Alien Nation fans are going to love this one. All 5 TV movies which followed the series after it was canceled in 1990 have now been collected on a single DVD set, called Alien Nation: The Ultimate Movie Collection. Not only do you get all 5 movies, but full length commentaries by producer/director Kenneth Johnson, behind the scenes featurettes, and even gag reels. Read More for for a review.
For a recap of the press release, see this article.
It’s been years since I’ve seen anything of Alien Nation. The series lasted a single season and was canceled by Fox (shocker!) in 1990, leaving fans in suspense after a major cliffhanger. Four years later the cliffhanger was resolved in Alien Nation: Dark Horizon, and enough viewers tuned in that Fox ended up with 4 more TV movies: Body And Soul, Millennium, The Enemy Within and The Udara Legacy, concluding the series in 1997. Now, two years after the series came out on DVD, all five of the movies receive the DVD treatment with Alien Nation: The Ultimate Movie Collection.
The DVD set of three discs comes in a standard cardboard slipcase with two thin plastic DVD holders. All three bear the same cover art of a Tenctonese head in black and yellow.
The first holder has one disc, which is Dark Horizon with the same image screen printed on the front of the disc. The other case holds the other two discs, both of which are double-sided – one side for each of the movies and the related extras. Since they are double-sided, there is nothing printed on them, except a very thin area around the hub identifying the disc and the contents. An interesting note: on Disc 3, the obverse side (“A”, with the hub print) is supposed to be The Enemy Within, and The Udara Legacy on the reverse, but mine was backwards. I don’t know if this is because I have an early copy, or if this was an actual production issue.
The DVDs open with no previews (unusual nowadays), and have static but artistic and clear menus – different ones for each disc. I believe also that the music that accompanies the menus is different for each, perhaps taken from the particular score.
Each film is accompanied by still galleries of the production, and in some cases some cast reunion shots. There is also a featurette on each – for the first 4 it is a making-of featurette of that particular movie, and on the last its “A Family Gathering”, which was a recent cast and crew reunion talking about the show. Each featurette runs about 20-25 minutes. The making-of feature for Dark Horizon is of pretty poor quality – the color is faded and bled, and the audio is hard to understand at times other than the narration. But your VHS home movies from 15 years ago probably don’t look any better.
The first three also include gag reels from the production.
In addition, a full-length commentary is included on each film from producer/director Kenny Johnson. I single this out mainly because it appears that not only did Kenny Johnson put a lot into this show and the subsequent movies (and keeping it alive after the initial cancellation), but he also put a lot into this DVD set – providing not only the full-length running commentary on 5 movies, but also the narration of the making-of features, and playing host to the reunion shown in the last featurette. He not only provides clear, informative and interesting commentary, but shows his pride in the show. It is perhaps the first time I’ve actually been interested in watching a full-length commentary other than those you would listen to for comedic value.
Overall, this is a well done DVD set to help conclude the Alien Nation series.