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The PAM-10: Top Alien Species

With the impending release of Predators we PAMers have decided to look at some of the greatest extraterrestrial species to have graced popular culture. They come in all shapes and sizes and have many different personalities. Anyway here we go:

10. Transformers
Transformers (TV Series), Transformers: The Animated Movie, Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

The planet of Cybertron had been destroyed after a long civil war. Two warring factions come to Earth where they continue their conflict. As Homer Simpson once said, "Earth is a good planet to settle things on."

This living species of robots have the ability to change into Earth’s vehicles. They are split between the good Autobots who want to protect Earth, led by the honorable Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons with their leader Megatron. Some of the fun comes from Megatron’s second-in-command, Starscream, who is always trying and failing to overthrow his leader.

It has been suggested that the cartoon series was created just to sell the toys, but it gave us action and characters we love. The first live action Transformers movie was the biggest film the American military had been involved with since Black Hawk Down, but it’s ironic that the Decepticons were mostly jet fighters and tanks whilst the Autobots were civilians vehicles. And the less we say about those God awful Twins from "Fallen," the better.

9. Vogons
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (TV Series), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005).

The Vogons have been an important part of the "Hitchhiker’s" universe, having been in the radio play, novel, TV series, and the movie. They have served as one of the main antagonists of the series. They are a horrible slug-like species that are aggressive and bureaucratic, as well as having created Vogon poetry, the third worst poetry in the universe. Destroying Earth to make an intergalactic highway also does not win them many friends.

8. Symbiotes
Spider-Man (1994 animated series), The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008 animated series), Spider-Man 3

The Symbiote is an organism that needs to bind with another to live. The Symbiote made its debut in Marvel’s Secret’s War #8, attaching itself to Peter Parker/Spider-Man. It strengthens Spider-Man's abilities, but also increases his aggression to danger levels. When Spider-man was able to rid himself of the beast, it bound itself to Eddie Brook and Cletus Kasady to create Venom and Carnage, two of Spider-Man’s most formidable foes.

The Venom storyline has enjoyed massive popularity and it has made its way into 3 of the Spider-man cartoons and of course Spider-man 3 (I know it that film was met with a lukewarm reception, but I enjoyed it). If the reboot series becomes a success then we will certainly see Venom return at some point.


7. Predators
Predator, Predator 2, Alien vs. Predator, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

Predators are an interesting species. They have advanced technology and their favorite passtime is hunting other species, including us, the beloved homo-sapiens. But they are a noble species; they only hunt humans when they are armed and they do not attack children. They particularly enjoy fighting and hunting in tropical climates. The best Special Forces stand little chance against them.

Predators have of course been in film, but they have also made it into the gaming universe as well as a comic-book series. They have had to fight tough opponents, including Xenomorphs, Superman, Batman and the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

6. The Na’vi

Aliens do not have to be an invading species, Humans too can be evil invaders. The Na’vi are, as Colonel Quaritch (Stephan Lang) describes them, "fond of arrows dipped in neurotoxin that will stop your heart in one minute." He also says, "they have bones reinforced with naturally occurring carbon fiber" and "they are very hard to kill." The Na’vi are almost cat-like, with fantastic agility and strength; they are expert hunters and hiss. But they have a long history and culture, with a biology that can link them to other organisms on the planet of Pandora. A wonderful creation by James Cameron and the most recent addition to the encyclopedia of famed movie aliens.

5. Time Lords
Doctor Who (TV Series)

Time Lords are from the planet of Gallifrey. They are a species that have acted as guardians of the universe, attempting to keep balance, but also staying neutral during key moments. There is only one who is active for the forces of good all the time: The Doctor, with humans being his favorite species.

Time Lords are highly intelligent, human in appearance and have long lives, which results in them changing their appearance and personality (useful when you need to re-cast an actor). In the new series, the Time Lords had fought a bitter time war against the Daleks, which resulted in the extinction of the species, except for the Doctor and the Master. The species is held in low regard by the Doctor, and the Master works for the forces of darkness and self-interest.

Since the rebooted series we have already seen three actors playing the Doctor: Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith, two actors as the Master, Derek Jacobi and John Simm, and Timothy Dalton as Rassilon. And, considering the nature of the show, the Time Lords will find some way of returning.

4. The "Prawns"
District 9

Not all aliens come to Earth with hostile intentions: the "Prawns" are a species that has suffered from the worst aspects of humanity. Having lost their leadership, they have been stuck in a slum in Johannesburg since 1982. They serve as a clear metaphor for South Africa’s history of Apartheid as well as current issues of xenophobia and poverty.

This insect-like race has some fun weaponry. And whilst most of the species seem to be workers, they still are intelligent and they have hope in the form of Christopher and his son. They offered the real emotional drive in District 9. Depending on the nature of the sequel, it would probably be the first film where we root for the aliens during an invasion.

3. Daleks
Doctor Who (TV Series)

Born on the planet of Skaro, this genetically-engineered species was created by the evil scientist Davros. They live in strong battle armor with powerful weapons and are able to extract information with ease. Every single emotion has been bred out of them, except for hatred. This highly intelligent species can be seen as an illustration of fascism and religious fanaticism, and they are the Doctor’s greatest nemesis.

Because of the Doctor, the Daleks were believed to be extinct after the Time War, but they seem to have a better track record at surviving the conflict, especially when compared to the Time Lords. After the episode "Victory of the Daleks,"they certainly will be returning for more action. And if you are wondering why the Daleks top the Time Lords on this list, well it’s very simple: evil is just a lot more fun.

2. Wookies
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars Holiday Special (TV)

The Star Wars series is littered with characters we all know and love: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Darth Vader. Chewbacca and the Wookies are also beloved by fans. Wookies are a strong and noble species, fighting against the Sith in Revenge of the Sith. They have a powerful sense of loyalty to their friends. 

Whilst they are primitive to other races of the Star Wars universe and cannot speak English, they are still able to communicate with humans and perfectly capable of using technology. So it would be useful to have a wookie as a friend. On a side note, you may not know that the character of Chewbacca was based on George Lucas’ Alaskan Malamute, who also served as an inspiration for Indiana Jones.

1. Xenomorphs
Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Alien vs. Predator, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

And now we have reached the crème de la crème of this list: the Xenomorphs. Serving as the primary antagonist of the Alien series, the Xenomorphs are the ultimate life form, with acid for blood, as well as strength, agility, excellent hunting skills, and the ability to survive the vacuum of space. They are quick learners, but they are very much like an insect, with a queen at the top of their hierarchy. They also have a strange life-cycle.


The Xenomorph is the focus of attention for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, who want it for their weapons division. They are so Machiavellian in their approach that they do not care who gets hurt, including space-ship crews, Marines and a planet of British prisoners.

Alien was on of the best horror films ever made, with a emphases on great characters and the theme of the male fear of pregnancy. Aliens is one of the greatest sequels ever, focusing on action, with the Xenomorphs and Marines acting as a metaphor for Vietnam.


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