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Something Is Out There was a 1988 American science fiction television miniseries that aired on NBC, and a short-lived weekly series that followed in the fall of 1988.

The miniseries stars Joseph Cortese as Jack Breslin, a police officer investigating brutal murders in which organs have been removed from the victims. He learns that the crimes are being committed by a monstrous alien insectoid prisoner known as a xenomorph, possessing shape-shifting and physical possession abilities, who has escaped from an alien prison starship passing by the solar system, and he teams up with a beautiful medical officer from that ship, Ta'Ra (Maryam d'Abo), to track the villain down. Ta'Ra has assorted superhuman abilities, including telepathy and superhuman agility, which come in handy during the mission.

The miniseries drew very high ratings for NBC and critics noted the chemistry between Jack and Ta'Ra as one of its high points. One week after its ratings success, Brandon Tartikoff announced it would become a weekly series. 13 episodes were ordered. Something Is Out There fared poorly opposite the very successful Dallas and the show was later moved to compete with Beauty and the Beast where ratings only worsened. The series was canceled after only six one-hour episodes were broadcast, with two additional episodes produced but not broadcast at the time.

 

Originally conceived by Frank Lupo in 1987 with the title Invader, NBC ordered a four-hour mini-series for broadcast on May 8, 1988 with a budget of $7.5 million. Shooting took 41 days on locations in Los Angeles and Australia.

Producers John Ashley and Frank Lupo decided to alter the program's concept to cope with the comparatively smaller budget of the weekly series. "Things definitely change fast when a mini-series or movie becomes a weekly series," said Ashley. "It's great when you've got four hours, $7.5 million and the talents of Rick Baker and John Dykstra to play around with. But what happens when you're suddenly cut to a million per episode budget, don't have the talents of Baker or Dykstra and have to take the mini-series concept to the next level while turning out an hour a week? What happens is that you make changes."

It was decided to focus the show on the relationship between Jack and Ta'Ra, on Ta'Ra's special abilities and to reject a "monster of the week" approach. Ta'Ra, who was later revealed to be from a distant planet called Zeton, chooses to stay on Earth posing as Jack's cousin. The show strayed from its science-fiction origins with supernatural stories featuring telekinesis and telepathy.

 

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In the early episodes, producers pulled the series back to far. To late they discovered that many people were expecting an alien every week, because of the mini-series, and were being disappointed by the eighth episode. The production took a step back and looked at what elements made the mini-series work and made the later episodes along the lines of where the show should have gone. Something is Out There went back to the basics bringing the creature from the mini-series back for a two-part episode, gave Ta'Ra some additional powers and made the show more science fictional in nature.

The changes were not enough to draw audience members back, and Something Is Out There was finally cancelled. 

 

the creature

Despite the then lofty $7.5 million budget the creature effects from Rick Baker were far from top notch. A better creature likely would have meant quality shots during the movie. Viewers got an alien that was nothing more than an overgrown bug and barely seen throughout the film with backlit shots, close-up, and dark shots.  

 

 

 

creature morph

The Xenomorph bursting from human form were Rick Baker signature money shots.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

spacecraft & shuttle pod

Spacecraft design interior and exterior is where the money went. The modeling was very nice, but the special effects were less than Battlestar Galactica in 1977.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

spacecraft  interior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

epISode  GUIDE
W/SYNOPSIS 
Information courtesy... www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Contrib/SciFi/Something/tvseries.html

Gladiator

   An insane criminal with a death wish against Jack escapes from prison. His girlfriend has been watching Jacks movements for sometime and breaks into Tara's workshop and steals a protective suit and energy beam weapon.    

     Catching his girlfriend outside her work being roughed up by some thugs, Tara reads her mind and discovers where the criminal (Eddie) is hiding. Outside the place, Jack is caught for speeding by some uniformed cops who insist on checking his credentials - spotted by Eddie from his window, he opens fire and destroys the police car. 

     Jack is injured and taken to hospital, while Tara returns to modify a flak jacket to withstand the weapon and works on another energy beam weapon with which to fight Eddie. Eddie arrives and forces Tara to tell him where Jack is. Realizing that Eddie intends to kill her too, his girlfriend collects the weapon and suit Tara was working on and takes it to the hospital where the final confrontation takes place. 

Guest Stars: Brian Thompson, Elena Stiteler, Richard Portnow 
Written by Frank Lupo 
Directed by Richard Colla 

Don't Look Back



     When a single mother is brutally murdered while her daughter is at school, Jack decides to go to the school to inform the teachers and collect the child rather than leaving it to uniformed officers. Finding that she's already left the school and having heard disturbing stories about strange happenings when she is present, they pursue her to a nearby playground. 

     She appears terrified by an unseen menance; Jack leaves her with Tara and returns to the office where he is ordered to hand the girl (Tori) over to the CIA. Extremely distressed at the turn of events, he refuses to co-operate until they explain why they want her. While telepathically exploring Tori's nightmares, Tara discovers that she has telekinetic powers, and that her terrors are in some way linked to the basement of a deserted church. 

     Having moved Tara and Tori to a Motel to keep away from the CIA agents, Jack finds the Church and locates the basement. While there he discovers a diary written by the girls father, and then is attacked by the CIA agents further confirming that he is on the trail of a serious intrigue. Returning to Tara with the diary, she reads it and discovers that Tori's father worked for the CIA and was doing research into mind enhancing drugs. His own daughter was the subject of one of these experiments; it also becomes clear that towards the end of the diary something is going wrong and his intelligence is rapidly diminishing. 

     Discovering that the CIA men are attempting to line their own pockets by selling the information from the diary, Jack tracks them down only to discover that Tori's father has escaped killing the CIA men in the process. Returning to the motel, Jack finds that Tori is gone. Together Tara and Jack go back to the church where they rescue Tori as a fire starts... 

Guest Stars: Jandi Swanson, Tim Ryan, Dakin Matthews 
Written by Burt Pearl 
Directed by Richard Colla 


In His Own Image

     As Jack's about to go off duty, a young lady comes into the police station convinced that she's just seen the head of her missing brother in a wax works display. Overjoyed at having an excuse to avoid sampling Tara's first attempt at cooking, Jack takes the case on. 

     When a visit to the wax works provides no further clues, Jack is minded to assume that it was a simple coincidence. He then discovers that the brother of the owner of wax works has recently escaped from Jail, and that several of the other jurors who convicted him have also disappeared. Against the advice of his superiors, Jack becomes convinced and starts to probe deeper into the case. Meanwhile, the woman has struck up quite a friendship with Tia'ra and initiates her into the earth custom of shopping! 

Guest Stars: Mitchell Laurance, Lise Hilboldt 
Written by Burt Pearl 
Directed by Larry Shaw 


Good Psychics are hard to come by

     Jack is investigating a kidnapping of a young body, but is getting nowhere. Suddenly a celebrity psychics makes a big play about helping the police with there enquires. When he's assigned to assist Jack with his enquiries, Jack refuses to believe that he has any special powers what so ever, much to Tiara's surprise since she's used to the existence of genuine psychics in her world. When the psychic uncovers a button at a house where they know the kidnap victim was held, despite an extensive police forensic investigation, Jack becomes even more suspicious. He invites the psychic to stay with him, only to discover that he creeps out of Jack's flat for a midnight rendezvous in a car breakers yard. 

     Having identified the man as a regular researcher for the psychic, they confront him in his office, but before they can get the information they want, the man is killed but a shot through the window. While the kidnapping started as a publicity stunt for the psychic, it has now become the real thing. The question is who is the kidnapper now and can they save the kidnapped child. 

Guest Stars: Steve Inwood, Gerald Castillo 
Written by Paul Bernbaum 
Directed by Lyndon Chubbuck 


Night of the Visitors

     When a psychiatist is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Jack is assigned the case. Deducing that the attack may have been motivated by something he'd been told by a client, Jack attempts a contact a famous author of Science Fiction stories claims to have seen a real UFO. Due to his previous factious works, no one takes his current claims seriously except Tara who
recognizes some of the artifacts he describes as being from a race known to her people. Jack attempts to contact the author, but is stonewalled by his publisher. Fortunately, Tara manages to mind read the address from the publishers memory and they head off to find him. Moments after they get to the authors house, it is destroyed by an apparently unprovoked fire bomb attack. 

     Told by the author of a secret base being used by the aliens, Jack and Tiara set off to see if there is some truth in what the author has described. They do indeed find the secret base and break into it, but are the people there the government agents they appear to be or something even more sinister. 

Guest Stars: Frederick Coffin, Nestor Serrano 
Written by Christian Darren 
Directed by James Darren 


A Message From Mr. Cool

A string of young women are brutally murdered and the only connection appears to be that they had all been to the same ventriloquists show in which a puppet called "Mr. Cool" appears. They take a number of police officers to the nightclub and look for suspicious people; the only one who attacks Jack's attention is a man called Benjamin Kelsey. Benjamin seems to be seeing
an extra conversation from the Dumy that no one else is aware of. As Jack investigates, he discovers that Benjamin Kelsey had just been released from prison after serving 15 years for the murder of the ventriloquists father, who had himself been a
ventriloquist. 

     Puzzled as to why he keeps showing up at the shows, Jack visits him and questions him. When that doesn't lead anywhere, his visits the psychiatrist who is treating Kelsey, but gets nothing more than threats to keep away from her client. Jack becomes ever more convinced that Benjamin Kelsey is involved but can do little about it. In the meantime, the ventriloquist decides to change to using a different dumy from Mr Cool in his act. 

    Then back at home, Jack sees a taped interview with the Ventriloquist and the dummy "Mr. Cool" taped earlier in the day being shown on a local TV station. He figures that Benjamin Kelsey may have seen it too, and decides to go to his house. Arriving there he finds no one in and breaks in. Benjamin's psychiatrist is drowned in the bath. But where is Kelsey, and who will be his
next victim.  Guest Stars: Jay Johnson, David Wilson as Benjamin Kelsey 

Written by Paul Bernbaum 
Directed by Don Medford 


A Hearse of Another Color

(Never shown in the USA during original broadcast) 

     Jack's looser of a cousin contacts him in the middle of the night in a desperate panic. The cousin, Ricky, had got a job driving a hearse and had been driving the hearse back to the Undertakers when he stopped off at the cafe where his girlfriend works in order to offer to take her home. While he'd been talking to her with the hearse parked out side, somebody has stolen the body from the coffin in the back. 

     When the body is found in a nearby waste skip, the mystery grows deeper. Puzzled, Jack returns to the morge and is knocked unconscious - found sometime later by Ricky and Tiara, they begin to suspect something is amiss. The next morning, Ricky's boss, the undertaker fails to arrive at work, something that has never happened before. Ricky does his best to run the business while he's away and sells the coffin to another person. He then delivers that to the household of the purchaser, and returns back to the undertakers to discover that someone has taken an axe to the rest of the stock of coffins. Jack arrests those responsible, but they are released after paying for the damage they did. Meantime, Tiara has disappeared and Ricky and Jack suspect that it's the same people as were after the coffin. 

     Tiara uses a disconnected phone line to send a message to the last place they knew she was, and Jack and Ricky find it. Jack tells Ricky to remain in the car and goes in and rescues Tiara. When they get back, Ricky is gone. In order to find Ricky, they return their attention to the crooks looking for the coffin. While kidnapped, Tiara read the minds of the crooks and they now
know that the coffins were being used to smuggle drugs. 

Guest Stars: Tommy Hinkley, Mike Preston, Lisa Wilcox 
Written by Paul Bernbaum 
Directed by Richard Colla 


The Keeper

(Never shown in the USA during the first broadcast.) 

      Tiara has become concerned that wreckage from her spacecraft may be drifted towards a small seaside town, and persuades  Jack to drive them out there to check. When they get there they discover the townspeople acting very strangely, and being terrorized by a gang of youths. Even the local police seem to be under their control. They are thrown out of the town by the police chief and one of the louts, and decide to return under cover of night to investigate further. After seeing most of the town working on a large metal construction in the garage, they are spotted and chased. The chase ends with Jack's car in a lake, where the gang assume that both Jack and Tiara have drowned. They then find a young boy who confirms that the problems started when a canister was found on the beach and appeals to Jack and Tiara to help his father who has been badly injured and fears for his life. 

Guest Stars: Brandon Call, Dennis Howard 
Written by Paul Bernbaum 
Directed by Jorge Montesi 

 

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