For this week’s Throwback Thursday,’s look back on great science fiction of the past, we’re taking a look at ‘Alien Nation’.

Which ‘Alien Nation’, you ask? Well… the movie, though I will say that for those of you who are unaware of this 80s science fiction gem, it spawned a television series with a huge cult following that the then fledgling FOX network had to cancel despite strong ratings because of budgetary issues. Over the next decade, five more ‘Alien Nation’ movies would get made.

So, what is it? Really, the title of the movie is really all you need to know.

Essentially, the movie is your typically buddy cop movie where two very different people learn to love and respect one another while they solve crimes. The only differences is that one of the buddies is an alien (played by Mandy freaking Patinkin), and the other buddy is a massively racist… alienist? jerk.

The set up is that a slave ship of an alien race crash landed in California and now these aliens are trying to synthesize their lives with the new culture they are suddenly surrounded. One might say it’s an alien nation that suffers quite a bit of alienation.

If you’re wondering, I was tilting my monocle and laughing throatily whilst typing that sentence.

The movie is, to be quite frank, 80s-tastic, and has a soundtrack that is incredibly painful. But all of that is made up for in the chemistry of  Matt (aliensist cop who loses his partner played by James Caan) and George (alien who was actually named Sam Francisco, but Matt changed his name to George on account of how silly that was).

But, if you really want science fiction, with cool gagdets and space battles, this may not be it. This literally is just a buddy cop movie with some alien technology and pertinent questions about cultural assimilation. It has some good jokes, some corny jokes, and some strange special effects, but it remains high on my list of favorite science fiction movies… and it really did make a fantastic TV show.

So as always, if you haven’t seen this movie, what are you waiting for?