Man has long wondered whether or not we are alone in the universe, or if other life forms inhabit unseen planets. Hollywood, however, has asserted time and again on the big and small screen that aliens do exist. And through its eyes we’ve seen them come in all shapes in sizes, with varied communication abilities ranging from soft and cuddly to scaled and deadly. We’ve seen so many spacemen and women that we’ve been left with the confidence that we already know what they would look like if we ever came across one. Here are the 10 most memorable movie and TV aliens.
E.T. (“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”)
This alien being may be both adorable and funny-looking simultaneously, but he will take you on the best bike ride of your life. Stranded on Earth after his botanist buddies take off (literally) without him, he is luckily discovered by children who aren’t interested in making him a science experiment like their adult counterparts. He’s got a visibly glowing finger, visibly glowing heart and he can remedy a cut finger better than Johnson & Johnson ever could. Life is definitely better with E.T around, though his calls to his home planet, in the pre-unlimited calling plan ’80s, are liable to cost as much as a flight back to outer space itself.
Marvin the Martian (various Looney Tunes shorts)
Like most of Hollywood’s best alien creations, Marvin the Martian has the Earth’s destruction on his mind. But the fact that his mind is covered in a gigantic Roman Centurion’s helmet makes his appearance a bit less intimidating than his evil intentions. Created in the Looney Tunes lab to counterbalance the loud, crude intensity of Bugs Bunny’s double-barreled nemesis, Yosemite Sam, this soft-spoken, brilliant being is still no more of a match for the screwy wabbit than the Western gunslinger. Yet, it was during his cosmic clash with Daffy Duck in the 1953 masterwork “Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century” that audiences fully realized Marvin’s out of this world appeal.
Superman (“Superman” and sequels)
He may have gotten his live-action start on television, but like no other time in history, 1978’s “Superman” saw the legendary comic book hero soar on-screen. Advancements in special effects gave him the ability to convincingly – at the time – fly through Metropolis, and audiences believed from the edge of their seats. This was an origin story at its heart consisting of baby Kal-El as one of four survivors of the planet Krypton’s doomed destruction. An idyllic childhood in Kansas with adoring adoptive parents left him with proud American values to carry along into manhood, but Superman’s amazing abilities would expose him as more than just a mere mortal.
Yoda (“Star Wars” franchise)
He doesn’t look very powerful. In fact, on appearance alone, nothing separates him from the lizards crawling around his Dagobah bungalow besides his cloak and cane. Sure, all the beings inhabiting the “Star Wars” universe are officially aliens, but nothing beats Yoda. A diminutive Jedi Master who can raise a sunken X-wing Fighter with the flick of his little green wrist, he may not live like a king, but he has the power of hundreds – if not thousands – of empires. Though not big on grammar, Yoda has a grasp of the Force like literally no other.
Another alien unintentionally stuck on Earth, ALF essentially crash-landed into a classic ’80s sitcom. Dad, mom, brother and sister, silly neighbors and conflict prone in-laws are all here to give recorded laughter to the masses. Like Superman, he’s an alien whose planet has been destroyed, only this destruction was caused by a then topical nuclear war. ALF’s real name, Gordon Shumway, is very Earth-like, but like his soft puppet features, his nickname feels a bit more inviting. ALF was a ubiquitous late ’80s superstar, frequent pop culture pitchman and punchline, but like a spectacular meteor shower he burned brightly for a moment and then was gone.
Mork (“Mork & Mindy”)
Before ALF, there was Mork, who set the standard for the quintessential sitcom spaceman. On Earth to learn our ways and culture while imparting the same of his native Ork, he is a fast-talking tornado of side-splitting nonsense and noises. And despite his relatively recent arrival on Earth, he can deliver one hell of a Ricky Ricardo impression. He’s no fashionista, but his brave use of stripes was definitely trendsetting somehow at the close of the ’70s. His roommate Mindy was his close friend and guide through the ins and outs of humanity and ultimately the two formed an interspecies bond of love. A son Mearth was hatched which doubled the in-home insanity.
Mr. Spock (“Star Trek” franchise)
While many people out there declare that “God is my co-pilot,” Mr. Spock is the one you really want in that position. Having reached one of Starfleet’s highest levels, he is an incomparable ally in every situation, particularly life and death ones. Pointed ears immediately identify him as non-human, and that is just fine with him. Though his mother is of Earth, his father is a Vulcan and Mr. Spock identifies mostly with that side of his lineage. Logic is his co-pilot – not Homo sapien emotion and impulse – and navigates him aptly through most of his decisions and rationales. The blood coursing through his veins may run green, and his cool countenance may never break to laugh at your jokes, but his unyielding loyalty and morality is this alien being’s most atypical quality of note.
Diana (“V” franchise)
The anti-Spock. A second-in-command who would have anyone disposed of the first chance she got if it would advance her cause. She’s calculating, arrogant, intelligent, and beautiful – until she rips off her mask to unveil her lizard head beneath. “V” was an unexpected sci-fi sensation in 1983 about a race of aliens, or Visitors, who arrive on Earth with the pronouncement of sharing culture, technology, and resources. But like their green reptilian skin, there is a hidden agenda. All the Visitors may be in on the nefarious deeds at hand, but Diana is the most fearsome, the most dangerous. No one is safe from her duplicitous, double-dealings – aliens and humans alike – and not only is she a notorious man-eater, using her alluring sexuality among a well-stocked arsenal of weaponry, but she can hungrily down a giant rat in one single gulp.
The Coneheads (“Saturday Night Live”)
Beldar, Prymaat, and Connie Conehead want you to believe that they are just you’re average next door neighbors. And though they publicly blame their eccentricities on their French nativity, and that almost always settles any curiosity among friends and acquaintances, they come from much farther away than that. Remulak is their planet of origin, and it seems like a great place to party since their constant self-instruction to “consume mass quantities” often involves ingesting entire six-packs of beer or packs of cigarettes in one fell swoop. The Coneheads teach us that you don’t need a round noggin to fit in here on Earth. You just need to overindulge.
Alien (“Alien” franchise)
Our last alien, is in fact, Alien, the last alien on this list we’d ever want to meet. Also known disturbingly as a Xenomorph, it is a slick, mucous-dripping, fanged creature who is perhaps the most frightening antagonist ever put to film. These Aliens like to propagate and kill, that’s about it, and woe to those who are in the crosshairs of either agenda. Spock’s green blood may stand out as odd; theirs can burn through steel or human flesh. Physicist Stephen Hawking has warned that any attempt for humans to send out signals soliciting contact with otherworldly beings is a foolish one; one that may not end well if it caught the attention of a superior, indomitable species. While E.T., the Coneheads, and Yoda, for instance, might cause you to second guess that rationale – one glimpse of an Alien is all we need to realize that the scientific genius might just be on to something.
THE 10 MOST MEMORABLE TV AND MOVIE ALIENS OF ALL TIME