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Friday, 22 February 2008 07:30

Alien Nation

A TV spin-off of a dark SF movie ...


US - 1989-90 - 23 episodes (60 mins) - colour

Developed for television by Kenneth Johnson, who had earlier been responsible for V, and based on the film written by Farscape creator, Rockne S O'Bannon, Alien Nation used the mismatched cop format as a thinly veiled commentary on racial intolerance.

Already familiar staples from television, the impulsive, divorced detective partnered with an introspective, family man differed significantly in with the quieter George Francisco being a Newcomer; one of a quarter million Tenctonese slaves onboard an alien spaceship that crashes on Earth in the Mojave Desert. Humanoid in appearance, their intellectual superiority to Earthlings has failed to endear them to reactive Los Angeles residents who refer to the Tenctonese as 'slags' and give them menial jobs.

Although the police stories were structurally routine, Alien Nation focused on Francisco's experience as the first Newcomer detective in the LAPD, as well as the reception his family gets moving out of the alien ghetto into a human neighbourhood. Making the point effectively, without being too preachy, the family angle concentrated on the Francisco daughter Emily, attending a new school where she is the only Newcomer on campus, and son Buck, rebelling against integrating into human culture and joining a Newcomer gang. The series also significantly developed Tencton culture, from their eating habits to reproductive methods.

Lasting only the one season, the characters were revived for five television movies between 1994 and 1997, which resolved the series cliffhanger ending and saw the return of the Tenctonese's slave masters, The Overseers.

Gary Graham as Detective Matthew Sikes
Eric Pierpoint as Detective George Francisco
Michelle Scarabelli as Susan Francisco
Lauren Woodland as Emily Francisco
Sean Six as Buck Francisco
Terri Treas as Cathi Frankel
Jeff Marcus as Albert Einstein


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