Today in the Star Trek universe, it’s the reverse anniversary of the day humans first made official contact with an alien race, specifically the Vulcans in the year 2063. We all have that that to look forward to.

April 5th, 2063 is a long way to wait to finally meet Spock, but in the meantime, here’s a collection of some notable first alien encounters from television and film.

‘War of the Worlds’

This classic alien invasion story, originally written in 1898 by H.G. Wells and adapted into film in 1953, inspired one of the many panic-inducing sci-fi films which confirm aliens are here to harm us, rather than help us.

These blood-sucking aliens descend upon the earth in tripod spaceships, using devastating lasers to threaten mankind. This fictional encounter is a classic which has spawned radio dramas, movies, comics, and TV series.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who is known for having a large cast of aliens, from the main character to his archenemies. After starting in 1963, and continuing with more episodes after a gap in the 90s, it’s no wonder there are so many. aliens on Doctor Who.

This particular clip, which shows the battle between the Doctor and the leader of this Sycorax ship, is the first event in the Doctor Who universe that officially recognizes alien existence by the entire population of Earth. This is their “first contact.”

‘Independence Day’

With the new movie coming out soon, it seems appropriate to include the full-scale invasion of the hostile aliens in this list where the people of planet Earth join together to defeat the menace, declaring that they will “not go quietly into the night!”

Mars Attacks!’

This wacky Tim Burton film tells the story of Martians who attack Earth after seeing a dove fly during their “we come in peace” spiel. Why these small creatures have an aversion to white birds is a mystery. These same aliens warble and cackle through the entirety of the movie, in direct opposition to human characters played by Jack Nicholson, Michael J. Fox, and Danny DeVito.

The movie, based on a trading card game of the same name, was released in 1996.

‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’

This Steven Spielberg classic is, unlike the others on the list, one of the few large-scale appearances of extraterrestrials that isn’t an invasion. It’s a friendly visit that Spielberg disguises with the paranoid and cautious ambiance which characterized previous alien films.

This film was released in 1977 and preceded Spielberg’s multiple movies about kind or misunderstood beings from other worlds.

‘Pixels’

As much as most people didn’t like this movie, it is still on the list because, really, how cool is it that the aliens are classic video game characters? This really could have been something. The film follows Pacman, Donkey Kong, Cubert, and Frogger as destructive invasion forces which pulverize city buildings and landmarks galore.

And while the two-minute short film that inspired the movie does an excellent job of showing the destruction of a city with the same characters, they aren’t specifically aliens, so Pixels in its entirety must be mentioned. Moving on!

‘Katamari Damacy’

While this last entry is neither from a TV series or movie, this video game features an entertaining and destructive alien who destroys our world accompanied by light music and bright colors.

Never explicitly stated as a first contact, and there isn’t anyone screaming and waving their arms for people to look up, this green-suited alien rolls object and person together with a super sticky ball that eventually gums up mountains, continents, and livestock.

And while most of these encounters are chaotic and destructive, let’s hope that our own first contact is a little more like the one in Star Trek.


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