It lasted just one season (1989-90) as a television series, but Alien Nation lives on in the five full-length films released here under the Ultimate Movie Collection banner. Produced between 1994 and ’97, the five made-for-TV movies, all directed by Kenneth Johnson, take up where the series (and the 1988 theatrical feature) left off. A brief preamble provides the backstory: Following the crash of an alien slave ship near Los Angeles, the survivors, a race known as the Tenctonese, have endured a lengthy quarantine and are now assimilating into human society. While these "Newcomers," as they’re known, are essentially humanoid in appearance and behavior, they also have two hearts, remarkable strength, and other characteristics that distinguish them from Earthlings; and like any minority, they suffer the slings and arrows of racism and discrimination, principally at the hands of "purists" who’d like nothing better than to send the alien "slags" back to wherever they came from. Take away the sci-fi trappings, and what we’re left with is a fairly standard police procedural in which human Detective Matt Sikes and his Newcomer partner, George Francisco (with Gary Graham and Eric Pierpoint respectively filling the roles played by James Caan and Mandy Patinkin in the original feature), battle a Tenctonese "overseer" intent on returning his race to slave status ("Dark Horizon"), attempt to sort out the identities of two creatures who appear to be half-human and half-alien ("Body and Soul"), investigate George’s son’s involvement in a criminal cult ("Millennium"), and so on. What distinguishes Alien Nation is its exploration of the various manifestations of human-alien interactions. This is often played for laughs; the Newcomers are given names like "Kenny Bunkport," ""Douglas Fir," and "Carrie Onbag," they dine on such delicacies as "bladder and ligaments," and they have certain sexual proclivities that are decidedly different from ours (Sikes’ romantic involvement with a fetching Newcomer is fodder for misunderstandings that are often amusing and occasionally quite touching). Director Johnson and his cohorts also seem intent on making a Big Statement about race relations, and although the results are sometimes a bit clunky, the set makes for consistently compelling viewing. Extensive bonus features include audio commentary, "making of" featurettes, gag reels, and more. --Sam Graham
Disc 1: "ALIEN NATION: DARK HORIZON" Full Screen Feature**Commentary by Director Kenneth Johnson**The Making of Alien Nation: Dark Horizon**Gag Reel**STILL GALLERIES:*Kenny's Personal Album*Alien Nation Cast Reunion 2001*Production & Publicity Stills*Behind the ScenesDisc 2 Side A: "ALIEN NATION: BODY AND SOUL" Full Screen Feature**Commentary by Writer/Director Kenneth Johnson**The Making of Alien Nation: Body and Soul**Gag Reel**STILL GALLERIES:*Production Stills*Kenny's Personal Album*Concept Art*Alien Nation Cast Reunion 2006Disc 2 Side B: "ALIEN NATION: MILLENNIUM" Full Screen Feature**Commentary by Writer/Director Kenneth Johnson**The Making of Alien Nation: Millennium**STILL GALLERIES:*Kenny's Personal Album*Production Stills*Concept Art**STORYBOARDS:*Alien Jungle Opening*Volcanic Landscape*Alien Jungle #2*Steel Mill Finale*New Year's EveDisc 3 Side A: "ALIEN NATION: THE ENEMY WITHIN" Full Screen Feature**Commentary by Writer/Director Kenneth Johnson**The Making of Alien Nation: The Enemy Within**STILL GALLERIES:*Kenny's Personal Album*Production Stills*Concept ArtDisc 3 Side B: "ALIEN NATION: THE UDARA LEGACY" Full Screen Feature**Commentary by Writer/Director Kenneth Johnson**A Family Gathering: The Director and Actors Look Back on Alien Nation**STILL GALLERIES:*Kenny's Personal Album*Production Stills*Concept ArtSystem Requirements:Running Time: 447 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: SCI-FI/FANTASY/ALIENS Rating: NR UPC: 024543458463 Manufacturer No: 2251276
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