All the clichés below have been entered by anonymous users. The webmaster has no desire to edit, fix or argue with anyone about them. If you don't like a cliché please leave a comment, but don't abuse the webmaster.

Editor's Note:
This is a list of clichés - An idea so often used that its original power has been drained away.

The point is that many of these Clichés are USED in good books, or even movies. The first time, great! The next time, not so great. The hundredth time - it is overused. If you use one of these in a new work, you are guilty of using an idea that has appeared often enough in the past to be an obvious overused cliché.

A few hacks have taken the list and pointed out works in the past that use the clichés. Rather than making a point, they are proving that these are just what it says, overused clichés.

Others have taken the list and shown that there is some veracity in them. Usually explaining why some fantasy character acted like they did, or why a unicorn should be in a story. This has nothing to do with the fact that the concept is overused.

Please note that once a plot, character, setting or concept has been used once in any Star Trek episode, it is forever poisoned, and it cannot be used in any Science Fiction story ever again with impunity.

The original cliché list was on a geocities site that I rescued. A copy can can still be found at one of the TV Tropes web pages. This list is different and is made up entirely user entered clichés. (TV Tropes prefers to call them tropes rather than clichés. The difference only exists in the minds of unimaginative authors who don't want to admit their work is unoriginal.)

The Symbols:

Green Check The green check marks those items which are not so bad, but have been used so many times that it takes a really strong treatment to lift them out of the slush pile. They will not destroy an otherwise well-written story, and some of the classics employ these elements (and employ them well).
Yellow Check The yellow check marks those items which were mildly interesting the first time around, but simply provoke a response along the lines of " been there, done that" on the re-runs. Only a truly bizarre twist on these ideas can give them new life.
Red Check The red check marks those items which have been used over and over and over, making them a classic cliche. Writers who use this idea should have their fingers broken and be forever banned from writing Science Fiction.
Green X The green cross marks those items which are baloney, but are tolerable for the sake of dramatic effect as long as the events of the story do not depend on them.
Yellow X The yellow cross marks those items which are lame, and support the plot in some way, but can be saved if there is a supporting justification. For instance, having a robot bleed oil when it gets shot is pretty lame; having a hydraulically-powered robot leak hydraulic fluid when shot is creditable.
Red X The red cross marks those items which flatly contradict the known laws of nature, introduce an irreconcilable contradiction, require the characters involved to have the IQ of a banana peel, or are abysmally stupid for some other reason.
Star Trek The Starfleet logo marks those items for which Star Trek has been an offender, Or an idea that has appeared in a Star Trek episode forever poisoning it for future use.
Piggy The pig marks those items that are unconscionably sexist.
xx The klan symbol marks those items that show racial, ethnic, or religious bigotry. This might be subtle or unintentional. Sometimes the offense may be the product of different times and different standards, but viewed today makes one cringe.

At one time you could add to this list. It is now frozen in time.


Overused Plots and Storylines:

, Dueling characters who have access to advanced, futuristic weaponry, will eventually resort to using simple primitive weapons or means (stake, knife, blunt intstrument, cauldron of hot liquid, etc...) to finally defeat their enemy.
, Even though 21st century helicopters and fighter jets can automaticallly lock onto enemy craft, starships of the future rely on a human using a joystick to target the enemy craft manually, and they can't lock on to it even then.
, offworld exploration crew catches deadly alien virus
, Alien races are strictly monocultural. They speak one language, have one religion, a unique set of moral values, and even dress all the same.
, Humans from the future, even in the year 56 877, pretty much have the same set of moral values as 20th century people.
, In the future, all of humanity is neatly grouped into just one major faction. Cultures and nations that absolutely hate each other do not seem to mind.
, A scientist unlocks new science / technology / knowledge which is not supposed to be in human's hands, because it goes against "nature" and allows him to "play god". Eventually, everything goes wrong and the scientist is punished for his Hybris. Humans realize that some things should be left alone, and / or that ignorance is better than this kind of knowledge.
, When an emeny or robot can defeated simply by high-piched noise.
, Several points regarding an anthropomorphic robot: 1) Why are the robots built to look like humans? 2) the robot's "brain" is always in its head and chopping off the head "kills" the robot. (A robot's logic would probably be processed in circuits through the whole body or at least in the "torso" since the space isn't needed for internal organs)3) The eyes and ears for the robot are always on the robot's head - why not have sensors in different parts of the body? (E.g. a camera on the end of a finger so that the robot could just poke that around a corner instead of its whole head)
, The protagonist is never tempted by the power of the darkness. (This works in KH and Final Fantasy pretty well, in other places...not so much).
, A huge alien is able to take the form (or fit inside the body of) a smaller species (usually a human) until the climatic confrontation scene where it suddenly reverts to its gigantic size
, A system is locked down be security measures which, while impervious to the bad guys, can be overcome by a key character by a magical override.
, The Captain of the protagonist ship is never a mutant, alien or non-standard human stock, even when the culture on board the ship is multi-cultural and has mutants, aliens or non-standard human stock.
, The Good Guys are always human, while The Bad Guys are never anything but the most inhuman and / or disgusting species availible.
, Women who are small-breasted, uncurvy or otherwise "not feminine" are never important.
, The protagonists destroy the entire social structure and governmental system of the society they encounter, and only a few old fuddy-duddies complain. (should've been a red cross form the beginning)
, Single male tentacle monster ISO single human female. Objective: mating.
, The smaller the alien, the more fur it has covering a larger percentage of the body. You never see a small, hairless, alien, or a hulking furball. Wookies are the exception that proves the rule.
, Futuristic new and advanced versions of weapons systems and vehicles look exactly like the ones from the 20th century, except for a painted symbol, a blinking light or slightly different arrangement of control surfaces/tracks/wheels.
, Its easy to connect a human computer to a alien computer and controll it (and humans can learn how to use alien computers in seconds), even if no one knows how it works its no problems to write viruses for it, aliens dont need secure computer systems? Btw how do you connect a standard computer to a alien system? does it even use electrical signals...
, Soldiers that have been (re-)engineered into perfection: 1) go rogue, 2) turn against their government, 3) are dysfunctional in normal society. Usually some combination of the preceding.
, An entire world of peaceniks and pacifists who have absolutely no military or planetary defenses of any kind.
, Vehicles, computers, and gadgets in the future are flashy and gaudy.
, Alien species are anthropomorph, ie have human traits like a mouth, eyes, ears etc.
, Lesse crew members with no continuing roles, usually with last names like "Smith" and "Jones" are sent down to the mysteriously planet with a main character. Inevitably, Smith and Jones both get killed but the main character does not. This is lampooned well in Galaxy Quest.
, dues ex machinas
, protagonist always prevails
, The black actor is always a traitor (Lando, a black admiral in Star Trek six, and the gold forehead guy on Stargate).
, Advanced alien species are always contemptuous of humans, calling their technology primitive and their ways savage.
, A container carrying a heavy maintained virus/animal escapes and wreaks havoc on a civilization
, Any time a character in an SF story suffers from an injury that leaves them brain dead but physically unharmed, an alien or AI or other entity will be on hand ready to move in and take over. Conversely, when some friendly entity needs a human body for use, another character will suffer a convenient brain death malady that leaves them a body to use. (Unfriendly entities will just take whatever body they can get).
, The main characters friend/best friend dies while he survives and he drops to his knees and yells slowly "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" then either sits there or goes into an alien-killing rampage.
, Reconstructing a new person from DNA restores all the memories and learned skills that were in the DNA-donor's brain.
, Time travel stories where time is linear (i.e. going back will affect YOUR present, and not just spin off another that doesn't affect you), but in which the characters discuss correct versus incorrect "time lines" (thereby contradicting their own belief that time is linear).
, No matter how out-gunned and out-numbered the human race is in an inter-galactic war, the hero will single-handedly push the tide.
, There will always be a neutral parasitic life form that seeks to devour all form of sentient life in the universe, including but not limited to, the hero and the offending alien race in the story.
, Alien societal structures, morals and technologies are compared to human equivalents of an earlier historical era (medieval, industrial era, modern age). The history of the era between the modern and the future period of humanity (say between 20th - 24th century) is only, if ever, mentioned to show how civilisation has moved on.
, horror sci fi movies if a character obtains a weapon such as a metal pipe or axe they will only use it once then drop it
, ammo always runs out when they are about to kill a leader/boss/main bad guy and then they always have to resort to melee combat
, Starships appear visible in perfect 3 point lighting, no matter how deep in space they are. They also bother to bank when turning, despite the need to, just for looks, I guess. No jews or gays in the future. Also humans must go on all dangerous missions when I, personally, when send a few robots out first, as we do today. Also, even though control panels are just basically a series of input output interfaces, they can blow up and kill you. Imagine if phones or atms could do that. Finally, apparently, only military strories are interesting. No comedies, romances, dramas or tense intrigue or small slice of life stories are worthy of skiffy treatment.
, Starships appear visible in perfect 3 point lighting, no matter how deep in space they are. They also bother to bank when turning, despite the need not to, just for looks, I guess. No jews or gays in the future. Also humans must go on all dangerous missions when I, personally, would send a few robots out first, as we do today. Also, even though control panels are just basically a low voltage array of input output switches, they can blow up and kill you. Imagine if phones or atms could do that. Finally, apparently, only military strories are interesting. No comedies, romances, dramas or suspenseful intrigue, or small slice of life stories are deemed worthy of proper skiffy treatment.
, A character massively affected by a disease/mutation, when cured looks exactly as he did before the whole ordeal.
, after being a perfectly good antagonist for the entire plot, upon losing begs the heroes for forgiveness because he did not see a simple flaw in his plan that the heroes took advantage of. (its not really cliche as much as the others, but I just find this to be a lack of creativity and effort on the authors part.)
, At the first presentation, the heroine usually is inexperienced romance-wise (compared with the hero). She will usually remain childless to the conclusion of the story, but if she does have any children (with the hero), prophecies and proof will surface that her offspring are extremely special, gifted, and powerful and are destined to save the world, universe, rabbit-kind, blah blah. From now on, she usually focuses solely on keeping her kid(s) alive. Examples are found in Terminator, X-Files, and Star Wars.
, Alien-human hybrids only come in 50% human, 50% alien (e.g. Deanna Troi and Worf's son from Star Trek and Ka D'Argo's son and Scorpius from Farscape). These hybrids seem more interested in human mates than alien ones, but for some reason that doesn't result in more hybrids that are, say, 3/4 human.
, If the heroine and hero initially hate each other, they will become best of friends and lovers. Resistance is futile.
, Villainesses are either elderly battleaxes or promiscuous young temptresses.
, Villainesses are either elderly battleaxes or promiscuous young temptresses.
, Humans welcome aliens in their societies, but aliens do not return the favor. How many humans do you see in Klingon society that are as well-accepted as Worf is in StarFleet?
, There is technology for self-replicating universal manufacturing (nanotechnology, Star Trek replicators)and they don't reconfigure asteroid belts into habitats, spaceships, weapons etc. Only a miniscule fraction of a star systems resources are utilized.
, There is technology for self-replicating universal manufacturing (nanotechnology, Star Trek replicators)and they don't turn asteroid/kuiper belts, found in every star system, into thousands of luxurious space colonies. Instead they look for Earth like planets in deep gravity wells.
, 5 out of 6 billion present humans are non-Western. But future societies are entirely Western cultures with a few token minorities. More often than not, the future is an exclusively American society.
, They can control matter to the atomic level (via nanotechnology,teleporters, biotech) but haven't cured aging or death. People don't back up their minds in case they die. They live ordinary lifespans, age and die.
, Defensive fleets of comprable size to the attacking fleet succesfully protect the home planet in orbital combat. The attackers never drop nuclear, or kinetic, weapons from orbit. In reality the defenders would have to be 100X as numerous as the attackers and stop every ship. Just 10 nukes would obliterate a planet.
, Future militaries don't even use contemporary military technology. The Empire didn't need a Death Star. Dropping megaton yield thermonucler weapons by the hundreds from orbit would have effectively destroyed Alderaan just as easily. Small nuke missles would have vaporized both clone and droid armies.
, Future people don't have relationships with siblings or relatives, don't marry, and don't have children. They don't care about advancement in business or society. They're either selfless bureacrats serving on a spaceship or noir pirates, assasins, and criminals that are really misunderstood and good. No one pursues ordinary careers, goals and relationships.
, All parents are evil dictators, manipulators, murderers, you name it. The only child (and it is almost always an only child) is always just and upright; this child will save or bring to justice his or her evil father or mother.
, The cast follows this predictable format: Handsome, manly man - leader/captain Beautiful woman - love-interest of handsome, manly man Big male warrior alien Droid or android, usually male-programmed
, The cast follows this predictable format:(1) handsome, manly man as the leader/captain; (2) beautiful woman as the love-interest of handsome, manly man; (3) big male warrior alien; (4) droid or android, usually male-programmed
, The evil ruler has never effected any good whatsoever. Just evil for the sake of being evil.
, The main male character romances many different women before settling on the main female character, even though she has been available all along.
, Humans have a certian something that makes them special compared to all other alien races. Its usually our human emotions.
, The prettiest, most refined female cast member is usually a short brunette with odd hairdos.
, Redheads are most often assassins and other types of baddies.
, Blond men and women usually take a back seat in sci-fi.
, The black man is ALWAYS the first person killed (Jurassic park), has some handicap (blind, can't walk, mute, etc.)(Geordi La Forge), or turns out a traitor (Lando Calrissian)
, The stories are centered on mostly white people. I know something like this was mentioned before, but reject. The reason didn't sit with me. Mainly because there are so many other races in America. I guess there is either a race war or some type of mass wipe out of all WOCs in the U. S.
, Characters in a story, usually the main hero, have no memory of a father/brother/mother/sister and somehow during the story line meet up with one or more of them and dont realize that they are related untill much later in the plot. example: StarWars, Eragon etc..
, The world is in complete peral from an all powerful diety or entity, and a "chosen one" is destined to destroy him, and sets out to do so..., PJP
,  Aliens invade/land on earth who have a fatal weakness to some incredibly common substance on the planet i.e. water. Alien Nation and Signs for example. That's like us invading venus without space suits. , WBWIII
, Starships or fleets exiting hyperspace, warp or slipstream are always in a horizontal formation and never arrive from "below", "above" or upside down., 
, A detective "just doesn't like" a technology that happens to be in the center of the story, and that makes him perfect to investigate it!, DJG
, All laser weapons are color coded for each side that uses them, or all of them appear the same color, rw
, All alien planets have two moons., HD
, The protagonist is usually a young white human male, and rarely is the character a girl. It's even rarer to have an an alien as the protagonist. (Can you name a story with an alien as the main character?), Rw
, The aliens rarely have animals or trees on their planet., jw
, There is hardly any fat people even though they sit around in front of computers all day or fly around in space ships, jw
, X planet is the only source of some super-needed resource and it can not be synthesized, or worked around in any way, TJ
, Humans in the future have totally abandoned ALL moral standards, creating a world populated solely by sociopaths and and nihilists., jc
, Heroine spends a great deal of time in the hospital (e.g. Dana Scully, Lana Lang), JC
, Ugly aliens are always evil, while attractive or human-like aliens are good., APL
, Planets, no matter how far out in the galaxy or even in other galaxies, more often than not have Greek or Latin names. And most times they are followed by an Arabic numeral (2, 3, 4 etc.) or the designation of prime. Unless all planets are named by Europeans and Americans it just doesn't make sense., JB
, If by some way a person flys out into space, they just float around while in reality they would explode it a bloody mess. Also, no matter how many holes they have in their ship, they never run out of air and never have to stop for repairs unless it looks that bad., JW
, That there are only 1 0r two elder races whilst the current timeframe has hundreds of them, A.M
, Anytime a crew needs to find someone on a planet, they always seem to beam down to exactly the right city in the correct continent to start looking for them., MM
, An alien planet viewed from the surface has the same generic features as earth (such as grass, trees, seagull like birds that fly around large bodies of water) except that the color pallets of two features have been switched. (Dragonball Z: Green sky overlooking blue trees and blue grass.) , MM
, There is exactly one doctor on staff working at the starship. There may be as many as 3 nurses, but there is only one doctor. The doctor is reasonably skilled in all medical fields: Dentistry, Brain Surgery, Optometry..., Mush
, The starship is mysteriously clean, even though there are no janitors or janitorial robots anywhere. , Mush
, A shuttle may land on a planets’ surface and leave their door open for days (while the crew explores or gets captured,) but the shuttle never seems to get water damage, leaves blown in, or a small infestation of ants. , Mush
, Even if the aliens don’t speak English (or have communicators that translate their speech into English), the aliens are still able to communicate such things as what their names are, that they need medical attention, that the village that has the equipment that the humans need to fix their shuttle is 90 miles away in a south east direction. I don’t know about you, but I can’t tell where one word ends and another word begins in any language other than English., Mush
, If a human has to explain what his space ship is to a primitive alien culture, the term “flying chariot” is understood and accepted just fine. The aliens don’t ask “How do you tame flying horses to fly your chariots?” or “Why do you call it a chariot? It’s clearly a highly polished river rock with a door.”, Mush
, There is no text messaging in the future. Phones are purely video and audio. Nice to know that technology has regressed back to the 1990’s. , Mush
, There is no text messaging in the future. Phones are purely video and audio. Nice to know that technology has regressed back to the 1990’s. , Mush
, Different alien cultures are all ridged obeyers of ceremony- no mater how uncomfortable or pointless the ceremony is. If some visiting party member sneezes during the 5 hour greeting ritual, that person is executed. It’s also worth mentioning that these alien cultures never inform the Humans of what their unwritten rules are, what the penalties for breaking those unwritten rules are, and why those unwritten rules don’t appear in printed law books., Mush
, Also, Alien greeting customs seem to have been formed for no other purpose than to look ‘alien’ to an American audience. Customs and ceremonies don’t just appear out of nowhere; they are created for very specific reasons: The “Hand shake”, for example, was originally created to jostle any hidden items out of a visiting person’s sleeves. If things like knives, small concealable guns, or ‘Ace’ cards (for cheating at card games) fell out, then you would know the other party had unwholesome intentions for you., Mush
, Aliens are really, really good at disguising themselves as humans. You never see an alien’s “human costume” have hair that looks like a waxy unflowing helmet, arms that have absurdly bulbous muscles (like Popeye’s), a mouth with no teeth or tongue, or stiff facial features. (Invader Zim is the only exception to this rule I have ever seen.), Mush
, Offensive Cliché- Any story where humans are the epitome of all that is corrupt and wicked, where there are no redeeming elements in humans, or where humans are douche-bags for the simple joy of being douches. (Battle for Terra, Ferngully) It’s true that there are evil people in the world, but they do not make up more than 40% of any given population.. Unless your story involves hardened criminals or sociopaths, if you make bad guys out of 10 humans or more when you have only introduced 15, then you are committing this offensive cliché., Mush
, A scene where a character is introduced by depicting the character just loafing around on the porch not doing much of anything. Normal people engage themselves constantly in activities- they don’t sit in rocking chairs on their porches and watch road traffic; they preoccupy themselves by reading, sleeping, eating, gardening, cooking, and setting fires. Nobody just sits, stands, smokes, or lies down without being occupied in some other way. My point is that normal people don’t “do nothing”- and your story characters shouldn’t either. (Exceptions: Your character could just sit there and do nothing if they are druggies, if they had just finished going through some emotional ordeal, or if they are blank-of-mind because their souls had been sucked out their eye-sockets (or some other sci-fi reason.)), Mush
, Girls wear short skirts in the future., SM
, Geologically impossible structures: floating mountains (Avatar), broad flat plateaus several meters across balanced on thin pillars of rock only a few inches thick (cover art of Street Fighter 2010), Mush
, A planetary wide scan of an inhabited alien planet (advanced alien planet) does not show any sort of agriculture. What, is food imported into the planet?, Mush
, Aliens never believe in ghosts, gods, demons, vampires, or werewolves. However, aliens do believe in ESP, alien abductions (because they’re doing the abductions), telepathy, and zombies. , Mush
, If aliens are able to understand what you (an English speaker) are saying by reading your brainwaves, then they shouldn’t be able to understand what is being spoken in a recording or on a walk-y-talk-y., Mush
, Swallowing the diamond the size of your fist prevents the burglars from running away with it. The burglars do not surgically remove the diamond, they just kidnap the person who swallowed the jewel. (Dragon ball z: Gohan, a 4 year old boy, is kidnapped because his hat has a mystical object of great power sewn to the top of it. The bad guys don’t think of removing the hat from atop the weak little boys head, they just kidnap the kid), Mush
, 'You are no. 6', 'we want information' shtick from a 'superior' group watching over a 'subject' who is either sub-human, a killer or both., P.C.
, The devil as an alien, old and ugly and 'must be destroyed'! ., P.C.
, The human race always forms a perfect democracy where everyone is equally represented, while the aliens are always in a facist dictatorship, a communistic society, or is a hive mind...never the other way around., SGS
, If you land your ship on an alien planet, the first alien entity your people get to meet will be a dangerous non-sentient life form (usually it resembles a mountain lion or a swarm of superficially cute, but blood thirsty, animals.) If the hero of the story is not among the initial exploratory crew, then all or most of the crew will die a HORRIBLE death (usually on camera that has a live video feed being viewed directly be a Sergeant or General) Everyone of your people will come to the conclusion that ALL aliens from the planet you landed on are hostile. The second alien entity you meet will be sentient and harmless (usually it resembles a peasant boy around 10 years of age.) The General who witnessed the death of his previous crew will want this new alien executed. The hero (being the sole voice of reason) will defend this second alien by saying “But he’s just a boy!”, Mush
, Dimwitted guards who can be easily distracted by the sound of a tossed pebble, can be fooled by disguises made of bed linens, and who sleep, drink, or oogle the latest issue of Hot Babes while they're supposed to be on duty., jc
, "He's right on my tail! I can't shake him!!" Spacecraft do not necessarily travel in the direction their nose is pointing. In fact, during an engine burn, the thrust is in the direction of the nose. But once the thrust is off, the ship can turn to any orientation. It can fly "sideways" through space if it wants. So all those scenes from Star Wars, Star Trek and the old Battlestar Galactica where a hapless space fighter cannot shake the enemy on their tail are completely laughable. "He's right on my tail, Rogue Two! I can't shake him!!" Oh, come on! All they have to do is spin on their short axis and blast the tail-gater! Seriously, anyone with the slightest grasp of Newtonian Physics could get it!, Rowan17
, Spaceships where the floor is built with spikes lining a spike-free walkway (mostly seen in videogames). My problem with this is that inside halls of a spaceship are supposed to be designed with smooth- perhaps cushioned- walls because the ship is bound to run into turbulence as it enters a planet’s atmosphere. Not to mention that rows and rows of spikes are a waste of materials. This cliché probably arose because the presence of spikes is something like a shorthand notation for “evil.” , Mush
, Any technical difficulty can easily be solved by "switching the phase" and/or "reconfiguring the matrix". And again. And again, until everyone including the viewer forgets what the original phase and matrix were., Syl
, When "the serum" is given to someone with an awful, disfiguring disease, the blemishes/fissures/discoloured patches/growths disappear in seconds, leaving the character looking exactly like he/she did before getting the alien disease., Al
, Future societies are 99% of the time depicted as multicultural utopias in which all the races of the human species (plus a huge variety of aliens) dwell together in peace (and apparently have done so for ages). This theme disregards several historical trends. For one, multiculturalism creates strife rather than peace; after all, racism is a by-product of diversity – racism does not & can not exist in racially/ethnically homogeneous nations. Additionally, diverse societies have always ultimately collapsed due to infighting & disunity among all the different ethnic/racial groups [e.g. the Roman Empire; an example of a collapse-in-the-making is America; circa WW2, when America was at its peak militarily, economically, and culturally, it was also at its most racially homogeneous (90% White); ever since desegregation and the legalization of non-white immigration, America has become much more diverse - and has been on a steady but sure decline]. Lastly, diverse societies eventually become non-diverse due to race-mixing and displacement of one or more racial groups due to race competition. Given the historically-proven failure of multiculturalism, how can anyone with a functioning sense of logic believe that the way to create utopia is by taking all the human races (with all their cultural/religious/political/etc. incompatibilities) and placing them in one mega society - and inviting space aliens over as well?, JL
, The offspring of inter-species unions are always presented as either perfectly normal/healthy or sometimes as examples of hybrid vigor. Outbreeding depression, which occurs often in race-mixed humans and "mongrelized" animals, and the possibility of getting the worst of both sides rather than the best is never addressed., JL
, "Oh no! we're somehow lost and without many resources, I hope we can survive and make our way back home!" DS9, SGU., GE
, All aliens are just humans with things glued to their heads., AA
, To become captain of a ship you have be brilliant on every level know everything about every culture be amazing in battle and only care for your own option or the options of the five senior grew members if the rest die you look and you don't even care., 
, The main protaganist never has the best lines for dialogue. Whenever it's attempted, the attempt fails and sound very corny., CWBK
, From the Leader to the janitor, everyone of the alien races know about the existence of other alien races. But it's a *big* deal if more than a handful of humans find out., AJ
, Anyone who is vaguely referenced as a friend of the main cast is targeted by some form of parasitic force and despite being mutated and transformed into the parasite will immediately revert to their original form after the parasite has been killed by the main cast and blame the irreplaceble damage they caused on "being possesed", SN
, Technological common sense: Despite decades / centuries / millennia of technological progress, common technology is ignored in starships. The Starship Enterprise uses superfast elavators & jeffries tubes (tough on the knees) yet has no staircases in the event of power failure thus trapping those in a room especially without any manual doors or locks anywhere? Some of the most important ship functions are relagated to areas of the ship that are difficult to access. They require massive crews to man the vessels despite being extensivley automated; just what are these people doing for work in the future when examples show the ship being run on as little as 3 or 4 people. Futuristic metal alloys shows signs of rust despite no oxygen in a vacuum and the sophisticated climate control aboard that should eliminate humidity. Computer interfaces, exist in every room and hallway which may permit someone to hack into otherwise crucial systems. Even in the vacuum of space their are stray particles that interact with the ships matter, thus even if invisible, a cloaking device is essentially useless if one can simply scan those particles., JAH
, On the odd occasion an alien can't speak English and learns to speak it, in what seems like no time at all they don't even speak broken English or struggle with words., TH
, Using weapons which make bright bursts of light when fired while in a firefight with poor light, no one seems to get concerned they would ordinarily be blinded by their own weapon. In fact no one even so much as squints! , TH
, No one seems to suffer from jet lag/space lag when visiting another planet, or the planet has 24 hour time (or close to)., TH
, Star ships can only move along one plane. They cannot move up or down (at least not very far). Instead of up and over the territory of some very trigger happy alien species the said star ship must for some reason travel through the alien's territory. Same goes for traveling through a dangerous nebula instead of over or under it (which is not even considered)., TH
, This mainly applies to star trek: Cutting your hand with a knife in an alien ritual and then letting someone else cut their hand with the same knife WITHOUT cleaning it. Oddly neither character has a scar on their hand afterward, usually as of the next shot or scene., TS
, We Had It All Along! If the protagonists' ship is ever destroyed, they will either immediately find another more advanced ship, or learn that the government has been working on a new, more advanced ship and is only days away from finishing it, despite never having heard about it prior to this., SD
, God? Oh, You Mean The Guy From Mars! All dieties, whether mythological or theological, are in reality alien beings played by either John de Lancie, or the alien from Paul. The main protagonist will be the only person in the universe said beings are ever interested in., SD
, You're Our Only Hope Because, You Know... Despite the fact that the military has ships far better equipped, the main protagonists' ship is the only one ever in range of the distress call. They may lack the equipment necessary to carry out the mission, but they're still going anyway., SD
, Robots that can mass produce flawless can't wipeout the humans they currenlty or soon could outnumber. Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Terminator., DTA
, Alien and future weapons are remarkably less useful than weapons today. They fail to hit, fail to kill when they hit, fail to penetrate simple cover, etc. Today we have single-person grenade launchers with laser range finders and automatic air-burst capabilities, thermal sites, fully automatic shotguns, etc. Yet... weapons of the future can't hit anyone, kill them, deal with a tree, etc. Why doesn't the weapon fire in a spread, aim the beam itself, or cause a massive explosion on the ground to kill via fragmentation? Heck... fire continuously and allow the user to just wiggle their wrists and no one can keep dodging it., BW

Overused Settings and Characterizations:

, Enitre planets are used as rubbish tips. Recycling has disappeared in the future.
, Leader of the Galactic Federation (or Senate, or whatever), among thousands of other alien races, is always human.
, The alien race that is aeons ahead of humanity and possess amazing technology. They won't give it to us as we're not R"Eady" yet, but we keep trying to nick it from them.
, Every race in the universe are biped creatures.
, An entire world of peaceniks and pacifists who have absolutely no military or planetary defenses of any kind.
, The villain's henchmen have horrible aim, while the hero/good guys shoot better than anyone else.
, Everyone in the future is an atheist.
, Humanoid aliens never move their upper body when walking.
, No matter how many worlds the heroes visit and how many races they encounter, none of the heroes ever need to speak a different language or have difficulty understanding the aliens.
,  Societies with resources and tendency for colonization, exploration and growth, who halt for no good reason. First they inhabit a new planet and then sit on their hands and farm crops for centuries. Especially if they know there are other expansionist and agressive cultures nearby. Fundamentally more stupid if their parent civilization consists of several worlds to begin with.
, The smartest and most violent person is usually an alien, but he or she or it cannot be both.
, Concrete and steel in the future has some niffy sounding prefix.
, The women in interstellar spaceship crews exist solely for the purpose of sexual gratification. The males, on the other hand, are actually necessary for the well-being of the ship.
, The words used to characterise spacecraft and especially hierarchical structure is based on naval terminology. In some cases vessels are designed resembling aircraft carriers more than, say, rocket-like shape.
, Humans of the future are astonishingly selfless. Risking their lives and their expensive, top-of-the-line spaceships to save a dying planet or a bunch of people they never met before or know little-to-nothing about is routine for them.
, Villains like to boast. They really, really like to boast.
, Women of high status see men either as sex objects or abusive, controlling obstacles to their own self-actualization.
, Characters with really light hair and skin are always evil and/or haughty.
, No matter how different other species are, humans of the future will always judge them by Earth standards (Picard yelling at some aliens). Those standards are treated as the universal ones for the whole galaxy, simply humans are right even as savage and primtive race (or because of that). Moreover those "galactic" ethical standards will be always based upon atheism and western culture. There will be no asian or african or other (alien) influences and philosophies. This set of values is the ultimate truth. Others are tolerated, but it is obvious that our human way is the best and final, there is no other higher philosophy so we don't even boder to search/invent them. Religion is always primitive and wrong, even if it is not human religion and has nothing to do with our society, values, culture, history, technology and biology. Even if it is portraited as good, it is still wrong-but what main characters believe (if it is not a religion)is never questioned, no matter how many times science have already prooved those beliefs to be false or equally flawed as religion itself. , jzs
, There is nothing cooler and more technical looking than essential switches on the ceiling of your vehicle., GC
, There is nothing cooler and more technical looking than essential switches on the ceiling of your vehicle., GC
, Handrails over any dangerous walkways are no longer required by safety codes. , GC
, Aliens speak English but can’t seem to rap their heads around sarcasm. (Currently, I can only think of “Planet 51,” But I know I’ve seen it so many times before.), MM
, Applies to series: Once stated that a character is some age (example: 21 years old) the character never hits his next birthday no mater how many hundreds of episodes there are. (This is fine if the character is an alien and counts his age based on some alien calendar that has something like 1000 days in each year. No, I’m pointing fingers at authors who make their characters conform to a 365-day-per-year calendar What’s worse is when you try to factor each adventure into a timeframe given that the character is still the age he started at when the series began, and you find that he has had 300 some adventures- some of which are supposed to have taken place over the course of several days. Even despite all this, the main character isn’t exhausted and doesn’t act like he expects and prepares for daily adventures (like keeping a packed backpack of survival gear with him at all times, or doing hourly radio check-in’s with his staff.), MM
, In the future, everyone will wear single-piece spandex suits. These suits don’t have pockets or utility belts. The people who wear these suits (including engineers and solders) are expected to carry the items they need in their hands. Gee- I sure hope that the engineer, who is working tirelessly to prevent the power core from overloading, doesn’t need much more than a hand held screwdriver., MM
, They say that you can tell what a person is like by rummaging through their stuff. Well… All crewmen, who are nonessential to the plot, have no hints of distinguishing characteristics or personal histories, unless they specifically speak about it. A peek into their closet won’t reveal anything like non-regulation clothing, or a small box of Christmas decorations, or a bookshelf with fiction novels, or posters of pretty girls tacked to the inside of the closet door. You won’t see artwork or stacks of magazines in their rooms. You most certainly won’t find an adult novel under their beds. Nonessential personnel don’t seem to have anything to do when they are off duty., MM
, Bad guys are intolerable leaders. If a battle does not go his way, the “Big Baddy” takes it out on his crew, blaming them for incompetence. Even so far as to commit a random execution of one of his staff. If luck begins to favor the bad guy, he prances around and congratulates himself on being so brilliant. Even so far as to commit a random celebratory execution of one of his staff (I’ve seen it, I’m not lying.) Why his constantly abused underlings don’t commit mutiny is beyond me., Mush
, Professionals using non-professional terms: like a psychologist using the word “crazy” to describe a patient, or a botanist using the phrase “gangly shrub.” It’s almost as if the world in which these characters live in was created by someone who never bothered to do any research on behalf of his characters. Hmmmm..., Mush
, Androids and aliens constantly commenting on the futility of human behavior. , Mush
, A glass of wine might be seen at the dinner table, but nobody seems to be an alcoholic., Mush
, Nobody seems to fear surgery, lawsuits, or bankruptcy., Mush
, People sing incoherently to themselves during the opening credits- sometimes while doing air guitar with a tennis racket. , Mush
, Any story, when boiled down to it’s elements, is: Romeo and Juliet, Dances with wolves, The Highlander, Cowboys and Indians, Pride and predigest, Cinderella, Lord of the Rings, Ernest Goes to Camp, or House on the Parry -IN SPACE!!!!!!!!!, Mush
, Aliens speak and spell in proper English. An alien will never spell the word “Please” as “plz.” An alien will never say “BRB” when they mean “I will be right back.” The only grammatical error aliens tend to make is speaking in “split-infinitives.” They will say the phrase “to boldly go,” instead of the grammatically correct “to go boldly.”, Mush
, No culture speaks in sign language. (Exceptions: “Architects of Sleep” a novel where anthropomorphic raccoons populate an alternate Earth, and “Loud as a whisper” from season two of Star trek The Next Generation.), Mush
, When aliens first send probes to earth and see humans or animals walking around, none of the aliens watching the transitions wonder which one of their staff hacked into the video feed and was showing video of “puppets or CGI Monsters.” Personally, if I sent probes blindly to a hundred some-odd planets and one came back with images of bountiful extraterrestrial life, then I would turn to my brother and smack him across the face for screwing with my serious work., Mush
, Alien children are either insanely well behaved (sitting silently in a corner with their hands folded neatly in their laps for hours and hours without food, water, light, or company) or they are bratty and irritable (walking into your work station and kicking a foot through the control panned, demanding your utmost attention while they complain that they received alphabet soup for lunch instead of a French dessert crepe.), Mush
, Aliens are either technologically superior to humans (by a lot) or technologically inferior to humans (again, by a lot.) It’s rare to see an alien race that is in the same general era as the Industrial revolution., Mush
, Alien cultures who believe in heaven and hell (or their equivalents) always think that heaven is above their heads, while hell is below their feet. Never, is there an alien race that views the stars with suspicion and the ground with adoration. Imagine the advantage of a burrowing sentient race from a sci-fi writer’s point of view. Space faring humans would automatically think that the planet was uninhabited because there aren’t any buildings on the surface. The planets’ natives would instantly fear and hate the humans as anyone would fear and hate demons from hell. Hey- Story conflict! , Mush
, Bad guys either use swear words or demeaning phrases (such as: “Insolent fools,” or “lowlifes”) when addressing their enemies, subordinates, and allies (just, not their superiors.) It’s rare to see a bad guy use “kinder language” when addressing anyone. (Exception: Dr. Henry Killinger [from “Venture Brothers”] saying “your powers don’t work on me, you silly-billy”), Mush
, Alien creatures never seem to look like monsters from human mythology. (Centaurs seem like perfectly viable creatures that could exist in real life. Just because they have a human head and torso, does not mean they’d be clumsy, top heavy, or in any other way disadvantaged to the point where they would not have evolved naturally on their own planet), Mush
, If the alien race is bipedal (walks on two legs), then you can tell a male from a female the same way you do with humans (male aliens still have broader shoulders, bigger muscles, facial hair, an “atoms’ apple” broader jaw, smaller pelvis, etcetera; Female aliens still have smaller shoulders, smaller muscles, no facial hair, a feminine neckline, a smaller chin, larger pelvis, a waist, an “hourglass figure”, larger eyes, boobs, etcetera…) It’s funny how these aliens look just like humans except for antennae and a green tint to their skin. , Mush
, Food products and utilities having the words/prefixes “space” “astro” or “UFO” in them. : “Mom! I wanna eat space-aroni and cheese! I’m tired of asparagus and astro-casserole! Al Ien’s mom lets him eat UF-O’s for dinner, why can’t I? Whaaaaaaa----” (PS. If you didn’t get the joke about Al’s name, it spells “alien”), Mush
, Bad guys saying “I’m so lonely” after they laugh manically., Mush
, Trained military solders know better than running out into the jungle, screaming, and firing wildly in all directions until they run out of ammo. If nothing else, they would want to conserve their ammo without broadcasting their position to any unseen enemy. *Rambo, Robo war, Commando* , Mush
, Someone falls over and faints after something mildly shocking happens (Usually, this only happens in a comedy, but I’ve seen it elsewhere. Nevertheless, it’s an unfunny joke.), Mush
, Citizens of primitive cultures are never seen doing the hard labor that comes with having wood-and-stone technology. Despite this, their woven grass barrels are mysteriously full of grain, their mud-brick houses have no visible cracks, and their children are plum and well fed. , Mush
, Peaceful alien cultures live in a land without natural predators- not because the aliens do a decent job of fending off such predators, but because they were never there to begin with., Mush
, Any kind of hidden civilization occurring at the biggest tree of the forest (Avatar, an episode of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, Disney’s Tarzan cartoon, Swiss family Robinson, Pretty much anything that involves forest elves) - It’s a bit corny, but acceptable, if the people want to be found (like in Swiss Family Robinson). But placing the whole of your civilization in, on, and around the biggest tree in the forest does not make sense for a secret society of night elves who shun outsiders and want nothing to do with the outside world. Why place your headquarters where anyone with a good view of the tree tops can see it?, Mush
, The distant future is indistinguishable from present day times except for the floating/ flying versions of everyday objects. (Floating mountains from Avatar, flying cars from Jetsons, hover-boards from Back to the Future, floating raw hamburger patties from Planet 51, dogs with jetpacks chasing cats with jetpacks from Futurama), Mush
, Shakespeare is still renowned as a great writer in the year 32,098, even though present day high school kids find his works nearly indecipherable do to Shakespeare’s archaic use of the English language. (I’m complaining that English would practically be a different language thousands of years from now, and therefore, Old English is illegible), Mush
,  Never having touched or seen a piano in his life, an alien will sit down and write a grand masterpiece. (and then look up at the crowd with mild surprise and say “What?”) , Mush
, People in the distant future watch black and white episodes of “I love Lucy” , Mush
, Human soldiers are rude to each other, alien soldiers are polite., Mush
, Human soldiers are rude to each other, alien soldiers are polite., Mush
, Any desired material that is named “unobtainium.” Un-obtain-ium. meaning “Can Not Get.”, Msuh
, (Note: I have only seen this once, but MAN was it stupid.) Any scene where a mathematically inclined character is asked to capture or locate something, and the character’s response is to build a cage, step inside, and declare his location (namely the inside of the cage) as being “outside.”, Mush
, If you get to see a younger version of some character, he/she will wear the exact same color scheme as what he/she wears in adulthood. , Mush
, Note: there are some variations to the previously listed cliché: Variation #1. the younger version of the character wears lighter colors of the same basic outfit [example: someone who wears a red jacket in adulthood may wear a pink shirt as a child] , Mush
, Note: there are some variations to the previously listed cliché: Variation #2 the younger character may have a different article of clothing that is the same color as what he/she will wear as an adult. [example: someone who always wears a red jacket as an adult, may be seen wearing a uniform with bright red buttons.] , Mush
, If a daemon comes out of the TV, it is a shape shifter that goes from themes like “cowboy” to “astronaut” in a flash of static (or snow screen). A good example of this is the “Rockoons 2” music video. , Mush
, The bad guys' names mean "daemon" in another language., Mush
, If one alien tells you that another alien is sick, that other alien will undoubtedly bed ridden- yet still quire able to whoop anybody’s ass with his superior mind bending powers., Mush
, If you see a commercial on an alien TV channel, that commercial will always have a heavy element of porn in it. (Advertising prostitution, usually.) , Mush
, Aliens who have a strong dislike of innocent humans are either outright evil or have some kind of justifiable misunderstanding. There is never an alien who dislikes humans because the alien is absolutely bat-shit insane. (the same way that a crazy earthling might irrationally hate aliens because he things that they are going to steal all of earth’s gravity.), Mush
, Alien songs always sing about things like spirituality/ great wars of the distant past that reduced them to a pre-industrial state/ wanting a hero to save their world. They never sing about lost love, how unfair their parents are, or any other random slice-of-life type things. Look at us humans; some of our most popular songs are about Mary’s little lamb, the Atom’s family, and how white your teeth will be if you use Crest’s toothpaste. Just because something is in song does not mean it has much in the way of depth. , Mush
, A cop whose general philosophy is “shoot first ask questions later,” is an avid churchgoer and mostly hangs around the altar under the only floor-to-ceiling mosaic window in an otherwise empty church. Which is funny because most churches I know of have a no-murder policy. , Mush
, (In a game or movie, this is usually a black screen (no graphics) with either voice-overs talking in hushed tones or text boxes.) bad guys you know nothing about (their location, their physical appearance, their intentions) are discussing the hero and their intentions for him. But before they can get to that part, they first go into extensive detail recapping information that they already know. What bothers me is that they don’t think about the possibility of there being any recording devices, listening spies, or an undercover agent in their midst. The bad guys just talk openly. , Mush
, Aliens who believe in reincarnation don’t bother looking for the new form of their most effective or most popular leaders. I mean, that’s the equivalent of being able to reelect Gorge Washington for the presidency as many times as we want. (Well, except the part where he can only serve 2 terms per lifetime.) , Mush
, Robots are always grossed out by human biological functions. (Examples: Bender from Futurama) They are likely to say something like “You humans- always ejecting and assimilating fluids! You make me sick!”– My question is why do robots even need the emotion of revulsion? , Mush
, The superpowered heroes can move so quickly that they become invisible. However, they are not fast enough to dodge a fireball moving way slower than themselves (I am particularly thinking of DBZ fights that take episodes and episodes to be finished). Normally, such fights should end in a blink of an eye, but this way DBZ would have lasted for one or two episodes ! , SG
, Cliché- Aliens seem to have evolved beyond normal (and healthy) biological tendencies such as aggression, lust for power or sex, and phobias to what should be their natural predators. These traits aren’t arbitrary personality flukes that all sentient spices should work to illuminate from their species as a whole; they have deep-routed biological functions. So for example, human aggression towards other humans promotes genetic fitness (ex: having those who were able-bodied with good immune systems gain access to more food and resources while those with crippling genetic debilities [ex: hemophilia, blindness] die off before reproducing.) I very much doubt that a race of aliens could survive for more than 100 generations once they completely eliminate their “animalistic hardwiring.” (sometimes I wonder if the perfect utopias they display in sci-fi’s are actually a brief window of what a society would look like as it’s about to die.), Mush
, Most aliens look like a cross between humans and lizards, with scaly and sometimes slimy-looking hairless skin. They also tend to have ridges or spikes on the face, scalp, forearms, spine, and/or legs. Animals on distant planets also tend to have a reptilian appearance to them., JL
, When someone time travels to the future, the future inhabitants will ultimately learn the error of their futuristic ways, eventually learning to embrace 1980s slang, mannerisms, and social norms., AA
, The captain of any ship will readily volunteer for missions where in reality a namesless redshirt would be sent in, SN
, Evil, oppressive empire has same structure and clothes as the nazis, manaraki

Overused story events and plot devices:

, The good guys always have plenty of ammo to shoot at the bad guys until the plot requires that they be captured
, Any old whizkid or astromech droid can override the security protocols for the city's central computer. The designers never seem to upgrade their firewalls to avoid this.
, The thousand year-old alien battleship of a long-gone empire is always more powerful than the most recent state-of-the-art starship.
, A Shape shifting alien race is found, people constantly try to profit from it things go bad alein rampage occurs
, When the Evil Overlord dies, none of his surviving henchmen move into the power vacuum; instead, his empire collapses. (this too needs to be a red cross mark, IMHO)
, A plucky hero or side-kick sends supposedly veteran fighter scurrying away while yelling at the top of his lungs and firing wildly. They come to some barrier, realize what's happened, and then chase or kill him.
, The story always involves some connection to earth and/or humans, never aliens and a different planet.
, The attackers(good or bad)waste ammo, lifeform power, and overall ships usually trying to defeat the so called "minor ship" that their target is on rather than destroying the main ship that is the heatrbeat of the fleet.
, The attackers(good or bad)waste ammo, lifeform power, and overall ships usually trying to defeat the so called "minor ship" that their target is on rather than destroying the main ship that is the heartbeat of the fleet.
, Someone or something gets sucked into the vacuum of space.
, This builds on common household objects being an achille's heel to aliens, THE CHEMICAL IS ALWAYS CONSUMABLE ALCOHOL!
, Artillery, Tanks, APC's, Bombers, Mortars, and just about anything else we had in WWII besides infantry do not exist in the future. Also, when a laser hits metal, it explodes.
, Never fear - terrifying, renowned evil warriors and troops are easily defeated, even by confused, inexperienced, untrained youngsters. It helps that these super-villains and super henchmen can't aim to shoot at their own feet.
, All money is in credits or valuable objects. There is no paper money or coin., HD
, Crittical shipbaord systems that don't have emergency back-up systems, thus leaving the crew completely screwed if they fail., jc
, Systems failing at the most convenient moments with no back-ups in place, or systems being disabled in battle just when the captain orders them to be used. The timing in which a system is disabled corresponds exactly to to when the captain orders it to be used., TS
, Hot babes are immortal. Their entire civilization can be vaporized under their feet and the D-cup women with breathy voices will survive. But nobody seems to think that hot babes are already the ultimate super solders, and evil conquerors wastefully dedicate big bucks trying to construct robotic death cannons., Mush
, Horror movies (also sci-fi): The sole voice of reason in any crisis is the a**-hole character who dies early on. (Example: in the movie Quarantine, the A**hole charter ,who duly notes that people are turning into raving zombies, basically says “I’m going to go up to my room and barricade the F*** out of it.” He proptly gets eaten by a dog. Everyone else gathers together in the lobby [with the “infected” in the same room] and get needlessly picked off by zombies. , Mush
, If you have a parasitical race of aliens that form raiding parties and steal food from another race of aliens, the parasitical race can not be as big, or bigger, than aliens they pray on, Mush
, Aliens learn to speak English from watching Human Television. Aside from watching babies’ shows (where the name of an object is spoken at the same time the object is shown), most human television shows consist of two people facing each other and speaking about things and events that are happening off screen. Would you learn that the Spanish word for “water fall” is “cascada,” based on a scene in a TV show where 2 people are discussing their recent vacation… while they are standing in their kitchen? , Mush
, If aliens learn to speak English by watching TV, they never mimic the frequent sound effects that play during children’s shows and car commercials. (“These prices are incredible!” *Boing-g-g-g!*), Mush
, Two races or species being at war, even though they have the same values and natural/ industrial resources. , Mush
, A scene where an alien (or a human among aliens) finds the most embarrassing places to hide (like hiding behind the toilet just as some big un-noticing alien decides to take a… potty break. Or hiding in the bedroom closet just as a couple are about to… do non-G rated things to each other.) I know these scenes are intended to be funny, but most of the time, I just feel embarrassed for the poor alien. , Mush
, An advanced, space faring human who crash lands on a primitive planet, knows enough about how to build water tight boats out of wood beams and mud that he can sail hundreds of miles of ocean to reach some far off island (without printed out online instructions, or a native helper who has built boats before), Mush
, If there are no witnesses, crimes go unsolved- even though there is an abundance of DNA evidence and fingerprints. (Technologically inferior races are excluded), Mush
, Robots get high (inebriated, intoxicated) by breathing in the fumes of an exploded battery., Mush
, Marijuana plants get high (inebriated, intoxicated) by breathing in the fumes of a human on fire. , Mush
, If an alien breeds with a human, other members of that aliens’ race don’t call the police or file a complaint about that alien’s abuse towards humans., Msuh
, Technology that teaches the language of an advanced race to a member of a primitive race by “beaming the knowledge” into the primitive person’s eyes. (battle field earth, battle for terra) , Mush
, Aliens have powers (magical powers- like the ability to heal the wounded, detect wicked intentions, survive while frozen in a block of ice, etc.) If it happens to be the humans who are the visiting race, the humans will have no such powers over the aliens., Mush
, People who are brainwashed can be brought to their senses by showing them photos of their families/friends. (Stockholm syndrome is a type of brainwashing [wherein the victim believes whole-heartedly that the oppressor is a good person/ trying to protect them], and it takes weeks, if not years to get a victim back on track- and that’s with therapy provided by professionals.), Mush
, Defeating a monster/ lower life form causes that monster to serve you. (Examples: Pokemon, Final fantasy monsters that can be summoned in battle, those two soldier guys from Planet 51) , Mush
, Aliens who crash land on Earth would rather guarantee themselves an execution once the humans discover that they are in fact aliens, rather than steal human clothing off a clothes line. (Either death is not that big of a deal, or stealing is too wicked of an act to justify your continued survival) , Mush
, Civilian vehicles of the future have built in armories. (War torn refugees fleeing through the “no-man’s-zone” of space are excused), Mush
, Robots that are programmed to fall in love. , Mush
, A mega zoom out shows that the universe is: (1) entirely contained in a glass jar on a shelf, (2) a piece of black spotted mold in a kid’s science fair project, (3) actually a cell of an indescribably huge multi-cellular organism, (4) is the pupil of one of god’s eyes, with heaven and hell being the two halves of a red and blue colored iris. , Mush
, Trust/respect between the lone hero (technology advanced hero) and the primitive hunter-gatherer tribe is formed when the hero gives some miraculous medicine to the chieftain’s sick/dieing daughter. , Mush
, Trust/respect between the lone hero (technology advanced hero) and the primitive hunter-gatherer tribe is formed when the hero’s ship crash-lands on top of the tribe’s worst enemy (often a mountain lion or another warring tribe), Mush
, (3) Trust/respect between the lone hero (technology advanced hero) and the primitive hunter-gatherer tribe is formed when The hero is found lost, wandering around a sacred (and hidden) place while in possession of supernatural tools, weaponry, or medicine., Mush
, (4) Trust/respect between the lone hero (technology advanced hero) and the primitive hunter-gatherer tribe is formed when the hero looks almost identical to the heroine’s dead boyfriend/brother/father whom she misses every day., Mush
, (5) Trust/respect between the lone hero (technology advanced hero) and the primitive hunter-gatherer tribe is formed when the hero’s advanced technology allows the him to effortlessly pass through the "chamber of trials", Mush
, (6) Trust/respect between the lone hero (technology advanced hero) and the primitive hunter-gatherer tribe is formed when a member of the tribe is taken onboard the spaceship and sees his planet (or his town) from a window, Mush
, (7) Trust/respect between the lone hero (technology advanced hero) and the primitive hunter-gatherer tribe is formed when, after finding a radio/ walkie-talkie/ cell phone/ communicator of a dead member of the hero’s crew, the heroine hears the voice of the hero screaming for backup or telling his location and requesting medical assistance. , Mush
, (7) Trust/respect between the lone hero (technology advanced hero) and the primitive hunter-gatherer tribe is formed when the syllables/sounds that make up the hero’s name translate out to “holy-one” “death-bringer” “Sky-man” “forever” “love” “I-give-You-good-luv’en” in the native’s language. , Mush
, Pricking your finger on broken glass and then touching “the serum” is enough to turn you into a mindless daemon every full moon/ every night/ every time someone says the word “spaghetti”/ every time the plot demands that a monster appear. , Mush
, A human trapped on the surface of a planet can be left there for weeks. That human may loose weight or go insane, but he will not develop a vitamin deficiency, a sense of disgust towards nature, or an even greater sense of entitlement. Basically, this cliché makes mostly good things happen to the character when he is left alone in the wilderness, at the brink of starvation., Mush
, Deaf men who can read lips remember what people whisper. Just thought I’d bring that up. , Mush
, A tribe of primitive people (“Primitive” meaning that they think that technology is either magical, or the result of fairies or other nature-spirits) find a grounded spaceship and make house themselves inside of it. After years of living there, no one thinks of pushing any of the colorful buttons or searching through the unearthly objects scattered around the ship. As a result, the tribesmen are shocked –SHOCKED- to discover the “magical” properties of the ship (flying, indoor lighting, etc.) when a different ships’ crewman casually walks in and pushes one of the buttons. , Mush
, Aliens eat some kind of spice that is extremely common in their home planet’s cooking. (as spice that is as common on alien food as salt, pepper, or garlic is on earth food.) When a human character eats some food that has that spice on it, the human gets addicted, gets extremely horny for alien booty, gets turned into a member of that alien species, or gets liver cancer. , Mush
, Aliens thinking that dogs are the dominate race (over humans) based on the evidence that we (humans) clean up their poop. The aliens never seem to notice the part where we humans buy dogs from pet stores, keep them on leashes, and take them to the pound. This basically amounts to keeping dogs in cramped cages, preventing them from making basic free-choice decisions such as choosing where they want to walk, and murdering them when they attack or become too sick. (Now, this cliché is okay if the aliens meet a feral child living amongst a pack of wild dogs or any such situation where the dogs actually are the masters, but not otherwise.), Mush
, Evil men have crazy hair (frizzy, poofy, braided, bald…) , Mush
, Surprise! It was my twin brother/sister all along!, Mush
, (Videogames) Objects that are exceedingly common (or at least, extremely easy to reproduce) are key items that you have to get from some NPC after completing a quest. You never get the opportunity to find or reproduce the key item yourself. (Example: bring key item [garlic bread] to NPC [starving boy]. Acquire key item [garlic bread] from NPC [old lady].) It never crosses your character’s mind to make his own key item. He needs to go on a ridiculously circuitous quest to obtain an already existing one., Mush
, Alien technology that, when activated, forces an unwilling host to play music. , Mush
, For some reason, the misguided villain thinks it’s a good idea to summon satin in his living room. I mean, it’s not like the villain prepared any counter measures to make sure that the price of darkness doesn’t double cross him. , Mush
, The socially awkward, but wholly sympathetic, hero is about to approach a small grouping (usually two) of his friends /collogue /love interests just as they start talking about something that makes it sound like they hate/ have murderous intentions for the hero. Really, the friends /collogue /love interests were saying the opposite of what they actually believe just to illustrate a point. (Example: Shrek 1; Shrek (an ogre) overhears the princess saying the phrase “ugly and princess don’t mix” when she was really talking about herself.), Mush
, The bad guy drinks an unmarked vial of poison, thinking that it was (1) the elixir of life, (2)tasty tasty wine, (3) the cure to the disease that both he and the hero have, (4) the last glass of water in the underground base, (5) a glass of radio-wave emitting nano-bots submerged in drinking water that would act as an ID for the aliens to come and find him. Furthermore, the bad guy will ingest the vial of poison right in front of the hero, taunting the hero that “there is nothing you can do, I’ve already won.” immediately after saying his boast, he grips his chest in agony as the poison begins to attack his nervous system. , Mush
, If a male prisoner and a female prisoner both share the same sell, they will be in love by the time they both make their escape. Never does a young man in his twenties end up sharing a sell with a gross old woman. , Mush
, If a team of people must go back in time to rescue someone (from modern times) who got stuck in the past but has had time to adapt to life back then and BLEND IN, the team tries to casually kidnap the first person they see who has a similar face to the person they are looking for. The person the capture is of course a native of that time, and is severely traumatized by being taken to the present day. The rescuers never think to ask questions that only a person from the present day would be able to answer (Questions like: Who is Mickey Mouse’s friends? What did Michael Jackson do for a living? Where do you find black holes? What type of vehicle is a 747?) , Mush
, The guard or the lone warden who has fallen asleep while he should be watching the prisoner; Often his keys are on his belt, on the desk he is slumped over sleeping on, or on a loan coat rack nub that’s jutting out of the wall. , Mush
, A scientist uses an experimental drug, device, etc. on him/herself without without doing sufficant prior testing and/or risk assessment. Assuming any of his/her colleagues actually care enough to try to talk him/her out of doing something so career-endingly irresponsible and dangerous, their concerns are curtly dismissed as he/she up-ends the testtube/throws the switch/whatever. It never ends well. ("Remeber kiddies, if you experiment on yourself, you have an idiot for a test subject."), mi
, Messages in food (non-supernatural ones) are always true, current, and relevant. Even a rag sewn with the message “Prison brake - midnight tonight” that was planted in a prison guard’s sandwich will not a decoy. , Mush
, ***Hero: “But what can a transparently evil character like you do to help me make amends with my recently estranged love interest?” ***Villain: “I can give you a marginally safe love potion for you and her to drink. Here, swallow every last drop of this precisely proportioned liquid or else you’ll just go into a diabetic coma instead of dying- I mean… falling in love” ***Hero: “Well, you are my father’s trusted adviser and co-beneficiary in the event of his death…”, Mush
, Not once during the hero's week-long adventure in a strange new world does he ever have to take a dump., AA
, If a female character is pregnant, she will invariably go into labor at the least opportune time (two of the many examples available are Padme in "Star Wars" and Scully in "X-Files")., JL
, Any well-known and nearly revered playwright's most famous works are always better "In the original Klingon". Even when there's nothing in the original Klingon that translates into "To be". (Marc Okrand confessed to this, once), TRS
, All technology is compatible (i.e. Independence Day, Mac easily interoperates with Alien tech). Characters rarely need to struggle with translation or operation of any kind of technology (Star Trek IV was a rare example). As a corollary, new technology is always capable of interfacing with old technology. I can't imaging putting a fuel injector into a Model T, or trying to read an 8" floppy disk now., bpw

Silly Science:

, The starship computer can inform the crew of the impending destruction of the ship to the neareast second, but cannot use any countermeasures whatsoever- such things as cutting the fuel supply to the reactor, using sprinklers to put out the fire, or removing air from the area on fire are all apparently impossible.
, spaceships must bank in order to turn
, the engines of a space-bound ships are always needlessly located at the aft section of the craft
, the engines of a space-bound ships are always needlessly located at the aft section of the craft
, Even in the 50th century, after Faster Than Light Travel and A.I. have become common technology, it doesn't seem to be possible to get a radio to work on a spaceship : radio transmission is always filled with static, screeches and sound distorsions, especially if it's a SOS or a warning message.
, Classic weapons are completely abandoned in favor of energy-beam ones, even though energy weapons are susceptible to interferences and cannot penetrate certain shields and forcefields the conventional ones could.
, The now-very-typical presence of the doomsday superweapon. First it was planets, then stars. Instead of wasting so many resources and so much manpower on the construction and deployment of such large, impractical weapons (which the destruction of such is now typically an Achilles Heel to the creators), why not use the same resources and manpower to mass-manufacture traditional weapons (and fleets of ships)that have proven to be successful in the past? I mean, imagine how many TIE Fighters and Star Destroyers the Empire could have manufactured if the Imperials hadnt built the 2 (TWO!!!) Death Stars?! The Rebellion wouldnt have stood a CHANCE! But no... planet destroying superweapons that can be slain by a single pilot in a fighter!
, All human computers must make beeps when presenting information on a screen, the horror to use a system like that and try to look at wikipedia.
, Nobody ever, ever runs out of breath, no matter what.
, Humans can visit aliens and alien planets without some kind of quarantine procedure or without the risk of giving the alien influenza or some other infectious disease, vise versa.
, Asteroids that sound like a passing jumbo jet as they pass.
, Meteors, when falling on the ground, make craters not bigger than themselves and do not damage a vast area around them. In fact, a 100-feet meteor can make a crater more than one kilometer in diameter and could easily destroy a whole middle-sized town.
, Spaceships one fourth the size of the moon have no catastrophic effects whatsoever on earth's tides or climate when they are near earth.
, In the future, all ships have artificial gravity that is just "activated" by the push of a button, with no explanation of the science behind it.
, However far the into the future a story is set, and however advanced the civilizations are, all space vessels in the era lack simple circuit breakers. An energy beam attack or sudden energy surge therefore causes computers on the ship to explode, usually only on the bridge, killing or incapacitating at least one character.
, Even though the vacuum of space has no resistance mechanism such as air or water, a starship that loses power will grind to a halt.
, Aliens have the technology to build ships that can withstand black holes, dust storms, hard landings, and cause asteroids to bounce off like Ping Pong balls. However, our oxygen seems to render them helpless, hence the number of crashed UFOs.
, Spilling a liquid on a keyboard will make a computer crash and/or explode.
,  This is what I've learned from (TV)scifi about aliens and alien planets: Humans and aliens can breathe the athmospheres and eat eachothers food without problems. All planets are at (roughly) 1g and Earth median temperature, severe weather doesn't exist. All species can reproduce with eachother and no xenoracist cares. DNA is the only way to restore genetic information. Cute-looking aliens are never agressive.
, Now matter how wasteful a society is, advanced civilization never ever EVER run out of natural resources.
, Sounds in space
, Even as the ship is about to crash into a planet, nobody ever wears seatbelts
, Sensory equipment in the future combines all possible spectroscopic and medical diagnostics techniques in one handheld device. The science behind such equipment is also never explained.
, There is no question of perspective, ie an observer on a ship can view the entire black hole/galaxy/etc. The vessel is about a millimetre big whilst the object is a couple of thousand miles long in comparison. The fact that it would be impossible to see the arms of a spiral galaxy or gaping hole in space when you're practically in front of it is ignored.
, Most aliens are scary and ugly by human standards.
, Aliens are either equally strong or much stronger than humans. Much stronger is the norm.
, After having sex with innumerable females (human and otherwise) throughout the planet or galaxy, the hero has yet to pick up a venereal disease or sire a child.
, Video conferencing computer screens turn themselves off at the end of the conversation without anyone doing anything. Somehow the computer system knows what is the last thing to be said., GB
, Teleporters that operate by converting crew members from matter into energy is the same principle of vaporizing people with a ray gun. It is not teleportation, but more like replication and it violates the laws of quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. , J.S.
, Starships that travel way beyond faster than light causes crew members to de-evolve or evolve into new lifeforms. , J.S.
, Main characters never a disfiguring scar. If they get a scar, it somehow makes them look sexier, cooler, and more rugged (Squall from Final Fantasy 8, Harry Potter from Harry Potter, Yamcha from Dragon Ball Z.) Female characters never get scars on their faces, necks, shoulders, boobs, and hands. Also, Characters who have been known to cut their wrists, never seem to have scars from previous wrist-cutting-occasions., MM
, Expensive, power-consuming beaming technology is installed in every privet bedroom/living courters of a starship and is specifically designed to in beam hot meals. What a waste of energy! It must cost a lot of power to demoleculize a plate of spaghetti and reassemble 50 meters down the hall. Not to mention it’s a waste of money. Why is it so impossible to make a breakfast order via telephone, and wait 30 minuets for a member of staff to walk down to your room from the mess hall?, MM
, People still have strong Scottish, British, Australian, Jamaican, Southern (as in the southern states in the United States of America) accents hundreds of years from now, despite none of those counties (and regions) still existing. One thing I’d like to mention is that when Hollywood became the major developer of movies and began dominating the entertainment industry, audiences- as varied as their accents may have been- began to pick up the more frequently televised “Californian Accent.” As a result, 50 years after Hollywood first started producing films, nearly all of America spoke with the same accent- with only small communities that had limited access to television and radio maintaining their own “flavor of speech”. My point being, if towns, cities, countries, planets, and Star Fleets are communicating with one another (or at least picking up each other’s broadcasts) then they’d adopt each others’ accents until their was barely any variation. Unless Scotland has become a major dominating force in the federation, then you’d better explain your token Scottish character. I’m counting this as “Silly Science” because the tendency for people in contact with one another to “mirror” each other has been proven and documented in psychology., Mush
, If ever someone contracts a fatal disease, that person is dead in less than 5 days. Whereas fatal debases such as AIDS, Diabetes, and Cancer, take roughly 3 to 10 years to kill you off. , Mush
, Aliens, who are living in hiding on Earth, never become science fiction writers. If you’re a benevolent alien trapped on Earth, and you know that humans are destined for space travel and an eventual “first contact”, then why don’t you prepare us humans with a novel that describes the various alien cultures and how to properly approach them? It’s easy enough to slap an adventuring hero on top of a “Visitor’s guide to Klingon society” and have yourself a decent Sci-fi., Mush
, Antibiotics of the future don’t give people upset stomachs., Mush
, If a “Universal Translator” fails, it turns off. It never spouts gibberish when it malfunctions. Imagine asking someone how their day went and them saying: “Ceratosaur. Breakfast is to the left of speckled-ness, and does if and only if magnet. The color white blends.”, Mush
, Aliens exploding and leaving no trace of a body when they are shot with a hand gun. (online flash games), Mush
, A mechanical planet (literally- a planet made up of plates of metal, gears, and pistons) populated by sentient robots, where there is no sign of an original biological race that built it all. It would be okay if “Funded by the men and women of foundation” logos were stamped every where, but robots can not be an initial life form on the planet nor can planets have natural forming gears or circuit boards. *cough* Transformers, Optimums Prime *cough* , Mush
, 2 dimensional star charts., Mush
, People who have air-tight hover-cars that can travel at thousands of miles per hour need rocket ships to safely travel from a planet to space. (Why not fly your car out to space?) , Mush
, While flying thousands of miles per hour in deep space, you can lean your head out an open window and feel the wind. (and scream: “Yeah-hoo! This is great!”) , Mush
, The kind of animals that can survive in the vacuum of space (in fact, it’s their habitat) are sharks, squids, stingrays, gigantic monkeys, genies, living dust clouds, Chinese dragons ,what ever species Yoda from Starwars happens to be, and what ever species Freeza from DragonBall Z happens to be. (I’m not talking about creatures that need spaceships to survive going though space.) , Mush
, Continuation of previous cliché Little is known about creatures that make deep space their habitat: like how they propel themselves, how they can smell blood from over 10 miles away, how they are able to make audible grunts and growls while still in a perfect vacuum, or how they are able to stay afloat even on the inside of a spaceship with artificial gravity. , Mush
, Robots and Talking computers whose 'voices' are seemingly recorded on analogue tape. At the first sign of malfunction the tape then plays at the wrong speed. Computer: Prepare to meet your doom! Hero: If all your words are pre-recorded, how can you give an appropriate answer to an unexpected future event? Computer: Maaaalfuuuunctionnnnn,,,,,,,,Eeeeeeemerrrrrrrrrgeeeencyyyyy......., GH
, The two-way communicator connects with the person in real-time, before the name has been said. E.G. Commander Riker taps his communication badge- "Riker to Picard," only Picard's badge sounds off and there is no connection delay for the communicator to resolve that Riker wants to speak to Picard and has to repeat the message. Same principle for "universal translators"- the communication is in real time without a delay for translating the words, let alone grammar and conjugation. Furthermore, the alien still mouths in English., RAC
, this is a rarely used cliche but used by jesus and its punching babies, JF
, lasers are often used instead of projectiles, it takes a lot of energy to make a laser that can blast through alien armor why not just make a piece of metal go really really fast and kill it. we have bullets why not just make them better (excludes killzone) also sometimes the aliens or humans use plasma weapons (Halo)., MJH
, lasers are often used instead of projectiles, it takes a lot of energy to make a laser that can blast through alien armor why not just make a piece of metal go really really fast and kill it. we have bullets why not just make them better (excludes killzone) also sometimes the aliens or humans use plasma weapons (Halo)., MJH
, lasers are often used instead of projectiles, it takes a lot of energy to make a laser that can blast through alien armor why not just make a piece of metal go really really fast and kill it. we have bullets why not just make them better (killzone does really well with this) also sometimes the aliens or humans use plasma weapons(Halo), firey blobs of death race towards you . why do lasers have a kick back, unless that light is really dense i can't see lasers having a kick back. for that matter why do projectile weapons have kickback (unless it uses magnets instead of an explosive)., MJH
, Universal Translators are amazing. Not only do they translate any language into English, but they also cause the alien's mouth to move in English too., SD
, What Was Spock Riding, Again? OR Boba Fett's Corollary. The more ridiculous a ship looks, the more maneuverable and effective it is in battle., SD
, They're Only Models! No matter how many moons that M-Class planet has, its gravity and tidal patterns will be exactly the same as Earth's. And if on the off-chance it isn't, one well-placed missile or torpedo to a random moon is all it takes to fix everything., SD
, No matter how big the planet is,the gravity is always the same as Earth's gravity., SBL
, clone gets memories of the person there cloned after then start to think they are them, jt

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Note: The original Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Clichés was originally developed elsewhere. A one point I added the ability for users to add new clichés. This User supplied list has reached the point where the original list is superfluous and I have removed it. The current user supplied list is more interest.