I thought the pairing of James Caan and Mandy Patinkin was great. I thought the two played very well off one another in the script from the great Rockne S. O'Bannon. They had some reliable banter for the 'two fish out of water' mash-up, and I think these two acting greats (each in their own separate ways as well as careers) knew precisely what moments to 'hit' in the quest to bring this somewhat curious oddity to life the way they did for 20th Century Fox.
It's just that ... argh ... I think I expected more than a somewhat routine police procedural.
Alien Nation came about at a time when many in the industry were attempting to force the formula buddy picture into every single mold imaginable; and I think I kinda/sorta rebelled against it for that reason. If I remember my impression from back then, then I'd have to say that there just wasn't enough of what I thought was truly "Science Fiction" to satiate my appetite. The motion picture went small when I was thinking 'go big,' so I mostly tuned it out.
A few years back, I rediscovered it with a whole new Blu-ray release; and I remember loving it. Granted, I was older and much wiser -- haha -- and my old eyes actually took to it nicely. I saw the actors as having the same chemistry I remembered from a few decades before, but now I was totally in sync with what I think director Graham Baker tried to bring to the silver screen from O'Bannon's script.
And, frankly, I'm thrilled that I did rediscover it because it actually put me on a bit of a quest to seek out the single-season television series, which I found pretty interesting in its own way, too. Alas, I haven't been able to see the telefilms that I've been told resolves some of the threads left dangling when the weekly show was canceled (curse the televisio gods!), but I'm glad to know that there's still something to be said for second chances.
So happy thirty-third birthday to this little gem! If you haven't seen it, then do so at your earliest convenience!
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!