This LA-based police series
charts humanitys first contact with aliens, whose slave ship crash-landed
stranding almost 300,000 genetically-engineered humanoids on 20th Century
Earth. These Newcomers (or Tenctonese) are given human names and integrated
into society, but they find themselves at the bottom of the ladder, largely
feared and despised by the human race.
Background: Alien Nation
was originally a 1988 movie starring James Caan (Rollerballs
Jonathan E and The Godfathers Sonny Corleone) as Matt Sykes and
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride) as Newcomer detective Sam (later
George) Francisco. Conceived by Rockne OBannon (The New Twilight
Zones story editor), when the successful movie spawned the TV series,
Kenneth Johnson, who created the V mini-series, took over. With the
roles recast for the series, the first episode retells the story featured in
the motion picture.
First Run: September 1989 to
Number of Episodes: The show began with a
22 episode season, and was then cancelled due to low ratings. It was revived
four years later with the Dark Horizon TV movie. Four more followed.
Good Guys: Matt Sikes
(Gary Graham), George Francisco (Eric Pierpoint), Georges wife Susan
(Michele Scarabelli), their teenage son Buck (Sean Six) and young daughter
Emily (Lauren Woodland). Also on the side of truth and justice are
luscious Newcomer MD Cathy Frankel (Terri Treas), cloddish Newcomer janitor
Albert Einstein (Jeff Marcus) and loutish Police Captain Bryon Grazer (Ron
Bad Guys: Definitely the Newcomer
slave ship Overseers, the Kleezantsun, who aim to enslave the Newcomers and the
entire human race. Also, the Purists, a fanatical human political movement, who
want to maintain the purity of the human race.
And Isnt That... Star Trek: Voyagers Tim Russ
guests as Ketnes in the series pilot; The X-Files Mitch Pileggi is
Jean Paul Sartre in The Night of Screams; Babylon 5s
Andreas Katsulas is Coolock in The Game and Star Trek: Deep Space
Nine (and Buffy) regular Armin Shimerman is Cyril Roman in Gimme
Overdone Clichés: Many
of the Newcomers were given joke names by the overworked immigration officials,
so we get to meet Harley Davidson, Al Fresco, Paul Bearer, and a host of other
wincingly bad puns.
Fashion Statements: Typical
1990s Hill Street Blues meets LA Law, with George affecting
a suit for his day-to-day activities on the force.
Photo © Fox TV
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|Fountain of Youth
Matt discovers that an old friend is using Newcomer organs to prolong human
With Los Angeles ablaze with riots and the police at full stretch, a gang
attacks the police station. .
While the Newcomers celebrate the Day of Descent, George remembers the horrors
he endured on the ship being forced to play a sort of Russian roulette. When
bodies start piling up, he suspects that the game is now being played on
Generation to Generation
A Tenctonese religious box is stolen and sold at auction. The box
contains a gateway which can mentally transport those who truly believe back to
the Tencton homeworld.
Chains of Love, Sikes and Francisco find that a
drug which makes Newcomers fall in love, is being used to trap victims, and in
Real Men George is pregnant and crabby and later
on gives birth. Enough said.
Nation UK Transmission details
Sci-Fi: Tuesdays, 20.00 (from Sept 7th)
Sky MovieMax Digital: See magazine for details