Monday, August 31, 2015

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Dome Headed Aliens

One of the greatest tropes of sci-fi television involves the physical appearance of aliens.  

I'm not talking necessarily about little green men (that's a different cliche). Instead, I'm discussing the belief of many series' writers and make-up artists that aliens will have huge dome-heads to house their (superior) intelligence.

The dome-headed alien has thus appeared several times in TV history.

On The Twilight Zone (1959 - 1961), for instance, alien Kanamits who feed on human beings are seen to have giant dome-heads.

On Lost in Space (1965 - 1968), one of the earliest episodes of the series, "Invaders from the Fifth Dimension," featured aliens who are only dome-heads.  They have no mouths, and no bodies...just floating, over-sized skulls.

Dome-headed aliens were a staple of the original Star Trek (1966 - 1969) as well.  In the first pilot, "The Cage," the telepathic Talosians are seen to have dome-shaped heads with coruscating veins over their lobes.  In the third season episode, "The Empath," the cool, intellectual Vians are similarly dome-headed.

The aliens of "War Games" on Space:1999 (1975 - 1977) -- who launch a war of illusions against the Alphans -- also feature Kanamit-sized skulls.

The Vorvon or Soul Sucker of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979 - 1981), though not necessarily a superior intellect, also has a dome head in "Space Vampire."

On and on the list goes, with examples from Alien Nation (1988), Babylon 5 (1993 - 1999) and even Futurama (1993 - 2013).

The Outer Limits (1963-1965) episode "The Sixth Finger" featured an interesting variation on this topic.  There, the dome-headed being (played by David McCallum) was not an alien at all...but one of us; an evolved human from the distant future.

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