I remember thinking how vile Fox was to dicth brilliant social-commentary sci fi in favor of lowest-common-denominator sophomoric insult-comedy.
Well, to be fair, the decision was made based on economics, not content. The FOX executives loved Alien Nation
, but it was a very expensive show to make, what with all the location shooting, makeup, and action/stunt sequences. And at the time, FOX was still only airing a few nights' programming per week and wanted to expand their lineup. Their bean-counters told them that they could make four half-hour sitcoms for the same amount they spent on this one hourlong drama. So they sacrificed AN in favor of the four sitcoms, getting an extra hour worth of prime-time programming at no added cost.
But to their credit, the FOX execs kept AN on the back burner and tried to find a way they could afford to bring it back. They encouraged the producers to develop scripts for a second season, and then proposed continuing the show as a series of movies. And though it took four years, they finally committed to making those movies.
So it's really not fair to call FOX's decision "vile." They loved the show and supported it to the best of their ability. But they were running a business, so their decisions had to be based on monetary profit and loss, not personal likes and dislikes. The sad fact is, lowbrow sitcoms are more profitable than intelligent SF dramas, both because they're a lot cheaper to produce and because more people actually watch them.