Alternate History

ALF (Alternity)

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ALF is an American science fiction/sitcom that aired on NBC from 1986 to 1991. A furry extraterrestrial named Gordon Shumway (voiced by series' creator Paul Fusco) crashes in suburban Los Angeles, into the garage of the middle-class Tanners, a typical American family that soon grows to like the friendly alien, whom they name ALF (short for Alien Life Form) and decide to unofficially adopt him as a member of their family. They also makes a solemn promise not to alert the authorities to ALF's existence, as the government would likely try to use him for unethical experiments. More often than not, each episode has ALF causing some kind of trouble for the Tanners.



  • Paul Fusco as ALF (voice and puppeteer) - The series' titular character from the faraway planet Melmac (which is also, coincidentally what it's made out of), which has recently suffered a nuclear devastation, ALF is an unofficially adopted member of the Tanner family who lives in either the garage or attic. He was also a member of Melmac's Orbit Guards. In addition, one of the Melmacian delicacies just happens to be a typical Earth house pet - cat - which tends to conflict with the presence of the Tanners' cat, Lucky. ALF is generally fun-loving, sarcastic, good natured, and well intentioned, though sometimes his good intentions can come across the wrong way.
  • Max Wright as Willie Tanner - The father and head of the Tanner household, Willie is most frequently in conflict with ALF over essentially everything the alien decides to do, from stealing his checkbook to rearranging the home furniture or using Brian's crayons to graffiti on the walls. Willie also does an admirable job of balancing his home life with his job as a social worker; he is also an amateur ham radio operator, possessing CB and shortwave sets in the garage.
  • Anne Schedeen as Kate Tanner - The mother of the family and frequent 'rulemonger' according to ALF, Kate also clashes with the alien on occasion, but certainly not as often as Willie. After the birth of Eric, she goes back to work as a full-time real estate agent; before, she was generally a stay-at-home mom and had only a part-time job.
  • Andrea Elson as Lynn Tanner - The Tanners' oldest child, and a typical teenage American girl, Lynn sometimes finds herself in ALF's cross hairs when one of her relationships goes bad, and though he is always trying to help her out, he is sometimes given the cold shoulder for his efforts.
  • Ben Hertzberg as Brian Tanner - The middle child of the Tanner family (youngest before the birth of Eric in Season 3), Brian and ALF are typically best of friends, though sometimes ALF accidentally or purposely get Brian angry at him (typically through frightening him, getting him in trouble, or simply destroying something of his).


  • John LaMotta as Trevor Ochmonek (Seasons 1 to 5) - One of the Tanners' annoying neighbors, Trevor frequently butts into other peoples' business, typically without asking. He and Raquel are often heard arguing over rather inconsequential things.
  • Liz Sheridan as Raquel Ochmonek (Seasons 1 to 5) - Trevor's wife and the snoopier of the two, Raquel can frequently be seen spying on the Tanners or several of their other neighbors.
  • Josh Blake as Jake Ochmonek (Seasons 2 to 5) - Trevor and Raquel's nephew, Jake is sent from New York City to live with them after his father goes to prison for theft, and eventually becomes good friends with ALF, albeit without his aunt and uncle's knowledge.
  • Charles Nickerson as Eric Tanner (Seasons 4 and 5) - The youngest member of the Tanner family, Eric was born near the end of Season 3, and was nearly 2 by the time the show ended.
  • Anne Meara as Dorothy Halligan (Seasons 1 to 5) - Kate's mother, Dorothy is frequently annoyed by ALF when she comes to visit the family, though he does end up helping to convince her to marry a man named Whizzer Deaver (Paul Dooley), somewhat (but just barely) easing her tensions with the wisecracking alien.

Home Media

Five years following the series' end, in January 1996, NBC released the first season of unsyndicated, original broadcast episodes of ALF for DVD and blu-disc in the United States and Canada (Region 1), followed that November by Season 2 (including the hour-long "ALF's Special Christmas"). Already, many millions who missed the original airings have become fans and plan to buy the remainder of the series as it is released to home media.

A previous attempt by Family Home Entertainment (FHE) to release heavily syndicated versions of Season 1 of ALF on DVD in 1993 met with heavy criticism and backlash from series' fans, resulting in rather poor sales and the cancellation of any further releases by that company. Reasons for the syndicated DVDs were cited by FHE's legal department as "...respect for the copyright owners of music played in the show...", but were this true, the entire series couldn't have existed (as every episode was titled after a song, or a variation thereof).


With the release of Sony's PlayStation videogame console in 1994, one of the featured launch games for the system was entitled simply ALF, and puts the player in control of the alien during his 'rampage' in Season 1's Episode 18 "Wild Thing". A sequel, ALF II, or ALF: The Videogame was released in late 1996, and for the first time, showed the destruction of Melmac (in the prologue).

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