Resident Alien, a SyFy show based upon Dark Horse’s comic of the same name, made its stellar debut last Wednesday night. It stars Alan Tudyk (of Firefly fame, among other things) as a down on his luck alien who crash lands on Earth and finds he must fit in with the human race. Conveniently, he lands in middle-of-nowhere Colorado where he assumes the identity of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle. The alien discovers the doctor alone at his remote, snow-covered cabin, where he murders him and assumes his form until such time when he is able to complete the mission that he was sent to Earth to accomplish in the first place.
Tudyk’s portrayal of an alien disguised as a human is unsurprisingly brilliant. First, he must learn to speak English, and does so by watching old episodes of Law and Order to comedic effect. Throughout the pilot, he makes the character is his portraying feel believable as he awkwardly navigates human life. Tudyk’s voice over narrative tells us that he’s managed to avoid any other human contact for the four months that he’s been on Earth while he searches in the snow of mountainous Colorado for an important device that he lost when his spaceship crashed during a brutal winter storm.
His ability to mimic a human is put to its first true test, however, when two deputies show up at the front door to the doctor’s cabin and request that he join them in the nearest town (tiny Patience, Colorado) to assist them in a murder investigation. It appears, rather unfortunately, that the town’s long-time doctor has been found dead.
Unable to find a suitable way to refuse, the alien finds himself forced to interact with the locals, which results in some extremely awkward, but hilarious to viewers, social situations. Worse yet, he discovers that a nine-year-old boy in town is one of the very small percentage of humans who can see past his disguise, which he acknowledges is some rotten luck and is something that he now must decide how best to handle.
Desiring only to return to the doctor’s cabin and resume his search for his missing device, the alien finds himself invited to the local bar for a drink by nurse Asta Twelvetrees after the two perform an autopsy on the town’s former doctor. However, when he refuses and she calls him “weird,” he feels obligated to join her or risk his true identity being found out.
Perhaps predictively, the more he is around Asta, the more he gets pulled into her life. When Tudyk’s voice over reveals near the end of the pilot that the device he is looking for is intended to bring about an “extinction level event” for all humans, it becomes clear that the alien is already beginning to have some conflicting feelings concerning whether or not humans are truly as dangerous, and therefore worthy of annihilation, as he believed at the beginning of his mission. The plot promises to thicken as he is asked to become the town’s acting doctor.
It’s worth noting that, although based on Peter Hogan and Steven Parkhouse’s comic by the same name, Resident Alien the television show doesn’t follow the exact script of the comic. Although the basic plot points are the same (alien crash lands on earth, disguises himself as a human, becomes a town doctor, etc.), the show took a few liberties, which seems to be the way when comics are adapted to screen, and isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In an interview Hogan did with the show’s writer, Chris Sheridan, at New York Comicon 2019, he admits that he was “very nervous” at first when viewing the trailer but, that ultimately, he found it “very enjoyable”. Follow this link to watch more of the interview if you’d like: PETER HOGAN IS PLEASED WITH CHRIS SHERIDAN'S RESIDENT ALIEN SHOW - YouTube
Ultimately, Resident Alien promises to be a distinctive, standout show that uses humor and a unique perspective to examine the true nature of humanity. You can catch Resident Alien on the SyFy channel on Wednesdays at 10pm or streaming at syfy.com.