Rating: Not Rated
Paul Fusco as ALF (Gordon Shumway)
Max Wright as William ‘Willie’ Tanner
Anne Schedeen as Katherine Daphne ‘Kate’ Halligan Tanner
Andrea Elson as Lynn Tanner
Benji Gregory as Brian Tanner
John LaMotta as Trevor Ochmonek
Liz Sheridan as Raquel Ochmonek
Interactive Menus Hosted by ALF
The Original Un-Aired Pilot Episode
Gag / Outtakes Reel
ALF Trivia Facts
Dolby 2.0 Digital Surround Sound
Running Time: 616 Minutes
This is the complete first season of the TV series “ALF” that aired on NBC in 1986. There are 25 episodes included on this 4 disc set.
The Tanners are your typical suburban family. Kate is a devoted soccer mom. Lynn is a frustrated young teenager who’s into guys and driving. Brian is a 6 year old boy. Willie Tanner is the patriarch who likes operating a ham radio and keeping his home in order. Their life is turned upside down one evening when an alien crash lands on their garage.
The furry little alien is named Gordon Shumway, but they dub him “ALF” (short for Alien Life Form). ALF is a fun loving, irreverent, eating machine. He also likes to eat cats. Unfortunately, his home planet of Melmac was destroyed and he is stranded on Earth. The Tanners take him in and he quickly bonds with all of them except for Kate. Despite her misgivings, though, she agrees to let ALF stay in their home. The Tanners soon find themselves dealing with the impetuous little alien while keeping him hidden from the government and their nosy neighbor Mrs. Ochmonek.
ALF is not rated.
I have to confess that ALF was one of my guilty pleasures while growing up. While living overseas, we had my grandmother tape every episode and mail them to us. My sisters and I loved the show and we got a big kick out of the little Muppet ripoff. We watched ALF for a number of years and even followed his Saturday morning cartoon, comics, and more. Something about his mischievous sense of humor and wit really appealed to us. Watching it again 18 years later I see how cheesy many aspects of the show were, but I still appreciate the humor of the character. ALF really embodied how bizarre a sitcom concept could be. After all, a prime time series featuring a puppet cat eating alien doesn’t sound like a winning formula. However, it worked.
I showed some of the episodes to my kids and they naturally gravitated towards it. They liked the ALF puppet and my daughter got a big kick out of the fact that he ate cats. (It was a nice touch, after all.) Watching the shows again, I was amazed to realize that I still remembered many of the jokes from the show. I guess I watched a little too much TV back in the 80’s. Still, many of ALF’s jokes made me chuckle.
Paul Fusco not only created and produced ALF, but he was the voice and actor behind the character, too. If not for his wit and sense of humor, the show never would have worked. Most of the cast is pretty forgettable. You could have put any actor or actress in their roles and they would have done the same job. However, Max Wright was excellent as Willie Tanner. He was a perfect straight man for ALF and his stuttering, hysterical overreactions, and occasional explosive outbursts played perfectly opposite of the puppet. It made you almost believe the laugh track was real.
ALF became an icon for NBC and despite the character’s overexposure (he was on Matlock, Love Boat, Hollywood Squares, Blossom, and more), the heart of the show was still a fun concept. If you liked the show in the 80’s, you’ll want to revisit it again. If you were too young to see the show when it first aired, you might find it to be an amusing alternative to the Muppets.
There are a few extras included on this DVD:
Interactive Menus Hosted by ALF They really went all out on the menus. They are hosted by ALF and they feature the same sense of humor and sarcasm that he did on the TV show. Some of them go on for minutes at a time and they all feature one gag or another. You may find yourself just lingering on the menus just to see what he says next.
The Original Un-Aired Pilot Episode I don’t know why, but I could have sworn I’d seen the pilot episode before. I don’t know if they re-shot it, re-edited it, or what, but I remembered most of the jokes from it. In any case, this shows how everything started.
Gag / Outtakes Reel This is a 4 minute or so gag reel featuring bloopers and such from the show. I always enjoy watching gag reels and this one is pretty funny.
ALF Trivia Facts These are a few text facts about the TV show and character. If you’re familiar with ALF, there’s not much new here.
The Bottom Line:
If you’re looking for a flashback to the 80’s, this first season of ALF will deliver for you. If you’ve never seen ALF before, you’ll want to check it out (especially if you like Muppet-type stuff).