Monday, 28 November 2016


From 1988, the UK VHS rental release of US SF mini-series SOMETHING IS OUT THERE.

This two-nighter was a curious - and not always terribly logical - combination of MOONLIGHTING, ALIEN, THE HIDDEN and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and - in truth - plays like any number of straight-to-tape SF thrillers of the period despite some a-list talents behind the camera.

Filming - in an arrangement that could only make sense to a studio accountant - was split between LA and Australia despite the fact that the whole thing is based in Los Angeles with only a brief excursion off-world.

Aired as two nights of feature-length programming, this tape combines the two parts into one extended movie. Fortunately no-one considered a shorter cut to squeeze onto a shorter tape. There was no sell-through release and this - and the series that followed - has never troubled DVD. It was also shown on SKY ONE in the UK.

NBC, having apparently failed to grasp the lessons of V's failure, promptly concluded that America was desperate for a weekly series. In an industry ruled my market research, it never ceases to amaze me how often network executives get it so wrong. They assumed that audiences would rush back for the romantic adventures of the leading duo (one a tough cop... the other a pretty alien with a lot to learn about Earth) but punters really wanted more monsters. Something the telly types had neglected to supply.

The weekly series mustered a mere eight episodes, of which the network aired only six, before the plug was pulled and the show axed. All the episodes, with new introductions from cast and crew, eventually surfaced of the SCI FI CHANNEL.

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