The Comedy Vault – 3rd Rock From The Sun.

3rd Rock From The Sun (NBC, 1996-2001)

This is one of the few American sitcoms to have caught my interest over the years. 3rd Rock From The Sun had a science-fiction twist, and took the opportunity to go off in some unusual areas that most other sitcoms couldn’t. The idea is that four aliens assume human form and arrive on Earth, a planet and its people that they are keen to learn more about, and they realise how strange things can be.

This consists of Dick, along with Tommy, Harry, and Sally, known as the Solomons. They soon enter regular human life, and Dick decides to become a professor at a university. Of course, none of them must give away that they are aliens, but it is likely that most people wouldn’t believe them anyway, and their superior is always keeping a keen eye on them from their home planet.

But what is clear to people that they meet including Dr Albright who works at the university with Dick is that they soon realise that there is something a little different about how they respond to various situations. Dick was prone to some unexpected outbursts, Harry would often receive incoming transmissions, Tommy struggled to deal with his changing teenage body, and Sally liked to flirt boldly with everyone and everything.

Most episodes would end with the Solomons sat on their roof trying to make sense of the latest things that they have learned about life. 3rd Rock From The Sun was fairly well received in this country, all of the episodes in the six series have been shown on BBC2 (they all contain “Dick” somewhere in the episode title too). I got into this a little later though when there was a repeat run on the Paramount Comedy Channel.

I do remember watching the special episode where some parts were in 3D, which was very ambitious and enjoyable, and little like anything else that I have seen in a sitcom. In the final episode, they finally returned to their home planet. This has gone on to be repeated on even more channels since, including ITV2, and episodes can be seen on Channel 4 to this day. All of the episodes have been released on DVD too.

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