Resident Alien

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Alan Tudyk in Resident Alien.
Alan Tudyk in Resident Alien.
Photo: James Dittinger/SYFY


Resident Alien




4/5 Stars


An alien crashes on Earth and hides in a remote Colorado mountain town. After assuming the identity of the town doctor, his nefarious mission is threatened when he realises one of the townspeople, a nine-year-old boy, can see his true alien form.


To quote the series poster, Resident Alien is "the sci-fi, murder mystery, doctor dramedy" I never knew I needed.

Resident Alien is the perfect blend of dark humour and sincerity, based on the comic book of the same name by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. After crash-landing on earth, an alien sent to wipe out humanity kills and takes on the identity of a pathology physician named Harry Vanderspeigle (Alan Tudyk). He is lured out from his cabin to do an autopsy on the town's doctor, who died of unknown circumstances. After that, Harry is tasked with becoming the new town doctor while figuring out how to be as 'normal' as possible until he can find his spaceship and do what he was sent to earth to do in the first place.

The first few episodes tell a continuous story about Harry's attempts to merge with human society. While he tries his best to keep a low profile, his alien status is not a secret to everyone and his hopes of keeping a low profile dwindle with every new episode. As the show progresses, Harry's anxieties about whether or not he truly wants to stay a part of this human world increase.

I just have to say; this show would not even be worth watching if it was not for Tudyk. He was so appropriately cast. I really couldn't imagine anyone better for the job. He just nails the peculiarity of an alien who has to learn to deal with human behaviour and the emotions and connections that come with it. Everything from a handshake to learning how to speak human from Law & Order reruns is so perfectly calibrated that it is believable enough to make the locals pause but then brush of his oddity as a personality quirk. Alongside his excellent physical performance, the rest of the cast is forced to play their roles in an understated manner to Tudyk's weirdness, but they all do so admirably. Standouts are Sara Tomko, as strong and sarcastic Asta, who works with Harry at the town's health clinic. And Alice Wetterlund, as charming bartender D'arcy.

Resident Alien is not a show that will eat up much of your mental bandwidth. Honestly, I think it's a healthy dose of escapism that the world appears to be craving right now – I'm looking at you, Ted Lasso. With everything going on in the world, would it be wrong to assume that audiences are looking for shows that aren't challenging them with realism in every episode? Perhaps. But Resident Alien is the perfect way to take a break from the real world. With its appeal stemming from a balanced blend of humour, heart-warming sincerity, consistency of tone and, possibly the best of all, a hint of darkness, it is so easy and comfortable to watch.

The one critique I will give is the shows tendency to make you feel a little overstuffed. The show's premise is Alien Harry's goal of pretending to be human long enough to find his spaceship and kill everyone on earth. At the same time, the Mayor's son, Max (Judah Prehn) – who seems to be the only human who can see past Harry's disguise – tries to convince everyone of the truth. Still, there are multiple subplots added to every episode as later-season threads, but sometimes they feel unnecessary. Because of this, I found myself wishing for things to just calm down at one point so that poor Alien Harry could catch his breath.

Resident Alien is hilarious, full of heartfelt moments and, much like Harry himself, surprisingly sincere.


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