I have a little DVD player in my micro-gym and I’ve been watching TV shows while coasting along on the stationery bike. I recently finished the 1989/90 series of Alien Nation. Yes, I’m generally suspicious of cop shows and yes, it is coated with a thick layer of nineties TV cheese – but it was much better than I remembered. For it’s time it had a pretty advanced take on immigration, diversity and even gender roles. It was also pretty witty in spots and had some delightful casting.
Alien Nation was also produced by Kenneth Johnson who also created and produced V, with its rat-eating space Nazis1. But in AN, the aliens are the ones without much power and rather than trying to dominate or exterminate us, they just want to find ways to co-exist in a reasonably harmonious fashion. It impressed me that Mr. Johnson had the creativity to interpret the concept of aliens among us in such different ways.
It impressed me even more that Alien Nation had such a sincere message of love and hope. I kind of need that right now.
I’ve now moved on to Season One of The Leftovers which is way more intense. Maybe because it’s starting to feel like a documentary.
1The aliens in Alien Nation do eat rodents sometimes but it’s not a big sinister secret – just a different cultural palate.