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"
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.
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:
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.
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|
|1.05||The First Cigar|
|1.06||Night of the Screams|
|1.08||Three to Tango|
|1.10||Chains of Love|
|1.11||The Red Room|
|1.12||The Spirit of '95|
|1.13||Generation to Generation|
|1.17||Crossing the Line|