Aliens Among Us
• "Quality of Mercy"
(Terminator 2) stars as a military officer captured by aliens. In prison
he meets a fellow human who is slowly turning into one of the aliens. And just
as he was getting to know her. But there is an even bigger surprise in store for
When a felon is given the choice
between capital punishment and being a guinea pig for a military experiment, he
chooses the latter—only to discover that said experiment involves shooting
him up with alien DNA. Alas, he doesn't become as hot an extraterrestrial as
• "The Grell"
The Grell is a race of dying aliens
that came to Earth to seek solace but instead found themselves being used as
slaves. After a government rep lands neck-deep in Grell he realizes it's not all
that peachy being an alien doormat.
• "Relativity Theory"
Sent to an alien planet, a
survey team from Earth runs across a batch of feisty interstellar life forms.
Despite protests from the team leader (Melissa Gilbert, Little House on the
Prairie), the humans snuff the hostiles. But their itchy trigger fingers may
have opened up a big can of space worms.
• "Alien Shop"
After a two-bit criminal eludes
the police in an odd curio shop, he comes away with a crazy wallet that endows
him with money-grubbing powers. But this awesome find may be tainted by the
shop's owner, an alien out to right the wrongs of Earth's scumbags.
• "Beyond the Veil"
Michael O'Keefe (Caddyshack) plays Eddie, a
paranoid man who lands himself in a mental hospital, driven wacky by relentless
visions of alien abduction. The solace offered by the hospital may be a
façade when Eddie realizes that there are some suspicious goings-on there,
and maybe those visions aren't as crazy as he once thought.
This is a pretty good compilation, though the
stories suffer from the restrained special effects budget. That being said,
there are some remarkable makeup effects on display; the alien props and
costumes were impressive. Story-wise, it's a strong cross section, with the most
entertaining installments boasting solid twists (as is the hallmark of the
show). My favorites were "Alien Shop" (a morality play more than an
alien saga) and "Relativity Theory" (a fun straight-up shoot 'em up
romp with a sweet ending).
Disc Grade: B+
Mutation and Transformation
• "The New Breed"
What would you do to survive?
Maybe inject some highly unstable nanobots into your body? That's what one man
does to combat his cancer, and the results, while at first successful, quickly
become nightmarish when the mini-machines force their host to
evolve—painfully and with much slime and body hair.
Desperate to be more cool and
assertive, a nerdy scientist injects himself with a genetics-altering serum. It
works pretty well at first, but the serum taps into something primal, and he's
soon running around as a crazed caveman, minus the club.
• "The Joining"
Fresh off an interplanetary
mission, Captain Davidow (C. Thomas Howell, The Outsiders) is horrified to discover that
he brought something back with him: creatures that copy themselves when exposed
to radiation. Can he find a way to defeat the creatures, or will he have to
adapt to hanging around clones of himself forever?
• "Double Helix"
Martin Nodel (Ron Rifkin, L.A. Confidential) is a world-class
geneticist who has made the discovery of his life: a hidden code imprinted on
the human genome. His investigation into the origins of the code will lead him
to the answers to all of humanity's most penetrating questions.
• "The Gun"
Matthew Logan is a violent bastard
who scores himself a unique firearm. The weapon turns out be an alien gun,
though, and every time the user opens fire, it binds itself to him with
tentacles. Now Logan—and his gross-looking arm—is after his family
for one final round of vengeance.
• "The Inheritors"
A strange meteor shower sends
pieces of space matter into the skulls of three strangers who are then prompted
to corral the sick and the elderly for a bizarre experiment. But the truth is
actually stranger than anyone is prepared for.
Another decent gathering of episodes. This disc
represents more of the "science" portion of "science
fiction," what with the nanotechnology and the super-serums and the genetic
codes. But aliens do make plenty of appearances, lest we get too
My favorites are "The Joining" because of some great, gross makeup
effects and "The Inheritors," as it's just a nice, feel-good little
tale. On the bottom rung, "Double Helix" leaves much to be desired
because of an overwrought climax that you can see coming a mile away. And
"Descent" is just silly.
Disc Grade: B
Time Travel and Infinity
• "A Stitch in Time"
A murder investigation gets
weird when a time-traveling woman (Amanda Plummer, Pulp Fiction) begins to appear in
multiple crime scenes throughout different time periods.
An attorney is convinced he's
tracked down the Nazi guard who murdered his father decades ago, yet he is
without evidence to prosecute. But when a mysterious man shows up with the
damning evidence he needs, the attorney finds himself faced with a sweet
opportunity for comeuppance.
A couple of racist idiots are
transported back in time to the actual Battle of Gettysburg, where they will
learn some valuable life lessons.
• "Time to Time"
Much to her surprise, a graduate
student is recruited by a futuristic squad of time cops. Her first foray into
trans-temporal travel lands her in the 1960s to prevent a terrorist act by her
unshaven hippie dad.
• "Déjà vu"
Kevin Nealon (Saturday
Night Live) is a brilliant scientist hired by the military to develop
teleportation technology. But a glitch in the experiment thrusts him into an
unending time loop. It is now up to him to unravel the mystery of the failed
experiment before all of existence is sucked into oblivion.
• "Patient Zero"
It's the future, and mankind has
been wiped out by a deadly plague. Beckett (Michael Rooker, Cliffhanger) is sent back in time to
stop the plague before it is unleashed.
Another solid set, highlighted by a rare straight
role from Kevin Nealon in a very Star Trek–ish episode and a great
story with the inimitable Michael Rooker. Alex Diakun pops up in a nifty
recurring role as the time traveler Nicholas Prentice, but two of the three
episodes he appears in kind of suck—"Gettysburg" and "Time
Disc Grade: B+
Death and Beyond
• "The Second Soul"
Earth is thrilled to finally
make contact with extraterrestrial life. However, these aliens are dying and
have an unusual request for humankind: allow human corpses to be used as
vessels. Mykelti Williamson (Con Air)
• "The Other Side"
Ralph Maccio (The Karate Kid) plays Dr. Eberhardt, a man who
has created a revolutionary way to communicate with comatose patients.
Manufacturing a computer-simulated world allows the patients' subconscious to
interact with others who hook up to the machine. Things get nutty when the good
doctor decides to check out this digital landscape himself.
• "New Lease"
Two brilliant doctors are
perfecting ways of bringing the dead back to life. After one of the doctors is
gunned down by a mugger (Jason Priestley of Beverly Hills, 90210, who
also directs), he is subjected to his own procedure. But the process is
imperfect, and time is running out for him to make nice with his
family—and settle the score with his attacker.
• "Essence of Life"
It's the future, so, of
course, humanity has been decimated by a virus. To control the grief-stricken
survivors, antimourning laws are put into place. When an agent enforcing these
laws (Daniel Baldwin, Vampires) tracks
down a doctor who has developed an illegal drug that induces mourning, he will
find out he still has plenty of unresolved personal issues. Self-healing that
would make Dr. Phil proud ensues.
• "Human Trials"
A soldier volunteering for a
top-secret alien combat mission finds himself put through rigorous mental and
physical tests to see if he's worthy. But worthy for what, exactly?
• "Black Box"
Ravaged by violent dreams and
visions, a former soldier (Ron Perlman, Hellboy) struggles to put together the
solution to a hazy mystery.
Eh, probably my least favorite set. Two shows are
good ("The Second Soul," a suspenseful yarn with a syrupy ending, and
"Black Box," which is supported by great work from Ron Perlman), one
is okay ("New Lease," thanks to a fun twist ending), but the others I
can do without. My least favorite, "Human Trials," is essentially a
clip show, recycling excerpts from past episodes and finishing with an ending
that should be no surprise to anyone.
Disc Grade: C
Fantastic Androids and Robots
• "I, Robot"
Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek)
stars as a civil rights attorney charged with a most unusual case: defending a
robot for the murder of its creator. A courtroom procedural above everything
else, this Big Willie–style free adaptation of Isaac Asimov's work focuses
more on the humanity of synthetic life and the helpfulness of a judge buying
into that "living Constitution" claptrap.
• "The Hunt"
Yo, where's Ice T at? Androids are
now the chosen prey for hunters around the world. In illegal hunts, heavily
armed humans pursue their mechanical quarry. In this round, though, the hunters
will discover that the androids they track are far more resourceful than they
Androids run things now, and
humanity is extinct. When some enterprising androids decide to grow a human man
from DNA, the android authorities get pissed. Now the newly birthed man must run
for his life, aided by his hot android creator (Heather Graham, Boogie Nights).
• "The Camp"
Humans have been relegated to work
camps under the auspices of some brutal guards working for an alien race. But
these guards have a secret, and one brave woman seeks to reveal it—and
maybe free her fellow inmates.
What if you were actually an android,
and not a man? That's what this guy finds out one day. More shocking is the
realization that he's supposed to be a high-tech weapon for the military (the
default bad guys in scifi).
• "Small Friends"
An imprisoned scientist has
developed some amazing machines: tiny robots that fly through the air, obey
commands, and can fix anything. However, a vicious prisoner (Roddy Piper, They Live) is intent on using the
machines to break out, whatever the cost.
This disc is my favorite of the six. Each episode
is entertaining, and some of the best makeup and visual effects of the set are
on display. There's a great variety of tales here, with two positing a similar
premise with different endings ("Glitch" and
"Resurrection"). My favorite is "Small Friends." Tiny
kick-ass robots and Roddy Piper?! You can't go wrong there!
Sex and Science Fiction
• "Caught in the Act"
A hot girl (Alyssa Milano,
Charmed) is possessed and embarks on a killing spree. She uses her
seductive wiles to lure men in and then suck the life force form their bodies.
Sounds like a fair trade.
• "Bits of Love"
A man has created some holograms
of gorgeous women for company. One such creation (Natasha Henstridge, Species) feels her faux biological clock
ticking. Whoa, that's weird. But it is Natasha Henstridge, so I'd do whatever
the hologram wants.
• "Valerie 23"
William Sadler (Die Hard 2: Die
Harder) stars as a wheelchair-bound scientist chosen to live with a
prototype female android companion. Soon the line between reality and fiction is
blurred, as Valerie 23 turns to jealousy-fueled violence.
• "The Human Operators"
It's the future and, once
again, we've got an existence devoid of all but a few human beings. The
survivors are now slaves to the will of evolved starships that rely on people to
perform tasks. One survivor (Jack Noseworthy) is surprised one day to meet up
with another—a beautiful woman. Turns out the ships want them to procreate
and make some slave offspring, but the carbon-based life forms have other
• "Skin Deep"
Hey, remember Antonio Sabato, Jr.?
No? Well, here he is anyway, starring in a tale about a frumpy kid who is given
an amazing device that allows him to assume the appearance of anyone he wants
to. So he picks his studly coworker (Sabato, Jr.) to emulate, unprepared for the
misery his selfishness will cause.
• "Flower Child"
An alien plant being lands on
Earth and immediately searches for the right man to fertilize her. It helps that
this plant looks like a gorgeous blonde, and it's not long before a gullible,
horny guy (Jeremy London) is ensnared in her plot.
So here we have it, the confluence of two of
geekdom's most valued interests: hot girls and scifi. Well, don't go in
expecting a marathon of flesh. The sex and nudity level is fairly low; the title
of the disc refers to the subject of sex and love. A few episodes stand
out: "The Human Operators" tells a good story of human perseverance,
and "Valerie 23" is a lot of fun. The remaining shows…eh, it
seems like the producers were motivated to find anything with a bare breast to
validate entry into the set. That being said, Samantha Micelli has aged quite
Disc Grade: C+
Taken as a whole, I think this is a great set for (a) fans of the series and
(b) fans of science fiction. The majority of the stories are well written and
well acted, and boast some great twist endings. Yeah, there are some duds here
as well, but overall, a very good boxed set.
Each disc comes with a documentary unique to the specific subject matter and
a general documentary about the show itself. These bonuses are about 10 minutes
long and feature interviews with the show's makers. The "Sex and Science
Fiction" and "Time Travel and Infinity" discs feature shorter,
individualized documentaries for each included episode. Cast members and crew
are interviewed on these bonuses.
The episodes are shown in their original aspect ratio, fullscreen. The video
quality is fairly disappointing, with multiple episodes suffering from grit and
grain. Even with some of the poorer transfers, the budget CGI is still laughable
in some moments (specifically, any scene featuring a spaceship). The Dolby
Digital 2.0 stereo mix is serviceable.