A few amazing things occurred this week. Images were finally revealed from the James Webb telescope that are giving us a visual representation of the past.
Of course while they are amazing and breathtaking to some, others have found reason to ponder how similar they look to those awful class school pictures from the 1980s..
But it was in this context that aliens and space life really was abundant this week. For some odd reasons I decided to re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-watch the final episode of ALF.. and it just so happened that I also spoke to friends about the little alien from Melmac this week as well..
We already know that Melmac exploded. But why couldn’t Webb find it since it was looking at early space!?
While the James Webb telescope found no evidence of the planet Melmac or ALF’s cat eating friends and family, or Willie Tanner’s real life criminal history, it also did NOT find the continuation of the famous 80s TV show..
Here is a bit of a background..
ALF. THE ALIEN THAT WAS
Those who were fans then or newcomers long after the 20th century may know very well the real pain that ALF brought. the 80s TV show was a hit. He had commercials. He appeared at awards shows.. he had a Monday night regular series on NBC from September 22, 1986, to March 24, 1990..
The show got that popular that he was even invited to the White House by Nancy Reagan for the 1987 Christmas party… There were rumors that President Reagan himself said ALF was his favorite show.
For the long duration of the program, the hairy alien tried dating. He went on Johnny Carson. And from the first episode, he just wanted his heavy hairy and sarcastic body to be able to get back onto a fixed spaceship and back to his home planet again.
(And it is interesting to note that even then Senator now President Joe Biiden got mocked by ALF)
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Think about the pain that ALF felt, forced away from his life.. His planet gone for good and the survivors just zooming around space presumably looking for other lost creatures from the planet. Alf forced away from his home. And on this planet Earth just to search for cats to eat in a society that frowned on it… He even blew up a kitchen..
But in the end, Alf had a tremendously awful existence on Earth despite the humor.. He just wanted to go back to a home that was gone forever… And Willie Tanner never had the right parts to fix the ship to take Alf back up into space. The military was always on to the Tanners from episode one. They figured he was harboring a space creature.
So with this sad existence, it is with particular pain that so many of us watched the finale on that fateful night of March 24, 1990.
By 1989 the show’s ratings were declining. And as its fourth season was coming to a close, network execs pondered whether the series would even continue..
ALF’s writers created a cliffhanger for the season’s final episode that would by default become the series finale.
Here was the plot: While using a ham radio in a failed attempt to contact Australia, Alf intercepted a coded message sent by his old Melmac friends. They invite ALF to join them on New Melmac, an offer he has trouble accepting but ultimately accepts. The Tanners take him to a secluded field and say their goodbyes. Just as the spaceship’s lights approach, the U.S. Military Alien Task Force arrives, capturing ALF and scaring off the approaching alien ship. The episode ended with a title card that read “To be continued.”
And that, my friends, is where it ended.
There was never ever a continuation. Nothing. we never knew what happened.
Did they take him to torture him at a black site? Was he an eventual Dr. Fauci animal experiment on a virus? Did he go crazy and attack all of the humans including the Tanners? So much could have been done. But it just ended with a whimper as opposed to a bang.
However, the network changed its mind and abruptly canceled the show. That fall, a different notable program would debut in ALF’s old time slot: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air..
A 1990 newspaper report in the Baltimore SUN summarized the finale of ALF.. It praised the death of the ALF show.. they longed for the 1988 version, as the 1990 version had been moved to Saturday nights. Death.. The show was doomed.
FAILED ATTEMPTS AT NEW ALF LIFE
There WAS actually an attempt to bring us the follow up on that awful finale. It is rarely recalled because of fan hostility about it…
In 1996, ABC aired the made-for-TV-movie Project: ALF.
The plot is as follows: It revolved around the Alf’s antics while being held captive by a government agency. ALF was the only character from the original series to appear in the film, a fact that contributed to its many negative reviews. The more-than-five-year gap between series finale and TV movie also bred a lack of interest. Project: ALF has largely become a forgotten footnote in television history.
Fans, including us, reject this final movie .. it’s not canon. It is not ALF universe materials. We live in the world where season 4’s cliffhanger still exists as is..
From popular media reports, Max Wright was so ready to be done with the show that when the final day of taping ended, he immediately cleaned out his dressing room and left the studio, without saying goodbye to any of the cast or crew.
It was over. And quite frankly, it was not a proper send-off for what Alf created.
Top this day, it we ignore the ALF project and instead we want that last final season. We desire to know what occurred, how the little alien was able to survive with gun-drawn government officials breathing down his hairy neck..
Another final attempt was made to bring us Alf’s antics.
In 2004, a series called ALF’s Hit Talk Show debuted on the TV Land cable network.
The show featured ALF in a late-night host role, with Ed McMahon as his sidekick. Guests included Drew Carey, Joan Rivers, Bryan Cranston and Tom Arnold.
The show lasted seven episodes before being canceled.
It just was never meant to be.
THE REAL ENDING NEVER HAPPENED
Season 5 was meant to be–and it just did not happen.
So we still long for the REAL true and actual series finale .. that finale that could create finality to the painful existence that ALF felt..
Instead we got knee-jerk reaction style shows .. We received next-to-nothing style programs to just give fodder but not feed.
We cry for Alf.. all these years later. He stands there still, waiting for the government folks to make their decision on what painful future Alf would exerience..
Is there a future for an Alf in the modern James Webb world?
Well.. one of those photos from Webb of the many millions of billions of distant galaxies that harbor trillions of zillions of planets may very well end of Alf’s home planet.
We find comfort in the thought that he is back there instead of some lab..
Stranger Things gave us the massacre at Hawkins Lab.
Maybe Alf could at least give us the massacre in a Secluded Field as he escaped their grasp……..!