The first thing that has to be said is that if you're not a fan of the Alien Nation TV series from the late 80's then this film will not only confuse you, but the chances are, you just won't like it. That however is not really a problem, as this film was never made with the intention of attracting a new global audience. Dark Horizon was made for the fans that were truly gutted and disappointed that the excellent Alien Nation TV series (like so many other American shows) was cancelled after the first series. The film is a continuation of the series and so sets out to resolve the cliffhanger ending, further character development and give insight into the 'Newcomers' background. It is also obvious from viewing the film that this was always intended on being the first of many TV films.
The film itself is quite good. It manages to capture the essence and feeling of the original show whilst effortlessly transferring itself onto the big screen. There is a common danger that when TV shows are introduced to the world of films, they end up feeling like an overly long episode that tries too much to impress its hardcore fans, and tries too many new explanatory things to engage others. However, Dark Horizon embraces it's new format and uses it as a platform to further explore the history behind the 'Newcomers' and to show off some of the potential that the series promised. All the original cast members are back, which brings a smile to any fan. Emily (Laura Woodland) and Buck Francisco (Sean Six) were only kids in the series and so are obviously older looking as it has been five years, yet these little discrepancies have to be ignored. Some fans will point out little things that don't add up to the series, or don't exactly follow on from the cliff-hanger ending, but beggars cannot be choosers and it is the reviewers opinion that we should all be grateful that these films were made, that the cast and crew came back and that they give it everything to continue the Alien Nation legacy.
The premise of the film evolves around a ruthless Overseer who is sent from one of their colony ships to Earth, to check for any surviving 'Newcomers'. This is inter-fused with Susan and Emily's attempted recovery from the newcomer killing disease. Like the series, Dark Horizon brilliantly blends the social dramas of family and relationships, with that of racism, police work and all-out action, which in this case involves killer diseases and samurai aliens. The highlight of the film is undoubtedly the relationship between Matthew Sikes (Gary Graham) and George Francisco (Eric Pierpoint). Their cop-buddy routine was the heart and soul of the series and this again shines through within the film. Alien Nation: Dark Horizon is a good film and more importantly an excellent follow up to the short-lived series. If you haven't seen the original Alien Nation TV series, go and buy it right now. Watch it, slag off the TV network for cancelling it, and then immerse yourself in the first of five follow up films: Dark Horizon.
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