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Why an ‘Alf’ Reboot Is More Relevant Today Than in the ’80s

Reboots are allowed to be about more than our nostalgia and narratives like ALF's are actually a perfect way to show people that.

NBC

Lately, reboots have been the favored currency in the world of television and film. It’s easy to say that’s because writers are just running out of ideas, but sometimes a concept might be more relevant than it was when it first came out. Which might be the case with Alf, the latest in a string of 80’s sitcoms to get a reboot. And, it’s possible Alf might be way more relevant now that it was back then.

At this point, it’s unclear exactly how the Alf reboot will happen. On Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly simply confirmed that the concept is in the early stages of being rebooted by Warner Bros.

The original first aired on NBC in 1986 and ran for four whole seasons. It followed the exploits of a sarcastic alien named Gordon who came to Earth as one of the sole survivors of a nuclear holocaust on his home planet of Melmac. Gordon only goes by ALF, an acronym for ‘alien life form,’ because the Tanner’s, his surrogate Earth family, refuse to call him by his actual name. The reboot comes courtesy of Warner Bros. Television and is set to follow ALF as he returns to Earth and lives with a different family.

It’s weird, but as a character, ALF is kind of a wonderfully simple stand-in for the migrant struggle that’s currently taking place in the US. After being forcibly displaced from his homeworld, Gordon seeks asylum on a planet full of people who are either so scared that they feel like he should be locked up and experimented on by the Alien Task Force, or so indifferent to his consciousness that they refuse to even call him by his real, and very normal, name in favor of an acronym that otherizes him. The show never really hit on how hard people on Earth made his life, not without making him the butt of the joke. So maybe the reboot can touch on this in a way that feels relevant and funny. If Rosanne can come back after 20-years to espouse Trumpean ideals, then ALF certainly has room to make its own kind of statement too, no? 

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The show is still in the very early stages of development, so there aren’t too many particulars to chew on, but original creators Tom Patchett and Paul Fusco are reportedly involved. That said, if anything, we can still expect to see ALF  try his hand at eating the family cat. 

The airdate for the new Alf, assuming it happens, has not been confirmed.