For years, people have said that there are 102 episodes in the ALF sitcom. I hate to break it to some of you, but you are only HALF right! There are 102 episodes…in SYNDICATION. Going by the original airings, there are only 99 episodes in the ALF sitcom. I know some of you are pulling your hair out right now (and thinking that what I am saying is blasphemy), but I ask that you hear me out and allow me to show you my research.
How could ALF not have made it to 100 episodes? The issue falls with the “two-part episodes” (I use “two part” loosely, you’ll see why), which are as follows.
-Try to Remember
-ALF’s Special Christmas
-Someone to Watch Over Me
-Turkey in the Straw
Each of these, except for “ALF’s Special Christmas,” is a two-part episode on the DVD sets (and are “to be continued”), which is why people count them as two separate episodes. This was done when the show went into syndication. I propose we look much deeper and look at their production numbers, as well as when/how they aired back in the late 1980s. These tell the true story on whether or not they are one 1-hour episode, or two 30-minute episodes.
-Try to Remember – ONE production number (1023), both “parts” aired on the same night (February 9, 1987). This is a ONE HOUR episode, not two THIRTY MINUTE episodes (except when syndicated).
-ALF’s Special Christmas – ONE production number (2040), both “parts” aired on the same night (December 14, 1987). This is also a ONE HOUR episode, not two THIRTY MINUTE episodes (except when syndicated).
-Someone to Watch Over Me – TWO DIFFERENT production numbers (2019 and 2020), aired on separate nights (February 8/15, 1988)
-Tonight, Tonight – ONE production number (3006), both “parts” aired on the same night (October 24, 1988). Same here, a one hour episode.
-Turkey in the Straw – ONE production number (3008), both “parts” aired on back to back nights (November 14/15, 1988). This one would be debatable.
If you look at the above, ONE production number means ONE episode. For example, the episode “Try to Remember” was aired on the same night…it is a ONE HOUR single episode, not two 30-minute episodes. Same applies to “ALF’s Special Christmas,” “Tonight, Tonight,” and “Turkey in the Straw” (though this one was aired on back to back nights, it has ONE production number, not two).
The episode “Someone to Watch Over Me” appears to be the ONLY one that is TWO episodes (because it has two separate production numbers), the rest just being “one hour” ALF episodes. The ALF DVD sets also support this, “Someone to Watch Over Me” is one of two of the above that has two separate episodes on the DVD (Turkey in the Straw being the other, because it was aired on separate nights); you will also notice that the ALF DVD sets are in production number order, not airing order. Additionally, I acquired a press kit a few years back that has the synopsis for each ALF episode (official Warner Bros. and Paul Fusco approved issued material here), and it supports this information.
At this point we are looking at 98 or 99 ALF episodes, NOT 102.
Argument for 99 episodes: The released DVD sets have Turkey in the Straw and Someone to Watch Over Me as TWO episodes each. So the total number of episodes on the DVD sets comes to a total of 99 (remember, two episodes are repeated on some of the seasons 3 and 4 DVD sets before Lions Gate Entertainment caught the glitch, if you have those sets you end up with 101 episodes).
Argument for 98 episodes: Even though “Turkey in the Straw” is TWO episodes on the DVD set, it has ONE production number. The only issue is that it was aired on separate nights.
I think the nail in the coffin for this debate is whether the two part episodes were in ONE 60-minute slot, or TWO 30-minute slots. Here is what I found out using my VHS tapes (original airings with commercials from 1986-1990).
-Try to Remember – NO “to be continued” at end of episode
-ALF’s Christmas Special – NO “to be continued” at end of episode
-Someone to Watch Over Me – YES, to be continued (this one has two different production numbers anyways)
-Tonight, Tonight – NO “to be continued” at end of episode
-Turkey in the Straw – YES, to be continued (which would make sense because it was aired on back to back days)
Three of the “two-part” episodes were actually in 60-minute time slots, which would mean that these are single episodes. What I am actually saying is that the episodes Try to Remember, ALF’s Special Christmas, and Tonight, Tonight are NOT two-part episodes at all, but single episodes.
Thus, and to conclude, we are left to conclude that there are only 99 episodes in the ALF sitcom (we only get 102 when syndication breaks these episodes into “two-parters”).