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Dark Skies
Format Science fiction
Created by Bryce Zabel & Brent V. Friedman
Starring Eric Close
Megan Ward
J. T. Walsh
Tim Kelleher
Conor O'Farrell
Charley Lang
Jeri Ryan
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 20
Running time 60 mins.
Original channel NBC
Original run September 21, 1996 – May 31, 1997

Dark Skies is a government UFO conspiracy theory-based sci-fi drama television series from the United States which aired during the 1996-1997 season for 18 episodes, plus a two-hour pilot episode. The success of The X-Files on Fox proved there was an audience for genre shows, resulting in NBC commissioning this proposed competitor following a pitch from producers Bryce Zabel and Brent Friedman. The series debuted September 21, 1996 on NBC, and was later rerun by the Sci-Fi Channel. Its tagline was, "History as we know it is a lie."


Plot summary

20th Century history as we know it is a lie. Aliens have been among us since the late 1940s, but a government cover-up has protected the public from such knowledge. As the series progresses, we follow John Loengard and Kim Sayers through the 1960s as they attempt to foil the plots of the alien Hive. The Hive is an alien race that planned to invade Earth through a manipulation of historical events and famous figures, including most notably the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In addition, the pair must stay one step ahead of a covert government agency that has mixed motives, Majestic 12.

The show featured a number of real-life 1960's personalities in the plot, such as The Beatles, Robert Kennedy, Jim Morrison, and J. Edgar Hoover.

The Hive

Frank Bach (J. T. Walsh) shows John Loengard (Eric Close) alien technology

The series depicts The Hive as an alien species who are covertly invading Earth. They are a parasitic race of small multi-legged spider-like beings that can take control of host bodies, by attaching themselves to the brain. They do this by entering through orifices on the head, commonly the mouth, though they are also shown to enter by squeezing through the nose and ears, with great discomfort to the host. Due to the way they attach themselves to the brain's ganglion regions, the series' protagonists dub the creatures "Ganglions".

Various stages from Alpha to Delta occur which show varying degrees of the infection[1]. Initial symptoms of take-over include drastic mood swings, behavioral abnormalities, and nervous breakdowns, as the parasite adjusts to taking control of the person's mind. Past medical records of a nervous breakdown are a tell-tale sign that someone may have been taken over. The Gamma and Delta stages are where the Hive organism takes total control over the host which becomes nothing more than a shell for the invading organism.

Not all humans make acceptable hosts for the Ganglions. Due to certain genetic factors, a minority of humans are incompatible with the Ganglions' biology: these have been dubbed "Throwbacks". There are several cases where a group of people were abducted and taken over by Ganglion parasites, but a Throwback in the group wasn't infected and simply returned (often because it would be too conspicuous to kill them). Captured Ganglion parasites have been injected with the blood of Throwbacks, causing them to die in agony. The Hive is running various experiments to try to either eliminate Throwbacks or develop more humans who are easier to control, such as growing cloned human babies in cows.

Some time ago, the Ganglions invaded an advanced alien race, dubbed the "Greys": the typical depiction of a Roswell Grey Alien. The Greys were a race not unlike humans though they possessed technology making them capable of interstellar travel. The Ganglion parasites invaded them in much the same way that they're trying to invade Earth now, and by the time they realized what was happening it was too late. Thus the "Grey aliens" seen abducting humans are really just as much a slave race or "shells" for the Ganglions as the infected humans are.

The Hive's language, Thhtmaa, was developed by Reed College linguistics professor Matt Pearson.[2]

When the Ganglions were evolving, apparently before they took over other animals as hosts, they did have a natural predator: slug-like creatures called "buzz worms". They have actually brought samples of the buzz worms along with them with their ships, using them as a particularly gruesome means of executing their own kind.


Guest real-life 1960s characters


# Title Original US airdate
1-1 "The Awakening (part 1)" September 21, 1996
1-2 "The Awakening (part 2)" September 21, 1996
1-3 "Moving Targets" September 28, 1996
1-4 "Mercury Rising" October 19, 1996
1-5 "Dark Days Night" October 26, 1996
1-6 "Dreamland" November 2, 1996
1-7 "Inhuman Nature" November 9, 1996
1-8 "Ancient Future" November 16, 1996
1-9 "Hostile Convergence" December 7, 1996
1-10 "We Shall Overcome" December 14, 1996
1-11 "The Last Wave" January 4, 1997
1-12 "The Enemy Within" January 11, 1997
1-13 "The Warren Omission" January 18, 1997
1-14 "White Rabbit" February 1, 1997
1-15 "Shades of Gray" February 8, 1997
1-16 "Burn, Baby, Burn" March 1, 1997
1-17 "Both Sides Now" March 8, 1997
1-18 "To Prey in Darkness" March 15, 1997
1-19 "Strangers in the Night" May 24, 1997
1-20 "Bloodlines" May 31, 1997

DVD release

Following fan campaigns for many years, an announcement was made that Dark Skies would receive a complete series DVD boxset release in October 2007 (presumably for Region 1).[3] However Sony Entertainment subsequently cancelled the release, citing prohibitive music licensing costs.[4]

Executive producers Bryce Zabel and Brent Friedman received permission from Sony to find a DVD releasing partner to put the series on the market. However, three independent DVD firms, while initially extremely enthusiastic about doing so, also backed away after discovering the potential costs involved in licensing the period music. Zabel told fans on his blog:

"It doesn't mean the idea is dead but it does mean it's not going to be easy. I'm as committed as I've ever been to seeing the series released on DVD so that old fans and new fans can have an excellent quality viewing experience, the way we always intended. Or maybe the conspiracy we wrote about is real and they just don't want the truth to get out..."

On January 11, 2009, Zabel reported that, "Brent and I aren't ready to say that's the end of it, but it's the end of the beginning. We're probably more disappointed than any fan out there."

The rights had been acquired by DD Home Entertainment for a Region 2 release in 2007, but DD Home Entertainment went into administration in July of that year.

CD Soundtrack

To celebrate the show's tenth anniversary, a limited edition CD soundtrack was released on Perseverance Records in September 2006, featuring selections from the original television score composed by Michael Hoenig and a previously unreleased Pilot Suite arranged by The X-Files composer Mark Snow.


  1. ^ Byman, Chris. 1997. Dark Skies: The Official Guide to the First TV Series. London: Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0 340 70784 4. pp. 117-8
  2. ^ Conley, Tim and Cain, Stephen. 2006. Encyclopedia of fictional and fantastic languages. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press. ISBN 0 313 3318 8 X. p.38
  3. ^ For What It's Worth: Bryce Zabel Post on DVD Status
  4. ^ TV Shows on DVD: SONY Gets Cold Musical Feet

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