Stephen Hawking is buzzing across the Internet this morning because of a theory he puts forth in the new, aliens-focused episode of The Discovery Channel's series, "Into the Universe." Basically, he says that aliens are definitely out there somewhere, but attempting to contact them is "too risky." He posits the high likelihood that any extraterrestrials listening are potential conquerors.
Personally, I think Hawking's been watching too much "Independence Day." He's got a point: at least some aliens tuning in to Earth's radio chatter probably are on the lookout for their next potential slave race. But c'mon... let's not forget about the friendly ones. Better to put the word out and draw in a Superman or two than sit and wait for our inevitable subjugation as a slave race. After the jump, find an odd assortment of potential protectors pulled from the history of television and film.
There's no alien more friendly or more powerful than Krypton's Kal-El, better known to the people of Earth as Superman. Sent away from his dying planet in a tiny spacecraft, the infant Kryptonian wound up in middle America, where he was raised with a strong sense of ethics by his parents in Kansas. One can only imagine how he would have turned out if Kal-El had instead crash landed somewhere in the urban jungle that is New York City. Or Gotham City, if you want to be a jerk about it.
ALF and E.T.
I'm lumping ALF, short for Alien Life Form, and E.T., short for Extra-Terrestrial (imaginative, eh?), together into one entry because they're both wild cards. We know very little about the worlds from which they come; maybe Earth lucked out with these two, the softies of their otherwise brutal respective cultures. Regardless, neither seems like he'd fare particularly well in a fight. They're friendly though, even if they can't offer much in the way of protection.
Everyone needs a friend like Ford Prefect, played by Mos Def in "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." The freeloading interplanetary traveler is street smart on the galactic level, always has a towel handy and willingly takes a risk in saving his pal Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) from the destructive power of a Vogon Constructor Fleet charged with demolishing Earth in order to clear the way for a new space travel lane. Ford loses points for not saving all of humanity, but give him some credit: he's just one dude. So make friends with him if you can.
The Coneheads are an interesting case. Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) and his clan aren't exactly friendly to Earth. In fact, their people may very well be intent on conquering us. But when the family of Remulak natives are stranded here, with no way to phone home, they establish a life and, in the process, learn that we're not such bad folks. And let me tell you-- having a double-agent alien working from the inside to stem off an invasion of Earth is tremendously useful.
Howard the Duck
Howard doesn't possess the superpowers that Kal-El does, but he's a tenacious, ill-tempered rascal with extensive training in Quak-Fu. He's also a talking duck, which is enough to at least put off most opponents. Howard has proven himself to have an inner nobility time and again, demonstrated most notably in the 1986 movie in which he successfully fends off an invasion by one of the Dark Overlords of the Universe.