Alf - Season Two

Starring: Max Wright
Encoding: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Format: Color, Closed-captioned
Number of discs: 4


Season Two of Alf, the popular 1980s sitcom about an alien who moves in with an average American family after his home planet is destroyed, comes to DVD courtesy of Lion's Gate Home Entertainment.

Did I say average American family? Sorry, I meant average sitcom family because the Tanners (the family in question) doesn't bear any resemblance whatsoever to any real families one might know. In fact the world of The Simpsons seems like hyper-realism compared to the Family Ties-like one of the Tanners. The most fantastical element in their reality isn't the presence of an alien that resembles an orange talking bath rug . . . so contrived are the typical, moralising plots in Alf!

THE DISCS: All twenty-five episodes of 22 minutes each fit on four single-sided discs. This is a welcome change from all the TV shows on double-sided discs I recently reviewed. On the other hand, the packaging is somewhat awkward and one disc just wouldn't stay affixed to its spindle and kept on getting loose. Overall the packaging is unimpressive: my wife mistook it for an old VHS tape. Sound and image is fine though and you also get two bonus animated Alf episodes as a bonus.

Incidentally, these are the shorter syndicated episodes instead of the original ones - something which will no doubt irk long-time fans.

WORTH IT? Anyway, despite the unlikely sitcom world inhabited by the show's characters, it is frankly difficult to see why this show was so hugely popular back in the 1980s. How a bland and unfunny show like this managed to engrain itself into the popular culture of the time is as big a mystery as to why the Brits re-elected Margaret Thatcher all the time and why the yanks made someone like Ronald Reagan president in the first place. Also, truth be told the "lovable" Alf himself is on the mildly annoying side too.

RECOMMENDATION: Your kids might disagree with my prognosis, and Alf is pretty harmless family viewing - so get it for them if you must. But if you're a nostalgic twentysomethinger you'd probably be just as disappointed in Alf as you were with the recent He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVD box set . . .


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