ALF (Alien Life Form) by NECA

I was quite the TV junkie as a teenager and ALF was a weekly sitcom that I never missed. It’s a show that absolutely oozed 80’s charm, and it’s crazy to think it spanned nearly the entire second half of the decade, clocked in at just over 100 episodes, and managed to welcome in the 90’s before going softly into the night. It premiered just as I was starting High School and went out just as I was headed off to College. Sure, there were shows that lasted longer, but this was a show about a goofy alien puppet given asylum by a suburban family. It was one of those lightning in a bottle scenarios, with ALF getting cross marketed into video games, comic books, a cartoon series, and his face graced countless t-shirts right alongside pop culture icons like the immortal Spuds Mackenzie. Kids watching ALF were learning how to give attitude and spouting off “NO PROBLEM!” before giving it up for “EAT MY SHORTS” and “DON’T HAVE A COW, MAN!” And by God, you know what? The show still holds up remarkably well today! I recently streamed some episodes, while partially hiding behind a pillow in anticipation of the awkward disappointment I was about to receive, but before I knew it, I was laughing my ass off. Back in the day, ALF got a pretty cool doll from Coleco and some simple toys based on the cartoon series, but did he ever get an ULTIMATE action figure? Not until now!

For the uninitiated, ALF’s real name was Gordon Shumway and he hailed from the planet Melmac. Crashing his spaceship into the Tanner family’s garage, he’s given shelter from nosey neighbors and FBI goons who wanted to cut him up for research. In return for saving his life, ALF made the Tanner’s lives a living hell by causing them non-stop grief and raising Willie Tanner’s blood pressure with his constant wisecracking. In reality, ALF was mostly a puppet, but every now and then he would be swapped out for an actor in a suit when the script called for him to be mobile. NECA put out an ALF puppet a year or so back, and I picked it up but never got around to checking it out here, but that’s a review for a different day. This ALF comes in the usual Ultimate-style box, which features a front flap that opens to reveal the figure through a window. There’s also some great fourth-wall breaking quotes scattered about the box. In addition to the figure, you get a lot of goodies, so let’s get Gordon out of the box and check him out!

It’s still kind of weird to me to see ALF’s complete body, because it was only occasionally shown on the TV show, and I never did get into the cartoon. He’s basically just a little brown, furry guy with huge feet. NECA did a nice job detailing all that fur in the sculpt, and while there are some inevitable breaks in the sculpt to allow for articulation, it doesn’t spoil the effect for me. I was a little taken aback when I turned him around. To my great shame, I did not remember that ALF has a tail, but there it is! It’s worth noting that like NECA’s Gremlins, ALF is a 6-inch figure, but not really 6-inch scale, since in reality he’s roughly the size of a small child. A small, fat, furry child. So don’t expect an in scale Willie Tanner figure to go with him. I guess they could do Brian Tanner, but I wouldn’t count on that either.

The head sculpt here is fantastic. The black eyes, the bulbous snout, the weirdly shaped ears, and the comb-over are all realized perfectly. I dig the wash that brings out the ribbing in his snout, and he’s even got his warts! Sure, NECA often gives us multiple heads with their Ultimate figures, but since ALF was a puppet he couldn’t emote all that much, so I think the single noggin is fine. You do get some articulation in the jaw, which is pretty cool!

The rest of the figure’s articulation is the usual assortment of rotating hinges that we’re used to seeing from NECA. They’re situated in his shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles, in the neck and in the torso. The hips are ball jointed, there are swivels in the biceps, and you get hinged pegs for the wrists, allowing you to swap out the assortment of hands. These include a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of pointing hands, and three additional accessory holding hands. ALF is loads of fun to play with, and I didn’t have any troubles with stuck joints, so ALF did not have to get a dip in the hot tub. Naturally, because this is a NECA figure, you get a bunch of fun accessories, so let’s check them out and learn a little more about ALF on the way!

The subject of snacks are a running theme with these accessories, because ALF was a little glutton. So first off you get a heaping bowl of popcorn and a Fusco, which is off-brand Pepsi. These are appropriate, as ALF was often seen watching TV on the sofa and eating and drinking before the doorbell rang and he got rushed out of the room to hide. And yeah… popcorn and soda is about as normal as ALF’s diet gets here.

Next up, we have a sack of Slimeballs, which was a popular snack on Melmac. It kind of looks like a sack of broccoli, but to be fair, I don’t remember these getting all that much screen time. In fact, I had forgotten they were a thing entirely.

And then you get the ultimate in Melmacian cuisine… the Cat Sandwich! Now, as a well known cat enthusiast, I do not endorse or approve of the act of eating cats, but I guess we have to respect alien cultures. This accessory is nothing less than inspired, as the poor kitty sits rather perturbed between two halves of a hoagie roll and presented on a red plate. It feels like sacrilege to nitpick this majestic piece, but if I were to make one little gripe, I don’t know why they didn’t paint the cat to look like the Tanner’s cat, Lucky. OK, that’s it for the food related items… let’s move on.

Willie’s HAM radio set was a major recurring plot point in the series, as ALF tried to use it to send messages back home. This is a beautifully detailed piece of kit with a wire connecting the main unit with the microphone, which rests on a stand. It’s a shame NECA didn’t provide a desk to put it on, but I’ll come back to that at the end.

Also included is a framed portrait of ALF’s girlfriend Rhonda. The back of the picture has an easel so it can stand up on its own. Rhonda had a much bigger role in the cartoon, but she looked a lot different.

And that brings us to some accessories of the clothing variety in the form of an obnoxious yellow shirt and sunglasses. The shirt is actually a nod to the shirt he wore in the cartoon. Yeah, I guess they believed in shirts but not pants on Melmac. The shirt fastens down the front with velcro it it looks great on him. Indeed, it looks better than the one shown off on the package photograph. Meanwhile, the sunglasses simply rest behind his ears and stay put pretty well down toward the edge of his snout.

I’ll always be grateful to NECA for digging up licenses like ALF. The series is available to stream, but you really don’t hear much about it these days. It hasn’t had any kind of revival apart from NECA’s merchandising, but I have imagine if it did get a remake it ALF would be some kind of CGI abomination, so I think it’s best to let it go. Either way, this is a super fun figure, and he displays well with some of NECA’s other Ultimate figures like ET or the Gremlins. Indeed, if you have some Gremlins, their accessories are interchangeable and really enhance the fun you can have with Gordon. It’ll be interesting to see if we get any other versions of ALF down the road, but as I hinted earlier, I’d love to see an accessory pack similar to the one NECA released for the Gremlins, notably with a desk and/or a sofa. I’d buy that in a heartbeat!

By figurefanzero Tagged ,

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