In the late 80s early 90s, PBS aired a sci-fi miniseries that I never got to finish. It seemed to be about a group of initiates being chosen for something. The only scene I distinctly remember is: the group of young men walk into a big dark room and there were two huge alien beings. They had no legs, just torsos and long gangly arms. For whatever reason, the men had on spacesuits but the skin on their legs was not covered. The aliens would grab the bare skin and indicate that that individual was not worthy. The aliens indicated two men that were to go on to the next level. The scene cuts to the two chosen guys in their new living arrangements. That's all I remember.

  • were they humanoid despite lack of legs? was this american-made or perhaps british?
    – releseabe
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 5:39
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    If someone posts the correct answer, you can accept it by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons as per the tour.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


Based on your description of a spacesuit with bare legs I believe you are looking for BBC serialisation of The Tripods by John Christopher. I also believe it was broadcast on PBS as I notice one or two references to PBS in my google search for the show. As the show was made by the BBC in the mid 1980s your time frame is correct for this show too.

The aliens were depicted as three legged torsos with a single eye. The scene you describe is with the aliens inspecting candidate humans who will be their servants. They do indeed grab at the exposed legs and flesh of the humans. This scene is in episode 5 of season two.

You can watch the entire season on youtube but the scene you are describing appears at 9 minutes into the episode.

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    This show sticks in the memory because the BBC cancelled it before filming the final part of John Christopher's trilogy. Hilarious in hindsight when the show is called "The Tripods"!
    – skyjack
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 6:59
  • The "spacesuits" didn't cover the whole body because the alien city is not a vacuum. It is similar to Earth air but has something in it poisonous to humans. So all they need is the helmet with filters on it to take out the poisonous part.
    – nebogipfel
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 4:59

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