- This article is about the TV show "ALF"; for other uses see ALF (disambiguation).
The title character is Gordon Shumway, a little alien nicknamed A.L.F. (Alien Life Form). He was born 229 years ago on October 28, 1756 on the Lower East side of the planet Melmac. The planet Melmac was located six parsecs past the Hydra Centaurus Supercluster and had a green sky and blue grass.
Shumway's body is covered with orange fur. He has a rippled snout, facial moles, eight stomachs and likes to eat cats. He attended high school for 122 years and was captain of a Bouillabaisseball team (which is played on ice using shellfish as a ball). His "catch phrase" is "No problem"!
Fleeing his planet after a nuclear mishap, Shumway follows a ham radio signal, crash-landing into the garage of the Tanners, a suburban middle class family including the social worker Willie (Max Wright), his wife Kate (Anne Schedeen), their children Lynn (Andrea Elson) and Brian (Benji (Ben) Gregory Hertzberg), and Lucky (a cat).
Unsure what to do, the Tanners take Shumway into their home and hide him from the Alien Task Force, the military, and their nosy neighbors, the Ochmoneks until he could repair his spacecraft. He generally hid in the kitchen. It was eventually revealed that Melmac was destroyed by a nuclear catastrophe (caused by the entire population of Melmac turning their hair dryers on at the exact same time), and that Shumway was not only homeless, but also, to the best of his knowledge, the last survivor of both his civilization and his species, besides the superhero Malhar Naik. He became a permanent member of the family, although his culture shock, survivor's guilt, and general boredom, despair, and loneliness frequently caused difficulty for the Tanners.
The original series spans over four seasons and 102 episodes, at the end of which he is about to be rescued by other survivors of his home planet, but is instead captured by the American military. The name of every episode is also a name of a song that is relevant to the episode's plot. After the series run in the United States, it went on to even greater success in re-runs in many European Countries such as Poland and Germany. The series was so popular in Germany in fact that the Made for TV Film "Project ALF" was released there theatrically under the name "Alf Der Film" ("Alf the Movie").
The first ALF DVD (The ALF Files) was released, exclusively in Canada, in 2002. In the summer of 2004 the first season of the show was released on DVD in the United States, but loyal fans were very disappointed that the DVD release featured the syndicated version of the episodes which have several minutes cut from each of them. This prompted an increase in the sale of bootleg tapes of the entire show from various websites. There is currently no word as to whether a re-release of the uncut original broadcast episodes will be issued.
- Max Wright - Willie Tanner
- Anne Schedeen - Kate Tanner
- Andrea Elson - Lynn Tanner
- Benji Gregory - Brian Tanner
- John LaMotta - Trevor Ochmonek
- Liz Sheridan - Raquel Ochmonek
- Sean Pasternak - Cousin Jack (Season 3 only)
Two spinoff animated series arose. Alf: The Animated Series, (AKA Alf on Melmac) set on ALF's home planet of Melmac, ran on Saturday daytime from 1987 to 1988. A later second series, AlfTales, which took Gordon and his familiar cohorts on Melmac and placed them as characters in classic (Earthly) fairy tales, ran alongside the older cartoon and outlived it by one season before itself being cancelled in 1989.
At the time that the original TV series was popular, some ALF-related merchandise was sold, including a 1988 calendar with Melmac's planetary holidays (such as Shout at a Shrub Day) prominently marked.
There is an obscure Sega Master System video game based on ALF. It, however, lacks decent gameplay and is commonly forgotten.