Alien Nation (1989 – 1990)
Financial difficulties for the network it was on ensured that Alien Nation – one of my favourite shows growing up – got the axe after only a single season of 22 episodes. Several years later five TV movies were produced, which continued the story, but it was never the same.
Alien Nation was set several years after an extra-terrestrial ship had crash-landed in the desert and these aliens had been integrated into society. It was another in the long line of California-based cop shows that proliferated TV at the time, but its unique selling point was its overarching sci-fi theme, and the fact that it offered a human and alien partnership in place of the usual mismatched cop premise.
The Newcomers – as the alien race is called – have many quirks, which is the genesis of much of the show’s humour. They are bald with spotted or striped skulls; they have two hearts; they get drunk on sour milk; and the male of the species gives birth… after roughly four months.
Almost every episode of Alien Nation is a somewhat blatant social commentary on (usually) racism and (sometimes) sexism. It’s rarely subtle and never particularly clever, but these are such emotive subjects that sometimes obvious works just as well.
I’ve written hundreds of stories in my life, over a million words (you’ll have to trust me on that one). I’ve written comedies and thrillers. I’ve written romance and drama. I’ve written sci-fi and fantasy. I’ve written westerns and stuff for kids. I’ve even penned some erotica (much to my mother’s embarrassment), but what I’m writing now is possibly the first real monster story I’ve tried… well, ever.
I mention this only because for the longest time – in my head – I was a horror writer. I think somewhere in there I still am. I read horror and that’s what I wrote, or so I thought. But looking back over those hundreds of titles and those million words, it turns out that very little of it would actually fit in the boundaries of the genre. Maybe ten percent; fifteen at a push.
I’ve always wanted to write a pure, no-nonsense monster tale – one that doesn’t necessarily live in the real world, and doesn’t feel the need to apologise or explain itself either. Sometimes horror just is and creatures just are.
This may just be my first time.
At the height of my fever yesterday, I finished my first full length sci-fi story, called Wyrmhole, which I thought was quite impressive given that I could barely remember my own name for most of the day.
And in the cold light of the following afternoon, it feels like death has smeared itself all over me, and isn’t going away anytime soon.
Enjoy your dinner folks!