1986 | United States

US sitcom about an Alien Life Form (ALF), who follows an amateur radio signal to Earth only to crash land on the roof of a garage owned by the Tanners, a middle class family living in the suburbs of Los Angeles. 

Unable to return home, the 229 year-old alien is taken in by the Tanners' where he instantly wins over the family. They hide him from the US military and their nosy neighbours, the Ochmonek's. Like Mork in Mork and Mindy, ALF takes a comical if sometimes cynical view of life on Earth. Fearing that the planet might suffer the same fate as his own homeworld, he tries to convince the president of the USA to stop the nuclear program. 

ALF was portrayed by a live-hand puppet and voiced by the series' creator Paul Fusco. The production of ALF was technically difficult and demanding. All four lead actors - Max Wright (Willie Tanner), Anne Schedeen (Kate Tanner), Andrea Elson (Lynn Tanner) and Ben Hertzberg, also known as Benji Gregory (Brian Tanner) - have admitted to a high level of tension on the set. The series ran for four years from 1986 and during that time NBC capitalized on the success of the series by airing a Saturday morning spin-off series ALF: The Animated Series, set on ALF's home planet of Melmac, which ran from 1987 to 1988. 

Fans of the series were left disappointed when the final episode ended with ALF being captured by the U.S. military. Apparently this was not supposed to be the finale, as the original airing ended with the words "To Be Continued" on the screen. The producers supposedly had a verbal agreement with NBC to produce at least one more episode to resolve the cliffhanger. But the series was cancelled and the conclusion was never made. It was finally resolved six years later in a TV movie Project ALF

Published on November 27th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.