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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 19 May 2018 at 1:23pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

In the "What disc are you watching?" thread (movies), there was some discussion about aliens showing up in INDIANA JONES. It then got me thinking about the times they showed up in TV shows, perhaps inappropriately.

An alien showed up in the seventh season of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. Now, as crazy and wacky as that show was, it did occupy a certain reality. It had a certain verisimilitude (thanks, Richard Donner). It's not a stretch to imagine Bo and Luke Duke existing in our world. So when an alien showed up in the episode "Strange Visitor To Hazzard", it just didn't feel right.

Same with POLICE ACADEMY: THE SERIES (a spin-off from the film series, so occupying the same continuity). Now, that franchise was very crazy. But, like the Dukes, it did occupy a reality that you could believe and imagine existed somewhere in the US. So when an alien showed up in that series, that also didn't feel right.

Sometimes it works. THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and THE BIONIC WOMAN had verisimilitude, but when aliens did show up in those shows, they somehow made it work (in my humble opinion). I was as skeptical as anyone when I first read a TV listings magazine - and saw that Bigfoot and aliens would be meeting Steve Austin. But it worked. Maybe it was the performances, maybe it was the writing, maybe somehow they managed to make it credible, but it worked.

It works more for me when there's a sci-fi setting, hence why I didn't mind it in THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN or THE BIONIC WOMAN. It doesn't work so well in a "real-world" setting, which is what THE DUKES OF HAZZARD and POLICE ACADEMY: THE SERIES were aiming for. It seemed a step too far.

So, folks, what shows featured an alien presence that you appreciated? And what shows featured an alien presence that you didn't appreciate?

And whilst you're here, is there a show you think might have benefited from alien appearances? 
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 19 May 2018 at 4:44pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Mork making his first appearance on HAPPY DAYS.
Not sure how big a hit that episode would have been if it was anybody else but Robin Williams.
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Ed Aycock
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Posted: 22 May 2018 at 2:22pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

CHiPs had a bizarre alien episode in its final season.  I believe it was with either Kyle or Kim Richards.  Note these episodes often tend to happen later in a series run. 


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John Popa
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Posted: 22 May 2018 at 3:27pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Maybe an odd example but I hated when the alien showed up on "The Flintstones" especially given how he became a regular'ish character. It didn't feel at all in line with the world of the show.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 22 May 2018 at 3:59pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Jeez, I didn't know aliens had shown up in CHiPs or THE FLINTSTONES. You learn something new every day here!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 May 2018 at 5:30pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Maybe an odd example but I hated when the alien showed up on "The Flintstones" especially given how he became a regular'ish character. It didn't feel at all in line with the world of the show.

Altho remarkably prescient of the "ancient aliens" codswallop that presently stains the airwaves!

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 12:12am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Doug Centers wrote, "Not sure how big a hit that episode would have been if it was anybody else but Robin Williams."

If I remember correctly, the role was originally cast with perennial 70's era guest-star John Byner (hmm...) When he became unavailable, producers went with the then-all-but-unknown-on-television Williams, who did not fit the smaller costume. They then had to raid the costume dept. for the suit worn by Colonel Green in the Star Trek episode, "The Savage Curtain," adding the inverted silver triangle for greater visual interest. 

As for other shows, I never bought the "Uncle Martin" character on "My Favorite Martian." I don't think he fit in with that show at all. Okay, no. I'm kidding. There was a short-lived Steven J. Cannell series for which I retain great fondness called, "Broken Badges" about a group of police officers initially introduced as being on psychological leave who nonetheless investigate cases in a screwball manner. One of their opponents on the force is a big, dopey jock-type who is constantly haranguing the group. When bad guys threaten his life, he tries to get assigned to psychological leave by pretending to be "Argo, the Venusian." It was one of the worst episodes of anything I've seen on television, and came one week after "Strawberry," which was one of the best. Fortunately, Argo was a fraud, but the performance given was not substantially different from others of the time.

Also unbelievably and irretrievably stupid: The aliens from the second "Man From Atlantis" TV movie, "The Death Scouts." Don't watch. Don't ever watch. Listen to me, for God's sake, please, do not ever watch "The Death Scouts." You will only have yourselves to blame for the scene of the aliens in the children's pool.


Edited by Brian Hague on 23 May 2018 at 12:13am
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 12:17am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

John Popa wrote: "Maybe an odd example but I hated when the alien showed up on "The Flintstones" 

As a kid, I hated hated hated hated hated the Great Gazoo with the fervor of a hundred million burning suns. I still don't like him. The fact that he's in "Viva Rock Vegas" is what's keeping from seeing that film. 

Well, that and God-given common sense. 

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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 4:23am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The Time Tunnel went downhill the moment aliens started appearing in it about midway through the series' run. Even though The Time Tunnel had a fantastical premise, I found the aliens jarring when they showed up in silver face paint and hand-me-down costumes from Lost in Space. It might have helped if the scripts featuring these extraterrestrial visitors had been good but, sadly, they were pure hokum.* Personally I wish The Time Tunnel had avoided aliens or stories set in the future.

*Deliberately so, it would seem. I have a copy of the original script for The Kidnappers episode, and it is so much better than the very much dumbed down final version that was committed to film.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 5:09am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Surely we cannot have this conversation without mentioning THE COLBYS.

What were they thinking?
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 5:41am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

SOAP. I don't remember the details but if I recall, it was a big plot point. 
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 7:55am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Brian H: "I hated hated hated hated hated the Great Gazoo with the fervor of a hundred million burning suns."

I didn't like him that much.

So here's MY controversial suggestion: I would have liked more aliens on Star Trek TOS. I understand that from this time frame, it's easy to look back and say, "Why not?" At the time, budgetary and story constraints* prevented the use of real aliens, and I don't know if it would have gone over well or not. And there were a few aliens that I thought worked great - Gorn, Horta, the iron-eating gaseous entity, etc.

But too many occurrences of humans-as-aliens seemed to prevalent - and again, that's from the current perspective. (And truth be told, adding a forehead prosthetic didn't do a lot better in Next Gen.)

Shows with unusual alien appearances... I want to mention "Invasion from Outer Space" on The Green Hornet, but that turned out to be a hoax. But it makes me think that aliens would have been a perfect addition to an episode of Batman.

Robbie, I assume we're skipping shows like "Lost in Space", "Alf", "V", or "My Favorite Martian" whose basis was interacting with non-Terran entities.

I do so enjoy the aliens on every year's Simpson's "Treehouse of Terror" episode.

I suppose it sounds odd, but I really would have enjoyed an alien appearance in an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show". Just to see a realistic treatment of bigotry and hatred as attenuated by Sheriff Andy.

It might have been fun if the Hulk had encountered an alien. Especially one that affected him mentally or physically.

*Let's recall that Star Trek was described as "Wagon Train to the stars" - so indians and bandits worked better than talking buzzards or cactus people. :)
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 1:05pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

 James Woodcock wrote:
Surely we cannot have this conversation without mentioning THE COLBYS.

Absolutely!

 Eric Sofer wrote:
Robbie, I assume we're skipping shows like "Lost in Space", "Alf", "V", or "My Favorite Martian" whose basis was interacting with non-Terran entities.

Yes, avoiding those. No-one was surprised to see aliens in those, it was the premise.

But an alien showing up in Hazzard County seemed bizarre! 

As for the Hulk, aliens might have been going too far given the verisimilitude the show was going for, but I would have liked to have seen Bigfoot in that series.


Edited by Robbie Parry on 23 May 2018 at 1:06pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 1:13pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Aliens showed up pretty early today on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, altho the first time it was handled quite well.
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 24 May 2018 at 3:30pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

My mother was a big GENERAL HOSPITAL fan and would be watching it every day when I got home from school. 

If I had nothing else to do, sometimes I'd sit and watch the end of the episode so I could immediately switch over to whatever I liked watching.

They had an entire story arc devoted to an alien from the planet Lumina (I always remembered the name because I though it sounded kinda cool).

But yeah...geez...aliens. I wonder if any other daytime soaps did anything like that?
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 24 May 2018 at 3:32pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

It might have been fun if the Hulk had encountered an alien. Especially one that affected him mentally or physically.

I remember my Hulk episodes fairly well, but I'm drawing a blank...did they ever do a "Hulk with Banner's intellect" episode?
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 May 2018 at 3:54pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Not really, perhaps "Prometheus" came closest to that, Ronald.
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John Popa
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Posted: 25 May 2018 at 7:02am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

But yeah...geez...aliens. I wonder if any other daytime soaps did anything like that?

-----

The "General Hospital" spin-off had vampires and "Days of Our Lives" had a character possessed by the devil, which isn't exactly aliens but still a bit out of left field for standard soaps.
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 25 May 2018 at 9:26am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Not really, perhaps "Prometheus" came closest to that, Ronald.

And a'googling I go! Thanks!

The "General Hospital" spin-off had vampires 

Spin-off...was that called Port Charles? I have a very vague memory of that show.

Robbie - to answer your original question of: And whilst you're here, is there a show you think might have benefited from alien appearances? 

The A-Team. 

Maybe they're hired to rescue some prisoner from a stronghold somewhere and the prisoner turns out to be from another planet.  

...and, in the spirit of over-the-top, yet awesome 80s ridiculousness, during the episode (or maybe right at the end) there's a subtle hint or reference made that Howlin' Mad Murdock is actually one of them.  ;)  

*edited for typos


Edited by Ronald Joseph on 25 May 2018 at 9:33am
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 25 May 2018 at 12:00pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Ronald, nice idea, but nooooooooo! I like that as wacky as that show was, it retained a certain amount of verisimilitude.
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Michael Sommerville
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Posted: 26 May 2018 at 6:39pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Great now I have the voice of Harvey Korman saying dumb dumb going through my head
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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 27 May 2018 at 1:43pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I seem to recall Knots Landing having a Poltergeist style episode.
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Jabari Lamar
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Posted: 27 May 2018 at 9:30pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Wow, I had no ideas Dukes of Hazzard ever had an alien on it. I'm going to have to look that up now.

The aliens and bigfoot on the bionic shows seemed appropriate since they were already, sort-of, "science fiction" shows by their very premise. 

And the Great Gazoo works fine on The Flinstones, once you realize that the show is actually set in the post-apocalyptic future, not the prehistoric past. Wink wink. 

Thinking about it, Mork's appearance really shouldn't have worked on Happy Days, but I didn't have a problem with it at the time, for some reason. Although didn't they try to leave it open as to whether Mork was real or if they whole episode was just a dream? I vaguely recall a later episode in the series where Fonzie met a woman who turned out to be the Ghost of a woman who was killed in some kind of car accident, and tried to get him to kill himself so they could be together, and then that was implied to have just been a dream too. Maybe that "out" helped it work?

I was also a fan of SOAP. One lead character, Bert, was abducted by aliens who sent a shape-changing alien in his place. Eventually the real Bert escaped and got his life back, but then his wife turned up pregnant and it was unknown if Bert or the alien was the father. The show also had a story where another character's child was possessed by the Devil. But that show was meant to be an over-the-top parody from the beginning, so I guess that's why those wacky stories worked. 
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Jim Muir
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Posted: 29 May 2018 at 1:20pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I'm really surprised Knight Rider never had aliens!
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 30 May 2018 at 10:31am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

It might have been fun if the Hulk had encountered an alien. Especially one that affected him mentally or physically.
-------------------------------
I remember my Hulk episodes fairly well, but I'm drawing a blank...did they ever do a "Hulk with Banner's intellect" episode?
-------------------------------
Not really, perhaps "Prometheus" came closest to that...

Yes. "Prometheus" was the closest The Incredible Hulk came to an aliens episode or a "Hulk-with-Banner's brain" episode. There's a huge radioactive meteor strike and Banner ends up near it. Gets him stuck mid-change. So, he's basically just a swole, swarthy dude with white eyes that talks kinda how the comic book Hulk of the time talked (minus third-person references).  The titular "Prometheus" was a research facility that was looking for little green men, but found themselves a big green one, instead. They think the Hulk is an "E.T." because they found him near the space rock. And y'know, the green thing. 

An impressive two-parter and a stand-out of the series. 

I guess executive produce Kenneth Johnson thought "actual" aliens would be too outlandish. The same Kenneth Johnson that had an android Bigfoot (among others) and alien friends on his Bionic shows. And a "real" psychic on The Incredible Hulk. 
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