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, California 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.
The storylines generally revolved around morality plays on the evils of racism and bigotry using Newcomers as the discriminated minority. As fictional immigrants, Newcomers could "stand in" for hot-button social commentary about African-Americans and Mexican-Americans (as well as sexual minorities like gays) and invert the usual expectations. For example, 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 such lines as, "If you females had to feel the pain we males feel during pregnancy, there wouldn't be any babies." The series offered insightful social commentary by illustrating what it means to be human and the often bizarre rituals we observe.
Differences between the movie and the TV seriesEdit
- In the movie version the human detective is named Detective Matthew Sykes (played by James Caan). In the TV series Gary Graham plays Detective 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, and Eric Pierpoint in the TV series. These are played as much the same character.
- The TV series has a much lighter tone than the movie, with extensive subtle humor and wordplay. The movie is essentially a film noir piece, very gritty and hard-bitten.
- Many aspects of Newcomer culture are explored in the TV series, including childbirth, religion, family, history, longing for their home planet, etc. 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, within the film, that 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.
- Both detectives work for Captain Warner (Francis X. McCarthy) in the movie and Captain Bryon Grazer (Ron Fassler) in the TV series.
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The weekly series ran for just one season, from 1989 through 1990, when a financial crunch at the fledgling Fox Broadcasting Company|Fox Network caused Fox executives to cancel all dramatic series. A second season 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 finally continued with five well-received television movies (including all the original cast).
- 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)
- Detective Matthew Sikes - Gary Graham
- Detective George Francisco - Eric Pierpoint
- Susan Francisco - Michele Scarabelli
- Emily Francisco - Lauren Woodland
- Buck Francisco - Sean Six
- Dr Cathy Frankel - Terri Treas
- Albert Einstein - Jeff Marcus
- Captain Grazer - Ron Fassler
- Beatrice Zepeda - Jenny Gago
- Burns - Jeff Doucette
- Sergeant Dobbs - Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs
- Jill Molaskey - Molly Morgan
- Uncle Moodri - James Greene
The series was released on DVD January 3, 2006 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment|20th Century Fox. The five telefilms that followed after the series was cancelled were released in Region 1 by Best Buy exclusively on September 11, 2007, and are set to be released wide on April 15, 2008