What makes Thanksgiving so popular with sci-fi shows? Is it the humanizing touch it brings to supernatural characters? Is it that the holiday affords a unique opportunity to have family-themed episodes? Is it because it's really easy and cheap to film a handful of people sitting around a dining room table?
We don't really care. We're just glad, because we found 16 classic Thanksgiving episodes that could thaw the frost off of even the coldest alien heart.
The Spectacular Spider-Man: Nature vs. Nurture
Spider-Man can't catch a break just to have turkey dinner with his Aunt Mabel, who was just released from the hospital. A good strategy for supervillains who never win is to launch their schemes in conjunction with their archnemeses' social calendars.
Alias: Color Blind
When you're such a super-secret spy that your fiance gets murdered, you might not want to invite a lot of family to Thanksgiving dinner.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force, "The Dressing"
A wine-guzzling robotic turkey from the future tells a story about the eventual disappearance of tacos. Believe it or not, this is one of the easier ATHF plots to follow.
Amazing Stories: Thanksgiving
Two farmers find a hole with mysterious occupants. They send down gifts and receive gold and jewels in return. The show ends with one of the few sick Thanksgiving-themed plot twists that doesn't have to do with Native Americans.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Pangs"
Anya appears savvy by comparing the annual slaughter of turkeys to a ritualistic sacrifice. But, under that definition, "chicken taco night" would also be a ritualistic sacrifice.
A Gifted Man, "In Case of Missed Communication"
A guy's ex-wife comes back from the grave to haunt and nag him into being a good person. In this recent Thanksgiving episode, a woman's reunion with her son is cut short when her son is in a gruesome motorcycle accident. We're not sure who gets the worse deal, the guy who has to be haunted by his ex or the ex whose afterlife consists of following some dork around everywhere.
Jericho: Red Flag
The isolated citizens of Jericho hunt turkeys and receive mysterious air-dropped food, which we now know was sent by the Dharma Initiative.
This episode features three separate Thanksgiving dinners. Soon things go sour and enemies invade. Yet there is a conspicuous absence of people nagging that superheroes always ruin Thanksgiving dinner.
ALF, "Turkey in the Straw"
What begins with ALF explaining his alien Thanksgiving tradition gets even more bizarre when the alien task force is tipped off as to ALF's existence. It makes perfect sense if you're 8 years old.
The Kents' Thanksgiving preparations are interrupted by the Green Arrow getting shot. Fortunately, everything wraps up in time for Clark to get all gooey at his Thanksgiving dinner.
The makers of Smallville decided that Thanksgiving was such a hit that they made another scene four seasons later. Here a turkey-day guest raises suspicions that he might be collecting information for sinister purposes. Awkward, but still not as awkward as the average Thanksgiving family dinner conversation.
3rd Rock From the Sun, "Gobble Gobble Dick Dick"
The wacky fake humans hold a Thanksgiving dinner, but keep tradition alive with real turkey and real family fighting.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch, "Love Means Having to Say You're Sorry"
Sabrina brings her boyfriend home to Thanksgiving dinner and manages to dodge all the inevitable questions about where her parents went to and how come her two aunts live together and why there are pilgrims in the kitchen, etc.
The Incredible Hulk, "Homecoming"
David heads home for Thanksgiving. He must save the farm from plague and an evil developer. He also has to try to stop doing that thing where he smashes up the entire dining room after being nitpicked by his family.
Star Trek, "Charlie X"
Kirk plans a holiday celebration with meatloaf, but then a mysterious alien turns all of the meatloaves into turkeys. That power must be incredible, he can pick up fast-food burgers and change them into filet mignon.
Quantum Leap, "The Leap Home, Part 1"
In perhaps the most epic Thanksgiving episode of them all, Sam jumps into his boyhood self. He spends most of the episode trying to stop his brother from dying in Vietnam and generally freaking everybody out with his future talk.