Five years after a ship full of Tenctonese slaves crashed on Earth, the “Newcomers” are gradually integrating into human society, holding jobs, holding public office, and struggling for acceptance. LAPD Detective Matt Sikes and his Tenctonese partner, Detective George Francisco, find themselves investigating a case involving the body of a dead homeless man, covered with sores of an unknown origin. They find most of the leads in the case to be dead-ends, but things get more complicated when the body vanishes from the coroner’s morgue. In the meantime, they have their hands full with other emergencies as well, including breaking up a rally of anti-Newcomer “Purists” at a local school which happens to be attended by George’s eight-year-old daughter Emily. The protest rally is quickly disbanded by Sikes, but when class resumes, Emily discovers that bigotry isn’t a phenomenon unique to adult humans. Emily’s older brother Buck actively resents his father’s insistence that he assimilate into human society, opting instead to skip school and fall in with a crowd of like-minded Tenctonese teens, though Buck’s attempts to live part of his life on the streets may have disastrous consequences. George’s wife Susan attends classes of her own, trying to discover a niche she can fill on Earth.
When Burns, a tabloid photographer who hangs around the precinct and continually annoys Sikes, captures a photo of a hulking insectoid creature, and Newcomer bodies begin to turn up horribly disfigured, rumors abound, ranging from an unknown virus brought to Earth by the aliens, or some sort of creature that occupied a Newcomer host body for its trip to Earth. Public sentiment turns against the Tenctonese and tensions rise. Sikes turns to his Newcomer neighbor, biologist Cathy Frankel, for help in deciphering the clues, but it seems that she knows something about the case that she doesn’t want to discuss. Sikes and George mount a stakeout at the site where Newcomer corpses have been found, only to discover that their threat may be more home-grown than they realized.
written by Kenneth Johnson
directed by Kenneth Johnson
music by Joe Harnell
Cast: Gary Graham (Matt Sikes), Eric Pierpoint (George Francisco), Michele Scarabelli (Susan Francisco), Lauren Woodland (Emily Francisco), Sean Six (Buck Francisco), Terri Treas (Cathy), Molly Morgan (Jill), Jeff Marcus (Albert Einstein), Jeff Doucette (Burns), Ron Fassler (Capt. Grazer), Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (Sgt. Dobbs), L. Scott Caldwell (Lyddie), Diane Civita (Jill’s Mother), William Frankfather (Purist Leader), Ketty Lester (Teacher), Loyda Ramos (Puente), Tim Russ (Ketnes), Brian Smiar (Priest), Evan Kim (Dr. Lee), Tony Acierto (Marcus), Jeff Austin (Randall), Terry Beaver (Newcomer Cop), Lisa Donaldson Bowman (Miranda), Jade Calegory (Mark), George Cheung (Rowdy #2), Gus Corrado (Linen Manager), Robert Allan Curtis (Salvage Manager), Trevor Edmond (Blentu), John William Evans (Vagrant), Brooks Anne Hayes (Receptionist), Marco Hernandez (Tito), Kevin Hurley (Second Streetperson), John Kirby (Supporter), Aaron Lustig (Amos N. Andy), Melora Marshall (Woman Purist), Joe Mays (Informant), Richard Mehana (Dr. Hurwitz), Martha Melinda (First Streetperson), Catherine Paolone (Diane), John Patrick Reger (Ramna), Bert Rosario (Bernardo), Andrea Stein (Homeowner), Tiere Turner (Black Kid), Steve Vandeman (Rowdy #1), Ed Williams (Newcomer), Biff Yeager (The Man)
Notes: The two-hour pilot of Alien Nation is distinctly different in tone from the rest of the series, and makes many major changes from the story established in the film of the same name. Writer/director Kenneth Johnson enlisted the help of several people he had worked with on V, including composer Joe Harnell and actors Diane Civita and Evan Kim. Alien Nation has another connection with Johnson’s earlier work: the basic premise of Alien Nation, minus the characters, was intended to be the premise of the (never produced) season season of V, which would have seen the alien Visitors withdraw from Earth en masse, except for at least one ship which crashed on Earth, its complement of reptilian Visitors forced to become an underclass in a storyline that would’ve commented on Apartheid. This is the only episode in which Sikes is seen to smoke, though that may have been an attempt to stay “in character” as a street bum.
LogBook entry by Earl Green