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3rd Rock from the Sun

3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001)

3rd Rock from the Sun is an American sitcom television series created by Bonnie and Terry Turner, which originally aired from January 9, 1996, to May 22, 2001, on NBC. The show is about four extraterrestrials who are on an expedition to Earth, the third planet from the Sun, which they consider to be a very insignificant planet. The extraterrestrials pose as a human family to observe the behavior of human beings.

The premise of the show revolves around an extraterrestrial research expedition hailing from a planet in a barred spiral galaxy on the Cepheus-Draco border attempting to live as a normal human family in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio, said to be 52 mi (84 km) outside of Cleveland where they live in an attic apartment. The show's humor is principally derived from the aliens' attempts to study human society and understand the human condition, while living as humans on Earth, reflecting on human life from the perspective of aliens. Most of the episodes are named after the protagonist, Dick. In later episodes, they have become more accustomed to Earth and are often more interested in their human lives than in their mission.

The show also takes humor from its mirroring of all human anthropological expeditions and their assumptions of superiority to the "natives", as well as their inability to distinguish themselves from the natives. Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin) is a professor of anthropology at fictional Pendelton State University, and many of the issues with which the four aliens struggle appear in her conversation and work. Furthermore, these four alien researchers end up looking more or less like joyriders as they get drawn further and further into human life.

Dick Solomon (John Lithgow), the High Commander and leader of the expedition, is the family provider and a physics professor at Pendelton (with Ian Lithgow, John Lithgow's eldest son, playing one of his less-successful students). Information officer and oldest member of the crew Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has been given the body of a teenager and is forced to enroll in high school (later college), leaving security officer Sally (Kristen Johnston) and "the one with the transmitter in his head", Harry (French Stewart) to spend their lives as 20-somethings hanging out at home and bouncing through short-term jobs. The show also involves their relationships with humans, mostly their love interests.

The family often communicates through Harry with their off-world (and usually unseen) boss, the Big Giant Head, who when he finally visits Earth, is played by William Shatner. Harry unexpectedly (and often in inconvenient circumstances) stands up, his arms stiff (acting as the antenna), and proclaims: "Incoming message from the Big Giant Head!" (Source: Wikipedia / Frogfind URL)

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