Sunday, November 29, 2015

Nostalgia Theater: Giving a Hard Time to Hard Time on Planet Earth

I've often mentioned what a horrid wasteland network television was for science-fiction in the '70s and '80s, and I can't think of a better signifier of this then the brief, benighted existence of Hard Time on Planet Earth. Produced by Disney's Touchstone division and airing on CBS from early in 1989 to slightly later in 1989, the hourlong skein was created by Jim & John Thomas, the screenwriting pair who'd burst on the scene a few years earlier with 1987's Predator.

The premise: Tough-guy alien warrior is punished for resistance against his planet's ruling elites by banishment to Earth, where he's divested of his alien battle armor, adopts the name "Jesse" and played by actor Martin Kove (who will forever be one of the scariest people on Earth to me thanks to his role in the Karate Kid films). Why he's sent specifically to Earth, I have no idea, but the usual fish out of water stuff a la Starman and The Pheonix ensues, not to mention plenty of cheap laughs and cheesy special effects.

What really launches this one into the upper echelons of awfulness is definitely the intro, though. Check it out:


Honestly, before I started reading up on this, I'd just assumed Hard Time on Planet Earth was another cheapie made-in-Canada, straight-to-syndication show, so I was as surprised as anyone to learn that it actually aired on a major network. Not for long, mind you. Reviews were terrible, ratings were worse, and after thirteen episodes, the hard times were over for Jesse. That said, the show did have something of a cult following, but let's face it, in this case "cult" probably means like five really dedicated fans.

One Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: That's Incredible! Edition

Two Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Archie Grows Up

Three Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: The Centurions -- Power Extreme!

Four Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: The Fugitive Edition

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