TV Pilot episode

Two of the key players in the movie. Sikes, at this point, is still very heavily prejudiced against Newcomers.

One of the major examples of prejudice, Purists speaking out against Newcomer children attending their school. The scene is very reminiscent of when the black students were first admitted into some schools in the south, with protest and under guard.

Sikes has his prejudices tested immediately, as Cathy Frankel, a Newcomer, has moved into the apartment building he is in and is even in the same section.

Alfred, the rare slow-witted Newcomer, is being questioned by Matt and George about a Newcomer body missing from the morgue.

Emily is bullied by kids at her school, including a kid in a wheelchair.

One main plot line involves Sikes finding an abandoned warehouse which George tells him smells like the air on their slaveship.

Another plot line relates to the missing body noted above and the possibility of some kind of virus or something that could be spread form Newcomers to humans.

Another plot line develops as Sikes finds out someone had booby-trapped his apartment.

Sikes visits George's family for dinner but Buck, being his normally ultra-annoying self, insults him and leaves the dinner. This is basically another story line, involving George's attempts to keep Buck under some kind of control.

Three human thugs try to assault Cathy but are stopped by Sikes.

One point of the story is to show that many of the Newcomers are working as maids for humans.

Buck is in a gang, and the gang ends up being attacked by some humans. Buck ends up shooting one of them.

One of the story lines involves some kind of insectoid creature that is supposedly kidnapping humans, and the humans think that it's something that has come from or with the Newcomers, thus helping to inflame the hatred against them.

In a scene reminiscent of cross-burnings, George's house is attacked and something burned on their front lawn.

Susan wants to withdraw Emily from the school but a black woman talks her out of it. (Most of the blacks in the episode actually are supporting the Purists.)

Some of the plot elements are resolved when Sikes and George discover that the insect-monster is a human in a costume, and the leader of the Purists is one of the people behind the hoax.

Throughout the show another thing that Sikes has been working on is to try to find out exactly what happened when his partner was killed in a gunfight.

It turns out that one of the people in the station was on the take and was the one who really killed Sikes partner, thus resolving another plot line and proving to Sikes that it was not a Newcomer who killed his former partner.

At the end of the episode, the kid Buck shot is in critical condition and could die, and the plot line about the virus/whatever that is/could be spread is also not resolved.

Thus, in this first episode, the main theme of the show is firmly established, and that is prejudice against the Newcomers. This is compared to prejudiced against blacks and even against Japanese-Americans, as Sikes makes a reference to the WWII internment camps set up in the U.S. when all the persons of Japanese ancestry were moved away from the West Coast after the outbreak of the war against Japan.

The prejudice is shown as taking many forms. Emily and her problems at school; the television program featuring interviews with the Purist leaders; Sikes initial dislike of George; the morgue person's dislike of George; the bombing and burning of something at George's house; Sikes initial reaction to Cathy; the gang warfare between the gang of human thugs and Newcomer thugs; the reference to the poll on a vote of whether or not to allow Newcomers to vote; the black officer's obvious dislike of Alfred and, finally, the attack on Cathy by the three men.

The arguments used against the Newcomers are the same arguments used today against the Mexicans and other immigrants into the U.S., and have been used for immigrants in other decades: they are going to take "our" jobs; they are reproducing so fast that they will out breed "us"; they have their own "place" (ghetto) to live in and should be living there rather than spreading out into "good" neighborhoods, etc. The same types of arguments were used against the Irish ("No Irish Need Apply" signs), the Italians, the Germans, indeed, virtually any ethnic group that has ever immigrated to the U.S. Variations of the arguments are still used against Jewish people. People who are gay/lesbian/bi-sexual or transgendered are also subject to the same kind of prejudice. Native Americans have been put off into their own internment camps. People who follow other paths than Christianity meet prejudice. Indeed, there are so many ways that groups of people hate other groups of people it would be a major undertaking to list them all.

This series is an examination of that hatred, using the "non-real" Newcomers as the targets of prejudice to try to show us some of what is wrong in our society just as some of the best of the original Star Trek episodes tried to show us what was wrong with our society by using alien societies as examples.

Then there is also the more "traditional" theme of a police officer on the take and what effects that can have on others.

Heavy-handed at times but still a very significant series, one that seems to be more relevant today than when it was actually done.

My Index Page

Alien Nation main index page