Alien Nation

 

Alien Nation is a science fiction television series, loosely based on the movie of the same name. Gary Graham starred as Detective Matthew Sikes, a Los Angeles police officer reluctantly working with "Newcomer" alien George Francisco (from the planet Tencton), played by Eric Pierpoint. Sikes also has an on again-off again flirtation with a female Newcomer, Cathy Frankel, played by Terri Treas.

 

TV Guide included the series in their 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon"

 

Storylines:

 

The storylines generally revolved around morality plays on the evils of racism and bigotry using Newcomers as the discriminated minority. As fictional extraterrestrial immigrants, the Newcomers could stand in for social issues about African-Americans or Hispanics, as well as sexual minorities such as homosexuals, and would invert the usual expectations. For instance, during the run of the series, George became pregnant (the male of his species carrying the fetus for part of its gestation) and during much of the episode dialog included lines like, "If you females had to feel the pain we males feel during pregnancy, there wouldn't be any babies." The series offered social commentary by illustrating what it means to be human and the often bizarre rituals we observe.

 

Development:

 

In an April 2, 2008 episode of Fanboy Radio (#463), creator Johnson explains: Having been responsible for science-fiction television series such as The Six Million Dollar Man, V and The Incredible Hulk, was approached for the television adaptation of the 1988 film Alien Nation. He had no interest in the project and agreed to watch the film which left him unimpressed except for one scene when a Newcomer, George, leaves his suburban wife and child and goes to work. Johnson returned to the network, which envisioned a weekly science-fiction version of Lethal Weapon, and sold them on a different concept of social commentary about what happens when a new minority appears overnight. He intended his version to be more akin to the film In The Heat of The Night than a traditional action film.

 

Differences between the movie and the TV series:

 

  • In the movie version, human detective "Matthew Sykes" is played by James Caan. In the TV series, actor Gary Graham plays the role of "Matthew Sikes"
  • Detective George Francisco, (originally named "Sam Francisco" by the Human Immigration Authorities) the Newcomer detective, is played by Mandy Patinkin in the movie. Eric Pierpoint plays the character in the TV series.
  • The TV series has a much lighter tone than the movie, with extensive subtle humor and wordplay. The movie is essentially a noir piece, very gritty and hard-bitten.
  • Many aspects of Newcomer culture are explored in the TV series, including childbirth, religion, family, history, and longing for their home planet. In the movie, Newcomer culture is hinted at but never explored.
  • In the movie, Francisco has a wife named Susan (played by Kendall Conrad) and a son (called "George Jr." in the credits, although Mandy Patinkin states that within the film, he was named "Richard" after Richard Nixon) played by Brian Lando. In the TV series, his wife is still named Susan (Michele Scarabelli), but his son is named Buck (Sean Six). He also has a daughter, Emily (Lauren Woodland), and gives birth to an additional daughter, Vessna.
  • In the movie, Sykes's daughter is married. In the TV series, she is unmarried and is of college age with a boyfriend.
  • Both detectives work for Captain Warner (Francis X. McCarthy) in the movie. In the TV series, it is Captain Bryon Grazer (Ron Fassler).

 

Cancellation:

 

The weekly series ran for one season, from 1989 through 1990, and was one of the few successes the fledgling Fox Network had at the time. However, the network suffered from financial shortage caused by lower-than-expected advertising income. As a result, Fox executives cancelled all of their dramatic series for the 1990–1991 season. A second season of Alien Nation was clearly expected by the producers, as the season ended with a cliffhanger. The show built a strong fan base, and popular demand led to "Dark Horizon", the episode that would have begun the second season, being novelized and adapted as a comic book as well as spawning a series of novels. Four years later, after a change of management at Fox, the story of Alien Nation continued with five television movies (including all the original cast), picking up with the cliffhanger.

 

TV Movies:

 

  • Alien Nation: Dark Horizon (1994)
  • Alien Nation: Body and Soul (1995)
  • Alien Nation: Millennium (1996)
  • Alien Nation: The Enemy Within (1996)
  • Alien Nation: The Udara Legacy (1997)
  • Note: These last two were made back-to-back, and because Terri Treas was in a relatively advanced state of pregnancy, her character Cathy Frankel appears only briefly in each.

 

Original movie:

  • Alien Nation (1988)
Alien Nation - Season One

Season One Episodes

 

TV Movie Alien Nation: The TV Movie
1.01 Fountain of Youth
1.02 Little Lost Lamb
1.03 Fifteen with Wanda
1.04 The Takeover
1.05 The First Cigar
1.06 Night of the Screams
1.07 Contact
1.08 Three to Tango
1.09 The Game
1.10 Chains of Love
1.11 The Red Room
1.12 The Spirit of '95
1.13 Generation to Generation
1.14 Eyewitness News
1.15 Partners
1.16 Real Men
1.17 Crossing the Line
1.18 Rebirth
1.19 Gimmee, Gimmee
1.20 The Touch
1.21 Green Eyes

Alien Nation Theme

Alien Nation

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