It’s 1999. An alien race known as the Tenctonese lost a transport ship full of slaves five years ago. They crash-landed onto the third planet of a solar system, and haven’t been heard from. Until now. A beacon has been transmitting a hailing frequency, and the Overseers (the higher class of Tenctonese) send a reconnaissance officer named Ahpossno to investigate and reclaim the slaves.
The planet they’re landing on? Earth. However, the Tenctonese have internalized American culture, and enjoy being members of a free society. Anything’s better than being slaves.
That’s the premise of the TV movie Alien Nation: Dark Horizon, an extension of the FOX-TV series Alien Nation. It was created because fans demanded a continuation of the show, since it was cancelled after just one season. Five years later, after a change of leadership at FOX, they released this, the first of five TV movies made to sate the fans of the original series.
I wasn’t one of those. Being an infant when the original series was broadcast, I kinda missed the boat. Therefore, I’m going into this one with a clean slate. My expectations are pretty low, just like they will be with any other TV movie.
I didn’t expect brilliant acting, and I didn’t get it. I didn’t expect a deep, convoluted storyline, and I didn’t get one. There’s not a whole lot of character development, but I really didn’t expect that either, being the extension of a TV show.
What I got was a reasonably good, reasonably acted, buddy movie. No one really stood out, but I immediately recognized Scott Patterson as Ahpossno in an early role, long before Gilmore Girls.
The story was pretty predictable, mostly because they show the story from both Ahpossno’s point of view as well as the view of the two detectives, George Francisco (a Tenctonese, known on Earth as Newcomers) and Matthew Sikes (a human). The movie (and I presume the TV show) mainly has the themes of racism and bigotry, and they show it relatively well, if a little heavy-handedly.
There’s nothing really outstanding to this film for me, but keep in mind that I’m really not part of its intended audience. Fans of the TV show will find a lot to love in this movie, and probably in the entire collection. If you’re not familiar with the show, you probably won’t enjoy the movie. They just don’t make you like the characters enough, and the story’s kinda lackluster for a full feature. However, for what is essentially a 2 hour long season opener, Alien Nation: Dark Horizon will do just fine.