Alien Nation

Alien Nation
Leslie Bevis as 'Cassandra'
Leslie Bevis as ‘Cassandra’

Certain networks seem to make a living out of cancelling fine TV shows before their time.  Fox, in particular and seemingly more so in the 90s, cancelled their share of shows before their time.  I don’t blame them all that much during this time period, they were a struggling network and had to cut costs, but one of the best sci-fi programs ever to grace the small screen was Alien Nation.

Based on the theatrical film of the same name, Alien Nation follows the standard crime drama/body cop premise but with a slight twist.  One of the cops is an alien.  In this case, it’s George Francisco, played by Eric Pierpoint, who not only from another world, but has a family to support.  As a Newcomer, George and his family must not only face discrimination from Los Angelinos but from humanity in general.

The show starred James Caan
The show starred James Caan

His partner Sikes, played by Gary Graham, is the tough and rough LAPD cop who has seen his share of troubles over the course of his career.  He doesn’t like George at first, he has his own prejudices, but soon is his most loyal supporter, often standing up for George when need be.

The show did well in the ratings, tackling issues such as the aforementioned racial issues with Newcomers, plus many other social problems many American could relate to.  There were also great action scenes, solid cop drama, and some humor elements, unlike the film which was very dark and gritty.  I loved the movie with Mandy Patinkin and James Caan, but the show really delved deeper into the mythos of the aliens and their journey from slaves to viable members of American society.

Mandy Patkin was an alien during the series
Mandy Patkin was an alien during the series

It ran for 22 episodes and because Fox had serious financial issues at the time, they were forced to cancel all of their drama programming.  The animated show The Simpsons was one of the few to survive this purge.  Alien Nation survived though, to an extent, by launching five TV films over the course of the next few years after cancellation and it’s nice to have those too.

It was a great show that deserved more but I will take what I can get.  Click here if you are looking for other great television options. You’ll be glad you did.