3rd Rock from the Sun (NBC 1996-2001, John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston)

In sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun Dick (John Lithgow) is the High Commander of an investigative alien team sent to Earth on a mission to learn everything about humans and their “advanced civilisation”.

Armed with sharp minds and a nasty habit of always telling the truthe, Dick, Sally (Johnston), Tommy (Gordon-Levitt) and Harry (French Stewart) set about their task by integrating into their local community.

It’s a hilarious take on how aliens could look at all the injustices and absurdities of human life and America in general with a simple, childlike logic.

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Memorable moment:
In the episode Fifteen Minutes of Dick, Sally beats up Luke Skywalker himself, actor Mark Hamill, in a restaurant. As a result of her temper tantrum, she becomes a celebrity and comic hijinks ensue when they all try to deal with her new fame.

In the very first episode William Shatner, playing The Big Giant Head, talks about a horrible experience he had aboard an airplane and Dick shouts: “So did I!” This is an inside joke about an episode from The Twilight Zone called Nightmare at 20,000 Feet in 1963 where Shatner played the lead role. In a bizarre twist, Lithgow played the lead role in the very same story during 1983’s film Twilight Zone: The Movie.

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production details
USA / NBC / 138×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 1996-2001

Creators: Bonnie and Terry Turner

John Lithgow as Dick Solomon
Kristen Johnston as Sally Solomon
French Stewart as Harry Solomon
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tommy Solomon
Jane Curtin as Mary Albright
Wayne Knight as Don Leslie Orville
William Shatner as Big Giant Head
Simbi Campbell as Nina, Dick’s receptionist
Elmarie Wendel as Mamie Dubcek, Dick’s landlady

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.