Charlie and Lisa" onwards.
    • Allie is played by an uncredited infant in "Charlie and Lisa", Elle Fanning as a three-year-old in the final scene of "Charlie and Lisa" and by her older sister Dakota Fanning as a nine-year-old from "God's Equation" onwards. The elder Fanning also served as the series' narrator prior to her character's formal introduction.
  • The World Is Not Ready: In the final episode "Taken", Dr. Wakeman simply wants to be a spectator to the culmination of the aliens' plan as he does not believe that humanity is ready for the knowledge that they possess. Mary ultimately comes to agree with him but not until after she has already killed him. To that end, when Allie leaves with the aliens, she does not object to them taking the artifact, which contains a complete account of their Super Breeding Program, with them.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In "Jacob and Jesse" and "High Hopes", Dr. Kreutz is an ex-Nazi scientist. As a physicist, he is more Werner von Braun than Josef Mengele, but he certainly doesn't have much problem with gruesome medical procedures.
  • Time Stands Still: In "God's Equation", Allie displays the ability to manipulate time. When Mary, Dr. Wakeman and two other agents of the UFO project attempt to capture her, she runs across a road and freezes the oncoming traffic so that she can get safely across. She later freezes Charlie, Lisa, Dr. Harriet Penzler and the other members of the Alien Abduction therapy group for two hours so that the UFO project won't be able to hurt them and her parents won't be able to stop her from turning herself over to the project.
  • Title Drop: Through the series, the word "taken" is consistently used in place of "abducted."
  • Token Good Teammate: In "Dropping the Dishes", Lt. Pierce comes very fond of Allie while reading Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to her and comes to believe that it is wrong to use a little girl as bait for an alien ship. In "John", Pierce helps Allie, Charlie and Lisa to escape. He later claims that they overpowered him.
  • Tracking Chip: In "High Hopes", doctors discover that Russell and Jesse both have inoperable tumors in their frontal lobes. They turn out to be implants placed in their brains by the aliens. Dr. Kreutz determines that they are tracking devices. Dr. Wakeman identifies the energy signature that each one emits in "Maintenance" and figures out how to track the implants as the aliens do in "Charlie and Lisa".
  • Tragic Dream: In "John", Allie dreams that it is her tenth birthday party. The attendees include Charlie and Lisa (who have become a couple), her godmother Nina Toth, Lisa's bandmates Denny and Milo and all of her friends. They ask her to stay with them forever but she can't as it is her destiny to leave Earth and join the aliens.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In "Jacob and Jesse", Russell gives his son Jesse his World War II medals as a Christmas present. After Russell's death in "High Hopes", they become a Tragic Keepsake. Although Jesse briefly considers selling them for heroin in "Acid Tests", it is revealed in "Charlie and Lisa" that Jesse kept the medals with him with the rest of his life. They were found in his pockets after he died.
  • Traveling Salesman: In "Beyond the Sky", Sally's neglectful husband Fred is a traveling salesman. He is on one of his frequent trips around Texas selling his products when Sally finds John in her shed. She makes good use of Fred's absence and begins an affair with John.
  • Tuckerization:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Sally reads the Thrilling Space Stories short story "The Star Tracker" by Les Bohem. The series was created and written in its entirety by Leslie Bohem. Similarly in "Jacob and Jesse", the children's book that Jesse's mother Kate reads to him, The Adventures of Artemis P. Fonswick, is written by Hilda Bohem, who is named after Bohem's mother.
    • General Beers is named after the series' co-executive producer Steve Beers.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: In the final episode "Taken", John revealing the details of the aliens' Super Breeding Program to Charlie, Lisa and Allie is juxtaposed with Mary and Dr. Wakeman discussing the subject and coming to entirely accurate conclusions about the aliens' motivations to improve themselves by reintroducing emotion and a sense of morality to their nature.
  • The Unfavorite: Owen can barely tolerate even being around his elder son Eric, openly favoring his younger son Sam. The signs are initially comparatively minor:
    • In "High Hopes", when Eric and Sam are listening to Bob Dylan's self-titled debut album, Owen says that Sam could always get his work done at the last minute but scolds Eric. He says that Eric is not the straight A student who can afford to spend the evening in front of the record player. Anne later tells Sam that he has always been his father's favorite, which helps her to realize that his birthday is the combination to Owen's safe.
    • In "Acid Tests", Owen's favoritism has become more pronounced as he appears to be irritated by everything that Eric says and does, often belittling and embarrassing him in public. While Owen still loves Sam as much as ever, Sam has grown to hate him because he sees him as representing everything that is wrong with the United States in 1970 and considers the UFO project nothing more than a Government Conspiracy to distract people from the real issues such as The Vietnam War. After Eric tells him that Sam is dead, Owen is so shocked and distraught that he has a massive stroke. Eric realizes that his father always treated him so badly because he saw his own death when he was Mind Raped by Jacob (as seen in "Jacob and Jesse") and knew that Eric would be with him when it happened. As he dies, Eric taunts him by saying that he brought about his death, claiming that he could have avoided it if he had simply been a little nicer to him.
  • The Unfettered: From the time that he first sees the crashed ship in "Beyond the Sky", Owen's sole reason for living is to determine what the aliens want. He is perfectly willing to commit numerous crimes including blackmail, kidnapping, murder and human experimentation in order to find out the answer.
  • Unperson: In "High Hopes", Owen tells Bowen and Erickson that when he assumed leadership of the UFO project, he had their names and those of everyone else under his command removed from every military and personnel list in existence. They are essentially non-people, meaning that they would find it very difficult to have a life if the project was shut down.
  • The Vietnam Vet: In "Acid Tests", it is revealed that Jesse joined the US Army under the pseudonym Frank Pierce and commanded a unit in Vietnam. When his unit came under attack from the Viet Cong in a temple in the Quảng Ninh Province, the aliens abducted Jesse in order to protect him. In his absence, 27 of his men were killed. Jesse became addicted to heroin after the war because of the guilt that he felt over nothing doing more to save his men when he knew that the aliens would not let anything happen to him.
  • Villain Has a Point: In "Dropping the Dishes", General Beers believes the aliens should be considered as hostile and lists the belligerent acts that no nation should get away with. The list includes unwanted abductions, human experimentation, violating airspace and stealing a highly classified energy reactor.
  • Villainous Legacy: In "Charlie and Lisa", Eric shows his daughter Mary the artifact found at the Roswell crashsite that his father Owen left him and invites her to join him at the UFO project so that she can continue the family legacy.
  • Villain Protagonist: Three generations of the Crawford family, Owen, Eric and Mary, commit terrible crimes as part of their crusade to discover what the aliens are planning. Owen is a complete sociopath while Mary is highly erratic and unstable. Eric is not on quite the same level as his father and daughter. In "Maintenance", he tries to become a better man. In "God's Equation", he has reached the stage where he does not want any more deaths on his conscience.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: In "Acid Tests", Eric, well aware that he is The Unfavorite, desperately tries to impress his father Owen in the hope of getting a pat on the back. His efforts fail at every turn and typically only serve to irritate Owen. In "Charlie and Lisa", 22 years after Owen's death, Eric's increasingly unhappy wife Julie tells their daughter Mary that it is amazing that not getting something as simple as a pat on the back could have such a negative effect on him and, by extension, her.
  • White Sheep: Sam Crawford is the only member of his family that isn't a ruthless murderer. He wants to reveal the alien cover up and risks his own life to defend Lester, a deformed and harmless Half-Human Hybrid. Whereas his brother Eric and especially his niece Mary take after his father Owen, Sam takes after his mother Anne, a kind, gentle woman whose life was gradually destroyed by Owen's bullying and neglect.
  • White Void Room: In "John", the rooms of the alien ship created by Allie from people's thoughts are entirely white and have no features of any kind.
  • Who Shot JFK?:
    • In "High Hopes", Owen's involvement in the assassination is implied when he says, "That pretty boy isn't going to be President forever" in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy posed a major threat to Owen as he had threatened to shut the UFO project down.
    • Discussed in "Acid Tests". Jesse's drug dealer Willie tells him that he would believe him if he said that aliens killed the Kennedys.
  • Wife Husbandry: In "Charlie and Lisa", Mary and Dr. Wakeman, whom she called "Uncle Chet" as a child, start a clandestine sexual relationship which lasts for nine years. It is something that they had both wanted since she was thirteen.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: As demonstrated by her narration of the first six episodes before her formal introduction, Allie is an extraordinarily wise, intelligent and insightful nine-year-old due to her part alien heritage and the accompanying Psychic Powers. Her grandfather Jacob also exhibited these characteristics to a lesser extent. Allie has a far better understanding of life and human nature than people several times her age. For instance, in "God's Equation", her mother Lisa's bandmate Denny tells her that when he wakes up every morning, all that he can see is the end of the day. As a result, he doesn't see the point of even getting up in the morning. Allie then asks him if he thinks about the end of a song when he is performing. He says that he has to focus all of his attention of the part of the song that he is playing or he would never get through it. Without Allie saying anything, Denny then realizes that she is telling him to adopt the same attitude to life. Later in the episode, Allie is able to defuse the Hostage Situation by helping Ray Morrison to realize that he is so angry at the world because he was sexually molested when he was eight and it was easier to blame aliens for everything bad that had happened to him than to face his problems. She then allows the UFO project to take her into custody in order to protect Charlie and Lisa and prevent a bloodbath, even though she was more than powerful enough to escape. In the final episode "Taken", Allie makes the difficult decision to join the aliens in spite of her almost overwhelming desire to be a normal little girl. She knows that it is the only way to prevent people from being killed in the confrontation between the military and the abductees who came to protect her. Allie also has the wisdom to realize that Charlie and Lisa's plan to escape to South America will not work since the government would only find them again.
  • Zero-G Spot: In "Charlie and Lisa", the title characters have sex in zero gravity aboard one of the alien ships.


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