When you think of Thanksgiving TV episodes, you probably imagine warm and fuzzy things, not cat-eating aliens from the planet Melmac. But we here at SYFY WIRE definitely think of cat-eating aliens from the planet Melmac, so we've rounded up the best genre Turkey Day episodes to keep you entertained this Thanksgiving.
Sci-fi and fantasy shows still bring out the turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie. They also tend to invite shapeshifters, extraterrestrials, vampires, demons, subterranean things with an unearthly level of intelligence and other non-human entities to dinner. Not that a holiday with a shapeshifter you think is your zombie brother can't be heartwarming. It just won't be stereotypical.
While most of these episodes do involve a high-calorie feast at some point, those that don’t summon pilgrims to cook dinner, so it all evens out in the end.
Yes, these episodes were all actually released on Thanksgiving. After the parade. Probably before dessert. If you don't do football and you'd rather watch something less like a talking greeting card this year, try streaming one of these episodes that will make you see Thanksgiving with a third eye.
Bewitched, 'Samantha's Thanksgiving to Remember' (1967)
If Aunt Clara never came crashing through the chimney in her sleep, Darrin would have never found himself arrested and tried as a witch (pretty ironic considering who his wife is). It’s just that Clara was missing those Plymouth days and accidentally took everyone back several hundred years with her.
How to avoid getting burned as a witch? If you ever find yourself in 17th Century New England, watch your language. If the Pilgrims found "hey there" blasphemous, who knows what they would think of memes.
Amazing Stories, 'Thanksgiving' (1986)
You know things are going to get weird real soon when the opening credits are backward.
Dora’s sadistic stepfather Calvin thinks he’s found a strange goldmine when he lowers a bucket with a flashlight down into the well and instead of water or a flashlight, he finds a hunk of gold. Of course, he ignores the mysterious Illuminati-esque note from alien scholars.
Sending down food gets Dora paid in gold and jewels while Calvin thinks he can take it all if he lowers himself into the shadows. Get ready for a different kind of turkey.
ALF, 'Turkey in the Straw' (1988)
When you have an alien with eight stomachs joining you for Thanksgiving, expect to find your turkey devoured before the oven even warms up. His punishment? Banishment and pumpkin Jell-O (which you really can’t blame him for calling rubber vomit).
Oh, never mind the visit from a suspicious drifter who thinks he can cash in on 55-grand if he reports a squat, furry alien with an enormous nose to the Alien Task Force. Someone watches too much My Favorite Martian. After all this, ALF still has an appetite for cats.
Quantum Leap, 'The Leap Home' (1990)
Would you go back to the Thanksgiving when you were 16 if it meant you could save your father and brother from untimely deaths?
Changing the past is not so easy as sci-fi novels make it sound like. How can you convince a guy who thinks caffeine and cigarettes kick-start his heart — and who eats astronomical amounts of cholesterol — that he needs low-fat everything? Never mind convincing your Navy SEAL brother out of deploying to Vietnam.
Getting called a hippie is the least of Sam’s issues when a quantum leap could mean life or death.
Charmed, 'The Truth Is Out There... And It Hurts' (1998)
Don’t ever ask a Magic 8-Ball anything if you’re a witch. It could end up in premonitions about a warlock with a third eye who shoots laser beams into people’s heads so he can eat their souls.
That will inevitably lead you to the Book of Shadows, which clearly has a mind of its own when it opens up to the same page every time Prue asks it another question. Creepy. At least her disastrous truth spell, which is pretty much a crash course on how not to get your ex back, disappears in 24 hours. The warlock, not so much.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 'Pangs' (1999)
Whacking demons is a killer way to start Thanksgiving. There is truth in Anya’s calling Turkey Day a ritual sacrifice, especially when Xander has unknowingly released a Native American vengeance spirit that cuts his victims’ throats and then hacks their ears off.
Buffy also multitasks. How she can insist that you have to whip cream by hand and tell Giles how to mash potatoes in between dealing blows to the spirit is nothing short of amazing. Meanwhile, Spike is tied to a chair and whining about how not one drop of blood is being spilled to appease his insatiable hunger.
Some entities just don’t care for turkey.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch, 'Love Means Having to Say You're Sorry' (1999)
Kissing a random college guy means the worst Thanksgiving ever for Sabrina, who gets ditched by Harvey for Collette and now dreads her aunts’ cooking even more than Mrs. Kinkle’s spackle stuffing.
Hilda and Zelda take people who don’t cook to an entirely new level. Instead of takeout, they conjure Pilgrims who would rather burn them at the stake than cook the turkey. It doesn’t help that Salem is the officially unofficial taste-tester.
Bonus: the witches and Pilgrims shake it in a totally rad '90s living room dance party. So not puritanical.
Roswell, 'Max in the City' (2000)
The other homesick aliens in human bodies are a little too excited for Max to attend an interstellar summit in NYC so he can take up his crown as the king of Kivar, except the representatives from the five worlds that orbit their star are not having it. The entire population supposedly wants him dead.
That moment you realize why your predecessor vanished off the face of Kivar is also the moment you realize that you are not going home — as in a galaxy-far-far-away home. Just keep your feet on Earth.
Charmed, 'There's Something About Leo' (2004)
A pot of demon blood almost gets mistaken for spaghetti sauce. Unlike spaghetti sauce, though, it almost blows up the entire house when Leo reveals what he is. The Charmed Ones now have to deal with the Avatar collective while making sure a coven of demons doesn’t sacrifice the Innocent.
By the way, the Innocent also hates Avatars. If arguments at the Thanksgiving table are a family tradition, this episode will make even raging relatives look like angels.
Smallville, 'Rage' (2006)
If there is a reason not to invite your boyfriend to Thanksgiving dinner, him ghosting on you just when things were getting hot could be it. Of course, Lois doesn’t realize that Oliver Queen was just doing his Green Arrow thing by suiting up and tracking down a carjacker — and getting shot in the process — which explains that mysterious white powder in his apartment. It might heal mortal wounds but makes him rage like a werewolf.
At least he stops shooting up in time to crash Clark’s Thanksgiving dinner.
Heroes, 'Thanksgiving' (2009)
Telling your mom you saw your brother’s dead body is probably not the best way to start a holiday that is supposed to be about giving thanks.
It gets weirder as Nathan’s face distorts in ways that are otherwise not humanly possible, meaning that is not his zombified body passing the gravy, but a shapeshifter. The dinner conversation at Samuel’s carnival turns more uncomfortable than that when murder accusations explode.
Maybe you’d rather have a seat at Claire’s table, where meeting her mother’s obnoxious boyfriend and her dad’s new (sort of) girlfriend is just as awkward but a little less paranormal.
Smallville, 'Ambush' (2010)
How would you like an assassination attempt at your Thanksgiving dinner?
So it doesn’t exactly happen at the table, but close, and Lois can thank her dad for setting the whole thing off. He calls his military cronies to investigate Clark for vigilantism and tries to sneak in a tracking device, which is just about the last thing anyone needs when their only mission is shopping for cranberries.
Factor in the Suicide Squad and a rocket and… just tell that to your parents next time they give you grief about your significant other.