Hard Time on Planet Earth

Tagged: TV

US tv series (1989). Demos-Bard/Shanachie Productions/Touchstone Television for CBS-TV. Produced by Janice Cooke Leonard, Michael Piller, and Rick Rondell. Directors included Bill Corcoran, Michael Lange, Robert Mandell, Piller, and Al Waxman. Writers included Bruce Cervi, E Jack Kaplan, Nicholas Corea, and Piller. Cast includes Martin Kove and Danny Mann. 13 60-minute episodes. Colour.

An Alien warrior from an unnamed planet is convicted of taking part in a rebellion against his home world's ruling Council after an interstellar War. In recognition of his war service, he is not executed but sentenced to indefinite exile on Earth in a greatly weakened state. Disguised as human, the alien takes the name Jesse (Kove) and is accompanied by a floating Robot companion or parole officer called Control (voiced by Mann). Jesse learns nearly all he knows about Earth from Television, and so obtains a skewed view of humanity. Still, he generally manages to do the right thing with Control's help, and begins to grow fond of our species. Jesse retains a degree of superhuman strength and agility, and acts essentially as a Superhero helping various people in need. Most sf elements in the series concern Jesse himself and Control, although in one episode a faction from his world sends an assassin disguised as a human female to kill him. The last episode hints that he may now be sufficiently reformed to return home.

The programme was scheduled opposite two popular series of the period, and never became a hit, although a small fan base has grown up in recent years. [GFi]

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