Even in Farscape the aliens were basically upright-walkers with eyes, nose, mouth and similar ways of thinking to humans.
Ender's Game, if it's anywhere near true to the novels, has realistic aliens.
Greg Cox wrote:
In large part it depends on the story you're trying to tell. If you're trying to tell, say, a morality play about racism or euthanasia or overpopulation, what's the point of making the aliens eight-armed crystalline monotremes or whatever? That's not the point of the story. If anything, making the aliens too exotic would just be distracting.
I disagree. If the message of a show is that we can learn to tolerate and accept people's differences it undermines that point for all aliens to act exactly like us. You're not really accepting people's differences, you're saying that we can only really accept people who think and behave exactly like us.
I was talking about the message of a particular episode, not the series as a whole. "Acceptance of alien lifeforms" is certainly the theme of some
Trek episodes, but by no means all
of them. If this week's episode is instead about political prisoners or global warming or genetic engineering or some other issue that doesn't
require a completely alien lifeform, then making the aliens-of-the-week giant slime molds isn't necessary.
Look at "Mark of Gideon" or "Conscience of the King" or "Chain of Command," for example. Those episodes were about overpopulation and war crimes and torture, respectively, so there was no need to make the aliens particularly alien to deal with those issues.
Would "Half a Life" be as affecting if David Ogden Stiers's character was a telepathic cactus? Probably not, because that story wasn't about that.
Not every morality play has the same moral!