ALF was one of those shows where a science fiction idea was taken and translated for the TV screen so that the entire family could enjoy it. Of course, it wasn’t all about gags and jokes, but it was also a social commentary (remember, back then there was still a Cold War) on which the adults could feed upon.
Of course, it is well known that the Alien Life Form was actually a Melmacian stranded on Earth after his planet exploded. And his planet, Melmac, exploded after a nuclear mishap (I call it mishap and not nuclear war), which is a pretty clear statement concerning the historical context when ALF aired. So when ALF wasn’t chasing cats to eat them, he was trying to repair his spaceship in order to find other surviving Melmacians.
And then 1990 came with the 4th season’s finale titled Consider Me Gone: the friendly extraterrestrial receives a signal from two Melmacians, who were on their way to start a new Melmac on a recently bought planet. He deices to go with them and, after attending the Tanners’ farewell party, he leaves.
But, on his way, he is captured by the very friendly and very dissecting-inclined military and the episode ends. The two Melmacians fly away to the new planet and ALF is left to an undisclosed future.
Back then, it was pretty obvious that the show wasn’t intended to leave the friendly extraterrestrial in the hands of the unfriendly military. This was just supposed to be the final episode of the season. But the show was canceled so we never found out what happened to ALF (in a proper way, since the 1996 film didn’t rise to the expectations).
Truthfully, this must be one of the worst ways to end a series.
But a couple of years ago (in 2012) there were talks which said that Sony has taken up the task of reviving ALF in an animated picture. It appears that the project is still trapped in the Hollywood’s development hell to this day.
Why am I mentioning how the series ended and about the (unfinished) plans for a movie? As said, ALF had a poignant social commentary derived even from the character’s back-story. A couple of years ago, such a movie wouldn’t have worked. In my opinion, in 2012 the world was still a better place and the memory of the Cold War was fading away.
Maybe that shouldn’t have happened. Maybe we shouldn’t have forgotten about those dark and unclear days, when ALF lost Melmac and was trapped with us. Maybe we need to be reminded of all of these.
So go, Sony, go and make that ALF movie!