Aliens and Monsters

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"He got an e-mail from his brother that said that aliens and monsters were attacking his place!"

The integral part of the Monster of the Week episode. They are strange, scary, and expendable. Some are different than what you'd expect them to be.

Of course, we can have alien protagonists and monstrous supporting characters; but the difference here is that, within the ethics of the shows that use them, it's okay to kill the specific threat-of-the-week version (which is usually a distinct species.) There is no need to deal with complicated intricacies of interstellar diplomacy to negotiate with aliens, consider ethics of advancing mankind via genetic engineering when dealing with mutants, and listen to a vampire's tragic past to understand him better. This time, there are no long term negative consequences to deal with either using what humanity does best.


In short, this trope is for a specific example of Black and White Morality when a non-human antagonist (and, likely, his entire species) is Exclusively Evil with a shallow, handwaved, or Played for Laughs justification. Different from Aliens Are Bastards, in which the reasons for hostility can be elaborate and well-explained, and often the subject of much debate and comparison to conflicts among humans.

Not to be confused with the Dreamworks Animation movie Monsters Versus Aliens.

Examples of Aliens and Monsters include:

Comic Books

  • The very first Bizarro story by Otto Binder in Superman assumed Bizarro to fall into this category, and he is destroyed at story's end. Fan letters quickly made it clear that Bizarro was much too sympathetic to die so ignominiously, and he was soon re-created by Lex Luthor.


Folk Lore

  • The Chupacabra, an Urban Legend, is an alien and a monster that has been used as a menace in several TV shows and movies.

Live Action TV

  • Doctor Who is king of this trope, to the point where, eventually, monsters would make their way into stories in which it has no place ('The Caves of Androzani', for example, is a thriller about interplanetary politics and the ruthlessness of unfettered business practices against a weak military and political sector, with a strong cast of interesting villains in its own right...which features an unconvincing monster in a cave because, well, it's Doctor Who, innit?). Ironically, the show was supposed to be a historical edutainment program, until the Daleks showed up in the second story and royally EXTERMINATED that idea.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had many demons of the week. Remember that one that Buffy had to beat the crap out of, while Giles and Willow cast a spell on it?
    • Inverted in an episode of Angel. Cordelia has a vision about a demon and Angel proceeds to find and kill it as usual. Immediately afterwards, he finds out that the demon was actually on a mission from the Powers That Be and he should have been helping it.
  • The original The Outer Limits was specifically designed to have one "bear" every week, the producers' code term for aliens or monsters.
    • One of the most popular episodes, "Demon With a Glass Hand," stuck the word demon in the title mostly to satisfy the network execs, who wanted a monster in every episode. There's certainly nothing demonic-looking about Robert Culp, and the bad guys are Human Aliens.
  • Special Unit 2 is based on this trope, combined with All Myths Are True (except vampires).
  • The Reavers serve this purpose on Firefly, but the trope is actually more often subverted than not, as there are no aliens and the characters are more likely to find themselves up against other humans than anything.
  • Let's not forget the antagonists in every episode of Power Rangers ever.

Tabletop Games


  • Sluggy Freelance has plenty of aliens, demons, and vampires the cast kill without a qualm, even though they also count several aliens, demons, and vampires among their friends. Aylee called Torg out on this when he spent his time in another dimension killing the monstrous residents in sadistic and hilarious ways.

Web Original

Western Animation