My 6 Favorite TV Extraterrestrials

Dr. Who, Mr. Spock, Mal Reynolds, Q, Alf, Ba'al

I love science fiction. Over the course of my lifetime, I have spent many an hour reading science fiction books. As any fan of the genre can probably attest, the alien characters in these stories are as compelling as the human ones, possibly even more so.

It is no different with TV. Extraterrestrial characters are used for a multitude of things, including being available to comment on our society as an outsider looking at us with fresh unbiased eyes. An alien can say things about us that a human character cannot. And, as they struggle to understand us, we also struggle to understand them. I think this is a large part of what makes them so compelling, as we look for the differences and similarities of our two species.

Mr. Spock – Star Trek

Mr. Spock - Star Trek

My husband tells people that Mr. Spock was my first TV love. Actually, that is not quite true – there was another before him that may be a good topic for a future article. But, he certainly was my first TV extraterrestrial love! Oh, sure, I watched every science fiction TV show of the 1960s available without cable, but there was something really special about Mr. Spock.

Spock, with his cold logic and strong friendship with Kirk and McCoy, was an enigma and thus “fascinating.” In retrospect, I think I empathized with Nurse Chapel, and her longing for someone that was totally out of reach. His inability to love her in return was heartbreaking.

But, I think the quiet dignity and steadfast loyalty of the character, along with his quick and analytical mind, were what attracted me the most. He made the perfect sidekick to the sometimes hotheaded Kirk and the always emotional McCoy. In short, they completed each other.

Malcolm Reynolds – Firefly

Malcolm Reynolds - Firefly

Of all the short lived TV shows that have been canceled too soon, the case of this series stands out for me as the most unjust. And, interestingly enough, while I typically go for the sidekick rather than the main hero, that is not true for the crew of the Serenity. For me, Mal is the one. Yes, the rest of the crew is nothing to sneeze at, and I do adore them all, but Mal embodies for me everything that is important in a hero.

As a true hero, he never gave up, never said die. An honorable man, full of charm, charisma and wit, it was easy to overlook his thievery. His striving for justice in the face of seemingly impossible odds made him the Robin Hood of his galaxy.

The Doctor – Dr. Who

The Doctor - Dr. Who

As I wracked my brain thinking of shows airing right now with new episodes that feature extraterrestrials, this was the only one I could come up with that had a character I liked. I will admit up front that I am a Johnny-come-lately to Dr. Who, having not watched it until after 2000. And while I have been told by a reliable source, aka my son, that the current Doctor is wonderful, I am not up to date on the most recent episodes.

However, the two Doctors previous to the current Doctor were very memorable for me, and I adored both of them. Each actor brought something new to the character, while maintaining his core values. His sense of exploration, coupled with his constant desire to protect the innocent, makes him interesting to watch and easy to love!

Alf – Alf

Alf - Alf

This adorable alien was a welcome visitor to my TV set for the four years the show aired. In fact, I own a stuffed Alf doll, which still can bring a smile to my face when I look at him.

Alf was snarky and full of chutzpah, which were among the best aspects of the show. This little alien was able to say biting commentary on humanity and make us laugh at the same time! Truthfully, I wanted an alien just like him living with me, despite all the havoc he wreaked in the Tanner household.

Ba’al – Stargate SG-1

Ba'al - Stargate SG-1

Evil and duplicitous as all get out, I still love this character. His evil smirk as he quietly slips a knife in the back of just about anyone, friend or foe, could charm the socks off a cat. Yes, he had an amazing sex appeal – there, I admit it, fan girl moment!

I have talked about his appeal before, and despite not normally being the “attracted to bad boys” type, there is something about him – perhaps his charm, accent, or smug self confidence – that is irresistible. Oh, heck, who am I kidding? The dude is hot!

Q – Star Trek: The Next Generation

Q - Star Trek: The Next Generation

What can I say about Q? He was a royal pain in the rear for three of the franchise series. However, you could always count on him to be entertaining, particularly when he was annoying the captain, delivering his snarky repartee or participating in any of the many of his antics.

Q certainly had the ability to drive anyone nuts, especially if he knew that he could get under their skin. I think that is why he visited the Starships Enterprise and Voyager so often. Captain Picard and Captain Janeway both were very serious characters, and Q had a way of getting to them that was fun to watch.

So, what do you think of my list? Do you agree with my choices, or would you have chosen other characters to put on a list? Please let me know in the comment section below!