Case Number 09616: Small Claims Court


Lionsgate // 1988 // 550 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Jennifer Malkowski (Retired) // July 5th, 2006

The Charge

Alf: "Well, I don't get it. Why keep spending money on something that doesn't work and causes nothing but aggravation?"
Kate: "Well, I've gotten used to it. Sort of."

The Case

Every person who has entered my room this week and seen Alf: Season Three sitting near my DVD player has become immediately ecstatic, gasping and pointing. "Alf!" they say, "Alf!" Alf, indeed. This was my nostalgic reaction as well as I remembered that wisecracking alien from the planet Melmac who crashed down to earth and took up residence with a straight-laced California family. Here are the 27 third-season episodes included here:

Disc One
Stop in the Name of Love: Alf helps Lynn get a date to the drive-in.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Alf tries to get Trevor and Racquel back together.
Like an Old Time Movie: Alf writes a screenplay for a silent movie.
Promises, Promises: Alf accidentally rats on Lynn to her parents.
Stairway to Heaven: A "what if" episode that shows what life would have been like if Alf had never met the Tanners.
Tonight, Tonight: A special hour-long clip show with a Tonight Show, as hosted by Alf, frame.
Changes: Willie goes on strike, so Kate goes back to work.

Disc Two
Turkey in the Straw, Part One: Thanksgiving at the Tanners finds a bum poking around in their backyard.
Turkey in the Straw, Part Two: The local homeless guy threatens to turn Alf in to the Alien Task Force.
Do You Believe in Magic?: Alf gets a magic kit.
Suspicious Minds: Alf is convinced that a new neighbor is Elvis.
Baby Love: Alf fears he is allergic to babies.
My Back Pages: Willie and Kate reminisce about their flower power days.
Alone Again, Naturally: Alf and Willie investigate the possibility that one of Alf's relatives is also on Earth.

Disc Three
Hide Away: An annoying co-worker of Willie's is wanted by the mob, prompting Alf to protect him and the Tanners from potential backyard assailants.
Standing in the Shadows of Love: Alf plays Cyrano for Jake to help him get a girl.
Fight Back: Alf helps Willie get justice after he is ripped off by a mechanic.
Running Scared: Alf gets blackmailed by someone who knows he is an alien.
Shake, Rattle and Roll: Alf's first earthquake puts him on edge.
Having My Baby: Alf tries to help with Kate's birth.
Superstition: When Alf gets cursed with Melmacian bad luck, a bizarre curative ritual is required.

Disc Four
Torn Between Two Lovers: Lynn has an extra prom date and a jealous boyfriend.
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark: Alf helps Brian conquer his fear of the dark.
Funeral for a Friend: The ants in Alf's ant farm die tragically.
Mind Games: Alf becomes an amateur psychiatrist.
Fever: Alf gets a human fever, which may be fatal to him.
Have You Seen My Mother, Baby?: Jake's mother is in town and has a dark secret.

The nostalgic joy quickly faded about 20 minutes into the 550 minutes of Alf-age included in this third season set. The concept wears a lot better than the actual episodes, which are dry, standard sitcom fare. Some of Alf's lines are funny and dad Willie gets some laughs, but each episode is filled out with humdrum stories about daughter Lynn's boyfriends, mother Kate's pregnancy, or son Brian's fear of the dark. Then there are the wacky neighbors (one of whom is played by Liz Sheridan, who soon became Jerry's mother on Seinfeld), who mostly function as the people who are always on the verge of discovering Alf. Do we really need wacky neighbors on this show when Alf is basically the outer-space version himself?

Alf himself is by far the best part of Alf and a couple of episodes get some comic momentum going with his character. In Hide Away, he pulls of a funny parody of TV tough guys, prowling around his backyard and muttering, "Today is Friday. My name is Alf. I carry a bat." He later lapses into less brave monologues such as: "Steady, Alf, steady. Don't soil yourself." Tonight, Tonight is also a good one, employing a fun format for a clip show and offering up a montage of Alf breaking stuff. Alf's humor is too often like a corny old grandpa's, though, with jokes like, "Every sheik has a's considered chic. Ha! I kill me!"

Honestly, one can simply watch the Alf credits and get 90 percent of the enjoyment the show has to offer. This one-minute gem is a showcase for Alf in various states of motion and costume, complete with canned saxophone music. One can't help but crack up watching Alf limbo, try to eat the cat, and rock out in four separate clips with an electric guitar, a keyboard, a saxophone, and a cucumber-microphone. My personal favorite is a high-angle shot of Alf naked in an empty bathtub eating Kettle Chips. Oh, for the love of puppets.

Alf: Season Three is packaged a single thick case with an outer slip cover. The picture quality is about as mediocre as it probably was back then, with its washed-out '80s pastels coming through clearly. Dialogue is perfectly audible, but there are no subtitles.

There is only one special feature, but it is pretty creative: new footage of Alf hosting the DVD release. The schtick is that Alf is hosting his own satellite radio show -- from an orbiting satellite! He cracks some jokes about Howard Stern and tries to order pizza while waiting for you to press the button for the episode menu. Alf will also remind you when prompted of what each episode is about. For example: "Oh, oh! Here's where Lynn and I have a falling out. It's a dramedy" or "In this episode, my guardian angel shows what the Tanners' lives would be like without me. Let me guess: boring!" It's a cute gimmick, but doesn't make up for the lack of any other extras.

One more charge: out-of-sequence episodes. Kate has her baby on the third disc, but is mysteriously still pregnant on the fourth.

Review content copyright © 2006 Jennifer Malkowski; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 60

Perp Profile
Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 550 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Menus hosted by Alf

* IMDb