ALF stands for Alien Life Form, but anyone who has seen this hit 1980’s comedy knows ALF stands for “Laughing your ass off funny”. OK, so the letters are out of order, but you know I’m right. It’s no surprise our favorite Melmac dude has made the DVD scene. The real shocker is that it took so long. Who remembers comedy from the 1980’s? There just wasn’t an awful lot to laugh at. ALF was the “muppet-like” creation of Paul Fusco, who also provides the wise-cracking voice of ALF. ALF’s making a comeback these days with … new talk show on cable, so this was the perfect time to roll out the DVD’s.
Gordon Shummway, better known to the Tanner family as ALF, is the sole survivor of his home planet, Melmac. He crashed his spaceship into the Tanner garage and has been mooching off them ever since. ALF must hide from the Federal Alien Task Force as well as a nosy neighbor. His antics often lead to trouble that his cuteness always seems to bail him out of.
Each episode sports an adequate Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. Let’s face it. This is at heart a TV sitcom. Dialogue is all that is important, and dialogue is all you’re going to get. It’s lean but it’s very clean.
Each episode of ALF is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. Again, let’s understand what we’re dealing with here. For a sitcom, these episodes are pretty well preserved. There is an occasional smudge, and colors are not at all consistent from episode to episode. Still the presentation is as good as it ever was on broadcast TV. Colors are typical of 1980’s videotape, a bit saturated and unreal, but the print is mostly quite clean.
First let me talk about the menus. These are so great I actually stood there doing nothing just to see what happens next. ALF talks you through the choices as well as delivers a short skit for each screen. If you wait to make a choice, ALF will get on your case about how selecting a menu is “not rocket science”. ALF also can be called upon to deliver a short synopsis of each episode. Very clever stuff.
Now let’s get to the packaging. It makes me scream when I see such poor packages. Like the Dinotopia series, these disc overlap. That means to get to disc 2 or 4 you must first remove disc 1 or 2. Come on, guys. Practical package design isn’t rocket science either.
There are 3 special features included:
- The original unaired pilot. Not much different from the aired version; this is still a nice little gem.
- Outtakes and goofs. A funny 5 minutes of your typical gag reel.
- Text based trivia, better known as production notes.
Finally, there is a serious issue to take with this set. Many of the episodes are the cut syndicated versions and ARE NOT the original aired uncut episodes. Perhaps this is a rights ownership issue. I am concerned that the packaging does not tell you this. Some of these episodes are under 19 minutes each.
ALF was one of the few sitcoms I watched in the 1980’s. Sadly, it ended abruptly with ALF about to be captured by the Feds. No explanation was ever offered. Ratings were not bad. I am glad to see ALF on DVD but would rather see the original uncut versions. This is probably the only bite we’re going to get from the apple, so if you’re a fan pick em’ up. If you’re not, “I gotta worry about your intelligence”.
Special Features List
- The original unaired pilot
- Outtakes and goofs
- Text based trivia