Wednesday, October 10, 2012

M is for My Favorite Martian


Oh, M was a bountiful letter for television!  Here are just a few of the choices I had:  MacGyver, Maverick, Mike and Molly, My So Called Life, The Monkees, even Mork and Mindy, which isn’t so far off from my chosen topic.  Honestly, Maverick almost won out, just by virtue of being the oldest of my considerations, and having a star from my home town.  But, hometown hero or not, I think I mentioned just the other day how much I always enjoyed the work of Bill Bixby, so his show gets the nod. 

Even though Bixby will always be Eddie’s father to me, My Favorite Martian was actually his first starring role in a television seriesMartian.  It premiered in 1963, back in simpler times, when all it took to look like a Martian was a shiny silver bodysuit and a pair of antennae rising from your head now and again.  Bixby portrayed reporter Tim O’Hara, and co-star Ray Walston was his “Uncle Martin”.

The premise of the show was pretty straight-forward: a superior alien crash-lands on Earth, and an affable Human takes him in.  Comedy ensues.  Bixby and Walston did an excellent job of being sincere without ever taking themselves too seriously.  It really was a cute show.

And, now that I think about it, it may have been one of the earliest “buddy shows” I ever watched.  The two developed a friendship right from the very first episode.  Oh, sure, once O’Hara realizes he’s found a stranded Martian, his first thought is to use him to win a Pulitzer, but that doesn’t last long.  About the time the Feds show up to arrest Tim, he realizes Martin is actually kind of cool.  And, seeing his “nephew” dragged away by the authorities rather than give up the truth, Martin also recognizes he’s found a genuinely nice Earthling along the way.  It’s a nice set up.

Not that it’s all smooth sailing; it’s difficult to live a normal life with a Martian for a roommate.  But we know that from the beginning.  At the end of the pilot episode, as Martin is scheming, Tim tells him, “I’ve been in nothing but trouble since I met you.”

And Martin, ever the practical alien, says simply, “And I imagine that will continue.”

Even so, they decide to give it a try, and I’m glad they did.



31 Days of TV


  Linking up with the kind folks over at ABC Wednesday.

   And, just in case you’re keeping score, it’s also day 10 of the   31 Day Challenge.