In 1996, NBC aired an off-kilter sitcom about four aliens posing as an all-American family in order to observe the behavior of human beings. Set in the fictional city of Wrutherford, Ohio, 3rd Rock from the Sun followed siblings Dick, Sally and Harry Solomon who resided in an attic apartment along with Tommy, the oldest member of the crew, who’s been given a teenager’s body and forced to enroll in high school.
Dick (played by the incomparable John Lithgow) is the leader of the crew, serving as the family provider working as a physics professor at Pendleton State University. Security officer Sally and Harry end up living as 20-somethings, hanging out at home and running through a litany of short-term jobs. As the extraterrestrials try to acclimate to life on Earth and learn about the human condition, they find themselves caught in awkward, over-the-top situations that wind up becoming learning experiences for the bunch.
Created by scribes Bonnie and Terry Turner of Saturday Night Live fame, the show ran for six seasons before finishing its run in May of 2001. Here’s your guide to watch the show online and enjoy the entire series — including simple streaming info, cast actors and characters, and best seasons and episodes:
How to Watch 3rd Rock from the Sun Online & Stream the Complete Series
In the United States, Amazon Prime is the only streaming service with every episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun in its library. Here’s how to watch:
If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch every episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun on your computer right here, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
If you don’t have Prime, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial here. Once signed up, you can watch every episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun on your computer right here, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
NOTE: Spoilers to follow
How Many 3rd Rock from the Sun Seasons Are There?
There are six seasons and 139 episodes of 3rd Rock from the Sun, 108 of which contain “Dick” in the title in reference to John Lithgow’s lead character (but also serving as quippy double entendres). Throughout its run, the show focused on the aliens’ romantic relationships with humans, and as it progressed, the characters seemingly cared more about their faux undercover lives than their original expedition.
3rd Rock from the Sun Season 1
20 Episodes | January 1996 – May 1996
The group’s alien expedition lands in Ohio and we’re introduced to the strange dynamic between Dick, Tommy, Sally and Harry. We watch the gang experience a series of firsts on earth: they get sick and come to the conclusion that they’re dying, they try to navigate the tricky waters of earth-style dating, they experience human emotions like jealousy, all resulting in hilarity. When Tommy reports to the Big Giant Head, the Head feels they’ve wasted their time on Earth and announces that he’s sending a replacement for Dick.
3rd Rock from the Sun Season 2
26 Episodes | September 1996 – May 1997
Season 2 begins with an “Evil Dick” taking over and bossing everyone around. His plan is to create an entire army of clones. The family figures out that “Nice Dick” is being held captive in the basement, and they free him so he can confront his evil counterpart. Later in the season, Dick feels he should tell Mary the truth about where he comes from, but struggles to find the right moment. Guest stars George Takei, Mark Hamill and Al Franken mix it up with the Solomons.
3rd Rock from the Sun Season 3
27 Episodes | September 1997 – May 1998
Harry, Sally and Tommy return to earth after a trip home, but they’ve got the Big Giant Head’s niece (Roseanne Barr) with them, who’s assigned to be Dick’s wife and keep the aliens focused on their mission. Mary finds out and quickly dumps him. Later, when Mary’s condescending parents visit, she asks Dick to stand in as her husband in order to avoid telling them that another of her relationships has failed. He does so hoping to win the respect of her parents and win back her heart.
3rd Rock from the Sun Season 4
24 Episodes | September 1998 – May 1999
Vicki and the Solomons search for Harry who’s been abducted by Vicki’s ex, Randy, and sold to a circus. Without Harry’s transmissions the aliens’ status reports remain past due. The Big Giant Head’s punishment for that is to slowly cease Dick’s brain functions. Later, the Big Giant Head announces plans to visit earth, so Dick tries to get everyone back together and in line before his arrival. When the Big Giant Head (William Shatner) gets to Earth, he’s unimpressed with Dick, but very interested in Sally. Dick winds up demoted to Harry’s assistant while Sally steps into his old job.
3rd Rock from the Sun Season 5
22 Episodes | September 1999 – May 2000
Vicki’s baby turns out to be human much to the relief of the Solomons, but they’re horrified when she plans to sell her story to the papers. Sally orders Dick to kill the reporter, but he can’t, so she makes him High Commander again so she can do it herself. The Big Giant Head returns at the end of the season revealing that he’s Dick’s father.
3rd Rock from the Sun Season 6
20 Episodes | October 2000 – May 2001
Megan Mullally appears as Mary’s sister, but when Dick and Mary decide to play a prank on her, things go awry. A psychic tells Dick he won’t be around long, so he tries to find Mary another lover. Later, Dick tries to compete once he learns that Mary has a secret admirer (John Cleese). The series ends with the Solomons being ordered back home, and Dick wanting Mary to return with them.
What Are the Best 3rd Rock from the Sun Episodes?
Zany situations, otherworldly plots and a slew of guest stars bolstered the show’s six seasons. Here are some of the best episodes of 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Season 5, Episode 4: “Dial M for Dick”
The Solomons join Mary for a murder mystery weekend, but she’s completely unaware that the family has no idea the events are being staged by actors.
Season 6, Episodes 19 and 20: “The Thing That Wouldn’t Die: Parts 1 and 2″
The show’s finale is a series best, as the Solomons plan to finally leave Earth for good. After seeing Dick turn Dr. Liam Neesam into a chimpanzee, Mary becomes distrustful of Dick, who plans on asking her to accompany the family to their home planet.
Season 4, Episode 4: “Collect Call for Dick”
Dicks wins a Fuzzy Buddy Jiggly Pig from a local burger joint. Nina, a serious collector, goes crazy and persuades Dick to give it to her. Sally jumps on the bandwagon when she witnesses a mob scene at a local pharmacy where a new shipment of Fuzzy Buddies has arrived.
Season 1, Episode 20: “See Dick Run”
Tommy sends a report to bossman The Big Giant Head, telling him that Dick is wasting time chasing around an earth woman. When Dick finds this out, he vows to have a successful outing with Mary.
Season 5, Episode 7: “Sex and the Sally”
Sally goes on the pill but neglects to tell Don because she thinks he’ll be offended that she doesn’t want to have kids with him.
Season 4, Episode 10: “Two-Faced Dick”
The Big Giant Head switches Sally’s body with Dick’s, which understandably freaks both of them out. Harry puts in a request to switch them back, but the family is put on a waiting list.
Season 5, Episode 9: “The Loud Solomon Family: A Dickumentary”
Mary wants to make a documentary on “the typical American family” and asks Dick and the Solomons if they’ll be the subjects.
Who Are the Actors in the 3rd Rock from the Sun Cast?
Dick is the High Commander and head of the Solomons’ mission to Earth. While he’s often cheerful, he’s also incredibly egotistical, selfish and at times, malicious. Lithgow is an actor with a storied career in film, TV and on stage, and is the recipient of two Tonys, six Emmys, two Golden Globes, three SAG awards, in addition to nominations for two Academy Awards and four Grammys.
Sally is the sister of Dick and Harry, Aunt of Tommy, and second in command on the mission. She’s a strict, by-the-book type who takes on the role of nurturer of the family, despite being completely unqualified for that position. Johnston also starred as Holly Franklin in The Exes and is also known for her appearance in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me as Ivana Humpalot.
Stewart once claimed Harry was “the biggest idiot in the universe.” He’s got a carefree attitude and no long term plan, which may or may not be a result of his stupidity. Stewart can currently be seen playing Rudy on the CBS sitcom Mom.
Despite being the oldest member of the alien beings, Tommy wound up being the youngest member of the “human” Solomon family. Tommy attends high school and later, college, in order to get information about the human race. Gordon-Levitt has an incredible film career, starring in movies like Brick, 50/50, Looper, (500) Days of Summer, Inception and many more.
Mary is Dick’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, who is also a professor at Pendleton State University. Curtin is a former Saturday Night Live cast member (1975-1980), and also starred in Coneheads as one of her SNL characters, Prymatt Conehead.
Rounding out the cast are Simbi Kali as Nina, Dick and Mary’s administrative assistant; Elmarie Wendel as Mrs. Dubcek, the Solomons’ landlady; and Wayne Knight as Officer Don, a Police Sergeant in Rutherford and also Sally’s sometimes boyfriend.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on 3rd Rock from the Sun?
There are so many stellar guest stars on the show that it’s impossible to name them all. Here are a few of the most important 3rd Rock from the Sun guest stars.
The Big Giant Head is the Solomons’ mission leader and also the ruler of the galaxy. He communicates with the family through a transmitter in Harry’s head. He’s played by William-freakin’-Shatner who (I don’t even need to tell you) played Kirk in a gazillion Star Trek films.
Phil Hartman as Randy
Hartman’s Randy was one of Vicki Dubcek’s many ex-lovers. The former SNL veteran can be seen in Seasons 1 and 3.
George Takei as Himself
Another Star Trek legend, Takei played himself at a sci-fi convention in the episode “Hotel Dick.”
Mark Hamill as Himself
Star Wars‘ very own Luke Skywalker played himself in the episode “Fifteen Minutes of Dick.”
Roseanne Barr as Janet
When the Big Giant Head decided he didn’t want Dick to marry Mary, he sent Janet to earth to be his forced wife.
Other guest stars included Laurie Metcalf, Bryan Cranston, David Hasselhoff, Cindy Crawford, Kathy Bates, and many more.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind 3rd Rock from the Sun?
Bonnie and Terry Turner were the two screenwriters and producers responsible for creating 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Bonnie and Terry Turner: 3rd Rock from the Sun Creators, Writers and Executive Producers
In the ’80s, Bonnie and Terry were part of an Atlanta comedy troupe. After one of their troupe members was recruited to Saturday Night Live, the duo often submitted material for their friend, and in 1986, Lorne Michaels tapped them for full-time writing gigs. The duo was responsible for movies like Coneheads (starring 3rd Rock‘s Jane Curtin), Wayne’s World 1 and 2, The Brady Bunch Movie, and Tommy Boy. After 3rd Rock, they went on to create That 70’s Show, That 80’s Show, and Normal, Ohio, starring John Goodman.
Where 3rd Rock from the Sun Ranks in the Television Pantheon
The show’s first two seasons performed well for NBC, ranking 22 and 28 on the Nielsen charts respectively. The show’s offbeat premise and quirky bounce put it in a league of its own in 1996 with its risky sitcom mashup that blended typical sitcom fare with an otherworldly twist.
While not typically seen as being one of the greatest shows or even sitcoms of all time, 3rd Rock dared to be different, and audiences and critics responded to that. While the show is outrageously goofy, it has just enough heart and sentimentality to keep it grounded. Plus, John Lithgow and Jane Curtin’s performances are lauded as unhinged and fearless.