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YMMV / Alien Nation

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  • Adaptation Displacement: The TV series overshadowed the film, which was released a few years earlier and had an anonymous run in theaters.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Koulak, a sadistic Overseer guard from the episode "The Game", is infamous for having created a special "game." Since salt is corrosive to the skin of his species, Koulak designs a device that randomly fires out steam, water or salt water, forcing "players" to press buttons that blast them, with none knowing what will hit them until it's too late. Reveling in his authority, Koulak frequently taunted the series's hero, George, then known as Stangya, with the knowledge his turn would come to join the game, even selecting George's brother to play, resulting in his death. Upon the arrival on earth, Koulak becomes a crime boss who continues his game in illegal underground betting rings, forcing those who owe him money to play, or just abducting others off the streets. In a series focusing on tolerance and equality, Koulak stands apart as the darkest the Overlords had to offer.
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    • Body and Soul: In this Made-for-TV Movie, Chorboke, The Keeper Of Hell or The Dark One, was a Mad Scientist who is sadistic, even by the standards of the Overseers. Seeking to create the "perfect slave", Chorboke killed thousands on his operating tables. After the Day of Descent, Chorboke was thought dead, but participated in a secret government program and escaped after murdering the head of the program and using plastic surgery to steal his identity. Continuing his surgeries, Chorboke murders any connection to him and attempts to test Tectonese weapons to sell them to the highest bidder, not caring that these could be magnitudes deadlier than the atomic bomb. When he and George end up in mortal combat, Chorboke sneers that his one regret is he was never able to subject George to his table like so many other innocent victims.
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  • Fair for Its Day: One episode involves would-be Human/Newcomer romantic couples taking a formal class to learn how to safely copulate with each other. One of the couples is composed of two males, and no one makes even the slightest comment on it in-series.
  • Fridge Horror: More than likely, the Overseers are going to come for their former slaves sooner or later. Who's to say that they won't decide to subject humans to the same fate as the Newcomers?
    • This was the plot of the first TV-movie, and was only averted when the advance leader, Ahpossno, realized that he had repaid kindness the Earth-bound Newcomers had shown him with treachery and deceit, and they had in turn ensured he would never live to see the enslavement of Earth.
    • In the series, there was an episode where overseers tried to contact a probe that came looking for them. They missed, but it was damn close. The overseer who tried to do this explicitly referred to the human population as cargo, just like to the Tenctonese, so the overseers WILL try to kidnap all the humans as slaves.
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    • However, in "Dark Horizon," Ahpossno returns to the Overseers' fleet almost dead as a result of the disease George infected him with. He essentially does a Heel–Face Turn and with his last breath tells the Overseers to stay away from Earth because the Newcomers are all dead from the disease. So it seems unlikely they'll show up.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Fifteen with Wanda," George tells Matt that he, George, is not doing well at parenting. He picks up a book and says, "And this 'Mister Spock' book is no help!" "It's Doctor Spock," Matt says. "Mister Spock is one of you guys." Gary Graham went on to play Vulcan Ambassador Soval in Star Trek: Enterprise, so Mr. Spock is actually one of his guys.
  • Narm: The slur "slag" can be for British viewers as it is also a British slur for a promiscuous woman.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The levpa in the Expanded Universe novel.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Tim Russ played Ronald Ketnes, who witnessed the death of Sikes' previous partner Sgt. William "Tuggs" Tuggles, in the pilot.
    • Jason Beghe played Dr. Jim Trenner in "Fountain of Youth".
    • Liz Torres played Dr. Tamayo in "Fountain of Youth".
    • Heather McAdam played Mary Shelley in "Little Lost Lamb".
    • Lori Petty played Sal in "Fifteen with Wanda".
    • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa played Yamato in "The First Cigar".
    • Mitch Pileggi played John Paul Sartre in "The Night of the Screams".
    • Alexis Arquette played John Barrymore in "Contact".
    • Andreas Katsulas played Koulak in "The Game".
    • Ted Raimi played Johnny Appleseed in "Chains of Love".
    • Patricia Heaton played Amanda Q. Russle in "The Red Room".
    • Angela Bassett played Renee Longstreet in "Eyewitness News".
    • Armin Shimerman played Cyril Roman in "Gimme, Gimme".
    • Geoff Pierson played Dr. Bogg in "Green Eyes", the final episode of the TV series.
    • Scott Patterson played Ahpossno / Norman Conquest in the first TV movie Dark Horizon.
    • Catherine Bell played a cop in the second TV movie Body and Soul.
    • Kristin Davis played Karina Tivoli in Body and Soul.
    • Jason Behr played Randy in the third TV movie Millennium.
  • Woobie Species: The Newcomers, who exist to teach us An Aesop about racism and a ton of other subjects.
  • Values Resonance: Given its immigration themes, the show would be more relevant than ever if it aired today.

Example of: