3rd Rock from the Sun – TV Classics

3rd Rock from the Sun Theme

In the first of a possibly recurring, possibly soon to be neglected, series I take a look back at the mid-nineties sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun and see what its stars are doing now.

3rd Rock from the Sun still stands out in my mind as one of the classic sitcoms. Not only does it stand out for having a high-concept premise, that of four aliens taking human form and trying to assimilate themselves in American life, but also for the unique mixture of broad slapstick comedy and clever humour it showcased. 3rd Rock was frequently over-the-top but never to excess and was never a show that could be considered stupid. While we were often laughing at the characters rather than with them it was because of some finely crafted jokes. For once you could believe that the laughter track was genuine rather than added in after the fact.

For a show with as much physical comedy and witty dialogue as 3rd Rock you need a cast of skilled comedy performers. Luckily for you I have detailed them all below, looking at the characters they played and what they’ve done since the show finished back in 2001.

John Lithgow
Where did you come from? Dr. Richard Solomon was the high commander of the band of aliens sent to investigate the planet Earth. As part of his cover Dick took on the role of a professor at a “third rate university” and gave a group of poor students a terrible education in Physics. Most of Dick’s time was spent in a rocky relationship with Mary Albright, though he occasionally dabbled with other women Albright would always be the woman for him. Dick was great for over-reacting to the world in general and referencing Lithgow’s role in best-film-ever Footloose.
Where did you go? Lithgow’s career post-3rd Rock has been prolific on both stage and screen, this includes the time I saw him playing Malvolio in Twelfth Night when, like a true nerd, I got a photo and autograph afterwards (lovely man). Good supporting performances were given in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and Kinsey but his best performance was given as The Trinity Killer in season 4 of Dexter. More recently he has guest starred in How I Met Your Mother, given heart to Rise of the Planet of the Apes and wisely went uncredited in New Year’s Eve.

“You want the truth? You want the truth? Well, I can’t handle the truth!”

Continue reading