One of the defining aspects of science fiction is the use of aliens. Yet several pillars of scifi have no aliens at all or have aliens that are missing or long dead. Here are six movies and TV shows that specifically have no aliens in them.

1. Forbidden Planet (1956)

Alien Status: Dead

When a crew investigates a missing expedition, they find a mad scientist experimenting with alien technology. In this movie, the aliens are the Krell, and they all died off millions of years earlier. Of course, it turns out their technology is partly responsible for their disappearance.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Alien Status: Missing

A spaceship from Earth is sent to investigate a mysterious black monolith. The beings who built the monolith are only heard at the end as chattering voices in a simulated hotel room. Are they aliens? Are they evolved humans? What are they like? We don't know, and the mystery makes the movie more haunting.

3. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

Alien Status: None

When humans are attacked by the descendants of robots they enslaved, they go on a journey to survive and find Earth. During their voyage, they travel the Galaxy, but only find humans and other robots. You know what they say: Hell is other people.

4. Firefly (2002)

Alien Status: None

In this epic scifi/western, a ragtag crew travels a new solar system in search of wealth and adventure. The one thing they don't find is nonhuman beings. Joss Whedon specifically chose not to put aliens in his series, and it allows him to explore the inhuman side of humanity instead.

5. Red Dwarf

Alien Status: None

A goofy comedy about the crew of a derelict mining ship, this series lacked aliens as well as other people for most of its run. The last human, Lister, does find robots and the occasional genetically engineered monster.

6. Total Recall (1990)

Alien Status: Dead

When a lowly construction worker has his mind zapped, he uncovers a conspiracy reaching from Mars to Earth. In the end, he discovers alien technology left by a dead Martian civilization. And that being exposed to the Martian surface makes your eyes pop out.

Do you think these stories would have been better with aliens? What other aliens have you noticed missing?

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Pat Dilloway said...

I read 2001 the book about a week ago and I don't think any aliens showed up in it either, though Dave does see a bunch of abandoned ships from different alien races.


Nice list. Love the inclusion of Red Dwarf, another classic show I watched on PBS. I don't know if this counts but how about the movie Contact.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Firefly didn't need any. Blade Runner didn't have aliens either.

Rusty Webb said...

Happy Days had aliens. So weird.

Sunshine was a great space movie, I don't think there were any aliens in that either.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Pretty sure the Red Dwarf writers (Grant and Naylor) had a no-aliens rule from the start, like Joss Whedon, as they were trying to do something completely different from Star Trek. This also allowed for the series 1 episode "Waiting For God" where Rimmer, who believes in aliens, thinks he has recovered a stasis pod containing an alien - clearly wouldn't have been nearly as funny if there were aliens.


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