Back in the late 80s/early 90s, I used to watch the ALIEN NATION TV show (1989-90) on a regular basis. I watched many of the episodes, but can’t recall if I finished the first—and only—season made of this show. I’d seen the movie the show was based on, of course, and the show did a great job expanding upon the various elements. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary police procedurals, but the alien twist in this show won me over. It really made for compelling drama.
In case you’re new to the ALIEN NATION franchise, here’s the description:
As with the film, the series follows the Newcomers, an alien race bred as slaves on a distant planet whose ship crashes on Earth. With their ship found to be irreparable, the authorities on Earth decide to settle the refugees in Los Angeles. Retaining the film’s police drama format, the series stars Eric Pierpoint as George Francisco and Gary Graham as Matthew Sikes. Episodes explore themes of racism and the treatment of minority ethnic groups.
ALIEN NATION starts with a great premise and explored deep themes. It also featured an ongoing flirtation between Detective Sikes and Newcomer Cathy Frankel. Cathy is a biochemist and Matthew’s neighbor. Their relationship explored the challenges of dating outside of one’s species and could be considered an allegory for interracial romance.
While I appreciated that the show featured romantic elements, I was always frustrated by Cathy and Matthew’s on-again, off-again relationship. I can’t remember if they ever had an HEA in any of the movies, but I do remember getting so frustrated by the lack of romance resolution in the show that I began drifting away. IIRC, Cathy felt their differences were too great and so the cons of becoming involved outweighed the pros. I distinctly remember disagreeing with the reasons put forth as to why they wouldn’t/couldn’t become a couple.
Looking back, teasing viewers in such a way is part of how series television goes. You gotta give the viewers a reason to tune in each week. Unfortunately, I felt the approach was done at the expense of what could have been a really cool romance, complete with an HEA. And I’ve been sad about it ever since.
Love can get you killed.
Security contractor Lily Rowan is clawing her way back to normalcy after a training mission gone horrifically wrong left her physically and emotionally broken. She’s returned to the city she grew up in, but not to hide from her nightmares, to face them. Living alongside the Ormney—genetically altered refugees who’ve settled in The Zone—is a daily reminder of the Ormney trainee who nearly took her life. Lily knew it would be tough, but she couldn’t have known coming home would drop her straight into a madman’s deadly game.
Someone is drugging Ormney men and turning them into mindless killers, reenacting the attack Lily barely survived. To stop the killing spree and put her own demons behind her, Lily must overcome her fear and work with Jolaj, a refugee Law Keeper with dangerous secrets and hidden motives of his own.
Jolaj long ago dedicated his life to his people, risking everything to find them a new home. But working with Lily could prove to be the most difficult task he’s ever faced. Despite the Council’s decree making relationships with the outsiders forbidden, he’s finding it hard to keep the courageous Lily at a distance.
With the fragile peace between their people on the line, Lily and Jolaj must stop the horrific crimes before their growing attraction makes them the killer’s next targets.
In the near future, the world is forever altered when the existence of the Ormney is made known. But two things remain the same—serial killers still walk among us and murder is still as ugly and terrifying as ever.
Ah, you see what she did there? DEADLY LOVER is ALIEN NATION, but instead of a alien buddy cop police procedural, it’s an alien romance police procedural! It’s as if Matthew became a woman and had a romance with George! My goodness, where do I begin to thank Ms. Allden for giving me the closure I’d been wanting all these years?
Indeed, ALIEN NATION and DEADLY LOVER share a similar premise, but the characters are different, the aliens have different appearances and qualities, and the romance is more central to the story. They’re the same, but different. As soon as I realized what DEADLY LOVER was delivering, I was like, this is the beauty of sci-fi romance, that it can reclaim SF narratives like ALIEN NATION and transform them into stories geared toward folks who crave an HEA romance as a significant part of the story.
Now I wish someone would option DEADLY LOVER for the big screen or a mini-series because a woman creator and filmmaking team deserve a chance to tell a female-centric version of this tale. Aliens stranded on Earth is nothing new, but what is new is who gets the opportunity to execute the story. And it’s past time that an SFR like DEADLY LOVER should get the royal Hollywood treatment.
Incidentally, last year a remake of the ALIEN NATION film was announced. I’m interested in seeing an updated version, but will only really become emotionally invested if it takes more of a DEADLY LOVER approach. If not, I’ll always have Charlee Allden’s book. *virtually hugs Kindle copy*
Related post: Interview With Charlee Allden (via The Galaxy Express)