The cozy, respectable, and rather dull existence of the Tanner family is inexorably altered when an alien spaceship crashes into the family's garage in the opening episode of ALF's first season. Out pops a short, furry, orange-haired, and long-nosed space creature, who explains that he is Gordon Shumway from the recently destroyed planet Melmac. Nicknamed ALF (Alien Life Form) by the Tanners, our hero is invited to join the household, though before long, dad Willie Tanner (Max Wright) wishes he'd turned ALF over to the authorities. Not only does ALF stick his huge nose into everyone's business, but he also breaks everything he touches and eats like food is going out of style -- and he never tires of trying to chow down on the family's pet cat, Lucky. Meanwhile, Willie Tanner, his wife, Kate (Anne Schedeen), and their kids, Lynn (Andrea Elson) and Brian (Benji Gregory), work overtime trying to hide ALF's presence from their boorish neighbors, Trevor and Raquel Ochmonek (John LaMotta, Liz Sheridan). Additionally, the Tanners attempt to keep ALF a secret from Kate's overbearing mother, Dorothy (Anne Meara), though she eventually tumbles to his existence and agrees to keep mum. Though ALF was not the most popular sitcom on NBC's 1986-1987 schedule (that honor was bestowed upon The Cosby Show), the series performed well in the ratings during its first season, ranking at number 28 right between Miami Vice and Hunter.
by Hal Erickson synopsis