Series / Hard Time on Planet Earth
Hard Time on Planet Earth
is a 13-episode comedic SF series. Produced by Touchstone Television
, first aired on CBS in 1989 as a mid-season replacement.
The protagonist is an alien genetically-engineered elite military officer. He has proven himself worthy during the war, for which he was created, but poorly adjusted to peaceful life and committed some unmentioned violent crimes. In recognition of his previous deeds he is sentenced to exile to a backward planet Earth. He shall live there in a weak human body (still quite strong by Earth standards) and help the natives until he reforms.
For the duration of the exile he is supervised by Control — a small CGI floating robot resembling a mechanical eye. He evaluates the prisoner's behavior, files regular reports, gives information about Earth (usually hilariously incorrect) and provides comic relief. Not that the series was very serious.
So the exile (played by Martin Kove) falls in the middle of nowhere not too far from Los Angeles, breaks into a closed gas station, learns some English from TV and a children's picture-book, steals clothes with the name "Jesse", gets chased by police and rescues a woman, who almost drove off a cliff. She thinks "Jesse" is his name, he plays along
In the first episode Jesse is familiarizing himself with Earth and trying to recover a lost pendant that powers his body, while running from police. Next one has Jesse and Control inadvertently robbing an ATM and losing the money, then trying to return them. In subsequent episodes Jesse usually gets some odd job, meets someone in need of help and tries to help.
The rating of the show never went high and it was canceled after the 13th episode. Critics panned it for unoriginality and showing Disneyland
. Still, it is fondly remembered by many. Mostly by people, who saw it in their early teens.
The series has examples of