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In 1564, Nostradamus predicted the destruction of Earth in three terrifying waves. The first wave is here.
—Cade Foster, Opening Narration
First Wave (1998-2001) was an early Sci Fi Channel original series. The show starred Sebastian Spence as Cade Foster, a man trying to expose an alien conspiracy to conquer the earth. After the aliens destroy his life and frame him for his wife's murder, he discovers a book of prophecies by Nostradamus that names him as the "Twice-Blessed Man" who is destined to save the world.
Cade teams up with a conspiracy theorist and skilled hacker, Crazy Eddie (Rob LaBelle), to expose the invasion over the Internet. He later meets a sympathetic alien, Joshua (Roger R. Cross). Jordan Radcliffe (Traci Elizabeth Lords), a rich woman with her own private militia who vowed to destroy the invaders after they killed her family, joins the cast for the third and final season.
Season 1 finally got an official DVD release in 2011.
- Adventure Towns
- Alien Abduction: Subverted: members of the Alien Abduction Support Group are revealed to be hypnotized by aliens to recall false memories as part of an experiment.
- Alien Catnip: Salt is a potent drug to the Gua.
- Alien Invasion: A textbook infiltration. The Gua aren't quite sure what to expect from humans, and are trying to find ways to weaken Earth's defences and turn humans into slaves, in preparation for an all-out attack.
- All Just a Dream: Cain captures Foster and puts him into a machine that convinces Cade that it is Twenty Minutes Into the Future and humans have lost the war with aliens.
- Bad Future: A girl comes back from Twenty Minutes Into the Future, in which the Gua rule the Earth, to keep Foster from being killed.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Nostradamus was an alien refugee. His prophesies come true because the aliens use exactly the same tactics on every world, with zero variation, it seems.
- Big Bad: Mabus.
- Bluffing the Advance Scout: A version of this is attempted by Joshua in order to prevent the invasion of Earth by the Gua or, at least, forestall the Second Wave. He continually brings up the experiment that resulted in Cade Foster (AKA Subject 117) becoming their greatest enemy. Joshua argues that, if every 117th human is The Determinator like Foster, then the invasion is doomed from the start or, at least, will be a Pyrrhic Victory. Joshua does not succeed in cancelling the invasion, but it is put off indefinitely.
- Captain's Log: Each episode starts with a fake Nostradamus quote, followed by the hero's exposition of what it could possibly mean. Sounds like he is reading from a journal.
- Cassandra Truth: Our heroes try to prevent and reveal the first stages of an alien invasion. No one but a small collection of conspiracy nuts believe them.
- Casual Interstellar Travel: Subverted. The Gua are able to send only small objects through wormholes (called "white holes" in the show). Most of these are small spheres encoded with an alien's consciousness, which are later uploaded onto a human/Gua hybrid clone. (The first Gua spheres arrived on Earth in the late 1940s and would erase the minds of any curious humans who chanced pick them up, replacing them with their own.)
- Conspiracy Theorist: Crazy Eddie.
Cade: Nice saber.
- The Cracker: Crazy Eddie. "I've been hacking into government databases since I was thirteen."
- Cuckoo Nest: The final episodes did this.
- Very effectively too, considering the whole alien plot of the first wave of invasion was to drive a few people insane as a test, and protagonist Cade grows increasingly unhinged over the course of the series.
- The Dragon: Cain.
- Either/Or Prophecy: The key prophecy from the Lost Quatrains of Nostradamus:
On the seventh dawn of the seventh day;
- Basically, it's up to Cade (the "twice-blessed man") whether Earth will be conquered by aliens or not.
- The Faceless: Mabus.
- Fake Guest Star: Rob LaBelle as Eddie shows up in almost every episode, as does Traci Elizabeth Lords as Jordan in the third season, but only Sebastian Spence as Cade is listed in the credits sequence.
- Fiery Redhead: Jordan Radcliff.
- Government Conspiracy: A shadowy government agency knows about the aliens but is not willing to do anything to stop them.
- Grand Theft Me: Mabus is able to force his consciousness into any human's body without even touching them. Does this to kidnap Jordan.
- A Gua scientist develops a way to transfer his consciousness by touch. Body Surfs Foster.
- G-Rated Drug: The Gua can easily get addicted to table salt, although their High Command frowns on such weakness and orders the addicts killed. This was discovered by accident when Foster was interrogating a wounded Gua and poured salt on the open wound. The result was a seriously stoned Gua. Given the Gua mastery of genetic engineering, it's strange they don't remove this weakness from their hybrid husks.
- Groundhog Day Loop: A quantum pocket prison built specifically for Joshua, after the other Gua discover that he is a human sympathizer. An entire episode is focused on Foster and Joshua attempting to break the loop, which ends in the destruction of Earth by the Gua. Not only do they succeed, but also trap Cain in Joshua's prison.
- I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: The Gua can get high on table salt.
- Immune to Drugs: The Gua hybrids are built to be stronger than regular humans and immune to our diseases and, presumably, our drugs. But they get completely stoned on table salt.
- Informed Ability: Mabus is said to be a seer but never demonstrates this ability. In fact, Foster outwits him pretty often.
- In-Series Nickname: Foster is nicknamed the "Alien Hunter" by a kid who found Crazy Eddie's website. Of course, Nostradamus nicknamed him the "Twice-Blessed Man".
- The Masquerade
- McGuffin: The Hammer.
- Meaningful Name: "Gua" means "power to overcome" in their language. They named themselves that after overthrowing their alien invaders.
- Memory Gambit: Mabus claims that Foster is a Gua agent brainwashed to think of himself as human. Neither confirmed nor disproved.
- Mirror Universe: Foster is transferred to a mirror earth where all text is reversed, and the U.S. is ruled by a military dictatorship. Crazy Eddie is a tyrannical officer.
- Mistaken for Pedophile: In one episode a teenage boy who reads Crazy Eddie's website thinks his neighbor is an alien and gets Cade to come to his house. The kid's parents are quite worried when they find an adult man in their son's bedroom, become more worried when they find out they met on the internet, but luckily when Cade claims to be a reporter they buy it.
- Naughty Tentacles: Weird tentacle coming out of his wife's clone choking Foster during sex.
- No Body Left Behind: The partially-human bodies the aliens use dissolve immediately after death so that humans won't analyse them and discover the alien genes, exposing the alien presence. Of course, that means anyone who sees an alien die discovers that something strange is going on.
- But not everyone immediately thinks "aliens". When Crazy Eddie first sees a cut off hand dissolve, a conspiracy nut that he is, he immediately blames the government and their super-secret projects.
- Opening Monologue: Cade Foster begins each episode (except for the pilot) with a quatrain from the "hidden chapters" of the prophecies of Nostradamus and spends the episode trying to interpret the archaic wording into the show's reality.
- Our Wormholes Are Different: Joshua claims the Gua use "white holes" to transport objects from their planet.
- Pinch Me: In approximately every third episode.
- Psychic Powers: A telekinetic human girl working for aliens in the appropriately named episode Mata Hari. Kills people by crushing them.
- Public Domain Artifact: Thor's hammer is an alien weapon.
- Puppeteer Parasite: Occasional MO of the Gua (though they more frequently used artificial hosts).
- Reverse Mole: Joshua.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Gua, complete with Nazi uniforms.
- According to Joshua, the Gua used to be peaceful beings, whose favorite pastime was contemplating the universe, until they were invaded by a violent race. This forced them to radically alter their society in order to fight off the invaders. The name Gua means "the power to overcome".
- Self-Mutilation Demonstration: Inverted when Foster is captured by people claiming to be government agents who know the truth about the Gua. To prove he is really human, the agent in charge let's Foster stab him in the hand, as aliens have a Healing Factor. The hand doesn't heal, convincing Foster. Later, it is revealed that all this was an elaborate alien ploy. In fact, it was difficult for them to create an arm that wouldn't heal.
- Sense Freak: The aliens, downloaded as they were into vat-grown human bodies as the initial part of their invasion, quickly figured out that sex in human form was somewhat more satisfying than in their original bodies, where sex was painful and thus only for procreation.
- Puppeteer Parasite
- Ten Little Murder Victims: Numerous times and in every variation. They added the further complication that the hero himself was usually also an impostor in the group, and had to spend much of the episode convincing the others to trust him.
- Walking the Earth
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: The title refers to the first step of the aliens' three-step plan.
- You Have to Believe Me
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Numerous times.