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Series / My Favorite Martian

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That's right—before he became the Hulk, Bill Bixby palled around with an alien. Small world.

An American Fantastic Comedy series that aired for three seasons (1963–66) on CBS.

The premise is simple enough: When a 450-year-old Martian anthropologist (Ray Walston) is stranded on Earth after his saucer crashes outside Los Angeles, he is taken in by Tim O'Hara (Bill Bixby), a kindly but none-too-bright newspaper reporter. "Uncle Martin" fortunately looks just like a human being except for two retractable rabbit-ear antennae which emerge from his head. He has some special powers, but not enough to keep himself or his human sidekick out of trouble with their feather brained landlady, Lorelei Brown, and her love interest, Lt. Detective Bill Brennan (starting with season 2), who regards Tim and Martin with suspicion. Nor is Uncle Martin able to repair his saucer, hidden in the garage, possibly because he's not a mechanic.

A movie adaptation of the same name was released in 1999, starring Christopher Lloyd and Jeff Daniels.

Compare with Mork & Mindy, the 1970s equivalent that largely didn't need visual effects to anything like the same degree for its otherworldly effect; Robin Williams was enough.

Not to be confused with "Your Favorite Martian", an animated music video series by Ray William Johnson.

This TV series provides examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Mrs. Brown's brownies.
  • Alien Among Us: Uncle Martin.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Martin. While he's witnessed many great men and famous deeds, he never interferes, inspires or does things for them, believing that individuals and nations must find their own ways. We're given to understand this is general Martian ethics, not just Martin's own belief. (This aired three years before Star Trek: The Original Series codified the Prime Directive.)
  • Aliens Speaking English: Martin speaks perfect English. Justified in that Martin has been to Earth many times in the past and is Mars' foremost authority on the planet.
  • Alliterative Name: Bill Brennan, the lieutenant detective.
  • Amusing Alien: Martin
  • Animated Adaptation: A short-lived Filmation version, My Favorite Martians.
  • Annoying Patient: Martin falls ill and naturally it falls on poor Tim to nurse him back to health, through much whining and chaos.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Martin has met with and inspired many of history's greatest inventors (e.g., DaVinci and Edison) and writers (e.g., Shakespeare).
  • Bigger on the Inside: Martin's spaceship was housed in the garage under Tim's apartment. It was about the size of a small sports car, on the outside. Inside, much larger.
  • Captain Ersatz: Terrorist organization CRUSH, of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s THRUSH.
  • Cassandra Truth: No one believes Martin when he tells them he's a Martian.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Martin's nephew, Andromeda, appeared in one episode. The end of that episode had him staying with Tim and Martin. He was gone the next episode with no explanation, although the character did reappear in the animated version of the show.
    • Mr. Burns, Tim's boss, is occasionally mentioned but not seen after Season 1.
    • Angela, Mrs. Brown's daughter, disappears after the first few episodes.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mrs. Brown
  • Cousin Oliver: A stranded Martian kid named Andromeda, or "Andy," was introduced in the very last season, though only appeared on one episode (being absent for the remaining 8 episodes). Filmation's Animated Adaptation aged him up to his teens and kept him on as one of the main characters.
  • Cowboy Episode: "Go West, Young Martian".
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Tim, repeatedly. Usually throwing a monkey wrench in the Zany Scheme of the week.
  • The Ditz: Tim O'Hara is a nice guy, but not very smart.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: In one episode, Martin has a problem with his head, causing him to broadcast everything he sees and hears to every television station (and thus to every set) in the United States.
  • Fantastic Anthropologist: Uncle Martin, among his other credentials.
  • Finger Wag: The Martian reads Tim's thoughts in the first episode.
    The Martian: Tsk tsk tsk.
  • Honorary Uncle: "Uncle" Martin.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Frequently Tim or Martin will complain about something the other did, only to turn around and do it himself.
  • Interspecies Romance: Martin fell in love with a human woman in one episode.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In "The O'Hara Caper", Tim wants to use Martin's time machine to cover a jewel robbery he missed. Martin warns time travel is dangerous, whereupon Tim scoffs "How could it possibly hurt me to know what's going to happen next? I've been watching TV reruns for years."
  • Love at First Sight: Invoked by Martin in one episode, who wants to experience Earth emotions unknown on Mars.
  • Malfunction Malady: Human illnesses mess with Martin's Martian powers.
  • Martians: No surprise when the word "Martian" is in the name of the show.
  • Mind over Matter: Martin can move things with his mind.
  • Monster Roommate: Martin.
  • 90% of Your Brain: Martin claims that Martians use all of their brain while humans do not.
  • Noodle Incident: Martin claims that when gypsies wander, they really wander, and that there are even gypsies on Mars. How precisely that could happen is never explained.
  • Older Than They Look: Martin has been around a long time.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Uncle Martin.
    • Subverted in "We Love You, Miss Pringle" when Martin's real name is revealed to be Exigius 12½, which is mentioned again by Andromeda in Season 3.
  • Phantom-Zone Picture: An interesting variation occurs in "Portrait in Brown". Uncle Martin (the Martian) is using his dimensional separator, when the landlady Mrs. Brown walks into the room and is reduced to two dimensions. To prevent her from injuring herself, Uncle Martin freezes Mrs. Brown and paints a quick portrait around her to hide the fact she's been frozen in 2D. As, of course, Martin (and, all Martians for that matter) are friendly and superior, this is only used as a temporary measure until Martin can effect a cure.
  • Precocious Crush: Mrs. Brown's daughter has a thing for Tim.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Martin does this.
  • Psychic Powers: Martin.
  • Puny Earthlings: Inverted. Martin talks like this sometimes, but he has nothing but admiration for humanity's honest efforts and brave industry leading to great scientific and philosophical advancements. He especially cherishes the early space program, comparing it to a child learning to walk.
  • Reset Button: In the episode, "When You Get Back to Mars, Are You Going to Get It". Martin's nephew, not appreciating what would happen, told people he was a Martian and used his powers in public. This exposed Martin as well. A quick trip in Martin's time machine set things back the way they were.
  • Reverse Polarity: A second-season episode has Martin trying this as he fixes the transmitter that works with his antennae.
  • Secret Chaser: Lorelei Brown
  • Shoehorned Acronym: The CCTBS (Cathode-ray Centrifugal Time Break-a-Scope), Uncle Martin's time machine.
  • Shout-Out: In a third season episode, Martin demonstrates that he can levitate with his nose; apparently inspired by that "television show with the pretty young witch".
    • He also once created a white tornado to clean the apartment, an idea he got from a TV commercial (for Ajax cleanser)
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Martin
  • Stop Trick: Used often for invisibility.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Martin is a very low-key example, but Clarke's Third Law is certainly in effect with a lot of his machines or inherent abilities.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Played for Laughs. Martin mutters physics equations and trivia about historical famous people he's met in his sleep.
  • Telepathy: Reading minds and projecting thoughts is one of Martin's martian powers.
  • Zeerust: A lot of Martian technology, like the spaceship.