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Starfish Aliens / Live-Action TV

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Starfish Aliens in live-action TV.

  • 3rd Rock from the Sun: The Solomons, though they spend the entire series in human form. They have no concept of human emotions, culture, or thought processes, which is where all of the comedy comes from. As for their appearance, they are regularly described as "quivering purple tubes". Their concept of gender vastly differs from that of humans, they are not subject to gravity, and they apparently live for thousands of years.
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  • Babylon 5: Occasional characters, such as the insectoid, methane-breathing crimelord (who was created to try to address complaints about TV sci-fi only having Rubber-Forehead Aliens, but unfortunately the puppet broke). The Vorlons are tendril-covered Energy Beings, and the Shadows, when visible, resemble the praying mantis. In-universe, this isn't really co-incidental thanks to the Vorlons messing with the evolution of most of the younger races.
  • Blake's 7 had some kind of corrosive life form composed of goo-ish matter bearing an uncanny resemblance to vomit, and a Living Planet that raised some very interesting questions about evolution, metabolism and reproduction.
  • Cosmos: A Personal Voyage: One episode speculates on what aliens might look like if they evolved in the atmosphere of Jupiter. There were the microscopic "sinkers" that rode the wind currents, the "floaters" who were kilometer-wide balloons who fed on the sinkers, and the "hunters" who fed on the floaters and who looked like pterodactyls with bizarre heads.
  • Doctor Who: Despite the improbably large number of Human Aliens, the franchise also has its fair share of Starfish Aliens.
    • The TARDIS herself, a multi-dimensional being of near-godlike power who zips around the time-space continuum whilst disguised as an old-fashioned British police box. Her entire species appears to be cyborgs, raised from coral, able to make psychic links with their users, communicate not in words but feelings, and have their senses distributed throughout the fourth dimension.
    • The Daleks are basically brains with tentacles living inside Powered Armor that resembles floating pepper shakers. Especially the Imperial Daleks, who, amongst other things, had two brains, an exposed spine, and had their organs in a separate chamber.
    • The Nestene Consciousness, creators of the Autons, were originally tentacled creatures with an affinity for plastic, which they used to control the stuff. The "temporal stresses" of the Time War caused it to mutate into, according to the "Rose" novelization, a creature actually made of plastic that looks like a giant molten blob.
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    • The Fendahl from "Image of the Fendahl": a hive-like, partially noncorporeal alien which included a possessed skull, a floating golden woman and invisible life-sucking slug things amongst its aspects.
    • Other classic series examples include the Rutans (glowing tentacled blobs, first seen in "Horror of Fang Rock") and the Ogri from "The Stones of Blood" (a giant mobile rock that makes a constant heartbeat-like noise).
    • The Mighty Jagrafess from "The Long Game" looked like a big pink mass with a mouth full of sharp teeth and what appeared to be multiple eyes, from what was visible through the hole in the ceiling. It also has such a high body temperature that it requires cooling mechanisms to vent its heat away from it.
    • The Weeping Angels look like Living Statues, but it turns out they're weirder. They're only statues when you're looking at them, feed on abstract concepts, any image of them is them (because their image is their power), and reproduce by infecting regular statues.
    • Whatever they were dealing with in "Midnight": on a planet that cannot support life as we know it, a tourist gets possessed by something that acquires language skills by repeating other people, until it speaks at the same time as them, then before.
    • "The Eleventh Hour" gives us the Atraxi. They resemble large eyeballs fixed at the center of a large, crystalline web, and are able to travel through space without any trouble. They have incredibly deep, scratchy voices, the ability to hack into electronics, and they hold their prisoners in alternate dimensions. Now that's an alien police force!
    • The House from "The Doctor's Wife". It's an extrauniversal Genius Loci the size of an asteroid that eats TARDISes.
    • "Flatline" has two-dimensional aliens, who are so bizarre even the Time Lords only theorised they could exist, have a language so incomprehensible not even the TARDIS can translate it, and gain power by absorbing extra dimensions. The Doctor speculates that they don't understand humans need three dimensions to live and are killing people unintentionally (citing his previous experience with other Starfish Aliens like sentient gas that throw fireballs for fun, and creatures with sixteen stomachs that disembowel each other as a greeting), but the episode never established whether or not they're Non Malicious Monsters.
    • "In the Forest of the Night": The trees were created by dust-like creatures which have lived as long as the Earth and can spontaneously grow entire trees worldwide in one night.
  • Earth 2 features symbiotic creatures which are technically humanoid but with a Starfish Psychology. They were underground dwellers who burrowed through the soil like Sand Worms, emitted a trilling starfish language, had scolexes instead of mouths, and were at various times said to either resembles plants more than animals, or to be virtually indistinguishable from the geological composition of their (living) homeworld.
  • Extraterrestrial (2005) (aka Alien Worlds), a two-part National Geographic Speculative Documentary, has fairly alien creatures. Species include gulp-hogs (wingless-bird-type hunters that evolved from squid-like creatures), mudpods (hexapodal stalk-eyed amphibians), skywhales (exactly what it says), kites (tentacled aerial predator shaped like its namesake), helibugs (almost-literal starfish aliens with three-point radial symmetry), stalkers (another triradial species, with an insect-like social structure and collective intelligence), etc.
  • Farscape specialized in this thanks to being produced by The Jim Henson Company. There's The Pilot, an insectoid literally rooted to Living Ship Moya. The Han-jee, an insectoid creature with tentacle like eyestalks and removable eyes with natural wi-fi. The Proprietor, a giant vaguely crustacean-like creature with lots of claws and fangs. The Ancients, multiarmed, vaguely insectoid. Jotheb of the Consortium of Trao, a green and black, multi-larynxed intelligent being with traits of both a cephalopoid and an insectoid. The Hynerians who are vaguely humanoid but adapted for an aquatic environment (despite being air-breathers) making them amphibious (though whether or not they are amphibious naturally or only with technology like hover-sleds is an open question). The "Serpent" that dwelt inside wormholes. The rather Lovecraftian-looking glimpses of the Interdimensional entity from "Through the Looking Glass". The metallic Boolite, and many, many more.
  • The Future Is Wild: The 200 million years future era features "squibbons", intelligent tree-dwelling land squid that backflip between branches, which may be "the forerunners of a future civilization".
  • In The Outer Limits (1963) episode "Cry of Silence", a couple encountered a group of aliens who possessed various objects (such as tumbleweeds) and human beings. They tried to communicate with the aliens, but ultimately failed because the aliens' thoughts were just too different.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Vanishing Act", a group of worm-like fluorescent aliens nab a hapless human through a wormhole so they can use his body as a host to experience Earth through his senses. It turns out that they also have no concept of time, only being and non-being. Luckily they're friendly enough to return their host to his original time when it's explained to them.
    • In "Alien Radio", an alien species that exists at a different light frequency to humans plans to colonise Earth. They have taken possession of the bodies of many people worldwide without their knowledge while they await the arrival of more of their kind. Occasionally, their control of their host bodies breaks down and the host becomes aware of their presence. Humans cannot ordinarily see the light frequency on which they exist but Stan Harbinger becomes sensitive to it when he witnesses one of them vacating the body of Eldon DeVries after his death.
    • In "The Beholder", Kyra's species lives on a different plane of existence, making them invisible to (most) humans. They are capable of existing inside a neutron star but magnetic fields are potentially deadly to them.
    • In "The Vessel", the alien that entered Jake Worthy's body while he was onboard the space shuttle Inspire is seemingly composed of electricity. He tells Jake that he did not believe that lifeforms such as humans could exist.
    • In "Think Like a Dinosaur", the Hanen are a reptilian species who do not have emotions and breathe air which is rich in carbon dioxide. Their lack of emotions means that their demeanor and thought processes seem as cold to humans as their blood.
  • An episode of Sliders has sentient fire from an alternate dimension (so, not really aliens, since they're on Earth, although one episode does establish that proper extraterrestrials exist). Arturo learns to communicate with it by jury-rigging a translation device that converts sound into colors. Later, though, the fire learns to speak English and even takes on a humanoid shape. It can also find its own Earth during a slide. Another episode appears to be inspired by Species. Maggie gets infested with an insectoid parasite from another world that uses her to mate with human men.
  • Zini from the German children's series Spaß am Dienstag (Fun on tuesdays). A "Wuslon (pronounced: "Voozlon") from the family of electroids", Zini essentially was a computer-generated yellow-orange circle which would move over the TV screen during the show, dragging a slowly fading "shadow" along. A human speaker lent him his (electronically somewhat distorted) voice, which allowed Zini to interact with the various human co-moderators (no Translator Microbes needed). Later, Zini could also change his size, shape and/or color. See also here.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • The Goa'uld are snake-like Puppeteer Parasites with Genetic Memory, and have the local Unobtanium literally in their blood.
    • SG-1 had the Reetou, who had spider-like lower bodies, eyestalks, and existed out-of-phase from human atomic reality (in real terms, that means "they're invisible without the gadgets the gang invents mid-episode.")
    • The Unas are Lizard Folk that may be this, depending on the episode and season.
    • Stargate Atlantis has sentient fog in one episode and it's basically a hive mind.
    • Stargate SG-1 has sentient water.
    • Later on in Atlantis we learn the true origins of the Wraith, which makes them this, rather than the Humanoid Aliens they were.
    • It also has a non-corporeal black entity in the first season which feeds on energy. As in, ANY type of energy: electricity, body heat... It only appears once and is never explained just how intelligent it is; it's apparently smart enough to recognize a trap.
    • Stargate Universe introduces two. The Ursini have monkey-like physiology, but that is as far as it goes. The other is the Blue Aliens (the Nakai) that keep trying to take the Destiny.
    • Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis both had the Replicators, a race of intelligent replicating nanomachines. Eventually they end up appearing as Humanoid Aliens despite still being Starfish Aliens due to their nature.
    • Both SG1 and Atlantis have crystalline beings. The Unity in SG1 accidentally hurt a Goa'uld, resulting in their near-extinction in retaliation. They are able to take on a humanoid shape from a human's memories. The crystal in Atlantis appears to be more malevolent, invading people's dreams and killing them there.
    • The "giant aliens" discovered by Daniel's grandfather appear to be humanoid but huge. They also exist out of phase with normal reality and are at war with the Goa'uld.
  • Star Trek: The Q are so different that even the two Q who had spent the most time among humans had to have a discussion on how they were going to represent their realm in terms humans could understand. And even then, the metaphorical representation of the realm was a bit strange (at least it was the first time). They were able to convey the basic point that their society had stagnated and that Quinn felt he'd done everything he could as an immortal cosmic being.
    Quinn: I traveled the road many times, sat on the porch, played the games, been the dog, everything! I was even the scarecrow for a while.
    Q: Oh, we've all done the scarecrow, big deal!
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • The blob-like rock-burrowing Horta which appears in the "Devil in the Dark" episode. The episode was written around the already-existing creature-prop, after the operator demonstrated how dramatically effective it could be.
    • The Excalbians from "The Savage Curtain" (different rock monsters), the superheated crystalline Tholians, the huge hundred-tentacled Kelvans in their native form, and the Companion from "Metamorphosis" (a sentient gas cloud) also apply.
    • Medusans: Friendly Neighborhood aliens, who get along fine with human beings as long as the human beings don't accidentally look at the Medusans and go raving mad as a result.
    • The parasites in "Operation: Annihilate!" are individual cells of a giant alien brain entity that exists in piecemeal form and work by "infecting" and controlling other organisms that have limbs to build tools. They also can't be detected by tricorders or other sensors.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • There are space-dwelling jellyfish the size of a city in their first episode. There were also a couple of crystalline lifeforms. Of course, most of the non-humanoid sentients they met, they made themselves.
    • From "Ensigns of Command" come the Sheliak, who seem not so much bipedal as merely "upright", featureless except for shiny triangular scalelike extrusions on their skin. The extraordinarily complex treaty they have with the Federation was codified in their language (which appears on-screen as layers of pictograms drifting by at different speeds), since they find Federation languages imprecise. They honor their agreement with the Federation despite the implication that they see humans as idiot vermin.
    • Armus, the creature that killed Tasha Yar, was a "skin of evil" cast off by a race of "titans." Tricorders and sensors couldn't make sense of it it. It presented itself as a shapeshifting black liquid which could absorb humanoids, use teleportation and other psychokinetic attacks, and inflict serious damage with energy discharges (this is how Tasha was killed). The entity was pitifully dependent on sadism for its own entertainment, and clearly distraught when it learned that it was to be stranded on a barren planet forever.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • The cytoplasmic lifeform in "Nothing Human". The Universal Translator can't understand its language, the tricorder can't comprehend its biology, it controls a spaceship via biochemical secretions, can leap through a forcefield in a single bound, and uses B'Elanna Torres as an emergency life-support system. What a guy...err...bug!
    • Kid Chaos in "The Fight", an entity from a completely incomprehensible reality where the laws of physics are in constant flux. Even with it and Voyager desperate to communicate with each other, Starfleet's best have to make vast intuitive leaps just to deduce its existence, and it can only communicate with them by slowly driving Chakotay insane and then splicing together fragments of his visions.
    • The ship eating lifeform in "Bliss", the sentient nebula in "The Cloud", and the non corporeal life forms in "The Haunting of Deck Twelve" and "Coda" should probably count as well. Oh, and the Caretaker.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
  • Star Trek: Enterprise has the Xindi Aquatics, Avians, and the web-like symbiotic organism which temporarily assimilated various crew members in order to provide the collective harmony it needed to survive.
  • Star Trek: Discovery:
    • The giant tardigrade seen in season one, capable of navigating through the fabric of space-time. The non-corporeal natives of Pahvo, in the episode "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum". Another non-corporeal species living inside the mycelial network, seen in the second season.
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth introduces the Four-Five-Six. They're only seen in brief glimpses through a toxic fog, their preferred means of communication seems to consist mainly of shrieking and spraying bodily fluids (their English is spoken through translators), and they bind prepubescent humans to themselves to use their hormones as drugs.
  • Ultra Series: The franchise is known more for using People in Rubber Suits to represent aliens, but they have pulled off a few non-humanoid aliens.
    • Ultraseven had a lot of these - Kuuru was a small crustacean-like creature with a giant brain; the Biras were snake-shrimp creatures; Metron resembled some kind of shellfish that learned to walk upright; Chibull was a tentacled Brain Monster; and Dancan was a highly intelligent shapeshifting entity that resembled a mass of foam.
    • Ultraman Dyna's Big Bads were a race of intelligent orb-like beings known only as the Spheres. One episode also had a superintelligent squid/jellyfish-like alien being named Spume that sought to melt Antarctica's ice sheet to flood Earth and make the planet its home.
    • The Visitors from Ultraman Nexus are a highly advanced and intelligent race that resemble ordinary jellyfish. Despite appearances, they're actually a peaceful and friendly people, and they're the ones who provide TLT with the technology and information needed to defeat the Space Beasts and Dark Zagi.
    • In Ultraman R/B, Makoto Aizen turns out to be possessed by one named Cereza, a gaseous entity with glowing red eyes who happens to be a Loony Fan of the Ultras.


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