Well, I think everyone’s seen it in sci fi and even other genres. Our hero gets himself into a real pickle. In fact, he might even meet his end. But the show must go on! How do we get out of this? Well. The story ends up being just a dream, or an illusion set up by aliens, of course. Or perhaps the protagonist could somehow be granted the power to turn back time, at least once (as in the first Superman movie from the 1970s). This also happened at the end of two Space:1999 episodes, one in which an alien (really, a transformed human) turns back time to save the Commander and others. In another episode, the attacking aliens reveal that their horrific decimation of the moon base was just an illusion. Fun joke, ay?
Furthermore, before this point we saw The Doctor, The Robinsons, Captain Pike, and Garth from The Starlost all fight off alien illusion merely by stating out loud that they realized it was an illusion. that’s the power of the mind for ya!
But by the 1980s we’d see Bob Newhart making fun of this sort of plot line by having the big series final reveal for his show Newhart show that everything going on within the story arc of Newhart was all just a dream in the head of the Bob Newhart character from his first show, The Bob Newhart Show. In addition, more seriously St. Elsewhere ended its series by showing that everything was just the inner mind of an autistic boy.
So, by the 1990s, this sort of plot definitely was well worn! Let’s hope we don’t see it again for a while.
Want more? Take a look at my book, The Physics and Astronomy of Science Fiction by Steven D. Bloom, available through the publisher, McFarland, and many online sellers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.