My Parents Are Aliens (CITV, 1999-2006)
This is yet another sitcom that was aimed at children, and I must admit that it was mostly shown after I had stopped watching CITV regularly, but because it was such a long-running show and plenty of people must’ve watched it over the years, I thought that maybe it was time to watch a few more episodes to be able to give it a review here.
The idea behind My Parents Are Aliens is that the Barker children (Melanie being the oldest, followed by Josh and then Lucy) are orphaned, but then they have some foster parents, Brian and Sophie Johnson (Tony Gardner and Barbara Durkin), who are rather wealthy and very keen to take some children on. The only slight problem is that, they are aliens! They are from the planet Valux and their spaceship has crash-landed on Earth. Well that’s rather odd isn’t it.
The thing that makes it rather clear that they are not from this planet is that Brian has the ability to turn into different things, usually just when he least expected it. Sophie also has some trouble adjusting to this new planet, and she was always up to something. Only the children know that they are aliens, and we also see them at school, where their classmates and teachers release that something rather unusual is happening.
There were some changes over the years, Durkin left at the end of series two, and the role of Sophie was taken over by Carla Mendonca (whose work in TV comedy goes all the way back to the mid-80s), although the change was made easier to explain by the fact they were supposed to be aliens of course. And by the end the Barkers had got older and left the show, so Brian and Sophie then took on a new family of children, the Bennetts.
My Parents Are Aliens was a show that was definitely a success for CITV, there were over 100 episodes made in eight series. This meant that there was lots of opportunities to explore unusual ideas, and plenty of writers were involved (Gardner wrote a few episodes himself). It was surprising to realise that some canned laughter was added from the fourth series onward. And maybe it could’ve gone on for even longer if CITV hadn’t lost its afternoon slot on ITV1 in 2006.
However, this meant that when the CITV Channel launched soon after, as there were so many episodes it was repeated rather frequently, and it seemed to be on all day at some point. Only a small amount of episodes have ever been released on VHS and DVD in this country though. Although I’ll always prefer the likes of Mike And Angelo more, this was an enjoyable show, that was pleasingly low on the sickly sweet moments to concentrate on the sillier ones.